CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Dan Savage

I’m a Seattle local who basically grew up reading your column. I think you’ve always given really sound advice, so I’m reaching out. My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. We started out poly, but I was clear from the start that when I fall in love with someone, I lose all attraction to anyone other than that one person. I fell in love with him, and we decided to be monogamous. But I know he’s still attracted to other people, and it makes me feel like ending the relationship.

I love him like I’ve never loved anyone else, but because he doesn’t feel the same way I do on this subject, I don’t believe he loves me at all. I don’t feel like I can bring it up with him, because it will just make him feel bad for something he probably can’t control, and I don’t think I can make him love me. But I also feel like I’m wasting my time and living a lie. Help!

Heartbroken Over Nothing

This thing about you—how being in love with someone renders you incapable of finding anyone else attractive—that’s pretty much a unique-to-you trait. The overwhelming majority of even the blissfully-in-loves out there still find other people attractive. And you should know that if you grew up reading my column. You should also know that a monogamous commitment doesn’t mean you don’t want to fuck other people, HON; it means you’ve promised not to fuck other people. We wouldn’t have to make monogamous commitments if sincere feelings of love extinguished all desire for others.

Since no one is ever going to love you in precisely the same way you love them—since no one else is ever going to meet the impossible standard you’ve set—every person you fall in love with will disappoint you. Every potential love arrives pre-disqualified. You meet someone; you fall in love with them; they fall in love with you; you are not attracted to others; they still are; you have no choice but to dump that person and start all over again. Lover, rinse, repeat.

Zooming out: People who create impossible standards for romantic partners—standards no one could ever hope to meet—usually don’t want to be in committed relationships but can’t admit that to themselves. We’re told good people want to be in committed relationships, and we all want to think of ourselves as good people. So someone who doesn’t want a long-term commitment either has to think of themselves as a bad person, which no one wants to do, or has to redefine for themselves what it means to be a good person, which can be hard work. But there’s a third option: set impossible standards for our romantic partners. And then, when all of our romantic partners fail to meet our impossible standards, we can tell ourselves we’re the only truly good person as we move through life breaking the hearts of anyone foolish enough to fall in love with us.

So while my hunch is that it’s not your partner who is incapable of loving you, HON, but you who are incapable of loving him, you’re free to prove me wrong. One way we demonstrate our capacity to truly love someone is by believing them when they say they love us. That’s step one. Step two is accepting that someone’s love for us is legitimate, even if they don’t experience or express love in precisely the same way we do.


My father passed away recently. I received a contract to sell his house, and I’ll soon have to clean the place out. My question is this: What should one do with a dead relative’s porn? I don’t want to keep it; I don’t want to waste it by just putting it in the trash; I can’t donate it to the library. There’s nothing especially collectible in it, so eBay is out. Maybe someone would buy the lot of it on Craigslist, but I’m not entirely clear what the legalities are for selling secondhand porn out of the back of a car, let alone what the potential market might be. I mean, how many folks are looking to buy a deceased elderly man’s former wank bank?

I’m certain I’m only the most recent in a long line of folks to find themselves in this situation. Any advice for finding the porn a new home, or is it a bad idea to even try? Added difficulties: smallish town, Midwestern state, and I’m his only living family member.

Rehoming Inherited Pornography

You would be in the same predicament if you had lots of living family members. I have an enormous family—lots of aunts and uncles, countless cousins—and, “Who wants the porn?” isn’t a question I’ve ever heard asked at an elderly relative’s wake. And that can’t be because none of my elderly relatives had porn stashes; the law of averages dictates that at least one and probably more dead Savages (R.I.P.) had massive porn stashes, which means whoever cleaned out the apartment or house quietly disposed of the porn. And that’s what you should do.

If you’re concerned about your dad’s porn “going to waste,” dispose of it in a conspicuous manner, e.g., drop it off at a recycling center in open boxes or clear bags. Maybe a worker or someone else making a drop-off will spot the porn and decide to rescue it from the pile.

And, hey, my condolences on the death of your father.


I went on Grindr just before Christmas last year; this handsome dude messaged me, and we ended up hooking up at his place. It was apparent from the get-go that this was no regular hookup. We didn’t even have sex. We just kissed and talked and cuddled for six straight hours. Sounds perfect, right? Well, at about hour five, in the middle of this surprisingly deep conversation, he said something that made my head spin. I asked him how old he was. “Twenty-one,” he replied. Holy shit. He asked how old I was. “Fifty.” Neither of us had our age on Grindr. He looked about 30 to me. He said he thought I was in my late 30s. It was basically love at first sight for us.

After nine months of trying to keep a lid on our feelings, he moved away and found a guy close to his own age, which I strongly encouraged. Before they became an official couple, we went on a goodbye walk, which was full of love and tears. We agreed to do the “no contact” thing for one month. (He thought three was extreme.)

But here’s my issue: I’m in love with him. I’ve been incredibly sad since we last spoke about three weeks ago. It’s a week until the agreed-upon day when we can say hi if we want to, and I don’t want to. I can’t. I have to let him go. I know he’s going to want to talk, but I’m afraid if I have any contact with him, it will set me back, and I won’t want to stop. It’s taken all my willpower to not contact him so far. My question: How do I let him know I don’t want any further contact without hurting him?

Impossible Love Sucks

Call the boy, ILS; ask him to meet up, and tell him you made a mistake. Yes, you’re a lot older, and the age difference may be so great that you two aren’t going to be together forever. But maybe you’re perfect for each other right now. A relationship doesn’t have to end in a funeral home with one person in a box to have been a success. If you have three or four great years together before the window in which your relationship makes sense closes, ILS, then you had some great years together. People get it into their heads that they can’t enter into a relationship unless they can picture it lasting “forever,” when, really, nothing is forever. To quote the great James Baldwin: “Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?”

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with Joan Price about senior lovin’: savagelovecast.com.

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

We brought Savage Love Live to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, and the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, over three nights. As is always the case, the crowds had more questions than I could possibly answer. So in this week’s column, I’m going to tear through some of the questions I wasn’t able to get to.

How do you feel about relationships that have a time frame or defined end point? For example, one person is going away for school or a new job?

