CVIndependent

Thu10292020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

I’m a straight man who’s been dating a woman for not quite four months. In the beginning, things were light—but things started to get heavy quickly.

Two weeks in, she revealed her very serious abandonment issues and then began asking me whether I really loved her, demanding reassurance that I wasn’t going anywhere and that she wouldn’t be “just a single chapter” in my life. After a month, I met her 7-year-old son, her parents and her ex. Then we had a pregnancy scare. She told me that if she were pregnant, she would keep it, because then I would have to stay. That alarmed me. I voiced that we’d been dating for very a short time, and this wasn’t a good time for either of us to have a child. She wasn’t pregnant, luckily. Even before this incident, my body had started to manifest signs of anxiety—upset stomach, sleepless nights, loss of appetite, etc. So, I summoned up all of my courage (conversations like this are extremely difficult for me) and told her that I couldn’t do this anymore. She started to cry and begged me to give her a second chance. I wound up spending the rest of the weekend at her place and agreed to stay in the relationship. But I didn’t feel good about it. When I finally got back to my place, I felt anxious, confused, hollow and hopeless. I tried to end things again after speaking to my therapist, but she won’t take no for an answer and constantly brings up the promises I made her about really loving her.

I hate this, and I feel terrible for her son. Any thoughts on how to dismantle this thing? Or do I just need to run?

Passionate Reassurances Extracted So Soon Undoes Relationship Exit

As I explained to a reader in a similar situation: “We need someone’s consent before we kiss them, suck them, fuck them, spank them, spoon them, marry them, collar them, etc. But we do not need someone’s consent to leave them. Breakups are the only aspect of our romantic lives where the other person’s consent is irrelevant. The other person’s pain is relevant, of course, and we should be as compassionate and considerate as possible when ending a relationship. (Unless we’re talking about dumping an abuser, in which case safety and self-care are all that matters.) But we don’t need someone’s consent to dump them.”

Voice that it’s over, PRESSURE, and then refuse to get drawn into negotiations about whether it’s over. It’s over. If she needs to cry on someone’s shoulder, she’ll need to call a friend. And if she brings up the promises you made after she “revealed” her abandonment issues weeks into this relationship, apologize for not being strong enough to resist her obvious—if possibly subconscious—efforts to manipulate you. She shouldn’t have asked you to swear your undying love after you’d known each other for such a short time, and you shouldn’t have made the promises you did. You failed her and yourself by not telling her it was too soon for that shit—too soon to say “I love you,” too soon to know whether she would be a chapter in your life, too soon to meet her son (!), her parents (!!) and her ex (!!!).

Demands for premature reassurances of everlasting love, like all demands for premature commitments, are intended to make exiting the relationship more difficult—not for the person making the demands, of course; they’re always free to go. They make it more difficult for the person those demands are being made of. While I’m not calling your girlfriend an abuser, demands for premature commitments are often red flags for abuse; being asked to make a premature commitment after a few weeks or months—by moving in together or adopting a dog or (God forbid) getting married—makes it infinitely harder for a person to leave once the mask slips, and they see the abuser lurking behind it. Again, I don’t think your girlfriend is an abuser, but she weaponized her insecurities (“It’s nice to meet you; now let me tell you about my abandonment issues!”) to extract what amounts to a premature commitment from you. And she involved her son in that effort, which is really unconscionable. While that’s on her, PRESSURE, not you, you should’ve refused to meet her son so quickly and seen her desire to introduce you to him as a red flag.

Learn the lessons, PRESSURE: When someone you’ve only recently started dating says, “Will you love me forever?” the correct answer is never, “Of course I will!” The correct answer is always, “I think you’re a wonderful person, and I want to keep seeing you, but we can’t know—at this stage—what the future will bring.” If they respond by saying, “You know what? You’re right,” keep seeing them. If they respond by melting down and bringing up their abandonment issues, well, they’ve just demonstrated that they aren’t someone you would want a future with.

And finally, I’m #TeamAmanza on the issue of meeting a new partner’s children from a previous relationship. You should be seeing someone for at least six months to a year—you should be well out of the honeymoon phase, if not quite into the farting-in-front-of-each-other phase—before being introduced to your new partner’s kid(s).


I’m a 32-year-old straight man dating a 31-year-old straight woman. We’ve been seeing each other for eight months and became “Facebook official” (if that’s still a thing) in June. We are both in our first serious relationship after being divorced from relatively long marriages. (Me: eight years, two kids. Her: 10 years, no kids.) My question is: When does suspicion—suspicion of cheating—become something you should bring up? I tend to spill everything that’s going on in my life, which she says she appreciates but isn’t used to doing. She’s a very independent person, which I’ve never experienced before. It’s refreshing to know that my partner has her own friends, but there are moments when I get stonewalled. Sometimes I get vague answers or no answers about where she is or who she’s with. She often tells me she “accidentally” turned off her notifications. Sometimes she will say she’s staying in, and then I later find out that she went out.

Maybe I’m taking things way too seriously, considering the amount of time we’ve been together, but I feel I have to take things seriously since kids are involved.

The Absent Girlfriend

The uncharitable read: Your hunch is correct, and your new girlfriend is being cagey about where she’s going and who she’s with, because she’s cheating on you.

The charitable read: Your new girlfriend is 31 years old; she was married for 10 years; and you’ve been dating for eight months. Math has never been my strong suit, but assuming her marriage didn’t end five minutes before you met, TAG, your girlfriend married very young. Which means she spent her entire adult life—most or all of her 20s and possibly a chunk of her teens—having to answer to a spouse. She only recently begun to experience the kind of autonomy most of us get to enjoy before we marry and settle down (if we marry and settle down), TAG, and she may be reluctant to surrender that autonomy so shortly after achieving it.

She may also have different ideas about what being “Facebook official” means. Does that mean you’re monogamous? If it does, does she define monogamy the same way you do? Some other questions: Was going “Facebook official” your idea or her idea? Did you ask for a premature commitment? You’re only eight months in—is it possible you involved your kids too soon?

You obviously need to have a conversation with your girlfriend—if you can get her on the phone—about your expectations and definitions. If you expect her to let you know where she is at all times and who’s she’s with, TAG, make that clear. But if that is what you expect, well, here’s hoping she dumps you. Because even if you lived together, even if you were married, even if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with you, your girlfriend would still be entitled to a little privacy and her autonomy.

This week on the Lovecast, America’s favorite mortician: Caitlin Doughty! Find it at www.savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a 29-year-old straight woman in Pennsylvania. My question has to do with choking and consent: I’ve had two experiences in the past six months or so where someone has tried to choke me without my consent.

The first time this happened, I coughed immediately, but he tried multiple times during sex. I was caught so off-guard that I didn’t say anything until the next morning. I told him I wasn’t OK with that, and that it was too much. The second time, I shook my head as soon as he put his hand on my throat, and he stopped immediately. I told him, “That scared the shit out of me.” He apologized for startling me and said he wouldn’t do it again.

My question is: Why is this a thing? The fact that this has happened to me more than once in a short period of time kind of shocked me. And what is the appropriate thing to do when this happens? What should I do with the person who does this?

