Savage Love

Secrets and Lies

Comments

1
I love HITME's phrasing: "Honest to God, if he would have just told me the day he sent the pictures that he sent someone pictures of his cock, I would be okay with it! "

It sounds so detergent commercialish. "Sheesh! My husband and his secret cock pictures! I've tried everything!"

jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.co…
3
Great column this week: interesting questions, kind and thoughtful, and maybe even helpful responses, and the funniest story I've read/'heard' in a while.
All this and Ira Glass in the morning. And it's not even my birthday! Thanks.
4
@1

I love that you noticed that.
"Oy vey!"
5
I think the "snooping-is-always-wrong" crowd might not have a leg to stand on given that she has the key to his cock cage. I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot of privacy privileges (and wouldn't want them). Maybe they should agree that she can check his accounts whenever she feels the need, and if he hides accounts from her they can come up with specific consequences, like no web access for 24 hours?

With people who are prone to lying (teenagers, for instance), it sometimes helps to avoid focusing on the lies themselves, and focus instead on whether generally the person is behaving decently to you and to others. As someone on here explained to me recently, a lie can reflect a desire for some privacy, some personal space...
6
Surprisingly apolitical column this week. We're still waiting for Santorum to dry up and blow away. Obama 2012!
7
@Jill: LOL...let's hope that there's no ring around the collar.
8
Snooping without just cause is wrong. However; once you have real reasons (not just jealousy or paranoia)to materially doubt a SO then ensuring your personal safety trumps the privacy rights of the SO. IMO when someone chooses to seriously lie to, deceive, and/or betray their SO all bets are off and they forfeit their right to privacy. No one has the right to put someone else's health or life at risk without that person's knowledge and consent.
9
@8 Me, I think some people are snoops, and some people can't stand being spied on. Those people shouldn't date each other.

But many people are in the middle. They don't want to date someone who constantly spies on them, but they can stand some degree of snooping (they give each other their passwords, for instance, so that the passenger can read out emails/texts for the person who is driving). I'm not a horrible snoop, but I couldn't stand to date someone who got furious if I read an email over his shoulder. We just wouldn't be compatible.
11
I'm voting for what's behind door two for HITME. He's definitely in to keeping secrets.

And snooping...so complicated! I think if it starts as an honest stumble and then continues because someone stumbled on a pile of santorum and they need to see how bad the problem is, then snoop away!
12
I love Dan's advice to HITME. It's so perfect, and should make everyone happy, and, as we all know, Dan is all about the happy!

Letter 3 is sweet, awesome and hilarious. What a great column this week, Dan. Thank you so much!
13
The advice to HITME is great, spot on. Also an interesting perspective on how it is deceit that hurts people, not necessarily conduct.
14
As once again the letter does not make it obvious and one must assume that Mr Savage was privy to an indicator, I'll just say that the first letter would be much more interesting if HITME were male. I think I am going to start docking LWs about a third of a grade in sympathy if they rely on presumed heterosexuality, even with formerly reliable indicators such as "married" or "husband".

As for NICE, I think Mr Savage is on to something. This is just the result of personal observation, but being so fortunate as to find a sufficiently GGG vanilla partner who turns out to be adapatable enough to provide satisfaction greatly reduces the chance of power creep, at least for a male couple. I think it's different for female or mixed couples, though. I shouldn't put it in the unicorn class, but I've seen this sort of situation play out better long-term when one partner is mostly being GGG.
15
I think HITME is doing it to get caught and punished. He doesn't want you to be OK with it. So punish him and when he does it again, rinse, repeat . . .
16
Great column this week! People should chill about the "snooping" thing--I look at my husband's phone all the time for innocent reasons, which he's okay with, and if I came across something left there by accident it certainly wouldn't be because I was trying to sniff it out like some kind of detective.
17
Yeah, HITME, here's another vote for door #2. I'm bettin' that your hubbie is into his secrets, & if you catch him/snoop on him, it only makes him more creative in how to sneak around on you. He should utterly worship you, BTW, Dan has the right of it. He's not gonna give up his online activities. So hopefully you can find some way to incorporate this into your play.

& NICE..keep listening to your gut. Anyone who wants you to submit all the way w/ no restrictions, right off the bat, is a schmuck. Keep looking. Don't rule out the vanilla becoming vanilla spice someday.
18
If I said much of anything other than, nice work this week, Dan, I'd just be echoing other commenters above.

I think I'm just a skosh too old to be okay w/ someone having my passwords & random access to my phone. There's nothin' going on there or anything. Just, when I'm living w/ someone, I figure they have access to most of my life anyhow. I just want that tiny scrap of privacy to myself. Fortunately most folks I've dated recently feel similarly.
19
Wow, the answer to HITME is one of the most nuanced pieces of advice I've read lately. I try to guess what Dan's recommendations will be before reading his response, but the possibility that HITME's man has a thing for dirty secrets did not occur to me. I guess that's the sort of thing you have to spend a few years in the business to pick up on. Call me a Savage fanboy if you want, but I'm just telling it like it is.
20
Uuuuuh a couple of things.

Dan's advice to HITME seems...don'tcha think...kinda lame?