I’m fine with relationships with seemingly set end points, as relationships don’t have to be open to being long-term or become long-term in order to be a success. (Did you meet a nice person? Did you have some good sex? Did you part on good terms? Success!) And the world is filled with couples that met at a time in their lives when school or work commitments meant they couldn’t be together—and yet, years or even decades later, they’re still together. You never know.

If you use food for vaginal play, is there any type you should definitely avoid?

Lasagna makes for a lousy insertion toy. (Food doesn’t belong in vaginas; there could be bacteria on the food, even after washing, that results in a nasty infection. #FuckFirst #EatAfter)

Is it OK that I always seem to hate my partners’ mothers? Is this normal?

It isn’t, and it’s not. When you’re the common denominator in a lot of high-stress, high-conflict relationships, you’re most likely the problem.

Why do straight guys like anal so much?

Superhero movies, bottled beer, watching sports—there are lots of things straight guys like that I just don’t get. But I get why they like anal: Done right, anal feels amazing. And not just for the person doing the penetrating. When it’s done right, it is also great for the person being penetrated. And sometimes the person being penetrated is a straight guy.

After a year of dating, my boyfriend told me he is polyamorous. I don’t know how to proceed. Any tips?

If he meant, “Polyamory is my sexual orientation, and you have to allow me to date other people, and you can’t break up with me over this because that would amount to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” that’s bullshit, and this relationship is over. But if he meant, “Polyamory is a better relationship model for me than monogamy,” that’s not bullshit, and the conversation is just getting started. If you prefer monogamy, but you’re willing to consider polyamory to be with him, i.e., if that’s a price of admission you’re willing to pay, it could work out. But if you aren’t open to polyamory, and monogamy isn’t a price he’s willing to pay to be with you, it won’t work out.

I work in secondary education, and I’m in an open marriage. My job is awesome, but I’m so afraid of a student or a parent seeing me when I’m out with a different partner. What should I do?

You could continue to make out in public with your other partners—or whatever it is you’re doing in public that makes it clear you’re fucking/dating someone who isn’t your spouse—or you could be discreet. Since antidiscrimination statutes don’t offer protections to people in open relationships, and since people regularly freak out about teachers having sex at all, you really have no other choices besides discretion (when out with others) or shouldering the risk (of losing your job).

My poly friend has started bringing her flavor-of-the-week partners to social events instead of her awesome wife. How do I tell her I’d rather hang out with her and her wife than her and her (usually boring, always temporary) new fling?

Maybe your poly friend’s wife doesn’t want to hang out with you. Wait, I can say that in a nicer way: Maybe your poly friend’s wife is an introvert who would rather stay home, and she’s only too delighted that the flavor-of-the-week is willing to escort her wife to the box social. But if you miss your friend’s wife, maybe give her a call and invite her to lunch?

My former lover cheated on his current live-in girlfriend with me. She has no idea. Should I tell her what a narcissistic cheater her boyfriend is?

Vengeful former affair partners don’t have much more credibility than narcissistic cheaters—indeed, people view both with similar contempt. But you do you.

My husband and I are swingers. For him, it’s who he is. For me, it’s something I do (and like!). We argue over how often we go out or have sex with other couples. Any suggestions for finding a happy medium?

More often than you’d like, and less often than he’d like—call it the bittersweet spot.

What tips do you have for lesbians in long-term relationships who want to keep sex fun and interesting?

My advice for lesbians who want to keep their LTRs hot is the same as my advice for gays, straights, bis, etc., who want to keep theirs hot. At the start of the relationship, you were the adventure they were on, and they were the adventure you were on. That’s why it was so effortlessly hot at the start. But once you’re not each other’s sexy new adventure anymore—once you’re an established couple—you have to go find sexy adventures together to keep it hot. And that requires making a conscious effort. Explore your kinks; buy some sex toys; have sex someplace other than your bedroom; invite very special guest stars, etc.

How do I create a sexier bedroom for even better sex?

Bedrooms are overrated, if you ask me (which you did), whereas basements, office stairwells, clean single-seat restrooms in upscale restaurants, dark corners of public parks, the space underneath banquet tables in hotel ballrooms, etc., are all underutilized.

Can you explain why male chastity is such a popular kink? I’m not offended by it, just curious about its sudden widespread popularity.

“I think a big factor is that people are enjoying the heightened mental connections that tend to develop with chastity play,” said Christopher of Steelwerks Extreme, makers of the Rolls-Royce of male-chastity devices. “Frequent business travel and long-distance relationships also make chastity an increasingly popular kink, as the cage-wearer and key-holder can maintain a playful dynamic without needing to be in the same room.”

I’m 99.975 percent sure I don’t want kids. My boyfriend of almost four years has a vasectomy scheduled for the end of the year. Should we go through with it? My boyfriend is really fucking sexy, hence the .025 percent doubt.

Vasectomies, like pregnancies, are reversible. Your boyfriend could also go to a sperm bank and put a load or three on ice.

Female, 32, straight, and very pregnant. I’m about to pop! Do you have any postpartum sex advice?

Explore outercourse for a while, and try to have (or try to fake) a positive attitude about it.

Your thoughts on transmasculine folks who don’t necessarily identify as men using the word “faggot”?

Fine, so long as they put the emphasis on the second syllable.

Thanks to everyone who came to our live shows!

On the Lovecast, love your curvy body, with Elle Chase: savagelovecast.com.

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

I met a guy right around the time my boyfriend dumped me. I met him on a dating site, but he was really only interested in my boobs and me giving him head. I really like having him in my life, and he’s very attractive, but he won’t do anything with me other than let me give him head while he watches porn. I’m very insecure, so I feel like part of the reason this has been going on for so long is because I’ve never had someone so attractive be into me.

He asked me to sign a “contract” that requires me to drop everything and send him pictures whenever he asks. I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend, but he can have as many girls as he likes. I do a lot of stuff for him, and he doesn’t do a single thing for me. I should have said no, but I was feeling very shitty about myself and thought I had nothing to lose. He currently lives a two-hour bus ride away, and he won’t pick me up. He’s also only available on weekdays. He keeps telling me to come out to see him, but I can’t justify a two-hour bus ride with nothing in it for me.

