CVIndependent

Mon12162019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

My ex-girlfriend, whom I dated for nine months, called me two months after we broke up and accused me of giving her HPV. She was going on, telling me how I needed to tell any future person I had sex with that I have HPV. I’m a 38-year-old man, and I’ve never had any signs or symptoms of any sexually transmitted infections. I know HPV is very common, often clears up on its own, and cannot be tested for in men. What are your thoughts? Do I need to tell sexual partners that I have HPV?

Help Person Vacillating

Most people are infected with HPV—the human papillomavirus—at some point in their lifetime; most never develop symptoms; and in most cases, the infection goes away on its own. There’s an effective and safe vaccine that protects people from HPV strains that can cause cervical, anal, dick or throat cancer—and everyone, regardless of age, should get vaccinated. And since people can develop symptoms years after their initial exposure, there’s no way for your ex-girlfriend to know that you infected her. Or that she didn’t infect you. Every sexually active adult should assume they’ve been exposed to HPV, that they have it or have had it, and conduct themselves accordingly.

I’m a gay man, and there’s a guy I see on the bus who I find attractive in the extreme. I can’t keep myself from looking at him. Now here comes the but: He smokes. I’ve been toying with an idea to convince him to quit. I want to slip a note into his pocket or backpack with the following proposal: “Let’s make a deal. You give up cigarettes, and in return, I’ll give you a blowjob once a week for a year. I’m concerned about your health. Please consider.” Other people who ride the bus also smoke, but I’m not inclined to make them the same offer. But it makes me sad knowing this guy smokes, and I want to get him to stop. If this idea is crazy, please say so—it will help me move on.

Before Undertaking Sincere Tobacco Eradication Deal

While your motives are no doubt pure—there’s nothing in this plan for you, BUSTED, just the quiet satisfaction of putting a beautiful stranger on the path to better health—you don’t know if this guy is attracted to you. But he’s likely to react badly to your proposal even if he is. Because while you and I both know you’re being entirely selfless—you’re the Florence Nightingale of anonymous/no-recip blowjobs—this extremely attractive stranger is going to assume you’re a delusional creep with boundary issues, because slipping a note like that into someone’s backpack or pocket (which would require you to technically and legally assault him) is precisely the kind of thing delusional creeps with boundary issues do. And because delusional creeps with boundary issues do this sort of thing, BUSTED, good and decent guys like you can’t do it without being misunderstood. So absent some sign of interest from this attractive stranger—like him staring back at you—you’re going to do what any normal, non-delusional, non-creepy gay guy would do after seeing an attractive stranger on the bus: leave him alone while surreptitiously checking to see if he’s on any of the gay-hookup apps.

My wife is über-vanilla. She is willing to spank me and peg me, but she won’t “take charge” of the situation. She’s doing it to please me and expects me to signal approval throughout the process. As soon as a spanking gets to the point that I’m flinching and wanting it to stop, she stops. We’ve never gotten more than a few strokes into the pegging for the same reason. I don’t really crave pain per se, but I want and need her to be in charge.

Seeking Pointers About Needed Kinks

One of the top reasons people choose safe words, SPANK, is so that they can scream, “Oh, God! Stop, please! I beg you! It’s too much!” and the person who’s spanking or pegging them knows that since they didn’t hear “collusion” or “giuliani” or “zelensky,” the spanking or pegging can continue. Not using the safe word is how a sub signals their approval throughout the spanking/pegging/whatevering process—or, at the very least, how a sub signals their willingness to endure the spanking/pegging/whatevering to please the top.

My long-term partner and I are in a soft Dom/sub relationship. Neither of us has been sexually or physically abused. I suffer mainly from depression and a little anxiety. Lately, when the sex is great, I end up having a panic attack. If I have an intense orgasm and then he goes to town with penetration, there will be a point where I physically shove him off, and then my body shakes, and my breathing starts getting really fast, and I start crying, and basically I’m having a panic attack. I feel terrible for my partner, because it’s not really his fault. But somehow, the physical overstimulation gives my body the “OK” to have a panic attack. It’s happened a few times, and my partner is now hesitant to have sex. I want to be able to stop these panic attacks mainly for him. However, when I do have the panic attacks, I want to just cry and let everything out. But, of course, my amazing partner just wants to comfort me and get it to stop. Please help.

