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Monday, July 2, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Not Much To Say About This

Posted by on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I am a 27-year-old straight female, I'm GGG, and I have been living with my boyfriend for almost two years. I recently began to accept porn as a normal and very enjoyable thing; I used to enjoy it with partners and on my own, but the aftermath of abusive relationships and control issues stemming from my upbringing interfered and I became your stereotypical "controlling" girlfriend. I have since learned how to better deal with those issues and am on the road to a freer, more liberated sex life and a better understanding of how someone you are intimate with can have a private erotic inner life.

However, I still have a boundary about something: strip clubs. My sister was a dancer for years and although I am sexually liberal I feel very uncomfortable with the idea of my partner viewing other naked women. (That was my SISTER!) The only thing I can compare it to is showing my tits, pussy, and asshole to other men, which is not something my boyfriend would want me to do. I support sex workers and feel that prostitution should be legal so as to increase the safety of workers. But I have this one boundary. When I told my boyfriend about it in the beginning of our relationship he informed me that strip clubs were not important to him and he had no problem respecting my boundary. I should mention here that I never said "you can" or "you can't," but rather "this is how I feel."

I am fortunate to have a loving man. We are honest, we communicate, and he fully validates and respects how I feel. And here's the clincher: I feel guilty that he respects me in this way! I feel like that stereotypical-harpy-controlling-cunt girlfriend who "has her man on a leash." I have been majorly put down by men in my past including their friends who were very chauvinistic and sexist. However, I DID have issues of control in the past that I have since reprimanded into patterns of healthier thinking. Perhaps I am overly self-critical but I end up feeling like that type of girlfriend nobody wants or wants to be. How do I let this go? And is this a healthy boundary? Like I said, we enjoy porn, we explore each others desires, we communicate well, and we don't guilt-trip, blame, or intentionally hurt each other. Am I just being neurotic? Is there a right or wrong in this matter or is it up to the couple what is healthy for THEM and fuck what other people think?

Sick Of Anxiety

My response—my brief response—after the jump.


Dear SOA,

Take yes for an answer.




Comments (50) RSS

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Perfect! "It ain't broke, now quit fixing it."
Posted by gloomy gus on July 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
Seriously. That's a perfectly reasonable boundary. You're not controlling, you're not an asshole, you're not a harpy, you're not unhealthy. You're fine with your partner looking at other naked women on a screen (porn), but not in person.

And most critically, your partner is fine with this boundary. Relax. You're not doing it wrong.
Posted by Action Kate on July 2, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
biffp 3
She seems smart and considerate. Needs to move on and stop feeling 'fortunate' to have someone who loves her. That and the stripper sister are a bit of a red flag.
Posted by biffp on July 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
bedipped 4
1) If you haven't had a conversation since the beginning of your relationship about this detail that's eating away at you, then you're not communicating.
2) There are lots of men who say that strip clubs are not important to them and mean it. If he's so fab, trust that your boyfriend is one of them.
3) What about the bachelor party?
Posted by bedipped on July 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Word. Also, not all guys even necessarily like strip clubs in the way that all guys do necessarily like porn. I am pretty sure that my fiance could go for the rest of his life without setting foot in a strip club and not even notice the deprivation. No worries.
Posted by daftgiraffe on July 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM · Report this
It's worth noting that the reasons men go to strip clubs vary wildly. I'd recommend Susannah Breslin's "Letters from men who go to strip clubs" blog:… .
Posted by Tyler Pierce on July 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Posted by daftgiraffe on July 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Kind of a bizarre thing to be concerned about, really. Is she actually saying that she's uncomfortable about _not_ burdening him?
Posted by Morosoph on July 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
OuterCow 9
I wish people would stop insisting they're GGG in the letters, just strikes me as really pretentious and moronic when the person then goes on to ask Dan if they're being GGG enough. Maybe I'm being too nitpicky, but "I try to be GGG" just strikes me a lot better.

Also LW, since you're having trouble thinking of a good comparison for your boyfriend going to a female strip club, it would be you going to a male strip club, or at least seeing men naked in rl, and not you showing your lady bits to someone else.
Posted by OuterCow on July 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Yeah, sometimes people try to evaluate their preferences as if they were susceptible to logic, or as if there were only one right answer. That is a mistake. In some households, it would be a real violation to smoke indoors, or to fry up a pan of bacon. In other households, everyone smokes, and frying up a pan of bacon gets you extra credit.

