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Gasoline and the Match

August 13, 2009

Do you think post-op transgender people have any obligation to tell their lovers they were once the other sex?

On The Fence


I'm in my 40s and straight. My wife of nine years is no longer interested in sex. Period. I haven't had a blowjob in about eight years, I can't touch her beautiful tits, kissing is without tongue, and our rare sex is missionary and in the dark. I'm miserable.

I believe she's depressed. She refuses to get help, saying that if only I would do this or that, she would be more willing. But I do this and that, and she's still not interested. After a lot of talking, she suggested that I find a girlfriend for sex. However, she set conditions that were unrealistic: She wanted to meet and approve of her before I slept with her; and I could only see this other person late at night, with the wife's permission, which would only be granted after ALL other family obligations were satisfied (kids in bed, bills paid, trash taken out, etc.). I preferred a "don't ask, don't tell" approach. She then withdrew the idea entirely. I proceeded to meet and sleep with several different women anyway, and I am now seeing one regularly. Sex is enjoyable again.

My question: I know that people would say I am cheating on my wife, but am I wrong to feel just as cheated by her?

Need Some Answers


Whose idea was it to give an asshole faggot like you an advice column, anyway? You're a stupid piece of shit who doesn't know anything about sex or the human heart, and you will regret everything you've ever done and every word you've ever written once you die and have to stand before your Creator.

God Hates You

Maybe so.

A couple months ago, I sent you an e-mail thanking you for doing what you do. Today, the power of your voice hit home. As you know, an angry, sexually frustrated gunman went on a killing spree at a fitness center in Pittsburgh. Reading the killer's blog, I was struck by the similarity of his situation to that of the lonely, sexually frustrated men you counseled in your column the week before the shooting. But George Sodini did not reach out; the men who wrote you did.

The reason this strikes so close to home is that my situation for years was very similar to Sodini's and to the lonely men who you helped in that column. Although I wasn't a virgin, I was "clogged up" and unable to get close to people physically and emotionally. I overcame my fears and hang-ups, and life is good now. But it wasn't easy. I was never as angry as Sodini, but I was absolutely as lonely and isolated as he was and every bit as lonely as the men whose letters you answered. Maybe if I'd been alone another 14 years—I found my life partner at 34—I might have become that angry.

Middle-Aged Family Guy

Thank you for the note, MAFG, and thanks—I think—for pointing me to George Sodini's blog. The blog has been pulled down, but it is extensively quoted in news reports and it makes for depressing reading. It's never pretty when chronic sexual deprivation and a lifetime of romantic rejection slam into a narcissistic personality with sociopathic tendencies who happens to live in a country awash in guns:

"I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne—yet 30 million women rejected me, over an 18- or 25-year period. That is how I see it. Thirty million is my rough guesstimate of how many desirable single women there are."

So, hey, why not go shoot up an aerobics class full of women?

A woman I knew at college—an antiviolence activist, righteous and right-on—used to say, "Testosterone is gasoline, porn the match." I disagree. Testosterone is gasoline—which isn't necessarily a bad thing (gas makes things go)—but sexual frustration is the match.

I'm not suggesting that this tragedy could've been averted if only some selfless woman had "taken one for the team" and married Sodini, an asshole and a sociopath. The women who rejected him obviously saw him for what he was and were right to run in the other direction. But if someone had told Sodini, who hadn't had sex since 1990, to see sex workers—something I advised the guys in my column two weeks ago to consider (among other things)—it might have taken the edge off his anger and kept it from curdling into homicidal rage. Maybe if we, as a society, valued sex workers and sex work, if we legalized and regulated it, and if we viewed "paying for it" as a legitimate option for guys who would otherwise go without for decades, perhaps this tragedy could have been averted.

Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't wish a client as sick as Sodini on any of my sex-worker pals. But if Sodini had started seeing sex workers back in 1991 and not, say, two weeks ago last Monday, perhaps he wouldn't have snapped.

But Sodini wasn't taking advice from me. He was getting it from R. Don Steele, author of How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35. The book was sitting on Sodini's coffee table in a video he posted to the web. Steele apparently traffics in—and profits from—instilling false hopes in losers like Sodini. ("Immediately improve your success with women!" Steele says on his website "Everything is 100% guaranteed money back.")

Sodini felt that he was entitled not just to sex and a romantic relationship, but to sex and a romantic relationship with a much younger woman. And he was following the advice of a love-and-romance guru who encouraged him to cling to that belief. But Sodini wasn't just another socially maladapted schlub furious with the world—and with women—for denying him the twentysomething ass he felt he had coming. Sodini was a nut. And he couldn't understand why, if he was doing everything right, he wasn't finding the success that Steele guaranteed him.

Someone needed to sit Sodini down and explain that settling down requires settling for and that young women are usually interested in young men and that we can't always have what we want and that there might be women out there who would date him—perhaps women closer to his own age, women in his own league in the looks and social-skills departments (and Sodini wasn't bad looking)—but no woman was going to date him until after he got his shit together. And someone needed to tell him that he wasn't going to impress the ladies by leaving How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35 on his coffee table.

And someone needed to tell him that some men—and some women—are alone all their lives and, yeah, that sucks and it's not fair and it hurts.

Instead, Sodini had R. Don "Steel Balls" Steele telling him that if he just bought a matching sofa set—really—and the right suit, that success was guaranteed.


Comments (192) RSS

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darkroommonster 1
Posted by darkroommonster on August 11, 2009 at 6:28 PM · Report this
Allyson 2
Dan, many thanks for your comments on that sick Sodini bastard. As a woman, a gym rat, and a native of Pittsburgh, this story is very painful for me, but reading your on-point response here is encouraging for my morale. Cheers--
Posted by Allyson on August 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM · Report this
Recycling from earlier last week. Boo.
Posted by whitewaffle on August 11, 2009 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Posted by Scarlett on August 11, 2009 at 6:43 PM · Report this
I should say, recycling from a post last week on Slog about Sodini. Although I'm sure many people who read your column don't read Slog.
Posted by whitewaffle on August 11, 2009 at 6:43 PM · Report this
"Fuck you you fucking asshole homosexual faggot satan!"

Ah. And there are soon going to be some real winners letting you know that "God is love". While religion may not be intrinsically bad (it is intrinsically incorrect), it sure does act as an amplifier for crazy people.
Posted by formosus on August 11, 2009 at 6:44 PM · Report this
Dan, you should listen to GHY. Anyone who believes in an invisible man who lives in the sky and can see everything you do, obviously has his shit together enough to dictate what other people should be doing with their lives.
Posted by Lushpuppie on August 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Confluence 8
Dan, great column this week -- loved the "yes", "no", "maybe so" approach. You're a pretty clever bastard who's perfected his craft. Keep up the great work (even though sometimes you're totally full of shit).
Posted by Confluence on August 11, 2009 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Despite the accusations that you have been lazy this week, another enjoyable read.
Posted by clembot on August 11, 2009 at 8:06 PM · Report this
HEY NSA, Dan is saying you are not wrong for feeling cheated. Me and a high percentage of married men are with you on this.

No frequency or quality of counseling will help you when the wife starts the 1001 excuse train going. Not even Dan can help you.

No need to worry that the wives are reading this sex advice column. If there was a column for how to make up 1001 excuses for not being affectionate, they would be posting their questions there. Such as "Dear Abby, only after we got married did I tell my husband that I never really liked our pre-marital sex, I was afraid that my husband would not marry me if I told him the truth."

PS: A small percentage of men turn off the sex for the wife. I know some. But I know far larger numbers of men who have been cheated of sex and the truth by their wives long before the man began cheating.

Posted by cheated of the truth on August 11, 2009 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Second verse, same as the first: Thailand and the Philippines are FILLED with TONS of hot young chicks who don't give a rat's ass about your sofa or your suit. And at about $12 apiece, the sofa and suit fund would go a long way.
Posted by the outer rim on August 11, 2009 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Long-time reader (literally since the beginning), some-time critic, first-time commenter. I loved your response to the last letter. It was humane, serious, constructive, and real--a rare enough combination in the advice business. Thank you for that.
Posted by pastorben on August 11, 2009 at 8:56 PM · Report this
kim in portland 13
Nice job. Ignore the maybe so answer dude, he/she is talking to them self. You obviously touched a nerve.
Posted by kim in portland on August 11, 2009 at 9:52 PM · Report this
@10, there are PLENTY of husbands who just aren't up to the job, no matter what is being offered by the wife. I lost 50 pounds, grew my hair down to my waist, got a terrific job that pays the bills...and offered, and offered, and offered. "No thanks."
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on August 11, 2009 at 10:07 PM · Report this
Sarah in Olympia...DTMFA!

He sounds like a lazy piece of excrement.
Posted by Calypso on August 11, 2009 at 10:21 PM · Report this
@ Calypso: Then the sexually frustrated husband who wrote to Dan Savage should dump his wife? And by extension, all people who make sacrifices to try and have regular sex with their spouses (of whatever gender/sexual orientation) only to be repeatedly snubbed should DTMFA? I'm not saying that's a bad idea, I'm just curious if you feel that way about all similar situations.
Posted by Tyrone Slothrop on August 11, 2009 at 10:42 PM · Report this
About the psychopathic guy, Dan, your advice is right on for the lonely guys out there, but I also want to bring up the specter of child abuse/neglect for thinking about what went wrong. At least one neurologist (Pincus) points to a trifecta of severe child abuse, brain damage (often a result, but can be from other causes) and paranoia as the root causes of this kind of senseless violence. Not surprisingly, many (all!) depressed and lonely guys probably suffered from various forms of abuse or neglect but they probably not have the brain damage or paranoia. All lonely guys feel frustrated, they are not usually violent or society would be very different. If we knew more about this guy's background, we wouldn't 'forgive' him but the pieces would probably scarily fit into place. Best thing we can do as a society--PROTECT THE BORN and provide empathy and care for abused and neglected children--including people suffering "only" garden-variety emotional abuse. Kids don't just "get over it"--even 'mild' forms of abuse early on can have serious repercussions later in life.

If you are a lonely guy, working with a therapist and learning better social skills can really help. Men are often reluctant to get help for their problems (and are even sometimes turned away from therapy if they don't describe their symptoms in ways the therapist can understand) but there is help--and it helps. Being seriously moody or "tired" or often pissed off or believing others just want to take advantage of you are some of the forms that male depression and other mental illness can take. Unvortunately they are also often seen as "typical" or "normal" male behaviors. One book that helped me understand this and break through into feeling rather than only intellectual understanding of therapy, with its stories of both men and women and their sufferings: Alice Miller's The Body Never Lies.
Posted by lovingmen on August 11, 2009 at 10:43 PM · Report this
Spouses should read significant other. Sorry about that. Hopefully that won't be the case in the near future.
Posted by Tyrone Slothrop on August 11, 2009 at 10:44 PM · Report this
Dan, I have been reading your column over the years and it is always hilarious, informative and downright to the point! For those women who after years of marriage decide for some strange reason they just don't want to have sex anymore...what in the hell did you get married for in the first place? Ladies quit giving us happily married women a bad name!It is adventurous enough trying to find time to screw my hubby having our young kids home-I am going to have a fantastic time as they grow up and leave! Experiment, have fun and remember it's not able who gets the orgasm first and all that BS-it's the sensations and having fun with your partner!!!
Posted by Traveling Gypsy without Moving on August 11, 2009 at 10:46 PM · Report this
GHY. Shrug. What can be said? Is it terrible to point out that there are sick fucks on both side of the fence? And that maybe, in some dark, sheepish corner, God does love ya? What can be done except hope that somewhere GHY will take something good from this, from any of it.

Dan. Voice of a generation? Def. You can be awfully persuasive.
Posted by PlainJaneJones on August 11, 2009 at 10:58 PM · Report this
Great column as usual. Dan, I really enjoy to read your column everyday!
Greetings from Europe

I believe in God as our saviour and I do not really appreciate your comment because I am convinced that this gives me a lot of guidance in my - besides that very reasonable - life. Nevertheless I do not at all share GHY's opinion at all!
Especially radicals have always been a source for hate in the world and I wish they would get a life to be busy with and someone who loves them! I am convinced that then the world would be a much better place
Posted by BearHK2004 on August 11, 2009 at 11:52 PM · Report this
I dated a guy for four years who eventually lost all interest in having sex with me. We lived together for two of those years. The relationship went bad, and he just got so into the daily ritual of wanking in front of his computer that the sex just stopped. This from the guy who once described sex as "mutual masturbation." We're split up now, my only regret is I didn't get out sooner...

After breaking up with him I dabbled in online dating. It's actually shocking how many men in their late thirties and forties think they can pick up a women in her mid twenties. You know why I don't want you, older man? Because I'm banging a hot twenty year old! GOD.
Posted by Fo' real??! on August 11, 2009 at 11:55 PM · Report this
The Max 23
I'm always amused by deterministic fucks like GHY who just assume that we'll regret what we've done. For my part, if They're right and the road I've walked leads to hell, rejecting in large part what They say I must embrace, then I am pleased and proud to burn. What regrets I have involve not having been true to my beliefs as a humanistic, if libertine, deistic liberal, not those beliefs themselves. We do not choose our beliefs the same way we choose a new pair of shoes, after all. I try to be as good and decent a person as I can be; I know I fall short of even that modest mark; and for what wrong I've done and still will do, I hope I can redeem through works. If that's not good enough for God, then God is evil and insane and I would not want to go to his blighted heaven.
Posted by The Max on August 12, 2009 at 12:12 AM · Report this
@Max: I am sure that God loves us the way we are!
Posted by BearHK2004 on August 12, 2009 at 12:21 AM · Report this
NSA's wife could potentially be a self-closeted lesbian. It all fits - the lack of sex with her husband, the bogus excuses for her lack of interest, and her suggesting he seek a GF only if she controls everything to a ridiculous extent. As well as her focus on his practical value (getting the kids to bed, taking out the garbage, rather than any potential he might have as a romantic, intimate or sexual partner/spouse.

It isn't the only possibility, but the depression fits. I suspect she also refuses to examine her issues about intimacy, can't/won't describe what she finds sexually attractive, and tends to find emotional connection with women while men are appreciated only for practical purposes if at all.

NSA could google "straight spouse network" and see if the stories he reads ring and bells. Estimates are that there are 2 million now or previously in "mixed-orientation marriages".
Posted by DavidinaMOM on August 12, 2009 at 1:36 AM · Report this
looking at the picture of that sociopath, my first thought was, wow, very pretty...repressed homosexual perhaps? some thoughts, for some people, it's easier to kill than face them. truly sad.
Posted by card bored on August 12, 2009 at 3:01 AM · Report this
I love you Dan Savage! And even more for putting up with crazies sending even crazier letters. As for crazy peeps who can't find a partner, why do they always blame everyone but themselves? No sane person wants to date an unhinged whiney immature loser.
Posted by Boink on August 12, 2009 at 4:24 AM · Report this
Sirius Black 28
Dan, love your blog. Awesome as usual.