Problems Around Nookie-Induced Crisis

Panic attacks during sex are something you might want to explore with a therapist or counselor, PANIC. If you’re already seeing someone about your depression and anxiety, please bring these attacks up with your provider. If you aren’t seeing someone, please start seeing someone. As for your partner’s hesitation to have intercourse, well, that’s understandable. But there’s an easy enough work-around: If an intense orgasm followed by go-to-town-style penetration triggers your panic attacks, then either don’t do penetrative sex after you’ve had an intense orgasm, or wait until after your partner goes to town to have your orgasm.

I’ve been in situations where I’m with my better half, rocking her world, giving her an orgasm, coming inside her, and she loves it. The next week, same scenario, she’s moaning and groaning; I explode, and she says to me, “Did you come?” And I’m there thinking, “I thought I was pleasuring her like last time, and she suddenly can’t tell when I exploded inside her?!”

What The Actual Fuck

Sometimes the person getting fucked (PGF) is paying close attention to the person doing the fucking (PDTF). The PGF is really taking the PDTF in; the PGF can see how close the PDTF is getting; the PGF knows just when the PDTF has arrived. But sometimes, the PGF’s eyes roll back in their head, and they float the fuck away, WTAF, because the fucking feels that damn good. The PGF moans; the PGF groans; but the PGF is so lost in the physical and emotional sensations—they’re getting so deeply into the dicking—that it’s not until after the PDTF stops fucking them that the PGF even realizes the PDTF is done fucking them. So it’s not a bad sign that your better half sometimes has to ask if you came, WTAF; it’s a good sign.

On the Lovecast, meet the woman who’s read ALL of Dan’s columns since 1991: savagelovecast.com.

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Published in Savage Love

I’m a heterosexual cis woman in a monogamous marriage. My husband and I have always struggled to connect sexually, mostly because he has extreme anxiety that makes doing anything new or different difficult. He’s been in therapy since before I met him, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. His anxiety has caused him to shut down every sexual ask I’ve ever made, because he’s afraid he won’t “do it right.” He’s a PIV-and-nothing-more kind of guy, but I’m not asking for varsity-level stuff—just boring things like talking about fantasies, a little role-play, staying in bed on a Sunday just to have sex, etc. All of it is off the table.

I understand he has a right to veto sex acts, but isn’t this all pretty basic, run-of-the-mill stuff? He’ll still get his PIV; I just want there to be other elements before the PIV starts. It’s still a no. Talking to him about this sends him into a depressive episode where I then have to spend hours telling him he’s not a bad person, so I’ve stopped bringing it up. I’ve tried to talk to therapists about navigating this issue, but most change the subject. One actually told me that it was good that we don’t have good sex, because if we did, we wouldn’t have good communication in other areas. (I never went back to that one.) This has gone on for so long that I’ve lost all interest in sex. My libido, which used to be very high, has vanished. Whenever he wants sex, I do it—but I dread it.

Do you have any ideas on how I can navigate this topic with my husband so he doesn’t shut down? How can I make him understand that it’s OK to experiment sexually—and it will be OK if it’s not perfect?

Lost And So Sad

You’re going to have to call your husband’s bluff, LASS, and power through the predictable meltdown. That means raising—again—your unhappiness with your sex life; explaining your need for some pre-PIV intimacy and play; informing him this is no longer a desperate request but a non-negotiable demand; and then refusing to shift into caregiver mode when his depressive episode starts.

I’m not suggesting your husband’s anxiety and depression are an act, LASS, or that being made aware of your unhappiness isn’t a trigger. But if depressive episodes get your husband out of conversations he’d rather avoid—and if they allow him to dictate the terms of your sex life and treat your pussy like a Fleshlight—then his subconscious could be weaponizing those depressive episodes. And if you shift to caregiver mode every single time—so long as you’re willing to spend hours reassuring him that he’s not a bad person—then your grievances will never be addressed, much less resolved. So even if it means spending an extremely unpleasant evening, weekend or few weeks with him, you’re going to have to raise the issue and refuse to reassure your husband. Line up whatever support you think he might need before you make your stand—you could also make your stand during a couples’ counseling session—and give him maybe one “You’re not a bad person, really!” and then refuse to back down.

