Savage Love Mar 16, 2016 at 4:00 am

Safe Wording


Power- thanks for showing the world that a kinkster can also be an ordinary, ethical, and thoughtful person (while unfortunately also reminding us what a mess smany online scenes can be.

While I never entered the mentioned destination, nor was I offered a free membership- who knows, maybe Oprah is still there- I went to other somewhat similar events where I witnessed a wide variety of bdsm-related or not activities. No alcohol, drugs, or any full-blown sex.

I chatted with people about life in general and what is it that I’m looking for in particular. I was new to the scene and every one I talked to seemed very nice, helpful and respectful.

These events helped me better define what is it that I really want and how to better achieve it with an interested real life person.
“I wasn't as smart as I could have been” is applicable in all areas of our lives. It may also mean, “gaining experience.”
I joined Fetlife and started going to Munch & Plays. Costs about CAD15 + meal. Totally worth it to get to whack people with sticks. Folks are very nice.

When you're fresh meat and a sub, a dom is likely to move in quickly to try to monopolize your attention. A bad sign. Never play with a dom until you've talked to subs about him. He might be bad news and the subs will know. Keep going to munches even after you find (a) play partner(s) because you'll need the reality checks from time to time.
Mx Wanna - Ms Winfrey never gave you a car? I shall call that a shame, as I am pleased with you for calling LW1 only ordinary, ethical and thoughtful, none of which I've any instinct to dispute.
I wish we knew whether LW3's relations have any compensating virtues or whether LW3's affection for them resembles that of Lady Russell for Elizabeth Elliot.
I donated to my local city's Planned Parenthood chapter. They use donations to provide care to women who either don't have health insurance or who are victims of domestic violence and don't want to use their insurance lest their spouses see that they've been to Planned Parenthood. PP helps poor women apply for Medicaid, but for those who can't qualify, or who are fearful of authorities, they pick up the tab from their private grants and donations.

I'm not saying not to give to the national organization. Politically, that may be the best thing to do. But, if you want your donation going to actual medical care, to help patients in your city, donate locally. It will mean an awful lot to the local organization to have your direct support.
What a sweetie you are, Dan, helping LW1.
That sounds a bit scary, that they are coming after kinks. Always trying to spoil other people's fun.
POWER: Dan has it right when he advises you not to look for kinky sex online when you are horny. Remember the "don't shop when you're hungry / don't date when your horny" tongue-in-cheek motto that I got so much flak for posting? Unworkable, yes, but there is a grain of truth -- if you're horny, you're more likely to override your instincts and go to bed/dungeon with someone who won't provide the respectful dynamic that you need.

I agree with Alison @2 that Fetlife is better than Tinder for finding kinky partners. Munches and fetish clubs cost significantly less than $1,000 and are good places for meeting kinky people.

Finally, POWER's letter implies that she's not looking for a relationship, only occasional kink play. This may not be the best approach for avoiding abusers. If POWER vets her potential partners through chaste dates, she can get to know whether they're aggressive misogynists before jumping into bed/dungeon with them. I'm not saying she has to give up her independence, but an ongoing friend-with-kinky-benefits is a far better bet for establishing the trust that's needed in a D/s relationship than randos from online. Good luck, POWER.
SAFEWORD: Good for Dan for posting the alternate interpretation of THINK's letter which about 80% of the commenters seemed to read into his awkward words, even if that fact didn't help convince Dan that THINK's meaning was ambiguous.

FAMILY: What a good idea. I think I need a "stirred up shit on Facebook... again" jar.
@7 should read "when YOU'RE horny" -- good grief! Add "don't post when you are still half-caffeinated" to that list of helpful guidelines.
Dan, bless you for "taking your 50 lashes with a wet noodle" re: THINK, and good for you, SAFEWORD, for speaking up. In agreement with BiDanFan @8, I, too was somewhere among the 80% of commenters who felt that THINK and his wife needed to use a safe word in addition to retaining open communication concerning her rape fantasies. And kudos, too, Dan, for your generous gift to POWER (@POWER, good luck in your continued search for GGG kink), and support of Planned Parenthood. Like Brooklyn Reader @5, I support my local PP chapter, too for similar reasons.
@8 BiDanFan: I think I need a "stirred up shit on Facebook" jar, too! Good idea.
Why would anyone want to say Scalia as a safe word? By the sound of that guy, I wouldn't want the energy coming off his name anywhere near my intimate space.
Lava @11: That may be why one of the commenters picked it to unambiguously signal "stop!"
Funny, but not practical -- when you're in the throes of anything passionate, good or bad, three syllables is just two too many. Hence why the colour "red!" is so popular. Not only does it mean "stop," it's easy to blurt out.
FAMILY, how tortuous. Hope you don't have to be in their company too often.
Even if you do, counter them with thoughts. As they say their horrid words, thing strong positive life affirming thoughts. A sort of mental barrier.
@13. *Think* strong positive thoughts.
The point of safewords is that they end the sexytimes. "Scalia" will have to do, until someone, somewhere, manages to come up with a word less sexy.

It might be a long wait.
Eudaemonic @15: "Trump"?
Less sexy, one syllable.
"Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM because 'sexual activity that involves binding and gagging or the use of physical force such as spanking or choking poses certain inherent risks to personal safety.'"

What a ridiculous, bullshit justification for religiously-based anti-sex bigotry. People engage in numerous dangerous recreational activities from snow skiing to risking dying in a car accident driving to a movie theater. It would make more sense to ban religion since it motivates people to hurt others. How many abortion clinics need to be bombed or gays beaten half to death before we ban the dangerous activity of teaching Christianity to defenseless children! Think of the children!
Twisting or outright claiming fake scientific evidence to prove the horrible effects of certain sexual acts or abortion is nothing new.
Apparently Reagan’s surgeon general was asked to add fake traumatic psychological “facts” to an abortion report, as well as avoid mentioning AIDS.
According to his bio he declined to do so despite being fairly conservative and an abortion opponent himself.…

It should be noted that the Reagan campaign and his years in office enabled the Christian right to take over the republican party.
Apologies for shouting but:


If someone doesn't safeword, that doesn't mean they were fine, happy, enjoying themselves. A safeword is a tool for communication, especially good for light scenes where the bottom wants to be able to yell stop and no! without stopping the scene. But in difficult scenes (and an exploration of rape with someone who has previously been traumatized is very likely to be a difficult scene), the top cannot count on continuing until safeword.

