Savage Love

A First

Comments

1
this makes way more sense than the statue thing.
2
A religious letter and a cute one. Am I wrong to have wished for a third letter?
3
As a gay atheist, I never understood liberal Christians or gay Christians. I hate to agree with the fundies, but the bible really does condemn homosexuality as well as condone slavery and condone misogyny. So when liberal Christians try to "re-interpret" the Bible to make it seem like it doesn't actually say these things, it comes across to me as being incredibly intellectually dishonest.

The best thing to do is instead of trying to reinterpret the bible to make it gay-friendly, just chuck the bible out completely because we as a society don't need it for anything.
4
Nearly first
5
Sorry Dan, you're wrong when you say that the apostolic succession stretches all the way back to Saint Peter. Nothing stretches all the way back to Peter.

As a disciple of Jesus, Peter was a jew who wanted to reform judaism (like Jesus himself), not to start a new religion. Paul of Tarsus is the one who decided to create a new religion - against the wishes of Peter and Santiago, Jesus's brother, who were the leaders of the christian movement. Peter died a few decades before there were such things as bishops, popes, etc.

That is, if any of those people actually lived (although their existence is better documented than that of Jesus himself).

Any priest, bishop, archbishop or pope who claims a direct link to Peter (and therefore a near-direct link to Jesus) is a liar.
6
You could have saved your Bishop in the Hole for a tougher question. Isn't "should I stay with my self-hating lover and his bigoted friends and religion?" a gimme?
7
I understand your advice Dan, but I totally disagree with it. Christian needs to develop strength and move away from his friends in his own time and in his own way. If Devoutly Gay can't wait, so be it.

Christian must make new more accepting friends and become strong and self-confident enough to move in a more positive direction.

Moving from dependency on his radical Christian friends to dependency on Gay makes Christian vulnerable, which is psychologically unhealthy and frankly not sexy.

Gay can Encourage Christian and build him up, however he doesn't have to stay forever. I just hope that he doesn't become another person in the evidently long line to control him.

8
Sounds like the SO really needs to start making different Christian friends.

I'd say the best DGW can do is find an open, loving and accepting church himself, then try bringing his SO along. I know people who succeeded with "I want to go to church with you, but we need to find a church we can both feel comfortable at".

Maybe a more formal protestant denomination (such as Episcopal, Methodist, or Presbyterian) can provide the right compromise for a religious Orthodox and a non-practicing catholic.

If he's really not interested in going to Church, he could try making friends in Christian LGBT communities and just hang out with them. Eventually the topic will come up.

9
Where did the boyfriend in letter #1 find friends like those, anyway? Westboro Baptist Church? Friends do not tell you that God does not love you. He should get counseling - NOW.
10
I'm with you, Dan, on DGW's letter. If his SO listens to his wrong-wing bigoted homophobic asshole friends first, then what's the point in continuing their relationship? DTMFA!!!
11
BIB doesn't talk about her own fantasies at all. I'm guessing that either she has an idea about some other specific stuff she might like to try (but is scared to admit it), or else she doesn't know, but is curious... If I were her friend, I'd advise her to go exploring stories online...

Another alternative is that she sees her future too clearly and wants to take a few years off from the straight-and-narrow to explore other possible lives. That is, the boredom in bed may represent a larger boredom with their apparent life-path. In that case she should open up to her boyfriend and see whether he too has those impulses.
12
@Ricardo, #5, those lower case "j"s for Jew and Judaism are conspicuous. What a weird, passive aggressive way to be anti-Semitic.
13
Self-hatred is not attractive. Disgusting "friends" who actively stoke self-hatred in their peers are even less attractive. I know the LW wants to help his boyfriend, but that is 10 metric tons of baggage no one should have to sort through. In the interest of self-preservation (not to mention sanity), RUN.
14
In find it amusing that evangelical Christians love to fixate on "homosexual abomination" in the bible, while totally ignoring the "heterosexual abomination" found in Deuteronomy 24. In fact, I've had some tell me that Moses got it all wrong and that Jesus no longer considers that "abomination" a sin.
What a bunch of hypocrites!
15
Just another opinion about religion, bible, and lgbtxyz-related stuff, coming from this bigender person http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigender
who happened to be ritually circumcised while few days old (yes, it was painful, but considering the first all-the-way blow job I got some 20 year later as a result it was well worth it!!!)
Ladies and gentlemen, I am a proud member of the chosen people and as such I got to read the bible in its original version. Despite growing up with the secular section of the tribe way back in the land of milk and honey, we didn’t have much to do with the New Testament. But we did read and debated the old one. As history, as a way of life, not a doctrine, as “the doctrine” was a socialist one that professed hard manual labor for the sake of it. Quantity, meaning the number of hours you stood under the fucking sun, counted so much more then the quality of what you actually produced.

Intros are very important, but lets not forget the reason we’re all here, shall we? So… the bible at some point lists some set of rules, and in that list you will find homosexuality alongside with the no-no’s of… making clothes out of flax fibers mixed with other types of fibers, as well as planting those seeds next to each other.
This vague list didn’t stop all homophobic religions- and aren’t they all anyway?- to list homosexuality as the worst crime on earth. And just to clarify the matter, “homosexuality” is always so much worse when it is between men, because even back then the ruling guys were secretly masturbating to lesbian porn…

So what does the bible says, ha? The bible tells us about Joseph, not the one whose wife was cheating on him and once she got knocked up told him it was “the holly spirit”. The other, earlier Joseph was Jacob’s son who was viewed by his older brothers as “a little different”, an embarrassing kinda dude who used to dress up in fancy striped gowns. So they threw him in a dried well and later sold him to nomads, who must have viewed him much more charming than their occasional camel encounter. They also took him to Egypt where, being the only Jew, he became Pharaoh’s both shrink and economic adviser.
Years later, when the family moved to Egypt due to economic hardship, Joseph confronted his brothers and they all hugged and kissed him and asked for forgiveness. Yes, economic hardship can do a lot for your liberal set of mind.

The other famous gay person is King David. Surprised, aren’t you? Well, back in the days the kings could fuck anyone in site and get away with it. So on top of watching that woman washing on the roof in Jerusalem and then sending her husband to the frontline and make sure he is killed so he can fuck his wife, the red haired musician had a boyfriend named Jonathan. And at some point he told him something like, “my love to you is greater than a love to a woman”, which I’m guessing all religions interpret this as a sign of “an asexual friendship that stands so much higher than any sexual contact”.
Because sex is dirty, it’s horrible; we should all refrain from it as much as we can. And besides, you only do it with someone you really, really love. And married to. And that person has to be a member of the opposite camp; otherwise it’s a sin!

