Savage Love

Gasoline and the Match

Comments

1
first?? I LOVE SAVAGE
2
Dan, many thanks for your comments on that sick Sodini bastard. As a woman, a gym rat, and a native of Pittsburgh, this story is very painful for me, but reading your on-point response here is encouraging for my morale. Cheers--
3
Recycling from earlier last week. Boo.
4
Brilliant.
5
I should say, recycling from a post last week on Slog about Sodini. Although I'm sure many people who read your column don't read Slog.
6
"Fuck you you fucking asshole homosexual faggot satan!"

Ah. And there are soon going to be some real winners letting you know that "God is love". While religion may not be intrinsically bad (it is intrinsically incorrect), it sure does act as an amplifier for crazy people.
7
Dan, you should listen to GHY. Anyone who believes in an invisible man who lives in the sky and can see everything you do, obviously has his shit together enough to dictate what other people should be doing with their lives.
8
Dan, great column this week -- loved the "yes", "no", "maybe so" approach. You're a pretty clever bastard who's perfected his craft. Keep up the great work (even though sometimes you're totally full of shit).
9
Despite the accusations that you have been lazy this week, another enjoyable read.
10
HEY NSA, Dan is saying you are not wrong for feeling cheated. Me and a high percentage of married men are with you on this.

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

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

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

11
Second verse, same as the first: Thailand and the Philippines are FILLED with TONS of hot young chicks who don't give a rat's ass about your sofa or your suit. And at about $12 apiece, the sofa and suit fund would go a long way.
12
Long-time reader (literally since the beginning), some-time critic, first-time commenter. I loved your response to the last letter. It was humane, serious, constructive, and real--a rare enough combination in the advice business. Thank you for that.
13
Nice job. Ignore the maybe so answer dude, he/she is talking to them self. You obviously touched a nerve.
14
@10, there are PLENTY of husbands who just aren't up to the job, no matter what is being offered by the wife. I lost 50 pounds, grew my hair down to my waist, got a terrific job that pays the bills...and offered, and offered, and offered. "No thanks."
15
Sarah in Olympia...DTMFA!

He sounds like a lazy piece of excrement.
16
@ Calypso: Then the sexually frustrated husband who wrote to Dan Savage should dump his wife? And by extension, all people who make sacrifices to try and have regular sex with their spouses (of whatever gender/sexual orientation) only to be repeatedly snubbed should DTMFA? I'm not saying that's a bad idea, I'm just curious if you feel that way about all similar situations.
17
About the psychopathic guy, Dan, your advice is right on for the lonely guys out there, but I also want to bring up the specter of child abuse/neglect for thinking about what went wrong. At least one neurologist (Pincus) points to a trifecta of severe child abuse, brain damage (often a result, but can be from other causes) and paranoia as the root causes of this kind of senseless violence. Not surprisingly, many (all!) depressed and lonely guys probably suffered from various forms of abuse or neglect but they probably not have the brain damage or paranoia. All lonely guys feel frustrated, they are not usually violent or society would be very different. If we knew more about this guy's background, we wouldn't 'forgive' him but the pieces would probably scarily fit into place. Best thing we can do as a society--PROTECT THE BORN and provide empathy and care for abused and neglected children--including people suffering "only" garden-variety emotional abuse. Kids don't just "get over it"--even 'mild' forms of abuse early on can have serious repercussions later in life.

If you are a lonely guy, working with a therapist and learning better social skills can really help. Men are often reluctant to get help for their problems (and are even sometimes turned away from therapy if they don't describe their symptoms in ways the therapist can understand) but there is help--and it helps. Being seriously moody or "tired" or often pissed off or believing others just want to take advantage of you are some of the forms that male depression and other mental illness can take. Unvortunately they are also often seen as "typical" or "normal" male behaviors. One book that helped me understand this and break through into feeling rather than only intellectual understanding of therapy, with its stories of both men and women and their sufferings: Alice Miller's The Body Never Lies.
18
Spouses should read significant other. Sorry about that. Hopefully that won't be the case in the near future.
19
Dan, I have been reading your column over the years and it is always hilarious, informative and downright to the point! For those women who after years of marriage decide for some strange reason they just don't want to have sex anymore...what in the hell did you get married for in the first place? Ladies quit giving us happily married women a bad name!It is adventurous enough trying to find time to screw my hubby having our young kids home-I am going to have a fantastic time as they grow up and leave! Experiment, have fun and remember it's not able who gets the orgasm first and all that BS-it's the sensations and having fun with your partner!!!
20
GHY. Shrug. What can be said? Is it terrible to point out that there are sick fucks on both side of the fence? And that maybe, in some dark, sheepish corner, God does love ya? What can be done except hope that somewhere GHY will take something good from this, from any of it.