There are many reasons why an unhappy person may not say safeword. They may freeze up, they may be too scared, they may be confused, they may have given up hope -- really, it's complicated what goes on inside someone's head in a difficult scene.

But if someone regrets the scene, telling them: "Hey, you didn't safeword" -- that's not cool. It's not a legal defense against a rape charge, and (more generally) it's not protection against the bottom thinking you did something wrong and holding it against you.

Better advice: sit down with your partner and have many conversations about what they would do if they regretted a scene they had with you. Would they trust that you had been acting in good faith, even if it went to a bad place for them? Would they blame you internally, even if they said they were okay? I would have some conversations like that, then have some intermediate scenes and have more conversations afterwards, to assess if her predictions of her own reactions are accurate and reliable. And I would remind the LW that he is not obliged to fulfill her fantasies. It's not emotionally safe to do so if he doesn't believe she's a reliable partner who will be supportive after a bad scene.
Am I the only one being seriously off put by LW1's letter?

- "feminist, conventionally attractive, straightish, GGG woman"

I'm hot, I know it and I expect to get what I want.

- "and I grew tired of his conventional gender ideals"

I may be horny for the submissive role which tends to conform to traditional gender roles and ideals but don't you dare hold them.

- "I am then buried in a landslide of creepiness, typos, and aggression. There are just so many men out there who hate women. "

I'll give her this one. I am literally horrified every time I talk to a female friend who has an online profile of any time. Way too many men think that the best way to interact with a woman is to assert twue dominance from the first interactions and or are just aggressively pursuing a fuck. However, jumping from clueless online interactions to they hate women is a big jump.

- It was recommended to me to join the local center for sex positivity in Seattle, but that costs money.

I want to explore this and I'll write a letter to an advice columnist but I won't actually spend my own money. The universe should put the men I want in easy access in free places! Seriously, she actually manged to convince Dan to hook her up with a free CSPC membership! (I'm conventionally attractive, people usually give me what I want).

I'm probably over-interpreting but I get a sense of a woman who's used to having her way and wants the dominant partners she wants in the way she wants them. Which is particularly tricky because she's starting the interaction with any potential date/partner with a power inversion built into her attitude. I specifically say power inversion because I feel like she's not even coming to this from an equality space..

Either way, Dan is right that she needs to get her ass out to real life venues. Munches, CPSC, other special interest groups. Yes, there are still creeps there but they're not going to send you a dick pic with DTF attached to it in public and she'll meet some genuinely awesome people.
Kinky dating is tough. I've been on fetlife since I was 19, and I've gone to quite a lot of events in NYC, but you will find that it is even more difficult to find a good kink partner than it is to find a good vanilla partner. Your best bet is to keep going out, not necessarily swear off vanilla dating because lots of people on vanilla dating sites are kinky, and don't get discouraged.

On the bright side, as an attractive, submissive woman you will have your pick of just about any Dom/Master you'd like! Of course, you'll have to deal with all the creeps and weirdos and crazies, but your rarity in the kinky dating market is quite high. The only thing more rare is the attractive, non-pro Domme/Mistress. I'm still looking for one of those.
Monkey Fetish @ 20
People often struggle with a fetish, it makes them feel different, and many aspects of society and culture are very condemning and judgmental. Thanks for adding up to the load, very thoughtful of you.

You may be more experienced and probably older than LW 1. She's a young beginner, may have some misconceptions, and she wants to learn. She asked someone who may give her a fair advice while maintaining her anonymity, and the way I read it described herself as a fairly average young woman.
Monkey @20:
Am I the only one being seriously off put by LW1's letter?

- "feminist, conventionally attractive, straightish, GGG woman"
My self-esteem is good enough that I won't put up with being treated like shit. I know I deserve better.

- "and I grew tired of his conventional gender ideals"
I'm submissive in the sheets, not in the streets.

- "I am then buried in a landslide of creepiness, typos, and aggression. There are just so many men out there who hate women. "
However, jumping from clueless online interactions to they hate women is a big jump.

Not when you've ever said a polite "no" or even failed to reply within the man's expected timescale and been met with an avalanche of verbal abuse. This is very, very common. Ask your friends.

- It was recommended to me to join the local center for sex positivity in Seattle, but that costs money.
A thousand bucks is a LOT of money.

Seriously, she actually manged to convince Dan to hook her up with a free CSPC membership!
She never asked him for one. And she has to volunteer in order to get it.

I get a sense of a woman who's used to having her way and wants the dominant partners she wants in the way she wants them.
As opposed to submitting in a way she DOESN'T want to submit? Isn't this what all subs want/are entitled to from their Doms?
creativityescapesme @21, are you presenting yourself as a thoughtful, creative, submissive man? Or do you want a non-pro Domme to be essentially a free pro-Domme who also has sex with you? It's important to find someone who accepts your kinks, but keep in mind that she's a full person in her own right and not a fantasy-fulfillment machine for you.

Here's a good guide for approaching dominant women:…

Key points:
It’s fair to say that there are some commonalities that most (if not all) dominant women will look for (none of which are physical traits). The first is that a prospective submissive/slave be honest and genuine.
...Having good manners and displaying common courtesy are also high on the list of desirable traits.
...A willingness and ability to follow instructions is also a fairly universally desired trait. This can often be demonstrated from the start. Begin with a Domme’s profile – AND READ IT. Hopefully, they will say enough about themselves to give you some idea as to compatibility...She might also give instructions on how to contact her. FOLLOW THEM. Think of this as the first test – if you can’t even get this right, she’s not likely to waste a lot of time on you.
...Be as utterly candid as you can about what you hope to get from a relationship. If you’re really only interested in bedroom submission, say so. If you’re looking to explore the lifestyle in as full a manner as possible, say that. Are you interested in providing domestic services (i.e. house work)? Avoid the “I’ll do anything for you” trap.... Admitting that you don’t know the full extent of your interests and limits, but that you wish to explore these areas under her guidance, could go a long way.