Well, ladies and gentlemen- and everyone in between- FUCK IT!!!
16
Hey BIB: only boring people get bored. It sounds like your bf is awesome, quit being such a selfish jerk.

I wish I had some goddamned saltines.
17
@16: Did you just quote Betty Draper?
18
Dan,

Maybe you should have an alternate, more sympathetic acronym for those relationships that need to end, but not because the LW's partner is a MF. Maybe the LW is the MF, or maybe, as in DGW's case, the relationship just isn't going to work out in it's current iteration.

For these circumstances, I suggest:

DTPBA= Dump The Poor Bastard Already

I know you're not one to pull punches, but this does seem a little less accusatory for situations like the one above, wouldn't you agree? I hope you do!
19
The best thing for the gay Christian guy could do is tell his so-called friends to go fuck themselves.
20
RE: LW #1, DGW: I agree w/ wingedkat @ 8 - especially the bit about finding a church the two of them can go to in common. I'm not gonna get into the whole faithful vs. atheists squabble: these are two Christians, & the LW didn't seem to have a crisis of faith itself, just his BF's branch of organized religion. Not the same thing. The should agree to find a more accepting community that makes them both feel welcome. & if the BF isn't ready to leave his (as Bishop Robinson correctly called it, I think) internalized homophobia/self-loathing behind him, then DGW should move on. He sounds like he knows what to do, here, & was just writing for the nudge needed to make a change. :)
21
RE: LW #2, BIB: I thought I was with "the one" at 22. Now older, I feel that's way too young to settle down. Something to think about..there could be a lotta oats yer to sow..? Maybe a discussion about some making-out level monogamishness, for funsies?

Kinda along the lines of what EricaP was saying, too, in terms of feeling that way, suddenly. Like you can see the whole vanilla future & it's too much, it irritates & overwhelms with its sameness.

Otherwise agree w/ Dan 100%. Time to shake things up & shift focus.
22
Oats YET to sow, not yer. Phooey. OK, bedtime now.
23

Ya, I would agree - she has been with this dude since age 18? For four solid years starting at only 18? They need to both experiment with other people. Teen years are NOT the settling down years for god's sake - and as she said, if boredom is already striking, it's time to let it go.

24
I agree with Dan's advice to DGW right on up to the DTMFA part. I liken it to the advice I'd give to the friend of an abused wife. Granted she needs to get out of the relationship with the guy who's beating her up, and granted the friend wishes she would, but the last thing that's called for is an ultimatum along the lines of "Dump him or I'm out of here." Instead, it's "When you get ready to leave, I'll be here to keep you safe and show you that there's another way to live."

So I'd soften it. I'd say "I can't be in the kind of relationship I need as long as you're keeping "friends" who hurt you with their abusive beliefs. For that reason, we're breaking up, but the minute you need a friend and role model of someone with ethical beliefs about homosexuality, I'm here for you Call me if you need me. I can help keep you safe and show you another way to live."
25
BIB: You don’t say that you love your boyfriend; you say “He's a great guy, we live well together, and I could easily round him up to ‘the one.’” Love is what makes you round someone up to “the one,” not a list of reasons-not-to-flee that your mother might have come up with when guilt-tripping you into getting married and giving her grandkids. If you don’t feel excited and happy about the prospect of spending the rest of your life with him, and if you’re bored with the day-to-day togetherness, and you’re 22 years old, WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THIS RELATIONSHIP, except that you’re following the scripts that say it’s time to get married and that unless you have a Good Reason to break up with a nice guy, you’re a jerk if you do so.

It’s true: the people in your life will act like you’re a jerk if you don’t marry the guy you’ve been with for four years (and your only sex partner!). He will be mad at you, his parents will be mad at you, and his friends will be mad at you. But imagine a graph with your ever-increasing boredom and restlessness, growing a little bit each year, until it reaches a point beyond which you CANNOT stay in the relationship. If that happens ten years from now, after a wedding and a couple of kids, the shit you will take from him and his people now is NOTHING compared to the fiery storm of umbrage and outrage that you will deal with then. DTNGA (dump the nice guy already).
26
#3 - on reinterpreting the Bible

I also felt it was intellectually dishonest to reinterpret the Bible, but ultimately there's a difference between just chucking out inconvenient stuff and actually wrestling with it. As a Pagan who wanted to continue to honor my Jewish roots, I had a terrible time with the Ten Commandments because of course there's the one about not having other Gods, etc. To blithely say, "Well that one doesn't count" is a cop-out.

And yet... I think the Bible is an accretion, historically edited over many centuries, not the word from God all given in one giant Skype session. Edited, I may add, by men... and with many contradictions and emphases.

There is also a vast body of religious thought and practice outside of what is in the Bible. That varies widely from "God is love and so we should love one another" to "God likes to smite us for fun, and it's OK for me to hurt other people in God's name".

There are rabbis and other scholars who've made it their life work to re-claim (rather than re-interpret) their own religious dogma to emphasize tolerance. They've taken the position that their own conscience will not allow them to condemn homosexuality, demean women, condone slavery, or commit violence against people who don't follow their particular sect.
27
@24: I completely agree. His SO is showing amazing strength in being out and partnered in front of such bigots. Perhaps he deserves more than DTPBA.

As for poor bored...Run. Experiment. Live. If you still want your wonderful boyfriend in a year or two, great. But I married him and 20 years later was still bored. Finally ran. Am experimenting. Am living. I recommend it highly.
28
@3 - I'm not gay but I am also an atheist, and I am one mainly (though among MANY other reasons) because after engaging in an even slightly thorough or serious study of the bible it is so full of patently self-contradictory nonsense AND theology keeps evolving so much (and the bible as well - the canon gets updated depending on who's in and who's out!) that it's pretty clearly some shit we (humans) made up and keep making up. "If God didn't exist, we'd have to invent him."

To that end: it's perfectly acceptable (or rather, just as legitimate) for the "liberal" Christians to make up their own theology about homosexuality as it is for the bigots to make up theirs.
29
Cucinelli (verb): The act of going ass to vag without wiping off first.
30
@29 - I LIKE IT!!!
31
Excellent advice to the guy with the Jesus freak BF. You can't date and progress into a relationship with anyone whose friends think you are sick and wrong. BF has to decide between you and his friends (which can create even more problems farther along). Yeah, I know. You want to help BF out of the closet and end his self-loathing. Cool when you are 19, maybe, but any older than that, the cast has set. He doesn't need a boyfriend to bring him out. He needs gay friends who'll bring him out, and it'll take a while. It's too much for one man (or woman) to accomplish. Be one of those friends - supportive and there, but a healthy love relationship is a long way off.

