CVIndependent

Sat09262020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dan Savage

Married guy here. I’m 33; the wife is 31. Our fifth anniversary is next month, but we’ve been together for almost eight years. We’ve recently both come out to each other as bi. She tried to tell me a long time ago, whereas I came to the realization only recently. We’re both interested in new sexual encounters, and this weekend, we met up with a male escort. It was my first sexual experience with a man, and the first sexual encounter between my wife and another man in eight years … and we found it lacking. It was too short and too impersonal.

Is this how it usually goes with escorts? Should we have been more upfront with our interests ahead of time? We don’t want to keep spending the money if we’re not getting the experience we want. We need to stay fairly discreet for most of these encounters due to our careers. Appreciate any input.

Oh, and a shoutout to my amazing wife for going from learning I’m bi to fucking another dude with me three months later!

Basking In Confusion Over Underwhelming, Pitifully Lackluster Experience

Some sex workers love their jobs; some don’t. Some sex workers are good at their jobs; some aren’t. Sometimes a sex worker doesn’t click with a particular client for some ephemeral, hard-to-define reason; sometimes a client gives off a bad vibe—or a bad odor—and the sex worker bails or hurries things along, not because they’re a shitty sex worker, BICOUPLE, but because their client is shitty or smells shitty.

But here’s the thing, BICOUPLE: No sex worker can read minds. You tell me you’re wondering if you should’ve been “more upfront with (your) interests ahead of time.” If you left something important out when you made the booking, well, that could’ve been the problem. No sex worker likes having things sprung on them. A sex worker who doesn’t do kink is going to feel very uncomfortable if there’s a bunch of bondage gear laid out when they arrive; even a sex worker who does kink is going to feel uncomfortable if kink wasn’t discussed in advance. Similarly, BICOUPLE, if you didn’t explain to your sex worker that there were two of you, your sex worker might’ve felt uncomfortable when they arrived.

If you weren’t clear about your wants, and your sex worker didn’t ask or you couldn’t articulate them after he asked, you put your sex worker in the position of having to guess. And your sex worker may have guessed wrong; some clients prefer sex that’s athletic, impersonal or aggressive. And if your sex worker had a bad experience with a husband who got upset when his wife seemed a little too into him, he may have erred on the side of maintaining some emotional distance even as you got physically close.

If what you wanted—if what you were most interested in—was a more intimate and connected experience, then you weren’t just expecting sexual labor from the sex worker you hired, BICOUPLE, but his emotional labor, too. While affection and intimacy can certainly be faked, we don’t typically expect a strong emotional connection when we’re hooking up with a stranger. Being sexually intimate can build that connection, BICOUPLE, but it can take time and a few meetings to get there.

To avoid winding up in bed with another sex worker you don’t click with, I would advise you to take the time—and spend the money—to make a real connection. By which I mean: Go on a date. Find a sex worker you’re interested in, and make a date—for dinner. Pay them for their time; pay for their meal; and if you click, BICOUPLE, if you feel like you could connect, book them for a sex date.


Straight male here, divorced four years ago, just entering my 50s. I recently expanded my dating-app parameters to see everyone in my area. I wanted to check out the competition and possibly give myself a little ego boost. I have a gay male friend who is in his 40s. Mr. Forties has a boyfriend of two years who is in his 20s. They are great together—they vacation together; they quarantined together; Mr. Twenties and Mr. Forties worked on redecorating a home together, etc.

The problem is I spotted Mr. Forties on several dating apps. It would have been perfectly acceptable for him to say “none of your business” when I asked him why. Instead, he told me they were old profiles, implying they pre-dated Mr. Twenties. He lists pets on his profiles that he adopted a few months ago. I have a sore spot about this behavior, because my ex-wife started “auditioning” my replacement before we filed divorce papers. I really don’t like being lied to.

What do I do? Confront Mr. Forties? Mind my own business and hope Mr. Forties doesn’t crush Mr. Twenties by cheating? Help!

Fumbled Into Fraught Terrain Involving Expanded Search

Maybe Mr. Forties and Mr. Twenties have an open relationship. Maybe they have a closed relationship but both regard flirting on dating apps as harmless. Maybe Mr. Forties was charged with finding a very special guest star for a threesome. Or maybe Mr. Forties has profiles on dating apps for the exact same reason you expanded the parameters on your profiles, FIFTIES: for the ego boost.

If it was any of the above—if there was an innocent explanation—why did Mr. Forties go with, “Those were old profiles,” instead of, “We sometimes have threesomes”? Well, in my experience, FIFTIES, some straight people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the kind of non-monogamy practiced by most gay male couples. Hell, some closed-minded gay people have a hard time with it. I can imagine a scenario where Mr. Forties was honest with people in the past and got a bad reaction, and consequently no longer feels safe—much less obligated—to share the details of his sex life with straight or gay friends. So he gave you the answer a lot of straight people and some gay people prefer to hear when they ask pointed questions of partnered friends they assumed to be monogamous: “Of course I’m not sleeping around! Those were old profiles! My monogamous boyfriend would never want me to shove my monogamous dick down his throat while some other dude non-monogamously rearranges his guts! Heavens! We’re far too busy redecorating our lovely home to arrange threesomes! Which we’re totally not interested in having!”