@24 Yes, of course. Well, minus the creative part as creativity escapes me. The problem isn't me being a selfish jerk; it's the rarity of said individual, the difficulty of kink dating in general, and the fact that my slight, androgynous appearance is not the most popular brew at the tea house.
@22, @23 That's why I qualified my analysis. I'm always open to being wrong! :)

We only have her text to go by and I'm possibly reading too much between the lines. I've seen the tropes she's skirting the edge of in her text come up over and over in the kink community.

"The hot girl" - Not hot girls in general. I know tons of conventionally attractive women who are awesome and, in no way trade their looks for anything. I know others who use the "I need this thing, I can't afford a one" method to passively get people to give them stuff. I read this girls "I've been told I need to go to CSPC but I can't afford it." in the same way. Linking those two may have been too much of a leap.

"the submissive not submissive" - I want to be submissive but only in the way that I want. Sure, on the face of this, there's nothing wrong with it. However, depending entirely on the parties involved, this can become a significant energy drain one-way interaction. I see this a lot in the rope community where riggers can become bondage rides that the bottoms are not interested in as more than a rope application machine. She and the people she's played with are the only ones who can say whether she's engaging in these activities in a mutual or selfish manner. She's entitled to engage as selfishly as she wants but shouldn't be surprised when her pool of potential partners starts to dwindle.

"the I want this but don't want to pay for it" - See above.

"I can't find anybody out there" - I know too many conventionally attractive women submissives who are amazing people who seem to be perpetually frustrated with not finding partners and others who have as many as they want. The only difference between these two is the attitude with which they approach their interactions. I could write paragraphs on this...

Really, what made me comment is that, in my reading of her letter, she's skirting the edge of a lot of these tropes I've seen over and over again. I'm 100% behind her being able to choose her own adventure. Any interpretation that I implied or otherwise suggested that she doesn't or shouldn't have full agency in who she engages with is not understanding the intent of what I was saying.

Whether my interpretation is correct or not, she needs to change her kink access methods or she'll keep running into suboptimal encounters online and I can't imagine that being terribly fulfilling for her.
MonkeyFetish @ 28
You keep saying that she's a new comer, may have some unrealistic expectations and attitudes, and it may be a bit annoying.
I’ve seen it in many different environments, as well as witnessing changes.
Creativity @27: Dammit! I'm a dominant-inclined female who only goes for boys if they're slight and androgynous. Wrong continent.
Go to goth clubs. The goth scene is very open-minded and has a lot more dominant women and androgynous fellows than anywhere else. I bet you'll have some luck making a mutual connection there. Be advised: Wear some black, and don't treat the goth women as if you're in a brothel. I've seen too many "tourists" coming to clubs and hitting on goth girls because they think we are easy, and that's a fast route to getting blacklisted, so to speak.
I'll echo @2 / Alison Cummins and suggest that POWER get on FetLife and look for people and events in her area. I cannot speak to places outside New York, but here there are lots of organizations, including large ones like The Eulenspiegel Society, ones dedicated to special interests like Japanese rope bondage, or those for people of specific gender-kink orientations such as submissive women. Going to munches, classes, and workshops is a great way to meet people in a casual, low-key setting.

FetLife isn't a date website, but POWER can also look at people's profiles, and as she makes friends in her kink community, see common acquaintances, and use that one step in vetting dominants with whom she can people to play.

Lastly, while using a dating platform Iike OkCupid can be leave POWER feeling overwhelmed by the number of e-mail she receives, she can be proactive and search for dominant men whose profiles she finds interesting and contact them. Online dating sites can be amazing tools, but as Dan advised that doesn't mean POWER is not going to have to invest the time in sifting through possible matches.
Mr(?) Monkey - There was a much worse LW a while back. She'd taken a Gendre Studies class or two, which, either through education or intrusion, turned her out a top of a highly undesirable variety. At least this LW doesn't seem settled on a negative path. Though I think Mr Savage would have done better to give Mx Wanna a car, we can at least hope that this donated membership won't be thrown away completely.
@EricaP: Apologies for shouting but:

It was worth shouting.

There was a time when I imagined fulfilling a woman's rape fantasy would be super hot. Fast forward through several letters and discussions, and the whole enterprise just seems complicated and dysfunctional and not at all sexy.

It's one thing if a woman really knows herself, knows what she wants, and knows how to communicate. I can see the potential for fun there, and maybe some rape fantasizers fall into this category?

From what I gather, however, it seems that for some women it's almost like a simulation of borderline personality disorder, where connections and moods can swing from hot to cold in an instant for reasons their partner can't easily anticipate or control. (Maybe that's the thrill?) I don't like being judgmental, but asking your partner to do something sexually that could very easily result in you loathing them for it seems pretty fucked up. It's not unlike gay-shaming a man or slut-shaming a woman after he/she finishes giving you the blow job you were so desperate for.
@seandr @33: Just to put in a vote for the non-borderline, I am a big fan of (certain types of) forced sex scenarios. It's not everyday fare, but I enjoy it from time to time, and it's never been a traumatic thing for anyone. I like to think I know myself and what I want and can communicate--of course, others might disagree--so that satisfies your conditions. (And the same was true for the partners who were involved, which is also good!)

And then, um, it's really really hot.
Give CMD a car, Venn @32. See what you've started Dan.
The what about me, has started.
Or in this instance, what about him.
Monkey@ above. I didn't read the LW as being entilted. She's young and there is nothing wrong with knowing one is attractive.
@27, I must agree with BiDanFan @30 - find yourself a goth club. As another woman heavily inclined toward dominance, I find the slight, androgynous boys to be the most visually appealing. Some eyeliner and black nail polish definitely turns my crank, and if you're willing to doll it up a bit with stockings and a tiny skirt... Hello.

Do read up on the article that EricaP linked @24. Find a way to sell yourself.
@sanguisuga @37: black nail polish on guys is so rowr!
are you talking about the self-identified queer girl who wanted to fuck another girl in the ass with a strap on, but was otherwise straight and not willing to come out, not even to fulfill her so-called biggest fantasy?
yeah, that letter was so bizarre and self-unaware (is that a term?) it downright hilarious.

