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Fake Fur

June 6, 2012

Confidential to Everyone: We are doing a special live taping of the Savage Lovecast at Seattle's Neptune Theatre on June 13, and you're invited! Savage Love Live! is a benefit for Washington United for Marriage, the organization fighting to protect marriage equality in Washington State. I'll be taking sex questions, the tech-savvy at-risk youth will be savvily teching, and our special musical guests GARFUNKEL & OATES will be singing music songs and giving sex advice! Savage Love Live!, June 13, Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $22, all ages. For tickets, go to and click on my stupid face. Come!

Could you tell my boy to calm the heck down? Can't seem to get him to get the difference between bestiality, necrophilia, and screwin' a bearskin rug. Emphasizing my usual sexual interests—which involve rope bondage, floggin', and an e-stim unit—hasn't worked.

I'm a gay man and a hunter; he's a gay boy and a vegan. But he likes how I look in my camo, holding a rifle, so it works. Last fall, I went to Idaho and shot a bear. A taxidermist made the bear into a rug. Most people don't know this, but the head on a bearskin rug is entirely fake except for the fur. The skull, teeth, and tongue are plastic, and the eyes are glass. Bear's hardly a bear.

So he liked the rug. Even wanted me to screw him on it—until he walked in while I was doing it with the bear. I rigged up the mouth with one of those Fleshlight things, pretty much as a joke, but my boy freaked when he saw the bear giving me a blowjob. Called me sick and disgusting, and now he won't let me tie him up or anything. He says he's afraid I will kill him and screw him. What can I do?

Bear Grinned Anyway

What can you do? You mean besides send video of you and your bear in action to prove this isn't the most entertaining fake letter I've received since Michelle Obama invited me to dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker's house? Besides that?

You can do this: Draw a distinction between what was going on in that bear's mouth and what was going on in your head. When a man beats off—with or without a Fleshlight-enhanced bearskin rug—two things are kindasorta happening simultaneously: what the man is doing with his dick and what the man is imagining he's doing with his dick. Guys who beat off using a clenched fist, for example, generally aren't clenched-fist fetishists; they're just horny and their fists are there and Sarah Jessica Parker isn't.

So your boyfriend walked in and saw you fucking a dead bear. That's gonna look bad, BGA, even to a boyfriend who isn't vegan. So how do you fix it? By patiently explaining to your vegan boyfriend that while, yes, you were face-fucking a bear when he walked in on you—no denying it—you weren't thinking about face-fucking a bear. Tell him you were thinking about him, and the bear's mouth was just a convenient place to wedge your vegan-boyfriend-substitute, i.e., your Fleshlight. Tell your boyfriend you don't entertain any murderous fantasies, tell him you only long to fuck living things, and tell him that Homo sapiens are the only animals you find attractive.

Tell him all of that, BGA, even if not all of that is true.

I'm a 17-year-old male and I'm currently in a relationship with a girl who was "sexually active" before we got together. Me being a virgin, I think you can understand why I might be nervous when things get heated. I would like to engage in the act with her eventually, but I don't know if she wants a virgin fumbling around in bed with her. And it's not particularly manly to go to someone and basically say, "I'm not going to be good at this for a while." Not exactly a turn-on. I feel she's ahead of me in experience. What would be the best advice you could give me on the subject?

Nerves Entirely Wrecking Boy

If your girlfriend is close to you in age, NEWB, the odds that she's any good at sex are vanishingly slim, her prior sexual activity notwithstanding. Some people have a knack for sex, of course, but almost all teenagers are lousy at sex. Trust me, NEWB: I was a teenager once, a teenager who slept with other teenagers, and I was lousy at sex and so were they.

Now here's my advice: Chill the fuck out. Presumably, your girlfriend likes you, NEWB, and knows you're a virgin. So she knows you'll be a little nervous the first time you have sex and that there's going to be some fumbling. But you wanna know a secret? Even sexually experienced adults—even adults who are really good at sex—get nervous, NEWB, and there's no such thing as sex without some fumbling.

As for concerns about seeming less than manly: You're bringin' the dick, NEWB, so you're the man. Nerves don't render you dickless. If you're worried about displaying a manly confidence, well, you can still do that: Go into your first sexual experience confident that your girlfriend is into you, and be honestly and unapologetically who you are. Which is inexperienced. Being yourself is far more manly than pretending to be someone or something you're not, NEWB, and there's nothing less manly than pussing out on a new experience for fear of appearing unmanly. Honest nerves are manlier than false bravado.

One last thing to do before you lose your virginity: Watch a weekend marathon of 16 and Pregnant on MTV. That show will inspire you to use condoms religiously and correctly, NEWB, every single time. Even if your girlfriend is or claims to be using hormonal birth control, wrap your manly ol' dick up before you slide it inside.

Following up on the letter about masturbating in the privacy of a public toilet stall: Guys are being banned from Multnomah County libraries in Portland, Oregon, for wanking in the supposed privacy of bathroom stalls. Facilities security officers peep through spaces between stall doors and those who are caught are excluded from the libraries for a year. I thought "sexual activity" required a partner and masturbation wasn't a crime if practiced in private—but tell that to the peeping uniformed officers working in the Central Library, aka "Portland's Crown Jewel." You can't go to a locked bathroom stall and rub one out, on pain of landing on the Excluded Patrons List as a masturbator. Victorian prudery lives.

Wanking In Private Environs

The letter-writer who got caught wanking in a public toilet had taken pains to find an empty men's restroom on a deserted floor of an office building. He wanted to have his midday wank, WIPE, without disturbing or unnerving others.

I'm familiar with Portland's Central Library, WIPE; I wrote huge chunks of two books there. The toilets are crowded, and there's no way you can beat off in one without disturbing others. I don't have a problem with people rubbing 'em out when they need to—hello—but guys who get off in public toilets because they get off on public toilets are forcing other people to serve as props in their masturbatory fantasies. And that ain't cool.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at

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Comments (161) RSS

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Posted by UNTAR on June 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM · Report this
I hear you regarding the busy-ness of the Men's Rooms at the Central Library in Portland. One left-field consideration is that homeless men use them not only to relieve themselves, but also sometimes to bathe (walking in on a burly guy giving his torso a paper-towel sponge bath is not unheard of). This makes me wonder if anyone has sympathy for homeless guys using the stalls to jerk off? If you're homeless, wouldn't those stalls be one of the more private available spots in downtown Portland?

I know its still wrong and kind of gross, but those stalls might be a least-bad-option for a dude who is homeless and in need of the small pleasure and comfort that a jerk-off can provide.

Certainly the third floor bathroom is the least busy of the three public Men's Rooms, so my devil's advocate-style rationalization would most directly apply to that specific spot.
Posted by Functional Atheist on June 5, 2012 at 5:51 PM · Report this
I'm surprised Dan didn't mention this, but wouldn't public libraries have a high number of kids in the bathrooms? Not that people in the bathrooms were necessarily fapping it because they liked kids. I could just see how people would be more concerned with a masturbator hanging around in a library bathroom than an office building.
Posted by pavloviandoggy on June 5, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this
"You're bringin' the dick, NEWB, so you're the man."

I would add that if he's trans, you mention that bringing a "prosthetic" dick be just as okay since we're still "manly" men too. It may be something he didn't mention but something that could still an aspect of his life.
Posted by dakoneko on June 5, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Posted by not a real user on June 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
@2: or they can pay $30 a month for a gym membership and actually shower. With soap. Hell, every day if they like. But a lot of homeless people would rather spend that $30 on something a little less, well, good for them.

I wouldn't recommend beating off in the gym shower though. :)
Posted by gromm on June 5, 2012 at 7:19 PM · Report this
Hey NEWB, don't sweat it. My hubby was a virgin when I got to him, my prior experience consisted of limited amounts of awful sex with my first husband, and everything turned out fine. It's way sexier to be with someone who is just happy to be with you - we've had plenty of times when no one would have rated it 'amazing sex' based on technical skill but we've never once had bad sex, because it's just about loving. Go in there trying to protect some image of manliness and your girl will see right through it, you'll be stressed, she won't be impressed, yada yada. Go in there saying, "hey sexy, I'd really like to figure out what you like and practice it lots and lots and lots til I'm really, really good at it, and I want you to be the person I figure out my own likes with." And when things go well, that's great, do that again. And when they don't, chuckle and say ok, unsuccessful experiment, what'll we try instead next time? Forthright honesty delivered flirtatiously gets you lots of man points, in my book anyway, and admitting you don't know something but are eager to learn gets you way more man points than freaking out about appearing unmanly when "man must have sexual knowledge, therefore more experienced woman is scary" is a silly holdover from the bad old days. Good luck. Have fun. Remember this more experienced woman is choosing to be with you. And like the man said, condoms.
Posted by Innominate on June 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
Fleshlight in a bear's mouth and semi- private/public masturbation notwithstanding, this cadre of perversion is about as vanilla as I can imagine.

What does fucking a dead bear in the mouth have to do with violence or being a secret killer? This is so emotional and illogical I have to ask if you are you sure that boyfriend is not a woman? (That was for you Hunter- let the flames begin).

On the other guy- chill out and wear a condom and don't worry because everybody sucks at first? What about instructions to watch some educational videos on youporn? I would also make sure you practice, practice, practice on everything EXCEPT intercourse for a while. Once you can get her off with your hand or mouth then slipping some wrapped man meat inside is a whole lot easier- literally and figuratively....

Posted by Professor on June 5, 2012 at 7:42 PM · Report this
@6, lol gym memberships start at like $60 here especially if you want unlimited access.

My wife is 10 years older than me and had tons of experience more than me, but I still ended up having to teach her a lot of sex aside from the "lay there like a dead tuna" missionary position.
Posted by Mr.Tickles on June 5, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
mydriasis 10
@ 6

Wow, you're a douche.
Posted by mydriasis on June 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Garfunkel and Oates- sounds great!
Posted by whiteorchid1 on June 5, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
"By patiently explaining to your vegan boyfriend that while, yes, you were face-fucking a bear when he walked in on you—no denying it—"

I just love this sentence beginning. It's like the first line of a novel or something.

p.s. if it were me, I would go with the traditional and time-honored caught-male technique and COMPLETELY deny doin' the bear. "What? Are you fucking crazy? What the hell is wrong with you?" Stick with the story and you're good.

