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Lotion Up

October 23, 2013

My girlfriend always responds positively when I initiate sex with her, but she hardly ever initiates sex with me. I'm a no-beat-around-the-bush kind of guy, but I realize that this can be a sensitive topic, and I don't want to scare her by saying, "Please initiate sex more often!" So I do small things to coax her and let her know that I want her to initiate. I will lotion up in front of her after we shower. Or I'll say something like "I wanted to fuck last night-maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" But it hasn't worked. The only time she'll initiate is if I haven't initiated for a while and she's sexually frustrated. But that can take days!

Girlfriend Rarely Initiates Naked Dance

Wow, GRIND, your girlfriend is pretty fucking dense. I'm surprised she remembers to breathe in her sleep.

I mean, she actually heard you say, "I wanted to fuck last night—maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" and somehow didn't realize that what you meant was "Please initiate sex more often." And she's seen you smearing lotion on yourself after showering and somehow didn't realize that you wanted her to start initiating sex once in a while. Amazing. A boyfriend smearing lotion on himself—who doesn't know what that means?

Um. Yeah. No.

Sorry, GRIND, but you're the dense one in this relationship. The likely takeaway from "I wanted to fuck last night—maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" is "I wanted to fuck last night, but the granny panties/pajama bottoms/hazmat Spanx you were wearing were such a turnoff that I couldn't get it up. You suck at this girlfriend shit." And while seeing your boyfriend "lotion up" after a shower may inspire lust, it doesn't communicate a very specific need like "Please initiate sex more often." The only thing it communicates for sure is "My boyfriend isn't going to put up with dry skin."

You want your girlfriend to initiate sex more often? Tell her you want her to initiate sex more often. Trust me, GRIND, that straightforward request will display more sensitivity to your girlfriend's feelings—and will be less crazy-making—than a potentially confidence-shredding statement like "Hey, I wanted to fuck you last night but you were wearing the wrong panties" or the conspicuous application of skin moisturizer.

But even if you're straight with her, GRIND, things are unlikely to change. She initiates when she's horny/sexually frustrated, but she obviously has a lower libido than you do and gets horny/sexually frustrated at intervals that leave you frustrated. Your desire for her cranks her up, so she's good to go when you initiate. But she's unlikely to feel the urge to initiate as often as you would like her to regardless.


I'm a 21-year-old female college student going to school on the East Coast. Two days ago, I broke up with my manipulative, controlling, insecure, long-distance boyfriend of one year. I truly care for this man, but I need to live my life the way I want to, and that wasn't possible in this relationship. The problem is, he's been leaving voice mails, texting, and e-mailing me threatening suicide. I've told his mother about this, but I don't think she's taking it seriously. I feel horrible, but I refuse to get sucked back into his problems. How can I deal with this serious threat without getting personally involved?

Single And Worried

Your ex-boyfriend's mom presumably knows her son better than you do, SAW, and she isn't taking his threats seriously. So it's possible that he has a long history of manipulating people with idle suicide threats, essentially taking himself hostage to get what he wants. But if you're worried—maybe his mother is neglectful and/or nuts—you might want to listen to Episode 364 of the Savage Lovecast (you can find that episode, and 363 others, at savagelovecast.com). I took a question from a man whose girlfriend threatened suicide when he tried to dump her. Jill Harkavy-Friedman of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had some excellent advice for him. Summing it up: Alert his friends and relatives, and pass the AFSP's hotline number (1-800-273-TALK) on to them and on to the person making the threat. I would add: Don't respond to his texts or voice mails, consider blocking his number, and forward any truly worrying e-mails to his mother.


My girlfriend snooped on my browser history the other day specifically to see what porn I had been looking at. I've told her I look at porn a few times a week, and she said she didn't mind. She asked me what type of stuff I usually look at, and I was mostly honest. My viewing habits are pretty vanilla except for BBW porn. It's not my go-to, but it was what she found in my browser history the day she snooped. She had some issues, and I don't know how to address them. I'm not more attracted to overweight women than other women, but sometimes that type just does it for me. Compounding this, my girlfriend is overweight—not on par with the women in the videos I watched—and now she's worried that her weight is the only reason I'm attracted to her. It's not! How can I explain this to her and put her mind at ease?

Busted Boyfriend Worries

If you looked only at porn that featured conventionally attractive women—all those skinny bitches—your girlfriend would be worried that you're not attracted to her because of her size. But she caught you looking at BBW porn, and now she's worried that her size is the only reason you're attracted to her. I don't think you can win this one, BBW, but you can try saying this to her: "I like women of all shapes and sizes, honey, including yours—as you can clearly see if you look at all the porn sites I've visited, instead of just obsessing about that particular one." I don't think it'll do much good, because your girlfriend probably doesn't want you looking at porn at all—saying it's okay, snooping, and grilling aren't signs of "okay with porn." So use private browsing, clear your browser history, or watch porn on a secure computer in a secret, undisclosed location.


HATE CRIME: One of the shitbags invited to speak at the gay-bash-a-thon known as the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, earlier this month called homophobia a myth. He said gay people are not victims. We are the violent and intolerant ones, he argued, and Bible-believing Christians like him are the real victims. Later that very same day—October 12—a gay man was attacked in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in an apparent hate crime. Scott Jones was stabbed twice in the back and his throat was slashed. He survived the attack, but his spinal cord was severed and he is now paralyzed from the waist down. Scott is Canadian and has access to high-quality medical care because socialism. But Scott faces a long struggle, and there will be expenses—retrofitting his home, loss of income—that he'll need help with. If you have a few bucks or loonies to spare, please consider making a donation at supportscottjones.com.

Subscribe to a new season of the Save Lovecast at savagelovecast.com.

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Comments (249) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Great column Dan!
Posted by alyssa0987 on October 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
2
I missed my chance to be first, but I thoroughly enjoyed the column. I think he was a little hard on GRIND, lotioning up and mentioning sexy undies aren't totally the wrong direction.
Posted by Moedee01 on October 22, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
3
Re Hate:

What the fuck??!

Re SAW:

Going through that scenario with my at the time GF was one of the worst, soul sucking experiences I've had. I do NOT recommend ignoring it and hoping it will "go away", because it won't. You are starting in the right direction by asking for help; living with this on your own can only hurt you AND him. Better luck in your next relationship!

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
4
Nice one this week, and GRIND's was particularly snickerworthy.
Posted by amandaplusnumbers on October 22, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
5
While I have no idea what's actually up with BBW's girlfriend, it's possible his "mostly truthful" answer came with flashing neon signs reading HE'S HIDING SOMETHING HE DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW. Which led to some "geez, is he into really scary stuff, or weird stuff?" until she snooped* to find out which it was.

A time machine would be the answer, where he'd confidently reply, "Yeah, I look at pretty standard vanilla porn of women of all shapes and sizes" either when she first asked, or after she checked the recent browser history. As so often happens, it's the cover-up that's doing BBW in.

*Which, Dan has said, is normal in a relationship viz a viz the occasional e-mail or text peek, so I will happily stick porn history in there.
Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Ophian 6
Is it possible for a Savage Love column to turn one Japanese?
Posted by Ophian on October 22, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this
7
Re snooping: I've never snooped through my husband's e-mails, phone, or browser history, and I believe he has never snooped through mine. However, we HAVE gone through each other's stuff in the sense of "where is the painter's contact info?" or "I need to pull up that financial aid website you had open earlier, let me go through the browser history." It's the nature of an intimate shared relationship with someone that this new version of "look through the mail on the counter for that thing I need" will come up. So if there's something you wouldn't want a partner to see, be discreet about it. Private browsing, people.

I also think it's normal and healthy to have a gap between fantasy and things you want to try in real life. Someone can like porn of threeways or bbw or whatever without that being The Thing They Want for real life, just one thing they enjoy thinking about. Every item in your partner's browser history is not a bucket list of missed experiences for which they resent you.
Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this
8
RE SAW:

In the "Open It" Savage Love of the Day I commented on maintaining lack of boredom in a good way. The whole suicide threat thing is my personal definition of lack of boredom in a BAD way.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 7:03 PM · Report this
9
@7 IPJ,

"Every item in your partner's browser history is not a bucket list of missed experiences for which they resent you.".... Definitely a "First World" problem.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM · Report this
lolorhone 10
Just to put it out there: not every man is sexy while lotioning up. Some can definitely be hot, but others are unconsciously grunting, cursing to themselves, and concentrating on moisturizing their crusty heels. Also, as in the case of the LW, they could just be kind of a dick.

Ophian @6: Mon chapeau rose! It's been too long! For the record, I am sure you are stunning during post-shower lotioning.
Posted by lolorhone on October 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM · Report this
11
@2 Too hard on someone whose complaint boils down to, I want my girlfriend to initiate sex more often, but she's only willing to initiate sex when she actually is in the mood for sex, how do I get her to initiate when she doesn't want it too? And it's not like her libido is amazingly low - she'll initiate after a few days. But he wants sex more often than that, and she is willing to oblige. But waiting a few days for her to actually desire sex is too much for him. So, yeah, you're not going to get someone initiating sex that often if they are already having sex more often than they are naturally inclined to. And, on top of that, he never even asked her to.
Posted by uncreative on October 22, 2013 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 12
Christian fundies love to play the victim. They'll twist reality beyond recognition to make themselves look like the aggrieved party. If you stop them from oppressing those they hate, they say you're infringing on their religious freedom. "All we want is our God-given freedom to beat the shit out of fags in parking lots! Why won't you give us our freedom?!"
Posted by Allen Gilliam http://softlyspokenmagicspells.com on October 22, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
13
Dear Dan,

My boyfriend has this weird habit where he makes this huge deal out of lotioning up in front of me. I mean, he reeeeally gets into it. What is up with that, Dan? Is my boyfriend gay?

signed,
Mixed Signals
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2013 at 8:02 PM · Report this
14
One wonders whether GRIND wears a red T-shirt the day after his girlfriend wears a red sweater as a way of sending a coded message that he wants her.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
15
SAW: Next time he threatens suicide for ANY reason, forward his messages to the local suicide prevention authorities to get him identified as a suicide risk and if possible have him protectively interned for a few days. Don't give him any attention other than that, just show that you "take him seriously" by getting his ass locked up in the ward. I give him one, two episodes tops, to break this shitty habit.
Posted by avast2006 on October 22, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
16
I entirely approve of Mr Savage's deferral on the podcast to the suicide expert; he ought to be in Parliament with that sort of loyal opposition.

The first LW seems like a Martian trying to figure out the secret Venutian code. The third LW seems admirably skilled in entrapment and ought to be put to better use. As nobody in either of those letters is doing anything so egregious as to deserve to be forced to marry immediately, both relationships should be terminated at once.
Posted by vennominon on October 22, 2013 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 17
How is BBW porn not "vanilla"? Isn't it kind of insulting to fat people to imply that they're attractive only as fetish objects? just wondering. Minor details though - Dan's advice is mostly solid.
Posted by Sea Otter on October 22, 2013 at 8:36 PM · Report this
18
@Dan:

I think you got GRIND's gender wrong. Not only did GRIND not specify his or her gender, but I get the distinct impression from their letter that she's actually a she.

1. Lotion. Like really, I don't know any guys who put lotion all over themselves. Unless they're really really smooth naturally (I know, that *does* happen on occasion) and they shave their legs on a regular basis, putting lotion on body hair is not particularly effective or pleasant. But then, maybe just because I'm a particularly hairy guy, I don't know any better? Also, the expectation that this is sexy to other people... that's a girl thing.

2. The behaviour exhibited, and the expectation that the other person clue in because she's being soooo obvious about what she wants. Even if this isn't an *inherent* girl behaviour, it's most certainly a socially enforced one.

That aside, I think you're spot on with your advice. Nobody is a mind reader, even other women, for whom (apparently) all this is supposed to just be obvious. That's what girls keep saying, anyway (until they grow up).
Posted by gromm on October 22, 2013 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 19
(Edit: I realize that it was BBW, not Dan, who used the term "vanilla." I probably would have called him on it, though.)
Posted by Sea Otter on October 22, 2013 at 8:38 PM · Report this
20
SAW if your boyfriend is enrolled in college contact the school's division of campus life. You can do this anonymously, just call and tell them his name and your concerns.
Posted by College counselors on October 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM · Report this
21
My question about SAW's letter-- With the information we're given, do we really think the ex is a suicide risk?

If he is, then notifying people in a position to help him (mother, hotlines, whatever) in the city where he lives is the way to go.

But I'm not sure he is. I think he's continuing to be a manipulative bastard. In which case the thing to do is to change contact numbers and ignore him.

My worry is that he's so controlling that his controlling tendencies will turn to violence against her, but she said this was a long distance relationship which puts me a little more at ease.
Posted by Crinoline on October 22, 2013 at 8:54 PM · Report this
22
@Ven, GRIND describes himself as a "no beat around the bush kind of guy"
Posted by Blackwood on October 22, 2013 at 8:55 PM · Report this
23
I work in psych. That girl needs to call the local PD to do a wellness check on him. Being taken in by the police and being put on a 72 hour hold might convince him that it's not appropriate to make threats like that. You've hedged your bets this way. You did the responsible thing (making sure he's not at risk, taking suicide seriously) without getting sucked back into his drama.
Posted by MinnySota on October 22, 2013 at 9:03 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 24
@ 6 Ophian - is your post short because your hand is busy - now that you're turning Japanese?
Posted by Still Thinking on October 22, 2013 at 9:23 PM · Report this
25
Oh no - is "lotioning up" something women are supposed to find sexy? I didn't get that memo.
Posted by Kristen on October 22, 2013 at 9:26 PM · Report this
26
@MinnySota, I'm not sure how psych holds happen in your state, but a long-distance ex-gf calling about a suicide threat definitely isn't enough for a 72-hour hold here in WA. Unless when the cops come by he's mid-attempt... Either way, when the mental health professionals come by to talk to him about it and he denies any suicidal ideation, then he's free to go, simple as that.
Posted by wanderlust on October 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM · Report this
27
Wait, his girlfriend will only initiate sex after a couple of days? Like, twice a week? And this is horrible why? Pretty sure it's a bit miraculous anyone is initiating sex with this guy. No matter how well lotioned he may be.
Posted by gnot on October 22, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
lolorhone 28
@21: SAW should circle the wagons whether the threat is authentic or not. If it is, he'll be forced to at least begin treatment and his family and friends will be have been put on notice. If not, the 5150 hold should be an effective deterrent to him pulling that kind of manipulative bullshit in the future.
Posted by lolorhone on October 22, 2013 at 9:58 PM · Report this
29
@gromm:

GRIND is a guy. He says so in the letter.
Posted by Someone who can read on October 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM · Report this
Cynara 30
Speaking of "Values Voters", if you are in or know anyone in Virginia, please take note of the upcoming gubernatorial race, in which one candidate is the truly awful Ken Cuccinelli, who wants to bring back sodomy laws in Virginia:
http://www.newser.com/story/176222/in-va…

I'd written Dan before suggesting a new word, but I guess he's not into that so much anymore. Anyhow, my suggestion was that if this Cuccinelli asswipe wants to clean up dirty oral and anal sex, I really think it's "just fittin'" that his name be honored in
that effort!

cuccinelli, n: A tissue, wet-wipe, or wash cloth used to clean up before or after a sex
act. "Ew, grab a cuccinelli and wipe off that santorum before it gets all over the
sheets!" "If you expect oral sex from me, you better be taking a cuccinelli to that
thing first!"

p.s. If you can't stomach either major party offering, the Libertarian candidate sounds pretty good:
http://www.robertsarvis.com/issues/marri…
"I want to lead the fight now—in this election—to recognize same-sex marriages in Virginia."
Posted by Cynara on October 22, 2013 at 10:33 PM · Report this
seandr 31
but she hardly ever initiates sex with me.

