That seemed a bit harsh. Yeah, he definitely sounds boring, compulsive, and single-minded. But did he actually cheat on her or just "create opportunities to have sex" with other people without her knowledge? Is he lying to her? Or is he just obsessed with sex more than she wants him to be?
@1, yes, he's been lying to her. she made that fairly clear, i thought.
But "fucking other girls without her knowledge" lying? Or "talking sexy with other girls but not fucking them" lying?
I don't know how people have the time for all this sexytimes stuff. It's as much as I can do to work, grocery shop and walk the dog. I suppose I could eat more take-out to save time.
"What is going on"

You're a portion of his hobby, which is sex. Not a secure partner. His priorities were and are pretty plain, and they aren't you.

@1: "But did he actually cheat on her or just "create opportunities to have sex" with other people without her knowledge? Is he lying to her? Or is he just obsessed with sex more than she wants him to be?"

Somewhat irrelevant, in that his priority isn't his partner and it isn't work, he has no other hobbies, interests or abilities?

At best, dude is too shallow and unstable for this relationship. But fixers will find their fixer-uppers...

I mean, this is the man she started dating, he hasn't changed. Her expectations for him have, but he has little interest in changing those for her or anybody.
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
But sex is a chemical substance.
No, that's spooge.
I was in SAA and SLAA for 10 years or so, did the steps work, and am tremendously grateful for all those meetings.
I found the program, at least in the groups I was part of (Seattle area and mostly on Capitol Hill) to be very supportive, inclusive, insightful, and extremely helpful.

Dan, while usually in agreement with you it pains me to see you denying there’s no such thing as sex addiction, and basing much of this assertion on Dr. Ley’s shallow arguments.
Last year or so Doc got couple of pages in this publication in which he referred to fairly marginal cases to base his “conclusions” on.
Today’s Doc’s paragraph is no different. If alcoholics and drug (real, tangible ones) users suffer from personality disorder of some sort, does that mean they are not alcoholics or drug addicts? The numbers are also deceiving and don’t make sense here. If “as many as 30-70% of alleged sex addicts may have a diagnosable personality disorder” then what does it tell us about all others?

Dr. Klein’s fails to mention that SAA – Sex Addicts Anonymous- is based on Alcoholics Anonymous which is not a professional service, and can be better described as a “grassroots group therapy” (my definition.)

LW- if your bf’s escapist/distracting behavior was alcohol or snorting or eating or gambling he could still be “diagnosable [with] personality disorder such as Narcissistic PD, Antisocial, or Borderline.”
Regardless, you would likely seek help in those areas if you cared for him. Same goes to stuff which may not be recognized by Dan and some experts.
That said, feel free to dump him regardless.

It's a symptom, like Ley points out, it's not the disease itself.

This is true of most addiction.

@9: If alcoholics and drug (real, tangible ones) users suffer from personality disorder of some sort, does that mean they are not alcoholics or drug addicts?

It means there is an underlying issue that treating the substance abuse alone will often fail to address.

I've known a lot of ex addicts that were as insufferable sober as they were on the poison of choice. Rehab is just one part of what they needed.

Blaming a person's issues on "addiction" is often seeking to impersonalize the issue ("It's not me, it's the sauce") and seek a simple solution to a complex problem ("just get him off the junk and he'll be right again!").
@10. Opioid abuse will flat change your brain structure. It is an addiction caused by the drugs, not a personality disorder manifesting itself as drug abuse.

I don't know about sa or the rest but humans like anything that fires off the dopamine channel.
XiaoGui17 @ 10
“It means there is an underlying issue that treating the substance abuse alone will often fail to address.”
I agree, there are many ways that us humans find to medicate for pain, temporary escape, and so on. One needs to look at the bigger picture.

“I've known a lot of ex addicts that were as insufferable sober as they were on the poison of choice. Rehab is just one part of what they needed.”
Absolutely. My 12-step experience was very holistic in that way and made me look far beyond my “problem.” It was very inspiring to hear others talk freely about their past and current struggles, their joys and successes.

“Blaming a person's issues on "addiction" is often seeking to impersonalize the issue ("It's not me, it's the sauce") and seek a simple solution to a complex problem”
Exactly, this is why one needs to look deeper into what is going on and why, take responsibility, put things in context, air the shaming and have a supportive group. All along having the freedom to take in whatever applies to them and leave the rest.

“It's a symptom, like Ley points out, it's not the disease itself.
This is true of most addiction.”
I hope Dan and the experts are paying attention.

In other news: Is this Laurie Anderson on your avatar?

Hang on a minute. ADDICT has lucked into finding someone who not only meets but surpasses her libido, and she's complaining about his high libido? Hello?
Urgutha @1: Good point. "Honesty" means different things to different people. ADDICT's boyfriend probably thinks he has been honest by telling her he is not seeing her exclusively. But ADDICT wants the whos, wheres and whens (if, hopefully, not hows). They need to discuss how much information is required to meet each of their "honesty" standards.

Elmsyrup @7: I agree -- or if not sex specifically, oxytocin. It's certainly my drug of choice.

One question I would ask is how old is ADDICT's boyfriend? Are they 35 and 20, or 48 and 33? It matters. If he's just a post-adolescent horndog, I suspect the problem will take care of itself with time. If he's over 30 and still behaving this way, then yeah, this is not a person I'd like to spend a lot of time around. On the other hand, the older ADDICT is, the harder it will be for her to find someone who matches her sex drive. So perhaps her answer to "the sex can't be that good, can it?" is yes.

Out of curiosity I took that "are you a sex addict?" text and it told me that I am one, so give Dan a point there. The test is obviously biased: ticking "yes" to questions like "are you into BDSM", "are you in more than one romantic/sexual relationship" and "do you hide certain activities from family members" (er, of course; my parents do not need to know that I'm into gender-fuck and pegging, now do they?) boosts your score. There are also questions that pretty much everyone would answer "yes" to, like "do you spend a lot of time thinking about sex," well, who doesn't?

I'm not a scientist, but if people want to refer to compulsive, self- and relationship-destructive sexual behaviour as "sex addiction" then that seems like reasonable terminology to me.
Took the test Dan links to. No one could be less a sex addict than I (trust me!) but I got a very high probability score. So yep I call bullshit on that.

