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Give and Take

April 8, 2010

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I'm a young, straight feminist male, and I've been dating my feminist girlfriend monogamously for almost two years. Recently, I've been coming to terms with the fact that I am turned on by rape fantasies. Of course, I find the idea of actual rape repugnant, and this is probably, of course, why fantasizing about it turns me on. I sent out some feelers by initiating a conversation about kinks and what types of kinks she would hypothetically be comfortable accommodating. I asked her to imagine that I fantasized about feeling up women on the subway and wanted her to simulate and help realize that fantasy scenario with me. Her response was that I needed to be "cured" of my desires, and that she would help me figure out and work through the psychological gender-power issues behind it, and to that end she would try to show me how enjoyable consensual sex could be. My first thought was, "Well, that's not GGG..." but then I reconsidered: Would indulging that fantasy only reinforce patriarchal patterns of thought that I've worked to expunge from my brain? How much of a point does she have?

Feminist Rape Fantasist


I'm not telling you to dump your girlfriend because she won't let you feel her up on the subway, FRF. She isn't obligated to help you realize your consensual-rape-lite fantasies. If that shit squicks her out, that shit squicks her out. But you can't have a mutually fulfilling sexual or romantic relationship with a woman—feminist or not, squicked out by simulated nonconsensuality or not—whose first impulse when presented with a run-of-the-mill, completely consensual role-play scenario is to pathologize her partner, declare him sick, and accuse him of not being aroused by consensual sex when consensual sex was precisely what he proposed.

There's nothing wrong with you, FRF, nothing that needs curing. The only thing you need to expunge is a girlfriend who regards you as a sicko and a rapist. DTMFA.

This is going to sound incredibly naive, but here we go: How does one get better at sex? I'm a 24-year-old female, I've been with my boyfriend for four years, and the sex is just... meh. He had a couple sex partners before me, but he is my first and only. We often ask each other, "What else can I do for you?" I've shared a couple ideas, which we've explored to my minimal comfort, but he always says "Nothing" when asked if there's anything he wants to do or try. We have discovered that neither of us particularly cares if we, ourselves, reach orgasm, but we both care very deeply that the other is satisfied. In this light: While I don't care much if the sex is mediocre for me, I do want it to be better for him. Do you have any suggestions? Are we doomed?

Still A Noob Apparently

This is going to sound incredibly unhelpful, SANA, but I don't have any suggestions. There are just too many potential unknown unknowns here for me to offer any concrete advice. It's possible that your boyfriend isn't attracted to you (or that you're not attracted to him), it's possible that your boyfriend isn't attracted to anyone (or that you're not attracted to anyone), it's possible that he has dark and terrible sexual desires that he's too terrified to share with you (or that you have dark and terrible etc. that you may not even be aware of).

The only thing I know for sure, SANA, is this: One of you is going to have to nut/ovum up and get selfish. You're both so giving, so unconcerned with your own pleasure, so invested in pleasing your partner. And all of that sounds so wonderful in theory—who doesn't want a completely selfless sex partner?—but in practice, selfless sex partners make lousy lays. Giving is great, but in every truly great sexual encounter, someone is taking: taking charge, taking over, taking control, giving pleasure to their partner by taking pleasure from their partner.

And if it's not going to be him, SANA, it'll have to be you. Take a look at where your concern for his satisfaction has gotten you, SANA, and repeat after me: "Fuck him and fuck his satisfaction." Then ask yourself these questions: What do I want? What turns me on? What do I want to experience and explore? You're not doomed if you can come up with the answers to those questions, SANA, but if you can't, well, then I'm afraid you are doomed. Doomed to lousy sex in this relationship, for as long as it lasts, and doomed to lousy sex in your next relationship if you wind up with another guy who's as "giving" as you are.

I'm a single, 22-year-old, adorable lesbian living in Chicago. I use a dating website, but I'd like to increase my chances of meeting someone at the concerts and improv shows I enjoy. I don't look stereotypically queer, so I want to get a fitted, understated (light text, no rainbows) T-shirt that says something like "Single. Lesbian. Interested?" and wear it out. Will this increase the chances that the girl of my dreams will tap me on the shoulder? Will it make me an easier target for hateful assholes? Both? Neither?

Looking For Lesbifriends

Both, of course, and you may not like the kind of lesbians that a come-and-lick-me T-shirt attracts. But when you're single and feeling frustrated, and your pool of potential partners is drawn from roughly 2.5 percent of the population, it helps to move on all fronts, e.g., websites, bars, T-shirts. Your T-shirt might attract the attention of some jerks, lesbian or otherwise, but that's why God gave us Mace.

Regarding last week's reply to NORTH: Sure, it's fucked-up that this woman is doing escort work without telling her boyfriend. But he snooped through her e-mail! What you have here are two people who are both untrustworthy—they sound like a good fit to me! Because if snooping is okay, who knows what else he's doing behind her back?


I knew that not including a little standard-issue snooping-is-always-wrong boilerplate in my response to NORTH—a woman who neglected to inform her boyfriend that she was sitting on other men's cocks for money—would get me in trouble with some readers. But I didn't include it because I don't believe it.

A confession: I've looked through my boyfriend's e-mail; I assume he's looked through mine. I've scrolled through his text messages; I assume he's scrolled through mine. Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people. It's a nice thought, JB, but knowing what we know about human nature—and knowing that we ourselves snoop, fart, and fantasize about other people—it's a little unrealistic.

And I'm sorry, but when someone goes snooping and discovers that their partner is doing sex work—or is secretly gay or is sleeping with or visiting lesbian-bondage-themed nightclubs with Michael Steele—then the snooping is retroactively justified.


Comments (254) RSS

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I've read that first letter already. Is it a repeat?
Posted by hofus on April 6, 2010 at 10:16 PM · Report this
Zergling Supermodel 2
Wow, first time I completely disagree with Dan. I don't see how snooping can be interpreted as something else than distrust. I don't find it acceptable in parent/child situations, so in an equal (i.e. couple) relationship? No way. Relationships need trust and respect to thrive, and snooping is incompatible with both.
Posted by Zergling Supermodel on April 6, 2010 at 10:23 PM · Report this
lol @ FRF:
"I'm a young, straight feminist male, and I've been dating my feminist girlfriend monogamously"

That was all I need to read to know this poor bastard was a ball-less pussy with an unfulfilling sex life. The irony is he's alrady in a dom-sub relationship, and he's the bitch.

Another casuality of PC indoctrination ...
Posted by laughingatliberals on April 6, 2010 at 10:26 PM · Report this
SANA, how is he ever going to figure out what you like if you don't teach him how? And how are you going to teach him if you're not at least a little selfish, keeping the focus on YOU and YOUR orgasm and not on him?

Once you've gotten him doing the right things, then hopefully he'll open up a bit more with you about what he wants.
Posted by Slartibartfast on April 6, 2010 at 10:29 PM · Report this
FRF's gal may believe there's something wrong with someone who fantasizes about violating other people; that's a legit perspective. Maybe he does need reeducation. That it would be consensual play doesn't mean it's not rooted in "sexist" philosophy. Maybe this is wacko talk, but they're both feminists, so what do you expect? People who merely support equality don't call themselves feminists anymore.
Posted by yonush18 on April 6, 2010 at 10:29 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 6
@1 Dan posted the first letter on Slog as a SLLOTD (Savage Love Letter of the Day). It happens, and I have no problem with it, but several people will complain. In anticipation of that, I'll just get this out of the way: That’s the whole point of a blog; a blog is not a finished record. The whole point of a blog is to be an informal record of the stuff that’s going to go into the publication.
Posted by Trinabeana on April 6, 2010 at 10:35 PM · Report this
I agree with Dan about snooping. In any relationship, trust fluctuates. A habit of snooping - that shows a fundamental lack of trust; but the desire to confirm or allay fears is different from relationship-busting, privacy-violating invasion. If my partner starts getting distant and keeps furtively checking her e-mail, would I want to snoop? Yes. If I thought my kid was in suicidal, would I not snoop so that I could claim at his funeral, "I respected his privacy"? Hell no. Reading partners', friends', or childrens' secret thoughts for pleasure or titillation is wrong (that is why we have Savage Love) - but sometimes it is necessary for piece of mind.
Posted by My Opinion is Entirely Uncalled-for on April 6, 2010 at 10:39 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 8
I honestly don't believe that "Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people." I've never read my husband's e-mails or texts, and I believe he respects my privacy and hasn't read my e-mails or texts. I have no desire to. I'm completely serious here. Am I really in the minority?
Posted by Trinabeana on April 6, 2010 at 10:44 PM · Report this
@5 "People who merely support equality don't call themselves feminists anymore."

Some of us do. Can name several dozen from among my family and friends alone. But it's nice that you've presumed to speak for everyone.
Posted by lymerae on April 6, 2010 at 10:45 PM · Report this
I definitely don't consider snooping normal or acceptable. But I guess this is the minority speaking. Wow. I mean, I know he "fart[s] and fantasize[s] about other people," ...that's one of the reasons I don't need to snoop.
Posted by Ella Mae on April 6, 2010 at 10:55 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 11
@8- Not from my perspective. I destroyed a relationship by invading a friend's privacy, and once-burned is plenty here. Privacy within marriage is crucial to survival.
Neither did I violate my kids' privacy as teens, even tho I knew drugs were involved- too much trust is lost to be worth it.
Posted by OutInBumF on April 6, 2010 at 11:02 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 12
Sorry if I post this twice: I honestly don't believe that "Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people." I've never read my husband's e-mails or texts, and I believe he respects my privacy and hasn't read my e-mails or texts. I have no desire to. I'm completely serious here. Am I really in the minority?

@7 I like your handle. But I can't shake the feeling that your logic is faulty. It's hard to argue with anyone using a theoretical child's suicide as an example. I'm only thinking about this snooping thing in the situation Dan is talking about, with a romantic partner, not a parent/child relationship. I just think you can't stop your partner from betraying you by betraying their right to privacy. A better first step, if your partner starts getting distant and seems to be hiding something via e-mail, is to use your words, talk, ask questions. Why is it necessary to jump straight to reading their e-mail without their knowledge?

I think @2 nailed it: "Relationships need trust and respect to thrive, and snooping is incompatible with both."
Posted by Trinabeana on April 6, 2010 at 11:06 PM · Report this
Zergling -- dude's girl was secretly a hooker! How's that for trust and respect on her part? Obviously he felt something was fishy, and he was right. He shouldn't feel guilty about following his instincts because he was a respectful enough guy to write to an advice columnist before slapping her silly and leaving on the spot.
Posted by pinkoelefant on April 6, 2010 at 11:08 PM · Report this
At least DTMFA's gf is giving it him straight before he gets married - so he can run right now.

I'm married to someone who acquired feminism in marriage - turned out to be a terribly convenient justification to get what she wanted (or more to the point, what she didn't want). All about power and control - hers.

Has taken a while & pain to get back to a humane, equal marriage.
Posted by dameedna on April 6, 2010 at 11:09 PM · Report this
@ 8
you have no desire to read your husband email- NOW.
Would that change if he started looking sideways at you, adjusting the moniter away from you when he checked his email, evasive about how he spends his time, and generally displaying suspicious behaviour?
Posted by Caralain on April 6, 2010 at 11:10 PM · Report this
venomlash 16
@3: I'm a young, straight feminist male too. And dating my feminist girlfriend always worked out for me just fine--sex life definitely included. Yeah, and I'm a liberal. Who's laughing now, Alleged?
Posted by venomlash on April 6, 2010 at 11:14 PM · Report this
@11,8, etc.
I agree. I've snooped and been snooped on, and it's never been a healthy experience. One time a boyfriend read an email in which I was rejecting someone's advances (a sort of delicate situation), and thought I was coming on to him. Why? Because in his haste not to get caught, he only skimmed it, and totally missed the point. He could have just talked to me, but it instead exploded.

Snooping is not healthy, Dan.
Posted by Snickerdoodly on April 6, 2010 at 11:18 PM · Report this
ok i'm a douche - i should have read her letter first.
Posted by pinkoelefant on April 6, 2010 at 11:28 PM · Report this
Oh, crap. Farting, fantasizing about other people, watching really cheesy porn: all things I totally expect my partner to be doing behind my back. But reading my private e-mails? I sure hope not. Ick.
Posted by sayitisn'tso on April 6, 2010 at 11:31 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 20
@15 Trying to imagine him acting that way cracks me up, but no, I would definitely talk to him about his suspicious behavior. If that didn't work, there are still many options before violating his privacy.
Posted by Trinabeana on April 6, 2010 at 11:40 PM · Report this
@16 - I wonder if you know that many women in long-term-relationships become less interested in sex. If they also have the attitude that "my body is my own, I only have sex when I desire it", you may not get much in future. If you're happy with that, or this is a short-term thing, fine; if not - run. I wouldn't be so cocky.
Posted by dameedna on April 6, 2010 at 11:48 PM · Report this
I'm sad to see that FRF's letter is spawning anti-feminist rhetoric. I'd like to say that I'm surprised to see such talk in the comments section of an inclusive, sex-positive column but unfortunately I'm not. There are plenty of feminist-identified women that won't be offended by the suggestion of a little power play (like me) and plenty of non-feminist-identified women that will be. And there are plenty of feminist men who don't feel guilty over their sexual desires and who are confident and well-adjusted enough to not put up with partners that make them feel cowed and ashamed. Really people, it's the 21st century.

To SANA--Yes, be selfish! It will make sex better for both of you. For you obviously, because you'll be getting your needs met. And for him because he'll be getting off on the awesome feeling of pleasing one's partner. Nothing is hotter. And once he feels confident that he can give you what you want, he'll probably feel more comfortable asking for what he wants, and then you too can experience the high of rocking your partner's world. There are no negatives here. Trust me, I've gone through all this. ;-)
Posted by Little Em'ly on April 6, 2010 at 11:49 PM · Report this
oh man, i had that same sort of "I only care about pleasing him" attitude for a long time, until i slept with someone who I had no interest in impressing, who i frankly didn't care if i ever saw again. That night I had my first ever orgasm during penetration, because i was in it for me, just enjoying myself, completely out of my head and the endless "does he like me? do I like him? Am I hot enough for him? am i doing it right?" inner dialogue. I realize that's perverse, but I am now completely over dating guys who I think are hot shit- it paralyzes me with self-consciousness. While more average, run of the mill guys make ME feel like hot shit, which is way more fun, with a lot more cuming involved. yes, that makes me neurotic, but i'm okay with that. yay!
Posted by sari on April 6, 2010 at 11:52 PM · Report this
As far as "snooping" goes... It is totally acceptable for your partner to justify his trust in you by checking email and text. I gave my bf my email password and my facebook password. that way if he ever wants to "justify" his trust in me he can. I check his phone when i feel like it to see who he is talking to and to also just keep up with his thoughts and what is going on with him. Guys can sometimes be clearer with their thoughts when talking through text and to other people. haha. I do think it should be told up front:
Posted by ender du monde on April 7, 2010 at 12:45 AM · Report this
As far as "snooping" goes... It is totally acceptable for your partner to justify his trust in you by checking email and text. I gave my bf my email password and my facebook password. that way if he ever wants to "justify" his trust in me he can. I check his phone when i feel like it to see who he is talking to and to also just keep up with his thoughts and what is going on with him. Guys can sometimes be clearer with their thoughts when talking through text and to other people. haha. I do think it should be told up front.
Posted by cajun brett on April 7, 2010 at 12:48 AM · Report this
slammy 26
Awesome lesbo tees:
"I'm just pretending to be gay for all the social benefits it brings"…

"Nobody Knows I'm a Lesbian"…

More subtle, but still got some girl-on-girl (plus a bonus trekkie reference): "Never fall in love with a redshirt"…
Posted by slammy on April 7, 2010 at 1:01 AM · Report this
maybe our friend the chicagoan should be more subtle and classy and wear a bikini kill shirt. it'd get the idea across.
Posted by stevefdafdafdsafda on April 7, 2010 at 1:14 AM · Report this
FRF: your gf sounds like a controlling word-that-rhymes-with-witch (or possibly an overeager psych or women's-studies student). And I say this as a woman who considers herself to be a feminist.

Mild power games of some sort are so common as to barely qualify as an actual proper kink nowadays, imho. And, barring one of my few Ethical Squicks (basically, kids, corpses, and critters), I think my worst response to a partner's kink, even one that completely and totally disgusted me (like, say, coprophilia), would be "Not in a million years", or possibly "Ew, yuck", not "You need therapy".

However... I wouldn't advise dumping her without talking to her about it first. It's possible she... never considered the other side of things, or was having a bad day, or whatever. Or is an Overeager Psych Student or the like, and sees Problems Needing Therapy under every bush. But, if she doesn't, upon reflection, realize that she was being at least a little harsh to you, *then* dump her.

And look for someone like me instead [g].
Posted by Melissa Trible on April 7, 2010 at 1:16 AM · Report this
@22 spawning anti-feminist rhetoric: ooh - I think I've been told off - how delicious! Doubtless you'd prefer comments that didn't agree with your "self-identification" to be censored. My comments are factual and intended to help FRF. I was once young, idealistic and believed feminism meant equality and fairness. But now I'm just an unreconstituted dinosaur who does not identify myself with anything except an imperfect human who shares equality and love with another human. I can tell you for sure, ideology doesn't keep you warm in bed at night.
Posted by dameedna on April 7, 2010 at 2:00 AM · Report this
To FRF: I don't know your girlfriend, but such a strong reaction to your harmless little role-play idea sounds like she's had a bad experience with it before- not cute role-playing but the real non-consensual version of what's getting you all excited. Maybe she was felt-up by some pervert, maybe some guy touched her against her will, maybe worse.

If my speculations are correct, I doubt that she will ever react well to what you really want to do... so yes, DTMFA! Find someone who doesn't find your secret fantasy degrading or emotionally painful but actually hot, and then you can both be happy getting your kink on
Posted by Another Feminist Girl on April 7, 2010 at 2:51 AM · Report this
From what I see in the comment thread, Dan is definitely in the minority regarding the "snooping is okay" thing. I would NEVER snoop on my boyfriend, and I expect him to do the same.
@24: it's a totally different thing if you both do it consensually. Then, it isn't snooping at all! It's like with cheating: sleeping with other people isn't cheating if you both agree that it's okay. But the consent needs to be explicit! Implicitly, monogamy is always assumed. Similarly, there is an implicit assumption about not checking each other's emails & texts -- and breaking it is a very serious violation.

In my book, reading someone else's letters without their consent is as wrong as stealing.
Posted by Ola on April 7, 2010 at 3:01 AM · Report this
I'm with Dan.

"Secretly sucks cocks for cash" completely trumps "Snooped in email to confirm it" on any reasonable scale of sleaze.
Posted by True baby, true on April 7, 2010 at 3:48 AM · Report this
Fuck the snooping thing. If anyone did that to my gear, they'd be dumped immediately. Of course, that's why god invented passwords.

As for the lesbian who can't figure out how to let the laydeez know she's available, I find that -asking other women out- is an infallible guide. Also, call me curmudgeonly, but someone self-describing as "adorable" certainly doesn't float my boat. But I'm sure there's a market out there for adorable, passive-aggressive, t-shirt wearing lesbians. (That's only a gentle snark, btw - ASK THEM OUT!)
Posted by Trix on April 7, 2010 at 4:18 AM · Report this
Farting and fantasising about other people are things you might wish your partner didn't do that your partner almost certainly does. True. And there are probably quite a few things that fall under that same category in every relationship that you just have to accept as normal things that can't be controlled.

But - and this is a big but - when your partner farts, you might not like it, but ultimately *that is nothing to do with your relationship*. It's a normal bodily function that's pretty much no one's business but theirs. They fantasise about other people? Normal, and nothing to do with you (unless they're stalking their coworkers or something).