Look, FIFTIES, you put a question to Mr. Forties that he wasn’t obligated to answer at all, much less answer truthfully. So what do you do now? What you should’ve done when you first stumbled over Mr. Forties’ dating profiles: You do nothing. You drop it. The issue you shouldn’t have brought it up in the first place? You don’t bring it up again. Even if Mr. Forties is auditioning replacements for Mr. Twenties—even if he lied to you for a selfish, self-serving reason—it’s still none of your business.


My boyfriend and I first heard the terms “sexual monogamy” and “social monogamy” on your podcast. They describe us: not sexually monogamous, but we present that way socially, and most people in our lives assume we are. Including my mother. We’re both from very Republican families that struggled to accept us. My attitude is that if my brothers don’t have to tell our parents about their kinks, I don’t have to tell them about my threesomes. (Both of my older brothers have confided in me about their kinks, and I wish they hadn’t.) But it got back to me via my sister that my Trump-worshipping, Obama-despising mother only accepts me and my boyfriend because we are “good” gays. Good because we’re monogamous, like good straight people, and not promiscuous, like bad gay people.

Now I feel like I should say something. But what?

They Really Underestimate My Proclivities

“Good people can be ‘promiscuous,’ Mom, and awful people can be monogamous. Take Donald Trump. That asshole has been married three times and cheated on every one of his wives. Barack Obama, whom you despise, has been married once and has never been caught cheating. Which means Obama either doesn’t cheat, or like everything else he’s ever done—from being someone’s husband to being our president—he’s better at it than Donald Trump.”

On the Savage Lovecast, learn a thing or two from power sub Lina Dune: www.savagelovecast.com.

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

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

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

Passionate Reassurances Extracted So Soon Undoes Relationship Exit

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Absent Girlfriend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concerned Hetero Over Kinky Entitled Dumbasses

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

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

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

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

How did we get here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Dr. Debby Herbenick on Twitter @DebbyHerbenick.


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

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

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

Rarely Disappointed Reader

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

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

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I’m a cis male in my late 20s. I’ve recently become consumed by a specific fantasy that I fear is unattainable—a fear that has been made worse by several failed attempts to research it.

A little background: Except for a couple of dates and make-out sessions with other men, my sex life has always been exclusively with women. I’ve had male crushes and often thought I might be bi or pan, despite never masturbating to thoughts of men or gay porn. (Don’t worry, Dan: I’m not going to ask if I’m gay. I promise.) In general, I’ve led a privileged sex life. I’ve never been broken up with, and it’s rare for me to experience any form of rejection. But in early 2020, my libido vanished. I stopped masturbating and only orgasmed once or twice a month, when my now ex-girlfriend would insist that we have sex. But then a couple of weeks ago, I began imagining being one half of a loving gay couple that replaced all MM penetrative sex with MMF sex: My sex life with my male partner would revolve around the two of us going out and finding submissive women for kinky threesomes.

Since then, I’ve been masturbating to this fantasy daily, and I’m excited at the possibility of finding a new lifestyle that brings me a lot of joy. However, I’ve grown concerned that nothing else seems to turn me on at all. Equally as concerning, even minor adjustments to this fantasy ruins the whole thing. And to fulfill it, I’d need a man who’s at least all of the following:

1. Sensitive, giving, easy-going and an all-around good guy.

2. Very physically attractive.

3. Into cuddling and general affection, some make-out sessions, and occasional hand jobs and blow jobs—but absolutely no penetrative sex or anal play.

4. Into picking up submissive women for MMF threesomes.

5. Into penetrative sex with said women.

6. Into using roleplay and D/s to take out our kinks on said women.

7. Into giving me the more dominant role.

Now for my questions: Does anyone like this actually exist? Is there a name for the fetish I’m describing? Does it have a community? Is it similar to any more accessible fetishes out there? Does my loss of libido and this specific fantasy say something about me that I’m too close to see?

Can Anyone Tell Me Anything Now

First and most importantly, CATMAN: Kinks aren’t things you “take out” on other people. They’re things you share and enjoy with other people. Perhaps that “take out on” was a slip of the tongue or a little premature dirty talk; lots of people into D/s get off on talking about their kinks—BB or TT or CBT—as if they’re things a sadistic Dom gets off on doing to a helpless sub. That’s the fantasy, CATMAN, but in reality, the Dom and sub discuss their desires in advance, identify areas of overlap, and set limits. (Not just bottoms; tops have limits, too.) However brutal things may look to someone who wasn’t a part of those negotiations, and however degrading things might sound, kink play is consensual and mutually pleasurable—and if it’s not consensual and mutually pleasurable, CATMAN, then it’s not kink play. It’s sexual assault.