Posted by inbed on June 5, 2012 at 8:52 PM · Report this
@6: are you not aware that a gym membership requires a permanent address?
Posted by Eirene on June 5, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this

And douche literally means shower, so it's kind of appropriate
Posted by falconswan on June 5, 2012 at 9:03 PM · Report this
I think the best advice for newbies becoming sexually active would be this: Explore each others' bodies thoroughly for 3-6 months prior to PIV/PIA sex. For teenagers during this period, I think one partner should always have his/her pants on.

When my nine year old daughter hits sixteen or so (I cringe at the thought), I think I'll give her that advice...but also encourage her to wait as long as possible (18 hopefully?) before going all the way with a partner.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on June 5, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
itmeantnothing 16
yeah 6 and you usually cannot pay by cash or money order either. managing a monthly payment that risks late fees and hidden charges sounds like it could easily turn into a huge burden. i wonder, since you're so into policing how homeless people spend their money, do you spend yours on funding education, treatment programs, transitional housing, and other services to prevent or decrease homelessness? or do you just like to troll?
Posted by itmeantnothing on June 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
Lilliable 17
I'd like like it if advice like NEWB's always appeared with a link to something about the proper way to put on a condom.
Posted by Lilliable on June 5, 2012 at 9:12 PM · Report this
yookah 18
Wow Dan, I'm surprised you actually attributed having a dick to being a man. You should know better. I certainly expect more from you.
Posted by yookah on June 5, 2012 at 9:23 PM · Report this
Ignoring the LMB repetition, I am a little disappointed that the response to NEWB bought unquestioningly into the "manly" construct, even if Mr Savage did flip what fit it.

NEWB, do yourself a huge favour and give the concept of manliness a thorough thinking through. If you must have gender essentialism in your life, let it be YOUR OWN gender essentialism. Set your own standards, live up to them as best you can, adjust them when you perceive grounds for improvement, and any partner who tries to mold you into her (or his if you happen to be bi) preferred image earns a DTMFA, which I rarely bestow.

YOu have already shown the capacity to resist societal pressure by refusing to s*-shame your current partner for being more experienced than you, which is, sadly, the course that man males would take. I suspect you can reach at least a point where you don't beat yourself up over this.
Posted by vennominon on June 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 20
Hey NEWB: Dan's advice is basically spot on. Don't worry, everyone learns sometime. Please check out this video about condom use. Your awesome, more-experienced GF will maybe know how to do this, but it's a good thing to know.…

An easy mistake to make is to wait until you are *just* about to have intercourse to put the condom on. Don't do this! It's an erection killer & in your rush, it becomes easier to apply it incorrectly. Just mess around a lot - some making out, petting, etc. Put the condom on when you're kind of erect, make sure it's snugly on there, & then resume making out/petting/other things that get your blood boiling & really hard. Then go for it.

Practice putting a condom on & masturbating so you can get used to the sensation difference ahead of time.

A few other things I wish I knew when your age:

- Most people (as Dan mentioned) not automatically great at sex when just starting out. An open mind & willingness to try new things will take you far.

- Women (IMO) generally don't get off solely from penetration/fucking. Foreplay is great. & in general, your first few times out, have fun, but have it be more about the journey than the destination.

- Don't be shy about asking her what feels good & what she likes. Don't be shy about giving her the same info about you.

- Hygiene. OMG, you think this would be basic, but it's not. If you smell good, people wanna get closer, & maybe see if you taste good, too. This means a thorough shower, with extra attention to your package area, not throwing on some extra cologne.

- A few candles & decent music work wonders on an everyday environment.

And as mentioned above, try not to beat yourself up over "manliness" or your GF's experience level (you sound OK w/ it, but a little nervous.) *You're* her man, now! & you guys are playing together. You can define roles any way you want. You're young & flexible.

Enjoy yourself & her & play safely.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on June 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM · Report this
nocutename 21
"My boy freaked when he saw the bear giving me a blowjob." Man, I hate it when that happens!
Posted by nocutename on June 5, 2012 at 11:11 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 22
Oops, the bit a few lines down in my above post should read: "Most" women or "Many" women don't get off just from penetration. Some do. Just in my experience not most. But I stand by my "foreplay is great" comment. ;)
Posted by Eva Hopkins on June 5, 2012 at 11:17 PM · Report this
Oh my GOD----I haven't laughed this hard since Dan's letter from the"200% Straight Guy" who feared he was turning gay because the Big Bad Masseuse Giving the Blowjob kept his thumb up Mr. 200 % Straight Guy's butt! Spot on, Dan---BGA's letter definitely reads like another "How'd That Happen?!?" scenario.
And thank you, too, Dan, for reminding NEWB to use condoms if he doesn't want to face unwanted pregnancy with his girlfriend later!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 6, 2012 at 12:12 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 24
Ms. Grizelda - I *adore* the "How'd That Happen" letter category. Thanks for the smile.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on June 6, 2012 at 12:58 AM · Report this
"Once you can get her off with your hand or mouth..."?

If a woman comes or not has more to do with her likes/dislikes/hang-ups than with her partners skill. Last week's EAT would still have no PiV sex if her partner had to "give her an orgasm" first with his mouth.

@Eva Hopkins: Good advice. But as my ex said: "Don't call it foreplay." It is fun to fool around in any which way, no matter if PiV sex follows or not.
Posted by migrationist on June 6, 2012 at 2:02 AM · Report this
It's a bad joke, but I can't resist. In addition to being a hunter, is BGA also a card-carrying member of the Communist Party AND the National Rifle Association? (I can't be the only one who remembers that SNL skit.)
Posted by ejc on June 6, 2012 at 2:44 AM · Report this
Styles Bitchley 27
#8 Telling a kid to learn how to fuck for the first time by watching porn is about the worst advice you could give. "Uhhh, so do you like a fist up your ass before, after or during intercourse?"
Posted by Styles Bitchley on June 6, 2012 at 4:15 AM · Report this
The picture I'm getting here is that NEWB has experience with necking, petting, (feeling and fingering) and maybe oral, but not PIV. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) So I'm guessing that the specific point of nervousness is in how to enter her. Here's what you need to know: That's a somewhat awkward moment no matter how much experience you have. I've been sexually active for 35 years and sleeping with the same man for 25 of them, and one of us still has to take his penis in hand to guide it in so he can begin thrusting.

The advice to practice with a condom is excellent. The advice to stay away from porn is also good. When you're at this stage in learning, porn can give too many misconceptions, too much of an unattainable standard that no one can measure up to. (I can think of other situations where porn is a fine idea, just not this one.)

NEWB has made me think of a good memory: When I was a newbie myself, a young awkward kid like yourself was fingering me when he asked where my clitoris was. It was one of the sweetest questions I've ever heard. I'd never heard the word pronounced before, and I later learned he'd mispronounced it. Not only did I not hold anything against him for having to ask, I thought then and still think he's wonderful. Fumbling awkwardness can work in your favor.
Posted by Crinoline on June 6, 2012 at 5:01 AM · Report this
@27 Even if it's just ordinary vanilla, the "ground & pound" approach is really not called for. Not that it can't be fun to do that, but good lord that's no way to have regular sex.
Posted by Howlin' Jed on June 6, 2012 at 5:08 AM · Report this
NEWB, order some books about sex on and read up if you're nervous. DON'T watch porn flicks for their how-to advice. Just don't.

I'm a woman and I lost my virginity late. But I'd done a bunch of reading up on sex. The first time I had sex was with a guy I was indifferent to, and he didn't really do much to help me out. I was just kind of out of sorts the entire time. It wasn't all that pleasant.

However, I got rid of him and met another guy who let me relax and test out all the things I'd read about. My knowledge stunned him, but in a good way ("I had no idea an almost-virgin could be this good at sex"). Things got even better when we started reading the same books. Years after we broke up, we'd still swap tips on books we thought were useful.

So read up. It makes a difference. Approach sex like a really fun science experiment (sexperiment?). Dr. Ruth's "Sex For Dummies" is NOT a book that's heavy on "how-to" but it's great for a refresher course in how the male and female bodies work. She can be a bit prudish in some areas, but the fundamentals are good. Move on to the "instructional" type books from there.
Posted by JrzWrld on June 6, 2012 at 5:40 AM · Report this
mydriasis 31



Not to freak you out, but if you want to tell her this before she has sex, I wouldn't wait until 16. Statistically speaking, that's the age she's most likely to have sex, so there's a good chance it'll be too late.

Plus also, I have no idea what your relationship is like - I'm assuming way better than my relationship with my parents - but I can tell you that the one time my dad tried to talk to me about sex (basically a 'please don't be promiscuous' talk when I was seventeen and had already been sexually active for several years) was completely useless and all I wanted was for it to end. I was completely bewildered why he thought it would mean anything anyway.

Look, that's the kind of thing you want to say early if you want it to make any difference. But if you're anything like the vast majority of fathers and daughters, she might be more comfortable hearing that advice from someone else. I don't know what the situation is with her mother, but if not her then do you have a sister? Everyone can pile on me for being sexist or whatever, but I'd put money on her being more comfortable discussing those things with female relatives rather than male ones.
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 5:54 AM · Report this
mydriasis 32

You know they come with instructions, right? They're in the box.

@ 22

Speaking personally, I'm all about PIV and haaate extended foreplay. But I'm a rarity when it comes to sex, it seems like. Sometimes it does get annoying when everyone's all "women want this, women don't want that" and it's the opposite of how I feel. So thanks for pointing out that there are exceptions.

Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 6:01 AM · Report this
#27 - took the words right off my keyboard. that's why we're stuck with a whole generation who thinks bald genatalia is the norm/default.
Posted by circe on June 6, 2012 at 6:23 AM · Report this
mydriasis 34
@ 33
I wax and I've pretty much never watched a porn. Everyone I know in my generation (I assume we're who you're referring to) chooses their own degree of hair removal based on personal preference.
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Ms Griselda - Just out of curiosity, has the word "masseur" vanished? This is about the fifth or sixth time I've seen a male "masseuse". Normally when one of two gendered nouns reduces or vanishes, it's the female. Interesting.