I cannot in good conscience accept snooping as belonging to that category. It's not an impulse everybody gets, and it's not nothing to do with your partner being as you're, y'know, looking through their private life. It's acceptable in some situations - if you have reason to be concerned about someone's behaviour (and then it should be a last resort - if your partner shifts the computer screen away from you whenever you walk into the room then I'd call them out on it before trying to hack into their emails) or if, as I'm prepared to accept may be the case with Dan, you have some sort of understanding with your partner that every once in a while this will happen. Whatever keeps it running smoothly, I guess.

But it's not a private thing; it's a conscious decision to interfere in your partner's personal stuff. Should you be doing it? I wouldn't, and I wouldn't want anyone I was with to, but people operate differently and if the person you're snooping on doesn't mind then I guess it's okay. It is not, however, one of those inevitable bits of human nature that you are going to have to face at some point.
Posted by Rei on April 7, 2010 at 4:55 AM · Report this
Oh Suzanna 35
Snooping isn't always about distrust. Every so often I idly read my boyfriend's texts or email merely because I am interested in him and his life, and don't happen to have anything better to do at the time.

This has nothing to do with checking up on anything he has said (or failed to say) to me. It is more like when you read a really good book and end up missing the characters when you get to the end... you want to read more. Or when you wear his jacket even though your own is right there... it is just getting more of him than you could if you maintained ultra strict boundaries.

(Also, I have received unsolicited permission to read his correspondence and wear his jacket, so I know he won't feel hurt by my doing so. I don't think I would unless I knew that it's not going to bother him.)
Posted by Oh Suzanna on April 7, 2010 at 4:59 AM · Report this
I find it amusing that people like #2 still exist; i.e. folks who never disagree with Dan. He can be wise and resourceful, but last week's (or maybe it was 2 weeks ago) column was the first time I actually AGREED w/all his answers. Just goes to show ya how subjective this stuff is.

Checking out all the opinions on snooping this time around kinda proves my point. Carry on!
Posted by wayne on April 7, 2010 at 5:05 AM · Report this
Robin8 37
Jeez. No wonder people think feminists have no sense of humor.

LFL can make her own T-shirt with iron-on shirt transfers, available at any office supply store, and a word processor. (Oh, and a shirt, of course.) However, I think a button would be better, as it doesn't shout the way a T-shirt with big letters would. Button kits are available at craft stores. They're fun to make, and wearing a button lets only people within personal distance in on the message. Have fun and happy crafting!
Posted by Robin8 on April 7, 2010 at 5:27 AM · Report this
@ 21,
Uh, regarding "my body is my own, I only have sex when I desire it" attitude, what's wrong with that dude? I am sure it came out wrong, you probably wanted to say that a GGG partner should want to please the other occasionally even if they're not that horny themselves. But it sounds like you said you should be able to have sex with your wife even when she doesn't want it. Or maybe my perception is skewed by a recent shocker I got from a cousin - he basically said that if you're married, then it's not rape. Ugh.
Posted by tiare on April 7, 2010 at 5:35 AM · Report this
The reason for so much anti-feminist rage seems to be because we live in the third-wave feminist world and the word "feminist" in the minds of many conjures images of second-wave feminists, which are understandably laughably outdated, like many other ideas that went the way of the dodo in the 80s
Posted by tal on April 7, 2010 at 6:09 AM · Report this
@38 "only have sex when I desire it attitude" - what's wrong with that is how you come to define desire or want. Many women report that in long-term relationships they simply do not (or rarely) experience spontaneous desire (e.g. see Rosmary Basson's work). So if you waited for that, you'd be waiting a LONG time.

I'm absolutely up for a consensual GGG marriage, and I don't expect either me or my wife to do so "occasionally". I treat my wife's needs with high priority and expect her to do the same for me. I'm flexible about what I want, how I get it, and expect to negotiate. What I won't tolerate is bringing ideology that I didn't agree to into the marriage or bedroom, and its use to justify self-serving non-negotiable behavior with noxious self-righteousness. It worries me when anyone brings inflexible attitudes, patterns or ideology into personal relationships because I think it leads to some very inappropriate (love that word) inhumane behaviors. If you can just focus on being 2 imperfect humans, you stand a better chance.
Posted by dameedna on April 7, 2010 at 6:20 AM · Report this
I'm with Dan on the snooping thing. In fact, I don't even consider it snooping. I have no expectations of privacy in my texts or email and I know my husband has my passwords. Getting mad about him getting into my email would be like getting ,ad about him glancing at the caller ID while I'm on the phone, or looking at the return address when I get mail. I suppose if I felt the need to keep everything from him then I'd be all offended, but why would I care if he knows what's in my email? There's nothing there worth hiding or getting upset over. And it's always seemed to me that when people get mad over the principle, either they make their point and then get over it, or there's something deeper going on.

I don't snoop in my kid's bedroom, but this seems to me that this is more like the kid who screams "Stop snooping" when you walk by the open bedroom door and glance in. And also, you better believe I'd snoop on her if I thought she was doing something illegal or dangerous.
Posted by charlie on April 7, 2010 at 6:27 AM · Report this
I'm really baffled by all this talk of "privacy" in LTRs. How can you have a healthy relationship if you're not sharing everything with your partner? I'm not talking about every sneeze or fleeting fantasy, but if there is anything real going on in your life or your head that you don't want your partner to find out about, that is a BAD sign for your relationship. Do you not trust your partner? Are you doing something you shouldn't? What exactly is so important about your privacy, and why is it more important than an open and trusting relationship? I'm not saying you should necessarily share everything with someone on a first date (though my husband and I knew all of each others' dark secrets in the first month, and I think that is part of why our relationship is so strong- we both knew exactly what we were getting in to from the beginning). But when you are in a long-term, committed relationship with someone, when you live with them and want to share your life with them, that means sharing your WHOLE life.
Posted by discordia on April 7, 2010 at 6:27 AM · Report this
@39 "we live in the third-wave feminist world" - dang, I knew I was missing something, down to me being a Cretaceous Dinosaur and all. Please enlighten me. Is this the new feminism that ends war and poverty, is it a cynical rebranding, or is it like people who predict the end of the world and keep on coming back?

Or could it even be a humane and equality based movement that treated all humans with compassion?
Posted by dameedna on April 7, 2010 at 6:45 AM · Report this
Snooping? Have you people every heard of passwords? And separate computer accounts if a computer is shared? With automatic screen locking in case of inactivity? Encrypted home directories? I guess not...

I know for sure my BF wont snoop on me, and I not on him. Or rather, it is exceedingly unlikely, and would require significant hacking efforts. We share everything -- except for data.
Posted by Geequeer on April 7, 2010 at 7:18 AM · Report this
There's a difference between a habit of snooping, and snooping because you know you're significant other is not being thoroughly honest and open with you. If your SO does not normally snoop, and all of a sudden does, you probably did something to make them think snooping was a good idea. There are some secrets that are just so harmful to a relationship that it's better that they get found out even at the expense of one person's privacy. Or to put it another way, there's a difference between privacy and secrecy. In a marriage or similarly committed relationship, you don't have a right to secrecy.
Posted by Diagoras on April 7, 2010 at 7:30 AM · Report this
@ 42: I agree in principle with you. The only caveat is if revealing a deep, dark secret will only serve to hurt your partner. For instance, my husband knows that I fantasize about others, but why would I tell him that it's someone I work with? He isn't one to get angry or mistrustful about it, and both of us know that nothing will happen, but it would only hurt him if I told him. Sometimes the details aren't worth the bad feelings.
Posted by ticklepenny on April 7, 2010 at 7:32 AM · Report this
@9: Ditto. I just see it this way: not all Christians, Muslims, Jews, Democrats, Republicans, blah blah, etc. are all the same, so why feminists? I'm OK with defining the label myself. At least until we come up with something less clunky than "gender equalist."

@29: That's ... great? I dunno. Seems to be this is not really ideology, and more just defining a part of what you think you are. If you like something as vague as "a human", then cool. But I'm completely at peace with picking up bits and pieces, and putting all kinds of labels on myself. It's totally cheesy, but I'm not really a blank canvas from day to day, just *being* ... I'm patchwork. So it works for me.
Posted by Gloria on April 7, 2010 at 7:32 AM · Report this
@12, you wrote: "A better first step, if your partner starts getting distant and seems to be hiding something via e-mail, is to use your words, talk, ask questions. Why is it necessary to jump straight to reading their e-mail without their knowledge?"

9 times out of 10 if someone has something to hide from someone they love, and they are asked about it, they will deny, deny, deny everything. People are most likely to lie when they have the most to lose from telling the truth. That's just human nature. Worse yet, if you love someone you'll want to believe them. So why put them in the position of having to lie to you again? If the behavior they are engaging in has already shaken your trust, then you need to verify that your trust is justified not encourage them to lie to you again.
Posted by Diagoras on April 7, 2010 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Principessa Diannessa 49
I don't live in a city with subways, but that fantasy is SO hot, I may consider moving. I'll have to have my husband pretending to be a stranger feel me up on the bus until then, I guess. Then I'll feel HIM up on the next bus, pretending to be a stranger. Then maybe the two of us will get a friend to pretend we don't know her, and I'll hold her wrists while he feels her up on the bus. And so on.....*sizzle*
Posted by Principessa Diannessa on April 7, 2010 at 7:46 AM · Report this
Horus 50
Feminism AND LTR snooping in the same column? Pardon me while I get some popcorn. Carry on!
Posted by Horus on April 7, 2010 at 7:47 AM · Report this
@ 30

I didn't get the impression that FRF's gf was wary because of past abuse (although that could be a possibility, sure), just that she's an over-enthusiastic feminist who wants to bring gender politics into EVERYTHING. She responded to a conversation about kink with a lecture on patriarchy, which suggests that her head is up her ass and she needs to chill out a bit, ideologically. It's a sad trait of anyone who is a little too absorbed in their ideology (any kind, mind you, not just feminists) that they tend to lecture rather than discuss. And there are few things more insulting than having your SO explain at length that your desires are just plain sick, so yeah, DTMFA.
Posted by feminists are so exhausting on April 7, 2010 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Snooping - anecdote! I knew my bf's passwords, he knew mine. I was out late working on a paper and needed a break, so I started rumbling through my I looked at his. There had been no problem signals that I had noticed.
But, there was an email in there where he was soliciting head from someone on craigslist.

So...yeah. I understand the desire for privacy, but being exposed to STIs without consent is a privacy far more valuable, at least to me! So many of you disagree... It's good to be open with your partner about everything and trust them to trust you...but verification can only confirm or invalidate that trust, not destroy it. Go Dan!!
Posted by Astelot on April 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM · Report this
Thank you Suzanna (35), charlie (41) and discordia (42). I was starting to think I was the only one out there in a proper, all-sharing relationship. I mean, you can have a relationship with certain parts of your life off-limits - but it's not then by definition not an all-in relationship. I've had some defined-limits relationships, and they were fun, when I was young, but when I was in LTRs and in my marriage, I've always been all in. My emails are open, she's free to answer my phone, she gets to know where I am at any moment of any day.

Whether the woman in the letter was in that type of relationship I don't know, but don't all be so hasty to say that privacy is inviolable. It's not. Having a relationship means letting your guard down, giving the rights to your privacy to someone else.
Posted by Phil H on April 7, 2010 at 8:18 AM · Report this
I do read my boyfriend's emails sometimes, not because I distrust him--I don't, at all--but because I love him and want access to all aspects of his life, boring or not. (And his emails ARE boring, for the most part. We're grad students. Two words: department listservs.) I've never found anything incriminating or titillating, and I don't expect to. I just feel a boundless curiosity about the workings of his mind.

Or I'm a creeper. Take your pick.
Posted by Zelide on April 7, 2010 at 8:23 AM · Report this
"Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people."

WRONG!I've been with my husband for 21 years and I've never snooped and I know he hasn't. I don't go through his desk, his email or his phone. There is nothing I would learn that would be worth poisoning our relationship or losing his trust. And I couldn't live with someone who didn't respect my privacy or trust me. Why would you? Being with someone does not give you the right to unlimited access to every thought they have or every action they take. Jealous, insecure, controlling behavior should not be validated or supported.

Farting and fantasizing about others is a part of our lives, snooping isn't.
Posted by Trusting on April 7, 2010 at 8:28 AM · Report this
I want to add that my husband and I are very open with each other. I tell him everything. If he needs something and it's in my purse, I tell him he can go through it and get what he wants, but, very important, he asks my permission. We don't have secrets, so there's no need to snoop. Trust isn't the same thing as unrestricted access to another person's life. We all need some privacy.

Some posters are saying that suspicions are a good enough reason to snoop. I say, if you're suspicious and don't trust your partner, leave. You don't need answers. The distrust is reason enough to end the relationship -it's already trashed.
Posted by Trusting on April 7, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
All you people who are so moralistically certain about how snooping is awful and never justified must have lived charmed love lives.

Those of us who have been put through hell, lied to repeatedly to our face, made to question our every instinct and belief, and been emotionally abused into complete lack of self respect...I think we have a better grasp of when "snooping" is and is not justified.

Come back to us on your high horses after you've been through being bound to an emotional manipulator and compulsive lier. Then I'll listen to your opinions.

Snooping in a healthy, happy relationship is one thing. Snooping in the above another thing entirely.
Posted by noeticist on April 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Girlfriends like FRF's are what keep me single. They are also why I didn't speak with my mother from age 15 to 25. Codependancy is sooo unhealthy. Message to all the people like this out there- people aren't perfect and that's okay. A person can have a heart of gold, care for his/her family, be nice to puppies, and still express the occasional racist/ignorant/ sexist comment and not be Hitler. FRF's GF needs to learn this, that letting her constant vigilance against the forces of evil drop once in a while for the sake of a healthy equal relationship does not make her PM Chamberlain at Munich.
Women deserve equal treatment. They deserve equal rights, pay, recognition, etc. etc. They also deserve to have their hair pulled, their asses slapped and in general to be bent right the F over and drilled for being a naughty naughty girl, if that's what it takes to have a GGG consensual love life with their bf/gf/bobf.
Spot on Dan DTMFA.
Posted by stormcrow on April 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM · Report this
I'm with Trusting (56). My husband and I are very open and trusting. We'll leave e-mail/IM/Facebook open and hold onto each other's phone when it's convenient, even answer it if someone's driving. But I don't think that actually having boundaries indicates that we don't trust each other. I think it shows respect. If my husband really wanted to look through my e-mail, I would probably let him. But I'd want him to ask me first, and I'd want to know why. I'd probably say yes, but it's the asking that's important and makes it not snooping.
Posted by Shoshie on April 7, 2010 at 9:05 AM · Report this
FRF is truly an asshole and needs to get over himself, his GF, and lighten the hell up. But, as he admits, he's young. We all take ourselves too seriously until we realize that we aren't going to change the world and that's OK. He'll learn. But, no advice is going to help him in the meantime because he has already (as others have noted) ceded control of sex to someone else because he thinks that's what "feminism" is. No, boy: feminism is about having choices. That's all. You aren't making a choice anymore - she is telling you what you are and what you should do. That makes you a dependent, not a friend of feminism. Try to live as the "real" you and see if that works - it's a hell of a lot more "feminist" than seeking validation from a woman and giving up your desires because you don't want to be blathered to death with silly nonsense about how you're a cog in the patriarchy machine. Or whatever.

As for the last letter - snooping is 100% OK, y'all. Standing over my shoulder and reading as I type emails is not OK, but if you want to read the emails later, fine, as long as you're someone I trust, like a spouse or lover. After all, we've already been naked together, ostensibly, so what do I have to lose? Then again, I am someone who tells his wife everything, including which skanks he has been banging and exactly how they liked it, so perhaps that's why I don't see what more she would want to get from my emails. It's fucking email, people. Use your words if you're really worried about it. And don't be a secret escort and then plead privacy when your SO finds out, however they find out. When you share a life with someone, you have to treat that person like a part of yourself or it just doesn't work.
Posted by Blarg on April 7, 2010 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Poor FRF. I stood in his shoes once: I believed being a male feminist meant that the women in my life always knew best, and if I thought they were being jerks, it was my fault for being Part of the Problem.

Some women are just assholes. Some men are just assholes, too. I don't think FRF's girlfriend is an asshole, but I agree with 51. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when you're a college student studying feminist ideology, every time something happens you don't like it's the fault of The Patriarchy.

People eventually learn that they don't know everything, but college students have almost never reached that point yet. I know I was pretty insufferable in college. Nobody should be told their kinks-- especially as tame a kink as copping a feel on the subway-- are sick.
Posted by look out it's the patriarchy! on April 7, 2010 at 9:12 AM · Report this
I love all these people who say snooping is a serious breach of trust and write of going through private emails or other such communication - etc. If you were truly in an honest relationship - you would have nothing to hide (and therefore shouldn't be offended if a significant other takes a look) just as your significant other would have no real desire or need to look as there wouldn't be a strong incentive to do so. The second you set up barriers, such as declaring something private, you're inviting trouble.

As humans - we're curious about what we can't have or can't know. If there's something taboo, out of reach, or inaccessible to us - most of us instantly have a desire (on some level) to know, do, or read what it is. I'm not saying you can't have your privacy - or that two individuals shouldn't. But declaring something private is the same thing as declaring that you want to hide something from somebody else. This makes even the most banal situations suddenly seem worth checking out.
Posted by Curious Humans on April 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM · Report this
I am continually amazed at the number of parents who boast about puttting their reputation as a "cool" parent above their responsibility to their child.

I am a liberal, feminist, sex-positive woman and when my kid was clearly on trouble, you better believe I looked at things I usually leave alone. Teens, just like adults, often have trouble naming or stating the cause of their distress.

People who claim to never snoop are telling the people who count on them, "don't bother with the non-verbal distress signals.".

Both times I've snooped on my son I found something. Both times he needed help he didn't know how to ask for and both times we reviewed how to keep things private.
Posted by Sailoreic on April 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM · Report this
Trinabeana 64
I find myself endlessly fascinated by all this snoopy trusty stuff. I've learned a lot reading all these comments. I still believe I have the right to my private thoughts and private correspondence with others. But it's pretty shitty if your partner is possibly exposing you to STIs and you have no idea. And that is pretty much what was potentially happening in the original scenario with the letter writer's decision to get back into escort work without telling her boyfriend. And yes, if he had asked her about it, she probably would have lied.

@57 I'm really sorry you've been through hell in relationships. I was in a relationship for three years with a guy who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder (diagnosed right after our relationship ended). He emotionally abused me, hurt himself regularly in front of me, drove like a maniac (and almost killed us both), would threaten to commit suicide when I would try to break up with him, and just generally made my life difficult until I finally found the strength to leave him. When we got together we were both 15; we were 18 and had just started college when I broke up with him. He lied to me. But we didn't have e-mail or texting back then, so I only found out about his lies from him. I'm now wondering whether I would have read his e-mails or texts if they existed. I'm pretty certain he would've read mine, because he never trusted me.
Posted by Trinabeana on April 7, 2010 at 9:24 AM · Report this
"Some posters are saying that suspicions are a good enough reason to snoop. I say, if you're suspicious and don't trust your partner, leave. You don't need answers. The distrust is reason enough to end the relationship -it's already trashed."

Sure, better to end a relationship than have one conversation that could clear up confusion.

