Columns Jan 20, 2016 at 4:00 am

No Place for Old Dildos


OMG. The thought that the Bundy Militia standoff could turn into a love-in has redeemed my faith in American freedom.
Has anyone seen the video of a militia dude at Malhuer opening a package of brand-spanking new dildos? I would love to see how he reacts to USED dildos.
@2: I love that the Bundy militia dude made a video of himself throwing a hissy fit about how many dildos he's received in the mail, and begging people to stop. Does he not realize that's like throwing gasoline on a flame? The creator of Cards Against Humanity tweeted that he sent them a 55 gallon drum of lube.
That's personal lube, not gun oil or something they might actually be happy to receive.
Is the address of the Bundy crew really Sodhouse Lane? That's hilarious!
"Man, I really blew that response." Story of Dan's life lately.

Case in point: O4O. They said that they are naturally monogamous; that they might think or fantasize about having sex with other people but that they have no desire to actually do it. Dan translates that to "You wanna fuck other people and you don't seem to think that disqualifies you from making, honoring, and genuinely wanting both a monogamous commitment and a monogamous sex life." No. They DON'T want to fuck other people. If it's so easy to comprehend how lots of people have rape fantasies but don't actually want to be raped, why is it difficult to understand how it might be actually pretty common to have nonmonogamous fantasies but not actually want to be nonmonogamous? And where did he get "If you're breaking up with people for admitting to the same things you've admitted to in your question..." O4O never said they had broken up with anyone for any reason. They only said they wanted to be sure any partner was sincere in their commitment, a reasonable desire to have. FWIW, O4O, I have met and in fact been in relationships with naturally monogamous people, so despite what you may read in Dan's increasingly biased columns, they are out there.
Thanks, BiDanFan for that comment. I was taken aback by Dan's slightly snarky overreaction to LW1.
I've been in a very happy monogamous relationship for 21 years and we often have really hot sex talking about our fantasies of threesomes and sex with strangers. This doesn't compromise the fact that, so far, we're both naturally monogamous (well, at least I am and my husband appears to be - I've never seen any evidence to the contrary and we have a lovely sex life).
Ditto Busy, thank you Fan.
It's like in Dan's world, everyone is poly or monogamish, and the attitude is, at last.
It's like monogamy has gone the way of the dinosaurs. In Dan's world perhaps, not with the majority.

Lava @8: Well, I can't speak to which side is the "majority." I do agree with Dan that it's not natural for many, or most, people to be monogamous for life, and I do think you should be able to admit that and not be condemned for it. But even if naturally monogamous folks are the minority, so are gay folks, and that doesn't mean their needs/feelings/relationships should just be disregarded.
Fan, who said anything about monogamy for life? I'm saying the majority of western people conduct their sexual relationships monogamously.
I don't think natural comes into it. The way relationships are conducted by the majority in any culture is a construct.
Who the hell knows what natural might be, if humans didn't form cultures to order their lives.
I am exactly of the same mind as O4O. I am fine with all the fantasizing and whatnot but have zero desire to touch or be touched by anyone but my partner. I really don't understand where O4O is getting the idea that no one else is monogamous by nature. Isn't that the broad majority? Thus Dan's parallel universe comment.
..."either you're living in some sort of poly parallel universe where nonmonogamy is the default setting..."

I believe the technical term is "San Francisco."

@RAGER: 33 is not too old to break up and start dating someone who isn't a psycho racist.
Lava @10: "I'm saying the majority of western people conduct their sexual relationships monogamously."

Conducting sexual relationships monogamously is not the same thing as being naturally monogamous. The vast majority of relationships are monogamous by social construct, as you say. A large number of the people who are in these monogamous relationships are not really happy being in them. They would prefer to have sex and/or relationships with multiple partners, and they would be okay with their partners doing the same.

Recently, Dan and others have become more open and vocal about the idea of these people -- those who are not naturally monogamous -- being able to choose different relationship constructs, relationship constructs that they find easier to abide by than pretending to be monogamous and either feeling frustrated and resentful or cheating and destroying their relationships.

And that's positive. Why should anyone live a lie?

What's not okay is saying "well, non-monogamous people have been forced to live by other people's rules for too long, so let's turn the tables and force monogamous people to live by non-monogamous expectations," such as advising a "monogamish" person that it's okay to have an affair with a married colleague, or telling O4O here that they're not monogamous either and they aren't entitled to expect anyone else to be. Non-monogamy is valid, but so is monogamy. Saying that no one is monogamous by nature is like saying everyone's a little bit bisexual, which may sound nice if you're a bisexual, but simply isn't true.
I'm still trying to figure out the bit about David Bowie and the racist.
Mr Savage wanted to win that letter on a technicality. This seems an attempt to narrow the parameters of Real Monogamy so narrowly that only the truest of Scotsmen who were born with the ability to hit a 4-iron AND a 1-iron would embrace the term. While his advocacy for improving the lot of the non-monogamous is probably among his three most sincere talking points, trying to "prove" to people that they aren't monogamous at least verges on bullying. Bad form, Mr S.

Ms Fan makes the case from LW's side perfectly well. What Mr Savage is doing reminds me of various groups who try to inflate their numbers by stretching the definitions to grab as many people as they can and drag them under their umbrella.