Dan. Voice of a generation? Def. You can be awfully persuasive.
21
Great column as usual. Dan, I really enjoy to read your column everyday!
Greetings from Europe

@Lushpuppie
I believe in God as our saviour and I do not really appreciate your comment because I am convinced that this gives me a lot of guidance in my - besides that very reasonable - life. Nevertheless I do not at all share GHY's opinion at all!
Especially radicals have always been a source for hate in the world and I wish they would get a life to be busy with and someone who loves them! I am convinced that then the world would be a much better place
22
I dated a guy for four years who eventually lost all interest in having sex with me. We lived together for two of those years. The relationship went bad, and he just got so into the daily ritual of wanking in front of his computer that the sex just stopped. This from the guy who once described sex as "mutual masturbation." We're split up now, my only regret is I didn't get out sooner...

After breaking up with him I dabbled in online dating. It's actually shocking how many men in their late thirties and forties think they can pick up a women in her mid twenties. You know why I don't want you, older man? Because I'm banging a hot twenty year old! GOD.
23
I'm always amused by deterministic fucks like GHY who just assume that we'll regret what we've done. For my part, if They're right and the road I've walked leads to hell, rejecting in large part what They say I must embrace, then I am pleased and proud to burn. What regrets I have involve not having been true to my beliefs as a humanistic, if libertine, deistic liberal, not those beliefs themselves. We do not choose our beliefs the same way we choose a new pair of shoes, after all. I try to be as good and decent a person as I can be; I know I fall short of even that modest mark; and for what wrong I've done and still will do, I hope I can redeem through works. If that's not good enough for God, then God is evil and insane and I would not want to go to his blighted heaven.
24
@Max: I am sure that God loves us the way we are!
25
NSA's wife could potentially be a self-closeted lesbian. It all fits - the lack of sex with her husband, the bogus excuses for her lack of interest, and her suggesting he seek a GF only if she controls everything to a ridiculous extent. As well as her focus on his practical value (getting the kids to bed, taking out the garbage, rather than any potential he might have as a romantic, intimate or sexual partner/spouse.

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

NSA could google "straight spouse network" and see if the stories he reads ring and bells. Estimates are that there are 2 million now or previously in "mixed-orientation marriages".
26
looking at the picture of that sociopath, my first thought was, wow, very pretty...repressed homosexual perhaps? some thoughts, for some people, it's easier to kill than face them. truly sad.
27
I love you Dan Savage! And even more for putting up with crazies sending even crazier letters. As for crazy peeps who can't find a partner, why do they always blame everyone but themselves? No sane person wants to date an unhinged whiney immature loser.
28
Dan, love your blog. Awesome as usual.

You're a bit unfair with R. Don Steele. He is one of the "pick up artist" authors that flourished in the '90s. His advice is actually pretty square -- looks ARE important, so lose that beer gut; don't get fixated, if a woman says no just move on; and so forth. Where Steele went wrong, especially for Sodini, was implying that "guys who pay for it are losers."
29
Thank you Dan for continuing to promote the legalization and legitimization of sex work. Sex workers are a fundamental part of every society, and they obviously aren't going to quit working just because it's illegal, just as the men and women who pay for their services aren't going to quit buying those services.
I used to feel, like most good Catholics, that sex work was for the dregs of society, the failures in life, "those people". Having developed an ability to see things not just in black and white (sorry, Catholicism) I know now that anyone can come to the point in their life where sex work is a viable option both as a client and worker. While it's not part of my life plan to be in the sex industry, I have immense gratitude for the men and women that are.
30
Why does everyone think a late-30's or 40's guy can't date a 20-something hottie just because they're too old. That's not true at all. You just need enough money.
31
Funny how the opinion of who holds out more depends on your perspective. I certainly know more women who complain that the men in their lives are too preoccupied with football/drinking with the guys/online porn/video games to have sex. I've been ignored by an alleged fiance for taped reruns of "Hill Street Blues," and that was when I was standing in the middle of the living room in a PVC corset and boots.