And I thank Ms Crinoline for the reference to Shirley Valentine. Better to ask where it is than to think it doesn't run as well as a Ford Cortina/Escort.
Posted by vennominon on June 6, 2012 at 8:38 AM · Report this
AFinch 36
@NEWB - I really like the admonition to use a condom in addition to hormonal BC.. I've had hormonal BC fail on me twice in my life (decades apart); abortions suck, and so do STDs. Start off your PIV sex life acclimating to the sensory dulling nature of condoms and you'll be happier and more comfortable using them later in life. Start off on the right foot!

WRT "good performance" - Every single woman is different. There is no 'practicing your technique' in a vacuum or solo that will help. Nothing but paying attention to your partner's physical response while you are "practicing" together will improve your performance (setting aside dysfunction like PE or ED). Even if she's uncomfortable telling you what to do or talking about what she likes, you can tell from the way she responds - breathing, color, engorgement, lubrication, etc. - whether or not you're getting the job done. And do not expect that what worked for one will work for the next.
Posted by AFinch on June 6, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
I want to type a positive shout out! to the folks who post as crinoline, mydriasis, and auntie grizelda. I like just about all you post on this column. Especially todays defense of functional atheists' post about the homeless bathing and releiving themselves at the library.
Posted by scorpio of Id. on June 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Helix 38
@33 I shave my pubic hair down to almost nothing because it's not sexy for either of us if someone has my hair stuck in their throat.
Posted by Helix on June 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this

The word I hear and like is "massage therapist." Also good, but not my favorite, is "massager."

I had to look up Shirley Valentine, knew I knew that face from somewhere, and was glad to see that Pauline Collins is still around. I recognized her from Upstairs Downstairs and was thrilled to see her connection with both Dr. Whos.
Posted by Crinoline on June 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Bad enough I am trying to recover from seeing a movie where Kristen Stewart was supposed to be more attractive than Charlize Theron. Then I come here and read that SJP is worth lusting over?

As a straight male, I have to say that the only people who think straight males find Sarah Jessica Parker attractive are NOT straight males.
Posted by Kylere on June 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
The LW writes:

"And it's not particularly manly to go to someone and basically say, "I'm not going to be good at this for a while.""

Actually, that's *exactly* what my boyfriend did to me, in the early days of our relationship. The fact that he was comfortable enough with himself and his body to say that (and the fact that he was comfortable with being a relatively old virgin - simply because he'd chosen to wait for the "right girl") was pretty damn sexy to me. A hell of a lot sexier, in any case, than other, equally-or-less inexperienced boyfriends that tried to prove their masculinity and confidence by aping scenarios they'd seen in porn rather than listening to or engaging with my needs.

The first time was (adorably) technically inept. We laughed it off, enjoyed the intimacy of silliness, and tried again. We got better. We're still together four years on.
Posted by prosperpina on June 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM · Report this
mydriasis 42
@ 40

Straight female here, and I'm with you on all counts.
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
@Kylere, so are you saying Matthew Broderick is gay?
Posted by cockyballsup on June 6, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 44
@39: Massage therapist ≠ masseuse. It's not just a nicer term, it's actually a different set of training. Just like dietitian ≠ nutritionist.

If you go to a massage therapist and get naked, you'll probably be kicked out. If you're lucky, they'll give you a business card for a masseuse.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on June 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
As a now-27 but once a sexually adventurous 16 year old girl: If she wants to have sex with you and you want to have sex with her- have (safe) sex! Most of my male partners during my teen (and early 20s) years were virgins. I didn't see it as a deterrent but a challenge.

You want to make the experience better for her if you are fumbling around? Fumble your tongue around her clit. Oral sex goes a long way. Don't get too caught up with your dick-skill, you have hands and a mouth. When you are older you can even buy toys to add to the fun.

Advice from this lesbian: dicks are great, but we can buy them. They aren't the be-all and end-all of a sexual encounter. Stop worrying and enjoy your bodies (safely). Let her teach you, and if she doesn't want to teach you- then she isn't very adventurous.
Posted by msr on June 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
I'm a straight male who finds SJP very attractive. She's in her fourties: so am I. "People in their twenties don't find someone in their fourties to be sexy" isn't exactly a man-bites-dog story.
Posted by Old Crow on June 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Holmes 47
NEWB, don't worry about it. As you get older and gain experience, true experience in dealing with partners that is, you'll learn that the BS most men refer to as skill isn't much appreciated by women. Its more of an act that they've put together by watching lots of porn and maybe a few tips they were given by a few partners secure enough to give feedback. But people are different and you'll soon find that skills involved with working on the likes/dislikes of each bed partner are far more important than developing a canned set of 'moves'.

Rather than telling her that you're not that good (yet), tell her that you reject the idea of bringing past partners' preferences into your relationship and she should be prepared to help you in working from a clean slate, so to speak.

I'm a few decades further along than you (quite a few, actually, so stay off my lawn, kid!) and I find that starting fresh with each partner is appreciated much more than bringing a well developed repertoire into the sack.
Posted by Holmes on June 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
mydriasis 48
@ Old Crow

I don't think it's really an age thing. Jullianne Moore, Helle Berry, Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta Jones (to name a few) are all over 40 and smoking hot. Even in young pictures I wouldn't call SJP traditionally attractive.

I'm not saying no straight male finds her physically attractive - obviously you do. But she was a bizarre pick for 'the woman straight men masturbate to'.

But 'gay men doesn't get what straight men find attractive' isn't exactly a man-bites-dog story either, is it.
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Am I the only one who thinks that, if the bearskin facefuck actually happened, Hunter was fantasizing about facefucking a live bear? Talk about dominance/submission! (As the boyfriend of a bear of the furry human variety, Hunter's fantasy is my reality. Wink wink, nudge nudge.)
Posted by Mr. Brightside on June 6, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Huh? I had to look Sarah Jessica Parker up (I am film-impaired these days and get all the famous-people names confused), and all the pictures of her I see on Google Images right off the bat look like your basic gorgeous blonde movie star to me. She might not be your cup of tea, but I can't see anything to object to.
Posted by Eirene on June 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Corylea 51
"Honest nerves are manlier than false bravado."

Word. I wish this message were repeated to every man on the planet; it would save them a lot of pain and save women a lot of bullshit.
Posted by Corylea on June 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
NEWB, I just wanted to add to the excellent advice you've gotten here already. In 2003, then-boyfriend (now husband) had never had PIV sex before he met me, which he told me at the beginning of our relationship. I wasn't a virgin when we met.

When he was ready for sex, he presented his PIV virginity as something completely awesome that he wanted to share with me, told me that he wanted to explore fantasies and ideas about sex together, and try out what interested us both. And my goodness, if he hasn't turned out to be the most creative and best sexual partner I could have ever asked for. I recommend, along with the other great things people have said here, to have these sorts of discussions with your girlfriend.
Posted by canada girl on June 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
raggeddog 53
Just so you know Dan, straight guys do not fantasize about Sarah Jessica Parker when they're jerking off.
Posted by raggeddog on June 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
AFinch 54
@46 - well, nothing to do with age - I'm SJPs age and a straight male and um, no, she is definitely not-hot. This is kind of what I see when I look at SJP. I like all kinds of women, many with unusual looks...but SJP is kind of...manly to me. Go figure. To each their own!
Posted by AFinch on June 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
In Germany you get naked at the massage therapist's.
Posted by migrationist on June 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
seandr 56
NEWB - Women tend to become sexually active sooner than men, so most straight guys lose their virginity to a non-virgin. That's a good thing. Trust me, it will be way less awkward given that she's done this already.

My advice:
1) Ask her to put it in. That will drastically reduce the amount of fumbling.
2) If she's cool with it and is on hormonal birth control, skip the condom. Odds of her catching something from you are 0, and your odds from her are nearly 0.
3) For practice, jerk yourself off wearing a condom every now and then, just in case 2) is a no-go.
Posted by seandr on June 6, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 57
@31: I had the same thought.

I was chatting with a Planned Parenthood worker while holding my baby daughter recently. She asked me when I planned to have The Talk. I said I thought 11 or 12 for the first round. She said, try 7 or 8, because a lot of girls are hitting puberty very, very young these days, and 11 might be too late.
Posted by aureolaborealis on June 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Is there still One Big Talk?

I think my sister had age-appropriate variations on The Talk with her daughters almost every year since they've turned 2.

Posted by migrationist on June 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
@57: there shouldn't be any such thing as The Talk. There's just continual, incremental talking about this stuff. And I hope to god that PP worker was just talking about periods and such when she said 11 might be too late. Because it doesn't matter HOW early you hit puberty, 11 is nowhere, nowhere near ready for partnered sex. And obviously you have to talk about respect for private parts and all that pretty much from the get-go.

Incidentally, while some girls do get their periods at 9, some always did, it's just talked about more now. The average hasn't shifted much at all, and if the women on both sides of the family got periods at more like 12 or 13, that's likely when your daughter will.
Posted by Eirene on June 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 60
Huh, this letter/response is re-posted and the SJP issue comes up again! I am amused.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 6, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
mydriasis 61
@ 58/58/etc

Yeah, I think it should be multiple talks as well, but I was more trying to point out that if you're only going to have one, 16 is too late. IMHO.

I never had 'the talk' with my mom.

This is the closest talk I had with my mom (age 16/17ish):

"So, dad thinks you're a lesbian"
"Huh. Well I'm not."
"Oh I know"
"Um, okay."
"So how come I never meet your boyfriends?"
"Well, I don't really date that much mom, I'm picky."
"Well. I don't know how you can have sex with someone you're not in a relationship with." (ample scorn)
"Um?? What, I didn't say that"
"No, but I know. Whenever you're in a store you always go straight for the underwear."

She wasn't wrong.
Anyway, to the parents out there - don't talk to your daughter about sex like that.
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 62
@56: "2) If she's cool with it and is on hormonal birth control, skip the condom..."

Yeah. Because one way to make sure you NEVER forget your first time is to knock her up.

LW: Ignore @56. Listen to Dan. Wear a condom.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on June 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
mydriasis 63
@ 56/62


It's terrible advice to tell a teenager they should have sex without a condom for their first time.

