CVIndependent

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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

My husband and I (he’s straight; I’m bisexual) have been married 15 years. We are in our early 40s. When we met, he was inexperienced and crippled by shame from having grown up in an extremely sex-negative atmosphere. I have no hang-ups about sex and was happy to get him involved in some more adventurous stuff—but he quickly became obsessed with kink and shows no sign of slowing.

I’m happy to play along with fantasies and role play, bondage, domination, foot play, anal sex/pegging, going to events, having moresomes, etc. But sometimes I’d like to have gentle and slow “unadorned” sex with an attentive partner who calls me by name, compliments me and does things to my body he knows I enjoy.

My husband has been seeing a therapist for some years. We also went to this therapist for couples’ therapy, and he gave us some “exercises” to try to tone down my husband’s desire for perfectly scripted kink “scenes” every time we have sex. But my husband was either not able or not willing to try them, and I gave up. He now basically can’t maintain an erection without either (1) a complicated script with roles and props and costumes and toys or (2) going through the motions of romantic sex as long as I keep up a constant stream of “in-character” dirty talk, which makes it impossible for me to be in the moment. I’ve urged him to go see a dominatrix or get more involved in the local kink scene without me—but he’s obsessed with this imagined moment where I suddenly “awaken” and fully join him in his obsessions. I find this condescending and stupid. Just because I can enjoy kink play now and then doesn’t mean I’ll ever be someone who gasps with excitement at a woman on a leash being peed on or someone dangling from the ceiling by the clamps on their nipples. It doesn’t shock me or disgust me; it just kind of bores me. It feels like watching someone fill their kitchen with every gaudy, expensive, chrome radish peeler and strawberry diddler when they can’t even boil an egg.

Is there a trick to reducing your partner’s dependence on kink? Or a way to make kink more interesting to yourself?

Bored By Obsessive Kinkster

You must feel like you created a kink monster. But you didn’t! I mean, you did meet this inexperienced, sexually repressed guy, BBOK, and you did encourage him to let go of the shame, and you did give him permission to be a little more sexually adventurous … and 15 years later, you’re stuck with this selfish asshole who’s so obsessed and/or dependent on his kinks that you’ve come to dread having sex with him. But your husband was always the elaborately twisted kinkster he is now; he just needed someone to give him permission to admit to being who he always was—or to get in touch with who he always was—and that person was you.

And now here you are, BBOK, writing to me in the hopes that I can magically cause your husband to become less dependent on his kinks, or can magically “awaken” in you a similarly obsessive interest in the exact same suite of kinks he has. And we both know neither is going to happen, because you’re not going to get kinkier (which is what he wants), and you’ve already tried to get him to rein in his kinks (and that didn’t work). That’s what the couples’ counseling was about, right? Him learning to be a little less selfish and a little more GGG and a better partner … and the selfish sack of shit couldn’t be bothered, could he?

Both of your proposed fixes are basically pipe dreams, as I suspect you already know, BBOK, and I further suspect you’re not really interested in either one. Because what you really want is right here: “Sometimes I’d like to have gentle and slow ‘unadorned’ sex with an attentive partner who calls me by name, compliments me, and does things to my body he knows I enjoy.” (Emphasis mine.)

I don’t think it’s an accident that you wrote about wanting “an attentive partner” to call you by your name and do all sorts of vanilla things to your body that he knows you enjoy. I don’t think it’s an accident that you didn’t use “loving husband” in that sentence, BBOK, because deep down, you know your husband isn’t interested in doing those things. And he won’t be any good at doing those things. And even if he could fake an interest in doing those things for 20 minutes—which apparently he can’t—you probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy his half-hearted attempts at vanilla sex, because knowing he had to concentrate on BDSM sex the whole time—knowing some script was playing out in his head—would make it impossible for you to be in (and enjoy) the moment.

You want to have loving, tender, connected sex with someone who cares about you. You want to have sex with someone who isn’t asking you to be someone you’re not each and every time you have sex with him (or her). And the obvious fix here, the easiest work-around, the reasonable accommodation … well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? You need to have sex with someone else, BBOK, with someone who cares about you. Basically, you need to take your own advice—the advice you’ve been giving your husband, and go find yourself a play partner or two, for vanilla sex, not-kinky sex. If you can find someone who can give you the kind of simple, passionate, connected sex you no longer get in your marriage, perhaps you’ll come to resent your husband less, and your desire for kinky sex with him will rebound.

I started seeing a man four weeks ago who keeps telling me he can’t sleep with me, or can’t sleep with me yet, because of some all-consuming fetish that he can’t (or doesn’t want to) do with me. He also has sexual issues due to having survived testicular cancer and no longer having testicles. As a bisexual woman, I don’t have an issue with that and am happy to have non-penis sex. But even that is not forthcoming, because he always tells me his fixation on this fetish is interfering—while remaining totally incoherent about what the fetish is and why he can’t do it with me. No one is required to sleep with me, but it’s upsetting to go to bed with him and then, after he plays along for a little while, have to listen to him tell me another totally incoherent version of whatever his fucking problem is.

I value this person for the other parts of our relationship, but I’m getting fed up. I don’t see how we’ll ever get along in bed if I’m just trying to have fun while he’s being as tormented, confusing and complicated as possible. Should I just walk away? Is this bullshit or not?