I don't know why people play this game, but DTMFA really does seem to be the only answer. I've been through it in three committed relationships (with the shutout starting soon after the point where the commitment became formal in some way) and it just never gets any better.
32
oh by the way, @30, my former (and now late) husband was 25 years older than I was. I'm not sure why some people in their 20s would even appeal to an older person -- you have to talk about something eventually, I'd think, unless you just want them to fuck and get the hell out -- but if there is a mental connection, age really does not matter.
33
I agree with you 110% about legalizing and (gasp) actually valuing sex work. When they've done surveys in the past about nuber of sexual partners, there was a huge imbalance between women and men that didn't add up - until they surveyed prostitutes. Prostitutes play a very valuable and underrated role in creating balance in society. Instead of demonizing them, we should be thanking them for giving an outlet for the sexual appetities of men, appetites which, when frustrated can unfortunately turn to violence. Even if any of us individually find sex work distasteful, it's short-sighted to apply our personal morality to a much bigger and more practical social issue.

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

Anyway, great column.
34
As I told a 40 year-old male co-worker of mine who was way overweight- Date within your league. A hot, young 20 year-old probably isn't going to be interested. A woman your age with an obsession for accounting, maybe.
35
It seems that the off-switch for sexual intimacy is usually one-and-the-same the same for other kinds of intimacy. When you stop talking and start being scullery maids for each other, well, it's probably over. I think turning off the sex is usually a symptom, not a cause.
36
Talking about men dating younger women - apart from the physical aspect, lots of women in their mid twenties haven't got married yet or had children.

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

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

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

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

I imagine as you head upwards from forties to fifties it's not a matter about compromising in a relationship : it's massive compromises just to get a date. If that erodes some of your core values or things you find objectionable in a relationship, it's not going to make you chilled out and happy.
37
Yeah, I'm with you as well on legalizing sex work and acknowledging the value of sex workers to society.

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

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

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

38
Wow. I just ran across your column after Googling "santorum," and finding you get the credit. (first things first - good job there!)

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

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

Jim
39
As a long time reader and fan, I say this with nothing but love; not only was your "insight' into Sandini the stupidest writing of yours that I've ever read, it's one of the stupidest things I've ever read period.

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

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

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

I'll stop there with pointing out the many serious flaws in your alleged logic. Stick to sex, Dan, and leave the profiling of killers to people who have a clue.
40
Just read the headline "Santorum dips toes in 2012 Iowa waters." The image of the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter having a toe that it dips in water is pretty putrid.
41
I know that the feminist line is that rape is about power, but let's face it, rape is also about sex. Rape is more likely to occur in younger, fertile-aged women (not that it never happens to the elderly). Rape is more likely to be perpetrated by men to women. Rape is likely to end in ejaculation. Yes it's about power, but it's also about sex.
This isn't to sully sex in general, or to say that all men are rapists, or to jump to any of those other silly conclusions.
I'm just saying that the old saw that rape isn't about sex is clearly not so.

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

I also don't think it'd be accurate to call him a sociopath (based only on what's presented here, I have to admit). Sociopaths are often very charming. It doesn't sound like he was racking up points in the charm department.
42
After reading the "Steel Balls" website I don't really think it's that bad. It's mostly common sense - act interested, not desperate; make sure your apartment is clean and condoms are handy. It doesn't encourage men to chase only after gorgeous girls; it tells them to present themselves well and then look for women who look interested in _them_.
OK, referring to women as a different species who have been "programmed" by their genes to look for the best father for their children, constantly scope their surroundings with their superior peripheral vision, etc., is a little creepy...as is the frequent reference to sex as "mating." But the advice could actually help someone with abysmal social skills and almost no prospects for romance progress to being someone with mediocre social skills and small prospects for romance.
Sodini was a sick fuck. He read the self-help book(s) and saw what he wanted to hear – which was that, if he shaved and wore cologne, pussy was guaranteed. If it hadn't been the Steel Balls guy, it would have been something else.
43
Dan, I'm a faithful fan, but how do you deal w/ the fact that 75% of sex workers were sexually abused as children? Does the high rate of heavy drug use ( we are not talking pot here) or the likelihood that they are disassociating to deal with the sex bother you at all? As a therapist, and woman who was raped from the age of 5 who has done years of work, seen sex workers as clients it bothers me a lot. I love sex,even tho menopause has killed my sex drive and I have to jump start it.(which sucks)I wish you would include the meno-stop, and abuse in your analysis. Yeah, it is PC to love sex workers,you know women are not wired like gay men but lets not forget what may have rewired women sex workers.It has cost them...and then they have to sleep with some scum in pittsburg?? Isn't that where many of them began?
44
I agree with pelican, my first thought was that he would have abused the sex workers; or killed them.

