Savage Love

Only the Lonely

Comments

1
I can feel for those dude I was almost one of them but thankfully that is not the case any longer. You never know when you will find someone the only trick is do what you love and it may happen. That is how it happened for me it took a long while but it did happen.
2
I feel for those dudes I was almost one of them. Lucky for me I found someone but I was thinking I would be by myself from here on out. The key is do what you love and you may find that person.
3
I've heard of sexual surrogates, but... they're something that insurance (presumably really good insurance) will pay for? Really? That's pretty surprising to me.
4
My husband was one of you guys. Then he met me, re-prioritized his life around being happy instead of putting on a good show for the neighbors, and got himself a regular dose of Prozac. If you keep looking for life you have a better chance of finding it than if you don't look at all. Good luck.
5
I've been paying for sex for over 16 years now and expect to continue paying for it for another 10-20. I would imagine a conveniently located and economically priced professional would be more available and less expensive than the two college tuitions, second car, and daily lattés my current contract requires.
6
"careful to launder the money through a relationship"- i love it!! Sex workers and trophy wives are the exact same thing, except that sex workers are a helluva lot more honest about the whole exchange. You nailed it, Dan! Great advice to all, as per usual ; )
7
I liked his advice to the second guy, although I'm closer to the third guy (24 y.o. and no relationship, no sex, no nothing). What I've come to realize is that if there is any fault, it's with me and no one else. Counting the positives: Good career, great health, I live on my own and do what I want, and I live in a free-ish country. It's not so bad. In fact it's pretty good. And yes, many people have those things and have relationships, but you get the point.

Bitterness, anger, seeking pity, blaming women/society/media blah-blah-blah is not a solution. Developing your own hobies, accepting the cards your dealt (if that's really what this is, and perhaps not I'm not a determinist) and some therapy is the way to go. Either way you have to take ownership of your life.

Good luck.

***

So why am I posting here? Well, I discovered Savage Love several years ago in one of those alternative weeklies and I was hooked.
8
Can't we hear one of these stories from a woman's point of view?? I am feeling a little too much testosterone within these pleas.
9
I think it's demeaning to label trophy wives as similar to sex surrogates. It's a tempting comparison, but it's often way short of reality. I'm a physician in a big hospital in NYC, and I see older male patients come in all the time with their young trophy wives. The wives often get mistaken for daughters. These women are routinely heartbroken by their husbands' diagnoses, and care for them through protracted illness. So, while their relationships may have been based on an unequal socioeconomic standing, there's often great love there. Women who were in it exclusively for the money would not act the way these women routinely do. More often than not, the reality is different from the stereotype.

Let's not get carried away here. I hate to be a wet blanket, but sex surrogates are not going to spoon-feed you through your dying years or grieve at your funeral.

Tom Waite, MD, PhD
10
First guy: 1) You don't have to hit the gym, just walk 30 minutes at least five days a week and cut back on red meat, high-fat foods and sodium and I guarantee you'll have better erections within a month. 2) If you don't already, use lube when you jerk off, practice using a light touch, and resist the urge to jerk off every time you feel the urge (try to hold out for a week at a time), it'll not only keep your sensitivity higher, but keep your motivation higher, too.

Second guy: While there's not "someone for everyone," as Dan says, most people - less successful people - fall into someone else's "type." Even if you don't see how anyone could love you, put your best foot forward and don't freak out if you do get a little interest.

Younger versions of third guy: If you're smart enough to be ostracized for being smart, you're smart enough to think yourself out of the social and dating problems. Apply your mind to fixing your social issues and think yourself out of the problem. Seriously. That's what I did, and while I had few friends and zero girlfriends all the way through college, once I realized I was smart enough to figure it out, I started having much better "luck" and now have been with a smart, cute, very talented partner for over four years. We smart guys have a lot of advantages in landing great partners, if we just apply ourselves instead of letting our emotions distract us. Don't be a social underachiever - apply yourself to your social problems like any other problem and you can work it out.
11
I wonder what makes Dan think that the last writer might have "an undiagnosed case of mild-to-moderate autism"
Anyone have any ideas?
12
@bud people with asperger's (a type of autism) are often very intelligent but lack social skills & the ability to relate to other people
13
Budlight: for one thing, the references to stereotypes (e.g. successful career=happy, class brains=outcast, sexual revolution=everyone has plenty of it, etc.).

Dan: Actually, getting a diagnostic might get him farther than you think. I have an asperger friend who took it as a challenge to fulfill his lust despite his handicap, and it took him a long time, but now shares his semen with more generosity than anyone I know.
14
Get on online dating. Lots of dates, and if one doesn't go well there's always somebody else coming down the pipe.
15
Really brilliant column this week Dan, presented in a powerful way, on a topic that is routinely ignored.

Single men are expected to silently endure loneliness. That's why I have to disagree with #8, since including letters from lonely women would only reinforce the idea that male loneliness is an unacceptable subject per se. Including a few female writers would have also erased Dan's point that male loneliness may last a lifetime, and that it may have a particular set of solutions that are largely available only to men—such as prostitutes or trophy wives.

And it seems obvious that these men have been reluctant to seek out any help in the past, as none of the writers make any mention of seeking out help from friends or medical professionals. Perhaps Dan is making an underlying point that men commonly don't seek out this sort of help.
16
Dan, you are an island of reality in a sea... no, an OCEAN of imagined idealness.

Life is rough for everyone, some more than others, but just keep working at it and perhaps it will suck less than it did before.