I almost cut him out completely after an older co-worker touched my butt—I confided in this guy, and he told me it would be hot if I showed my co-worker a photo of my boobs. That he would say something like that makes my blood boil, yet I still haven’t cut him off. Maybe I’m just overreacting and expecting too much of him, as he’s told me multiple times that he doesn’t like sex, and he never wants to see my lower half.

Don’t Understand My Behavior

Stop seeing this guy—or stop servicing this asshole, I should say. This piece of shit swooped in when you were obviously feeling vulnerable (right after your boyfriend dumped you), and he’s been leveraging his good looks against you ever since. And it’s not just head he’s after, DUMB. He gets off on seeing you debase and degrade yourself—he wants to watch as you feed your self-esteem into a shredder—maybe because it affirms how attractive he is, or maybe because he’s just that sadistic of an asshole. And while you may think you have nothing to lose, this asshole clearly sees what you have to lose: your self-esteem, which he is disassembling bit by bit.

I know people with similar blow-and-go arrangements; they provide what’s called “no recip” oral to selfish and sometimes sadistic tops. But they do it for the right reason—they do it because it turns them on. If being this guy’s on-call cocksucker turned you on and got you off, DUMB—if this was a thrilling adventure for you and a break from your regular routine, a brief/erotic escape from the person you knew yourself to be (sexy, attractive, valued, etc.)—this could be a healthy and playful release. The guys I know who do this—and they’re all guys—don’t have any illusions about the men they’re servicing catching feelings for them. And most importantly, they get off on it. It turns them on to be treated this way, to play this role, to have this kind of cocksucker-on-call arrangement with someone who plays the role of the selfish, domineering top.

But this doesn’t turn you on, DUMB; it makes you feel terrible about yourself. And I can tell you where this is headed: This guy’s assholery is going to escalate over time.

Cut this guy off now.


I’m a 26-year-old woman in a two-year relationship with a 32-year-old man. I love him, and we live together. He recently revealed that he thinks the word “vagina” is disgusting. He likes the word “pussy,” but “vagina” turns him off, and he hates when he hears the word. I think this is ridiculous, immature and, honestly, a bit insulting.

I am proud of my vagina—I love it, and I love what we do with it together. I don’t have a hang-up with names for parts. He assures me he loves my pussy, but vagina is a word that grosses him out. Am I crazy to be a bit upset about this terminology conflict?

Vaginas Always Love Useful Erections

“First of all, VALUE is correct,” said Dr. Jen Gunter, an ob-gyn and author. “There is nothing disgusting about the word vagina. However, to many people, the word vagina has this connection, because telling people that vaginas are dirty or gross or disgusting is a core tenet of the patriarchy. Vulva and clitoris have sadly been along for this societal shame-driven ride. I can see how a heterosexual man might have trouble with the word vagina, because he has received that messaging since birth.”

But just because we can see how your boyfriend might have developed a problem with the word, VALUE, doesn’t make your boyfriend actually having a problem with the word OK.

“There’s an issue when a grown man finds the word vagina disgusting,” said Dr. Gunter. “I am curious if her boyfriend’s inability to say vagina is a ‘bedroom-only’ phenomenon or an ‘everywhere’ phenomenon. If it’s bedroom-only, maybe she can help him work up to using the word by introducing it more. Exposure therapy! However, if his disgust at the word is an ‘everywhere’ phenomenon, then I can appreciate how that is a sticking point for VALUE. I wrote a whole book, The Vagina Bible, for this very reason. If he read it and appreciated how not saying the word vagina has been oppressive for women, maybe it might help? Again, exposure therapy!”

Follow Dr. Jen Gunter on Twitter @DrJenGunter. The Vagina Bible is on sale now—and on The New York Times best-seller list! Congrats, Dr. Gunter!


My husband likes to give and receive enemas during sex. I was very inexperienced sexually when we met in our early 20s and very much in love. He introduced me to enemas, and I went along at first and almost enjoyed the novelty. But in time, it started to feel less appealing. After we had kids, there was less opportunity for this sort of thing, and I eventually realized I didn’t like anal play. The enemas began to feel physically and psychologically violating. He introduced anal plugs as an alternative, but I still felt violated and frightened whenever he put one in me.

I went to a sex counselor who told me I had the right to say no. My husband began pursuing his anal interests alone. Now we’re both 68. My sexual drive has waned, but his has not. I don’t want to give up on the experience of PIV intercourse, but he doesn’t seem to understand that at this stage of life, sex for me is more about closeness and feeling loved and being held than about intense sexual pleasure. He is disappointed that I am not receptive to his need for anal stimulation. I have told him he is free to find people online who will do this, or if it is so important to him to have a partner who does this, we can separate. He would prefer that I be more accommodating.

Absolutely No Anal Love

You can and should continue to say no to any and all sex play—anal or otherwise—that leaves you feeling violated and frightened, ANAL. You can also say, “I’d like a divorce,” to a man who has proven himself incapable of taking “no” for an answer decade after miserable decade. And while your offer to allow him to find anal playmates online falls under the “perfectly reasonable accommodation” header, ANAL, I’m more concerned with your unmet need for love and tenderness than I am with your husband’s unmet needs. To that end, I think you should go find a tender lover—right after you find yourself a kick-ass divorce lawyer.

On the Lovecast: Why are bi women blazing so hard? Listen at savagelovecast.com.

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

I’m a 35-year-old bisexual man in a long-term relationship with a man. My question, however, has to do with my parents.

As an adolescent/teen, I was a snoop (as I think most of us are, looking for dad’s porn stash, etc.). I was probably 12 or so when I found evidence of my dad being a cross-dresser. There were pictures of him in makeup and women’s clothing, and correspondence (under an alias and to a separate PO box) with other men interested in cross-dressing. As far as I could tell, he did this alone in hotel rooms while on work trips. Two years ago while on vacation, it came up while my mom and I were at dinner. She had recently found evidence, and she needed to take a short break to visit a friend out of state to process. She suggested I bring it up with him (I guess) because I’m queer, and she knows I used to help host pansexual play parties. My dad is a devout Republican and comes off as very masculine. I see them only a couple of times a year.