You're a bit unfair with R. Don Steele. He is one of the "pick up artist" authors that flourished in the '90s. His advice is actually pretty square -- looks ARE important, so lose that beer gut; don't get fixated, if a woman says no just move on; and so forth. Where Steele went wrong, especially for Sodini, was implying that "guys who pay for it are losers."
Posted by Sirius Black on August 12, 2009 at 4:44 AM · Report this
Lil 29
Thank you Dan for continuing to promote the legalization and legitimization of sex work. Sex workers are a fundamental part of every society, and they obviously aren't going to quit working just because it's illegal, just as the men and women who pay for their services aren't going to quit buying those services.
I used to feel, like most good Catholics, that sex work was for the dregs of society, the failures in life, "those people". Having developed an ability to see things not just in black and white (sorry, Catholicism) I know now that anyone can come to the point in their life where sex work is a viable option both as a client and worker. While it's not part of my life plan to be in the sex industry, I have immense gratitude for the men and women that are.
Posted by Lil on August 12, 2009 at 5:27 AM · Report this
Why does everyone think a late-30's or 40's guy can't date a 20-something hottie just because they're too old. That's not true at all. You just need enough money.
Posted by biggie on August 12, 2009 at 5:57 AM · Report this
Funny how the opinion of who holds out more depends on your perspective. I certainly know more women who complain that the men in their lives are too preoccupied with football/drinking with the guys/online porn/video games to have sex. I've been ignored by an alleged fiance for taped reruns of "Hill Street Blues," and that was when I was standing in the middle of the living room in a PVC corset and boots.

I don't know why people play this game, but DTMFA really does seem to be the only answer. I've been through it in three committed relationships (with the shutout starting soon after the point where the commitment became formal in some way) and it just never gets any better.
Posted by sledpress on August 12, 2009 at 6:26 AM · Report this
oh by the way, @30, my former (and now late) husband was 25 years older than I was. I'm not sure why some people in their 20s would even appeal to an older person -- you have to talk about something eventually, I'd think, unless you just want them to fuck and get the hell out -- but if there is a mental connection, age really does not matter.
Posted by sledpress on August 12, 2009 at 6:30 AM · Report this
I agree with you 110% about legalizing and (gasp) actually valuing sex work. When they've done surveys in the past about nuber of sexual partners, there was a huge imbalance between women and men that didn't add up - until they surveyed prostitutes. Prostitutes play a very valuable and underrated role in creating balance in society. Instead of demonizing them, we should be thanking them for giving an outlet for the sexual appetities of men, appetites which, when frustrated can unfortunately turn to violence. Even if any of us individually find sex work distasteful, it's short-sighted to apply our personal morality to a much bigger and more practical social issue.

That probably still wouldn't have helped Sodini. His problems ran deeper than just sex.

Anyway, great column.
Posted by coljack on August 12, 2009 at 7:17 AM · Report this
gttim 34
As I told a 40 year-old male co-worker of mine who was way overweight- Date within your league. A hot, young 20 year-old probably isn't going to be interested. A woman your age with an obsession for accounting, maybe.
Posted by gttim on August 12, 2009 at 7:32 AM · Report this
It seems that the off-switch for sexual intimacy is usually one-and-the-same the same for other kinds of intimacy. When you stop talking and start being scullery maids for each other, well, it's probably over. I think turning off the sex is usually a symptom, not a cause.
Posted by a thought on August 12, 2009 at 7:34 AM · Report this
Talking about men dating younger women - apart from the physical aspect, lots of women in their mid twenties haven't got married yet or had children.

If you're mid thirties upwards and are happy to have a partner with children or who wants children quickly then it shouldn't be a problem finding a woman.

If you're unlucky enough not to want children you're basically fucked. Anyone over thirty who has been out of a relationship for any sizable period of time has issues.

The remainder of people is much smaller than those in their twenties. Targeting those people who are averagely attractive or better, take care of themselves, look their own age, don't have a mental disorder, have a brain and have a vague chance of them liking you and things are already vastly more difficult than for people in their twenties.

Of course the solution isn't to target women in their twenties regardless, but you can probably see why some men would think so, particularly as a non trivial proportion of them *are* looking predominantly at the physical aspect.

I imagine as you head upwards from forties to fifties it's not a matter about compromising in a relationship : it's massive compromises just to get a date. If that erodes some of your core values or things you find objectionable in a relationship, it's not going to make you chilled out and happy.
Posted by UKGuy on August 12, 2009 at 7:36 AM · Report this
Yeah, I'm with you as well on legalizing sex work and acknowledging the value of sex workers to society.

But, I disagree with the idea that seeing a sex worker early in his life would have helped this sick fuck Sodini. Just like rape is primarily about power, and in rape, sex is used as a way to achieve a sense of total power over another person, Sodini's sociopathic rage issues are not primarily about sex. Had he seen sex workers, I suspect he would have developed a taste for abusing and then killing them.

Some humans, as a result of whatever combination of internal chemistry and experience, are unable to see other humans as people, let alone equals, and instead see them as objects to be used and manipulated. He was the Lord High God of his own little universe, and plenty pissed he wasn't getting worshipped *properly* by all those stupid little objects that his little book told him would be so easy to manipulate and control- all it takes is the right haircut! The right furniture! So, he displayed a little Righteous Wrath.

Not nice, or pretty, but there is no cure for sociopathy, and some people are just, for lack of a better term, evil. He was one of them.

Posted by pelican on August 12, 2009 at 7:55 AM · Report this
Wow. I just ran across your column after Googling "santorum," and finding you get the credit. (first things first - good job there!)

I love the comment about testosterone (fuel) and sexual frustration (match). Been there. No, the porn was NOT a bad thing; in fact it was a popoff valve that kept me from killing the bitch. Anyway, I finally fired her (in those words) after twenty-six years of marriage and married a girl who does all those thing SHE did not, including reading a book sometimes. Was divorce with kids awful? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes, eight years out, I think so.

Anyway, I'll have your column bookmarked and watch it from now on. Good deal. Thanks

Posted by topdocjim on August 12, 2009 at 8:16 AM · Report this
As a long time reader and fan, I say this with nothing but love; not only was your "insight' into Sandini the stupidest writing of yours that I've ever read, it's one of the stupidest things I've ever read period.

I know you're a sex columnist but not everything comes down to fucking or lack of it. And this,

"Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't wish a client as sick as Sodini on any of my sex-worker pals. But if Sodini had started seeing sex workers back in 1991 and not, say, two weeks ago last Monday, perhaps he wouldn't have snapped..."

You did want a woman, or women, to "take one for the team" but so long as they were getting paid it's okay. Oy.

I'll stop there with pointing out the many serious flaws in your alleged logic. Stick to sex, Dan, and leave the profiling of killers to people who have a clue.
Posted by Sailoreic on August 12, 2009 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Just read the headline "Santorum dips toes in 2012 Iowa waters." The image of the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter having a toe that it dips in water is pretty putrid.
Posted by Unregistered Chris on August 12, 2009 at 8:36 AM · Report this
I know that the feminist line is that rape is about power, but let's face it, rape is also about sex. Rape is more likely to occur in younger, fertile-aged women (not that it never happens to the elderly). Rape is more likely to be perpetrated by men to women. Rape is likely to end in ejaculation. Yes it's about power, but it's also about sex.
This isn't to sully sex in general, or to say that all men are rapists, or to jump to any of those other silly conclusions.
I'm just saying that the old saw that rape isn't about sex is clearly not so.

Now, what Sodini did, that may have been entirely about power. And I'm not sure a sex worker would've helped. The man had many many screws loose.

I also don't think it'd be accurate to call him a sociopath (based only on what's presented here, I have to admit). Sociopaths are often very charming. It doesn't sound like he was racking up points in the charm department.
Posted by a thought on August 12, 2009 at 8:41 AM · Report this
After reading the "Steel Balls" website I don't really think it's that bad. It's mostly common sense - act interested, not desperate; make sure your apartment is clean and condoms are handy. It doesn't encourage men to chase only after gorgeous girls; it tells them to present themselves well and then look for women who look interested in _them_.
OK, referring to women as a different species who have been "programmed" by their genes to look for the best father for their children, constantly scope their surroundings with their superior peripheral vision, etc., is a little is the frequent reference to sex as "mating." But the advice could actually help someone with abysmal social skills and almost no prospects for romance progress to being someone with mediocre social skills and small prospects for romance.
Sodini was a sick fuck. He read the self-help book(s) and saw what he wanted to hear – which was that, if he shaved and wore cologne, pussy was guaranteed. If it hadn't been the Steel Balls guy, it would have been something else.
Posted by Shoshannah on August 12, 2009 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Dan, I'm a faithful fan, but how do you deal w/ the fact that 75% of sex workers were sexually abused as children? Does the high rate of heavy drug use ( we are not talking pot here) or the likelihood that they are disassociating to deal with the sex bother you at all? As a therapist, and woman who was raped from the age of 5 who has done years of work, seen sex workers as clients it bothers me a lot. I love sex,even tho menopause has killed my sex drive and I have to jump start it.(which sucks)I wish you would include the meno-stop, and abuse in your analysis. Yeah, it is PC to love sex workers,you know women are not wired like gay men but lets not forget what may have rewired women sex workers.It has cost them...and then they have to sleep with some scum in pittsburg?? Isn't that where many of them began?
Posted by acuteally2 on August 12, 2009 at 8:56 AM · Report this
I agree with pelican, my first thought was that he would have abused the sex workers; or killed them.

No-one is guaranteed sex with other people, having other people saying no, is not an excuse for violence. Testosterone is a good thing, feeling like other people owe you sex is not. Almost everyone can use their hands just fine.
Posted by SpookyCats on August 12, 2009 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Actually, I'd say in dating and relationships 'taking one for the team' is what everyone else wishes someone would do.

Frequently it's always /someone else/ who has to provide the relationship, socialisation and sexual experience someone needs. The person doesn't care provided it's not them.

Especially the sex thing. Being good at sex means lots of convenient sex filled relationships or - more probably - plenty of short flings that aren't talked about.

The difference with a prostitute or a therapist is that it's their job, and they get repaid with money, rather than taking a chance that it's possible to sort out some of the person's issues and that they'll then stay around instead of moving on.
Posted by UKGuy on August 12, 2009 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Billy in 4C 46
Dan, I doubt you lost much sleep over the GHY comments. However, one of my biggest pet peeves about self-proclaimed religious people (of which I am one), is the propensity to pass judgement (typically negative).

Even if God does not like what you do (which I don't presume to know, either way), I can't possibly imagine that he hates you. So, rest easy and keep on doing what you're doing.
Posted by Billy in 4C on August 12, 2009 at 9:15 AM · Report this
"How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35."

Have a lot of money or pretend you do. Next!

"Rape is about power, not sex."

Why doesn't he just beat the shit out her, then? What is the whole take off her pants, get his junk out, rub junk against victim, etc. all about? Oh, yeah, ejaculation into a female may result in genes being passed on. Forgot about that one...
Posted by Snowguy on August 12, 2009 at 9:17 AM · Report this
I agree with your advice to NSA (and his sense of grievance), and there's no way in hell anyone's gonna read this far down, but I would like to speak from the point of view of a woman who "decided" that I didn't want sex anymore after 15 years of marriage. I've always liked sex, and I liked sex with my husband quite a bit. But you know what? After having him consistently come to bed three-quarters lit up and refusing couple's counseling and in particular offering nothing but "wham bam thank you ma'am" (I'm not talking here about foreplay, but rather anything approaching intimacy or imagination), I'd had enough. My libido tanked, and it took us some years to split up--after which time I am again enjoying sex. It's too bad a relationship that started out in compatibility wound up that way, but *shrug,* let's not assume that every relationship in which the sex goes bad (or just goes away) is the fault of a woman.
Posted by Sarah Somewhere Else on August 12, 2009 at 9:42 AM · Report this
I agree w/#39. Not everything comes down to fucking vs. not fucking. Can lack of sex "drive you crazy"? Sure. That's why it's called sexual "frustration." But if it actually drives someone CRAZY, there's something else wrong. No human being would snap simply from lack of sex if there were nothing else wrong to begin with. And seeing sex workers might have worsened the problem. Yes, he would've had sex, but possibly in the back of his mind would be the thought that he had to pay for it. That he couldn't get it "normally", but had to pay for it. With a mind like the one he clearly had, seeing a sex worker might have exacerbated things rather than solved them. Then we'd possibly be talking about a dead sex worker.

Yes, sex is a natural human drive. Yes, it's something we need. But it isn't food, water, or oxygen. We won't die if we don't have it, and we won't go crazy for lack of it if the rest of our lives are in some kind of balance.
Posted by Teresa Jusino on August 12, 2009 at 9:47 AM · Report this
Please make sure the sex workers you see are consenting adults. There are thousands of sex slaves in the U.S. and more around the world. I'm not saying that sex work is bad, just be aware that like any other activity that can make money, someone is forcing others to do it for their own profit. As a rule, the more corrupt a country, the more likely the prostitutes are not consenting adults.
Posted by QuixoticFool on August 12, 2009 at 10:22 AM · Report this
angelbaby 51
You know guys...maybe if you all would quit pawing at us like puppies searching for their mothers' tits, we would have sex more often. Oh also, maybe if you didn't compare us to the airbrushed women in magazines or porn actresses. REAL women are not like that and REAL, NORMAL sex is not like that. Didn't get a blow job for 8 months? So fucking what? She DID have sex with you, you said so. Quit your whining and quit cheating you POS!
Posted by angelbaby on August 12, 2009 at 10:45 AM · Report this
@43: The "meno-stop" is something my wife and I are dealing with. She used to be quite the little sex-pot. Menopause arrived, and now she is utterly disinterested. She makes an effort for me, when she can muster the energy (3 kids eat up a lot of our time), but mainly we just live with me being frustrated most of the time. Needless to say, it's quite a strain on the relationship.
Posted by yetAnotherFrustratedHubby on August 12, 2009 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Confluence 53

Excellent point and beautifully written. Being a gay sex advice columnist, Dan obviously concludes that everything comes down to fucking vs. not fucking. Thanks for pointing out that this is really simplistic thinking.
Posted by Confluence on August 12, 2009 at 10:55 AM · Report this

I agree with you, but you know what?

Dan doesn't. Reread the last sentence of that question and his answer.

And Dan's take on Sodini makes me absolutely fucking sick.

Women's sex drive is related to testosterone same as men's. Women have lower levels of testosterone, but more sensitive testosterone receptors, so its very difficult to directly compare men and women's levels. But the Kinsey Institute did studies indicating all things being equal women want it as often as men, with a great range among individuals in both sexes.

But would women not being able to get sex with their desired partners ever be considered, culturally, to be a significant valid factor in rage and violence?

Course not, because when women's desires aren't met they're supposed to just STFU or blame themselves. Fucking sick.
Posted by wahwah on August 12, 2009 at 10:57 AM · Report this
I don't believe Dan ever said that if Sodini had just hired prositutes, he would have ended up a normal guy with a normal life. I think his point is that hiring prostitutes would have helped. Whatever rage he had about being a virgin would have been nowhere near as severe.

And, since the issue of sex workers often being victims of molestation is being brought up, I'd like to say that I really don't see what that has to do with whether sex worker should be legal or respected. So a lot of sex workers have been that an argument why we should put them in jail? Or why we, as a society, should look down on the women who choose that profession?

Even if a woman has been molested, if she's an adult choosing that profession for herself, it isn't up to us to tell her that she's wrong to do so. If she's not an adult making a choice, then that's a whole different story.