Not surprised the test is biased. Not when there is money to be made. Hub got entangled in a snafu that required he attend an assessment for alcoholism. He is not any stretch an alcoholic. Like maybe one drink a week if that. But he, being smarter than the average bear, became quite angry with the obvious bias in the questions. The part that really frustrated him is the assumption he was lying at various points. And of course, alcohol counseling would follow if he scored poorly.

I'm not sure what the answer is, because abusers lie. And alcoholism is a problem.

I feel like I was unduly critical over the argument that addiction is really about masking other problems. My only point is "not always."…

@13. BiDanFan. She hasn't lucked into anything. He cheats; constructively lies to her; goes behind her back; refuses to engage in any discussion of what kind of relationship he wants; doesn't care about her; is attentive (however wild the sex) only so long as is necessary to be satisfied himself; has no interests or life-goals; is dull, immature and fratboy-ishly flaunts this immaturity, and in all probability seeks to justify his behavior by claiming he has a special relationship to sex.

No one has a special relationship to sex that justifies them being an asshole.

And she asks whether she should challenge him? Because there are few men that can keep up with her, somewhere in her mind there's the thought that this guy is worth persevering with? She needs to line up fifty lovers that like her and rotate. Get an app for her phone. She can be the person that initiates, so it becomes something she does with the minimum of mental space--leaving time free for career, family and other interests.
It may not be the textbook definition of "addiction", but any behavior that takes over your life to the exclusion of everything else is certainly a compulsion. LW is just getting a more extreme version of her own (2-3 times per night and then again in the morning) behavior, which I would call a "bit" compulsive. Just guessing, but I'm thinking that she shouldn't be too surprised that any man she finds who can keep up with that schedule might want even more. If compulsion is what you want, compulsion is what you'll get.
And yes, its mostly the lying, rather than him wanting more that's the problem, but that's also a compulsive behavior.
@9. CMD Wannabe. I think there's all the difference in the world between someone who riskily or in an abject manner puts themselves in dangerous situations to have sex (where what's sexually engaging is their passivity, self-abandonment) and someone who justifies faithlessness, lying, emotional abuse--cheating; not respecting or caring about a partner's needs--by calling themselves a 'sex addict'.

The second person is borderline, a borderline sociopath or narcissist. They can't empathically grasp that it's painful to be cheated on or lied to. The other person's hurt has no traction with them. This is a personality disorder. The hurt is more painful or intimate because it's over sex, yes. But essentially the addict is acting with human disregard--because others' feelings don't weigh for him or her in the same way.

The person who pathologically seeks self-annihilation through sex (or, if that's too strong, seeks an indiscriminate and impersonal form of acceptance) has quite another set of problems--having to do with issues of self-acceptance or self-love. I'm not sure that, in any therapeutic setting, these two different modes of sex addict should be in the same room.
What's going on, you ask LW? From what you've written I'd say he's taking you for a ride.
@20. Donny. I don't see that high frequency is in itself compulsive. Maybe people who have sex a lot think about it, in many cases, less; sex is partly an automatism, like rubbing the back of someone who looks worried or sad? And people not getting it think about sex a lot more?

The LW could be someone who, in a relationship, fucks a lot but is still mentally preoccupied, or interested, in a whole slew of other things.
Harriet @19: She needs to line up fifty lovers that like her and rotate.

AIEEEEEEEE! Do you have any idea how much work that is when you're not looking at fifty but even three or four? Especially if you are picky? Even three or four lovers on rotation does NOT leave time for family, friends or other interests, and the quality control with multiple randos is far lower than what she's getting now. Sorry hon, but when I found one lover three years ago who could replace the handful of out-of-towners and primary-partnereds whose mercy I was always at in terms of scheduling, I considered it a dream come true, even if he is less than perfect personality wise. And my STI risk is far, far lower as well. All ADDICT currently has to do to get reliably good sex is send a text. That is worth fifty studs-or-duds in the bush.

I would advise her to see this relationship for what it really is: free sex work on his part. Nothing is ever truly free, and his personality is the price she's chosen to pay.

Donny @21: I honestly don't see lying or cheating, I just see a lower level of disclosure. He has never claimed he isn't seeing others; he just hasn't shared every detail. Some people prefer a DADT. LW isn't one of them, but as I said, level of disclosure is something they need to discuss. (Bonus, if she tries to see him as a gigolo rather than a partner, she may not be so worried about who else he's fucking. I'm working hard to get to that place now.)

Lava @23: He's taking her for a ride three or four times a night. Boom!
Amendment to @25. Just reread the letter and ADDICT does state that "he knew that (she was opposed to secrecy) because we had discussed it." So yeah. They've had the talk on how much honesty she expects, now he needs to either honour it or leave.
Not that sort of ride Fan, the other sort.
He sounds like a total idiot and she seriously asks what's going on. Enjoy the fun times LW and stop giving him money.
Lava @26: I got you. "Boom!" means "Punchline!"
Hell, you know what meets the scientific definitions for addiction? Tanning. People do it even though it's bad for them. They think about it when they're not doing it. It makes them feel good. Etc.
Harriet@24 - three times a day plus once in the morning equals four times a day. If she was taking a shower four times a day I would call that compulsive. Stuff you do four times a day, every day (aside from eating, etc) probably has some level of compulsivity to it. PLUS, re: boyfriend, he's also jerking off, and the rest of his life is dominated by sex this, sex that. He's textbook compulsive. Her, maybe not so much...not enough info in her letter. But, still...four times a day, every day...

BiDan@25 -she says, "I found out he was creating opportunities to have sex with others behind my back"... sounds like lying to me.
@10. Opioid abuse will flat change your brain structure. It is an addiction caused by the drugs, not a personality disorder manifesting itself as drug abuse.

Here's the thing about opioids (etc): limited use, whether directed by a doctor or even recreational, will not change brain structure so dramatically as to develop addiction. Many people use opioids after surgery without developing addiction. Many people casually try opioids at parties without developing addiction.

Only prolonged and heavy abuse of a substance will cause the physiological changes associated with addiction, and that raises a simple issue: what was going on with this person in the first place that they decided to abuse this substance so heavily, before it altered their brain?

It's not necessarily a personality disorder. It may be circumstance. Maybe their life sucks. But something was wrong before the drugs were introduced.

I appreciate that physiological addiction is real, that withdrawal is real, that the body will freak out if it suddenly stops getting a substance to which it has grown accustomed.