Should I try to bring this up with my dad and let him know that I’ve known about his cross-dressing for more than 20 years and offer my knowledge about kink and alternative sexuality? Or just let him do his thing, and we all retain the illusion of ignorance? My parents are still happily married—and whether it is more companionate than lusty, they love each other and have been married for more than 40 years. Your take would be appreciated.

Son Of A Cross-Dresser

Why does your mother want you to talk to your dad about his cross-dressing? Does she want you to talk him out of it? Does she want you to convince him to include her on his cross-dressing trips? Does she think he would benefit from attending a pansexual play party with his adult bisexual son?

Unless your father is in some sort of emotional distress, or your mother is in some sort of danger, I really don’t see the point of this conversation, SOACD. It doesn’t sound like your dad is struggling with shame. If your dad had to abuse alcohol or smoke a crate of meth in order to give himself permission to cross-dress alone in a hotel room, you surely would have mentioned that fact. And if your father was having unprotected sex with the other straight male cross-dressers he corresponded with, you surely would have mentioned that, too.

From the details you included in your letter, SOACD, it sounds like your dad has successfully integrated cross-dressing into his life without harming himself or neglecting and endangering your mom. You could say your parents had a long and loving marriage despite the cross-dressing … or you could say it’s possible your parents’ marriage is an ongoing success not despite the cross-dressing, but because of it. If dressing up in women’s clothes and occasionally escaping the confines of masculine performance helped your dad feel centered and emotionally whole, having this escape and having some people he could be open with about it—some straight male cross-dressing peers—could have made him a better husband and father. (It’s too bad it didn’t make him a better person politically, but you can’t have everything.) While it might have been better for everyone if your dad had been open about his cross-dressing with his wife and kid(s), that ship sailed a long time ago.

I don’t see what this convo—coming 20 years after you discovered his cross-dressing and two years after your mother discovered it—will achieve other than embarrassing and humiliating your father. Even a married person has a right to some small degree of privacy, and each of us has a right to a small zone of erotic autonomy. Your parents’ long, loving, successful marriage coexisted with your father’s cross-dressing for four decades, and I don’t see why it can’t continue to coexist with it now. And if your mother is sad that your dad never shared this with her and wants to reassure him that he didn’t need to hide this part of himself from her and that she loves him just the same, she doesn’t need to deputize her bisexual son to initiate that conversation. If she thinks it would be a relief and not a torment for her husband to know she knows and that knowing hasn’t changed how she feels about him, she should tell him.


I’m 25 years old and polyamorous. I’m in a relationship with a 28-year-old man since August 2018. It was just him and me when we first started dating, and then his old flame came into the picture. This whole time, he had said he was not interested in having kids and a home and a primary partner. Since he got surgery in June and is now unemployed, he’s had a lot of time to think, he says, and now he’s decided he wants kids and a home and a primary partner. He knows I do not want any of these things, so he says his old flame is the person he’s going to do this with. He has made jokes about being an “alcoholic” since I first met him, and I thought it was just a joke. But now he’s spending money he simply does not have on alcohol. It worries me.

Do I hang in there? Do I throw in the towel? I love this man very much, but I’m so confused.

Previously The Primary

I’m so sorry, PTP, but it would appear you’ve lost the unemployed guy with the drinking problem to another. But take heart: You’re young enough to meet someone else, someone who wants what you want and doesn’t want what you don’t. I’m certain that after meeting this person—or even long before you meet them—you’ll be able to recognize that your ex did you a favor. Sometimes we dodge the bullet, PTP, but on rare occasions, the bullet dodges us.


My 19-year-old younger brother is doing financial domination online. He maintains a Twitter account that’s mostly photos of him giving the finger and looking smug. He also posts pics of his feet, videos of him urinating (no penis visible, just the stream), and lots and lots of “bitch shots,” i.e., crotch-height photos looking up at him from below. He uses a lot of homophobic slurs in the tweets that accompany these images. I would have exactly zero fucks to give about this if my brother wasn’t still a teenager and wasn’t posting photos of his face. I warned him that the internet is forever, and facial-recognition software is a thing, and people who don’t understand the role-play aspect of his use of hate speech will think he’s a bigot. This could come back to haunt him socially or professionally. Complicating matters somewhat: My little brother is a straight boy, and I’m gay. He’s not making a ton of money doing this, but he’s making enough that my parents are wondering how he’s buying all those super-expensive shoes. What do I tell him? What do I tell them?

By the way: I know about this because he told me—I didn’t stumble over his Twitter account.

Falling Into Nefarious Doings Of Male Sibling

You’ve already told your brother the internet is forever and that the low-key, low-stakes pseudo-sex work he’s doing could come back to haunt him, FINDOMS. Beyond that … well, there’s really not much more you can do. Your brother is an adult, as are the men paying “tribute” to him, as they say in FinDom/FinSub Twitter, and he’s free to make his own choices.

As for your parents, why is explaining where your brother is getting all those new shoes your problem? If your brother is old enough to set up his own Twitter and Venmo accounts, he’s old enough to come up with a plausible lie about those shoes.

On the Lovecast: Mob Queens! Listen at savagelovecast.com.

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

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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My roommate is a gay man who is into getting fisted. A lot.

We were FWBs until he moved into my place, at which point we agreed it would be better for us to not have sex anymore. It’s worked out fine, and he’s been here for a year. Here’s the problem: About two years ago, he got into fisting, and he has someone over every night to fist him. As soon as he comes home from work, he spends a good hour in the bathroom cleaning out, and then some guy comes over to fist him. Every single day.

My roommate is a very attractive guy who doesn’t think he’s attractive at all. I’ve talked to him a few times about whether he’s being sexually compulsive, but he just laughs and says, “Well, you suck a lot of dick.” (I have a healthy but moderate sex life.) I am concerned that all of this ass play is not healthy. As a friend, I want him to seek help for his sexual compulsion, his low self-esteem and his social isolation. As a roommate, I am tired of all these strange men coming into my home and the high water bill.