And when he shuts down, LASS, it will be his therapist’s job to pry him back open, not yours.

And the sex you’re currently having? The sex you dread and don’t enjoy? The sooner you stop having it, LASS, the sooner your husband will come to understand that he’s going to have to give a little (so very little!) if he wants to have sex at all. If and when he does, then you can borrow a page from the varsity-level kinkster handbook: Take baby steps. In the same way people who are turned on by, say, more intense bondage scenes (suspension, immobilization, etc.) start with lighter bondage scenes (hands behind the back, spread-eagled on the bed, etc.), you can start with something small and easy for him to get right, like 20 minutes of cuddling in bed together on a Sunday morning before progressing to PIV sex.


I’m a bisexual trans woman living in Europe. A couple of months ago, I began an amazing relationship with a woman who works as an escort. For a while, everything was as good as it gets—until I said something inconsiderate about her job, and she took offense. We were having a conversation about “what we were” (girlfriends? lovers? partners?) and any rules we’d like the other to observe, and I said I’d rather not see her after she’d been with a client; I’d rather wait until the next day. She took this as me thinking her job was “dirty,” which was absolutely not my intention. I explained that I’d spent 10 years in open relationships, and it was just a habit I was used to. (If you sleep with someone else, go home; take a shower; sleep off the emotions; see you tomorrow.) She said that her clients were not lovers; it’s completely different; and it would make seeing her complicated, as we work different hours. I immediately realized how she was right and said so. She was aloof for a few days afterward, and she eventually told me that she didn’t feel like she could be with someone who understood so little about her job. I pleaded with her to give me a second chance and told her that I’d never even met a sex worker before, so there was a learning curve for me, and she agreed that we could carry on seeing each other. But she remained distant, canceling plans and not replying, until she eventually told me that she was just too scared of getting hurt, because it’s happened so many times before.

I was absolutely shattered. I spent the next few days drinking in bed and licking my wounds. I was falling in love with this woman, and I ruined it with my big mouth. After a couple of days, I started going about my life again. And soon enough, she started texting me, asking me how my day was, casual stuff—and it’s just really painful. I don’t know how to reply to her. If she has changed her mind, then I’ll date her again in a heartbeat, given how freaking amazing she is. But if she’s just (kind of inconsiderately) making conversation, then I can see myself getting my heart broken all over again. I’m torn between asking her to stop texting me and carrying on with the casual texting to see if anything comes of it. Any advice?

Tearful Escort’s Ex Getting Really Lonely

If you two couldn’t handle a simple misunderstanding, TEEGRL, how are you going to resolve a serious conflict? Or forgive a profound betrayal? You know, the kind of shit people in LTRs do?

Actually, I’m being unfair: You seem perfectly capable of handling this misunderstanding, TEEGRL; it was your ex-whatever-she-was (girlfriend? lover? partner?) who wasn’t able to handle it. But in fairness to her—I need to be fair to everybody—sex workers are often shamed by romantic partners who pretended, at the outset of the relationship, to be fine with their jobs. Your comment about not wanting to see her after she was with a client could reasonably be interpreted as whorephobic. But your explanation—it was a rule in all your past open relationships—was reasonable, and your ex-whatever-she-was, if she were a reasonable person, should have been able to see that.

And perhaps she is reasonable, TEEGRL. Maybe she started texting you about casual stuff, because she feels bad about pulling away and sees now that she overreacted. To determine whether that’s the case—and to determine whether she’s still open to dating you—you’ll have to risk asking the dreaded direct question: “Hey, it’s great to hear from you! I’d love to pick up where we left off, if you’re still interested. Are you? Please let me know!”

On the Lovecast, shy lady doms rise up! With Midori: savagelovecast.com.

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

Published in Savage Love

I am male. A close female friend was raped by an old acquaintance of mine.

I knew this guy when we were tweens. I didn’t really care for him as we got older; so it goes. It turns out that a few years ago, he raped my friend in an alcohol-blackout situation. I don’t know more than that. She says she considers the encounter “not strictly consensual” and confided that this guy didn’t react well when she tried to talk to him about it. This isn’t something she’s “out” about.