Perhaps Dan is in the minority on this issue because he is a grown-up. I often disagree with Dan but it's this kind of childish rubbish that is embraced as the ideal that reminds me how much good Dan does.
Posted by Sailoreic on April 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM · Report this
I agree with Dan about snooping. Human beings are inherently untrustworthy. Snooping often is bad. Making unfounded accusations is bad. Being offended at stuff that is none of your business that you discovered while snooping is bad. If you snoop, be prepared that your partner might occasionally vent to friends about how annoying you are, how much you snore, how much your BMs stink, etc. If you discover those vents, ignore them.
Posted by truthspeaker on April 7, 2010 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Okay I'm curious. Say a person has a past drug problem, needle use, but it was years ago and today this person is clean, sober, & 100% disease free. Is that a full disclosure before any sexual activity can take place type thing, and if it wasn't disclosed but the partner discovered it later, is it grounds for that partner going ballistic over the potential endangerment or trust issues it brings up?
Posted by stormcrow on April 7, 2010 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Just FYI to all of you charmed "we share everything" people (ok, mostly naive wives). I am fucking a "we share everything" husband, and have been for 7 years. His wife has ALL his passwords, and checks all his accounts; his email, his facebook, even his cell phone. She knows his whereabouts virtually at all times and calls ALL the time....but you know what? "We share everything" get a little fucking toxic, and there is a way around that is called a secret email account. He calls me from his work phone or his landline to leave no trace and we tend to get together at his house, so when Ms. Control calls to check up on him, sometimes he has to pull out to answer. Jesus, no wonder the poor dude needs a piece on the side.

Just because you snoopers have the passwords, doesn't mean there is not a secret hotmail or yahoo account set up somewhere. Too much closeness is TOXIC.

I know I am going to get slammed for being a homewrecker or whatever, but its just really a warning. I am married too, I am not trying to steal him away, just enjoying fucking him. Just, his wife thinks they are soulmates and 100% honest with each other too, and she calls all the time when I am lying naked in his bed.
Posted by badgirl on April 7, 2010 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Just a thought. I wonder if there aren't two separate arguments going on here about snooping. To me, the resolution lies in context.

There is a big difference between being controlling and mistrusting in a relationship--i.e. monitoring your partner's every move--and to me this would include reading said partner's emails, trying to distance your partner from other people, or even (and this specific one always knocks me out) girls who claim that porn viewing or masturbation constitutes cheating. Said folks are pathologically mistrustful, independent of a partner's actual behavior. In other words, there is no justifiable cause for the suspicion.

That is entirely different from a scenario in which one partner's behavior suddenly changes, they deny or try to hide those changes, and the other partner tries to talk about it and instead gets nowhere and as a result begins to entertain all these worries about what's really going on, whether it's an addiction, an affair, whatever. The snooping is without question a violation of trust, but it seems to me in said instances the trust was already violated and, of course, that the fun is just beginning.
Posted by maddy811 on April 7, 2010 at 10:21 AM · Report this
@68 homewrecker!!!!!!......can I have you #?
Posted by stormcrow on April 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Gotta go with all the snoopers. Especially if you're a woman. I have no idea why, but men have what seems like a biological imperative to lie even as they're getting caught. It's kind of astounding. "OMG why are you denying that--I JUST saw you do it!"
I just so happen to be one of those rare super-honest individuals--I don't lie to anyone, for any reason, ever. I don't see the utility of being deceptive. That said, most people lie on a fairly regular basis to avoid conflict or consequences. And I agree with one of the previous posters who said that relationships don't work unless you consider your partner as part of--or an extension of--yourself. If I have nothing to hide, then I have nothing to keep private. You can't say you have trust in a relationship if you feel the need to hide a part of your life from your partner. The only way to have and keep trust is to be 100% transparent, and that means I should be able to check anything I want and not find anything surprising.
Posted by resipsalc on April 7, 2010 at 10:36 AM · Report this
I don't agree with the response to SANA. Selfless sex partners are perfect for selfish lovers, and there are millions of guys like that out there. Right now she's just with the wrong guy, they're like two subs or two doms. Break up and let each one find their opposite.
Posted by sprinkles on April 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM · Report this
There is no One Right Way to have a relationship. Some people may want privacy, that's okay; and their relationships are strong and loving. Some people want to share everything, that's okay; and their relationships are strong and loving. People are different, and need different things from their partners; in privacy just like sex.

Trouble arises when you have partners with different boundary and privacy needs, such as in the relationship of 68's lover and his wife. That relationship is sailing for a world of pain; and 68 seems to revel in it, which is pitiable.
Posted by SpookyCats on April 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Rose DeCastile 74
Sorry if I missed a similar comment but it seems like the obvious answer to LFL is to wear lesbian and feminist band's concert t's. A Team Dresch or Scream Club t will go unnoticed by hateful assholes, will look better, and will likely attract more adorable women than a 'come lick me' t.
Posted by Rose DeCastile on April 7, 2010 at 11:09 AM · Report this
What about snooping when there has been a history/pattern of behavior and the other person has made promises to stop the behavior? If the person is truly sincere, shouldn't the person be willing to be totally open? Depending on the behavior and length of time they engaged in the behavior, shouldn't the person expect to be monitored, possibly for a prolonged period.

Doesn't the person proves themself, does that person have an expect
Posted by a skeptic and a cynic on April 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Stormcrow: lol!! The sex is otherworldly! ;) I swear, I can see through the space/time continuum sometimes...I swear, I orgasm when I GIVE him head.

And still....the women continue to advocate for transparnecy....
Posted by badgirl on April 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM · Report this
I've always lived by the rule: Never write anything in an email you wouldn't want your mother to read on the front page of the newspaper. That applies to text messages and facebook, too. As long as I follow this rule (and I think all of you should, too!), snooping will never be an issue.

Let's be honest, kids. Emails aren't particularly private. They are easily hacked into, and those of us with corporate emails are often explicitly told that nothing we write is private. Let's stop pretending that our partners have no right to troll our inboxes when our bosses do just that all the time.
Posted by patrick.colvin on April 7, 2010 at 11:26 AM · Report this
I am not a snoop and I don't justify it. However, like jealousy, I find that sometimes these things are a result from a partners LACK of information or their actions. I would never be with someone I didn't trust but if they gave me a reason not to trust I would absolutely go through their things. Self preservation is normal. If you disagree, how nice for you to have never been deceived.
Posted by Zaftiggy on April 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Trinabeana 79
badgirl, if you were bi and lived in Portland, I'd want your number too. Putting aside the snooping topic, I love sex. I think orgasms are a gift from god that we should all enjoy with whoever we want to (consensually, of course) which is only a small part of why I am in an open relationship.
Posted by Trinabeana on April 7, 2010 at 11:39 AM · Report this
71: so you pride yourself on being 100% honest (an utter impossibility) and you also assume that all men cheat and lie? That sounds to me like a lifelong recipe for unhappiness. To be more blunt, it strikes me as both extreme and very self-convenient, because you've authorized yourself a monitor of others' behaviors while telling yourself that you're righteous as you do so.

I am a straight-woman who once became friends with a bisexual woman who, in one of our first hangout sessions, gave me this spiel about how she is 100% honest about everything and how her previous relationships suffered from "dishonest people."

Well, what followed was one of the most abusive friendships I've ever experienced, as what she really meant was that she *demanded* 100% honesty, which meant that she constantly pried into my childhood and then psychoanalyzed me as a means to, as she put it so often, "help me become a better person." It was one of the most crazy self-manipulations I had ever witnessed, let alone suffered under. She had convinced herself that she was the noble and righteous one. When I began lying or evading to avoid her ongoing interrogations, I became a "dishonest person" who needed therapy in order to be worthy of her time. When I told her to back off when she got too invasive about my past or my feelings or opinions, she replied that I had "too many boundaries" and "trust issues." When I got angry when she would lecture me about myself, I had to apologize to her for "being defensive." She would not back down, no matter how I tried to protect myself, and I became a nervous wreck around her, to the point where I had a full blown anxiety attack while driving with her in the car (the end result of that incident was her yelling at me about how much I needed therapy). It took months for me to realize that I was being manipulated, controlled and abused, and that even if all this woman's psychological analysis was true--i.e. I was indeed as damaged as she claimed--a true friend would not "demand" my fixing as a condition of friendship, nor would a good friend constantly remind you of you pathetic and damaged she presume you are as some means to help you.

This was a big lesson for me that friendships can be just as fucked up as romantic relationships. But, more specifically, for the first time, I truly understood why some men characterize women as manipulative shrews; I understood for the first time why men complain when women try to psychoanalyze them in order to change them, and how dishonest, mistrusting, insecure and hateful such attempts are.

So, forgive me, but I call self-deluding bullshit when I hear a woman declare she's "100% honest." That's a major red flag of a controlling and self-righteous person. The real truth is that sometimes people lie for good reasons--sell protection and/or to spare people they love unnecessary pain. To say that it's always wrong to lie, and to actually claim that you never lie, is to live in a fairy tale your own friggin' head.
Posted by maddy811 on April 7, 2010 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Looks like Dan didn't read the comments to his advice to FRF when he posted the letter the first time. Not only did most of us think he was being overhasty in advising FRF to dump his girlfriend based on one HYPOTHETICAL conversation, but even FRF came on to agree that he'd broached the topic poorly. FRF needs to have an honest, straightforward conversation with his girlfriend about his desires, and see where that leads.

And as for snooping -- when I want to read my husband's email, I *ask him* if I can. When I want to rummage through his stuff, I announce, "Hey honey, I'm rummaging through your stuff now." That way we can have a conversation about why exactly I'm feeling so insecure and what kind of reassurance I'm looking for. This is what works for us; I'm sure other relationships work differently, and I don't think there's "one right answer" as far as this issue goes -- but I do think that couples should probably talk about what the expectations for privacy are, and abide by whatever rules they set for themselves.
Posted by siduri on April 7, 2010 at 12:03 PM · Report this
just a thought for SANA: try masturbating. Together, separately and discover what it is you fantasize about. What gets you off? Then share and talk talk talk. Watch some porn. Go outside your comfort zone and discover what gets you wet and him hard and send you both/individually over the top with desire. It's a lovely journey if you decide to do it together. Cheers.
Posted by colette_sd on April 7, 2010 at 12:22 PM · Report this
I agree with Maddy811 @69. When is it snooping, vs. "snooping"? She leaves her phone on the kitchen counter while you are mixing a couple of martinis. It hums announcing an incoming message. You glance at it: WTF? Who is this "buffcock" she just got a message from trying to set up a hookup? Or, you want to check a recipe, and you use his computer because it's in the family room off the kitchen, and yours is upstairs in your office. You wake up the screen, and he's left his email up and WTF? Sexually explicit messages from what appears to be his side dish boyfriend? So, is that snooping, or "snooping". It's going to happen at some point, so expect it to happen, and don't have unrealistic expectations of absolute privacy all the time.
Posted by zenbeatnik on April 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
I agree with Maddy811 @69. When is it snooping, vs. "snooping"? She leaves her phone on the kitchen counter while you are mixing a couple of martinis. It hums announcing an incoming message. You glance at it: WTF? Who is this "buffcock" she just got a message from trying to set up a hookup? Or, you want to check a recipe, and you use his computer because it's in the family room off the kitchen, and yours is upstairs in your office. You wake up the screen, and he's left his email up and WTF? Sexually explicit messages from what appears to be his side dish boyfriend? So, is that snooping, or "snooping". It's going to happen at some point, so expect it to happen, and don't have unrealistic expectations of absolute privacy all the time.
Posted by zenbeatnik on April 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
in my marriage there is complete trust because we are completely open about everything that affects the other person. so no snooping is necessary. where as in my last secondary relationship, my gut told me something was wrong, so I snooped and found I was right. my boyfriend (now ex) had broken the first rules of open relationship....hiding/not communicating about other sexual partners.

sometimes snooping is necessary to protect yourself and others close to you.
Posted by vindictivebitch on April 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
WTF is a "feminist male"? A boy whose balls have dried up due to an over dose of political correctness? How sad he allows himself to be so thoroughtly dominated by someone who sees him as a second class person in need of correction. Stand like a man, boy! Be proud of who you are.
Posted by GoHuskers on April 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Snooping is human nature and not necessarily indicative of distrust...I try not to snoop becuase it makes me feel guilty to be going through someone elses stuff without permission but I have done it for no other reason than curiosity and boredom.
Posted by SnoopyGirl on April 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Oh, Mr. Savage! As much as I love your sound advice, I MUST take exception to your stance that snooping through a loved one's electronic (or otherwise) things is okie-doakie. It is not.

José and I have been together since 1984 and we got (legally) married in San Francisco in September of 2008. Because of a court ruling, we are STILL legally married, much to the distress of religious nut-bags everywhere. All that is to say that I have NEVER snooped on him and he has NEVER snooped on me.

It's called TRUST, Dan. And, proudly, our trust has led neither of us to bad things to each other's sense of privacy and security in our things.
Posted by Adrian_in_Dallas on April 7, 2010 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Once I snooped on my boyfriends computer and OOPS!! Discovered he was bi-sexual. I could have lived without that experience, i.e., running for an HIV test, wondering what else was going on.... and it turns out he was cheating on me with both sexes. Douchbag-ola!
Posted by IonaTrailer on April 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM · Report this
casually askew 90
Regarding the snooping issue ... would you open the mail of your significant other? Outdated example, perhaps, but ... w/no passwords or other protections involved (other than getting an unknown (to the other) P.O. Box) I was under the impression that mail addressed to someone else was theirs - not yours to decide to read or not. Couples where one was snooping into this 20th century communication form was invariably trying to control the other. Curious? Then ask about the email your partner is getting - get into a discussion if warranted. Sharing everything is, frankly, impossible ("what did you just think about THIS second!! Come on spill I must know - we share EVERYTHING! If you won't share, then YOU DON'T LOVE ME!") And really sharing everything isn't particularly helpful as some things/people just aren't equally interesting to both partners, so allowing the other space to indulge isn't a bad solution in many cases. Clearly, some accommodation is needed here, so that one can understand (even if not agree with) what the other is into and agree to participate in it from time to time. The point is that trust means you don't have to look for evidence of whatever and are secure enough to know that you won't find it. Yeah, of course you can get taken for a ride, but when it works, it removes a whole lot of mind games, false expectations and other psychological bullshit that gets in the way of two people really enjoying being with and learning about each other. Some mystery is always intriguing.
Posted by casually askew on April 7, 2010 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Oooh, I wish my young, straight feminist male had rough fantasies.
Posted by Laurenbee on April 7, 2010 at 1:55 PM · Report this
casually askew 92
Regarding the snooping issue ... would you open the mail of your significant other? Outdated example, perhaps, but ... w/no passwords or other protections involved (other than getting an unknown (to the other) P.O. Box) I was under the impression that mail addressed to someone else was theirs - not yours to decide to read or not. Couples where one was snooping into this 20th century communication form was invariably trying to control the other. Curious? Then ask about the email your partner is getting - get into a discussion if warranted. Sharing everything is, frankly, impossible ("what did you just think about THIS second!! Come on spill I must know - we share EVERYTHING! If you won't share, then YOU DON'T LOVE ME!") And really sharing everything isn't particularly helpful as some things/people just aren't equally interesting to both partners, so allowing the other space to indulge isn't a bad solution in many cases. Clearly, some accommodation is needed here, so that one can understand (even if not agree with) what the other is into and agree to participate in it from time to time. The point is that trust means you don't have to look for evidence of whatever and are secure enough to know that you won't find it. Yeah, of course you can get taken for a ride, but when it works, it removes a whole lot of mind games, false expectations and other psychological bullshit that gets in the way of two people really enjoying being with and learning about each other. Some mystery is always intriguing.
Posted by casually askew on April 7, 2010 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Adrasteia 93
I don't believe snooping around in someone else's private business is ever justified. If you have questions about their behavior, ask them! Privacy is a very big deal to me, and no it's not because I have anything to hide. I like feeling a mutual sense of trust and respect in my relationships, and I have never snooped in my partner's emails, phone, or otherwise. Nor will I ever. And yes, the situation about questionable behavior has already come up, been addressed as I described, and is now completely taken care of. It's amazing what a little trust and honesty will do.
Posted by Adrasteia on April 7, 2010 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Adrasteia 94
I don't believe snooping around in someone else's private business is ever justified. If you have questions about their behavior, ask them! Privacy is a very big deal to me, and no it's not because I have anything to hide. I like feeling a mutual sense of trust and respect in my relationships, and I have never snooped in my partner's emails, phone, or otherwise. Nor will I ever. And yes, the situation about questionable behavior has already come up, been addressed as I described, and is now completely taken care of. It's amazing what a little trust and honesty will do.
Posted by Adrasteia on April 7, 2010 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Dear FRF,

I disagree with Dan on this one. Don't DTMFA on your girlfriend, yet.

It sounds like both of you are trying to communicate with each other. Show her your letter and Dan's reply, and search the net for other feminists who enjoy fantasy play. There are lots of us out there.

I used to have your girlfriend's attitude, a long time ago. I changed my mind, eventually. Why not give her the chance to think about it and perhaps change her mind, as well? You both might even find that talking this out can lead you to a closer relationship.

I'd just hate to see you DTMFA too soon, and lose a relationship that could possibly be healed. Love is hard to find -- it is worth trying to keep it if you possibly can.
Posted by Wiser in my Fifties on April 7, 2010 at 2:26 PM · Report this
On the topic of NORTH and snooping:

I think a quick definition of "snooping" is first in order. When I hear "snoop" I assume that the act was done in search of a fault... And that's not always the case!

I look through my girlfriends email every once in a while (as she looks through mine), but it's more about staying connected and up to date in each others lives... not searching for missteps and breaches of trust. No matter how much time you spend together, you never get told every last detail of your partners day to day life, and simply having an open invitation to access everything your partner owns can really help to bridge that final gap.

So let's entertain the idea that NORTH's boyfriend was not looking SPECIFICALLY for incriminating information, but was instead - as is far more likely the case - was simply curious about some things his partner had been up to. After all, if she had been going to the movies with an old friend instead of sleeping around for money, the sharing of that information would merely have made the boyfriend happy to be more a part of her life. It only is, after the fact, considered snooping because, well... he had a reason to snoop!

So, Dan, I ultimately agree with you in writing but not in spirit. Yes, "snooping" is ok, but I would never do so in an attempt to catch my girlfriend in the act. Because honestly... if the relationship has gotten to the point where you even need to ask "are you fucking someone else behind my back", then it's probably time to move on anyway.
Posted by gravityplanx on April 7, 2010 at 2:35 PM · Report this
@5- Yes I do call myself a feminist.

@54- You are a creep.
Posted by dwight moody on April 7, 2010 at 2:41 PM · Report this
I've never snooped in my boyfriend's e-mail or looked at his text messages. I don't want to (wouldn't enjoy spying on conversations that weren't intended for me), & I don't think it's acceptable. I would be pretty pissed if I found out he was looking through my stuff without my permission; there's nothing bad in there (& he probably wouldn't enjoy looking at my 1,736 unread e-mails from Sephora), but it would be a bit like if he hid outside my house & peered at my through the window: weird.

Agree with all the other advice, though.
Posted by Gudrun Brangwen on April 7, 2010 at 2:44 PM · Report this
does checking the computer history count as snooping?
Posted by militia on April 7, 2010 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Snooping on your kids is not only acceptable, it should be required - just don't bust them for everything you find out. They're smoking pot? No big deal. Using meth? Fuck yes - call them on it RIGHT NOW! Romantic same sex emails? No problem. Telling the youth pastor to leave them alone? Discuss - not harangue - them about it, and then call the police. Being a parent is hard - and totally different than being in a relationship.
Posted by Fred Astaire on April 7, 2010 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Jais 101
Snooping is an act of dis-trust.

If any 'bad news' is discovered while snooping then the ill-trust is retroactively justified not the snooping.