32
Four comments for BIB:

1. Passion fades, especially four years into a relationship. That is partly (mostly) why people your age break up with their high-school or college boyfriends. Also a big reason why married-with-children types, who can't easliy leave relationships, cheat. Welcome to Normaltown.

2. You used "The One" in quotes, so I assume you recognize there are lot's of "the one" out there. Especially at age 22. While there is no guarantee of finding another "one" there is some certainty you are about to grow more and more restless and potentially resentful about this "one." Call it off for a while? At a minimum, if he is the "one" you may appreciate him once you date around and realize the grass isn't greener. If you never give yourself the chance to date around, you will never know how good (or bad) you have it with your current. Once you experience the fading of passion with several relationships, you tend to become more realistic about what a long term relationship feels like.

3. Dan is on to something about selfish lovers being good in bed but I don't think its for the obvious reason. Great sexual experiences happen when your partner, in the throws of ecstasy, use you for their pleasure. As long as it isn't one-sided, people want to have a sex partner who is there because they are immensely enjoying themselves rather than merely trying to get you off. Which brings me to.....

4. You have an equal duty in the relationship to get things hot. You don't get to complain about passion and offer no solutions. I call B.S. that you don't have non-vanilla fantasies. It may be that you just don't want to or feel comfortable exploring them with your BF.
33
I have a gay friend who was raised Orthodox. He left the church that won't accept him and is now an Episcopalian. I suggest LW's boyfriend do the same -- not necessarily become Episcopalian, but leave the church. Even if the seas of public opinion are changing, the conservative churches will be the last to come around. Do you really want to wait ten or twenty years or longer for that, boyfriend? Probably not.

@28 I am also an atheist. And reinterpretation of a text written by humans is kind of just... What religions do. It's what culture in general does. As morality and values change, we reevaluate texts, but that doesn't mean we discard them. Shakespeare is thought if quite differently now than his works were even 100 years ago, for instance.

Christian thought is that Jesus's resurrection and teachings freed us from Mosaic law. That is why Christians eat shellfish and women don't need mikvah after their periods. That bigots use Levitacus as 'evidence' of anything shows their hypocrisy and their grasping at straws to justify hate.

Sensible Christians know that the Bible did not arrive by email from heaven. They can easily find out that the book from which the usual Biblical arguments come is a book of ancient laws, almost none of which are followed. When you know what the Bible is and how it came to be what it is, it's much easier for reinterpretation to be justified, even required. I would rather have those people than a homophobic atheists (yes, they exist).

As for the second letter writer, she's an idiot and Dan reads stuff into her situation I'm not sure is there. She doesn't say she feels pressure to come. She doesnt say she's interested in fucking other people. Just that she's bored. News flash, LW: a four year relationship can't be on SUPERPASSION more all the time. Things have cooled off. Only you know what you really want. Figure it out and either ask it of your boyfriend or dump him.
34
I agree with Dan's advice to Gay. I had a (not too long) list of deal breakers that I learned early on to use when dating. The first two items on that list:

1) no closeted guys
2) no religious guys

Finding non-closeted guys was always fairly easy. But contrary to the myth perpetuated by many fundamentalists that gay people hate and are out to destroy religion, I actually found it hard to find non-religious gay guys. I mean, you could find non-fundamentalist Christian gay guys fairly easily, but completely non-religious is very hard to find even among gay folk.

And while it limited my dating pool it was best in the long run because I didn't have to worry about ending up with a guy who I generally liked, but who I would have to decide at some point if I could deal with (what to me were) their irrational beliefs or not.
35
@21: There is no magic age of being ready to settle down, just as there is no magic age (perpetually 5 or so years above current age) at which you will lock into your adult self, never to change thereafter. People who wait and marry for the first time at 37 get divorced at almost exactly the same rate as those who marry for the first time at 23. (Teenagers DO get divorced much more often than everyone else, but once you hit 20 the curve sharply levels out.)

LW is bored and dissatisfied, and so shouldn't marry. Or sign a 10 year contract to her current job, buy real estate where she's unhappily living, or whatever. But it's probably not a problem that will be cured just by the earth turning enough times.

NPR did a great story once in which they interviewed a bunch of 55 year olds about what they were like at 35: basically the same, adult self locked in? No, universally, they were all in different places and valued different things than they had 20 years ago.

36
I'm not sure there's any advice for BIB that's actually any good. Trouble is that she could leave her boyfriend of 4 years in search of someone better and be bored with the new guy after a short while. She could find someone who's great for her sexually who doesn't have half the compatibility of her current guy.

The world is full of women divorcing Mr. Boring after 20 years who wish they hadn't settled for predictability all that time ago. There are probably an equal number of women who held out for something terrific, never found it, and who now wish they'd gone for stability, children and good enough sex.

With that in mind, I like Dan's advice. She says she's bored, not desperately unhappy. She needs to take the pressure off herself for a bit to see if that improves things.

I'm glad for Dan's reporting of the U of BC study about selfish lovers. I'd suspected that but never put it into the words. One of the best I've had (still a friend, no longer having sex together) just seemed to use me in bed. He was never violent, but he'd pick me up and put me in position. He was hungry with his own needs, really passionate. I adored him precisely because I had no performance anxiety. Whatever I was doing, however I responded, was plenty. The guys who kept checking with me "is this okay? how about now?" the memory still makes me wince
38
@35: Exactly. All this talk of "omg being in a LTR while in college is the worst idea ever" seems like insecure justification for... whatever their life was like at the time. Mostly, all -I- have to say to those folks is "sorry you wound up dating a bunch of boring losers, but I ain't you". :P

BIB, I'm 24 and married to a guy I met at 19. I'm having a way fucking better time now than when we were in the "honeymoon phase" that everyone is so afraid to move past for some reason. And @16/Betty Draper is spot on. You know how you stop being bored? Stop being boring. Get off your ass and try new things, be adventurous and spontaneous alone and with him. Read erotic stories and figure out what you actually like. Orgasms are only one tiny part of the equation-- it's getting there that should be the fun part. (And trust me, I know what I'm talking about here: I gave up masturbating and climax about two years ago and couldn't be happier. Sure, it happens sometimes, but it's usually just a bit of icing on an otherwise stellar cake.) If you're not engaging your brain during sex, then you're leaving out your biggest erogenous zone.

So... stop it. Figure out things you like other than "coming". That's as useless as saying "I like movies". Well, what the fuck kind of movies? Like I said, the only thing that's going to save that relationship (and to be honest, your future ones) is being selfish and shaking up your current status quo.
39
You know... unless you want to date a celibate asexual that is perfectly fine letting you have your alone time with the vibrator.
40
This poor guy (The Boyfriend) is stuck between two worlds. I know how he feels. Although I understand that the writer can't wait around forever, obviously boyfriend is leaning toward his gay identity more than his orthodox identity already, since he's IN a relationship.