Sometimes people's preferences are in real conflict, and negotiating those boundaries is tricky. Sometimes you have to throw in the towel rather than try to find an accommodation. But there is no point in putting your preferences on trial if they are not causing problems (unless they are inherently problematic I guess - racist or something - not liking strip clubs is not in that category).

It would be okay to demand that your partner refrain from things that are far more harmless than strip clubs, is I guess what I am trying to say. If your partner had a problem with it, then you would have to get into the merits. But he doesn't, so you don't.
Posted by minderbender on July 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
seatackled 11
It seems that the LW is looking for trouble where there isn't any.
Posted by seatackled on July 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
@5 I definitely agree with that. If porn is beer, then strip clubs are Jagermeister.
Posted by minderbender on July 2, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Awww, this is the most torturous obsessive pontification ever. Kinda sweet, but honey, go plant some flowers or take karate classes or something. You must not have kids or a career to worry about.
Posted by dchari on July 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
There's nothing wrong with having a "no strip clubs" boundary. A lot of those places are full contact, and asking that your committed partner not allow another girl to rub herself all over him in a sexual way seems to be a perfectly reasonable request to me. Fuck anyone who'd call you a controlling harpy for that.

Posted by He sounds like a good guy on July 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
debug 15
Stripper sister,
History of conflict with men in her life
Picking bad boys and trying to fix/control them.
Sabotaging relationships with good men

Fathers of the world, this letter is a wake-up call to spend more quality time with your daughters.
Posted by debug on July 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
@5: Yeah, porn should be accepted as a fact of life and then enjoyed together, separately, or ignored by her. But strip clubs? They don't have any appeal to me (a straight guy).

Dan (dressed up as a Village People policeman), "There's no problem here, people, just keep moving along."
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@13 your comment made me laugh. I seem to have a "worry stomach" analogous to the "dessert stomach" I had as a child. That is, even when I think I have plenty on my plate -- marriage, friends, career -- I still find the time to worry. Or, rather, the worry finds me: even busy people use the shower and toilet occasionally. Therapy has helped me. Perhaps it would help LW too-- chronic anxiety is hard to overcome on your own.
Posted by wxPDX on July 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM · Report this
@15 too. Yeah, my father has come up in my therapy repeatedly. He wasn't abusive, per se, just really absent. Still does a fantastic job of ignoring his kids. Every time I think I'm done with therapy, my husband asks me how I feel about my dad-- thus demonstrating that I'm not done with therapy. Being a cliche kind of sucks, but having insurance that pays for therapy makes me one lucky lady.
Posted by wxPDX on July 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
You know who goes on and on about feeling guilty about saying "no" to something their partner doesn't even want to do? Someone with a fantasy.

So my advice to the letter writer is stop trying to figure out if you should be talking yourself into giving your boyfriend a gift card to a nudie bar and buy some sexy lingerie and give him a private pole dance.
Posted by EclecticEel on July 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
This woman sounds like someone who is aware of her own flaws and has found a partner who doesn't mind those particular things (at least not when she actively works to make them palatable to him).

It doesn't matter if some other man would get annoyed with her semi-control. He doesn't, so the issue is academic.
Posted by DRF on July 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Actually, I used to date a former biker who hated strip clubs. He said every stripper he'd ever dated had hated men, so he figured there was just something really wrong with the concept and that strip clubs were just inherently hurtful to the women who worked there. We went to his family reunion and a couple of male relatives of his wanted to go to a strip club the night before the picnic, so he told them "I'll go if my girl goes," figuring that was the end of it.