My feelings toward this guy are pretty dark. Now he’s moved back to town, and I see him around, and some good friends of mine who stayed in contact with him invite him to stuff. I don’t know what to say or how to act. I know I don’t want to talk to him or be his friend. I would like to tell my other friends about this guy so I don’t have to see him, but I can’t, because it’s not my story to tell. I would rather just skip social events he’s at. But without an explanation, I doubt my friends will understand, and it feels like I’m surrendering my friends to someone who assaulted a dear friend. I told someone once to please not invite him to something, or I would skip it. They were confused, and it felt like an awkward ask.

What should I say to my friends about this guy? What can I do to keep him out of my life?

Angry Confidant

“I don’t like hanging out with Chuck and would appreciate it if you didn’t invite him to the party/show/bris/whatever.”

“What’s the issue between you guys?”

“Look, we go a long way back, and it’s not something I want to discuss. It’s just awkward for us to be in the same place.”

That’s the best you can do without outing your friend—without telling a story that isn’t yours to tell—and it’s likely your mutual friends will be confused by the ask, AC, but you’ll just have to be at peace with that. You could add something vague that omits identifying details (“He did a shitty thing to a friend”), but any details you share—however vague—could result in questions being put to you that you can’t answer or are tempted to answer. Even worse, questions will be put to “Chuck,” and he’ll be free to lie, minimize or spin.

My only other piece of advice would be to follow your close female friend’s lead. You describe what transpired between her and Chuck as rape, while your friend describes the encounter as “not strictly consensual.” That’s a little more ambiguous. And just as this isn’t your story to tell, AC, it’s not your experience to label. If your friend doesn’t describe what happened as rape—for whatever reason—you need to respect that. And does your friend want Chuck excluded from social events hosted by mutual friends, or is she able to tolerate his presence? If it’s the latter, do the same. If she’s not making an issue of Chuck being at a party, you may not be doing her any favors by making an issue of his presence yourself.

If you’re worried your friend tolerates Chuck’s presence to avoid conflict, and that being in the same space with him actually upsets her (or that the prospect of being in the same space with him keeps her from those spaces), discuss that with her one-on-one and then determine—based on her feelings and her ask—what, if anything, you can do to advocate for her effectively without white-knighting her or making this not-strictly-consensual-and-quite-possibly-rapey thing Chuck did to her all about you and your feelings.

It’s really too bad Chuck reacted badly when your friend tried to talk to him about that night. If he’s an otherwise-decent person who has a hard time reading people when he’s drunk, he needs to be made aware of that and drink less or not drink at all. If he’s a shitty person who takes advantage of other people when they’re drunk, he needs to know there will be social and potentially legal consequences for his behavior. The feedback your friend offered this guy—the way she tried to hold him accountable—could have prevented him from either fucking up like this again (if he’s a decent but dense guy) or taking advantage like this again (if he’s a shitty and rapey guy). If he was willing to listen, which he wasn’t. And since he wasn’t willing to listen … yeah, my money is on shitty and rapey, not decent but dense.


I’m a single straight man. A friend recently told me her 20-year marriage hasn’t included sex for the past six years. Kids, stress, etc. I offered to have sex with her, but only if her husband approves. If I were her husband, I would want to know. But I think it’s unlikely her husband would approve our coital encounter.

Have I done wrong?

Married Asshole Refuses Intercourse To Affectionate Lady

If discreetly getting sex outside her marriage allows your friend to stay married and stay sane, and if she doesn’t get caught, and if the sexual connection with her husband should revive after their kids are older—a lot of ifs, I realize—then the condition you set could result in your friend and her husband getting divorced now, which would preclude the possibility of their sexual connection reviving later. (Although we shouldn’t assume that sex has to be part of a marriage for it to be loving and valid. Companionate marriages are valid marriages.) That said, your friend is free to fuck some other guy if she doesn’t like your terms. Finally, MARITAL, unless you’re brainstorming names for a My Chemical Romance cover band, there’s really no reason to use the phrase “our coital encounter.”


I’m a straight 45-year-old man. Good-looking. Three college degrees and one criminal conviction. Twice divorced. I’ve had some intense relationships with women I met by chance—one knocked on my door looking to borrow an egg—so I know I can impress women. But online dating doesn’t work for me, because I’m only 5 foot 7. Most women online filter me out based on height. The other problem is that I’m extremely depressed. I’m trying to work on the depression (seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist), but the medications don’t seem to do much for me. This is probably due to my alcoholism.