Frequent Insertions Sincerely Trouble Someone

“Fisting is a healthy and safe sexual activity so long as the participants are sober,” said Dr. Peter Shalit, a physician and author who works with many gay men. “There is a misconception that fisting damages the anal sphincter, loosens it, and causes a loss of bowel control over time. This is absolutely false.”

Devin Franco, a gay porn star who’s been getting fisted on a weekly basis for many years, backs up Dr. Shalit. “People who are only used to vanilla intercourse are sometimes shocked,” said Franco. “People will leave comments on my videos asking if I was in pain, even though I’m clearly always enjoying it. Fisting is actually the most pleasurable sexual act I’ve ever experienced—and seven years in, (there have been) no negative health consequences, and everything down there works just fine, thanks.”

But exactly how does that work? How does someone like Franco get a fist and/or a ridiculously large sex toy in his butt?

“A skilled fisting bottom can voluntarily relax the anal sphincter in order to accommodate a hand up to the wrist or further,” explained Dr. Shalit. “A skilled fisting top knows how to insert their hand—it’s actually fingertips first, not a clenched fist—and how to do it gently, taking their time, and using lots of lube. And, again, after the session is over, the sphincter returns to its normal state.”

Which is not to say that people haven’t injured themselves or others engaging in anal play with large sex toys, fists or even perfectly average cocks—people most certainly have. That’s why it’s crucial to take things slow, use lots of lube, and go at it sober.

“Fisting isn’t for everyone,” said Dr. Shalit. “In fact, most people are unable to relax their sphincter in this fashion.”

But to figure out whether fisting is for you—to determine whether you’re one of those people who can relax their sphincter—first you gotta wanna, and then you gotta try.

“It actually took about two years for me,” said Franco. “That’s from the first time I did anal play, thinking, ‘Maybe I can get his whole fist in there,’ to the first time I actually got a fist in my ass. Two years.”

And while fisting isn’t for everyone, FISTS, like Dr. Shalit said, it’s very clearly for your roommate. But enjoying the hell out of a particular sexual activity—even one that seems extreme to those who don’t enjoy it—isn’t by itself evidence of low self-esteem or sexual compulsion.

“If FISTS thinks his roommate has low self-esteem,” said Dr. Shalit, “he’s done the right thing by telling him he should seek help. But that’s the end of his responsibility. Whether or not his roommate seeks help is up to his roommate. And it’s hard for me to agree that his roommate is being sexually compulsive based on what’s in the letter. Many men have sex every day, and the roommate’s sex life doesn’t seem to have any negative consequences, except that FISTS doesn’t like it.”

While Franco also doesn’t think getting fisted daily is proof that your roommate is out of control, fisting isn’t something he does every day. “Doing it daily sounds exhausting,” he said. “The act requires a lot of physical exertion. I personally need a little recovery time between sessions. But I do know guys who do it every day—maybe not a fist every day, but they play with large toys every day. But I couldn’t, and I don’t.”

All that said, FISTS, two of your cited reasons for not liking what your roommate is up to—strange men in and out of your apartment (and your roommate), and all that douching driving up your water bill—are legitimate complaints that you shouldn’t be shy about addressing.

“To not have a lot of strangers in and out of the apartment is a reasonable ask of a roommate,” said Dr. Shalit. “But if the roommate sees a steady stream of FISTS’ hookups coming over, it could seem like a double standard. And I suppose he could ask for extra help with the water bill, but I’m skeptical that ‘cleaning out’ for fisting would actually cause a significant increase in the bill.”

Dr. Shalit recommends Anal Pleasure and Health by Jack Morin to anyone who wants to learn more about anal intercourse, fisting and other forms of anal play. “It’s the bible of anal sexuality,” said Dr. Shalit.

Follow Devin Franco on Twitter @devinfrancoxxx, and check out his work at justfor.fans/devinfrancoxxx.


My husband of nearly 20 years came out to me as bisexual about two months ago. He assured me he has no intention of looking outside our marriage for other sex partners.

We’ve always had a kind of barrier sexually, and it seemed to fall away after he came out. We’ve since done all manner of things, including my using a dildo on him. (Thanks for all the tips over the years about anal!) It has been a fun and empowering experience overall.

There is one thing I am having trouble with. He mentioned that he’d like me to peg him using a strap-on. I mean, of course he would, right? He’d like to actually feel my body against his. That would doubtless make the whole experience better for him. But I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Does this require me, even if temporarily, to change my body? I’m feeling really vulnerable and insecure about it, like it means there’s something wrong with my body. I get panicky just thinking about it. (My husband has not done or said anything to make me feel bad about my body.)

Using the dildo is no big thing, and I don’t understand why this feels so different and difficult.

Pegging Feels Different

You don’t have to do anything about this right now, PFD. Your husband only came out to you as bisexual two months ago! Your husband’s honesty pulled down that barrier you’d always sensed but could never name, and that’s wonderful and exciting. And you’re already exploring anal penetration with him on the receiving end, which is something many straight men also enjoy. If covering your genitals temporarily with a strap-on makes you feel awkward or unwanted, you don’t have to do it—not now, not ever. But I can’t imagine you think there’s something wrong with the bodies of lesbians who use strap-ons with their female partners, just as you don’t seem to think holding a dildo means there’s something wrong with (or inadequate about) your hands.

If covering your vulva with a strap-on makes you feel negated or undesirable, there are dildo harnesses that strap on to your thigh, not your crotch, and could provide your husband with body-to-body closeness during penetration while still leaving your vulva and clit accessible for digital stimulation.

On the Lovecast, are people actually using dental dams? (Spoiler: No.): 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.

On the Lovecast, we take on money AND vaginas: savagelovecast.com.

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

I’m a straight woman and have been sexually active for about six years. I’m in my mid-20s now, and I’m about ready to become a “man-hating feminist.”

I feel like I can figure out what a guy wants in bed pretty easily. I cannot remember a single time when I’ve had sex with a guy that he has not had an orgasm. I, on the other hand, have never had an orgasm. Quite the opposite! I’ve barely even been aroused lately when I am having sex, because it’s easy to tell when the guy I’m with just wants to come, and that is the only thing on his mind. This makes me want to just get it over with.