First of all, you'll have to excuse Dan (and Lolorhone) for getting lost in the specifics of your attempts to entice your girl. Yours isn't the sort of problem that gay men often face.

Second, your girlfriend obviously isn't the initiating type, so do yourself a favor and stop looking for symmetry in your sex life. That will only lead to disappointment.

If your girlfriend gets a boner for you, it will be because you've taken her on a getaway to a really nice, expensive, and romantic place. Or it will be in response to something you'd never anticipate, and whatever you did to trigger it won't likely have the same effect the next time.

The best you can do is ask her directly (as Dan suggested), and you'll probably need to give her some specific direction on how you'd like to be seduced. If she follows through, you're still the initiator technically speaking, but I suggest you not dwell on that fact.
Posted by seandr on October 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM · Report this
lolorhone 32
seandr @31: I'll gently remind you that, aside from lotioning not being universal code for "let's bang", the problem as I saw it was that his other attempts at seduction made him sound like a tool ("What you're wearing now isn't doing shit for me but if you step your game up tomorrow there's gonna so much dick in it for you" ain't smooth on any planet I've heard of). The "specifics" in this case are pretty indicative of why he's failing.
Posted by lolorhone on October 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 33
@ LW #@/SAW: when I was in my early 2's, I was in a LD friendship that had some flirting, but not a relationship. The guy was very manipulative emotionally. & although I wasn't wise to that, all the red lights went on in my mind when he told me he was thinking about "ending it all", he went on at great length. Apparently this was supposed to win me over. I don't play with that line in the slightest, having known people who committed suicide. I told him I had to switch phones to call him back, called the police department in his town, asked them to go check on him (it was a smaller town & I was reasonably sure they weren't gonna hassle him unduly, then called him back & kept him on the phone until the cops arrived. He was chagrined but he never pulled that trick again. (BTW he'd apparently used this line on other ladies with more luck.)

Huh, now that I think about it, that or a slight variant happened with two other friends, one was kind of an ex. Ah, early 20's. I may wish I had that body again, but I'm happy to have better taste in friends now.

Back to you, SAW: listen to Dan. I'm sorry you are dealing with this, & I hope your moving-on continues apace. From someone who's been there, make sure to let people know. If he's just trying to guilt you OR he actually needs help, friends/family should know what he's saying.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on October 23, 2013 at 1:12 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 34
@ 32: Mr. LoLorhone - truth, as regards LW #1. If that's how he's trying to get her to initiate, he needs to up his game. I lived with a guy once who did the lotioning trick. Took me a few times for me to grok that he didn't have eczema or something, he wanted *help* with the lotion application.

Plus talking, talking usually works. Awkward at first, results better later. Positive comments: "I really love that red sexy thing you wear!" works better than negative & trying to schedule a time for wearing XYZ sexypants.
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on October 23, 2013 at 1:16 AM · Report this
35
Re: Letter #1

Do you guys think that having such asymmetry in libido, that can lead to frustration, is likely to doom the relationship?
Posted by Balance on October 23, 2013 at 3:41 AM · Report this
36
Ms Blackwood - I agree that Mr Gromm's post was in a style similar to mine. Now, given the editing we've seen lately, I'll admit to wondering whether we can be sure even the admissions of gender are accurate (although I have my doubts about the poster who claimed to have submitted a gender-neutral question which was given a female label when published).

Mr Rhone/Ms Hopkins/Dr Sean - Perhaps it's an opposite-sexer thing (although here Ms Hopkins and Mr Ophian may well prefer not to be included), but somehow I can't bring myself to put any couple in which arousal is dependent upon the correct lingerie in Joan Plumleigh Bruce's top drawer. I do think Dr Sean might deserve half a point for recognizing that Exotic Travel is likely to work (as might jewelry). I'd always put lotioning in a similar category to going to bed slathered in face cream, but accept that it might be different for those of the human persuasion.
Posted by vennominon on October 23, 2013 at 3:56 AM · Report this
37
@Ven, I saw Gromm's comment below yours and switched the names given the similar style. It's true, I guess even if someone submits a totally gender neutral letter, the name they are given in the column may erase that neutrality. In this particular case, I'd rather believe that LW is indeed male, if only because that kind of communication issue is thought to be exclusively a female problem, which makes the whole situation funnier and gender non-conforming, in a way.
Posted by Blackwood on October 23, 2013 at 5:43 AM · Report this
38
GRIND is upset that his girlfriend does not initiate sex for DAYS! One day he'll look back at this relationship as "the good old days".
Posted by Texans on October 23, 2013 at 6:28 AM · Report this
Aurora Erratic 39
@Texans - Right?!? "Days!" As opposed to hours.
Posted by Aurora Erratic http://www.finemesspottery.com on October 23, 2013 at 6:53 AM · Report this
40
Re Single and Worried. My son DID commit suicide after the tenth time his girlfriend broke up with him. Sure, it was stupid and manipulative for him to hang himself, but who is the victim here? The advice given by the Suicide Prevention organization is good and right, but one further piece of advice might be: "If you jerk somebody around long enough, maybe you will eventually goad that somebody into killing himself." If you break up, break up, don't keep coming back for hugs and kisses and a place to live and all that and then run off with the first pretty face that offers to give you shinier hugs and kisses. And call the suicide prevention line when somebody threatens. Call the relevant police if the threat is right now. Every time. Especially in the middle of the night.
Posted by Vanilla Lady in a Technicolor World on October 23, 2013 at 6:58 AM · Report this
41
wanderlust @26: I don't know anything about "psych holds," but it's not just a call from a long-distance ex, it's also voice mails, text messages, and e-mails "threatening" suicide.
Posted by khoz on October 23, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this
42
Oh, Kohz, so sorry she has to put up with all those calls (doesn't she have caller ID?), voice mails (delete delete), text messages (block or delete), emails (delete or send them to a mailbox she doesn't read). How awful! Poor baby! The ex's mother, in contrast, may have to put up with a funeral and handling her kid's estate, plus no grandchildren or son at Thanksgiving or Christmas. But you're so right. Suicide is so "manipulative." // Come on! Woman up! Suicide hotline. Police. Every time. If he's not serious, it will get him to think about whether she's really worth the grief. If he is serious, it may save his mother and father a llfe-long memory of a son who died unnecessarily. SUICIDE THREATS SHOULD ALWAYS BE TREATED SERIOUSLY.
Posted by Vanilla Lady in a Technicolor World on October 23, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
43
"call the local PD to do a wellness check on him." Minnysota, you're absolutely right. The police will come, even if it's the 30th time there's been a threat. I'm surprised nobody here is mentioning being on the rejection of a horrible breakup and how it really does make you want to end it all. It feels like shit. It feels so painful you do want to die. It isn't a trick or being manipulative, though it may be a sign of mental health problems. // I'm not saying the rejector should come back. That isn't possible. But take the threat seriously, because it may well be.
Posted by Vanilla Lady in a Technicolor World on October 23, 2013 at 7:20 AM · Report this
44
I had a GF, once, who insisted that porn was cheating because "THAT is a PERSON!"

I guess she's kind of a glassy, two dimensional person (mostly, there are 3D boobies on the web but they're still not soft and warm).

I think I would have had some trouble working with her over the nudist hot spring stuff I enjoy, but I never tried and she was gone pretty quick because THAT was a CRAZY PERSON.

The Great Love Of My Life reads Dan, goes to the springs with me (to be naked, not to touch other people) and views porn at will. So BBW, if you can't educate her, you *can* upgrade.
Posted by SifuMark on October 23, 2013 at 7:57 AM · Report this
seandr 45
@lolorhone: "What you're wearing now isn't doing shit for me but if you step your game up tomorrow there's gonna so much dick in it for you"

Um, OK, except this doesn't even remotely resemble anything he said. I highly doubt his girlfriend jumped to such a grouchy, defensive, and far-fetched interpretation of his comment, and if she did, she needs therapy.

That's not to say his attempts at enticement aren't laughable, but that's simply because he's mistakenly assuming what works for him might also work for her. And believe me, if your girlfriend strips naked and starts rubbing lotion on her body while looking at you suggestively, that is in fact universal code for "let's bang", and as her boyfriend, you'd do well to respond appropriately.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 46
@ 7: I also think it's normal and healthy to have a gap between fantasy and things you want to try in real life. Someone can like porn of threeways or bbw or whatever without that being The Thing They Want for real life, just one thing they enjoy thinking about.

Yeah. I have a friend who says, whenever this comes up, "Owning a copy of Die Hard doesn't mean he actually wants to walk barefoot on broken glass." For some reason, when talking about porn, people forget they know that.

@21: My question about SAW's letter-- With the information we're given, do we really think the ex is a suicide risk?

I know of a lot of people who threatened suicide when they got dumped, and I know of one or two people who committed suicide after getting dumped, but I don't know of any who did both.

That said, I agree with VLiaTW: Having the cops check in on him in lieu of a response from the ex will either save a life or provide him with some much-needed knowledge.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 8:27 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 47
@45: And believe me, if your girlfriend strips naked and starts rubbing lotion on her body while looking at you suggestively, that is in fact universal code for "let's bang", and as her boyfriend, you'd do well to respond appropriately.

In my experience, if your girlfriend does that, she thinks she is initiating.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
seandr 48
@vennominon: somehow I can't bring myself to put any couple in which arousal is dependent upon the correct lingerie in Joan Plumleigh Bruce's top drawer

GRIND is hardly the first straight male to fantasize about his girlfriend showing up unannounced in a hot, slutty outfit, ripping off his clothes, and proceeding to fuck his brains out.

If Hollywood and Cosmo are to be believed, some women actually do this once in a while of their own initiative, but my experience is that if you're a guy who is waiting for this to happen, you'd do better to ask.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 8:29 AM · Report this
49
VLiaTW Your anger is palpable but you can't blame the shitty gf entirely for your son's death. He chose to stay in that relationship and chose her to begin with. Which means he probably was in trouble before the whole thing even began, and clearly wasn't well after taking her back the fourth or fifth time. It is never the responsibility of other people to prevent someone from suiciding - because it is impossible to prevent someone else from suiciding. Yes threats should be taken more seriously. Yes most people who suicide do tell others, often multiple others, of their intent before they do it. Usually months or years in advance. But it is far more often used as a bullying tactic by assholes, so especially in circumstances like this it is really understandable that an ex would ignore it. Most people ignore suicide threats even under much clearer circumstances. Suicide threats are also common coming from abusers. It is definitely commonly used as a manipulative tactic, because it's highly effective. Call the cops once, twice maybe, then disengage, because at that point the guy is clearly out of his damn mind, refusing treatment, and verging on the dangerous to the ex even if he's not seemingly aggressive. And the police showing up on the 30th threat? Not around here. And certainly not quickly.
Posted by gnot on October 23, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
50
@Vanilla Lady in a Technicolor World, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
51
@seandr et al. re initiating --

I think it helps to avoid looking at this in a binary way. If you find yourself keeping track of who has initiated how often, you're on the wrong track.

Instead: sit down and have a conversation about wanting to feel desired. Talk about what gets each of you in the mood. And think of yourselves as a team, where each person contributes to building the mood so that sexy times can happen.

And, yes, if she tells you about the porn she was reading waiting for you to get home, or if she strips naked and looks at you suggestively, please put those in the "she desires me" category, rather than the "she always waits for me to initiate" category. It's a dance -- it takes two.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 8:44 AM · Report this
52
@18: Were it not for the LW's use of the word "guy" I too would have thought the LW is female. The application of lotion post-shower and the expectation to glean a paragraph of information out of a single sentence is, in my experience, something you're more likely to encounter with a woman than a man.
Posted by repete on October 23, 2013 at 8:44 AM · Report this
53
If people have even a small difference in how often they want sex, it can seem like a larger one -- e.g., if A wants sex about four times a week and B wants sex about three times a week, it's almost always going to be A initiating, until that gets to be the pattern in the relationship. To change that, you have to be conscious about it and actually communicate.
Posted by Eirene on October 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 54
@ 51: I think it helps to avoid looking at this in a binary way. If you find yourself keeping track of who has initiated how often, you're on the wrong track.

While I largely agree with you--and think your call here is basically correct--this part sounds just the slightest bit suspect coming from straight women--the group who, as a class, have offloaded the risks and costs of initiating onto their partners. As such, they have obvious ulterior motives in wanting to steer the conversation away from "who initiates and who doesn't."

It's like if a straight man wanted to steer the "who's turn is it to make dinner" conversation away from the topic of who cooks dinner the most often. In 1955.

I think men who complain that their partners don't initiate are telling their partners what they need in order to feel desired. It's not all that different from what most women need: to have a partner who initiates regularly.

Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Foggen 55
Are we sure GRIND is a dude?
Posted by Foggen on October 23, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Foggen 56
Ah, yes we are. Weird.
Posted by Foggen on October 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 57
You know, there's probably a context for GRIND's expectation that lotioning up is a signal for sex. Maybe his girlfriend has told him that she just can't resist touching his smooth, sexy skin when it's all soft, and he thinks this is a cue.

But that's beside the point. The point is that he expects her sexuality to replicate his and in some ways he expects his own behavior to reliably mimic hers in that he wants her response to his behaviors to be what his would be to her if she performed the same.

He initiates sex when he is horny. So does she; except that she gets horny every few days, and it sounds like he gets horny more frequently. It's pretty hard to initiate something you don't especially feel like doing. It's much easier to respond to something you didn't especially feel like doing because you love the person who wants it or because once things get underway you're enjoying them.

As Eudaemonic pointed out, signals like wearing sexy lingerie and making sure you are seen wearing it, putting lotion on in front of a partner (well, not so much, to me, but I get the point) and in other ways presenting oneself as attractive and available are often seen as more active acts of seduction/initiation when performed by straight women. Often, that's all a woman has to do to signal that she wants to have sex. So the idea that the person who uttered the first sexual suggestion, or touched the other one first, or planted the first kiss is the initiator is incomplete. If I make sure my bf sees something usually covered or if I make sure he sees that I'm doing something to make my body more appealing to him, I'm likely to think that I'm doing at least part of the initiating. This might be a "problem" from a gender-equality issue, but the idea that a woman's effort consists of making herself desirable as an object is pretty ingrained.

In fact, that is exactly the dynamic GRIND is relying on when he said he says to his gf: I'll say something like "I wanted to fuck last night-maybe you can wear one of your sexy bras and thongs one day soon?" He sees her wearing her sexy bra and thong as her (successful) attempt at initiation. She knows it. And he knows she knows it. So when she wears unsexy undergarments, he sees it as signaling her lack of interest, which may be true. Of course, it may also mean that she just wants to be more comfortable. But if she knows that he equates her wearing "sexy" bras and thongs with a statement that she wants to have sex, she also knows that he interprets wearing comfy white cotton underwear as a signal that says "not interested now." And she's choosing what she wants to wear, so in a sense she is sending that signal.

Then GRIND is appropriating at least one of these "feminine" behaviors (putting on lotion in front of the gf) and expecting her to behave in the correspondingly male way ("ooh, he's sending me the signal that he wants me to ravish him"). She doesn't, because either the signal is too subtle for her, or she wasn't in the mood, so it didn't ping for her.

I did find the statement "I'm a no-beat-around-the-bush kind of guy, but I realize that this can be a sensitive topic, and I don't want to scare her by saying, "Please initiate sex more often!" So I do small things to coax her and let her know that I want her to initiate" first funny and then sad. Everything this guy is doing and saying screams of beating around the bush. But the fact that he is afraid he'd "scare" her by bringing up the topic of initiating more explicitly suggests that in his past, someone, perhaps this gf herself, has gotten upset at his attempt at direct communication.

