Savage Love Jul 26, 2017 at 4:00 am



A 3 or 4 year age gap is more than trivial, but I'm in agreement with Dan - it's not so bad. They're peers. While 16 year old might look up to this guy and think he's so wordly (I remember dating a college girl when I was 23 and living in a studio on First Hill and making near minimum wage; she thought it was so awesome that I was working and making money while she was stuck in her boring college. Well, she got a fancy engineering degree and now ones a 5-bedroom home in SF that she bought as a 26 year old, I struggle to make rent on a 1-br in the hood. The lives that could have been...) and whatnot, so there is some mismatch here... but that'll never go away. She'll look at a 32 year old the same way when she's 26 or whatever.

IDAHO sounds kinda fake to me. If you try to tacitly avoid the daughter, she'll smell it and put you to the test. I'd be surprised if she DIDN'T enjoy her newfound sexual powers over men to some degree. Don't be afraid to make her mortified with a birds n bees talk. Confer with mom of course... yeah don't have much of an answer for you.

OHIO: They're probably your daughters bondage gear. Guys generally don't start figuring out what they want until much later, late 20s/early 30s. More important BE THE FUCKING PARENT. There shouldn't be any "discussions" happening under your roof - you make the rule and set the rule and if your daughter disagrees, kick rocks.
KANSAS, I had several friends who graduated high school at 17, and were 18 in the summer before their sophomore year in college. The fact that you neglected to mention his age makes me wonder if this guy isn't 18 now, which would make him 24 months or less older than your younger daughter. If so, I can still appreciate your unease, but you probably neglected to mention his age because it would have make your concern less credible.

In any event, the transition to adulthood is blurry, and a better approach might be speaking with your daughters about dating, men, sex, and setting expectations about where they go and what they are doing, and then hope they make good choices when your not looking.
Re: KANSAS 1.5, I only see statements that both girls were interested in Mr. 18/19/20?, not that he was ever actually pursuing the older sister. I likewise don't really find that age difference creepy - lots of my female friends in high school dated college guys, we're likely talking about two years or less - and I suspect there's an element of KANSAS denying that either of zir daughters experience sexual attraction, due to the comments about removing photo apps and not being able to control the 18 year old (why would one want to do so?). Typical sister jealousy and parental sexual denial.

IDAHO shoukd definitely follow Dan's advice - foolow the same strategies as middle school boys subject to uncomfortable/inopportune/ill-advised erections.

After many loud "discussions," he is allowed to sleep over. My daughter got an IUD without informing me, so I assume they're sexually active. Two days ago, I crept into the apartment to check on something and found bondage items on her bed—a set of formidable leather restraints. I'm worried she's being pressured to do things someone her age wouldn't be interested in. We agreed not to go into the apartment when she wasn't present, and I know there will be a loud "discussion" if I tell her what I saw.

OHIO, on the other hand, does sound WAY too interested in zir adult daughter's sex life.

Pretend you didn't snoop in violation of you explicit agreement, OHIO, don't do it again, and find something healthier to occupy your attention.
@1 OHIO's daughter is in college, which means that she's an adult. Mom should not be micromanaging her sex life. It's wrong, and counterproductive. Her daughter can't learn to make good choices if she's not given the room to do so. The whole "my way or the highway" schtick makes you sound about a million years old. It's 2017; lots of college students and young adults live at home out of economic necessity. Using that leverage to bully them drives a wedge between parents and children that ultimately hurts everyone involved.
Dan: Did you wander up her vagina one day to "check on something"?

OHIO: I crept.

Also: John Horstman points out the ambiguity. How do we know OHIO is mom instead of dad?
IDAHO, don't give us that "perfect female specimen" crap. You aren't even trying to suppress that boner. You can do better than that.
KANSAS ~ NO. Noo, no. 16-year old girl and college age boy IS a big deal at that age there is a world of difference, not just in age, but in ability to access drugs and booze and places to do things you probably shouldn't be doing. Not only that, but any college age guy who is looking at a high school (junior at best, maybe even a sophomore) girl isn't interested in finding someone who can hold her own with him, he's almost definitely looking for someone he can manipulate. I wouldn't trust this dick any farther than I could throw him. BUT there's only so much you can do (and deleting apps is a USELESS gesture - there are a 1000 ways around that). Have a heartfelt talk with both daughters about what college boys are most likely to be looking for from high school girls, and HOPE LIKE HELL that your kids respect you enough to at least listen with one ear. They like to pretend that they don't care what you think, but they probably do, at least enough to maybe think about what you said a little.

IDAHO ~ You definitely can say, "We can't be as physically close as we used to be. You're getting older and the things we did when you were a little girl aren't appropriate anymore. You can snuggle up next to me, and I'd still love that, but no more sitting on my lap."

OHIO ~ She's 19, and living separately from you (even if it is above the garage.) Kids have to grow up and test the waters. Parents have to let them. But that doesn't mean you have to stop caring. A generic conversation about "staying safe as you enter this new phase of your life, take risks but make sure they're calculated risks" shows you still care without being preachy. I always said, "I'll jump off a cliff into the river, but only if I know damn sure the water is deep enough."
That's true, OHIO could be the dad, but if it is, then he has to call the boy, take him aside, and say "Better go home, son, and make up your mind!"

I thought everybody knew that.
Wait, no. That was supposed to be Kansas, not Ohio.
Where we are told it's the mom.

@1 you are so off base with the "new found sexual powers" comment. I used to cuddle and put my arms and legs over my step dad constantly. Even when I was 16, it's the age where there is so much pressure on girls to be a certain way with boys and you constantly wonder if you're doing it right. I'd come home and get in some good innocent loving affection, confidently with zero self consciousness. If he was noticing my budding sexuality it would NEVER have occurred to me. Ugh! Now I'm picturing him getting unwanted boners. That's just horrible. Did I mention that I had the world's best step dad! He was even the better parent when my mom divorced him. Stop turning girls and women into temptresses! She likely has no idea and would be horrified!
Interesting theme this week that all three LWs sign in with acronyms spelling state names.
Good advice for all three again, Dan, especially your recommendation for KANSAS to have a heart-to-heart with both her daughters about college age boys, for IDAHO ("perfect female specimen"?!? wtf?--is she his step-daughter or scientific research? Ick is right!) and for OHIO. She sounds like a helicopter mom.
Joe, I love your once again spot on red flag / 'I smell a rat' graphic. Kudos!
@1 I agree that IDAHO is fake, and typed with one hand.
@KANSAS: sit your daughters down and say "you're growing up and I can't interfere in your fights like I did when you were 6 and 8 fighting over a toy. But this guy is playing with both of you because he likes the drama of having sisters fight over him."

@IDAHO: Ew. Ew, ew, ew, EW!

@OHIO: Stay out of your daughter's sex life. Or buy her a book on safe kinky sex if you're really worried for her - but mainly stay out.
And if IDAHO's wife had written in, we'd have a comments list full of people calling him a pedophile and urging her to dump him immediately, just like "My husband's into teens we know" from the 3rd.
KANSAS: Don't worry so much about it. I bet that years from now, your daughters will giggle about that guy they both fancied who turned out to be such a loser.

IDAHO: I don't think there's anything inappropriate about saying to your stepdaughter, "You're a grown woman now, it's not appropriate for us to cuddle like we did when you were a kid. Someone might get the wrong idea." No need to say that that someone is IDAHO himself. Or perhaps he could ask his wife to have a word. If his wife is any sort of mother, she'll have already spoken to the girl about various issues surrounding sex and consent. This could be, as they say, a teachable moment; Mrs IDAHO might not even need to spell out that IDAHO is one of the men she'll be warning her daughter about.

OHIO: Listen to Dan and stay out of your daughter's sex life!!

Sporty @1: OHIO's daughter is an adult and living in her own apartment, separate to the family home. She may even be paying rent. OHIO and their spouse have agreed to grant OHIO Jr her privacy, and now they need to honour that.