No-one is guaranteed sex with other people, having other people saying no, is not an excuse for violence. Testosterone is a good thing, feeling like other people owe you sex is not. Almost everyone can use their hands just fine.
45
Actually, I'd say in dating and relationships 'taking one for the team' is what everyone else wishes someone would do.

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

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

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

Even if God does not like what you do (which I don't presume to know, either way), I can't possibly imagine that he hates you. So, rest easy and keep on doing what you're doing.
47
"How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35."

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

"Rape is about power, not sex."

Why doesn't he just beat the shit out her, then? What is the whole take off her pants, get his junk out, rub junk against victim, etc. all about? Oh, yeah, ejaculation into a female may result in genes being passed on. Forgot about that one...
48
I agree with your advice to NSA (and his sense of grievance), and there's no way in hell anyone's gonna read this far down, but I would like to speak from the point of view of a woman who "decided" that I didn't want sex anymore after 15 years of marriage. I've always liked sex, and I liked sex with my husband quite a bit. But you know what? After having him consistently come to bed three-quarters lit up and refusing couple's counseling and in particular offering nothing but "wham bam thank you ma'am" (I'm not talking here about foreplay, but rather anything approaching intimacy or imagination), I'd had enough. My libido tanked, and it took us some years to split up--after which time I am again enjoying sex. It's too bad a relationship that started out in compatibility wound up that way, but *shrug,* let's not assume that every relationship in which the sex goes bad (or just goes away) is the fault of a woman.
49
I agree w/#39. Not everything comes down to fucking vs. not fucking. Can lack of sex "drive you crazy"? Sure. That's why it's called sexual "frustration." But if it actually drives someone CRAZY, there's something else wrong. No human being would snap simply from lack of sex if there were nothing else wrong to begin with. And seeing sex workers might have worsened the problem. Yes, he would've had sex, but possibly in the back of his mind would be the thought that he had to pay for it. That he couldn't get it "normally", but had to pay for it. With a mind like the one he clearly had, seeing a sex worker might have exacerbated things rather than solved them. Then we'd possibly be talking about a dead sex worker.

Yes, sex is a natural human drive. Yes, it's something we need. But it isn't food, water, or oxygen. We won't die if we don't have it, and we won't go crazy for lack of it if the rest of our lives are in some kind of balance.
50
Please make sure the sex workers you see are consenting adults. There are thousands of sex slaves in the U.S. and more around the world. I'm not saying that sex work is bad, just be aware that like any other activity that can make money, someone is forcing others to do it for their own profit. As a rule, the more corrupt a country, the more likely the prostitutes are not consenting adults.
51
You know guys...maybe if you all would quit pawing at us like puppies searching for their mothers' tits, we would have sex more often. Oh also, maybe if you didn't compare us to the airbrushed women in magazines or porn actresses. REAL women are not like that and REAL, NORMAL sex is not like that. Didn't get a blow job for 8 months? So fucking what? She DID have sex with you, you said so. Quit your whining and quit cheating you POS!
52
@43: The "meno-stop" is something my wife and I are dealing with. She used to be quite the little sex-pot. Menopause arrived, and now she is utterly disinterested. She makes an effort for me, when she can muster the energy (3 kids eat up a lot of our time), but mainly we just live with me being frustrated most of the time. Needless to say, it's quite a strain on the relationship.
53
@49

Excellent point and beautifully written. Being a gay sex advice columnist, Dan obviously concludes that everything comes down to fucking vs. not fucking. Thanks for pointing out that this is really simplistic thinking.
54
SSE,

I agree with you, but you know what?