Concerned Hetero Over Kinky Entitled Dumbasses

“I would also love to know why choking has become a thing,” said Dr. Debby Herbenick. “And it is a thing, especially among young adults.”

Dr. Herbenick is a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and the author of numerous books on sexuality and sexual pleasure. She’s also the lead author of a study published earlier this year in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, CHOKED, that looked at the sort of behavior you’ve been encountering recently: People engaging in spanking, choking, face-fucking, etc. Though some of this is no doubt consensual, much of it is not.

“We found that 21 percent of women had been choked during sex, as had 11 percent of men,” said Dr. Herbenick. “We also found that 20 percent of men and 12 percent of women had choked a partner. But choking during sex was much more common among 18-29-year-olds—almost 40 percent of whom had choked or been choked—leading us to believe that choking has really changed in the U.S., over probably the last 10 to 20 years.”

Men who choked women were the biggest single group of chokers, CHOKED, followed by men choking men, women choking women, and trans and gender non-binary individuals choking and being choked. Straight cisgender men, perhaps unsurprisingly, were the least likely to report that partners choked them during sex. Trans and gender non-binary participants in Dr. Herbenick’s research more often reported that their partners established consent prior to choking, but across the board, there was still a great deal of nonconsensual choking going on.

How did we get here?

“Probably porn,” said Dr. Herbenick. “We found that many people into choking remember growing up and watching porn with choking in it—and in a country where porn stands in for sex education and family conversations about sex, some young people do what they see in porn.”

And some people—mostly male people—do it because they think the other person wants or expects it. This was dramatized in an episode of Euphoria, the terrific HBO show about a group of high school students, when a boy suddenly starts choking a girl during their first hookup at a party. The girl is scared and confused—she thought the boy liked her—and the boy tells her he does like her; he grabbed her throat because he thought she would like it, not to harm or scare her. Although shaken, she makes it clear she expects him to ask first.

It is scary to be suddenly choked by a sex partner. When asked if something scary had ever happened to them during sex, numerous women Herbenick surveyed for a different study cited someone choking them without asking. Even if you were into being choked, CHOKED, which you’re not, suddenly being choked by a new sex partner would still be scary. Because if someone chokes you without asking first, they’re essentially saying—they’re clearly saying—that they have extremely shitty judgement (and didn’t think to obtain your consent) or that they’re an extremely shitty person (and didn’t care to obtain your consent).

“Now I’m not one of those people who says explicit verbal consent is needed for every hug or kiss or breast/chest touch,” said Dr. Herbenick. “I’m well aware that sex often involves verbal, nonverbal and other shades of asking for something. But no one should choke another person without their explicit verbal consent.”

That goes double/triple/infinity for aggressive and/or high-risk kinks, not just choking.

“And choking is really risky,” added Dr. Herbenick. “Even though people call it choking, external pressure on the neck—like from hands or a cord or necktie—is technically strangulation. In rare cases, choking/strangulation causes people to pass out, leading to probable mild traumatic brain injury. And choking/strangulation sometimes kills people. Even if the person who was choked consented to it, even if they asked to be choked, the person who did the choking is often legally responsible in the event of injury or death.”

I’ve interviewed professional Dominants who will literally stick needles through men’s testicles—sterilized needles, consenting testicles—but who refuse to choke clients or engage in other forms of breath play. These professionals aren’t refusing to choke clients because it’s too extreme (remember the needles?), but because it’s too dangerous.

“There is truly no safe way to choke someone,” said Dr. Herbenick. “As part of my research, I’ve sought advice from several kink-positive physician colleagues, none of whom feels confident in a ‘safe’ way of choking, as there is too much that can go wrong—from seizures to neck injury to death.”

So what do you do the next time some dude grabs your throat? (And there will, sadly, most likely be a next time.) You immediately tell them to stop. Don’t cough; don’t deflect; don’t prioritize their feelings in the moment or worry about ruining the mood and derailing the sex. Use your words: “Don’t choke me; I don’t like that. It’s not sexy to me, and it’s not safe, and you should’ve asked.” If they apologize and don’t try it again, great. Maybe you can keep fucking. But if they pout or act annoyed or insist you might like it after you’ve just finished telling them you definitely don’t like it, get up and leave. And if someone tried to choke you during sex, and you shut it down and they pivoted to mutually enjoyable sex acts, CHOKED, be sure to raise the subject up after sex. Make sure they understand you don’t want that to happen again and that you expect them to be more conscientious about consent the next time—if there is a next time.

Considering that this has happened to you twice recently, CHOKED, and considering how popular busting this particular move seems to have become, you might wanna consider saying something about choking to a new sex partner before you have sex for the first time.

“I would be very up front about it from the get-go,” said Dr. Herbenick. “When you’re first talking with someone or moving things forward, say something like, ‘I’m not into choking, so don’t try it,’ or, ‘Whatever you do, don’t choke me.’ If you can both share your hard limits, you’ll be better prepped for good, fun, exciting, pleasurable sex—not scary stuff like non-consensual choking.

“And for everyone reading this, seriously: Stop choking people without first talking or asking about it. Just stop.”

Follow Dr. Debby Herbenick on Twitter @DebbyHerbenick.


I hope you’re getting a lot of mail from people uncomfortable with your response to DISCORD, the woman whose cheating husband blew up when a man she was merely chatting with forwarded their correspondence to her husband.

My first question was whether the sadistic creep who baited her into telling him she’d had an affair wasn’t actually her POS husband playing some sick game. I mean, 30 minutes is an awfully quick turnaround from her messages being forwarded to his blow-up. And seeing as DISCORD’s husband has already established that she will put up with his tantrums, withholding of sexual intimacy, strangulation, lying and affairs, it’s also possible that he’s engineered her financial dependence.

I would advise her to at least talk to a professional who could paint an objective picture of her financial options. She might also benefit from the advice of an advocate for domestic-violence survivors. Strangulation is usually not an isolated violent act.

Rarely Disappointed Reader

Thank you for writing, RDR—thank to everyone who wrote. I’ve reached out to DISCORD privately and will forward your emails on to her. I should’ve pushed back when DISCORD ruled out divorce as an option. Here’s hoping DISCORD takes your advice over mine.

Meet the author of The Vagina Bible on this week’s Savage Lovecast: www.savagelovecast.com.

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I’ve been married for 30 years to the same man. I have dealt with his tantrums, his screaming and his fits. He’s always had anger-management issues. He strangled me once a few months after our son was born and never did it again. I would have left otherwise. He’s had relationships with other women but always swore it was just online.

Then, a few years back, I got into an online relationship with someone. I never actually met this person, just as my husband claimed he’d never met the women he was talking to online. I had opened up to this person about our troubles, and I talked about my husband’s anger issues and some other private things. This person encouraged me to have an affair with someone else, but I kept putting him off. Finally, I told him I'd done it—I had an affair; it was great, etc. It wasn’t true, but it seemed like that’s what he wanted to hear. About 30 minutes after I told him, I got a call from my husband! This person had sent it all to him—all of our conversations, everything, every detail! My husband flipped out, but we worked it out and moved on.