Just because you have a valid reason to not trust someone does not give you a valid reason to invade their privacy.
Posted by Jais on April 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM · Report this
At last! I've seen "squick" in print! My wife and I hve been using it for years, I've even forgotten the refrence to it, but I'm glad we are not the only ones!
Posted by dhay1999 on April 7, 2010 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Okay. My gf was cheating on me before she moved in with me. I confronted her and she admitted it. She begged me not to dump her and promised she wouldn't do it again. About a year after she moved in with me she began acting erratically and wouldn't talk about what the problem was. There is mental instability in her family and I became concerned about her mental health, but she refused to seek professional/medical help. She decided to go visit some college friends. I woke up in the middle of the night with a profound sense of dread and read the most recent entries in her journal. Something I had never done before because I trusted her and respected her privacy. Turns out not only did she not end her prior relationship, but had begun a new one within six months. The person she was visiting was her second lover. I had raised the issue of an open relationship several times before and after she moved in, which would have altered the dynamics of our relationship. She was adamant on mutual exclusivity. Now I don't question that she had every right to take another lover, but I had made it clear that if she did it would be the end of our relationship. So did her right to privacy trump my right to honesty?

A further question, is it snooping if you are concerned about a loved one's health, safety, and well being? Then there are always the issues of child pornography or other criminal acts. Does an individual's right to privacy exist when their activities are putting you and your family at risk? For every argument against snooping I could probably come up with a example that justifies it.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on April 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM · Report this
@100. Absolutely.
I had to snoop the old-fashioned way (before emails and testing), and didn't drag it out in front of my 14 year old daughter so that she would be humiliated that I had read her confidential papers, but did I use the knowlege I had gained to parent her into slightly different directions, ask slightly more direct questions until she knew that I knew what was happening? You bet I did. And would again. And I think that she is better off for it. Young teens can make rash decisions, and they can also believe that you can just 'read' their behaviour. No need to humiliate or be too direct, but no need to allow them to go down a recognizably dangerous path unaware either.
Posted by BTR on April 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Most the men I know who wear 'feminism' on their sleeve have a secret misogynistic streak. It's a man's actions that show the real deal, not a man's words. I'm a feminist, and sometimes I have fantasies about being taken by force sexually by a man. I've enjoyed that with men in the past who would roll play that with me. Those men I knew were very female positive, and I knew that from their actions not from their words. The GF in the letter doesn't sound like much fun, but she may be reacting to some misogynistic stuff that she senses in her BF, who knows?
Posted by PushMePullYou on April 7, 2010 at 4:19 PM · Report this
I could not bear to have a partner snoop on me. I've never snooped thru the stuff of anyone I've ever gone out with. Or been a friend of.

I have had a few "friends" look thru my stuff, and I ended the friendships as soon as I found out. This is something I feel very strongly about. I do not have to share everything about myself with anybody. Period.

@96 "No matter how much time you spend together, you never get told every last detail of your partners day to day life." Oh God, my vision of hell! Why would I WANT to tell my partner every last detail of my day to day life? Or know about theirs? Unless it was sarcasm and I missed it?

What if I'm perfectly polite to yr best friend whenever we're together, but you read my email and see my snarky comments about him? that's far from cheating, but it might well be something I wouldn't want you to know.
Posted by Gigi101 on April 7, 2010 at 4:20 PM · Report this
I'm so glad what I was thinking was already said by #3. If you identify yourself as a "feminist male", you've already turned in your man-card and will never have fun ever again, especially in bed. Fantasy != reality, kids. I watch tentacle hentai sometimes, does that mean I want to have 13 prehensile 5' cocks?

Also, re: snooping. Snooping is a breach of trust and if you're looking in my emails or my past IM conversations, you can; provided you're okay with being immediately banished from my life forever. Grow the fuck up and get your ass to a psychologist so you can drop the trust issues you obviously have.
Posted by Yawgmoth on April 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM · Report this
@22: Mention of feminism at all causes anti-feminist comments. It's because, in a lot of places these days, being pro-equality is practically a requirement: you're a bigot if you're not for total equality between men and women (which is not to say we're there yet). When people call themselves a 'feminist', some other people see it as drawing a line in the sand, with them on the wrong side. You're calling them a bigot by differentiating yourself from them as being for equality.

I'm not saying it's ok: I get the difference between being all-for-equality-but-busy-with-other-causes and being actively-working-towards-equality. I'm just explaining what's going on.
Posted by Rophuine on April 7, 2010 at 5:04 PM · Report this
I leave my computer turned on and my email logged in and open on the screen, so if my partner needed to use my computer they would easily see it. I don't really have much expectation of privacy that way. I think I've also told him my password.

If I cared about the privacy of my email from my partner, I would make sure everything stayed password protected with secret passwords, and then if they had to go to some effort to snoop and managed to break my password, then I'd be mad.

So I imagine the disagreements here have to do with people in each of those different situations. But to look at the extremes: I think that if you leave your email open all the time and get mad at someone you live with for reading it, that's silly, and if you think its no big deal to go to a lot of trouble to hack into someone's protected account, that's also silly.
Posted by vitaminwater on April 7, 2010 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Snooping is generally wrong - but if you think your SO is cheating - esp. is s/he denies it - and you snoop and find out s/he is? Completely justified. Of course, if s/he's not, then you're a spy and should feel guilty and paranoid. :)
Posted by jrc on April 7, 2010 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Regarding snooping: my wife and I snoop on each other casually, because we're adults now. We both leave our PCs signed into our email accounts, and if we use one another's PCs we're going to see each others email. We borrow each others' phones. Getting married (or going steady, or whatever) involves a reduction of privacy between the people involved; just like being a child involves having less privacy from your parents than from some random stranger.

That's not to say we keep each other under surveillance though: that would be bad. We're just, you know, A COUPLE. If we have secrets we really want to keep, there are plenty of ways to do that. In summary: my wife reading my email = fine. My wife installing a key-logger on my PC and a hidden GPS tracker on my car = wrong. If you can't stand to give up a little privacy to your loved ones, you have issues to deal with. Ditto if you have to control everything and snoop invasively. There's a balance, and it's something most adults should be able to manage.
Posted by Rophuine on April 7, 2010 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Maybe I'm not sure what feminism truly is, but being a strong woman in mind and body I have a feeling it's about doing what I want and being able to demand respect. So this guy might just be thinking that women have been wronged somehow, and in the past they were; however we live in 2010 where kinks and fetishes are all over the internet, and in many consenting homes. FRF, my recommendation is Sasha Grey. Or get in a wrestling fight with your gf and see if she likes the physical aggression. It doesn't have to be harmful, she can still be your equal. Maybe your girlfriend doesn't get turned on by aggression or submission, in which case you'll probably end up cheating on her with a consenting woman who likes your ideas.
Posted by Under Siege on April 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM · Report this
SANA: Let's look again at what you wrote, and see if anything obvious jumps out.

Let's see, now...neither of us actually cares all that much if we come, but gosh, the sex is just, meh.

...honestly? You don't see the contradiction right there? You aren't particularly invested in getting an orgasm, but then wonder of wonders, when you didn't get an orgasm, it wasn't all that great?

It sounds like both of you are so working so hard at pleasing the other one -- and downplaying your own needs -- that you are actively interfering with your own ability to get pleasure from sex. Slow down, relax, and take what's coming to you. What's the best way to enjoy a piece of cake? While chopping wood?
Posted by avast2006 on April 7, 2010 at 5:45 PM · Report this
I don't think I'm on board with the 'implicit trust is a relationship pre-requisite' crowd... I've been snooped on, and confronted with what my boyfriend at the time had completely misunderstood as flirting. I didn't give him shit for snooping, I just held my ground on the 'evidence' because I had nothing to hide.

I'm curious to get opinions on this situation: I trusted my last boyfriend, and one day I decided to replenish his stash of lube when he wasn't home and thought it'd be cute to print out a saucy picture he'd had of me on his computer and stick it to the bottle of lube for when he found it. When I went into the folder of pictures from his phone - because I knew my photos were in there, I wasn't just blindly roaming through his computer - I found pictures of him with other girls, taken well into our relationship. So that was the end of that.

I don't believe that you can just 'trust' someone, they have to prove that they're trustworthy somehow, and sometimes the only way for you to know is to snoop. To all you people here saying 'why can't you just talk, like grownups?', I have some shocking news for you: people fucking lie. Especially grownups. I'm not saying I'm incapable of trusting without snooping, but c'mon, don't be so damn naive.
Posted by canadianslreader on April 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM · Report this
Dan, you totally missed this one. May I?

SANA, if you want to get better at sex, you need to HAVE SEX WITH PEOPLE. Different kinds of people. Several, preferably.

The way we get better at relationships is to date lots of different people, learning along the way who we are--what we want in a partner, what characteristics are vital and which flaws we can or can't live with, how we want to feel in a relationship, what our goals are, and what kind of partner we want to be.

Same with sex! You need to learn what turns you on and gets you off; you need to learn how to work your own body. How can your partner know what you want if you don't know (or care) yourself? How can your partner BE what you want if you don't even know what that is? Sounds like neither of you is truly participating in the act. Why would that turn either of you on?

Get out there and have some sex, SANA.(Be safe!) Either open your relationship, or get out of it so that you can gain some more life experience outside of its sheltering confines. You need to learn how to truly participate in sex, both the giving and the getting.

Practice makes perfect.
Posted by heatherly on April 7, 2010 at 7:35 PM · Report this
I just liked Dan's use of the word "squick".
Posted by it just makes me smile on April 7, 2010 at 8:10 PM · Report this
I am very surprised that Dan thinks it's okay to snoop in your partner's e-mail but HE IS RIGHT. I have always insisted on full access to my partner's e-mail and he has mine as well. Anything other than total honesty is a deal-breaker with a partner.

If I ever found out my partner had a secret e-mail account and wouldn't let me see it, I'd walk out the door immediately. I also expect him to do the same. Secrets between lovers just means that you are waiting for the relationship to end and why be with the person in that case. If you want secrets, don't get involved with a LTR, just go out and fuck around.
Posted by Snooping on the hottie on April 7, 2010 at 8:14 PM · Report this
Caveman 118
WHAT! Snooping and farting are NOT comparable...
Posted by Caveman on April 7, 2010 at 8:21 PM · Report this
slomopomo 119
I can just see Dan's boyfriend reading this and screaming "YOU FUCKING READ MY EMAIL??!!"
Posted by slomopomo on April 7, 2010 at 9:20 PM · Report this
What is "Feminism"? What is a "Feminist"? I'm a gay guy myself and all for the ladies, really truly, but I don't understand these words. They sound like so much baggage to me. It stops at equality, right? No?
Posted by Racing Turtles on April 7, 2010 at 9:24 PM · Report this
Neptune 121
@120 (and everyone else ragging on feminists) - The root of feminism is the belief that biological differences shouldn't dictate societal superiority. You don't have to be a radical to consider yourself a feminist. I'm a feminist, and reading that first letter was a huge eye-roller. As with all groups, there are lots of feminists out there who give the rest of us a bad name.

@119 - I lol'd.

Also, about the reading email/texts thing, the ONLY time I've ever scrolled through my boyfriend's email is when he left it open on my computer. I mean, there it was. But I'd never actually go log into it and snoop around. Unless you actually suspect your partner is hiding something, that just seems weird.
Posted by Neptune on April 7, 2010 at 9:41 PM · Report this
Neptune - makes perfect sense to me, I can't conceive of any other position besides "biological differences shouldn't dictate societal superiority" as morally or intellectually defensible.

But... is the word still necessary? Does it advance or hinder the cause it's intended to support?

To be clear *I* am not ragging on anybody, nor do I mean to troll here, but I freely admit that identification of self as "feminist" generally gives me pause.
Posted by Racing Turtles on April 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM · Report this
I really dislike the word "snoop." It implies wrongdoing, which I think gives it a negative connotation worse than the way that some people already perceive the activity itself. I don't think broadening one's awareness of what one's COMMITTED partner's life entails outside of the relationship is snooping, whatever the vessel may be. Oftentimes, behavior that so many are referring to as "snooping" can result in something positive, like fostering greater patience when things at work are particularly stressful, or even simply knowing what to give his/her partner as a birthday gift.
Posted by PassTheCBatteries on April 7, 2010 at 10:15 PM · Report this
@121: Part of the problem, I think, is that the same creed, "the belief that biological differences shouldn't dictate societal superiority", has become a requirement for the label "reasonable human being" in a lot of places. I think the definition should shift to focus on feminism as a movement for rights advocacy - this was the original definition anyway, but it's not the definition many of the comments here seem to use. See comment #9 for an example.

Feminism is a label which differentiates. If people continue to use it to mean "(passively) supports equality", other people will continue to see it as an increasingly elitist label, which it shouldn't be. Feminism is important in protecting the equality which has been gained, and culling the discrimination which remains.

I don't think you need to be a radical to call yourself a feminist, but I do think you need to be an activist. If it starts to simply mean "I'm not a bigot", it becomes divisive and elitist, and it hurts attitudes towards the important work that feminists do.
Posted by Rophuine on April 7, 2010 at 10:26 PM · Report this
I'd just like to add that the advancement of technology has greatly affected the way that people can be dishonest, as well as the way that people can be caught. SCENARIO: My boyfriend goes to the bathroom and receives a text message; I look at the phone, see who it is, possibly read it, all nonchalantly-NOT suspiciously. I see nothing wrong with that and would have no problem walking out of the bathroom to my boyfriend with my cell in his hand asking "Who is Scott?" just to tell him that hes my friend's boyfriend asking me what he should get for her birthday. We must advance along with our technology.
Posted by PassTheCBatteries on April 7, 2010 at 10:27 PM · Report this
@120: It doesn't stop at equality, because perfect equality will probably never exist. You can see it easily in the gay rights movement: gay couples could marry in LA. Was that the end of it?

The problem is, equality isn't necessarily a stable thing. Some part of the community will always be seeking to reduce the rights of a given minority, so you always need another part of the community working to protect them.

See my last comment about the definition problem.
Posted by Rophuine on April 7, 2010 at 10:32 PM · Report this
Neptune 127
Racing_Turtles, I see your point, and I know lots of people who are reluctant to identify with the word "feminist" even if they do agree with the ideology. So yes, it's possible that sometimes it does hinder, but I think that's largely due to the radical feminists who bring a negative connotation to the word.

But is it necessary? I kind of think so. In general, I think people who do identify as feminists do so not just they/we agree with that core belief, but because we've looked deeper into the cause. You know, patriarchy, blah blah, binary logic, blah blah, othering, etc. I happen to LOVE the subject, so I'm comfortable with calling myself a feminist. I'm also comfortable with being a happy, sane individual.

And while it might be possible to "replace" the word with something more progressive-ish, I think there's an important history behind it. It's just hard to imagine that working, you know? It seems like it would come of as corny rather than a step forward to hear someone describe him/herself as a "gender equalist" or something. Maybe I'm wrong, though.
Posted by Neptune on April 7, 2010 at 10:39 PM · Report this
Neptune 128
@Rophuine What does it take to be considered an "activist?" Is voting enough? Standing up for your convictions in conversation? Are artists who use feminist-based themes in their work activists? Or do you need to be a protester/member of a feminist organization? I'm not disagreeing, I'm just wondering. The "definition problem" is far-reaching.
Posted by Neptune on April 7, 2010 at 10:47 PM · Report this
@Neptune: It sure is far-reaching. My position would be thus: If you go out of your way to raise awareness with a particular group, you can call yourself a feminist to that group. If all you do is provoke conversation amongst your close friends, but go on and on about being a feminist to everyone you run into, you're turning it into a divisive term.

If you're upset that you ARE an activist but I'm saying you're not allowed to tell (certain) people: are you being active about it because you care, or just so you can use the label? I'm not suggesting this because I want to take the term away from people; just so it can become less divisive.

Of course, I'm not actually a feminist myself, so I'm not allowed to say that I speak for even ONE feminist. I'd like other opinions, but only from people who've read at least #120,122,124,126,128.
Posted by Rophuine on April 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM · Report this
xjuan 130
No snooping, thanks. I have right to my privacy, the same way I want my government-parents-friends to treat me. Of course, I assume that it might happen, even more, that it IS happening (thank you, Mr. Bush.) However, in a relationship based on trust, if you snoop, it's your fault and you suffer. If you don't like whatever you learn by snooping, that's your problem, deal with it. Of course I'll pay the consequences too, but it's your fault.
Posted by xjuan on April 7, 2010 at 11:37 PM · Report this
Neptune: In just this thread, I've seen several people get defensive over how feminism is defined. Can you show me places in feminist bloglandia where one feminist confronts another with "hey, douchenozzle, this entitled and combative crap is exactly why we have a bad rep"? Or is it everyone else's fault fault when people judge feminism based on experiences with actual feminists?

Come to think of it, this is really the root of my issues with feminism. The culture has godawful amounts of toxic baggage built up. And yet for all the reasonable and moderate people I've known who've called themselves feminists, I've yet to see any effort from said reasonable moderates to clean out the attic, think up new tools and tactics, openly renounce the whackjobs, and basically make an active go at reengineering their own culture. That's a feminism I could really get behind. The current model, which tells me to shut up because I as a man can have no idea what I'm talking about, can't really complain when I'm less than thrilled to sign on.
Posted by ChiTodd on April 8, 2010 at 12:02 AM · Report this
With regard to email snooping, opening someone's physical mail is a federal offense. I fail to see the fundamental distinction between that and email, especially when the person hacking in uses sneaky methods to obtain the password. For me, that's basically a deal-breaker.
Posted by gonepostal42 on April 8, 2010 at 2:35 AM · Report this
sissoucat 133
@117 : Geez, I'd love to be involved with someone like you who would request to have all access to whatever I feel like writing to my mum and childhood buddies - "or else I can go out and fuck around".

@94 : I agree with you. Still, when my husband told me that was his mistress that he was emailing non-stop from our bedroom, I did take a screen picture of one of his emails, the one day he forgot to lock the screen when he went to masturbate in the toilets. Not to read it, though. Just in case he would tell me afterwards he never cheated on me. Which is what he's been claiming for the last 2 years... Yeah, like you want custody of the kids now ? Dream on.

@104 : I too would snoop on my children if I thought that they were in danger, or that they might be a danger to anybody else - absolutely. I'm responsible for them.

@3, 107 : yep, women will accept any "meh" sex, when they're pretty young, but if they're feminists, with those stupid "it's my body and not yours" ideas, later they will shun you if you're too bad in bed. And it's so much harder to become good in bed, than to yell at your ole broad that your urges overcome whatever inability you have to give her any kind of pleasure, yes ? And maybe hit her too, to make your point ? Hey, respect for one's "male card", you know.
Posted by sissoucat on April 8, 2010 at 3:23 AM · Report this
The only rational explanation for FRF's position is that he's used the age-old ploy of espousing feminism to get laid. No shame in that - I've seen guys go macrobiotic, claim they're on a celibate spiritual journey - more or less anything. So now, all FRF has to do is get reprogrammed, admit he can't be a fantasy rapist because he already IS one - de facto - on account of gender, and recant his heresy; she'll be so happy and grateful, he'll get laid some more, everyone's happy.
Posted by dameedna on April 8, 2010 at 3:40 AM · Report this
maddy811: some people are at least pretty close to 100% honest without being manipulative hose-beasts. Like me--I tend to describe myself as "pathologically honest"... but, while I tend to demand *truthfulness* from my nearest and dearest (it really bugs me when people close to me lie), I do not demand that they tell all.

GoHuskers: a feminist man is a man who believes that women should be legally, economically, politically, and (at least more or less) socially equal to men. Or, as I've seen it on a t-shirt, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people". So, a feminist man is pretty much like a feminist woman, only, you know, male. No ball drying required.

Rophuine: I think you can call yourself a feminist without really being an activist, provided--how shall I put this--you do so with a degree and vehemence commensurate with your level of activism. I consider myself a feminist. If you ask me if I'm a feminist, I'll say yes. If we're discussing feminism, or closely related issues, I might mention it. But it won't come up in casual conversation (except for casual conversations about feminism/gender issues)...

On the snooping issue, I think there's a balance, there is no One True Way to handle it. I'd be a bit upset if I found my (presently hypothetical) BF nosing around in my email (though mostly from messing-up-my-patterns rather than violation-of-privacy--like I said, pathologically honest), and I likely wouldn't nose around in his unless I had *strong* reason to suspect something hinky was up, but I don't see it as a Terrible Crime, either... but, definitely a YMMV subject.

