CVIndependent

Wed10172018

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I have a secret: For the past three months, I’ve been attending a local jacks club (a men-only masturbation event). As someone recovering from sexual abuse, I find the party to be safe, therapeutic and just sexy fun. I feel like I need this!

Unfortunately, I spotted one of my employees at last week’s event. Although I’m openly gay at my workplace, being naked, erect and sexual in the same room as my employee felt wrong. I freaked out, packed up and departed without him seeing me (I hope). I’m his manager at work, and I feel that being sexual around him could damage our professional relationship. It could even have dangerous HR consequences.

I realize he has every right to attend jacks, as much right as me, but I wish he weren’t there. I want to continue attending jacks, but what if he’s there again? Frankly, I’m terrified to discuss the topic with him. Help!

Just A Cock Kraving Safety

“I hate to say it, but now that JACKS knows his employee attends these events, he really has to stop going,” said Alison Green, the management consultant behind the popular Ask a Manager advice column (askamanager.org) and the author of Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work.

And why do you have to stop going to your beloved JO club?

“In an employment relationship where he’s in a position of power,” said Green, “JACKS has a responsibility to avoid any remotely sexual situation with an employee.”

Green also strongly advises against pulling your employee aside and working out some sort of shared-custody agreement—you get jacks to yourself every other week—because initiating a conversation with a subordinate about when and where he likes to jack off would be a bad idea. She also doesn’t think you can just keep going in the hopes that your employee won’t be back.

“If he continues to attend, and it got back to anyone at their workplace, it would be really damaging to his reputation—not the fact that he was at the event to begin with, but the fact that he continued to attend knowing an employee was also participating,” said Green. “It would call his professional judgment into question, and it’s highly likely that HR would freak out about the potential legal liability that arises when you have a manager and a subordinate in a sexual context together.”

It seems crazy unfair to me that you should have to stop going to parties you not only enjoy, JACKS, but that have aided in your recovery. And Green agrees—it isn’t fair—but with great power (management) comes great responsibility (avoiding places where your employees are known to jack off).

“It’s never going to feel fair to have to drop out of a private, out-of-work activity just because of your job,” said Green. “I’m hoping it’s possible for JACKS to find a different club in a neighboring town. Or he could start his own club and offer a safe haven for other managers hiding out from potential run-ins with employees—Jacks for Middle Managers or something!”

While I had Green’s attention, I asked her about other sorts of gay social events that might toss a manager and an employee into a sexual context—think of the thousands of men who attended the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco last month. Gay men (and others) walk around in various states of undress or dress up, and a lot of flirting, groping and more goes down. Should gay men in management have to skip events like Folsom, lest they run into men they supervise?

“Public events are different from private clubs,” said Green. “A private club is more intimate, and a public event is, well, public. And it’s not reasonable or practical to expect managers to entirely curtail their social lives or never attend a public event. But a private club that’s organized specifically and primarily for sexual activity is in a different category.”

However, gay managers who run into employees at events like Folsom or circuit parties shouldn’t ogle, hit on or photograph their employees.

“If someone who reports to you is in a sexual situation,” said Green, “you should keep moving and give them as much space as you reasonably can.”

I’m going to give myself the last word here: You’ve been attending that JO club for months and saw your employee there only once, JACKS, so I think you can risk going back at least one more time. I would hate to see you deprived of release (and see your recovery set back!) if your employee was there only that one time.

Follow Alison Green on Twitter @AskAManager.


My husband and I are visiting Italy right now. We decided to try out the local hospitality and have had two bad hookups. Both of us knew early on in the encounters that we weren’t enjoying it, but we didn’t know how to extricate ourselves.

What is the proper way to end a failed hookup with minimum insult/hurt to the third person?

Texans Seeking Amore

1. The unvarnished truth: “We’re sorry, but we aren’t really feeling it.”

2. The little white lie: “Oh, my goodness. I think the clams we ate earlier were off. I’m so sorry; we’re going to have to call it a night.”


My wife recently came out as bisexual after spending time with a woman who awakened her feelings. I suspected for a long time that my wife was probably bisexual, so I had no issues telling her to explore this side of her sexuality. My only caveat for opening our marriage was that I wasn’t comfortable with her entering into a relationship with another man. This pissed my wife off; she told me I was being irrational; we fought about it, blah blah blah.

Fast-forward a few weeks. My wife swiped right on a guy on Tinder and then checked in with me to see if the boundaries had shifted. I have a hotwife-type fetish, so I gave her the OK to swap sexy texts, and we agreed on a possible threesome. It didn’t pan out; my wife was bummed; we moved on.

She has started chatting up other guys on Tinder. Nothing has happened yet between them, but I feel like I’m being pulled ahead of where I’m comfortable in exploring an open marriage. I’m not opposed to simple hookups, but a separate relationship with a man? The intimacy and affection parts bug me.

How do you acclimate to this kind of adjustment? Or do I throw the brakes on and reverse?

Personally Feeling Fearful Today

So you gave your wife permission to explore her bisexuality—with other women—and she jumped on Tinder and started swiping right on men? Even though you’d told her that wasn’t something you were comfortable with? And it now appears that your wife doesn’t just want to have sexual experiences with women and men (but mostly with men), but relationships with other women and men (but mostly with men)? And she only checks in with you about your boundaries to see if they’ve crumbled yet?

This isn’t how someone opens up a marriage, PFFT, unless that someone isn’t interested in staying married. So you’re going to need to hit the brakes and get some clarity from your wife. You’re willing to open your marriage up to allow for outside sexual experiences, preferably ones you get to take part in (hot-wifing scenes, threesomes), but you’re not interested in polyamory—that is, you don’t want your wife to have a boyfriend. If a boyfriend is what she wants, and she’s unwilling to compromise and can’t negotiate with you in good faith, you don’t want to be her husband.

On the Lovecast, cartoonist Ellen Forney on dating with bipolar disorder: savagelovecast.com.

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Published in Savage Love

I was involved with a straight man who enjoys cross-dressing and taking explicit photos. The problem is that the props he uses belong to his three children, all under age 12.

For example, he dressed up as a slutty schoolgirl and wore his daughter’s backpack. He dressed up as a slutty cowgirl and posed with his son’s stuffed horse. He even had the horse eating his “carrot.” I told him he should not use his children’s things as props. He believes that his children will never see the photos, so no harm will come of it. I’m horrified at the thought of these kids (perhaps as adults) stumbling over these pictures. He posts them on Instagram and Facebook, so they aren’t private, and he can’t control where they go. It’s one of the reasons I ended the relationship.

Is there anything I can say to him?

Canceled Definitely Promising Relationship Over Photo Sessions

You told him what he’s doing is wrong; you explained the enormous risk he’s running; and you dumped him, CDPROPS. You could take one last run at it and try to explain that his children finding these photos isn’t one of those “low-risk, high-consequence events,” i.e., something that’s unlikely to happen but would be utterly disastrous if it did. (Think of the super-volcano that is Yellowstone National Park erupting, or a deranged, racist billionaire somehow managing to win a U.S. presidential election.) Nope, if he’s posting these photos online, at least one of his children will stumble over them—or one of their friends will. (“Hey, isn’t this your dad? And your backpack?”)

Your ex needs to knock this shit off, and will most likely need the help of a mental-health pro in order to do so.


My parents were married for almost 40 years—and on paper, things seemed fine. They rarely fought and were an example of a strong, monogamous marriage until the day my mother died.