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

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

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

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

Course not, because when women's desires aren't met they're supposed to just STFU or blame themselves. Fucking sick.
55
I don't believe Dan ever said that if Sodini had just hired prositutes, he would have ended up a normal guy with a normal life. I think his point is that hiring prostitutes would have helped. Whatever rage he had about being a virgin would have been nowhere near as severe.

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

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

56
I'm sure there's a valuable cultural discussion to be had about misogyny and where it leads to thats been stirred by the Sodini case, but I doubt much of it applies to Sodini himself. Ever notice how when murderers make the news and they flash a family photo or something of him, they got that crazy glassy eye look? I think there's just some mental illness in some people that makes them stone cold killers and thats all Sodini was. I especially find it weird people point out he was good looking. Um maybe he was, except for the ol' crazy eyes that he had too. People just tend to run from crazy killer eyes, you know? Being good looking otherwise doesn't mean you're actually attractive enough to appeal to people when you stare like a serial killer.

I doubt less sexual repression would have helped him. That crazy eyed look tells me it was always in him.
57
52, thanks for listening. There is a study using testosterone to increase post menopause libido which is having good results. It is being held at women health clinic( not sure of name? on the intersection of union bay rd. and sandpoint across from the baskin robbins) Of course I ended up w/ the fake, but the doc there , and some other md's will prescibe. worth a look.. Dan,you should look into this?
58
@36 - Maybe it's not you, but it's amazing how many men in their 30's and 40's KNOW women in their 30's and 40's are messed up, but somehow they aren't.

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

@52 - She may come around yet. Her body is going wiggy on her right now and may for some years to come, but lots of women come out the other side with a renewed zest for bedroom sports.
59
@51
8 years, not 8 months
@55
He wasn't a virgin.

Sodini doesn't strike me as a sociopath. He seemed to be craving emotional companionship with a woman, and it doesn't seem to me like a sociopath would really give 2 scheissens about that.
60
Wow.

Great column.
61
"I don't believe Dan ever said that if Sodini had just hired prositutes, he would have ended up a normal guy with a normal life. I think his point is that hiring prostitutes would have helped. Whatever rage he had about being a virgin would have been nowhere near as severe.

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

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

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

#59: And from where exactly does your definition of sociopath come?
62
I agree with your answer to NSA. The wife was willing to let him have a gf, and those conditions were harsh, but not impossible. A good place to start would be for NSA to prove he was capable of responsibly meeting the requirements and working within the relationship. It's a huge concession on her part to let him get outside sex, he should be willing to make concessions to her.
63
"I'm not suggesting that this tragedy could've been averted if only some selfless woman had "taken one for the team" and married Sodini, an asshole and a sociopath. "

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

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

The idea that people deserve sex is very harmful - and in the case of Sodini, a misogynist and a murder, getting some more often than he did would not have done a lick for him.
64
#54's comment makes me think how, some years back, I read a fascinating interview (I think on Nerve.com) with a FTM transperson who was getting testosterone shots as part of making the transition. I don't remember exactly how this person phrased it, but it was something to the effect of "Within five minutes, I wanted to grab practically every woman I saw and get it on with her right then, and I felt like I understood something about men I'd never understood before." Raven Kaldera also writes about the same issue on her website ("Feminist On Testosterone: The View From An Intersexual FTM").

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

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

(Also, to hell with anyone who thinks gender issues are a zero-sum game, or that acknowledging men's desires is somehow disrespectful of women.)
65
Hi HRJ at 64. I think that Raven prefers the pronoun "he."
66
HRJ,

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

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

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

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

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

The meme that women don't think about or desire sex frequently is so adolescent, and so, so wrong.
67
TO "GOD HATES YOU"
Shut the fuck up! "Judge not lest thee be judged thyself" should mean something, even to an asshole Christian like you! Where do you get off saying shit like that? You should try re-reading your Bible; maybe you'll realize that thinking and acting the way you do is the opposite of what that book, and your religion, are telling you. Dan's response is perfect for you. He's smart enough to realize that he will be judged by the obly one worthy of judging. One more thing ... if this is what you think of Dan Savage, why the fuck are you reading his column?
68
@65: Yes, my bad! The name "Raven" still makes me think "female".