Again, maybe it was a slip of the tongue, and I’m being a dick; you did mention a desire to find submissive women, CATMAN, which most likely means you were planning to seek out women who wanna be “used and abused” by two hot bi guys in love. And you’re in luck: There are definitely women out there who would be into this scenario—some readers probably went all WAP reading your question—but you’re unlikely to meet those women on a night out. Meaning: You shouldn’t be thinking about casually picking women up, CATMAN, but rather cultivating connections online or at kink events with submissive women who would get into subbing for you and your imaginary boyfriend.

Finding a guy who meets your long list of particulars is a taller order. It frankly doesn’t sound like you’re looking for a partner, i.e., someone whose needs you want to meet, but rather a guy you can plug into your masturbatory fantasies. He’s gotta be bi but not into butt stuff, a good guy, a hot guy, a sub where you’re concerned, and a Dom where women are concerned … and any deviation from that long list disqualifies him from consideration for your life partner-in-crime, making each and every item on that long list a deal-breaker.

Relationships require compromise, CATMAN; no one gets everything they want, and a long list of deal-breakers makes for even longer odds. If you can’t budge on any of the items on your list … well, then you might wanna think about getting yourself a sex doll or two. You also might wanna give some thought not just about your long and rigid list of deal-breakers, but about why that list is so long and rigid that you’re unlikely—as you suspect—to ever find someone.

Zooming out …

You say your libido tanked in early 2020, CATMAN, and studies show you’re not alone. The twin pandemics—the COVID-19 pandemic and the stupidity pandemic—have tanked a lot of people’s libidos. So if this fantasy is working for you right now, I think you should lean into it. It may be a tall order—it may be so unrealistic as to be unachievable—but indulging in this very specific fantasy has cracked your libido open, and continuing to beat off about this fantasy might blow your libido wide open.

I don’t like to pathologize people’s kinks or attach meaning to what are usually arbitrary, random and inexplicable sexual interests. But the taller the order, the less likely it can be filled, CATMAN, and it’s possible you may not want it filled at all—at least subconsciously, at least right now. Sometimes when sex is scary, we obsess about fantasies that are impossible to realize or partners who’re impossible to find, because it allows us to avoid partnered sex. I know at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I was obsessed with a guy I couldn’t have, because it got me off the hook. My list of deal-breakers at that time was ironically pretty short: He had to be Tommy. If he wasn’t Tommy, I wasn’t interested. Tommy was amazing—totally obsession-worthy—and I did love him. But I know now that I threw myself into my obsession with Tommy to protect myself from a terrifying epidemic.

Maybe you’re doing something similar, CATMAN. But if I’m wrong—if this is what you want—there are cities out there with kink communities large enough for two partnered bi guys to find a steady stream of submissive women who wanna sub for them. But your list of deal-breakers is going to have to shrink if you ever hope to find a guy who’s close to what you want. And that’s all any of us ever gets, CATMAN—something close.


I’m a 39-year-old gay man living in Chicago. A good friend of mine recently got engaged to a wonderful man from Gambia in West Africa. She’s planning a ceremony there next summer and has invited me to attend. After doing a little research, I found out that being LGBT is a crime in that country, and the punishment is execution.

Should I go to the wedding and stay in the closet the whole time? In general, what do you think about gays traveling to countries that murder our LGBT brothers and sisters?

Intensely Nervous Venturing Into This Event

I wouldn’t go, INVITE, and if I were a straight girl, I wouldn’t expect my gay friends to risk their lives in order to attend my wedding.

While a quick search didn’t bring up news about any gay Westerners being executed in Gambia in recent history, gay tourists have been arrested, imprisoned and fined. So instead of attending your friend’s wedding next summer—which may not even happen, due to the pandemic—make a donation in her name to Initiative Sankofa d’Afrique de l’Ouest (www.ISDAO.org), an organization working to improve the lives and legal position of LGBT people in Gambia and other West African nations.

On this week’s Savage Lovecast, learn all about cuckolding: www.savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a 35-year-old woman. I recently discovered I’m a size queen. (Is it OK for me to use this term?) This has been brewing for a while as I have dabbled with purchasing larger and larger cucumbers and fucking myself with them after a good wash. I use a condom and tons of lube, and it’s been amazing.

Are there any safety or health concerns I should be aware of? I’m moving away from fucking produce and purchased my first sizable toy. I see safety tips online for men who like large toys in their butts, but I wanted to know if there is anything I should be aware of as a vagina-haver. I mainly partner with men but am expanding to date women, and I’ve been fisted only once by a woman and absolutely loved it.

Finding I Lately Love Enormous Dildos

So long as you’re taking it slow, FILLED, so long as you’re using lots of lube, so long as you’re playing with toys that have flared bases and were designed for insertion play, and so long as those toys are made of body-safe materials like silicone, then you’re doing everything right. And yes, FILLED, you may use the term “size queen” to describe yourself!


I’m a longtime fan of your column and your podcast. A discussion recently came up on Facebook, and I was curious as to what your take on the situation was. It was about diaper play: A group of people seem to think that enjoying this kink is the same thing as being a pedophile or engaging in “pedo-lite” behavior. Another group—myself included—believes that it is simply an expression of a kink between two consenting adults, and therefore isn’t the same as pedophilia at all. I was curious as to what your take on the situation was, or if you had any suggestions on how to approach this topic with the first group. Thank you; wishing you all the best!