Recently, I found writings by my dad revealing he had several casual encounters with men over the course of their marriage. Do I tell him I know? We are close, but sex isn’t something we usually discuss.

What should I do with this information, if anything?

A Deeply Upsetting Lie That Scalds

When you say their relationship seemed fine “on paper,” ADULTS, what you mean is their relationship was decent and loving. Well, now you know it wasn’t perfect—but no relationship is. Your mother is dead (I’m sorry for your loss), and either she made peace with this fact about her husband long ago, or she never knew about it. Either way, no good will come from confronting your father about the handful of dicks he sucked decades ago.


I’m a 47-year-old virgin straight man. What advice can you give me on losing my virginity?

Wanting And Hoping

There are lots of 40-year-old-and-up women out there who are virgins—they write in, too—so putting “middle-aged virgin seeks same” in your personal ad wouldn’t be a bad idea. Find someone in your same situation, WAH, and treat her with kindness, gentleness and patience—the same as you would like to be treated.


I’m married and poly, with one partner in addition to my husband. My partner has a friend-with-benefits arrangement with a woman he’s been with since before we met. The FWB is not poly, but she’s always known my partner is. She has always insisted they’re not a couple, but he knows she would be hurt if she found out he was with someone else, so he has avoided telling her he’s now also with me.

I don’t like being someone’s secret. My husband knows I’m with someone else and is fine with it. If my partner’s FWB felt the same, I wouldn’t see a problem. But this feels oddly like I’m helping my partner cheat on his FWB, even though they’re “not a couple” (her words). So it’s not cheating … is it?

Pretty Obviously Lost, Yeah

It’s not cheating—it’s plausible deniability. Your partner’s FWB would rather not know he’s seeing anyone else, so she doesn’t ask him about his other partners, and he doesn’t tell. Accommodating his FWB’s desire not to know about other partners—doing the DADT open thing—does mean keeping you a secret, POLY, at least from her. If you’re not comfortable with that, you’ll have to end things with your partner.


I’m scared of two things. 1. I’m scared that if I break up with my girlfriend of four years, I will be throwing away the best thing I will ever have, because I’m scared that I don’t love her in the way she deserves (in the way people say you will “just know” about), or because we have normal relationship problems and both have our own mental-health issues. 2. I’m also scared that if I don’t break up with her, I am keeping her in a relationship that is not good because of my fear of never finding someone as good as her, and we would both actually be happier with someone else.

Scared Of Being Alone

1. Nobody “just knows,” SOBA, and everyone has doubts—that’s why commitments are made (consciously entered into) and not some sort of romantic or sexual autopilot that kicks in when we meet the “perfect” person. We commit, and recommit, and forgive, and muddle through—but when we’re asked about our relationships, we tend to lean on clichés like, “It was love at first sight,” “I just knew,” “The One”—clichés that often fill others with doubt about the quality of their own relationships.

2. Get on iTunes, and download the original Broadway cast recordings of Company, Follies and A Little Night Music. Pay particular attention to “Sorry-Grateful,” “The Road You Didn’t Take” and “Send in the Clowns.”


If I write you a letter asking for advice and don’t want it published, even anonymously, will you answer?

Keeping It Confidential, ’Kay?

While I can’t respond to every letter I receive, KICK, I do sometimes respond privately. Just one request: If you send a letter that you don’t want published, please mention that at the start. I will frequently read an extremely long letter—so long that I start making notes or contacting experts before I finish reading it—only to discover “please don’t publish this” at the bottom. If a letter isn’t for publication, please mention that at the beginning. I promise that doing so increases your chances of getting a private response.

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Published in Savage Love

Is it even possible for a couple that stopped having sex to start back up again?

My girlfriend and I (we’re both women) have been together for four years, and we haven’t had sex for two. I thought the sex was good before it stopped, but apparently she was going through the motions. She’s a sex worker, and it took her a while to figure out she was not being present, and she wanted to stop having sex with me until she could figure out how to change that. I get that and respect it. We have an open relationship, so I started having more sex with other people. And while it’s fun, I do find myself wishing I could have sex with someone I actually care about—and I only care about her.

She says she wants to start having sex with me again, but we don’t really know how to do that. Everything is kind of terrifying and awkward. She said it’s hard to go from sex with zero intimacy into sex with the intimacy turned up to 11. We’re very romantic with each other, and there are other forms of physical affection like kisses and snuggling, but no making out or humping. I love her more than I knew I could love a person, and if we never do figure out how to have sex together, I’ll still stay with her. But for two people who are both highly sexual and want to have sex with each other, we sure are perplexed at how to make this work.

Sex Or Romance Dilemma

“Let’s cut to the chase: Yes, it is possible for a couple that has stopped having sex to start having it again,” said Dr. Lori Brotto, a clinical psychologist and a sex researcher at the University of British Columbia.

You ended on a note of despair, SORD, but Brotto sees two good reasons for hope: You and your girlfriend are completely open and honest with each other, and you’re committed to staying together whether or not the sex resumes. Your communication skills and that rock-solid commitment—neither of you are going anywhere—are the bedrock on which you can rebuild your sex life.

“There are two aspects of SORD’s question that jump out at me: One, the reference to wanting to be present for sex, and two, the description of the situation as terrifying and awkward,” said Brotto. “SORD’s girlfriend likely perfected the practice of ‘going elsewhere’ during sex while at work, which meant that it became almost automatic for her to do this while having sex in her relationship. This is classic mindlessness, and it is why mindfulness—the state of full awareness to the present moment in a kind and compassionate way—may be a tool for her to consider implementing.”

Mindfulness is the subject of Brotto’s new book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire.

“Mindfulness has a long history in Buddhist meditation, and it allowed monks to sit with their present experience, including pain and suffering, for hours or days—or sometimes weeks and months,” said Dr. Brotto. “In more recent years, mindfulness has been reconceptualized as a tool that anyone can use and benefit from. It doesn’t rely on having a Buddhist orientation or a cave to retreat to.”

So how does this ancient mindfulness stuff work where modern girl-on-girl sex is concerned?

“The practice is simple,” said Brotto. “It involves deliberately paying attention to sensations, sounds and thoughts in the present moment—and noticing when the mind gets pulled elsewhere and then gently but firmly guiding it back. Mindfulness is also about not berating yourself for finding it challenging or judging yourself for the thoughts you have.”

In her practice, Dr. Brotto has seen research subjects successfully use mindfulness to cultivate and/or reignite sexual desire, calm anxiety, and relieve the awkwardness and fear that some people experience with sex.

“Suffice it to say,” she said, “there is an impressive body of research that supports the practice of mindful sex, and people who otherwise may believe that their minds are incapable of staying still can effectively learn to fully engage their attention to sex and the person(s) with whom they are having sex. It doesn’t matter if you are skeptical about whether mindfulness works or not—if you are willing to learn the skills and apply it to sex, you’re likely to benefit.”

If you’re nervous or scared that it won’t work or that you’ll never reconnect sexually with your girlfriend, SORD, Brotto wants you to know that those feelings are perfectly normal.

“The uncertainty surrounding what will happen when they try to reintegrate sex can be terrifying for some couples,” said Brotto. “What if it doesn’t work? What if neither of them has desire? What if the sex is just plain bad? If SORD and her partner are worrying about the anticipated sex, or even catastrophizing over it—a jargony term meaning they imagine it ending in disaster—that can make it damn near impossible to remain in the present. The good news is that mindfulness can help with the tendency to get lost on the thought train.”