Drama Is Boring

Unless this ball-less mess is climbing up the fire escape and slipping into your bedroom uninvited—which I’m guessing you would’ve mentioned—he keeps turning up in your bedroom because you keep inviting him. Stop that, DIB. Tell him you’re happy to keep seeing him, if you enjoy his company that much, but you’re not “seeing” him anymore, which means he’s not welcome in your bedroom. So there’s no need for him to bring up his fetish or any other sexual issues with you,

As a general rule, a person really shouldn’t mention the fact that they have a kink or fetish to a new partner unless they’re ready to share what it is. You don’t have to be ready to act on it—lots of people have fetishes and/or kinks they enjoy as fantasy-only, or are ready to share but want to take the doing a little slower. But telling someone you have a kink/fetish that’s so all-consuming you can’t be sexual unless it’s a part of the action, and then refusing to name the kink/fetish, and then adding that you wouldn’t want to do it with the person … well, that’s not just bullshit, DIB; it’s disqualifying assholery and some truly next-level negging. Don’t walk away—run.

On the Lovecast: Lock him up! All about chastity cages: savagelovecast.com.

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My boyfriend and I met online to explore our kinks. We’d both been in relationships with kink-shaming people who screwed with our heads. Since we weren’t thinking it was more than a hookup, we put all our baggage on the table early and wound up becoming friends. Eventually, we realized we had a real connection and started a relationship where we supported our desire to explore. I’ve never been happier.

The only issue is how he gets down on himself if I get more attention than he does. After the first kink party we went to, he would not stop trying to convince me that no one looked at him all evening. I tried to boost his confidence, and I also brought up things like, “You were on a leash, so maybe people assumed you were off-limits.” No dice. I couldn’t get him to even entertain the notion that anyone even looked at him. He’s a cross-dressing sissy who loves to be used by men—heterosuckual—and he has a lot of baggage with every last one of his exes citing his cross-dressing as a reason to leave him for a “real” man. To make things worse, we have had issues with guys coming over for him, finding out there’s a Domme female in the picture, and switching focus to me. I feel like I wind up avoiding kinky sexual situations (which I love!), because I’m so concerned about protecting his ego. I’ve tried using my words, and we generally communicate well, but he is unwilling to entertain any interpretations that don’t mesh with his theory that he’s obviously undesirable.

The breaking point for me was this past weekend. He encouraged me to go to a swingers party with a friend, and I had a blast. It was super-empowering, and all I wanted to do was tell him every detail—the way he will when he services cock—and he was so jealous that I was able to effortlessly get so much attention that he wasn’t ready to hear it. It made me feel the same sex shame I felt with my ex. It also made me feel like he was insinuating—how could I get so lucky?—which hit all my chubby-girl self-conscious places hard.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

Seeking Insightful Stress Solution, Yup

Tell that sissy to get over herself.

Your boyfriend is making you feel guilty about something you have no control over: Women get more attention at mixed-gender sex/play parties than men do. And as far as your respective kinks go, SISSY, there are always going to be more people out there who want to get with Domme women than guys who want to get with/be serviced by submissive heterosuckual cross-dressers. Your boyfriend will always attract less interest than you do at a kink party, just as someone who goes to a BDSM play party hoping to do a little knife play will attract less interest than someone who’s looking for a little light bondage.

Instead of counting the number of guys who approach you at a party and then trying to ruin your night for getting more attention than he does, your boyfriend has to make the most of every opportunity that comes his way. And if some guy approaches him at a play party only to realize he’s on a leash, SISSY, isn’t that guy supposed to turn his attention to the Dominant partner? If your boyfriend could resist the urge to spiral down at those moments—if he could resist the urge to make himself the center of negative attention—those men would probably turn their attention back to him at some point, particularly if you encouraged/gave them permission to do so. (You could and perhaps should also make it clear to anyone who approaches you at some-if-not-all kink parties that you’re a package deal: You play together, or you don’t play at all. But even then, your boyfriend has to accept that you’ll be leveraging your desirability on both your behalves, and be at peace with it.)

Usually when I advise readers to “use their words,” it’s about making sexual needs clear, i.e., asking for what we want with the understanding that we may not always get what we want. But what you need (and you need to use your words to get), SISSY, is for your boyfriend to knock this petty, hypocritical slut-shaming shit off. (He’s essentially shaming you for being the slut he’d like to be.) It might help if you got him to recognize and grieve and accept not just the reality of the situation—women with more mainstream kinks are more in demand at mixed-gender kink parties than men with niche kinks—but also the risk he’s running here: His insecurities are sabotaging your relationship. Him setting traps for you—like encouraging you to go out and play, only to make you feel terrible about it afterward—and making hurting insinuations about your attractiveness is making this relationship untenable. Tell him that you’re going to dump him if he can’t get a grip. And then ask him what will be worse—being partnered with someone who gets more attention than he does in kink and swinger spaces, or being a single male in those spaces? (It’s a trick question, at least partly, as many of those spaces don’t allow single males.)


Straight woman here with a penis question: My current partner is uncircumcised, which I am completely fine with. However, his foreskin is so tight that it can’t be pulled back over the head of his penis. I did my research and discovered the issue is phimosis. I asked him about it, and he said it’s always been this way and that sometimes it is painful. None of his doctors have seemed to notice it during exams, and he’s never brought it up. Oddly enough, this is something that I’ve come across with two different partners—and in both situations, they had issues with maintaining an erection. Is this a thing?