1. Even grown women sometimes forget to take their birth control pills perfectly. Teenagers are even more flaky with them. On top of that, BCP is not 100% effective anyway, even if she is on the pill, you're better off being extra safe.

2. A healthy teenage boy is unlikely to lose his erection putting on a condom (I've only seen it happen with older guys).

3. Unless he feels like wifing this girl he's probably going to need to use a condom at some point in his life - IMHO it's better for guys to delay the 'getting used to unprotected sex' thing as much as possible, for the very reason that it's no fun to be ready for sex then lose your hardon once you put a condom on. That's way more likely to happen to a guy who's acclimated to having sex bareback.

4. Infidelity happens. Plus you don't know she's never caught anything from a previous partner, especially if she's using BCP as her primary birth control (aka, not using a condom). It's my understanding that teenagers engage in less STI screening than adults, so there's that too. Another great way to remember your first time? The clap.

Use a condom, NEWB!
Posted by mydriasis on June 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Seandr @56...very bad advice to skip the condom. Rates of STIs are astronomically high among adolescent girls. CDC estimates that one in four teenage girls in the US has an STI.…

It is also a good idea to have dual protection against pregnancy. Even if she is on hormonal birth control, failure rates for young women using the pill, ring or patch are quite high as detailed in the following NYT piece…

Condom use should be the default for PIV and PIA sex until one is in a long term relationship. Better that he get used to using condoms from the beginning of his sexual life. It is a lot easier to stop using condoms than to start using them.
Posted by KN on June 6, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 65
@58, 59: The PP worker was talking about risk of pregnancy, therefore the age by which a girl should have a good grasp of the necessary information.
The Talk is a pretty accepted term for educating your kids about sex, and I think we can accept that it encompasses everything from the single futile episode when a 'kid' is 18 to continual age-appropriate information starting at some early age.

I was under the impression that it was well-established that average age of puberty was creeping downward, at least in the developed world, or possibly just in the U.S.
Yes, there have always been some 9-year-old girls getting their periods. Let's pretend the average age is 17 ... some girls will still hit puberty at 9. If this hypothetical average age creeps downward to 15, then more 9-year-old girls will be hitting puberty, even if the average is still well above 9. Assuming normal distribution but not constant variance blah blah blah. I assumed that the PP worker was telling me that in her time at PP, she had seen an increase in the number of dreadfully young, pregnant girls.

@61: My parents considered themselves progressive and enlightened, and the sex talks I got were useless, too. The early ones consisted of the parent taking shelter behind a barrage of scientifically accurate, yet inscrutable to little me, terminology. The later ones did not exist, except for the occasional accusations of aberrancy.

@63: Totally. Your average healthy teenage boy with an erection, even if it's non-sexual, would be hard-pressed to lose it, even if you put a gun to his head and/or showed him pictures of his grandparents fucking -- whichever would be less exciting to him.
And I remember as a youngling that anxiety about getting an erection could pretty much guarantee you were going to get one and maintain it indefinitely. Also: Not being anxious about getting an erection made you get one.
Posted by aureolaborealis on June 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM · Report this
I've noticed that folks without much experience in sex (including me, when I was in that category) typically have a script in mind for how sex is "supposed" to go, and deviations from that script can be unnerving, surprising, or even threatening. Though it often comes from porn, it also seems to come from, oh, any given Hollywood movie with a sex scene.

On the one hand, the script is a starting place if you literally have no idea what to do with all that horniness. On the other, deviations (e.g. experimentation and playfulness) can cause a lot of anxiety about whether things are going as they are supposed to.

I would recommend that NEWB takes it slow, or even sets up limitations like "for this makeout session, you aren't going to take off your pants" or something fun like that. It will be enjoyable to figure out how to give different kinds of pleasure, the pressure for fucking is off, and when you finally do fuck, you've already learned how to deviate from the script. Keep condoms around anyway, though, just in case.
Posted by sahara29 on June 6, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
The average age of menarche (first menstruation) has crept down by mere months in the past few decades. "Less than 10% of U.S. girls start to menstruate before 11 years of age, and 90% of all US girls are menstruating by 13.75 years of age, with a median age of 12.43 years. This age at menarche is not much different (0.34 years earlier) than that reported for U.S. girls in 1973."

Seventeen?! It hasn't been that since 1850 or something, when a large proportion of the population was likely quite malnourished (and also that's a period for which we likely have very incomplete and unreliable statistics).

Seeing an increase in the number of dreadfully young pregnant girls -- well, that basically means that child abuse is resulting in pregnancy more often. Getting pregnant at 10 or 11 is infinitely more about exposure to an abuser than it is about early menarche or insufficient "talks" with your mom.
Posted by Eirene on June 6, 2012 at 6:50 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 68
Can't help but add (on the SJP thread): I wonder if SJP's lack of attractiveness to the straight men on here is her incredibly annoying, whining, kvetching voice when saying almost anything, but especially when she's talking about a man?
Gad that woman ticks me off, I wonder how a sweetie like Matthew Broderick can stand her, and even if I was a pussy hound, she'd be the last person I'd screw. As for her looks- don't really get that, but I am a gay man, so....
Posted by OutInBumF on June 6, 2012 at 7:09 PM · Report this
SJP has a horsey face - there's no doubt - but she has an amazing body, and it's none of it is store bought. She's slim, with a toned torso and a natural large C cup. I can understand people not being able to get past the face, but if you look below the neck you'll be nicely surprised.
Posted by lesbian fan of SJP on June 6, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
One other bit of advice for sure that your girlfriend knows about emergency contraception (AKA the morning after pill). If you are relying on condoms as your primary birth control method and have a problem (condom breaks/slips or is not used) emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. It is now available without a prescription for girls/women age 17 and up. If she is younger than that she can get it at Planned Parenthood.
Posted by KN on June 6, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
The Wild Sow 71
Well, I'm a straight woman, and much older than SJP -- but really, if you're going to fantasize about facefucking her, you'd need to facefuck a HORSE, not a bear!

She ain't known as Sarah Jessica Seabiscuit for nothing ya know!
Posted by The Wild Sow on June 6, 2012 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Ugh, can you guys quit talking smack about SJP? It's revolting that you think someone who doesn't meet your beauty standards is fair game for insults. Especially as the vast majority of people probably don't measure up by the kind of standard people seem to be applying to SJP. (Oh, no, she has noticeably white, even teeth! They must be horse-like!)
Posted by Eirene on June 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM · Report this
@35 vennominon: You're right! That WAS "masseur" in "big, bad masseur..." from page 190 in Dan's book, "Savage Love". Thank you for calling me on it. My bust.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 6, 2012 at 10:32 PM · Report this
@24 Eva Hopkins: You're most welcome! I'm glad I made you smile!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 6, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Report this
Is that bear live, horny and giving a blowjob?

Nooooope...Chuck Testa...
Posted by avast2006 on June 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM · Report this
mydriasis 76

Ahaha... amazing.
Posted by mydriasis on June 7, 2012 at 5:29 AM · Report this
GymGoth 77
Oh please, can we continue the Sarah Jessica Parker thread? Have none of you watched "South Park"? Making fun of her is an ongoing joke.

When I see her I'm reminded of that Seinfeld episode with the "two-face" woman. She truly can be very attractive one minute and then not so much the next.
Posted by GymGoth on June 7, 2012 at 5:53 AM · Report this
Wow. Poor NEWB wanted some advice and encouragement about his first sexual experience and got the full dose of new age bullshit and feminism's militant cousin.

Kid, just relax. Everyone is scared the first time, your beautiful girlfriend had a first time and was petrified as well. Don't spend six months "exploring" like the new age Californian told you, and don't worry about your gender role like the estrogen militia is howling. Be yourself, be honest, tell her you're nervous and that you want to be awesome for her, and let her guide you. You're doing well just by asking someone for advice, and Dan Savage is the right guy to ask.
Posted by cassidy25567 on June 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Report this
There's always some fumbling involved in sex, but try not to fumble a ball!
Posted by Uncle Joe on June 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this

"I don't know if she wants a virgin fumbling around in bed with her." Well, luckily for you, she can tell you that herself. If she wants to have sex with you, then yes, she wants a virgin-- you, in particular-- fumbling around in bed with her. Problem solved.

Notice how lots of ladies on this thread are hoping you have a great time and addresing you in a positive light (instead of "eew a virgin, how awful")? Chances are your girlfriend is looking forward to teaching you a thing or two, *which is fun for her.* Having to always be "the man" and sweep her off her feet with your know-how and performance can actually be much less attractive to a woman than a man who enjoys sex as a two-way activity and isn't afraid to learn new things from her. Pretending to be "The Man" and "The Woman" is kind of tedious when really, you should just be yourselves.

Also, to add to what @Eva Hopkins said about stuff she wished she knew at your age, here's one: People often use vibrators during sex. It's got nothing to do with the adequacy of your penis, don't be intimidated. It's just a cool little gadget.
Posted by KittyWrangler on June 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
I work in a public library. Believe me, we have all sorts of activity in there. Couples having sex, people smoking crack, people shooting up heroin, bathing, and yes wanking. Most of this occurs in the bathrooms, but not always! I can't remember the number of times I've had to go in, glance under the stall, and come out and tell the security guard, yes there are 2 pairs of feet in the same stall.