Wandering Ethical Terrain Of Nappies Employed Sexually

Does fucking someone who’s wearing a dog collar count as bestiality? Of course not, WETONES, because dog collars no more turn consenting adults into dogs than diapers turn consenting adults into infants. And the disapproval of strangers on the internet not only won’t stop an adult who wants to wear diapers from wearing diapers, WETONES; that disapproval makes wearing diapers all the more arousing, because the transgression and “wrongness” of wearing diapers makes wearing diapers arousing—not for everyone, of course, but for most people who are into wearing diapers. Which means your disapproving friends are playing right into the pervy hands/crinkly rubber shorts of all the diaper lovers out there. And while it’s true that some people who are into age play are also into diapers, WETONES, it’s not true that everyone into diapers is into age play. For most people who get off on diapers, it’s the humiliation of being a diapered adult that turns them on, not the fantasy of being a child.


My husband and I recently watched the fantastic ’70s porn Alice in Wonderland: An X-rated Musical Fantasy. (We got to it by watching Meatballs.) It was everything I’ve ever wanted in a porn. Perhaps you or your readers could recommend something similar to put in our rotation?

Likes To Watch

Check out Caligula. This intermittently pornographic 1979 film probably isn’t as lighthearted as the version Alice in Wonderland you stumbled over, LTW, but it doubtless has a much more interesting backstory and far bigger stars—a young and sexy Malcolm McDowell as the mad Roman emperor with Peter O’Toole (!), John Gielgud (!!) and Helen Mirren (!!!) in supporting roles. Even better, this amazing train wreck of a movie is based on a screenplay by Gore Vidal. (Got a ’70s porn recommendation for LTW? Share it in the comment thread!)


Here’s a quickie: If a woman is attracted to cis men and nonbinary humans (who can have either a penis or vagina), but that woman is not attracted to cis women … would that woman be bi or pan? Labels are not super important to me, Dan, but I’m calling on my friendly neighborhood sex advice columnist for help just the same!

Loves All Bodies Except Ladies

While bisexual was once commonly understood to mean “attracted to both sexes,” the Human Rights Campaign’s online glossary now defines bisexual as “emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity.” That same online glossary defines pansexual as, “the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender.” While on the first read there doesn’t seem to be much daylight between those two definitions, LABEL, there actually is some difference between being attracted to “more than one (gender)” and being attracted to “people of any gender.” And while a lot of people use bi and pan pretty much interchangeably these days, the bi label is probably a slightly better fit for you, LABEL, seeing as your libido disqualifies all members of one gender—your own—from emotional, romantic or sexual consideration.


I’m a queer man who’s starting to bottom again after 10 years of being on top. I have a butt plug that my anus keeps pushing out, even though I’ve tried relaxing and lots of lube. It feels great when it’s in, and then there it goes! I need tips! But not just the tip, please.

Exciting XXX Toy Or Projectile?

The butt plug you’re using is too small. Like other recovering tops before you, EXTOP, you made the mistake of purchasing a small plug, because you didn’t think your ass could handle a medium or large one. But butt plugs are held in place after the widest part slides all the way into your ass, past your anal sphincters; then your sphincters close around the neck of the plug, aka the narrow part before the flared base. But if the wide part isn’t much wider than the narrow part—if you bought a plug that looks more like a finger than a lava lamp—then the anal sphincters will push the plug back out. Or, even worse, they’ll send the plug flying across the room when your sphincters contract at the moment of orgasm. Do yourself and your wallpaper a favor, EXTOP, and get yourself a bigger plug.


I am an avid reader, and I incorporate much of your advice in caring for my patients. I have tremendous respect for you and your column. Nonetheless, I must raise a concern about a small comment on in your response to COVET, the woman who was wondering about getting together with a new partner for sex despite social distancing: “Life is short,” you wrote, “and this pandemic is going to be long.” The lockdown is indeed difficult, Dan, but the concept that “this pandemic is going to be long” leads too many of us to feel as if the pandemic will never end. Impatience is driving some people to risky behavior that can be otherwise avoided.

With attention to safety measures, we can reduce our risk of infection, as well as emotionally survive until a vaccine is available. Patience with the pandemic is analogous to the perseverance that Londoners used to get through the bombings of World War II.

Practice All Necessary Deeds Especially Masks Isolating COVID-19

Thank you for sharing, PANDEMIC!


I got into my Lyft at 6 a.m. this morning to go to the airport. My driver was an older man with a southern drawl. The Savage Lovecast was playing on the radio when I entered his car, and I thought he was going to turn it off when he realized it was still on, and I was already planning to ask him to turn it back on if he did. I’ve had some heartfelt beautiful and rich conversations with my Lyft drivers, and I thought we would bond over our shared love of your show. I was literally sitting in the backseat thinking, “This is so great; we are so different, but we have at least one thing in common. I wonder how long has he been a listener, and could he be a Magnum subscriber, too?” Then I realized the episode playing was the one I was listening to the previous night as I fell asleep ... and then I realized my phone was connected to his car’s Bluetooth. Oops. Love you, Dan!