Donny @7: Puh leaze. If teenagers could easily get booze and drugs when I was one thirty years ago, there's nothing Mr 19-or-20 has access to that the younger daughter doesn't. 16-year-old boys are a joke; of course 16-year-old girls like guys who are those few vital years older. She's legal to consent to sex. Arm her with condoms and good advice and let her make her decisions. (Also, OHIO's daughter's age was not given; the boyfriend is 19.)
BDF @15
IDAHO: I don't think there's anything inappropriate about saying to your stepdaughter, "You're a grown woman now, it's not appropriate for us to cuddle like we did when you were a kid. Someone might get the wrong idea." No need to say that that someone is IDAHO himself.

Perfect. Also, I don't understand the "fake" and "eww" directed at IDAHO in the comments. As far as I can see, the only minor culpable thing he did was using the unfortunate choice of words "perfect female specimen."
@16 IDAHO many bad things going on here! Definitely in creep territory. He's fishing for justification to continue this by writing to dan, rationalizing away that his step daughter needs physical closeness to him.
KANSAS: You've done your best for the past 16-18 years to raise your girls well and teach them how to take care of themselves. Now that they are both legal adults in the sexual sense, you've got to stand back and let them fly the nest. It's not like this guy is 30 years old, he's the equivalent of a high school senior to a freshman for your youngest daughter. What you CAN do is make sure they each have access to a stash of condoms and make sure to carry a few with them at all times, in case this or any future boyfriend conveniently "forgets."

IDAHO: Easy-peasy, you use the time-honored dad/stepdad/favorite uncle Jiu Jitsu maneuver. As Lolita lovingly throws herself across your lap, you tilt your hips sideways and spill her off, while simultaneously putting an affectionate arm across her shoulders and pulling her up close to your side in a seated position. And as you hug her affectionately, you say: "You're getting too big to fit on my lap any more, but you'll never get too big to fit right here." Repeat as necessary, and pretty soon that will become her favorite new way to cuddle with you.

OHIO: Unless you are interested in becoming permanently estranged from your daughter, you will back off, respect her adulthood and her privacy, and never breathe a word about what you saw as you were TRESPASSING in her apartment. If you can't stand the idea of her doing who-knows-what with her BF up there, you need to give them notice that they will have to move out. (With plenty of lead time and flexibility, of course).
I would note that KANSAS asked her 16-year-old to keep her distance from Mr. College Guy and she agreed, but when her daughter did not keep that promise, KANSAS immediately made an effort to break the communications link between her daughter and Mr. College Guy. Now KANSAS' 18-year-old wants to date him, but we don't know how Mr. College Guy feels about that possibility.

In short, the person making drama here isn't Mr. College Guy, but KANSAS, and if Mr. College Guy ends up deciding to see KANSAS' older daughter, he will have done so basically because KANSAS made clear you can't date my younger daughter but you can see my older daughter.

I would also note that the population of all of Kansas is only somewhat larger than the borough of Queens. So if this drama is playing out in a small Kansas town, there is a small dating pool for all three teens, which makes this all the less surprising.

OHIO is like the father who wrote in a few years ago, because he couldn't get over the fact that his married daughter was sexually submissive to her husband, a fact he learned through snooping. Parent need to equip their children with the factual and emotional tools to engage in sex safely and consensually, and to be there if and when their children have questions or run into problems. At this point, OHIO needs to let their daughter explore the sex she wants.

As for IDAHO, there are definitely boundary issues between him and his step daughter, but he is the adult and he needs to be clear in setting the boundaries for himself and for his step daughter. I'm not entirely clear about their physical interactions, sitting close (?), cuddling(?), she's on his lap (?). In any event he hasn't set boundaries, and he's ogling and sexually attracted to a 16 year old. I think its an understatement to say that this situation is unsettling, and needs to stop. And where Mrs. IDAHO when this is going on?
OHIO's letter reminds me of a useful saying: Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to. In this case, wandering around the room/house of your grown child--whatever the justification you made up--amounts to asking a question.

I bet IDAHO's situation isn't all that uncommon. Well, it's pretty simple. Move her off the lap (maybe with a few sentences as outlined above), avert your eyes, and avoid thinking about it. Same as you do with any temptation you don't intend to indulge in. (Mark Twain has a great bit in "Following the Equator" about how a companion of his would try to quit smoking by denying himself cigarettes, but still indulging in the desire for cigarettes, and it would inevitably fail; Mr. Twain quit easily by denying himself the desire. It's a bit of a snark passage, in classic Twain style, but he's got a point.)
"but go ahead and stitch "boys come and go but sisters are forever" on a couple of pillows and put them on their beds."

Wow, how condescending.
KANSAS-- The guy isn't stalking anyone no matter how badly you needed an S for your sign-off. You do a disservice to actual stalking victims when you use the word to mean flirt or take an interest in or sends pictures of himself.

You don't say what was in the conversation to the 16 year old when you spoke to her, but from the rest of your letter, it sounds like it was about convincing, not educating. The real harm here is that you blew an opportunity. The right conversation should have been about how you're uncomfortable with her dating so young but you realize that's your problem, not hers, that you know it's hard for parents to adjust to the idea that their children are growing up and that you're trying. Then you talk again about safe sex and consent-- topics that you've brought up before, right? RIGHT? You couch this within a framework of information, risk assessment, and her learning for herself.

Let's pretend for a moment that this is an actual 30 year old creep. Like others, I think it's more likely that he's 21 at the oldest, but let's say he's older. Here's what happens next. She gets involves with him. He takes advantage of her. She gets her heart broken. And that it! Same as if he was 17. Same as happened to every one us in this comments section and very likely happened to you. I can just hear the chorusing about how rape and STDs and unwanted pregnancies are worse. Also torture and early death and global warming. There are plenty of things that are worse, but none of them are more likely just because the guy is older. That's why the whole thing is about your anxieties, not about her growing up.

If you'd had that honest conversation, when the inevitable heartbreak part of the story happened, your daughter could have come cry on your shoulder, and the two of you would have been closer. Instead, you erased some aps from her phone. The problem with that isn't that the gesture was useless (though it was useless), it's that it cut off future communication. How's a daughter going to come to a parent for sympathy, when there's this huge gloating told-you-so hanging in the air?

I know I'm coming down hard on you, KANSAS, but letters like yours make me think of my mother who walked around her whole life sure that all she ever did was sacrifice for her children. Just thinking about her now for that and other crimes gives me rot-in-hell feelings.
RE @16, I'm with you and not with the commenters who find IDAHO creepy. Plenty of fathers, stepfathers, uncles, adult cousins, grandfathers, etc. have physically close but non-sexualized relationships with their teenaged female relatives. IDAHO's stepdaughter is initiating the contact, meaning that she loves him and trusts him enough to snuggle up to him, and she feels completely safe doing so; at 16, she'd be trying to avoid physical contact as much as possible if he was a nasty creepy old man. IDAHO just wants to make sure that she can continue to feel safe and non-sexual around him - which is tough to accomplish if she can feel Daddy's boner. I hope the tips that Dan and the Commentariat have provided will help him through this awkward stage, and that he will continue to enjoy a close and affectionate fatherly relationship with his stepdaughter as she transitions to adulthood.
When I was in college, age 18-22, I was asked out by guys about 4-6 years older. They tended to be in grad school or professional school, and they met me by hanging out in places undergraduates were likely to be. Looking back, I wouldn't say they were creepily only interested in younger girls. I'd say they were wicked smart guys who'd had their hearts broken in early relationships and who were also on the immature side. When they sought out super-intelligent somewhat younger women, they were consciously or not looking for relationships that were more their speed. I don't think it was the power dynamic of older man taking advantage of younger woman. It might have been feeling more comfortable with someone likely to be equally immature.
I prefer Capricornus's advice in 18 to the more formal "you're growing up now" speech in 15 and 16 for IDAHO. That speech, mild though it seems, is still too much information. Just the word "inappropriate" sexualizes it.. Just make it a funny "oof, you're too big for my lap" while you direct her to your side and put your arm around her from there. For standing hugs: quick hug, then you step back. For her prancing around half naked in short shorts: "Is that what kids are wearing these days? Put some clothes on!"
Thanks, Fichu! You and I are a mutual admiration society today, as I totally agree with your take on KANSAS @24. Not a situation for a parent to get worked up over.