So here’s what you’re going to do, SORD: Order a copy of Dr. Brotto’s new book, and read it with your girlfriend. And while you wait for the book to arrive, you’re going to try a mindful touching exercise called “sensate focus.”

“She will invite her girlfriend to touch her from head to toe, minus the genitals, for 15 minutes—without the goal of triggering arousal or desire,” said Brotto. “SORD’s role is to pay attention to the sensations emerging, and curtail any thoughts by redirecting attention to the here and now. And relax. After 15 minutes, they switch roles so SORD becomes the giver, and her girlfriend is the receiver. This is not foreplay. It is not manual sexual stimulation. It is a mindfulness exercise designed to teach a person to remain in the present while receiving sensual touch.”

There are solo mindfulness exercises, SORD, and some good, commercially available apps out there that can walk you through them. But if your goal is reconnecting with your girlfriend, Brotto strongly recommends that you two work on mindfulness together.

“My view is that a couple-based mindfulness exercise like sensate focus will get them to their goal of mind-blowing, mind-knowing sex,” said Brotto.

Follow Dr. Brotto on Twitter @DrLoriBrotto.


CONFIDENTIAL TO AMERICAN CITIZENS EVERYWHERE

Furious about Brett Kavanaugh? Me, too. That’s why I donated to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Our only hope of protecting a woman’s right to choose, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment and organized labor—our only hope for blocking Trump’s anti-everyone-and-everything agenda—is to take back the U.S. House and Senate this November. If the Democrats control the House come January (which looks likely), they can impeach Kavanaugh; if they control the Senate come January (a longer shot but within reach), they can put Kavanaugh on trial—and that means a full investigation into all the allegations against him, including the numerous ways in which he perjured himself during his confirmation hearings. It would take a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict and remove Kavanaugh, and Dems likely won’t take that many seats—but if a trial uncovers proof that Kavanaugh committed the crimes he’s been accused of and lied to Congress, perhaps enough Republicans can be shamed into voting to remove him. (Republicans feeling shame? That may be the longest of long shots.) Go to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee website (dscc.org); click “contribute”; and give what you can.

CONFIDENTIAL TO CANADIAN STUDENTS IN ONTARIO

Thank you for walking out of your classrooms to protest the scrapping of Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum by Doug Ford, your newish (and thuggish) premier. Every student deserves an up-to-date sexual education that covers reproduction, pleasure, consent, tech, sexting, sexual abuse and LGBTQ issues. Watching students stand up against Ford’s reactionary, bigoted, sex-negative assholery has been truly inspiring. Keep it up!

On the Lovecast, are sugar babies sex workers?: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITFMA.org.

Published in Savage Love

I’m a 62-year-old woman. I was married for 33 years and left five years ago. We hadn’t gotten along for years, but he never stopped wanting or valuing me for sex—in spite of treating me like a household appliance and cheating on me regularly. Not long after the marriage ended, I met a guy online (my same age) who ticked nearly every box on my partner checklist—one of which was an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations. In the beginning, things were hot and crazy—but they cooled after a few months (going from once or twice a day to maybe once a month). Other than that, the relationship continued to grow, and we enjoyed being together.

I tried to carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming. I’m not proud of it, but I checked his internet history. Big surprise: LOTS OF PORN. No animals or children, but pretty much everything else, with an accent on trans. Eventually, I admitted my sleuthing and asked if his viewing habits were an indicator of his interests or the reason he had turned away from me. After the anger subsided, he explained that he had been single most of his life and had more or less gotten used to taking care of business solo. Also, he said that the women he had been with who floated his boat sexually had been bad (crazy/unstable) in the partner department, and the good partners (me) had been less than satisfying for him in bed.

The bottom line is that we are compatible in most every other area and have built a comfortable life together. We have intercourse every four to six weeks, and maybe once in between, he will pleasure me. I enjoy both, and also take care of myself once a week. The struggle for me is more ego-driven. I’m no raving beauty, but I am reasonably fit and attractive for my age, and (used to) enjoy feeling desired and valued sexually. Can I get to the place of letting go of that and enjoying the rare occasions of physical congress?

Sex Advice Please

“Good for her for getting out of a marriage where she was treated like a ‘household appliance’ and getting back in the dating game,” said Joan Price, author of the books Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50. “But her new relationship, while it sounds comfortable and affectionate, doesn’t sound sexually fulfilling.”

This relationship doesn’t just sound unfulfilling sexually, SAP; it sounds infuriating generally. You entered into this relationship under false pretenses. You let your partner know that “an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations” was a priority for you, and he allowed you to believe it was a priority for him. In fairness to him, SAP, he may not have known himself to be incapable of sustaining a strong sexual connection, seeing as he’s been single for most of his life. But even if he wasn’t aware he couldn’t meet your needs then, that doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t valued/fucked the way you want to be valued/fucked now.

“I think her best option is to stay friends with this guy but start dating and having sex with others,” said Price. “She could continue to have occasional sex with this man if they both agree to a nonexclusive, friends-with-benefits arrangement. Or they could become platonic pals, if that’s better for them. But it’s imperative that she talk candidly with him.”

You write that you tried to “carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming,” but Price wonders whether you were forthcoming yourself. “‘Carefully broach’ usually means ‘I was vague,’” said Price. “Suppose, instead, she said, ‘I really value you, but I don’t think we’re well-matched sexually. How can we adjust our relationship so we’re not putting sexual pressure on each other, and we’re both free to find other sexual outlets?’”

Your partner has an outlet that works for him and pretty much meets all his needs—porn and his own hand—but you don’t have an outlet that provides you with the feeling of being desired and valued sexually. Watching porn and/or “taking care of yourself” isn’t going to meet your needs. So the question is this: Do you have to exit this loving relationship to get your needs met, or can you stay with your current partner, a man who meets your emotional and social needs, while getting your sexual needs met elsewhere?

“SAP deserves a partner who matches her sexually,” said Price. And I agree.

If you’re telling yourself that you’ll have to settle for someone who claims he can’t perform for you because you’re not unstable enough to turn him on—you do realize that compliment he paid you (you’re so good!) was actually a dishonest bit of blame-shifting/responsibility-dodging, right?—then you’re selling yourself short.

“I know from personal experience and from the swelling of my inbox that many of us find hot, fabulous sexual partners in our 60s, 70s and beyond,” said Price. “It’s never too late. She shouldn’t settle for sex that’s less than satisfying, and neither should he. If that means she looks for new partners and he returns to his solo pleasure with the porn he prefers and the hand that knows him best, they might both be happier.”

Follow Joan Price on Twitter @JoanPrice. She blogs about sex and aging at NakedAtOurAge.com.


I’m a transgender woman married to a cis woman. Is cuckolding strictly a male-being-humiliated-by-his-woman-partner thing? Or does it apply to all couples?

Cuckolding Holds Erotic Allure That Satisfies

A man can cuckold a woman, CHEATS, and a man can cuckold a man, and a woman can cuckold a woman, and an enby can cuckold an enby. But women who are into being subs in a cuckold relationship—women who get off on being cheated on and erotically humiliated by their partners—are called cuckqueans, not cuckolds.


When I was younger and more stupid, I let my husband have intercourse with me or have me blow him or jack him off while I was on the phone with my sister. It was not something that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t strong enough then to resist his pressure.