Sheryl In TEXAS!

Thank you for sharing, SIT, and thanks for turning a new listener on to the Savage Lovecast! This week, it features Dr. David Ley on sex addiction vs. kink; www.savagelovecast.com.

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

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

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

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

Outside The Home Exists Romance

What are you willing to settle for, OTHER?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Wonders About Nuzzling Knickers

I’m torn, WANK.

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

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

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


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

Marriage-Averse Dyke

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

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

On the Lovecast, it’s Millennial vs Boomer with Jill Filipovic; www.savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a gay guy who’s involved with a guy I met a few months before COVID-19 took off. He’s a great guy—smart, funny, hot, healthy and easy to be around. It started as a hookup, but we have chemistry on several levels, and without either of us having to say it, we started seeing each other regularly. We both live alone and decided to be exclusive due to the pandemic. I honestly don’t know what we’re doing here. It’s some combination of friends, fuck buddies and married couple all at the same time.

I wanted to just keep a good thing going, but he just threw me a curveball that I need help figuring out how to handle. Out of the blue, he told me he’d held back telling me about his foot fetish. He says he’s had very bad experiences with guys who weren’t into it. He’s been keeping it to himself and looking at stuff online. I’m pretty vanilla and not into it, but I know kinks are a thing for a lot of guys, and I’m willing to help out a good guy. I’m a longtime reader of yours, Dan, and being GGG is important to me. So I asked him to tell me what that means and what he wants to do. He wants to massage, wash and kiss my feet and suck my toes. OK, that’s not hot to me, but it’s probably doable once in a while. He thankfully doesn’t need me to do anything with his feet.

But there was more. I can’t believe I’m writing this: He asked if I would let him paint my toenails sometimes! WTF? He could barely say it and looked kind of sick after he did. We’re both conventional cis men. Neither of us are into fem stuff. He claimed it’s not about making me femme. He says it’s just a hot thing for him.

I know there’s no explanation for why people have kinks, but do you have any ideas what this is about? I didn’t respond at all, and we haven’t talked about it since. I’m not proud of that. I’m freaked out by this and not sure what to make of it. I don’t want to ask him directly if this is the price of admission, because that seems too big of a price to pay, and I really don’t want it to be his price.

Freaked Out Over Terrific Person’s Erotic Revelation Vibe

From your panicked response, FOOTPERV, you’d think this poor guy wanted to cut your toes off and masturbate while you bled out.

Dude. He just wants to paint your toenails—and as prices go, that’s a very small price to pay for smart, funny and hot.

Yeah, yeah: You’re both conventionally cis and presumably conventionally masculine. Since we’ll never know what caused him to have this particular kink—kinks really are mysteries—let’s just run with that: He thinks this is hot—or his dick thinks this is hot—because guys like you aren’t supposed to have painted toenails, and guys like him aren’t supposed to paint toenails, FOOTPERV, and this small transgression against gender norms makes his dick hard, because it does. While it’s not always the case with all kinks, in this instance, the most obvious explanation is the likeliest explanation. Moving on …

You say he’s a great guy; you say you enjoy being with him; and you say you’re a longtime reader. So you had to know that I was gonna say this: Buy some fucking nail polish already, and leave it on the nightstand where he can see it, and let him paint your fucking toenails.

And if you really hate it, FOOTPERV—if it freaks you out to have polished toenails—or if your masculinity is really so fragile that it shatters under the weight of toenail polish, then you don’t have to do it again. But I also gotta say … as off-the-wall sexual requests go, this is a small ask. If you were claustrophobic and your boyfriend wanted to mummify you, FOOTPERV, or if he wanted to use you as a urinal and you weren’t into piss, I would totally give you a pass. Some sexual requests are big asks, and the third “G” in GGG (“good, giving and game”) has always been qualified: “game for anything—within reason.” Some sexual requests are huge asks; some prices of admission are too steep; and some desires can only be accommodated by people who share them. But this request—what your COVID-19 spouse wants to do to you—is a small ask and a small price, FOOTPERV, in no way comparable to being turned into a mummy or used as a urinal.

If I sound a little impatient, FOOTPERV, I apologize. We live in a deeply sex- and kink-negative culture, and our first reaction when a partner discloses a kink is often a knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea of kinks at all. In the moment, we can fail to distinguish between the big ask/steep price and the small ask/small price. And I hope you can see the compliment this great, smart, funny, hot guy was paying you when he asked. He felt safe enough to share something with you that other guys have judged and shamed him for. Take the compliment; buy the nail polish; pay the price.


I am a 37-year-old female who, almost three years ago, got out of a six-year toxic, violent relationship with a man I believe I loved. After I left him for good, my life started to improve in so many ways. However, it seems that my once very healthy sexual desires have died. Ever since we broke up, I haven’t felt any sexual needs or attraction toward anybody. I honestly think there’s something wrong with me. I can’t even picture myself having intimacy again.

