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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: She Wasn't Fine—And You Knew It

Posted by on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 4:49 PM

I take your words as gospel when it comes to romance, so hopefully you'll be willing to help me out. I am in a monogamous relationship. The sex is incredible and we are a match in almost all ways.

I proposed a little while ago the we try to realize a fantasy of mine by having in-the-same-room-sex with another couple. Not swapping, just watching and being watched. I checked all the boxes off the GGG-list: constantly asking my girlfriend her thoughts and feelings, reading each email message to her before I sent it, asking her if she was still comfortable with going through with it. We found a good match, and went out on a date night with the other couple.

The minute the date started, it was clear she was having problems. It was nothing the other couple would have noticed, but I could tell she was not having fun. I must have asked her 20 times over the course of the evening, "Are you OK? Do you want to go home?" Each time she gave a monotone, "I'm fine." When it came time to decide whether to go to their house, the same thing happened. I gave her as many opportunities to gracefully exit as possible, and she said no at each one. So, as you can probably guess, when it came time to actually taking off the clothes and getting down, she froze up, wouldn't do anything, and we had to go upstairs.

I feel that, by not taking any of my opportunities to bow out, and then freezing up at the crucial moment, she completely destroyed the fantasy of mine. I think that what she did was enormously unfair to me and the other couple, and she should apologize. She only talks about how dirty and wrong it felt to her. I think that is fine that she felt that way, but then why the hell didn't she bow out before agreeing to go over to their house?

Thanks for any help you can offer, Dan.

Confused In California

My response after the jump...

················

I definitely could've guessed that your girlfriend would freeze up. I could've guessed that and I wasn't there and I don't know your girlfriend. You were there, on the other hand, and you do know your girlfriend. So why couldn't you guess that your girlfriend would freeze up?

Given the way your girlfriend was behaving, CIC, and given that you could tell she wasn't having fun ("...it was clear she was having problems... I could tell she was not having fun"), you didn't have to guess that things weren't going well. You knew they weren't going well. Yes, you checked in with her; yes, she told you she was fine. But she wasn't fine and you knew it.

Look, CIC, you can tell yourself that you were faithful to the letter of GGG—involving her, clearing things with her, checking in with her—but I'm here to tell you that you weren't faithful to the spirit of GGG. Let's review:

Your girlfriend wasn't okay that night, CIC, and you knew it.

She was telling you what you wanted to hear, CIC, and you knew it.

You should've called the whole thing off, CIC, and you know it.

Why didn't your girlfriend tell you she wasn't okay any of the twenty times you asked? I dunno. Maybe she hoped she would loosen up and start to feel okay with it. Maybe she knew how much it meant to you and how hard you'd worked to set it all up and she didn't want to disappoint you. Or maybe she was afraid to tell you. Considering the shit fit you've pitched in the wake of this aborted foursome-of-sorts—your demand for an apology, telling her that she's "completely destroyed" this fantasy (really? this scenario doesn't turn you at all on anymore?), claiming she owes the other couple an apology—it's possible your girlfriend didn't say, "I'm not fine and I want to go," any of the twenty times you asked because she feared your reaction. Which it seems she had every reason to. So she coasted along all night, telling you what you wanted to hear, hoping she would warm to the idea. And then, at the last possible moment, she bailed.

And that was her right. When a couple is trying something new—whether it involves others or not—both partners should feel empowered to call things off at any time without fear of being retaliated against emotionally or physically—hell, that applies whether a couple is trying something new or a couple is doing the same-old/same-old for the millionth fucking time. Each of us has an absolute right to bail—to withdraw our consent—at any time. We owe our partners an explanation, without question, but we don't owe our partners an apology.

You have one legit beef, CIC: your girlfriend has used sex-negative, shaming language to explain why she had to bail. ("She only talks about how dirty and wrong it felt to her.") That's hurtful and humiliating and for that she owes you an apology, CIC. But only for that. Your girlfriend doesn't owe you an apology for bailing at the last minute. She certainly doesn't owe two strangers an apology.

As for you, CIC, you need to take some responsibility for the embarrassing way things fell apart at the other couple's apartment. Once again: you knew she wasn't fine. Back at the restaurant you should've said, "Look, you're telling me that you're fine but you don't seem fine. Let's just have dinner, let's talk with this couple about their experiences, and maybe we can get together with them or some other couple another time. But tonight we're going home alone."

 

Comments (130) RSS

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1
I feel like you deserve a standing ovation for this answer. And the guilt trip implicit in this guy's letter makes me want to knock his block off.
Posted by NateMan on June 5, 2012 at 4:54 PM · Report this
2
*standing ovation*

Just reading this guy's letter made ME want to ball up in a corner and feel super guilty for ruining his life. The woman might have used sex negative language to describe her feelings but the guy is using really emotionally manipulative language to describe his.
Posted by wxPDX on June 5, 2012 at 5:03 PM · Report this
3
If she was talking about how dirty and wrong SHE FELT, rather than how dirty and wrong IT WAS, then she doesn't even owe him an apology for that. She should consider DTMFA.
Posted by Beguine on June 5, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this
4
Dan, you're getting pretty good at this. :-) Excellent advice.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on June 5, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
5
Bravo, good sir. Stellar advice. Spot on.
Posted by other coast on June 5, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
ItsAllOverNow 6
yeah, he's a douche-magoo for sure
Posted by ItsAllOverNow http://nowaybro.blogspot.com/ on June 5, 2012 at 5:15 PM · Report this
7
Nailed it.
Posted by crabflex on June 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
8
Spot on, indeed. So, so, SO true.

You (LW) knew that she wasn't fine, and you knew that she didn't *want* to disappoint you, which is why she was having a hard time saying, "Let's go home." That's the point where YOU say, "Let's go home."
Posted by MLM on June 5, 2012 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 9
@4, yeah, if he gets a little better, he might even be able to quit his day job.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on June 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Rinelle Boomtown 10
Dan, can I get you live streamed, right into my brain? Like my own God I ask questions to? I wouldn't mess up so bad that way.
Posted by Rinelle Boomtown on June 5, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
11
Mostly agree with you Dan, but consider this: What if he had called it off, then she blamed him for ruining *her* fantasy? She could have said, "Look, I kept telling you I was fine! Why'd you have to make assumptions about how I felt when I *told* you I was okay! Maybe I was cold at first, but you didn't give me a chance to warm up to it."

You're right that she owes no apology for calling it off. But it ain't called off until it's called off. Communication is essential in these arrangements. Give the guy credit for asking 20 times. Don't knock him because he took her words at face value.
Posted by Xian-Qi on June 5, 2012 at 5:43 PM · Report this
Lilliable 12
I'd like to know how old CIC is. Any older than his 20s and she should run.
Posted by Lilliable on June 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 13
@ 11, bzzzt! Wrong.

Not all communication is verbal, and not everyone is capable of being honest under pressure. LW makes it clear that he saw she was uncomfortable. He selfishly plowed ahead. Hell, it's possible that he deliberately asked 20 times because he knew she would say she's fine, thus giving him permission to go ahead.

Now, if he's young (say, 26 or younger) then he's being immature and this should be a learning moment for him. He'd be less of a douchnozzle and more of a dumb kid. (Yes, twenty-somethings, most of you are still not fully mature and you still do dumb things because you don't know any better.) But if he's older than that, then his girlfriend would do well to send him packing.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 5, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this
stirwise 14
@11 - While I think you're right in theory, there's something that smells a little off in his letter to make me disagree in practice. Honestly, her obvious discomfort should have made him uncomfortable, giving him a great excuse to call it off without putting any blame directly on her shoulders, and potentially leaving the option open for a revisit later. If they have the kind of relationship, though, where he doesn't care how she feels and she's afraid to tell him, they're probably just fucked. I think I'm leaning into #3's suggestion for the GF to DTMFA.
Posted by stirwise on June 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 15
I agree with @3. Saying the pseudo-foursome was "dirty and wrong" is sex-negative. Saying the pseudo-foursome felt "dirty and wrong" to her is not.

Hell, many sex-positive people get off on activities that feel dirty and wrong to them. ;)
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on June 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
16
Absolutely spot-on, Dan!

And @11: no, no, no. Comments 13 and 14 both explained nicely why you are wrong, and why the GF should strongly consider dumping this douche-nozzle of a letter writer, especially if he's older than 25 or so.
Posted by Functional Atheist on June 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
seandr 17
Given how badly this guy wanted this fantasy to happen, I think it's too much to ask of him (or anyone else) to pull the plug based on implicit signals he may have picked up from his girlfriend.

At the same time, why should it matter to him that she pulled the plug later rather than sooner? I don't think that's what's really bothering him. He's just mad that his girlfriend bailed, and he'd be just as mad regardless of when she did it. And he's entitled to his feelings.

Bottom line - she's not the adventurous woman he was hoping she might be, he's disappointed, and now he needs to figure out what that means for their relationship.
Posted by seandr on June 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM · Report this
18
Am I the only one who feels she bears some responsibility here? Yes, she might have felt pressured to go along with something that didn't feel right to her; but as an adult it's up to her to say no with words as well as tone of voice. I don't think that she needs to apologize - for what? - and I do think that she was giving plenty of non verbal cues. But if you're saying one thing with your words - and it's what someone really really wants to hear - and then another with your tone and manner... that's really different from a nice healthy "you know, I'm sorry, I know you were counting on this, but I just really don't want to/can't/don't feel comfortable with this."
I'm saying this as someone who has often said yes and no simultaneously in many situations - it's just not cool! It leaves everyone confused and second- guessing. Also saying it as someone who loves that my current S.O. is very responsive to all the non-verbal cues - but I really try not to put him in situations when he has to ignore my words and try to figure out how to make a call on my behalf.
Posted by ImprovQueen on June 5, 2012 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 19
@ 17, he doesn't get a pass because he wanted it badly. It's not his feelings that matter, but the actions he takes.