And I felt like something was missing from the letter, anyway. Like, maybe she doesn't come across as GGG as she would like to believe. And that's why her husband feels ashamed.
21
Dan, I never normally would say this, but I think you're wrong on the first letter.

I think the guy didn't tell her about his online activities because he didn't trust his wife when she said she'd be okay with it.

After all, she said she'd be okay with him seeing a Dom, even going so far as to offer to pay for it... and when he saw a Dom, she freaked the fuck out. They had to have one of those long talks where she talked about how betrayed she was, and *eventually* they got through it.

How the hell was he supposed to believe her when she said she'd be okay with him chatting to other women online?

In his position, I wouldn't have believed her either.

22
Dan, I never normally would say this, but I think you're wrong on the first letter.

I think the guy didn't tell her about his online activities because he didn't trust his wife when she said she'd be okay with it.

After all, she said she'd be okay with him seeing a Dom, even going so far as to offer to pay for it... and when he saw a Dom, she freaked the fuck out. They had to have one of those long talks where she talked about how betrayed she was, and *eventually* they got through it.

How the hell was he supposed to believe her when she said she'd be okay with him chatting to other women online?

In his position, I wouldn't have believed her either.

23
@ 22, Belgacom: I agree. Feeling (no matter what) that you cannot open up to your spouse *honestly* about what gets you off...

For someone like me, nothing gets me hotter and makes me wanna do anything like being with someone who can trust their deepest desires with me. Knowing that I won't judge or condemn, but perhaps even helping out to make my man's fantasies a reality.

Some people are shaped to feel they need to be "ashamed" of what actually gets them off. This is quite sad and totally unnecessary. Interconnectedness as people is the biggest turn on for me. But then, I've never been one to pick up a stray piece of strange, fuck 'em and send them on their way with cab fare. I like investing myself into someone for real.

24
I have tips for both HITME and NICE. HITME says she "dresses him up". If I am correct that her husband is a crossdresser, then Dan is right on the money that he's probably hiding the sheer volume of exhibitionism. From my experience most crossdressers have an absolutely insatiable desire to be admired. The maddening thing for those of us who are attracted to them is that it's all a tease. Crossdressers rarely follow through with their online sluttiness. They only crave the attention, not the actual sexual conduct. So on the one hand, she doesn't need to worry that it will lead to something more. On the other hand, the behavior isn't going to stop. A better suggestion than Dan's is if she becomes handy with a camera, gets a FetLife account, and then starts taking and posting pix of her husband dressed, pointing out to the world what a slut "she" is. That way the husband gets all the lewd admiration he needs, and the wife gets to act as gatekeeper. If she's open to it, and it sounds like she might be.

As for NICE, all subs have (or should have) limits. However, in the scene there is the tiresome expectation that both doms and dommes are dominant all the time in the relationship, not just in the bedroom. What NICE should be looking for isn't a dom, but a top. A top in the real world is much more vanilla than a top in the BDSM scene. A BDSM top does all the kinky things a dom does, but outside of the bedroom treats his partner as an equal.
25
@21 - she freaked out because he wasn't upfront with her. I don't think it's unreasonable to be upfront with someone supportive of your kinks. She didn't freak out about the dom, she freaked out about the secrecy/lying. I don't think that's unreasonable.
26
@ 24, Marrena: You make a lot of sense. I like this bit that you wrote:

"If I am correct that her husband is a crossdresser, then Dan is right on the money that he's probably hiding the sheer volume of exhibitionism. From my experience most crossdressers have an absolutely insatiable desire to be admired. The maddening thing for those of us who are attracted to them is that it's all a tease. Crossdressers rarely follow through with their online sluttiness. They only crave the attention, not the actual sexual conduct. So on the one hand, she doesn't need to worry that it will lead to something more."

I can see that. It's a bit like enjoying flirting casually with people you see on the street. You can enjoy *the attention* of flirting, but after that, it's all on you as to whether or not that would be enough.

I have found that a lot of people who are markedly very imposing outwardly; those who possess a strong, outer presence are Sometimes those who crave to give up control in the sack.. Allowing someone else to take up the slack of the burden of being in charge all of the time..

Dan's right that a GGG guy or woman could surprise you in fulfilling your wish to be dominated, but not emasculated or degraded. What's really so hot about treating your lover like dogshit? What kind of true satisfaction could that be? A lil' teasing and playfulness in the sack goes a long way.

I would rather know everything and deal with it all together than not know and feel that I wasn't enough of a person to be trusted with my man's desires.. Honesty is everything, man. It's a two-way street. I never minded making an example of my own honesty to make someone else more comfortable with theirs; you have to give it out to get it back.

And all that good stuff :-) .
27
"Dominants" that say anything about what a "real" or "true" submissive does have probably only chatted online or they're not mentally stable.
28
Tying someone up, dressing them up and all that is quite fun, and cool. I'd rather lock up my man's goods in my mouth, or another available orifice..

As far as the cross-dressing and the online stuff goes, it may have been a line crossed having your husband send a picture of his dick to someone over the internet (or pic text ;) ).