LW wants a partner from the same box. Mr Savage's overreaching conclusion (despite containing some sort of technicality) is an attempt to say - here, these other people are also in your box. I'll agree with Ms Fan that Mr Savage is incorrect here.
The saddest part is that, nine weeks out of ten, opposition to those horrific parties for people on the brink of matrimony would easily push the column as a whole well into the doubleplusgood territory. It takes a real clunker to undo so much good.
And my congratulations to Australia for acquiring Ms Gavrilova as a citizen. First winning the Hopman Cup with Mr Kyrgios and now a nice upset win over Ms Kvitova. Quite a good month so far.
Lava @10: Okay, you can delete the "for life." I was thinking about "serial monogamists," who may claim to be "monogamous" but who jump from one relationship to the next one immediately if not sooner. Doing short-term monogamy is easy, no matter one's natural inclinations. It's like eating one vegan meal.
I liked Dan's answer to 141 although I think he could have been kinder and more explanatory. Maybe he frames mono/poly like I do, as an interaction of 4 competing desires. 1) The desire to have sex when you're horny. 2) The desire to have a mate who is focused exclusively on you sexually. 3) The desire to focus exclusively on a mate. 4) The desire to see your sex partner(s) enjoying themselves with others sexually. 141 seems to really value 2, but also 3, while 1 and 4 are unimportant or repulsive. And they seem a bit disconnected from their desire to have sex when horny. Anyway, I think the answer is advertising for what you want specifically, and trusting self descriptions unless you have reason to believe otherwise.
LW O4O, In my opinion, monogamy is the default setting for the majority of people. Much has been said about women's inborn need to protect the nest which means finding a mate to defend the home territory and men's inborn need to spread their seed around as much as possible to ensure his genes are passed on. I don't see it. Although I come from a conservative rural background, I've lived in a major gay-friendly city most of my life and I can say that most, though certainly not all of the people I have known in my life aspire to finding that one partner to stay with, especially as we get older. I do think that lifelong monogamy might not be "natural" and serial monogamy is probably closer to the real world. Things change, people evolve, shit happens. Personally, I like you, LW, have no desire to be with multiple women (especially not at the same time.) Keeping up with the one I've got is more than enough work (and I mean that in a good sense) for me. Fantasize about threesomes? Hell yeah! Put that into practical application? Now that would be work. I love reading the letters, but I don't live in Dan's world (though more power to the people who do.)
So gratifying to see comments like 6, 7 & 8. Dan continues to live in a fantasy world where monogamy is a tiny minority, or so he wishes. A few months ago he said "most gay male couples are nonmonogamous" which is right up there with his looney statement that "gay people make up 5% of the population" (eye roll)

What startled me most in this week's column is LW1's dildos only having been used w/a condom? Je ne le get pas! Can you get pregnant or a disease from a condomless dildo?
I think Dan misses the point when replying to QAQ. As a queer woman, I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with another queer woman celebrating her nuptials with a man in a queer space... HOWEVER... if she's going to bring an overwhelmingly hetero crowd, that may make a lot of queers feel unsafe. We go to queer spaces to meet and bone other queers but also to escape the trappings of heteronormativity. Same-gender marriage is legal now, sure, but that doesn't mean many of us don't still feel marginalized in society as a whole. Our spaces are havens from such marginalization.
---my podcast about dating and fucking
@18; Fan. We are all products of our culture. Some cultures follow one husband multiple wives or one wife multiple husbands. Perhaps not so prevalent the latter, because parentage and no DNA testing available. Wish I remembered more of my studies on these. I'm saying I don't think there is any natural/ instinctive way like there is with animals.
And I disagree that even a short term monogamy is not counted, because it indicates people in the west, don't want to share their partner. They want, during whatever period they are in each relationship, to be exclusive.
And when it comes to deciding to breed, people marry one person and practice long term monogamy.
Our inner terrain/ feelings are programmed, in the west, towards monogamy. Just like in cultures where multiple spouses are allowed, their inner terrain/ feelings are programmed to accept that way of conducting sexual relationships.
Obviously people step outside their cultural expectations. And Dan with his monogamish slant is helping to reprogramme some people about this.

Wayne @21: Not pregnant, but you can catch STDs from dildos that have been inserted into somebody else. Apparently infections can live on silicon for quite some time, too.
Also, some people find it easier to insert a dildo with a lubricated condom.
Lava @23: I think, bizarrely, that we are in agreement. Some people naturally gravitate towards monogamy; this is reinforced by social norms and expectations. Other people naturally gravitate towards non-monogamy; this is punished by social norms and expectations. How would the percentages fall if there were no social norms? Well, obviously monogamous people believe most people would continue to be monogamous, while non-monogamous folks believe the opposite! I'm sure there is a psychological term for this tendency of people to assume "I am normal, most people are like me." Anecdata supports both views. Look at how many people get married! On the other hand, Look at how many married people cheat! I do disagree that Dan -- or other proponents of ethical non-monogamy -- are "programming" people. Well, Dan may be trying. The rest of us are happy to respect your choices while you respect ours. :)

Oh, a smart person at last!
Gay men use condoms too - how silly of them, it's not like they can get pregnant DUUUH!
Straight monogamous couples use condoms for anal sex - thats just bonkers, pick up a book, you can't get pregnant from putting it into the butt! Silly people!