For the last five years, I’ve asked him to respect me and not do this. He was good about it for a while, and I thought that we were on the same page. Now he has resumed pressuring me to do this. When I am on the phone with my sister, he will come in and harass me, grope me and attempt to remove my clothes. So I get off the phone. This makes him mad. If I say no, he emotionally withdraws, stops conversation about it, and tells me, “No sex, no marriage.” We do have a sex life that does include some of his kinks.

What is your opinion about using unwitting people on the other end of the phone for sexual satisfaction?

Persistent Husband’s Obnoxious Needs Enrage Spouse

The imperfect, doesn’t-always-apply adage, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” applies where your unwitting sister is concerned. So long as she doesn’t know you’re multitasking during your phone conversation, PHONES, no harm is done to your sister. But you know it’s happening, and you don’t like it, and your husband knows you don’t like it, but insists on doing it anyway. And when you shut him down—which is your absolute right—he gets angry, engages in emotional blackmail, and threatens to leave you (“No sex, no marriage”). But you are having sex with your husband—sex that includes some of his other kinks—so what he’s really saying is, “All the sex I want, however I want it, whenever I want it, regardless of how you feel about it, or I’ll divorce you.”

My advice: Divorce him yourself.

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with Lizz Winstead of The Daily Show: savagelovecast.com.

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Published in Savage Love

I am newly divorced and have started a relationship with a man I’ve known and deeply cared about for decades. The sex is amazing—from start to finish, I feel better than I ever did, even in the best moments with my ex. And in the most intense moments? He makes me see stars. He is a very generous lover—he turns me on like crazy, and I regularly come while sexting with him. But I have yet to have an orgasm with him.

In the past, I have had an orgasm with a partner only from oral—or very occasionally from digital clit stim. My ex-husband was not skilled at oral, so I always had to fantasize pretty hard to get there (and regularly chose not to bother). My new partner has amazing moves and amazing oral skills, and he is willing to keep at it for as long as it takes—but regardless of how amazing I feel when he’s going down on me, every single time, I eventually hit a wall where I am just done. I haven’t had a single session with him where I’m left feeling unfulfilled, despite the lack of orgasm. In contrast, any sex with my ex that didn’t end in an orgasm left me feeling frustrated or, worse yet, bored. (There were also times when I’d ask my ex to leave the room so I could masturbate after sex.)

Do you have any ideas as to why I can’t get over that hump? I wonder if I just need him to be more boring and repetitive so that I can focus. But if that’s the case, is it even worth it? Why would I want to make the sex worse to make it “better”? Or should I just be satisfied with the mind-blowing sex I am having, even if it means I don’t have an orgasm? Is it OK to give myself permission to give up on partner-based climaxing?

No Orgasm Possibly Ever

Beware of those self-fulfilling prophecies! If you sit there—or lie there—telling yourself that being with Mr. AmazingMoves means giving up on “partner-based climaxing,” NOPE, you’re increasing the odds that you’ll never have an orgasm with this guy or any other guy ever again.

Here’s what I think the problem is: You had tons of shitty sex with your ex, but you could climax so long as you focused, i.e., so long as you were able to “fantasize pretty hard.” Your ex provided you with some half-assed oral and/or uninspiring digital clit stim that didn’t interfere with your ability to focus/fantasize. In other words, NOPE, with your ex, you were able to—you had no other choice but to—retreat into your own head and rely on your own erotic imagination to get you there. You may have been physically present during sex, but you were not emotionally or erotically present.

Because Mr. AmazingMoves’ moves are so amazing—because he turns you on like crazy, because whatever he’s doing feels great, because sometimes you see stars—you aren’t able to retreat into your own head. For years, you had to figuratively leave the room so you could focus/concentrate on whatever it was you needed to focus/concentrate on in order to come; sometimes you even asked your ex to literally leave the room. You created a powerful association between going to a private, safe, sexy place—pulling away from your partner emotionally, erotically and sometimes even physically—and climaxing.

You aren’t able to pull away from your current partner in the same way. Nor do you want to. And, hey, wanna know why you come when you sext with him? Because sexting is assisted fantasizing. You’re alone when you’re swapping those dirty messages with Mr. AmazingMoves, NOPE, kind of like you were alone when you were having sex with your ex.

It’s going to take some time to carve a new groove, i.e., you’re going to need to create a new association—one that allows you to be fully present (emotionally, erotically, physically) during partner-based sex and able to climax during it. The trick is not to rush it and, again, not to box yourself into negative self-fulfilling prophecies like the one you ended your letter with. So instead of telling yourself you’re never going to come again during partnered sex, tell yourself that your orgasms will come again. It may take some time, sure, but trust that your body and your brain are already hard at work carving that new groove.

One practical suggestion: The next time you have sex with Mr. AmazingMoves—the next 10 times you have sex with him—tell him in advance that you’re going to ask him to stop eating you out long before you hit that wall. Then stimulate yourself, either digitally or with a vibrator, while he holds you. If you need to lean back and close your eyes, lean back and close your eyes—but do not retreat into your own head. Maintain physical contact and ask him to say dirty/sexy things to you while you get yourself the rest of the way there, so you’re always aware of his presence. A couple of dozen self-administered orgasms with both of you in the room—in the room emotionally, erotically and physically—will speed that new-groove-carving process along.


I’m a straight man, and I recently got out of a relationship with a woman who would monitor my internet use to make sure I wasn’t “masturbating to the wrong things.” (My kinks are nothing too outrageous: feet and mild FemDom.) I’ve been dating a new woman for three months, and it’s time to lay my kink cards on the table. But I’m really afraid to open up, thanks to my kink-shaming ex.

My new girlfriend and I read your column together—so if you publish my letter, I’ll be able to gauge her likely response if I decide to disclose.

Help A Guy Out?

My pleasure, HAGO, but be careful: Sometimes people react negatively to any mention of a kink, not because they’re necessarily turned off or grossed out, but because they assume their partner is. So don’t panic if your new girlfriend’s first reaction is negative (“Ew, gross! Feet and FemDom!”), because it may not represent her true feelings and/or openness to your kinks. To learn how she really feels, you’re probably going to have to make the disclosure you’re trying to sidestep.


I’m a 24-year-old woman, and three weeks ago, I got out of a long-term relationship with a guy in his mid-30s. Over the last few months of the relationship, I started falling for someone else and began dating the new guy pretty much immediately after the breakup.

When should I tell my old boyfriend? We agreed to stay friends, and we still talk and see each other at least once a week. I want him to hear it from me, but I’m not sure how much time is appropriate/respectful.

Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole

Meeting up too soon after a breakup has a way of keeping emotional wounds open and fresh, DWBAA, particularly for the person who was dumped. (I’m assuming you did the dumping here.) And once-a-week meetings definitely qualify as too much, too soon. That said, if you think your ex-boyfriend is likely to hear about your new boyfriend from mutual friends, telling him yourself (and soon) is obviously the right (and difficult) thing to do. But if your ex is going to find out about your new boyfriend from, say, your Instagram account, encouraging him to unfollow you and letting some time pass—enough so you can fudge the start date of your new relationship—would be the right (and ego-sparing) thing to do.

On the Lovecast: Dan can’t do it alone this week! Hola, Papi! savagelovecast.com.

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I am a gay man in my late 50s and have never been in a relationship. I am so lonely, and the painful emptiness I feel is becoming absolutely unbearable.

In my early 20s, I hooked up off and on, but it never developed into anything. I have always told myself that’s OK; I’m not a people person or a relationship kind of guy. I have a few lesbian friends but no male friends. I have social anxiety and can’t go to bars or clubs.