As for the wanking in the stall, I think if it is a public place, where many people use the facilities, decorum dictates that you do your business (the usual variety associated with bathrooms) and get out. It's just manners, people, really.
Posted by Annmaries on June 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
82 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
The Wild Sow 83
@72 -- It's not really the TEETH, per se -- it's just that whenever SJP walks into a bar, the bartender has to ask "Why the long face?"! As for the teeth, well, I just put the question to my mid-20's, straight, daughter. She said, "Wow, if I had a penis I wouldn't put it anywhere near those teeth! Those things are pretty scary!"
Posted by The Wild Sow on June 7, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Ugh, it's tedious and uncool to go on and on about the looks and unfuckability of some actress or public figure. First if all, it's a cheap laugh; not witty or clever, but on about a 12-year-old level of humor. Second of all, it carries more than a whiff of misogyny (revulsion based on not-attractive-to-you-ness). Third of all, it's unkind and probably hypocritical. Go on now and take a good look in the mirror. Now imagine a caricature of yourself. Now imagine a million people guffawing at whatever exaggerated feature(s) you have - because you have them. Yes, yes, SJP is an actress - so she's "asking for it", right? She should have a thick skin as she sleeps soundly on her mattress of money! But it's not really SJP as such that is my point here (unless she's a Slog follower, but she probably knows to stay away from comment threads). It's that base, cheap, unkind jokes about who's unhot or unfuckable tarnish your own personal soul.
And I find SatC freaking annoying; I'm no SJP fan girl.
Oh, and it's not being humourless to find cheap cracks unfunny. I find funny things very funny, so nah. ;)
Posted by Not SJP's agent on June 8, 2012 at 2:04 AM · Report this
@6 You are such a douche.
Posted by jkljlk on June 8, 2012 at 2:19 AM · Report this
Yeah I see where you are coming from. I used to work at a coffee shop where guests used a somewhat public bathroom and I had to clean that bathroom. We had an issue with people wanking off in there, and when they were done there was jizz fucking EVERYWHERE. Guess who got to clean up some random dude's jizz with paper towels and a spray bottle of bleach for $6/hour? Me. So if I were in charge of the coffee shop you fucking bet I would eject any patron caught wanking in the bathroom *by means other than looking in through the crack.* Yeah it's unfair to the responsible wankers but tough shit.
Posted by KittyWrangler on June 8, 2012 at 8:12 AM · Report this
Security peeping into stalls?? I'm grossed our by homeless guys rubbing one out too, but I spent a TON of unemployed leisure time in Portland's Crown Jewel, and sometimes nature would call as it does. I'm uncomfortable enough shitting in public as it is, without a nosy guard scoping out my efforts. Ew. It's things like this which serve to remind me why I left the west coast.
Posted by Terwilliger on June 8, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
By the way, here's the inventor of the Fleshlight…
Posted by BruceZMajors on June 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
I wish I'd been going to buy a Fleshlight, just so I could boycott that dude. Ick.
Posted by Eirene on June 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM · Report this
@84 Yes! It's classless.
Posted by LiveAndLet on June 8, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
Look NEWB you two have one thing in common... neither of you slept with each other before. Like when the husband and I had our first "together" kid, he was all "well you know more than me since you've done this before" and I said "um I've never parented THIS kid before!" Likewise, neither of you have experienced "Newb and His Girl" sex before. So chill.

I admit *I* would not want to deal with a virgin, but I have done my share of deflowering enough for this lifetime ;-) That's why youngins like your ladyfriend are there to take over for old worn out hags like me!

Warning tho... she may not know what gets her off. I can't tell you how many women I know who went years having unsatisfying sex, and not only having unsatisfying sex but not knowing it was unsatisfying, until some man one day had the moves like Jagger. And everyone's moves are different! What gets me off is not going to necessarily hit it for another woman. But in general, you can count pretty firmly that trying some oral is a good bet. Don't worry if it takes you a bit to get used to it or this freaks you out or you feel uncomfortable or find it "unpleasant" your first time. It's kinda like most people think booze is gross the first time they try it. Most women I know have the same reaction to sperm, so hey, it's all good. Just relax and enjoy. Oh but some guys find it super awesome and tasty, so who knows? Just try, any and everything, slowly, with respect, and have fun.
Posted by wendykh on June 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM · Report this
On the early puberty thing... I think the overall average hasn't changed much, but some girls, particularly those from certain groups (particularly, I believe, black girls, though I could be deeply wrong about that) *have* started to enter puberty unusually early. This might not skew the median much (since the majority of girls are still having their periods about when they always did), but it *does* mean there have been more individual girls entering puberty freakishly young.

It's due, as far as I know, to a combination of obesity (fat cells produce estrogen, afaik) and environmental estrogen mimics. (one reason that black girls are particularly susceptible is that there is or was an estrogen mimic somewhat frequently used to straighten hair...)
Posted by Melissa Trible on June 8, 2012 at 11:15 PM · Report this
But even if there are girls who hit puberty freakishly early that doesn't mean that they'll start having sex freakishly early.

Or is there a study showing that women with an early menarche also had sex earlier than average? (Honest question, I have no idea.)
Posted by migrationist on June 9, 2012 at 12:35 AM · Report this
92- I liked this 2008 L.A. Times article on the average age of puberty.…

The overall age has gone down. I was surprised by some of the specifics.
Posted by Crinoline on June 9, 2012 at 3:13 AM · Report this
Thanks, Crinoline. I hadn't realized that about the earlier breast development despite periods generally appearing at about the same time. My own daughters were if anything slightly later in getting the first signs than I was (I remember the beginnings of pubic hair showing up years before anything else -- indeed, I can hardly recall having none).

All the same, it sends chills down my spine when people go around implying that precocious puberty is the point at issue when a ten-year-old has a baby (there was another story like that in the L.A. Times article). It's like the old "interesting facts" story about the girl in Peru who had a baby when she was five. The "interesting facts" books totally disappeared the fact of her being sexually abused. It was as if this just golly-gee happened as the result of her unusual medical condition. That shit has got to die.
Posted by Eirene on June 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
@Crinoline, that article disturbed me on several levels. Mostly, the emphasis on sex as the main issue in puberty, and the parallel idea that sex shouldn't be mentioned to children until puberty.

Quote on p. 1: "Puberty involves three stages: breast development, pubic hair growth and, finally, menstruation."

What about the growth spurt? What about body odor, acne, washing your hair more often, getting braces as you get your twelve year molars? The sexual changes are only part of the story, but emphasizing them is about sexualizing ten year olds.

Quote on p. 3: "These are children who are learning the most fundamental facts in school. Imagine trying to teach that child the fundamentals of sex."

My daughter knew the facts of sex at 3 y/o, when I was pregnant with her brother. Eggs, sperm, penis, vagina, uterus, pregnancy... These are not complicated terms that should be restricted to people who have gone through puberty. That's crazy. Even the idea that sex could be fun, rather than just for procreation -- we discussed that idea at the dinner table before puberty started.
Posted by EricaP on June 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
edit to my last paragraph:
These are not complicated terms that should be restricted to people who have entered puberty.
Posted by EricaP on June 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
EricaP: very good points. And our sexuality is implicit in us and gradually developing from babyhood, but that doesn't mean anyone else has any right to interfere with it before we're old enough to consent with full understanding. Children tend to play with themselves and explore some aspects of sexual feeling (frequently to orgasm) long, long before they're ready for partnered sex.

Some people are reacting with fear to early development for the wrong reasons, I think. Concern about the environment and about heightened risk for breast cancer and so forth, that's totally reasonable. Worrying that your daughter is somehow less of a pure little girl? That's icky (super, SUPER icky when you figure in the stigma on black girls' developing earlier).

I try not to think in terms of protecting my kids' purity. Rather, I'd say one of my jobs as a parent up to a certain age is to protect their rights over their own developing sexuality.
Posted by Eirene on June 9, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Agreed, Eirene. Another job is to help them see that only they can figure out what they want in life (and in bed).

Figuring that out is their job, but we can help give them the tools for it, and the tools to avoid unnecessarily hurting others in the process.

Posted by EricaP on June 9, 2012 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Parenting children involves providing them with the orientation necessary for them to develop into full individuals, capable of thinking by themselves and making reasonable choices through life. It's about becoming a person, in the fullest sense of the word.

Sex is no different. There is no reason not to talk about it, or even illustrate it, just as there is no reason to avoid talking about any other topic (at their level of understanding, of course).

Western society is beginning to realize this -- which is why we see more and more books on sex for children (at an age-appropriate level and language). But we're not quite there yet. All those fears surrounding the gradually evolving sexuality of children and 'what it means' about our 'little angels' (plus old ideas about sex being dirty or somehow 'perverse' in its essence -- it sours the sweet, as they say in Brazil) make the job very difficult.

Still, we're headed in the right direction. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have faith in human nature. Someday we'll manage to become rational about such topics and pay more attention to reality.
Posted by ankylosaur on June 9, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
@92(Crinoline), do they provide any reason for this lowing of the age of puberty? A number of average values have been changing throughout human history (average height jumps to mind). But there is such a thing as evolutionary drift. Maybe it's an anti-neotenic tendency (cases of accelerating maturation are known from the history of other species).
Posted by ankylosaur on June 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
mydriasis 102
Erm... I may be missing the point but... I think the concern about girls developing earlier isn't about 'purity' per se but more than they will be attracting sexual attention (from non-pedophiles) earlier in life and that can be problematic if they are not yet equipped to deal with that attention maturely.

Posted by mydriasis on June 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM · Report this
@101 I believe one of the reasons cited is the increase in caloric intake before puberty, which has already been associated with menarche in previous studies.
Posted by academiac on June 10, 2012 at 2:09 AM · Report this
It's funny how we can read things differently. I saw the L.A. Times article as mostly scientific. To me, it gave a description of the early puberty phenomenon, mentioned how widespread it--or isn't, put it in historical perspective, and gave some theories as to causes, none of which were conclusive. I saw the personal anecdotes about individuals worried about their daughters and why they were worried as a journalistic style that we all have to put up with. In other words, if you're writing science for a lay reader, you have to give it a personal spin as a hook. You also throw in something particularly shocking like a child giving birth over a hundred years ago.

But others seem to have seen the article as an editorial on how people feel about the phenomenon or how they're supposed to feel. I'll grant that that's a legitimate way to look at it, just one that never occurred to me. Viewed in that light, I suppose it is disturbing. Perhaps the point of other articles could be that the thing that's very wrong about children giving birth is that there must have been a man to impregnate them, but the point of this article was about early puberty.

As for the question about whether the article provided any reason for the lowered age of puberty, I found good answers provided here:…

If the link doesn't work, google on "Modern puberty For American girls, womanhood's first signs"
Posted by Crinoline on June 10, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
mydriasis 105
@ Crin

I think it's all relative. I'm used to getting my science from textbooks, books, journals, etc. So the personal stories stick out to me because I'm not used to that.