He would be fine with her efforts of "initiation" being limited to wearing sexy lingerie--as long as that happens often enough for his libido. So I am assuming that when she wants sex, she signals it, initiates, if you will, according to this couple's set of expectations, by wearing the underwear they both know he finds sexy. But asking someone to initiate sex when s/he's not in the mood is unreasonable. Expecting someone to respond on occasion even if s/he's not in the mood for the sake of the other partner, on the other hand, is completely reasonable. But you can't just complain that the partner with the lower libido isn't putting enough effort into initiation.
More...
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 9:21 AM · Report this
nocutename 58
@Vanilla Lady in a Technicolor World: Let me add my condolences. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 9:23 AM · Report this
59
@54, agreed that the proposal is suspect, coming from me. But I think the alternative is dangerous: initiating becomes a chore, and the woman feels guilty for not initiating on a "fair" schedule, and she starts avoiding sex altogether. Don't tell me that doesn't happen to marriages.

>> It's like if a straight man wanted to steer the "who's turn is it to make dinner" conversation away from the topic of who cooks dinner the most often. >>

Maybe the man in your story could bring home take-out, and the wife should accept that that's what "making dinner" looks like on his nights. If the wife mandates that dinner has to look a certain way, she's setting him up for failure.

Similarly, if you (generic you) want your partner to be more involved in initiating, then you have to compromise a little on what that looks like. Maybe Partner comes and gives you a backrub, maybe Partner pats your butt on the way to the bedroom. It's not going to look exactly the way you might want it to.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
The Beatles 60
@55 (and others):

When gender isn't specified in the letter, as printed in the column, but Dan goes ahead and refers to the LW in a gendered way, it's taken as given that there's enough information somewhere in the original letter as sent to as to definitively indicate the gender of said LW.

See The Advice Columnists Guidebook Sec. 3-120 Chapter 5 Optech glitch 93-0.
Posted by The Beatles on October 23, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
61
@54 also:
>> I think men who complain that their partners don't initiate are telling their partners what they need in order to feel desired.>>

Not if they complain to Dan but don't bring it up to their partners explicitly. Also, "complaining" isn't the approach I would recommend. Try "communicating" and "brainstorming" instead.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
62
I don't get the impression from GRIND's letter that he is wanting his GF to "initiate" sex for it's own sake, both because he does get sex when he puts the effort in and because it would still count as her initiative after he sent her "start wooing me now" signals.

At that point, what he is really wanting is some combination of not having to put in so much effort "initiating", or being given more reassurance from his GF that he is lovable and sexually desirable.
Posted by Her "Initiating" Sex Probably Won't Further Either Goal on October 23, 2013 at 9:55 AM · Report this
63
Dang, everything was fine until the very end, where you had to promote *socialism*, and then suggest that I send money. Guess I'll have to send more money to anti-socialist causes.
Posted by Unsocial on October 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
nocutename 64
@EricaP:
Maybe the man in your story could bring home take-out, and the wife should accept that that's what "making dinner" looks like on his nights. If the wife mandates that dinner has to look a certain way, she's setting him up for failure.
This is perhaps the single most important lesson for both partners to learn if they want their relationships to be successful.

Wife: My husband never helps with the dishes.
Husband: Every time I washed the dishes, my wife told me I was doing it wrong. Eventually I stopped.

Husband: My wife doesn't initiate sex often enough.
Wife: I wear uncomfortable, has-to-be-washed-by-hand lingerie twice a week when I'd rather be in my Fruit of the Looms. What's he complaining about?

Years ago, a friend of mine who used to make elaborate dinners for her family every night and was resenting the time and effort that she alone put into the task told her husband she wanted him to commit to making dinner once a week. He thought he knew what her expectations of "dinner" were, based on what she prepared, and said, "okay, but it's going to be scrambled eggs, then." To which she replied, "scrambled eggs sound wonderful."
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
nocutename 65
@55 and others, and 60: Plus the letter writer calls himself a "guy."
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
The Beatles 66
@63 Fine then, join the company of Hitler and the Koch brothers. The rest of us will stay here and enjoy our health care, public facilities, etc.

Also, lol@ you "having money".
Posted by The Beatles on October 23, 2013 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Holmes 67
GRIND, you've got the wrong person applying the lotion. Hand her the bottle.
Posted by Holmes on October 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM · Report this
The Beatles 68
@65 Yeah, there's that, too.

And the fact that Lesbian Bed Death is generally not caused by a lack of slutty thongs and sexy lingerie...
Posted by The Beatles on October 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 69
@ 57: Everything this guy is doing and saying screams of beating around the bush. But the fact that he is afraid he'd "scare" her by bringing up the topic of initiating more explicitly suggests that in his past, someone, perhaps this gf herself, has gotten upset at his attempt at direct communication.

This, too. I wish he'd gone into more (or any) detail about why he's afraid that it would "scare" her; it seems like that would make a huge difference here.

@59: But I think the alternative is dangerous: initiating becomes a chore, and the woman feels guilty for not initiating on a "fair" schedule, and she starts avoiding sex altogether.

True enough, but initiation is already a chore. The dangers there are from making it a shared chore, rather than a mutually-beneficial chore that one partner is exclusively expected to do because of gendered expectations. Initiation takes effort, and carries emotional risks (which is why the people who don't have to do it typically place the entire burden on their partners).

That said--yes. The reasonable solution is (as it often is) "work out with your partner what you both want, and what you can do about it." But we shouldn't assume that someone is creating a chore just by refusing to do all of it because they're male or female.

Maybe the man in your story could bring home take-out, and the wife should accept that that's what "making dinner" looks like on his nights. If the wife mandates that dinner has to look a certain way, she's setting him up for failure.

Yeah. I was thinking more of the situation in which the husband and the wife are both starting from the assumption that it's the wife's job to provide dinner for both of them, seven days a week, just because she's a woman. And that the husband entirely fulfills his duty by eating it--when and if he finds it satisfactory.

I'm pretty sure that most of the men who complain about having to do 100% of the initiation, 100% of the time would be thrilled with the equivalent of takeout.

...Which is not to say that I necessarily trust the men's assessment of the situation regarding who's initiating, since it's pretty easy for couples to have sex and both think they're the one who initiated it.

Not if they complain to Dan but don't bring it up to their partners explicitly.

I completely agree. I'm really curious why he thinks it would scare her.
More...
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
70
nocutename @57 - I missed your post before, but wanted to say that it's really good. I loved your analysis of the role lingerie plays in their relationship.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
71
@ericap and @nocutename - thanks for the reminder... this is something that I'm still working on. Husband and I have different expectations for where to prioritize sex and house cleaning and cooking and work and this needs to go in my periodic file for "how to not fuck up so much" :-)

For GRIND - try talking. And with her libido lower than yours, you may need to recognize that if you want her to initiate, the price of admission (tm) is a couple of days without sex.
Posted by ariane on October 23, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
nocutename 72
@Eduaemonic: initiation is already a chore. The dangers there are from making it a shared chore, rather than a mutually-beneficial chore that one partner is exclusively expected to do because of gendered expectations. Initiation takes effort, and carries emotional risks (which is why the people who don't have to do it typically place the entire burden on their partners).

I don't think initiation is necessarily a chore, if you expect that your advances will be joyfully accepted. Of course, it depends on what constitutes "initiation" between any two partners. (I'm talking about relatively ltr here) As others have pointed out, everyone wants to feel themselves to be the object of lust and desire in a relationship, and the other person in a couple can find myriad ways of expressing that. If one person makes the other one feel sexy, desired and desirable, and communicates the strong sense that any advances will be welcomed, I don't think the partner that has to make the literal first move will feel anywhere near the sense of obligation and burden that s/he would feel if s/he wasn't sure of the response. But of course, part of feeling desired and desirable is proved when the other person makes a move, so it's kind of an intertwined thing.

Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this
73
My experience with the mental health industry: Patient tearfully tells psychologist of suicidal feelings. Psychologist decides Patient is manipulative, offers prozac, shows Patient the door. If Patient does not follow through on suicide, great! Psychologist was correct that Patient was manipulative. If Patient does follow through with suicidal attempt, great! Fact that Patient was not successful proves that Psychologist was correct that Patient was manipulative. Otherwise Patient would have succeeded. If Patient successfully commits suicide, great! Patient was manipulative to do such a selfish horrible thing.
Posted by Crinoline on October 23, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
74
Congrats, to you Savage, for "2013 Humanist of the Year!" I'd like to share with you what passes as a personal ad for Atlanta M4M Casual Encounters, on Craigslist: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cas/41… Sexy, Huh?
Posted by NotFromOff on October 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
75
Congrats on being Savage "2013 Humanist of the Year!" Thought you would be interested in what passes for Atlanta M4M Casual Encounters posting on Craigs List, so fuckin outrageous>>> http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/cas/41…
Posted by NotFromOff on October 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 76
Thanks, EricaP.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
77
She initiates when she's horny/sexually frustrated, but she obviously has a lower libido than you do and gets horny/sexually frustrated at intervals that leave you frustrated.

I actually feel like Dan is being too quick here to subscribe to the stereotype that women have lower libidos than men.

LW has explicitly said that his girlfriend always responds positively when he initiates sex, but doesn't initiate, herself, unless it's been an abnormally long time since they've fucked and she's getting frustrated.

This could mean that she has a lower libido. Or it could mean that her libido is just as high as his or higher but she's just not comfortable initiating for whatever reason. Maybe initiating just doesn't occur to her. Women aren't exactly trained by society to be sexually aggressive.

And so maybe when bf stops initiating sex for a while, gf is in fact thinking "Goddamn, I'm horny. Buuuut, if bf wanted sex, he'd start something up, so I guess he's not in the mood and I should try to respect that." Then a few more days go by and she's so horny she just snaps, overrides what she thinks is her bf's lack of interest, and jumps him.

There's no way of knowing what's actually going on in her head unless her boyfriend uses his words and asks her what's going on there.
Posted by perversecowgirl on October 23, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 78
72: I don't think initiation is necessarily a chore, if you expect that your advances will be joyfully accepted.

There's no human on Earth whose advances will always be joyfully accepted, so anyone initiating runs a risk of rejection, and will experience rejection if they have to routinely be the one to initiate. So initiation is a chore: it requires courage and energy, and will sometimes result in being hurt. That's a chore. That's more of a "chore," I think, than most actual chores are. (Straight guys: Which/how many additional chores would you take on in exchange for your partner taking sole responsibility for initiating regularly and often? All of them? Thought so!)

That's the problem here: this risk always exists, and will damage a normal person's self-esteem. The fact that gender roles traditionally offload the entirety of this risk onto one person doesn't mean it disappears.

But of course, part of feeling desired and desirable is proved when the other person makes a move, so it's kind of an intertwined thing.

That's kind of what I'm getting at. If your partner says "I desire you, but I will make no effort and take no risks to demonstrate it, and I will never overtly display it, but I will nonetheless expect you to do all of these things all of the time," you're probably not going to feel very reassured about the "desire" part...

I mean, it's like a lot of things: all relationships have power balances, but if one partner's constantly getting those imbalances rubbed in their face, they're probably going to start to feel like they're having power imbalances rubbed in their face. And I could be wrong, but my study of humanity so far is making me think that's not what they want rubbed in their face.
More...
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 79
@77: There's no way of knowing what's actually going on in her head unless her boyfriend uses his words and asks her what's going on there.

You make good points, but in fairness, if people in relationships communicated using words instead of gendered assumptions, Dan would be out of a job, and the rest of us would be frightfully bored.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
nocutename 80
@77 (perversecowgirl): Good point: This could mean that she has a lower libido. Or it could mean that her libido is just as high as his or higher but she's just not comfortable initiating for whatever reason. Maybe initiating just doesn't occur to her. Women aren't exactly trained by society to be sexually aggressive.
But I don't think that the gf thinks "if bf wanted sex, he'd start something up, so I guess he's not in the mood and I should try to respect that." I think she is used to relying on those traditional gender roles of who should be the agent and who is the object and how one signals sexual interest. Maybe she feels like she needs him to signal more explicit desire for her and if she doesn't get that, she fears rejection if she were to make the more traditional first move, as Eudaemonic points out in #78.

It is kind of astounding that people in long term relationships need almost constant assurances that they are still desirable to their partners, but there you go; it seems that all humans do require it.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
lolorhone 81
seandr @45: You have heard of being facetious, haven't you? The point of my jokey exaggeration was to emphasize his wholly unsuccessful and wholly ridiculous seduction techniques (direct and indirect). Indirectly, he's moisturizing without an audience when he could simply open his mouth and ask. Directly, he's asking her to dress up tomorrow in a way that suggests he's put off by (or just uninterested in) what she had on last night.

P.S.

He never said he was looking at her while he lotioned, just that he did so in front of her- which could easily be mistaken for standard-issue intimacy.
Posted by lolorhone on October 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
82
How do I figure out who initiates the sex in my relationship?

I am a straight (ish) lady in a (more than 1 year, less than 5 year) relationship with a dude. I would have sex with him LITERALLY any time, and he knows it. I am not being hyperbolic; I am at work right now, and if he asked me to leave and go bang him in the parking lot, I would. Over the course of our relationship, I have never NOT had sex when he has indicated his interest.

But that doesn't exactly count as initiating, does it? Because he still has to be the one to make a move, right? Anyone have any tips to make sure he feels appreciated without making him feel nagged for sex?
Posted by InsignificantReader on October 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
83
@BBW: There's no good alternative to self confidence when it comes to worrying about appearance. If she doesn't like her body, she will try to find reasons why you might not like it either. It tends to be the insecure types that really don't want their boyfriends looking at porn.

If she is OK with her body and you are physically attracted to her, then you can get to the point where you can honestly say things like "I like you but I also like looking at other body types/boob sizes/etc." without starting an emotional shitstorm.

Not sure how to get there, but very happy to be in a relationship where the latter is (mostly) true.
Posted by luminara on October 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
nocutename 84
@81(lolorhone): You're absolutely right that lotioning oneself post-shower in front of one's long-term partner could most easily and usually be read as a gesture of intimacy, not as a a "come hither" statement. Which is why I suggest this particular act or the smooth skin which is associated with it has particular significance for this couple. There's some background the lw's leaving out, but which is significant for him and his gf there.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
nocutename 85
@InsignificantReader (82): Why do you conflate initiating sex or expressing a desire for it with nagging?
Does your bf ever complain that you never seem satisfied with the amount of sex that he likes to have?

As for your question. I would text the following to him right now: "I know we're at work now, but if you were to ask me to leave and bang you in the parking lot, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Looking forward to the next time we're together . . ."

Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 86
@ 80: It is kind of astounding that people in long term relationships need almost constant assurances that they are still desirable to their partners, but there you go; it seems that all humans do require it.

I guess it doesn't seem too surprising, on reflection: people change, and people's desires change. Without some level of constant reassurance, how would you know your partner hasn't stopped desiring you?

I think it's relevant that being in a relationship with someone who no longer desires you is a seriously bad outcome, so it's reasonable to take that risk similarly seriously.

@ 82: I would have sex with him LITERALLY any time, and he knows it.

Out of curiosity, how do you know he knows it?
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
nocutename 87
Also, InsignificantReader @82, when you said: Because he still has to be the one to make a move, right? I want to know why. Does he feel like he needs to be the one to initiate? Does your initiating somehow make you less feminine to him? Have you ever initiated sex? If so, did you get a response that leads you to this attitude?

Or are you echoing (or perhaps questioning) the standard gendered division of labor/sex roles?

Try initiating and see what happens.

Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
lolorhone 88
nocutename @84: Really? I just thought he thought he was hot. He might, in fact, be hot- but in this relationship, it seems fairly obvious that he still needs to initiate explicitly.
Posted by lolorhone on October 23, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
89
@86: I know he knows because I have explicitly told him exactly that on multiple occasions.

I guess my main concern is how to make sure that he doesn't come to the (erroneous) conclusion that I am unsatisfied with the amount of sex we do have. He is happy with an average of 2 to 3 times per week, whereas I could have sex multiple times a day. Now I know this looks like a kiss of death/mismatched libido sort of situation, but it's not as though I go around itching for sex constantly. It's just that I really, really enjoy getting it on with him, so why would I ever turn that down? To me it's like if someone was handing out free hundred-dollar bills...I would take every dang hundo they offered because cash is awesome, but it doesn't mean I am feeling impoverished just because I would always be down for more money.
Posted by InsignificantReader on October 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 90
I know he knows because I have explicitly told him exactly that on multiple occasions.

Ah. I asked only because that (like when a man talking about his sex life says "Of course I satisfy my wife completely" without saying how he knows), it often makes me wonder.

It sounds like you're in a pretty good spot, though, all things considered. Have you tried asking him (at some low-pressure, not-overtly-sexual time) how he likes initiation to work? If he's been secretly wishing he didn't always have to make the first move, he'll probably be willing to tell you what kind of move he'd prefer.

But if you're not feeling sex-starved (and not worried about getting that way), it sounds like you've got things worked out pretty well already. Of course, I thought GRIND is basically doing fine too (there are probably billions of men who'd kill to have a partner who would initiate on her own after a couple of days).
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
muzyqman 91
Great column, Dan. I have a comment regarding the last item, "HATE CRIME."

I always try hard to be tolerant of all kinds of people, no matter what opinions they hold and/or express and no matter how much I disagree or am shocked or appalled by their idiocy and/or hate. As I always say, it takes all kinds of stupid to make a world. But there are times, especially when I hear about a "shitbag" (your word) like the one at the Values Voter Summit, when I have to wonder if that person is just asking for someone to rip his leg off and beat him to death with it!

There. I'm glad I got that out of my system.
Posted by muzyqman on October 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
92
Like everyone else, I am laughing a bit at the idea of a man trying to woo his lady by "lotioning in front of her." While there are many things I find attractive about men, lotion application has NEVER been one of them. Maybe I've just been watching the wrong lotioners, but... it's just not a sexy activity for most men. It's actually kind of gross if LW is hairy.

I agree with Dan that LW should just suck it up and ASK HER to initiate sex more. Tell her it makes you feel less desirable when she doesn't initiate. Most women will understand that feeling. If that's just too hard, think about what she's said she's found attractive in the past, then do it.
Posted by annstarrr23 on October 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
93
I work in the mental health field as a licensed counselor.

LW#2 has done everything right so far by notifying his mother and avoiding all other contact with him. Unless the author of the second letter is a qualified mental health professional (which seems doubtful) she should immediately call the police any time her ex makes a threat to hurt himself or others. His motives do not matter-- as a college student she is not qualified to assess them and they need to be taken seriously. She can inform the police that he has made repeated threats and ask them to do a well check. If they feel that there is due cause to involve local mental health professionals they'll do that. In addition she should seek an order of protection against her ex so that he is no longer able to contact her in any way. I say this because changing numbers is good advice, but it's so easy these days to find out someone's number.

It's super stressful to be in her position. It's also super stressful to be the one who got dumped. But regardless of that her ex's behavior is no longer her problem. I congratulate her on ending this damaging and manipulative relationship and for taking such a firm stance in maintaining the separation.
Posted by cork118 on October 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
seandr 94
@EricaP: I think we're saying the same thing, or at least consistent things.

As for whether my perspective is too binary, perhaps it is. I do think that for those of us in relationships where intimacy is expressed more or less according to traditional gender lines, it's a lot less painful if both parties can understand and accept their differences than it is to pretend they don't exist.

Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM · Report this
95
Ms Blackwood - Well, at least you won't bid a grand slam missing the ace of trumps.

Mr Rhone - You're right; he thinks he's hot. Again, relative term is relative, but I'll vote Not.

Dr Sean - Okay, so the correct lingerie is an opposite-sexer thing.

I always feel a little sad whenever I mention Joan Plumleigh Bruce here, as excellent a prototype as she is. It always reminds me of someone from Slate before they ruined their comment system who had a bigger crush on Rafe Gorse than Ms Cute has on Henry Tilney.
Posted by vennominon on October 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
96
I can relate to GRIND's girlfriend in a way. I have no problem initiating, but it often feels like my husband only rarely gives me a chance to initiate in a timeframe that feels right to me. If he's initiating every day or every other day, that's really cutting into my opportunities to take on that role in a natural, organic way. I know that I've been planning on seducing him sometimes, but he beats me to it!
Posted by overalls on October 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
nocutename 97
Mr. Ven, you are the only person in the whole world who recognized my Henry Tilney crush. Thank you for that!
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
98
As an avid Savage Love reader, and a proud Nova Scotian, I was touched to see Dan's note regarding Scott Jones. My thoughts are with Scott Jones and his family. Please consider going to his support page to help out.
Posted by Nova Scotian on October 23, 2013 at 3:21 PM · Report this
99
seandr @94, I don't understand. Are you saying it's easier for you to just accept women don't initiate, and then you don't take it personally when she doesn't initiate? Before I thought you were saying women should fight their gender-training and step up and initiate.

(Me, I'm saying that people should accept pats on the butt, a lingering kiss at the door, or sitting on your lap while nuzzling your ear as signs of desire, rather than insisting that only if she touches your penis is she truly initiating.)

overalls @96, maybe start earlier in the day? if he usually initiates at bedtime, start after clearing the table?
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
100
THEY MAKE HAZMAT SPANX? Well I know what I'm getting for my Halloween costume.
Posted by DRF on October 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Cat in fez 101
Sacrificing my clever blind of being an adorable and dapper tabby-cat, I must admit: I am a straight(ish) human woman.

@78 -- You are right on in your analysis of initiation as "chore" here. I initiate 99% of the time in my primary relationship. (So, not all straight dudes would respond as you assume! I'm still doing all SORTS of household chores over here!) It used to be a soul-crushing exercise in rejection.

I would only add that it is possible to come to an arrangement where the initiation is all on one side and that's okay. Now that my guy has acknowledged his issues and is getting therapy for them, I'm willing to keep being the only initiator. He says yes more often (thanks, therapy!) and doesn't backlash at me with bottled up feelings for "nagging" him. Also, since we opened up, he doesn't feel crushed by the burden of my libido, and I feel less frustrated and plenty desired. But you can't assume one person is going to be okay doing all the initiating -- it has to be negotiated, and openly discussed, with all the side issues, I think.
Posted by Cat in fez on October 23, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
102
@Eudaemonic, I'm a bit curious what you mean by "initiating." In my life, 80% of our sex starts when we're already in bed. My husband initiates by putting his hand on my ass, or by scratching my back if I've already fallen asleep. I respond by wiggling my butt against him, and then we're off to the races.

Other times, either one of us may say something suggestive earlier in the evening, which sometimes leads to sex before our normal bedtime.

Maybe we just have well-matched sex drives (3-4 times a week, now that the kids stay out of our bed), but I don't think he feels that reaching out to my ass is a terrible hardship.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
seandr 103
lolorhone: Indirectly, he's moisturizing without an audience when he could simply open his mouth and ask

Right, but I don't think you quite understand what GRIND is after.

Imagine the following scenario. It's evening, you're reading on the bed, you look up and see your girlfriend walking around the bedroom half naked, maybe rummaging through the laundry basket for some pajamas, and suddenly you find your cock hard and your mind filled with thoughts of bending her over the dresser, pulling her panties to the side, and fucking her hard. I don't know about you, but this happens to me all the time.

GRIND wants to experience being on the other side of that equation. There he is, just minding his own business, innocently applying lotion, his girlfriend sees his naked form, the shifting lines of his muscles, she becomes consumed with animal lust, and before he knows what's happened he's lying on the floor with her tits in his face as she rides him like a bronco yelling for him to slap her ass.

So we've all had a good laugh at him for believing this ludicrous fantasy might actually play out. Does anyone have any constructive feedback for how he might passively inspire his girlfriend's lust? Or does he pretty much have to ask her to play along?
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM · Report this
104
GRIND's situation reminds me of those little garden fountains with the buckets that fill until they overbalance and spill their contents.

GRIND's bucket apparently fills on a cycle of every day, give or take. Apparently his girlfriend's bucket fills on a cycle more like every 3 or 4 days. She is perfectly happy to have her bucket spilled on his schedule, but that means that he is always the one to initiate, since her bucket is only half full at the time his is ready to spill.

It seems like GRIND is wanting to simply have her cycle match his, so that he will not only get all the sex he wants, but have some fair share of it be at her initiation. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. If you want her to build up a genuine desire for sex with you, you have to let it happen according to her schedule -- which means you have to decide which you want more this particular day: sex now? or to have her be the one chasing you? If you decide you want sex right away, and she is receptive to it, you got what you wanted (the sex), but you also satisfied her need for sex. Her bucket got emptied along with yours. It is going to fill more slowly than yours does. If you want her bucket to be full enough for her to initiate, you are going to have to be a little bit patient. You cannot initiate on your high-frequency schedule and then complain because she never initiates. You are leaving precious little space for her to do so.

"It could take days" made me smirk a bit. How many days, exactly? What multiple of your preferred frequency? If you had said "It could take a month" or even "It could take two weeks" I'd be definitely sympathizing with you. But if you get sex fully as often as you want when you are the one to initiate, and only have to wait maybe three days for her to initiate when having her initiate is what is important to you, you have very little to complain about here.
More...
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
105
@seandr got me there, seems like his best bet is to try dating men?

I've never felt anything like:
"you find your cock hard and your mind filled with thoughts of bending her over the dresser, pulling her panties to the side, and fucking her hard"

Closest I come is when I melt into a puddle of lust as he grabs my hair or growls at me.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this
106
@104 - maybe he could go on a business trip for a few days?
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
107
I agree with #77: It is possible that his girlfriend is holding back beyond her normal schedule, and might well initiate more often if invited to do so. Maybe she thinks that, since GRIND initiates so regularly, the fact that he isn't initiating -today- must mean that he really isn't in the mood, so she waits a day or so until it's clear that isn't what's going on.

The way you fix that is through a simple, non-confrontational conversation where you a) invite her to initiate as often as she wants, and b) make it clear that you weren't holding back because you weren't in the mood, so she shouldn't take your backing off as a sign to back off herself.

You do still have to be prepared for her to tell you that no, her horny bucket fills up at around four days. At that point, back to Plan A above. At least you will know for sure.

But geez, for claiming to be a no-beating-around-the-bush sort of guy, you really need to learn to use your words, and stop trying to communicate in semaphore (lotioning up) and innuendo ("maybe you might put on your come-fuck-me underwear in the next day or so?")
Posted by avast2006 on October 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM · Report this
seandr 108
@EricaP: Yes, I was advising acceptance and working within the constraints.

After reading @99, however, I'm thinking that taking any relationship advice from me is sort of like hiring a financial planner who lives in a van down by the river.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 4:15 PM · Report this
109
Dr Sean - I am docking your half point and must be in a generous mood not to deduct three points for Grade of Execution.

Rule Forty-Two: One does not present an exclusive same-sexer with a hypothetical involving "your girlfriend" (of the boinking, not the You Go! variety).

It's the oldest rule in the book.

The closest I can come to a constructive suggestion (not that he deserves it or the relationship ought to be saved) is that he acquire a plumber's uniform and then spend the next year and a half in the gym until he can fill it as if he were on a television commercial. Choreplay always seems a safe guess for opposite-sex couples.
Posted by vennominon on October 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
110
I don't think I realized until reading the last few weeks' columns how manipulative people can be in relationships. This is despite my ex-wife pulling the faux suicide threat on me back in the day during a fight. I was totally flummoxed. On the one hand, I didn't buy it. On the other, it was an emotional landmine, and I didn't have the guts to call her on it either. Oh well, I guess you live and learn.
Posted by greatwideopen on October 23, 2013 at 4:26 PM · Report this
seandr 111
@ven: Apologies for my slippery usage of "you". Too much lotion, it seems. The first draft started out referring to lolorhone, was lazily revised to the general (heterosexual) "you", and confusingly came back home to mean "me" as in the style of Bright Lights Big City, a book I'm sure you detest.
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this
112
@104/105 ..had another idea...I think that crossdressers get that thrill sometimes when they look in the mirror, of being both the desired-beautiful-one and the desiring-one-with-the-hard-cock.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM · Report this
113
My apologies to those of the lesbian persuasion. The original sentence specified a male same-sexer, which I changed to the bi-inclusive "exclusive" having already deleted the ending to that sentence which made it clear how the favour might be returned in kind in order to spare the sensibilities of any Patriarchs browsing in the vicinity. Had I not had to dash out for some late shopping, I'd have corrected myself earlier.

I entirely accept Dr Sean's clarification.
Posted by vennominon on October 23, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
114
Re Grind:

It's a regular game in SavageLand to try to flip the LW's presumptive gender. Some of these doubters imagine Dan cleverly teaking gender identifiers. I shouldn't have been so surprised by the number of posters who identified Grind as female. I get their complaints that Grind's expecting gf to understand G's subtle charades was typical female behavior. However, there was nothing subtle about G's actions. A woman doesn't have to openly lotion-up herself to get a man to fuck her. A little look will do.

G is too inexperienced at living together. She's right there, and he wants her-- all the time. How can she beat that? Why should she want to?

Posted by Hunter78 on October 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
nocutename 115
Ugh, Bright Lights Big City. But I liked Seandr's explanation for the thought and typing process.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM · Report this
116
Ah, crap --
@112, I meant to say: @103/105. Meaning, I was addressing seandr's point about GRIND wanting to inspire his gf's lust.
Posted by EricaP on October 23, 2013 at 7:13 PM · Report this
lolorhone 117
seandr @103: I get exactly what GRIND is after. And no, I definitely have not been in the specific scenario you described- but something like it. I get wanting to be engaged sexually, in a spontaneous manner. But the shit ain't working and hasn't worked repeatedly. GRIND's girlfriend doesn't seem like the spontaneous type- or perhaps she finds GRIND too subtle in his advances. Some people, man or woman, need clear signals to proceed. And there's no (legal) way to guarantee spontaneous sex without both parties setting something up in advance- which, I obviously, is contrary to the spirit of spontaneity. So, again, he'll just have to open his mouth. No judgment or mocking or laughing: I can't see a way around it.
Posted by lolorhone on October 23, 2013 at 8:09 PM · Report this
nocutename 118
Avast2006@104: I like the way you described/outlined the GRIND/girlfriend scenario so well.
Posted by nocutename on October 23, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
119
For all of those who think GRIND may be a woman, very few actual lesbians (i.e. not pretend porn lesbians) wear thongs, or would ask their partner to wear one. Not only are they incredibly uncomfortable and can cause irritation on delicate skin, but they are unflattering on almost all women because they make the butt look square instead of round. I say this as a lesbian that is a major femme. Pretty lingerie, yeah; thongs, ugh.
Posted by JS from Philly on October 23, 2013 at 8:44 PM · Report this
120
Seandr--if you are looking to inspire female lust, I'd say the erotica you wrote in post @103 works very well.
Posted by milkshake on October 23, 2013 at 9:29 PM · Report this
seandr 121
@EricaP: Yes, I've always assumed that cross-dressing stems in part from a man's desire to experience the power of feminine allure, although I wouldn't think this is much help to GRIND unless his girlfriend is bisexual.