When hookup apps were introduced, I used them infrequently. Now I go totally unnoticed or am quickly ghosted once I reveal my age. Most nonwork days, my only interactions are with people in the service industry.

I am well-groomed, employed, a homeowner and always nice to people. I go to a therapist and take antidepressants. However, this painful loneliness, depression, aging and feeling unnoticed seem to be getting the best of me. I cry often and would really like it all to end. Any advice?

Lonely Aging Gay

“In the very short term, LAG needs to tell his therapist about the suicidal ideation,” said Michael Hobbes. “In the longer term, well, that’s going to take a bit more to unpack.”

Hobbes is a reporter for HuffPost and recently wrote a mini-book-length piece titled “Together Alone: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness.” During his research, Hobbes found that, despite growing legal and social acceptance, a worrying percentage of gay men still struggle with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

Loneliness, Hobbes explained to me, is an evolutionary adaptation, a mechanism that prompts us humans—members of a highly social species—to seek contact and connection with others: the kind of connections that improve our odds of survival.

“But there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely,” said Hobbes. “Being alone is an objective, measurable phenomenon: You don’t have very many social contacts. Being lonely, on the other hand, is subjective: You feel alone, even when you’re with other people. This is why advice like, ‘Join a club!’ or, ‘Chat with your waitress!’ doesn’t help lonely people.”

The most effective way to address loneliness, according to Hobbes’ research, is to confront it directly.

“LAG may just need to get more out of the relationships he already has,” said Hobbes. “He has a job, friends, a therapist, a life. This doesn’t mean that his perceptions are unfounded—our society is terrible to its elders in general and its LGBTQ elders in particular—but there may be opportunities in his life for intimacy that he’s not tapping into. Acquaintances LAG hasn’t checked in on for a while. Random cool cousins LAG never got to know. Volunteering gigs you fell out of. It’s easier to reanimate old friendships than to start from scratch.”

Another recommendation: Seek out other lonely guys—and there are lots of them out there.

“LAG isn’t the only gay guy who has aged out of the bar scene—so have I—and struggles to find sex and companionship away from alcohol and right swipes,” said Hobbes. “His therapist should know of some good support groups.”

And if your therapist doesn’t know of any good support groups—or if you don’t feel comfortable telling your therapist how miserable you are, or if you’ve told your therapist everything and they haven’t been able to help—find a new therapist.


I’m a 40-something gay male. I’m single and cannot get a date or even a hookup. I’m short, overweight, average-looking and bald. I see others, gay and straight, having long-term relationships, getting engaged, getting married, and it makes me sad and jealous. Some of them are jerks—and if them, why not me?

Here’s the part that’s hard to admit: I know something is wrong with me, but I don’t know what it is or how to fix it. I’m alone and I’m lonely. I know your advice can be brutal, Dan, but what do I have to lose?

Alone And Fading

“AAF said to be brutal, so I’m going to start there: You might not ever meet anyone,” said Hobbes. “At every age, in every study, gay men are less likely to be partnered, cohabiting or married than our straight and lesbian counterparts. Maybe we’re damaged; maybe we’re all saving ourselves for a Hemsworth, but spending our adult lives and twilight years without a romantic partner is a real possibility. It just is.”

And it’s not just gay men. In Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, sociologist Eric Klinenberg unpacked this remarkable statistic: More than 50 percent of adult Americans are single and live alone, up from 22 percent in 1950. Some are unhappy about living alone, but it seemed that most—at least according to Klinenberg’s research—are content.

“Maybe there is something wrong with AAF, but maybe he’s just on the unlucky side of the statistics,” said Hobbes. “Finding a soul mate is largely out of our control. Whether you allow your lack of a soul mate to make you bitter, desperate or contemptuous is not. So be happy for the young jerks coupling up and settling down. Learn to take rejection gracefully—the way you want it from the dudes you’re turning down—and when you go on a date, start with the specificity of the person sitting across from you, not what you need from him. He could be your Disney prince, sure. But he could also be your museum buddy or your podcast cohost or your afternoon 69er or something you haven’t even thought of yet.”


I am a 55-year-old gay male. I am hugely overweight and have not had much experience with men. I go on a variety of websites trying to make contact with people. However, if anyone says anything remotely complimentary about me, I panic and run. A compliment about my physical appearance? I shut down the profile.

I don’t like being like this. I just believe in being honest. And if I’m honest, I’m ugly. The face, even behind a big-ass beard, is just not acceptable. I have tried therapy, and it does nothing. How do I get past being ugly and go out and get laid?

Unappealing Giant Loser Yearns

You say you’re ugly, UGLY, but there are some people who disagree with you—the people who compliment you on your appearance, for instance.

“I’m not sure I even believe in the word ‘ugly’ anymore,” said Hobbes. “No matter what you look like, some percentage of the population will be attracted to you. Maybe it’s 95 percent, or maybe it’s 5 percent, but they are out there. When you find them, do two things: First, believe them. Second, shut up about it.”

In other words: Just because you wouldn’t want to sleep with you, UGLY, that doesn’t mean no one wants to sleep with you.

“I remember reading an interview with Stephen Fry, where he said that when he first started out as an actor, people would come up to him and say, ‘You were so great in that play!’ and his first response would be, ‘No, I was terrible,’” said Hobbes. “He thought he was being modest, but what he was really doing, he realized later, was being argumentative. Eventually, he started to just say, ‘Thank you.’”

Hobbes thinks you should try to be like Fry, a big dude with a cute husband: “The next time someone tells him they’re into big dudes with beards, don’t argue; don’t panic; and don’t hesitate. Just say, ‘Thank you,’ and let the conversation move on.”

Follow Michael Hobbes on Twitter @RottenInDenmark and listen to his podcast You’re Wrong About ... on iTunes.

On the Lovecast: Wait—why can’t gay men donate blood? savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a cis woman in my mid-40s, and my significant other has a cuckolding fetish. My first response was, “Oh, hell no!” But if I’m willing to have a threesome, how much further of a stretch is it, really? He does have some experience with this varsity-level kink, so he knows what to expect. I’ve asked him some questions, but some things, I prefer to research on my own.

My questions for you: (1) I don’t get cuckolding. I’ve read all about it, but nothing about it resonates with me. My SO really wants me to be into his fetish if I am going to act on it, but what if I’m just into being GGG? Can’t that be enough? (2) How should I go about finding appropriate candidates who would be into sharing this experience with us? I’m not really sure that I’d want someone with experience as a bull, because I don’t feel good about this playing out the way I’ve seen it in porn. (3) We enjoy cross-dressing and chastity play. How do I find someone who will be cool about my SO sitting in the room in a cock lock and lingerie? (4) I kind of have a “type” (don’t we all), and I’m not certain my type plays into this kink. I prefer someone who is very dominant in public but submissive to me in the bedroom. This doesn’t seem to align with your typical bull behavior. However, I do not enjoy being dominated. Do you think this matters?

Can’t Understand Cuckold Kink

1. Cuckolding isn’t that hard to understand: A cuckold gets off on their partner fucking other people and being humiliated or degraded by their partner and/or their partner’s playmates. Seeing as you already enjoy dominating guys and threesomes, CUCK, what’s not to enjoy about a cuckolding scenario?

2. Intercourse rarely plays out in real life the way it does in porn. So whether you go with an experienced bull or find someone who’s unfamiliar with cuckold play but game, you don’t have to re-enact whatever cuckold porn you’ve watched or read. Write your own script!