Posted by Eric827 on August 12, 2009 at 10:59 AM · Report this
I'm sure there's a valuable cultural discussion to be had about misogyny and where it leads to thats been stirred by the Sodini case, but I doubt much of it applies to Sodini himself. Ever notice how when murderers make the news and they flash a family photo or something of him, they got that crazy glassy eye look? I think there's just some mental illness in some people that makes them stone cold killers and thats all Sodini was. I especially find it weird people point out he was good looking. Um maybe he was, except for the ol' crazy eyes that he had too. People just tend to run from crazy killer eyes, you know? Being good looking otherwise doesn't mean you're actually attractive enough to appeal to people when you stare like a serial killer.

I doubt less sexual repression would have helped him. That crazy eyed look tells me it was always in him.
Posted by Karey on August 12, 2009 at 11:15 AM · Report this
52, thanks for listening. There is a study using testosterone to increase post menopause libido which is having good results. It is being held at women health clinic( not sure of name? on the intersection of union bay rd. and sandpoint across from the baskin robbins) Of course I ended up w/ the fake, but the doc there , and some other md's will prescibe. worth a look.. Dan,you should look into this?
Posted by acuteally2 on August 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM · Report this
@36 - Maybe it's not you, but it's amazing how many men in their 30's and 40's KNOW women in their 30's and 40's are messed up, but somehow they aren't.

As for your cheating married folks -- do what you gotta do, just please stop polluting the single dating pool, especially when you lie about it. Go fuck other frustrated married people. There are lots of them out there.

@52 - She may come around yet. Her body is going wiggy on her right now and may for some years to come, but lots of women come out the other side with a renewed zest for bedroom sports.
Posted by Nick_38 on August 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM · Report this
8 years, not 8 months
He wasn't a virgin.

Sodini doesn't strike me as a sociopath. He seemed to be craving emotional companionship with a woman, and it doesn't seem to me like a sociopath would really give 2 scheissens about that.
Posted by p0stsl0t on August 12, 2009 at 11:55 AM · Report this

Great column.
Posted by BmuthafuckinRad on August 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM · Report this
"I don't believe Dan ever said that if Sodini had just hired prositutes, he would have ended up a normal guy with a normal life. I think his point is that hiring prostitutes would have helped. Whatever rage he had about being a virgin would have been nowhere near as severe.

And, since the issue of sex workers often being victims of molestation is being brought up, I'd like to say that I really don't see what that has to do with whether sex worker should be legal or respected. So a lot of sex workers have been that an argument why we should put them in jail? Or why we, as a society, should look down on the women who choose that profession?"

First, we don't know that, at all. A very high percentage of rapists are in longterm relationships where they're getting regular sex. I don't think we know having sex would have helped. Even if it had, that doesn't just logically lead to the idea that sex was what he needed. Maybe intensive therapy would have helped too, you know?

Second, no one is suggesting we look down on prostitutes. That's such a strawman argument. Those of us who have negative views of prosstitution generally feels that more needs to happen in the world to create less demand for the industry. We tend to think that creating more equal relationships for women and better employment options for low-income women would help.

#59: And from where exactly does your definition of sociopath come?
Posted by wahwah on August 12, 2009 at 12:31 PM · Report this
I agree with your answer to NSA. The wife was willing to let him have a gf, and those conditions were harsh, but not impossible. A good place to start would be for NSA to prove he was capable of responsibly meeting the requirements and working within the relationship. It's a huge concession on her part to let him get outside sex, he should be willing to make concessions to her.
Posted by allie ballie on August 12, 2009 at 12:46 PM · Report this
"I'm not suggesting that this tragedy could've been averted if only some selfless woman had "taken one for the team" and married Sodini, an asshole and a sociopath. "

But a prostitute should take one for the team? Aren't enough prostitutes raped, killed, and abused?

FYI - the average age of entry into prostitution in the USA is 13 years old. Unless you've considered becoming a prostitute, or suggested that profession to women you love, I think you're simplifying this way too much. The places where it is legal are far from perfect (increased trafficking of women and children, etc.) - and an upsetting percentage of prostitutes report symptoms of PTSD, and most do not want that job in the long term.

The idea that people deserve sex is very harmful - and in the case of Sodini, a misogynist and a murder, getting some more often than he did would not have done a lick for him.
Posted by orangecrayons on August 12, 2009 at 1:35 PM · Report this
#54's comment makes me think how, some years back, I read a fascinating interview (I think on with a FTM transperson who was getting testosterone shots as part of making the transition. I don't remember exactly how this person phrased it, but it was something to the effect of "Within five minutes, I wanted to grab practically every woman I saw and get it on with her right then, and I felt like I understood something about men I'd never understood before." Raven Kaldera also writes about the same issue on her website ("Feminist On Testosterone: The View From An Intersexual FTM").

Not every man feels that kind of intense desire independent of emotional and personal context (what some would call "objectification", I suppose). But many do, and among that number are included both the noblest and kindest men in the world, and creepy sociopathic people like Sodini. I don't think not getting laid made Sodini into a homicidal maniac, but I also don't think he was purely on a power/status trip either. Thwarted desire tends to lead to pathological behavior: people who don't get what they want do crazy shit.

So all this jawing about how no one is "entitled" to sex, however nobly self-righteous it may be, completely begs the question, because it won't make the underlying impulse go away. It's not a question of entitlement; rather, the question is what we intend to do about the fact that there are, AND WILL ALWAYS BE, a whole lot of creepy guys out there who feel intense desire and have no outlet for it, and who don't have a lot of inner guardrails to keep them from acting in destructive or pathological ways. Sex work is one answer, and there may be others. But making people feel marginalized leads to destructive behavior, full stop.

(Also, to hell with anyone who thinks gender issues are a zero-sum game, or that acknowledging men's desires is somehow disrespectful of women.)
Posted by HRJ on August 12, 2009 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Hi HRJ at 64. I think that Raven prefers the pronoun "he."
Posted by CPS on August 12, 2009 at 2:36 PM · Report this

But receiving testosterone shots, as a woman, is artificial.

Again, women have different testosterone receptors. For all you know, it was as if this transgendered person was receiving what would be the equivalent of HIGHER amounts of testosterone than many adult men regularly feel. Or that they had been one of those women who had a sex driver that was on the lower-end of normal, so it felt like a big difference for them.

I once read an article by a woman who used testosterone patches, and said a very similar thing -but then she disclosed that she was using three times the recommended dosage!

The issue here is not that we're denying men feel intense desires, as you seem to think. It is actually just saying that some men feel intense sexual desires near-constantly, but so do many women! It is not about what is felt, but how it is managed.

I am a woman who thinks about sex pretty much near-constantly, and it often feels like it will drive me crazy. It certainly affects how I act towards an opposite sex person I'm attracted to. But I'm also sort of picky about who my partners are, so I don't just have sex constantly. But if you read about Sodini, you'll realize he also was being picky!

The meme that women don't think about or desire sex frequently is so adolescent, and so, so wrong.
Posted by wahwah on August 12, 2009 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Shut the fuck up! "Judge not lest thee be judged thyself" should mean something, even to an asshole Christian like you! Where do you get off saying shit like that? You should try re-reading your Bible; maybe you'll realize that thinking and acting the way you do is the opposite of what that book, and your religion, are telling you. Dan's response is perfect for you. He's smart enough to realize that he will be judged by the obly one worthy of judging. One more thing ... if this is what you think of Dan Savage, why the fuck are you reading his column?
Posted by JD on August 12, 2009 at 2:52 PM · Report this
@65: Yes, my bad! The name "Raven" still makes me think "female".

@66: Your points are very reasonable, and I agree that the meme you mention at the end is usually incorrect, though I think that there is some evidence that women collectively have a lower libido than men collectively, or that (perhaps more accurately) they require more external cues in order to get going.

OTOH I think that the evidence -- that testosterone encourages strong, even aggressive sexual impulses -- is substantial enough that it should be part of the discussion, and should give both sides pause when positing a symmetry of experience between men and women. There are things in the female experience that men have a hard time grasping, and vice versa as well, so I don't think it's unreasonable to say that there's sometimes a lack of compassion or understanding on both sides.

In any event, I'm more thinking of the sociopathy and proto-sociopathy angle. There are people out there who are too creepy, damaged, or nuts to entice partners they consider attractive. And yet that desire persists: so what do we do with it? Telling them they're not "entitled" to that experience has no resonance with them, and probably never will -- and even if it did, it doesn't really affect the underlying desire. So what next?
Posted by HRJ on August 12, 2009 at 3:12 PM · Report this
The point is not that the guy should have seen a sex worker... Dan only said it MIGHT have helped...

the point is that

IF we lived in a society that valued sex workers,

IF we lived in a society that could be honest and non-judgemental (or at least not violent) about what people choose to do with other consenting adults...

If we lived in THAT society, he probably would never have developed such a sexually charged homicidal rage.
Posted by shelldavis4 on August 12, 2009 at 3:35 PM · Report this
most of the women i know who give up on sex with their husbands (including me) are married to selfish assholes that drink too much, never help with the kids or the house, don't contribute much financially and demand everything be done their way. Need Some Answers should tell his wife he's a cheater so they can break up and move on. There's probably something wrong with him.
Posted by whatevercathy on August 12, 2009 at 5:00 PM · Report this
I can't believe that some idiot came on this thread and defended the seduction community.

Which, among other bad ideas, suggests that complete strangers touch young women they've just met -- "The women only think they don't want to be touched."

Seduction community not only feeds the entitlement of sociopaths like Soldini, but plays it as some sort of misogynistic game, where tricking a woman into sex is somehow getting back at all the women who had free will and nerve to withhold their vaginas.

Revenge sex doesn't sound very healthy to me.

Oh, and I think if Soldini had been getting it on with sex workers there would have been a string of dead hookers to his credit.

See, Soldini felt he was ENTITLED to young, beautiful women who would give it to him for free, and the seduction community encouraged that sick entitlement.

Posted by judybrowni on August 12, 2009 at 5:45 PM · Report this
NSA's wife was not dealing in good faith. Her conditions required him to endure the humiliation of her close inspection of his activities, a way to punish and shame him. she was expecting him to pay that extra price for obtaining his satisfaction. This is an unworkable situation. I think DADT is a sensible solution as long as he doesn't fuck it up.
Posted by textthatappearsbelow on August 12, 2009 at 5:53 PM · Report this
Are you guys saying that since NSA isn't getting any sex from his wife, he should be able to ignore the fact that he has a family, which also includes kids? When I read NSA's letter, it sounds like he's saying, "OMG! She wants me to tuck in those brats and pay the bills like any married man with kids would do?!" If he were just complaining about his wife having to meet and approve of NSA's fuck-buddy, then maybe his complaints would be valid. But complaining that his wife wants him to tuck in their children?! If he actually resents that, then divorce her and then he'd never have to tuck in (or even see) those kids again. He could have as much sex as he wants without having to worry about anyone else's feelings or well-being.
Sorry if that sounds a little bitchy, but I just thought that taking care of your kids would come first. I'm especially surprised that Dan doesn't feel the same way, considering the fact that he has a son that he (from what we've seen and heard) seems to love very much.
Posted by Anna from Orlando on August 12, 2009 at 6:04 PM · Report this
@73, I don't think anyone is saying NSA should ignore his family obligations. Only that a rational person should recognize that those obligations are better met by a happy, fulfilled person than a miserable, embittered and sexually frustrated guy.

That said, I do appreciate a different interpretation of a story. The way I read it, it sounded like his wife was acting more like his mother. Her condition reminded me of my mom saying I could only go out with my friends if my homework was done, my room was clean and they knew who I was meeting. I think if NSA didn't want to be a father to his children he WOULD have just divorced his wife, like many people do when they get cheated out of a sex life by a spouse.

Her conditions reminded me of her previous bad faith negotiations. Except now, instead of telling him she would sleep with him if he did this and that, now she tells him he can sleep with his mistress if he does this and that. He really has no reason to believe her this time.
Posted by Terry from Tacoma on August 12, 2009 at 6:43 PM · Report this
#42 FTW - especially this part:

"Sodini was a sick fuck. He read the self-help book(s) and saw what he wanted to hear – which was that, if he shaved and wore cologne, pussy was guaranteed. If it hadn't been the Steel Balls guy, it would have been something else."

GHY - I've known people like you. Those who threaten others with the flames of hell are destined to suffer of it themselves.
Posted by MT3 on August 12, 2009 at 7:00 PM · Report this
Dan, I know you're a little short sighted when it comes to transpeople, but it doesn't excuse your using a letter from a transperson for dramatic effect. Unless a transperson has been murdered, you always seem to come down on the wrong side of the issue. As a transperson myself, I think your answer is kind of ridiculous. A transperson has no obligation to tell anyone about their history outside of a meaningful relationship.

One night stand? You don't have to say anything, unless they ask. Being trans isn't an STI. They want to fuck, you want to fuck. That's what one night stands are all about. Now, if you're dating someone, that's something you need to open up about if you want to have a relationship. People hold all sorts of things secret when it comes to just having a one night stand, and being trans isn't any different than that. And if you think it is, then you put way too much "ick factor" on trans people in general.
Posted by Stopbeingsuchaweirdedoutdicktotrannies on August 12, 2009 at 8:05 PM · Report this
I'm from Vancouver Canada where we have a de facto red light district. 60 women, many of whom were working in prostitution have gone missing over the years and the list continues to grow. We know at least some of them died at the hands of a serial killer. I don't think anyone would say that prostitution made these women safer. It's not lack of sex but sexism that prompts such acts. This is an extreme case but it certainly makes me reflective of my own behavior that contributes to the atmosphere of woman hating. How is this any different than the shooting at the Holocaust Museum? That the target were women is the only one I can see.
Posted by Jedidiah on August 12, 2009 at 8:06 PM · Report this
I will say this in defense of older guys hooking up with younger women ...

I have been stalked by older women since I had pubes. I more or less shut down because I didn't feel adequit enough to date women my own age for a very long time. Funny, women want to reclaim their lost youth too ...

And I got to be the Cougar bait.

All things considered, if an 18 year old came along, provided feelings were mutual and the campsite rule would be adhered ... well duh I'd consider it!

(But I'm not going to stalk it! That's just creepy!)
Posted by former tri-state on August 12, 2009 at 8:56 PM · Report this
OK, so, I got tired of reading around comment #30. Just wanted to chime in to say:

I'm a cute, outgoing, socially capable (and believe it or not, reasonably modest) 24-year-old female. Older dudes who think along the same lines I do, and haven't resigned themselves to the "inevitable" hallmarks of aging are fucking HOT. And they've usually had a lot longer to hone their skill set, too.

And regarding the (il)legalization of sex work: seriously? The powers-that-be want to tell me that the one occupation I can perform using MY body, relying on nothing and no one else, is one that I'm not allowed to pursue?
Posted by agent ruckus on August 12, 2009 at 9:11 PM · Report this
and yeah I should be so greatful ... but after the third orgasm everyone gets a little meloncholy ...