And about LW 1, I think it's a mix between being young, impatient and relatively inexperienced and maybe a little of the "entitled pretty girl" syndrome that Monkey describes in his comments. She might be better off looking in mainstream dating sites (in addition to the kinky ones, not in replacement) and start the kink conversation once she finds someone she clicks with. Like other someone else mentioned upthread, many kinky folks use regular "vanilla" dating apps/sites so there's a chance (however slight) that she finds her dream match there.
Ms(?) Wood - (1430 or 3014, by the way?) That was another good one, but the woman that came to mind was the one who mentioned her Gendre Studies class as contributing to her discovery of an interest in doing something rather painful and potentially dangerous to men (I think of a sort not dissimilar to Ms Fan's preferred type). Ms Cute and I speculated whether that was more likely to have been education or intrusion (in the true Brodie sense).


Ms Lava - I must be feeling like Mrs Norris - no idea why, though. Fortunately, I haven't any indigent nieces to abuse, and I get on quite well with all my nephews. Shall I wish for someone to give you a grass tennis court?
@ciods: Ok, well now it's starting to sound super hot again.
POWER - Yes, finding a good partner takes perseverance. Even for people with "standard" equipment, expectations and resources to devote to the endeavor. Yes, even in 2016, there are men out there who expect women to conform to traditional gender stereotypes, and who bully. See Trump. Solutions? Diligence and due diligence.
@BiDanFan: (File this under "W" for "Who gives a fuck?")

I totally love goth babes. I mean the aesthetic, specifically.

I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago, and while I'm not at all into the baby doll look that's popular among the Harajuku girls, the goth fashionistas completely blew my mind. Seattle has goths, but Tokyo is a whole nother level. While shopping I saw the coolest most evil black dress I've ever seen and felt so sad that I have no one to buy it for.
Venn, BDF, the honorable Lava, oh hi there Mr. Winfrey:
Thank you all for your generosity though it should be noted that I never asked for a car. I will gladly settle for nothing more than a $1,000 gift certificate to another local establishment. It will enable me to get some classy black under garments like this $600 one:…
Worn under black outer garments I will be able to sneak into some goth events where I will finally meet the BDF dream of my life and we will indeed proceed to become best apartners.

Needless to say on our first date, as well as on special occasions like anniversaries and such, I will proudly wear a crisp split-ends free wig carefully chosen by a famous hair consultant.
. Sean off to Japan, CMD planning a trip to the UK.. It's all happening.
Looks like the contest is tightening between Queen Hilary and
The Psychopath. Choices, choices.
The reality of helping the refugees in Europe is not just the work of the countries near by.
Australia. America. Others.
This is a tragedy; people starving, children crying, and everyone just keeps talking? And others, say nothing. Shame on all our heads.
Maybe Trump is a Sociopath. Or he has Borderline Personality Disorder.
Whatever the label, that guy is now threatening that there will be riots if he doesn't get the nomination. And his followers will heed the call.
Sounds like inciting violence to me. Crazy stuff.
Sean @33: Maybe the rape fantasy situation is just like any other situation here on the Savage Love boards. The people who write in are the people who are finding it problematic. The couples who are happily and sanely enjoying forced sex fantasies aren't writing to Dan about it.

Blackwood @39/Venn @40: I think the aspect of this other LW that was so objectionable was that she wanted to dominate men but never have PIV sex, in other words, she would not be GGG for their needs.

Sean @43: I was in Tokyo a few years ago myself. I was thrilled to find shops and shops and shops full of clothes that would fit me! Sadly, I'm a bit old to carry off the Lolita look, but I did come home with one budget-blowing number that was nearly too frilly to fit in my suitcase. Those Japanese manga boys look tasty enough to eat, too.

CMD @44: $600 for a pair of panties!? Well, you're making my Harajuku purchase look absolutely thrifty. How about these instead? Two for £14 (they're not silk, but have a similar look):…
Lava @47: Definitely a sociopath, I would say, and a megalomaniac to boot. Where is Christopher Walken from The Dead Zone when you need him?
BiDanFan @23: "A thousand bucks is a LOT of money."
I had to look it up, out of curiosity not only about the price but also about the delights available to people who don't live in the Bible Belt. ~sigh~ Anyway, the membership price for a "friend" is a mere $60/year. The high-dollar amounts are only for higher membership levels (Premium Gold is $750/year and Premium Platinum $1500/year -- The fact that POWER chose to focus on the "extra grand lying around" option rather than the modest $60 "Friend" option does seem to lend a bit of support to MonkeyFetish's read on the situation.
@50, I was just going to mention this very fact...
For those that don't want to click the link it also states, " All members first join as Friends. Friends may attend all of our events at member attendance rates. All Friends can bring up to two non-member guests to any Center event at the guest attendance rates."
So, she will be joining at the $60 rate regardless. Also, unless she were to go ALL THE TIME (never meeting someone she liked and playing somewhere else sometimes/most of the time), it will NEVER cost that much.

Been contemplating maybe joining at the behest of a partner and a couple friends, because after a certain number of visits (not that many) it pays for itself in the difference between member and guest attendance rates.... I think there is something odd going on that she used that sort of non actual cost as a reason not to go/join....

Frankly, I feel Dan should have addressed the actual cost in the column not just for the LW but all the readers, who now think it costs that much. Also some activities cost money, that is life. It isn't any different than say, going out to eat on a date.
@50/@52: Interesting. So Dan isn't as generous as he portrayed himself as being, and now POWER is stuck doing volunteer work for only $60 worth of freebies. Does this make some of the haters feel a bit better about a young woman getting free stuff she didn't actually ask for?

"I'm such a big fan that I'm going to pick up the expense of your first year's membership at the Center for Sex Positive Culture. While there are additional charges for most events at the center, POWER, there are also tons of volunteer opportunities—and there's no better way to get to know the local kinksters than to pitch in and help out."

I read that as "You still have to pay to go to the parties but there are volunteer opportunities to defray that cost too." That's different than to get this membership, you have to volunteer.
If Dan ever retires, I think @EricaP would make fine successor. @BiDanFan may be right that we just do not hear from the successful rape fantasists, but I would want to hear from quite a few different couples who have navigated that one successfully before recommending anyone try it themselves.
I'm curious how people are reading the words "conventionally attractive" and deciding LW1 is a self-absorbed hottie...