My Boyfriend’s Penis

Phimosis is definitely a thing, MBP, and when it makes erections a painful thing, as it often does, erections are going to be harder to obtain and sustain. And unless a doctor was examining your boyfriend’s erect penis, it’s not something a doctor would notice. A good doctor will ask their patients about their sexual health and function, but—based on the mail I get—it seems very few people have good doctors.

Looking on the bright side: Phimosis is easily treated, if you can persuade your boyfriend to ask his doctor about it. Smearing a steroid cream on his cock could stretch and loosen the foreskin. And if the cream doesn’t work, then a full or partial circumcision will do the trick.


I love my boyfriend, and he knows I like women, too. Our sex life was OK, a little boring and routine and always “doggy style.” And he hardly ever goes down on me—like, at all. I can count on one hand the number of times he’s done it in four years! So I agreed to have a threesome to spice things up, and we bought condoms. When we got down with another woman, he decided to have sex with her after me … and he also decided to go down on her. You know, the thing he never does for me.

I’m so upset now that I can’t even have sex with him. I feel like it was a betrayal of my trust for him to eat out a woman he barely knows when he won’t do that for me. He also didn’t use the condoms—he says he “didn’t have time.” He said it meant nothing. But it’s really got me upset.

Now Overlooking My Need Of Munching

Not only would I have been upset during that threesome, NOMNOM; I would have been single very shortly after it. Dude doesn’t eat pussy—dude doesn’t eat your pussy—and can’t find the time to put a condom on when he wants to (gets to!) have sex with another woman in front of you? DTMFA.

On the Lovecast, sex workers’ rights advocate Elle Stanger: savagelovecast.com.

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I am a guy in my 40s, handsome, more financially successful than most, and a classic sexual scoundrel—I cheated on my ex-wife and every girlfriend I’ve ever had.

I’m currently dating a woman in her 20s. We are both each other’s ideal type. She has as scandalous of a past as I do, but has “accomplished” more in a shorter time. We met via a hookup app. Then we had another meeting. And another one. We enjoyed each other’s company from the moment we met, and the sex was great. (We share a few not-easy-to-match kinks.) Most of her stuff is now at my house. We’ve had many deep dives into our respective pasts. We cringe now at how we met and why we’ve hooked up with so many random people.

Here’s the issue: After 12 months together, with too many breakups to count, we have no idea how to move forward. We cannot establish trust. We are in love, and everything’s great … so long as we have our eyeballs on each other. Once out of direct sight, we both turn into possessive assholes. So many phones have been stolen and thrown away, I can’t count. How do two sluts find peace?

Can’t Part Over Sex

You’ve cheated on everyone you’ve ever been with, and your girlfriend has presumably cheated on everyone she’s ever been with. (That’s what you meant by “she has as scandalous of a past as I do,” right?) But instead of embracing the cheats and sluts you both know yourselves to be, and thanking your fucky stars for bringing you together, CPOS, you felt obligated to disavow your past behaviors—some of which sound legitimately terrible—and slut-shame yourselves and each other. And for what? You are still the people you were before you started theatrically cringing about how you met.

She doesn’t trust you not to cheat on her, and I don’t see why she should. You don’t trust her not to cheat on you, and I don’t see why you should. So why promise not to cheat? Why waste time and emotional energy policing each other for evidence of what you both know to be true? You’re going to cheat on each other. That you can trust in. So instead of making promises you can’t keep and then having meltdowns and stealing each other’s phones and breaking up and getting back together, CPOS, make a promise you can keep—not to be faithful, but to be considerate. And discreet. Promise not to do anything that makes her feel like she isn’t your top priority, even if you do fuck around occasionally, and ask her to make the same promise to you. Then you can move forward as honest sluts and not lying cheats.


I am in love with a happily married woman. I was the “other man” almost 20 years ago, before she was married but when she was living with the man she’s with now. We fell madly in love, but we didn’t end up together.

In the intervening years, we both married and had children. We’ve reconnected a couple of times over the years, and it became a sexual relationship again. Here’s the tricky part: My then-wife was an undocumented immigrant. My marriage was unhappy, but for my child’s sake, I couldn’t leave my wife, for fear of his mother getting deported. This year, she got her green card, and we divorced. Then I reconnected with my ex again.

We desperately want to get married, but she is scared to end her marriage. She’s in a relatively happy marriage, and divorce will be a bombshell. She worries about the shock and destabilizing effect on her children, who are still young. She fears that nothing short of admitting she’s in love with someone else could end her otherwise-happy marriage, but admitting that she’s been unfaithful will make co-parenting impossibly hard going forward. We agonize over this situation but can’t bear the thought of not being together. We understand that pain will have to happen, but we just don’t know what the best course of action is.

Pensive And Incredibly Nervous

If you two can’t wait until her kids are a little older before you marry, PAIN, then there’s no way to avoid the most painful possible version of this shitshow. But your girlfriend’s husband deserves the whole truth right out of the gate—even at the risk of complicating their co-parenting arrangements in the short run. Letting her soon-to-be-ex-husband twist in the wind wondering why his decent, loving, seemingly stable marriage suddenly collapsed would just be cruel—and pointlessly so, as he will inevitably learn the truth. You two don’t plan to marry in secret, right? This means her soon-to-be-ex and their kids are going to find out about you, the new husband and stepfather, at some point in the very near future.

The whole truth, all at once. Don’t draw it out. Inflicting pain on the installment plan won’t assuage your guilt.