...A-a-a-and, off-topic but strangely relevant while we're on the topic of creepy fathers - President Trump just reinstated the ban on transgender individuals in the US military. Former SecDef Ash Carter released a strong statement in objection, pointing out that transgender individuals are already serving honorably and capably, and it sends the wrong message to a generation of young people who are considering military service. As an androgynous military veteran myself, I completely agree.
BiDan@15 ~ ...there's nothing Mr 19-or-20 has access to that the younger daughter doesn't...
Maybe yes, maybe no. Depends on the situation which we don't know. The real point is why is a college sophomore interested in a barely legal underclassman girl? At that age, this is way below his level. Is she going to hang out with all his college friends as equals? Go to all the college binge-drinking parties with him? I've been there, both as a college sophomore boy (who wouldn't touch a 16-year old girl with my ten-foot pole) and as a teenage girl's father. I can guarantee that very little good will come of this. I can also guarantee there isn't a whole lot parents can do about it, short of keeping the girl locked up in their basement. She'll find a way to sneak around if she can. But you don't have to make it easy. 16-year old girls should have 16-year old girl curfews. College boy will get bored with those restrictions fast.
Fichu @22 and @24, you are spot on!
FIchu @22
KANSAS-- The guy isn't stalking anyone no matter how badly you needed an S for your sign-off.

It's often Dan who creates the signoffs, not the letter writers. With the three state names this week I'd say it was probably Dan.
Donny @27: "The real point is why is a college sophomore interested in a barely legal underclassman girl?"

Because a 19-year-old male's maturity level is roughly more equivalent to a 16-year-old girl's than a fellow 19-year-old woman's. This girl is old enough to have sex, she's old enough to drive, she's old enough to quit school, to become legally emancipated. Sixteen is practically an adult. Maybe Mr One-Year-Out-Of-High-School prefers the 16-year-old because she's just better looking, or they have more in common. They're only working together for the summer; this will be a flirtation that is soon forgotten by all parties. As a former teenage girl (who moved out practically before the ink on my high school diploma was dry because my parents were far too restrictive), no good can come of not trusting this young woman to make her own mistakes and learn from them as applicable.
@30 ~ We're saying the same thing from slightly different perspectives. But as a guy who often preferred dating up in age rather than down, "a 19-year-old male's maturity level is roughly more equivalent to a 16-year-old girl's than a fellow 19-year-old woman's" is situational. And as a father of two girls who were 16, I can testify that "maturity level" is a description I would have used very sparingly.
KANSAS: I'm hesitant to call college-boy a creep. He met both sisters and clicked with one more that the other for reasons. It's very plausible he didn't realize their ages at first. And sisters will clash. All of this amounts to kids being kids and working out how to navigate relationships as they grow up. KANSAS is right to caution the younger (both of them, really) about sexy pics and prioritizing the sibling relationship above a cute boy.

IDAHO: "Playing dad"? Ooh, that got my back up. If he's been the only father figure in her life for 5 years, he's not playing. He can tell his step-daughter he doesn't want her draping over him anymore. Better yet, have his wife, her MOTHER, talk to her, and still be an affectionate, appropriate parent to her.

OHIO: Read the tone and content of your letter and you can stop wondering why your daughter doesn't confide in you.
Donny @31: As someone who has in the past dated 19-year-old boys, I'm happy to accept an amendment of my phrasing to "immaturity level." :)
I was about to say I agree with Capricornius' wording @18 and Fichu beat me to it! No need to give the speech about inappropriateness and I'm pretty sure that the stepdaughter isn't trying out her new sexual powers on her stepdad and would be creeped out and horrified (at him) were he to let her know, however obliquely, that he finds her behavior somehow sexual. The "hey, kiddo! You've gotten too big for my lap, even if you'll always be my kid, and let's cuddle like this" strategy hits all the right notes: he's not rejecting her, he's not making her responsible for his sexual attraction, he's not shaming her.

If he gets boners even with her just sitting next to him, he needs to work on talking himself down.
This week we read letters from two parents, KANSAS and OHIO, who both sought to control the dating relationships of their teenage daughters. This happens with teenage sons too, even if the rationale is different. The result is that many young men and women get to college (and away from their parents) without the experience and emotional tools to engage in dating as successfully as their peers who dated in high school with the approval (and under a watchful eye) of their parents.

For that reason, l like @24/Fichu's presentation of the college man who is interested in dating a high school student for the summer. A lack of experience with dating makes a summer relationship with the young woman his "speed." And his speed many not be a function of his maturity per se, but of having been restrained by parents who would rather discourage their children's sexual development than develop the communications skills to help them navigate that process.
RE Ohio
I have raised a daughter and a son and being a parent where you must accept that your children become adults and make their own choices is NOT an easy thing to do. However it must be done!. Mom and Dad are lucky if they can eventually befriend their children as adults. It helps to block out the whole question of their intimate lives.
Further, I assure OHIO that her kids HATE thinking of their Moms and Dads as sexual beings. If either parent makes even an indirect reference to their post-kid love lives the kids Lose their minds and the subject must be changed. She needs to give daughter and boyfriend distance, and respect.
OHIO says: "I'm worried she's being pressured to do things someone her age wouldn't be interested in."

It sounds like you think 14 year olds are interested in kissing, 19 year olds are interested in PIV sex, and that people grow into an interest in bondage some time later. I'm not sure where you got that erroneous idea, but it doesn't work that way. Consenting adults of different ages partake in a variety of sex acts of which bondage is one possibility.

Now go read what I wrote @22. If when your children start to date you talk to them about consent and safety against pregnancy and STDs and what they can do in situations where they might feel in danger, then when things go wrong, your children feel that they can come to you for sympathy, advice or help. If instead, you let your children know that you'll resort to snooping as a means of control, you let them know that you can't be depended on because all you'll do is lecture or whine. You won't sympathize. You won't be honest.

You've blown an opportunity, but you can take some steps to regain trust. Apologize for the snooping thing and mean it. Tell your daughter that her sex life is up to her. Let her know that there are resources if she should run into troubles but that you're convinced she sounds pretty good at finding resources on her own. (That IUD was a smart move on her part. Sounds like she researched what form of birth control would right for her and where to get it and moved ahead doing something sensible despite the messages you were sending.)

Try to get to know the guy she's having sex with, and try to see his good side. It's a given that you won't like him because he's not right for you and he's not right for that idealized picture you have of your daughter, but he might be right for her. (And he might not. Most early relationships don't work out, but that doesn't mean those early relationships can somehow be skipped.)
I came on to make the Lolita connection too, not just because it's a stepdad into a teenager (Lolita was younger) but mostly because the boner and lap/cuddling he described is strikingly similar to the famous scene in the book that Cap mentions. Although that doesn't mean the guy is fake- maybe the book scene resonates because it's common enough?

Yea it does gross me out a bit because it seems like it's normal enough for a stepfather to notice his stepdaughter has grown hot and probably even common enough to get a boner, but wouldn't the non-creepy response be to immediately end and subsequently avoid that sort of physical contact in the future? Rather than try to justify it by worrying that you are going to affect her future dating life? And call her a perfect female specimen, etc? I mean, I've had teenagers in my charge, and if I noticed that physical contact with one made me horny, I certainly wouldn't respond by continuing the physical contact, omg. Anyway good advice up above from NoCute and Donny and BDF about just having a simple conversation about ending that contact, and I agree with NoCute that he doesn't have to make it sexual.