Dan actually went at length on this topic on the lovecast somewhere in july. The way he frames the issue - that bachelor\-ette parties are part of and a manifestation of a larger problem of describing committed relationships as necessarily devoid of things people try to cram into those parties - friends, nights out, strippers, booze, sex, you know, "fun". Parties themselves aren't the problem (even though they are for some reason evolved tasteless and tacky features) they are part of a larger issue of perpetuating a stereotype that makes marriages miserable.
Yasunori @26: Um, you did get that @21's question was about using condoms on DILDOS?
@21 and @27 - this lesbian uses condoms on dildos when they're available because a) just in case you didn't boil one recently, the condom drastically reduces your chance of getting a uti and b) if you're switching from ass play to vag play, condoms reduce infection risk c) you don't have to keep adding lube! also, while it's not why i use them, if you're switching dildos from partner to partner, the condom protects against stds.
---my podcast about dating and fucking
Um, do you know what sarcasm is?

I was making a point that people use condoms for reasons OTHER then pregnancy prevention or even STI prevention - like basic hygiene. If we're calling spade a spade you shouldn't put a dildo in a butt and then put it in a pussy, you even shouldn't do it with two non-fluid bonded pussies too. And instead of washing\sanitizing it is easier and faster just to put a condom on said dildo.

This is pretty obvious stuff for people who actually use sex toys and\or participate in group sex situations.
Right! Mocking people instead of educating them. That's so much more productive. Sorry.
Just keep looking O4O. My partner of 25 years and I are just the same. We enjoy porn and fantasies and mild kink. I generally prefer not to even think about other real life, specific people having sex lives, much less involve myself in them. I find some people attractive, and sometimes enjoy having a crush, but for me there's a big chasm between those fun, private feelings that only make my life better and actually getting physically intimate with someone I hardly know.
Surely I can't be the only genuinely monogamous person there is?

If you live in a big city, try attending your local "munch", which is a casual, low-pressure meetup for monogamists, vanillas, and other sexual deviants.
RAGER - It is only a matter of time before the anger and hate that you say your partner is "so full of" will be directed at you also. Dan's right. DTMFA
Ms Tator - Actually, we need an increase in the number of visible bi bars. That probably won't happen, I imagine, but a properly run bi bar with a binormative or homonormative atmosphere should be just the place. Pity there's hardly any chance of doing away with such parties.
@14; not sure if your ques has been answered yet; David Bowie was married to a Black woman, and I imagine LWs pig partner was mouthing off about it. Beyond me how anyone could bed a racist.

Maybe programmed is an incorrect word Fan, I'll think on it and get back to you. My point overall is I don't believe any configurations in sexual partnering is natural/ instinctive. Each culture has developed, over time, a majority way of running social/ sexual boundaries.
What confuses me about your responses, BiDanFan, is that you didn’t seem to really get the contradiction that potentially lies at the heart of O4O’s letter.

They state: “Here's the thing: I'm monogamous. Not the "I'm attracted to other people but won't act on it because it makes me uncomfortable or believe it's wrong" kind of monogamous, but the "I genuinely have ZERO desire to fuck anyone but my partner" kind of monogamous.”

Ok, fine. You’re strictly monogamous and you have zero desire to fuck anyone besides their partner. Got it.

But wait, there’s this: “Fantasizing about others is fun, so is looking, so is porn and role-play.”

Did you see it? They just said they have “ZERO desire” to fuck anyone but their partner and yet they seem to believe it’s fine to fantasize about others. Now, I should say that I don’t have a problem with this. In my current, strictly monogamous relationship, this is the arrangement we have. However, this sets off alarms for Dan (and me) because, well, it sounds a bit contradictory. This person seems to be laying out a double-standard in which the are perfectly capable of evaluating their desires to fantasize, role-play, and watch porn featuring others as monogamous, but seems to imply that the same desires in another person are not monogamous. Perhaps that’s not what they meant, but from what I have read in the letter, that’s what I’m getting.

To whit: “I’d like my partner to feel the same way. I don't want someone to enter into a monogamous relationship with me if in their heart/groin they'd genuinely like to fuck other people.”

I think the issue lies in what the letter-writer means by “genuinely like to fuck other people.” Is a fantasy the same as a genuine desire to fuck another person? Like you, I’ve been with “naturally monogamous” people. In particular, I’ve been with two persons who have bee decidedly uncomfortable with my fantasizing about others, my use of porn, and certain types of role-play that seem to intrude on their desire for strict monogamy. To them, those fantasies were evidence of my genuine desire to fuck other people. Therefore, if they were to tell me that they were fine with their own fantasies and role-playing, but they weren’t fine with mine, we’d have a problem.

Dan’s response tried, awkwardly, to parse this apparent contradiction and offer the letter write two options. One is a charitable reading, in which they are expressing that they are unsure if they can ever find someone like them, to which Dan says “you're not giving others the same benefit of the doubt you've given yourself. “ The less charitable reason assumes that the contradiction is indeed present and tells them, in no uncertain terms, that they are the cause of their own misfortune.

I guess it’s interesting to me that you seem to completely understand the letter-writer’s intent even though the content of the letter is unclear. Could you explain how you parsed that contradiction so clearly and concisely?
@29. Excuse my ignorance. What are two non fluid bonded pussies?
Dildos are out @32. and replaced with
what? Maybe she could donate them to a second hand shop, they wash and sell other people's undies.
Geez who thought so many people (Dan included) would have such a hard time separating a fantasy of X from a desire to act on X.
Maybe one reason that Dan went so far off base was to try to find an explanation for why O4O was having such a hard time finding something the majority of people in our society still want to give (or at least aspire too).
My hunch is Eud is right: get out of San Francisco once in a while.
Is a fantasy involving fucking someone the same as desiring a person, @37?
I have lots of fantasies, not involving specific people, just scenarios. Yet at the moment there is no one I desire in the flesh.
I got that this LW, o4o, is saying she's fine for her partner to play with fucking in their mind, just as they do. Just not want to fuck another person beside them. Or rather I assume they are saying this.
doghouse_reilly @37
I agree. We are parsing the meaning of the word "genuine."