In a way, it's not that much different than just jacking off with your iPad: it's just that you throw on a well-accessorized ensemble to complement that string or pearls.. Actual or liquid lol.

Even a gentle GGG person can demonstrate behavior normally associated with a Top. The whole idea of being nothing more than an absolute Top & Bottom is rather vanilla in itself. Life's more fluid and complex than that.

I myself am gay: no woman, no bi :) . I am also a long-haired, rock and roll-loving cat who loves to rock out and write (reading's cool, too :) ).

Because I'm about 5'9" and have shoulder-length brown hair (being of average attractiveness facially also helps). In a way, I'm already something of a cross-dresser, except it's hair. I've never had a desire to wear women's clothes. Not seriously anyway. I'd try on a frock if it would make my man happy. We can even dress up together. Why limit what you could possibly do?

I do find it worrisome when the desire to be dominated is mixed in with self-esteem issues and or a feeling that you don't deserve to be treated better, fairly, or with affection and respect.

I guess I do have a streak of 'Top' in me. I'd cater that to my man if he wanted to be a little less of a 'Top' than usual.

It all comes down to how well two people in a relationship really gel, and how well they can honestly communicate what gets them off.

I'm quite open-minded and generally a non-judgmental person. It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round. If you're into who you're with, you'll always find a way to make the effort to understand and please who you're with, unless you're someone who doesn't give two shits about whether or not anyone you're fucking is getting off with you. It gets me *hotter* knowing I turned my man on as fully as I could.

The Truth Is Better (and Sometimes, Stranger:) ) Than Fiction.

The Truth That Shall Set You Free To Feel The Bliss Of Being Restrained;).

+~+
29
But if he wanted me to lock his junk up in some sort of chastity belt device, I'd do that!

Not sure why that'd be so hot for him, but it'd probably tickle me to see him wearing one!

Being a 'Top' is more about having the natural sort of personality to lead the way here and there in the sack. You can be a top without being a heartlessly-domineering, crude bastard. Balance...

Maybe HITME'S hubby is actually bi. I never really understood how men could cross-dress and not be into wanting outside cock. But then, that's just me.

The forbidden is always enticing.

Being a 'Top' is more about leading the way towards seducing who you're with into sheer ecstacy..

May It Be :) .
30
I'm with the 'snooping is wrong' crowd because yes, sometimes people do want to have their own private thoughts and do not necessarily want to hurt other people.

I've beentheredonethatandgottheshirt too, and had some terrible experiences with insecure snoopers who gave me absolutely no space and no privacy. It was driven by their incessant need to seek out any and all possible negative thoughts, ideas or anything else 'scary' to justify their constant fears. At some point, you wind up just going "oh hell, you want it, here it IS: Boooo!" and just running them off. And really, LW#2 demonstrates what that is all about! Why is it repressive conservatism inevitably brings out the twisted kinky?

I have one ex who could have been (be?) similarly vindictive. She did make some untrue claims (of a sexual nature) about me and what happened to cause our demise, but she didn't dish out all the dirt she could; maybe because I had pictures to back up my version of our exploits. Thankfully, we have both moved on and appear to be settled happily into new relationships.

I don't think that's the truth in the case of LW1 - I'm with the folks opting for door #2 - part of what gets him off is the sneaking - it's not as much fun just being out in the open and including her. I'd bet that, not just the deceit, but that part of it excludes her, is what bugs her.
31
@30 if that is his kink (excluding her), you can't blame her for being frustrated. He didn't tell her about that kink early on to see if she wanted to date/marry someone who was tweaked that way... and he still hasn't admitted to it. Maybe because he hasn't admitted it to himself.
32
@ 30: If HITME wants to be secretive, then be secretive and cover yer damn tracks, then!

I equate what's going on to being caught masturbating by someone else. The distinction here is that HITME's wife found out her hubby sent a pic of his cock to some other dom chick over the 'net.

Most people have something sexy, a bit illicit or secretive that they turn to to get themselves off. Shit, I'm 42 and I *still* masturbate at least once a day. So much for libido decreasing with age..

Sneaking off is only ok if he contains the action to himself (no consummated physical cheating with anyone else other than his wife) and *moreover keeps track of his evidence*, then what's the big deal? Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and desires. That's why people in happy relationships still have a wank in solo privacy. It's allowed! No one person can fulfill someone's every need.

Respect for one another's feelings and honesty is the way to go. A balance must be struck.
33
Scenario 3: He's cheating on her. That's what I think.
34
I just have to say, fuck that guy who poses as a girl online to exchange pictures with other girls. Given how much Dan bitches about that sort of shit going on on Craigslist, I'm surprised it was just sort of overlooked in his response.

It's hard enough for girls to find other girls out there without half of the people they are talking to being guys pretending to be someone they aren't. The guy is lying to his extremely understanding wife, which is bad enough, but he is also apparently lying to everyone he meets online as well. Am I the only one that sees that as wrong? Am I the only one that would have responded with a resounding dump that lying piece of shit?

Maybe I'm just overly sensitive. :P
35
(Sorry to hog space here and everything but...)

@ 31, EricaP: Great point you made:

"...if that is his kink (excluding her), you can't blame her for being frustrated. He didn't tell her about that kink early on to see if she wanted to date/marry someone who was tweaked that way... and he still hasn't admitted to it. Maybe because he hasn't admitted it to himself."