As for the college boy dating the 16 year old, I don't see why it's creepy, assuming he's young. It was perfectly normal just a few years back. When I was a junior in high school (16 or 17) I had a boyfriend in college- everyone knew about it, no one batted an eye. It was normal. These days, we are stricter about age of consent laws, and I think that's good for overall society. We have to pick an arbitrary age somewhere, but of course people just below and above that age are going to have individual differences- some 16 year olds can handle adult relationships. Some 20 year olds can't. So we pick an age to protect the most people while harming the least, and I think it's good for adults to take the lead in enforcing it. But Dan is right that when we are taking about people with a very small age difference (if this college boy is 19-21, not mid to late 20s) then they tend to get punished for what is natural and normal. Someone needs to intervene to warn both the minor and the adult that they are flirting with danger here, whether or not that's fair. Sounds like Mom and Dan did that, good on them.

As to the question about why college boys might date younger girls- well if they are creeping around high schools that's weird. But in real life, people's social lives and interests overlap. These people met at work. In my case, the boy I dated and I were in the same music scene in the city where I grew up so we had the same social life revolving around concerts and record stores. There is no reason someone in college is more mature than someone in high school- sometimes you just get on with people.
Oh btw, I agree with Dan that the age of consent laws as currently applied to minors and adults with very small age differences is completely draconian and harmful. There used to be romeo and juliet clauses. Does that still exist?
OHIO, why would you assume your college aged daughter tell her mother she had got an IUD or that she was into bondage. You have betrayed her trust by going into her space, so don't tell her that's what you've done. Erase the memory from your mind. Nothing to see here.
Then give yourself a good talking to(o). Start off by saying, "mind your own business honey and get a life."

@Donny yes you are correct about that. I didn't think about curfew and restrictions, etc. When my brothers and I were teenagers, our parents gave us immense freedom so long as we kept our other responsibilities going (grades, chores, part time work). Also I think society was less strict then- there weren't the same crackdowns on underage drinking or attending clubs (technically it was illegal, but management discretion was still a thing) and there weren't legal curfews until I was already in college. And I was genuinely involved in the local music scene, so I wasn't out (just) to party. In this context, I had many friends a lot older than me in my high school years. I can't say this was unhealthy either as by the time I started college, I knew how to multitask, how to work/study/play, how to navigate city public transport, I had friends in all the punk clubs, etc. So I transitioned into adulthood much more easily than did many of my more sheltered college freshmen peers who went mad with their first tastes of freedom. Kids generally had more freedom then I think (late 80s, early 90s) but even at the time I had a little more than most. But what I didn't think about is that this made my age a total non-issue. If I had to be home by a certain hour each night or if I couldn't go the places they could go, then yes, they probably wouldn't have hung out with me. So these days, a college kid who is hanging out with a minor is making a huge sacrifice of his/her own social freedom which, yes, would be weird. Also I think that's a shame for the teenagers. Sometimes I think the legitimate attempts to protect teens and shelter kids come at the cost of stunting their maturity and experience.
This 19-year-old boy was 16 himself not too long ago. If he dates someone who is 16, he knows to expect she won't have as much freedom as a college student, and work round it.
OHIO, Dan is right, do not let your mind ever go to picturing your children's sexual behaviour. Give the don't get pregnant and be aware of STIs, rave. And let her know if any abuse occurs in any relationship she may have, that you are there to talk things thru with. Trust between mothers and daughters is precious, don't throw it away.
I'm starting to wonder if OHIO's daughter left the bondage gear out on purpose knowing the OHIO seems to have boundary issues. Maybe it's not even hers. Maybe OHIO is being baited or pranked. Either way, s/he seems to be asking for it.
Yes BDF, but I took Donny's post to mean that most 19 year olds wouldn't choose to work around those sorts of restrictions when they could just date people who have the same freedom they have. I agree that it probably still happens all the time and is totally normal, but he does have a point that it's likely that college kids with other options are less likely to date high schoolers than they did in the past for exactly that reason.
Also re: 19 year old boys wanting 16 year old girls for sex and/or younger kids enjoying older kids' easier access to alcohol, etc, I think it's important to point out that this is very often a completely mutual desire. As a former 16 year old girl, I can attest that there were fewer obstacles involved in dating slightly older boys as they were more likely to have access to places where no parents were present, unlike their younger counterparts. I don't think this has to be manipulative on either part. Most kids aren't seeking out situations where they can manipulate others into sex. They are just horny balls of hormones and tend to go where the fun is.

Dan I think you missed an opportunity here. there's nothing wrong for a him to have a convo with his stepdaughter that goes something like: "you know I love you like you are my own daughter and not just a step-daughter. However, you aren't a little girl anymore and are growing into a lovely young woman (replace with appropriate term). I think we should no longer be cuddling. That doesn't mean that Hugs and pecks on the cheek are out cuz they are always AOK."

The LW should run this FIRST by his wife before broaching this with his step daughter. He can tell his wife that the daughter's cuddling is making him feel uncomfortable and he'd like to establish new boundaries..
When I was 15 I dated a guy who was in his early twenties. I was precocious but it was nonetheless a large gap in some ways; I would argue not in maturity, but certainly in experience. My parents weren't thrilled about it, but given that he and I were up-front with them, even (nominally) asking permission, they allowed it, to the point of letting him sleep over when we started having sex six months later. One might be shocked, and ask why they would do that, but it was (among other reasons) because that kept them on my side: they knew what was going on with me, where I was spending my time, and with whom; I got emotional support and good birth control from them when I started having sex (because I wasn't afraid to tell them or ask questions), and two years down the line when I figured out he wasn't right for me, I still had a great relationship with my parents. If they had told us no because of the age difference, it might well have started a pattern of lying and hiding things. I think it was super hard and also correct of them to do it the way they did.
The phrasing in IDAHO's letter that creeped me out was not "perfect female specimen" (although that's pretty gross) but "rock hard." "Rock hard" is what men say when they are discussing their boners erotically: "When I see you in that dress I get rock hard." When they are discussing an uncomfortable or inappropriate situation they use more clinical language: "I thought I'd die of embarrassment when I got an erection during my prostate exam."

I'm not 100% sure the stepdaughter IS safe around him.
@48. AuroraE, I agree. This guy is creepy and should have known himself the first time this happened, to shut it down. Instead he's been getting off on it and justifying it with bull around childhood cuddles. Sleazy.
First letter - make sure they are both on birth control. Have an honest, practical and realistic discussion with them about it if that's the kind of relationship you have, and if you don't, manufacture a "your periods will be so much more manageable" ruse if you must. Making questionable sexual decisions is something the young do, as they are learning, so do what you can to help your girls suffer as few lifelong consequences of those questionable decisions.

second letter - I wouldn't advise abruptly stopping all physical contact because in fact she will see it as a rejection, be hurt, and wonder what's wrong with her. But you can channel the physical stuff to something more appropriate and manageable by shifting position, that kind of thing - her feet in your lap are less dangerous than her head or her butt, for instance.
@38 EmmaLiz, @48 Aurora Erratic, and @49 LavaGirl: Agreed on IDAHO's level of creepiness. I also easily see the Lolita in this scenario. Mentioning hiding his boners because his step-daughter has blossomed into a lovely young lady---ew!
Good question from @19 Sublime Afterglow: Where is Mrs IDAHO?
Emma @44: You may be overestimating College Boy's "other options." Do most 19-year-olds have queues of willing partners? Particularly as Sublime @19 says, this is a small town with a small dating pool. A typical 16-year-old curfew is, what, 10pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends? That's hardly prison. Most suitors could happily comply with such restrictions and still find plenty of time for sex, booze, whatever else they wanted to get up to. College Boy is home for the summer; he doesn't have his college-age peers around. No doubt he'll be back to pursuing his classmates once school starts again in fall.
Yes BDF. In the past, before curfews, increased enforcement of consent laws and ID laws, etc it would be perfectly natural for kids this age to date one another if they had shared social scene etc. It's probably less likely now because of the difficulties/restrictions and a 19 yr old with other options would more likely take them. Which means this kid probably has fewer options, as you say. I think given the circumstances (met at work, small town) it's probably still totally natural, but yes I can see Donny's and others' points more generally. It is a different world now for young people, for better or worse.