It's my opinion that everyone who has sexual desire would act on it if there were absolutely no downside (physical, mental, spiritual, etc). In the real world, the question is not whether the desire exists, but the propensity to act on it.
Many of them are quality silicone types...and they've been thoroughly cleaned.

I'm thinking most people in the market for a used dildo would prefer them unwashed.
@43 I think the diatribe was on the Lovecast. Basically, they're obnoxious and encourage obnoxious behavior. Especially by gaggles of straight women in gay bars.
Monogamy does have it's positives.
One getting a partner's name right while copulating has gotta be up there.
Generic @41, “everyone who has sexual desire would act on it if there were absolutely no downside.”

Yes, and everyone is bi and would act on it if there were no downside.

I think it’s Franklin Veaux who describes it as a switch, and that's pretty much what it feels like to me. If you’re mono, you’ll be single and looking, then you find someone, a switch flips and you’re partnered and settled. Even if you’re disstisfied with the person you’ve found, you aren’t in looking mode and seeking out someone else. If you’re poly, you’ll be single and looking, then you find someone and you’re partnered and looking. No switch. Even if you’re happy with the person you’ve found, you’re still looking.

I skew mono here. I happen to be married and dating but it’s not my preference and it’s hard. I have no difficulty at all imagining people who just couldn’t.
@chi_type: Basically, they're obnoxious and encourage obnoxious behavior. Especially by gaggles of straight women in gay bars.

I was inclined to give the gays the benefit of the doubt on the "no straight girls allowed in our bars" rule, but given Dan's and Venn's peevish opposition to bachelor/bachelorette parties in general, I'm switching my position to "You go girl!"
@45 True... but even monogamy doesn't rule out getting that wrong sometimes... :o(
@32 You're wrong. Fight me.

Jesus, dildoes 'out'. Only between uses.
@47 Maybe anti-bachelorism isn't a Gay thing so much as a Peevish thing. I know as a (straight) Peevish-American I think they should be outlawed.
The very idea of the Bundy Militias receiving an over-abundance of USED dildos--and that their ringleader started baling publicly about the mass shipments just made my day.
Bless you, Dan---your no-brainer response to RAGER was spot on, as usual.
@34 Robby: Agreed. RAGER's guy definitely has an anger management problem that if left unresolved, most likely will get worse.

As for the bar issue, I'd rather drink and dine in the restaurant dining room section where the atmosphere tends to be less ear-shatteringly noisy, anyway. But that's just Griz--I'm not into the bar scene.
@52: Aww-crap! Make that...."ringleader started bawling..." but you all knew that.
Yeah, why would dildoes be out? I’m pretty sure they are more and more in since they’re better and more varied now and we can read reviews and shop for them on the internet. They’ve been around for over 30,000 years. Surely if they were going to go out of fashion they’d have done so by now.…
Philo @ 190 last week
“I doubt you would approve of my model but it works well and is suited to my needs.”

I don’t really care what you drive, but was hoping my car talk will boost my boy side and improve my chances.
As for bachelorette parties in gay bars-
From what I gather the trend started some ten years ago, “Stronger drinks, better music, and no men will bother us.”

Marriage was an issue that may have went away but the real problem is the usuals never appreciated groups of drunk, loud, obnoxious women. And what do you know, some of those women while intoxicated make some moves on unsuspecting men. Anything from verbal to hands on.

Not sure why anyone will not accept gay bars for what they are, after all no one expects lesbian bars to host bachelor parties

Dr Sean - Separate issues. Assuming a sufficient supply of bi or mixed bars, I'm fine with regarding gay bars as partly safe spaces. The problem is that what passes for a "gay" bar has gotten badly diluted over time.

As for stag/hen parties, Mr Savage's objection is more based around the idea that the married state if done correctly will provide all the fun of the S/H party. My objection is partly historic - such a party might have made sense when the groom was going to continue seeing other women but the stag party would be the last time he could do it openly with cultural approval, but in modern times it's already default cheating - and partly along the same lines as my objections to public proposals. You will recall that my response to every Flash Mob proposal - even the SS ones - is an automatic LMB. It's either putting the poor recipient of a surprise proposal horribly on the spot, or else it's all just part of the Bridezilla Complex, a comparison most hen parties in gay bars suit brilliantly. I'm sure that, if there were a short list of issues on which the assembled company might be close to consensus, Not Feeding a Bridezilla would be a favourite to make such a list. I might even be prepared to allow an exception to my favourite maxim should any of the four or five people with whom I generally hope never to agree happen to join the same queue; after all, even Lady Mary and Lady Edith occasionally
call a brief truce on their hostilities.