Then a few months ago, right at the start of the pandemic, I found out that my husband has been speaking to other women. I also found out that he’s been meeting other women in hotel rooms in other cities—and all this time, I believed him about never meeting with anyone in person! He claims he has erectile dysfunction, but it was clear from the messages I saw that he is having sex with these other women. So he’s somehow fucking other women despite the erectile dysfunction that prevents him from fucking me?!?

I’m beside myself, because over 30 years, we built a life together, and now I don’t know what my future is going to look like because of this. I can’t provide for myself monetarily. I still work full time, but if I lose this job or retire, Dan, I will have nothing. We both have medical issues. I don’t want a divorce, because a secure future for both of us really does hinge on us remaining together. I know for a fact that he’s still seeing these women while forbidding me from having even online conversations—to say nothing of relations—with another man.

Neither of us can make it on our own. I don’t know what to do. Why wouldn’t he want an open relationship?

Divorce Invites Serious Consequences Or Real Distress

Your husband doesn’t want an open relationship, DISCORD, because he doesn’t want you to have the same freedom he does. And while he doesn’t want to be sexual with you for reasons that have nothing to do with erectile dysfunction, he doesn’t want you seeking sexual attention—much less sexual fulfillment—in the arms or inboxes of other men. Which means your husband sees you not as a human being like him, i.e., a person with needs and feelings and agency, but more like a car he keeps in his garage and refuses to drive—and won’t let anyone else take for a spin.

You’re not a car, of course, and you’re not his property. You were also faithful to him even as he cheated on you—even after he assaulted you—and you stayed in this marriage despite being deprived of sex and other forms intimacy. But even if you guys had been fucking on a daily basis for the last 30 years, DISCORD, even if your husband wasn’t an abusive asshole with anger issues, you would still have every right to indulge in sexual fantasies that don’t involve your husband, and every right to explore those fantasies on your own time. Partnered or not, monogamous or not, we are all entitled to a zone of erotic autonomy.

You say divorce isn’t a viable option for you, DISCORD, so I’m gonna recommend a different d-word: detach. Make peace with your circumstances and the best of your living situation. Don’t go searching for evidence that your husband is cheating on you; just accept that he is. Don’t feel the need to confront him about his fucking hypocrisy; just accept that he’s a huge fucking hypocrite. And then, DISCORD, just like your husband, go and do whatever and whoever you want. You don’t need his permission to seek attention elsewhere. And if being honest about the attention you get elsewhere upsets your husband—if being honest about swapping dirty texts with other men makes your husband and your home life unbearable—then don’t be honest about it. Just as he made an effort to be discreet in order to hide the scale of his cheating and his hypocrisy from you, DISCORD, you can be discreet in order to avoid conflict and drama.

Get back online, DISCORD; go make a new friend. Just because that last guy turned out to be a sadistic asshole who drew you out in order to blow up your life, that doesn’t mean the next guy you meet online is going to be a sadistic or vindictive asshole. Billions of people get online every day to chat with strangers, and millions of people share explicit fantasies with strangers every day. While revenge porn is definitely a thing—and definitely a crime—it’s almost always jilted IRL lovers who lash out like that asshole did. If it was even remotely common for people to be exposed to their spouses the way you were exposed to yours, DISCORD, if it happened even .01 percent of the time, we would hear about constantly. We don’t, because it isn’t.

But to be on the safe side, DISCORD, you might to keep it anonymous. Don’t share your real info with someone you only wanna swap hot fantasies with and never intend to meet in person. And when your husband is being an asshole or just generally getting on your nerves, DISCARD, you can fantasize about the statistical likelihood that you will outlive your husband by many years. Because orgasms aren’t the only sweet release.


I just read your advice for CATMAN, the person who asked if there was a name for his specific and newfound fetish: He wants to marry a submissive bisexual guy and then pick up and dominate submissive women together with his guy. As I read it, I wondered: Is this a sexual fantasy, or is it a fetish? Then I wondered what the difference is between a fantasy and a fetish. Is there one? Does it matter?

Knowingly Investigating Newly Kinky Yearnings

What CATMAN described—what CATMAN was looking for—was a relationship. He was fantasizing about his perfect partner and wondering if he was out there somewhere. Since literally everyone does that, KINKY, I wouldn’t describe fantasizing about a perfect partner/partners as a fetish or a kink. Be it vanilla or mildly kinky or wildly kinky, we all want that perfect match, i.e., a person or people whose sexual desires and/or relationship goals parallel our own. A lucky few manage to find someone who comes really close.

People don’t just fantasize about sex, of course; people fantasize about dream jobs, dream vacations, dream weddings. (Wedding fantasies aren’t about who you’re marrying but how you’re marrying them, e.g., a destination wedding, a traditional wedding, a non-traditional wedding, etc.) But when it comes to sex, KINKY, fantasies are best understood as scenarios or situations that incorporate important elements of a person’s sexual desires—desires which may involve kinks or fetishes, or may not. Think of fantasies as sexy little movies we screen for ourselves in our heads, and kinks or fetishes as optional plot points and/or props.

The natural follow-up question: What’s the difference between a kink and a fetish then? While people often use those terms interchangeably, KINKY, they mean different things. Dr. Justin Lehmiller recently unpacked the difference on Sex and Psychology (www.lehmiller.com): "Kink is a very broad concept that encompasses pretty much any form of sexual expression that falls outside of the mainstream. This includes the eroticization of intense sensations (such as mixing pleasure and pain), playing with power differentials, deriving pleasure from inanimate objects, role playing, and more … (whereas) fetishes involve heightened attraction to certain objects (like boots and shoes) and/or body parts beyond the genitals (like feet and armpits).”

So, all fetishes are kinks, but not all kinks are fetishes. I hope that clears things up!

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I’m a 38-year-old bi woman who has been sleeping with a married male co-worker for the last eight months. We’re a walking cliché: I’m a nurse; he’s a doctor; and one night, he ended up spilling a lot of personal information about his marriage to me (sexless; non-romantic; she might be a lesbian) before asking if he could kiss me. I declined.

Three months and many text messages later, I met him for drinks. The next thing I know, we are falling in love and spending as much time together as we can manage. Even though he is married and has kids, this has been one of the best relationships of my adult life. He loves me in ways I never thought possible. (He even savors my COVID-19 curves.) The obvious problem here is that he is married, and his wife allegedly doesn’t know about his unhappiness in their marriage. We have to arrange our dates around his work schedule and his lies to his wife. I find myself becoming increasingly jealous of the time he spends with his wife and his inability to spend more time with me. I want him to confront the issues in his marriage, and I want him to at least attempt being honest with her so we can figure out if it’s even possible for us to move forward.

My question is this: How do I have this conversation with him without it seeming like an ultimatum? I adore him, and I don’t think he’s lying to me about his marriage. But I long to have more freedom in our relationship. I love that I finally found someone who treats me so well when we are together, but my heart is breaking, because our love exists in the shadows. It’s a win/win for him—he gets his marriage, his kids, his “real life,” and me, too. But I can’t even text or call him freely, and I certainly couldn’t rely on him in an emergency.