3. By using your words, CUCK. Tell any guy who’s interested in being your very special guest star (VSGS) that your SO is a cuckold, and he’ll be there in lingerie with his cock locked up. If that turns a VSGS candidate off, then he’s not the right VSGS for you.

4. In most cuckold porn, the bull—the man who fucks the cuck’s wife or girlfriend (or boyfriend or husband) in front of him—is the dominant partner. But, again, you get to write your own script, and if you want your bull to be submissive, make that clear to your potential bulls.


I’m a 54-year-old gay guy living in New York City. I’m into bondage, and I have a profile on Recon with plenty of pictures showing what I’m into. A guy visiting from San Francisco cruised me. He asked me to send a face pic, and I did. He invited me to his hotel. He didn’t have any gear with him, so I stopped at a hardware store and picked up $40 worth of rope and duct tape on my way to meet him. But after 30 seconds of small talk, he said he just wasn’t feeling it. I said OK, that happens, and I left.

I’m totally confused. I’m a decent-looking guy, and the photo I sent is recent. I was freshly showered, so no hygiene or BO issues. Obviously, you can’t force yourself to be into someone, but could he have handled it better? Should he have followed up with a message apologizing? Should I reach out and ask him what happened, or is that just pathetic?

Bondage Offer Not Delivered After Getting Evicted

Typically when this happens—photos exchanged, hookup arranged, mind changed—it’s because the photos were out of date or were not representative. Since we aren’t always the best judge of our own photos, BONDAGE, you should ask a friend who won’t bullshit you to look at your photos and give it to you straight.

If your no-bullshit friend clears your photos, then reach out to Mr. San Francisco. He had to make a snap decision when you arrived with that bag of rope and duct tape: Did he feel comfortable letting this stranger render him helpless? In a vanilla hookup, he could give it a little time and back out after some foreplay—but it’s a lot harder to back out when the foreplay involves rope and duct tape. So send him a message via Recon. Open by telling him you aren’t buttsore or angry, and he had every right to change his mind, even at the last minute—which means he has nothing to apologize for, so you aren’t owed an apology, and you shouldn’t message him if you’re seeking one.

Then ask if you said or did something that made him feel unsafe. If you did, BONDAGE, accept his feedback graciously—don’t argue with him or attempt to litigate what went down. Just listen. It may not have been your intention to freak him out by making, say, a few serial-killer jokes, but his impression is what matters, not your intention. And who knows? A sincere effort to get a little constructive feedback may leave him feeling better about you and up for playing the next time he’s in town.


My wife has a fantasy where she’s blindfolded and restrained on our bed. She hears the front door open, followed by footsteps coming up the stairs, and then she’s ravished by … who? She won’t know, presumably, until it’s over.

My question: In fulfilling this fantasy for her, where anonymity and surprise are part of the appeal, what do I tell her in advance? Do I discuss the entire scenario with her, so she knows exactly what’s going to happen, minus the identity of the very special guest star (who would be a semi-regular we’ve played with before, but she wouldn’t necessarily know that at first)? That seems to eliminate the surprise element of the fantasy. Is it enough to tell her, without mentioning the specific scenario, that I’d like to make one of her fantasies come true, and ask her to trust me?

Ethical Thinking In Quite Unusual, Elaborate Tied Tight Enactment

Presumably? There’s no room for “presumablies” when you’re arranging to fulfill a varsity-level fantasy. I’m guessing she’d rather not know who’s ravishing her before or during the big event, ETIQUETTE, and she may not want to know after. But you need to ask her what she wants—no presumptions—before you start making arrangements.

She might want to know everything in advance—including the identity of that stranger—or she might want you to decide everything. But you need to check in with her first: “Honey, I want to help you realize that fantasy—you’re tied to the bed; a stranger arrives; you’re ravished by said stranger—but I need to know how involved you want to be in the planning. Clear everything with you—where, when, who, how—or just make it happen?”

You may find that she wants to be surprised by who but not by when, ETIQUETTE, or by when but not by who—or by who but not by when, how, or where. Or she may want the whole thing to be a surprise. But you have to find out exactly what she wants before you make any plans.

And here’s a bonus pro tip for you: Don’t reveal the identity of your VSGS immediately afterward. Because if it goes well, and your wife wants a repeat, you may be able to get a few more encounters out of your first VSGS.

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with comedian Guy Branum about ass surgery: savagelovecast.com.

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This woman has gone down on me (I’m a man) more than a half-dozen times in the last three months. Each time seems to be better than the previous! She does not want reciprocation. She has also turned down all my offers for intercourse. As far as I know, she is heterosexual just like me.

What’s with that? I am getting a bit frustrated. Also, without going all the way, am I considered a friend with benefits?

Just Chilling

You’re benefiting here—think of all those blowjobs—and if she’s a friend, you can certainly regard yourself as a friend with benefits. As for why she won’t allow you to eat her pussy or put your dick in her pussy, JC, well, a few things spring to mind. She could be one of those women who love to give head, and that’s all she wants from a casual partner. Or she could have body-image issues. Or she could have a sexually transmitted infection, and she’d rather blow than disclose. Or she might be unwilling to risk pregnancy. Or she could be intersex or trans and not ready to open up.

If you enjoy those blowjobs—if you’re enjoying the benefits—focus on what you are getting instead of what you’re not.


My husband and I occasionally go to swingers clubs. I don’t want to inadvertently fuck any Trump supporters, but I hate the idea of bringing up politics and killing everyone’s collective boner. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Occasionally Swinging

At the risk of killing your boner forever, OS, the organized swinging scene “leans right,” as pollster Charlie Cook would put it if Charlie Cook polled swingers. Easily half of the couples I met at a big swingers convention I attended in Las Vegas told me they were Republicans. One man—a swinger from Texas—told me he was a “traditional values” type of guy, and that’s why he opposed same-sex marriage. Fun fact: His wife was off fucking someone else’s husband while we were chitchatting in the hotel bar. Good times.


I’m a happily married 35-year-old mom. I have a loving and devoted husband. Recently, I started a job to get out of the house more and interact with more people.

Well, it turns out my new boss is a real hottie. I have a crush on him and often find myself fantasizing about him. While I know these feelings can be normal, I tend to fixate/obsess. I’m basically looking for advice on how to move past this crush or maybe find a more productive outlet.

Newbie Fantasizing

Here’s a more productive outlet: Turn out the lights; climb on top of your husband; get him hard; then sink your pussy down on his cock and ride him while you fantasize about your boss. (Perhaps this is better described as a more productive inlet?) Bonus points if you and your husband are both secure enough in your marriage and cognizant enough of reality to regard crushes on others as normal and, so long as they remain crushes, not a threat to your marriage or commitment. Because then you can talk dirty with your husband about your boss—he can even pretend to be your boss—while you ride your husband’s cock.


The other night while my wife and I were watching porn and masturbating together, I suggested we masturbate in front of DirtyRoulette. I briefly explained what the site is about. She asked me if that’s what I do—if I get on DR when I masturbate. I replied yes, sometimes—and she was so taken aback that she ended our masturbation session to process it. We’re fine now, but do you think this is “cheating”?

Dirty Rouletting

I don’t think it’s cheating, DR, but you aren’t married to me. In other words, if your wife regards you masturbating with strangers on the internet as cheating, then it’s cheating. There are, of course, some people out there who regard too many things as cheating—fantasizing about others, looking at porn, even non-webcam-or-porn-enhanced masturbation. People who think this way usually regard cheating as unforgivable and, consequently, their relationships are doomed to failure.