@milkshake: Woof!

(And thanks.)
Posted by seandr on October 23, 2013 at 11:18 PM · Report this
122
@103 Yeah, I would do that... If I could figure out how to get a condom on a penis correctly without ruining the mood. It's like the male equivalent of taking your bra off through your sleeve. Plus there's the whole consent thing. When I was a teen I just assumed guys wanted it. End of story. But now in my twenties it feels like a guessing game. I guess we (as in women in general) fall back on the guys initiating as a sure fire way of consent. Which I fully admit I can see as really tedious. So if someone can come up with some kind of signal that says "come and get it...if you dare" for men, I'm sure I wouldn't be the only grateful woman.
Posted by Really Now... on October 24, 2013 at 2:17 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 123
@ 101: I would only add that it is possible to come to an arrangement where the initiation is all on one side and that's okay. ...But you can't assume one person is going to be okay doing all the initiating -- it has to be negotiated, and openly discussed, with all the side issues, I think.

Yeah. As with anything, if you've worked it out with your specific partner (without excessive duress) and everyone's okay with it, that's fine. There are people who really are fine with doing 100% of the initiating, they're just rare--demand vastly exceeds supply.

@102: I'm a bit curious what you mean by "initiating." In my life, 80% of our sex starts when we're already in bed. My husband initiates by putting his hand on my ass, or by scratching my back if I've already fallen asleep. I respond by wiggling my butt against him, and then we're off to the races.

That's what it looks like when he initiates, and you respond. Which is not to say there's anything necessarily wrong with that, just as there's nothing necessarily wrong with one person doing 80% of any other kind of chore--as long as everyone's actually okay with it.

@104: But if you get sex fully as often as you want when you are the one to initiate, and only have to wait maybe three days for her to initiate when having her initiate is what is important to you, you have very little to complain about here.

Yeah. How many Savage Love letter-writers would trade everything they have for that setup?

@109: Rule Forty-Two: One does not present an exclusive same-sexer with a hypothetical involving "your girlfriend" (of the boinking, not the You Go! variety).

42a: One does when one is explaining what it's like to be a straight man with a girlfriend.

Similarly, when one is explaining to an opposite sexer what it means when one's same-sex partner sends a given signal, one is permitted to use "your."
More...
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 7:06 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 124
@108: After reading @99, however, I'm thinking that taking any relationship advice from me is sort of like hiring a financial planner who lives in a van down by the river.

In this sense, "Financial" advice comes almost exclusively from the van-dwellers or the Mitt Romneys of the world, doesn't it?
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 7:09 AM · Report this
125
Yeah, I would do that... If I could figure out how to get a condom on a penis correctly without ruining the mood. It's like the male equivalent of taking your bra off through your sleeve.

LOL. :D For me, the equivalent of the bra thing is undoing a guy's jeans. It seems simple in theory but in practice...not so much.

So if someone can come up with some kind of signal that says "come and get it...if you dare" for men, I'm sure I wouldn't be the only grateful woman.

Looking one's partner in the eye while beginning to jerk off seems like it would work.
Posted by perversecowgirl on October 24, 2013 at 7:11 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 126
SeanDr. @103 perfectly describes what GRIND is looking for (but probably will never get with any frequency).

@122, 125 - women can initiate by something as simple as a sexy text: "I am touching myself thinking about what I am going to do to you tonight." You are expressing lustful thoughts for your partner prior to him making a move, which is what GRIND (and others) are looking for.

The problem with letting your partner initiate 100% of the time: it can be interpreted that you are willing to have sex but that you don't really want to do it for your own sake. EricaP @102, something as simple as grabbing your husband's cock before he grabs your ass can go a long way.

Now at the risk of some gender assumptions, I have read/experienced that women's sex drive is more reactive whereas men's is more automatic. The disparity in GRIND's relationship is completely normal/common.
Posted by Tim Horton on October 24, 2013 at 7:47 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 127
@125 Looking one's partner in the eye while beginning to jerk off seems like it would work.

That seems a bit more likely to produce laughter than sex, doesn't it?

@126: EricaP @102, something as simple as grabbing your husband's cock before he grabs your ass can go a long way.

To be fair, what I took from her description is that 80% of the time he initiates physically, and 20% of the time one of them initiates verbally. If that's her half of the time (so she's doing 10% of the initiating), then her husband probably feels like he won the jackpot in the partner lottery, and it sounds like he did.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
Calico Cat 128
@40 Vanilla Lady: I am very sorry for your loss.

However, I don't think you can heap all the blame for the situation on the girlfriend. Sure, it's entirely possible she is a callous, cruel bitch who enjoyed toying with her boyfriend's feelings. It's also possible that she tried to leave a toxic relationship on multiple occasions but was drawn back in by emotional manipulation, suicide threats, etc.

I know it's easy to paint her as the villain, but I am sure she is grieving too, and may even blame herself for what happened, which is an incredibly horrible feeling.
Posted by Calico Cat on October 24, 2013 at 8:11 AM · Report this
129
@Tim & Eudaemonic (123/126),

Do you not see a difference between him fondling my ass and me grabbing his limp penis? My ass is there, unchanging. It doesn't need to perform. My pussy's pretty good-to-go all the time as well.

If he has a lot on his mind, then we're probably not spooning; I might do my ass wiggle against his leg or I might turn and put an arm across him and stroke his chest invitingly, but I'm not going to grab his flacid cock and put him in the position of feeling like "Things aren't going well at work and now I can't perform at home, boy I'm really a failure."

Also, the sexy talk & innuendo goes on throughout the day, and I squeeze his ass when kissing hello/goodbye so I trust to those to let him know I desire him.
Posted by EricaP on October 24, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
130
@129 Just to be clear: I help him get erect after he has indicated interest in sex. But I try to be inviting rather than demanding (stroking his chest not his penis) if I'm not sure of his mood.
Posted by EricaP on October 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 131
@129: Do you not see a difference between him fondling my ass and me grabbing his limp penis?

Of course I do--I was by no means intending to criticize your technique. It sounds like for you guys, while he does most of the initiating he doesn't have to do all of it, and that's everything most guys want.

I mean, if it worked that way for GRIND, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have felt any need to write to Dan. And even GRIND has it pretty damned good.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
seandr 132
@Tim: Gotta say, I'm finding absolutely nothing to complain about in @102 (my comment @121 was actually in reference to that one).

But of course, this is from a guy who lives in a van down by the river. From what I gather, you seem to be living in at least a duplex with, like, hot water and electricity and stuff.
Posted by seandr on October 24, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 133
If Seandr's the equivalent of the guy who lives in a van by the river, GRIND is the guy who's making seven figures and complaining about how they'd stop paying him if he stopped going to work.

...Except he'd still get half his pay.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 9:13 AM · Report this
seandr 134
@Eudaemonic: I'm assuming GRIND is youngish, as is his relationship, so I'm inclined to forgive him for reaching for the stars and not realizing what he has.

P.S. I'm aiming for humorous self-deprecation, here, but it occurred to me I'm in danger of sounding mopey, so I'll add that it's a pretty nice van with shag carpeting and an airbrushed painting of a naked woman riding a dragon on the side.
Posted by seandr on October 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
135
Oh, my--am I ever late into the game!

Nice column again, Dan!
I fully agree with @3 Married in MA re: HATE CRIME: WTF?!!?
Please, let's erase the hatred, already.

Posted by auntie grizelda on October 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 136
@ 134: Hey, at least you're doing it in style!

...full disclosure: I have no concept of style.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
137
Eudaemonic @127:
"@125 Looking one's partner in the eye while beginning to jerk off seems like it would work.

That seems a bit more likely to produce laughter than sex, doesn't it?"

Quite delighted laughter followed by sex!
Posted by migrationist on October 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM · Report this
138
@134 sean,

I have to snicker because my wife is the van driver in the family (but it is a pretty little red minivan)... (OTOH if you see it parked down by the riverside, it's because of a cleanup campaign or going for a stroll with our dog)

With regards to GRIND: Sure your fantasy stipulates your partner going gooey eyed while sliding her hands, and your tight jeans, down your muscular thighs, culminating in a nice sloppy blow job and more.. But, trust me, you can learn to live with just the sloppy blow job and more that you ask for (even if former fat pants seem to come off a lot more easily)

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 24, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this
139
Vans are the new choppers.
Good going, man!
Posted by aeros66 on October 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this
140
Anybody else read the final line as,
"watch porn on a secure computer in a secret, undisclosed location like the Seattle public library"?
Posted by wxPDX on October 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
141
@128 - I disagree. Entirely possible the gf was a monster. Those types of people do indeed exist. More likely you are correct of course, but who gets back together after 9 breakups anyhow? Probably both of them weren't in very good shape throughout, didn't do each other much if any good, and it ended up taking a terrible toll on him. It also might have been a situation where even if she had only broken up with him once and forever, he might have been so torn from the agony of losing her he'd have done the same thing anyway. It's impossible to know. Mom's anger is understandable. I'd hate the gf too were I her. Nice to have a punching bag. But it's more helpful to be angry at a society that doesn't take mental health terribly seriously, stigmatizes it and stigmatizes seeking care, especially for men, and lacks easy availability of care for many. If the supports were in place to help the guy from the beginning, the outcome might have been different. Having to rely on things like suicide hotlines (run by charities, not the gov't or any health providers, mind - it's the goodness of others alone which makes them possible), which while meaningful are really the most minimal treatment possible, or police intervention, which I promise you is highly unlikely to lead to any positive results for anyone - who goes inpatient voluntarily cause the cops show up? You'd just stop threatening to suicide - and if you were serious, you'd end up at higher risk. Outreach needs to happen, but not at a law enforcement level. Involuntary commitment is nearly impossible unless you commit a crime, and it would have to be a spectacularly wacky one since usually they just throw mentally ill people in jail w/o mental health treatment. The shameful thing in her son's situation is that although he knew help existed, he didn't feel ok seeking it, and that no one apparently threw up any red flags for what was clearly a critically dangerous situation for a very long time. And if they had, he'd likely continue to resist treatment. What does one do in this case? There has to be a cultural shift in the way we look at health issues like this. We need Mind, like the UK has. We need someone like Stephen Fry. We need a lot of things to happen to reduce the chances of things like this happening. I hope Mom can see her way past the anger at the gf and start getting mad enough to change the things that actually can make a difference. Our society needs that kind of anger applied productively towards better mental health care services for all.
More...
Posted by gnot on October 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
142
@141 yes.
Posted by EricaP on October 24, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
143
Mr Monic - (Was the Carroll allusion not clear? I refer you to the King of Hearts during the Knave's trial.)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that ninety-nine straight men out of an hundred are incapable of reading a hypothetical containing the phrase, "your boyfriend," without gagging, fainting, or beating up someone effeminate. (The last may be performed not necessarily in physical acts of violence but also by percentage sharking, which - I am thankful to report - nobody has done here, or some other tactic favoured by the oppressor classes.)

Remember the exploring party to Box Hill, when Emma cannot resist the opportunity to tell Miss Bates, who is sure she will say three things very dull indeed as soon as ever she opens her mouth, that she will be limited as to number - only three at once. You will recall that Mr Knightley, when lecturing her later, agrees with Emma that the good and the ridiculous in Miss Bates' character are blended, and asserts that he would have no quarrel with Emma taking any such liberty were Miss Bates her equal in situation.

You are the equivalent to Emma Woodhouse - handsome, clever and rich, with the comfortable home and very little to distress or vex you. (I don't know you well enough to pronounce on the happiness of your disposition.)

Had you been raised in a homonormative home in a homocentric town full of a homosexist society and regularly faced expectations and pressures to acquire and produce a boyfriend, judgments on your lack of same, and perhaps even been exposed to invasive and damaging treatments to mind and body over your disinclination to having a boyfriend, I'd allow your equivalency without a murmur. But it's not the same thing. Really, it's not (you can trust me on this one). At least, not yet; perhaps not ever.
More...
Posted by vennominon on October 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
144
@141 gnot,

Could you sign in, please? Your comments shouldn't get buried.

For @40, I'm sorry for your loss. Getting past such a violently traumatic event isn't easy, but you have to try your best to keep the pain from defining your life. The choice is yours.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
145
@143 vennominion-San,

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that ninety-nine straight men out of an hundred are incapable of reading a hypothetical containing the phrase, "your boyfriend," without gagging, fainting, or beating up someone effeminate".

I'll have to, sadly, take your word on it.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
146
To GRIND, I told my wife directly several times I wanted her to initiate. She wouldn't. I was always available when she wanted it. But that was two-three times a year max. I had to make a decision at one point that either i could be in a sexless marriage, or I couldn't. I figured if I were sick or her, would I want sex more than our health. That was 8 years ago.
Posted by Faithful on October 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
147
@21 Crinoline

'My worry is that he's so controlling that his controlling tendencies will turn to violence against her.'

Spot on. Very astute.
Posted by albeit on October 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
148
Mr Married - I was a bit irritated that Mr Monic would really think the two hypotheticals equal, or I'd have added the standard caveat of Present Company Excepted.
Posted by vennominon on October 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
149
Safeway store address is:12318 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125
There is a very elderly gentleman who uses the bathroom and does not lock the door and people, including kids, walk in on him touching himself. He tends to be there in afternoons and evenings. He dyes his hair very dark, wears glasses and a jacket. Mika has had many complaints about the old, crazy perv but nothing is done. Why should kids see this stuff?!? There is another guy who is always there who uses a computer in a corner of the eating area - fat, ponytail, bald on top, many missing teeth who I once saw going down on Old Man Wanker.
Posted by kroeger on October 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM · Report this
150
It seems like the majority of fat girls are offended by the idea that some men are attracted to fat girls. It makes no sense at all. I'm a fat girl and I have no problem with fat fetishists. I suppose the issue is, people think that if somebody has a fetish it means they aren't capable of regarding their sexual partners as human beings, only as fetish objects. Funnily enough nobody thinks this way when a guy has a preference for blonde girls, short girls, girls with freckles, or anything else considered normal. It's only because our culture considers fat abnormal, that people with a desire for fat people are considered freaks.
Posted by TheLastComment on October 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this
nocutename 151
@150: Is it that people "with a desire for fat people are considered freaks," or that fat people, aware that in our culture being fat is considered a disgusting trait, are suspicious of people who appear to be attracted to us for precisely that quality for which we are made to feel ashamed and hideous?

I'm overweight (not super-big; I'm a size 14) and if I feel fetishized for my size, I am turned off. I am a natural blonde (though blonde no longer, because I have the soul of a redhead so now I correct nature), and when it was clear to me that the color of my hair was the primary attraction for someone, I was equally turned off.

I understand attraction and types; I get the concept of preferences. But the minute that I feel reduced to some physical characteristic, I lose interest in the person who is pigeon-holing me for it. If, however, the very thing someone likes about me is the thing I dislike the most, it makes me extra, ultra-uncomfortable. I don't know; I realize that it should be an empowering experience leading to greater self-acceptance, but it isn't. It just feels creepy. And then I guess I project that creepiness onto the person who has the attraction. Illogical, to be sure, but it's the way it is. The surest way to get rid of me is to tell me how sexy you think "big girls" or "thick" women are.
Posted by nocutename on October 24, 2013 at 8:21 PM · Report this
152
I agree with Ms Comment that the majority of those equipped with fetishes are still perfectly capable of seeing others as human beings, although some fetishes are more prone to objectifying than others. The comparison is, though, if not quite apples to oranges, at least McIntosh to Granny Smith.