EVERYONE has selfish feelings. Only the dingleberry acts on them, which is probably why you can relate to the letter writer.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM · Report this
shurenka 20
@19 True dat. Even if you want something badly, if you are an adult, you can cool your jets and realize when something is emotionally damaging to your partner. You don't keep going along with it, with the risk that your partner could be traumatized or scarred.

Of course the LW's entitled to feel disappointed, but anger won't solve anything, and he needs to take a step back and look at his role in this debacle. It sounds like this couple has serious communication problems and as such, should not be engaging in more high-stakes sex play.
Posted by shurenka on June 5, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 21
@ 18, she needs to learn how to say what she means, that is certainly true. But this guy has shown he's capable of understanding her non-verbal cues, and that's why this mess is all on him. If he truly loves her, he'll work with her on communication and she'll have to honestly work on it too, but that assumes that he won't be so selfish about his role in this (I'm thinking of his overreaction - I agree with Dan that it's possible she foresaw it and felt like she needed to go along).
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM · Report this
22
@ 11: You don't say "you're obviously NOT okay, I'm calling it off." You say, "you say you're okay, but you seem really uncomfortable to me - would you rather just go home? It's fine with me, I don't want to do anything unless you're really on board." And *mean* it, which means you listen to their response and don't punish them if it's not the response you were hoping for. Nothing builds confidence in a partner like showing them that you handle disappointment well.
Posted by Chase on June 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
23
There could have been sooooo many reasons she bailed. She might have (just for an example) taken a dislike to one or the other or both of the other couple when she finally met them in person.

But, hell, that's one whiny letter. And, srsly, 'checking off' all the GGG boxes doesn't make one GGG if one decides to just fucking Ignore the signals. Sheesh.
Posted by LaSargenta on June 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
prompt 24
He definitely should have picked up on it, but holy fuck it's annoying to ask someone a straight question and not get a truthful answer. I've had this sort of thing happen to me - asked an honest question, really not knowing, and then things falling apart the next day because I didn't realize she wasn't being truthful with her feelings. Be an adult.
Posted by prompt on June 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM · Report this
secretagent 25
Dan nails it! What a whiner - "ruined my fantasy"?! Bullshit.

Except, she needs to put on her big girl panties. Yes, it sounds like he was being an insensitive prick, knowing she wasn't cool and going ahead. (I wonder, where exactly during this date did he find time to ask her 20 times if she was ok? In front of the other couple? Because that doesn't count.)

But she's a grown-up, and if she expects him to act like a grown-up (responding to her non-verbal cues despite her verbal contradiction), she has to as well. Which means taking responsibility for her feelings and making some attempt at communicating them clearly.

Get comfortable saying NO. Please. It's a lot less painful than going along with something that makes you feel ashamed and dirty, and requires a lot less therapy later.

Btw, anybody who hooks up with randoms doesn't require an apology when it doesn't go down. That's par for the course.
Posted by secretagent on June 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM · Report this
26
I'm with @18 here. LW is unarguably in the wrong here, it's true. But I think part of being GGG is being honest about your limits. He absolutely fucked up, but she set him up to fuck up.

Let's imagine a couple of alternate scenarios: one where LW correctly read and acted on her signals, and one where she simply answered him honestly that she was uncomfortable.

Obviously the latter is preferable to the former. In the latter scenario, there are no hard feelings; she gave it a go, and it just wasn't working out. Maybe they could try again, after talking about it, and thinking about it, and just giving it more time. In the former scenario, he's left always doubting how GGG she is about any new thing, and trying to read how she actually feels despite what she's telling him.

Of course, the real outcome is the worst of the three, and it's his fault that it's the one that was realized. He fucked up GGG the worst here. But she wasn't completely GGG herself.

I want to be clear here, I'm not blaming her for this. She may well have had her reasons for not being clear and straightforward. At worst, she was less-than-perfectly GGG out of fear. Being GGG can be scary sometimes. It can be hard sometimes (rimshot). There's no shame in falling short of the GGG ideal because of that kind of thing. But GGG also means that sometimes you don't get what you want. That's why LW fucked up, and that makes him a douche.
Posted by Ben on June 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM · Report this
MythicFox 27
I'd be very curious to know how old these two are, because between his "But she said she was fine" jackassery and her passive-aggressiveness (while I do agree with Dan's response, part of being an adult in an adult relationship means actually attempting to communicate), I'd be surprised if either of them is older than 23.
Posted by MythicFox on June 5, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
28
No means no.

Yes means no.

Got it? Because you guys are supposed to read minds, not listen to words.
Posted by Snowguy on June 5, 2012 at 6:56 PM · Report this
29
I would say that her saying that it FELT dirty and wrong is very different from her saying that it WAS dirty and wrong, ergo, she owed absolutely no apology. Especially since this guy seems like a douche and I'm guessing he's just going to glom onto that, ignore everything else Dan said and go, "Oh, and ALSO, you owe me an apology for this and Dan Savage said so!"

Asshat.
Posted by laurelgardner http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5877570 on June 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
spaceapple 30
Has the definition of GGG changed? I thought the partner who indulges the other's fantasy is the one expected to be GGG.

And asking her 20 times if she's ok is definitely a way of pressuring her, by putting the blame on her shoulders in the presence of the other couple.

Also, the ability to delay gratification is the sign of a higher-functioning human being. If the guy were more patient and willing to spread the whole thing out over several dates, and talk with her about it alone in between them, then he might have gotten what he wanted.

He's either just young and horny, or old and a selfish asshole. (I'll put the cutoff age at 35)
Posted by spaceapple on June 5, 2012 at 7:07 PM · Report this
31
Dan, if it's so "obvious" that you're going to ding him about it then you have to give her at least a little responsibility for being at least a little more forthcoming than repeating "I'm fine." Ignoring body language is unwise, but expecting mind-reading is no foundation for communication either.
Posted by cgd on June 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM · Report this
32
@ 18: You're right, she also has some responsibility to express her feelings honestly. OTOH, Dan may be right, she might have been hoping she'd warm up - or she might have been afraid of his reaction. He doesn't seem very interested in how she feels, only in how it affects him.

@19: Nailed it.

@ 26: She definitely made it worse - but given his immature, self-absorbed reaction, it's likely that even an honest answer from her would have elicited a resentful response from him. There's some Newbie Panic here - classic "OMIGOD THE UNICORN GOT AWAY" shit. And some fault on both sides, to be sure. But I think she could tell he was going to react badly. This does not sound like a high-trust relationship, this sounds like manipulative rules lawyering as a substitute for honest communication.

@ 28: If he knew she "was not having fun", then he was already "reading her mind". Yes, she should have told him - but it's not like it was a mystery to him.
Posted by Chase on June 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
33
Even if she was fine, I want to point something out to this douchenozzle: Even if she waited til the last minute, even if she waited until everyone's clothes were off that's COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT! At ANY POINT she had the right to say "No, this isn't working, we need to go." She doesn't owe ANYONE a fucking apology for realizing she could not go through with it. YOU owe HER a fucking apology for pushing her to do something YOU wanted to do that she was obviously uncomfortable with when finally presented with the reality of it.
Posted by ChrissyinMA on June 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM · Report this
Foggen 34
When your verbal communication contradicts your nonverbal communication your verbal communication had better be truthful or it at least needs to take you where you want to go. If you're going to misrepresent you should be prepared for people to be mad about it.
Posted by Foggen on June 5, 2012 at 7:36 PM · Report this
35
I don't expect anyone to read minds. But the LW is clear that he KNEW she wasn't into it, he could tell it wasn't going well:

The minute the date started, it was clear she was having problems. It was nothing the other couple would have noticed, but I could tell she was not having fun.


If she said she was fine and seemed fine and he was totally blown away when she bailed, my response would've been very different. He knew there was a problem, he knew she was unhappy. It seems to me that he was exploiting her desire to either please him or her fear of angering him. Not cool on either score.

Yes, people should communicate, take the opportunity to say no when a yes/no question is asked, if "no" is what they're feeling. But... come on, folks. This isn't a case of "no means no and yes means no." This is a case of someone taking advantage of a person who was having a difficult time saying no. That's different.
Posted by Dan Savage on June 5, 2012 at 7:38 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 36
Is it wrong to think that they, as a couple, owe the other couple an apology? They didn't say no and bail. They said no and still fucked in the other couple's house. Ew.

Also, it's far more disenheartening to stop things when you get to the destination that it is to be stopped early. A lot more time and energy is involved and a significant portion of the evening has been invested. If she had said she was uncomfortable with it during dinner or whatever, the other couple could have done other things, from dancing to seeing a movie to finding another couple. It's just considerate to be honest with yourself, and with everybody involved long before you reach the fail-safe mode.

I've had and seen many people blow off at the last minute for any number of activities that aren't necessarily sex ( I have had a guy stop a scene as soon as I pulled out the rope, and that was annoying as fuck), and in all situations where there wasn't unforeseen circumstances involved (double booked, kinda didn't want to in the first place, no money, etc), I felt a bit cheated as other plans could have been made. That's the disappointment this guy is expressing.

Yes, he's immature about it, but the situation sucks. The gf should have been more honest about it. And, in a situation like this, communication is key.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 5, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
37
Great answer, Dan.
I just wanted to say to everyone who thinks that putting "I feel" on the front of a sentence makes it OK to say anything at all, no matter how hurtful it may be:
I feel like you're all assholes.
I'm not saying you are assholes. This isn't flaming. I'm just talking about my feelings. And I feel like you're complete failures in life and basic reading comprehension.
Posted by Phil H on June 5, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this
38
I agree that the girlfriend needs to speak up when she is uncomfortable. That doesn't absolve him of ignoring the fact that he knew she wasn't comfortable and talking to her about it. It also doesn't absolve him of being a total brat about the fact that she finally did speak up and say she wasn't comfortable fulfilling his fantasy. I also am triggered by the fact that he seems to be hounding her for a REASON why she called it off. "I don't want to do this" should be enough. A little gentle probing about whether or not there was something about the particular encounter that was problematic or if when faced with the reality, she couldn't do it would be appropriate to see if this is still on the table. Saying "the ONLY reason she gives is..." implies that he keeps on asking for a reason that he can fix or dismiss so that he can talk her into giving him his fantasy.