But--that does not negate that something was driving them to take it before the physical addiction set in. Sometimes it's chronic pain. Sometimes it's physical and emotional abuse. Someone's it's soul- crushing poverty. Sometimes it's a devastating loss. Sometimes it's an untreated psychiatric condition. It's something.

Happy people don't use drugs so heavily that they develop addictions. (See: Rat Park).
Can we just refer to it as obsessive / compulsive sexual behavior so that the pointless argument about whether it is technically an addicition can end? One of the major tenets of the 12 step culture is that we should learn to live life on life's terms, in other words find ways to deal with life outside of self-soothing behaviors like drinking, using drugs, or fucking. So this nonsense about addressing the symptom of an underlying issue without dealing with the cause is, well, nonsense. 12 step programs encourage people to get into counseling, give them a place where they can openly talk about their struggles with a socially stigmatized behavior, and encourage people to take responsibility for their actions and for finding healthy ways to live their lives. I've seen it work wonders for some people.

I have also seen people use sex addiction as a way to avoid dealing with their real problem, but since avoiding problems is the MO of most addicts, that shouldn;t be surprising to anyone or an indication that the sex addiction model is flawed. For many people, the road to addiciton of any kind starts with a fundamental unhappiness in life. I understand why people dislike sex addiction as a concept. Sex shaming in our culture has driven some people to associate a high libido or a harmless kink with a mental disorder (I've seen this first hand). But the problem there is not with sex addiction as a model, but with our societal views on sex in general. We can push for more acceptance of the amazing rainbow that is human sexuality and also acknowledge that some people suffer from compulsive sexual behaviors.

The LW's bf certainly seems to fit the bill of a compulsively sexual person. But if he's not unhappy living his life the way he is and his behavior is only hurting the LW, then what is there to do but let him be him and move on? She can certainly suggest he has an issue and that he get help, but if he isn't on board with that she needs to leave. There are plenty of guys out there who will fuck you nightly.
Some more CMD-related SAA stuff:
The program as I experienced it was never about money. Each group is self-supported and any extra in groups I was a member of went to help others who couldn’t afford participation and other related SAA activities.

I never took the test Dan referred us to. I was referred to the program by a therapist some 15 years ago, and went along with it in order to save my marriage. I hated those at first and realized later much of it was due to my own fears and resentments.
It took me few months of weekly meetings to get in there and see the commonalities regardless of age, gender, orientation, struggles, joys, etc.

Granted, attending meetings and working the steps are not for every one, just like many other things we humans do. If something doesn’t work for you it doesn’t necessarily mean that it does not exist in the first place.

Sex aside, I learned a lot about myself in the process, it improved my interactions with others including in the work place, helped me better define what is it that I’m looking for, and also rethink engaging in activities that used to be secretive, shameful, and demoralizing. It helped with my self-esteem and self-expression, and even sex life in the process.

My marriage didn’t survive, but the tools I’ve acquired and the people I’ve met helped me deal with all things divorce and moving on with my life, and I’m much happier and complete with what I do nowadays.
Not every thing is rosy; I still have struggles and issues I have to deal with. Just like the rest of us.
ADDICT wanted a horny 23-year old horny pool boy and got a 23-year old horny Pool Boy. Was she expecting he'd change?
I've had a relationship like this and thought the same thing. "I told him I'm open to non-monogamy, so why would did he prefer to be monogamous but then go behind my back and lie?" At the time, I concluded the lying and lack of trust was the primary issue and I DTMFA'd. With time and perspective, as well of the benefit of seeing him in action from afar, I've come to realize the underlying issue was not lying, it was an inability to deny himself anything he wanted, and that is not something that can be solved by being honest and open. It is also something that makes a true partnership really challenging (and another excellent reason to DTMFA).

Even open relationships have ground rules and someone who is unable to suppress their desires may not respect those ground rules. Additionally, some people are unable to tolerate non-monogamy in a primary partner, even if they secretly exercise that freedom themselves. I tend to think this mindset is rarely limited to sex and expresses itself in many ways in a relationship.

This is not a comment on whether or not true sex addiction exists. I have no opinion on that.
@33: Fixers gonna fix.

His behavior was okay but now it's not.

@34: ++

It's another sign that people try to angle "sex positivity" to meaning "all the sex for me, but only under my terms".

She needs to realize that what she wants and what he wants are opposed, and that all that libidinous energy isn't getting focused on her any more than it was initially, if not much less now that his new relationship excitement has fizzled and he's off to other conquests.
>With time and perspective, as well of the benefit of seeing him in action from afar, I've come to realize the underlying issue was not lying, it was an inability to deny himself anything he wanted, and that is not something that can be solved by being honest and open.

This is a really good way of putting it. In a relationship, either partner is inevitably going to want something they can't have without hurting their partner. Most people don't want whatever that is enough to mess with their relationship.

Some things don't seem like big relationship violations: She cheated on the partner diet agreement by eating a donut. He cheated on the open relationship by not disclosing the lady he made out with when he was out at the bar.

Other things seem way bigger: She didn't keep herself in "good working order" 15 years into the relationship. He found another lover, but stayed in his primary relationship because he didn't want to make the hard decision of leaving her, and he really did still love her.

Balancing these things is the hard work of an LTR. Thanks.
@25. BiDanFan. The quality control now is off. Something's gone wrong. His main interest isn't one of her interests (whatever they are) but sex generally--sexting, thinking up sexual scenarios, watching extreme porn, talking about sex in what she portrays as a 'Beavis-and-Butthead' type way with other younger men (younger than her). He's into sex but not into satisfying relationships--without seeming to know, despite his flakiness and tendency to dishonesty, why he's not had (or having) them. There's no indication he likes her. Equally, no indication she likes him. She says the draw, at first (she puts this in the past tense), was that he could keep up with her in bed. Now she wants him to do something with his life, at least to cultivate some other interest. This is the sign of being open to an ongoing relationship with someone, wanting both of you to be heading somewhere together--even just to have something to talk about besides sexual positions. But he refuses.

I'll admit fifty was hyperbolic (;-p ). But as a man, I'd have sex with anyone I found vaguely attractive--and be more considerate about it, and interesting, in every conceivable parameter, than this jerk. To respond to you personally (with a smile on my lips), I wonder, when practicable lovers are so thin on the ground, why I've have so few in my life (and most of the best sex, when I could finally bring myself to it, with kinksters in bespoke or themed settings). Was I too backwards in coming forwards? (This is true). Were Americans reading me as too Euro? Women as exclusively gay? Younger guys as an authority figure? (that was a _problem_?) Am I too shamefully a bottom--and in a way compounded by diffidence? Maybe just my face is a disappointment. Whatevs. But I think for a woman finding men for sex is easier than you imply. (I don't disagree about your idea of him being 'free sex work' for her).