Has he admitted it to himself?? THAT'S the real question, here.

They just need to throw down, hash it out and get real. There's no other way around it, really.
Just be as brave as you can, as honest as you can.

Just do your best and the rest usually takes care of itself, I've found.
36
Why Bother dressing up as a girl (when you're a man) to pick up other girls??

Wouldn't one go through all of that to get some dick, instead of some poon-tang?

It takes all kinds, I guess!
37
@34, ya gotta take everything on the internet with a grain of salt. If you're going to be pissed off to discover that the girl you've been chatting with has a dick, then you should probably expect to be pissed off pretty often.
38
@36 you are mistaking what HITME's husband is doing. He's mainly sharing pix of himself dressed up as a woman with other men who dress up as women. Very few cis-women are into that sort of thing. I happen to be one of them. The woman he shared the pix of his locked-up junk was another. The rarity of the female interest must have been hard for him to resist. Usually other CD's aren't interested in cockpix, they are all about the stockings and lingerie.
39
@ 38, Marrena: Thanks. Yeah: I must've missed that part of the 1st letter:

"..you are mistaking what HITME's husband is doing. He's mainly sharing pix of himself dressed up as a woman with other men who dress up as women."

Gotcha. It's a bit like playing 'Dungeons (no pun intended? ;-D lol) & Dragons', but instead of role-playing as some whacko wizard or some shit, you're dressing up in stockings, a halter top and mini-skirt..

I *have* pretended to be a chick to get straight guys off on the 'net before (who hasn't done a lil' of that for the hey of it ;) ), but I wouldn't (this is just me) wanna or need to hang out with other people like me trying to do the same thing: pretending to be a chick to get some straight, etc. guy off.

I sometimes wonder if the cross-dressing fetish, and even bi-ness, is a consequence of a distant mother figure. Who knows?

So, really, it's a bit like sharing enthusiasm for collecting vintage baseball cards, when in effect, the token baseball card is lingerie, stockings and some lurvly fuck-me pumps!

To each their own, as the great saying goes.
Maybe I should try cross-dressing. I'd probably look like a right asshole, but that could be part of the goof in trying it all out for size!

:-)
40
Grammar police here again ...

What's with multiple "XXX asked Terry and I YYY"
on the current Ira Glass Podcast?

C'mon Dan, you DO know better!
41
Well, drag queens crossdress to get a wider spectrum of available men, but that's a different sort of crossdressing altogether. Most crossdressers aren't gay. The majority tend to be bi, but often bi with other crossdressers, so not your typical sort of gay man. Drag queens are gay.
42
It may simply be that HITME's husband is compensating for the lack of control in his daily life. Isn't it human nature to want some control somewhere? Happy as he may be in his submission, it just seems natural to want some small area of his life that's just for him.
43
Re HITME, I'm gonna go with "likes secrets". That one will be a tough kink to break, not least because you can't know if you've broken it or just driven it underground.

If that is his kink, it seems she could do well to make honesty more rewarding than secrets. There are plenty of ways to do that, from the slow handjob interrogation/indoctrination (one of my personal favorites) to secretly monitoring his activities and contouring his rewards and punishments accordingly.

Good luck, HITME. You're a treasure, and any sub would be lucky to have you playing along with them.
44
Ah, I didn't realize he was dressing as a girl for other guys dressing as a girl. I thought he was sending pictures of actual girls claiming to be them, which happens all the damn time. And really sucks. :P
45
@41 "often bi with other crossdressers"

Marrena, do you tend to see an evolution, where they start out seeing themselves as just straight, then gradually admit the cross-dressing is important to them, then gradually admit they're interested in other men who cross-dress? And if so, do you see more of a tendency for them to want sex with people who have both breasts and cocks, or more of a tendency to want sex with people who just have cocks or breasts (not both)?
46
I am more in line with Mr. J's line of thinking than with the possibility that HITME's husband has a secret kink for keeping secrets. I think this is more about having some aspect of his sexuality that is within his control. I also see this as being about maintaining some autonomy.

For some people, autonomy matters, for others it's of less importance. Our esteemed Ms. EricaP has stated many times that (in her approach) married people tell each other everything. Dan endorses full disclosure as well. But I don't think that is something that works for everyone. I think I'm one of those people.

I've been married a long long time. More than half of my lifetime, literally all of my adult life. And I didn't figure out until fairly recently that I reallyn do need to have something that is just mine. It sounds fairly childish and selfish, but I really don't think it is. Some people need to maintain that sense of me separate from the we of the relationship.
47
I came at this whole crossdressing thing with a completely open mind, but I have to say that from my experience crossdressers tend to have remarkably similar sexualities and psychologies.

Usually the crossdressing comes before the deciding whether gay or straight. The crossdressing itself starts either in childhood or early teenaged years. Of course then it raises questions. But usually crossdressers identify as completely straight until they go all pink fog and really get into the crossdressing. When dressed they usually identify as straight women and over time that starts to make them wonder what it would be like to give blowjobs and be the receiver in anal sex while dressed. But almost always they are emotionally interested in women. The ideal for most crossdressers seems to be as a submissive serving a dominant woman who occasionally "forces" them to serve men, often while in chastity.