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

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

In any event, I'm more thinking of the sociopathy and proto-sociopathy angle. There are people out there who are too creepy, damaged, or nuts to entice partners they consider attractive. And yet that desire persists: so what do we do with it? Telling them they're not "entitled" to that experience has no resonance with them, and probably never will -- and even if it did, it doesn't really affect the underlying desire. So what next?
69
The point is not that the guy should have seen a sex worker... Dan only said it MIGHT have helped...

the point is that

IF we lived in a society that valued sex workers,

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

If we lived in THAT society, he probably would never have developed such a sexually charged homicidal rage.
70
most of the women i know who give up on sex with their husbands (including me) are married to selfish assholes that drink too much, never help with the kids or the house, don't contribute much financially and demand everything be done their way. Need Some Answers should tell his wife he's a cheater so they can break up and move on. There's probably something wrong with him.
71
I can't believe that some idiot came on this thread and defended the seduction community.

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

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

Revenge sex doesn't sound very healthy to me.

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

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

72
NSA's wife was not dealing in good faith. Her conditions required him to endure the humiliation of her close inspection of his activities, a way to punish and shame him. she was expecting him to pay that extra price for obtaining his satisfaction. This is an unworkable situation. I think DADT is a sensible solution as long as he doesn't fuck it up.
73
Are you guys saying that since NSA isn't getting any sex from his wife, he should be able to ignore the fact that he has a family, which also includes kids? When I read NSA's letter, it sounds like he's saying, "OMG! She wants me to tuck in those brats and pay the bills like any married man with kids would do?!" If he were just complaining about his wife having to meet and approve of NSA's fuck-buddy, then maybe his complaints would be valid. But complaining that his wife wants him to tuck in their children?! If he actually resents that, then divorce her and then he'd never have to tuck in (or even see) those kids again. He could have as much sex as he wants without having to worry about anyone else's feelings or well-being.
Sorry if that sounds a little bitchy, but I just thought that taking care of your kids would come first. I'm especially surprised that Dan doesn't feel the same way, considering the fact that he has a son that he (from what we've seen and heard) seems to love very much.
74
@73, I don't think anyone is saying NSA should ignore his family obligations. Only that a rational person should recognize that those obligations are better met by a happy, fulfilled person than a miserable, embittered and sexually frustrated guy.

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

Her conditions reminded me of her previous bad faith negotiations. Except now, instead of telling him she would sleep with him if he did this and that, now she tells him he can sleep with his mistress if he does this and that. He really has no reason to believe her this time.
75
#42 FTW - especially this part:

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

GHY - I've known people like you. Those who threaten others with the flames of hell are destined to suffer of it themselves.
76
Dan, I know you're a little short sighted when it comes to transpeople, but it doesn't excuse your using a letter from a transperson for dramatic effect. Unless a transperson has been murdered, you always seem to come down on the wrong side of the issue. As a transperson myself, I think your answer is kind of ridiculous. A transperson has no obligation to tell anyone about their history outside of a meaningful relationship.

One night stand? You don't have to say anything, unless they ask. Being trans isn't an STI. They want to fuck, you want to fuck. That's what one night stands are all about. Now, if you're dating someone, that's something you need to open up about if you want to have a relationship. People hold all sorts of things secret when it comes to just having a one night stand, and being trans isn't any different than that. And if you think it is, then you put way too much "ick factor" on trans people in general.
77
I'm from Vancouver Canada where we have a de facto red light district. 60 women, many of whom were working in prostitution have gone missing over the years and the list continues to grow. We know at least some of them died at the hands of a serial killer. I don't think anyone would say that prostitution made these women safer. It's not lack of sex but sexism that prompts such acts. This is an extreme case but it certainly makes me reflective of my own behavior that contributes to the atmosphere of woman hating. How is this any different than the shooting at the Holocaust Museum? That the target were women is the only one I can see.
78
I will say this in defense of older guys hooking up with younger women ...