If this guy gets dumped because of his beliefs, and rejected by his orthodox friends for his gayness then where is he left? My opinion is that someone has to love him THROUGH this.
41
The frustrating thing about the poor, tortured Orthodox Christian and his BF is the same frustrating thing about religion-justified bigotry in general: It results from people unwilling to do the work of thinking for themselves, and instead looking to clergy to do their thinking for them. The Orthodox Christian ought to be able to ask himself, if he believes in God, whether his experience tells him that God created him that way, or not. His own evaluation of his relationship ought to trump what his nasty friends and politically-motivated clergy say. I seldom think ultimatums are helpful, so I wouldn't necessarily encourage the BF to say "Either your friends go, or I do." But if he loves the Orthodox Christian, I do think it might help to nurture increasing confidence in his ability to think for himself.
42
Devoutly Gay Washingtonian: DTMFA

Find someone who loves themselves or you will never find someone who can love you.
43
Dan, your response to DGW seems a bit negligent. If Mr. Orthodox is starting to believe that god hates him, he may be heading down the path to suicide, whether he's contemplating it now or not. Instead of DGW simply dumping Mr. Orthodox, he should help Mr. Orthodox get some counseling, and let the counselor tell Mr. Orthodox to dump those ass-hat "friends" of his. Also, DGW needs to tell Mr. Orthodox that he'll be there as a friend, but it's time to put the whole "boyfriend" thing on a hold, until Mr. Orthodox gets some counseling help and works through some of these issues. And if Mr. Orthodox refuses to do that, then it's time DTMFA and move on.
44
Basically I agree with Ms Crinoline. It seems more than a little unfair to pin an MF on the victim of a homophobic religious upbringing. Yes, some people triumph over such oppression on their own, but it's not a moral failing or a deliberate perpetuation of undesirable qualities to have been on the receiving end of a much more thorough indoctrination than usual. I'd call it much more of a moral failing to NEED to pin the MF label on the dumpee because thinking of him as a Too Badly Damaged Victim would feel too uncomfortable as one left. (Victims can be MFs independently of their victimization, and there ought to be no stigma in not staying with someone who can't sustain reasonable relationship requirements.)
45
I'm an Orthodox Christian in Washington and have tons of Orthodox non-homophobic and gay Orthodox friends. Those two guys should hang out with us! In Orthodoxy, there has been an influx of American converts who are fleeing Evangelicalism in droves (and, in fact, many who are fleeing Episcopalianism because of Bishop Robinson himself). (The biggest insult these people give each other is to call someone "an Episcopalian." (And none of us consider Bishop Robinson to be in the line of Apostolic succession, but then again, most of us think the Pope himself is a heretic. I digress.) These earnest people bring their homophobic (and likely self-hating) baggage with them into our ancient practice. This isn't about the faith, this is about jerky so-called friends who are probably not listening very hard to their priests on Sunday who spend a great deal of time telling them to MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS.
46
there is no god. you deserve your suffering and indecision for being such a fuckhead. bang your bf, take a picture of it give it to all his friends, dump him. then go fuck a baby kitten cuz morals (especially biblical) are for the weak minded
47
The Self-loathing Christian needs to make a decision--and the letter-writer needs to force his hand. Either being gay is wrong or it isn't. He can't have it both ways. This guy is like a woman in an abusive relationship who thinks she deserves to be hit. I hope the letter-writer lets us know what happens.

(Is it wrong that I was reminded of Krusty the Clown when he found out he'd never been Bar Mitzvahed? "All this time, I thought I was a self-loathing Jew, and it turns out I'm just an anti-Semite.")
48
@40: "My opinion is that someone has to love him THROUGH this."

Sure, but loving him doesn't have to include dating him.

Be friends with him, support and encourage him, and be there for him. But date him? No thanks.
49
Dude, I love #18! LOVE. I've has the same thought - about DTFMA in its current form just seeming a little too edgy to fit certain scenarios (like the one in question here) very well - float through my head a number of times while reading Dan's bon mots, but I've never been quite creative enough (or frankly, motivated) to come up with a suitable alternate.

But ladies and gentlemen (and everybody in between, and every combination thereof), I say you now - HERE IT IS.

DTPBA (Dump The Poor Bastard Already) to be added to the Savage-disciples' collective vernacular at once!
50
Am I the only one who read "Catholic who is not that religious" as "functionally atheist"?

Seriously, that God nonsense poisons everything.
52
@5 Sorry, Ricardo. There are ancient sources (Origen and Tertullian) who testify that both Peter and Paul ended up in Rome, where Peter led the church prior to the execution of both in the persecution under Nero. And there's no strong reason to dispute the ancient evidence or the notion of apostolic succession that stretches back to Peter. Further, the name "Santiago" can refer to either James the Greater (Son of Zebedee) or James the Lesser (Son of Alphaeus) or James the Just (brother of Jesus). He was recognized to be the equivalent of Bishop of Jerusalem, from which another branch of apostolic succession can be argued to have sprung. There is no reason not to believe that the Church of Rome indeed sprang from Peter as the Church of Constantinople came from Philip, etc. etc.

53
BIB hasn't yet figured out her sexuality. She needs end the relationship and start fucking different people so that she can get a clearer idea of her own turn-ons.

Definitely DON'T marry the boyfriend, for his sake if not yours.
54
I am an atheist who is also a huge fan of Bishop Robinson, and I am so delighted to see him make a guest appearance in Savage Love.
55
@33 - But no one claims every word of Shakespeare is to be interpreted literally and/or is to be used as a moral handbook. If people thought of the Bible as old (lousy I might add) literature rather than as 'scripture', there wouldn't be a problem.
56
@38:
I don't quite understand what giving up masturbation has to do with selfish lovers?
57
Regarding the first letter by the man who is dating a devout Christian, maybe you'd like another "expert" opinion?

I am a female atheist and was dating a woman who was a devout Christian. Like the writer, her friends and family were not supportive of the situation and spent a LOT of time interfering one way or another. First they shunned her and forbid her from contacting her younger siblings, then they and the members of their church started sending us unsolicited letters detailing our sins and how we were going to hell. In the end a "good" friend asked her out for coffee and suggested they pray about it.

She came home that night, packed everything up and left. She had repented and returned to God. Her parents turned up and helped her move out.

She was completely unrecognizable to me after that. She even seemed to change physically. I didn't see her for a year. Then one day she called to apologize and say that she was a lesbian, that I had been right, that all of her attempts to be straight had failed.