"I'm a 27-year-old, feminist, conventionally attractive, straightish, GGG woman."
"I'm a 27-year-old, feminist, attractive, straightish, GGG woman."

The two sentence above give two different messages. The only reason to add the extra verbiage is because she has put a lot of thought and stock into exactly how attractive she is. Even so, those words were only one piece of the puzzle as I elaborated above.
Lava @ 45- While thinking globally I will act locally. And no meeting half way, Reykjavik is way too cold for the kind of black attire I have in mind.

BDF @ 49
This is beginners stuff, I have refined my taste over the years.
My favorite entry level would be the Vanity Fair 130001. It is not as “controlling” as they allow a bit more freedom of expression.…
Often 3 for $25 in store, you may even be able to use a 20% coupon on top of that.
@Monkey, 57, just curious: would you get the same vibe if she had said "non-conventionally attractive"? Because that presumably implies the same level of thought...

@CMD @58: But Reykjavik has great hot springs. Maybe a little black bikini?
Monkey - Just to be clear, I completely and utterly disagree with your interpretation @20. But I'm still curious about the leap you made about her appearance. Are you saying that "attractive" is less "attractive" than "conventionally attractive"? That just makes no sense to me.

You also said that she put a lot of thought into how she described herself, and it seems that in your mind, that level of thought is what makes her a self-absorbed hottie. I can't help but wonder - if you were writing to Dan, wouldn't you put a lot of thought into how you described yourself?

You seem to be grasping at straws to come up with any possible reason not to be charitable to the letter writer's character. I'm having a hard time understanding why.
Monkey @54: Tomayto, tomahto. We both agree she is not getting a free membership worth $1,000. She is getting a free membership worth $60, but if she wants to go to events, she either has to fork out or volunteer.

Monkey @57: To me, "conventionally attractive" implies that her appearance is nothing too out of the ordinary. She's not covered in tattoos, she's not exotically mixed race, she's the standard girl next door type.

And in a world where women and girls are bombarded with messages about exactly what they are supposed to look like and all the products they are required to buy in order to look that way? Putting thought into how attractive one is, and to whom, is something that starts at the age of five, and accelerates once you start doing that thing called dating. She's assessing the qualities she has to offer a potential mate, as anyone who puts themselves out there in the dating world does.

I think MF is just expressing a bit of resentment towards "conventionally attractive" women who don't return his interest.
I'm staying engaged in this conversation not to prove my point but to clarify anywhere I feel I may have led to misunderstanding. I'm always open to being wrong and will happily admit that my interpretation is only one of many that could be made here.

@60 I never said she was less attractive. Only that she felt the need to add the extra verbiage to the description. COMBINED WITH the other things I read in the letter, it stuck out. And, actually, if I had to pick out one single thing that stood out and reframed the whole letter for me was this phrase: "It was recommended to me to join the local center for sex positivity in Seattle, but that costs money." That, plus her conflation of membership win CSPC with an extra $1,000 says a lot.

Back when I ran the TNG group, I repeatedly heard (mostly boys) complain that they couldn't afford the $35/month to go to the local kink club but they had plenty of money to go out drinking. It's about priorities. This is either a core identity for her or it isn't. If it's big enough for her to write Dan, then I'd put it in the core identity column and she needs to treat it as such.

@61 That's a valid alternative assessment of her phrasing. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

To respond to your zinger at the end. I've been practicing non-monogamy/poly for the better part of a decade now with reasonable success. I've directly observed the behaviors I'm talking about as a pattern amongst the conventionally attractive but I'm also aware that it's easy to project and cast our own experiences onto others.

We're arguing the finer points here. I HOPE she's not doing the hot girl user behavior because none of the women (or men) that I know behaving in that way are very happy or successful in love and, in the end, it doesn't actually matter who's right in this discussion.

Her path forward is the same. If this is a core identity for her, she needs to find a real life healthy outlet to explore because she's already identified the patterns she's using as not working for her.
Ms Fan - It wasn't just a ban on certain activities; she did at least manifest a strong disinclination to be at all obliging to her potential partners. She definitely showed a telling lack of interest in their safety. Did you take a guess about whether her GS class(es) constituted education (ex + duco, a leading out of her interest in domination) or intrusion (in + trudo, a thrusting in of that same attitude)? Of course, I suppose Gendre Studies are rather superiour in the UK to what they are in the US.
Monkey. This girl is young and good looking. At the peak of her youth and beauty. She should be celebrating it and guarding it against time wasters.
Good on Dan for helping her.
She needs to recognize the great strength she has at her age and not waste it on drop kicks and deadbeats.
Be patient. As Dan says, do her work looking for and talking online with men she may see as her Dom. Jesus, it's not a quick date kink as I understand it.
Safewords are all well and good, but in some ways I think they are for slightly advanced players who want to create scenes where they can shout 'no' and 'stop' and be ignored, yet still actually stop the scene with "safeword!" if necessary. A smart practice, to be sure.

Personally, especially when playing with new people who may not be familiar/comfortable with "roles", but definitely want to be tied up and have sex done to them... my rule is: Words are words... Stop means stop... ouch means ouch... more means more!

Just using normal language to communicate ones comfort/discomfort/interests in a scene.. especially when starting out, helps build trust between partners.

If a partner with whom you are using normal words to communicate in a scene isn't listening, you can up the ante and say "Safeword!" to get their attention. (If that doesn't work, your ultimate safeword is "Lawsuit!"...I like to joke, but that's not at all funny if someone is in real danger.)

If you want to graduate to playing roles where 'stop' doesn't mean 'stop', only your safeword means stop, then you can move on to that once you have trust established.
I can believe, but am dismayed by, the number of men who are so selfish and misogynistic and generally crude and nasty that they would take the gift of a willing submissive woman and use it as an excuse to treat a human being like crap. Speaking as a guy who prefers dominance between the sheets, my fellow men sometimes disgust me.
@JibeHo: I'm curious how people are reading the words "conventionally attractive" and deciding LW1 is a self-absorbed hottie

I'm sure we can all think of hot women who fit that stereotype, but that's what it is - a stereotype.