From what I've seen crossdressers generally love bondage, are submissive, and love to serve women. With the lack of dominant women out there into them, the more heteroflexible ones tend to fall into CD-CD sex hookups, but those don't tend to be emotionally intimate relationships.
48
I came at this whole crossdressing thing with a completely open mind, but I have to say that from my experience crossdressers tend to have remarkably similar sexualities and psychologies.

Usually the crossdressing comes before the deciding whether gay or straight. The crossdressing itself starts either in childhood or early teenaged years. Of course then it raises questions. But usually crossdressers identify as completely straight until they go all pink fog and really get into the crossdressing. When dressed they usually identify as straight women and over time that starts to make them wonder what it would be like to give blowjobs and be the receiver in anal sex. But almost always they are emotionally interested in women. The ideal for most crossdressers seems to be as a submissive serving a dominant woman who occasionally "forces" them to serve men, often while in chastity.

From what I've seen crossdressers generally love bondage, are submissive, and love to serve women. With the lack of dominant women out there into them, they more heteroflexible ones tend to fall into CD-CD sex hookups, but they want to love and serve women.
49
"Lain", Dan?! WTF? You really dug deep for that one, man.
50
Just skimmed the comments so I hope I'm not repeating a suggestion someone else made but here's a thought: could the husband in letter #1 keep a naughty diary documenting his adventures? It could, in turn, play a role in disclosure to his wife. Maybe it could be locked up with a key for bonus boner-making, if he's got a secrecy fetish.

And preemptively: since this would probably lead to him writing fantasies (which would make it harder for his wife to know what's going on during approved Diary Inspections), maybe a rule could be made that he must document all facts in black ink -- and any additional writing (i.e. fantasies) would have to be in another colour.

Just a thought!
51
@48, thanks, Marrena. Interesting that (many of) these men think of themselves as alternately man and woman, but always straight. Myself, I think of myself as a bit queer when I play with cross-dressing men. But maybe I'm just flattering myself.

@46 - just want to clarify that my ideal is complete honesty between spouses, but I'm learning to accept that I'm not actually going to get that.

52
@HITME:

Dan just proposed monthly interrogation scenes. I suggest taking maximum advantage of this! :D
53
Man, I definitely feel where NICE is coming from. I'm kinda switchy, and there are a lot of elements of kink that appeal to me from both top and bottom perspectives, but humiliation and degradation are HUGE turn-offs.

I don't know, man, hang in there. Maybe look around for somebody who's a little bit sensitive and switchy, not specifically for a top. Like Dan said, somebody can learn to be a top even if they don't think of themselves that way already.
54
@46, 51 -- part of the problem is alluded to when Dan talks about monogamish relationships and monogamy being hard: it's difficult for someone to be everything for someone else. Not simply because we can't, but because the person for whom we would like to be 'everything', er, doesn't want that either.

I sometimes think it's better to let go of any absolute aspirations (in the philosophical sense) and concentrate on the good things we do share, when we're thinking about 'we'; and be proud of the fact that our SOs also have their own 'I' place of autonomy. Whatever my SO 'truly' is, it's more than what I see; and so am I. And in that there is something that is fundamentally positive.
55
I love the advice to HITME. Spot on, I think.
56
NICE: The truth is no relationship is ever the fantasy you would make it out to be. The Dom you are seeking is out there but being human he will fall short sometimes.
57
Regarding letter number 1, you left out a 3rd possibility, Dan. Maybe he's a complete jerk who is flirting with other people online and doesn't care how his partner feels about it, even though he has it pretty damn good.
58
@31, I object to "the snooping is ok if you find something" bit.

I understand she feels violated; I think she probably has been, but I also think expectations have to be appropriate. He is engaging in activities that she has essentially cleared in the singular, but not the plural. I think Dan is onto something when he talks about how much time and energy the husband invests.
59
@51 EricaP
Is full disclosure at all times necessary for there to be complete honesty? Does simply not being able to know some things, even things that are not a violation of your boundaries, drive you crazy?
60
@54 ankylosaur
Beautifully put.
61
NICE, what @24, @27, & @56 said in spades.

Particularly while you're a newbie, do not engage with someone who uses the phrase "not a true sub" or gives you any dismissive attitude about your limits.

It's a little hard to determine where on the kink scale you're falling. There's nothing wrong with being a scene sub (which sounds a bit like what you're describing). It also sounds like you've done your research. At this point what you need is patience, a bit of luck, and a large enough pool to fish in. If you're not in a metro area where there's a visible kink community, go to an event (I'd suggest something medium scale to start with rather than IML or Folsom--they're too damn big and all tourists). Go with a wingman if you can. Go without expectation. Chat with people. Talk about what you're into (or think you're into). See what presents itself.

And yes, dominance without degradation is totally possible. It's not terribly common (there's an implicit element of degradation in D/s). When does the line get crossed into degradation for you? Be as flexible as you can with that in seeking partners. They don't know where your boundaries are, and their experience may be with someone who wanted the degradation, so keep the lines of communication open.