Which isn't to say that I think it was poorly written. It just that people seemed to be saying that women who are concerned or alarmed about this phenomenon are being repressive or sex-negative or puritanical or something. But I think there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about early puberty.

I... think that made sense.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
> there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about early puberty.

Absolutely. But if the aspect of puberty which was declining in age was the growth spurt, rather than the breast buds, that would be cause for the same concern. I take issue with the article's insistent focus on girls' sexuality. For instance -- has anyone looked into whether any aspect of male puberty is on the increase? What does childhood obesity do to young boys?
Posted by EricaP on June 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
That is, whether any aspect of male puberty is happening at younger ages...
Posted by EricaP on June 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
mydriasis 108
@ Erica,

Actually my point was that the focus on sexuality does have a legitimate aspect as well. As I said above, "I think the concern about girls developing earlier isn't about 'purity' per se but more than they will be attracting sexual attention (from non-pedophiles) earlier in life and that can be problematic if they are not yet equipped to deal with that attention maturely."

I don't think it's the whole story, but it's not a trivial aspect of the story either.

If anything I'd imagine that obesity would delay puberty in boys. I don't think estrogen is a big player in the onset of male puberty. Chilhood obseity is a problem for both genders, in any case.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
mydriasis@102: kids that age are a lot less likely to be out without a grownup anyway, and I very much doubt that a ten-year-old with breasts would fool anyone who was really interested in adult women. When I was twelve I might have passed for a sixteen-year-old if you just looked at my chest, but one look at the braces and the scabby knees and the stringy hair (not to mention the way I walked -- oh, dozens of things) and you could have told instantly that I was a kid. There were guys who paid me attention at that age, but they were slimeballs. And no, I had no idea how to deal with it then, despite being within the average range for development.

I admit I was extrapolating a bit about the purity thing, but I don't think it's farfetched to assume that kind of concern from people who have no idea that anyone talks about sex to eight-year-olds. (In my experience it's vastly easier to talk about sex to eight-year-olds than to older kids; they take it as a matter of scientific interest.) And I did say that there were legitimate reasons to be concerned as well as ones I consider spurious.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
The general sense I'm getting from this discussion is that the article is to be criticized for what it doesn't focus on. The article doesn't deal with early puberty in boys. It doesn't deal with child abuse of early pubescent girls. It doesn't deal with the problems of heart disease which, I'm sure, affect a lot more people. Also, highway deaths and the traffic in my neighborhood are conspicuously absent, two subjects which I think are very important indeed.

I can hear you all telling me that sarcasm doesn't travel well on the internet, but I'm trying to make my point. The article is about a few aspects of early puberty from a scientific viewpoint written for a broad audience of non-scientists. They couldn't include everything. Everything else is a good subject for this comments column, and I am interested in reading everyone's opinions, but that particular article isn't to blame.
Posted by Crinoline on June 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
mydriasis 111

I pretty much agree with everything you said.

But I do think it is still important to point out that it's not as straightforward as

1. adult men who are only interested in adult women
2. pedophiles

there's a whole lot of gray in there, enough to be troublesome especially if you're talking about an early bloomer who is also sexually precocious. I was super precocious both sexually and intellectually but I hit puberty late so I was the opposite of you in a sense. I was a skinny, scrawny kid but if I had been an early bloomer this definitely would have applied to me.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
mydriasis 112

I thought the article was fine?
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
113… and… may be of interest. There is some slight evidence that obesity may delay puberty in boys, but it's not nearly as clear (part of the problem is that BMI isn't as clearly linked with obesity in boys, and they really like using BMI as it's so much easier to measure than something that actually gets at the body fat percentage). Plus there's so much variation in penis size that working out whether someone's at Tanner stage 2 or whatever is very subjective.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
@111: I actually purposely didn't use the word pedophiles there. I think there are a lot of reasons young girls get targeted, pedo/hebephilia being only one.

I will admit to almost no experience with similar-age sexual attention at that age (apart from insults), so I'm honestly not sure how it will figure in for these girls. Looking back, I think I was probably quite sexually precocious in the sense of being aware of sexual sensations and so forth, and I'd certainly read a lot of books on the topic, but my sexuality was still very free-floating and not attached to anyone but myself as yet.

Crinoline: I didn't see the article as wildly problematic in itself. I simply noted that it included yet another instance of a phenomenon that I had seen many times before, and that I find troubling because it is widespread (ergo, I'm not just talking about this article). It doesn't matter if one article talks about a pregnant ten-year-old without saying she was raped. It matters if almost all of them do stuff like that.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
I think I'd be kind of bothered were I to be using the facilities and notice some weird guy/gal peeking through the crack at me- the fact that s/he was employed by the venue would only make it worse.

Also, isn't the question of what was going on in the stall always going to be a he said/ she said kind of thing? Like the kind of thing that could be used to eject anyone one you found "undesirable"?
Posted by revgeorge on June 10, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
mydriasis 116

My point in raising pedophilia is that pedophiles are in the minority. If a girl physically looks at 10 or 12 like she is old enough to be an object of sexual attention for people who are not pedophiles or hebephiles then that will be problematic. In my mind, early puberty widens the pool of predators substantially.

Yes, some will still give off a distinctly unsexual appearance for the reasons you mentioned, but there are (in my opinion) a significant number of girls that won't. I'm sure my experience with children is very different than yours but I spent a lot of my teen years working with children, I definitely saw a lot of girls that went as far out of their way as possible to not appear like children.***

Looking back, I think I was probably quite sexually precocious in the sense of being aware of sexual sensations and so forth, and I'd certainly read a lot of books on the topic, but my sexuality was still very free-floating and not attached to anyone but myself as yet.

I think you and I have different connotations by what 'sexually precocious' means. My interpretation may be wrong, so there's that. Personally, I think it's not uncommon for girls to be aware of sexual sensations during puberty, and reading about the topic seems pretty normal/healthy to me. It sort of hard to describe what I mean because it's more of a feeling but I guess I was more referring to the inclination to present oneself in a sexual manner or to be receptive or appear receptive to sexual attention. Which isn't an easy thing to quantify.

*** Lest anyone think I'm making a value judgement on these kids. I'm not at all. Not too much earlier, I was one of those kids.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Okay, you've got the pedophiles, who will be less interested in a kid with breasts. You've got the hebephiles, who may be interested at an earlier stage than they otherwise would have been. You've got the guys who like freaking out young girls, who may be interested at an earlier stage than they otherwise would have been. But you don't enlarge the total pool of predators unless you recruit (so to speak) guys who would otherwise be interested in women of the age of consent and up and are getting fooled. Given that menarche is still happening at about the same age, the upper range of appearance isn't changing much, so I don't see that pool of guys being affected much at all.

Add in the protective effect of younger girls spending more time with their parents or other adults, and I don't really see where the greater exposure to predators necessarily comes in. As it was, my daughters say their experience was very different from mine as they weren't out on their own much until high school anyway.

It occurs to me that it could actually be beneficial to have puberty be more spread out, so that early breast changes become more like getting permanent teeth, a thing that people think of as happening to little kids. I would never have enjoyed the process of getting breasts (they itched and hurt and so on), but if it had been normal for it to happen when I was younger and less self-conscious, I might have minded less, just as I minded braces less before I was old enough to think about kissing anyone. The cascade of body changes all happening so fast wasn't fun, either -- a more gradual process could have been better in a way. (I still think it's probably not normal, though, and am concerned about environmental damage, etc.)

Incidentally, I have kids. I'm at schools and kids' events all the time. I know what girls of various ages look like, and no, ten-year-olds with breasts still look like ten-year-olds. They may occasionally try to look sixteen, but they don't do much of a job at it. I've occasionally seen them look sexualized, yes, but that doesn't make them look older, to me.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
So Ted Nugent is a big-mouthed frothy homophobe, but when he needs relationship advice he comes crawling to Dan Savage.
Posted by DNash on June 10, 2012 at 6:29 PM · Report this
mydriasis 119

I know you have kids, I wasn't having a dick-measuring contest. I was saying that my experience is different than yours. It also might maybe be possible that children act differently around teenage chaperones than they do around their parents. Just a thought.

As to predators, I don't subscribe to age of consent being especially salient - I think it's more of a sliding scale issue, which is maybe why what I meant didn't get across.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
@119: Sure, it's a sliding scale. But the top of the puberty scale hasn't really moved. The girls who get breast buds at 8 rather than 11 are still AFAICS ending up looking the same at 13 or 14 or 15 as they would have anyway. So why would they get a different reaction? Guys who aren't interested in girls of those ages are still not going to be interested.

I didn't mean to sound dick-measure-y, either. But I don't get the same impression you do. (I'm thinking of observing crowds of kids in hallways and such, incidentally, not just times when they're consciously aware of adults present.) Also, this isn't so much about whether there are girls who look older than their ages, or girls who act unusually sexual, but about whether there are more such girls than there otherwise would be, specifically due to early puberty. I doubt it.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
mydriasis 121

I think that the impressions we get are pretty heavily influenced by who we are and what our experiences are. It's not uncommon for people who are parents to view young people (especially those their children's age) in a light that's different than other people. Not always, but often.

In my experience, it can be a very good thing. I rememember a few years ago being really aggressively hit on by a coworker who was much older than myself. Meanwhile, another man about his age commented "M? She hasn't even got her puberty yet". I was 19 (and definitely post-pubescent) at that age - it wasn't that I looked that young, it was that as someone with children somewhat closer to my age (the other man was a parent of a much younger child) I think he was more inclined to view me in a paternal light.

I hope that makes sense. I mean it as a good thing. I also think the way I look at those girls is a lot different than they way a 17 year old boy (who is likely sexually active) will see those girls. You might think they make unconvincing 16-year olds, but when I was in highschool there was a saying. "If there's grass on the field, play ball". Of course personal grooming habits were rapidly making that saying obsolute but you get my point.

As for the stretching of puberty, etc, I see what you mean now. I think people all respond to puberty differently. In that article, the 'end' of puberty is marked as the period, isn't it? That's not really as relevant in terms of physical appearance. If the beginning of puberty is when the appearance changes begin, then that's the salient point in this context.