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

And I got to be the Cougar bait.

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

(But I'm not going to stalk it! That's just creepy!)
79
OK, so, I got tired of reading around comment #30. Just wanted to chime in to say:

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

And regarding the (il)legalization of sex work: seriously? The powers-that-be want to tell me that the one occupation I can perform using MY body, relying on nothing and no one else, is one that I'm not allowed to pursue?
80
and yeah I should be so greatful ... but after the third orgasm everyone gets a little meloncholy ...

It would be funny if good people didn't get hurt!
81
I haven't read any of the posted comments except the first, and I know you don't really believe in god as popularly known, and that more than likely you think that those who do are crazy, even though your mom was a strong believer, (was she crazy?) but nevertheless, God doesn't hate you so your "maybe so" is ridiculous. Thanks for the good advice that you do often give.
82
NSA, I'm on the DTMFA train here. Think of the kids! They're better off spending half their time with you (and your more-compatible new SO) seeing what a relationship SHOULD be like, rather than all of their time getting this bad example. Or do you want to condemn them to being in the same spot in 30 years time, and thinking that's how it has to be?

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

So if you won't do it for yourself, do it for your kids. DTMFA.
83
NSA: If you're seeing one woman regularly, you may well develop feelings for each other & find yourself having a mistress. Does this other woman know you're married? Is she OK with it? Keep in mind that some women might be OK with it initially, but not if feelings evolve beyond the initial 'fuck buddy' stage. Point is, life will become complicated. If you're staying in this marriage essentially for the kids, honestly, you're better off ending it. IMO, young kids don't suffer any worse than older ones when parents split up. And if you can't see yourself leaving your wife AND you develop a real relationship with your other woman, you should come clean. Tell your wife and let her decide whether she can remain in this marriage or not.
84
@58 I guess I wasn't clear enough. Men in their thirties and upwards who have been out of a relationship for a notable amount of time are just as fucked up as the women.

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

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

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

It's doomed anyway. Once that point is reached, the chance of it recovering is slim, and if the husband isn't allowed to go and look for women in his own time, the unhealthy implication is that he's not able to pursue his own hobbies either. Assuming he's telling the truth, of course.
85
Dan isn't encouraging women to become prostitutes, he's encouraging the legalization (and regulation) of prostitution. When it's legal, it can be safe, and all the women who get hurt, get killed, suffer at the hands of pimps, catch diseases they can't afford to treat, etc wouldn't ever have had to gone through any of that.

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

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

(I don't get it. Republicans are supposedly against big government, but they're the ones who make the most legislature which determines what personal actions are okay or not. It's fucking baffling.)
86
@orangecrayons - the *average* age that sex workers enter the industry is 13 years old in the USA? I'm sorry, but I call bullshit. Where is this "statistic" taken from?
87
@76 Thank you for saying this. Seriously, I have as much obligation to tell a (hypothetical - I'm in a long-term monogamous relationship) one-night stand I'm trans as I have to tell them I had a nasty case of chicken pox at age 8 or that I'm a bit near-sighted in only the right eye. Sleeping with a person does not confer an unlimited right to know her medical history. Dan seems to have a rather large blind spot about trans people, and sometimes he can be an incredible cunt about it.
88
@76 Thank you for saying this. Seriously, I have as much obligation to tell a (hypothetical - I'm in a long-term monogamous relationship) one-night stand I'm trans as I have to tell them I had a nasty case of chicken pox at age 8 or that I'm a bit near-sighted in only the right eye. Sleeping with a person does not confer an unlimited right to know her medical history. Dan seems to have a rather large blind spot about trans people, and sometimes he can be an incredible cunt about it.
89
@82: Couldn't agree more. My parents never worked their issues out. My mom had a 20+ year affair and my dad vents his frustration by screaming while he's on the mower/working on something around the house. Their issues affected my brother and me deeply. We've both been in and out of therapy. I've spent years dating guys who didn't really care about me. So yeah, staying in an unhealthy relationship doesn't help anyone, least of all the kids. It just sets them up for failure, because the example of two people who don't love eachother doesn't show them what a relationship should be. I always wished that my parents would just get a divorce and move the fuck on, instead of staying miserable and dragging everyone else through it. They were both really unhappy and the tension in the house was unbearable. I rebelled in high school, partied and slept around and fucked up my future b/c of the way things were at home. It has taken me years to undo the damage. I'm 32 and I'm still not ok. The longest relationship I've had was 8 mos in college. It's been nothing but an uphill battle. I always wished that they would either fix it or just get the divorce. I begged my mom to go to therapy, because she was such a mess. They both just stuck their heads in the sand. It's way better to have 2 happy, healthy, well-adjusted parents who are divorced than 2 miserable, angry, spiteful, vindictive, manipulative parents who are together, but take it out on the kids. Yes, the initial split would probably incredibly difficult, but living in a constant state of misery with my parents was so much worse. If the other person is completely unwilling to meet normal expectations of married life, then I think it's ok to say it's over and find someone who makes you happy. Life is too short to stay miserable and misery loves company. The rest of the family is probably just as miserable too.
90
Well... yes the poor fella was looking for a sweet young thing to want him in the sack. Then when he got rejected dozens/hundreds of times he went out and shot people.
Why not just go out an work at a volenteer job, join a book club, meet women your own age. The obsession with youth sucks.
I'm 10 years older thn my husband and he is a very happy camper.
91
I know you get enough letters to come up with original material, rather than recycling SLOG stuff. I also know the Sodini letter was good, so maybe you could have linked to SLOG, rather than filling this column with something previously published?
92
Posted by Trix @orangecrayons - the *average* age that sex workers enter the industry is 13 years old in the USA? I'm sorry, but I call bullshit. Where is this "statistic" taken from?