And I have a somewhat odd suggestion for SANA. Actually, formally, take turns being The Selfish One. That may break you out of the "I'm being a horrible person by considering my own needs" rut without making either of you feel like you're being Horrible Selfish People. When it's your turn, concentrate entirely on what floats your boat. When it's his, concentrate entirely on what floats his boat. Since you know next time will be All About Him, you (hopefully) won't feel guilty about making this time all about *you*, and vice versa. Which should lead to much happier sexin's all 'round.
Posted by Melissa Trible on April 8, 2010 at 5:12 AM · Report this
I love snooping. I snoop around everyone's stuff. If I were to snoop around a significant other's stuff, it wouldn't be from distrust, but from curiosity.
Posted by ridia on April 8, 2010 at 6:33 AM · Report this
I don't call myself a feminist male, but I may have in the past. I was raised by a 1960's style feminist and I have nearly always had female supervisors at work. My girlfriend makes more money than I do and this is not a problem. Still, I have tied her up, spanked her, played rape and domination games with her. Hell I ripped her cloths off, tied her arms with her torn shirt and fucked her in the living room. All of this was consensual and extremely hot. Furthermore, most of it was her idea. You can still respect someone and treat that person like a pound of flesh to pound if it works for both of you.
FRF, Dude you are not sick. You are probably more healthy than your partner is, but that does not mean she needs to go for it. You two need to talk about how this sex game works on your psyche not on hers. If she doesn't want to play, that is OK. But it should be because she's not turned on by it, not because something is wrong with you. Insist on the conversation, not the fantasy.
Posted by Tengu on April 8, 2010 at 6:40 AM · Report this
Damn, 136. I would hate to be friends with you. I have an overdeveloped sense of privacy, and it bothers me a great deal when people go rummaging through my stuff, even though I never have anything to hide. My boyfriend would be welcome to go through my email, provided he *ask* first.
Posted by feminism is exhausting on April 8, 2010 at 7:54 AM · Report this
luvzhappyboy 139
On "snooping"... in a relationship where there is trust and partners who are trustworthy there is no such thing as snooping. Snooping only occurs when someone is trying to hide something and the other is on a quest to find it. That's more like hide and seek... a children's game. My husband can read my emails and chat threads all he wants - and sometimes he does - because it only proves to him that I am not trying to sneak anything by him, increasing the already substantial trust we have between us.
Posted by luvzhappyboy on April 8, 2010 at 7:58 AM · Report this
re "a woman who neglected to inform her boyfriend that she was sitting on other men's cocks for money."
From what I've seen, heard, etc., if she did the same for free she'd be the target of just as many stones, whether she were in a relationship or not: one reason why women in the sex trade often avoid relationships.
Posted by opusv5 on April 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM · Report this
Looking for Lesbifriends,

As a fellow single 22-year-old lesbian living in Chicago who doesn't look stereotypically queer and attends concerts and improv shows in hopes of spotting a cutie in a short haircut and plaid shirt, I say you should go with the tee idea. And maybe keep an eye out for a theater-going girl with a rainbow bracelet and beat-up pink Chucks. Because we're out here. And queer. And we should all have a dance party
Posted by catyrose on April 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM · Report this
#8, I agree. I caught my boyfriend of 6 months going through my phone, and I was shocked. Its never been an issue before in my past relationships. I have no interest in my significant others phone calls, messages, mail, etc and even if I did, that's none of my business and I have no right to invade their privacy, just as they have no right to invade mine. I won't even go through their wallets. However, my best friend and her boyfriend are constantly fighting about what they find in each other's phone. I guess we really are the minority?

Also, thank you for the advice on SANA. Thank you Dan!
Posted by Somerset Darling on April 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM · Report this

I'm not sure I really buy that. Arguably, one of the best things about a relationship is the ability to give up some measure of our autonomy. We're literally sharing our lives.

I understand the trust issue, but think of it this way: if I (someone with trust issues) am looking through my girlfriend's phone, it's in the hopes I won't find anything. I actually want it to be an affirmation that she can be trusted. I want evidence (being the empirical, analytical, person I am) that everything is on the up-and-up.

Yes, it's saying "I don't completely trust you", but I think some part of that is also "but I want to". I want to be able to trust you completely, and part of that is being able to say "I could do random checks of her computer/e-mail/phone/purse, but I don't need to". Trust but verify, yanno?


I have no earthly idea what you're talking about. I can believe in feminism as a concept (albeit within the restraints of "I want true equality, not just "make sure women have all the same benefits as men""), but what the hell do you mean he needs to be reprogrammed and admit he can't be a fantasy rapist because he already is one?

Rape fantasies, similar to age play fantasies, mind-control fantasies, or any other "if I did it for real it'd be illegal" fantasy isn't about actually doing it. Think of it a bit like martial arts: if I actually attacked someone, I'd be put in jail, and would have harmed someone. If I put on padded gloves, have rules, and spar, it's just good, clean, fun (and I can win medals). The fantasy is erotic, the reality isn't. Rape, as a fantasy, is fun. Rape, as a reality, is harmful, messy, and horrible.

But, I've also met plenty of very strong women, women who want respect, equality, and are devout feminists, who enjoy the idea of being forced, coerced, and abused. One of my girlfriends in college, despite being a self-avowed feminist, and being very strong/bitchy in her professional and academic life, enjoyed being humiliated and verbally abused. I think a lot of that has to do with a desire to perform the obscene, to go beyond what is acceptable.


Out of curiosity, though, why do you care if I read what you write to your mother and friends? If it's something innocuous, you shouldn't mind at all. If it's something which isn't innocuous, the point is that you shouldn't be writing things you wouldn't want the person you love to see.

I do get that there are some things that are simply immensely personal. But that still doesn't seem healthy. I can't conceive of anything I could write to my parents, or friends, that I wouldn't want my girlfriend to see. I suppose if it were my best friend confiding in me, it would be different (since those aren't my secrets to tell), but the explanation of "I can't let you see this e-mail to my specific friend (who you know), because it's a personal issue of his" is different from "you don't get to see my e-mail".

I agree that women (and men) should refuse lousy sex partners, but that's (a) not the issue here, and (b) kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy. I don't know about you, but I've never been very good at high-stakes testing. I don't want to audition for my sexual encounters, and prove that I'm up to snuff.

The point of sex should be mutual gratification, not trying to prove oneself. And, not for nothing, but the whole "I don't want to have bad sex" thing actually makes people selfish (and thus bad) lovers themselves. I'm a giving person, but there's even a limit for me; most women I've been intimate with who demand nigh-on-perfection from a sex partner are the same ones who won't reciprocate. They're the ones who after getting half-an-hour of oral sex, give a couple quick licks, and demand that their jaws are tired.

And, finally, that kind of crap makes it almost impossible to become competent at it. I've benefited from girlfriends who were willing to actually tell me what I was going wrong and right. It's kind of like in a D/S relationship, you can't learn to be a good sub if you've never had a dom who was willing to actually teach.


I find myself in absolute agreement with everything you said. And, not for nothing, but anyone who can quote TVtropes is just fantastic.

I will say,
Posted by Seldon2639 on April 8, 2010 at 9:58 AM · Report this
A gay friend wore this shirt to a concert and it was subtle enough only to attract wanted attention.

"The Other Team" T-shirt:…
Posted by amazonblue on April 8, 2010 at 10:43 AM · Report this
*standing ovation*

Dan, you knocked it out of the park in this column.

YES to your response to SANA. Great sex is where both partners are being a little bit selfish and insisting on what they want. You feed off your partner's pleasure, and it ends up turning into this perpetual pleasure loop of awesomeness. What SANA was describing to us was sexual apathy.

And YES YES YES to JB. I've heard the theories about how snooping is always wrong, but I've just never thought it's that bad. Obviously, you don't want a paranoid, obsessive, abusive partner who checks up on your every move, and anyone who fits that description should be dumped immediately. But a little casual perusal of the emails once in awhile? Meh. I've done it, and as you say, Dan, I assume my husband's done it. I've never found anything out of the ordinary, and have never expected to.

Why do people hold their romantic partners to these impossible ideals? Who are these couples who've been together for 60 years, and neither partner has cheated or even fantasized about another person, neither has even masturbated, neither has snooped on the other, neither has lied to the other, neither has taken advantage of the other's money or time or good nature, ever, ever, for 60 years? Well, those couples don't exist, and anyone mean enough not to allow a little give and take in their relationship isn't in it for the long haul.
Posted by MichelleZB on April 8, 2010 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Oof, yah, the snooping thing - complete BS. The number of rationalizations on display are really impressive.

I've been snooped on, been in two serious LTRs where there was a constant need due to their own insecurities for my partners to constantly poke and prod for reassurance, and then ultimately to snoop. One was so bad about it, she'd clearly and obviously do it, then lie about it, AFTER I'd volunteered the information, no snooping involved! I'll tell you what it does: snooping lets your partner know you don't trust them and don't accept them at face value for who they are. They will eventually meet your expectations.

I have NEVER felt the need to invade my partner's privacy or go poking around. I TRUST that my partner tells me things and shares things with me. There is not much privacy in an LTR, as someone noted, but that is a function of each person choosing to be open and share.

I'm sorry: it's a direct reflection of trust and the sense of openness in the relationship. If you don't feel your SO is telling you what is going on or giving you enough information, you don't obtain it by snooping around on them - you come out and ask them. If you don't feel they are capable of being open with you that way, DTMFA. Plain and simple.

I like a lot of your advice Dan, but there is just no excuse for snooping, ever. This is now one of my immediate no-go red flags. The first hint of that kind of crap, I'm outta there.

@SANA: I feel your frustration, I'm trying to deal with this myself, right now. The sex just isn't really working, even though the rest of the relationship is phenomenal. I have just started down the 'getting selfish' path myself...we'll see. Good Luck!
Posted by knkycva on April 8, 2010 at 11:37 AM · Report this
"Sure, better to end a relationship than have one conversation that could clear up confusion."

Hahaha...and yet, you aren't talking about having a conversation; you're talking about avoiding a conversation and poking around.

@BADGIRL - you are 100% spot on. I get why he's fucking aroud; why are you opting for a 'taken' guy?
Posted by knkycva on April 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM · Report this
I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, because I respect that point of view. But my boyfriend's reasoning (kind of similar to yours) is that he has "trust issues", and always has had trouble trusting his girlfriends. Ok, so because YOU have an issue YOU need to work on, I have to hand over my phone, email account and anything else you deem to have any issue with? No, I'm sorry, that's unacceptable. You either stay out of my shit and respect my privacy or take a hike. There was one instance right after I caught him snooping where he asked if he could see my phone and look through my messages, I said absolutely. I appreciated that he asked. He came up to me later and asked, "Who's John? There's a text from him that says 'i'm bringing in Tri-Tip Friday, come prepared!'". I said, "umm, my 60 year old married boss John who you've met twice?". And then he asked "why are you giving your mom health advice, she's in great shape" or "So you might go to the lake with Brittany for spring break in two months?". I'm like really?! My text messages are not a blog, you didn't find anything incriminating and you're not my life commentator, STFU and you're never going through my phone again. I just think that once someone feels they have the right to snoop, they feel like they can have a hand in dictating and shaping your life, and even offer criticism and commentary like they have the right to.
However, 143 I can see your side. At the same, there was a mass text sent out by my ex bf whom I have no contact with that was a sexual joke and my bf thought it was directed at me. If he had never gone through my phone, it wouldn't be an issue. It was obviously innocent. All I know is if I catch him again, its a dealbreaker. Sorry this was so long, TMI.
Posted by Somerset Darling on April 8, 2010 at 12:01 PM · Report this
question:I'm a young, straight feminist male, and I've been dating my feminist girlfriend monogamously" ....

answer: you are a dickless fag. grow a pair you Bitch!!!
Posted by obamah8r on April 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM · Report this
The whole idea about "if you snoop, you deserve whatever you get" is bullshit. If I catch you cheating by reading your emails, and kick your dishonest unfaithful ass to the curb over it, the fault is not mine for snooping. Neither is it my fault if I find out you were cheating and you respond by kicking my overly inquisitive ass to the curb for daring to snoop in your email.

That argument only holds if I find out something that I don't like but is otherwise inocuous. Say, for example, I read my wife's diary, and found an entry where she was grousing about how she hates my favorite TV program and she thinks I'm juvenile for liking it. I don't have any right to get bent out of shape and start taking it out on her, going on about how she doesn't respect me. It's not like she is sharing nastiness about me behind my back to our friends. That diary is private space for her to vent.

The fault would also be mine if I snooped and found you completely innocent, and then you found out about it and got mad.

But if you actually have something to hide, you have no moral high ground to stand on when you get found out.
Posted by avast2006 on April 8, 2010 at 12:37 PM · Report this
"If you don't feel your SO is telling you what is going on or giving you enough information, you don't obtain it by snooping around on them - you come out and ask them. If you don't feel they are capable of being open with you that way, DTMFA. Plain and simple."

Translation: you dump them based on your gut feeling that they are lying to you, rather than investigating enough to figure out whether they are actually innocent, and you are just being a paranoid asshole. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Look, if your spidey-sense goes off and you FIND something, then obviously it was real, and you dump them. To quote somebody: Plain and simple.

If your spidey-sense is going off constantly, and you never find anything, maybe you are the one with the problem, and you should get some therapy. Ok, or possibly they are just better at hiding their shit than you are at finding it, but you should at least consider the possibility that you are being paranoid. If you are constantly grilling them about it, that can't be good for the relationship either. If you just up and decide you can't trust their answers, maybe you are giving in to your own inability to trust, rather than their untrustworthiness.

If you snoop just for the fun of it, you are an asshole and they should dump you.
Posted by avast2006 on April 8, 2010 at 1:04 PM · Report this
@147: I am married too, alas. My husband believes sex is a male-orgasm only sport. Yes, yes, I know I shouldn't have married him, but hindsight is 20/20, and if I could only relive my life :(. However, there are children involved now, so I must go elsewhere to get my sexual needs met. The situation is far from ideal, but I am making do the best I can.
Posted by badgirl on April 8, 2010 at 1:43 PM · Report this
BmuthafuckinRad 153
There are two red herrings here that have nothing to do with the substance of the issues. They are feminism and snooping.

In the first case, a person shoots down a partner for discussing a relatively common and not really extreme CONSENSUAL role-playing fantasy, classifies him as sick and offers to help cure him of it. That's not GGG, it's not partnership; it's close-minded and adversarial. Feminism is not the issue.

In the other, a man found out that he was dating an actual PROSTITUTION WHORE. She concealed this from him, thereby robbing him of his personal and sexual sovereignty regarding what kind of relationship he wished to be involved in. How he found out is not the issue.

Tonight is Cheap Top Shelf Vodka Night™ in Bellingham, but that's not the issue either!
Posted by BmuthafuckinRad on April 8, 2010 at 1:49 PM · Report this

"Translation: you dump them based on your gut feeling that they are lying to you, rather than investigating enough to figure out whether they are actually innocent, and you are just being a paranoid asshole. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense."

Um, yeah, in fact, it does make a lot of sense. I take it you've never been on the non-paranoid end of a relationship with a paranoid controller?

If you don't feel you can trust the person, don't trust them. If you think your spouse is lying, demand to see the proof, in a conversation with them. Staying with someone when you don't feel you can trust them is really not acceptable, for them or for you. You owe it to them and to yourself to find a way to negotiate a solution openly, or break up.

Snooping is the same thing as Sneaking around and Cheating: avoiding dealing with the issue - trying to do it covertly.
Posted by knkycva on April 8, 2010 at 2:01 PM · Report this

I understand...situation has been easier for me, no kiddies involved. Well, hope you are both enjoying!
Posted by knkycva on April 8, 2010 at 2:04 PM · Report this
You can't force a liar to tell you the truth by demanding it in a conversation. They're liars, their thing is not telling you anything. Sometimes the only way to know the truth about your own life is by snooping, when its info you have a right to know and they are keeping it from you. And you do have a right to know what you're being exposed to.
Posted by Karey on April 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM · Report this
For once, I have to say I disagree with Dan's quick anylysis about the feminist man. Perhaps he will have to DTMFA, but first I think he should be encouraged to share some sex positive literature with her that may make her understand where he's coming from. He uses the word "young" to describe himself, so it stands to reason that she is, too. Many young women are very naive and fearful of sexuality, even if they think they have all of the answers. Some deeper exploration may help both of them gorw into their desires sooner than later.
Posted by Thanks,Dan! on April 8, 2010 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Feminism: sigh. I've had a troubled relationship with the word, too. I'm better at extreme sports than most guys I know and in getting there have spent QUITE a bit of time thinking about gender roles (try being a teenage girl in a jump park; you'll see what I mean).

This is one of my favorite rants ever about the use of the word, idea, etc these days: (read her March 11 post)

Pretty much the idea that thank GOD feminism got us where it did today, but these days many people who actually use with the word spend a little bit more time whining and ranting and a little less time actually using their strong femaleness to you know, do shit. It's funny, well written, and highly recommended for anyone.
Posted by Jo on April 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM · Report this
I see SANA & guy as a pair of bottoms not realizing they are both search for a top?
Posted by Nuclear Marc on April 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM · Report this
What if a guy you previously dated pops out of the woodwork and writes you an inappropriate email/facebook message, etc? A guy you have absolutely no desire to speak with anymore.

Then your boyfriend snoops through your email before you can see it. Hmmm, he's probably not going to like what he sees.

Whereas if your boyfriend DIDN'T snoop, you can simply ignore the email, delete it, or tell the guy to fuck off, which you were going to do in the first place. I don't see why your boyfriend would have to know about something like that. It's like telling your boyfriend about every guy that hits on you.

It's things like this that your boyfriend really doesn't need to know, and snooping will only bring rise to suspicion and insecurity due to misunderstanding. There should be honesty in a relationship, yes, but there is such a thing as TMI and occasional white lies. And what about respect? You don't go through someone's shit without asking. End of story.

Posted by hai on April 8, 2010 at 4:27 PM · Report this

As with everything, there's an illogical extreme that it can be taken to. But, I think there's a difference between "I'm going to look through her things for evidence she's being unfaithful" and "I'm going to be completely paranoid".

Wanting to know what your significant other is doing is one thing. I don't think it's unreasonable to say (either verbally or non-verbally) "I want to see who you're e-mailing, and know who those people are", and not go insane about it. Your boyfriend takes paranoia to a whole new level, though.

There's a difference between wanting to verify your fidelity, and wanting to control you. It's possible to desire one without desiring the other.


Speaking as a top, I'd not want either SANA or (if I swung that way) her boyfriend as a bottom. The worst bottoms I've ever had are the ones who don't actually know how to vocalize what they want (even if their top doesn't give it to them). The best bottoms I've ever had are the ones who know what they like, and while they enjoy being commanded/serving, aren't complete push-overs.


Yeah, but the reverse is true. What if you are interested in your ex, and the "inappropriate message" is really part of a long-term correspondence leading up to you cheating?

Yes, it's possible to catch an innocent person in the trap of snooping. But what about the guilty person getting away with it because you "respect" her? My best friend was cheated on, because his girlfriend (whom he respected, and loved, and didn't snoop on) still had feelings for her ex.

So, yes, if you're completely faithful, and in no way guilty of anything, you shouldn't be snooped on. If you're guilty, and unfaithful, and a heinous bitch, you should be snooped on?

How do you tell the difference prior to snooping?

And, not for nothing, but I'd think any girlfriend who truly cares about her boyfriend would rather have him snoop on a cheater, than be cheated on without his knowledge. Would you really want any man (or woman) you care about to be cheated on and not find out?

A good relationship can recover from the "ex message" if that's really all it is. A good relationship can actually improve due to the girlfriend showing the boyfriend that he can trust her.