Bottom line: until he is okay with who he is you will get hurt. Repeatedly. From his family, his friends, and ultimately him. Best of luck to you.
58
@26 Hazmat said "And yet... I think the Bible is an accretion, historically edited over many centuries, not the word from God all given in one giant Skype session. Edited, I may add, by men... and with many contradictions and emphases."

Bible was "Edited by men" but not written by men? Seriously?

Even if inspired by a deity, how does an omnipotent creator not massively dumb down his explanations for illiterate apes? Or did he dumb down creation to the level of rabbits-out-of-hat magic tricks in the first place to accomodate his 7th day product?

How do *human* authors (almost all males with delusions of grandeur) not color the result with convenient "contradictions and emphases" at every step of the process from oral stories, multiple translations in *human* languages and self-serving decisions about "acceptable truth"?

You need to read a good history of the Torah/Bible and discover the adult truth about the scriptures you still seem to think is basically the word of god. It just ain't, son!
59
@ 12 - What a weird, passive-agressive way to play victim. I never capitalize anything that has to do with religions (note the small "c" for christian a bit lower). Religions do not deserve capital letters (except at the start of a sentence, of course).
60
@ 52 - There are many reasons to doubt "ancient sources" like Origen and Tertullian, the most obvious being that they were born more than a century after the fact. They had heard the legends that were being passed around and did nothing more than help spread them.
61
This is comment number 3, but I put it in here again because it was so good.

"I never understood liberal Christians or gay Christians. I hate to agree with the fundies, but the bible really does condemn homosexuality as well as condone slavery and condone misogyny. So when liberal Christians try to "re-interpret" the Bible to make it seem like it doesn't actually say these things, it comes across to me as being incredibly intellectually dishonest.

The best thing to do is instead of trying to reinterpret the bible to make it gay-friendly, just chuck the bible out completely because we as a society don't need it for anything."
62
Regarding the Christian SO's "friends": anyone who says "God doesn't love you" doesn't love you, so who cares what they think God thinks?

Regarding reinterpreting the Bible: it pays to remember that a lot of it made sense in cultural context. It is intellectually dishonest to say it doesn't say stuff it does, but I don't see the dishonesty in acknowledging that society has moved on. It's OK to eat cheeseburgers and is no longer OK to sacrifice your daughter in exchange for victory in battle, even if back in the day it was otherwise.
63
For LW1: Something I've learned about relationships in general (whether romantic or otherwise) is that it's impossible to fix someone else's baggage. You can try to be there for someone who is hell-bent on self-destruction but it won't work. Sadly, someone who hates himself is not going to let you help him.

The Christian BF has to accept himself on his own. Recognize that it's his choice to keep going back to people who don't accept who he is. Until he takes responsibility for who he is as a gay man and accepts himself, no amount of love or support will help him.

My bff was an alcoholic and I gave her so much love and support as a friend, b/c I knew she had a tough life. Her crazy religious parents sent her to live at her grandma's house when she was about 17 after they didn't want to deal with her anymore. She had almost no financial support, no medical insurance, and no car. They left her with nothing but a roof over her head.

Then, none of her family wanted her to stay with them after she turned 18 b/c she was doing a lot of drugs at the time. She was basically homeless. I let her live with me where I worked as a nanny, drove her to interviews, asked my own employers to give her a reference so that she could get a job (risking my own position if she caused any problems).

I did everything I could to help b/c I'd known her for years. No amount of support that I gave her was ever good enough. Hardly any of the kindness that I sent her way was ever returned. Instead, it just turned out that she was so self-destructive that she damaged not only her own life, but mine too.

Moral of the story- Don't let this guy pull you down into his crazy mess of self-loathing, and emotional wreckage. Give this guy a time limit, but not an ultimatum. You can't spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn't accept the basic premise of your relationship.

In the meantime, ask yourself how he really makes you feel. And be brutally honest- don't take care of him in the relationship, but take care of yourself instead (you're not his dad, your his peer). Notice how all his self-loathing makes you feel. Does it make you start to doubt yourself or feel ashamed of being gay? Notice when he takes his self-hatred out on you in any way, however slight. Does he make jokes at your expense that are not actually funny, but instead cause you repeated hurt and shame? Does he put down you down on a regular basis and often in front of others? Does he isolate you from your family or friends? Do you drink more or spend more than you should when he's around? If the answer is yes, then he's emotionally abusing you.

All that drama he has might seem exciting for now, but for the longterm it's just damaging. This guy could really mess you up for a long time. Don't try to rescue him or save him from himself. You can't. He needs to get his shit together or else he's just going to drag you down like a lead weight.

Not saying to dump him, but just least pay attention to how he really makes you feel. How many times do you have to fix things for him? How many times does he jerk you around or cause problems with the rest of your life. Ask yourself if it's worth staying or if you would be better off with someone who doesn't harbor all that self-hatred.
64
It sounds like the gay boyfriend, hating himself, actively looks for people to tell him what an awful person he is. Part of me wonders what would happen if DGW tested whether this was/could be turned into a kink. Boyfriend obviously feels the need to be punished...why not reframe it in a more healthy situation?
66
@3

Reinterpreting the Bible isn't intellectually dishonest it's good theology. Just look at any number of ancient and medieval theological and philosophical texts. For example, our conception of God as an incorporeal being comes Aristotle and Plato, if you read the Bible you would find constant references to God as an embodied being, having a hand or a face, etc. There are entire works of Ancient and Medieval philosophy devoted to reinterpreting the Bible allegorically in the light of Greek philosophy and to be clear, they were more often than not twisting scripture to meet philosophy, not the other way around. If they could do fit an entire body of thought into scripture, I don't see why gay people, women, etc. can't read tolerance into it.
67
Remember this "letter to Dr. Laura" regarding the abomination of homosexuality?
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_dr…
68
So how much did Robinson get paid for writing Dan's column this week?
69
@37 - Your comment betrays a lack of understanding I think: you have to understand the New Testament in itself is largely a rejection of the "Sadistic God" of the Old Testament. It's not sugarcoating: it's a revolutionary re-interpretation - the historical Jesus was a kind of revolutionary.

And interpretation is the name of the game in Theology - and that's before you even get into translation issues; and mis-translation - the King James leaves a lot to be desired, and the fact that something written in Aramaic was translated into Greek, then Latin and finally Elizabethan (mostly) English points to the entire problem with the approach of 20th century "Fundamentalists".

Please don't misunderstand me - none of this re-interpretation makes a super-natural sky-daddy any more real. Back when I still attempted to reconcile myself with my cultural Episcopal roots, I was more an admirer of Bishop Spong than Bishop Sperling (I'd settled on Atheism before Bishop Sperling was a Bishop), who pointed to the idea of a non-theistic Christianity, which gets you much closer to an existentialist view like that of Tillich & Neibuhr or Buddhism.