Good luck and have fun.
63
@58 it was #8 who said snooping is okay if you find something. That's not my point.

Me, I think people should evaluate early on if they are snooping-compatible with their partners, and not expect that other person will change radically to meet their needs. People soon figure out that I'm endlessly curious; if someone sees that curiosity as unacceptably intrusive (or as a sign of paranoia), they should just dump me. Same if they see me as too indiscreet. It's not likely to change.
64
I think that the husband in the first letter has it pretty darn good. He ought to be more appreciative of his partner and consider the feelings of someone other than himself.
65
@59 None of this drives me crazy. Preferring to know what's going on in his life is different from going crazy if I don't know.

And I'm getting more used to the idea of reasonable transparency rather than complete transparency.

But there are consequences: I don't trust him implicitly the way I used to a few years ago. I watch his actions, rather than assuming he'll keep his promises. That disturbs him, but he understands what it comes out of.
66
I said snooping without just cause is wrong and eliminated jealousy and paranoia as justifications for snooping. I repeat, no one has the right to so break trust with someone that they endanger that person's health, well being, and/or life. It is the same standard used by police and the government with respect to criminal activity and mental illness. A person's right to privacy has never been absolute and is always curtailed when their actions represent a danger to themselves or others. I don't say snooping is always justified or always wrong. It depends on the circumstances.
67
I feel like these discussions tend to devolve into trying to find a bright-line rule, and I think that gets away from Dan's goal of trying to find a workable solution, so with that mindset...

@63 I agree with you completely - they should find out early on if they're compatible with the level of disclosure/privacy each partner needs. You can remove all of the sex/kinky from the equation and substitute any other relationship issue you like, and this question is just as important. I definitely think she's got a right to be upset, which lead me to...

@64 ...he does have it good. She's been flexible and met him, he needs to be much more considerate of her feelings and needs.

I am just reminded of the parable of the scorpion and the frog (not in the bible, I know), and thinking she may find it easier to adjust her expectations.
68
I would just like to say that this is yet another Savage Love/SL comment thread that has given me immense insight on my own marriage.

Also, it seems to me that, as a general rule (with plentiful exceptions), women tend to be more on the "I want to know everything as it happens, and I tell you everything as it happens", whereas men tend to want more allowances for secrecy. Anyone agree/disagree?
69
My boyfriend and I don't invade each other's privacy, but we don't maintain or expect ridiculous amounts of it either. He can look over my shoulder when I'm typing, answer texts on my phone, check something in my email if I forget and have to call him for it, etc, and I do the same. And hell yeah if I saw an email with a suspicious tag line, or he was acting all weird about his phone, I would definitely snoop.
70
@68 the cheesegirl
That's my feeling-- that I want a little privacy. She says she wants the real time data thing but doesn't exactly walk the talk. I trust her absolutely but she really should admit that she doesn't tell me everything.
71
I am a woman who values privacy, independence and solitude and who (for the time being at least) knows my bf isn't looking for anything beyond my mad skillz. (Yes of course he has fantasies.)
But still. Anyone who says they can run across an SO's open email or other account and resist the temptation to look is either lying or superhuman.
And anyone who expects complete transparency is delusional. For one, that presupposes the SO knowing what they want/feel themselves, which is rare enough.
72
I agree with EricaP that snooping compatibility needs to be discussed early on. I'm not an overly private person, but I do feel that my email account is sacred. I've told my last two girlfriends that if I ever discover that they've been in my email account that it is a deal breaker and there will be no second chances. I was very upfront and honest about it, "you can go through my clothes, wallet, phone, whatever, but the second you look through my email account uninvited we're over." I never leave anything open on a shared computer, because I feel that if you do that then you're just asking for trouble. My last gf was overly inquisitive, but since she knew how strongly I felt about it, never (to the best of my knowledge) went into my account. My current gf wouldn't have even thought of doing it anyway, so it isn't an issue. Its one more important thing that needs to be discussed early, and potentially often.
73
As regards HITME's letter, here's another possibility, which is how I was reading it: maybe she claims to be (and wants to be) more GGG than she is. Maybe she gives permission to indulge his kinks because it's what she believes she SHOULD do, but each time he tries she finds some reason why THAT way was not acceptable, and so he feels the only real way to indulge his kink is to do it in secret.

Basically, maybe she is, deep down, bothered by the kink, and is using his not telling her of every instance individually as a means of rationalizing her displeasure after the fact.
74
I think Dan missed the point with HITME. There's no right or wrong answer regarding whether or not she has the right to know about the chatting, but she definitely has the right to have her husband behave as he's agreed to behave. He agreed to disclose, then he passive-aggressively didn't disclose.

The real question is what information does she want and why will it make her not feel heartbroken. She claims that she's OK with the chatting and sessioning, but clearly she's not. She hit the roof when she first caught him, and she's taken to spying to try to catch him. Is it any wonder he hasn't taken her at her word that she's OK with it?

Would she be OK with a blanket, "I chat every day. Just assume that."? Because that's probably what we're dealing with here. What about not knowing about the chatting breaks her heart?