It would be funny if good people didn't get hurt!
Posted by former tri-state on August 12, 2009 at 9:17 PM · Report this
I haven't read any of the posted comments except the first, and I know you don't really believe in god as popularly known, and that more than likely you think that those who do are crazy, even though your mom was a strong believer, (was she crazy?) but nevertheless, God doesn't hate you so your "maybe so" is ridiculous. Thanks for the good advice that you do often give.
Posted by Joe8313282009 on August 12, 2009 at 11:16 PM · Report this
NSA, I'm on the DTMFA train here. Think of the kids! They're better off spending half their time with you (and your more-compatible new SO) seeing what a relationship SHOULD be like, rather than all of their time getting this bad example. Or do you want to condemn them to being in the same spot in 30 years time, and thinking that's how it has to be?

Relationships should be amazing, not miserable, and your kids need to see that while they're still young and impressionable. Take a hint from the other major topic going on, find a hot young piece of ass, and show your kids what being in love SHOULD be like.

So if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your kids. DTMFA.
Posted by Rophuine on August 12, 2009 at 11:46 PM · Report this
NSA: If you're seeing one woman regularly, you may well develop feelings for each other & find yourself having a mistress. Does this other woman know you're married? Is she OK with it? Keep in mind that some women might be OK with it initially, but not if feelings evolve beyond the initial 'fuck buddy' stage. Point is, life will become complicated. If you're staying in this marriage essentially for the kids, honestly, you're better off ending it. IMO, young kids don't suffer any worse than older ones when parents split up. And if you can't see yourself leaving your wife AND you develop a real relationship with your other woman, you should come clean. Tell your wife and let her decide whether she can remain in this marriage or not.
Posted by dave k on August 13, 2009 at 12:05 AM · Report this
@58 I guess I wasn't clear enough. Men in their thirties and upwards who have been out of a relationship for a notable amount of time are just as fucked up as the women.

Not that everyone in a relationship is without issues, of course, but they're probably more datable.

Also, whilst I don't tend to condone cheating, the wife in this situation is clearly being controlling. It's fair enough to ask that the basics such as work, housework and children are covered. However, it's unrealistic to expect this to be followed to such an extent that it precludes a relationship - if it's ok, there has to be some give and take so that he's able to pursue someone.

To state the obvious, in a monogamous marriage, a lot of your time is taken up by your partner and the compensation is your partner being the right person for you intellectually, sexually and emotionally. Given that she refuses to be/isn't the right person for him, there should be a corresponding decrease in what he will do for her.

It's doomed anyway. Once that point is reached, the chance of it recovering is slim, and if the husband isn't allowed to go and look for women in his own time, the unhealthy implication is that he's not able to pursue his own hobbies either. Assuming he's telling the truth, of course.
Posted by UKGuy on August 13, 2009 at 12:54 AM · Report this
Dan isn't encouraging women to become prostitutes, he's encouraging the legalization (and regulation) of prostitution. When it's legal, it can be safe, and all the women who get hurt, get killed, suffer at the hands of pimps, catch diseases they can't afford to treat, etc wouldn't ever have had to gone through any of that.

They could go through safe, clean, legal avenues which would also probably help them respect themselves more because they don't have to work out of an alley for barely any money, and they don't have to live in fear.

I see it a lot like an abortion argument because it's a choice women are going to make ABOUT THEIR OWN BODIES and that's okay, I just worry about those women being safe and healthy. It happens whether it's legal or not. I don't want them to have to live in slums and put themselves in danger because the government, state or federal, has told them they have no right to make decisions that are none of the government's fucking business.

(I don't get it. Republicans are supposedly against big government, but they're the ones who make the most legislature which determines what personal actions are okay or not. It's fucking baffling.)
Posted by Gawktopus on August 13, 2009 at 3:54 AM · Report this
@orangecrayons - the *average* age that sex workers enter the industry is 13 years old in the USA? I'm sorry, but I call bullshit. Where is this "statistic" taken from?
Posted by Trix on August 13, 2009 at 4:52 AM · Report this
@76 Thank you for saying this. Seriously, I have as much obligation to tell a (hypothetical - I'm in a long-term monogamous relationship) one-night stand I'm trans as I have to tell them I had a nasty case of chicken pox at age 8 or that I'm a bit near-sighted in only the right eye. Sleeping with a person does not confer an unlimited right to know her medical history. Dan seems to have a rather large blind spot about trans people, and sometimes he can be an incredible cunt about it.
Posted by nerdette on August 13, 2009 at 5:19 AM · Report this
@76 Thank you for saying this. Seriously, I have as much obligation to tell a (hypothetical - I'm in a long-term monogamous relationship) one-night stand I'm trans as I have to tell them I had a nasty case of chicken pox at age 8 or that I'm a bit near-sighted in only the right eye. Sleeping with a person does not confer an unlimited right to know her medical history. Dan seems to have a rather large blind spot about trans people, and sometimes he can be an incredible cunt about it.
Posted by nerdette on August 13, 2009 at 5:22 AM · Report this
@82: Couldn't agree more. My parents never worked their issues out. My mom had a 20+ year affair and my dad vents his frustration by screaming while he's on the mower/working on something around the house. Their issues affected my brother and me deeply. We've both been in and out of therapy. I've spent years dating guys who didn't really care about me. So yeah, staying in an unhealthy relationship doesn't help anyone, least of all the kids. It just sets them up for failure, because the example of two people who don't love eachother doesn't show them what a relationship should be. I always wished that my parents would just get a divorce and move the fuck on, instead of staying miserable and dragging everyone else through it. They were both really unhappy and the tension in the house was unbearable. I rebelled in high school, partied and slept around and fucked up my future b/c of the way things were at home. It has taken me years to undo the damage. I'm 32 and I'm still not ok. The longest relationship I've had was 8 mos in college. It's been nothing but an uphill battle. I always wished that they would either fix it or just get the divorce. I begged my mom to go to therapy, because she was such a mess. They both just stuck their heads in the sand. It's way better to have 2 happy, healthy, well-adjusted parents who are divorced than 2 miserable, angry, spiteful, vindictive, manipulative parents who are together, but take it out on the kids. Yes, the initial split would probably incredibly difficult, but living in a constant state of misery with my parents was so much worse. If the other person is completely unwilling to meet normal expectations of married life, then I think it's ok to say it's over and find someone who makes you happy. Life is too short to stay miserable and misery loves company. The rest of the family is probably just as miserable too.
Posted by love actually on August 13, 2009 at 5:43 AM · Report this
Well... yes the poor fella was looking for a sweet young thing to want him in the sack. Then when he got rejected dozens/hundreds of times he went out and shot people.
Why not just go out an work at a volenteer job, join a book club, meet women your own age. The obsession with youth sucks.
I'm 10 years older thn my husband and he is a very happy camper.
Posted by Lizzzzzz on August 13, 2009 at 6:24 AM · Report this
I know you get enough letters to come up with original material, rather than recycling SLOG stuff. I also know the Sodini letter was good, so maybe you could have linked to SLOG, rather than filling this column with something previously published?
Posted by ReadsEveryDay on August 13, 2009 at 7:18 AM · Report this
Posted by Trix @orangecrayons - the *average* age that sex workers enter the industry is 13 years old in the USA? I'm sorry, but I call bullshit. Where is this "statistic" taken from?…
Posted by dgct on August 13, 2009 at 7:27 AM · Report this
People have an obligation to disclose anything which might reasonably make the other person decide that they don't want to have sex. This means trans, sti, or any other unrelated thing that might be there.

I am NOT saying that being trans is like having an sti. I am saying that either (or I don't know, having two dicks), might make someone want to say no before the clothes come off.
Posted by person on August 13, 2009 at 7:41 AM · Report this
What angers me in this thread is the repeated alegation that Sodini was "sick", "crazy", "nut". We don't know. And since he's dead, we will never know. A psychiatrist might be able to watch for signs, but most of us are not qualified.

The problem is that the constant portayal of people with mental illnesses (and I'm mentally ill) as dangerous ads to their already heavy stigmatization. Mentally ill people are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. The only mental illness that increases the risk of violence is drug abuse.

What is sick, crazy, nut, is the society in which men learn that they are entitled to sex, and in which people can buy guns.
Posted by crazy and angry on August 13, 2009 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Dan, I think you're right that men who have trouble finding sexual partners should consider sex workers, but from everything I'm reading about Sodini, I don't think that would have worked for him. He wasn't just looking to get laid. It wasn't about sexual frustration. He wanted someone to validate him as a whole person, and no sex worker can do that.

Sodini's trouble was that no one wants to validate a psychotic asshole who engineers his own isolation and then whines that nobody loves him.
Posted by Jolie on August 13, 2009 at 8:15 AM · Report this
The best sex trade workers act as mini life/relationship coaches as well. I agree that this wouldn't have changed anything within the last couple of years, but I would be willing to wonder whether Sodini would have been reachable if he had sexual fulfillment and connection in 1985 (2 years after his last relationship).

Maybe or maybe not, but I'm disinclined to assume anything as we have no evidence that he received any good assistance in that area.
Posted by Terra on August 13, 2009 at 9:15 AM · Report this
I don't think there is anything wrong with sex. Sex between two people with a deep emotional connection can be a wonderful thing. But... sex isn't the answer to emotional frustration. And validating sex workers is not the solution which will adequately validate the needs of men and women who do not feel accepted or loved by the people around them.

I have to disagree with this idea that somehow having an orgasm with another person equals "validation". It doesn't, at least not in the long term. For folks who find themselves chronically single, whatever the reason, all casual sex does is fill a momentary need. So you fill the need, and the next time the need hits, it's even worse. And so it goes. Now not only do you have someone who is emotionally frustrated, but you've made the problem worse by bombarding him with images and ideas which tell him that he needs to have sex, as well, because it'll be a momentary fix. That's how you create sex addicts, Dan. Not healthy people. Drugs, overeating, overexercising, hypersexuality, alcoholism... most of the time addiction is the result of covering up an emotional need which has gone unfulfilled.

Even if sex work were legal, those who use sex workers would still be looked down upon. He would still be the poor loser who has to pay for sex with cash because no one wants to be with him otherwise. He'd still be looked at as desperate. Not only that, but he's not going to get the emotional validation he *really* needs for $150/hour.

Posted by DRLCPA on August 13, 2009 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Remember the 101 California shootings in San Francisco? The crazed psycho in that instance had followed the advice of a string of pop-psych 'prosperity' gurus.

After a string of failed business start-ups, all succumbing to the financial reality he had been trained to ignore. The moron loaded up on guns and shot 14 office workers, killing 8 before he killed himself. Their offence? Working for the law firm that handled the legal paper for his stupid biz fantasies.

Selling stupid advice to vulnerable and/or dangerous idiots should be a felony.
Posted by John the Drunkard on August 13, 2009 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Regarding the seduction community, I don't think it's fair to categorize its members as either charlatans or creeps. It's a very broad church; some guys spout this NLP, social manipulation stuff, but a lot of guys are just into improving confidence, social skills and appearance. And it's never about tricking women into sleeping with you, or getting back at women who don't. It's about making getting your shit together and making yourself more attractive, so that when you approach a woman she is more likely to choose you as mate.

Don't get me wrong, there are creepy PUA's out there. But in my experience most guys in the community are just decent men, trying to improve themselves.

Just my two cents (or pennies) worth....
Posted by riff on August 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM · Report this
"When it's legal, it can be safe, and all the women who get hurt, get killed, suffer at the hands of pimps, catch diseases they can't afford to treat, etc wouldn't ever have had to gone through any of that."

Umm... except not. Spoken like someone whose never studied the state of law enforcement dealing with sexual violence in the U.S.

Women who AREN'T sex workers are not adequately protected by the law, let alone ones who are. In countries where sex work is legal, crime against sex workers is still very high.

The reality is our government doesn't have adequate resources -and many police officers do not have unsexist enough attitudes, to adequately protect women against those crimes.
Posted by wahwah on August 13, 2009 at 11:18 AM · Report this
I've read a lot of books and articles from the seduction community, and at its best, it's about personal growth, facing your fears, becoming a better person, and learning how to relate to people more skillfully.

I've read some of R. Don Steele's books, and though there is some emphasis on personal growth, his books are among the most angry, resentful, and misogynistic of anything in the seduction community. They're filled with angry, negative generalizations about women and bizarre social darwinist political rants. He's essentially all the worst stereotypes of pickup artists realized. Don't judge us by R. Don Steele, the worst face of it.
Posted by J664 on August 13, 2009 at 12:19 PM · Report this
a.james 102
66: Testosterone is a regulated substance, and the medical treatment of transpeople is highly regulated. Most transpeople receive doses far LESS than that of the typical cisperson, especially when just starting treatment. While self-medication is possible [though illegal for ftm's], it's more likely that he had received a dose less than or average to an adult male's testosterone production.
Further, a female-identified woman taking testosterone for increased sexual response might, not viewing herself as transmasculine, ignore or decline to investigate dosage information given about ftM HRT process. She might double or triple the dosage because she might also figure that, being designed "for men", the dosage is much less because it's to work with their naturally-occurring hormones.

While I'm not arguing the "women are sexually passive/men are sexually aggressive" I'm just debating your assumption that only outside-of-normal testosterone levels would increase sexual response or aggressiveness.

76/88: The writer didn't say "one-night stands", and while "lover" is ambiguous, it does include and accurately describe anyone you're in a relationship with. To criticize a one-word answer [which was in-format and generally sound advice] because oh~my~god! I don't have to tell a one-night stand anything, is kinda shallow.
Posted by a.james on August 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Maybe I have a warped view of sex. But I will say that sex ... for men, it is kind of like food. If you don't get it after a while, you really do become soulless. I made many many many concessions to get laid everyonce in a while. I worked in a research lab where a lot of men were just rather socially unpowerful and soulless ... many of the people I worked with hadn't hadn't even KISSED a girl for grad school, or even several decades.

If that's not traumatizing, I don't know what is ... and it really does warp your sense of reality. It's like a lot of these guys felt invisible to the world around them. Sometimes, I could see them snap like a Sodini if they took their analytical mind, played out the formula, and felt entitled to the results.

Yeah ... I can see a number of the guys I worked with read Steele's book and snap.

And prostitutes ... well, if it fit into the grad student budget, well duh. You don't pay the woman for sex, you pay them to go away. You don't have to lie about expectations, goals, desires etc. etc. You can be yourself, plus a wad of cash, and she is not paid to judge you, and you aren't encouraged to feed her bullshit.

At the time, I was just trying to sustain my soul, and getting fuck out of Oregon and dodge. Creating a lifetime commitment was not in the cards!

I have no disrespect for women, or disrespect for any human being but to quote something from "Chasing Amy", "everone has an agenda."

Even though I may not agree with everyone's agenda, I respect their right to have it, provided they respect mine. (If they ask for my opinion, I will give it.)

But at this stage of my life ... it's just an incomplete puzzle. Where the hell do women fit? You get out of a small town, and everyonce in a while you might meet someone with a complementary agenda ... asks the same question "where the hell do men fit?" And the answer perhaps, neither one of us know, but we are both a little horny right now.

Posted by former tri-state on August 13, 2009 at 12:32 PM · Report this
NSA mentions that he wants his wife to "get help," but he doesn't mention whether he offered to go to couples therapy together. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but the idea that a sexual problem in a marriage is only one partner's problem/fault/responsibility is one I don't care for.

And the wife's conditions for sex outside the marriage don't sound that unreasonable to me. If it's just about sex, I would have imagined he'd be happy to get it where he could. But it sounds like he's just as unwilling to compromise as he makes Mrs. NSA out to be.