Good advice! I applaud you again! Keep going Dan!
17
To SOB
I have trouble keeping it up with a condom on. Presumably this is how you have most of your sex. For me the problem disappears completely with a trusted partner and no condom. Be proactive - don't end up like ALONE or STPIWTGO.
18
Nice advice.
19
My fiance was a virgin until this year, and he's 33. After one short lived relationship, he met me, and we're engaged and fucking like rabbits!

There are a lot of women who look for the opportunity to get their hands on a virgin - it gives them a guaranteed way of getting to teach a man from scratch what SHE wants, and not a mash of what previous partners wanted.

Go to the gym, take courses or classes you're interested in, take up personals online if you're busy, and you never know who you'll meet tomorrow!!!
20
Dear Dan,

As a woman with high functioning autism/Asperger's I would just like to shout out that not all of us with the diagnosis have dismal sex lives. I have currently have both a long term relationship (close to a decade) and an additional lover (seeing each other for a little over a year). My advice for those with AS would be to pick up a couple of books on polyamory (even if you prefer monogamy)or fetish etiquette. Polyamory is definitely more complex and socially different than a "normal" relationship, but that's the beauty of it. The literature on the subject tends to explain things to greater detail, much like an anthropologist, and includes information on techniques to effectively communicate sexual/emotional needs with your partner(s). Best of luck.
21
I believe the stories are fake.
22
Long time reader here - 33 year old Indian, sexually inexperienced, mildly socially retarded, definitely gay and still closeted, not doing too bad on the professional front - am terrified I will end up like ALONE.
Thanks Dan for this column and the topic.
Know what the problem is ..trying to fix it. Just hope things fall into place.
23
"squart" ?? New word or did you mean squirt?

fanx!
24
WAAAAAAAaaaaaah!

I'm alone and miserable.

Guess what? I'm not alone and miserable. What I wouldn't give for some fluckin peace an quiet and not have to listen to my wife blablablablabla whine whine whine. Count your blessings. Just you wait and see, you'll finally wind up with someone who will break your balls worse than you EVER COULD HAVE imagined.

Trust me buddy – the grass is always greener

But no grass means no broken eardrums.
25
@paisinbah

I'm an Indian queer girl! It's hard to come out. When I told my mother about my girlfriend, she freaked out, woed the day her family became and told me i didn't give men a good enough chance. And then two months later, she was telling me that maybe I should be more grateful to my girlfriend like it was no big deal at all. People are oddly surprising. Good for you for trying to fix it. I think for some people, deciding not to be "socially retarded" and just going at it with a ridiculous amount of determination can yield results that will surprise even yourself. And what in the world is better than surprising yourself?
26
@paisinbah

I'm an Indian queer girl! It's hard to come out. When I told my mother about my girlfriend, she freaked out, woed the day her family became and told me i didn't give men a good enough chance. And then two months later, she was telling me that maybe I should be more grateful to my girlfriend like it was no big deal at all. People are oddly surprising. Good for you for trying to fix it. I think for some people, deciding not to be "socially retarded" and just going at it with a ridiculous amount of determination can yield results that will surprise even yourself. And what in the world is better than surprising yourself?
27
@ALONE: I am also a heterosexual boy and have currently never been in a relationship. I've never gotten farther than kissing a girl (once) Those four makeout sessions in your youth prove that some women must find you attractive! You say you are terrified of being rejected, and I'm sure this is true, but at some point you obviously were willing to take the risks and it payed off! I think as you grew older and experienced personal and career disappointments your attitude changed and you became a defeatist who doesn't believe he can be loved and thus will not try with women. You have the qualities in you to attract women, as you showed in your youth (I'm assuming teens or college, the time when there really is very little adult responsibility to manage) But at some point you buried them and stopped trying, consciously or not. If you can bring back out those qualities of your youthful personality that attracted women (work with a shrink on this), you probably won't jump into a sea of your longtime sexual fantasies BUT you certainly can make progress and experience some of the relationships you have been desiring for so long. Don't Give Up! I hope this helps you and anyone else who reads this post
28
Excellent replies as usual, Dan! I continually live for your column. You ROCK!!!

@8: acaggiano: Okay. Here's one from a woman's point of view:

Boy, I can really relate to SOB & ALONE. However, although I have long become celibate it is by my own choice. I survived a really abusive relationship and thankfully since, have gotten on with my life.

Consequently, two prices I have paid for this healing process are experiencing occasional shyness towards men and an inactive sex life. I, too, am a little overweight but am height / weight proportionate. Over the years I have become somewhat "date-challenged", but so what? My life is a lot healthier than it ever was because I no longer am wallowing in the typical American societal bullshit of "OMG---I've GOT to weigh 20 lbs under my healthy weight or-or--GASP!--EEK!--oh, NO!!!!---I'll never get asked out!!!"

I am now in my mid-forties, composing and performing my own music, drive a convertible, have a cat, and feel like the luckiest girl alive.

We all have our blessings to be thankful for, and our own passions. Find out what they are and go for it.
29
I can relate to those 3 cases, but instead of heteresexual change to gay....Next year I am celebrating my 50th birthday and I have decided it will be the last one, I am opting for the easy solution or the coward one but frankly I have lost all hope , i have nothing to expect and I am terrified of a life of loneliness and lovelessness. I could have resorted to paid sex workers but it would have meant my ultimate failure as a human being.I do not regret my decision ...alea jacta est
30
@chaya.