If there must be a stag party, let it be akin to that of Sam Malone (similarly a model for a staged proposal).
Oh, I forgot that I meant to take (strong?) exception to LW's trying to play the All Queer Together card. Most of the women whose views about gay men or gay male issues make me cringe are either bi or queer (I'm sure I don't need to point out that "P-implies-Q" is not "Q-implies-P"), including several prominent FemRAs. Mr Savage's tendency to ignore or attempt to erase the OS/SS Divide may have contributed somewhat to the AQT card.
Half a point to Ms Grizelda for her preference for the restaurant to begin with.
I think I see where Dan was going with the answer to O4O -- drawing a clear distinction between "wanna" and "have an actual desire to".

However, I suspect he may have been misread by a lot of people because he has a history of saying monogamy doesn't really exist, or at least doesn't come naturally to anyone. Saying "you wanna fuck other people" to a person who just said she's monogamous comes across as denying her truth. Not a wrong answer, but not very well put.

For the record, as a naturally monogamous dude -- I've only ever had one partner in my life, for 30 years now, and I don't even "wanna" fuck other people; she's literally the only person who even turns up in my erotic fantasies unless you count fictional characters -- I find comments about monogamy not being "natural" rather grating, and I would hope we'd have learned a few lessons by now about the wisdom of ever calling sexual practices "unnatural". But I don't think Dan's answer to O4O was meant that way.

Monogamous people do exist, I have no idea how common or uncommon we are, but we do. However, there's no particular moral superiority in it, and my advice to O4O would be to climb off the high horse about it. I am monogamous, but I've never, from the day I met her, insisted on my partner also being monogamous (turns out she is, so I haven't had occasion to test the hypothesis, but if she hadn't been, I'm pretty sure I would've been okay). As for fantasy, I would hope the woman I love would fantasize about anything and anyone that makes her happy.

There's nothing wrong with telling a potential partner that you personally are monogamous, and asking for a monogamous commitment from them, but I don't think you can really ask someone to know in advance what will be in their heart and thoughts.
(I wonder if it would help to have two different words, the way there are different words for "vegan" and "herbivore". A lot of people are monogamy-vegans, in that they choose to live monogamously for whatever reason. I genuinely think I'm a monogamy-herbivore: I can't imagine any parallel timeline of my life in which I would ever want to be with more than one person at once. I have no idea how many monogamy-herbivores there are, though, because from the outside, we don't look any different from monogamy-vegans. Exact same diet.)
M Enfant - So you're the true Scotsman who can hit a 4-iron and a 1-iron? I'm not convinced Mr Savage would allow you your fictional character exception. Interesting vocabulary concept, though.
It sounds like O4O is talking about the difference between fantasy and desire, as a few others have pointed out. Fantasizing is a lot of fun, but it doesn't always mean you want to DO those things. O4O enjoys fantasies about other people, but doesn't want to actually have sex with other people, and wants to know if that is an uncommon thing. Because if it is then it's a pretty unrealistic goal to meet someone who feels the same way (again, drawing the line between enjoying the IDEA of sex with others and seriously wanting to HAVE sex with others). I can understand why, in a world where monogamy is the "default", it would be difficult to know whether your partner was monogamous by desire, or simply because that's the social norm.
Also, I don't think wanting your partner to enjoy being sexually exclusive, because YOU enjoy being sexually exclusive, is getting on a "high horse." It's not like O4O is asking for anything he/she isn't offering in equal measure. Would a poly person who only wants to date other poly people be on a high horse? I think it makes a lot of sense to seek a partner who wants what you want. No?
@venn: I have no problem with gay and lesbian bar owners doing what it takes to maintain a gay or lesbian vibe in their establishments. I also find it kind of endearing that it's straight women (as opposed to straight men) who pose the greater threat to a healthy gay atmosphere, since most straight bars discriminate in the opposite direction.

However, by taking a stance against bachelor/bachelorette parties in general, wherever they happen to take place, Dan, and perhaps you, are getting way too churchy for me. After all, the very same prudes who'd deny our freedom to get drunk, enjoy a lap dance or thirty, and/or publicly don a penis tiara would also have you and Dan arrested for sodomy. To borrow your quote (which I love, btw), if you and the orthodoxies agree, than one of you must be wrong.

As I see it, a good liberal will fight for your right to party, even if he'd rather shoot himself in the head than attend.

P.S. to Dan - perhaps it would help to look at bachelor/bachelorette parties the same way you look at Halloween - as a much needed chance for straight people to blow off some sexual steam. And no, the results aren't always pretty.
"I'm not convinced Mr Savage would allow you your fictional character exception"

Fictional characters in stories banging each other, not me. Sex with other people than my wife legitimately does not seem to be my thing.

I may well be an outlier though. Wouldn't be the only bell curve I was in the short part of.
@67, and you are totally endearing and make complete sense.
Doghouse @37: Go all the way back to comment @6 and re-read:
"If it's so easy to comprehend how lots of people have rape fantasies but don't actually want to be raped, why is it difficult to understand how it might be actually pretty common to have nonmonogamous fantasies but not actually want to be nonmonogamous?"