I’m married to a loving, handsome man. For the first several years of our relationship, we had amazing sex. At some point after moving in together, my interest in having sex with him decreased significantly. This has been a pattern in every long-term relationship I’ve ever had: Living together seems to diminish my attraction to my partner, which is hugely problematic when I am in a long-term monogamous relationship.

The second problem is that my kink needs are not being met. My husband is aware of my kinks and is GGG in theory, but he lacks the skill to deliver what I’m interested in.

Before I met my husband, I spent many years as a member of a very active kink scene in a big city. I miss the friendships and experiences I had when I was able to share my kinks. Unfortunately, in addition to living in a place without access to these kinds of events and workshops, my husband is monogamous without compromise. He is unwilling to co-top me alongside another Dominant partner and unwilling to let me bottom for others solo, regardless of whether sex is involved. Within the past several years, this frustration has led me to seek out the occasional experience with others, which is always discovered. My sex drive seems intact when I fantasize about hot, rough scenes with other people, but I experience very little desire for my husband.

I’m at a loss. I adore this man, and haven’t ever felt like it would be worth it to leave him just so I could get my kinky needs met, but we are at an impasse. Is it even possible to find a compromise?

Sex Alacrity Diminished

Knowing what you do about yourself—your attraction to a partner craters after moving in together; you have a powerful need to explore your kinks with casual play partners—you shouldn’t be cohabitating and/or making monogamous commitments. But you are, and you have, SAD—so what now? There’s no middle ground between an uncompromisingly monogamous marriage and the kind of freedom to explore your kinks that you need to feel fulfilled, partnered or not. But your husband caught you fucking around—or kinking around—and has presumably forgiven you, seeing as you aren’t e-mailing during your divorce proceedings. So perhaps if given a choice between letting you and losing you, SAD, he would let you. And who knows? If all your long-term relationships have been monogamous, and they all resulted in the end of rough and adventurous sex with new partners, well, perhaps that’s what is cratering your desire for committed partners—the limitation, not the cohabitation. And who knows? If you were free to fuck around with other people—if your husband didn’t symbolize the end of sexy adventures—maybe you’d still want to fuck him. But if he does give you the freedom to fuck around, and you still don’t want to fuck him, SAD, do your husband a favor, and leave him. And then no more monogamy or cohabitation for you, got it?

On the Lovecast, Simon Doonan on the endurance of drag: savagelovecast.com.

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My son has always liked handcuffs and tying people up as a form of play. He is 12 now, and the delight he finds in cuffing has not faded along with his love of Legos. He lobbied hard to be allowed to buy a hefty pair of handcuffs. We cautioned him strongly about consent—he has a younger brother—and he has been good about it. In the last year, though, I found out that he is cuffing himself while alone in the house—and when discovered, he becomes embarrassed and insists it’s a joke. I found him asleep one night with his wrists cuffed. I removed the cuffs and spoke to him the next morning about safety. Then recently, when returning home late, I saw him (through his window, from the back of the house) naked and cuffed with a leather belt around his waist, which seemed attached to the cuffs. This escalation was scarier. I haven’t spoken to him about it.

My concern about the bondage stuff is that there are some risks (like escaping a fire), particularly if he gets more adventurous (restricting breathing, etc.). This is something he is doing secretly and alone. He is a smart kid, an athlete, and a fairly conscientious scholar. He has friends but sometimes feels lonely. He is going through puberty with its attendant madness—defiance, surliness, etc.—but he is also very loving and kind. He is also quite boastful, which I interpret as insecurity. I can’t help feeling that this bondage stuff is related to these issues, and I worry about self-esteem and self-loathing. We are considering getting him some help.

Any advice for us?

Completely Understandable Fears For Son

When a concerned parent reaches out to an advice columnist with a question like yours, CUFFS, the columnist is supposed to call in the child psychologists. But I thought it might be more interesting—I actually thought it might be more helpful—if I shared your letter with a different class of experts: adult men who were tying themselves up when they were 12 years old.

“This boy sounds a lot like how I was at his age,” said James “Jimmy” Woelfel, a bondage porn star with a huge online following. “I want to reassure CUFFS that the discovery of things like this, even at a young age, is extremely common. We may not know why we like this stuff at the time; we just know we do.”

Jimmy is correct: Many adults who are into bondage, heavy or otherwise, became aware of their bondage kinks at a very early age.

“The vast majority of BDSM practitioners report that their sexual interests developed relatively early in life, specifically before the age of 25,” Dr. Justin Lehmiller wrote in a recent post on his invaluable Sex and Psychology blog. “Further, a minority of these folks (7-12 percent across studies) report that their interests actually developed around the time of puberty (ages 10-12), which is when other traditional aspects of sexual orientation develop (e.g., attraction based on sex/gender).”

While an obsession with handcuffs at age 6 isn’t proof a kid is going to grow up with an erotic interest in bondage—lots of kids like to play cops and robbers—a boy who’s cuffing himself in the throes of puberty and doing so in the nude and in secret … yeah, that boy is almost certainly going to be into bondage when he grows up. And that boy is also going to be embarrassed when his parents discover him in handcuffs for the exact same reason a boy is going to be embarrassed when his parents walk in on him masturbating—because he’s having a private sexual experience that he really doesn’t want to discuss with his parents.

As for your son’s insecurities and loneliness, CUFFS, they may not be related to his interest in bondage at all. They’re more likely a reaction to the shame he feels about his kinks than to the kinks themselves. (And aren’t most 12-year-olds, handcuff obsession or no, insecure?)