Hey dude... if you're gonna off yourself, you might as well have a few lays with a prostitute first - who cares if it means your ultimate failure. Your suicide will mean that, but at least you'll have gotten your rocks off a few times before the end.
31
@ chaya760

First, it's impossible to regret this type of situation... you can't regret it because you no longer exist! Second, get off your high horse. Life is very hard alone, most relationships are even harder. Most all of the single people that I know are single largely because they would rather have to only consider their own feelings instead of be responsible for the feelings and reactions of their partner. Your example that you are lonely and experience a loveless existence (and will thus end it) shows that you are one of these people.

You're 50 and alone... big deal! Get a cat/dog, a hobby, a social circle, a more demanding job, a THERAPIST, a self-help group that meets several times a week, and a gym membership. The order doesn't matter~

We live in a world with 6.774 billion people! You're alone, lonely, and loveless by your own volition. So get out there and change it! Take the advice you've been given and improve yourself. If you take some really simple steps you could very possible find love. However, even if you don't find someone to share your life it, I guarantee you will have a fuller and more content life well into your 80's.
32
@24: Fred34, you have my deepest sympathy.
My life was sheer hell until I finally wised up and got divorced. Nobody deserves abuse.
33
@31: Rock on, JoBo!!
34
@21: Nope. Mine's the real McCoy.
35
Chaya760, don't do it! There are worse things than loneliness. Try being trapped in an unfulfilling, loveless marraige for 56 years. And I do mean trapped - financially, socially, and now physically. Hell on earth. I couldn't be more alone in some ways. But at least you still have the freedom. Also, I don't think paying for sex represents any kind of failure as a human being. That's just malarkey. So go buy yourself a nice hunk and enjoy yourself. Pick up those dice and get into the game. Get some therapy, please. Don't give up, whatever you do.
36
@chaya

I'm slightly less than half your age, but I understand where you're coming from. Give it another chance (therapy, gym, hobbies, etc.). Honestly though, if that doesn't work then you gotta do what you gotta do. No point in suffering needlessly...no drama, no hysterics, no self-pity, no scenes. Just end it.

Good luck.
37
@MattIsHere

How does one get "socially" trapped? What the fuck is that?
38
Wow! Great column. This is the Dan Savage we all know and love. What a contrast to the "team of drunks" offering contempt to people asking for help column.
39
You can't love someone else or be open to a relationship without loving yourself first.
40
I like what "Eric" posted, saying that "smart guys" have the advantage of being able to reason their way into the world of relationships and sex. My boyfriend of 5 years fit that same prototype: brainy, shy, non-social, virgin all the way through college. Then we met and he did all the right things to earn my affection, and 5 years later it's still the best I ever had!
41
All these guys need to read "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Dr. Robert Glover. This book, combined with the great info from Dr. Dan Savage ;-) will provide men with everything they need to, in fact, become men.
42
All these guys need to read "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Dr. Robert Glover. This book, combined with the great info from Dr. Dan Savage ;-) will give these guys what they need in order to straighten themselves out.
43
@20: And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why polyamory is great in theory but horrible in practice. Polyamory is a magnet for Asperger's types - to the point that the community is full of people with no intuitions about emotions, each trying to apply the same principles from the same few books on each other. It's like a self-help cult with more sex.
44
I am so f-ing sick of hearing married guys whine about how they are paying for sex with "two college tuitions, second car, and daily lattés" and hate "have(ing) to listen to my wife blablablablabla whine whine whine".

These dudes are such typical chauvinistic shitheads that it makes me angry that they even got a woman to marry them in the first place. If you really hate listening to women so much, divorce her so she can find a decent guy who loves her and thinks her thoughts are as important as your own and then pay someone to sleep with you when you want and then leave.

Seriously. It's guys like you that give men a bad reputation. You should be ashamed.
45
Wow Dan Savage, do you have an answer for everything? You're pretty awesome!
46
I can totally relate to the theme of the questions this week. I'm one of those idiots that need someone to basically get on top of me to realize they like me. My basic self image is so low, I missed quite a few opportunities with amazing women just because I couldn't read their signals or thought they were only being nice by flirting with me. Only when I reflect back on a given situation do I realize someone has made a pass at me and I missed another opportunity.
I was one of these judgemental types that thought paying for sex was pathetic act until I went on vacation with a few friends. One of these former friends met a girl in a bar. After telling him her sob story, he wined and dined her, giving her hope of taking her out of her situation, just so her could have sex with her. When he returned to the bar the next night and picked someone else up, she was devestated and caused a scene. This caused me to realize: if he had just paid her for her services to begin with, we would have all been spared the scene and the humilation of a human being.
47
As a guy who can relate to the feeling of being rejected by anyone/everyone, I can only say that this is a very real and very deep feeling. For myself, I found that it had a lot to do with a very painful sense of deficiency, or a strong sense of not being worthwhile. If you feel that way, it's REALLY hard to take chances around relationships, and when you get hurt, you feel REALLY hurt, and then it's easy to just retreat into your shell again and lick your wounds for a long time.

I wasn't able to find a fulfilling relationship until I dealt with this overwhelming sense of deficiency in me. Part of that was just admitting that I had this feeling, and not to ignore it. It's embarrassing to admit. But on the other side, I really believe it's something that we need to look at, examine, process, and understand. There are many spiritual and psychological paths that address this very real condition (I am a member of the Diamond Approach spiritual group). I think most of us are cut off from our own self-worth, but we can't find our real self worth until we thoroughly examine our sense of deficiency, which most of us don't want to do. Get to the heart of the matter! You'll find the relief you so desperately seek.
48
As a guy who can relate to the feeling of being rejected by anyone/everyone, I can only say that this is a very real and very deep feeling. For myself, I found that it had a lot to do with a very painful sense of deficiency, or a strong sense of not being worthwhile. If you feel that way, it's REALLY hard to take chances around relationships, and when you get hurt, you feel REALLY hurt, and then it's easy to just retreat into your shell again and lick your wounds for a long time.