Get it now?
Woohoo! Got the magic number this week! *high fives myself*
CMD @56: "Not sure why anyone will not accept gay bars for what they are, after all no one expects lesbian bars to host bachelor parties."
Well, there is a difference. Straight (or non straight, I was always presumed straight at the gay clubs, much to my annoyance) women in gay bars are not a threat to the gay men there, generally. Whereas many men who would go to a lesbian bar are there because they feel some feminine lesbians have simply not experienced the awesome power of their dicks yet, or are just dying to have some guy watch them and their girlfriends.
I won't claim all straight women behave themselves in gay bars; I have certainly heard stories to prove otherwise. It's the level of threat involved that is the big difference.
Some "gay" clubs do welcome a mixed clientele. The big gay discos certainly do. Leather or bear clubs, not so much.
Full-time lesbian bars are the unicorns of the night life scene. The last dedicated lesbian bar in SF closed last year, and here in Washington DC there is only one left.
Dr Sean - Who is saying it shouldn't be allowed? Not I. Plenty of things are allowed that I'll strongly advise people to avoid. I'm fine going along with Rumpole's quotation of the old line about disagreeing with everything you say while defending your right to say it.

From my point of view, there are a number of ways one insisting on holding a stag/hen party can mitigate the offence. Making it private is probably the biggest; people are then welcome to be as distasteful as they like. Appropriating a public space is pure Groomzilla/Bridezilla behaviour, and deserves a sharp social retort. The more highly appropriative the action, the sharper the retort.

The novel point here is the All Queers Together card LW is attempting to play. If I were forced to restrict myself to one comment on the letter, I'd select sharp disagreement with the contention that non-(cis?)-straight status confers upon the bearer an All Access Card to Any N-(C)-S space. While there are some misbehaviours LW and friends might be less likely than straight women (and the composition of her party is unclear) to commit, there is correspondingly the possibility that she thinks her Q status will grant her immunity from being called on bad conduct (similar to the way some male feminists think they can't be sexist).
When I am full, the idea of a loaded juicy cheeseburger is gross. When I am hungry, I enjoy thinking of a juicy cheeseburger. I would eat the juicy cheeseburger in front of me if there were not a reason to refrain. Like if I knew it was laced with arsenic, I think I would refrain... from eating it or from "genuinely" wanting the cheeseburger.

I think a rape fantasy is inherently different from a rape; one involves consent, one does not. People with rape fantasies often DO want to enact their rape fantasy in real life (rape fantasy with roughhousing and false protests and hopefully a safeword, not real unconsensual rape). I don't see a contradiction with "genuinely wanting the fantasy" even though they don't want to be raped. And I think rape fantasies are often extremely reasonable story editing:…

No need CMD, I already have a crush on your male side. My email is on my profile ;)
Ms Jibe - That is a shame. But I think it highly likely there may be a resurrection - the tendency to over-assimilation, in my view, will likely lead to erasure, which will likely lead to a need to reconstruct so many aspects of non-straight life that are currently disappearing. I'd love to give a rising generation freedom without excessive assimilation.
Ms Fan - Well, I've said there's a need for more bi bars. If I had enough time to be in a sufficiently non-serious mood, I'd wonder, if you've really only heard of OSF misbehaviour in gay bars (assuming you weren't purposely trying to sneak in an out for bi women by specifying "straight") and never actually seen any (I pay you the compliment of assuming your conduct of being as nearly above reproach as that of Fanny Price herself), how high you set the bar for OSF misconduct.

You do raise an interesting point about how only the high-level kink spots seem to be purist any more. Understandable, but still rather a pity. I rather had the idea, though, that, especially in the UK, various establishments went in for specific nights, which seemed at least some sort of improvement. But I could well have gotten it wrong.
@BiDanFan: I've been to the Wild Rose (Seattle's lesbian bar) a couple of times, and never felt unwelcome. The only problem I observed was when my male friend won 5 straight games on the pool table, and some woman got frustrated, told the bartender, who ordered him to stop playing.

On the other hand, I've been to gay bars (not the big discos, and before the whole bachelorette party thing) where the bouncer made it very clear that the straight woman I was with wasn't wanted - e.g., I'd breeze through, and they'd make her wait, question the validity of her id, suggest that maybe she was too drunk to come in, etc.

I don't buy that this has to do with any real threat, or even the concern that a straight person might make a pass at a gay person. I think it's pretty simple - sometimes lesbians don't want a bunch of men around ruining their vibe, and sometimes gays don't want a bunch of women around. You don't have to be gay/lesbian to appreciate this - I certainly enjoy my time with the boys doing manly butch things and speaking honestly without worrying about being scolded, and presumably a lot of straight women similarly enjoy their time with the girls. It's a form of prejudice that I personally think is OK to indulge sometimes.
@JibeHo: The last dedicated lesbian bar in SF closed last year

Is the lesbian dog bar in Bernal Heights still open? I had as much fun at that bar as I've had in just about any Seattle bar (it helped that I'm a dog lover), although I suspect it's largely because people in SF are generally much more friendly than people in gloomy introverted Seattle.
JibeHo @73: Is that the Hung Jury? Please tell me the Hung Jury is still there.

Venn @77: I haven't actually spent much time at all in sexual-orientation-geared bars in the past decade and a half. Neither gay bars where women were welcome but presumed straight, nor at lesbian bars where bi women were unwelcome and presumed straight. So I've had few recent opportunities to witness bad female behaviour in action. The reason I ascribed such misbehaviour to straight women and not to bi women isn't that bi women are inherently more respectful, but that bi women don't go to gay bars for the men.