There are just so many men out there who hate women.
@50. You don't know what membership Dan paid for. And Fan I didn't read that he was making volunteer work a condition. He mentioned it maybe because he felt this girl needed to be around healthy people who are into her kink.
This girl is not looking after herself. Putting herself in the firing line of some really bent men.
It's only a sterotype if it's played for male approval, Sean.
It exists in its own right. Beautiful Young Women.
Shit. I forgot to wait.
There are just so many men out there who hate women.

This line caught my eye - I wonder how she arrived at the conclusion that these men hate women in general instead of just her in particular.

One sees this line of defense - "you don't like me because you're prejudice" - quite often these days. From what I've seen, it's just as often a smokescreen as it is true.
Could be because she is young. Ideas float around then experience confirms those ideas.
So, you really want this discussion Sean? Or you just baiting.
A lot of men are ambivalent about women. Because of their experiences with their mothers.
No, they don't hate women, most men. They sure seem to get cross a lot though, at needing women so much. The power women have over them. Or the mother still has over them, because they have not fully completed their seperation from her.
It's a tricky relationship. A male child has to step away from the mother. More importantly, the mother has to step aside. Let the male child head off down a road she really has no experience about.
So. This individuation and seperation from the mother is stalled. Stuck. And other women are not seen clearly, in adult male terms.
They are given too much power or too little. Always contaminated with left over mess from the original relationship.
This is re hetero males in traditional nuclear families, I'm talking about.
@seandr @71: I think there are lots of men who hate women. (I could do my psych 101 on why, but what would the point be?) And plenty of them hang out on the internet. She may be deserving of a little hate herself, it's hard to say with this level of information, but I think it's completely possible that she's correctly categorizing the men.

That said--there are lots of men who love women. Even the ones who don't really deserve it, from my point of view. And aren't women lucky to have those guys around!

(My data set on women is smaller, but presumably there are plenty of them that love/hate men, as well...that stereotype is less obvious to me, but then it would be, since I'm not on the receiving end of the emotion either way.)
If you're having a go at me, ciods. I did way past Psych101.
And there has to be reasons beyond it just exists, to understand why so many women perceive that men hate them.
Do men love women or only if they present themselves a certain way. Is it really women men love as people, or is woman as objects more important. As long as she's got the goods, and dresses a certain way, and has a certain intelligence..
Of course many men push past the crap and love a woman as she is. A full person. Many don't.
If you don't agree with my points of view ciods, for sure, state your case.
Put downs, so blah.
@LavaGirl @75: That comment wasn't directed at you at all; I wasn't referring to what you said. I hadn't even reloaded the page to see your post when I posted. I was merely meaning that although I have theories as to why some men hate women, I'm not sure they're correct, or that I have the data to back them up, or that they would mean/affect much even if I expressed them. Please don't think it was a put down of you.
One more time Monkey, please provide your personal definitions for the following self assessments:

I am attractive =

I am conventionally attractive =

If I could just understand what you're saying, I might be able to talk to you.
"Conventionally attractive" means at minimum, not very fat. It means you don't need to be kinky to find her attractive.

It means she's trying to be respectful. Simply saying she's "attractive" would imply that some people aren't, but everyone is attractive to someone.

"Conventionally attractive" means that the pool of people who could find her attractive is relatively large. "Unconventionally attractive" would mean that the pool is smaller. She's providing data to help analyze the problem. We aren't reading tea leaves here.
@ciods: I think there are lots of men who hate women....And plenty of them hang out on the internet.

Indeed. I'm merely suggesting that there are plenty of spurious accusations of sexism on the internet as well.

My Facebook feed, for example, is currently chock full of articles and posts explaining to me, sometimes in all caps! that the reason folks like myself are "meh" about Hillary Clinton is not because she's a poor orator and a career bureaucrat (whom I will nevertheless vote for next November), but because I'm sexist, misogynist, or a "Bernie Bro".
@11 LavaGirl: Agreed! Mention of Scalia, Trump, and McConnell are definitely deal breakers for me.
@19 EricaP and @33 seandr: I agree with both of you. Safe words aren't fail safe, but can at least be part of continued communication. Any two people---besides THINK and his girlfriend---need to openly discuss their kinks and fears with each other and reach some sort of mutual agreement.
I may sound like Dr. Ruth Westheimer here, but I believe that communication is a key factor in healthy relationships.
@80: Okay----Griz is again showing her age (I hit 80 this week! ha ha), but how many bloggers out there don't have a clue who Dr. Ruth Westheimer is?
Ciods, just a moment of bad timing then.
You think there could be data to prove theories re why a lot of women perceive many men hate women?
Ideas re how these attitudes develop, how humans develop thru their cultural experiences.. can just be ideas. This is not a science or psychology forum, where stats are God.
Venn @63: My memory of the details isn't as good, and I did not take the course of study you refer to in either country, but I did want to commend your clever Anglicisation of "superiour." My sense was that she wanted to be a Domme to take out her anger at/on men. Not the best of reasons.

Sean @71: I wonder how she arrived at the conclusion that these men hate women in general instead of just her in particular.
See my example @23 about how some men on dating sites respond to a polite "no" or a failure to reply within the expected timescale. Their scathing vitriol is clearly not about the individual they messaged.

Hunter @74: 27yo. It sounds like she's never been in love
Lucky girl, eh?

Alison @78: Yes, this. "I am conventionally attractive" = "I possess the physical features society generally deems desirable." Thin, but not too thin. Not disabled. Probably blond.

Auntie Griz @80: I remember Dr Ruth. So much kindlier than Dr Laura. But how about Dr Phil?
If you think not responding to me directly, like forever, Sean, is causing me any distress. Sorry.
You present as such a good example of a certain male archetype, allowing me to expand my feminist understandings. Ignoring me, not giving me any power, fits right in with my analysis above. Thank You.

This girl said maybe two lines in describing herself. So yes, Monkey, agree with JibeHo, what are you on about?
At 27 yrs old, how would you have described yourself? Oh, to be that age again and have more wisdom.
Ms Grizelda - Dr Westheimer was one of those few people I could impersonate more or less spot-on. It wasn't really much use to me, as I don't say so many of the words in her vocabulary, but my, "Hallo, you are on the air," and references to her sidekick Larry Angelo (with a built-up L) were good enough to do in public.
Ms Fan - I fear I deserve no special credit, as I always spell superiour with that penultimate U. I wonder if they would ding me for that on Final Jeopardy (recalling how a contestant in the teen tournament was judged wrong for inserting an extra letter and writing "Emanciptation Proclamation" - Ms Cute, have you a view on that call?).