He may not be wrong for feeling let down by his wife, but as my wise old Grandma always said, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

Women's bodies are more susceptible to hormonal fluctuation than men's. Even adding testosterone is never going to be a perfect solution, because our bodies just plain change more often. If there's a different amount of coffee in my cup every day, and you add a dose of cream, the coffee is still going to be stronger on some days than others.
Posted by Jeffersonian_01 on August 13, 2009 at 12:42 PM · Report this
@94 I agree that the stigmatization of mental illness, and moreover treatment for mental illness, is a huge problem. I like the analogy of Diabetes. Diabetes is a physical illness that requires constant treatment and monitoring. Some diabetics aren't able, or shouldn't, to do things normal people do : drink, fast, expect a very long life, etc. Same for people with mental problems.

"The only mental illness that increases the risk of violence is drug abuse."

That, however, is patently false. There's a reason that serial killers are typically antisocial narcissistic personalities. Seeing people as objects and not experiencing emotions combined with a wildly distorted sense of self-importance sure as shit increases the risk of violence. Do we need to trot out the videos of little girls calmly describing literally bashing in their toddler brother's skull in a very real and calculated attempt to murder them? Depression increases the risk of self-inflicted violence. The list goes on, which is why treatment is so very, very important.
Posted by huckster on August 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Hey ,this Soldini guy was under surveillance and stopped and questioned by Pittsburgh police detectives for showing a hand grenade to people on a city bus. Exhibiting a classic cry for help he was screaming stop me go ahead heres your chance. Search warrant anybody? not only that consider the female providers constantly under surveilance and getting arrested in Pittsburgh and other cities. Its unlikely that a cute looking working girl is going to pull a Soldini but we have a lot of shootings and wing nuts with guns in WPA. You would think that the heavily armed police would concentrate on the real dangerous people and maybe let the providers alone for the most part its innocent ,but no.
Posted by de enstoss on August 13, 2009 at 1:57 PM · Report this
There are men out there who think they are entitled to young, perky, slender ass as a birthright.

There are still women out there who don't want sex but are too scared of not being alone to opt out of a partnership.

And yet people still believe that there's a GOOOOOOOOD up there smiling down on them?

Oooookay. *twirls finger around ear*
Posted by Hellbound Alleee on August 13, 2009 at 2:16 PM · Report this
To those who have said a transperson isn't obligated to disclose their status to people they're having sex with: I don't understand how a post-op transperson can act surprised or indignant that sex partners would have a right to know or even care about the nature of their sex organs. If the shape of your own genitals were important enough to you to have them surgically altered (or even if you didn't have them altered but you prefer a certain brand of genital yourself, or if you've just heard about the fact that a significant majority of people do prefer one sort to another), I would think it'd be easy to accept that the nature of your genitals would probably be important to your potential sex partners, too. Our technology is not so good that there is zero discernible difference between a post-op FtM and a cis male. If there were no real differences, then sure: your former physical gender would become irrelevant. That future, in fact, might not be unfathomably far away.

In the meantime, I think everybody has an obligation to tell their sexual partners about *anything* that might surprise, confuse, or otherwise put off a reasonable person once those two people find themselves naked: highly visible scarring, the fact that one leg is a prosthetic, a tendency to pass out at orgasm... whatever. It's common courtesy to do your best to avoid putting the other person in a potentially very awkward position or making them feel manipulated. You're doing yourself a favor, too, if you give them a chance to either square with the idea of fucking someone with a different body, or to bail out if they know it's not something they want to go ahead with--which of course they aren't obligated to do. To me at least, giving a preemptive heads-up would seem like a better idea than losing potential "yes pleases!" to shock, confusion, or unsexy hesitation; or discovering a "hell no!" only after they've put their face in my crotch. Better PR, too.
Posted by Jenny Tail on August 13, 2009 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Natalina 109
Here here, Dan.
Posted by Natalina on August 13, 2009 at 3:18 PM · Report this
@100 I didn't say making it legal would automatically make it safe. I said it could be MADE safe. There would be avenues to ALLOW for safety, which I thought I made clear. I'm not stupid enough to think legislation stating "OH YEAH YOU CAN GO GET PAID FOR SEX NOW WITHOUT FEAR OF PROSECUTION" would make ANY crime stop, nor would it help women at all. The main problem obviously is not within the government. It would, however, provide footing for the government to help these women instead of neglecting them entirely. I realize that women aren't protected adequately by the law. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be making efforts to improve anyone's environment. It's not like we have a finite amount of problems we can try and tackle within trying to make better the lives of women. I assure you it's entirely possible to still have the lives of ALL WOMEN in mind, even when you are only trying to improve the life of one (or in this case, a group). I recognize we do not have adequate resources. That's why I didn't start attacking the government. I don't think it'd save the world, or save every woman in the profession. I do think, though, that bettering even one woman's life is worth it.

I'm not sure why you feel the need to say I haven't studied US law because of a personal opinion, though. But since you're so keen to wave some kind of superiority complex on the internet, I have studied sex worker issues. Extensively. I'm getting my degree in forensic/medical anthropology with a focus in women's health/issues at Stanford. I'm well-acquainted with it, and I'm not sure exactly how that should make my opinion more or less valid.
Posted by Gawktopus on August 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Yes, those tricksy trannies are always trying to Crying Game the unsuspecting non-trans population.

Dan, you never hesitate an opportunity to put us genderfreaks back in our proper place. Thank you so very much for your reminders, every once in a while, that you (and by proxy the gay community of the universe) are squicked and angry that some hottie you might check out in male-born-male space might actually be not a hottie at all, but (gasp) a person with a VAGINA. How awful!
Posted by Auggiedoggie on August 13, 2009 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Hey "God Hates You" - news flash - GOD HATES YOU, NOT SAVAGE!!!
Posted by dmitri99 on August 13, 2009 at 4:02 PM · Report this
You know, Soldini has given bitter virgins like me a bad rap. I swear, we're not ALL homicidal! Some of us choose to do the mature thing, and bury our feelings.
Posted by manofoar on August 13, 2009 at 4:13 PM · Report this
I don't think this Steel guy is part of the seduction community. Just because he wrote abook, does not make him a part of, or a respected teacher in the community. Most PU community guys are in their twenties anyway. As for puas tricking women, well, if you can act in a way that makes women want to have sex or date you, what is the difference between that and a guy who does it naturally?

I don't know if this guy is nuts or not. But for men in our culture, we learn that the only way we can have intimacy and touch is with a woman. So if a guy can not get sex and intimacy, then he is out of luck. women don't have that problem as they can reach out to everyone around them. Younger guys are doing better in that regard too. But imagine a life without physical and emotional intimacy. Pretty sad.

Men can't help it if they like young hot women. the smart ones avoid the cultural programming that tells them that is the only thing that is important. But it is hard to overcome millions of dollars worth of media, advertising, etc and lots of cultural programming. But no one said this guy felt he deserved a young hottie. I happen to like them, and pursue them when I can. What is so wrong with that? this guy is kind of a victim of our culture. Of course, what he did was far more victimizing.

As for trannies, if you can fool me, I don't care. Isn't this kind of moot point. How many trannies can actually fool a guy to the point that he does not have his suspicions. of course, if you have a penis, then you definitely have to tell me first, or i will be quite mad.
Posted by rp on August 13, 2009 at 5:37 PM · Report this
I feel for NSA, but I think there may be more to the story he is not telling. Recently, my husband of 10 year left to do his own thing (basically I would not accept his constant cheating). I am sure he would describe me in the same way that NSA did his wife, but what he would be leaving out is how his porn addiction and every other stupid hobby he got into (Yugi-Oh cards, Playstation games, his motorcycle, PC games, Warhammer, the list goes on and on) became more important than being intimate or spending any real time with me. When we would have sex, it felt as he was simply using me as a live masturbation device. It was never about me. He only pleased me because if he did not, it was a hit to his ego. He would leave out that he was verbally and emotionally abusive to me and our kids, that he got me hooked on marijuana for years, that I could never do anything right to his satisfaction, and that he was a disgusting slob that literally washed the dishes only one time during the whole time we were together.

I don't think cheating is warranted in any relationship. If you want out, then have the balls to say so and get out...period!
Posted by dweamgoil on August 13, 2009 at 6:05 PM · Report this
#49 Very astute comment regarding Sodini and Dan's response. Kudos to you!

When I first heard of it, Sodini's rampage reminded me of of the Charles Roberts' hostage taking/murder of those Amish girls in Pensylvania in Oct 2006.

Not much was revealed about Roberts' life afterwards for some reason. We do know that his purported reason for the hostage taking: that he'd abused some young relatives at age 12" was not true.

I've always suspected that the truth was that Roberts had been raped when 12 and that the person who'd abused him had probably died shortly before Roberts went on his rampage. The death left him with the reality of never getting back at his abuser. However, since he committed suicide, I guess nobody cared to look further into his reasons.

Further revelations about Sodini seem to indicate he was yet another mentally disturbed man who blamed women for his unhappy life. But it's worth considering why so many men externalize their violence onto females? Even men who grow up with abusive fathers seem to end up blaming poor old Mom, and by extension, all women. It's as if they simply cannot blame anybody who looks like themselves.

This I don't get.

Posted by Xweetie on August 13, 2009 at 6:47 PM · Report this
#86 Trix
Couldn't see where anyone else provided the statistical citation you asked for regarding @orangecrayons' saying the average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution in the US is 12-14.

Here you go:
Posted by XWEETIE on August 13, 2009 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Dan, you missed the boat on the first one. Why does a post-op transgendered person have an obligation to tell his or her prospective lover that he or she was born in the wrong body?

Excellent on the rest of the column, though.
Posted by Cissy on August 13, 2009 at 7:28 PM · Report this
People keep misreading the first question. It doesn't say one-night-stands, 'prospective' lovers, random drunk hookups, or any of those other things people keep saying have no responsibility to disclose. It says 'lovers'.

This is an issue of honesty with lovers, not with strangers.

As for the right answer? No idea. I THINK I'd be okay with finding out this detail about a lover, but I've never been faced with it. Maybe lots of post-ops have serious trouble with mistreatment and abandonment after they tell their lovers. Maybe there's some other good reason.

I know I'd feel hurt if I found out a lover had been hiding this kind of information from me.
Posted by Rophuine on August 13, 2009 at 8:15 PM · Report this
Ivanova 120
To God Hates You:
I am a TRUE BELIEVER in Dialogue. Ooops! I best explain what it is that "Dialogue" actually is. It requires a Healthy Adult Mode way of being. Damnation of Dan Savage, based on his expertise, which you experience as utterly disagreeable, does seem to be quite cemented. Cemented beliefs and opinions will crumble under the brilliant light trying to enter the world as we know it. I would like to share current REVELATIONS with you: "brain scans" point specifically to political and religious beliefs, and convictions, being held by our primitive majority, firmly, in the most primitive part of the brain, rather than in the executive reasoning center, which is capable of wisdom. Failure to tap into our wisdom, and follow it, rather than primitive drives and convictions, will be our undoing. You, my dear, are undone. While I wise to continue to be a compassionate soul on Mother Earth, your critical, punitive, and judgmental rant, against a person with so many wonderful qualities, makes it rather difficult to do so. While I am sure you could escalate this with Bible quotes to affirm your position, the majority of us are fully aware that your cemented position is coming from the most primitive part of your brain. Hopefully, the light that is coming, will afford you a shift to your higher reasoning center, which is the part of the brain that was created by your God.
Posted by Ivanova on August 13, 2009 at 9:35 PM · Report this
Milbury 121

Newsflash: There are people in the world who actually want to carry on their bloodlines and there are people in the world who'd rather have their throats slit than put any part of their bodies anywhere near opposite-sexed genitalia. IMO, Dan's advice was on the money. It's better to have your heart broken than to deal with the rage-filled/despairing look in someone's eyes as he (or she) learns that they'll never be able to have their own children, or learns that the person of their dreams has the equipment of their nightmares. You may have always felt like a boy, you may have acted like a boy since kindergarten, you may even be able to think like a boy, but your prosthetis (at this moment in time) will never work as naturally as a man. Or, if you're a woman, your surgically created vagina will never be able to perform it's primary function-transmitting semen to the uterus to facilitate the creation of life.

Some people can deal with that, true. Some people have decided not to have children, some people are pansexual and can find something to love about anyone, some people are emotionally fluid and some people just aren't that choosy. But, sad to say, the majority of the people that you will meet in life are "none of the above". For all of a straight man's latent/active/potential whoredom, there's always the desire or interest in making children of his own with the women who he professes to love. For all of a straight woman's sluttiness/professionalism/etc., the same desire or interest to pass on her genes with a man who she professes to love. A transsexual can serve as an emotional anchor, an intellectual anchor and as a sexual anchor, but they *can't make fucking babies* without outside help. And that is something that all of the technology in the world has yet to solve. So, once again, I stand by Dan's comment.
Posted by Milbury on August 13, 2009 at 10:36 PM · Report this
Where does this obligation to tell your lovers about your sex-change operation come from? Do lovers have a right to know about everything that's happened to your bits? Do they have a right to know you've your breasts augmented, your hymen surgically removed, your vagina tightened up, your vas deferens cut? (The last, yes, if they want to have children with you.)

Or is it like the obligation to tell your lovers that one of your grandparents was African-American, because some people would be horrified to learn that they were fucking a quadroon?

If so, it's an "obligation" that never existed. There's no obligation to cater to anyone's bigotry.

@121: Nice try, but the question was not "do barren/sterile people have an obligation to tell their lovers they can't have children."
Posted by jmkelly on August 13, 2009 at 11:20 PM · Report this
#117, #86, et al --

I read the DOJ link provided, and indeed the document there claims: "The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14."

As evidence for this, the document cites a research paper called the "Estes Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children," available at… (note the link from the DOJ page is broken).

I read the relevant sections of the Estes Report. The paper is quite sobering. However, it's clear that the Estes Report does *not* say that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14, as the DOJ citation implies. What it does say is that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 *for the sample they surveyed*. And how do the authors describe that sample?

"Every effort was made to identify at least the modal characteristics of sexually exploited children and youth. Inasmuch as it was not possible for us to undertake a complete census of all such children across the nation, we depended, instead, on encounter data with sexually exploited youth provided to us by various telephone hotlines serving runaway and homeless youth, youth outreach programs, youth drop-in centers, youth-focused street health clinics as well as shelters serving runaway and homeless youth."

In other words, the source material is concerned primarily with child prostitutes; the figure given is for the average age that *child prostitutes* first become victims. The sample explicitly does not include any adult sex workers! It seems clear that, if one is going to claim that the average female sex worker in the US began that work at age 13, the Estes Report is not going to do much to support that.
Posted by forlornpanda on August 13, 2009 at 11:36 PM · Report this
#117, #86, et al --

I read the DOJ link provided, and indeed the document there claims: "The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14."

As evidence for this, the document cites a research paper called the "Estes Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children," available at… (note the link from the DOJ page is broken).

I read the relevant sections of the Estes Report. The paper is quite sobering. However, it's clear that the Estes Report does *not* say that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14, as the DOJ citation implies. What it does say is that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14 *for the sample they surveyed*. And how do the authors describe that sample?