For me, once you accept that it is all made up! and that the (self)haters cherry-pick and spin in defense of their vengeful god, it's perfectly acceptable (and indeed, much more christ-like) to pick and choose in defence of your loving, forgiving god.

Hard to know if Christianity - as practiced - will change or not - the forgiving loving camp tends to be more open-minded and therefore open to atheism while the vengeful hate-based crowd remains obsessed with authority and ritual (and therefore in the pews), but most certainly Christianity, which is a philosophy based in love an forgiveness, will not survive as a return to the Old Testament view. Those numbers are dwindling too, just not as fast. It will either change, or disappear.
70
Bib. Listen to Dan not the haters who want you break up. That's just shows how miserable they are. Even if you are a little bored, your letter clearly tells us you and your man love each other and give a crap about each other's happiness. So where any of these people would get that you and him should not be together I'm not sure. But anyway, by the way your letter was written I feel like you get that there isn't really "a one". That you know that relationships take work and communication and aren't always sweet and perfect. I'm going to assume this also because you have been together a long time. If this is your man forever, and that is perfectly plausible, don't let ANYONE say it's not, then NOW is when it is most important to address you evolving sexual relationship. Because it will always evolve. You have an excellent platform for a really stellar sexual relationship. He's willing to please and you are willing to reach out for help(obviously) when you are not sure either. Asking Dan was a great start because he answered your question,(killer advice btw hot sex is often selfish. I'll bet your man could get you off crazy if he just acted he wasn't trying to)but successful relationships always change. So this won't be the first time you will have to alter your dynamic a little. But trust me. If this is what your working with now, you guys have a good future.
71
@29: I second the motion! All those in favor (of defining cucinelli as a verb meaning to go from anal to vaginal without first cleaning off the item inserted)?
73
@49: Say what you like. If DTPBA works for you, fine. I guess I'm just a little too Heather Mooney-ish here, but DTMFA still works well enough for me.
74
Just wanted to chime in on BIB.
As a lady who has been in that position your advice was perfect. For the first several years of my relationship with my husband it was like a marathon getting me to orgasm no matter how creative and patient and enthusiastic he was, and no matter how attracted to him I was/am. But he really wanted to make me feel good so he would try, and to me sex started to become frustrating. Eventually I told him that I was tired of the struggle and I just wanted to enjoy the sex for what it was.
That freedom to just have fun did worlds for our sex life, and when I felt up for it we would try to get me off but without any pressure. Over the years this has gotten easier and easier and is now more like a 5k than a marathon.
75
LTPBA, perhaps, but DTPBA is inherently contradictory. PBs do not deserve to be dumped. MFs do.
76
"people with selfish sex partners reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction"

Not surprised at all. I always hated those "giving" types.
78
@69 - God's orders to commit genocide, filicide and the rest of that stuff are all in the Old Testament. The whole point of Christ was to be a rejection of that Vengeful God. The OT remains in the bible (putatively) as a contrast to show what the New Testament rejects; now there is love and forgiveness in place of hatred and vengeance.

I don't deny those things are in the Bible and that the general point and outline of the stories are accurate over the many translations. I do believe that almost all of it is at best a mythical retelling of history. Clearly Genesis and some of the older pre-history is just out and out myth. But even the NT stuff - the stuff which takes place during recorded history is mythical. Certainly the Apocrypha is a fanciful bit of fictional writing.

Even if I do accept that the Israelites did commit genocide (it would not surprise me in the least - I'm quite pro-Palestine) and agree that their OT God was held up as a justification for these actions (and yes, he was), Christianity is not Judaism (nor is Islam, though they are all Abrahamic) and the entire point of Christ was to have a new version of the Hebrew G-d: one which believed in forgiveness. They are not one in the same - ask any Jew.

Christ was hardly alone: there was a real foment and Christianity is an amalgam of Greek ideas mixed with some other stuff out of Egypt and grounded in Judaism. Several other charismatic cult leaders started up very similar new cults around the same time. The only difference between a cult and a religion is longevity - Christ's version stuck around.
79
@mydriasis: I always hated those "giving" types.

LOL, you ladies don't make it easy, do you.

I'm thinking the best way to predict whether a straight guy is good in bed has nothing to do with his dick or tongue, it's his ability to resolve paradoxes.
80
@76&79 seriously? She is a little bored so she reaches out and now she's in some way being more difficult for her boyfriend? If she was a man and a little bored would these be your responses? Or would she(he) be entitled to whatever she(he) wanted. If we(women) aren't happy in our sex life we are automatically considered "sex negative." But the idea you men could DO BETTER hurts your weak egos. I'm betting BIBs guys got a good strong ego that can handle a bit of converfuckingsation since its obvious from the letter he GIVES A SHIT ABOUT HER.
81
@tito: I'm just saying that it's not always easy figuring out what makes a woman tick. Sometimes women (especially young one's like BIB) don't know the answer themselves, and whether a given guy can bring it out of her may be come down to things he can't control, like his temperament and the couple's "chemistry", the latter of which seems to be missing her BIB's relationship.

In my experience, even a woman who enjoys receiving is likely just as turned on by being "taken" by a man, by his intense lust for her, by being the source of his pleasure, and that can sometimes be more important than a tongue fluttering all over her clit. Today's men are taught not to be selfish lovers, and yet sometimes that is exactly what's required of them. Hence the paradox.
82
When I feel watched, when someone's checking to see "is this right? Is this? Do you like that? Do you?" it takes away from my ability to enjoy myself. It puts too much pressure on me, and it feels too clinical. Nothing is as much of a turn on to me as knowing and feeling that the man I'm with is being driven absolutely wild with lust and desire for me, specifically. It is the biggest aphrodisiac there is. Selfish lovers, all the way!
83
man i'm listening to nick drakes first three (five leaves, bryter layter & pink moon) again cuz thats what i do when life leaves me feeling crappy...thank you nick for being my partner in misery. also, BIB, be honest with yourself, you want to try some different cock. no shame in admitting that.
84
Seems to me perfectly possible to be passionate and unhesitant without being selfish. I dunno, the use of "selfish" in this context really rubs me the wrong way (so to speak). A kind of "Whee, let's go!" attitude seems to me miles away from "I'm getting mine, sucks to be you!"
85
@84: I think it's more of an interlocking of both partners getting off on one another as well as getting off on getting each other off. I agree, "selfish" is the wrong adjective.
87
@Eirene: I don't mean "I got mine; sucks to be you," when I say selfish lovers. I've had a theory about selfish sex for a long time, and try as I might, I can't find a better adjective. It's not a matter of being freewheeling ("'whee, let's go!'"); which to me, sounds like a kid on a roller coaster, and not at all sexy.