I’ve become really angry with the male population and their lack of care for pleasing a woman. Will it take a Women’s Pleasure Revolution for men to realize that their female counterparts have needs, too? Granted, I’ve had sex with only five guys—but in my mind, Dan, that’s five too many. I also have girlfriends in the same boat. Men skip foreplay; they don’t return the favor when it comes to oral; and they’re so eager to get their penises in my vagina that they barely touch me before doing so! THIS MAKES ME FEEL USED. I’m a giving woman by nature, but I feel like men just take.

I don’t hate men. I actually really like men. In fact, I was madly in love with one of the five.

Really Enraged/Vexed Over Lazy Turds

“Lots of foreplay, mutual oral, enough touch to get me going or, better yet, get me off at least once—all of these things have to happen before we fuck.” Practice saying that in a mirror, REVOLT, and then say it out loud to the next guy you sleep with. Say it and mean it. And if those things don’t happen—if he skips the foreplay or won’t go down on you or refuses to touch you with anything other than his dick—then he doesn’t get to fuck you. Get up; get dressed; and go. The sooner you walk out on guys who don’t want to do those things, the sooner you’ll find yourself in bed with guys who do. So no more having sex to “get it over with” (GIOW), and no more sticking around for shitty GIOW sex that leaves you feeling used.

Some guys will be happy to see you go. Given a choice between a woman they can’t treat like a crusty tube sock and an actual crusty tube sock, a statistically significant percentage of straight guys will choose the crusty tube sock. Don’t waste your precious time or pussy on guys like that. And don’t waste a moment of your time or any of your pussy on guys who will engage in a little half-assed foreplay or go down on you for 30 seconds before they try to stick their dicks in you. Only fuck the guys who enjoy foreplay and are excited to eat your pussy before fucking you—or instead of fucking you.

The revolution you want isn’t going to come because some homo ordered straight boys everywhere to start engaging in foreplay and eating pussy. The revolution is only going to come—you’re only going to come—if you and your friends and all women everywhere stop settling for GIOW sex. Now, some women have GIOW sex because they’re afraid a guy might react violently if they withdraw consent. They fear male violence, and that’s a sadly reasonable fear. But too many women have GIOW sex to avoid disappointing male partners who have already disappointed them; too many women slap on a smile and fake an orgasm to spare the feelings of dudes who don’t give a shit about their feelings or their pleasure.

You say you were in love with one of the five guys you had sex with, REVOLT, which I hope means you didn’t fear him and could talk to him. Yet every single time you had sex, you allowed this guy to essentially masturbate inside you. You didn’t stick up for yourself; you didn’t advocate for your own pleasure; you didn’t say, “Here’s what you need to do to please me.” Take a little personal responsibility here: You let Mr. One-In-Five get away with it. He let you down—he should have been more proactive about pleasing you—but you also let yourself down. No more. Insist on more and better from here on out, REVOLT, and you will get more and better.

By the way: If what you meant by “I have never had an orgasm” is that you’ve never had an orgasm at all, ever, alone or with a partner, then you need to start masturbating right now. You’ll enjoy partnered sex more if you know what it takes to make you come, and you can show your partners exactly what that looks like. And whether you’re already masturbating or not, please get your hands on a copy of The Vagina Bible, Jen Gunter’s new book on everything vaginal, vulval and clitoral.


I’m a straight woman in my mid-30s. For most of my adult life, I’ve gotten off on fantasizing about my boyfriends fucking other women. So far, it’s been fantasy-only, but I’m intrigued by the prospect of a real cuckquean scenario. However, I’ve always been reluctant to share my kink. It’s not that I fear rejection or judgment; I think most guys would be into it, including the lovely man I’m currently in a committed relationship with. Rather, it’s my own discomfort with a kink that I fear stems from an unhealthy emotional place. Insecurity, avoiding intimacy and difficulty trusting men are all issues I’ve struggled with, and the cuckquean kink plays right into all of that. I’ve worked with therapists over the years and gotten into a somewhat solid place emotionally. Alas, my kink remains, and has gotten stronger to the point where I’m imagining my guy fucking someone else about 99 percent of the time in order to come. I wish I could get more enjoyment from “normal” sex.

I’ve read your column long enough to know that I should probably just embrace my kink and enjoy it. But while I’m trying my damnedest to be sex-positive, I can’t get around the nagging feeling that there’s something “unhealthy” about this fantasy. If my kink is based on specific insecurities/fears, do they get even more hardwired into my brain with every orgasm?

This Reluctant Cuckquean

Two quick questions: (1) How much more hardwired could something possibly become if you already have to think about it 99 percent of the time in order to climax? (2) What if imagining your guy fucking other women is “normal” sex for you?

A lot of people’s kinks are essentially eroticized fears: the fear of being humiliated, the fear of being exposed, the fear of being cheated on, etc. Not everyone eroticizes these fears, of course, but so many of us do that it really should be covered in sex-ed courses. In your case, TRC, your erotic imagination took something that scares you—being cheated on—and turned it into something that arouses you.

The difference between your worst fear and your ultimate turn-on is control. If your man fucks another woman, it will happen because you wanted it to (you gave him permission), and there will be something in it for you (it will get you off). Which is not to say you ever have to act on this. You don’t. Plenty of straight men are turned on by the fantasy of their wives being with other men but know they couldn’t handle the reality of it, so they enjoy it as a fantasy only. But they don’t—or the healthy ones don’t—deny themselves the fantasy, whether it’s just playing it out in their heads or their monogamous partners indulging them with a little cheating-centered dirty talk during sex.

We can’t will kinks away, TRC; we can only embrace and accept them. Again, that doesn’t mean we have to act on them—some fantasies can never be realized for moral reasons—but to beat ourselves up about our kinks is a waste of time.

On the Lovecast, rival advice columnist E. Jean Carroll: savagelovecast.com.

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

I took Molly with my best bud. We wound up cuddling and telling each other everything. We didn’t mess around—we’re both straight guys—but one of the things I told him is that I would much rather eat pussy than fuck, and one of the things he told me is that he’s not at all into eating pussy and pretty much only likes to fuck. I think we’d make a great team: We’re both good-looking, athletic dudes, and we should find a woman who loves to have her pussy eaten and loves to get fucked. I would go down on her and get her going (and coming), then he steps in and dicks her down (and gets her off one last time). What say you?