It can't be that difficult for the LW to find something better.

@36 If an open couple agrees to specific ground rules and those ground rules include disclosing specific sex partners, I would consider it a violation not to do so. Whether I considered it a minor or major violation would depend on whether it was a one time fuck up or a pattern, whether the person was open to a mutually agreeable renegotiation if it was a pattern, and whether the undisclosed sex partner was someone who was specifically off-limits (for instance, a relative or very close friend of the couple, if such people are generally off-limits for that couple).

Ditto for whether the partner falling into non-working order would be considered a violation. Are they open to change? Are they open to opening the relationship so needs can be met elsewhere if that's something the "in working order" partner would consider a decent workaround?

I guess the bottom line is respect and willingness to compromise in a meaningful way. If one or both parties are unwilling to compromise, not just about sex but about other major aspects of life, it will be a difficult partnership. Partnership may not even be the right word in such a case.

@29. Donny. So you want more after one of you has come when you've had an early night--and so you have sex again--wake up early in the morning, do it again--and this is compulsive? This can just be an ordinary expression of affection, I think--something no more fretted-over and problematic than wiping a child's nose repeatedly. My body is nothing like it was when I was 18. But I might still do this (the waking-up and going in again stuff; and I'd put myself forward as someone who probably has sex less, and cares about it less per se, than most people who comment here).

She doesn't read to me as having problems with anything (apart from with him). He reads as unhappy, compulsive and possibly with anti-social personality, or a related, disorder.
@32. CMDWannabe. What were the commonalities among the sex addicts in your group?
@39 - Four times a day, every day?
She wants a real relationship with a partner who has a similar high sex drive. He just want sex, nothing else. There's no future here, she should dump him and move on. Even if she can fix the lying and cheating on their open-with-disclosure agreement, anyone who is only interested in one thing exclusively, is, as Dan said, a BORE! Life is short, no need to waste it with an untrustworthy dullard who puts her at risk of STDs.
@39: The inability to engage in any interests or interest in his partner beyond sex is more concerning to the stability of any LTR than frequency alone.
Harriet_by_the_bulrushes @ 40
“What were the commonalities among the sex addicts in your group?”
Sex as a temporarily relief, a compulsive act of some sort followed by shame and demoralization once it is over, reliving a trauma, spending way too much time and resources on sex-related activities come to mind. I'm sure there are plenty more.

Another commonality is that hardly anyone joins SAA meetings on their own. Something bad needs to happen in order to force one to look into their shit: getting caught, getting sick, losing a job, losing money, engaging in risky/illegal behavior and so on.

Because of the complexity of human sexuality SAA is much trickier than AA for example, where the boundary of alcohol consumption is clearly outlined.
Interestingly some group members joined after years of AA sobriety, and I remember at least two of them saying at some point something like, “Finally I get to work on the real issues.”

LW - My experience as a guy is that a woman wanting to fuck a lot is the rarest of breeds. Put yourself out there on any social media platform you like - Tinder, AFF, Craigslist - and you will get laid as much as you want.
@39. Donny. Twice a night, then again in the morning when they're together. As a woman, she might be saying how often she comes. Or one of them comes. There's no suggestion she breaks off from a valuable or needed job in the middle of the day to make the purple earthquakes. If someone's sex life was 'one and done', getting it over and done with, then rolling over, happy to be shot of it, every time one of them had an orgasm--well, that I would find more concerning than having it twice or three times a night in the early days of a relationship.

@ 43. Undead. Of course. Actually, of all the letters to this incarnation of Dan Savage's column I've read, this was the one that had me most thinking, 'DTMFA!'
@44. CMD. It sounds as though none of the people in your group had narcissistic or anti-social personality disorder. None used sex as a particularly clinical tool for probing others' vulnerabilities, experimenting on their feelings in a heartless or humanly dissociated way. I have seen a sociopath claiming sex addiction behave like this--and be aware of her maladaption, and strive to shake the behavior off.

I'd think the kind of 'shame and demoralization' that follows on from compulsive sex has to be entailed by the effect that sex has on the person(s) the 'addict' has sex with. Is it someone you're leading on, or lying to? Is it someone using you, chewing you up? Instinctively I'd think there was a wide range here--but your characterization of the essentials of sex addiction is interesting and provides food for thought.
Why the big belly ache about sex addiction? People go to food, alcohol, drugs, gaming in an addictive way to help them deal with their issues. Why not sex too?
Harriet @ 47
Sorry if I gave you a somewhat distorted picture. I described what brings people to the meetings and what issues they may face in regards to their “non-existent” sex addiction.
Just like the rest of society SAA groups are comprised of people of all walks of life.

As opposed to Dr. Ley’s claim that “alleged sex addicts may have a diagnosable personality disorder such as Narcissistic PD, Antisocial, or Borderline,” I never claimed that all sex addicts are disorders-free. Some SAA members may face those issues, and usually work on them as well, yet most don’t.
I doubt Doc is paying attention.
I'm almost 100% certain the LW is dating my ex. The similarities are eerily spot on. He was 23 years my junior and has always dated/preyed on older women. Sex is not his only addiction and I implore the LW to do a background check or at least check the local court records. If they're compulsive about sex, they're compulsive about many other things and very good at hiding or having excuses for their past.
Donny @29: "sounds like lying to me"
I admit this is semantics, but "lying" means "deliberately stating a falsehood." Boyfriend is not doing this. If Boyfriend told LW he wasn't sleeping with other women when he was, that would be "lying." (He is also not "cheating," because LW has told him she is OK with him sleeping with other girls.) What Boyfriend is engaging is "secrecy," which LW has told him she is not okay with, meaning he is also being inconsiderate and selfish. But he is not technically lying. I prefer to reserve such strong language for actual liars.

I'd also challenge your reading of the letter as "four times a day, every day." She hasn't said that they see each other every day. They might see each other twice a week and have several quickies per date -- highly likely if Boyfriend is in the early-20s-or-under age range. (I'm not disagreeing that Boyfriend sounds highly oversexed, but again, many 20-year-olds would have this much sex if they could.)

CMD @32: Thank you for sharing your story.