Wow, ciods, and I thought I had freedom. I can't imagine having sex with a boyfriend in the house with my parents home as a teen. I am unlikely to do it now with my husband when we are visiting. It sounds like they were able to be reasonable and trusting with you and make decisions that worked best for you, and good for them. I'm thinking about that in light of current events though. Parents who allow for that sot of thing now (or, for example, who allow for responsible drinking at home- we were allowed to drink at holiday dinners and bbqs or football parties etc providing we didn't drive or get stupid), I guess they could be arrested these days and charged with all sorts of things?

Aurora, Griz, etc- I agree about the creepiness and for the same reasons, but I wouldn't go so far as to say this makes him a risk or anything. It's perfectly possible to be creepy and also self-aware enough and controlled enough to not actually do anything. One thing I'd add though is that this girl is 16 which means she's going to soon start to recognize when men are checking her out or when they are 'rock hard' (actually, let's be honest, there's a good chance she already does) and it can feel really gross to know that men that you always thought of as grownups (your uncles, your father's friends, your neighbors, your stepdad?) are seeing you this way. I think even if he never does anything at all, the knowledge that he lets her sit in his lap and cuddle even when it gives him a boner is going to do the girl more harm than any sadness she might have about now having to restrict their physical contact. I wasn't going to say this earlier because I didn't want it to be taken the wrong way, but I remember my dad telling me when I was a bit younger than this (14 maybe? 13?) that I had to stop walking from the bathroom to my bedroom (which meant going down a shared hall) in my bra. It never occurred to me that he might be saying such a thing because he was feeling turned on (and I don't think that's true now, yikes) but just that I was old enough then that I have to cover up more. After all, I don't want to see my dad walking around in his tighty whites either, nope. Different families are going to have different levels of comfort with affection and undress, etc, so not judging anyone here. But as NoCute pointed out, this man CAN talk to his stepdaughter about boundaries without making it sexual. "Hop up- You're too old to sit in my lap anymore" would do. Or even "I'm too old for you to sit in my lap" etc. I disagree here with the people saying he should talk to the mother also. No, make it as much a non-issue as possible, but end it.
@10 I spent many years working with kids, usually as a sports coach, for middle school and high school kids; boys and girls. While most kids that age see me the way Charlie Brown sees teachers, but when it comes to "girl temptresses" as you call them, there's always one. To me its non-controversial.
Maybe IDAHO is a creep, but I suspect he's just a genuinely freaked-out stepfather who is responding to a 16-year-old girl in ways both automatic/instinctive and unwanted. I suppose he could be writing the letter as a way of getting off, but I think it's more likely that he wrote a letter asking for advice because he wants advice about how to deal with a situation that makes him uncomfortable. He wasn't telling his stepdaughter he's "rock hard," he's telling Dan that, in order to convey the situation; he may have chosen some rather weirdly clinical language to describe his stepdaughter ("perfect female specimen") but I think he was trying to to make it clear that his body is reacting in a way his mind and heart would rather it not and trying to explain why. I'm pretty sure he doesn't talk to the girl like that.

I remember as a young teenager discovering the power of my new breasts, walking around the house in a string bikini, and my mother telling me that my dad was uncomfortable seeing me so exposed and that she thought I might want to wear something less sexy around the house. I was angry because I thought she meant that he didn't want to see the evidence that his little girl was growing up--because boys, etc. It never occurred to me that he might have been getting turned on. I still prefer to think that the former was the correct reason, but it may have been a combination of the two. That my father may have noticed my female body doesn't make him a creep.

As for "girl temptresses," when I was in high school, I was quite close with the popular and charismatic male drama teacher who was just my parents' age (in fact, his sons and daughter were right in my age cohort and attended the same high school, and one son was even in drama, all of which must have been weird). I looked at this teacher as a father figure and since I was having a hard time getting along with my own dad during those years, was very grateful to have the teacher in my life as a surrogate dad. But I couldn't help noticing that a lot of the girls flirted pretty heavily with him. One girl in particular really pushed it, wearing tight shirts and trying to brush against him every chance she got, saying incredibly suggestive things to him. He didn't take the bait, but he didn't call her out on it, either. Once I asked him about it-- what he thought about it, why he put up with it, what he planned to do about it, was he ever tempted by it. He said he thought that girls deliberately chose him to try out their newfound sex appeal precisely because they knew he was safe. They could flirt with him and he would never abuse that and take them up on the implied, but not really meant, offer, or prey on them. But he wasn't their father, so they could practice flirting on a man who wouldn't be made uncomfortable by it, either. I have no doubt that he never touched a girl inappropriately. I'd like to think that this dynamic is not too uncommon, rather than think that any adult man who notices a teenage girl's sexiness is a creep. I may be naïve, but I like the bubble I live in.
RE Idaho
When we were hiring babysitters, "back in the day" most of the time it was my chore to drive them home. In all those years I never had an issue except exactly ONE TIME when the girl kept straightening up in her seat and reaching up and pulling her hair up and back with both hands pushing her chest out with her shoulder belt across her chest. I drove as fast as I could to get her out of the car, and what relief I felt when the front door closed behind her.
I was talking to myself the whole way home and after that I began to weasel on whose job it was to drive home the babysitter.
Re: KANSAS. I agree with Dan that the creepy thing about this boy is that it looks like he is playing the two sisters off of each other. If he were really only interested in the 16-year old, then why does he allow the 18-year old to pursue him? Yechh.

I just read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The love triangle of Henry Crawford, Julia, and Maria is disgusting. Maybe the girls should read the book and think about whether this guy is worth the sisterly strife.
@54 Sure there are teens that attract attention from grownups on purpose. Sometimes they are confused, sometimes they enjoy it, sometimes they are honestly interested, usually they are exploring their newly discovered sexuality- what are its powers, what are its boundaries, etc. It's on the adult to enforce the limits. But @10 was talking about her dad, not some high school sports coach. Also both things can be true. Plenty of teenage girls are aware of their sexuality, even the response from other adults, while still being naive and childlike around their own family members and especially their dads. It honestly wouldn't occur to most teen girls that their dad could be turned on by their bodies- it's not like they consider it and dismiss it, it just honestly doesn't seem like your dad can see you that way. This is a step dad though so it could go either way, but he says he's been a father figure, not just some trusted male like a teacher or coach.

@NoName, it's not at all creepy to notice those things or to express it to another adult, looking for advice as to how to handle it. It is a bit creepy to use the language LW used, even though he used it with Dan. But the real red flag is that he keeps letting her sit in his lap even after getting boners from it. I'd like to think that most step dads would put an end to any physical contact like that after just one boner. Not rationalize it as good for her health, etc.
@56 When I was a teen girl, I was staying with friends who lived in an apartment and their older brother (late twenties?) took us down to the pool to swim. I didn't have a swim suit and so swam in my t-shirt and shorts. I got out of the pool and lay down on the side of the pool by the brother and my friend- he was sitting in a pool chair nearby. So my shirt was wet and clung to my chest. The brother told me that if I was going to flaunt my boobs like that in front of him that I'm acting like jail bait. I honestly was just going about my life- swimming, sitting in the sun, chatting. I had zero idea that the brother was noticing and zero interest in him. He was too old, still lived at home, unattractive- I had not even thought of him as any sort of potential date or someone I wanted to impress- just some older guy that was related to my friend.