Ultimate Package Deal

I would say, “FUCK YES!” if I were a woman, UPD, which I’m not. And while I can’t promise you every woman will have the same reaction I did, some women most definitely will.


I’m a male in my late 50s. I went to a urologist for my erection problem, which was helped with ED medication. But orgasms are very hard to achieve, and the ED medication does not seem to make orgasms any easier to have. My girlfriend appreciates the erections, but I would also like to climax. This is very frustrating. Any advice?

Pills Inhibiting Lusty Loads

Tits and dicks both sag with age, which is why push-up bras and push-up pills were invented. And while ED meds do make it easier for a guy to get an erection, they can also make it more difficult for a guy to climax. Upside: You last longer. Downside: You may sometimes have sex without climaxing. Or you can shift your perspective and try to see this downside as a secret upside: Sometimes you get to enjoy sex without climaxing—and next time, when you do climax, you’ll blow a bigger load.


I am a bisexual man who’s active in the sex-positive community, and I love playing with couples. I was updating my Feeld profile to reflect this desire, but I realized there’s no consistent term for a male unicorn. So I listed “Male/Stag/Stallion/Minotaur/Pegasus,” various terms I’ve seen people use. WTF, it shouldn’t require a whole line in my profile to run through all the terms! As the person who famously crowdsourced “pegging,” I was hoping you could work your magic and get everyone to agree on a nonbinary term that works for all sexual identities.

Having One Reliable Name

What’s wrong with “unicorn”? Unicorns—the mythical beasts—can be female, male, or, I suppose, genderless or genderfluid. They can be anything we want them to be, HORN, since we made them up. And while the term first came into use to describe bi women who weren’t just open to having sex with an established, opposite-sex couple, but open to committing to a couple and forming a poly triad, there’s no reason men and/or nonbinary folks who are interested in the same—hooking up with and forming relationships with established couples—couldn’t identify as unicorns, too. But are you a unicorn? People began to call those bi women “unicorns” because they were hard to find, and everyone, it seemed, was looking for one. People interested in simply playing with couples aren’t anywhere near as hard to find.


I’ve recently begun to experiment with a few kinky friends. One of them is a voyeur who is super into bukkake. I’d be open to a group bukkake scene, but how do I avoid contracting an STI?

Anonymous Assistant

“On me, not in me” was a safe-sex message crafted in the earliest, darkest, most-terrifying days of the AIDS crisis—and a bukkake scene, which involves multiple men ejaculating on one person, is all about “on me,” which makes it relatively safe. So long as you’re careful not to get anyone’s come in your eyes (ocular gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are all things) or on your hole(s), you won’t have anything to worry about.


Is there a regional difference between people who use the word “come” versus people who use “jizz”? I personally only use the word “come” and rarely hear anyone use “jizz.” Do people not use “jizz,” or do they just not use it where I live?

Seeking Pretty Unnecessary Niche Knowledge

I’ve seen maps that track regionalisms like “soda” versus “pop,” SPUNK, but I’ve never seen one tracking “come” versus “jizz.” Seems like something a sex-positive linguist might want to jump on.


I’m a 46-year-old man, and I recently met a 31-year-old woman. We have not had PIV sex yet, but we have enjoyed several nights of cuddling, spooning, etc. as the relationship progresses. She has made it very clear she wants our first time to be a fairy-tale evening, so we have yet to take things past mild foreplay. Plot twist: After two nights of us sleeping together, I realized she’s a sexsomniac. She had no idea until I told her, and she barely believes me. But if I put my arm around her to cuddle when she’s asleep, she immediately sexually responds to the skin-to-skin contact. On two occasions, she’s performed oral on me. I’m not complaining, as this is quite possibly every guy’s dream. My question is around consent when dealing with situations like this.

She’s My Dream Girl

Unless your new girlfriend gave you permission to initiate skin-to-skin contact in the middle of the night—unless she not only didn’t have a problem with the first blowjob you accidentally triggered but explicitly gave you the go-ahead to trigger more—you have already and repeatedly violated her consent. If she doesn’t want to do more than cuddle or spoon when she’s awake, you shouldn’t be manipulating her into blowing you when she’s asleep. Most people who are partnered with sexsomniacs prefer not to have sex with their partners when they’re unconscious, but some do—with their sexsomniac partner’s prior consent. It’s a gray area, because an unconscious person can’t offer meaningful, enthusiastic, ongoing consent. But unless there are details you’ve omitted—details like your partner saying, “I blew you in my sleep? Really! Neat! I’m happy to keep doing that!”—stop initiating skin-to-skin contact when she’s asleep, or stop pretending you care about consent. (You should care about consent, and you should stop.)


I’ve been seeing a guy. We’re not really “boyfriend and girlfriend,” and we’re not exclusive. Last night, him and my best friend and I were all hanging out in his bedroom. After a while, I went to sleep on the couch in the living room and left them in the bedroom. When I woke up, they were having sex. I had told them both it was OK for them to have sex with each other, but I didn’t expect them to do it when I was just in the other room.

Unwelcome Personal Surprise Enraging Totally

You’re not exclusive, UPSET, and you gave this guy and your best friend permission to fuck, and … they fucked. But you got something out of it, too: You learned an important lesson. Namely, no one can read your mind. If you give someone permission to do something with someone else sometime, and both those someones are sitting on a bed, you need to bring up any and all additional conditions before falling asleep on the couch in the next room.

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I’m an otherwise healthy male of 54. When I was a teen, my cock measured about 6 1/2 inches—not small, not huge, pretty average. I never kept track of the situation down south, but suddenly, I find my junk reports in just more than 4 inches. WTF?

Is this normal? Do men lose size/girth as they age? I’m only 54! How much more do I have to lose before 60? And beyond? I’m single now, and suddenly I’m afraid to be intimate with women I formerly would have embraced without a second thought, out of embarrassment. My confidence is at an all-time low. I’m actually afraid to ask anyone out for fear of “exposing” the evidence. I assume there are no pills for this, but please tell me there are options.