“People do bondage for various reasons,” said Trikoot, a self-described “bondage fanatic” and occasional kink educator from Helsinki, Finland. “It’s not always sexual, and it’s almost never a symptom of self-loathing—and a counselor will not ‘erase’ a taste for bondage. Too many kinksters had young lives full of shame and hiding, only to accept themselves years later and then discover what they’ve missed out on.”

In other words, CUFFS, parents and counselors can’t talk a child out of his kinks any more than they can talk a child out of his sexual orientation. This stuff is hardwired. And once someone accepts his kinks, whatever anxiety he feels about them eventually evaporates.

All that said, however awkward it was for you and mortifying for him when you found him asleep in his handcuffs, Jimmy thinks there may be an upside.

“I was extremely embarrassed when my mom caught me,” said Jimmy. “She didn’t know how to respond, and neither did I at the time. We merely went on as if it never happened. But it was somewhat comforting to know there wasn’t going to be a major backlash. It was better than living in fear.”

Now that you know what you know about your son, CUFFS, what do you do? Well, with the burden of knowing comes the responsibility—not just to educate and warn, but to offer your son a little hope for his future.

“Consent and safety are two of the most important universal issues in bondage, and CUFFS has wisely addressed both of them,” said Trikoot. And you should stress both in a follow-up conversation. “There are boundaries that should never be crossed, such as solo breath play, which regularly kills even experienced adults. But dabbling with wrist and ankle restraints while being within shouting distance of the rest of the family is not a serious safety issue.” (Sleeping in handcuffs, however, is a serious safety issue—they can twist, compress nerves and damage the delicate bones of the wrist. He should not be sleeping in them.)

Now for the tricky and super awkward and what will definitely feel somewhat age-inappropriate part: At some point—maybe in a year or two—you need to let your son know that he has a community out there.

“When done safely, bondage/kink can be an extremely rewarding experience as he grows into adulthood,” said Jimmy. “Some of the most important people in my life are those whom I’ve shared this love with. It is nothing to be ashamed of—though at his age, it is unfortunately inevitable. How you react can help mitigate such a reaction.”

Oh, and stop peeping in your son’s bedroom window at night. That’s creepy.

Follow Jimmy Woelfel on Twitter @for_heavy and on Instagram @heavybondageforlife. Follow Trikoot on Twitter @trikoot.


My 12-year-old son wants us to buy him a vibrator. He apparently had a good experience with a hot tub jet and is looking to replicate that “good” feeling. He has tried replicating it, but is feeling very frustrated. (I always wanted an open and honest relationship with my kids so, um, yay for us?) Additional information: My son is on an SSRI.

My husband feels uncomfortable buying my son a sex toy, but I find myself sympathizing with my son’s frustration. But I would be more comfortable if he were 15. We are hoping to figure it out without devices. Are we being reasonable or squeamish?

Entirely Mortified Mom

When this issue has come up in the past—usually it’s about a daughter who wants a vibrator—my readers have endorsed getting the kid an Amazon gift card and getting out of the way, i.e., letting them get online and buy themselves something and not scrutinizing the purchase once it arrives. You could go that route, EMM. Or you could make an end run around this whole issue by installing a pulsating shower head in your bathroom or getting your son an electric toothbrush. (Also, antidepressants—SSRIs—can make it more difficult for a person to climax, so you may not be able to “figure it out without devices.”)

On the Lovecast, are men and women equally kinky? Listen at savagelovecast.com.

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I don’t listen to your podcast religiously, but as soon as I told my best friend this story, she said, “That’s a question for Dan Savage!”

Backstory: I have a monogamous partner I live with. It’s a heterosexual relationship, but we are both bisexual. That little inkling of homosexuality really drew me to him when we first met. He also told me early on about his previous girlfriend, who looked like a “suicide girl” (tattoos, short skirts, dyed black hair, heavy eye makeup) but had serious issues. (They had sex only 10 times in three years.)

I’m by no means a suicide girl. I’m pretty average-looking with natural hair and no tattoos. I don’t wear makeup, and I have an affinity for baggy T-shirts and jeans. I love having sex, but rarely do I present myself as “sexy.”

Recently, I learned that my boyfriend follows hundreds of women on Instagram, and 95 percent of them look absolutely nothing like me. (Remember the hot suicide-girl girlfriend? They mostly look like her.) It made me really upset. I felt insecure about myself. I felt distrustful of his positive comments about how I look, like he doesn’t actually think I’m sexy. It certainly doesn’t help that I want to have sex way more often than he does. He’s always “tired.” I was angry at him and instantly craving to go back to a sexual relationship with past partners who thought I were the bee’s knees. He has no idea why I would be upset. He says he feels like he’s supporting these women and that they feel “empowered” by all the men leaving comments like, “Show me your boobs,” and, “I wanna shove my cock in you.” He says he deleted his Instagram just to make me happy, but I still feel shitty about the whole thing.

Am I being oversensitive? Is he being insensitive? Could we be sexually incompatible? At this point, I’m ready to look outside of our relationship for sexual interactions.

Your Very Ordinary Instagram Girl

I don’t listen to your podcast, either, YVOIG, so that makes us even. (I assume you have a podcast. Everyone does these days.)