I'd rather my girlfriend know that I'm someone she can trust, than force her to accept that she just has to trust me. If I'm not doing anything wrong, I want her to see my facebook profile, my e-mail, my texts. And if an ex decides to send an inappropriate message, I can explain what's up to my girlfriend.
Posted by Seldon2639 on April 8, 2010 at 5:29 PM · Report this
154: "I take it you've never been on the non-paranoid end of a relationship with a paranoid controller?"

So, now you are talking about what to do if your partner doesn't trust *you*. That's a completely different question than what to do if you don't trust your partner.

If you are the one getting snooped on constantly -- and you are innocent -- you have every right to get sick of the intrusions and break it off. But you would have the exact same reaction if your partner kept confronting you with suspicions that you had to successfully refute or else face breakup. Frankly, the first couple of conversations I would say, "Fine, look at my email. Will that satisfy you?" and the third or fourth time I would call it quits.

You can't demand that your partner provide proof that he isn't having an affair, or proof that he isn't lying. That's proving a negative, which isn't possible. Second, if you think they are lying, what makes you think they won't lie during that conversation? If you think it's maybe just a misunderstanding, maybe that conversation will clear everything up, but if you are far enough along to think that they are lying to you, you've gained NOTHING by talking to them about it.

If you are the one getting snooped on, and you actually get caught hiding something of genuine significance -- like the fact that you are a working prostitute -- you still don't have a leg to stand on. Privacy is not permission to conceal things of material importance. It doesn't matter how you got caught.

I'm not saying snooping is perfectly okay at any time. Just sometimes -- hopefully rarely -- it is warranted.
Posted by avast2006 on April 8, 2010 at 5:46 PM · Report this
160: "Whereas if your boyfriend DIDN'T snoop, you can simply ignore the email, delete it, or tell the guy to fuck off, which you were going to do in the first place."

If this was the only thing that had occurred, your boyfriend wouldn't be feeling the need to snoop in the first place, unless he's a paranoid asshole. Chances are very good that you would have trashed that email without him ever knowing, exactly as you state. Unless he is checking regularly -- and he shouldn't be; I have never advocated that people should conduct routine digging expeditions without cause -- the likelihood that he conducts a random check during the precise window that this one email remains unhandled is slim to none.

Second, if that was the only message that turned up, that is precisely the sort of thing that can be explained in an amicable conversation, especially if you follow up by actually doing what you had promised and telling the ex to shove off, preferably cc'ing Current Boyfriend so that both of them know you are serious about being unavailable.
Posted by avast2006 on April 8, 2010 at 6:01 PM · Report this
SANA: Sometimes the key to making it good is to figure out how to have an awesome time yourself. Your enthusiasm will rub off. :) If your boyfriend is a giver that means you can give through the act of taking!

Re: snooping. I disagree with Dan. You can't choose not to fart anymore than you can choose not to be a primate. Most people can't choose not to fantasize about other people any more than you can choose not to eat or breathe. But anybody can choose not to snoop. It's as simple as not doing it. Reading emails isn't the biggest deal, I will allow. But snooping in general is a bad sign. I know if my SO's ever read my diary, for example, or a private letter, it would be relationship over immediately.
Posted by Brie on April 8, 2010 at 6:04 PM · Report this
@133: That's a pretty disjointed as all hell post, but what I think you're attempting to imply is that because I don't think a fetish makes you a bad person or that you need to be "cured" for having it, that means I'm bad in bed and abuse women? That's one hell of an ad hominem AND a non sequitur. I'd be impressed if it weren't so dumb.

You can have rape fantasies and not be a rapist. You can have a dom/sub fantasy without being abusive. You cannot have a fulfilling sex life if your partner thinks the things that get your gears turning is "sick" and "needs to b cured". If you think otherwise, you are objectively wrong.
Posted by Yawgmoth on April 8, 2010 at 6:22 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 166
RE: SANA... i think the LW is pretty young yet, and is just coasting along, sexually speaking. She just hasn't found the partner who will really turn her on, and she's oblivious to it because "you can't know what you don't know". If LW is going to stay with the current partner, she should try to be more selfish. While it sounds wrong to be selfish, in fact, getting what you want and/or need out of sex usually means that you are willing to take it to a higher level, and in order to do so, you have to put more effort into it.

As for not caring whether she or he orgasms, i think they are both either missing something HUGE, or they could just have low libidos. They might even be asexual, ie: the type of person who doesn't care whether they have sex or not. If this is the case, then they have struck gold and are a match, since neither one of them cares.

However, because the LW wrote in, enquiring about whether or not she is missing something, speaks volumes, and i daresay that she just hasn't had her bell rung yet.

My gut tells me that the LW needs and wants more, since she said that she has put forth ideas to her partner, which they have explored to her "minimal comfort"... why not maximal?? She also uses the word "meh" to describe sex, and it seems to me that the b/f might just be a lazy guy who just doesn't know how to fuck and doesn't care. I blame him since he has had previous partners, whereas the LW hasn't. It's not rocket science.

#23 is right - the LW needs to get out there and find someone who will satisfy her fully. Good luck!
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 8, 2010 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 167
@ 165 ...i feel the need to correct something you said there about Dom/sub relationships. Not all D/s relationships are abusive. I think you might be confusing D/s with S&M, and these are 2 completely different areas, though i'm sure some D/s relationships might incorporate some S&M into sex, just as some S&M relationships incorporate some D/s into theirs.

But please do not mix up and confuse others by making a blanket statement that D/s relationships include a level of abuse. This is misleading.
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 8, 2010 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 168
@ FRF - i feel for people who cannot voice their sexual desires to their partner for fear of being ridiculed and worse, told they are sick.

My ex wouldn't allow me to say the word "fuck" during sex (or at all) and as a result, i felt totally unaccepted and "shut up" while in bed because i was afraid to even open my mouth, for fear that something unacceptable to him would pop out. Of course, now i know that he was a puritanical prude, and that's why he couldn't understand why anyone would want to speak during sex. That's why he's the ex.

But FRF, your partner should have at the very least, tried to fulfill some of your fantasies with and for you, in a loving, supportive, and nonjudgmental way. Otherwise, how can either of you ever know what the hell is wrong when things DO go wrong, once there are many turn downs and turn offs from her, enough to cause you to start looking for someone who will support you and try to give you what you wish?
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 8, 2010 at 7:19 PM · Report this
@ LFL: that's so forward you might get some crazies. try a shirt that says something like "lesbians are more fun" or something
Posted by nursekelso on April 8, 2010 at 7:40 PM · Report this
@91 Tell me about it. I dated a feminist guy when I was in university and made the mistake one evening of telling him about *my* rough sex fantasies. He was absolutely horrified and insisted that I must have been abused at some point in my past and repressed the memory of it. After several months of boring sex and repeated attempts at amateur psychoanalysis, I ended up dumping his ass.
Posted by Sex+Feminist on April 8, 2010 at 8:52 PM · Report this
i don't snoop thru my husband's email and i assume he doesn't snoop thru mine.
Posted by wa on April 9, 2010 at 12:15 AM · Report this
LFL: Your t-shirt might not always attract "Lesbifriends", but your wicked sense of humour does! If the exchange rate wasn't so bad, I'd be on a plane to Chicago.
Posted by Kiwi on April 9, 2010 at 12:52 AM · Report this
hexalm 173
Regarding the (red herring) issue of feminism & fucking, I'm reminded of this stuff:…
(and… )

Some "feminist males" basically defer to women to a ridiculous degree--it's silly, and really isn't even feminism.

I don't know if I count as a feminist male--I'm all about equality and deconstructing assumptions about gender, etc--I do that with everything though. My girlfriend is probably more feminist than me (little bit more vested interest from being female?), but she is less assertive, in general, and maybe even defers to me too often. Ideals don't have to take precedence in *everything*.

Any feminist leanings I/we have don't really enter into the sex though--it basically just helps me in knowing how not to be a dick and how not to follow idiot assumptions about genders/sex(es) (like "men always want it", for starters). And I'm confident that if I wanted to pursue any rough fantasies, they'd be treated as just that: fantasies.

(And my balls are plenty intact, thanks, but they really don't have much bearing on things apart from hormone/semen/sperm production. And how I sit down and how much room I like in the crotch of my pants, because anyone with testicles can tell you they're fidgety buggers.)
Posted by hexalm on April 9, 2010 at 1:23 AM · Report this
@Geequeer Don't feel to secure, simple keystroke logging will get around the protections you describe.
Posted by a skeptic and a cynic on April 9, 2010 at 5:11 AM · Report this
SANA: Read the Karma Sutra, or the Joy of Sex, etc. Your question was a bit tame for Dan, woulda been better off writing Dear Abby...
Posted by TKinA2 on April 9, 2010 at 6:15 AM · Report this
To snoop (from wiktionary)
1. To be devious and cunning so as not to be seen
2. To secretly spy on or investigate, especially into the private personal life of others.

By the definition of the word, openly reading through your partners emails, texts, and whatever, is not snooping. Finding incriminating evidence by accident while doing so is not snooping. Hiding the fact that you are reading your SO's emails, lying to him or her about it, is snooping. In my opinion, if you feel the need to go that far, there's probably already something seriously wrong with the relationship (though the fault may be yours for being too paranoid and insecure). Of course, exceptions do exist, maybe the SO is being all strange and secretive because he/she is planning some sort of special event or something.

On the other hand, I do see snooping as justified if you have a reasonable suspicion; this goes for both relationships, friends and your kids, really. The keyword here is reasonable, not suspicion. It's a bit like how the police must have search warrants to search your property, only you're both judge and executioner.

I'm still no fan of sharing sharing any sort of communication with a partner. Not because of what she could potentially learn about me, though. Rather, it's due to what she could potentially learn about those I correspond with, information that has been told to me in confidence. I know plenty of things about friends that they wouldn't want just anybody to know about, both of the purely embarrassing kind and of the kind that could cause problems or even get them into trouble if the right people knew. Some of this is, I'm sure, to be found in my email, chat logs or texts.

You can argue that any partner of mine has a right to know any information pertaining to me and my relationship with her. I am inclined to agree, assuming a serious long-term relationship. You can't argue that a partner of mine has any right to know private information about my friends or other correspondents; in fact, sometimes sharing such information would even be illegal (and, yeah, some of the information I know would go under that category, but I don't have that written down anywhere, and anyway it's probably so low-grade and so old by now I wouldn't face any sort of reprecussions).
Posted by Thomas on April 9, 2010 at 7:24 AM · Report this
To snoop (from wiktionary)
1. To be devious and cunning so as not to be seen
2. To secretly spy on or investigate, especially into the private personal life of others.

By the definition of the word, openly reading through your partners emails, texts, and whatever, is not snooping. Finding incriminating evidence by accident while doing so is not snooping. Hiding the fact that you are reading your SO's emails, lying to him or her about it, is snooping. In my opinion, if you feel the need to go that far, there's probably already something seriously wrong with the relationship (though the fault may be yours for being too paranoid and insecure). Of course, exceptions do exist, maybe the SO is being all strange and secretive because he/she is planning some sort of special event or something.

On the other hand, I do see snooping as justified if you have a reasonable suspicion; this goes for both relationships, friends and your kids, really. The keyword here is reasonable, not suspicion. It's a bit like how the police must have search warrants to search your property, only you're both judge and executioner.

I'm still no fan of sharing sharing any sort of communication with a partner. Not because of what she could potentially learn about me, though. Rather, it's due to what she could potentially learn about those I correspond with, information that has been told to me in confidence. I know plenty of things about friends that they wouldn't want just anybody to know about, both of the purely embarrassing kind and of the kind that could cause problems or even get them into trouble if the right people knew. Some of this is, I'm sure, to be found in my email, chat logs or texts.

You can argue that any partner of mine has a right to know any information pertaining to me and my relationship with her. I am inclined to agree, assuming a serious long-term relationship. You can't argue that a partner of mine has any right to know private information about my friends or other correspondents; in fact, sometimes sharing such information would even be illegal (and, yeah, some of the information I know would go under that category, but I don't have that written down anywhere, and anyway it's probably so low-grade and so old by now I wouldn't face any sort of reprecussions).
Posted by Thomas on April 9, 2010 at 7:25 AM · Report this

Is that what 165 said? Unless I am very confused, I think he said that there ISN'T an inherent level of abuse in a d/s relationship (just as there isn't in an S&M relationship, btw).
Posted by ummmmm....... on April 9, 2010 at 7:56 AM · Report this
Right on Dan! I completely agree w/ your response to JB!
Posted by Madison on April 9, 2010 at 8:21 AM · Report this
I got busted by a snooping girlfriend's MOTHER whoops! who read my non-password protected journal and reported on my crimes. Let's see: I sniffed the panties of a lovely tenant who seemed rather intent on leaving them around for me. I did not fuck said goddess when she propositioned me. No medals for that unfortunately. I got together with an old fling for whom I had no emotional attachment. She liked to be watched as she masturbated. I watched, fingered her, and jerked off onto her ass. All out of a mix of boredom and horniness during a time when my girl and I were long distance. Meant zero to me. I watched porn. I vented about the negatives in my life. I rarely indicated in my journal how deeply I loved my girlfriend (although I certainly told her so in person). When she dumped me it took awhile to figure out what had caused her abrupt and severe departure. She never did fess up. My opinion is that this snooping didn't accomplish much besides wrecking what was actually a wonderful relationship. I know I had never rummaged through my gf's computer or files when I had access to them, which was often. Yes, I take the steps to protect my privacy now -- but would I want to be with someone who felt it okay to snoop through my emails or journal? Doubtful. Would it be acceptable to bug the office of ones partner's therapist? And judge him/her for what one overheard during the course of therapy? There are some struggles that we fight on our own. It's a shit show and not for public consumption. I think one of the worst aspects of snooping is that it favors liars and sneaks. Those who cover their tracks don't get caught out.
Posted by EastCoastDude on April 9, 2010 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 181
@ 178... what i read into 165's comment is that it is *assumed* that abuse goes hand-in-hand with a D/s relationship. Just clarifying my own take on what 165 said. But i've been known to be wrong....... :)
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 9, 2010 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 182
@ 180... here we have it, what's at the bottom of this whole racket of male vs female. 180 says that he jerked off and fingered a woman "and it meant nothing" to him. He is a stud dude and will repeat this behaviour without a second thought to whomever he is dating at the time.

However, the woman he fingered and jerked onto is viewed by (a segment of) society as a slut-whore-airhead nothing who allowed a casual sexual encounter and therefore is untrustworthy and "dirty", beneath us.

Just sayin'..... society dictates "norms" and men have different standards to live by than women do, but my own opinion of it is that it makes no sense.
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 9, 2010 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Bluejean Baby: I think 165 was implying that d/s relationships have the *appearance* of abuse (physical, emotional, or otherwise), but not the *substance* of it, just like someone acting out a rape fantasy has the appearance of rape, but not the substance of it. I suspect most d/s stuff would be considered abuse of some kind if the s partner was not a cheerful and willing participant.
Posted by Melissa Trible on April 9, 2010 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Feminists are not the ones that gave feminism a bad name - it has been the right wing spin on it that has been swallowed by so many. The whole "politically correct" thing was started by reactionary conservatives that did not like non-white males asserting themselves. There is a wide spectrum of feminists; which includes both straight and gay men. In the end it is just a word.
Posted by djbear on April 9, 2010 at 10:38 AM · Report this
You know, I'm all for fantasies, but if a guy told me he fantasized about groping women on the subway I would be turned the fuck off.

You know why? Because for an awful lot of men, the fantasy becomes reality, resulting in every single woman I know who regularly uses public transportation being groped, flashed, fondled, pressed against and masturbated on at least once from the age of 10 up. So while it may seem kinky and risqué to some guy who watches too much anime, it's gross, boner-killing reality for most women. Sorry dude. (And I know that may not have been his actual fantasy, just a test, but it's akin to asking your girlfriend how she'd feel if you followed her down a dark alley at night sucking your teeth at her and saying you'd like to fuck her ass, so why doesn't she give you her number? It's just too close to real life).
Posted by Shazaam on April 9, 2010 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Bluejean Baby, I usually find your comments insightful, but I think you missed the mark @182.
I would think that watching, fingering, and jerking off on would likely be considered by most as outside of a monogamous relationship boundaries. The slut-whore-airhead and society dictated 'norms' don't fit with my read of the information you refer to. I think the 'segment of society' you refer to would be pretty small in this case.
EastCoastDude may think his behaviour was OK, but you are casting the net a littele too wide with your comments IMO.
Posted by BTR on April 9, 2010 at 2:16 PM · Report this
@3 oh you big hot hunk of steaming love-man action, please please please please give it to me harder, harder,harder
Posted by maddogm13 on April 9, 2010 at 2:53 PM · Report this
If feminists wanted specifically to not be identified with "radical feminists," it would be useful for them to come together and label the radical feminists as something other than "feminist."

My scholarly work is specifically in the region of Indo-European Linguistics, which possesses a pretty fantastic history of being used and misused to predicate notions of "Aryan" as being anything other than an old word for "Iranian" and justify the wholesale slaying of millions in the Second World War. That is, few enough in the European academic establishment possessed the will to stand against their less ethical colleagues, as it may have meant being ostracized, assaulted, or murdered themselves. So indeed "the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise."

That said, this is a small issue. If I were to read the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and content myself to think him right in everything he says, I would be copying the summation of all the man's beliefs and postulations without possessing within myself the circumstances and experiences to justify them. So also is it a bad son that does not extend beyond the teachings and knowledge his own father imparted to him; it betrays an intellectual dishonesty and laziness to not build upon and refine the true bits and to reject utterly the wrong. But, fathers are not the only sort of people who can educate; you can learn quite a bit by reading Jean-Paul Sartre, in fact. So the same applies.

So does feminism not possess exclusively all the postulates and tenets of its value system; so someone professing an agreement with some of the core beliefs of feminism is not necessarily a feminist. It is a mistake, I think, to receive such a label, should you not have been a founder of feminism, or otherwise a happy slave free to say "this is enough" when reading its teachings--this laziness is comparable with the man who takes the King James Bible and holding it aloft saying "this is enough."

Books are very good things, but it is a bad thing to hold them in such utter esteem, much less just one or two--that is, using "books" as a symbol for whatever system of belief elucidated within.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on April 9, 2010 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Hey Cvilletop, #146, you say you were in two relationships where your partner felt so insecure she needed to poke, prod and snoop to reassure herself. Ever consider that you might be the problem? Being with someone, in my book, is about accepting them for who they are and giving them what they need. Is she insecure? Well maybe give her a little extra love and reassurance, rather than making her work so hard for it. You've never felt the need to snoop on anyone? Goody for you, you're self confident. Not everyone is lucky enough to be that way. I snooped on my boyfriend once, and he caught me and it sucked and I'll never do it again, but I wouldn't have done it if he hadn't been cold and distant. I wouldn't have done it if he had answered the questions I asked him, directly. So all in all, I'd say the pain the snooping caused us both was his fault as much as mine.
Posted by harmonyrocket on April 9, 2010 at 5:36 PM · Report this
180 is a prime example of why people snoop and why its justified.
Posted by Karey on April 9, 2010 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Feminism is supposed to be about equal rights for both sexes. There is nothing wrong with a little consensual role playing about non-consent. I'm a woman, a feminist, and I wouldn't be offended by that suggestion. Then again, I think I'd be TERRIBLE at rape scene roleplay. It'd go something like this:

Him, grabbing my wrists and pinning me to the floor: I'm gonna fuck you so hard whether you like it or not!

Me: Yes! That sounds awesome! Oops, sorry. I mean, please don't!