It's also not about being not generous. Long before I read Dan's definition of ggg, I had thought about generous lovers. A generous lover can also be a selfish one, if by "selfish" I don't mean uncaring, uninterested in the pleasure of his/her partner. Generous lovers want to give pleasure to their partners in part because they're selfish and find their partner's pleasure incredibly arousing.
88
Mesdames Cute/Eirene - How do you two square the matter of checking-in with the style of enthusiastic consent that would have theoretically either partner (but in practice I have only seen this described as M>F, so that I have not really formed a personal opinion) verbally request EC for each specific act? "May I X?... Y?... Z?" (I don't ask Ms Driasis because her opinions are already sufficiently clear on this sort of thing.)
89
ven: short answer is that it doesn't actually work like that. There are several good (and often very funny) discussions of explicit consent on pervocracy.blogspot.com (e.g., http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2012/05/a…)
90
Mr. Ven,
I don't often find myself in agreement with Mydriasis, and I wouldn't phrase things in as absolute a way as she does, but I don't either need or want to give explicit consent to each and every gesture and activity. Suffice it to say that if I'm in bed with someone, I have pretty much given a preemptive, tacit approval to whatever might be initiated, with the understanding that I reserve veto power. I find power and assertiveness sexy and I like feeling like the object of uncontrollable desire.

91
@cute

Bingo

@Eirene

As far as I'm concerned, she doesn't polish that turd better than anyone else.

@seandr

Some ladies do make it easy, some don't. The fact that our entire gender isn't in sexual lockstep is not exactly a paradox. :p

The fact is, I like what men like, not what women like. So men who are trying to be giving are "aiming to please way off target" as one of my favourite bands once said. Meanwhile, the guy who's being selfish and going for what he wants... well lucky for both of us, that's also what I happened to want all along.
92
@seandr: point taken(81) and totally agreed with. Especially in the second paragraph and as a lady also true for me. But I still can't be convinced they shouldn't be together.(58) My own experience tells me chemistry can carry a relationship only so far. Then you have to talk. Now I am assuming Bib has spent a fair amount time reading Dan and watching the divorce rate climb in her 22 years on the planet. So put those two together and the fact that she bothered to ask Dan (and us I suppose) for some advice tells me she's looking to fix a fixable issue BEFORE she marches the dude to misery and resentment. I swear us women don't want to ruin your lives.:) This girl just seems like the ltr type and so does her man. I know they are young and the odds are stacked but like I said earlier(70) relationships take work. Seems like these two have a good relationship to work with. Sounds boring and hard I know but that's where chemistry and passion come in. Exactly what you said: it's missing, but these two just seem like people who have just misplaced it a little while. Happens with ltrs. I just think it's still too early for anybody to leave. Bored is not desperately unhappy. And sorry if I sounded snarky(81) but the girls often get the blame on the sex negative side if they aren't happy in this column but that clearly wasn't what you were saying. I way agree about the paradox. I guess bib has to figure out how to say "pretend you are only trying to get yourself off even though I know you are also trying to get me off". I managed this once a very long time ago but I don't remember what I said. But I do remember specifically thinking it would be a mood killer no matter what so I talked to him outside of sex time. But just talking about sex got him worked up and then we had the best sex we had had in what was probably six months. So maybe bib should try that. But sorry about the paradox anyway.
93
@79 seandr--As I understand it, it's sexy if guys are assertive and selfish, unless it's not, in which case it's entitled and rapey. Pretty straightforward. If in any given situation you don't know which one it is, you can just ask, which is unsexy, although not all the time. But that's something you have to figure out for yourself.
94
I also don't think figuring out what one likes sexually necessarily needs to happen with multiple partners. You know what I learned from the people I had sex with before my husband? Nothing. I found out what's really good with my husband. And he'll say the same. Oats are overrated. For us ltr types anyway. And I think bib is an ltr type.
95
@Hunter78 I get what you are saying I just get more of a sense from the letter that she is an honest type whose not smokescreening stuff. Reading Dan teaches us girls a lot. None of us want our men resenting us or whatever I'm tired. So a little mixing up can't hurt. No need to jump ship YET etc. For the record I read most letters with a much more suspicious eye. But I swear I know what this girl is feeling and the fix is simple. And it is exactly what Dan said. But only she can figure out how to talk to her man about it. I'm not stupid about their age or virginity factor but I see no reason she can't have a point of view that doesn't undermine her relationship. Dan's doesn't and his way they still get to have sex.
96
Sure "The Bible" (read: Old Testament) has passages that condemn gay people, tattooing, eating shellfish, being rude to your parents, etc...but people who seriously consider themselves Christians should realize that those old hatreds and attitudes toward retribution, vengeance and violence were the exact things that Jesus preached AGAINST. Jesus preached love, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and nonviolence (as well as healing the sick, feeding the poor, etc.--also things that the "Christian Right" and other hate groups oppose).

I'm an atheist, but I consider Jesus to be a great social philosopher, and it makes me sad that so many of his "followers" (who worship him as a deity) choose to completely ignore his teachings. Anyone who uses the Old Testament to justify hate is not a Christian.
97
@79,93, et al: Perhaps part of the problem is in trying to figure out what "women" like or want, and trying to figure out what a specific woman wants or likes. Because we're not all the same. I think unless we're talking about an extremely timid, naive, unassertive woman, she is capable of indicating her assent or displeasure with a man's behavior and style.

And I'm not talking about a flirtatious approach or a pick-up method; I'm talking about what happens when I am actually already naked in bed with someone. By that time, I have already determined that I want to be there, and some of the criteria that lets me make that determination is that he doesn't act rapey and entitled. Another criterion is that I feel confident that if he started doing something I really didn't want to do, I could tell him to stop and he would respect that. I like to test my limits and push what I thought were boundaries--I've found out that those things hold enormous erotic satisfaction for me. But part of the thrill is doing something I wouldn't consider doing ordinarily, which means that my partner needs to be the one to push it. So I buy into the submissive role, which I realize isn't everyone's cup of tea. If I have a partner who is super solicitous, I can't get that same sense of "push."