I agree if she said the act was dirty and wrong, she should apologize. If she said SHE felt dirty and wrong doing it, that is a statement of fact and I see no need to apologize for it. If my partner were to ask me to do something that made me feel bad about myself, I should be able to say I don't want to do it, without having to justify myself.

This couple has a lot to work out. Perhaps the LW need a partner who is more in synch with his sexual needs. Perhaps his girlfriend needs to find someone who will not harass her when she finally states her boundaries. Either way, they have a lot to think about before they proceed.
Posted by percysowner on June 5, 2012 at 7:50 PM · Report this
39
Why were you expected to pull the plug by simply picking up on her tonality and lack of enthusiasm? Er, because she's a girl and you're a guy.

I don't want to be sexist here, but there's a double standard in the genders' expectations: women generally expect men to act on women's non-verbal signals (as their female friends would), whereas men generally do not expect that of women.

I would say that men generally only hold others accountable if things are made clear by being stated bluntly.

That said, the LW was a douche for realizing his girlfriend's discomfort but discounting it. As others said, this does not bode well for the relationship.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on June 5, 2012 at 7:50 PM · Report this
40
@35

So she coasted along all night, telling you what you wanted to hear, hoping she would warm to the idea. And then, at the last possible moment, she bailed.

And that was her right.


To be clear, bailing is fine at any time, even if the night had gone perfectly up until something came up at the last moment. But telling your intimate partner what they want to hear instead of what you actually feel is a recipe for potential immediate disaster and for long-term poisoning of the communication well. What is it you like to say, Dan? Men [people] are stupid.
Posted by cgd on June 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM · Report this
41
@37 You are deliberately misrepresenting those of us who believe that adding the words "I feel" excuses any statement. What we are discussing is that stating how you feel about participating in any activity feels to the person involved. For example: "I feel that baseball is a boring sport, so I don't go to baseball games," is very different from saying "I feel baseball is boring and therefore anyone who enjoys it is an idiot,".

That said, I feel that if I made the comment you did, I would be doing it to be insufferably judgmental and superior and I would be incredibly arrogant. I do not know your motivation, although I feel that I can not come up with another explanation.
Posted by percysowner on June 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
42
@ 28

You nailed it, and Dan encourages this cretinous behavior.
Posted by Mattyx on June 5, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
43
Dan, I agree with you almost completely. My only disagreement is that I don't think his girlfriend owes him an apology for saying it felt dirty and wrong to her.

The LW sounds like an abusive asshole. Thanks for sticking up for his girlfriend.
Posted by LiveAndLet on June 5, 2012 at 8:18 PM · Report this
44
throughout this entire saga, and the accompanying posts, I keep thinking that the girlfriend has an obligation to herself to learn how to use her words and say what she wants, thinks, or feels, particularly when asked directly. That speaks of insecurity and not placing enough value on herself to be able to state outright no, I am not OK, with you or any of this.

This guy is a whiny dick. She doesn't owe him or the other couple a fucking thing. But she owes herself a whole hell of a lot.
Posted by catballou on June 5, 2012 at 9:16 PM · Report this
seandr 45
@35: Hmm. I guess I see no reason to take sides on this one, let alone trot out the old "big mean man takes advantage of poor helpless little girl" chestnut.
Posted by seandr on June 5, 2012 at 9:21 PM · Report this
46
Agree with those who say she has nothing to apologize for. She said it felt wrong and dirty TO HER. Those are her honest feelings and she has nothing to be sorry for.

Otherwise, you nailed it.
Posted by bigyaz on June 5, 2012 at 9:32 PM · Report this
47
@18, you're not alone. Having been in similar situations, I *want* my partner to believe what I say rather than assume he knows better, and I accept the responsibility for protecting myself and articulating my needs.

I think he needs to apologize for his overcranked & insensitive response, and I don't think she owes him any kind of apology for backing out... but I do think she should take responsibility for all of those disingenuous/wishful-thinking "I'm fine"s and note that she's probably not up to taking care of herself in a similar situation anytime soon.

I'm with the poster who suspects these are some very young and immature people we're talking about here.
Posted by AlphaBanty on June 5, 2012 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Aly 48
@28 It's quite possible to read into people's tone, body language, etc. The LW obviously knew his partner was not okay with the situation. He didn't have to "read her mind" to do that.

In all honesty, one should be able to tell if a partner (or a family member, close friend) is uncomfortable even if they don't say so. It's something that generally just gets picked up on by spending time with that person.
Posted by Aly on June 5, 2012 at 9:39 PM · Report this
49
@18, you're not alone. Having been in similar situations, I *want* my partner to believe the words I say rather than assume he knows better (i.e. "can tell I'm not having a good time"), and as such I accept the responsibility for protecting myself and articulating my needs.

I think he needs to apologize for his overcranked & shortsighted response, and I don't think she owes him any kind of apology for backing out... but I DO think she needs to take responsibility for all of those disingenuous/wishful-thinking/passive "I'm fine"s. Noting that she's probably not up to taking care of herself in a similar situation anytime soon would be smart, too.

I'm with the poster who suspects these are some very young and immature people we're talking about here.
Posted by AlphaBanty on June 5, 2012 at 9:47 PM · Report this
50
Damn, sorry for the double-post! Argh.
Posted by AlphaBanty on June 5, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 51
It seems like a lot of folks want to take sides in this. I don't have much sympathy for either one. Dude, your boner got crushed. So what, grow up. GF, what's w/ demanding your guy read your mind, expecting him to 'know' that he should call it off.

But what I really wonder if the guy's 3rd sentence. What is between them that makes them a match in almost all ways? Sure doesn't sound like it to me. The only thing I can say is that I hope they both grow up a little more before they have any kids, if at all.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on June 5, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
seandr 52
@47: these are some very young and immature people we're talking about here

See, that's just it. They are kids. The guy is supposed to be a bit of a pushy, pouty douchebag and the girl is supposed to be a bit of a passive-aggressive crazy-making bitch. All of this falls within the bounds of developmentally appropriate misbehavior for young adults.
Posted by seandr on June 5, 2012 at 10:25 PM · Report this
53
People are terrible mind-readers, and it is unfair to expect mind-reading of anyone. I believe they are far better readers of body language, and hers was shouting in capital letters. That still doesn't excuse her from being clear. He screwed up by continuing to expect/demand the "great fantasy" to happen. She screwed up by not using spoken words to convey her growing discomfort.

Note to gentlemen: anytime a woman says "I'm fine," reword your question to get at the truth. Check her body language while you're at it. Note to women: if you say "I'm fine," you run the risk of being taken at your word. Note to LW: by accusing her of ruining your fantasy and demanding an apology, you have effectively ruled out any possibility of it happening in the future with this woman.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on June 5, 2012 at 10:32 PM · Report this
54
Nothing in the letter makes me think either member of this couple really even likes each other.
Posted by SLCamper on June 5, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Report this
55
I would never expect a romantic partner to read minds. The fact that the guy picked up on his girlfriend's nonverbal communication, however, indicates he knew how she felt and pressed on anyway. Asking her 20 times whether she's OK sounds to me like badgering, especially if done in the other couple's presence. It's almost like, the more you ask, the more you expect the same "I'm fine", and the harder it becomes for her to say 'no'. If I were the boyfriend, I'd have pulled her aside and said, "Look, this situation isn't going the way I had hoped. Why don't we go home now and reconsider this idea some other time." That way, it's a neutral and safe way for both of them to go home, and the onus isn't on her to speak up on the spot. Then, when they're in the safety and privacy of home, they can talk about it and revisit the idea if/when both of them are ready.

Dan, good advice.
Posted by brendan on June 5, 2012 at 10:46 PM · Report this
56
What this couple needs is what Miss Manners calls "the look." That expression that, unreadable to outsiders, tells your other that something is terribly wrong. "The look" must always be respected, with explanations later in private. An alternative is a sort of safe word or safe phrase. Like, "Oh, hon, we really should go. You remember, I promised Mom." Don't say WHAT you promised Mom. That would be lying.
Posted by Steve T. on June 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Report this
seatackled 57
What #3 said. She said, according to him, that she FELT dirty. She doesn't owe any apology.

This reminds me of the LW who had a nonpenetrative threesome planned and violated the no-p-in-v agreement. If he'd played his cards right, respected his partner's boundaries, he would have eventually gotten there with her, but now, he'll never get another three-way.

Same with this asshole. She came to meet the couple. If he'd respected her boundaries, he'd have gotten there with her eventually. Hope she dumps his ass.
Posted by seatackled on June 5, 2012 at 11:12 PM · Report this
Noadi 58
No where in this letter does the LW ever say that his girlfriend blames him for not stopping things. The only thing he says at all about how she feels, was that she says it felt dirty and wrong to her and that's why she bailed. I don't see that she bears any blame here at all. Maybe she thought she could bear through it for him and only at the last moment did she realize she really couldn't go through with it.