For the record, I have no issue with gendered queer space. Why haven't I been to more lesbian bars lately? If I'm not going to have any luck with women, I'd rather spend an evening in a club where I like the music, not having any luck with women. :)
Combining Alison's comment @46 about the "switch" to "not looking" mode, with Philophile's cheeseburger analogy @75:

It's not necessarily true that poly people do not have a "switch." We have a charming word in our vocabularies called "polysaturated." This means we may not be satisfied with one person, or two people, but when we get, say, three or more people on our dance cards that switch does indeed get activated. My experience of going out when polysaturated is very different; like Alison describes, there may be attractive people around but if my needs are being met then I'm really not interested in them. I might still want ice cream after I've had a cheeseburger, but if I've had a cheeseburger AND steak AND ice cream, you're not going to interest me in a cheese plate. :)

Now, I'm not saying all poly people have a "full" setting or how many partners it takes to get there, I'm just saying non-monogamy is not necessarily limitless. We do take breaks from being on the hunt all the time ;)
Ms Fan - Well, that makes sense. I might have been in bars about a dozen times in my life in my socially active days. You sounded like a regular in all sorts of establishments.

I have a vague idea that it might be useful for atmosphere (heteronormative, both homonormatives, binormative) to be described as well as clientele, but I clearly have no stake in this one.
What I dislike about bachelor(ette) parties is not people being obnoxious--maybe I'm a fuddy-duddy but I think people are obnoxious a lot of the time, bachelor party or no (cell phones come to mind), and it can be refreshing to see people being obnoxious by having a good time--but the implication behind so many of them that this is your last chance to have a good time, as mentioned in @26. (Strip clubs, for instance: I don't get marrying someone who is okay with you going to a strip club once, before you're married, but not ever again. If you care about strip clubs, marry someone who is okay with you occasionally going to them. And if you marry someone who really isn't okay with them, how is their issue ameliorated by you going a week before the wedding?) I feel something similar about the tradition of honeymoons, which seems to say: go, now, enjoy each other, before the drudgery of the rest of your life kicks in and it's all snarling at each other in the kitchen! Screw that. I prefer to imagine marriages where people still get to party if they want (with and without each other) and still enjoy each other enough to go on trips together many years in.

Those exist, right?
Philo @ 75 Sent at 10:10 am PST

BDF @ 71 I was going to write a long response detailing how we are likely experiencing bars and clubbing differently, but unfortunately your latest responses indicated you are not such a frequent user as I thought. This may have slightly demystified your still deserved glory, but rest assured you're still pretty high up there in my top 40. And you even got 69 this week!!!

Dr Sean @ 78-9
The one time I went into the Wild Rose in my female persona was with a (bio) female friend, and it felt pretty divy with all the wandering male characters of the neighborhood- across the street from The Stranger's office for those of you in other parts of the world.
We both semi-jokingly started flirting with the sexy boi bartender. I was the one who got, and gave, the phone number.
Hunter- unfortunately there was no 69 involved in this case.

I also think that Dan is off-base with his reaction to O4O's letter. Not anywhere in the letter did I read that they didn't want their partner to _think_ about non-monogamy.

I too am wired in the same way and as a gay man that has unfortunately put some other nonmonogamous men in a defensive position. I do not judge nonmonogamy. I fantasize about it, I watch it in movies, and I sometimes dream about it. But I am not wired to be nonmonogamous in reality.

For many years I worried that I would not be able to find another gay man of a similar mindset but after 20 monogamous years together and occasional checking-in on both sides (e.g., "Is this still working for you? Do you want to open this up? Are you feeling attraction to somebody else that you want to act on?, etc.), I feel like we both found what we needed.

It's a minefield out there for competing desires and disparate goals and such, but I hope that knowing that others looking for similar relationships exist will help this letterwriter and anybody else. I could have used some of that when I was younger and considering compromising my personal values.
sean @78 You don't ever want to bogart the pool table at a lesbian bar - it's usually the hottest pick up spot in the place! I don't know the particulars about the SF bar in Bernal Heights as I haven't lived in SF for 20 years, but a quick Google search will tell you that they're all gone. There are ladies' nights a few nights a month at different venues, but there are no more dedicated spaces for lesbians.

BiDiFan @80 - Yep the Hung Jury is gone. I never liked that place all that much. That was the one in the basement with the drop ceiling right? Claustrophobic and in a weird part of town. Phase One is still open. But that is one of the smallest bars I've ever been in.
@83; ciods, these marriages you ask about are they ones with or without children?
There must be some out there with such a loose, loving vibe between partners many years in.
The last night of freedom parties have always seemed part of the culture I just couldn't understand. I just assume they fit with the big white wedding day rituals.
Why would women want to go to a gay bar, if they are onto a last nite in the wilderness. No available men to play with there.
Lava @87: So that they can get as drunk as they like and no one will try to date-rape them, presumably.
However, they may be wrong. My last foray to a "gay" club saw two straight men hitting on me -- one who was there with a group of male friends so I assumed he was gay as well, though he was (stereotypically) the worst dressed one, and one obvious PUA who figured he'd try his luck with the leftover women who'd gone along with gay friends and then felt neglected after the gay friends hooked up. Needless to say, neither attempt was successful. On the other hand, my bi male friend did get a snog, so it wasn't a completely wasted evening!
I just dislike straight bachelorette parties in general. I find obnoxious behavior to be . . . well, obnoxious. I'm all for having fun with your friends, and I understand why, if you are a straight woman, you'd want to have a fun evening with just women friends, but why adult women think it is fun to drink of of straws with little plastic penises appended, as well as harassing men, is a mystery to me.