"Every effort was made to identify at least the modal characteristics of sexually exploited children and youth. Inasmuch as it was not possible for us to undertake a complete census of all such children across the nation, we depended, instead, on encounter data with sexually exploited youth provided to us by various telephone hotlines serving runaway and homeless youth, youth outreach programs, youth drop-in centers, youth-focused street health clinics as well as shelters serving runaway and homeless youth."

In other words, the source material is concerned primarily with child prostitutes; the figure given is for the average age that *child prostitutes* first become victims. The sample explicitly does not include any adult sex workers! It seems clear that, if one is going to claim that the average female sex worker in the US began that work at age 13, the Estes Report is not going to do much to support that.
Posted by forlornpanda on August 13, 2009 at 11:38 PM · Report this
"But I will say that sex ... for men, it is kind of like food. If you don't get it after a while, you really do become soulless. I made many many many concessions to get laid everyonce in a while. I worked in a research lab where a lot of men were just rather socially unpowerful and soulless ... many of the people I worked with hadn't hadn't even KISSED a girl for grad school, or even several decades."

Again... I'm sure many men do feel this way. Why am I sure? Because I know many women do too! And yet somehow, that doesn't seem to go a millimeter in the direction of justifying homicidal rages or treating men like objects and paying them for sex.

#102: You clearly misunderstood my argument. The argument I was making revolves around the fact that men and women have different testosterone RECEPTORS. So its difficult to directly compare levels as if they would have the same affect in women as in men. Its a concept you learn about in some university-level biology.
Posted by wahwah on August 13, 2009 at 11:46 PM · Report this
So... we still haven't learned anything from Columbine, VA Tech, or all that Postal worker shit from the late 80's. I'm sure that there are plenty of other like incidents of lonely and depressed individuals detonating publicly. Lonliness begets estrangment and strangness. The individual then becomes more lonely, more distant, and even stranger. It's a cycle. The only way to break it is for someone to reach out to the affected person and show them the value of their own life and thereby the value of other lives. A sex worker may provide temporary relief from physical desires, but will only exacerbate emotional damage when the person becomes resentful that they have to pay for intimacy. Same with therapists. It's easy to call people like George Sodini a sociopath and a sick fuck and dismiss him entirely, it's harder to empathize and provide the humanity that could have defused the ticking bomb inside of him. Which do you think would be more effective?

Preemptively - no, empathizing with Sodini doesn't negate the pain and anguish of those he murdered and injured. In fact, it would have prevented that pain and anguish had it been done early enough.
Posted by yourmama on August 13, 2009 at 11:57 PM · Report this
lamsydivy 127
Dan, I agree with your assessment of Sodini, but I don't agree that part of the problem is that the country is "awash with guns." The method Sodini chose to use to exercise his madness is not the issue. If guns did not exist, would Sodini have still found a way to kill women? He could have used a knife to kill just as many women, or a car to kill many more. Don't cloud the issue. If Sodini had more reasonable expectations regarding a potential mate, he could have found one.
Posted by lamsydivy on August 14, 2009 at 8:27 AM · Report this
@115: sounds like your husband was an asshole. I have to say, I am addicted to pleasing people. My chief relationship aim is to set aside time to do nice things for the other person, or have them treat me, from a romantic dinner at home on through to the orgasms. THEIR concept of what fun is, THEIR choice to treat or be treated, I just want the eagerness. Recently, it's been YEARS of debate and negotiation just to have sex, which is an afterthought, not the nice set up aspect i crave, which we've NEVER done outside of holidays or birthdays. I used to have a never cheat conception of relationships, but once the house, the family, the rest of the lives are intertwined, and everything else is going great... well, cheat your partner out of the sex (and more importantly intimacy and expression of love they crave and beg for) and expect to be cheated on yourself.
Posted by yonush18 on August 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM · Report this
@127: Mass murder with a knife or a car? C'mon, let's get real -- those are not efficient tools for killing a lot of people at once (which was clearly Sodini's intent). You might say that a grenade or a bomb would've done the trick, but of course those are subject to arms control too.

@116: We don't know why sociopaths often project sexual violence against females, but I suspect it has more to do with mother-child relationships than with misogyny. Sociopaths are often enraged at a world from which they feel "cut off", and the joys and pleasures of which are essentially denied to them because of their neurochemistry or psychological structure. When you're a baby, your mother is essentially your world, and on top of that many sociopaths blame their mothers for their condition -- not always incorrectly, IMHO. So I think a lot of psychopathic sexual violence is, essentially, aggression against oneself and one's mother.

Of course, the other thing is that many people will interpret violence against women as inherently gendered/sexist, when it's really just about power vs. powerlessness. In other words, a bad thing that happens to a man is seen as generic violence, but a bad thing that happens to a woman is seen as a manifestation of patriarchy or sexism. We don't say that a psychopath who kills his childhood playmate, or his adult roommate, is doing it because he hates men. In the case of Sodini, his ostensible motivations are upfront, but I think the underlying impulse has more to do with his sociopathy than his sexism. Most people just wouldn't care as much if he killed a classroom full of men -- and perhaps that points up our own collective sexism, since we tend to see women as more innocent, and more worthy of protection, than men are.
Posted by HRJ on August 14, 2009 at 12:04 PM · Report this
@115: "he got me hooked on marijuana for years"? WTF. Marijuana isn't heroin, or even alcohol. If you keep smoking it "for years", that's 100% on you, and nobody else's fault. I agree that there are two sides to every story, and that the other side often goes untold -- but that only makes me notice all the more that you didn't say anything about what you did or didn't do to contribute to the demise of your marriage.
Posted by HRJ on August 14, 2009 at 12:07 PM · Report this
@124 Wow. Thanks!

I was going to do that research but then thought that I should go back to trying to write my thesis, which I was trying to avoid by reading this column and all of the responses.

So, I have two questions for you, fp:

a) when is the specificity of knowledge enough to prove something? Is the point now proven, now that you have read and analyzed the Estes report, or is it still in some kind of limbo, from which another person (with more drive to find facts or who already has facts on hand by virtue of being a researching social scientist or geographer or something) could resurrect or differently prove it?

b)(much more important question to me)Will a majority of people be influenced to reconsider their own opinions if your points are well-reasoned, accurate, fact-based, logical and ever more specific? Is this even a method of social discourse that works?

gosh. I'm really, really, really tired of thinking.
Posted by lilysotoo on August 14, 2009 at 12:21 PM · Report this
walwah ... the same is true for women ... they do become soulless and bitter too.

But I think this one is a little differrent, I don't quite the see the gender symmetry.

I do concede though, the biggest mind fuck of social expectations is placed on women. Their forced god damn marriage expectations will be the death of us all. (Not all women ... but you get the gist)

But it's so bizzare. Reasonably above attractive socially competent men more often than you would like to believe DON'T get laid ... it's a mystery.
Posted by former tri-state on August 14, 2009 at 12:21 PM · Report this
I wonder how many people here actually read the Sodini blog all the way through. He certainly did not seem to be a Sociopath - he expressed lots of feelings and very little actual rage. He came across as more hopeless and self-pitying than anything though he didn't show any interest in taking responsibility for his relationships or lack there-of. Still he was fairly articulate and seemed a better prospect than some of my friends' boyfriends. Scary. I am also perpetually single though that doesn't mean I never have sex. I can't imagine viewing my situation the way he viewed his but for someone who was out of his mind - he was eerily normal.
Posted by melisho on August 14, 2009 at 1:46 PM · Report this
@ bearcathk2004, God is a fabrication of the human mind. If there is a god, an almighty creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that walks slithers crawls or swims, then why does he need 10% of my paycheck to get by?? Because christianity is a scam. And more blood has been spilled in the name of god than anything else in the history of man. I can't fathom what kind of god would allow this to happen. And if a god does exist that would allow all the terrible things that christianity has wrought on the world, I for one, want no part of it. There are good people everywhere that do not believe in god, but are doing good things and making the world a better place. It is people like you, who claim some kind of mystical power or strength from the great almighty, that help dupe little old ladies out of their old age pension with their pasive aggresive bullshit dogma. Maybe I am making the world a better place by questioning the sanity of anyone who belives in god. And maybe christians everywhere are causing the demise of the human race, one polite, insincere smile at a time.
Posted by Lushpuppie on August 14, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
The Sodini answer was great. But I think the guy whose wife wouldn't have sex with him deserved a longer answer than you gave him. You neglected to give him advice he really wanted just so you could do a "yes" "no" "maybe so" trifecta. The "yes" and the "maybe so" did not deserve longer answers, but the other guy did.
Posted by Mmmhmm on August 14, 2009 at 3:31 PM · Report this
WHOAH this is some fucked up shit. i know nothing of transgender, wouldn't even consider it, love fucking my real girl so i dont have an opinion-just a question-GOD WHO?
Posted by wortzilla on August 14, 2009 at 4:41 PM · Report this
I don't know anyone who calls their one-night stands "lovers". If you're TG, and you're having sex repeatedly (let alone a relationship) with someone who doesn't realize it, and you intentionally withhold that information, you're a lying shithead. You don't like it, and want the world to be accepting and tolerant and love-you-just-the-way-you-are? Too fucking bad. Some people WILL want you just the way you are, but some won't, and they have the right to make that call for themselves, because being TG is a big fucking deal for a variety of patently obvious reasons (none of which map onto race AT ALL), and their right to know outweighs your right to pass. Love and desire earned through deception are betrayals, and right or wrong, people who feel betrayed tend to retaliate. Dan's answer is meant to ensure that there aren't more TGs who share the fate of Gwen Araujo, and though what happened to Gwen is terrible and unjust, intentionally deceiving your lover(s) is just plain wrong.
Posted by HRJ on August 14, 2009 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Good grief, why would you want to marry a guy you didn't like the sex with? THAT'S KIND OF ***DUMB***.
Posted by D33 on August 14, 2009 at 6:44 PM · Report this
@138: In the case of one woman I know, she married the guy because she thought he was getting a big inheritance (boy, was she disappointed). So, sometimes it's money/greed. Others don't like sex to begin with, but pretend until marriage, because they don't want to be alone. Others can't be with the man they really love, so they settle because they want kids. Still others are closeted lesbians. All of these things apply more or less equally to men as well.
Posted by HRJ on August 14, 2009 at 7:06 PM · Report this
"He came across as more hopeless and self-pitying than anything though he didn't show any interest in taking responsibility for his relationships or lack there-of."

Hopeless, self-pitying women usually deal with their frustrations less violently, like scarfing down a carton of Ben and Jerry's or venting to a friend. Unless they completely lose touch with reality and become psychotic women almost never kill strangers.
Posted by quirkita on August 14, 2009 at 9:58 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 141
If hiring a prostitute skeeved him out, there was always the mail-order Russian bride route. Sodini could easily delude himself she really, really was hot for him (rather than a greencard) if he really, really wanted a hot 20-something trophy/fuck-toy. But this wasn't about getting rejected by hot women...or any women. He was a loon. Even if he'd gotten laid, he'd still be a loon. Shallow, selfish, control freak, sociopath. Women sensed it and ran like hell.

Posted by Y.F. Redux on August 14, 2009 at 10:54 PM · Report this
@131: You're welcome! I am flattered by your further questions.

(a): Nothing was proven, alas; only refuted. What was refuted was that the Estes report shows that the average age for prostitutes' entering that profession is 12-14; this because the sample omits any adults. (It's common sense that if one only interviews minors, *any question at all* will have a lower answer than if adults are also interviewed!) Note that it may yet be the case that prostitutes become so on average at 12-14; it's just that no good reason to think that has been offered. So: limbo it is, until someone runs a well-designed survey with a random sample of sex workers.

(b) I think people adopt opinions for two main reasons: first, to reinforce their personal aspirations and self-images (from both their own and their peers' points of view) and second, to make sense of what their consciences tell them about things. Because of this, I think the most useful social discourse involves drawing out the consequences of people's beliefs. It is ultimately up to every person to decide what to do, intellectually, when it becomes clear that he or she can't in good conscience hold two beliefs, because they contradict one another.
Posted by forlornpanda on August 14, 2009 at 10:58 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 143
@ 71,

"Seduction Community"? Really? Is that why the assholes keep pawing at me until I scream "get your fucking hands off me or I'm calling the cops"? Jesus Effin' Kerist! What is wrong with people? Don't you get it? When somebody looks at you like you've got a bad case of cooties THEY. DON'T. F--KING. WANT. YOU. NEAR. THEM you fucking dip-shits! Get your effin' hands off me or you're gonna lose an effin' finger! I know who I do and do not want touching me and YOU are a Do Not!

Jesus! It's bad enough I have to put up with douche-meisters whipping out that crap Neil Strauss spouted in 'The Game'. No, assholes, "neg theory", is not going to get you in my pants. It's going to make me knee you in the nuts. Put downs and insults have a tendency to do that to people. It makes you look like a passive-aggressive ass-sniffing douche-monkey. If I'm cold and bitchy and distant when you come on to me, it's because I can spot a leg-humper a mile off. You don't care about me, so stop pretending you think I'm interesting/smart/hot/educated. Stop pretending you're interested in what I'm interested in. I can tell you're just trying to score. I know you want a notch in your bedpost. Cut the manipulative crap.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on August 14, 2009 at 11:13 PM · Report this
NSA: Whenever a man writes in about a sexless marriage I always get the impression that both spouses are locked in a power struggle of which withholding sex is only a small part. Personally I don't think her conditions in themselves were so unreasonable but he doesn't want his wife to be involved in his sex life at all. In a marriage with a genuine if only platonic friendship this might not be so bad but these two refuse to meet each other halfway and have no respect for each other's feelings or needs . That, not the sexlessness, dooms the marriage. It's only a matter of time before he finds a compatible partner who wants him for herself and unless they get to counseling and call a truce they may as well get divorced now.
Posted by quirkita on August 15, 2009 at 4:21 AM · Report this
@137: Well of course it was a horrible thing and all, but if you don't tell your partner you're not a real girl, you kind of deserve to get your throat cut, right?

Way to blame the victim.
Posted by Lacy Laplante on August 15, 2009 at 5:19 AM · Report this
I beg to disagree with the whole "Sodini needed to get laid" solution. Assuming that there is a girl for every boy (or other gender) that Mr. Savage is so often fond of repeating, and assuming that he had found such a person, Mr. Sodini probably would still have wound up doing what he did - only for other reasons. Once one need is satisfied, another crops up. Instead of going berserk at a gym, he would have gone berserk somewhere else. Maybe he didn't get enough respect at work. Maybe he was repeatedy turned down for loans or credit. It's always something with these types. And that's the point. Guys like Sodini cannot be appeased with sex or anything else, and cannot help themselves. Had he been married with kids, they also would have been part of the boodshed.
Posted by Kentop on August 15, 2009 at 8:41 AM · Report this
@145 I don't think 137 is trying to say that it's a deserved fate of anybody-- I think they're trying to say that sometimes not telling people makes some people feel betrayed, so they react really poorly and there's ethical concerns with sharing information with someone you're emotionally involved with. I think they just connected the ideas in a way that made it look like that. Could be wrong, tho.
Posted by Gawktopus on August 15, 2009 at 8:44 AM · Report this
@147: Exactly. It's not that you "deserve to get your throat cut", it's that you're raising the odds astronomically of that happening. Araujo sure as hell didn't deserve her fate, but being the victim of a horrible crime doesn't make a person sacrosanct, or magically confer moral perfection on all their past actions. In the real world, many people will freak the fuck out if they find out they slept with someone TG, and all the moralizing 145 can muster isn't going to change that anytime soon. Better alive and pissed-off or lonely, than self-righteous and dead. If questioning the wisdom of deceiving others (especially if it's a bunch of dumbass thugs you're sleeping with) is the same thing as "blaming the victim", then God help us all, because we're fucked.
Posted by HRJ on August 15, 2009 at 9:18 AM · Report this
After the lesbian is fucked up for not using finger and dental dams tirade last week, I still find myself wanting to post a cocmment about said topic. Who the hell out there is using finger and dental dams for vaginal fingering and licking?