I wasn't able to find a fulfilling relationship until I dealt with this overwhelming sense of deficiency in me. Part of that was just admitting that I had this feeling, and not to ignore it. It's embarrassing to admit. But on the other side, I really believe it's something that we need to look at, examine, process, and understand. There are many spiritual and psychological paths that address this very real condition (I am a member of the Diamond Approach spiritual group). I think most of us are cut off from our own self-worth, but we can't find our real self worth until we thoroughly examine our sense of deficiency, which most of us don't want to do. Get to the heart of the matter! You'll find the relief you so desperately seek.
49
@ 11 - I'm thinking Asperger's syndrome. With Asperger's, you're able to function, hold down a job, etc., but relating to other people in an emotionally intimate way is really, really hard. I've known some "Aspies", and they're usually nice people who aren't difficult to be around at all, just quiet, that's all. And when they get to know and trust you, sometimes you can't shut 'em up!

Good luck to all the LW's.
50
chgfhgf
51
I just farted...
52
@#25 peanut: that's the ticket! you can point up or you can point down. we all point down sometimes, but in the long run it's our choice.
53
I'm a woman over 60. I see three things in the original letters. First, fear leading to isolation, probably coupled with low social skills, perhaps caused by aspergers (aside: I don't think of aspies as deficient, just one facet of the human personality spectrum. Learn about it to learn about yourself. Read books by aspies on how to have a relationship.) Second, and so far not mentioned, is a tendency by inexperienced guys to limit their social goals to a very small pool of young, good looking women. Widen your horizons. Third, meet people with whom you have something in common. On-line dating is a good screen if you are not involved in activities that bring others into your life (and don't date people you work with.) Over the years I have met assorted men like the three letter writers. They might be surprised to find themselves on my list of "I'd date that one if I wasn't already happily involved."
54
Thank you, Dan, from all the ladies who like cock. Especially the part about getting therapy and paying for sex work. Too many times we get involved with men like this who mistake a well-socialized woman's sympathy and understanding with wanting to be their sex therapist. Get your help from professionals, guys, before you advertise yourself as a man looking for a healthy and egalitarian sexual relationship.

Good luck to all these gents. There's always a market for sexually confident, conscientious men who love and respect women. We look forward to seeing you there.

Also, I think "low caliber" translates to: persons whose self-esteem is so low, they are willing to put up with my bullshit. And that's all you'll get until your self-esteem is high enough that you do not view others as essentially better or worse than you. Duh.

55
I don't know, I saw myself as a variation of of those three guys. I'm a great looking guy (in spite of the long curly locks). Built like fabio ... I should have no issues right? Hell if I became a football player, it would most certainly solve my student loan issues.

High School, I was skinny. I was a strong healthy swimmer, but the northeast women didn't really like tall skinny guys in the 90's (not really sure they do now ... ). I had a mediocre to poor home life where I was struggling to make grades and get out of a manipulative and near economically destitute homelife.

Then I became a sceintist ... Then I thought, when I MIGHT have figured it out ...

Surprise? Grad school and the Pacific Northwest killed just about all my romantic ambitions.

I guess, loneliness, it's a disease. I don't really know what the answer is, because I approached my problem like scientist. I bravely exposed myself and did social experiments, because I didn't want to end up like a timid scared shittless 40 plus year old male that Neil Young seems to love to sing about.

But I more or less made some serious concessions. I started screwing around with women that would at least keep my heart alive, even though I deeply resented them inside. Eventually went to therapy. It was hard work, it was a gradual process, and I made some serious concessions. But I learned a lot about myself, and other people. I guess the most valuable thing I learned is how to say no, and that women are human beings too ... and aren't entirely innoscent either. (My mother was pretty harsh man hater in middle school and high school ... not exactly sure why I moved to Eugene OR in hindsight.)

Still, I'm not going to complain. I have my health, I have career options that allow me to have a fullfilling social and romantic life. I will say that moving to Seattle has been such a huge a improvement as far as my dating life goes.

I'm going to burn for proposing this, but I'm a chemist. Mating among humans is a kinetics experiment. The rate determining step (the slow step) has to be women. They are just pickier than men, BUT they are picker on a diverse range of traits. So I find, in reality, there is someone for everyone ... but that someone is stupid hard to meet. Apparently being a larger than life, empathic scientist is too much for most, but after exposing myself to the world ... you realize there are people who appreciate who you are for what you do.

56
Holy smoke, this week's is one depressing column!!!
57
Wow, I was gonna right in to complain about my problem but after reading all of this I'm just glad to have a job a place to live and food in the fridge. Man or no man.
58
This reminds me of the recent New York Times story on Japanese people incapable of creating real relationships who fall in love with inanimate objects. We just did a post on it: http://tinyurl.com/ox485s

I'm working on a documentary about virginity and write a blog on the subject as well called The American Virgin. Although I cover a lot of issues around virginity, I get an awful lot of email from older virgins talking about their lives.