I’m a gay woman in an open marriage. I have met some women I am interested in who are bi and have husbands or male lovers. While I’m into being with these women, I have a concern: I know that sperm can’t live outside of the body very long, but it can still be alive and kicking inside a woman for several days. If a woman fucks a man, and hours or days later, I fuck that woman with fingers or toys that are later inside of me, can I accidentally get pregnant?

Actively Looking

No.


I’m deep in the grips of a run-of-the-mill midlife crisis. My marriage is in a slump, and I’ve been sexless longer than at any time since I was a teenager. My wife has granted me the DADT “hall pass,” but I have no idea how to go about using it. My life is work, children, activities related to the children, and a few solo hobbies to keep myself fit and sane. I rarely meet new people, except at work, and I can’t start a relationship with anyone I meet there. In fact, my career means I am subject to a fair amount of social scrutiny, and discretion is paramount.

Do you have any suggestions?

Hall Passing

Remember Ashley Madison? The hookup site for married people looking for affair partners? The site that did a terrible job of protecting its user data? The site that got hacked? A hack that outed millions of adulterers and ruined lives? Well, according to a story at the Outline, Ashley Madison is back, baby, and lots of women—real women, not the bots that plagued the site pre-hack—are using it. “Once the dust had settled and other scandals entered the headlines, many people largely forgot about Ashley Madison,” Stephanie Russell-Kraft reports. “This might explain why Ashley Madison’s user numbers have shot up in recent years.”


Any etiquette tips or best practices for introducing my husband to my boyfriend?

Poly Processing

Keep it casual and keep it brief, PP. A quick drink before you and your husband head to a sold-out show for which you have only two tickets. If your husband has an unexpectedly emotional reaction to meeting your boyfriend in the flesh—if it dredges up jealousy issues—you won’t be putting him in a situation where he has to bottle that up for hours or, worse yet, for a weekend.


Hey, Dan, you missed an opportunity in your response to Afraid To Bleed. She wrote that she bleeds whenever she has sex, and she was concerned about her partner’s aversion to blood, which you did address. But women should not bleed after vaginal intercourse. There are many reasons why they might—so it needs to be investigated. Please encourage ATB to visit a doctor.

Concerned Reader

Big oversight on my part; thank you for writing in!

On the Lovecast: Finally! A sex-advice/rabbit-care podcast mash-up! savagelovecast.com.

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I’m in a pickle. All I want is to experience touch, intimacy and sexual pleasure—but without freaking out.

I grew up with a lot of negative messages from men due to developing early, as well as having some other physical/sexual trauma (no rape or abuse), but the combination has me seriously fucked up. Whenever I get close to physical intimacy with someone, I run away. I actually faked an emergency once and physically ran away because I knew sex was a possibility that night. I’m not a virgin—but in those instances, I’ve been really drunk (and experienced no emotional/physical pleasure).

This is not what I want for my life. I want a relationship and love, and to be open and comfortable with someone expressing their care for me in a physical way without panicked thoughts flooding my brain. I’ve done lots of therapy, which has helped, but not enough.

I recently heard of something called a sexual surrogate. From what I understand, it’s somebody who is trained to therapeutically provide physical touch and intimacy in a controlled and safe environment. Are they legit?

She Can’t Adequately Release Extreme Dread

Sexual surrogates are legit, SCARED, but please don’t call them sexual surrogates.

“We’d like to see the language shift back to ‘surrogate partner,’ which was the original term,” said Vena Blanchard, president of the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA). “Masters and Johnson originated the concept, and their treatment program was based on the theory that many people had problems that required the help of a cooperative partner, and some people didn’t have partners. So they trained people to work as ‘partner surrogates.’ The media took the term ‘partner surrogate’ and changed it to ‘sexual surrogate,’ because it sounded sexier. But ‘sexual surrogate’ implies that the work is all about sex.”

So if surrogate partner therapy is not about sex—or not all about sex—then what is it primarily about?

“Surrogate partner therapy is a therapeutic treatment that combines psychotherapy with experiential learning,” said Blanchard. “It’s a program designed for people like SCARED, for people who struggle with anxiety, panic and past trauma—things that can distort a person’s experience in the moment.”

Surrogate partner therapy happens in stages, with each progressive stage representing another “teeny, tiny baby step,” as Blanchard put it.

“The client first works with a legitimate therapist until the therapist thinks the client is ready to work with a surrogate partner,” said Blanchard. “You may start by sitting in opposite chairs and just talking. At some point, they might sit and hold hands, practice relaxation techniques and focus on simple sensations. In the next session, they might touch each other’s faces with their hands.”

Sex can and does sometimes occur in the later stages of surrogate partner therapy, SCARED, but it doesn’t always, and it’s not the goal—healing is.

“By having these repeated safe experiences, in a context where there’s no pressure, and consent is emphasized, and the patient is in control,” said Blanchard, “someone liked SCARED can learn to manage her anxiety, and her prior negative experiences are replaced with positive new experiences.”

While I had her on the phone, I asked Blanchard the first question many people have about surrogate partners: Are surrogate partners sex workers?

“A sex worker offers a sexual experience—that is the primary intention of what is a business transaction,” said Blanchard. “What a surrogate partner offers are healing and education. And while healing and education might also take place in a sex-work environment, and while some form of sexual contact might take place in surrogate-partner therapy, the primary intention is different. A patient working with a surrogate partner is there to heal old injuries or break out of bad patterns so they can have a relationship in the future. People go to sex workers for an immediate experience—the agenda is sexual and about right now, not therapeutic and about the future.”

Then I asked Blanchard the second question many people have about surrogate partner therapy: Is it legal?

“There’s no place that it’s illegal,” said Blanchard. “There’s never been a court case challenging it. In California, where surrogate-partner therapy is most common, no one has ever in 50 years challenged it.”

If you’re interested in working with a surrogate partner, SCARED, you can contact the referrals coordinator at IPSA’s website: surrogatetherapy.org.

Finally, SCARED, the number of trained and qualified surrogate partners is relatively small—IPSA has just 70 members—so you might need to go where most of those trained and qualified surrogate partners are in order to work with one. (The part of California that isn’t on fire is lovely this time of year.)

“Since there aren’t many qualified surrogate partners available,” said Blanchard, “people sometimes need to travel to another location and work intensively. People will come for two weeks and work every single day with a therapist and a surrogate partner.”


My partner and I have been together for 11 years and have always had a great sex life. I love his cock; we have similar appetites; and until recently, everything was great. But he has always had an aversion to blood. He is a pacifist, a vegetarian, and a recovering Muslim, so as much as I don’t understand his fear, I would never push him to have sex during my period.

The problem is now I bleed whenever we have sex—just a tiny bit, but that’s enough to kill it for him, and the sex is immediately over. We already have enough constraints with differing schedules, kids, lack of privacy, periods, etc. This is a big deal for me, and I don’t know how to deal with it. Any ideas?

Afraid To Bleed

Turn off the lights; draw the curtains; have sex in the dark; get him a blindfold—and insist he see a therapist who specializes in helping people overcome their irrational phobias.


I’m a 35-year-old gay man, and I’ve been single for 10 years. I’d kind of given up, but suddenly, I’ve got a real sweet guy in my life. He’s 24, so we’ll see how the age thing works out.