I want this to work. I don’t necessarily want him to get divorced, Dan, as I fear it would cause him to resent me, but that would honestly be my preference. What should I do? 

Outside The Home Exists Romance

What are you willing to settle for, OTHER?

If you can’t live without Dr. Married, and you can only have him on his terms—terms he set at the start, terms designed to keep his wife in the dark—then you’ll have to accept his terms. You can only see Dr. Married during office hours; you can’t call or text him; and you’re on your own if you have an emergency outside office hours. But agreeing to his terms at the outset doesn’t obligate you to stick to his terms forever. Terms can be renegotiated. But unless you’re willing to issue an ultimatum, OTHER, Dr. Married has no incentive to renegotiate the terms of your relationship.

Zooming out for a second: I get letters all the time from women who ask me how issue to an ultimatum without seeming like they’re issuing an ultimatum. I don’t get many letters from men like that, for good and not-so-good reasons: Men are socialized to feel entitled to what they want; men are praised when they ask for what they want; and consequently, men are likelier to get what they want.

To get what you want, OTHER, you’re gonna have to man up: Feel entitled; act entitled; make demands. And you’ve gotta be willing to walk. You have to go in fully prepared to use the leverage you actually have here—your presence in Dr. Married’s life—or nothing will change. His circumstances have required you to live in the shadows if you wanted to see him, and maybe that worked for you once. But it doesn’t work for you anymore, and Dr. Married needs to understand that if his circumstances don’t change—if he doesn’t change them—then he’s going to lose you.

There’s a middle ground between divorce—your preferred circumstance—and things staying exactly as they are. Dr. Married’s wife is surely aware that her marriage is sexless and non-romantic—assuming he’s told you the truth—and if his wife’s actually a lesbian, well, perhaps she’d like the freedom to date other women, too. (Or date them openly, I should say; for all we know, she’s been getting some pussy on the side herself.) If they want to stay together for the kids—if they have a constructive, functional, low-conflict loving partnership—and it would be possible to daylight you without anyone having to get divorced, maybe you could settle for those terms.


I’m a bi man in a straight marriage. We have two young children. My wife and I have been working through some relationship issues. Because of these, she has not been open to sex with me, and for 18 months, our marriage has been essentially sexless. I’m not happy with this, but we are working on things.

Since we stopped having sex, I have been using my wife’s used panties to masturbate. I work from home and do a lot of the household work, including laundry. Every couple of weeks, I will take a couple of her panties from the laundry. I rub myself with one pair and sniff the other one. I enjoy the way the fabric feels and am turned on by knowing that they’ve been rubbing up against her pussy. It makes me feel very close to her. I finish by ejaculating into her panties, and then I rinse them out and wash them. I’m very careful not to stain or damage them. This is something I do to feel more connected with her sexually. I don’t get hard thinking that she’s wearing panties I came in; I get hard thinking about coming in panties she’s worn. But I worry that I’m violating her—which is not something I want to do. I know that if I were doing this with a stranger’s panties, or with the panties of someone I knew but was not in an intimate relationship with, it would be, at best, creepy, and, at worst, a sex crime. But she’s my wife, and although we are in a hard place right now, we’re trying to find our way back to each other.

So, is this an acceptable way for me to get off while we work on our relationship? Or is it a violation?

Wonders About Nuzzling Knickers

I’m torn, WANK.

If you and the wife were fucking, WANK, she might enjoy knowing that, however many years and two kids later, you’re still so crazy about her that you’re down in the laundry room perving on her dirty panties. But you aren’t fucking, and things are strained for reasons you didn’t share. So you need to ask yourself whether this perving, if your wife were to find out about it, would set you two back. If you think it would—if, say, your wife isn’t fucking you because she feels like you don’t respect her opinions, her boundaries, her autonomy, etc.—then the risk (further damaging your marriage) has to outweigh the rewards (momentarily draining your sack.)

That said, WANK, if perving on your wife’s panties—without damaging or staining them—is helping you remain faithful during this sexless period of your marriage … and sustaining your attraction to your wife though this difficult time … well, an argument/rationalization could be made that your wife benefits from this perving. And these aren’t stolen panties—these aren’t a stranger’s panties or a roommate’s panties—these are panties your wife hands over to you for laundering. That you derive a moment’s pleasure from them on their way from laundry basket to washing machine could be self-servingly filed, I guess, under “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

But if you feel like your wife would regard this as a violation—and I’m guessing you feel that way, WANK, since you’re asking me about it and not her—then you might wanna knock it off.


Quick question: Why get married? I’m a 29-year-old lesbian who got married to a woman at 26 and divorced at 28. We had a pretty low-key wedding, but we still stated to all of our friends and family that we were in it for the long haul; people wished us well, bought us gifts, gave us money. When I realized it was a huge mistake (we rushed into it; we ignored huge incompatibilities), I felt terrible for all the usual reasons involved a breakup, Dan, but I also felt like we were letting down our friends and family, and all gays everywhere. I’m jaded right now, I realize, but seriously: WHY DO THIS? Why get married? Why do this thing that adds so much stress and pressure to leaving a relationship that might have run its course, as MOST relationships eventually do?

Marriage-Averse Dyke

Quick answer, MAD: People get married for love—ideally, at least these days, and it was not always thus. (Suggested reading: Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, by Stephanie Coontz.) But sometimes, I think people marry for the same reasons you think no one should, MAD: The stress of ending a marriage—the pressure to stay in a marriage—often prompts a couple to work through a rough patch. Of course, that pressure can keep two people together who really shouldn’t be together anymore—or never should’ve been together, MAD, like you and your ex-wife—but sometimes two people stick it out to avoid the embarrassment, expense and drama of divorce, and eventually get to a place where they’re genuinely happy to still be together.

Maybe a wedding isn’t a promise that two people will stay together forever, MAD, but rather a promise that two people will have to think long and hard before parting.

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Is it terrible to believe you can still have a truly monogamous and loving relationship with one partner after 20 years? Or can we walk into a relationship knowing that within those decades of being together that situations like infidelity or being attracted to another is completely unavoidable? And if we acknowledge that in some cases it’s truly unavoidable, should we mentally prepare ourselves for this possibility during our “monogamous” stage—early on in dating?

Hopelessly Optimistic Person Enquires

Be prepared.

Knowing what we do about infidelity and how common it is over the course of long-term relationships, HOPE, it’s a good idea to have a conversation early in a relationship about what you will do if and/or when one and/or the other and/or both of you should cheat years or decades later. It’s best for this convo to happen at the tail end of the infatuation stage, but before you’ve made any sort of formal commitment—you know, after you’ve had your first fight but you’re still at that stage when the thought of ever wanting to fuck someone else seems ridiculous. Committing at that point to at least trying to work through an infidelity doesn’t guarantee the relationship will survive, and it doesn’t obligate you to remain in the relationship. But it ups the chances the relationship will survive an infidelity that it could and perhaps should survive.