FutureCat @34: And thank you for yours. I've often wondered why people who are given free rein to fuck whoever they want, so long as they offer full disclosure, screw up such a sweet deal by preferring to keep secrets. Immaturity? Getting a kick out of mistreating a partner by being deceitful? Suspicion, or actual reason to believe, the partner will not actually be as okay with it as they claim? Cheaters gonna cheat, perhaps is the lesson here.

Harriet @37: By "quality control" I meant the fact that the 50 lovers you suggest are probably not all going to be good, or even tolerable, ones. Some people prefer good sex and meh personality to meh sex and good personality, particularly those like LW with very high sex drives. If sex is your priority, you'll seek out good sex at the expense of "quality" in other aspects of the relationship.

"as a man, I'd have sex with anyone I found vaguely attractive--and be more considerate about it, and interesting, in every conceivable parameter, than this jerk"
On point one, it might take me years to find fifty people (or even, let's say, twenty people) whom I found "vaguely" attractive (my standard for sex is more than "vaguely") and who were also attracted to me, available for a sex rotation, and not assholes.
Point two, being considerate to casual sex partners is far from universal. There are many men out there who slut-shame women for engaging in exactly the same casual sex practices that they do. Double standards abound. If this guy isn't judging LW for her high drive, that may be one reason she considers him a keeper. (A low bar, you may say, but many fail to clear it.) If LW is, say, in her late forties, it may indeed be hard -- or she may believe it's hard -- to find somebody better.
@51: But he is not technically lying. I prefer to reserve such strong language for actual liars.

Much mischief is worked by people who insist on making that distinction and using it as a shield for deceptive behavior.
@51. BiDan. Scrub the fifty; the fifty was hyperbole. I know men are slut-shaming, inconsiderate assholes (many of them). I could write down the names of fifty people I'd go and have sex with in my upcoming lunch-break right now, if they were 15 mins. bike ride or on public transport away. Most (35-40) of them are men; but this is because I've come across them in my sex life (broadly construed) before, share a sense of solidarity and could talk about practicalities without embarrassment. I'd prefer (to save deliberation time) people with herpes, who have no or relatively innocuous outbreaks. I have nothing worse and I'm afraid of worse. I'd expect the main form that this lunchtime sex with companeros would take would be my sucking their dick.

Beyond a mismatch of kink and favoured activities, I'd guess I fail a lot of women's physical 'pickiness' standards. I'm thickset (though now not officially overweight: yay!) and stupid-looking, or 'mooncalf'; I look Sicilian but am actually southern French. People say things like, 'I've got used to your making intelligent comments by now'. I have man-boobs and a protruberant ass and move campily despite myself. I still get the feeling from your comments that I should do better with lovers--in the numbers game. Maybe the issue is with the gender norm of the woman, however highly-sexed, not putting herself forward?
@49. CMD. You don't sound as if you have a sex addiction now. Or, if that misunderstands or brushes up the wrong way against the language of the twelve-step program, you sound as if you're recovering from your addiction. It looks like you've been through a lot and come out the other side.

Dan expressed a view on whether there was such a thing as SA, comparable to alcohol or gambling addiction, and cited professional authorities substantiating the view. I found his statement plausible--but then I also find your statement plausible. I'm not sure I have a view. It's absolutely the case many people have obsessive sex to reenact and "work through" trauma. It's absolutely the case sex can be an addictive behavior that waylays people, in a shame-inducing, as well as sheerly impractical, way, away from their duties and goals.
@51 BiDanFan I'd guess different people have different motivations for violating agreements within open relationships. I'm sure sometimes it's just a fuck up in the heat of the moment, but when it's a pattern of the same type of violation over and over again, I tend to think the person just can't handle any restrictions whatsoever and resort to deception to have complete and total freedom. And maybe sometimes the associated risk gets them off.

In monogamous relationships, there's the added incentive of keeping the non-cheating partner monogamous.

There was a time in my life when I cheated for all of the above reasons, but I was a teenager. I still remember the mindset, however. It was some combo of poor impulse control, unwillingness to give partners the same freedom I was taking myself (jealousy), getting off a little bit on the drama, and not having developed enough empathy to truly understand what it would feel like to be the fucked over person in that arrangement.
@51: "I admit this is semantics, but "lying" means "deliberately stating a falsehood." Boyfriend is not doing this."

I'm sure he's the sort of relationship rules-lawyer who argues that lies of intentional omission are markedly different than your average ones because "you didn't ask" for information he ought to be providing

@44: "Interestingly some group members joined after years of AA sobriety, and I remember at least two of them saying at some point something like, “Finally I get to work on the real issues.”"

Wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't due to a different approach than the Christian Evangelical revival-tent structure of AA.

@55: "And maybe sometimes the associated risk gets them off."

I know with gambling addicts, the real rush comes from not the winning, but the losing.

Perhaps they even *want* to be caught, some persons enjoy the drama and self-indulgent "oh woe is me, I'm such a bad person" boo-hooing. Self-hatred isn't too far off from similar glorifications.
@55 undead Again, probably varies person to person. I remember clearly for *me* it was not that I liked getting caught. That was the bad part. But I did sort of like the feeling of being "bad" and it is also a way to sort of inoculate yourself against vulnerability. In other words, if you get dumped or if the other person cheats on you, you've been a shitty partner, so it doesn't hurt so much. I actually knew a guy who said he cheated on every partner he ever had because he assumed they were all cheating on him, too. To make an agreement and stick to it is to be the more vulnerable party in the relationship. But overall, my own primary motivation was to be able to fuck whoever I wanted while still having a boyfriend being faithful and doting on me. Fortunately my mindset changed at around the age of 18.
The '80s explosion of 'recovery' movements doesn't really come from AA or NA, but from Al-Anon. The REAL addicts have a fine litmus test of progress/success. As Bill Wilson is supposed to have asked: 'Are those guys sober?'

I've been to a couple of SLAA meetings. There were an entirely different 'country' from AA. They seemed to be directly connected to the commercial 'recovery' industry and seemed to lack any clarity about what they were trying to 'recover' from. (of course 2 meetings in one location does NOT qualify me to have a direct opinion.)

Still, as a long-sober drunk, I find it appalling that mutual assistance around REAL addiction can be spun off into these silly spandrels.

No doubt, some people have compulsions and/or obsessions around sex. Just think of all the pearl-clutchers and anti-gay 'therapists' for a start. And they might well find good ways to support each other towards better ways of functioning. But the 'process addiction' model seem way too feeble to be a working foundation.