The LW on the other hand is a complete asshole. He threw a tantrum and blamed her for "ruining" his fantasy. He doesn't seem to really care about how she feels. You get to call things off at any time, that is how consent works. Should he have stopped things sooner? Maybe, it certainly would have been the considerate thing to do when it was clear she wasn't enjoying herself but I don't blame him for not doing it. Should he have blamed her and berated her for ruining things after she bailed? Hell no, and that is what makes him a complete douche.
Posted by Noadi http://noadi.net on June 6, 2012 at 12:11 AM · Report this
59
I wonder how many times she's said "I'm fine" in the past in the exact same way and he didn't pick up on it because it didn't involve such a big production. I also wonder how he "proposed" this idea and negotiated it out with her. This seems less like an anomalous event and more like a culmination of miscommunications that built to a breaking point.
Posted by MemeGene on June 6, 2012 at 12:16 AM · Report this
60
@30, exactly, this guy torpedoed his own chances at realizing this fantasy later, simply because he insisted on attempting to go through with it all the way at the wrong time. Would he expect his girlfriend to go on a 50 mile ride the first time she got on a bicycle, or make a perfect sweater the first time she picks up a pair of knitting needles?

Slow your roll, dude. What would've been the harm in first meeting this couple for dinner and enjoying some flirty conversation, then getting together at their house and making out on the couch a few weeks later, then progressing to the bedroom once a trusting, sexy vibe has been established? But you couldn't stand to tap the brakes at the right time, and now you done fucked up. So stop trying to hold some GGG ideal over your girlfriend's head.
Posted by planned barrenhood on June 6, 2012 at 1:16 AM · Report this
61
I'll have to agree that he is an asshole. Something I noticed tho, that no-one has commented on, is that she didn't actually give a complete answer to what he asked. He asked her TWO questions and got ONE answer. An answer that may have actually been completely honest even. He asked if she was alright and got the answer of "I'm fine" which was probably correct. Unless she was feeling ill or something similar she was indeed just fine, physically anyway. Mentally she was probably going thru hell but still she did answer the question. What she never seems to have answered was if she wanted to go home. Personally I would assume that means yes take me home but that is just me. Others might interpret it to be no I want to stay. I've done several things in my life that I was uncomfortable with for various reasons. Some of those reasons I've explained to people and some I haven't. So if I'm doing something and seem uncomfortable it doesn't mean stop. It just means I'm not totally enjoying myself for some reason. I'll let a person know if I want to stop.

You can't always go by the fact a person is uncomfortable to be the ONLY reason to stop something. It is tho grounds to get them aside and privately find out WHY they are uncomfortable. And if they can't explain it to you or don't outright say they want to go thru with whatever it is you call it off. Personally I'm rather uncomfortable with having sex with another guy without a girl also being involved. With her there and involved I'm totally ok with everything right down to doing a guy/guy sex show for her enjoyment. No issues and I'll enjoy myself (and him). If it were to be just me and a guy I'd be rather uncomfortable. If I ended up there I'd still go thru with everything I'd just be somewhat uncomfortable. Nor would I necessarily wish to explain to the guy that it isn't him that is making me uncomfortable, it's memories of my uncle making me his playtoy when I was six that is making me uncomfortable. Since my uncle didn't involve a girl in our "playing" I don't have those memories and I can have unreserved fun.

So while the guy is an asshole, it is because he didn't try to find out why she was uncomfortable and never tried to get the second question answered. Not simply for trying to go thru with it while knowing she wasn't totally comfortable with everything.
More...
Posted by Romial on June 6, 2012 at 2:15 AM · Report this
62
@54 has a point, nothing in the letter suggests the couple involved likes one another. They should both cut their losses and just DTMFA.
Posted by WestSeven on June 6, 2012 at 3:05 AM · Report this
VelhoSorriso 63
Three cheers for the advice, Dan! Kudos to those who aim for compassion and understanding in communication.
Posted by VelhoSorriso on June 6, 2012 at 4:51 AM · Report this
64
It's not a question of whether or not the girlfriend "should" have said "no" more clearly. Whatever was going on in her mind, he is a person who would go into a situation believing that his partner is uncomfortable, and still not be bothered or turned off by that.

He doesn't seem to have believed her when she said "I'm fine..." He never says "I wondered whether she was okay," or "I wasn't sure what was going on with her," or anything along those lines. He says that he knew she didn't like it, and that wasn't a problem for him.

That's why he's an asshole.
Posted by Gaudior on June 6, 2012 at 5:08 AM · Report this
65
He was using the idea of GGG to justify being coercive. Dan called him on it.
Posted by Krunch on June 6, 2012 at 5:16 AM · Report this
geoz 66
What a rookie mistake. Wake up brother. "Checking boxes" doesn't work in relationships.
Posted by geoz on June 6, 2012 at 6:03 AM · Report this
67
She was nervous, of course who wouldnt be. But she gave the all clear may times. She was interested to see how it turn out. When it became too uncomfortable for her, they stopped.

Where is the problem here?
Posted by Where is the problem? on June 6, 2012 at 6:30 AM · Report this
68
@39: She did react to his nonverbal signals. His verbal signal was "Hey sweetie, you okay?" and his nonverbal signal was "Because I want this to happen, and if you can't get yourself into it I'll be furious and scathing and demand that you come up with reasons I can tell you don't count, AND you will have disappointed these two innocent people which is impolite, so you won't, right?"

I think 38 has a great point: very reminiscent of the lawyer whose girlfriend thought she could break up with him, but he felt her reasons didn't hold up under cross.

On her communication skills: Look, if she'd written in I'd tell her to work on them. She was going to need to play the No Means No card if no one got food poisoning and a meteor didn't hit. Though I will buy that the first couple of 'it's okays' she might have thought she'd get into it with another glass of wine and a little more conversation. But she didn't write in, so he gets the advice. And his advice is that, as someone up thread noted, he cares about how she's feeling only in terms of how it impacts him.

A great follow-up to the YMY/NMN discussion a couple of weeks ago. Someone who's reluctant to up and say no may well give a nervous consent if their partner checks the box with a verbal "So you're into this?" and a nonverbal "Because you know what happens if you aren't." And The Question tends to fall short of Twilight fanfic, and more into "You're into this, right? Because I will be hurt/disappointed/mad if you're not."
Posted by IPJ on June 6, 2012 at 6:35 AM · Report this
69
I thought this was mediocre advice from Dan, and I'm surprised so many people agree. Maybe I'm bringing my priors in here, but it drives me up the wall when people say things they don't mean. Here's how I view this situation:

1. LW's girlfriend lied to him, over 20 times;
2. About something she knew was really, really important to him.

I don't think anyone would suggest that the girlfriend had to go along with something she was uncomfortable with, but now she's shown herself to be completely untrustworthy. How on earth is LW supposed to try out new things with her in the future? He could say, "I'm going to stop, even if you say you're fine, if you seem uncomfortable," but what if he's not sure? Doesn't this mean she has to come off as obviously enthusiastic, and whatever she says is irrelevant?

It's not that she needs to "be an adult" or anything other commenters have suggested. She just needs to realize that we use words to communicate to avoid this exact problem.
Posted by rockstatic on June 6, 2012 at 6:57 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 70
@ 69, that's an uninformed viewpoint. You must not have grown up in America if you think women are automatically going to contradict their boyfriends and not place their pleasures ahead of their own. You might be enlightened, but traditional gender roles run very deep and it takes a lot to overcome them. Don't blame the victim here.

Also, you're forgetting the big thing - THE GUY READ THE SIGNS CORRECTLY. Some people are too dense to read cues, but this guy was not. He knew she was uncomfortable - that's why he kept asking. If he didn't know that, he might have asked just once, if at all. That's why Dan is right and why most commenters here agree.

Maybe you were lucky and were brought up to communicate clearly. Millions were not and it's a struggle sometimes. Judging these people for not having this skill is a dick move.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 7:39 AM · Report this
71
@70 That's some embrace of double standards you have there.

Consider also that "not having fun"- "monotone"-"I'm fine" is not the same as "having problems", which is not the same as "dirty" and "wrong". There's room for all sorts of nuance here that 2 monosyllables just don't cover.
Posted by cgd on June 6, 2012 at 7:54 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 72
@70 I like how you just called the LW's gf a victim.

She asked for it to stop, and they did. He got ticked off, maybe a bit more than acceptable, but she is not a victim.

Or, maybe you're saying she's a victim of traditional gender roles, which completely undermines a woman's own sense of self and their own independence. Maybe I know too many women who buck the trend, but they always earn my respect.

Also, signs aren't everything. When I was a fledgling kinkster as a sub, the first few scenes were with trepidation. Maybe not as much as this girl was exhibiting, but I always said I was fine. And, I'm always grateful for those who listened to my words than my reaction.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 6, 2012 at 8:07 AM · Report this
73
I'm one more with @18, but I am sympathetic to @3 and @12 - mostly, they both need to grow up. She does bear some responsibility for learning to speak up about her limits, but that doesn't really make him any less a douche-nozzle who deserves dumping for basically ignoring her obvious-to-him discomfort.
Posted by knkycva on June 6, 2012 at 8:19 AM · Report this
74
@69:
Okay, let's rewrite it. He couldn't read her signs of nervousness at all. And maybe, since this was the first time for this activity, he checked in with her twice anyhow, mid-date and as they left, and she smiled and told him it was good and he believed her. (Maybe she believed herself.) Until they got to the other couple's house, when she realized she really couldn't and it felt wrong for her and she pulled the plug.

Do you imagine he would not have had, well, the exact reaction he had in his letter?

I think he'd still have written, "I feel that, by ... freezing up at the crucial moment, she completely destroyed the fantasy of mine. I think that what she did was enormously unfair to me and the other couple, and she should apologize."

Except that he was reading her body language perfectly well, and rather than do as a number of people suggested--gracefully suggest they take things slower, show he could be trusted to respect her boundaries, thus raising the likelihood this could happen in the future--he provided 20 rounds of what sounds like variations on, "Hey sweetie, in front of these nice strangers who are trying hard to please you, you like them and you're into this, right? You wouldn't destroy my fantasy, right? You wouldn't be unfair to me or this couple, right? Tell me you're 'fine'."
Posted by IPJ on June 6, 2012 at 8:22 AM · Report this
Alanmt 75
More information would be really helpful. What is her explanation for her lying? Did they have an opportunity in private to discuss the matter in more detail? Why didn't either one of them create one?