We've started a weekly column called First Person where they share their experiences on being a virgin or recently losing their virginity. It's our attempt at creating community and dialogue. http://tinyurl.com/n58mfc

There are a lot of people out there who think they're socially hopeless, give up on live and withdraw - and I think we'd all agree it's a real shame. We'd love to hear from you all on our blog! http://tinyurl.com/anhghf

And I'll definitely link to this Savage Love so my readers can get some more perspective on the situation.
59
Squart: Squat and Fart?
60
RE your comment to 'A Lifelong Onanist Needs Explanations': "So here's what you need to do between now and death: Keep a roof over your head, put food on your table, get some help with your emotional problems, and take your pleasures where you can. Do things you enjoy—alone, if you must—and you might meet someone along the way. Or not."

Dan, I don't read your column, but my husband does. He sent me the link to this week's, and I felt I had to comment, as I've been there, long ago.

Just outta high school, I was alone and lonely during the mid 1970's, but I couldn't bring myself to go out by myself. The incident that finally broke me of this behaviour: being into punk rock very early on, I had tickets to see the Sex Pistols in SF back in Dec 1977. But I sold them cuz I couldn't find someone to go with me! Then they broke up the following month. That did it. Jan 1978 I started going out to punk shows CONSTANTLY, ALONE. In mid-1979 I met my husband. He fell in love with me quickly. I didn't reciprocate, but I enjoyed his company. 5 months of dating, and now we're coming up on our unofficial (being gay, the first time we had sex) 30th anniversary, March 2010.

DON'T GIVE UP! Life is TOO SHORT TO NOT ENJOY IT. To this day I have a gal pal who refuses to go out by herself cuz "people will think I'm a loser". OMG, I just wanna SLAP her! WAKE UP! Until she, and 'A Lifelong Onanist Needs Explanations', change their attitude, they will remain lonely until death. GAME OVER!

TAKE CHARGE! And good luck to you.
61
RE your comment to 'A Lifelong Onanist Needs Explanations': "So here's what you need to do between now and death: Keep a roof over your head, put food on your table, get some help with your emotional problems, and take your pleasures where you can. Do things you enjoy—alone, if you must—and you might meet someone along the way. Or not."

Dan, I don't read your column, but my husband does. He sent me the link to this week's, and I felt I had to comment, as I've been there, long ago.

Just outta high school, I was alone and lonely during the mid 1970's, but I couldn't bring myself to go out by myself. The incident that finally broke me of this behaviour: being into punk rock very early on, I had tickets to see the Sex Pistols in SF back in Dec 1977. But I sold them cuz I couldn't find someone to go with me! Then they broke up the following month. That did it. Jan 1978 I started going out to punk shows CONSTANTLY, ALONE. In mid-1979 I met my husband. He fell in love with me quickly. I didn't reciprocate, but I enjoyed his company. 5 months of dating, and now we're coming up on our unofficial (being gay, the first time we had sex) 30th anniversary, March 2010.

DON'T GIVE UP! Life is TOO SHORT TO NOT ENJOY IT. To this day I have a gal pal who refuses to go out by herself cuz "people will think I'm a loser". OMG, I just wanna SLAP her! WAKE UP! Until she, and 'A Lifelong Onanist Needs Explanations', change their attitude, they will remain lonely until death. GAME OVER!

TAKE CHARGE! And good luck to you.
62
I'm a bit of a lonely guy myself. I just turned 40. Only one serious relationship. Constant career crisis. Never been good at making friends. I don't get along very well with my loving and supportive stable family. I scored in the 99th percentile on the GRE verbal but can't get my short stories published.

The fact that I've managed to avoid fucking up badly enough to got to prison and/or getting shot by a nervous cop is one of those things that keeps me from completely discounting the possibility of the existence of God.

Everybody who's ever studied psychology has looked at more than one condition in the DSM and thought, "Could that be me?" I first read _An Anthropologist on Mars_ by Oliver Sacks back in the late 90s and thought that. Took another seven years to get that whole Asperger's thing professionally diagnosed.

If you don't know, Asperger's is a form of relatively mild autism characterized by an at least normal IQ, at least normal verbal ability and development, but marked social impairment.

My diagnosis doesn't so much help me feel like less of a failure, as it helps me feel like less of a fuck up. A blind man doesn't fuck up when he bumps into a wall. I don't fuck up when I scare off a pretty girl with my idea of an appropriate joke. My dead blank soulless seeming predator's eyes aren't anyone's fault. I do the best I can with the tools I have.

My diagnosis doesn't wash away any of my myriad failures, but it does explain a lot of them. It also really helps my relationship with my family. And it also helps me cut myself a little slack, making it that little bit easier to get on with the rest of my life.
63
Former Tri-State @ 55: I must say that the sentiments in you last paragraph are very nicely put (and no need to fear burning).

I have enjoyed many of your comments on Slog, and am glad not only that you are part of the Slog community but that you have chosen to share your experiences and history.
64
What a depressing column this week =/
Still good of course! I feel for all of those writers.
65
More kudos: This week's is among the best that I can remember.
66
You know some people actually prefer to be alone and choose to be alone. And there's nothing wrong with that.
67
Nothing worse than a fat ugly loser who thinks he's too good for fat ugly girls.
68
All three LWs have a common problem: they don't like themselves and don't seem to have people around them who like them. Put the sex concerns aside, and work on becoming a person you like more. Then find people who you have something in common with, some of whom will like you.

After that you'll start to realize that you have something positive to offer the rest of the world. Once that happens, you'll be ready to think about finding a partner.

Every day, you decide whether you want to do something to make your life better... or not.