Him: Um, let's just cuddle.
Posted by RiotGrrl on April 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM · Report this
For SANA's letter, this kind of hits close to home. This is either written by my now ex-gf or someone who has a relationship way too similar to what mine was. But just for fun I'll pretend that this was about my relationship that ended a day before this was printed. For me, the reason that I was satisfied with our sex life, I don't remember saying "nothing" but whatever, was that as close to each other we lived, the sex was so scarce that I was content with what I was getting. Yes, all I wanted to do was satisfy my partner which got me off. I have lots of fantasies, a lot that I have dropped hints about. Dan has always said that if someone says that they might like something to their partner, chances are they are really into it. I guess I just wasn't as clear about it. And if this wasn't written by my ex, take some advice from me, he might be telling you what he wants, just not directly, so read between the lines.
Posted by YouProbablyKnowWho on April 9, 2010 at 7:28 PM · Report this
Oh, god. I am so incredibly tired of sexist 'feminists' who try to label anyone who doesn't enjoy lily-white vanilla sex (including women) as evil, women-hating bastards. I hope Dan saved this one poor guy from falling into that trap.

@LOL: Hey, if I still lived in Chicago, and I ran into you wearing that shirt, I would totally hit on you. Just saying. Maybe I'll run into you at IO or Too Much Light someday?
Posted by purity_of_intent on April 9, 2010 at 8:45 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 194
@ 186 ...BTR, thank you for your compliments, i appreciate that :) I think i was up on my soap box there with my #182 comment. When a man says "it meant nothing to me", i see red. So, with the red now gone, i see that i really over reacted, and you're right, my net was cast way too wide. I apologize.
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 9, 2010 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 195
@ 186, thank you BTR, for your compliments, and i think i over reacted when i read what the guy said in post #180: "it meant zero to me". I agree that my net was cast way wide. I apologize.
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 196
LOL at this system, when it tells you that the webpage has expired and it seems as though your comment was lost, so you go and retype your comment, repost it, and ~voila~ there are BOTH of your comments. Oh well :)
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 9, 2010 at 8:53 PM · Report this
@192 I wasn't going to chime in here in the comments, but your response made me want to respond.

I'm "SANA", for reals (I guess you can believe me or not), and unless my boyfriend broke up with me without telling me (and has been secretly living less than 450 miles away), I'm not your ex. I'm really sorry that you guys broke up, especially if your situation is as similar and you were together for 4 years like my boyfriend and I. I'm taking all this advice to heart (except for "sleeping with others" from way up, I'm upsettingly monogamous). I don't think he's been hinting at things too subtly for me to notice, but I will definitely pay more attention. I'm scared to death of losing this amazing man because of sexual apathy (on one or both of our parts), so I'm going to try to make this work.

Take care of yourself <3
Posted by SANA on April 9, 2010 at 9:13 PM · Report this
I think I will go into business designing t-shirts to attract others. It could be 2 women stick figures holding hands or a little rainbow like an alligator on the chest, or two interlocking woman symbols, or I heart women (or girls) and on and on. I might even make a pretty good living at it.
Posted by tshirt on April 9, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this
Hey SANA, my situation was almost scary similar, she is 24 and we had been together for 4 years. The amount of miles between you makes it totally different, I can almost walk to her house faster than driving. But take Dan's advice, grow some chic balls and take some control. I'm not into dom/sub stuff but I loved it when she took some initiative and told me what to do or she did on her own, even though I could totally get her off on my own. Your last part about losing the man of your dreams, don't let it happen, regardless of sexual attraction, since we both came to love all the same things. Hopefully on my side she comes to realize this.

Thanks for showing some support, hope all goes well.
Posted by YouProbablyKnowWho on April 10, 2010 at 12:05 AM · Report this
Regarding FRF and his gf, I'm very young, feminist with a feminist dude (thanks, to all you who are callin him a dickless fag, he certainly wants to be sometimes), and I understand her reaction. Here would be the reaction that would best fit everyone: his desires (which aren't, btw, a low-key groping fantasy in reality - theyre rape play, pretty hardcore) ARE sick. and hot. and so sick. and they make him feel sick and disgusting. theyre naughty and bad, and totally hot.

that's how i can live with it.
Posted by judy111 on April 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM · Report this

I most certainly was part of the problem: I was picking very insecure people. I was drawn to people where that was the dynamic. It was not healthy (a kind of co-dependent dance), and it was as much my problem as theirs - it always takes two to tango. After a couple of years of therapy and some hard looking at myself, I now watch carefully for those red flags.

You are quite right: if you are in a relationship with someone, you need to accept them for who they are, warts and all, or move along. I now choose move along when I come up against that dynamic.

All of these people defending snooping keep circling back to this fundamental rationale: "I found something and that justified the snooping". The ends do not justify the means. Dumping your partner because they are a slimeball/cheat/whatever has NOTHING to do with how you find out they are a slimeball/cheat/whatever. There is no "retroactive" vindication. If you have a reason to be suspicious, then you should directly confront your partner with it. If you think they are calling someone on the side, ask to see their call logs/IMs/emails/etc....tell them you think they are cheating...their response will tell you all you need to know.

I'm saying this: snooping is never needed. If you suspect your partner is being dishonest, drag it out in the open. If they are a liar, and cannot/will not come clean, decide whether or not you want to put up with their lying. This is hard, especially if you are married; especially if you have kids. I'm not being glib, or minimizing the misery that people whose lives are intertwined with someone like this go through.

The process of doing this may - gasp - break up the relationship! Are you trying to say you want a relationship with someone who is a liar, or rather, leaves you FEELING like they are? What's going on there? You afraid to show your doubt to your partner? Is it better to let the innocent partner keep behaving in ways that leave you doubt them? Are you afraid to face that you are insecure, or to tell them to shape up and quit behaving like a jerk (I may well have been the problem in this way too).

For those conflating the issue of children with partners: they aren't the same thing! There are a different set of expectations of privacy with children and partners! The parent/child relationship starts out about a 'lopsided' as it can get, and there is zero notion of privacy of any kind. You don't generally start out your relationship with a PEER partner by changing their diapers. Children earn privacy as they grow and demonstrate their ability to become independent, healthy, functioning adults.

Yes I agree with Dan: we are all human, and we are all weak and we all do things that are less than "perfect" all the time. So he's right: people WILL snoop. That does not make it OK. I disagree with Dan, because snooping is a form of avoidance of uncomfortable things and I find it sad that an evangelist for out-of-the-closet is tolerating it - perhaps his theme of acceptance of human frailty is bumping up against the value of living openly, the former being in the service of the latter.

And yes, I've been cheated on too. I knew it, even when I didn't want to admit it to myself, and stuck around until I was forced to admit it (seeing the evidence first hand, no snooping needed). It was miserable, and I wish I'd grown the balls to confront much earlier. That's what snooping is all about: lack of balls.
Posted by knkycva on April 10, 2010 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Ohhh, FRF. I wish you'd trade places with my feminist boyfriend.

I'm an activist/feminist/queer woman & pretty GGG. Unfortunately, my feminist boyfriend, even after years of open communication and exchange of kinky fantasies is still pretty vanilla. I'm sick of being asked, "Is this okay?" if I scream in bed. I'd rather he pull my hair, grab my throat and do things that would go on a police report if anyone else did them to me.

Posted by turbojugend on April 10, 2010 at 8:06 AM · Report this
Dan, I love you but you f*ed up big time on the snooping advice. It isn't just about violating your partner's trust--what about the trust and the privacy of all their correspondents?

When my sister, mother, girlfriends, colleagues etc. write to me they aren't writing to MY HUSBAND. And the same goes for his friends, colleagues, brother, colleagues, etc.

Several of my friends share email accounts with their husbands and that totally squicks me out and inhibits what I write to them.

This is equivalent to listening in surreptitiously on someone's phone conversation. When you do that, you are not just violating the privacy of the person in question but the persont they are speaking to, which is why this is illegal in many states.

It is unethical behavior. Period.

Finally, people in relationships--ESPECIALLY married people -- need space. My husband already owns access to a huge chunk of my brain and vice versa, but I need places/spaces -- and so does he--where I can express myself WITHOUT thinking about its impact on him in areas that have nothing to do with him.

I don't need to read his e-mail and don't want to and vice versa--we each have to let some part of ourselves exist apart from the other. I can't imagine any relationship lasting for any period of time without some space for autonomy.
Posted by surprisedreader on April 10, 2010 at 10:13 AM · Report this
SANA, my boyfriend and I are similar, especially my boyfriend. We both take more pleasure out of giving pleasure. My boyfriend is really frustrating and says a lot after he gets me off that I don't have to do anything for him. In response I let him continue pleasuring me and let him know it feels good with lots of moaning and verbal responses. This generally helps turn him on enough that he'll ket me near his junk. At which point I start giving him an awesome blow job (you can find good tips online), and we all go home happy. Also, for the couple who loves giving each other pleasure I recommend sixty nineing.
Posted by ED20 on April 10, 2010 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Dan: That is totally fucked up that you snoop in your BF's email. Period, end of story. I would dump your ass so fast your dick would fall off.
Posted by Dana on April 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Bluejean Baby 206
@204... may i suggest that 69-ing is best done in a side-to-side position, where no one has to balance on top, thereby allowing greater comfort. It's an awesome 69 and it is the only time i cum when i've done 69 that way.
Posted by Bluejean Baby on April 10, 2010 at 2:34 PM · Report this
I don't know when it comes to "snooping" I don't think that constanly snooping looking to catch something becuase you or your partner don't trust each other is something that I expect nor is it something that I think is good. But then again I don't think that a boyfreind of mine would never snoop and scroll threw my text or emails if I left them open if I was distarnt or cuased them consern enough to do so, just like I would not expect them to never take a peak at a letter or pice of paper work I leave laying about the house. I kind of figuer if its not protected or out of site out of mind then yes at some point they will probly take a peak, it's just part of human nature.
Posted by BhamGuy on April 10, 2010 at 4:11 PM · Report this
i TOTALLY agree with Dan on snooping. it is simply going to happen; trying to point a finger and say "BUT BUT, HE/SHE SNOOPED!!" is completely beside the point when their snooping is justified. People lie. People come off as trustworthy but are actually doing horrible things behind your back: cheating/prostitution/drugs/etc. If you have nothing to hide, it isn't a problem, and the snooper will come away feeling like they had a concrete experience to justify their trust, and they will feel a little guilty for snooping and it probably won't happen again.

If intuition or circumstance or any other number of things lead someone to snoop and something horrible is found, then you're a lying bastard/whore, and that is a much bigger problem than reading an email. Quit defensively getting angry because someone is upset with you and take responsibility for the fact that you were trying to hide something, and got caught. If you aren't trustworthy, don't get into relationships built on the premise that you are. Grow up, people!
Posted by atrocita on April 10, 2010 at 8:15 PM · Report this
Totally on your side regarding FRF.

I'm a feminist. My husband of nearly 20 years is a feminist. We both get turned on by sex in which he is the dominating partner. He dominates during sex most of the time. I submit.

But guess what? As Dan says, it's *consensual.* Plus, sex accounts for a rather small percentage of even the friskiest couple's time together. For the vast majority of our time together, interactions are perfectly egalitarian.

He sounds nice. She doesn't. Dump her, FRF.
Posted by EyeLean on April 10, 2010 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Going to support Dan on the snooping, too.

I believe that liars invite snooping. They're fucking with their partners' reality. That's a major, major betrayal - much worse than the extra-curricular sex itself.

But people whose realities are being fucked with can't be fooled for long. At least not on the gut level. They know something's wrong. They try to ask about it and their partner will jack up the mental manipulation to new heights. The betrayed partner starts to feel like he or she is crazy.

This is a form of mental torture and the victim has EVERY RIGHT to put an end to it. He or she has a right to know what is real and what is a lie.

What would snooping-is-always-wrong people have them do? Ask again if they've been cheated on? How stupid can you get?

If you feel you're being driven mad, nothing is more right. Snoop! The truth will set you free.
Posted by EyeLean on April 10, 2010 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Bonefish 211
So far 184 has been the most spot-on about the whole feminism issue.

"Socialism" can refer to great places like modern-day Sweden (or even, arguably, Germany) or it can refer to Stalinist Russia and Maoist China. Sane people tend to recognize the spectrum that exists. Moron right-wingers just obsess over Stalin to discredit the whole philosophy and justify the injustices and inequalities inherent in unfettered capitalism.

"Environmentalism" can be a simple belief in humankind's obligation to conduct our affairs in a manner that is sustainable and harmless to the environment, or it can be the belief that the entire human race is a virus in need of extinction. Sane people recognize the spectrum that exists. Moron right-wingers focus on the nuts in a desperate attempt to discredit the movement and justify gross levels of consumption and waste.

Same thing with racial rights. You can have people who believe in racial equality and admit where we still have racial inequality, or you can have people who believe that whites (or whoever) are evil and need to be killed off. Idiot right-wingers like Glen Beck prefer to exaggerate the number and influence of the latter as a means of denying the racial inequalities that still exist, in an effort to justify their own racism.

It's the same thing with feminism. Everyone should know by now that feminism is a word that is used both by people who believe that biological differences should not dictate social standing, and by people who believe that men are all pigs and that women should all move to an island to be without men. I, for one, have never met anyone who believed the latter; let alone an entire organized movement of such people. Most people who use the word "feminist" (according to my observations) use it as a declaration that yes, they believe that the sexes should be equal and that gender stereotypes are invalid. Sounds pretty sane to me. Yes, women's rights are not the ONLY worthy cause; that's why many people who call themselves feminist can ALSO be environmentalists, AND anti-racist, AND pro-gay, AND anti-poverty. These things aren't antithetical to each other.

I guess that if someone wants to have some other word ("egalitarianism?") that claims to focus (and keep track of) all possible causes rather than owning more than one label at a time, fine. But even most egalitarianists are still going to see feminism as a valid sub-category of the causes that they believe in. They are not going to try and discredit feminism based their own exaggerations of its most extreme fringes. That's more likely to be done by, you guessed it: Moron right wingers who feel like they have to discredit the entire philosophy in order to justify their own out-dated opposition to its ACTUAL, basic, sane core tenets. After all, its much easier to go on blaming rape victims, or believing in long-disproven gender stereotypes, or voting to ban abortion (etc) when all the people who oppose these things are combat-boot-wearing, penis-severing man-haters. The problem is that it's just as stupid and just as unrealistic and still makes you look like just as much of an insecure pussy of a man. Or woman.
Posted by Bonefish on April 10, 2010 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Fuck this feminist bashing. Pathetic wimps, go find yourself the rest of the internet where you'll be met with open arms when you talk about all your frigid liberal exes, or conversely talk about the fuckability of Palin and Coulter. Please. Then reveal something about yourself – your race, sexual preferences, religion (or lack thereof), that you listen to Dan Savage – and wait for your own lame, half-assed critiques used against you.
Posted by Ken32 on April 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM · Report this
idiotROBOT 213
Pretty sure that adorable lesbian from Chicago is my soulmate. I'm 24 from Milwaukee, moving to Chicago. I love comedy/improv,and have a real hard time finding girls like me.
Posted by idiotROBOT on April 11, 2010 at 9:59 AM · Report this
a male feminist with a rape fantasy...there is nothing more paradoxical in this world
Posted by fanta@ on April 11, 2010 at 1:46 PM · Report this
Jesus H. Christ, I thought Savage Love was a column that was about reducing shame and encouraging communication. But say the dirty "f-word" and you get a raft of "progressives dumping a shit-load of shame on the "ball-less", etc FRF dude. And a shit load of blame on the girlfriend of the guy who wants to pretend to rape her.

Dan, your response blows (and of course, if there was not an inherent cuturally-based power dynamic, a shaming, in being penetrated in any way by a cock, that term would not have any meaning in this sentence).

You give some quick lip-service to the fact that some women may be "squicked-out" by playing rape victim. HEY DAN, MAYBE IT REMINDS HER OF BEING RAPED, which is not, believe me, the same as feeling "squick-y". Given the stats on sexual assault, there is a decent chance that this women has already actually been raped, has not yet been able to talk about it and that deserves consideration.

Maybe this young man misrepresented his girlfriend's reaction, as many dudes do when they are contradicted, so maybe, just maybe, she wanted to COMMUNICATE with him about this stuff and figure out where he is coming from in order to feel safe.

Based on this letter and your advice, it would seem that GGG applies only if it leads to some form of fucking, but if it's about actually looking at the what is underneath a desire or kink, if it is about going deeper in your dialogue with your significant other, the to hell with GGG; shame and punish the person for wanting to talk instead of playing "assaulted in public".

Bad job Dan.
Posted by LWin on April 11, 2010 at 2:23 PM · Report this
There are feminists with rape fantasies though it might be hard to find them. That's what the internet is for I think.
Posted by psst on April 11, 2010 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Hey dan, this is in response to your podcast 180 in which a guy's looking for mystery porn.
Well, he can log in to and get a list of porn from any random site (search for stumbleupon porn) and then with each click, he can have new and custom totally random porn! Mystery porn is now free and much more wide ranging.
The internet does not in fact ruin everything :p
Posted by Internet Mystery Porn on April 11, 2010 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Right on the mark, Dan, about snooping.

I'm more for cuddling anyway.
Posted by wileEcoyote on April 11, 2010 at 7:47 PM · Report this
Reading through the comments, I realize that my definition of snooping is different than most people's. In my seven year relationship, we don't consider reading each other's texts/emails/logs snooping- there's no account of his I don't have the ability to access and vice versa.

But that's the status quo that evolved early in our relationship. He needs more detail on a party we're invited to and the info is in my email? Just go check it yourself, dude. A friend IMed him directions to the restaurant we're meeting up at? I just pull it up. Same with texts, browsing history, whatever. It's all transparent and I can't imagine it any other way. It doesn't mean I comb through his shit or he examines mine in detail. There's just no expectation of "my personal life is none of your business".

Except the one year I actually thought of a good birthday present for him. I hid the email receipt for that one. :D
Posted by odd one out on April 11, 2010 at 8:26 PM · Report this
@203: "It isn't just about violating your partner's trust--what about the trust and the privacy of all their correspondents?"

Guess what? I am higher on my wife's hierarchy of trust and loyalty than her friends, family and associates. Likewise she to me. If I didn't rate higher than the rest of you, I wouldn't have married her. I would have stayed just a friend, just like the rest of her friends. I'm not merely her friend, I'm her partner. As partners, we have less right to hide things from each other than we have to hide things from you, who are not our partner, or to hide the secrets of our friends from each other.

Rank has its privileges. Get over it.

"Several of my friends share email accounts with their husbands and that totally squicks me out and inhibits what I write to them."

Good. You're learning.

"Finally, people in relationships--ESPECIALLY married people -- need space. "

I give her plenty of space. For the record, I have never felt the need to go snooping in my wife's email. However, there have been occasions where I have had to deal with something in her inbox. If you really need private space that you can vent into and be sure that your husband will never, ever need to see, buy a diary.

"I can't imagine any relationship lasting for any period of time without some space for autonomy."