Thx in advance for following up on this Dan.

Posted by would like more info please on August 15, 2009 at 10:59 AM · Report this
I'm 56. I have been very fortunate in having quite a bit of experience in life and love, and here's how it looks to me: Though not true for everyone, men and women have very different sex drives, and after forty, for the most part, women can take sex or leave it. Their response to deprivation is very different, too: As time goes on, my experience is that women accommodate very well, and don't really care that much. For men, the need becomes all-pervasive, and if you are married, the resentment builds. You will masturbate, use porn, cheat, but you never feel good about any of it.

It seems to me that the prohibition against prostitution is a union issue, not a moral or safety one. It breaks the monopoly - the strangleold on power that women's control of sex gives them.

For me, I say Legalize Sex Work. There might just be a few less homicides.

Posted by topdocjim on August 15, 2009 at 11:13 AM · Report this
>> Someone needed to sit Sodini down .... <<

the only problem, is that sodini was so introverted, that was an impossibility.

all of us cam get into a rut. but sodini moved in & decorated his.
Posted by machias on August 15, 2009 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Wow lots of comments, hardly worth adding more but after reading so many letters I can say that had Soldini taken the time to care about another human being, to feel compassion rather than lust etc, he might had another option. As it stands, he did not have it to give (the love); what he desperately needed himself.

As for the common thread of she won't have sex, he won't express affection. It's the same dilemna, no compassion, no passion, a strangling bird cannot sing. If all a guy wants is to blow his load then I guess he should pay for it. But he should not confuse a drained walnut with love. And he will not know heaven. Just like that other grumpy religious toad who reads a sex column and then writes to call Dan a pervert. A true christian would have hit close.
Power to the people.
Posted by Soyouthinkyou dance? on August 15, 2009 at 11:43 AM · Report this
@142: Thank you again!!!

I have already learned a great deal from you through this exchange...and I'm a little amazed by that, given that i came here for respite from my own learning.

I will understand if you don't want to write any further about these social matters to an anonymous stranger over the internet at the tail end of a discussion on entirely other(though perhaps not unrelated conversations about what can change a human perspective on bigotry, marriage, bigotry, murder) matters, but if you are willing to share your perspective further, I have a few more questions for you.

First, I appreciate the distinction you've made between proof and refutation and I agree with your logic(or should I say beliefs? ;).

1. What method(s) would you recommend to best draw out the consequences of people's belief systems? Are you inferring to cognitive dissonance in that reply? Would these methods always occur on an individual or personal scale?

2)a)Do you believe that it is possible to create conditions for social cognitive dissonance (and more importantly to me) b)Do you believe that it is ethical to recognize opportunities for creating those conditions and to use them to advance an agenda of any kind?

(background)A recent analysis that I read, called these moments of collective cognitive dissonance(though the book didn't use that term)"threshold moments", some examples they gave were 911, hurricane Katrina, & the recent financial meltdown(you can tell where they live). These "threshold moments" could also be equated with "teachable moments" in a classroom and my comparison of that to teaching is what kind of skeezed me out about the prospect of 'using' those types of moments for social change...

Personally, I am a little confused(or should I say that I have some cognitive dissonance?) about how ethical it is to attempt to coerce masses of people or anyone who is trying to learn anything, into recognizing their own potential cognitive dissonance(which we probably all have at all times), but at the same time, I notice that this is happening more or less on a daily basis, through advertising, art(if anyone looks at it, reads it or goes to see it performed any more) other media,policy and law creation.

Thanks again for the manner in which you have helped me to refine my perspective so far...

Posted by lilysotoo on August 15, 2009 at 3:24 PM · Report this
I don't know if Sodini was involved in a church, but if he had been I think he could have been directed to a more normal relationship with women. Unfortunately many churches have a very rigid concept of sexual relationships, but one could still recognize that the fundamental concept of Christianity is forgiveness and not purity. Once past that, Sodini could have used church discussion groups to start conversations with women where he would find out about their vulnerabilities and needs and relate to them in an empathic way.
Posted by srthsfthfsgb on August 15, 2009 at 5:59 PM · Report this
I'm really doubtful that seeing sex workers would have prevented Sodini's rampage. Any number of men who have been in a sexual relationship then are dumped have gotten violent. Along with sex, most of us want some sense of being accepted (adored and desired is better, but acceptance will do)and a pay for sex liason would not provide this.
Posted by hopesnopes on August 15, 2009 at 7:21 PM · Report this
I'm in a situation somewhat similar to NSA. I love my wife and want a physical relationship with her, but it's become clear over the 10 years of our marriage that she doesn't really want such a relationship with me. She told me, years ago, to get sex outside of the marriage, but recanted that permission a few months later. I wouldn't have taken her up on it anyway. I don't want a hole. I want a loving relationship with someone who wants to make love with me. Like NSA, I have a child with my wife and I know that -- if caught -- I would not have access to my child as I do now. I would caution NSA or any man against accepting his wife's word that it's okay to go outside of the marriage. Although most state's have done away with "fault" when it comes to getting a divorce or with property division, it often come into consideration when child custody is determined. Red flags should be going up... "it's a trap" should be echoing in your head.
If it's time to get out the marriage, do it the honorable way and protect your right to see your kid. Don't make "getting caught" your exit strategy.
Posted by Hairothedog on August 15, 2009 at 7:24 PM · Report this
@111 and @122

Don't feel like Dan is singling out the trannies. Just two weeks ago a testicular cancer survivor wrote to Dan, and Dan's advice was:

"Since having one ball isn't going to place your sex partners at any risk of anything or hamper your sexual performance in any way, I don't think you're obligated to disclose until you get home from the movie or the club and you're rolling around on the couch and making out."

That sounds like reasonable advice to anyone who looks different enough under the hood that his or her sex partner will be surprised. I suspect that includes most transsexuals.

And the letter writers didn't even ask about one-night-stands, he asked about "lovers". Surely your lover is entitled to know important bits about your sexual history, such as that everyone used to think you were a boy (or a girl). I gather that gays usually share their "coming out" stories. This seems like the same sort of thing, only writ larger.
Posted by anonychik on August 16, 2009 at 6:12 AM · Report this
This is mostly irrelevant, but interesting: from my psychology/biology courses, I have heard that high testosterone makes people calm, confident, and horny (hooray!). It's low testosterone that's the problem (that and high estrogen, which makes people moody). Low testosterone levels make people insecure and aggressive. It's low testosterone that's found in chimpanzees (and, I'm guessing, humans) that rank low on the social ladder (like Sodini).

So I guess what I'm saying is that your otherwise awesome activist college friend was wrong on two counts.
Posted by Pepper on August 16, 2009 at 9:00 AM · Report this
I love all the BS statistics people just crap out. 75% of all rapists are in relationships--how would you know? I thought something like 80% of all rapes go unreported? Wouldn't that mean 95% of all rapists are never caught? So how are all rapists interviewed on their relationship status?

Yeah I made up all those statistics. It's really easy to do. Try it yourself; you'll sound more intelligent!

Also can't believe some people think NSA's wife had reasonable demands. BS! After a hard day of work, both job and home, where is he supposed to find the time to find ANY girl? He'll be forced to sluts or whores, because most people are going to want some form of relationship, even if it's just a mildly friendly one. And his wife isn't going to approve of those--what's more, I'm pretty sure she understands that. I think the whole idea was NSA's and she is pulling the same crap as before--she'll just veto anyone he would manage to bring home, if he even could bring home anyone other than a (literal) prostitute.

Sure, it might be partially his fault--probably is. But that doesn't make her actions right or justified, either. I think NSA needs to DTMFA.
Posted by falconswan on August 16, 2009 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Also, to all the transgender folks.. what? Seriously?

I live in the deep south, around a lot of angry, repressed, ultra-conservatives. I have no doubt that if you let on about your past, a good portion of the people here would tell you that God hates you and condemn you to an eternity of hell (not to mention their baser insults). I also have no doubt that were they to be surprised by your past after having been deceived, you would receive a severe ass-kicking (should they be lenient and not drag you from the bumper of their pickups).

It's not blaming the victim. It's just not letting you get a free pass for idiocy simply because you're a minority. Life is a series of compromises, not obstinate demands. Most people are smart enough not to leave their nice car unlocked in a bad neighborhood, flash their cash at the airport, yell at the waiter who could spit in their food, or consider Fox News a reliable, unbiased news network. The people who do those things--well, it's unfortunate, we all agree, but we also agree those people are stupid.

Not disclosing something as major as a sex change, knowing the times we live in (and the violent, judgemental people in those times)? That's just stupid.
Posted by falconswan on August 16, 2009 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Dan, about the straight guy whose wife won't have sex... sounded just like me. I'm a wife, and a few years back when we had also been married for 9 years, I just could not bring myself to have sex. I was depressed, but didn't really know it because I thought depression only manifested itself like Droopy Dog. I was, shall we say, mostly a functional depressive. Anywho, I too felt really guilty about my husband's deprivation and also told him he had my full permission to see professionals if he so wished. Long story short, he didn't and I did... I went to a therapist, was diagnosed, started Lexapro, and thank goodness, that did the trick. And far from cooling my libido, having the right treatment has given both my husband and myself a new lease on our relationship. It's not easy, but if the husband really feels his wife is depressive, I encourage him to find a way to communicate to her and get her to get help. -DB
Posted by MissyDootsen on August 16, 2009 at 1:02 PM · Report this
Dan, have you been stealing my comments or reading my mind about this Sodini nut? You hit the nail on the head...gee, wonder WHY no woman wanted anything to do with him for so many years? Could it be that his history of rejection was due to his underlying instability and not the other way around? That he was simply a sick, selfish, immature asshole who chose to take his frustrations out on innocent victims? Someone who chose to isolate himself and refuse overtures so he could fester in his own anger and plans of vengeance over not bagging that 20 yr old he so desired?

I read so many apologizing for him and his situation and blaming women for his melt-down and it made me sick. Thanks for saying what I've been thinking, as usual.

Posted by raven333 on August 16, 2009 at 5:06 PM · Report this
steel balls
Posted by steel balls on August 16, 2009 at 6:41 PM · Report this
my room was clean and they knew who I was meeting. I think if NSA didn't want to be a father to his children he WOULD have just divorced his wife, like many people do when they get cheated out of a sex life by a spouse.
Posted by steel balls on August 16, 2009 at 6:56 PM · Report this
@67 — Why is he reading Dan's column? Probably sexually repressed type who gets some guilty thrill reading about sexual experiences/questions of others, and likely someone with homoerotic desires whose self-loathing gets projected onto Dan. My God loves Dan and so do I.
Posted by regular Dan reader on August 16, 2009 at 7:26 PM · Report this
ah, bestfriend turns her husband down a lot now....because she can. because he's improved from being a complete @sshole who didn't take no for an answer for 20 years, to being mostly just a jerk who actually does.

call it making up for lost time. call it agreeing to stay married for the kids. call it caving to social pressure but with improved self-esteem.

for those who are whining about not getting any, be really sure you deserve it. really sure.


Posted by erys on August 16, 2009 at 9:11 PM · Report this
@153: Cognitive dissonance might be a term for it, I suppose; I've never really read about the concept outside of pop culture. But the first step is really about getting people to value coherence and consistency in their worldviews. If that's not there, then no discussion can really get anywhere. Luckily, it's not as hard as it might seem (most of the time). In my experience the key is to backtrack to some shared belief, and then start from there. It's a good way to identify exactly what the disagreement is all about. It is difficult to have this kind of back-and-forth with a mass audience. I certainly don't have the knack for it.

It is certainly possible to do things that make people think about, or rethink, their beliefs. (Consider what US civil rights activists did in the 1950s and 60s.) You ask if it is wrong to advance an agenda; why would it be, if you are not being deceptive about it? I don't see how it can be wrong to make arguments or share ideas, even with a mass audience and even in the face of circumstances that invoke the audience's sympathies, provided the discussion is honest and in good faith. (Your use of the word "coerce" is interesting here, as is the list that includes "advertising" and "law" one after the other, as if they are similar in how they induce people to act.)

Since this thread will disappear into archives soon, if you are interested in talking about this further, shoot me an email at agauntpanda AT gee mail dot com.
Posted by forlornpanda on August 16, 2009 at 9:53 PM · Report this
Helgaleena 168
This surely was a busy thread this week! Helgaleena says that if Sodini had been reading our books instead he would have known that loving himself comes first, and gives him a perfume that attracts the love of others. We are all mirrors and what we fill our minds with tints the reflections we send out to others when meeting in real life.

Instead he became ever more predatory and desperate, and his fear fed the fear of those he intended to attract. Very sad.
Posted by Helgaleena on August 17, 2009 at 7:09 PM · Report this
@161 You are right that depression can be cured and sometimes it will fix the sex drive. But you know, its really difficult to make some people go to the shrink! I have struggled with my husband who has very low sex drive (in his 40s) asking him to go to sex therapist and try to improve our love life. Then I started reading Dan's column (!!!!), found out about Craig's list, met a few people over couple months and truly enjoyed myself. This was starting a new life for me, being close to 50 years old! A year ago I found a wonderful man who is in the same situation and we enjoy each others company so much! I am still in the family (we have a teenager), still married, still managing to keep it a secret. Its difficult but I gained so much and wouldn't change a thing about my life! See, some people are just enjoying being miserable and mean (@166). It's not worth sacrificing your precious and unique life for them.. Dan, my enormous gratitude to you for being there for me!
Posted by zubrovka on August 17, 2009 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Sodini was a nut, plain and simple. As a woman, I wouldn't have given him the time of day because just looking at his picture and video gave me the creeps. I can imagine him being unable to converse with any woman without having to resort to the rehearsed baloney he was fed at one of those "Get a Hot Chick" seminars. Of course, that would come off as completely unnatural, a woman would sense that, and get turned off. I prefer young, hot guys myself, and because I feel perfectly natural with them and have many of the same interests in music, film, sports and art, I have no trouble relating to them or attracting them. I'm not trying to be some desperate cougar. Some things you just can't be taught, and poor Sodini never had the social skills he needed to succeed in life. He apparently hated everybody but expected to find love. The mail-order bride route might have been an option for him, but he probably would have ended up unhappy with that as well. The person he should have been seeking a relationship with was a psychiatrist.
Posted by InMyPrym on August 18, 2009 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Sodini seemt to have a really big Madonna/Whore complex. He didn't just want a younger woman, he seemed to want a living breathing playboy model. Or a college student. There was one incident where he saw his neighboor embracing a young woman and wrote in his blog that college students are such sluts and why couldn't get find one to bang him. And it turns out the young woman was the neighboor's daughter.
Posted by Missjess on August 18, 2009 at 11:54 AM · Report this
160: et. al.