Zooming out: If we’re going to tell people they shouldn’t be so shallow as to date only their “ideal” physical types, and we’re going to tell people they can learn to find a broader array of people attractive, and we’re going to tell people they can find a person’s insides so attractive that they warm to their outside—and it’s mostly men people we tell these things, as women people seem less hung up on/entitled to their physical ideals—then we also need to tell people not to freak the fuck out when they stumble over evidence that they aren’t their partner’s ideal physical type. Additionally, we need to tell people that just because their partner has a particular type, that doesn’t mean their partner isn’t also attracted to him/her if he/she isn’t that particular type.

Zooming in: You don’t have a great sex life with your boyfriend, YVOIG, as you seem to have mismatched libidos—and one partner “always” being tired isn’t a problem that gets better over time. These are both signs that you probably need to end this relationship. (Already looking outside your monogamous relationship for sexual interactions? Another sign.) But you can end things without having a meltdown about the fact that your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was also or usually or, hell, even exclusively with one notable exception (YOU!) attracted to “suicide girl” types. Instead of telling yourself that every compliment your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend ever gave you was a lie, you could tell yourself that while your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend definitely has a type, he also found you attractive. Because you are attractive. You’re so attractive that you caught his eye despite not being his usual type.

In other words, YVOIG, you don’t have to feed your self-esteem into a shredder as you end this relationship.

By the way: Your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend may have deleted his old Instagram account, but I promise you he quickly created another one. And here’s hoping your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend only directs “empowering” comments like, “I wanna shove my cock in you,” at the kind of people on Instagram who regard those types of comments as “supportive.” They’re out there—men and women—but there are fewer of them out there than too many men, gay and straight, seem to believe there are.


I’m a 28-year-old straight guy with one kink: I want to be collared and on a leash. That’s it. In private. Basically, I just want to curl up at my girlfriend’s feet with the leash in her hand. Just me on the floor next to the couch while she watches television, or me on the floor next to the bed while she reads.

I’ve had three serious girlfriends, and all three laughed in my face when I told them about this. I’m dating a girl now that I like a lot, and she actually asked me if I had any kinks, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I’m worried about her laughing in my face, too.

Laughter Erases All Sexual Hopes

People often have knee-jerk, sex-negative reactions to kinky requests—not because they necessarily think peeing on someone or leashing someone is hopelessly perverted or disqualifying, LEASH, but because they’ve never imagined themselves peeing on someone or keeping a boyfriend on a leash. The request conjures up a mental image that conflicts with a person’s self-conception—they never thought of themselves as the peeing-on-other-people or keeping-the-boyfriend-on-a-leash type—and nervous laughter is a common response to that particular brand of cognitive dissonance. It would be better if people didn’t have this reaction, of course, but you should brace yourself for it, laugh/shrug it off, and then proceed to explain why this is such a turn-on for you and what’s in it for her. (It sounds like a pretty easy way for her to crank you up when she’s feeling horny.)

If the reactions of the last three girlfriends left you scared and scarred, LEASH, tell your current girlfriend via text. (“Hey, remember when you asked if I had a kink? I do: being on a leash.”) Then, if her first reaction is to laugh, you won’t be there to hear it. You might get a “LOL, what?” in response, but don’t let it shut you down. Keep texting; keep it light and playful; show her that you have a sense of humor about it … and you could finally end up on that leash.


I’m a 43-year-old woman who has been enjoying the company of a much-younger man. (He’s 24.) His energy, enthusiasm and straight-up bravery in the face of the current horrors of the world are giving me a renewed sense of purpose. Plus, the sex is phenomenal.

What’s giving me pause is that my generally sex-positive friends are deeply creeped out by this relationship due to our age difference. He lives on his own; he has a degree and a career; and he supports himself—so this isn’t a “sugar mama” situation. I have no authority over him in any capacity. I also have no delusions of this lasting forever.

Am I really so wrong for enjoying this while I can? My friend circle includes all manner of kinky and queer folks, so their reaction is really throwing me for a loop.

This Older Woman Needs Youth

My hunch is that your sex-positive friends have made two assumptions. First, they’ve assumed you have more power in this relationship, because you’re older (as if youth and maleness don’t confer their own powers!). And, second, they seem to have assumed you have to be abusing your power somehow. It’s a legitimate concern—power is so often abused, and we should all be thoughtful about it. But “often abused” does not equal “always abused,” TOWNY, and in no way are you abusing this grown-ass 24-year-old man. If your sex-positive friends give you any more grief about the age difference, give them grief about their ageism and misogyny.

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I’m a single gay guy in my late 30s. I’m quite introverted and a bit shy, yet I have a big sexual drive and a rich libido. I’ve always found the gay scene overwhelming, and my several attempts at online dating were not very successful. I feel my quiet ways tend to put people off, and I hardly ever get the chance to show my more playful or crazy sides, as it takes me a bit to feel comfortable to show those. Whenever I was able to, my partners were usually pleasantly surprised, and we could enjoy plenty of fun, but I can count these occasions on the fingers of one hand. I feel most guys just stop at my gentle disposition and assume I must be a bit boring if not a prude altogether.

Turns out I actually have quite a few kinks—bondage being one of them—but so far, I have hardly been able to explore them with a partner. Often those drawn to me haven’t really been of the sexually adventurous kind. By my looks, I don’t really fit into any of the “tribes” that a lot of gay men identify with. Part of me doesn’t care, but at the same time, I find myself on the outside looking in when searching for a nice guy for a date or more.

Would you have any kind of advice to crack this shell of mine open?