To be clear... I didn't mean to imply that early puberty caused precocious behaviour, more that the coexistance of the two could be a problem.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Report this
You might think they make unconvincing 16-year olds, but when I was in highschool there was a saying. "If there's grass on the field, play ball".

Wow. That's a REALLY different social norm than any I've ever run into. There was far more pressure for same-age relationships in high school than at any other time. I knew almost no guys in high school who would even date a girl more than a year younger than themselves (it was more common, though not the norm, to see younger boys/older girls). A middle-school girl would have been unthinkable (not to protect her, but because middle-school girls were considered beneath contempt). Middle-schoolers' options were (1) other middle-school kids and (2) by-definition-creepy much-older guys. That was it. (Of course, that was formal relationships in the case of the high schoolers. I don't know how many people's younger sisters got jumped on at parties. I'd be surprised if actual hook-ups with younger girls were common.)

But in any case, these guys at your high school knew they were messing with much younger girls, right? they weren't thinking that "grass on the field" meant the girls were older?

Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Meanwhile, another man about his age commented "M? She hasn't even got her puberty yet". I was 19 (and definitely post-pubescent) at that age

But he did know you were 19 and not 11, right? That's all I'm talking about -- being aware of the girl's age. Not the attitude toward the age. Being able to tell how old the girl is.
Posted by Eirene on June 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
mydriasis 124
@ Eirene

I wouldn't say it's a social norm, but it's not unusual enough that I'd be comfortable ignoring it either, if that makes sense?

The context I heard that in was always a joke/exaggeration but I think jokes tend to also refer to truths on some level. My vague point being, if a girl in 5th grade looks like she could be in 9th grade, it's quite possible she'll be subject to attention to boys in 9th grade, 10th grade, and etc.

Your comment "A middle-school girl would have been unthinkable (not to protect her, but because middle-school girls were considered beneath contempt)." suggests that if teenage boys didn't consider them beneath contempt they would be fair game. Perhaps they are now? I don't honestly know.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 9:10 PM · Report this
mydriasis 125

Yes - but I do believe it's quite possible for girls to pass for several years older than they are. Horny teenage boys don't exactly put the objects of their affection through rigorous screening to determine their age level.

In Nas' "I can" he raps "this is for grown looking girls who's only ten/the ones who watch videos and do what they see/cute as can be/up in the club with fake ID" I don't think he's being 100% literal but I once babysat a girl around that age who put on some tunes and did some dancing that I doubt she'd want her parents to see. I doubt she'd make it past a bouncer but who knows. When I was about 16 (and probably looked more like 13 or 14) I noticed that in Mexico there was no way I'd get served at the bar - unless I was wearing a bikini. Did I pass for older? Maybe. Were strange bartenders getting me drunk based on my tits alone regardless of the fact that I looked way underage? Yes. Is that kind of still to my point? I believe it is.
Posted by mydriasis on June 10, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
I really don't get this conversation. Regardless of the child's age, maturity (both physical and mental), attitude and etc I'm pretty sure any decent parent is already doing everything they can to protect their kids short of hiring a full security detail. The best thing that can be done is to encourage people to be involved with their children, which is just about the best thing that can be done whether you're talking about predators, drugs or sex.
Posted by mygash on June 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM · Report this
I apologize for the repetitive sentence.
Posted by mygash on June 11, 2012 at 1:02 AM · Report this
Mydriasis and Eirene-- Thanks for the clarifications. I understand now.
Posted by Crinoline on June 11, 2012 at 3:30 AM · Report this
Horny teenage boys don't exactly put the objects of their affection through rigorous screening to determine their age level.

I realize I'm kind of beating a dead horse at this point, but my experience was so very different. A year made a huge social divide at that age. It took serious effort to scrape an acquaintance who anyone who wasn't within a year of you, even for ordinary friendships. I remember being a freshman in high school and looking at the seniors as though they were some kind of beings on a different plane. There was just no question that everyone paid attention to age -- it was a really, really primary stratification system. I mean, obviously that was artificial, but it did seem to be in accordance with general teenage arrogance toward younger kids, and the desire to seem as grown-up as possible (one reason I'm really having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea of a typical 17-year-old having any interest at all in a 12-year-old, no matter how horny they both were).

Granted, that probably also means that if a senior guy had taken any interest in me I would have been bowled over. But it would have seemed very, very weird.

It's somewhat different at my kids' schools, but it was still a very big deal when my daughter got asked out by a guy two or three years ahead of her (she turned him down). It was definitely not happening to all her friends. And while she has friends of different ages, she talks about them in terms of their groups -- her freshman friends, her sophomore friends, etc.
Posted by Eirene on June 11, 2012 at 8:59 AM · Report this
mydriasis 130
@ gash

The point I was trying to make is that early puberty makes that job more difficult. Along with the health issues, this makes early puberty concerning.


I follow you; you have your experience, I have mine. I know what I experienced, I know what the kids I worked with experienced, etc. I think maybe it's a cultural or subcultural difference.

When I was fifteen, (a "sophomore") my boyfriend was in college. The boyfriend I had at sixteen had an office job. I started getting attention from guys more than a year older than me starting when I was ten. So obviously my experience is not what yours is.

My point isn't to say that it's universal, but that it certainly does happen and it's a reason that I think if I had a daughter and she was developing way ahead of time I'd want to have a more in depth conversation about how to deal with unwanted sexual attention. I'd prefer to not have 10 year old have to deal with that kind of attention. Even a few years makes a huge difference in the maturity and etc. I think a girl is better off if she can have that stuff hit her a couple years later.

Again, it's not the end of the world, and yes, it's a parent's job to make sure their child is safe/happy/healthy no matter what his/her circumstances. I'm just saying that it's not unreasonable for parents to become concerned about early puberty in terms of sexuality because I do think it's a legitimate concern.
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
But once you're down to ten years old, you're in the realm where it is one goddamn serious crime to mess with that girl sexually. That's a whole different situation than ordinary harassment or sexual attention at a later age. Moreover, while it's not impossible that the girl might be interested in return, at ten it's a hell of a lot less likely. So as a parent you'd be in a far better position to say something like "Excuse me, my daughter is ten. Fuck off," than you would later on.

And a ten-year-old by virtue of being younger is that much less capable of deflecting attention (heck, I couldn't do it until I was sixteen or so). They shouldn't be asked to take that responsibility, in my view. I'd give her the same "get away and tell an adult" advice I'd give at any earlier age or stage of development.

What I definitely would NOT do (not saying you would) is imply to her that it was in any way justifiable for anyone to show sexual interest in a ten-year-old due to early development. That's just playing into abusers' excuses.
Posted by Eirene on June 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Is there any evidence that a ten-year-old girl with breasts is more likely to be molested than one who hasn't developed yet? Even if you had statistics, you couldn't sort out the issue of early breasts versus obesity and looking vulnerable to a predator.

To me, it makes no sense to be interested in the early-development thing primarily because of the increased danger of predators. As Eirene has been saying, a reasonable person should be concerned about girls' health and about environmental issues.

Keeping girls from developing breasts early will not protect them from predators, and the question of predators should be dealt with as a separate issue.
Posted by EricaP on June 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
mydriasis 133

Alright one thing at a time I guess.

1. I wasn't talking about supervised situations where it's possible to say "fuck off, my daughter is ten", I was talking about situations without adults present.

2. And a ten-year-old by virtue of being younger is that much less capable of deflecting attention

Exactly my point.

It's not about whether they should be 'asked to take that responsibility', obviously they shouldn't. That's sort of my point. Children also shouldn't have to deal with bullies all on their own either, but we should still be discussing how to best cope with bullying should it happen. Because it may.

3. On your final point I do agree. I would again compare it to bullying. People who are different are more likely to be teased. That doesn't mean it's okay to be teased becasue you're different, but discussing how bullying happens doesn't (in my mind) justify the act.


I actually wasn't referring to molestation. I also wasn't arguing that the primary concern should be the increased danger (I personally do believe that early puberty is one risk factor), rather that it is a non-trivial concern.

I also don't think that being concerned about that issue means not being concerned about health. I also don't think that being concerned about that issue makes someone an unreasonable person.

Finally - no one is suggesting that we should 'keep girls from developing breasts early' in order to protect them from predators.

My discussion with Eirene leads me to believe that early puberty is unlikely to draw extra attention unless it's paired with the kind of precociousness we discussed earlier. But I don't know - because I don't have stats. Do you?

I don't think there's anything unreasonable about thinking "oh, she's probably going to start getting unwanted attention at 11 instead of 14. That's unfortunate because she'll probably have a harder time dealing with it at 11 than she would at 14." in addition to also worrying about her health, etc. You do realize it doesn't have to be one or the other?
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
mydriasis 134

Also, it's not just about being able to deflect attention, it's about the emotional response the girl has to that attention. I might be wrong, but my understanding is that the more immature a girl is, the more negatively that attention will affect her. Even if she does 'run and tell a grown up' (which may or may not happen depending on the nature of the attention, her personality type, the situation, etc) she will still have an emotional response to the event. I think the younger she is the more confusing/upsetting/threatening she will find it. It seems to me that you're more looking at it in terms of "okay when you're x years old you can handle y but when you're z years old you can't" but I think of it more gradually. I think I'm more inclined to think 'she is way better off dealing with x at 13 than at 10, although obviously neither is ideal' but you seem to be lumping them more together and saying 'hell, before 16 it's all bad and it makes no difference when'.

That's how I'm interpreting why we see things a little differently. Am I way off?
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
As fascinating as 10 year old girls with breasts are, could we get back to discussing the ethics of getting a blowjob from a bearskin rug?
Posted by Wing It on June 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
@133 If you're proposing that parents talk about safety and sex and predators and pleasure and choice and responsibility with their young children, before puberty starts, and elaborate on those issues as the child matures, then we agree.

I disagree with people who think that girls who develop breasts early need special early training and special early protection that other girls don't need.

The question of how nutrition or environment is affecting our children's health is a different question, and very worthy of investigation.
Posted by EricaP on June 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
mydriasis 137

If you're proposing that parents talk about safety and sex and predators and pleasure and choice and responsibility with their young children, before puberty starts, and elaborate on those issues as the child matures, then we agree.