Shrinking in Seattle

“We have to make a distinction between observed penile length and actual penile length,” said Dr. Ashley Winter, a board-certified urologist in Portland, Ore. “Penis length changes in real time based on a number of factors—factors that include level of arousal, stress and ambient temperature. For this reason, researchers like to limit variability by measuring the ‘stretched flaccid length’ in a warm room.”

Needless to say, most men aren’t observing—much less measuring—their dicks when they’re soft.

“We know that almost ZERO home dick measurements are done in the flaccid state,” said Dr. Winter. “But unless SIS jotted down the room temp or precise level of arousal when he measured his teenage penis, it’s unlikely he’s comparing apples to apples.

“Another issue—and a far less appreciated one—is that the penis is anchored to the undersurface of your pelvic bones, so nearly one-half of the average penis length is ‘hidden’ along the undersurface of the pelvis.”

There’s a very special tendon—the suspensory ligament—that runs from the base of your penis to your pelvis. In addition to providing you with some degree of control when you’re erect, SIS, the suspensory ligament also holds some of your dick up and inside the body. Men who want their cocks to look larger when they’re soft and who don’t mind if their hard cocks are harder to control or flop around during intercourse will sometimes have this suspensory ligament cut, which causes the penis to “drop.” Their cocks aren’t as useful for sex, it’s true, but there’s more “observable” cock for other men to admire in locker rooms and at urinals.

“The most dramatic cause of lost ‘observed’ penile length with aging is weight gain,” said Dr. Winter. “As the average guy gains weight, more of his fixed penile length gets hidden, as the crucial sit-bone-to-skin distance gets longer.”

So your dick may not be any smaller than it was in your teens, SIS; it’s just that more of it may be hidden inside your now-middle-aged body thanks to weight gain and that damn ligament.

But, hey, let’s say you’re no thicker today than you were in your teens, and that your arousal levels are constant, and that you’ve kept your apartment at a constant temperature over the decades. Could something be causing your cock to actually shrink?

“The main causes of actual penis shrinkage are having your prostate removed, Peyronie’s disease (plaque development that narrows or bends the penis), or the scarring of erectile tissue, something called corporal fibrosis. SIS would know if he’d had prostate surgery, and he would have a noticeable ‘lump’ or change in erection shape if he had Peyronie’s. So the main concern here is corporal fibrosis. It can be insidious and is usually associated with conditions that make blood vessels unhealthy—like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. SIS says he’s healthy, but the penis is often the first body part to manifest signs of the above conditions, because it is so dynamic. Which means the penis, wonderfully and tragically, is often the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for cardiovascular health.”

Let’s say your canary is shrinking, SIS. What can you do about it?

“First and foremost, he should realize that far less women would care about his penis length than he does,” said Dr. Winter. “Studies including 52,000 individuals showed that 85 percent of women were satisfied with their partners’ penile length, while only 55 percent of men were satisfied with their own length.”

And unlike you, SIS, the women you sleep with today aren’t going to be comparing the dick you’ve got now with the dick you had (or thought you had) then.

“But if SIS wants to maximize his ‘observed’ penile length, he should shed extra weight—if he’s overweight—and should also check in with his doc for a test of his cholesterol and blood pressure, and a diabetes screen,” said Dr. Winter. “Regular erections do help keep the penis healthy, so if he has some ED, a Viagra (or similar med) can preserve length.”


I am 66 years old and a gay man. After a very promiscuous youth, I have settled down a lot as far as sex and mostly just masturbate, with a trip to the baths every few months.

I have a question about orgasms. I have noted, since I’ve gotten older, that my orgasm from masturbation is very intense and seems to last about five minutes after I ejaculate, during which I feel orgasmic feelings in my penis, legs, and sometimes my whole body. I’ve never had this before. Is this normal?

Mr. Sixty Fucking Six

“The question of normalcy in sexual function is hammered into us from the start—but it’s pejorative and irrelevant,” said Dr. Winter. “As a physician, the relevant question here is: ‘Does MSFS find this distressing or harmful?’ It doesn’t sound like five-minute total-body masturbation-induced orgasms are painful for MSFS, nor are they interfering with his day-to-day quality of life. So by definition, they are ‘nothing to worry about.’ Furthermore, they are not the harbinger of any dangerous medical condition. As you like to say, Dan, this is more of a ‘YAHTZEE!’ than a problem.”

Anecdotal evidence—my own, a huge pile of it, gathered over the years—indicates that you’re something of an outlier, MSFS; most of the older men I hear from with questions about their orgasms are concerned about their slow and steady deterioration, MSFS, not their sudden improvement. (Erections are harder to get; their orgasms are less intense; and their jizz is less abundant.)

But even if this isn’t a problem—even if this is a Yahtzee—what might be going on?

“That’s the far more interesting question: Why is this happening?” said Dr. Winter. “I don’t have a lot of quotable studies on that one, but I have a few thoughts. First off, this may have nothing to do with age and everything to do with his position. Contraction of the muscles in the pelvis and thighs (even calves!), and the muscles at the base of the penis (or clitoris) can contribute to strength of erection and intensity of orgasm, and certain positions may allow more effective muscle ‘recruitment.’ So differences in position or stance during partnered versus masturbatory activities may hold clues for MSFS.”

Another possible explanation—and another definite “Yahtzee!”—is that you’re ever so suddenly multi-orgasmic.

“While it is more common for women to be multi-orgasmic, there are men who can do this, too,” said Dr. Winter. “Longer duration of arousal—common with porn watching—and certain medications that prevent prolactin surge in the brain and strong Kegels (those muscles again!) may lead to the ‘condensed multi-orgasm,’ a phenomenon that may fit the description MSFS is providing.”

But finally and again, MSFS, so long as those powerful, long-lasting, all-body orgasms aren’t diminishing your quality of life, they’re nothing to worry about. Enjoy!

Follow Dr. Ashley Winter on Twitter @AshleyGWinter. Dr. Winter co-hosts The Full Release (thefullreleasepod.com), a terrific, funny and informative sex-and-relationship advice podcast with comedian Mo Mandel.

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