Always Looked Over, Never Embraced

The next time you find yourself on the outside looking in, ALONE, take a moment to look around. Because that small scrum of guys who fit neatly into whatever gay tribe happens to be dominating the bar/ pool/whatever—the guys on the inside looking at themselves or looking at their phones or looking at themselves on their phones—are usually surrounded by a much larger group of guys who don’t fit neatly into that particular tribe or any other obvious tribe. And if the guys looking longingly at the easy-and-obvious tribe would look around, they’d see a whole lot of guys like them—guys who might be feeling a little awkward or out of place, guys who are attractive in perhaps less-conventional or immediately apparent ways, guys with hidden depths, etc. In other words, ALONE, guys like you.

And speaking of guys like you, did you know you have a motherfucking superpower that makes you a member of all gay tribes and your own unique tribe?

“Bondage is the great unifier among kinksters,” said Joshua Boyd, a gay bondage “enthusiast,” as they say, in his mid-30s who lives and ties in the Seattle area. “Bondage guys are from all walks of life, and they range from twinks to muscle guys to bears, cubs, jocks and average Joes.”

So just as you’ll find gay guys in every race, ethnic group, economic class, faith community, etc., bondage guys can be found in every gay tribe, and bondage guys make up their own unique tribe.

“ALONE should put any search for a long-term relationship on hold and look for more casual, kinky fun,” said Boyd. “Recon (recon.com) has always been a good place for me to start conversations with fun guys—I even met my husband there. The bottom line is there are others who share his interests, and they are waiting to connect with him.”

But you’re shy! You’re introverted! Connecting is hard! Boyd describes himself the same way—shy, introverted, with difficultly connecting—and not only is he married, ALONE; he doesn’t lack for casual play partners, and he’s got play pics all over the internet to prove it.

Tyger Yoshi also describes himself as shy and introverted—and I recently watched shy, introverted Yoshi do a bondage demo at Trade, a gay leather bar in Denver, where he suspended a guy from the ceiling.

“When I first started exploring my interest in bondage, I was lucky enough to be in a city where opportunities were plentiful, even for a shy, introverted person like me,” said Yoshi, who’s also in his mid-30s. “There were people who wanted to mentor me, but I struggled taking that first step of accepting help.”

The kind of help Yoshi is referring to—the kind of help he eventually accepted—can most easily be found at munches, i.e., casual meet-ups where kinky people, both queer and straight, socialize and connect with other like-minded kinksters. (Munches ≠ play parties.) Spend five seconds on Google, ALONE, and you’ll also find kinky educational organizations that offer classes for people who want to hone their bondage skills while learning about consent, safety and other best practices. And whether you’re a bondage top (you want to tie) or a bondage bottom (you want to be tied) or a switch (tie and be tied), you’ll make friends in bondage classes. And if you wind up clicking with someone, that person isn’t going to assume you’re a prude (they met you at a bondage class), and that person will definitely be sexually adventurous (you met them at a bondage class). And unlike gay bars or clubs, a person’s skills are just as important as their looks at gay bondage parties and events.

“After you start making connections and building your circle, find local fetish/kink events that are happening around you—you may need to reach out to the pansexual community—and see if one of your new friends from the munch or the class or Recon is willing to go with you to check it out,” said Yoshi. “And as you start exploring more of your kink side, consider the possibility of separating kink and sex at first. Let people know that you are interested in bondage but haven’t tried much and you want to practice. Having an exploratory or practice session is much different than having a bondage-sex session, and people may be more willing to facilitate that exploration. And from my experience, if you’re able to get up the courage to go out to a kink play party (with a friend for support), the likelihood of finding someone who’s willing to assist in new or first-time experiences increases.”

So, ALONE, that thing you’ve been holding back until you get to know someone? Your interest in bondage? Lead with that. Get involved in the kink scene; work on your skill set; be friendly and open—be the nice guy—and you’ll meet lots of men you have something in common with. Trust me: Your tribe is out there.

You can follow Joshua Boyd on Twitter @seabndgsadist. You can find Tyger Yoshi on Twitter and Instagram @tygeryoshi.


Is having sex with multiple partners something prevalent in the gay community? If so, why? It seems that having sex is a pretty big deal with gay men. Why?

You Won’t Answer

Gay men are men, YWA, and let’s not kid ourselves: Yes, the average gay guy has more sex partners than the average straight guy. But straight men would do everything gay men do if straight men could, but straight men can’t, because women won’t. It’s not that straight guys are any less interested in sex than gay guys are or that sex is any less of a “big deal” for straight men. And you know what? Women are just as horny and just as interested in sex as men—gay, straight or bi—and that includes sex with multiple partners. But women have to weigh every choice they make and every truth they tell against the very real threat of sexual violence at the hands of straight men and the lesser threat of being slut-shamed by straight men and other women. (Shout-out to the asexual gay, straight and bi men and women out there who aren’t interested in sex with anyone—I don’t mean to erase you, but I’m talking averages here—the centers of various bell curves, not deviations.)

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When I first started dating my girlfriend, I asked her about past boyfriends, and she said she hadn’t met the right guy yet. After dating for nine years, I found out about a past boyfriend and looked through her e-mails. I found out she dated her married boss for three years. She broke up with me for looking and for judging her. I feel like she lied, and she thinks it was none of my business.

We’ve been broken up for five months. She’s reached out, but I can’t get over my anger or disgust that she was someone’s mistress. Am I a bad person?