Once she figures out why this bothers her so much, they need to make a new arrangement that they can both live with. Maybe she really doesn't want to know when he's chatting. This would be like the arrangement I have with my wife with respect to masturbation. She doesn't want to walk in on me, so there's a certain amount of intentional ignorance, i.e. if she wakes up at 2am to go pee and I'm not in the room, she doesn't go try to find me!

Maybe another option would be that he needs to ask for permission. He wants her to own him. Maybe that would be showing her enough respect that she wouldn't feel heartbroken.
75
@74 - "She claims that she's OK with the chatting and sessioning, but clearly she's not."

Perhaps it's not the chatting and sessioning that she's upset by, but the fact that her husband is deliberately witholding information from her. Personally, I'd be way more hurt that my partner was hiding things from me after agreeing to be completely honest and transparent.
76
@EricaP, who wrote:
But there are consequences: I don't trust him implicitly the way I used to a few years ago. I watch his actions, rather than assuming he'll keep his promises. That disturbs him, but he understands what it comes out of.


Indeed. But since human beings are so convoluted, I learned early on that we have to watch other people's actions. Not because other people are 'bad', but because... because we ourselves often don't know exactly why we do what we do. If asked for reason or rhyme, or at least a pattern, we come up with something that later on we'll have to adhere to in order not to sound inconsistent, and that feels like a constraint.

Implicit trust is a good idea in principle, but because we're such beings with an inherent element of chaos in it, it ends up never lasting very long, or then being restricted to only certain things. (I have implicit trust that my wife will take care of our daughter to the best of her knowledge in my absence; she has the same trust in me. Whether or not she'll keep her promise of not working till late at night on Saturdays and going to sleep at a more reasonable time, that I don't know. Because I can't also really guarantee that I'll keep my own promises, even though I fully intend to.)
77
@EricaP, in fact, if personal observation is taken into account, it is interesting to note down precisely what things end up being difficult to adhere to, what promises are difficult to keep (even though you really wanted to, and you agree it's a good idea). Both for ourselves -- we may learn a few things about ourselves we don't know yet -- and for our relationships -- we may learn a few things about our partners that they aren't articulating, or maybe even don't know themselves yet.
78
I think @71 is saying the same thing I am about being realistic about what to expect from other human being.

@74 - I like your take on this. Everyone has taken her at face value when she says she encourages and supports it, but there is the art of damning with faint praise, and she may not in reality be accepting of his kink.
79
@ 57: truthspeaker. If I may quote you:

"Regarding letter number 1, or a guy named Bi-Bi Bob, you left out a 3rd possibility, Dan. Maybe he's a complete jerk who is flirting with other people online and doesn't care how his partner feels about it, even though he has it pretty damn good."

Spot on truth you speak here. Well said. Because what you spoke of is how I think and feel about the above lovely mindfuck of man (BB Bob), I now feel even more right and confident about letting go of that sort of cruel nonsense.
80
.... @ 79 continued....

I'm gay, not bi. Doesn't matter who you are, what you have or what bullshit you try to sell me: I won't be with someone who pitches for both teams. In other words, I think this is over.
81
Another possibility for the first letter is that the person writing in isn't as GGG to their BF as indicated. They seem on the defensive "I'd approve if he just told me!" I think he may have told in the past and not liked the response.
82
Just listened to the podcast. Hearing Ira Glass say "Take the cock out of your mouth" was the best thing ever. Hot and adorable at the same time.

Dan, you need to have guest hosts more often--it really freshens up the podcast; it makes you funnier to have someone there to riff off of. I loved the Lucy shows mostly b/c having her there made you that much more entertaining.
83
@48 - As a sometimes x-dresser and heteroflexible guy, yep, you've pretty well nailed it. Minus the bondage and chastity part, but just speaking for me.

Are you a man or a woman?
84
for Dan and Terry--Mazel tov!
85
Hey... HITME here. I was worried to log on here and possibly find people completely slaying me but I'm pleasantly surprised to see there was definitely some more good tips. Thanks everyone. The first post made me laugh out loud.
86
@o76923 @81

>> They seem on the defensive "I'd approve if he just told me!"
>> I think he may have told in the past and not liked the response.

I agree with you. I think that's what happened when he actually got himself a Dom. She freaked out, despite saying she was okay with it and would even pay for it.
87
HITME here... thanks for being nice, and the extra advice is appreciated too. I loved the first post!
88
NICE, I've never found the fetish dating sites particularly helpful. They're filled with fantasists who never go further than their laptops and who have an unrealistic, overly simplistic, binary understanding of BDSM. They just. don't. get. it.

I'd say keep going with the vanilla--they can be surprising and a lot more authentic. Another option would be to look for a local "munch" (Google: BDSM munch) which is a *social* gathering for BDSM folks. It's not a play party, it's usually held at an un-sceney restaurant, and people don't dress up for it. It can be a great way to find actual kinksters.

Good luck!
89
Welcome, HITME! Thanks for joining in... if you have more to add about your situation, or your thoughts on how workable the advice seems, we're all ears :-)
90
@87: Welcome HITME. Here's my perspective, FWIW.