Because, remember … when it comes to cheating … some types are worse than others. There are differences in degree. If you found out your husband fucked your sister on your wedding night, well, that’s probably not something you’ll be able to forgive. But an instantly regretted one-off on a business trip (remember those?) or prolonged affair after 20 years and two kids and both partners long ago started taking their sexual connection for granted, and both allowed it to wither? That’s something you can work past and are likelier to work past if you agreed to at least try to work past it before the kids and the taking-for-granted and the business trips.

Zooming out for a moment … the culture encourages us to see cheating as a relationship-extinction-level event—an unforgivable betrayal, something no relationship can survive, which seems nuts when you pause to consider just how common cheating is. Defining cheating as always unforgivable sets up for failure otherwise good and loving relationships that might be able to survive an infidelity.

If instead of telling us that no relationship could ever survive an infidelity, the culture told us that cheating in monogamous or non-monogamous is serious betrayal—it’s not at all trivial—but it’s something a relationship can survive, HOPE, then more relationships that should survive infidelities would … I hope you’re sitting down … actually wind up surviving infidelities. The truth is, many relationships don’t just survive infidelities, but actually wind up thriving in the wake of the disclosure or exposure of an affair, because the healing process brings the couple closer together. (This is not a good reason to have an affair, of course, nor is it the reason why anyone has ever had an affair.) Reinforcing the idea that affairs always destroy relationships: Couples who remain together after an affair usually don’t talk openly about the cheating, while couples who separate or divorce after an affair can hardly bring themselves to talk about anything else.

Now to quickly answer your first questions …

Yes, it is possible for two people to remain monogamous for 20 years. It can be done—of course it can—but there are lots of people out there who think they’ve done it but are mistaken. Some people think they’ve been in successfully monogamous relationships for 20 years have been cheated on—or they themselves have done something their partners might regard as cheating—and the one-off infidelity or the ongoing affair or the happy endings were never exposed or disclosed.

Also, your partner is going to find other people attractive—and not in 20 years. Today, right now, your partner is going to lay eyes on someone else they find attractive, HOPE, just as you will probably lay eyes—but only eyes—on someone else you find attractive. Making a monogamous commitment doesn’t mean you don’t wanna fuck other people; it means you will refrain from fucking other people. If the lie we’re told about love and attraction were true—if being in love with someone left you incapable of finding someone else attractive—we wouldn’t need to make monogamous commitments. We wouldn’t need to promise to not fuck anyone or extract that promise from someone else if being in love rendered us incapable of even noticing how hot your barista is.


What is the etiquette for breaking up with an escort you’ve been seeing regularly? A little background: I’m married and have been seeing an escort for the past three years about twice a month. The sex is amazing. We’ve developed a friendship and get along very well. The issue is that I’ve gotten emotionally attached. I constantly think of her, and she’s always on my mind. It’s negatively affected my marriage, and I need to break it off. I don’t want to hurt her, as I have genuine affection, but I need to stop seeing her.

Do I send a note with an explanation? Or do I ghost and stop sending her text messages? I’m the one who initiates contact. She never reaches out to me first. Thanks for your advice.

It’s Me Not You

Don’t thank me, IMNY; thank all the nice sex workers and sex-workers’ rights advocates who were kind enough to share their thoughts after I tweeted out your question and asked #SexWorkTwitter to weigh in. The general consensus was for you to send a brief note letting this woman know you won’t be booking her again. A short selection from the responses …

Kalee D. (@GoddessKaleeLA): “I’ve had this happen a few times before, and the couple that wrote me a note with honesty were so deeply appreciated. The others, I always wondered what I did wrong or if they died in some freak accident.”

Maya Midnight (@MsMayaMidnight): “I’d be worried if a longtime regular disappeared during a pandemic! Send a quick text or email saying you’re taking a break, but you’ve enjoyed your time together. No need for more detail about why. A parting gift would be a nice gesture.”

SoftSandalwood (@SoftSandalwood): “Pro Domme here. Definitely let her know what’s going on, so she doesn’t wonder if you’re OK, if she did something wrong, etc. It’s the job of a pro to understand and respect boundaries. Thanks for a thoughtful question.”

Daddy Lance (@LanceNavarro): “Agreed 100 percent. The majority of us are deeply empathetic and prefer closure over mystery.”

A final thought from me: Sex workers value trustworthy regular clients, and FOSTA/SESTA and the coronavirus pandemic have made it incredibly difficult for sex workers to find new regular clients. Sending this woman a generous final tip—perhaps the price of a session, if you can swing it—would soften the blow of losing you as a regular client and would tide her over until she can replace you.


That was great advice you gave to “Virgin” in last week’s column. I was a 39-year-old virgin and started seeing sex workers. I found one who had the kind of qualities mentioned by the sex worker you quoted in your column. She was a kind, caring and compassionate person that I saw regularly for a year. Being with her gave me confidence in my sexual abilities and allowed me to experience physical affection. A little while later, I met my future wife. I was even able to tell her about my experiences with sex workers, and she wasn’t offended and didn’t shame me. She was actually intrigued.

I hope VIRGIN takes your advice. If he finds the right sex worker, like I did, it will change his life.

One Grateful Client

Thanks for sharing, OGC!

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I am a super-queer-presenting female who recently accepted that I have desires for men. My partner of two years is bisexual and understands the desires, but has personally dealt with those desires via masturbation—while my desires include acting. Her perspective is that the grass is greener where you water it, and that my desire to act is immature and selfish, and has an unrealistic end game. What gives when you don’t feel fulfilled sexually in a monogamous relationship?

Open Or Over?

Something definitely gives when a person doesn’t feel fulfilled in a monogamous relationship. Sometimes it’s an ultimatum that’s given; sometimes it’s a one-time-only hall pass that’s given; sometimes it’s an agreement to open the relationship that’s given. But the relationship sometimes gives, e.g., the relationship collapses under the weight of competing and mutually exclusive needs and desires. If you want to open things up (if allowed), and she wants to keep things closed (no allowance), OOO, it’s ultimately your willpower—your commitment to honoring the commitment you’ve made—that’s likely to give.

I have a close friend who’s cheating on her girlfriend. It has been going on for more than a year. At first, I actually supported the exploration, because my friend has a really unsupportive girlfriend who has done really crappy things to her over the course of their relationship. I kept pushing for her to make a decision and use this affair as a way for her to free herself, but she is just coasting along with her girlfriend and her lover. She’s under a lot of stress, and she’s turned into a major liar—and it’s creeping me out. I’m considering either telling her girlfriend myself (though I promised my friend I wouldn’t), or maybe I just need to end this friendship. My friend’s double life upsets me. It’s just been going on too long.

Is My Friend An Asshole?

If your friend—the one leading the double life—is asking you to run interference for her, if she’s asking you to lie to her girlfriend, or if she’s asked you to compromise your integrity in some way, she’s an asshole, and you’re a sap; tell your friend you’re done covering for her and that you won’t be able to see her again until the deceit or the pandemic is over, whichever comes first. If the issue is that your friend expects you to ooze sympathy while she goes on and on about the mess she’s made of her life, IMFAA, simply refuse to discuss the mess that is her love life. Remind her that she already knows what you think needs to do—she needs to break the fuck up with her shitty girlfriend—and then change the subject.