Imagine his surprise when I said "Oh heck yeah!" I was curious, what can I say? Ended up hanging out and chatting with the strippers on their breaks all night long and getting some awesome massages at a buck a pop. I had a blast. He had less of a blast because he was busy glowering at the guys who were trying to approach me and my new stripper friends, but afterwards he was crazy horny:)
Posted by JrzWrld on July 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Mattini 22
I just want to say I laughed at "showing my tits, pussy, and asshole to other men." I'm glad the LW is such a thorough imaginary stripper.
Posted by Mattini on July 2, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Ophian 23
Posted by Ophian on July 2, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
"And then I gave myself the hugest pat on the back for being what must have seemed like THE coolest girlfriend in the world for proving I could be just like one of the guys but better, cuz, I'm like, ya know, boobied? And I've been bragging about my CRAZY night with the strippers ever since." - jizz world (aka every girl in her 20s since 1990)
Posted by giant eye roll on July 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Eh, it's one of lifes sad ironies; we fight hard to disrupt and challenge entrenched discourses around sexuality (i.e. any kind of sex other than vanilla, heterosexual missionary for procreation only is BAD), and then end up creating new discourses and imperatives i.e. if you ain't GGG you're doing it WRONG. Chillax and make GGG mean to each of you whatever you want it to. That's the whole point.
Posted by SexEd on July 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but I do think it's controlling and neurotic to say no to strip clubs. I"m female and I don't think it's any worse than porn. Unless your bf is a sex addict, weirdo, creep or has been spending all his money on strippers (in which case if he's that bad why even date him?), what's the harm in an occasional boy's night out with his pals?

It feels very "thought police" to me to basically tell your man he can't look at other women. My stance is that most men have a tendency to fantasize about any and every attractive female between the ages of 18 to 40 as it is. So what's the difference whether he sees them naked or clothed, b/c he's going to fantasize about fucking them anyway, no matter what they're wearing or not wearing.

Men like naked ladies. Since the dawn of time. It's never going to change. Ever. Get used to it. If you're secure in your feminine power, then it kind of doesn't matter that other women might attract his attention from time to time. As long as all he's doing is looking and not touching, then so what?

Something to think about, ladies: if your bff, roomie, sister, etc. is an attractive female, chances are your man has already mentally undressed her and thought about putting his dick in her. That is what men do. Get real.

The real threat to your relationship is the regular, everyday, girl-next-door types who he might actually have an affair with, b/c he sees them enough to get close to them. Most guys don't have affairs with strippers- it usually a coworker, church member or friend.
Posted by how many guys actually cheat with strippers? on July 2, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
It sounds to me like the LW is asking if it's basically OK to disagree with her boyfriend. The answer is obviously yes.
Posted by Slogger84 on July 2, 2012 at 5:53 PM · Report this
At #26 - Awesome Gross Generalizing there! Yes, SOME men mentally fuck/strip/whatever every woman they come across, but guess what, MANY don't! They might mentally fuck the occasional attractive one occasionally, but not ALL men walk around with just the one thing on their mind. And I'd say men and women are actually feely equal in the mentally fucking attractive people of the opposite, or same sex they come across - it's just men have generally been given way more permission to do so than woman in previous, and sadly still to some extent, contemporary times. It's a very lame and tedious stereotype, the whole male-sex-drive discourse ho hum and thinking constantly in terms of 'threats' to the relationship. I worked on a large scale study a few years ago, that examined what men and women ACTUALLY think about in regards to sex and relationships - a few thousand participants wrote freely about their thoughts on it as well as answering set questions. It was all done anon and on a computer so that there was less risk of them self-monitor their answers. There was actually very little difference between the genders in regards to how often they thought about sex, wanted sex, wanted to stray, wanted committment, wanted more intimacy etc. So get the F#%k over the nauseating stereotypes already.
Posted by SexEd on July 2, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this
is it just me or are the SL letters getting boring? this one is a snoozey. maybe Dan's work is paying off and people's probs are getting smaller?
Posted by Cassette tape fan on July 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM · Report this
Jesus, yes. If she's sick of anxiety, then she should knock it off with the bullshit. By the end of her letter she'd worked herself into a manic tizzy. Sure, I think her no-strippers rule is silly (oh boo-fucking-hoo, her sister stripped--SOB!), but most men would think that's a minor issue compared to the blithering nonsense-spouting.

I suggest smoking pot. Lots and lots of high quality pot.
Posted by Functional Atheist on July 2, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this
Dear LW,

You wrote: "I DID have issues of control in the past that I have since reprimanded into patterns of healthier thinking." Just a note on word meaning: You can't "reprimand" something "into" anything else. You can reprimand someone, be reprimanded, and a reprimand can be given. Reprimanded doesn't mean "changed" or "turned" or "reworked".