I love Dan Savage, but I don't think he's going to help these guys much. Paying for sex isn't going to make them any happier, and it's going to reinforce their belief that no women would like them for themselves.
69
@ 28 - WileEcoyote, with a fantastic outlook on life like yours, someone worth having will come along, at some point, whether you're looking for it/wanting it or not. It'll happen. Your inner peace shines through, I'm sure, and a perceptive person will pick up on that. It's all about attitude.
70
I think that Dan's autism diagnosis is correct. The form that he's talking about it called Asperger's and can often produce high-functioning people who go undiagnosed because of their intelligence. Bill Gates has often been speculated to have Asperger's Syndrome. These people are socially inept, awkward, usually highly intelligent, and skilled at mathematics.
71
I'm 44 and have been widowed and sexless for nearly three years...and I find I enjoy my solitude. I am, however, having a friend of 30+ years move in in September because she needs a place to go, and I have an entire second floor with full bath I'm not using. And it'll be a mutually beneficial relationship. It won't be sexual in any way (I'm gay, she's not) but I do understand the want for human companionship from time to time. And besides being great friends, she's an extremely good cook (I'm not) and would love to cook for both of us.

For those who haven't had a physical relationship, you're actually lucky because you have nothing to mourn. Thankfully I've stopped mourning the loss of a physical relationship, and have lived nicely for almost 3 years without, but I do have to admit some nights after work it'd be nice to come home to a human and not a keyboard (SOME, not MOST).

I guess what I'm saying is, figure out what's positive/good in your life and run with it rather than being sad about what you don't have.
72
Uncle Joe, paying for sex might not make them happier, but it might make them MORE functional.

It can just be a way to work the kinks out and potentialy get your confidence back, lose a lot of performance anxiety.

And really, sometimes sex just helps men RELAX and put a little swagger in their step.

Dust off your old weiner and see what it can do.

It's by no means a substitute for emotional connections, but ... having sex can take the edge off potential sexually intense situations.

Unfortunately, it might be the only experience some men (people) get.

Because for most women, there is nothing more unattractive than timidness, lack of confidence and performance anxiety.

A lot of men can look at a timid unconfident woman and think to himself "bait" then set himself up for a relationship with a warped power dynamic. I don't usually see it work the other way around.

As a guy, when you walk into the room and you are unsure of yourself, it's not an impossible climb to make, but you've given yourself one hell of an uphill hike to win a girls favor.

73
One thing I've found that's helped me enormously is joining up with my local 'Pick Up Artist' or 'Seduction' community. Despite what the names and media image suggest, these groups tend to be about self-development and becoming who you want to be, rather than learning cheesy routines or chat-up lines. Just going out there 'in the field' and talking to random women in bars has done wonders for my self esteem and my love life. There's a few people trying to make money, and a fair amount of pyschobabble and flaming on the forums, but if you sort the wheat from the chaff you can get some really good pointers about love and life in general.

I'm similar to a lot of guys posting here. Never had much luck with women until my late twenties. Even now it's not great, but it's a hell of a lot better than before....

There seems to be a whole generation of men who don't know what to do.
74
One thing I've found that's helped me enormously is joining up with my local 'Pick Up Artist' or 'Seduction' community. Despite what the names and media image suggest, these groups tend to be about self-development and becoming who you want to be, rather than learning cheesy routines or chat-up lines. Just going out there 'in the field' and talking to random women in bars has done wonders for my self esteem and my love life. There's a few people trying to make money, and a fair amount of pyschobabble and flaming on the forums, but if you sort the wheat from the chaff you can get some really good pointers about love and life in general.

I'm similar to a lot of guys posting here. Never had much luck with women until my late twenties. Even now it's not great, but it's a hell of a lot better than before....

There seems to be a whole generation of men who don't know what to do.
75
@72: Could you elaborate on the following statement?

A lot of men can look at a timid unconfident woman and think to himself "bait" then set himself up for a relationship with a warped power dynamic. I don't usually see it work the other way around.

Thanks.
76
I'm actually one of these guys. Im 23 and never been in a relationship. Just had 1 night encounters with random girls. I actually believe it has to do with being in the right place at the right time and your overall confidence in yourself.

I actually believed I wasn't attractive and didn't talk to girls for many years for the fear of being rejected. Later on I just cared less about rejection and started talking to girls more and it turned out that a lot think "im hot".

my advice is just be confident (not cocky) in yourself even if your not attractive. and talk to people. the most important part i think is living your life and not being depressed about it.
77
@ chaya760 and many of the others who have posted: Depression is treatable. You don't have to feel so horrible. There are therapists, medications, treatments... you can feel better and move forward in your lives. Get the help you need and know that you don't need to be so alone. You may or may not find someone to love, but you can sure find some folks to like. Good luck to you.
78
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE IDIOTS!!!

JUST PAY!!!!

Jeez, now was that hard?

Honestly, the stupid things people believe...

Of course, I was these same guys myself. Even had someone suggest I had Asperger's (I've got some kind of issues, but the drugs help so far...). But for god's sake, paying for ladies company has been such a relief. No muss, no fuss, just ante up and fun times with fine women. Gotta luv it.

I don't think I've had the self hating thing too too much. I've dumped my two girlfriends. One was psycho and the other was a gold digger. I'm happy to die alone with fond memories of all the beautiful women I've paid to have sex with. Perhaps I am pathetic (not sure, don't care really), but damnit, I've been with goddesses and I don't regret one red cent.