I’m a cis het woman who loves men and loves dicks. I love dicks so much that I fantasize about having one. Nothing brings me to orgasm more quickly or reliably than closing my eyes and imagining my own dick, or imagining myself as my partner, and what they’re feeling through their dick. I love being a woman, and I’m afraid to bring this up with any partner(s) of mine. Is this super-weird? Am I secretly trans somehow? Am I overthinking this?

Perfect Minus Penis

It’s not that weird; some people are trans, and you could be one of them (but fantasizing about having a dick ≠ being a male); and you’re overthinking what you should be enjoying. Buy a strap-on; tell your partners about your fantasies; and enjoy having the dick you can have.

I wonder if you might be able to put a label on this sex act: It has to do with overstimulation, in this case of a penis (mine). After receiving a wonderful hand job, the giver kept stroking me purposefully. My penis was in a heightened, super-sensitive state. It was almost like being tickled, if you’re ticklish. I was being forcefully held down (consensually), and just as I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I had a second amazing orgasm. I didn’t ejaculate again; it was more of a body orgasm. It came in waves, and everything was warm. It was mind-blowing, spiritual, galactic, unique and very similar to how I’ve heard women describe their orgasms. Ever hear of anything like this? Is this some sort of Japanese underground kink thing?

Witty Hilarious Overzealous Amateur

The act you’re describing already has a name, WHOA, and an entry on Urban Dictionary: apple-polishing. Most men find the sensation of having the head of their cock worked so overwhelming that their bodies involuntarily recoil, which makes it difficult to polish someone’s apple if the “victim” isn’t restrained in some way. But it’s not painful—it’s like being tickled; indeed, the victim usually reacts with desperate laughter and gasping pleas for it to stop. (Don’t ask me how I know.) That all-over feeling of euphoria you experienced when your apple got polished was most likely a wave of endorphins—like a runner who pushes herself past her physical limits and experiences a full-body “runner’s high.” You were pushed past your physical limits, WHOA, and experienced the same sort of high.

I’m a 35-year-old straight guy. I recently started seeing an amazing 34-year-old girl. We love being around each other, but during sex, neither of us can come. It’s infuriating, to say the least. She has no trouble when she masturbates, and I know I have no trouble when I masturbate, so why can’t we come together?

Can’t Understand Matter

If you can come when you masturbate, and she can come when she masturbates, CUM, masturbate together, and you’ll be coming together. Mutual masturbation isn’t a sad consolation prize—mutual masturbation is sex, and it can be great sex. And the more often you come together through mutual masturbation, CUM, the likelier it gets that you’ll be able to come together while enjoying other things.

I have a weird and terrible problem. I’ve been seeing someone new, and I have just discovered that I get diarrhea every time I swallow his come—like debilitating pee poops an hour after, every time. I know the solution to the problem would be to stop swallowing, but I was wondering if you had ever heard of this before or knew why this was.

My Sad Asshole

I have heard of this before, MSA, and superstar Savage Love guest expert Dr. Debby Herbenick unpacked the cause for another reader a few years back: “Prostaglandins are substances made by the body and that the body is sensitive to. Semen contains prostaglandins—and prostaglandins can have a laxative effect on people. Related: If you’ve ever felt a little loosey-goosey right before getting your period, that’s also thanks to prostaglandins (which spike just before your period, because the prostaglandins get the uterine muscles to contract, which then helps to shed the lining of the uterus, resulting in a menstrual period). So why don’t more semen-swallowers find themselves running to the bathroom post-blowjob? I don’t know why most people aren’t extra-sensitive to prostaglandins, but fortunately, most of us aren’t, or there would probably be a lot less swallowing in the world.”

So, MSA, you’ll have to stop swallowing your boyfriend’s come, or only swallow when you have immediate access to a toilet in a restroom with a powerful fan.

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I found your column after a Google search. I saw your e-mail address at the bottom and was hoping for some insight.

My issue is this: Two years into our 23-year marriage, my wife declared that she didn’t want to kiss me or perform oral on me. Several years ago, she had an affair and confessed that she not only kissed this other person but performed oral on them as well.

Why them and not me? Should I just go find someone willing to do what I want? I have a high sex drive, but I find that I don’t want to sleep with my wife anymore, because there is never any foreplay, and a few minutes into it, she’s telling me to hurry up. I don’t feel wanted, and honestly, I no longer desire her. What do you make of this?

Hurting Unwanted Husband

Before telling you what I make of your e-mail, HUH, I want to tell you what I wish I could make out of your e-mail: a time machine. If I could turn all those pixels and code and whatever else into a working time machine, I’d drag your ass back to 1996 (and try to talk you out of marrying your wife) or 1998 (and try to talk you into leaving her after two years of marriage). But since time machines aren’t a thing—at least not yet—we’ll have to talk about the here and now.

Your wife isn’t attracted to you, and never was, or hasn’t been for a long, long time. And now the feeling is mutual—you aren’t attracted to her anymore, either. And if you’re seriously wondering why she kissed and blew that other person—the person with whom she had an affair—when she hasn’t wanted to kiss or blow you for 20-plus years (“Why them and not me?”), HUH, the answer is as painful as it is obvious: Your wife was attracted to her affair partner (that’s why them) and she’s not attracted to you (that’s why not you).

Now, it’s possible your wife was attracted to you a long time ago; I assume she was kissing and blowing you while you were dating and during the couple dozen months of marriage. (She wouldn’t have to announce she was going to stop doing those things if she’d never started.) But at some point relatively early in your marriage, HUH, your wife’s desire to swallow your spit and inhale your dick evaporated. It’s possible her desire to swallow/inhale the spit/dick of her affair partner would have evaporated in roughly the same amount of time, and she would have lost interest in him and his dick and his spit as well. Some people have a hard time sustaining desire over time—and contrary to popular belief, women have a harder time sustaining desire in committed, romantic relationships than men do. (Wednesday Martin wrote an entire New York Times best-selling book about it, Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.)

Of course, it’s possible your wife isn’t the problem. You may have said or done something that extinguished your wife’s desire for you. Or, hey, maybe your personal hygiene leaves everything to be desired. (I’ve received countless letters over the years from women whose husbands refuse to brush their teeth and/or can’t wipe their asses properly.) Or maybe you’re emotionally distant or cold or contemptuous or incredibly shitty in bed. Or maybe you’re not the problem! I don’t know you, HUH, and other than the very few details you included your very brief letter, I don’t know what’s going on in your marriage.

But I do know this: If you can leave, HUH, you most likely should. But if you decide to stay because you want to stay, or because leaving is unthinkable for cultural or religious or financial reasons … well, since your wife hasn’t wanted to fuck you for decades, and since you no longer want to fuck your wife, you should release each other from the monogamous commitment you made more than two decades ago. If you can adjust your expectations—if you can both agree to define your marriage as companionate, i.e., you’re friends and life partners, not romantic or sexual partners—you may be able to appreciate your marriage for what it is. But to do that, you’ll have to let go of the anger and disappointment you feel over what it’s not.