Ms Cute's discomfort (which didn't strike me as illogical, necessarily) hits on the aspect that presumably fitting the fetish is going to comprise a lot of where the relationship lives. Sometimes someone can come to embrace a previously disliked characteristic through looking on as it stokes a partner's passion, but quite often people are perfectly content locking a disliked aspect of self into a very tiny box and putting it pretty far away on a back shelf. It might well be too much of an ask for it to become the main accent piece in the drawing room.

There is also the possibility that the object could be insulted to be viewed as fitting the fetish. The prime example that springs to mind is the QAF story line in which Ted brushes off his friends' hints that he's letting himself go when someone younger and cute wants to date him until he discovers that his potential beau is a feeder.
Posted by vennominon on October 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM · Report this
nocutename 153
You know, I have had the illuminating experience of being different weights throughout my adult life. While never having been waif-like, I have been everything from a svelteish size 6, to a hefty size 20. Then down to an unremarkable 8/10 and back up now (unhappily) to a 14. This has given me some interesting perspective on the intersection between weight, dating, desirability, and fetishization.

When I am/was thinner, I was hit on much more frequently, but no one ever mentioned my body type as a special attraction. No one ever said, "wow, your absolutely average, unremarkable body is what drew me to you." I'm sure that my (relatively) conventionally attractive body type was in fact part of what drew many of those men, but that desire was so commonplace as to be unworthy of special comment. Moreover, I never felt, either on my own, or because of anything anyone ever said, that my main or primary attraction was my body;it was merely one of a number of things that made me appealing.

However, when I am overweight, although I get approached/hit on significantly less frequently, and oftentimes by men less conventionally attractive themselves, I find many of those men feel compelled to tell me just how special they think my body type is. It's as if perhaps I should be grateful that they like it, or they think that they are special for liking a woman not conventionally considered attractive. It becomes clear that for these men, my primary interest lies in my body, my fat body.

We all want to be appreciated for what we are as well as in spite of what we are, but when you are reduced either to a fetish object or a pathetic character who should be happy to be looked at as desirable because of your weight/body type, it undermines the sense of the genuineness of someone's attraction.
More...
Posted by nocutename on October 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM · Report this
154
@153 nocutename: WOW. Are you and I on the same page, weight and self-image-wise, or what? I could not have said it any better. Well said! Are you sure we're not related?
It's so true---none of us wants to be viewed as a prime cut of Grade AA beef. At least I don't, nor would I want to be simply the object of anyone's fetish.

I have clothes of all sizes now because of my recent weight loss (I have yo-yo'd up and down over the past 20 years; finally back down now, hopefully to stay---for my own health, self confidence and well being) and also now that my thyroid is finally functioning normally.
Your last paragraph nails it beautifully. Right now I'm focusing on me--what makes me happy, healthy, and finding peace.
I have had to get rid of a LOT of junk.

Posted by auntie grizelda on October 24, 2013 at 11:17 PM · Report this
155
Could Dan have been in a shittier mood for this column?
Posted by Ms.11 on October 24, 2013 at 11:35 PM · Report this
156
And @153 - yes! Those folks have internalized the skinny is better model, so when they like someone not thin or avg, they have to justify it or point out how magnanimous their attraction to you is. Creeeeppaayyy.
Posted by Ms.11 on October 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM · Report this
nocutename 157
auntie grizelda: I'm glad that you are healthy now, and hope you stay that way. I think the condition of being overweight does more psychological than physical damage to a person's health.

It's weird--you'd think that if one is considered unattractive by society in general, that if that person met someone who is attracted by the thing that is generally seen as the impediment to attraction, the overweight person would be thrilled to be seen as desirable or even objectified/fetishzed. And yet, I don't think it works that way at all. My guess is there's a lot of internalized self-hatred going on. I'm trying to "get rid of a lot of junk," too, and to treat myself with self-love, but it's a difficult task.
Posted by nocutename on October 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM · Report this
158
@157 nocutename: I sure hope to stay healthy. If I don't take care of myself, who will (the last five years have been tough for me with the loss of both my beloved parents and cherished cat of 17 years, 8 months)? Every day is a challenge for me, too; emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. Lately I have been releasing a lot of long-accumulated emotional baggage. So far, the newly acquired peace feels good.
You are so right!! Being overweight--and for a long time-- really does leave serious psychological damage to one's feeling of self being and overall self-esteem.
I'm still readjusting and working on overcoming my conditioned shyness to men. It really is weird. But I know I'm doing a lot of the right things by finally letting go of old crap.

I'm sending a hug and positrons, as my Mom called them, your way.
XO :)
griz
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 25, 2013 at 12:39 AM · Report this
159
@125 Yeah, that would pretty much cover it. Not very subtle, but definitely easy to translate- even for me.
@127 Somehow that doesn't seem like a very thoughtful response. If I chose to entice a partner in a similar manner most would consider me entirely within my rights to label my intended as insensitive, if not outright DTMFAR material, if he behaved in such a manner.
Posted by Really Now... on October 25, 2013 at 2:48 AM · Report this
160
@125 Yeah, that would pretty much cover it. Not very subtle, but definitely easy to translate- even for me.
@127 Somehow that doesn't seem like a very thoughtful response. If I chose to entice a partner in a similar manner most would consider me entirely within my rights to label my intended as insensitive if he behaved in such a manner.
Posted by Really Now... on October 25, 2013 at 2:49 AM · Report this
161
Ugh...Sorry. Double post.
Posted by Really Now... on October 25, 2013 at 2:50 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 162
@ 143: It is a truth universally acknowledged that ninety-nine straight men out of an hundred are incapable of reading a hypothetical containing the phrase, "your boyfriend," without gagging, fainting, or beating up someone effeminate.

Perhaps one ought to develop a better taste in straight men? It should be a truth universally acknowledged that most straight men believe in equality, and vote accordingly. But it will probably require a few generations' time for it to become one of those truths.

@151: Illogical, to be sure, but it's the way it is. The surest way to get rid of me is to tell me how sexy you think "big girls" or "thick" women are.

Yeah. This looks like refusing to join any club that'd have you as a member. Reasonable for some people, but unlikely to result in joining many clubs.

I mean, if a man's attracted to you, what would you have him do? Women don't typically respond well to men who don't ever say what he finds attractive about her either.

@159: If I chose to entice a partner in a similar manner most would consider me entirely within my rights to label my intended as insensitive, if not outright DTMFAR material, if he behaved in such a manner.

That's true, but the right to label your intended "insensitive" was not distributed with gender equality in mind. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman masturbating is sexy, and that a man masturbating is pathetic.

And that insensitivity toward a man who's being pathetic is acceptable, while it isn't toward a woman. Partly because in the dating context, straight men are so very replaceable.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 25, 2013 at 5:46 AM · Report this
163
Really [159],

If I chose to entice a partner in a similar manner [masturbating in front of him?] most would consider me entirely within my rights to label my intended as insensitive, if not outright DTMFAR material, if he behaved in such a manner.

You posted this twice, I didn't understand it either time.

So-- If you did this behavior, you could legitimately malign him, but only if he behaved in the same fashion?

Posted by Hunter78 on October 25, 2013 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 164
@163: I took it to mean that if she (I assume Really Now is a she? Help me out here) tried to turn on her male partner by masturbating in front of him, and he laughed at her, she could legitimately dump the asshole for being an insensitive shithead.

I think she's right, but that almost no straight man would dump a partner for that level of insensitivity. To use seandr's economic model, that's like Mitt Romney saying "Your house flooded? That's rough, buddy; now you've got to move to one of your other houses."
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 25, 2013 at 8:25 AM · Report this
165
Eudaemonic @162, I'm humor-impaired, so I find I have to note that a guy stroking himself while with a happy partner is sexy, not pathetic.
Posted by EricaP on October 25, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
166
Eudaemonic @162:
I find women masturbating look silly. Watching a guy masturbate is sexy.
Posted by migrationist on October 25, 2013 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 167
@165: Yeah, we're trading off stepping on that joke in this thread.

I think our current rotation means it's your turn to tell it next, and Ven's to torpedo it.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 25, 2013 at 9:24 AM · Report this
nocutename 168
@162:
Yeah. This looks like refusing to join any club that'd have you as a member. Reasonable for some people, but unlikely to result in joining many clubs.

I mean, if a man's attracted to you, what would you have him do? Women don't typically respond well to men who don't ever say what he finds attractive about her either.


Here's what the man I'm currently dating said (or wrote) to me over the last three days: "You are so beautiful; "I am a sucker for your gorgeous smile;" "You are the sexiest woman;" You're 'sexacious';" "My heart feel[s] as if it were about to burst with desire. Now, I think my heart is pretty strong. Nonetheless, it is still filled with desire, desire for you."

So I pretty much know how he feels. But not once did he say, as a man recently did on what was our first and last date: "You're so pretty. I love big girls. They're really hot."

Do you see the difference?

Additionally, the man I'm currently dating and I have talked about the following subjects over the last three days: a comparison of Charles Dickens' and Horatio Alger's approaches to dealing with sociological problems; eye lines in editing John Cassevetes movies; youthful hitchhiking in Alaska; the writings of Paul Krugman vs. other economists.
Here's what the other guy and I talked about: _______________. All he could do was tell me how hot I was because he likes big girls. How hot my big thighs were. If that's not being objectified and festishized, I don't know what is. There's a difference between being attracted to someone with all that person's qualities, indeed for all his/her qualities, including some specific physical ones, and only caring about some specific physical qualities. When those qualities deviate from the norm of what's typically considered conventionally attractive, it makes me feel icky.

BTW, I have preferences, too. I happen to have thing for big, hooked, honker noses. The man I'm currently dating doesn't have that kind of nose, but that's okay. But when I am dating a man with that kind of nose, I like more about him than merely his nose shape and size and even if I give him a compliment on his nose, I don't make it sound like that's all I'm looking for--a big honker--and lucky for him and me, he has one!

This isn't a case of me being Groucho Marx.
More...
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM · Report this
169
GRIND and SAW. A pattern?
GRIND's gf might initiate sex more often if he didn't initiate sex so often.
SAW: emotional blackmail is one of the most rotten things a person can do to another. A phone call to emergency psychiatric services might be good. It is hard to ignore when you care about someone, but this kind of behavior indicates they don't really care about *you*, just about getting their way.
Posted by dirthawker on October 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
170
@168 I'm thinking that other guy didn't have a chance, even if he had kept his mouth shut about his fetish for big girls. You may think you rejected him because you didn't like being objectified, but the way he objectified you was just another manifestation of his general stupidity & lack of clue.

When my husband compliments my "fat ass," which he does regularly, he does it with a lascivious smile which just turns me on. But it wouldn't work if he couldn't also hold his own in discussing Michael Lewis, Judith Butler, and the finer points of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Posted by EricaP on October 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 171
@168, 170: Yeah. The counterfactual to look at here is whether you'd have kept dating Mr. "No Social Skills And Nothing In Common With Me" if he hadn't talked about his fetish for fat women. I'm guessing no...

Just as you probably wouldn't go all DTMFA if Mr. Dateable at some point mentions that he's always been into big girls, right? We're conflating "likes fat women, has no social skills and nothing in common with me" with "likes fat women," and I don't imagine they're actually the same thing.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 25, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 172
@ 169:GRIND's gf might initiate sex more often if he didn't initiate sex so often.

Or if he said something about it? It's common for women to believe that a man who is even slightly interested would have already initiated, and/or that men are all turned-off by a woman initiating.

If he wants things to change, his first step should be giving her permission to initiate if she feels like it, and indicate that he's often interested even if he's not actively initiating at the moment.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
173
If you're seriously concerned about someone that's threatening suicide and you know where they live you can also call the police and have them do an anonymous welfare check on that person. They won't get in trouble, and neither will you, but the person will be greeted by police and informed that there is help if they choose to accept it.
Posted by obnoxiouscreename on October 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM · Report this
174
If you're ever concerned about someone that's threatening to kill themselves (and you know where they're located) you can call the police and have them do a welfare check. This won't get the person in trouble, you can do it anonymously, and the police will inform them of services that are available for them to get help.
Posted by obnoxiouscreename on October 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
175
168-

Charles Dickens's approach to dealing with sociological problems: When you find disadvantaged poor young teenage girls driven to prostitution by the larger society, set up homes and schools for them so they can learn skills while in a safe space.

Horatio Alger's approach to dealing with sociological problems: When you find disadvantaged poor young teenage boys, boys who, because of upsets in the larger society, find themselves without protectors, take advantage of them to the fullest extent possible by having sex with them.
Posted by Crinoline on October 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
176
Uh. Sorry. I question if GRIND is even straight. Lotioning up? If my husband were putting on lotion in an attempt to "lure" me - I would just think his skin was super dry or something - REALLY dry to get him to use lotion. As for what I wear: If a guy - a straight guy (in general, of course) wants sex - he cuddles up, he gets touchy - what you are wearing usually doesn't come into play because he's horny. Doesn't mean you can let yourself completely go, of course, but please. This is a very mercurial man if he's straight, and I can almost guarantee no good in bed if he's this picky. No wonder she's not hopping in the sack for "DAYS". He's lucky she's hopping in at all. GRIND needs to either loosen up or admit that he's on the wrong side of the track.
Posted by happy time on October 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
nocutename 177
EricaP and Euadaemonic: I suppose I'm doing a pretty poor job of describing what I feel.

Eudaemonic, Yes, there is a lack of social skills in undatable guy.

But if the guy I'm dating told me he has "always been into big girls," I'd be seriously put off. Perhaps to the point of ending it. Because I don't want to be just another of the "big girls"--I want to be wanted for being me. Don't you want to be wanted for being you? I don't mind if someone likes a particular body part or characteristic of mine--I'm kind of proud of my breasts, as a matter of fact, but I wouldn't want to be seen as nothing more than a walking pair of tits. But the real issue is that whether the guy is into big girls or not, I HATE MY BEING FAT. THE LAST THING I WANT IS TO HAVE SOMEONE CALL ATTENTION--WHETHER THAT ATTENTION IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE--TO IT.

Think of the trait of yours that makes you the most uncomfortable. Do you fear being thought stupid? Do you worry that your breath is bad? Whatever; make something up for the purposes of this exercise if you don't have such a thing. Imagine. You struggle with it; you try to change it. When that proves virtually impossible, you try your hardest to make peace with it. Maybe you try to convince yourself that not everyone notices or that not everyone cares about it. You hope to meet someone who will overlook your chronic bad breath or acne scars or stupidity and want to be with you for the person you really are besides that. You've had your fill of feeling defined by that trait. Now imagine someone says to you that not only did you not escape being defined by that trait, that she has a "thing" for precisely that which you hate about yourself: "Oh, I love guys with halitosis." "Stupid men turn me on."

Well, I suppose one could feel empowered and could joyfully claim ownership over the trait (yeah! I've got bad breath, and I know it, baby!), but I don't feel that way, and I think that after a lifetime of living in a culture where one of the few acceptable denigrations is to talk about someone's overweight, where fat shaming is rampant, where if you really want to go for the jugular with a woman you call her a "fat cow," it is pretty hard to hear that you are sought after for those traits without feeling creeped out.

Everyone: YMMV.

I think Mr. Vennominon got it when he talked @152 about the phenomenon of having something you try to push into the dark corner brought out and displayed on the shelf, front and center. And Ms.11@156 also hit the nail on the head: in addition to my own internalized self-hatred, there is the internalized "skinny is better" attitude which leads to a need to explain or justify or emphasize their attractions.

In addition, EricaP, you have described yourself as "slender," so when your husband mentions your "fat ass" you know he doesn't really think your ass if fat. You likely don't think your ass is really fat. And you know that the rest of the world doesn't think "wow, what a fat ass" when you walk by. This is a totally different dynamic.
More...
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
nocutename 178
@175 (Crinoline): Ha!