Being trans does not = "deceive."

You obviously have no clue about what being transgender really is. . . but you're lousy with bigotry. Congratulations.

I don't care what Dan's answer was to a short and probably more of a hypothetical question than anyone would care to admit.

Get a clue, than get an opinion.

Posted by trans i am on August 18, 2009 at 2:08 PM · Report this
@ 160:

So tell me #160. . . since you use the analogies (you do know what the word "analogy" means, right?) like not keeping your car locked or flashing their cash at an airport are people simply asking for it. . . and deserve what happens to them. . . really?


So. . . wanna' go ahead and add to the list of your "a-nal-o-gies" that a woman dressed provocatively (we'll assume by your standards) and say. . . for the record, right here in the comments section of the SLOG, that you believe she was being stupid for dressing that way and derves to be assaulted / raped / beaten / murdered for deceiving those wonderful men who assume she wants to have sex with them because her skirt is short?

Wanna' say it?


Why not?

What's the difference?

Oh yeah, because violent crime against women isn't okay. . .

. . .But violent crime against a trans women is, because you are a bigot and assume everyone else is to.

Eff. You.
Posted by trans i am on August 18, 2009 at 2:18 PM · Report this
@56: That is ef-ing hilarious and true!

To everyone pontificating about the sources of Sodini's actions/state of mind, like Chris Rock said: Whatever happened to crazy?!
Posted by GNBT on August 18, 2009 at 2:29 PM · Report this

You said:

"The issue here is not that we're denying men feel intense desires, as you seem to think. It is actually just saying that some men feel intense sexual desires near-constantly, but so do many women! It is not about what is felt, but how it is managed."

I say: Right spot on! MANAGEMENT is exactly the issue.
Posted by GNBT on August 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM · Report this
I'm guy in my mid 30's and have dated/slept with 3 women in their early 20's over the past 6 months. I'm fairly good looking, make reasonable money, and live in a college town chock full of fantastic looking 20 somethings. The conversation is not always brilliant but the sex is, well??
Posted by cajunman on August 18, 2009 at 6:11 PM · Report this

Glad to know I am not the only one avoiding work on the dissertation by reading Savage Love comments...

I agree that person writing to dispute Estes Report is just splitting hairs...ignore them
Posted by GNBT on August 18, 2009 at 8:56 PM · Report this
I'm surprised no one responded at all to the comments about rape being more about power than sex. I will agree that it may be innacurate to say "rape is not about sex, its about power" but not in principal. Of course sex is a part of it. But the minute it becomes about taking it,through beatings, forcing, drugging, killing, whatever, then the balance shifts to power. The statements seem to reflect the old " if its inevitable just lay back and enjoy it" attitude that implies that somewhere underneath there is pleasure for the woman, or victim of whatever gender, in it. And saying that while some elderly people are raped, it is mostly young, fertile aged women feels like a faux statistic which is thrown out for effect but doesn't really prove the point.
Posted by curiousbystander on August 18, 2009 at 11:47 PM · Report this

Is that you, baby bash?

NSA had the right idea, i agree!
Posted by aeros1 on August 21, 2009 at 2:40 AM · Report this
To the idiots claiming transfolk "deceive" those poor, innocent cisfolk,

How stupid do you think we are? Did it never occur to you that we're told from the very beginning about how we're going to die horribly, how everyone hates us, how we can never be "normal" because surgery isn't perfect? This meme about how we're just trying to trick everyone into having sex with us assumes that we're all idiots without a shred of common sense or caution.

Concerning Dan's reply: OH HELL NO. "Lovers" is a vague word that, despite all the protests here to the contrary, can apply to one night stands. And "obligation"? What in the blue fuck is that supposed to me? That we have a duty to protect the innocent from our hideously mutilated genitals so their sense of self isn't bruised? Boo-fucking-hoo. It's hilarious how you gay men here quake at the idea of fucking a guy with a vag. In case you didn't realize it, everyone's anus looks the same. If you're that threatened by pussy, the problem is yours, not the trans man's. You could have used this column to go into the issues surrounding disclosure - how it affects relationships, how disclosing =/= safety, how we're held to an impossible standard by the rest of the world, etc. But no. No, you just wrote "Yes." Like it's self-evident that we're freaks.

Transfolk are not a disease. We have no obligation to talk about our medical history because it cannot hurt you. Would a cis woman be obligated to tell partners about any procedures she's undergone? Would a cis man? Because almost nothing is done to transfolk that hasn't been done to cisfolk. Drop the double standard and up the respect, please.
Posted by Pissed-off trans man on August 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM · Report this
If you know or reasonably believe that a person wants to sleep with "x" and you appear to be "x" without actually being "x", then yes, you have tricked that person if you succeed in sleeping with them.

Being trannie isn't just medical history like whether you've had knee surgery - it goes to the heart of your sexual identity, and we are talking about sexual relations here. When you trick people through sexual relations, you can indeed hurt them, although I guess this assumes that the person does eventually learn that you are a trannie. Whether it is legit for you simply not to care about causing this hurt (y'know, in light of all the oppression of trannies) is a separate issue.

It is a bit disingenuous for a person who considered gender so important that they underwent surgery to alter their gender to now take the position that disclosure of their original gender to a lover is somehow not important.

Of course, trannies aren't the only ones who trick people into sleeping with them. Men pretend to be more sensitive and/or successful than they actually are in order to get women to sleep with them, while women pretend to be amused with lame jokes men tell in order to get those men to sleep with them.

Instead of pulling some bogus "privacy/safety/I'm not tricking you" argument, just own the trickiness and know that this is actually something that you share with the rest of us, albeit in a different form.

Posted by kungfujew on August 21, 2009 at 10:44 PM · Report this
I agree, kungfujew. Trannies can really, really hurt cisgender's peoples' feelings if they are not forthright about disclosure. Trannies, listen up! Here is the most appropriate and most ethical disclosure procedure:

First, BEFORE you go out to a bar, club, party, social event or wherever you might possibly pick someone up, do your best to make sure to showcase your true and original gender. Ftms would do well to wear eyeshadow, rouge, dangly earrings and falsies, and mtfs should wear a giant jock strap with an 8" (minimum length) dildo over their crotch. It would be humane to those you may confuse to also try to look a mess with your hair and wear wrinkled, smelly clothing, to advertise that you are undesirable to most of the population. Think "John Waters movie extra" when you choose your attire. This will help potential lovers to make fully informed decisions about whether or not they want to sleep with you or consider sleeping with you or consider considering sleeping with you.

Second, if somebody actually does show interest, it is best to come equipped with business cards that say something to the effect of "Don't be fooled, I am really teh trans! I'm SO SORRY if you were attracted to me, I was not trying to trick you, please forgive me." You may wish to also carry a nametag, posterboard sign or sandwich board, depending on how well you pass. State three times clearly your biological and chromosomal make-up, but use clear language people are likely to understand. Don't say, "I have a medical condition and was assigned female at birth," that's deceitful rhetoric. A considerate and honest FTM would say, "I have a big, fat, huge VAGINA. Not a penis, A VAGINA." Be sure to yell this so that the whole club understands what you are - if someone may have been checking you out (again, your attire should safeguard against this), it is only right that they understand what you really are so that their feelings are not hurt further due to your deceit.

Thirdly, after repeated oral and written disclosure, if someone still shows interest, make sure you give them at least three more chances to say no. They may just be trying to be nice, and searching for the words to reject you fully, so give them time and patience as they try to do this. If, after this point, the potential lover persists with their interest, you may think that you are home free - but wait! To ensure your potential lover's trust and dignity, make sure they understand they don't actually have to touch you or look at you when you have sex. Let them know you are very grateful for having the privilege of touching them. Be sure to thank them several times for taking the time, trouble and social stigma to accept you as you are and deal with your weird, gross "details." Then, be sure to never call them again. Realize your issues are a lot to deal with, and it would be unfair to pursue a relationship and expect another to deal with said issues. The respectful thing to do is to disengage, again, out of consideration for your lover.

If these ethical steps are followed, overall, the cisgender population will be less hurt, betrayed and tricked by trannies.

Posted by Auggiedoggie on August 22, 2009 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Nice use of sarcasm and hyperbole, Auggie.

I said: "Whether it is legit for you simply not to care about causing this hurt (y'know, in light of all the oppression of trannies) is a separate issue." Did you read that part?

Let's say you are a Jewish person who can pass as White Christian and you live in a town where, due to prejudice/personal preference/whatever you want to call it, the vast majority of people would not want to sleep with a Jewish person. Are you ethically obligated to disclose that you are Jewish prior to sleeping with a Christian whom you have good reason to believe would not sleep with you if they knew you were Jewish? I'm inclined to say you are not.

I think there is a legit argument for a trans person to say that they are similarly not obligated to disclose, although religious/ethnic ties are not exactly the same thing as sex assignment, particularly when sexual ethics are involved. Disclosing is a form of respecting the other person, but also seems inescapably to be a form of affirming the prejudice against trans people. I got that.

However, whether you are obligated to disclose and whether you are using trickery by not disclosing are two different issues. I think we have all been having this discussion under the unspoken and incorrect assumption that trickery is always unethical.

There are trans people who are spouses and life partners of non trans people. My guess would be that in these cases, the trans spouse/partners are usually upfront about their transness from the start. This is probably part of how their "lover" (which is what D Savage was asked about here) came to trust them. The trans partner put their own somewhat legit feelings ("Why should I have to disclose just because non-trans people are so prejudiced against trans people? That's not fair!) second, and put the feelings of a potential life partner ("Ummm ... I'd kind of like to know if you were born male or female before we get it on") first. This is part of give-and-take, not a sell-out. You can take solace in the fact that the non-trans partners are probably now regularly putting the feelings of the trans partner before their own.

A one night stand you have no interest in building a relationship with? Well, that's a different story with different ethical ramifications. Play ball! And pack your mace.

Also, I am not saying that trickery is the GOAL of any trans person who sleeps with a non-trans person without disclosing, just that it can part of the process. Just like trickery is often part of the process of non-trans people sleeping together (or non-trans people who may trick trans people into sleeping with them). Non-trans people, as a whole, have no ethical high ground here.

Posted by kungfujew on August 22, 2009 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Kungfu. Thank you for the compliment.

You said: "Whether it is legit for you simply not to care about causing this hurt (y'know, in light of all the oppression of trannies) is a separate issue." Yes, I did read that part. I don't think it's accurate to say that trannies don't CARE about that hurt. I think it's safe to say that many think about it all the time. Whether or not we care to put ourselves in hurtful situations through disclosure over and over (and over and over) again is a different story. After a while, it is difficult to trust that anyone might have a positive reaction. So yes, I suppose then, yeah, we trannies care more about our own precious feelings. Sure.

You said: "You can take solace in the fact that the non-trans partners are probably now regularly putting the feelings of the trans partner before their own." Why the fuck would I take solace in the fact that because of normative standards in mainstream society, power dynamics between partners are totally fucked over in a trans/non-trans relationship? Who would want their partner to have to constantly put their feelings before theirs? Fuck a lot of that noise.

Posted by Auggiedoggie on August 22, 2009 at 3:31 PM · Report this
"So yes, I suppose then, yeah, we trannies care more about our own precious feelings."

You keep framing this discussion as though I have made some sort of general negative character assessment of trans people that does not apply equally to non-trans people. I have not. I just think that most people, trans or otherwise, use some sort of misrepresentations (or lack of full disclosure) in order to get laid. Trans people happen to be in a position to use a rather unique form of deception.

I'm not saying the existence of trans-related anxiety is fair or rational, I'm saying that a trans person who wants to have a long-term relationship with non-trans person has to step up and roll the dice by disclosing not because this disclosure is likely to be met warmly, but rather because, as you admit "it is difficult to trust that anyone might have a positive reaction." If you are looking for a relationship (again, neither D Savage or I are talking about one-night stands here), you either have to have the "trust" you are referring to or move on to the next try.

"Who would want their partner to have to constantly put their feelings before theirs?"

I did not say "constantly." I said "regularly" and "give and take." This dynamic is just part of any successful relationship. Believe it or not, some of the "normative standards in mainstream society" are good standards. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, Auggie.

Posted by kungfujew on August 22, 2009 at 5:47 PM · Report this
I think post op trans gender should tell their partner about their op as soon as possible. If they are comfortable with it, great, otherwise they would feel lied to and cheated and its not going to end in a good way for anybody.
Posted by online-dating on September 9, 2009 at 11:46 PM · Report this
First, women have strong sex drives. Even women over forty, like me. So guys, kindly STFU about the womenfolk and how we can just take or leave sex.

Unlike straight men, we womenfolk don't have lots of sex-industry options (and going out for one-night stands has its own dangers if the guy is a psychopath). Strip clubs are geared for straight MEN. There are plenty of female pros but male pros for women are few and far between. Jeez.

And you know, plenty of women get rejected by men, are trapped in sexless marriages or lives, and are sexually frustrated and unlucky in love. IT'S JUST AS SOULKILLING--men aren't special snowflakes. But the advice we get from many folks is to date laterally (or "down"), improve ourselves, and stop wallowing in self-pity. I'd advise men in the same situation to take the same advice.

Likewise, I'd sure love to have a hot 25-year-old guy. I'm also realistic. Would that my fellow forty-plus male cohorts were as realistic. Jeez. When I was in my twenties, middle-aged guys hitting on me were the BANE of my existence. They took great offense that I turned them down; I was a stuck up bitch for wanting to be with guys my own age. (Now it's 55-year-old guys who diss women their age as unattractive but are shocked when women 15 to 20 years younger don't find them hot. Get over yourselves.)

And seriously--WRT Sodini and the Russian bride route? Those women are PEOPLE. They aren't frakking things you can buy. The problem with Sodini and misogynists like him is that they feel entitled to women--the do not regard us as human beings.

Finally--rape IS about power. Jeez. A rapist feels entitled to take what he wants. If he wants a 25-year-old hottie and coerces her or slips her a roofie, it's rape, and he does it because he feels that he has every right to her body. Yes, that's about power. FFS.
Posted by extremefoodie on September 18, 2009 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Savage, you're the man. Just because you put penis in your mouth, doesn't mean you don't know what you're talking about. Why don't women who put penis in their mouths think the same way you do?
Posted by imfhunt on September 21, 2009 at 3:46 PM · Report this
God is most certainly a Dan Savage fan.
Posted by Leigh Sabio on August 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Dan, YOU should take one for the team. Why don't you start letting any straight anti-social misogynist fuck you in whatever way pleases them just in case they may be serial killers.

I mean, you suggested the remedy, why don't you step up and show us you're a dude of your word and not the woman hating asshat you seem to be?
Posted by w_for on January 30, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Dan, YOU should take one for the team. Why don't you start letting any straight anti-social misogynist fuck you in whatever way pleases them just in case they may be serial killers.

I mean, you suggested the remedy, why don't you step up and show us you're a dude of your word and not the woman hating asshat you seem to be?
Posted by w_for on January 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Dan, YOU should take one for the team. Why don't you start letting any straight anti-social misogynist fuck you in whatever way pleases them just in case they may be serial killers.

I mean, you suggested the remedy, why don't you step up and show us you're a dude of your word and not the woman hating asshat you appear to be?
Posted by w_for on January 30, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this

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