Your letter is well written, so I wonder if your spellcheck or auto-correct is doing weird things.
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on July 2, 2012 at 9:42 PM · Report this
@31: I took that as she "reprimanded (herself) into patterns of healthier thinking" as in reminding herself and giving herself little corrections when she'd return to more controlling behaviors and thoughts.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM · Report this
Okay, what does GGG mean?
Posted by BallardBoy on July 2, 2012 at 11:02 PM · Report this
nicole sweetness 34
@ 33, GGG means Good, Giving, and Game.
Posted by nicole sweetness on July 3, 2012 at 3:24 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 35
@33: An article where Dan defines GGG
Posted by Canadian Nurse on July 3, 2012 at 6:45 AM · Report this
If you have trouble with strip clubs because you associate the strippers with your own sister, why aren't you bothered by the fact that porn stars are other people's sisters? You don't feel empathy for porn stars' siblings?

Did that help?
Posted by Ivan on July 3, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Antoinette 37
"I am fortunate to have a loving man. We are honest, we communicate, and he fully validates and respects how I feel."

The last phrase - "he fully validates and respects how I feel" is so important. In my opinion, this is all that matters here. (Not strip clubs, not porn....if it wasn't those issues it would be something else.) It's so rare and special to find a partner that you can expose the most screwed-up parts of yourself to and they understand you enough and love you enough to still respect you anyway. SOA, you are being neurotic. I know it's hard, but try to stop before you ruin something good. You ask how can you let this go? You can train yourself to stop thinking about it. Everytime these thoughts enter your brain you have to almost physically stop them. (if that makes sense) If I find myself ruminating over stupid shit, I play a game of Scrabble on my phone. It works for me. You are hung up on a strip club situation that isn't even there. You know the quote- "we fear what we do not understand." It's a natural human reaction, and you should stop tourturing yourself. Good luck..
Posted by Antoinette on July 3, 2012 at 7:37 AM · Report this
Every time I think I'm done with therapy, my husband asks me how I feel about my dad-- thus demonstrating that I'm not done with therapy.
Perhaps your husband could learn to shut his fucking pie hole?
Posted by seeker6079 on July 3, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
GhostDog 39

For a lot of heterosexual guys strip clubs are just not a big deal. In my case I'm 36 and I can count the number of strip clubs I've been to on one hand(and that's only because I have a lot of friends who have gotten married). I'm sure that there is an appeal there for some people but for me it is just like going to a restaurant and paying to stare at food.
Posted by GhostDog on July 3, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Irena 40
SexEd @28: THANK YOU
Posted by Irena on July 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 41
Is it just not GGG to even QUESTION what strip clubs do to people? What commodification does to people? I guess it isn't. I have several friends who used to have to work at "gentlemen's clubs." I would hear them talk about the stares, the harassment, and their dream that one day they would never have to do it again. Yes, every job requires you to sell your soul. But until you've worked at the Deja Vu, you don't know what selling your soul actually means.
Posted by HellboundAlleee on July 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
@18: " Every time I think I'm done with therapy, my husband asks me how I feel about my dad-- thus demonstrating that I'm not done with therapy."

Perhaps your husband needs to stop asking you how you feel about your dad, or perhaps you should stop thinking that those feelings are unnatural.
Posted by jeezy creezy on July 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
LadyLaurel 43
I have a guy friend with jealousy issues so bad that he doesn't want his girlfriend to wear anything low cut. My thought on that is that he CAN ask her to avoid doing that - ask! - IF he's willing to recognize that it's his hang-up and that this would be an indulgence on her part, one that he's obligated to return in kind in some other generous gesture.

Sometimes it's not about WHAT you want, it's about knowing why you want it, how you ask for it and how you treat your partner's choice to give or not give it to you. I will gladly respect a partner's insecurities and indulge them in what they need, but if it becomes a 'morality' issue, fuck that.

A lot of the time, we fall to saying, "What you're doing is wrong and you're bad and other parts of society back me up!" because we're afraid of the vulnerability that comes with saying, "Look: *I* need this from you because of my experiences and associations with this activity. Please do this for me."
Posted by LadyLaurel http://!/XXLadyLaurelXX on July 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Straight guy who dislikes stripclubs here. @4 raises a good question. I'm in my mid-thirties and have only been to one strip club ever - during a bachelor party. I have to say I would have felt awfully lame if I wasn't "allowed" to enter one of the venues the bachelor party went to. It was an interesting experience and confirmed that yes, stripclubs are not for me. It might make sense to make an exception for cases like that.