A year ago, I went out on a couple of dates with a man younger than me. He was cute and very interested in me, but I just didn’t feel the connection. I really don’t know what to make of this situation. Any advice is profoundly appreciated.

Just Another Gal

Could it be a coincidence? Besides ridding yourself of a toxic and abusive ex—and that’s harder than people who haven’t been in an abusive relationship often realize, and I’m so glad you got away from him—did something else happen three years ago that could’ve tanked your libido, JAG? Did you go on meds at the time for depression or anxiety? Could an undiagnosed medical condition that came on at roughly the same time create a libido-tanking hormonal imbalance? Did you go on a new form of birth control in anticipation of the sex you’d soon be having with other, better, nicer, hotter, kinder men?

If nothing else is going on—if you aren’t on meds for depression or anxiety; if you’ve had your hormone levels checked and they’re normal; if a new form of birth control isn’t cratering your libido—then the most obvious and likeliest answer is probably the correct one: Three years after getting out of an abusive relationship, JAG, you’re still reeling from the trauma. And the best advice is also the obvious advice: Find a sex-positive therapist or counselor who can help you work through your trauma, and reclaim your sexuality. Even if you were to get your hormone levels checked, adjust your psych meds or switch to a new birth-control method, I would still recommend seeing a counselor or therapist.

And even if the thought of being intimate with others causes you stress and makes you anxious, JAG, you can still explore solo sex. You don’t have to wait for the right hot young man to come along in order to reconnect with your sexuality. You can read or write some erotica; you can splurge on an expensive sex toy (have you seen the new clit-sucking vibrators?); you can watch or create porn. Really enjoying yourself may be the first step toward enjoying others again.

This week on the Savage Lovecast, Mistress Velvet schools us all; www.savagelovecast.com.

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

I’m a 20-something more-or-less lesbian in an East Coast city. I’m primarily into women, and I’m only interested in relationships with women, but I’m sometimes attracted to men and have enjoyed sex with men in the past. For various reasons, I decided a few years ago not to pursue physical stuff with men anymore, and I publicly identify as a lesbian. This worked great pre-pandemic, but now, with a tiny social bubble and no dating prospects, I find myself feeling very attracted to a male friend/co-worker. He’s 30-something, single, straight, and we’ve hung out a few times since COVID (only outside, and while socially distanced). As far as work goes, neither of us has a management role; we’re in different departments; and we rarely interact professionally. So, hypothetically, the co-worker part wouldn’t be an ethical issue if we were to get involved.

I have a feeling he’d be down for a casual pandemic thing … although it’s possible I could be projecting. But I have no idea how to broach this subject. He’s a respectful person, and we work for a very progressive organization, so he’s not going to flirt with me since I identify as gay. I don’t know how to bring up in casual conversation that I sometimes like sleeping with men, Dan, and my usual approach to flirting involves a lot of casual physical contact, which obviously isn’t possible right now.

What should I do? Should I just let this go? Even though we don’t work closely together, there’s obviously the potential for professional issues if feelings got hurt, and celibacy is obviously a responsible option during this pandemic. But COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions are going to continue, and he and I seem well-enough suited to keep each other company. I was single and celibate for a while before the pandemic and am feeling desperate to touch another human being.

If it’s not a terrible idea, how do I flirt with him without endangering public health, messing up our friendship, or making our work situation incredibly awkward in the event that he’s not into me?

Craving Organic Viable Earthly Touching

There’s no way to ensure that a sexual and/or romantic relationship with a co-worker (or anyone else) won’t end badly—and a little awkwardness would be the least of your worries if this proposed arrangement ended badly. But if your relationships and breakups are generally drama-free, COVET, and if you’ve been friends with this guy long enough to know that his relationships and breakups have been mostly drama-free, I think you should tell him how you’ve been feeling. Ask him if he’s interested in finding a COVID-19 sex buddy, as the Dutch call them, and if he is, tell him you would like to apply for the position.

While most couples meet online these days, COVET, roughly 10 percent of opposite-sex couples—which is what you two would be—still meet through work. And while you’re not interested in anything romantic or long-term, couples that meet through work remain the most likely to marry. Which means work relationships don’t always end in tears and/or pink slips and/or lawsuits. (Although they do sometimes end in divorce.) People who find themselves attracted to co-workers need to be thoughtful about power dynamics, of course, and cognizant of company policies where workplace romance is concerned. It sounds like you are being thoughtful, and it doesn’t sound like either of you have power over each other and are unlikely to ever be in positions of power over each other.

Also: Life is short, and this pandemic is going to be long.

So the next time you get together for some socially distanced socializing, COVER, open your mouth, and tell this guy what you’ve been thinking. If he’s as liberal and progressive as you make him out to be, he’s no doubt aware that human sexuality is complicated, and that while many of us can find a perfect fit among the most commonly understood set of labels, many of us pick a label that doesn’t fit perfectly, but use it because it comes closest to capturing some combo of our sexual and/or romantic interest and desires. Don’t think of this ask—don’t think of this disclosure—as walking anything back, COVET, but of expanding and complicating what he already knows about you. You remain homoromantic—you’re only interested in other women romantically—but you are sexually attracted to both men and women. In other words, COVET, your heart is lesbian, but your pussy is bi.