It was probably the first time I was made aware that lots of men think women are being deliberately sexual- like I'm walking around with boobs AT them or pulling my hair back with boobs in their general direction. Not saying you are blaming that girl- and not saying she wasn't trying to entice you as that does happen too. But it's my guess that the majority of times men think women are being temptresses, they are just getting on about their day. Men read all sorts of shit into normal movements. (Again, not saying YOU were claiming otherwise).
@55. nocute, of course your father noticing your adolescent body, doesn't make him a creep. And your mother addressed the situation. Problem solved. A father is not wrong to acknowledge to himself that his daughter ( step or biological), is becoming an attractive young woman. Allowing the situation to continue, where he gets a rock hard erection, that's what makes this LW a creep.
@58. Yes, EmmaL, it is up to the adult to enforce the limits. This LW needs to talk with his wife, leave out the rock hard dick bit, and get her assistance about how to approach the daughter re the inappropriate for her age cuddling.
This girl, as EmmaL pointed out above, probably knows she is arousing her step father. It's a classic scenario, at least in movies, where the daughter and step father have sex. Is this LW angling for this outcome?
@58, 60: I suppose this guy could be a creep; I'm not trying to defend him. I don't know if he's leering at his stepdaughter or how he talks to her or whether he encourages her to cuddle with him, and I don't know that I buy his rationale for cuddling with her "(If not for me, she might seek attention from douchebag teenage boys trying to take advantage.)"
But he is writing to Dan--a sex-and-relationship advice columnist--asking for advice presumably on how to either stop being aroused or to get the girl to back away without calling her attention to the fact that he's aroused and without seeming to reject her out of nowhere, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he genuinely is dismayed by the situation and doesn't know what to do.

Here's his letter. Except for the fact that he says he doesn't want to be creepy more than once--"the lady doth protest too much, methinks"--I don't find it all that creepy. I feel his dilemma.

"I'm a straight guy married to a wonderful woman. She has a daughter. This girl's bio dad is a checked-out deadbeat, so I have played "dad" since I met her mom five years ago. The girl who used to be a gangly, awkward 11-year-old is now 16, and there's no other way to put this: She is hot. I'm not supposed to notice, I know, and I have ZERO interest in being creepy with her, and she has ZERO interest in me. But she has always liked to cuddle with me and still does. I believe safe closeness from a dad figure helps girls make good choices when it comes to boys. (If not for me, she might seek attention from douchebag teenage boys trying to take advantage.) I want to continue to play this role for her. But when she comes in wearing tiny shorts and puts her legs over my lap, I get rock hard. I'm not trying to be creepy, but I'm a guy and she's a perfect female specimen. I can't say, "We can't be as physically close as we used to be," because that itself would be creepy and it would make her sad."

I suppose IDAHO could try a two-pronged attack:
1) talk with his wife ("You know, I'm getting uncomfortable with Jennifer walking around in those tiny shorts and sitting with her legs over my lap. Could you ask her to dial it back a bit?") Maybe the wife could ask the stepdaughter to relax wearing baggy sweats instead of tiny shorts.
2) have the "Ouch! Wow, you're getting pretty big to cuddle with, Jen. You know my hip has been hurting me lately. Could you just sit over here? And pass the popcorn?" moment as often as necessary.

He can also try his hardest to will his erection away.
I had forgotten that the girl wasn't sitting on his lap but seemingly next to him with her legs thrown over his lap--that's going to be harder for him to pretend she's "too big" to continue doing.

None of those things alone sound creepy, but all put together, for sure. But let's look at his letter again.

Why would it be bad for her to seek attention from teenage boys? She's 16. Why would she be seeking attention from douchebags? Why would teenage boys interested in sex with a teenage girl be taking advantage of her? And why does he think that cuddling with him (a father figure) would make her likely to make good choices when it comes to boys rather than simply talking to her responsibly about dating? "Perfect female specimen", "she is hot" "tiny shorts" and "rock hard"- ok let's give him a pass on it since he's talking to Dan, but it does seem a lot of description of something he supposedly is worried about for one short paragraph. And why, again, can't he say "We can't be as physically close as we used to be"? Because it would be creepy to say that? It can't be more creepy than getting rock hard when she puts her perfect female specimen legs in his lap, can it? And parenting involves doing things that makes kids sad.
God I don't, feel for the LW. And his letter to Dan is not filled with any panic, and seriously, what man doesn't know this is inappropriate. Doesn't say much for the LW's relationship with his wife, if he has to write Dan about it, rather than talk to her. And he's bragging. And what are his fantasies filled with. This guy needed to act after erection rock hard no one, not hang about writing, half caught in the fantasy. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk.
@64: Perhaps. The cuddling with a dad figure to keep her from making douchebag dating choices is kind of ridiculous, but maybe he thinks that if she doesn't get appropriate affection from her father or a father figure, she'll be susceptible to boys/men who will take advantage of that need, or that it will create poor self-image issues or "daddy issues" which again might let assholes manipulate her. Maybe her mother has this idea and maybe she has told him this. Maybe he's read some pop psychology book about absent fathers and women who try to chase down daddy's love and approval. Who knows? But I keep coming back to wondering why he bothered writing to Dan, then. If this situation is working for him, why not just keep it going? Unless he is trying to brag in some weird way or he is getting off on talking about it, which could be the case.

When my mom told me my dad was uncomfortable with me wearing that bikini I was angry. I thought he was trying to keep me from growing up, trying to keep me from being attractive to boys. But if he had said "you can't wear that bikini around me," and I realized that he was trying to stave off an inappropriate response in himself, you can bet I'd have been horrified. That's how I imagine "We can't be as physically close as we used to be" would go over. It explicitly draws her attention to his attraction for her, even if what he's trying to do is to keep from making the situation creepy. Ultimately, as an adult, she might get over it, but for the next few years, she'd be paradoxically viewing her stepdad as a creep for him addressing this issue that directly. Or she might be the adult woman who says, "my creepy stepdad once told me that I turned him on. I wish my mother would divorce that creep. I don't want to go home for the holidays or let my kids be around him." I mean, look how many people here are condemning him for using the phrase "rock hard."

There may be the occasional girl who wants to try out her new girl-powers on her stepdad, either because she wants to make him squirm or she has a crush on him and wants him to make a move, or she just wants to see how much power she has, but I think that girl is pretty rare. I'm pretty sure this girl has no idea her stepfather is turned on (if she noticed the boner, I'm willing to bet she'd move her legs and likely not continue to sit with her legs thrown over his lap again), and she would be upset as hell to realize it.
The stepdaughter is 16. She's perfectly capable of moving her damn legs if she feels an erection she doesn't want to feel. He's not holding her in place. He's not asking her to sit on his lap and then pretending to be upset about it and writing to Dan. At 16, she must know what an erecrion is when she feels or sees it. So either she doesn't notice it because he's trying to hide it and succeeding, or she does want to cause it, for one or more of the reasons I gave @66. And we can't tell how long this has been going on. Maybe twice. So far. I think he's sincerely asking for help and calling him a pervert isn't all that helpful.
I hope everyone can and will forgive me, but....
@68: I needed a magic number this week.
Got it, Griz! Congrats.