Yes... but in my mind "elaborate on those issues as the child matures" means that if she physically matures earlier she may need to have some of that elaboration earlier. I think ignoring earlier development and pretending it has no bearing on her life is naive, to be honest.
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Well, when I was pretty young I got an actual pedophile trying to get me into his car, and that was scary all right, but it was not really very personal. I didn't feel as if it was my fault for having wanted it, or dressed wrong, or anything like that, as I might have if I'd been older and more self-conscious. I didn't obsess about it for long at all.

I think someone trying to chat me up at ten would have gotten a sort of bemused, "Wait, what?" reaction, and any sort of molestation would have been something like my reaction to Car Guy. I wouldn't have associated that with the whole concept of sex and relationships as regarded myself. It would have been more like somebody yelling drunken insults or trying to steal a purse -- a kind of random scary thing that happens sometimes, but not anything that was really about me.

Whereas when I was older and got unwanted attention, it seemed completely personal. I was afraid it was only the totally creepy guys who would ever be interested in me, and that they were somehow aware of my nascent sexuality in ways that other people weren't. It was much worse, to me, to feel "Y'know, I actually could let that weird guy buy me a drink," rather than it being completely unthinkable, to the point of being silly, as it would have been when I was in fourth grade.

And my kids just didn't hang out on their own at ten the way I used to. At most it would be something like "You can go ahead to the library if you want, I'm going to finish my coffee and be along in a few minutes." If I'd been working away from home, they'd have been in after-school care at that age. Granted lots of parents are more laid-back than I was, but generally speaking kids that age are under adult supervision vastly more of the time than kids a couple-three years older, whatever your parenting philosophy.

I don't think I'm lumping it together at all. I'm just saying that I don't think it's a straight-line thing from whatever attention you would have gotten at 13, now you'll get at 10. Not only are ten-year-olds themselves very different, but usually their day-to-day routines are very different and don't expose them to nearly the same environment.
Posted by Eirene on June 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
@137, It makes sense to me to tailor your conversations to what you think your particular child needs, based on their actions and interests and peer group as well as their physical development.

Saying that all girls who develop breasts early are in a special category, different from all girls who don't develop breasts early -- that seems naive to me.
Posted by EricaP on June 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM · Report this
mydriasis 140

I don't want to get any more detailed when it comes to my own life so I'll just say: what you say may be true for you, but it isn't universally true for all children.
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
mydriasis 141
"Saying that all girls who develop breasts early are in a special category, different from all girls who don't develop breasts early -- that seems naive to me."

Did I say that?
I certainly didn't mean that.

Based on your first paragraph it seems we're basically on the same page. Physical development does have an impact on those conversations. That's all I was trying to say.
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this
@141 Thanks for helping me understand.
Posted by EricaP on June 11, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
@130 Ok, but is it really worth drawing out into a three day long argument? If you're basically saying that the same measures should be taken with a faster developing child then a slower developing one, then the whole argument seems to be about that it's more difficult to protect a more developed girl and how this hypothetical child would feel in the hypothetical situation she got molested. Point one; predators work on availability more than anything else, which is why the majority of molesters who touch boys are actually straight not gay. Point two; impossible to know for sure, but I'm going to guess shitty. Still whether or not it's more difficult to deal with at age 10 or age 13 is a moot point, it's a crappy situation that her parents would have to help her navigate since they're the ones who know her as an individual.
Posted by mygash on June 11, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Furthermore I second 135
Posted by mygash on June 11, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
I suppose a lot of problems come from wanting to draw a very visible line between 'developed girls' (who have to deal with it) and 'undeveloped girls' (who don't). Because we still tend to ('tend to' -- things are changing, but still) assume that children aren't sexually interested and/or sexually interesting, but that at some point in their development they will become sexually interested and/or sexually interesting, we have to draw lines. Somehow, a lot of people still behave as if they thought that the change is sudden rather than gradual (despite quite a lot of lip service paid to gradualism).

To say nothing of individual development... Age groups make sense, yet people also develop as individuals. Especially in the area of sex, where people still tend to tiptoe around uncomfortable issues, many will look at the age rather than at the person when judging 'what is appropriate' or 'what advice should be given her'. Plenty of practical people, who are quite capable of seeing problems individually and applying individual solutions to them, refrain from doing so with their own children. It is a pity...
Posted by ankylosaur on June 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
I'd like to thank the last 50 or so posters for the incredibly interesting off-topic discussion about early menstruation and its connection to child porn and molestation, but please, can't we get back to that bear skin rug now?

Please? I mean, we've all heard about early puberty, child porn, and molestation. We've heard about it a million times, in a million places. But when was the last time you saw a Law & Order Special Victims Unit episode about the victimization of a bear skin rug?

Don't you know unique when you see it?
Posted by Wing It on June 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM · Report this
Another way to frame the discussion would be to compare early puberty with any other medical trouble that children are often ill equipped to deal with and would benefit from parental oversight until they're older. I'm thinking of children with diabetes who need parents to help with blood sugar measurements and insulin shots, children with attention disorders who get Ritalin given to them until they can keep track of their own medication, or children with scoliosis or cerebral palsy, kids who wear back braces or who need physical therapy to learn the physical movements that other children take to naturally. Are there significant differences in helping children with any of those things and early puberty.

Also, with a nod to Wing It, could we consider children with early puberty on bear skin rugs or perhaps bear skin rugs with early puberty?
Posted by Crinoline on June 11, 2012 at 5:41 PM · Report this
I could make a joke with Hebephile, but it wouldn't be appreciated.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 11, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
It occurs to me that maybe the bear was pre-pubescent. Now that would be sick, I'll tell ya.
Posted by Wing It on June 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
mydriasis 150

I discuss things with people to learn things. I like hearing about their experiences and points of view. It's not an 'argument' in my books?

You know, the way the internet works you can actually have multiple threads running at the same time. The fact that some other posters and I were discussing one thing doesn't stop anyone else from discussing what they want.
Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
mydriasis 151

My opinion on the bearskin rug?

Posted by mydriasis on June 11, 2012 at 8:47 PM · Report this
mydriasis, have you ever heard of "surprise anal?" Don't be so quick to fall asleep on that rug, my friend.
Posted by Wing It on June 11, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 153
Hey NEWB (if you're still reading this far down):

Please take Dan's advice about using condoms seriously. The last thing you want is a pregnancy scare (whether it turns out to be false or not).

But what I'd like to suggest the most is to learn more than you (don't) know. When I was young, my best friend and I decided we'd be wise virgins, so bought loads of sex advice books (in those days they were legal if aimed at "married" couples). This was in the dark ages - way before the internet. Nowadays I send people off to visit my fave site for PIV positions, namely Take a look at it and see how many terrific positions there are that you might like to try with your new partner. Look at them together and see which ones she's tried and, better yet, which ones she'd like to try with you. There are also plenty of imaginative positions for oral sex. One of the best things about this site is that it should also make it easier for the two of you to laugh at what you see. And that's also important. Sex should be fun.

The other thing is not to feel you have to hurry to get to PIV as soon as possible (as if the world's going to end next week). It can feel really good to drag things out until you both feel as if you're climbing the walls with good sexual frustration and longing while you're getting to know one another using your hands and mouths (which should also involve hours of kissing).

The last thing that nobody's mentioned is to practise being flexible (yoga, stretching). And do some cardio. And strength training. You'll be surprised to see how being able to move easily can enhance some of the more unusual positions.

Good luck and a very happy and enjoyable first time (and more)!
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on June 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM · Report this
The last thing that nobody's mentioned is to practise being flexible (yoga, stretching). And do some cardio. And strength training. You'll be surprised to see how being able to move easily can enhance some of the more unusual positions.

And be a vegan, just like the bearfucker's partner.
Posted by Mister G on June 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
I have to give the round to My.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 12, 2012 at 3:08 PM · Report this
One more thing I HAVE to know: Did the dead bear have a thumb in his butt?
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 13, 2012 at 1:32 AM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 157
Dear NEWB ... Maybe you've got it all worked out by now, but you might consider telling your girl that you're a virgin and asking her to guide you through the act with you. Make the first time not about the act, but about learning about each other, and you won't regret it.
Posted by robt vesco, jr. on June 13, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
@NEWB everyone's first time involves fumbling and awkwardness. ;-)

Girls (straight) are into: dick. Girls are not into insecurity. Good news for you is you have the first and you can drop the second.

Unless you've gone for it already hold off from fucking her for now and take your time doing the shit you're confident about that you know turns her on. Find her spots that drive her crazy to be kissed and touched. Wait just a little longer than you both can handle it and tell her you can't wait to explore her body. Then when you're ready tell her confidently that it's your first time and you're cool with the fact that it's going to be awkward, and you want her to help you find what feels good. Tell her figuring out her body will make every bit of awkwardness worth it. And don't freak out when there's a lot of fumbling. There just is.

Good luck ;-)
Posted by quark on June 15, 2012 at 6:32 AM · Report this
@37 scorpio of id: Thanks! Sorry I missed seeing your post.
Unless it's a topic I truly can't relate to, personally (meaning that I have no advice or comments to offer), you'll see a post of mine (and others) in Savage Love online. I love Dan's column, and his advice is usually pretty straightforward and spot on.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 15, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Report this
Seriously, when's the sequel to BGA's letter? LOL!!!
I can see it now: out for bloody revenge after getting shot by the gung-ho hunter, BGA, and after an unexplained "disappearance" (the disgusted younger boyfriend, after catching BGA humping the dead bear, tossed the fake fur rug into the trash), the strap-on bear rises (ha ha!) from the dead at a toxic waste dumpsite, this time wearing a hockey mask much like Michael Myers in the slice-n-dice "Halloween" flicks, and with glowing red glass eyes and a malevolent grin, stalks BGA's vegan boy around inside an abandoned cabin in the woods!! Stay tuned for BGA2: Shagged!
Game, set, and match, Dan! This is a new "HTH" classic!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM · Report this
Why do some libraries in the US have gaps next to their public toilet doors? When I visited the US I found it pretty disturbing.

I know it's a 'public' toilet but many other parts of the world choose to provide privacy for bodily functions
Posted by Visitor_25062012 on June 25, 2012 at 8:31 AM · Report this

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