@57: " I remember clearly for *me* it was not that I liked getting caught. That was the bad part. But I did sort of like the feeling of being "bad"

Oh sure, but being "bad" places yourself in all sorts of situations where one can and will be caught at some point sooner or later. That sort of doomed-sexy is very appealing to some youth and I definitely was the other side of that relationship in my early twenties.

"I actually knew a guy who said he cheated on every partner he ever had because he assumed they were all cheating on him, too"

That's really a loathsome sort of opportunism, where the guy wants to betray his partner, so he concocts the rationalization, projecting it all onto the victims. He knows what he wants and he's going to get it and evade responsibility.
@58: "The REAL addicts have a fine litmus test of progress/success. As Bill Wilson is supposed to have asked: 'Are those guys sober?'"

And is their program any better than not going?

AA is hardly more scientific or effective. I'm happy for my friends to have a thing and be sober, but efficacy is really touchy when one moves beyond a careful selection of anecdotes.

Bill Wilson is probably not the person to model ones life after, sobriety or marital fidelity-wise.

Beyond say Naltrexone, I don't know of anything that can *prove* itself more successful.
Harriet @ 54
“Dan expressed a view on whether there was such a thing as SA, comparable to alcohol or gambling addiction, and cited professional authorities substantiating the view.”

I’ve noticed an argumentative pattern with Dan over the years- all straight men are closet homosexuals, no such thing as bi, and so on- that is now liberally applied to sex addiction.
In this case it is far less common to expect readers to call him on that. It is so uncool, the lines are blurred, and it is also a 12-step policy (which I find the freedom to revoke) of avoiding dealing with the media.

Dan’s continuing quotations of Dr. Ley make me wonder if the choice is there because a PHD-person tells him what he wants to hear. I’ve expressed earlier my opinion regarding Dr. Ley’s arguments and the examples he brought up in the past.
I find it funny that people here think SAA is there to lure people to enroll in the program in order to make money.
The way I see it the real self-promoting charlatan in this case is Dr. Ley.

@60. Undead. My dad was a real alcoholic. He had to stop or he would die. He did it thru AA, and after became a sponsor for others. It works because people are sharing their stories and witnessing each other's pain. And all of them knowing that grog is their poison. You think an organisation would continue for these many years, if it wasn't effective.
@61. CMD. I'm not sure that I think having a doctorate in psychiatry or the psychology of human sexuality is fakery. The doctorate has to have some basis, right? I wouldn't want to live in some Trumplandia where experts were automatically self-serving pointyheads and the enemies of our true values. But at the same time, I can't think that human sexuality and its vicissitudes is as obviously the basis for a science as the microbiology of infectious diseases or particle physics.

There must be some consensus as to what works in treating unhappy people with behavioral and brain-chemistry disorders--and the people looking for this consensus, and to extend it, and put on good foundations, theorize it, must be well-meaning and caring people. This would be my starting point. But could they still collectively make unwarranted assumptions? Could they use unhelpful or inaccurate language?

I don't know what to think. There are academic areas--law and politics--where I would have a very good line, but in psychiatry I have no idea re SLAA.
Harriet @63: mental illnesses have been taken over by the drug companies. Was a time when talking was part of the cure. The medical model changes over time (and the training in western psychiatry seems to be focused on pharma rather than treating the body as a whole or quick fix therapies), still need to be subject to scrutiny.
Why say porn can be addictive and sex not. Doesn't make sense.
@64: "Was a time when talking was part of the cure"

Psychoanalysis is still used where applicable. It's no cure-all though, and there are plenty of chemical imbalances that do not react to therapy alone. In addition, the "time" you are speaking of was filled with frauds and quacks, Freud himself had his whole family excitedly addicted to cocaine, then morphine was offered to cure cocaine addiction, there have never been times where nostrums have been missing. We are only later on able to approach a science based and evidentiary approach.

Especially now in the era of "alternate fact" replacing knowledge, the solution is more and better science.
I know none of this is going to change your belief here, but what you feel is somehow lost on the rest of us is something we do take into account, we are wel aware of "alternative" modalities but the ultimate successes of them (most of which are a hundred or two years old, not thousands) have not proven well in any attempts to replicate effects.

The human body is an amazing thing in repairing itself, the importance in medicine and science comes from proper studies that can reliably measure efficacy.

Sadly, as difficult as it is for medical concerns psychotherapy is even more complex!

I do need to research more into the current state of CBT (not that CBT that immediately comes to mind on the Slog, of course.)
Freud was flawed. No doubt there. He also was a genius in looking at how the mind works. It's not absolute. The Buddhist have spent thousands of years investigating the mind, ethics and emotions etc.
You make such sweeping statements about a whole body of work that yes is still evolving. Psychotherapy, in all its forms. I did it for five years in my twenties and was never offered a pill. We talked. I wasn't psychotic, just everyday neurotic. And it helped heal me around losing my father, a dearly loved father, at fifteen. My male therapist was a good surrogate father for me to learn from and listen to(o). He would help me look at dreams and analyse family dynamics. It freed me up a lot. Was I depressed when I went to him, perhaps yes. It wasn't discussed. I never got a diagnosis.
At that time, middle seventies, the world of psychiatry was being thrown upside down. Psy hospitals were closing, and it was believed the community would accomodate the patients.
It ain't that simple. And over time the use of chemical rather than psychological imbalances was the reason given for most mental
Illnesses. They need to work in consort, the medications and the soul healing.
I don’t question anyone’s credentials, yet what I sensed from Dr. Ley’s piece a year ago is that he chooses to talk about relatively easy cases. Even then
I don’t think he offers his patients a sustainable enough set of tools that could be achieved elsewhere for free.

Lets forgo the porn and take a look at the cases presented:…

John porn addict-
The problem here is the difficulty of coming out as your true self because of society, not SAA. I have witnessed quite a few cases when people actually came out as a result of being in “the program,” and as I’ve shared in the past myself included. “Prog” also helped me cope with lots of related challenges, which I ‘m not sure Doc provides.

William 36 whose wife sent him
I bet the guy is masturbating since an early age, this is not something you start only because your spouse has a different schedule. It is likely to stay.
Was it addressed in any way?

Denis 23 is a confused young man that could have been easily swayed in many ways. Including him as an example of how SAA is kidnapping innocent souls is pretty lame.