Something about the original letter sounded strange. SOA seems to be getting herself into a tizzy about having this one rule, but gives no indication that the rule is actually an issue for the relationship of any sort. The boyfriend said stripclubs aren't important to him, and there doesn't seem to have been any recent discussion on the point. If it's a total nonissue for him then yes, SOA, you are being neurotic to worry about having a rule. It's good that you have clearly stated boundaries and what makes you uncomfortable.
Posted by mirth on July 4, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
John Horstman 45
I'm another straight (nominally, read as) cisgendered male with no interest in going to strip clubs (though I am very pro-sex-worker, and I've quite enjoyed discussing and engaging in various forms of pro-sex-worker activism with sex workers). As Dan said, take yes for an answer - don't try to create problems for yourself where there are none.

I have several friends who used to have to work at "gentlemen's clubs."

Key piece of the phrase there. Lots of women (and men) choose (insomuch as any of us has a choice about what we do for a living) to do various kinds of sex work. The problem of people who have no other option is a problem with a coercive economic system, not with sex work (it's not any more okay that some people HAVE TO work in textile mills or pick vegetables all day). Too, the fact that avenues of sex work exist such that people can support themselves doing it instead of simply not being able to support themselves and dying of starvation or exposure should not be undervalued. While I don't think we need to accept it as a given, if we're going to have a capitalist market economy, I always have to wonder what the end-game is for those who decry sex work. If the people doing it are truly forced into it because they have no other options for survival, what in the fuck are they supposed to do once they're 'rescued' from sex work? It's not like a different job will magically appear just because some paternalistic anti-sex-work activist decides to get involved in someone's life when there wasn't another job available in the first place. The problems of coerced sex work or sexual slavery are systemic problems with a capital market economy, not with sex work per se. Railing against sex work without addressing the failures of market capitalism or allowing people who actually enjoy the work the agency to pursue it isn't helping anyone.
Posted by John Horstman on July 5, 2012 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Strip clubs are lame anyway. The women are bored and uninterested in what they're doing, it seems to me. I'd rather go somewhere women get naked because they like getting naked, rather than as something unpleasant they need to do to pay rent. My local kink club usually qualifies quite well. Not that it's everyone's cup of tea or anything.
Posted by gromm on July 5, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
I assume that this letter writer haughtily walks out of every bachelorette party where a guy strips, but only after giving a bitchy lecture to her female friends that the stripper could be ... HER BROTHER! (clutch pearls, gasp)

I nominate 28 for most pretentious self-congratulatory but least aware comment so far. Man, some people really don't get it that men are not simply hairier females..

15: "Fathers of the world, this letter is a wake-up call to spend more quality time with your daughters." Nah. I will spend time with my son, telling him to stay away from crazy, controlling women.

All that said, strip clubs are boring rip-offs. I went to plenty of them, because I had a few friends who loved them, and if I wanted to hang with my friends I would accompany them there. Boring and loud. That is what I remember about strip clubs. That and the lies about how all the strippers were working their way through medical school.
Posted by Snowguy on July 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM · Report this
"The only thing I can compare it to is showing my tits, pussy, and asshole to other men, which is not something my boyfriend would want me to do."

Incorrect. You showing your tits, pussy, and asshole to other men would be equivalent to him showing his abs, dick, and asshole to other women. Him going to a strip club to see naked women would be the equivalent of you going to a strip club to see naked men.

Realizing that you have conflated one activity (audience member) with a considerably higher-stakes activity (exhibitionist), might help you relax a little about the perceived threat. Not that it's necessary -- he already told you he doesn't care about strip clubs, so you are expending a lot of brain cells pursuing a non-issue -- but your blood pressure and adrenals will thank you if you straighten out that misperception.

Posted by avast2006 on July 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Aww Snowguy, thanks. But um, at no point did I state, implicitly, nor explicitly, that "men are not simply hairier females.." I was simply responding to the dickishness of #26. I was simply pointing out that girls like sex etc as much as boys, and men want intimacy etc as much as girls. Frankly, there are more differences between individulals than between the genders per se. How is that offensive? How that's 'pretentious self-congratulatory' is, perhaps it simply stuck a nerve with you huh?
Posted by SexEd on July 9, 2012 at 2:13 AM · Report this
SOA, you sound like you could use a big hug. So, *BIG HUG*
Posted by lovingkindness on July 9, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this

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