Still Angry And Disgusted

Yup.

“Haven’t met the right guy yet” ≠ “Haven’t met any guys ever.”

Almost everyone has done something and/or someone they regret doing—although it’s possible your ex-girlfriend doesn’t regret fucking her married boss for three years, SAAD, and it’s possible there’s no need for regret. Sometimes people have affairs for all the right reasons. Sometimes abandoning a spouse and/or breaking up a home with kids in it, aka “doing the right thing” and divorcing, is the worse choice. Life is long and complicated, and it’s possible for a person to demonstrate loyalty and commitment with something other than their genitals. Sometimes people do what they must to stay married and stay sane, and their affair partners are doing good by being “bad.”

It’s also possible—and perhaps likelier—that your ex-girlfriend made an impulsive, shitty, selfish choice to fuck someone else’s husband. It’s possible he’s a serial philanderer, a cheating piece of shit, and then, after fucking him that one time, your girlfriend felt pressured to keep fucking him and wound up having a years-long affair with her married boss. And then, when it was all over, she stuffed it down the memory hole because she wasn’t proud of it and wanted to forget it.

It’s also possible she didn’t tell you about this relationship when you asked because she intuited—correctly, as it turned out—that you are, in your own words, a bad person, i.e., the kind of guy who would punish his girlfriend for having a sexual history, for making her fair share of mistakes, and for deciding to keep some things private. (Not secret, SAAD. Private.) In other words, she correctly intuited that you would punish her for being human.

Finding out about a past boyfriend doesn’t give you the right to invade your partner’s privacy and dig through their ancient e-mails. Your girlfriend was right to break up with you for snooping through her e-mails and judging her so harshly. And she didn’t even lie to you, dude! Her boss clearly wasn’t “the right guy,” seeing as he was married and her boss, and the relationship ended before you two even first laid thighs on each other nine years ago.

And from where I’m sitting, SAAD, it looks like she still hasn’t met the right guy.

To be perfectly frank, I don’t want to help you get over your anger and disgust—not that you asked me to help you get past those feelings. It kind of sounds like you want your anger and disgust affirmed … and I’m going to go with that and affirm the shit out of those feelings: Stay angry! Stay disgusted! Not because those feeling are valid—they’re not—but because those feelings prevented you from taking your ex back when she reached out. She may not know it yet, but she’s better off without you, SAAD, and here’s hoping you stay angry and disgusted long enough for her to realize it.


I’m a few months into OkCupid dating, and it’s going well! I’ve stuck to two “automatic pass” rules: anyone who mentions my looks and nothing else in the first message, and anyone with no face pic. It’s worked out great so far. But I’ve noticed that most kinksters on OKC don’t post face pics. I can understand this. I once came across a co-worker on the site—didn’t look, passed immediately—and I can imagine nobody wants their boss or co-workers to know they’re looking for puppy play and CBT. Not everyone has the luxury of taking a risk like that. So I’m tempted to drop my “no face pic = pass” rule for kinksters. But then I imagine how that would go: “Chat, chat, chat. ‘Hey, can I see a face pic?’ Oh no, I’m not physically attracted to this person!” Then I have to awkwardly un-match and feel terribly shallow and guilty for a while.

So do I keep my rule and pass on some very promising profiles without face pics to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? Or do I bend the rules? I’m just not looking to hurt anyone in a bad way.

Not That Kind Of Sadist

Lead with your truth, NTKOS: “Hey, we share a lot of common interests—BDSM, CBT, TT—but I usually require face pics before I chat. I understand why you may not be able to post your pics, and why you would want to chat for a bit and establish trust before sharing pics with me privately. So I’m happy to chat so long as you’re OK with the risk that I might pass after seeing your face pic. Still, even if we’re not ultimately a sexual or romantic match, every kinkster needs some kinky friends!”


So I’ve fallen in love with one of my good friends. I am in grad school, and we met because we are in the same intensive program, and we spend a lot of time together. When we first met, I had no interest in this person. And for the majority of the first year we worked together, that feeling maintained. However, over the past few months, I’ve found myself falling in love with this person. Their intelligence and beauty is simply intoxicating. I love our friendship, but at times it is a bit overwhelming being in their company, because I’ve developed strong feelings for them. I don’t think they share these feelings, or at least I haven’t been given any indication that they share the same feelings.

How do I go about telling them? I’d like them to know this is how I feel, but I also don’t want to lay the weight of my feelings on them or ruin our friendship.

Growing Romantic Attachment Disrupts Studies

You have two options: You can be honest with this person, or you can be that unsettling “friend” with an ulterior motive. Personally, GRADS, I think fessing up is better than shutting up—sublimated/unexpressed desire has a way of souring a friendship—but if your grad program is ending soon, I’d encourage you to wait. Most graduate programs are two years (some are less!), and you’ve been working together for more than a year. So there should already be a light at the end of that intensive tunnel. In the meantime, savor the agony and “pray on it,” as Mike Pence would say. (Only you should swap out prayer for masturbation.) And, hey, you didn’t have feelings for them until recently. So who knows? They may develop feelings for you by the time your intensive grad program ends.

And, yes, telling a friend you have a crush on them is always a risk—it could ruin the friendship or make things awkward for a while. Just be honest, direct and unambiguous (“I would like to date you,” not, “I hope we can hang out sometime”), and explicitly invite your crush to say no if the answer is no.

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