I think this guy deserved the dressing down Dan gave him, although without more informaiton, young and desperately horny for his fantasy is probably more accurate a descriptor than douche. I suspect that he will grow from the advice, and become a little more self-aware.

But put me in the group that thinks this woman deserves some serious censure as well. I presume she is an adult. She needs to be honest with her boyfriend. People are not entitled to say one thing, mean another, and create problems by doing so.

It seems they both rushed into this without proper planning and consideration of all the issues associated with it; he due to enthusiasm and her due to her unwillingness. But if this is indicative of their communicaitons in general, they may want to split up.
Posted by Alanmt on June 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 76
@ 70, you're not comprehending anything if you detect any double standards here. Probably you didn't read everything I read upthread? Go read those posts and you should see that I advocate for anything but. Let me know if I can clarify anything else after you do that.

@ 72, yes, I meant that she's the victim of our society's expected gender roles. You might restrict your associations to the more enlightened among us, which may be why you find such women to be rare. I too prefer the company of strong, confident women but we're the exception, not the rule.

Keep in mind that a person may appear to be strong and confident but prove to be quite the opposite when you really and truly get to know them. It's pretty common in my experience.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 8:38 AM · Report this
77
Basically, he's mad because "by... freezing up at the crucial moment, she completely destroyed the fantasy of mine. I think that what she did was enormously unfair to me and the other couple."

He tries to blame it on her because he gave her earlier opportunities to, um, freeze up at the crucial moment, completely destroy his fantasy, and be enormously unfair to him and the other couple.

Dan rightly calls him on this, because he could tell she was upset and not into this as it became an actuality--so much so he asked 20 friggin times!--and he could have tried some other tactics to turn this into a scenario in which she did NOT completely destroy his fantasy. He treated her like a somewhat glitchy element of his fantasy. (Reset. Reset. Reset. You're fine, right?)
Posted by IPJ on June 6, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 78
@ 75, depends on your definition of "adult." If it's the legal one, you're forgetting that people are still not fully mature in their 20s. (We don't know this couple's age, but it vibes 20s to me.) As such, she deserves slack - a lot more than the guy who (it must be repeated) saw that she wasn't up for it, but let his desire to see this through overrule that.

It ought to be a learning experience for both, but the onus is always on the person who was being inconsiderate, not the one who was trying to be accommodating.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 8:45 AM · Report this
79
I don't think she should even have to apologize for saying it made her feel dirty and wrong.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on June 6, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
80
@76 The LW can manage his disappointment better. His girlfriend can say better what she feels. They both have a basic skill they can work on.
Posted by cgd on June 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
seandr 81
@70: gender roles run very deep and it takes a lot to overcome them.

Excellent point. That's why whenever a woman makes any kind of an assertion, I always reply "Now, is that what you really think, tootsie, or is that just the gender roles talking again?"
Posted by seandr on June 6, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
82
In my early 20's i could have been this girl.. lack of confidence + fear of the consequences of backing out + plus a pushy boyfriend who's built it up to a big, 'this is the one time to try out my hugest fantasy' deal can make it very difficult to turn round and say no, especially if you previously said yes to what seemed hot, or at least, not a huge turn off in fantasy form.. If he was oblivious that's one thing, but he knew well enough that she seemed uncomfortable, he should have known to slow it down. At best, he's cocked up his chances of ever getting her into a similar situation, at worst, he's about to be single. Not because of not reading her non-verbal cues (he should have done if it were that obvious, but she bears some responsibility there too), but for his reaction afterwards. It's his fantasy, therefore he has the responsibility for making it as good as he can for her and ensuring she is comfortable and having fun and that it happens at her pace and to be patient and understanding of her fears. He failed on all counts and showed he can't be trusted to take account of her needs.. dtmfa
Posted by UK girlie on June 6, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
83
@82 How has he, "at best", cocked it up forevah? I think you and the LW are being overly dramatic on that score. And how do you make it as good as you can for her if her feedback consists of "I'm fine"? Also, it's *his* fantasy. It might not be hot for her at all. Her fun might only be vicarious. Or it could be like taking out the garbage.
Posted by cgd on June 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 84
@83: He's at best cocked it up for ever by being a tremendous asshole afterwards. If he hadn't thrown a shit fit, maybe she would feel safe to try again, but now she knows how he'll respond if she tries again and still can't do it. What sane person would try again if she knew "failure" meant being berated like that?
Posted by Canadian Nurse on June 6, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
85
My own background may be influencing my opinions on this situation, but it seems to me that this guy is emotionally abusive. Such folks are super skilled at making everything the other person's fault. Often so skilled at manipulation that those around them believe it, too. ("Well, it's my fault; I shouldn't have XYZ...") After however many months or years (LW doesn't say) of this guy getting upset when she doesn't do or say exactly what he wants, of *course* she would attempt to avoid rocking the boat, avoid upsetting him in any way. After being trained that speaking up for yourself has miserable consequences, she would learn *not* to be honest about her feelings. She would say she's fine when prompted. She would allow herself to be uncomfortable until the discomfort is greater than than of his inevitable punishment afterward. When he says that "she only talks about how dirty and wrong it felt to her," this probably means that he is making her go through the same conversation, over and over again until she agrees it's her fault.

Girl needs to get out, now.
Posted by SeenItBefore on June 6, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Lose-Lose 86
I'm not necessarily with Dan on this one. Yes, the guy's reaction seems immature, but so is the girl's. And just to disclose my biases: I HATE IT WHEN WOMEN DO THIS! It's a very common occurrence with only lose-lose outcomes:
A- He asks how she is; she says "fine"; he doesn't end the date cause she says she's fine; things go horrible wrong.

B- He asks how she is; she says fine; he can tell that she's not fine and calls off the date; they go home and fight. He blames her for ruining it by not being honest about her feelings; she says "why did you call it off? I said I was fine" (I'd bet $100 that if did call it off, she wouldn't have admitted that she actually wasn't fine, let alone thank him for ending his fantasy").

Any way about it, I hope these two break up. This ain't going to work out in the long run.
Posted by Lose-Lose on June 6, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
87
There was never anything to be gained from observing what humans said to one another – language was just there to hide their thoughts.

Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man (Corgi Paperback edition), p.304
Posted by seeker6079 on June 6, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
88
I think 67, 72 and 77 got it right.

Also, everyone who says that she is to blame because she said she was fine: do you think the guy would have reacted differently if she'd really been fine up to the crucial moment to freeze then?
Posted by migrationist on June 6, 2012 at 12:58 PM · Report this
89
My only advice for this young-sounding couple is: Get used to it. Welcome to reality. Having sex not go exactly as you planned in your masturbation fantasies is NORMAL. Yes, it sucks, sometimes more so than other times. But executing GGG is not as simple and seamless as Dan sometimes makes it out to be; this seems especially true for opposite-sex couples.

Be patient and be keep trying. Sometimes we don't get every sex fantasy realized, but it sounds like you have a creative mind. You and your girlfriend can play in other ways, or if it's a deal breaker, find a woman who shares your same kinks. But don't hold out for the woman who likes everything you like (aka the perfect woman). She doesn't exist, and that's OK.

(and to all the guys complaining about how women expect men to read their minds: Trust me: You are just as confusing to us as we are to you. Get over it.)
Posted by mitten on June 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
90
@ Matt from Denver's posts.
You're engaged in a fair bit of special pleading there. Yes, people are influenced by their social conditioning, but the way you advance it is more like an excuse, as in yes, I know that she has an obligation to be up-front, but, hey, society made it so that she can't. That sort of thing drives even progressive men insane because it smacks of a cheat code in the hands of one side of the debate.
Posted by seeker6079 on June 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM · Report this
91
Count me in with those who think that the LW is being an asshole, and he's probably in the habit of being an asshole. He does rather write and act like somebody who's in constant violation of Wheaton's Law.

I read the event and wonder if she was being passive-aggressive and doing her damnedest to make sure that he didn't do this again. (Let's face it: some people will be dicks that way if they really want to ensure that they don't get asked again.) The problem for LW is that even if I assume the worst of her and assume that she did exactly that I rather think he forged the rod for his own back: everything about the tone and wording of his letter indicates that he's a pushy asshole and that anything short of this sort of behaviour wouldn't stop his being a pushy asshole.
Posted by seeker6079 on June 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
92
I've been there. I understand feeling simultaneously (a) freaked out and also (b) not wanting to cause the adventure to end. Imagine being on a roller-coaster you've waited all day for, and now the big drop is in front of you and you're terrified. Are you fine? Well, not really. But do you want to get off the roller coaster? No, not really.

In the end, she did want off the roller coaster, and that bummed him out.

Here's what I would do: as soon as my partner started giving off a bad vibe, I would express my discomfort. I'd let him or her know that the evening will end soon if he/she can't cheer up. Who wants a sex adventure with Debbie Downer along?

Posted by EricaP on June 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
93
For those who think she bears the greater burden of responsibility and think it's unfair to expect him to "read her mind" (conveniently ignoring the fact that he did in fact know she was uncomfortable), consider an alternative letter, in which the LW says "I asked my girlfriend throughout the night if she was okay and she always said she was fine, and she certainly seemed to be having fun. So I was caught completely off-guard when we got to their house and suddenly she was NOT fine and called the whole thing off. What did I do wrong?"

In this case the response probably would not have been "you're a douchebag for not reading her mind", but something like "maybe she wasn't being honest, maybe she changed her mind, or maybe the situation changed for her in some way - but you'll have to ask her. Whatever her answer, she has the right to withdraw consent *at any point*, and if you give her a hard time about it, then that's a douchebag move and a good way to lose any shot at a second chance."