Also, in my experience, relationships are overrated.

Enuf said.
79
Thanks Dan for your responses, though of course I would have loved to hear some letters from women who had the same experiences and fears. It's refreshing to hear the no bullshit advice response that some people are destined to be alone. It may be hard to hear if you believe that statement applies to you, but it is certainly better than some candy-coated idea that there is somebody out there for everybody. Because that is certainly not true and some people will die alone and unloved.
80
@76: I hate it when people give the 'confident' advice without saying how to 'be confident'. It's obviously a huge plus. But how are you going to 'be' confident when you aren't?

@75: You are absolutely, 100% right. Studying pickup and working on the techniques that the community teaches can boost your confidence and social skills. There is a danger though in studying pickup, and that is, simply put, that pickup can get addictive. If you get too mechanistic about it, you won't manage to find love, but only bang as many people as possible.
81
There is a concept called involuntary celibacy, I've also heard protracted virginity. One research paper out there describes a frustrating self-fulfilling prophecy - a person misses key sexual landmarks, gets off track, and starts to assume the reason is something that's wrong with them. Add low self-esteem and social anxiety, and you've got yourself an involuntary virgin.

I'm the straight female example. I'm 33 and I've never been physically involved with anyone in any way. It started with shit that happened when I was a kid (health related). I felt ugly, broken and undeserving of love all my life. For the last 10 years I've worked really hard on healing myself.

But things still haven't happened yet. I am scared to tell people my history, I don't know when would be the right time to bring it up and I'm worried that they'll think I'm a freak. I've always been interested in sex and able to get off, but feel scared and alienated from the real thing.

BTW, generally when I do tell people this, they are really surprised. I am smart, moderately attractive, fit, always had close friends, have developed great social skills and have always held down a job. The realm of sex and relationships is the great difficulty in my life.
82
@75

Oh crap, I think the heat is warping my brain.

"A lot of men can look at a timid unconfident woman and think to himself "bait" then set himself up for a relationship with a warped power dynamic. I don't usually see it work the other way around."

I think confidence and self empowerment is good for human beings in general. I think it most certainly effects the QUALITY of your relationships.

I just feel that also ... a lot of unconfident yet attractive women can easily find themselves in a relationship ... but they are rarely constructive. I can think of several of my female friends who obviously don't think too highly of themselves settling for relationships where they are perpetually taken advantage of. At the same time I rarely see a guy who is unconfident in a relationship period, good or bad, regardless how hot he is.

I know it is a gross and overly descriptive generalization. But If the figure of merit is getting laid (regardless of quality), confidence is key for men but not necessarily for women.
83
token grl,

I have been guilty of this a couple of times. I was intimidated by a girls lack of experience because I was afraid I wouldn't live up to their expectations, or if it didn't work out ... I would have done irreparable damage.

In both instances, I lost out. I'm not really sure if I have regrets about this, because the first girl lost her virginity to a total douche, who I thought was my friend, and then she FELT THE NEED TO CONFIDE TO ME ABOUT IT. When it was in the realm of crap I didn't want to know.

The second time, well ... it didn't help that I almost hooked up with her friend ... (AlMOST being the key word). But she is actually dating a guy I really like who was willing to take a chance on her even though she lacked experience.

It was also understood that the guy was going to be leaving town at the end of Fall, so super long term expectations weren't super high.

So maybe that's the key ... find yourself a confident, independent guy who would be more than happy to be a gentlemen to you, but don't spook him high expectations.
84
Dan, please try not to tell people who are feeling down about who they are to lose weight. It's that kind of thinking that leads SOB to think his weight is part of his problem.
85
I'm a sex worker and have seen clients that are similar to all of the men in the letters. I agree that if they can get rid of the idea that they are "resorting" to a sex worker it may help!

I have had clients I've helped educate. At times I've sat there like a therapist and really just told them it's all okay too. And I like to think I've bought joy and companionship to people who otherwise may not have found it.

The trick is to find the right sex worker for your needs and keep shopping around until you do! There is no shame in it.
86
I feel it's important to add that these guys could make the profound personal changes necessary to have a relationship...and the first relationship each of them has is probably going to suck. That's because each of them is a really bad relationship prospect right now. Ergo, anyone with good relationship sense will avoid them...(no offense to Selina – exceptions do occur) and their first relationship will probably be with people whose relationship skills are in the same league of awful – truly, horribly awful – as their own.

That doesn't mean don't try it, it means things are probably going to get worse (or a different kind of bad) before they get better.
87
Thanks, former tri-state. My expectations aren't that high, I don't think guys need to worry about that from many older virgins. At this point I'm just dying for a little emotional companionship and physical stimulation. I think you are right on the other point - I worry about coming across as damaged and damageable goods. As Dan says, I'm trying to figure out how to deliver the news in a way that makes it a cupcake instead of leukemia. Suggestions are most welcome.
88
Jesus, what a bunch of blather.

The Philippines or Thailand are no more than 18 hours from anywhere in America. For a $600 plane ticket you can have more beaver than you have ever seen before in your life.

Make up 40 years in 40 days.