My wife couldn't be any less interested about what I do with my computer - porn, chat, hookup sites, whatever - as long as it doesn't involve kids, a real-life relationship, or me losing all of our money.

But if she did, I would tell her that she should just assume that I have done or will do just about any kind of computerized sexual interaction she can think of, and hell no, I will not file a report every time I do.
91
@76/77 - good advice, ankylosaur. I'm working on finding the right tone when he promises something. I don't want to be dismissive/contemptuous of his promise (to be home for dinner, or take me out Friday night, or whatever), even as (internally) I don't want to rely on it. I'm trying for a brisk manner, moving the conversation along...

And as you point out, there's a similar issue when I promise things... I don't want to undermine myself by saying something like: "Honey, I'll pick up your dry-cleaning today, unless of course I forget [because I'm a ditz]."

I like your advice to note what things "end up being difficult to adhere to," even as I also don't want to obsess about our screw-ups and rehash it endlessly.

Growth while living in the moment... maybe I need to go back to my cognitive behavioral therapist for a touch-up...
92
@ 90, seandr: Sounds like someone I know, and would rather not know anymore, with all due respect to the scenario, and you, by extension:

"My wife couldn't be any less interested about what I do with my computer - porn, chat, hookup sites, whatever - as long as it doesn't involve kids, a real-life relationship, or me losing all of our money."

That about says it all.

93
@84 - what's the happy occasion?

94
Goodbye Bob. I'll save you the trouble of running away from my ever wanting or needing you by me being the one to cut out first. Besides, I don't belong here in any capacity. Sorry everyone: I needed to say this.. Peace.
95
The end as a beginning is still an end.
96
HITME, a question for you to seriously ponder: What exactly do you think you are gaining, by requiring full disclosure of an act that you claim to have already given the green light to?

I have a pretty strong guess at the answer to the converse of that question -- the converse question being, "What do you think you are losing by his failure to disclose as per his agreement?" and the answer to that being "The loss is trust, as in what else isn't he telling me about?" But is there in fact a corresponding gain for you when he does follow through and inform you? Or is the loss of trust when he doesn't inform a one-sided, "lose-only" transaction?

It's just that you have chosen a kind of odd place to draw your line in the sand. If you really were okay with him doing this, he shouldn't have to inform you of it every time it happens, any more than he would need to inform you every time he went to the store for Oreos. For the sake of the analogy, he loves Oreos, and you don't much care for them yourself, but you don't mind him buying them...as long as he tells you? Does that not strike you as a weird thing to insist on?

Now, it isn't entirely that simple; for starters, a session with a dom probably costs a hell of a lot more than a pack of cookies, and you have a right to make sure he isn't draining the joint accounts. But I suspect that finances isn't what worries you. Clearly there is an aspect to this behavior that you find threatening, and the wish to be informed whenever it happens is an attempt at obtaining some sense of control (however illusory it may be).

So my question to you is, what exactly (and I do mean exactly, as in "be specific") do you hope to gain (or control) through the medium of full disclosure? Is there in fact anything to be gained by compliance, in contrast to the loss from non-compliance?

Second, related question is, how exactly does this activity make you feel threatened? And related to that, why isn't he telling you, especially when he said he would? Are you doing something to make telling seem like a losing proposition to him?

Is there anything he could do to alleviate that feeling of threat for you? Perhaps something other than immediate disclosure?
97
BTW, his other online account for chatting "as a woman" is probably primarily for his own protection from the rest of the world, who probably wouldn't be as understanding of his kinks as you are. Not in order to hide from you.

If that helps you relax and reduce the score of apparent lying by one item, I advise you to take it in that spirit.
98
The amount of mental gymnastics that sometimes go into elaborate explanations of personal ideologies.. It's a bit like a blast of dead, dry leave bits in a gust of wind.. Trying to count how many bits of leaf are coming at you (because you can), but at the end of it all, it's all just wind and leaves. Verbosity for the sake of it, and may the truth be damned for it bores us. Why I don't relate and why I'm sure it will be no loss to anyone if the likes of me gets lost from these parts. Consider it done. Cheers.
99
"If that helps you relax and reduce the score of apparent lying by one item, I advise you to take it in that spirit."

What if it's more than one item, and you're going on a multi-year resentment basis? Good time to cut your own shit loose and start over else, wouldn't you say?

Yeah: I'd say so, so there you go then. Goodbye.
100
Hitme, got a girdle I can borrow?
101
@ 96:

"Are you doing something to make telling seem like a losing proposition to him?"

It sounds like she's overanalyzing what doesn't need to be overanalyzed: just tell the truth with a minimum of bullshit. True, it does bore some, resorting to that sort of thing, but it establishes character, trust and all-around-likeable integrity.

To some, that sort of thing doesn't matter enough. More about the delightful mental circus and tricks galore for personal perverse amusement, and beyond-old claims of being much more complex than they actually are...

Saying so much, yet never saying anything real: the real boredom, devoid of any real heart.

A thumbnail synopis of an asshole like *YOU BI-BI BOB*/several zillion other names. Just waiting to get to a 100.

102
Ah, nevermind.

Literally.
103
@93 more than just opposite marriages are legal now in Washington state.