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/prost…
93
People have an obligation to disclose anything which might reasonably make the other person decide that they don't want to have sex. This means trans, sti, or any other unrelated thing that might be there.

I am NOT saying that being trans is like having an sti. I am saying that either (or I don't know, having two dicks), might make someone want to say no before the clothes come off.
94
What angers me in this thread is the repeated alegation that Sodini was "sick", "crazy", "nut". We don't know. And since he's dead, we will never know. A psychiatrist might be able to watch for signs, but most of us are not qualified.

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

What is sick, crazy, nut, is the society in which men learn that they are entitled to sex, and in which people can buy guns.
95
Dan, I think you're right that men who have trouble finding sexual partners should consider sex workers, but from everything I'm reading about Sodini, I don't think that would have worked for him. He wasn't just looking to get laid. It wasn't about sexual frustration. He wanted someone to validate him as a whole person, and no sex worker can do that.

Sodini's trouble was that no one wants to validate a psychotic asshole who engineers his own isolation and then whines that nobody loves him.
96
@95
The best sex trade workers act as mini life/relationship coaches as well. I agree that this wouldn't have changed anything within the last couple of years, but I would be willing to wonder whether Sodini would have been reachable if he had sexual fulfillment and connection in 1985 (2 years after his last relationship).

Maybe or maybe not, but I'm disinclined to assume anything as we have no evidence that he received any good assistance in that area.
97
I don't think there is anything wrong with sex. Sex between two people with a deep emotional connection can be a wonderful thing. But... sex isn't the answer to emotional frustration. And validating sex workers is not the solution which will adequately validate the needs of men and women who do not feel accepted or loved by the people around them.

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

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

98
Remember the 101 California shootings in San Francisco? The crazed psycho in that instance had followed the advice of a string of pop-psych 'prosperity' gurus.

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

Selling stupid advice to vulnerable and/or dangerous idiots should be a felony.
99
Regarding the seduction community, I don't think it's fair to categorize its members as either charlatans or creeps. It's a very broad church; some guys spout this NLP, social manipulation stuff, but a lot of guys are just into improving confidence, social skills and appearance. And it's never about tricking women into sleeping with you, or getting back at women who don't. It's about making getting your shit together and making yourself more attractive, so that when you approach a woman she is more likely to choose you as mate.

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

Just my two cents (or pennies) worth....
100
"When it's legal, it can be safe, and all the women who get hurt, get killed, suffer at the hands of pimps, catch diseases they can't afford to treat, etc wouldn't ever have had to gone through any of that."

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

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

The reality is our government doesn't have adequate resources -and many police officers do not have unsexist enough attitudes, to adequately protect women against those crimes.