@NoCute I agree with you that he's probably genuinely concerned about it and also (as I said) I don't see any indication that he's actually a danger to the teenager. That can all be true at the same time as his letter and attitude are a bit creepy. Who knows if the girl is aware of it or not- my guess is she'd be as mortified as either of us if she were aware. But even if she was and even if she were toying with her stepdad to explore sexuality or push boundaries, that doesn't excuse his actions if he doesn't immediately put a stop to it. He's the parent here. And saying that she's too old to have this sort of physical contact doesn't have to be sexual. It's part of becoming a grown up. Adult women almost never lounge across the couch with their legs in daddy's lap. They might sit by dear old dad, hug him, put their arm around him, kiss him on the head, but they are very unlikely to sprawl out in his lap. And this isn't just because of sexuality- it's just part of growing up. I'm sure most loving mothers cuddle with their young sons too, but if my husband did it with his mom now, it would bother me. Not because I think his mom is getting off but because he's a grown ass man. This girl is entering adulthood. It's perfectly fine to tell her she can't cuddle with dad in the same way as a little girl. And even if it's slightly awkward, it's way less awkward than a boner between them. Besides, if the stepdad really is concerned about raising a daughter with a healthy view of relationship and a healthy attitude towards boys (and like you, I believe he is) then based on his letter, I'd say he needs to work on his weirdo attitude towards what good girls do and don't do. I don't think I'm reading too much into it to see that he thinks good girls innocently cuddle with their father figures and bad girls with daddy issues let douchebag boys take advantage of them. It sounds to me like the sort of protective daddying that expresses itself in that "daddy's little girl" attitude which is usually the flip side of "I'm going to chase off the boys with a shotgun" sort of protectiveness. And I think that's super creepy, though it's also perfectly common and probably not ill-intentioned.
Hope it brings you good fortune Grizelda.
All this guy has to do is when she throws her legs on his lap is move them off. Telling her she is a young woman now and no longer a little girl, or however he phrases it. Imposing limits is not always an easy task, and yes it may startle her. It may also teach her a valuable lesson in how to conduct herself around all men. After all, that's what part of a father's task is. Teach his daughter to be aware of her environment, keep herself safe.
However he does it, the LW needs to create some distance between himself and his step daughter. At the same time, adjusting his attitude. He is her father, he needs to act like it.
All parents must notice their sons or daughters becoming sexual animals, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruition of life stages.
The adjustments so there is minimal involvement from the parent in the child's growing sexuality, has to come from the parent because the child is still evolving. Maybe adolescents should live in another dwelling. I'm sure I've read that in some cultures, they did this.
Personally, every time I spend any time with adolescents, I conclude that we should round them all up and dump them on a deserted island to fend for themselves Lord of the Rings style until their frontal lobes develop. Maybe throw in some contraception, soap, comic books, and instant noodles just to be humane.
@EmmaLiz: Orcs versus Men? Or is that Lord of the Flies?
Two thoughts for the dad:
1) Make sure there's no blame on her. When I was maybe nine, I wrapped my arms around my dad at church, and wrapped his arm around me and put his hand on my hip. I just wanted to be cuddly, but he said that that was not appropriate because people might think something weird was going on. I felt both rejected and horribly ashamed (I knew that Good Girls Didn't and also good girls didn't do anything, ever, that made anyone even briefly wonder if maybe they Did). Hopefully your daughter is growing up with a healthier set of spoken and unspoken messages than the ones I got ("you're sexy and that's a problem" is not a message she needs to get). Go with the 'adulthood' thing others have mentioned instead.

2) I have no idea if the "rock hard/perfect female specimen/omg she's so hawt" vibe a lot of us are getting is a genuine indicator of creepiness or just because you know you're writing to a sex advice columnist. But if your dick is indeed wheedling your brain to, you know, just find some way to keep up the cuddles, man, 'cause we kinda like it, 'cause hell yeah she's hawt...then in addition to getting her out of your lap, you also need to keep a damn close rein on your eyeballs. Do not maneuver her into a side-cuddle that lets you accidentally check out her cleavage; do not check out her ass; do not check out her whatever.

Good luck. You only have to make it a couple more years til she's out on her own. In the meantime, if your dick won't leave you alone, redirect your energy towards your wife or take a lot of showers.
Sublime, ha ha! Typo of course, but now that you mention it, throw them to the orcs, why not!
IDAHO?! No, you da ho!

Seriously, what other people said about telling her she's too big to be a lap puppy anymore and needs to sit next to you to snuggle. And keep a throw pillow or lap rug handy for camouflage if needed.
I think knowing more about her dead-beat bio dad and their relationship might give us some missing clues as to her motivation, or non-motivation.

As for him, I'm split completely down the middle as to whether he's actually a creep, or merely completely, totally awkward in discussing this kind of thing.

I would give him points for writing in in the first place, but for the slightly nagging feeling engendered by his vocab (but, see above: completely, totally awkward).
Emma @59: "lots of men think women are being deliberately sexual- like I'm walking around with boobs AT them or pulling my hair back with boobs in their general direction. Not saying you are blaming that girl- and not saying she wasn't trying to entice you as that does happen too. But it's my guess that the majority of times men think women are being temptresses, they are just getting on about their day. Men read all sorts of shit into normal movements."

Yes, this! I bet you that babysitter just had a sore back. Good for you, SB53, for removing the creepy temptation, but I too doubt she was doing it on purpose.

Nocute @63: "Maybe the wife could ask the stepdaughter to relax wearing baggy sweats instead of tiny shorts."

If this girl is like most teenagers I know, having a parent try to dictate a dress code will just result in skimpier and skimpier outfits. I vote a firm no on this approach.

Lava @65: Bang on. He is ENJOYING having a hot, "perfect female specimen" around the house. He seems to be asking how he can continue perving at the in-house jailbait eye candy without her noticing. Yuck indeed.

Nocute @67: I certainly wouldn't have known an erection when I felt it when I was 16. And if the first erection I ever felt was in the lap of my stepdad, I'd probably be scarred for life. Do NOT make avoiding his boner her responsibility. Perhaps Stepdad Horndog could masturbate every day before she gets home from school. Or fuck his wife or something?

Griz @69: Congrats!
"Dear Dan,

I know it's totally skeevy & possibly illegal given her age, but my step-daughter, who's given me her trust since before she was probably even grasped the concept of sex in a non-theoretical way, is totally hot. I probably won't move on her now, since it's illegal and all, but would you mind giving me what I can take as a veiled hint that it's ok to hit that once it's legal? I'm pretty sure she feels the same way, cause she hugs before she goes off to school, and other obvious signs like sitting closer than 2 feet away when watch tv. I _promise_ I'll keep to uncomfortable stares, maaaaaybe a little innocent gestures like rubbing her feet, that will psychologically cause her years of therapy and likely an inability to trust any male authority figure for the rest of her life. I'd feel so much better about my horrible dreams if I had someone else help me justify it. Thanks!"

Fixed it for him.

Oh, how I wish Mom read SL & could see this. She doesn't, of course, otherwise he would have chosen another columnist. Sigh
Nocute @55 - I think you nailed it with this comment.

I wonder if the tendency to assign a creep-factor to IDAHO is cultural. People who enjoyed close but appropriate physical relationships with their own fathers or father-figures may be more inclined to see him as a responsible but freaked-out Dad struggling to remain loving but a little less cuddly as his little girl becomes a woman, whereas those who had physically or emotionally distant (or just plain BAD) relationships with their own fathers are more likely to view close physical contact with a teenage child as creepy if not ominous. Several have said that writing to Dan is IDAHO's attempt to justify having a physical attraction to his stepdaughter. But if he wanted to continue with bad behavior, basically maintain the status quo, why would he bother writing in? I agree that his language is not politically correct, but that doesn't make him a creep, just a relic.
@80: BidDanFan: I have never said that avoiding her stepdad's boner should be the stepdaughter's responsibility. That is not my attitude at all. It is his responsibility to act like the father figure and the adult and not subject her in any way to his boners, nor even to convey the message that it's her "fault" that the nature of their closeness needs to change. I merely made my comment @67 in response to a series of comments which were making it sound as if the girl was being groomed or coerced into sitting the way she has been. I was trying to make the point that it's possible that she has been unaware of his attraction to her (which, if so, good!), and thought that if she had noticed it (even if she didn't know what an erection was, possible that she's never felt or seen one, I suppose, but I'm sure she at least knows about the existence of them, and if she felt or saw something different and unusual in her stepdad's lap, I trust a 16-year-old could figure it out eventually), she would have already stopped sitting like that on her own, unless she's deliberately trying to provoke that response, which I think is unlikely and happens far less frequently than a lot of men think. All of which was in support of my interpretation that the lw isn't the creep that many commenters here interpret his letter to make him be.

I think iwasmadscientist @75 is spot-on, when she says that the unspoken message in these types of situations often is "you're sexy and that's a problem," and I agree with every word by EmmaLiz @59: ("lots of men think women are being deliberately sexual- like I'm walking around with boobs AT them or pulling my hair back with boobs in their general direction. Not saying you are blaming that girl- and not saying she wasn't trying to entice you as that does happen too. But it's my guess that the majority of times men think women are being temptresses, they are just getting on about their day. Men read all sorts of shit into normal movements."