I agree with ciods @83 that if the subtext of a bachelor or bachelorette party is "goodbye to fun," then there is a serious problem with the expectations of marriage.
Just an aside: Sarah Palin is Back, as I'm sure most have noticed.
So on her first outing with Donald, she screams
' let our warriors go kick ISIL ass'.
Meanwhile, one of her male children, having been arrested or something for domestic violence.
She says he's suffering from post traumatic stress, that made him do it.
Because the war he was a warrior in.
Does not compute, Sarah.
BDF @ 88
Lets assume the rape date is here to highlight the safety women may fee in a gay bar (and a fairly extreme example if I may...) But the issue is not an occasional woman who goes out with her bi male friend, but a group of somewhat unwelcome guests who are likely to already be intoxicated and loud and may even hit on some of the assuming-most- if-not-all gay men.,

@92: I don't do this and I don't have friends who do this, so I'm not sure, but I guess those women think two things (disclaimer: I only think this is what they may be thinking; I can't be sure. Any views expressed are not my own):

1) I'm safe here--I can make sexual jokes and grab men and be overtly sexual and drunk, and these men won't assume that they can have sex with me. Not only will I not fear being raped, but I won't be hit on.
2) Since I like having sex with men and I'm not attracted to women and since gay men like having sex with men and aren't attracted to women, being with them is like being with the girls. We are joined by our mutual sexual interests. Why wouldn't they welcome my raunchiness? They get raunchy, too, don't they?

@ciods: For me, the historical context of bachelor parties is about as relevant as the historical context of weddings in general. I certainly don't assume the bride is a virgin because she's wearing white. These traditions have long outlived their original purposes because they're fun and people enjoy them (and white looks fabulous!). Same could be said about most of the major holidays.

The significance of modern bachelor parties aren't that they provide a last chance to get away with things that magically become off limits once you get married. They simply provide the impetus to get together with far flung friends and cut loose. Sure, you could get a lap dance anytime you want, but tonight you actually will. And this is likely the last time your good friends from different stages of life will assemble in your honor, with the possible exception of your funeral.
Nocute @ 93
Because the establishment is called "gay bar" for a reason, and those who are not should be at least respectful.
Besides, why not have a CFNM bachelorette party at one of your girlfriends' place?
. Talking of switches; maybe girls go to gay bars, where men will turn their backs and let them know how unwanted they are, as a practice run.
Not long and that switch from husband being all in love to being just like those boys in the gay bars.
BiDanFan @81: My experience of going out when polysaturated is very different; like Alison describes, there may be attractive people around but if my needs are being met then I'm really not interested in them.

I hear you BiDanFan, but I think a lot of mono people aren't interested in other people even if their needs are NOT being met within their couple. See all those folks who can't imagine leaving an abusive relationship, and the various men who comment here whose sexual needs aren't being met within their couples but who don't want to look elsewhere; they want their partners to want them. And other poly people may be very interested in the attractive people they meet even though they are polysaturated in the sense of being overscheduled, and sensibly make an intellectual decision to flirt but not follow up any further unless circumstances change.

So there seems to be switched vs not-switched, and a parallel spectrum model where it's a matter of degree and how many partners it takes to meet one's needs.
@95. CMD. I wrote a post that got lost when you and Nocute were posting at the same time: shit country reception here.. It may still turn up.
My party would be private, cause the drug would be of the smoking sort.. preferable hashish. It would vary with yours as the boys, plural, would be strong bodied, good dancers
and not at all submissive types.
If it was my last day of freedom, money would be there if I or any of the other girls, wanted to play.
Agree Alison. In my marriage, I took the vow seriously, of being monogamous.
I didn't allow myself to look at men
with desire/ attraction. The switch was in my head. I guess I was sexually satisfied, still there were a lot of stuck parts in our connection. Having children to rear, self sacrifice.. especially for an ex catholic.. came way too easy.
@CMD: My visits to the Rose were back in ancient times when everything in that area was divy, including me and my grad student stipend.

Congrats on getting the phone number. I was just happy no one gave me stink eye. We were escorted by our newly out lesbian friend and her older lesbian sister, so that probably helped.

@JibeHo: You don't ever want to bogart the pool table at a lesbian bar - it's usually the hottest pick up spot in the place!

@seandr: And this is likely the last time your good friends from different stages of life will assemble in your honor, with the possible exception of your funeral. That makes a lot more sense to me than what I was imagining. In that case, proceed.
@CMD: Did you see the post where I said I don't do this or this.
I have never been to the kind of bachelorette party that would be like this in my life; those aren't my kinds of parties.
I could, of course, therefore, be terribly, terribly wrong in the "reasons" I ascribed to theoretical women who have or go to those kind of bachelorette parties or behave that way.

As for the CFNM party, was that a dig at me or a genuine suggestion for this theoretical bride-to-be?
@96 Ouch!~ So bitter!
Nocute @ 102
Nothing personal, I read the part saying it's not your idea of a good time, just wanted to give some points those who might want to go that way.

Same goes to bachelorette CFNM parties. I still think it will be lots of fun to combine those with a bridal shower. I know someone who can also model the new lingerie items so the bride and her guests can get an idea what they really look like....
CMD; yes, a show at the bridal shower would be fun. Imagine mother- in-law to be and mother of the bride's responses to that one.
I would have invited you to my party, I'm sure some of the girls would appreciate being served by a sexy woman in a nice little uniform, a pleasant surprise awaiting them.

Donny@103. Bitter, who me? Realistic my dear, with some marriages.
You not been reading many of the letters and comments that come thru here.

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