If I met someone who gave off an ultra entitled, completely self-absorbed vibe, I would never end up naked in bed with him. And though I have occasionally met jerks whose true jerkiness wasn't revealed until after our relationship turned sexual, I wasn't so scarred by the experience as to never be willing to date/sleep with another man again.
98
4.13.13
Dear Mr. Savage,
When I got my Times Book Review on Saturday (today) I sat right down and read the cover story. Provocative. I couldn’t dismiss it, even though this is the first sunny day in a week, and I had my plan set for cultivating my vegetable garden. I think you are at battle with a straw man. I too am an R.C. who went to Mass for the 1st 15 years of my life and ever since as well. I don’t hate homosexuals, gays, lesbians. I was never taught that. Nor does my church teach that. In fact, it teaches me the opposite – that all men are created in the image of God, and that God demands that we love our neighbor. That’s a key rule. If the issue is sex . . . that’s something else. It is not the driving force of life (well, maybe in a biological sense, but only that). It has its purpose and can have beautiful results when it functions in the right context. To allow it to be a controlling influence in one’s life, to be the basis of important thought and decision- making is a mistake. For one thing, sex is not sustained as a component of love. It becomes less and less. Please understand that Christians, the Church of Jesus Christ – whatever expression of it – is consistent in loving all. Sexual behavior is irrelevant, except that there are teachings that prescribe it to be orderly and fulfilling. So the Christian community is the big elephant in the room that wants to love you. Don’t miss it. (Much less, don’t “dis” it.)
Best regards,
Geoff Proud
P.S. I didn’t mention anything about God’s mercy. That has been so important in my life. Trust me, it is relentless.
99
@98 )Phlak): "Relentlessness" is not a word I would associate with "mercy." Things that are relentless are generally not welcomed.
100
Ugh: Christianity.

Why do you want to love someone who doesn't want to "love" you back? You're like a creepy, entitled, rape-y man. Back off--I'm not interested. I don't love you, I won't love you, I don't want to love you.

Even if Christianity didn't often equate to bigotry and intolerance, I would hate it.

It's illogical, ridiculous, absurd.

It offers me nothing I want or need. God's mercy? For what? I don't need "mercy," because I'm not going to be punished in some fictional afterlife. I try always to be the best person I can be, to behave ethically and to live with integrity, not because some made-up deity tell me to, but because it's the right way to be. I don't need to feel that some made-up thing in the clouds "loves" me and that "saves" me. I love myself. I don't need "saving" from some mythical thing. What a weird, paranoid world you inhabit, Christianity. Leave me alone.
101
Sorry, Sloggers, for the rant @100. But right in the middle of a thread about how to tell the difference between sexy assertiveness and rape-y entitlement, someone comes along and tells Dan to love Christianity because it loves him and that god's "mercy" is "relentless" (for those who don't read unregistered comments, this is at #98).

And I just thought I'm sick to death of having Christianity shoved down my throat. I don't care if you're a believer, except insofar as I think that many if not most Christians are hate-filled, intolerant, hypocritical bigots who try their hardest to make life difficult for those who are in any way different from their narrow idea of what "god" intended us to be or do, but WHY MUST THEY TRY TO FORCE THEIR BELIEF SYSTEM ON ME? It's coercion, which if it were situated just a smidge differently, would sound a lot like attempted rape. Find another partner, Christianity, and learn to graciously take "no" for an answer.

Okay, I'm off the soapbox now. Back to regularly scheduled comments.

102
Thank you all for the responses. Ms Eirene, I've seen it outlined as EXACTLY that (possibly in guidelines for campus settings?), though I can't provide links. It may not have been under the rubric of what now goes under the "official" label Enthusiastic Consent (though you say Explicit, which actually was the term more in use at the time), but it is A style of consent. I shan't shed any tears if it's gone out of fashion or been refined into something less unwieldy.

I think I was somewhere between No Means No and Yes Means Yes, though now it's personally probably no longer applicable.
103
@97 nocutename "I think unless we're talking about an extremely timid, naive, unassertive woman, she is capable of indicating her assent or displeasure with a man's behavior and style."

But part of being assertive and boundary-pushing is to be oblivious, or at least cavalier, about someone's displeasure, and rather than accepting it to try and talk them around. It's a rare dude that can both listen and push, and know when to do one and not the other.

Basically, boundary pushing is exciting unless it's not, in which case it's assault. You need the same character traits for both, and the difference in outcome is simply a matter of degree. Trouble is, guys who take a mischievous pleasure in pushing someone's limits are not well known for realizing when that line has been crossed. The difference can be very small indeed, or in fact non-existent where what was exciting for one woman is too far for another. And we're not even considering your assumption that most women are assertive enough to draw clear limits. That's a whole other can of worms.
104
@103 (LateBloomer): You are probably right in most cases, but I was trying to address the quandary Seandr articulated, which was how is a man supposed to know how he should be?

I can only say that I have met several men who embody that ability to be assertive and boundary-pushing without being oblivious or unconcerned with my pleasure or displeasure. While we didn't negotiate a "scene" explicitly (which I find anathema to the sense of spontaneity and uncontrollable desire that I need for good sex), we had already established good communication. Maybe that was what carried us through. There had been many clear, unambiguous, and not always verbal messages sent about what each of us wanted and how each of us most wanted the other to behave. And if one of us started trying to take things in a direction the other was uncomfortable with, the person (not always the woman) who didn't want that activity to take place or to take place in that way or at that moment, was clear about that displeasure, and operated with the understanding that the limit would be respected. It always was.

I have met and interacted with men with whom it was obvious my needs and desires would be ignored, and our interactions never made to bed. I have also been in bed with insensitive jerks who didn't listen to the either verbal or non-verbal cues (and when the nonverbal cues don't work, I always move to explicit, unambiguous verbal statements) or respect them, and those were guys I never saw again.

I have not been talking about actual rape here (and yes, I've been acquaintance-raped, so I make a distinction from a point of personal experience), just sexual style and persona.
105
@104 Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So "assertive" comes with a bunch of caveats. Fair enough. And it has to be the right kind of assertive. For you.

I'm really intrigued by the various contradictory pieces of advice a guy gleans growing up and has to hammer into some sort of consistent behavior (assuming, of course, that he gives a shit, and I'm starting to wonder how many actually do). I totally identify with the boyfriend of the letter writer above. Poor bastard is probably trying to channel his sexual energy in a way that he was told is the Right Thing To Do, and it's not doing him any favors. Or maybe it did at the start but it's not now, and something has to change. But telling a guy to be selfish because assertiveness is sexy is sailing into verrrry dangerous waters. That's not really a message you want to be getting out to, say, college freshmen, or socially challenged men in general, unless you want to see incidents of date rape start spiking.
106
@nocutename: It's okay to rant, and just fyi, there are NALT Christians out there, not only in the sense that we're not all asshole homophobes, but in the sense that we feel that it's rude and presumptuous to try to convert someone to being religious. We tend to be the ones who don't talk much about our faith in public because we see it as something no one else needs or wants to know about, and I personally am just as disgusted and annoyed at the corny "You should love God because God loves you" bullshit out there. Your relationship or lack thereof with God is solely your business.