If he’s up for being your COVID-19 sex buddy, swear to each other that you’ll handle the inevitable end with grace and compassion. While awkwardness can’t be avoided, COVET, stupid and unnecessary drama certainly can. And it’s been my experience that promising in advance to act like grown-ups increases the chances of everyone acting like grown-ups. Similarly, simply saying, “Well, this might get awkward,” in advance of awkwardness, or, “This is awkward,” if things should get awkward, reduces the strength and duration of awkwardness by at least half.

Finally, a note to all the guys out there who think COVET’s question gives them license to hit on women who identify as lesbians: No, it doesn’t. Don’t do that. If there’s a lesbian-identified-but-not-averse-to-all-dick dyke in your life … if you work or school with a homoromantic-but-bisexual woman who identifies as a lesbian … and if that woman is even remotely interested in fucking you, she will let you know. And even if your hunch is correct—even if your dickful thinking is spot-on, and that one lesbian you know does wanna fuck you—being disrespectful enough to make the first move instantly disqualifies both you and your dick.


This is a letter from a gay guy. If one of my regular kinky playmate friends were to gag and hood me and then fuck me while wearing a condom, would that reasonably be expected to prevent COVID-19 transmission?

Hoping Or Otherwise Determined

You’re less likely to contract COVID-19 if you’re hooded and gagged, and it’ll be even safer if your kinky playmate wears a mask, too. But you should be hooded and gagged before your kinky playmate arrives, HOOD, because if he gets close enough to hood and gag you himself, he’ll be exhaling all over you and inhaling whatever you’re exhaling. And that—inhaling what other people are exhaling—is the risk we all need to avoid right now.

While COVID-19 has been found in semen, the jury is still out on whether semen presents a significant risk of infection. (Unless a dude shoots so hard his semen is aerosolized, and his sex partners are in danger of inhaling his spunk into their lungs.) That said, COVID-19 isn’t the only thing we need to worry about, HOOD, so he should wear a condom to protect you from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The biggest risk, according to health departments from sea (NYC Health) to shining sea (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control), is kissing—we’re being urged to forgo “kissing and saliva exchange” with randos for the moment—so kinky fuckers who get off on wearing masks, gags and hoods have a built-in, hard-wired advantage. But no kissing before the hood goes on.


Please settle a debate with my “friend.” I’m correct in that your staff comes up with the clever names of those who submit letters to your Savage Love column, right? My “friend” holds the delusional belief that the clever names are created by the letter-writers themselves. Please settle this with a confirmation that I am correct.

Friendship Risked In Entirely Needless Dispute

A million or so years ago, I began shortening sign-offs created by the letter writers—I began making acronyms out of them—to cut my word count and save space. Readers noticed what I was doing and began creating sign-offs that, when acronymized, became words that playfully referenced their questions. It quickly became something “Savage Love” readers looked forward to—something they looked forward to as much or more than my dick jokes—and it wasn’t long before readers were letting me know they were disappointed when sign-offs didn’t result in clever acronyms. So nowadays, when readers don’t go to the trouble of creating clever sign-offs for themselves, I do it for them. I would say I come up with roughly half the sign-offs that appear in the column, FRIEND, which means you and your friend are both right.

On the Lovecast, Dan interviews an activist from “Love Is Not Tourism”: www.savagelovecast.com.

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

Hopelessly Optimistic Person Enquires

Be prepared.

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

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

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

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

Now to quickly answer your first questions …

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

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


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

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

It’s Me Not You

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

One Grateful Client

Thanks for sharing, OGC!

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My wife asked me to write to you about our situation. We’ve been married for 15 years. I am 50 years old, and my wife is a decade younger. We are a heterosexual couple with kids. I am a submissive male, and I like to play with my ass using different-sized dildos. I enormously enjoy being penetrated with sex toys.

A few years ago, I introduced the idea of an FLR—female-led relationship—to my wife, and she accepted it. We are a happy couple! My wife is more on the traditional side of sex, and I respect that. We have PIV sex twice a week, and I try to give her pleasure as much as I can. Looks like everything is OK, right? But recently she complained that I have stopped ejaculating when we have sex. And it’s true: When we engage in vaginal penetration, I no longer ejaculate. I like it this way, because I don’t lose my sex drive, and I can continue. But she doesn’t like it. For her, my ejaculate is the “cherry on top” of the sex, and my coming during sex is important for her pleasure and satisfaction. My wife thinks that I stopped ejaculating because I developed the habit of pleasuring myself with dildos and butt plugs in the shower. My wife thinks the toys are distracting me. Do you think it’s true? If that’s the case, what should we do? I love my wife, but I also love my butt plugs and dildos.

Spouse Unpleased By Husband’s Un Blasts

You should come in your wife.