Imagine a little harder. Or more accurately, take a harder look at your black-and-white definitions.
Posted by avast2006 on April 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM · Report this
Hardcore position: CPOS have no right to privacy they gave it up when they betrayed their partner. A person who can't be open and honest about their sexual needs should not be in a relationship. Any partner has the right to decide whether they want to be in a relationship and if the CPOS isn't willing to be honest then the partner has right to determine the true state of affairs by any means necessary. Of course the above only applies when there has been an actual breach of trust. If you're still dissatisfied with your relationship after discussing your sexual needs then just end it.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on April 11, 2010 at 8:55 PM · Report this
@221 Never but anything in writing (hard copy or electronic) that will damage or hurt your partner. There is always the possibility that your partner will read it, whether it be while your living or after you're dead. You should also consider the impact it would have if your parents, siblings, children, or grandchildren read whatever you wrote. If you really must vent, write it down and then destroy it. Venting to someone else puts you in their power and gives them control over your life.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on April 11, 2010 at 9:12 PM · Report this
@221 Never but anything in writing (hard copy or electronic) that will damage or hurt your partner. There is always the possibility that your partner will read it, whether it be while you're living or after you're dead. You should also consider the impact it would have if your parents, siblings, children, or grandchildren read whatever you wrote. If really must vent, write it down and then destroy it. Venting to someone else puts you in their power and gives them control over your life.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on April 11, 2010 at 9:16 PM · Report this
For 4 years I never ever thought to look at my boyfriend's emails or text messages. I wouldn't even go into his closet! But after enduring a total lack of affection and numerous nights out with his "girl friends from school" and one entire weekend away at his parents, well, I looked. I found an entire history of deceit and betrayal and dishonesty. For the last 6 months he's been seeing numerous guys, for God knows what. I told him I looked and kicked his ass to the curb. He said I violated his privacy!! Good one! He made no mention of totally taking advantage of my trust, generosity, love and affection AND TOTAL MONOGAMY!
Posted by JB56 on April 12, 2010 at 4:20 AM · Report this
Kendrick 225
I'm right with 220 (and a few others here): relationships are absolutely about trust, but that trust just HAS to go both ways. If one person wants privacy, they also have to be worthy of it.

My girlfriend doesn't lock out her email, and the lock-code on her phone, she gave me. My texts aren't locked, and my email stays open. Do we snoop? Not yet.
Will we? Maybe.

There is an expectation of privacy, absolutely. People need to be able to have their space and a place to put discussions that they don't want to include the other person in.
However there is also the expectation of sharing.

Where's that fine, nigh-unto invisible line?

I'd say it's in the realm of "just cause". Not "just cause I wanna look", but if something has happened that has caught your partner's attention... they're going to snoop.
In a healthy relationship, people talk before they snoop. If things get unhealthy and someone snoops and finds nothing, odds are they'll talk.
If they snoop and find something, there's going to be a reaction.

He looked because something caused him to. What that was, we don't know, but given what he found, I agree with Dan that he is retroactively justified. You simply do not open up a previously-monogamous relationship without consulting your partner, and really listening to them, first.

She cost herself a relationship. Good or bad is pretty much irrelevant at this point, because odds are it's done.
Posted by Kendrick on April 12, 2010 at 1:18 PM · Report this
All snooping is wrong. I don't snoop and would shitcan a woman who snooped on me, even if she had a gold-trimmed pussy.
Posted by ajr on April 12, 2010 at 6:51 PM · Report this
I was once hyper-sensitive about snooping. Some feminist bullshit about how no dude, not even one I was fucking, could possibly understand all the deep meaningful shit I talked on the internet.

Now I know most of my deep meaningful shit is actually pretty shallow and that my only purpose in life is to let him fuck me whenever and however he feels like it. Rape is nonexistent in this state of perfect surrender. Unless he wants it to exist.

I've finally found peace. He can look through my internet history, my facebook account, my emails, my reproductive organs. Anytime day or night.

Thanks Debi Pearl, and thanks Dan Savage!

--ex feminist
Posted by deadchicken on April 12, 2010 at 9:54 PM · Report this
Anyway, I really do agree with the general principle of openness in a relationship. Having no-go zones allows problems to get pushed into those zones where is FESTERS instead of being dealt with in the open.

If you are feeling dissatisfied, it's all too tempting to seek out easy sympathy and build relationships that start to supplant your partnership... and then when the partner gets suspicious and digs into your "private" business, you have a rough-and-ready "YOU'RE SNOOPING" defense. Ugly.

If you've seen that play out once, you've seen it a hundred times.
Posted by deadchicken on April 12, 2010 at 10:00 PM · Report this
I'm a cute lesbian in Chicagoland too. Where the fuck are the femme-y girls? Also I'm similarly only interested in less typically queer girls. Please tell me t-shirts are not the only option.
Posted by kate.3 on April 12, 2010 at 10:05 PM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 230
My husband never farts.
Posted by robt vesco, jr. on April 12, 2010 at 10:07 PM · Report this
To LFL - From what I've seen, usually something as tiny as a rainbow friendship bracelet is enough to clue girls in, without having to go the billboard route of a tshirt. After all, if a girl is checking you out, she's going to notice the bracelet and at least be curious - but if she ogles your boobs (and the t-shirt catch phrase) she runs a chance of getting branded (and maced!) as one of the creeps.
Posted by Epiphany on April 13, 2010 at 9:06 AM · Report this
AppleJack 232
To the "adorable" les who wants to wear a T-shirt to attract a date, here's the problem: When you show up at a club and hope to be approached, you're focusing on being seen and not at all on noticing others in return. Instead, try paying attention to the people around you too, find out who they are, what they are like. When when you find one you are attracted to, if it seems to be mutual, ask them out. What to wear? The best accessory to look approachable is still a smile.

RFR - your gf has turned you into one of her BFF's and doesn't see you as a man. Grown-up sexual "Consent" lets a powerful man submit at times and is just as hot when he dominates. Find out if a real trauma poisoned her perspective and if so, be kind, she's been damaged and needs healing. If not, then she's just spouting rhetoric that has nothing to do with hot power exchanges in a safe, committed, long-term GGG relationship. She's young, you may have shocked her, maybe you used too many words. She sounds like she retreats into words when uncomfortable. Try acting out parts of the fantasy with her, without sharing what's in your head. If she's okay with brief glimpses at your more dominant acts, show her a little more. She might surprise herself and like it. If she doesn't warm up enough to let you add your voice to it and begin to play along, I'm with Dan, find someone else who will love it.
Posted by AppleJack on April 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Dan I agree 100% about the "snooping"... they're supposed to be your best friend and life partner; you're interested in everything they do all day; wouldn't anyone be INTERESTED to see who they text, what's going on in their email? And if they're completely trustworthy, they won't care if you look once in a while, because there's nothing to hide. A guy who keeps his phone glued to his side and won't let you see what's in his wallet? RUN. And I say that from extremely painful experience.

I was in love with a guy for years, and he told me his email password once while he was in the other room so I could check something for him. I kept checking sporadically from then on. I was the first to know when he lied about being at a party, then about kissing someone, and finally the big blow: when he actually had a side booty call situation going on. It killed me. I forgave the first two lies, and when I still checked he would call me "psycho" because of my insecurities. It gave me trust issues for years.

However I'm so glad I found that stuff out rather than wasting more time with that dickwad. Now I'm with a guy who couldn't care less if I have his password or his phone is unattended.. he's a real man, thank God. :)
Posted by SaraJean on April 13, 2010 at 10:56 AM · Report this
The 24 year old girl needs to find a guy that she's super, super hot for. He needs to be a little bit of an asshole. He'll demand a few naughty things and she'll do it because she's infatuated. Shell learn two things from the experience: 1 - Some guys are hot and give you some hot sex even when they are dickish and wrong for you, and 2 - You'll start to learn what turns you on when you have an adventurous and demanding sexual partner. You need to learn to be adventurous and demanding in bed too.

As for the first two PC douchbags, you should stay together so that you don't make two other people miserable by dating them.
Posted by SFBAer on April 13, 2010 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Maybe SANA should consider taking her boyfriend's word for it that he's happy with vanilla sex?

If they're both happy with what they're getting, and their only problem is wanting to do more for each other, maybe they should just relax and enjoy it.

If she is really, truly convinced that her boyfriend wants more in spite of what he's telling her, then I think this is a couple for whom reading some porn together would work wonders. Maybe they'll run across something that just never occurred to either of them before.

Or, maybe they're simply lucky enough to have found partners whose sex drives match, even if neither one of them is red-hot.
Posted by Melissa286 on April 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM · Report this
I can't believe it but I disagree with Dan.

Snooping in someone computer is like reading their journal. NOT acceptable.

Dan, if you were my boyfriend you'd be out on your ass for doing that.
Posted by roadtripboy on April 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM · Report this
Rob L 237
Dear Dan,

Please ask your readers to support Ed Case. You have come to the conclusion that it is a violation of our rights to allow the majority to vote to take away the right to marry from a minority. Ed Case was way ahead of you. You may recall that the current wave of marriage activity began when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that it was a violation of equal protection to deny same sex couples the right to marry, but they returned the case to the lower court. Before the case was decided and the plaintiffs could marry, certain legislators drafted a bill to let the citizens vote to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. On January 21, 1997, in the Hawaii House Judiciary Committee, Case cast the lone nay vote against advancing HB117, the bill that would allow a referendum to effectively, constitutionally ban gay marriage. Ed Case went on to represent Hawaii in the US House of Representatives, but gave up that seat to run for the Senate. He lost that race and is now trying to regain a seat in the house created by a special election (so there is no party primary). He is neck and neck with a “family values” Republican with the solid Democratic majority in the district being divided by another Democrat (who supports domestic partnerships, gee, thanks).

Let’s support a candidate who not only says he supports gay marriage, but actually cast a brave vote long before anyone else was doing so. He stood by us; lets not forget him. Please donate at

Robert La Mont
Posted by Rob L on April 13, 2010 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Hey, FRF, just wanted to say that Dan's advice sounds exactly right. As a still-sort-of-young feminist, I would have been tickled pink if my last feminist-friendly boyfriend had shared your mild kink (he didn't and, despite the fact that rape fantasies are extremely common among women, he thought there was something pathological about my interest). Being aware of imbalances in gender power dynamics in the real world is part of what gives playing with them in private, consensual ways a little kick.
Posted by Ellie89 on April 13, 2010 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Neptune 239
@131 I don't have an example for you, but then, I haven't spent much time in feminist bloglandia myself. Personally, I'm more familiar with feminist discussion in an academic setting.

However, I completely understand what you're saying. I think I'm repeating myself, but I hate it when "feminists" are anti-men. Men are not responsible for patriarchy, and it harms them as well. I can easily see why such views make lots of people reluctant to call themselves feminists. For any given viewpoint, there will be extremists, so I don't know if there's a way to get rid of the toxicity. It just annoys me when people equate radical views with all feminists. That's a stereotype, just like any other. And there will probably always be those who fit the stereotype.
Posted by Neptune on April 13, 2010 at 3:48 PM · Report this
@everyone who says snooping is evil/bad/wrong: The main point is the witch was a hooker! Sex workers fine. Sex workers who knowingly expose their partners to dick rot? Unforgivable. I really don't understand why that guy even had to write in, "umm well Dan, my gals renting out the old vag, how should I feel?" Rarely is hitting is justified. This is that time.
Posted by okiedem on April 13, 2010 at 4:46 PM · Report this
We all snoop, in one way or another. It's human nature to be curious. It has nothing to do with the trust. Given the chance, we all kind of want to know what the person we love is like when we aren't looking. Read The Odyssey. When Odysseus gets a magical identity change, he deliberately questions his wife about life since he left. Can you really blame him?
Posted by thursdaydynamo on April 13, 2010 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Violet_DaGrinder 242
I read a partner's email exactly once in my life. As we were breaking up, I realized she was never going to tell me the truth about some shit, and I needed to know, so I went and confirmed what I already suspected. I don't regret it.

Relationships are all about shades of gray.

But in general, I'm very protective of my email/phone, and hope that my sigoes will be too. Adults need to be allowed private space, including private digital space. Or, at least, I do.
Posted by Violet_DaGrinder on April 13, 2010 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Everyone is saying that snooping is a violation of trust and privacy. But if marriages, and relationships more generally, are built on and constituted by trust, then would not the best relationship--and the one with the most evident trust--be the one in which each partner has total access to everything about the other, including texts, emails, etc.?

The best relationships aren't the ones that have no one "snooping," but those in which "snooping" isn't even a possibility because complete access is presupposed. If you think reading your husband's emails or your girlfriend's texts as snooping, then maybe you don't have as much trust in your relationship as you think. Privacy is one of those things that, in my opinion, you should have together--not apart.

And if snooping ISN'T always okay, Dan is completely correct to say that it can be retroactively justified. If you're being played and your partner hasn't disclosed the other relationships, the chances of them suddenly deciding to do so now are slim to none. Snooping, in that case, is the only way to know. It may not be pretty, but as much as everyone has a right to privacy, everyone also has a right for others' privacy not to injure or humiliate them in some way too.
Posted by Incandescence on April 13, 2010 at 9:51 PM · Report this
Dan was right to tell the guy in letter #1 to DTFMA.

From the letter:

"I asked her to imagine that I fantasized about feeling up women on the subway and wanted her to simulate and help realize that fantasy scenario with me. Her response was that I needed to be "cured" of my desires, and that she would help me figure out and work through the psychological gender-power issues behind it, and to that end she would try to show me how enjoyable consensual sex could be."

Anyone as uptight as that girlfriend appears to be is probably no fun in bed in the first place. She sounds about as attractive as Ann Coulter on a meth binge. Eesh.

By the way, the same would be true for uptight boyfriends as well.
Posted by Cissy on April 14, 2010 at 3:33 AM · Report this
@244: Yep, sounds like your typical unfun college leftist. If something is not in complete harmony with a simplistic if well-intentioned sense of justice, then it must be wrong and in need of "fixing."
Posted by Angry Sam on April 14, 2010 at 5:30 AM · Report this
@215: Dan is not psychic. He gives advice based upon what people write. He must assume that the guy was correctly documenting this conversation, at least to a certain degree.
I didn’t get the impression that she was a rape victim, of course this is my opinion and I might be wrong. However, if I was a rape victim that had not yet started dealing with the repercussions and someone I was involved with said that they wanted to role-play a sexual assault with me, my first instinct would be to run. Not to “work through the psychological gender-power issues behind it”. Of course, I am not this woman, so I cannot say whether or not she has ever been raped, but that was not the impression I got.
Posted by SarahS on April 15, 2010 at 7:46 AM · Report this
I have no problem with snooping in special circumstances such as, say, suspecting that your partner is cheating on you/a sex worker.

Seriously, the right to privacy is not absolute, particularly between sexual/romantic partners. This secretive partners actions have the potential to saddle the boyfriend with a life-threatening illness.

I'm not going to be with someone whom I don't want checking up on me. I really hope that my girlfriend has my back, including protecting me from myself, and I trust myself not to have any secrets that would really hurt her. If she reads my emails, she's not going to find evidence of anything because I haven't done anything wrong. No problem for me. If she reads my emails and goes psycho on me despite my innocence, I reserve the right to dump her paranoid ass, and I would expect the same treatment. People raise the trust issue when vilifying snoopers, but you have to trust your partner to only snoop on you when it is really needed, and in the case of NORTH, she definitely needed it, even if it ended up costing her a relationship.
Posted by Rainer24 on April 16, 2010 at 8:35 AM · Report this
I can't believe I actually agree with Dan! ;)

I agree that snooping happens. I don't think you should steam open and reseal mail or low-jack their car without their knowledge or put hidden nanny cams over the house, but if you live with someone you are going to come across a logged in gmail, cached internet visits or peek at texts while looking a phone number.
While I don't usually read my husbands emails, I also don't expect them to be verboten like he is a total stranger. Same thing with kids. I don't snoop through their room, but I am always free to put away laundry, pick up cloths and remove tableware that migrates upstairs. If I come across anything incriminating then they will hear about it. I am not bound to ignore it because it is fruit of a poisoned tree.
To suggest that reading an email is morally the same as violating monogamy and well, being a whore- is the worst sort of perversion of moral equivalence. She put her partner at risk of all kinds of diseases without his consent. I don't have a problem with someone choosing to do sex work if they want to, but that is absolutely a conversation you need to have with someone before you include them in that lifestyle.
Posted by cminmd on April 16, 2010 at 9:36 PM · Report this
Hmm. I suspect you are just trying to get a rise out of us with that snooping opinion. Bottom line is that you and your BF have obviously consented to this snooping (perhaps a subconscious consent... or implied?). It's obvious to me that within a long-term, committed relationship this implied consent is valuable. Nonetheless, it needs to be there before people go looking through other people's communication. So he still violated boundaries. Nonetheless, it's lucky for him because he discovered what an obnoxious freak she is and was able to dump her before he contracted any fatal diseases (hopefully). This is another example of grey areas in relationships... which is the reason we need someone like you to help us all clarify our thoughts on it.
Posted by DC in CO on April 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM · Report this
This is for Looking for Lesbifriends.

Why not go for a shirt with a little more subtlety than the whole "Single. Lesbian. Interested?" bit and instead just something that indicated that you are out and that you're pretty alright with being so.

You can find some awesome sweatshirts/tanks through Lezgo's website.
Posted by k2ginger on May 10, 2010 at 11:37 AM · Report this
If you have nothing to hide, you have noting to worry about.
Posted by Secrets and Email on May 13, 2010 at 8:34 AM · Report this
My husband and I have one computer at home that we share, and we also check our email and facebook on our phones. Despite this, we do not read each other's emails or FB PMs as soon as the other person leaves their phone or the computer unattended. We both respect each other's privacy enough not to violate it.

I have nothing to hide from him though. Most of the things I've written in emails or FB messages are things he has already heard from my mouth first, so it's not the content but the principle of the matter.

We have been together sixteen years and although we share a lot, we realize that we still have to respect each other's privacy. The house we live in has one bathroom with a sliding door that doesn't lock so theoretically we could walk in when the other person is taking a dump, but we don't. When the door is closed, we stay outside. We treat the computer, our phones, and emails/texts the same way - we know that we CAN be intrusive but we choose not to be. Just because you're in a LTR doesn't mean that you get to be an asshole and do whatever you want.

I'm not stupid or naive - I have been cheated on so I understand having suspicions and wanting to confirm them, but if you don't trust the other person, then why be with them in the first place? I would not be able to stay with someone if I spent all my time worrying that they were cheating and trying to find proof.

Similarly, I had a boyfriend who was ridiculously jealous and hated when anyone even looked at me. It was so tiresome, and when it got to the point where he read my journal (you know, those old books you write in with a pen), I dumped his ass. It's one thing to get cranky because some guy looked at me, but it's another thing to read my journal. The best part is that he was stupid enough to admit that he had read my journal but hadn't found any incriminating information. Idiot!
Posted by Snoop Dogg on May 31, 2010 at 4:46 AM · Report this
Snooping. Here's a page from my ho-hum, uninteresting existence, some 5 years ago: Married w/2 kids. Sex frequency down to 1/month, wife claims uninterested in sex, kids supposedly being the reason. Any reason is good for an argument, last 5 months are a welter of roiling arguments, drunken aggression ( on her part) & declarations that "we have problems". Wife demands freedom, god knows to do what or from what, does not specify.

To elucidate wife's position: educated, actively professional, well earning, not financially or emotionally strapped. Spends lots of time at the pc, out on the town, chatting, meeting friends, etc. I snooped. Oh, I know, evil me, how dare I not trust her! how dare I...she's cheating. I find evidence not only of cyber entanglements or explicit letters, but evidence that she's been meeting people offline for sex.

I felt like a heel for snooping, for about 5 minutes.

Ps. 5 years later we're still in a cold-dead marriage. No easy closure here, even though we hate each other now.
Posted by cheated on June 5, 2010 at 12:48 AM · Report this
I've only snooped on a boyfriend two times in my life (different guys). I found out one was cheating on me, the other actively trying to cheat on me, but getting turned down. Don't know which was worse, being betrayed or being in love with someone who couldn't betray me despite his best efforts.

Only once did I fess up to the reason why I was dumping him... that I found out what he was doing surreptitiously. Wow, what a load of angry shit did I get from him! You'd have thought *I* was cheating and lying about it to *him*! And, yes I did question him before going snooping, but the whole point of cheating is having your cake and eating it to. He wasn't going to admit to cheating because he wanted me to be faithful to him without the complications of returning the favor.

I have no regrets, and learned a LOT about trusting my own instincts. Now I know how to avoid people like that and have a relationship based on mutually-agreed upon terms. I can tell my partner when I'm feeling insecure and he responds with love and reassurance, instead of making me feel like a paranoid bitch for wanting more access to his life.
Posted by j-sf on October 14, 2010 at 1:17 PM · Report this

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