I think IPJ @74 has it exactly right: if that was how it went down, he probably would have had a very similar reaction. What made it worse in this case is that she wasn't fine - and he knew it. Which everyone here should know, based on the TITLE of the letter.
Posted by Chase on June 6, 2012 at 1:33 PM · Report this
94
@70 "You must not have grown up in America if you think women are automatically going to contradict their boyfriends and not place their pleasures ahead of their own. You might be enlightened, but traditional gender roles run very deep and it takes a lot to overcome them. Don't blame the victim here."

Born and bred, and actually I think that skill is much more common than you seem to (specifically the contradiction part). I've seen it in many women from gender-traditional families, as well as the ones from the so-called "enlightened" families you might expect would be encouraging their girls to speak up. It may be an acquired skill, but it's not rare -- and not having acquired it is a sign to stay out of complicated situations/overly deep water until you learn, NOT a free pass on responsibility for yourself. Labeling her a victim doesn't help.

That's the lesson I really hope she's learning from this debacle. Assuming the LW is still reading, I think the lessons the he'll learn are pretty clear:

GGG --- that acronym doesn't mean what you think it means.
However desperate you are to make a fantasy happen, glossing over signs of trouble is unkind and will come back to bite you in the ass, and may leave you deservedly single.
Don't engage in emotionally risky stuff with someone unless the two of you communicate well -- as in much, MUCH better than you described here. If you can't believe what someone tells you, you should NOT be playing these kinds of games together.

Posted by AlphaBanty on June 6, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
95
Okay, for the sake of argument only, I'll concede that the girlfriend "lied" about being OK. The problem is when she told the truth, he gets all bent out of shape and wants to blame her for finally telling the truth. She had every right to stop the experience when she decided to stop it. Instead the LW is demanding that his girlfriend come up with an acceptable reason to put an end to this adventure and "I didn't want to do it" is apparently not good enough. He says she doesn't give a good enough reason. The only reason that counts is that she wanted it to stop.

@72 I don't think the letter writer gets props because he didn't force her to live up to her agreement. Not forcing your girlfriend to have sex when she doesn't want to is the way people should behave, not something so unusual that we should applaud the LW for behaving like a decent human being. My objections are to his sense of entitlement that is expressed in this letter. He seems to think that because his girlfriend tried to gut it out, for whatever reason, she was required to continue. She wasn't.

To those that say it drives them crazy when WOMEN act the way the girlfriend did, I was driven crazy when my decidedly male husband said fine when he didn't mean it and my mother-in-law was driven crazy when her male husband did it. Passive-aggressive is not exclusive to women.
Posted by percysowner on June 6, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
kristen pawling 96
This letter pissed me off, but Dan's response was right on.

If anything, I think that HE owes HER an apology. He knew that she wasn't okay with it, yet insisted on going through with things.
Posted by kristen pawling http://www.kristenfingpawling.blogspot.com on June 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
97
I don't think she used shaming language, saying something feels dirty or wrong to you does not mean you think it should feel dirty or wrong to everyone.
Posted by cpt. tim on June 6, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 98
It's all right there in the letter, people. You're not paying attention. He said it was obvious she didn't like it and was uncomfortable. The fact that he asks 20 times is not even a necessary clue. He SAID HE KNEW.
Posted by HellboundAlleee http://hellboundalleee.blogspot.com on June 6, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
debug 99
To the commenters who say she has no need to apologize for "how dirty and wrong it felt to her" I submit that you're giving the haters of the world an easy out.

Examples:
"Women who have sex before marriage feel like dirty whores to me."
"I feel like homosexuals are going to hell for all that dirty buttsex"

Do we really want to excuse shaming language because the hater frames it as just feeling wrong and dirty to them?
Posted by debug on June 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
100
@99:
If someone does not want to engage in sex with an audience, in sex with someone they don't know well, in sex with a partner their bf/gf picked out for them, in sex with thirds and fourths, etc, the reason is going to come down to something like "I'm not okay doing that, whether this particular time or ever, because it feels wrong." You shouldn't have to sex-validate the entire world every time you say something is not your cup of tea.

To recast your examples:
"My having sex outside of marriage would feel wrong." (Extension for insecure friends: I don't care if you fuck the entire bar, but stop whining about how I won't achieve self-actualization until I start having sex in a way that makes you feel secure about your life.)

"I don't want to have sex with another woman. I know guys claim it's hot and they love the idea, but it just feels wrong and icky and I can't get remotely it. No."
Posted by IPJ on June 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
101
When I was about 20 a friend of mine asked me to go with her on a double date with a guy she had this HUGE crush on, and his friend. The minute I met my "date" I knew it wouldn't work. Both guys were fairly drunk, mine was a jerk, and they were trying to get us into their car. I instinctively wanted to bail, but we were young and quite stupid, and my friend was looking at me with those puppy eyes. So off we went. We ended up at a bar, then at my friend's date apartment, quite far from home. I told my friend several times that I wanted to go home and she told me I was ruining her "dream" My friend and her date locked themselves in the bedroom and I was left to fend for myself with my guy. After a long wrestle I ended up giving the guy a blowjob to avoid further advances. I was so disgusted and angry, mostly with myself for not taking better care of me. And with my friend for being a manipulative bitch. It never happened again. Live and learn. But it is true that young people, and women in particular, sometimes have a hard time saying no, and will do stupid things not to "let others down" or because "they already said yes" Abusing that situation is an awful thing to do.
Posted by ferfer on June 6, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
102
@85, I think you are spot-on about emotional abuse. A jewel of an unregistered comment, in case anyone skipped it.
Posted by LiveAndLet on June 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
103
Agreed. Posted by Seenitbefore @ 85:

My own background may be influencing my opinions on this situation, but it seems to me that this guy is emotionally abusive. Such folks are super skilled at making everything the other person's fault. Often so skilled at manipulation that those around them believe it, too. ("Well, it's my fault; I shouldn't have XYZ...") After however many months or years (LW doesn't say) of this guy getting upset when she doesn't do or say exactly what he wants, of *course* she would attempt to avoid rocking the boat, avoid upsetting him in any way. After being trained that speaking up for yourself has miserable consequences, she would learn *not* to be honest about her feelings. She would say she's fine when prompted. She would allow herself to be uncomfortable until the discomfort is greater than than of his inevitable punishment afterward. When he says that "she only talks about how dirty and wrong it felt to her," this probably means that he is making her go through the same conversation, over and over again until she agrees it's her fault.

Girl needs to get out, now.
Posted by Chase on June 6, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
104
@18 I think you're absolutely right that she does have a responsibility to just say what she wants, rather than making him ask her repeatedly. However, this guy seems like the worse offender in the situation, so I think that's why people are being hard on him. He comes across as a manipulative jerk. It seems like she's a prop in his fantasy rather than someone he genuinely cares about.
Posted by gggrrrrrrrrl on June 6, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 105
Pretty much agree w/ what most posters have said: they sound young, & this kinda thing - a saucy night out involving other people - can be a huge learning experience, both as regards that evening, & how the couple thinks of each other.

Should she have "UYW" - Use Your Words (remember that)? Yes, definitely. As an adult, she has every responsibility to speak the truth & represent herself, especially on something so intimate & important as this adventure was to her mate. That's something you don't learn until you've done it, IMO.

BUT, as many have noted, he bears the burden of responsibility here. It was *his* fantasy; he seems to resent the fact it didn't work out, but most importantly, he was able to tell that things weren't okay for his girlfriend, was able to read her feelings, & pressed on. Fulfillment of this fantasy was more important, in that moment, than whether she was genuinely okay or not.

And for those of you not seeing it..really? You're in this delicate situation with other people around, & your horny S.O. keeps asking you.."Are you sure you're okay? Are you sure? How about now?" I bet some of the times he asked *were* in front of the other couple, too. How is that *not* manipulative? That's a lot of pressure, & clearly blames her for things not working out, as opposed to appearing to the folks they were visiting like a team.

& then to write Dan & say she needs to apologize? What for? She didn't say - 'your fantasy is dirty'. She said..'this makes me *feel* dirty & wrong'. At which point things shoulda been tabled, whatever graceful out needed to be offered to the other players should have been offered, & they could have talked about it later, found out if that dirty feeling was a forever-no, or a boundary to explore later.

CIC: Someone willing to push the boundaries with you - to try something with which you know they aren't comfortable, to make you happy - is like a rare jewel. You don't have to kiss anyone's ass 24/7, but in moments where such adventures are being had, your mate needs to know that they come first - so to speak - always. You should never involve guest stars in the movie that is you & them, without feeling certain of their comfort. If the foundation isn't 100% solid, anyone else stepping in can shake it.

I dunno. Without a major attitude reset from him, & getting her to -v (verbose command) I don't think they look likely to last. Their communication as presented here sounds hella unhealthy.

More...
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on June 6, 2012 at 10:23 PM · Report this
106
This strikes me as a poster child case for Yes Means Yes -- in that anything short of an enthusiastic "Yes!" (in this case, a monotone "I'm fine") might as well be a No.

Posted by avast2006 on June 6, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Report this
107
Yes, bailing is absolutely everyone's right at any time, including right in the middle. You want to stop, then things stop. If they don't stop after you've made it clear that you want them to stop, that's rape. (I do, however, think you have no business calling it rape if you make your desire to stop known solely through nonverbal cues that only your partner would pick up on but anyone else present would miss, all the while saying "No, I'm fine." )

That said, if you call a halt and the halt happens in a reasonable fashion, I don't think it's out of line to apologize for messing up the evening. That apology is appropriate even if you bail at the bar within the first five minutes of meeting them. You say, "Sorry, I just don't think this is a good idea." The longer the evening goes on, the more appropriate it is to apologize for cutting things off. It's called being polite. You don't just say, "Nope, don't feel like doing it." and nothing else.