The one that gives me the biggest headache is when a contestant was judged wrong for the pronunciation "Wimbleton". Now, on one side, that hideous pronunciation would likely make my Kill It With Fire short list, and anyone who pronounces Wimbledon with a T ought never to be allowed to have sex without a Sharapova-Azarenka match shrieking in the background. On the other, my inner Rumpole tells me I could win this in the Court of Appeal. National news anchors and even ESPN hosts have pronounced Wimbledon with a T, long before the Shrub mispronunciation of nuclear actually became an accepted variant in the dictionary. Additionally, d/t is a bit blurry; while it may not be one of those equivalencies that would be clearly a case of accent, it's close enough that consistency might demand a lot of accent crackdowns.

What I'd really like to see would be for the Final Jeopardy answer to be "Centre Court" and Ken Jennings judged wrong for spelling it "Center".
Thanks Allison, but I was more curious about Monkey's take on the difference since it seemed to be one of his triggers for deciding that the LW deserved contempt instead of advice.
Jibe @77: Monkey is just sore that this LW got a free membership when he didn't. It's sour grapes. He doesn't think attractive young women should get free stuff, even from gay men. And he's offended by the idea that a woman who's attractive knows she's attractive. If she knows she's attractive, she's more likely to call out men's bullshit. That would upset the natural order of things. Quick, tell her she's too fat, or something. A well-aimed neg should put her back in her place.

(Cheeky, ooh, I am feeling cheeky today. Love you guys.)

I am with Lava: let this woman enjoy her youth and looks while they last. Some day she will be the one being ignored by the men in her own age bracket, crying to the hairdresser who's chopping off her split ends, not daring to wear lipstick lest she be branded a "cougar." Then she can think back and say, You know, once Dan Savage gave me a free membership worth sixty whole dollars. And her younger contemporaries can say, Who? :)
JibeHo @87,

Yeah, sorry, I wasn't meaning to get between you and MonkeyFetish. I was just tossing poo in his general direction. Didn't mean to get in the way.
Just a couple of observations re POWER. The first one is that her attractiveness, whether conventional or not, should not really be an issue in the kink community (so I hope she's not counting on it to be her primary guarantee of submissive success). I remember attending a two-day BDSM workshop over 20 years ago where virtually none of the participants might be termed good-looking. You know what? It. Didn't. Matter. Because what transcended superficial attractiveness was the extent to which they gave of themselves - whether top or bottom - and it was an amazing experience just to be on the outside looking in. [OTOH, I still did manage to fascinate and begin a relationship with the most attractive man (who happened to look like an older version of a fave actor) simply because of my words and attitude.]

Offering to volunteer at several events should show her how others play and interact. And prove that, if something has value for her, then she can - and should - save up for it.
Kinky people are people, too. That means they still have preferences and attractions and types to whom they're not attracted. That means they come in the same assortment of interesting and boring, funny and dull, smart and stupid, conventionally attractive and unconventionally attractive and unattractive to the vast majority, kind and mean, nice and vindictive, nerdy and not-nerdy, short and tall, democrat and republican. You name it.

Dan has frequently implied that a kinky woman has the world as her oyster, since she is outnumbered by kinky men. Throw in relative youth and conventional attractiveness and POWER assumed that it would be relatively easy for her to meet the kinky man of her dreams or a variety of kinky men who, if not Mr. Right, would be fine for Mr. Right Now.

Strip away the kink element, and her story is a very familiar one: woman who seems to be a catch being single and wondering what's wrong.
@Lava @82:
You think there could be data to prove theories re why a lot of women perceive many men hate women?
Ideas re how these attitudes develop, how humans develop thru their cultural experiences.. can just be ideas. This is not a science or psychology forum, where stats are God.

("There certainly could be data," she thinks to herself, "if we just did the right studies...") But of course you're right. This isn't a rigorous forum. It's just habit for me to think like that. Apologies.

@seandr @79: Well poo on those people/posts. I don't think feeling blah about Hilary makes you (the generic you) a misogynist. Now, voting for some of the available Republicans might...but that's a separate call.

A few weeks back SNL did a bit with the Hilary character singing "I can't make you love me" by Bonnie Raitt in the background, while in the foreground a group of people discussed how they find her kinda meh. It was pretty spot-on.

@86 venn: I wish I could go into my spell check and tell it I have mild Anglophiliac tendencies, and could it please stop harassing me for the double-l in travelling.

@93 "Strip away the kink element, and her story is a very familiar one: woman who seems to be a catch being single and wondering what's wrong."

This is what I've been trying to get an understanding on from this woman's letter. Giving her a membership does her no good if she is carrying attitudes that are counter to what she's looking for.


Too many of you think I'm some butthurt misogynist who is angry at pretty girls for rejecting me and for not getting free stuff from Dan. I'm also some angry loveless troll who just wants to tear this poor girl down.

The thing is that it is my journey into a fulfilling kink life in a great city with great partners that has exposed me to the information that led me to my analysis.

Nobody has looked at the fact that I fundamentally agree with the advice being given and that none of my analysis actually changes the recommended course of action.

My hope is that she reads my writing and recognizes patterns in herself that she can change or determines I'm full of shit and moves on to a healthy kink life.

However, no amount of attempting to dissect why conventionally attractive is different from attractive in this context with text is going to be helpful so I'm going to step back from this conversation. I will, however, be happy to have an at length discussion over a bottle of whiskey if anyone ever finds themselves in Chicago.
@BiDanFan: Their scathing vitriol is clearly not about the individual they messaged.

Fair enough. I'll just point out that one could see that vitriol as a more aggressive, meatheaded, and (in some cases) desperate version of the same frustration LW is expressing with respect to finding a man. There's certainly no vitriol in her letter, but at the same time she seems to have a negative attitude towards all the men in the picture, including the one she enjoyed fucking, which makes me wonder...

But never mind, let's give her the benefit of the doubt...

@nocute: woman who seems to be a catch being single and wondering what's wrong.