I’d love to start my online profile by boldly proclaiming my height and my disdain for shallow women who disregard me for it, but that would come across as bitter, right?

Serious Heartbreak Over Relationship Travails

There are plenty of 5-foot-tall women out there, SHORT, women you’d tower over. But there are very few women who would respond positively—or at all—to a man whose online dating profile dripped with contempt for women who don’t want to fuck him. Rejection sucks, I know, but allowing yourself to succumb to bitterness only guarantees more rejection.

And first things first: Keep working on your depression with your mental-health team, and please consider giving up alcohol. (I’m sure you’ve already considered it. Reconsider it.) No one is looking for perfection in a partner—and no one can offer perfection—but if dating you is likely to make someone’s life harder, SHORT, they aren’t going to want to date you. So get yourself into good working order, and then start looking for a partner. And since you know you have better luck when you meet people face-to-face, don’t spend all your time on dating apps. Instead, find things you like to do and go do them. Maybe you can pick a presidential candidate you like—one who supports coverage for mental-health care?—and volunteer on their campaign.

On the Lovecast: A drug that cures heartbreak? Seriously. Listen at savagelovecast.com.

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

Published in Savage Love

April is, in my mind, the weirdest month of the year in the Coachella Valley.

April is a series of contradictions. It’s the craziest month of the year in terms of visitors, thanks to Coachella, Stagecoach, The Dinah and the White Party … yet the snowbirds are starting to leave, and we know May will all of a sudden bring relative calm (and blazing heat). The hotels are all full … yet during Coachella, in the west valley, the nights are fairly quiet.

Here at the Independent, if it’s April, that means it’s time for our annual Music Issue, and that means Brian Blueskye has been crazy-busy working on all of our extra coverage. This year’s issue, however, is a little different from previous Music Issues: Rather than focusing exclusively on the two big festivals, Brian decided to tie things to the local music scene, including the increasing popularity of Latin music. Read all of Brian’s fantastic coverage in the print edition and/or here at CVIndependent.com in the upcoming days.

Our coverage, of course, isn’t all about music; as always, our great columns, news stories, food coverage and arts writing are here, too—and I’d like to draw your attention to one story in particular, because it’s near and dear to my heart.

A couple of weeks ago, we published a story from our partners at CALmatters about the mental-health crisis in California. At the heart of the story is the heartbreaking tale of Elizabeth Brown, a brilliant, gifted college student who killed herself last year. The piece, in gut-wrenching detail, illustrates how our medical system often fails to properly care for people dealing with mental illness, and examines (so far futile) efforts by the state government to fix the problem.

This story hits close to home for me, because I suffer from depression. (What I have to deal with, thank goodness, pales in comparison to the severe problems Elizabeth Brown had.) My life serves as a perfect example of the insidiousness of depression and other mental illnesses: On the outside, things are going well for me. I have an amazing husband, great friends, an exciting social life and a rewarding career with purpose. Yet there are days when it takes every ounce of willpower I have to get going.

I bring this all up not because of me—I am fine, thanks to an amazing support structure, the fact that my illness is not that severe, and access to medication if needed—but because of you: If you often feel down, or anxious, or if you tend to isolate yourself, please get help. Talk to someone. If things get really bad, please use the resources mentioned at the end of the aforementioned story.

If you don’t feel down or anxious … well, someone you love probably does feel that way. Make sure you’re there for your depressed friends and loved ones—and understand that depression often just happens, no matter how things seem to be going in a depressed person’s life. Like I said, mental illness really is insidious.

As always, thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. Email me with any feedback you may have, and be sure to pick up the April print edition, hitting newsstands this week.

Published in Editor's Note

On this week's summit-level weekly Independent comics page: The K Chronicles pays tribute to the late Anthony Bourdain; This Modern World quizzes Rudy Giuliani on constitutional law; Jen Sorenson looks at the New World Order; Red Meat deals with some cattle problems; and Apoca Clips heads for Mars.

Published in Comics

On this week's delightfully refreshing weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson worries about modern online discourse; The K Chronicles spends a few days as a single parent; This Modern World examines the thing that ate America's brain; Apoca Clips checks in with Trumpy and Li'l Kim; and Red Meat deals with depression.

Published in Comics