From over here, it looks like Dan is reacting to Letter Writer trying to dun the apology out of his girlfriend after the fact. No, under those circumstances an apology is not warranted -- the moment is long gone -- and indeed is not owed in response to the bullying at all.

But an apology would be appropriate at the moment you bail out.
Posted by avast2006 on June 6, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
108
@95: "He seems to think that because his girlfriend tried to gut it out, for whatever reason, she was required to continue."

That's not what the letter says. He didn't say he expected her to go through with it. He says he gave her twenty separate chances to back out, and she didn't take him up on any of them, but waited until the most embarrassing, most highly charged moment to yank the emergency brake. At least by his words, he would have been a lot more comfortable ending the evening at any one of twenty prior moments, all of which involved less embarrassment. (There are any number of commenters that doubt that would actually be the case, but that is getting into speculative territory. I don't intend to tell Letter Writer what he actually thinks.)

He's being pretty stupid, if that's what he thinks. The most embarrassing, most highly charged moment is EXACTLY the one most likely to provoke pulling the plug. That's basically how safewords work. If you can't be gracious about calling an instant halt, with no hard feelings, you shouldn't be playing those sort of high-stakes games.

And that's what he really did that was the most wrong -- threw a fit and gave her shit after the fact, rather than being graceful about it and grateful that she tried as hard as she did.

Imagine the situation with everything except the fights afterwards: he sets things up, checking in with her constantly during all the prep work; they go; she appears to be uncomfortable; he gives her every conceivable chance to back out, but she tries really hard to go through with it; in the clinch, no, she can't go through with it. They go home...the end. Maybe they will try again some other time (okay, probably not), but no hard feelings.

Sounds pretty textbook to me. Would people be jumping up and down on his head if this was how it played out? If he had been gracious when she backed out? I doubt it.
More...
Posted by avast2006 on June 7, 2012 at 12:56 AM · Report this
109
First off, I stopped reading after #60 or so... so this may have been said.

I am always amused at the efforts of commenters, and Dan in this case, to apportion the 100 percentage points of blame. So let me do so and say I feel he was 83.5% to blame, She was 11.5% to blame and 5% was sales tax.

In our late 40s my wife and I reached a point where I needed to have my kinks fulfilled in a way they were not being fulfilled. There was a lot of talk, arguments, trips to the internet to read Dan on GGG and Tristan Taromino on how to negotiate 3 ways. There was even a hole in the wall from the time I lost it completely when she told me my needs were not being fulfilled because her were. Not me at my shining best.

But eventually we negotiated that we would go to a Dominatrix together and she would watch me be Dommed. Then came an evening spent playing with a guy who owned a Sybian. Then a wonderful three way. We now have been to house parties and swing clubs and continue to pursue dates with either single guys or other couples.

In all of these cases, we have been successful because we have pre negotiated as much as we could think of, been nimble enough to deal with what came up that we didn't think of (her offering me her lover's cock when she was tired of giving him a BJ and my helping her out, not planned).

We still check in all the time. We still deliver honest answers as best we can. We still double check when the answer in word we hear doesn't seem to match what is going on. ARE YOU SURE? Actually not said shouting, just quietly.

So LW, its your fantasy, you didn't get it and you probably drove her to a point where your hill to climb now looks like one of the killer stages of the Tour de France. But you GF does need to learn to tell you whats up. If you had just taken the time to get private with er the first time her words didn't match her body language, she would probably have felt a lot of trust in you. More than she does now. Yes she should have told you her feelings... assuming that her feelings were something other than I'm fine up till the point where she realized that the butterflys in her stomach were feeling of revulsion at how dirty she was behaving, a possibility.

So in a final analysis, here is my blame-o-meter....

Him 93% He tried but his dock got in the way of his reasoning and his after response sucked.
Her more than 50%. Tell the truth. Of course she gets 100% credit for bailing before going through with something that felt wrong. So no need to apologize.

If the other couple are ethical swingers, they know that no means no, that sex isn't guaranteed no matter how close you are to getting it, etc. I have been told no after giving a partner an orgasm and a full body massage when she simply changed her mind. Fucked up? Well I did masturbate to the image of her cumming for weeks afterwards.
More...
Posted by wine-o on June 7, 2012 at 4:35 AM · Report this
debug 110
@100 your recast examples are still using shame language.

It's perfectly fine if one isn't attracted to women for example, that boobs or vaginas are yucky, but how one expresses those feelings matters.

Someone saying "penises are gross" even if they soften it with "for me" are still shaming penises publicly.

I support free speech over political correctness but words do have meaning. If people want to express themselves that way fine but then we can't whine as a supposedly sex-positive community when other haters use the same language to describe why we (whatever we are) are gross and wrong.
Posted by debug on June 7, 2012 at 9:18 AM · Report this
111
Re the discussion of shame language:

Polite people don't go around publicly expressing their personal opinions about the ickiness of other people's parts or practices.

It's different if you're communicating your preferences to your partner, in private. That's important. She doesn't have to apologize for saying that she felt "dirty and wrong." But he should decide if he wants to stay with someone who feels that way. I recommend that he evaluate whether her use of the word "dirty" means that she is completely turned off, or (a little) turned on. People come in both flavors, and but usually people in the latter camp are better prospects for becoming more adventurous over time. If you can talk about these issues in bed, with a finger gently stroking her pussy, you can learn a lot more about what she might be open to in time than if she is only willing to talk fully clothed, or curled up with her arms around herself protectively.
Posted by EricaP on June 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
112
CIC definitely deserves the lashing he's getting here. He needs to be more respectful of his partner and learn how to fairly negotiate these things.

I think his girlfriend does owe just a tiny little bit of apology - not for any "shaming" language, but for not properly speaking up for herself. Now, granted, CIC doesn't inspire any sympathy here; his storytelling hardly convinces us that he _encouraged_ her to be assertive, and he clearly could tell how she really felt. Still, dealing with people who won't just say "no" when they want/need to, and are then ready to hold it against you later when you take them at their word, can be incredibly frustrating and exhausting. She needs to learn to do that.

I'm well aware some will defend her by saying "But women are socialized to please in our society! You can't blame her for that!" Okay, perhaps, but it just seems entirely too easy to deprive women of all agency with talk like that. Once you accept that, how do you draw the line such that you can ever trust his girlfriend's consent at all? What if CIC had been entirely non-douchey about his approach to the subject and it went badly? Would you still blame him? ("She just couldn't say no once he said he wanted it! Socialization!") At some point, you just have to trust adult human beings to look out for themselves, or there's just no way to function.
Posted by Morosoph on June 7, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
debug 113
@111 I agree, although even in private you need to consider the feelings of your audience. Part of GGG is not putting a judgement on what your partner(s) are into even if it doesn't do it for you or you just can't go there.

But I think we're on the same page common-sense wise. I was bringing it up more for the interesting conversation it may bring over any strong feelings.
Posted by debug on June 7, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
femwanderluster 114
@86: "B- He asks how she is; she says fine; he can tell that she's not fine and calls off the date; they go home and fight. He blames her for ruining it by not being honest about her feelings; she says "why did you call it off? I said I was fine" (I'd bet $100 that if [he] did call it off, she wouldn't have admitted that she actually wasn't fine, let alone thank him for ending his fantasy")."

I'd bet $1000 that if he did call if off, she WOULD have admitted that she actually was not fine, and she WOULD have thank him for ending his fantasy, for being sensitive enough to see she was not ok and for putting both their feelings above the fantasy. I'd also bet another $1000 that she'd trust him enough to try again.

I'd also bet yet another k that she would not fight with him when the got home from the date for his having ending it. See above.

Posted by femwanderluster on June 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 115
@112 "I'm well aware some will defend her by saying "But women are socialized to please in our society! You can't blame her for that!" Okay, perhaps, but it just seems entirely too easy to deprive women of all agency with talk like that."

First of all, reading between the lines of your comment, "some will defend her;" it seems like you think she shouldn't be defended and should definitely be blamed. But, being a widdle-wady like me, that's just how it FEELS to me. That said, let's move on.

"Deprive women of all agency?"
That IS NOT what is happening here, and if you think that, then you have no comprehension of what socialization like this means and how it manifests.

No one said that gender role socialization deprives women of ALL agency, only that it influences their behavior in heterosexual SEXUAL-specific situations. It's telling, though, that you think it does; that comment, to me, shows that you do not sympathize with women or understand their side of the equation at all, if you jump so quickly to zero-sum assumptions. Also, "perhaps"? No, sir, it is fact.

As a woman born and raised in the US, who is now 27 and a radical fucking feminist, thank you very much re: that upbringing, I can tell you that this socialization in NO WAY saps you of ALL agency, for fuck's sake, man.

What it DOES mean is that your behavior in a heterosexual relationship can be colored by this socialization--it is not conscious and it in no way means that every decision is colored by it. As mentioned up-thread, some guys only really socialize with women like me, women who have come out on the other side of this BS who can and will stand up for themselves and won't take misogynist bullshit. Also pointed out up-thread, is that women like me are NOT the norm. It can take time to get here, if one ever even begins the journey at all. Some don't. Deal with it. Entitled dick. That's also the norm, entitled dicks, enlightened ones are hard (snark) and few between. Oh, and those entitled dicks? SOCIALIZED TO BE ENTITLED. Sing it.

"Once you accept that, how do you draw the line such that you can ever trust his girlfriend's consent at all? What if CIC had been entirely non-douchey about his approach to the subject and it went badly? Would you still blame him? ("She just couldn't say no once he said he wanted it! Socialization!") At some point, you just have to trust adult human beings to look out for themselves, or there's just no way to function."

Wah wah wah, what if something happened that didn't, straw argument, blah blah, wah wah baby dicks.