And that "if" should be "is" in my last comment, near the end, talking about EricaP's hypothetically fat (not really) ass.
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
lolorhone 179
nocutename @168, 177:

My worst date ever, excerpt:

"You're really cute."
"Thank you."
"God, your skin. Sorry, I'm just really into black guys."
"Huh. Well, thanks for personalizing that."
"Oh, I didn't mean-"
"Let's just order."
Posted by lolorhone on October 25, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
nocutename 180
@lolorhone: YUP!
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
nocutename 181
Although the weight thing is a Big Deal, fraught with all kinds of psychological baggage for me, I even feel put off when it's made clear that the only reason someone wants me is for something more benign.

I'm a natural blonde. 30 years ago I was out at a club with my friend, a stunning, statuesque brunette. I was at my slimmest, looking good (rocking those 1983 shoulder pads), but she was a zillion times more conventionally attractive than I was. A Cute Guy was there. Both my friend and I thought he was attractive, and all night long we all three chatted, flirted. We all three danced. He and I seemed to banter more easily, have more easy conversation together. After an evening of chatting, during which I thought he and I were hitting it off, he asked me out. Driving home, my girlfriend told me that she could tell that he and I had more in common and she wasn't upset. Two days later, on our first *and yes, last* date, he said something about how much fun it had been meeting both of us, but how he knew he wanted to ask me out rather than her. I thought he was going to mention our conversation, our common interests, the way we laughed at a joke she didn't find funny. I asked him, flirtatiously, when he knew he wanted to ask me out.
He said: "I really like blondes."
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
lolorhone 182
@nocutename: I swear to Christ, that was about 10 minutes before he complimented me on my dreadlocks and then asked me if I was, like, really into reggae?
Posted by lolorhone on October 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
183
@Groom: the lotioning LW called himself a "guy." I think Dan has the gender right.
Posted by Karenatasha on October 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM · Report this
nocutename 184
Lolorhone: If you weren't gay and about 20 years younger than me, I'd be on your doorstep with a boombox and a bouquet, and it's not because you have locks--but how cute--an old bf, the Most Gorgeous Man I ever knew (he looked like a black bust of Nefertiti with dreadlocks), had lovely ones--but because you sound like a neat-o kind of guy, and you speak French, and make jokes when someone inevitably spells your Slog name wrong.

Oh, and because you're black and I have a thing for black men.
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM · Report this
lolorhone 185
@nocutename: HA!
Posted by lolorhone on October 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
lolorhone 186
And thank you. : )
Posted by lolorhone on October 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
187
I was really sorry to hear about SAW's problem with the ex. I went through the same thing, only we weren't long distance. In my situation, most of the time it was only a threat. However, he did try to commit suicide twice by taking around 50 + pills. Both times I called 911. They hauled him to the hospital, pumped his stomach, and his family (who I called down there) all blamed me for what he did.

Eventually, I notified his best friend, who started to handle the situation. I had to lock down my Facebook account because both him and his mom were stalking me. I also changed my phone number, email accounts, locks and anything else I thought he knew. I even looked into getting a restraining order.

You should notify the police in both states and look into getting a restraining order. At the very least it will be evidence in your favor if things get worse. If you can't block his call, change your number. You cannot control anyone else's actions (no matter how much you try to help).

Good luck!
Posted by Shawnana on October 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 188
@182 - I just read this and cracked up because after your comment at 179 I was gonna say "Did he ask to touch your hair too?"

@184 - You are adorable. :)

I also feel you on the weight thing and wish you the best of luck on your journey. I've been in your shoes before, having been both incredibly fit (when I was in the Army in my early 20s) to about 2.5 times that a couple of years ago. Now I'm about twice as big as I was in my Army days having worked over the past two years to get that down. It never comes off as easy as it goes on, does it?
Posted by Pridge Wessea on October 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM · Report this
nocutename 189
@188: Thanks. And luck to you, too.
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 190
GRIND really should tell his GF that he wants her to initiate more often. I know that he wants her to do it naturally, which I totally get, but if it's a thing for him then he needs to break down and explicitly tell her that he wants her to initiate on occasion. At least then she'll know it's something that's important for him to know that he's wanted in the same way that she wants him. From there, she can be spontaneous - it doesn't have to be her helping him lotion himself up, but there are numerous other ways she could spontaneously initiate and she won't know until he tells her.

Also, who wouldn't want to help their partner lotion themselves up? Seriously, naked body, hands, lotion, rubbing, feeling, stroking... my hubby has had to nicely ask me not to help him before, because I'm so *cough* enthusiastic about it and it's faster for him to do it on his own in the mornings when he just wants to get done with the routine and be able to head into work without being late. So yeah, helping your partner lotion their body is one of the best things ever, especially when you have time to really enjoy it. Maybe GRIND's GF just doesn't want to get in the way of his routine? He really needs to talk to her about it.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on October 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
191
@nocutename, you're right, there's a difference. I'm slender with a (relatively) fat ass, and if I see a picture of myself from the back I'm not happy about how I look, but it's not the same, I'll grant you.

I like being smart & Jewish, but if someone tells me they're attracted to smart, Jewish girls, so they liked me right away, that would be a turn-off. It would make them look shallow, definitely. But I know that's not what you're talking about either, since it's not the "something you try to push into the dark corner"...

But to try to rescue something of my point -- I think a person with social skills might have the same fetish, but would keep their fetish to themselves because they would know it would rub you the wrong way. Someone who is especially turned on by Jews, or amputees, or fat people, or Asian women, is well advised to keep that to themselves, and make themselves as charming and winsome as possible, since (as you rightly point out) that fetish will be held against them if / when it comes out.
Posted by EricaP on October 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
192
Ms Cute - For your counter-example, try hair quantity, going back in time if necessary to before Bald Acceptance. Some men who'd lost their hair actually liked themselves just as well or better that way, and might well have been thrilled to meet up with someone with a preference or a fetish for a bald partner. The ones who'd fought their loss ever tuft of the way, spending all their disposable income and more on restoration only to give up in disgust at the end would likely be in much your boat.

Then there are the people like Mr Agassi, who claims to have lost his first grand slam final because he was more concerned with his wig not fitting correctly than with the match, but who learned to embrace the inner cue ball.

I think the discussion has rather blurred the difference between a fetish and a preference. A preference can get you into a room; a fetish can keep you locked in there.
Posted by vennominon on October 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
193
Mr Monic - Well, here is always Mr McEnroe. Mr McEnroe. Nobody was more opposed to Equal Prize Money for Women. Then he had a daughter.
Posted by vennominon on October 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
194
Oops. Double McEnroes.
Posted by vennominon on October 25, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
195
168, 175, 178- nocute-- I wasn't sure when you brought up Alger and Dickens (in another context altogether) whether you were thinking of the way the sociological problems were dealt with in their writing or their lives. I also wasn't sure how much the regulars here knew about Alger's darker side. So I waylaid the thread.
Posted by Crinoline on October 25, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
196
As a Canadian I have to clear something up. We get care, not high quality care. We don't have to worry about how we're going to work with a broken arm we can't afford to have tended to but we have to wait a loooooooooooooong time for some very critical procedures and there are a lot of hidden costs such as processing fees. In our current political climate (liberal of conservative prime minister, it doesn't matter both have eroded care and added to the hidden costs) socialized me define would not be on the table. Unfortunately our politicians are greedy, eletist and morally bankrupt pricks too. They aren't generally allowed to talk about Jesus which is nice but they are horrible all the same.
Posted by Ankleyosaur on October 25, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
nocutename 197
@EricaP: You are right: the smart, socially skillful person knows to keep his/her preferences/fetishes (relatively) secret, unless and until, of course, it's clear that the object of his/her attention doesn't mind being fetishized.
I am also smart (or so I like to think) and Jewish, and would have no objection to being courted for my smartness (and I know that being Jewish is important to a lot of Jews), so there is something to being okay with or even proud of your fetishized status that makes it okay or even flattering to be the object of erotic attention for that. I wish I was there about weight, but I don't think I ever will be. The best I can hope for is acceptance, not love.

@Mr. Ven: I had thought of the bald example, but these days, the bald acceptance movement is strong (I find bald men attractive, and especially like it when a balding man pulls a preemptive Savalas), and I didn't think the example would have any resonance. Certainly not in the same ways that my stupid or halitosis examples could be expected to be felt. But you're right, once upon a time, it was a Very Bad Thing, indeed. I just hadn't thought of situating my example for Eudaemonic in the pre-bald-love days of the past.
I also love your "preference v. fetish" definition/analogy.

@Crinoline: New Boy and I had been talking about Alger's writing, not his personal life, though as NB pointed out, his proclivities are pretty obvious in his writing. I don't think the thread stayed waylaid for long, and I, for one, appreciated the meandering it took for a moment.
Not to mention that
(A) not many people are still reading at this point, since I myself hijacked it
and
(B) not too many people here or elsewhere these days know who the heck Horatio Alger was.
More...
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
nocutename 198
@Pridge Wessea: Mazel Tov on your nuptials! Much happiness to you and your husband!
Posted by nocutename on October 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
199
There's at least one person out there who is into knowing what a partner's porn is about and is pro-porn. My partner would never admit to looking at porn to me, but it kept popping up all the time on our shared computer, because he was breathtakingly lazy. So after the umpteenth time it popped up, I went and looked at the history. Then I gently tried talking about it with him. He still denied it was happening.

I wanted to know about the porn because our sex life was boring, and he was kinda repressed, and I wanted our sex life to be more interesting, and I thought talking about the things that turned him on/sharing them would, you know, turn him on. So there is possibly another angle to this story. (For the record, I'm female.)
Posted by jenismo on October 25, 2013 at 8:24 PM · Report this
200
What @164 said. Where is this raining straight men utopia that you dwell in Eudaemonic? It's like your town is a Renuzit commercial without the headache inducing fumes or gag-worthy "dreamboat" male stereotypes.

I have yet to see a partner's penis and laugh. I haven't seen many though so perhaps I should give it another couple of decades.

Overall though, on the expendable scale I have to say it's pretty equal between the sexes in my age group (twenties), but probably a much different game in the other age brackets. And I'm assuming you're older? So perhaps the reason we're not seeing eye to eye is that our hypothetical dating possibilities are too far apart due to our respective ages.
Posted by Really Now... on October 25, 2013 at 11:49 PM · Report this
201
@199 I really wouldn't want to talk to a partner about the porn I watch and I'm a girl. Even if my hypothetical partner and I were in a rut, I don't think telling him what I get off on watching strangers do on camera would necessarily help. It just has the chance of getting defensive way too fast. Plus there are things I'm more than willing to watch, but NEVER EVER want to try. Which I'm sure is true for others as well. Perhaps choosing a porno and watching it together? That would eliminate the interrogation. And the selection process could help you guys see each other's tastes/interests more clearly.
Posted by Really Now... on October 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM · Report this
202
If she does initiate sometimes, can't he let that happen again, then the next day say: "I loved it when you jumped me yesterday. Can you maybe do that more often? I like being surprised." If applicable (and if her initation wasn't quite as aggressive as he'd like) "Also it'd be amazing if you'd x y and z at the same time."

That doesn't frame anything she's currently doing as a problem, if that's what he's so scared of and thinks might upset her. It's focusing positively on what she DOES do and asking for more.

Maybe she's never going to regularly want to throw him on the bed and ravish him, maybe she currently responds to feelings of desire with "Ooh, can't wait for him to start something later" would feel awkward and shy taking that role at first, but could learn to pounce on him if she knew how welcome it would be.
Posted by Green Lizard on October 26, 2013 at 6:06 AM · Report this
203
@202: Good advice.

@201: There are things I'm more than willing to watch, but NEVER EVER want to try.
This is a really good point regarding porn and other types of fantasy: it's not a simple view into someone's wish list for real life sex.

NoCute's point makes a lot of sense to me. Even at the level of physical attraction, I think people want to feel that the entire unique package is what draws someone to them. "Why did you pick me to approach, out of all the other people in the bar?" "You have light brown hair! I LOVE light brown hair!" ".... oh."
Posted by IPJ on October 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM · Report this
204
Not to be critical, but:

It all gets so confusing between, say, liking someone's sense of style or appreciating their having a sense of humor, and being hot for tall women (for example). In the real world, there are always many factors, including beer goggles and opportunism. Sometimes things happen.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
205
Green Lizard @202, yes! Praise & build on what worked, whenever possible. Much more likely to lead to happy results.
Posted by EricaP on October 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
206
"Lotion up". Ah, gross.

I know nothing gets me going like my dude of choice slapping gunk onto his penis. Shoots my libido right through the roof.
Posted by Lex4944 on October 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
207
GRIND,

Get another girlfriend. My husband and I have been together for 10 years. We recently bought our first house, have good jobs and are in a good place emotionally. His libido is much much higher than mine and we were having the same problem and we were at a secure point in our relationship, so we got a girlfriend. He gets a ton of sex, we have great threesomes once a week or so, and the pressure is off me so that I want sex more. Also, it makes him a better husband and can me attentive to me as a person instead of holy.shit.horny. all the time.
Posted by turtles on October 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
208
GRIND,

Get another girlfriend. My husband and I have been together for 10 years. We recently bought our first house, have good jobs and are in a good place emotionally. His libido is much much higher than mine and we were having the same problem and we were at a secure point in our relationship, so we got a girlfriend. He gets a ton of sex, we have great threesomes once a week or so, and the pressure is off me so that I want sex more. Also, it makes him a better husband and can be attentive to me as a person instead of holy.shit.horny. all the time and then retreat.
Posted by turtles on October 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
209
@126 Tim Horton

'Now at the risk of some gender assumptions, I have read/experienced that women's sex drive is more reactive whereas men's is more automatic. '

For the average couple, I'm sure it is. This hasn't been the case for me.

I like sex. I like good sex. I especially like great sex with a consistent partner. But what I have found in the past, anecdotally, is that some men only want sex when they initiate. If I initiate sex, I am rebuffed. Not once, but all the time. Not just right after they came (and I would be looking for my orgasm-which is not dependent on their refractory period), but just initiating out-of-the-blue.

I have come to realize these (specific) men need to exert a certain level of control. Sexual and otherwise. I wasn't down.
Posted by albeit on October 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Report this
210
@151 nocutename

'I understand attraction and types; I get the concept of preferences. But the minute that I feel reduced to some physical characteristic, I lose interest in the person who is pigeon-holing me for it.'

I completely agree. I'm a smaller size than you and I work with all men. I find myself hiding my shape in work situations as not to attract unwanted attention. Puffy jackets, big sweaters, scarves, etc. I want the men that approach me to be interested in me (the aesthetics me/ my brain) not just a Vagina on legs.
Posted by albeit on October 27, 2013 at 12:56 AM · Report this
211
@151 nocutename

'I understand attraction and types; I get the concept of preferences. But the minute that I feel reduced to some physical characteristic, I lose interest in the person who is pigeon-holing me for it.'

I completely agree. I am a smaller size than you and I work with all men.
So as not to be reduced to a shape or size, I wear: puffy jackets, big sweaters, scarves, I would like the men that approach me to be interested in my brain and aesthetic not just my shape.

But that doesn't seem to matter to most men.

Posted by albeit on October 27, 2013 at 1:05 AM · Report this
Still Thinking 212
I'm with Holmes @ 67 - Grind - give her the bottle of lotion already. "Honey, can you help me out with this?" Then let her hands drift where they may.

Avast 104 - very useful analogy! Thank you for that.

I am a little surprised by all the people on Savage Love, of all places, in (let me check the calendar) 2013, talking about how women just don't initiate sex very much. Really?