Right - young, attractive, sexually submissive, the numbers should be in her favor. Maybe she's too smart for most men. Or too tall. Or maybe she's just otherwise sort of an odd duck - my wife went through a large number of relationships that she was sexually and emotionally ambivalent about before meeting me, and probably could have written this letter years ago (minus the kink).

Or, maybe she's just one of those people who finds it difficult to look past the shortcomings and sins of her suitors. Or, to be a little more impartial about it, maybe she's having trouble accepting that the world has handed her a different set of privileges and handicaps than it will have handed the average masculine male, so there are inevitably going to be places where her perspective diverges from theirs.
Thank you, MonkeyFetish, for the grace with which you've taken some criticism and ribbing. You are a shining example to some of the other denizens of this board. I have no doubt you've met some annoying individuals whom this LW reminds you of, and we do all project our own experiences onto the letters. Hope you have an enjoyable weekend.
@MonkeyFetish, from the letter alone, I don't get the attitudes you ascribe to the lw. I see her as frustrated in exactly the same way that anyone who doesn't think of themselves as unappealing would be frustrated, kinky or not. If someone has low self-esteem, or identifies a particular trait with their lack of dating success (height or the lack of it, baldness, being too fat or too thin, jagged teeth, facial scars, whatever), whether that's the reason for their lack of dating success or not, that's one thing. If someone takes an objective look at him or herself and says, "yeah, I don't stand out as being particularly unattractive" or "I don't have any particular feature or quality that I can blame my lack of success on," he or she is comparing his/herself with others and coming to the conclusion that s/he is conventionally attractive. The lw has probably had outside confirmation of her conventional attractiveness, but not from people she is interested in. Either they're not kinky, or they're kinky but other unappealing characteristics are there. She's frustrated and baffled partly because Dan and others make it sound as if you are a woman who is both conventionally attractive and kinky, you are a rare and precious commodity.

There was a man who called into the podcast some time ago who expressed his frustration with the lack of what we might call conventionally attractive women he meets in the kink community. Indeed, that community, while known for appearing to be more inclusive and have a broader definition of "attractive" (including heavier women, heavily-tattooed or pierced or otherwise bodily-modified people, those with more extreme hairstyles, etc.), is still made up of people--people who still have their preferences. That caller was unhappy to find less conventionally attractive women in his kink community--I believe in his case, he was dismayed not to find more slender women.

So here's a woman who's probably slender and doesn't have anything too "extreme" about her. She already gets affirmative feedback from society at large. She feels somewhat special in the kink community--maybe a 9 surrounded by women she considers to be 5s-7s. She's all the things most people say they want and she's kinky, too! Shouldn't she be someone great's "jackpot?" Alas, the men whose attention she's drawing aren't the ones she wants.

I don't see her as particularly entitled and as someone needing to come down a peg or learn a lesson or "recognize a pattern in herself that she needs to change."
I do think that she needs to accept that dating is dating is dating is dating, as Gertrude Stein once said. Kinky or vanilla, it often just doesn't easily click for you.

I will say that 5-7 years ago, I was far more conventionally attractive than I am now: younger (obviously) and slimmer. I am kind, funny, smart, and thoughtful, and in my 40s, quite conventionally attractive. And kinky. And I kept--and keep--attracting men who are great, but not at all kinky and who are put off by my relatively mild kink. I also attracted kinky men that for a variety of reasons weren't at all appealing to me. I found that my being a kinky woman was hardly the "Yahtzee" that Dan often makes it out to be. Now, in my early 50s and overweight, I'm no longer conventionally attractive, and the problem hasn't gotten better. It only means that less men, both vanilla and kinky, are attracted to me.
While commenter #1 should be reprimanded for starting the POWER-personality guessing game, it seems like this issue is taking a lot of our energy this week. And with possibly few exceptions the contention lines are once again drawn along genitalia.
Is Dan’s advice to her valid and helpful regardless of what we assume about her?

BDF @ 90 second paragraph
I admit, I lied to Lava in my @58 post. Very much in love and boarding the next plane, just packed the “little black bikini” ciods sent me
@ciods: Well poo on those people/posts.

I know. It'd be easier for me to take that attitude if the posts weren't coming my way via women whom I otherwise like and respect.

A few weeks back SNL...

Great skit, I watch that show religiously.
@nocutename: kept--and keep--attracting men who are great, but not at all kinky and who are put off by my relatively mild kink.

This is really interesting. I would have thought a majority of men could pull off basic domming and enjoy doing so. Do you think this reflects the general prevalence of kinky men, or is it something about the guys are you are attracting?
LavaGirl @68:
Yes, we do know that Dan paid for the $60 "friend" level, because, as nartweag pointed out @52, the website states that "All members first join as Friends."
@102: "I would have thought a majority of men could pull off basic domming and enjoy doing so. Do you think this reflects the general prevalence of kinky men, or is it something about the guys are you are attracting?"
You got me, seandr.
I would have thought so, too. To be clear, I'm not holding out for the Dommiest Dom of them All. If I feel enough connection, I can round myself back down to mostly vanilla, butI have dated numerous men who can't even talk dirty. The words fuck and cunt appear to be impossible for them to utter in a sexual context (they can curse).
@nocutename @104: I have also found a smaller-than-expected percentage of men I've slept with were willing and able to lean dominant. Maybe I just have a completely wrong idea in my head of how many men are up for that--I remember (vaguely) some stat from a while back, posted here, about how more men lean submissive than the other way--or something like that? Anyway, something that I was surprised by, and yet seemed to explain my experience. In my adventures so far I've only run into one who was naturally into it, and maybe two others who were willing to give it a go. With the rest it was either not brought up (relationship not long-lived, say) or just not their thing, brought up but DOA.

Another possible explanation is certainly the subset of men I've dated: mostly academic-types, since that's where I was hanging out. Maybe all the dom guys are hanging out in blue-collar bars and that's why I missed them...
@103 whatever. It was a kind gesture on Dan's part.
Ms Ods - Well, you've just read Sense and Sensibility. Even Mr Palmer apparently has sufficient ability to make people like him. Do you think Mrs C, like Marianne, simply refuses to be taught the lesson, or do you think she thinks she already knows? It seems possible to make the case that she's a gendre-reversed Nice Guy, doing All The Right Things, and then blaming the hypergamous electorate when she's passed over.

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