And now I’m off to a party.
That was easy pickings.
I find it interesting that ADDICT calls them girls instead of women. This leads me to think that BF is closer to 20 than 30, which would explain his juvenile behavior. If true, then ADDICT is foolish to expect maturity from a brain that is not yet fully developed.
It's 4:50 AM so pls excuse the ramblings of a sleep deprived brain.
Harriet @53: "I'd expect the main form that this lunchtime sex with companeros would take would be my sucking their dick."

And I'm sure most women offering free blowjobs would have a lot of uptake as well, but most women don't seem to just want unreciprocated oral. If my choices were between giving a bunch of free blowjobs and celibacy, I might well go for the latter.

Speaking only for myself, not this LW whose mind I cannot read, doing "better in the numbers department" is, paradoxically, not a good thing. Remember that women are the ones risking pregnancy and their risk of catching STIs is higher than the risk men bear of catching STIs from women. Remember also that women indeed face a double standard of slut-shaming; young men may be happy to have one-night stands that boost their "number," but the last thing I want is for my "number" (which I'm not even tracking anymore) to creep yet higher if all I get out of it is a mediocre one-off shag. I'm more about quality than quantity these days. You may disagree that this young man constitutes a "quality" lover in the out-of-bed aspects at least, but he's allowing her to avoid multiple empty one-nighters with the STI, pregnancy, and humiliation risk they involve. Maybe that's why she's not "putting herself forward." She found someone who's saved her from having to constantly "put herself forward" to catch fuck-and-runner after fuck-and-runner, which is hell on the self-esteem.
My ex and I had an open relationship. They problem wasn't the openness but how compulsive he was about constantly seeking out new sex partners to the point where it was impacting our lives. He'd seek out excuses to leave an event early, claiming a headache, only to pursue sex with me or others after immediately being mysteriously "better" after we left. I don't like to use the term "sex addict" because it immediately creates defensiveness and arguing over the terminology rather than the issues involved. But regardless what you call it, when compulsiveness and obsessiveness around sex is negatively impacting you and your partner's life, it's an issue.
@72. BiDan. I think I was asking the question, 'are there fifty people I know I'd like to have sex with? That I'd happily have sex with, at the drop of a hat? i.e. during lunch hour?' The answer is 'yes'. The thinking here was that if (admittedly in a huge city) there are 50+ friends and acquaintances who float my boat, this should work reciprocally--that it couldn't be too hard for the LW to find more lovers on speed-dial than just this one (sexually entrancing but) unsatisfying guy.

Maybe, as you hinted, she has standards for appearance and quality of sex that are high and would exclude basically doggy, willing people like me.

I don't understand the concept of a 'free blowjob'. I've got a guy's fascinating cock in my mouth, a cock I may never have seen before; I've only seen and liked the guy at work, or working for another organisation, or in the gym (swoon; they're all younger than me), and idly dreamt about said cock. And how difficult is it, really, for the guy to put his finger up my ass? This isn't asking much in the way of reciprocation. And it's lunch hour and we both have busy lives.

My reference to 'numbers' was meant poignantly to suggest all the long years I was lonely and had no one--not for want of not liking anybody, but through holding myself back for shame and fear of rejection and feeling passed over. Having a special someone or someones after having been alone for about nine months (in my case); this would have got my numbers up, given me more experience, got me a good time ... but it seems it's the experts, the assholes and the braggarts who get all the sex ... well, in some cases and some of the time.

Generally--is it true that psychotherapists dealing with sexual problems and sex counselors dislike the idea of 'sex addiction'? More than professionals dealing with problem gamers (to take a case where the brain produces its own chemistry) fight shy of an idea of 'gambling addiction'?
Harriet @74: I'm sorry to hear that you've spent years lonely. I guess my only point is what might sound like an amazing smorgasbord of opportunities to you is the last thing someone in different circumstances might want. You're correct, regardless of ADDICT's age, she could be having sex with a different rando each night if she had, shall we say, flexible standards. The fact that she isn't suggests that it isn't what she wants, so it's not going to help solve her problem.
Thanks for sharing some of your story Harriet.
As Kevin @73 notes, a rose by any other name. I'd have to look up the definition for addiction, and I'm not that fussed.
Gambling, that's an obvious one to spot. Someone sitting on the pokies eight hours a day.
Sex addiction can be easily manipulated as an excuse, so it's tainted, unreliable.
You said gamers Harriet. Do they gamble too?
A double whammy.
Kevin_BGFH @ 73
What would Dr. Ley say:
“After few visits I noticed your ex is allergic to events and was also in need of a new migraine prescription.”
Case example of a man treated by Dr. Ley.
@76. Lava Girl. 'Gamers' was to avoid a word repetition :)

At first I thought what I wanted in the matter of sex was wrong (it was unobtainable older boys). Then I thought it was impossible and that I didn't deserve it. When I first had it, I was fretful and thought I would lose it; when I had first had what I'd fantasised about, which was a relatively promiscuous sex life (as was the term, or just how I thought of it, then), with some group sex and some sex with women (oh, I thought it was wrong for me to like women, or wrong to have a more limited repertoire of activities with one gender than the other), I supposed it was a fantasy, a bolt of sunshine from the clouds or shower of rain from heaven. I didn't see it as an integral part of my life--that I could plan for in a civil and rational way, like talking about Trump or food or the opera with a younger casual sex partner.

It's taken me a long time to get to where I am--late forties. I'm relatively professionally successful--have always worked for big organisations. Sex is maybe the only area of my life in which I've been this obtuse. As a young man in the Bay Area in the 90s, I saw Dan as a scary older brother--having the sex I wanted to have and was afraid of having. Reading his column again after years, my sense is of how much sexual problems are like any other kind of problem, in responding to kindness, level-headedness and goodwill.

@75. BiDan. Any disagreement we had about this particular case has long since receded into the rear view mirror. I would like to live in a world where women more often ask 'nice guys' whether they want to have sex.
Harriet @80: Ah, so your true agenda is revealed ;)
I would like to live in a world where more guys were nice.
Where "asking for sex" got you a series of sex, not a one-off followed by ghosting.
We can all dream.
Harriet @74: Back to the "free blowjobs" concept, if you don't mind.

May I ask you to clarify whether the oral sex you'd offer would presumedly be "to completion"?

We've debated whether the definition of "blowjob" is "suck it for a while and then move onto other things" or "suck it until he comes." In which context are you using the word?