I think lots of men read "sexy teenage Lolitaesque temptress" into young girls' innocent gestures and movements--probably wish-projecting; just as a lot of women read "creepy pervert" into men's actions, even if the actions are taken trying to do the right thing and not be a creepy pervert. Why, it's almost as if we live in a highly sexualized, misogynist, patriarchal, puritanical culture or something!

I also think that it's possible that 16-year-old girls do try out their nascent power over men by walking around in short shorts in front of their fathers or father-figures or stepfathers, in the way that those girls I observed did with my former teacher. Maybe some of them are trying to see if they can inspire male attention and they depend on those fathers and father-types to respond but not respond too much. It's no doubt a dangerous practice, but I think it might fall into the normal range of female development. You know, within that patriarchal, misogynist, sexualized-yet-puritanical culture, in which fathers feel responsible for their daughters' maintaining their "purity" or making sure that they show them appropriate affection so they won't be susceptible to the attentions of "douchebag boys" who will only want to (gasp) have sex with these daughters.
Capri@82, who said anything about not having physical contact with a teenaged child. I hug my sons, the youngest is just on twenty. I just make sure, as I'm sure they do, that no touching of bodies occurs below the waist.
What an offensive analysis re people's responses based on having good or bad dads. This guy is getting a hard on about his daughter, and doing nothing to change the situation, in the moment, to alter that. He's. Getting. Off. On. It..
I don't know what constitutes creepy in your world.
Cuddling, I don't cuddle my sons, not now. I can't remember when that stopped. They closed me out of the bathroom when they were six or seven. Thanks mum, we'll take it from here.
I might give them a side hug, or a rub of their backs, if we sitting next to each other on the lounge. Of course if they crying or upset, I'll sit with them, arm around their shoulder. Sexuality is too important a life force to be messed with. This is a 16 yr old girl being talked about. A girl in the bloom of young womanhood. And this guy, this creep, is violating her.
My mothering, as my children will tell you, has been far from perfect. And I have given and continue to give, life lesson little speeches. Not that I believe any of them really listen. Sexually, I stepped back. My four surviving sons are not circumcised, and my relationship to their sexual development has been a blank screen. As in, my mind doesn't go there. Ever. I check out their gfs of course, notice stuff, make sure they looking after the girl and themselves.
Otherwise, yah, my job is done.
does this man love his wife? Or because she is now the older version, he's cooled to her and erotic attention starting to go to the budding flower. He needs to check if he still loves his wife and if not, he should leave. The temptation is strong and he's already seeing his daughter as a sex object, without a strong shake up in this man's attitudes and behaviours, its obvious where this is going.
@70 EmmaLiz, @71 LavaGirl, and @80 BiDanFan: Thank you all so much.
I have had a week you wouldn't believe. Fortunately, all pertaining to finances
and tech glitches got resolved today. I'm having to take action on copyright
infringement (someone tainting my copyrighted work, and without my consent!),
but will have to wait until next week to find out what steps to take on protecting my
rights and property.
Some shining good news: a big gold star from my naturopath on a 100% clean bill
of health! My beloved VW and I are all set for 5-3 on Sunday with convertible weather
in the forecast.
@88: Oh, nuts---not again! I thought I'd indented--again.
At least my comment looks like it's being poetically expressed
My daughters all had/have hot friends. I appreciate it in a, "Wow, look what happened to cute little Susie!" way, but getting hard when they're around? Are you shitting me? No dad should be looking at his daughters, step-daughters or their friends that way. It takes a conscious effort to sexualize them, don't give me that, "It just happened before I knew what hit me!" shit! Sadly, this guy seems to be taking his cues from our Pervert-In-Chief.
And congrats on the 69 Griz. Enjoy it top to bottom. And if I may say, be glad they're tainting your copyright, not copyrighting your taint! That would be problematic.
@90: DonnyK: As a woman, I'm never sure how much control men have over their reactions. Certainly I think all my daughters' friends looks like supermodels.
EmmaLiz @59 makes a really good point. In fact, just recently my partner related to me his memory of a time long ago before we were dating when I leaned over in front of him to pick something up, and he was sure I was doing it to gently flash him--yeah, no. No memory of doing that at all, and certainly not to be provocative. The thing is, breasts are right there on the front of your body, it's hard to keep them under wrap all the time.

That said, I did, once, attempt the young temptress thing--on an older professor I had a crush on. When I think back on it I cringe; fortunately, it was short-lived and he had the good sense to ignore it. So I know it does happen. But I think Emma's right that it's intended much less often than it is unintended.
I disagree with those who see something natural in IDAHO's boners. Like, "oh, well, she's attractive and guys get boners when they are around attractive females." No. No, that's not quite right.

Let's take a step back and discuss for a moment why boners actually occur. This is dangerous territory, I get boners for all sorts of weird reasons. But outside of phenomena like morning wood, or the propensity to become erect way too easily after a long dry spell (and that's not you, right IDAHO? You are getting some from your girlfriend on the regular, yes?), boners generally don't happen just because you see someone attractive. They happen because you are thinking about fucking that attractive person.

If I were to see my sister, or my mom, or some other woman who happened to be attractive but who isn't remotely appropriate as a sexual partner (and yeah some people go there anyway, but that's not the point), I would still notice they're attractive. I might even be able to understand why other guys would want to fuck them. But I myself wouldn't get an erection, because I DON'T WANT TO FUCK THEM.

This guy, and any guy, is perfectly capable of looking at, and even having physical contact with, an attractive girl and not getting a boner. But that assumes you don't want to fuck her. So I'm afraid you need to stop blaming your boners on the fact that she's just an attractive female alone. That's not the reason you get hard. You get hard because you want to fuck your stepdaughter. Period.

And that's pretty damn creepy, because you have known this girl since she was 11. You should at this point, after 5 years of being in her life and watching her grow up, not be thinking of fucking her. If it enters your head, it should make you want to think of something else. But you're thinking it anyway. You enjoy thinking it.

Time to see a therapist and see if you can get a handle on this. Assuming your letter is even real. Which it probably isn't.
@91 DonnyKlicious: Thank you. The magic number came up at the right time for me this week and I seized the opportunity.
There is SO much out there pertaining to copyright laws! I am looking into Clause 2 of Section 115 of the Copyright Act to see what my rights and responsibilities are, as the copyright owner. I have been told that if I am receiving a residual I have very little say in the use of my composed work. Arrrgh! This is from my first symphony, a work that I have major sentimental attachment to. I hope everything works out for the better and legal issues don't turn ugly. The rap artist who streamed my music did not contact me for permission of use, and I'm concerned about the context.
Channelling undead ayn rand: Please help! I am having the worst difficulty saving and submitting my midterm project Assignment #5 (a 2-3 minute MIDI composition) to Berklee School of Music. I studied Lesson #5. i watched the demo videos. I couldn't save my midterm, and even after doing the assignment over, and now all I have instead of one saved zip file to submit is a bunch of multi-titled gobbledygook. I would have had it done on time otherwise--9PM PDT (12 am EDT) Saturday, July 29, 2017. Any ideas?
@OHIO - Just to confirm what Dan said regarding "things someone her age wouldn't be interested in", I've been submissively kinky all my life and would DEFINITELY have used and enjoyed leather restraints when I was 19-ish years old. If only I could have afforded such nice gear at that age!
@94: Your post is utter bullshit. First off, a guy can get an erection from petting a dog or getting a massage from someone not of his preferred gender. That doesn't mean he wants to fuck his dog or his masseur, it means physical contact can easily elicit an involuntary physical response when the contact is pleasant.

Second, the state of "wanting to fuck" anybody -- including one's attractive stepdaughter -- isn't a binary. It's utterly normal to feel some attraction to just about anybody, because there's an erotic aspect to every intimate relationship. What makes a person healthy isn't not feeling that aspect, it's NOT ACTING ON IT and choosing not to do so.

I think people who realize that it's the action, not the impulse, that defines a person are far less likely to commit a sexual offense or awful transgression than those who, like you, think certain thoughts are "unthinkable".
Schmacky @94: Thank you for the excellent schmackdown! :)

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