Go on, why not?
89
This just goes to show how fucked up it is that our society puts soooo much weight on love and relationships. It's bullshit. I've met many a celibate (Buddhist) monk who radiated more happiness than anyone else I've been around. Gettin' some or not does not have to have any bearing on living a good life. Feeling like there is something wrong with you WILL hold you back, guaranteed. Moreover, I think that love, relationships, sex, lust, etc. may cause as much suffering in the world as war. That may sound like a stretch, but it is closer than you think. I have, at times, felt like those guys. I have, also, at times been in love and have had some fucking MIND blowing sex. I am perfectly capable of being miserable or happy in either situation. Three words: LET IT GO.
90
First guy. Your problem is mainly sensitivity. You can cum when getting blow job, hand job or masterbate, but vaginal sex is not as intense of a sensation. Its a fact. To solve this: 1. Masterbate way less. Its almost impossible to jerk off less, but you have to do this. It takes a while for this to take effect, think about 1 month. Then you'll be in the clear. Plus, no guy can do it everyday. 2. Also, just chill regarding sex. Think about your lady, how cool she is.
Lastly, realize that this happens to every guy. Deal with it and then move on.
91
token grl

I think the 33 year old virgin thing is inconsequential. I mean, from my perspective, it's YOUR virginity and not his.

I think it should be a moment for you and a time for YOUR introspection. It's your self exploration and the ability to see what you have to offer (and to see what you like). Because up until this point you had no clue. It was all in your mind, fantasy, and make believe. So I think the virginity thing? Blah so you're planning on losing it, great ... awesome, and if it turns into a magical moment, uber bonus points to you.

I just think maybe it might take the load off a bit if you looked at your first sexual encounter a little more selfishly ...

But really, if you don't have a psycho x-bf willing to chase anyone who looks at you the wrong way, if you don't have kids you have to take to school the next day, and if you aren't demanding a ring to be placed on your finger in the near future, and you can provide reassurance that most sane guys are willing to feel safe with.

And if you are reasonably attractive, just go out into the world ... you'll be fine.
92
I love "men are success objects." Is that revelation an original one, Dan? You should copyright it.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that I'm a well-hung man...and that it's a problem sometimes.

Feel sorry for me?
93
@80: Right fucking on.

How can someone confidently say "Yeah, I'm a virgin"? How do you make yourself sound confident while you say "I live on my parents' money and live in a filthy hell-hole" or while thinking "I HAVE TO GET WITH THIS GIRL TO END THE UNENDABLE CYCLE OF LONELINESS I'VE BEEN LIVING WITH MY WHOLE LIFE!!!"

How does "just have confidence" come into play there, exactly?
94
Why does the side bar list "Things I've learned from Women who Dumped me" under "Books by Dan Savage"?
95
There is actually a term for this sort of thing: Incel...it is short for Involuntary Celibacy. There is a forum online with several members. I'd suggest people with this problem go there for some support.
96
chaya760,

Hugs. You sound so sad and depressed, I hope you are getting some help. Counseling and antidepressants sounds like a good start. Can you find one thing that you have always wanted to try and give it a go? Love yourself. Perhaps there is a sex therapist that can help you as well, not just physically but socially? I think you owe it to yourself to make every effort to find a better and happier you.
97
Utimately, I think more folks, especially some of those who wrote to Dan, need to understand that it's not fundamentally wrong to have sexual urges and NOT act on them. Hell, I'm a 30 year old virgin, not overweight, athletic, and a funny guy. But I don't date. Why? Because there's more important things to life than getting laid. Take care of your problems first, then worry about involving someone else. If that never happens, so be it.
98
Here is one for a start -
One activity that women love and way too few men participate in is dancing. Often completely overlooked.
I kind of liked it (Latin dances) but got a late start and met my wife that way in my early 30s. Man, had I only known earlier... a guy who is a decent dancer (easy to achieve) should have no problem to get a date.
It's fun, healthy, teaches manners, gives great opportunities to dress up, great music, one can spend a whole night together with as much closeness or distance as you like, you don't have to show off, just make the woman look good on the dance floor and after all, some dances are basically pure sex on the dance floor - not that this is the main reason, but I have seen and done beautifully intimate dances.
We are making sure our children will be exposed to it and perceive it as something essential to life.
Sign up for some classes and on the weekends go out as a group with the people in your class to practice in some clubs. Don't be afraid of how you look out there, everyone sucked at the beginning. And there always will be someone who is so much better than you, but that's not why most people love it.
And don't dismiss it as something for gays or metrosexuals only - BIG mistake. Cost me many opportunities.
99
If you are unable to form a relationship with anyone you find attractive, then you need to fucking lower your standards. Go after the fatties or the uglies. Quit judging woman based solely on their looks, and look a little further.

I have no sympathy for people with standards higher than they can reasonably expect to attain. But if 40+ years of loneliness haven't taught you that there's a HELL of a lot more than a pretty face behind a wonderful woman, you deserve to die sexless.

My mom wonders all the time why she can't find a guy to save her life. It's because she's 250 pounds, 47 years old, and she's looking for Fabio. What the fuck is wrong with this picture?
100
#29 Chaya 760

I'm sorry you are set on committing suicide. Could you do some people a favor? Donate your blood, as often as you can. Do pheresis, where you donate platelets -- they go right into someone else, never frozen. No psych test, either, so they'll take you. Then you save some lives while you're thinking of killing yourself. If that works, can you then donate part of your liver? It probably won't kill you, you donate half and your half grows back and the other half saves someone. You're looking at two months of rehab, and somehow you'd have to pass a psych test, but you seem smart enough to fake them out. If all that works, maybe donate a kidney? I don't know if you can do the liver and the kidney, but it's worth a shot. If you can save some lives, maybe it will save your own, but if not, at least you'll go out in style. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Chaya, huh? It means 'animal' in Hebrew, but it sounds like 'life' -- ever notice that?