In the context of the former, it seems as if that's all the people in question were doing, they'd both leave the encounter unsatisfied. (Or would they? Men, if you received oral sex that did not make you come, and the follow-up was an "OK, see you later," would you find that unsatisfying? Would you find a private place to finish up by masturbating? Would you just be happy someone had put your dick in their mouth? Genuinely curious, after learning -- both from this board and experience -- that a high number of men don't come from oral sex.) With the latter definition, that's where you get into "putting the 'job' in blowjob." I'm assuming that anytime someone pays for a blowjob, they'll want an orgasm in order to get their money's worth -- again, am I off base?

For me, and I think for many women, mouth size can mean it's a lot of work and can get fairly painful if you're going to persist until the guy comes. And while it is nice to have a cock in one's mouth, being expected to "work" through jaw pain, and then not rewarded with an orgasm of one's own, doesn't sound like my idea of a great time. Sure, it's something I'll do for an existing lover on occasion, for variety or if I'm not in the mood for PIV, but an existing lover is different from a Tinder rando. A Tinder rando hasn't earned that much effort; an existing partner has.

Gay men don't seem to think this way; a lot of them find giving blowjobs rewarding in and of itself in a way that most women don't. (Someone posted on this board, "If a woman gives you a blowjob, she's doing you a favour. If a gay man does, you're doing him the favour.") This is what I mean by "a free blowjob."
@81: "I would like to live in a world where more guys were nice."

If only a person could take another at their word alone.
I'll fuck people. But it's going to be someone special before I blow them. It hurts my jaw and I don't like it for it's sake but for what it gives my partner.
BDF @82
Gay men don't seem to think this way; a lot of them find giving blowjobs rewarding in and of itself in a way that most women don't.

Heh. That goes for men in general and other "giving" jobs as well. For clients of sex workers, it is not unusual to pay for giving blowjobs or rimjobs or pussy licking-jobs. I've done all three.
RE @85: Oddly, the number one thing I want to do on the rare occasions I get a woman into bed is go down on her. I reckon it's because that's the only thing one cannot do or even approximate with a man.

I think another factor in the difference between women's and men's enthusiasm for giving blowjobs, besides jaw size, is misogyny. There is a gendered power imbalance when a woman is giving a man head without reciprocation. Not so when it's two men.

DarkHorse @84: I do enjoy the "achievement factor" of competing a blowjob. But yeah, it wouldn't feel like an achievement if it was for some rando who was possibly slut-shaming me for doing it. For a lover who's going to appreciate it -- and show me that appreciation -- it can be worth the jaw-ache.
Tangentially related Freud funnies-
@86 @BiDanFan I've seen many comments over the years about women being better at eating pussy and men being better at giving blowjobs (yes, I know this is a gross generalization) and I do wonder if some of that could be due to the fact that a same sex giver can easily imagine how it feels to the receiver and therefore gets off on that aspect more than an opposite gender partner might. I wonder if enthusiasm or technique would change if more people thought of clits and tiny penises, or penises as big clits.

As for reciprocation issues, I sort of get your point there. I haven't run into that issue much and would be annoyed if oral sex in a relationship was one sided. It would not dampen my enthusiasm for giving blowjobs but rather for the overall sexual experience with that partner. For a monogamous relationship, it would be a deal breaker for me.
Cocky @88: That wasn't what I meant.
What I meant was the attitude some men (#notallmen) take that sex is a game where the "winner" is the guy who gets the sex and the "loser" is the woman he tricks into giving him sex, with nothing (dinner, engagement ring, etc) in return. This is the PUA attitude toward sex. They slut-shame women for engaging in the same casual sex activities they themselves engage in, not understanding that women have sex for pleasure too, but under the belief that women are mercenaries who only use sex as a way to get something in return. Men with this attitude toward sex -- and who can tell until afterwards whether the man in question is one of them? Some of them mask it very well -- treat women who freely give blowjobs like chumps they've suckered out of a sexual favour, not human beings who've just shared a mutually enjoyable sexual activity with them.
That's what I meant by misogyny.
If you read my other posts, you'll see me stating that I sometimes enjoy giving unreciprocated blowjobs to men I like and trust. Therefore, clearly not all unreciprocated blowjobs are "misogyny." It's the receiver who determines whether they are or are not.

FutureCat @89: As a receiver of cunnilingus from all genders, I make no claim that women in general are better. It's down to enthusiasm, experience, and willingness to take direction, not whether the giver possesses that body part. That may make a difference if you're a novice, ie people with pussies have a head start -- but there's so much variation in what people like that if you only do "what you would like" to your lover, and it's not what they like, and you don't change your technique to suit them, that makes you bad at cunnilingus.
(The "men give better blowjobs" thing I would chalk up to larger mouths, though that wouldn't matter so much for small-to-medium dicks.)
@90 BiDanFan I'm speaking more to possible reasons that might influence the giver's enjoyment in performer oral. I'm wondering if givers with the same sex organs as their receivers might feel added erotic stimulation in knowing roughly how what they are doing to their partner feels, and if so, whether that enthusiasm gap would diminish among opposite gender sex partners if the clit and penis were more frequently perceived as similar.
@90 BiDanFan performing*
@91: "I'm wondering if givers with the same sex organs as their receivers might feel added erotic stimulation in knowing roughly how what they are doing to their partner feels"


"if the clit and penis were more frequently perceived as similar"

Unless you're discussing AMAB women here I don't know if the perspective/visualization would shift that drastically? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding.
@93 Undead - Given your frequent participation here I'll assume you are someone who knows those organs are analogous, but I think that fact is lost on a lot of people who think it terms of "penis and vagina" rather than "penis and clitoris." I wasn't meaning visualization so much as understanding the organs are analogous. I know that is very Sex 101 but many hetero people do not seem to think that way. Personally, I could get into visualizing in that way and occasionally do, but I was referring more to having an understanding of the similarities and therefore...I can't find the words I want...but sort of being able to apply the knowledge of how it feels oneself as an added bit of stimulation?
FutureCat @91: Ah, interesting theory! On further reflection, I can say that it's usually women who think to add fingers; this doesn't as commonly occur to guys. I have been with two women who did not want to give oral; one of them, however, we can discount as she turned out to be straight. So yeah, "better at head," not necessarily; "more keen to give head because you know exactly how good it feels," possible. (I use the term "head" gender neutrally.)

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