Say it with me like another up-threader: enthusiastic, unmistakable YES = Full steam ahead.
More...
Posted by femwanderluster on June 7, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
116
@110:
Okay. A has suggested to B that an audience would really turn A on. B considers this (for 2 seconds, for a week of careful consideration, through the initial negotiations until it starts feeling too real, whichever), realizes he or she absolutely hates the idea, and pulls the plug. (For the first, A and B needn't even be long-term partners: maybe they just met at the bar.) I think the message behind the most politically correct essay on 'why I am saying no to you' would be "because this just feels wrong for me." That tends to be why people decide not to engage in various sex acts when they have the opportunity. What words are acceptable to turn down your partner's suggestion, given the reality that one of you is into something and the other is not? Whether that suggestion is some varsity level nonmonogamy, or a routine disinterest in fucking the next person at the bar.

@112: I would point out she did in the end use her words and match them to her body language, and boy was he furious when she did.
Posted by IPJ on June 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 117
@116's comment to @112: BURN. IPJ FTW
Posted by femwanderluster on June 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
118
IPJ @ 116 - well, yes, and that's why (like I actually said in @112, for those who actually read it) I don't have any sympathy for CIC. I speak only to the general principle that people need to learn to speak up for themselves - and not just for their own good, but for their partners' good as well. If CIC's girlfriend can't do that, then her future lovers will also find that frustrating, even if they're more respectful and sensitive to her feelings than this guy is.
Posted by Morosoph on June 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 119
@118 Oh, Morosoph, telling those who comment on your comment that they should actually "read it"...talk about fucking patronizing. And, well, seems you're quick to try to undo what you've done. Trust me, if we're commenting on your comment: we've READ IT. You should read your own comment again. Then we can talk.

We all agree she needs to grow up (thus the discussion of socialization), however, one does not learn such things overnight, but through experience. Undoubtedly, she's learned from this experience, though we can't know, because it's not her letter. I would hope she's learned that she shouldn't date manipulative, entitled little boys dressed in men's clothing. We can hope that, but, again, NOT THE ISSUE HERE. The issue is how her boyfriend, who actually wrote the letter, needs the advice, but wants the A-Okay to tell her SHE's the only one at fault here, when what he needs is to be told how he should have acted and or how he could redeem himself through future actions. HE thinks SHE needs to apologize for his abysmal treatment of his own fantasy. THAT is the issue.

I'm curious about your take on the guy's reaction and actions, without talking about the chica except as a third party (as he did, really, just as an aside almost). Ah...unenlightened straight men; they'd be funny if they weren't so dang destructive.
Posted by femwanderluster on June 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
120
You know, these sorts of issues are clear to me: A clear yes means yes, a clear no means no, and anything else is a no (at least for now). And a monotone "I'm fine" (especially in public or in front of strangers where she might not be comfortable telling you to go to hell) falls into "anything else".

I might not have as much sex by following those rules, but when I get the opportunity to get it on I know that I'm not hurting somebody I care about.
Posted by Thexalon on June 7, 2012 at 5:07 PM · Report this
femwanderluster 121
@120: right the fuck on. And yes, fuck the fuck on ^_^
Posted by femwanderluster on June 7, 2012 at 8:35 PM · Report this
122
I agree with others that it probably wasn't fair (or wise) to tell LW he has a "legit beef" with his partner's expressed feelings, qualifiers notwithstanding.

If LW had a good indication that his GF was expressing feelings for the purpose of humiliating him, or without regard to his own feelings, that would be another matter. As it is, LW doesn't give enough evidence to support that conclusion, and Dan (who is kind and wants to sympathize with everyone at least a little bit, especially when the sympathy helps them to hear the less pleasant things Dan needs to say) has just thrown LW a bone that LW will probably just use to beat his GF some more.

That said, this response was definitely another win for Dan. He saw through the BS right away and responded appropriately.

Posted by longtime reader on June 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM · Report this
123
Dan tweaks his advice here:

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
Posted by cgd on June 7, 2012 at 9:49 PM · Report this
Gou Tongzhi 124
@28 Yes, because there is no such thing as body language, or tone, when one is speaking. After all, he had NO IDEA she was not enjoying it. And the many reasons why a woman in that situation might try to disguise the feelings that she is hoping her significant other will man enough to pick up on, simply don't exist!

You're a fucking genius!
Posted by Gou Tongzhi on June 8, 2012 at 8:48 PM · Report this
125
@70 people are way too comfortable with the idea that he should be responsible for making her decisions for her because gender roles blah blah blah... That shit doesn't absole you from the responsibility/challenge in life of being your own person. It seems like a real white girl cop out, and it's actually pretty sad how comfortable people are with the idea of her lying to herself, and abandoning her resopnsibility to herself to get Alain without a daddy making her decisions for her. "want to fuck in a room with another couple" ? "Nope, I think it's foul" THATS ALL SHE HAD TO SAY. If I were him, I would seriously consider dumping the passive aggressive bitch already. She seems like a child... Forget standing up for herself just on the night in question, there was obviously discussion leading up to that, so she knew where they were going with this. Its not so much her thoughts on it rather than her lack of integrity on the whole that I find irritating I guess.... They just seem like they are together for their own fucked up reasons... Maybe young or whatever, but the/any relationship can't survive shit without everyone being able to communicate simple truths. Final thought, why does his responsibility to make this decision for her supers red her responsibility to make his decision for herself ?
Posted by Xam on June 9, 2012 at 5:57 AM · Report this
126
But it's true that he should have been a man about it and got her out of there, Gou has suggested a way of handling it that I can't disagree with... I am not into watching/being watched but in a general sense we can all understand that we should protect our partners first than talk later, well, before and after, it seems obvious that its the quality not the quantity of care and communication that was exposed. Also... Even of you are in the middle of fucking she can say stop, whatever whatever, this isn't for me, done. So why not before hand, while this couple is giving her the creeps ? The point of no return is much later on (in reality there is not point of no return) an the more I think about it she might be childish and passive aggressive, he really was not very respectful.
Posted by Xam on June 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
127
I think the intelligent solution for him would have been - on the third "I'm fine," to say, "Well, maybe you are, but I don't feel safe with this right now."

Not putting the decision on her at that point, since she was still CHOOSING to go with it, despite how she may have actually felt. But honestly on himself. "Something here doesn't feel right, hon, let's go home and talk about it."

Then maybe at home, "You know, if you don't enjoy it, I'm not going to enjoy it. And I feel you're not happy about this. So can you please be honest with me? Or is something else wrong?"

In other words, call her on her dishonesty....and remove the pressure that makes her think it's necessary. Also perhaps removing her martyr-under-fire status. "See how noble I was trying to do this dirty wrong thing you want so much (you pervert)?"

Why do I suspect he knew she wasn't fine with this before they ever went on the date? Why do I equally suspect she was trying to guilt the decision off on him the whole time, and only fessed up when it became obvious he wasn't going to cave in to it?

He was being pushy and insensitive. She was being dishonest and manipulative. This ain't about sex, it's about power.
Posted by ktisprollymyrealnameanyway on June 9, 2012 at 3:58 PM · Report this
128
@89 - Mitten you win the internet!

If you - generic "you", male or female - are so immature that you don't understand that your first attempt at realizing a fantasy that involves four people has a pretty good chance of being less than stellar... well, then you aren't ready to try it out.

Please realize, people, that trying to make fantasy reality is scary. It's scary for the person who is being vulnerable enough to reveal their fantasies; it's scary for the person who wants to please their partner and tries to act out a fantasy they most likely don't share. And involving third and fourth parties increases the scariness exponentially.

I think it's wonderful that folks feel more freedom these days to express fantasies and try to get their partners to go along. That's a net plus from the days when all sexual fantasies were dirty, dark secrets and never left the confines of your own skull. Lots more good sex is being had as a result of Dan's (and other's) efforts to promote the idea of "GGG."

BUT I'm afraid the younger generation, especially males, raised on the concept of GGG and internet porn maybe takes it WAY too for granted that they have some sort of "right" to expect that their partners will do just about anything in the name of good sex. And the younger generation of girls has been led to believe that they have some sort of OBLIGATION to do just about anything their partner asks in the name of their satisfaction.

I know that Dan promotes both partners being equally GGG, but the plain facts are that in the real world, it's more often men doing the expecting and women doing the fulfilling.
Posted by aimeeday1972 on June 12, 2012 at 4:40 PM · Report this
129
To me the key is that he apparently asked his wife how she was doing IN FRONT OF THE OTHER COUPLE!! Of course she's not going to say she's not having fun. That would be basically saying to the other couple's face that she doesn't like them, which is rude. A GGG partner would not put his wife on the spot like that. If you really think she wants to bail, speak to her privately and you may find her more willing to open up.
Posted by ML77 on June 13, 2012 at 5:40 AM · Report this
130
Dan, for the first time, I seriously disagree with you. Not on most of the points you made, but on the fact that she's using "slut shaming and sex negative" language in the aftermath. She said that it felt dirty and wrong TO HER. That's not saying that enjoying it is dirty or wrong, but that it made HER PERSONALLY feel that way.

I have friends who swap and I'm not only fine with it, I've helped out with kids so they can indulge. But the idea of sleeping with another man with my husband's knowledge and consent would feel incredibly wrong -- because it would make me feel like I was being loaned out like a sweatshirt. I would feel like my husband didn't value me or think of me as a person who has the right to say who she sleeps with, but an unimportant possession.

Now, do I think that 99% of men who swap with their wives feel that way about their spouse? No. In fact, I know without a doubt that the men I know who do it love their wives very much and don't ever try to push their wives to someone that the wife isn't interested in. Would that be MY husband's reasoning? No. If we ever did it, he'd only be doing it for me, and I know it. But for me, that would be my gut reaction every time and I think it's crazy that I can't say that about my personal feeling, as long as I also make it clear that it's only a feeling for myself and not a judgment on others.
Posted by slf on March 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Report this

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