And to be clear: If your marriage is companionate, you should both be free to seek sex with outside partners.


Simple question, probably not a simple answer: How do you keep things exciting once the shiny, new phase of a relationship is over? Is it normal to reach a stage where you know someone so well that they’ve become boring? Isn’t that just the fucking worst?

Same Old, Same Old

Recognizing that some people actually enjoy boring—I have it on good authority that some people can get a thrill knitting sweaters and sitting still—there is something the rest of us can do to keep things exciting once the shiny, new phase of a relationship is over: Go on strange and exciting new adventures together. Early on in the relationship, SOSO, your new partner was your exciting new adventure, and you were theirs. But now instead of being the exciting new adventure, you have to figure out what exciting new adventures you’d like to go on together—and then get out there, and go on them.


I’m a young, nonbinary ethical slut, and I have a question about a kink that one of my partners is discovering. We are very close, although we are not sexually active with each other at this point. (We are currently long-distance.) She has another partner with whom she is currently exploring “little” play. I feel personally uncomfortable with age-regression play, but I obviously want to be supportive and understanding. We have fairly good communication, and I am able to tell her when I feel uncomfortable and that I still love and support her, but I just can’t talk about “little” play at the time. I would love to be able to talk about it with her and be supportive, and at the very least make sure I don’t say anything ignorant or hurtful to her.

My question is this: How can I stretch my zone of comfort and learn about this kink in a healthy and educated way?

A Little Uncomfortable

If you want to get more comfortable discussing “little” play, i.e., adults pretending to be small children with other consenting adults, the Dream a Little podcast is a good place to start. It’s hosted by Lo, an AB/DL (adult baby/diaper lover) who has been a guest on my own podcast and who recently made an appearance in the column offering advice to a sad and lonely AB/DL.

That said, ALU, you aren’t obligated to listen to your partner talk about this kink if the topic makes you uncomfortable—or just bores you senseless. Tell her that you support her and you know it’s exciting to explore a new kink, and while she doesn’t have to hide this from you, it’s not something you’re comfortable—at least for now—discussing at length.

On the Lovecast, Stéphane Deschênes on living the nudist life: savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a heteroflexible married cis woman in my 40s. I’m also a POS cheater and a catfish. I really fucked up.

One year ago, I met an older man in an online fetish forum. He sent me an unsolicited PM, and we have talked for hours every day since then. My husband, whom I’ve been married to for more than 20 years, does not know that I am having an emotional affair. I have no intention of telling my husband what I’ve done. I have been honest with my online boyfriend about everything except my name, my age and the fact that I have a husband. (I know those are all really big things to lie about.) My boyfriend lied to me early on about his name, age and relationship status, but came clean out of guilt. So I had the opportunity to say that I lied, too, but I didn’t take it.

I know what I’m doing is wrong. My husband would be very hurt if he knew. And my boyfriend, who wants to make a life together, would be very hurt as well. I’m in love with both men, but I’m not leaving my husband. I know the only right thing to do is break things off with my boyfriend. I’ve tried multiple times: I’ve told him that he is better off without me, that I’m a bad person, and that he shouldn’t trust me. Each time, he convinces me to stay. We have not been physical. We have never even been in the same room, much to his dismay. I have thought about telling him the truth, but I am worried about my safety, and I do not want to hurt him any worse than I already have. Plus, I’m a fucking coward. I am in treatment for PTSD. My therapist believes that my actions are a coping mechanism, i.e., it is easier to pretend to be someone else than it is to be me. I don’t think she’s wrong, but I also don’t think it excuses what I’ve done.

How do I end this relationship without doing any more damage to my two partners?

Conning And Tricking For Intensely Selfish Haven

Far be it from me to question your therapist’s assessment—she’s spoken with you on multiple occasions, and her insights are doubtless more informed—but I think her framing falls short.

She describes your actions as a coping mechanism: You told a stranger lies and abused your husband’s trust to escape your miserable life. If you weren’t so fucking miserable—if other people and/or circumstances hadn’t conspired to make you so fucking miserable—you wouldn’t have done this. You wouldn’t be doing this still. But despite your therapist’s efforts to help you down off that hook, CATFISH, you seem determined to hang there. She’s offering you absolution, in whole or in part, while you stand around flagellating yourself (“POS cheater,” “fucking coward,” “bad person,” etc.).

Personally, I think you’re entitled to your feelings. Go ahead and feel terrible. You did a bad thing. It’s not the worst thing someone’s ever done online, and most people know not to take what a stranger tells them on the internet at face value. But if feeling terrible doesn’t motivate you to make changes … well, it’s not for me to question your sincerity. But some people think it’s OK to do terrible things so long as they have the decency to feel terrible about having done them. If you’re not one of those people—if you actually feel bad—doing something about it and learning something from it will alleviate your misery.

Here’s what you need to do: End things with your boyfriend. Write him an e-mail; tell him the truth about your age, marital status and unavailability. Don’t share your real name with him; you’re under no obligation to do so, and if he turns out to be the vindictive type, CATFISH, you don’t want him to have your real identity. Apologize for not coming clean when he did—he lied to you, too, at the start—and thank him for the pleasure of his virtual company and the joy he brought to your life. Then block him.

Here’s what you need to learn: You didn’t do this because you’re miserable—or you didn’t do it just because you’re miserable. You did this because it was fun. We call it “play” when children pretend to be someone or something they’re not; child’s play is also, yes, a coping mechanism. Vulnerable children pretend to be big and powerful superheroes and/or monsters to cope with and momentarily escape their relative powerlessness. And nothing makes a child’s playful fantasy feel more real than a good friend who plays along.

Most adults don’t make time for play—most of us aren’t LARPers or kinksters—but even adults need play, and some adults need play more than others. You found a space where you could play (that online fetish forum), and you found a playmate who helped make your fantasies feel real (a guy you’ve never actually met and who could still be lying to you about all sorts of things). It got out of hand when arousal, orgasms, oxytocin and promises you couldn’t keep got stirred into the mix. The play made you feel better at first, but the dishonesty and stress of deceiving two people eventually wiped out the benefits you were getting.

You need to find a way to build some play into your life, sexual and/or nonsexual, that doesn’t require you to lie or hide. It would be great if you could do that with your husband, CATFISH, but if he’s not willing or able to play with you, get his OK to play on your own.


I am a 70-year-old straight woman, and I haven’t been in an intimate relationship for seven years. I feel deprived of physical contact, but I also have some obstacles to pursuing intimacy at this point in my life. My vagina is seriously out of shape. In fact, it was a challenge to have sex with my last partner, because he was rather well-endowed. I had to work up to it, but it finally worked. My libido is on the low side, but it still flares up now and then. I also have herpes, plus I’m taking an antidepressant that makes it hard for me to orgasm. But even with all that, I’ve enjoyed sex in the past.