If your wife is in charge—you proposed a “female-led relationship,” and she accepted—then she gets to give the orders, and you’re supposed to do what she says. (Within reason, of course.) So when she says, “Come in me,” you should say, “How high up your vaginal canal would you like me to come?” Even if you weren’t in a female-led relationship, SUBHUB, refusing to come in your wife when you know it is important to her pleasure is a weirdly literal kind of withholding behavior—and considering how GGG your wife has been, SUBHUB, refusing to come in her so you can “continue,” presumably without her, isn’t something a loving submissive would do. It’s something a selfish asshole does.

Your wife doubtless suspects the same thing I do: You aren’t coming in her because you’d rather blow your load in the shower. She sees you when you slip out of bed to go cram sex toys in your ass and blow your load down the drain instead of finishing in her. And if that’s what you’re doing—and I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re doing—then you’re treating PIV sex with your wife as foreplay, and the time you spend alone with your ass toys as the main event. If I were your wife, SUBHUB, I would find that annoying, too. And however much you love your plugs and dildos, I would hope you love your wife more. At any rate, you aren’t submissive to your plugs and dildos—you’re submissive to your wife, who isn’t made of silicone and who has needs and feelings that have to be taken into account.

At the very least, SUBHUB, your wife’s pleasure should be your first priority during PIV sex—and it’s not like you can’t combine PIV with a little butt play. You can always shove one of your beloved plugs in your ass before you have PIV sex with the wife. And if you didn’t refrain from ejaculating every single time you had PIV, SUBHUB, if it was something you were allowed to once in a while with your wife’s permission, she might be willing to accommodate your desire every 10th time you have PIV.


I am a 53-year-old guy. Since I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety all my life, I’ve never been in a situation where sex was a possibility. I’m really dying to know what it’s like. I’ve gotten much better over the years, and the women who know me think the world of me. But they aren’t in a position to help me out. Other women seem to want someone much more outgoing and confident than I am or ever will be. Confidence comes from experience, and I don’t have any. My one girlfriend could not hide the fact that my inexperience offended her. Other people on blogs and such have recommended a prostitute. But that’s not really what I’m looking for. It’s about more than sex. I want someone to care for me as I am. Is there hope for me? Or has the world just left me behind?

Very Inexperienced Relationship Guy In Need

I know it’s not what you want to hear, VIRGIN, but I agree with other blogs and such: I think you should find a sex worker. Find a nice, patient woman who does sex work, and be completely upfront about why you’re seeing her: You’re so painfully self-conscious about your sexual inexperience that you find it hard to date. It may take some searching, VIRGIN, but there are sex workers who want to help their clients grow and heal.

“Many people have the stereotypical misconception that all sex workers are disconnected, uncaring and only there for the money,” said Ruby Ryder, a sex worker and sex educator. “While money is indeed a part of it, many of us understand that human beings need touch, connection and acceptance. We provide an opportunity for clients to be vulnerable, whether it’s fulfilling their kinky fantasies or simply having sex.” And while the relationship you have with a sex worker you might see regularly for a year or two is certainly transactional, VIRGIN, it’s still a relationship and about more than sex.

I’m not suggesting you see sex workers exclusively for the rest of your life (even if I’m not not suggesting that either), VIRGIN; I’m only suggesting you see a sex worker to find out what sex is like, gain a little self-confidence, and maybe feel a little more hopeful for your future.

Ruby Ryder is on Twitter @Ruby_Ryder and online at www.peggingparadise.com.


I’m a longtime reader who’s never had a question that your archives couldn’t answer. But there is something I wanted to share with you and your readers! My wife and I have incorporated virtual reality (VR) goggles into our sex life with great success, Dan, and they could be the answer to a range of questions that you get at the column. They’re so useful, in fact, that your failure to mention them is starting to look like a glaring omission!

Let’s say someone writes in who wants to open their relationship or explore a cuckold fantasy (like one of last week’s letter-writers!), but they’re worried about the emotions involved, potential STIs or COVID-19. VR goggles! While the offerings for female POV VR porn is pretty paltry, I’ve never seen my wife come harder than she did with me inside her and a pair of goggles on her face giving her the perspective of a man getting fucked by a beautiful trans woman. I love the idea that this turns her on, and I actually think she looks hot with goggles on! Besides the cost of a subscription to a VR porn site, the financial barrier is really pretty low—most people can use their smartphone and a $20 headset to get started, which is much cheaper than seeing a sex worker and much less time-consuming than engineering a consenting affair. And there’s no risk of STIs or COVID-19!

Just wanted you to consider VR as a possibly overlooked tool for your otherwise always-outstanding advice in the future!

Very Recent Purchase Optimizes Reality Nicely

Thank you for writing in, VRPORN, and you’re right: VR porn sounds like a great way for an adventurous monogamous couple to have a little virtual variety—whether that couple is monogamous by choice or monogamous for the duration of this stupid pandemic. In addition to the technology, of course, you’ll need a partner who not only knows you fantasize about other people (like they do, like everybody does), but who’s also excited about helping you explore those fantasies. Thanks again for sharing, VRPORN!

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