I used to be pretty adventurous with sex, but I feel extremely nervous now. I feel like a virgin all over again—except I’m not turned on. On our first date, we ended up in a public bathroom, where I gave him a handjob (his idea). Last night, we messed around at my place. We kissed and got naked, but I couldn’t get hard. We watched porn. That always works, but not this time. Finally, he played with my nipples and—presto chango—there was a happy ending at last! (Plus, it was a learning experience. I found out I like having my nipples licked, a lot!)

I’m worried this will continue to happen. It’s like I’m thinking too much. I deal with anxiety and depression every day, and this is part of why I’ve been single for so long. I’m not feeling the urge to end the relationship yet, but I’ve been a wreck since we started dating. I’m attracted to this guy, but I can’t get turned on. Is this like not having the urge to eat when you’re nervous? Do I just need to wait it out until I’m comfortable with this guy, and hope he sticks around long enough to stick it in me?

Lacking In My Pants

You’re attracted to this guy, LIMP, and you’re turned on by him, and you’re capable of getting hard. When he played with your tits—when he licked your nipples—it took the focus off your cock, and your cock instantly got hard. Do that more, LIMP: more dates with this guy, more rolling around with him, more exploring other erogenous zones. And it’ll help if you can tell him the truth: You’re a little nervous, because it’s been a while since you dated anyone. Once you’re more comfortable with him—once you’re more comfortable seeing someone—your boners will come.

On the Lovecast, better sex through mindfulness: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

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I’ve been enjoying consensual nonmonogamy for the past two years, in part thanks to your column and podcast. I have a delightful young lover, and our connection has evolved into a kind of Master/slave relationship. I “allow” her to fuck other men and women, and she delights in asking my permission and recounting the details of her other trysts to me.

We are curious how much of this she needs to disclose to her other lovers. They know she isn’t monogamous, and they are aware of her relationship with me, but so far, she has chosen not to tell them the extent to which I “own” her and have jurisdiction over her body and actions. Of course, it’s just an elaborate role-playing game—but is it wrong to be using these people as pawns in our game without their knowledge and consent? If so, when should she tell them? Before she sleeps with them even once? Or after she’s developed a more intimate rapport with them? There’s a perverse thrill in her other lovers being totally oblivious to it, but we want to be ethical in our polyamorous ways.

Masochists And Sadists Tackling Ethical Relations

This falls under the header of permissible secret perving (PSP), MASTER, and I will allow it—with one caveat.

My go-to example of PSP is the foot fetishist who works in a shoe store. So long as he’s good at his job and his secret perving is undetectable—no bulges, no heavy breathing, no creepy comments—no harm done. And if he goes home and jacks off about all the sexy, sexy feet he saw and, yes, handled during his shift, he’s not hurting anyone or doing anything unethical. It’s important, however, to note that the foot fetishist salesclerk’s perceptions aren’t the ones that matter. If he thinks he’s playing it cool—he thinks his perving is secret—but his customers or co-workers are creeped out by his behavior, demeanor, heavy breathing, etc., then his perving isn’t secret and is therefore impermissible.

The secret perving you’re doing—the girlfriend has to beg for your permission to fuck other people and report back to you afterward—is small, and it’s a bank shot. The other people she’s fucking provide mental fodder for your D/s role-playing games, MASTER; you aren’t directly involving them. Your role-playing games take place before she fucks someone else (when she asks your permission) and after she fucks someone else (when she recounts her experience). And what turns you on about your girlfriend sleeping with other people—and how you and your girlfriend talk to each other about it—is no one’s business but yours.

Now for the caveat: If one of your girlfriend’s lovers strongly objects to Dom/sub sex, relationships or role-playing games, and your girlfriend is aware they object, and you two want to be exquisitely ethical, MASTER, then either your girlfriend shouldn’t fuck that person, or she should disclose your Master/slave dynamics to that person and allow them to decide whether they want to fuck her anyway.

Zooming out for a second: Some people in open relationships don’t want to know what their partners get up to, and these couples usually have “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreements about sex outside the relationship. But many more people in open relationships do want to hear about their partners’ adventures because it turns them on. Someone who doesn’t want to risk being fodder for a couple’s dirty talk or even their D/s role-playing games shouldn’t be sleeping with people who are partnered and in open relationships. There are things we have a right to ask the people with whom we have casual sex—like whether they’re practicing ethical nonmonogamy, if they have an STI, what kind of birth control they’re using, whether they’re on PrEP, etc.—but a casual fuck isn’t entitled to details about your relationship.


My boyfriend of one year has refused to delete photos from his Instagram account that show him with his ex-girlfriend. They were together for three years and briefly engaged, and they broke up two years before we met. They aren’t in contact in any way, so I don’t have any worries there, but I think making photos of him with someone else available to his friends and family—and now my friends, too, as many are now following him—is incredibly disrespectful.

We’ve had numerous arguments about this, and his “solution” is for me to “stop thinking about it.” He also insists that no one is looking at 5-year-old pictures on his Instagram account. If that’s true, why not delete them? He refuses to discuss this issue, even as I lose sleep over it. I’ve tried calmly discussing this with him; I’ve tried crying; I’ve tried screaming my head off—nothing works.

Personal Insult Causing Stress

There’s definitely something your boyfriend should delete, PICS, but it’s not old photos of his ex.


The man I’m going to marry has a huge boot fetish. He has about 200 pairs of boots in his size. His size also happens to be my size—and I’m half convinced he wouldn’t have proposed if we didn’t have the same size feet and I couldn’t wear his boots.

I want to surprise him with a very special bachelor party (that we’ll both attend): It would be all guys with the same size feet as us, and everyone will be wearing different pairs of boots from his collection. I’m picturing a big group of guys doing for him what I do for him: stand on him, let him lick my (actually, his) boots, make him crawl and grovel.

His feet aren’t an uncommon size (11.5), and I’m guessing enough of our mutual friends would fit into his boots that I could actually make this happen. He’s the only fetishist I’ve ever been with—all my other boyfriends were vanilla—and I’m wondering how he would react if he walked into a room and found a bunch of his friends wearing his boots, and then I ordered him to start licking. I think it would be way better than going to a strip club or a drag show.

By the way: He’s not really “out” about his kink.

Boyfriend Obsesses Over Tall Shoes

Wow, BOOTS, you saved the most salient detail for the end: Your boyfriend isn’t out to his friends about his kink. So unless you’re talking about a small subset of his friends—only old friends that once had benefits—do not out your boyfriend as a boot fetishist to all his friends with size 11.5 feet.

If your fiancé has fantasized about some sort of group boot-worshipping session, and he’s shared that fantasy with you, and you want to help him realize it, that’s great. But he needs to be involved in determining where, when, how and with whom he’d like to make this fantasy a reality.


My bi girlfriend and I are getting married in a month. We’re in a cuckold relationship—she sleeps with other men and women, while I am completely monogamous to her—and “my” best man is one of her regular male sex partners, and her maid of honor is one her girlfriends-with-benefits.

No one else at our big traditional church wedding (that her mother is paying for) will know. But I wanted to let you know, Dan, since reading your column is what inspired me to be open about my kinks, and our relationship—the best I’ve ever been in—wouldn’t exist without you.

The Happy Couple

Permissible secret perving at its finest/hottest, THC. Thanks for sharing, and be sure to send me a photo of the wedding party for my records.

On the Lovecast, a sex toy expert’s husband’s favorite sex toy: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

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