Women who like sex with men: raise your hand if you want to be with a man who is threatened if you initiate sex. I didn't think so.
Men who like sex with women: raise your hand if you are turned off by a woman who initiates sex. Oh, you're still out there? Well, I recommend you remove your head from the sand and (unless you are in the grip of a fetish for passive women) update your sex role schema.

Lolo - I like the color of your online skin ;)

Posted by Still Thinking on October 27, 2013 at 2:02 AM · Report this
mydriasis 213
I have a super-high sex drive (on the female bellcurve) but I definitely prefer when the man initiates, it makes a huge difference.
Posted by mydriasis on October 27, 2013 at 6:59 AM · Report this
sissoucat 214
@184 Same feelings here for lolorhone : I love his personality to bits, but what we know of his appearance does add something extra...

I think I have a thing for all males who are not my own color, really ; I find my own color to be quite boring and bland, and nothing hot to look at per se. Which doesn't mean I would choose mates according to skin color, since what ultimately interests me is personality (and sexual compatibility).
Posted by sissoucat on October 27, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
lolorhone 215
@184, 212, 214: I would be blushing if that were possible in people of my complexion...
Posted by lolorhone on October 27, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Holmes 216
@213: So we've got to initiate all the foreplay AND kill all the spiders? Not fair!
Posted by Holmes on October 27, 2013 at 9:03 PM · Report this
nocutename 217
@216: I don't know a man alive who can kill the spiders as unflinchingly as my mother.
Posted by nocutename on October 27, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
lolorhone 218
@216, 217: Gender's got shit to do with that. One thing I've never been called is femme, but I don't do spiders. At all. I have childhood trauma attached to them- our detached garage (which housed the deep freezer) was without a door for awhile, and my mother sent me out to get something for dinner. I walked through the frame and felt something on my face- I backed up and saw a torn web. Then I looked into the upper corners of the frame and saw burst eggs. Then I realized there were dozens of clear baby spiders crawling on my head and down my shirt. Then I took a shower for close to two hours.

I don't do spiders. At all.
Posted by lolorhone on October 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM · Report this
nocutename 219
Oh My God, lolorhone, were you trying to make sure I'd get no sleep tonight? Now I keep feeling them, crawling all over me . . .
Posted by nocutename on October 27, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 220
@ mydriasis 213 - sure, I can believe there's a continuum, but would you want to be with someone who was actually turned off if you happened to want to initiate?
@ holmes 216 - I capture spiders with a cup and piece of paper, and put them back outside where they belong. This in spite of growing up in a place where you had to be on the lookout for brown recluse spiders, which have a nasty habit of jumping ...
Posted by Still Thinking on October 27, 2013 at 11:41 PM · Report this
lolorhone 221
@nocutename: Sorry...
@Still Thinking: You're not helping. Well, you're helping the spiders, but not my (and now nocutename's*) trauma.

*Again, sorry...
Posted by lolorhone on October 28, 2013 at 12:14 AM · Report this
sissoucat 222
@lolorhone : when you came back covered in web and frightened, do you remember how adults reacted ? Frightened ? Mocking ? Disgusted ? Supportive ?

-- possibly triggering stuff for arachnophobics

What I would have done with child you, is reassure you and help you get all spiders and web out of you, then I would have taken you back to the traumatic place, and I would have touched myself the web, and then I would have picked a baby spider and played with it, and encouraged you to do as well, and told you how life-threatening it was for them to have that web suddenly destroyed, whereas it was just unpleasant, but not dangerous in any way, for a human to destroy a web. And I bet adult you would then feel and act like Still Thinking today.

-- end of triggering stuff

Not to say that your mother is to blame for your trauma, but that naturally-occuring arachnophobia can be fought and unlearned in childhood.

I've had a lot of close encounters with spiders in my childhood in the countryside, including all sorts of traumatic ones, although no European spider is actually dangerous. Then I read a book on what amazing little creatures they are, and getting an interest in them, and actually watching them be, and realizing how helpless those natural bug chasers actually are, cured me of most of my phobia - a slow process that took about a decade.

Then I realized that my mother had a bad spider phobia, and that it had been her tensing and shrieking that had convinced me from birth that I was in mortal danger everytime I met or even saw one. So my own arachnophobia was born from hers, really.

I wonder if racism follows the same cognitive paths as phobia. I know from experience that babies unused to see people of differing color react with acute fear when one comes close - I've unwillingly frightened a black toddler in Africa once, although teen African children and adults displayed no fear of me.
More...
Posted by sissoucat on October 28, 2013 at 1:24 AM · Report this
223
@221 lolorhone,

I'm with sissoucat; too bad if it's too late. IF you can handle it, could you study a nice large, completely in the open spider's web? Can you try to appreciate the intricacy and delicacy without destroying it (the idea being to get used to it being in a separate from you space)? If not, don't feel badly about phobia (and "weakness"), try to feel "badly" about being unable to appreciate the thing that eats the things that want to eat you/your stuff. It may not help, but I used a couple of large webs outside our house to (if not appreciate) at least help my kids not be arachnaphobic. Given all the stresses life has to offer, turning a fear to an appreciation seems like a good idea.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 28, 2013 at 6:51 AM · Report this
nocutename 224
@sissuocat, Married in MA, Still Thinking:
My mother never modeled fearfulness of spiders. Nevertheless, I grew up terrified of them. When I had children, I tried my best to not pass along my fear: I spent hours admiring foggy spider webs with them, pointing out the beauty in the webs and spiders themselves. We read books. We talked about how spiders eat lots of bugs that otherwise bite an annoy us. We are all in love with Charlotte. When I was pregnant with my second child, in an attempt to teach my older one to face down your fear, I dealt with my "spider shyness" by allowing a tarantula to crawl up the back of my hand and up my arm to the elbow. "Look," I said, "he doesn't hurt me at all!"

No dice. I have gotten much less fearful of spiders (so long as I can see where they are, rather than encounter them by surprise, I'm okay)but my daughter is still freaked out and terrified by them. It's a common reaction.

And I'm kind of surprised that people who have raised children imagine themselves to have that much control over other people's fear/disgust responses.
Posted by nocutename on October 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
sissoucat 225
@224 : I mostly meant that through swift action something just unpleasant could very well not develop into trauma.

But I limited myself to betting. In no way am I 100% sure of being able to control or predict a kid's fear/disgust responses.

I did take my kids as an example. They have genes of spider phobia from both parents, and so far, with such active spider propaganda from my part, none of the 3 display signs of spider phobia. They might not like them, not want to touch them, but they're not terrified, and they sleep easily despite spiders on their room ceilings. The littlest one is the boldest in handling spiders, actually he sometimes innerly freaks me out doing it.

Thanks for providing context for your and your daughter's phobia, thereby curing my misconceptions. I am only raising 3 kids, that's not many in the face of the diversity of humankind...
Posted by sissoucat on October 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
sissoucat 226
@223 Married : I think 'feeling badly' should not be part of any way to try to handle trauma. Except for that, your comment seems sound advice to (ex-phobic) me.

I think lolorhone should feel blessed we all love him to bits, and he should only try doing what you propose if and when he'll want to adress his phobia.
Posted by sissoucat on October 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
lolorhone 227
@sissoucat, Married in MA: As it stands, my phobia is not debilitating; like nocutename, I am considerably less fearful than I was when I was a child. My mother was nothing but supportive at the time, but I really didn't want to talk about it- ever (and she's not fond of spiders herself). I can handle them if I can see them and if I know they're relatively harmless (daddy long-legs and such). But last year when I was watching television and a rather large widow-looking spider descended on its thread about two inches from my face- I screamed like a six year old girl. But I feel like that's pretty reasonable.
Posted by lolorhone on October 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 228
Spiders and dragonflies both eat the bugs that bite and sting us and spread disease. Of course, I still hate walking through a spider's web.
Posted by Allen Gilliam http://softlyspokenmagicspells.com on October 28, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
lolorhone 229
@226: And I do feel blessed. I'll try the tarantula thing eventually- that and skydiving are on my Phobia-Triggering Bucket List. I thank everyone for their kind words and advice.

P.S.

Spider webs are pretty astonishing and spiders themselves are fascinating creatures. But so are jellyfish and snakes and I'm not any kind of hurry to handle those either.
Posted by lolorhone on October 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
230
@226 sissoucat,

I agree entirely about the "feeling badly" thing not being desirable, but as someone who has self loathing about my own panic attack/fear issues, and had to overcome the whole "manly: no fear" thing to get better, I was attempting to diminish the phobia/self loathing weakness equivalency (confused yet? It is on the inside as well).

For what it is worth, my kids aren't phased by spiders. I would love to be able to handle one of the non-irritating tarantulas, but tarantulas aren't prevalent in this part of the world (nor are dangerously venomous animals in general).

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this
mydriasis 231
@ 216

1. I kill spiders fine

2. Who said anything about foreplay?
Posted by mydriasis on October 28, 2013 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Sandiai 232
Whereas I find conventional spiders a little creepy (but I would seldom kill one), jumping spiders are really rather cute, having big primate eyes that look right AT you.

http://ednieuw.home.xs4all.nl/Spiders/Sa…

and their brain power seems to excede their brain size, as they have been shown to display object permanence when tracking prey:

http://www.peckhamia.com/hosted/Richman%…

GRIND, use your words, Darling. Women LOVE words.
Also, foreplay. Which you did not mention.
Posted by Sandiai on October 28, 2013 at 8:41 PM · Report this
233
Mydriasis @231 and sandiai @232:

"Initiating sex" with one's partner includes "initiating foreplay" IMO. Foreplay is also sex.
Posted by migrationist on October 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Sandiai 234
Let's hope so.
Posted by Sandiai on October 29, 2013 at 1:27 AM · Report this
mydriasis 235
@migrationist

A seeds are a part of oranges but I don't go seeking them out.
Posted by mydriasis on October 29, 2013 at 3:43 AM · Report this
Sandiai 236
"Exceed," dangit.
Posted by Sandiai on October 29, 2013 at 3:54 AM · Report this
sissoucat 237
@Married I never had to face "not manly enough" criticism, so I don't know how one goes about it. It does confuse me.

@lolorhone Male fear can be cute and ingratiating, as long as it's not fear of physical work (housework included), the most prevalent French male fear. A male I had the hots for, shrieking like that for a spider, would get a handful of laughs from me, fast followed by my initiating foreplay and sex.

But skydiving ? I wouldn't personnally treat skydiving as a phobia needing to be conquered. It's not as if my lifestyle exposed me to unexpectedly skydive several times a year (shudder). Anyway, props for putting it and tarentulas on you bucket list. My bucket lists contains nothing more frightening than "harp playing level 1" and "tatting lace level 10". Although... I would love to expatriate myself, one day.
Posted by sissoucat on October 29, 2013 at 5:42 AM · Report this
238
Correction @230:

My children aren't fazed by spiders...

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 29, 2013 at 5:51 AM · Report this
239
@237 sissoucat,

Male fear of housework?!

That is not fear!! That is simply Not Done!

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 29, 2013 at 6:07 AM · Report this
240
Oh, and GRIND,

If you read @237, you should've realized that all you need to do is plant some spiders, scream convincingly, and problem solved...

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 29, 2013 at 6:13 AM · Report this
sissoucat 241
@238 Ooh, thank you so much, I was wondering over this "phased", trying to find where a sine wave analogy would fit in !

@239 Oh, but French males my generation are not eager either to fix the light bulbs/dig the garden/cut the grass/add a partition wall/split the logs, all Done jobs. By the way, fellow females : the secret of easy log splitting is very dry wood.

Useful note for US readers : 76% of French females my age are employed, so let's not get carried away with the "shut up financially dependant housewife" arguments.

@240 :-)
Posted by sissoucat on October 29, 2013 at 7:23 AM · Report this
242
@241:

All objects have a wavelength.

Things that are Not Done are typically social constructs/positions deemed impossible to enact/ tolerate. Case in point, women in trousers or supporting voting equality was Not Done! at the beginning of the last century (in polite society. Sigh, how far we've fallen ;-).

I concur on dry wood splitting, but have found mixed success with frozen wood splitting as well. If you're using a wooden handled maul, soaking the head/handle before the splitting season may keep you from shearing off the head on a good strike.

BTW, I was reminded by my wife (this weekend) that tequila is also a wonderful lasagna flavor enhancer ;-)

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on October 29, 2013 at 8:09 AM · Report this
243
Mydriasis @235:
Sorry I got your point wrong.
Posted by migrationist on October 29, 2013 at 8:43 AM · Report this
sissoucat 244
@242 Yep, the de Broglie-wavelength ; the guy whose name is pronounced "Breuil" [bʁœj]...

I don't know if your kids move as much as mine, but either I hear them yell or I know where they are. Even without being under the influence of tequila-flavored lasagna.

Frozen wood I never encountered. If it's soaked then frozen, doesn't the ice lattice inside make the wood harder to split along the fibers ? Our winters are mild here, fortunately.

Soaking the head of the maul, you mean, in order to have the end of the wooden handle dilate sligthly, and thus retain the head better ? Doesn't that destroy the wooden handle in the long run ? Here, the basis of the proper care of tools is "keep'em dry or oiled", so soaking it in water would go strongly against my preconceptions ; nonetheless, I'll ask a local if it can be accepted practice.

About culinary tips : ever heard of "chabrot" ? At the end of your winter soup, drop a glass of red wine into your almost empty plate, then drink. Bon appétit.
Posted by sissoucat on October 29, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
245
@244 sissoucat,

The theory, I believe, is that the ice crystals in the wood fibers make the wood more easily splitable. In practice the wood does split easier than green wood, but the internal cross fibers seem more tenacious than when dry.

And that is why the wood handle should be soaked, the completely dry wood fibers being more susceptible to shear (in theory?). All I can say with utter certainty is that the Sears guy, when presented with 2 brand new mauls (one purchase, returned serially) in pieces, practically begged me to soak the third one for a couple of hours before I used it. It worked for the remainder of the 2 cords my buddy and I had to split. The head was subsequently wiped with an oiled cloth (for the record, WD40 or Teflon antistick spray on a maul edge or snow shovel seems to decrease wasted sticking effort). (While fiberglass handles are less likely to fail catastrophically like wood, the impact "rebound" is much more severe, and in my opinion tiring. I haven't done any splitting in ~20 years, so newer tech may be better than my experience)

BTW, the lasagna I was mentioning was Dan's "furry lasagna"...

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
sissoucat 246
@Married Thanks for the infos !
Posted by sissoucat on October 30, 2013 at 4:18 AM · Report this
247
@245 continued:

BTW: When splitting with 2 persons, the person using the maul is obvious. The other uses a sledgehammer to "push through" the maul head like a wedge. Dry wood, clearly, is best, but the "setting a wedge" approach in less-than-seasoned wood is frightfully efficient. That is, unless you've got a friend with a hydraulic ram splitter.

Am I weird or what in feeling nostalgic for splitting wood???
Must be the lovely Fall weather, and colors, we've been having.

Peace
Posted by Married in MA on October 30, 2013 at 6:20 AM · Report this
248
@14 You made my day.
Posted by DC270 on October 30, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this
249
Re: GRIND, his girlfriend may not have a lower sex drive at all. Women are socialized not to initiate sex, so even if she's enjoying the amount they have when he's initiating, she may either have a block about initiating herself or not realize he doesn't prefer to initiate sex.

Re: BBW, what? It's not reasonable to be concerned that your parter is fetishizing your body instead of engaging with you on a human level? I assume it's not happening, and I imagine looking at more than one day's worth of porn would demonstrate that, but to dismiss her concerns as porn-phobia is...shortsighted at the least. Would you say the same if she were an Asian woman whose boyfriend appeared to only be looking at tentacle porn, or a Black man whose boyfriend appeared to only be looking at mandingo stuff?
Posted by Photon on November 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this

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