Would it make sense for me to look for a man who may also have some sexual issues and/or be willing to work with/around mine? Someone who enjoys all the other aspects of sexual intimacy besides penis in vagina? How would I find such a man? I’m not necessarily just looking for sex—a compatible companion would be great.

Need Fresh Input

“NFI can have it all—sex, companionship, orgasms,” said Joan Price, author of Naked at Our Age and The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50. “She just needs to find someone who realizes that partnered sex does not have to mean PIV.”

Your best bet for finding a man these days? Dating apps and websites, including dating apps for seniors. And don’t be shy about taking PIV off the menu, NFI, at least at the start.

“As we age, many of us find non-penetrative sex with hands, mouth and vibrator more comfortable, sexier and an easier path to orgasm,” said Price. “And that includes men with erectile difficulties or decreased sensation. In her discussions with a potential new partner, NFI should explain that she’d like to get sexual in stages—and then explore and delight each other sexually, including orgasms, without PIV as the goal. But if she might enjoy PIV in the future, she should keep her vagina active with solo sex including a dildo or penetrative vibrator. Don’t wait until the right penis comes along.”

Joan Price’s new book, Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After the Loss of Your Beloved, will be released soon. Follow her on Twitter @JoanPrice.

On the Lovecast, science says, weed = better orgasms: savagelovecast.com.

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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.

On the Lovecast, adult babies explained, finally: savagelovecast.com.

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When I started dating my husband, he told me he had a low libido. I said I could deal with that. We waited several months before having sex, and then after we started, it was infrequent and impersonal. There was some slow improvement over the three years we dated. Then we got married, and suddenly he had no libido at all. He blamed health problems and assured me he was trying to address them. Despite being diagnosed and successfully treated for multiple physical and mental health issues over time, things only got worse.

After four years of marriage, the relationship has become strictly platonic. I can’t even start a conversation about intimacy without him getting irritated. After we married, he also decided he no longer wanted children, and I eventually convinced myself it was probably for the best, given his health. We built our dream home, adopted a pet and built an outwardly successful life together. I was, if not happy, at least complacent—until I ran into an ex-boyfriend at a party.

We split many years ago on good terms. We ended up talking about how important it is to him to have a biological child—something we talked about a lot when we were dating—and we got physically close, and that got me thinking about how much I missed sex with him. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about him. I think he was hinting that he wants me back, and right now, that sounds like the answer to all my problems. But if not, I don’t want to leave my hubby and lose the decent life we built together. Plus, my leaving would hurt my husband’s feelings, his health and his finances. I also worry that people would blame me, because it will look like I left because things were tough.

Can I follow up and clarify with my ex before I break it off with my husband, or is that too much like cheating? Is it selfish of me to even consider leaving at this point? I’m a 30-year-old woman, so I don’t have a lot of time left to decide about children.

Indecisively Married Dame On Nearing Exit

Here’s something I’ve never seen in my inbox: a letter from someone explaining how sex with their partner was infrequent, impersonal, uninspired, unimaginative, etc. at first but—holy moly—the sex got a fuck of a lot better after the wedding! Now, maybe that happens—maybe that happened for you, dear reader (if so, please write in)—but I can’t imagine it happens often. So, boys and girls and enbies, if the sex isn’t good at or very near the beginning, the passage of time and/or muttering of vows isn’t going to fix it. If sex is important to you—if you wouldn’t be content in a companionate marriage and/or don’t want to wind up in divorce court one day—hold out for someone with whom you click sexually.

OK, IMDONE, either your husband married you under false pretenses—putting out/in just enough to convince you to marry him and only pretending to want kids—or his good-faith efforts to resolve his health issues didn’t help (at least where sex is concerned), and he changed his mind about being a dad (perhaps because he doesn’t feel healthy enough to do the work of parenting). Either way, you’re free to go. Even if the sex was good, and your husband wanted 30 kids, you’d still be free to go.

Whether or not you stay, IMDONE, you should explore your options before making up your mind. So go ahead and call your ex, and ask him if he’d like to get coffee with you—in a public place and shortly before an appointment you can’t cancel. Your ex may have been hinting about wanting to get back together, or he may not want to get back together and was engaged in what he thought was a little harmless/nostalgic flirtation—harmless, because he knows you’re married and presumably unavailable. There’s only one way to find out what your ex wants or doesn’t want, and that’s by asking your ex. So ask.

While that convo could be regarded as pre-cheating or cheating-prep or even cheating-adjacent, it isn’t cheating. You married someone who unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of your marriage—no sex, no kids—and you have an absolute right to think through your options. And a husband who won’t even discuss intimacy with you can’t ask you to refrain from contemplating or even discussing intimacy with one of those options.

Whether you have that convo with your ex or not, IMDONE, you need to ask yourself if you want to stay in this marriage. You’re only 30, and you wanted and still want kids. Ex-boyfriend or no ex-boyfriend, you can leave your husband—and you can leave him without abandoning him. You can still be there for him emotionally; you can offer what help you can financially; and you can help him secure health insurance.

Finally, IMDONE, you frame your choice as the husband or the ex—one or the other—but there is another option. It’s the longest of long shots, I realize, but I’m going to toss it out there anyway: one or the other or both. Your husband would have to agree to an open relationship, and your ex-boyfriend––if, again, he’s interested at all—would have to agree to it, too.

Good luck.


You ran a letter about a gay man (“Sam”) who has been sucking off his straight friend. Sam said he’s never done this before and isn’t turned on by the idea of “servicing straight guys.” I am a gay man who enjoys sucking off straight guys, and I wanted to share my perspective.

I’m not trying to “convert” them. I simply find that straight guys have less emotional baggage than most gay guys. A guy’s dick is his proudest possession. They like to have them admired, especially the straight guys who don’t often get much feedback about their dicks from women. I’m very skilled, so it’s a thrill for me to give a guy a lot of pleasure. I like doing things that make other folks happy, and sucking dick is something that’s appreciated.

I’ve known one guy for about 20 years, and after many years apart, he is wanting to see me again. I don’t want a relationship; I don’t want to have to think about two people and have to adjust my plans. It’s hard enough to plan for just me. I prefer the friendship and the occasional dick-sucking. They can always trust me to be straightforward with them. I will never take advantage of them, even when they get drunk. I like pleasing them and having their trust. And for the big question everybody asks: “Do you get lonely?” No, I don’t. I have all kinds of friends and lots of interests and hobbies. And from time to time, I get to suck a guy’s dick.

Whatever Acronym Works

Like most gay guys, WAW, you’ve got some baggage there of your own. You don’t want a relationship—and, hey, that’s fine! Not everyone wants to pair or triple or quad off, and not everyone has to want that. But you’re seeking out straight guys not because they have less baggage on average than gay guys (they don’t), but because straight guys won’t be interested in you romantically, and consequently won’t demand a commitment from you or ask you to prioritize their needs and feelings the way a boyfriend would. So it’s not that you and all the straight guys you’re sucking off are baggage-free, WAW; it’s that your baggage fits so neatly inside theirs that you can momentarily forget you’ve got any at all.

On the Lovecast, is porn getting more and more violent?: 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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