Savage Love May 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm


Joe Newton



22 on an assignment abroad where you will almost certainly not spend your entire life is a wonderful time to have an exciting affair with a beautiful interesting person who does not speak your language. And anyway, the best way to learn and to teach a language is in bed. Don't waste the opportunity, including all its oral possibilities, on an expat. You didn't move to Central Asia at 22 to date someone you could've met in Poughkeepsie, surely.


"Sausage fest" is a new one on me.

Re ANGST, I'm wondering if "I needed more me time" is code for "she was suffocating me." I have sympathy there; great sex isn't always worth the drama. But speaking of drama, ANGST is creating an issue where there is none. He's "not fussed" by his situation; he's 40ish and therefore probably a lot less horny than he was prior to his marriage going sexless; he has no relationship issues to solve and has a lot of time for his kids. ANGST, you've got it made. If you do meet someone you like, you can date her. I think people in general would be a lot happier if they were able to live their lives and worry a lot less about the sex/relationships they weren't getting.

NSFW, how old are you? Literally or figuratively, I think growing up will solve your problem.

BABY, there's your problem: "We never discuss it." DISCUSS IT ALREADY. You've only been together a year; sure, it will hurt if you talk about your futures, realise they're incompatible, and decide to go your separate ways. But better to do that after one year than ten.

SAD, I'm sure there are other English speakers in the country you're living in. Get online and find them.

NIBB, there's your problem: "eye roll." You're completely dismissing the idea that your husband has preferences regarding his own body that don't match your preferences for his body. If he can't have the smooth body he likes when he's not even around you, you're being too controlling. That said, it's a conundrum: he was hairy when you got together, and you liked that, and you think he should keep it that way. You two will have to talk -- no eye rolling -- about whether his being smooth is a bigger turn-off for you than his being hairy is a turn-off for him. If it doesn't work out... please send him my way.


Re: SAD, I have to wonder: 'Is this an American thing?' Seriously, she's posted to central Asia, not floating in the vacuum of space. I refuse to believe that the local population is bereft of bilingual hot/smart/funny/age appropriate/whatever single people. If SAD's doing development work, then of course she must behave appropriately, but why can't she go native?


It would be a shock Fan, your husband deciding mid marriage to shave his pubic hair. And now his chest. No.


It would depend on the culture how native SAD can go.


LavaGirl: Granted, there could be a lot of obstacles to overcome if the goal is marriage, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. SAD said she's lonely and that's understandable. I'd like to know how long she's been away.

In any case, neither SAD's letter nor Dan's reply consider even the possibility of a relationship with a foreigner. I'm surprised.


Lava @4: Oh, I'd be utterly delighted. Of course I wouldn't have married a guy with a hairy chest in the first place...


Depending on the organisation and work (she could be working with a vulnerable population), her company policy may be to avoid fraternisation with the locals. There's been a bit of controversy with aid work and sex lately, what with the Oxfam scandal some companies might be getting more strict with these things.



BABY's solution is obvious. He says he's not sure whether he wants to be long-term monogamous. Ms BABY wants to have a family. They could solve both problems by opening the relationship. Ms BABY could keep her young toyboy AND look for a partner to have kids with. As today's SLLOTD shows, polyamory isn't incompatible with parenthood (though it can be complicated). They'd have to accept that they'd spend less time together if they go this route, but that might be preferable to breaking up. It's an option that's at least worth adding to the discussion.


Phascogale @8: Yes, that's a good point. But SAD sounded like she wasn't specifically looking for sexual partners, just other, non-coupled people to hang out with. Perhaps she and the other handful of singles could arrange a weekend trip to the nearest big city.


For SAD, "Central Asia" can often mean conservative Muslim countries where there's not a lot of mixed gender interactions and hanging out with a foreign woman can give the local woman a bad reputation. Add a language barrier to it, and celibacy might just be in the cards for the moment, along with expat-only friends. Sucks, but sometimes that's just how it is.

Re: "clambake" - what do you mean it didn't catch on? I've certainly heard of it.


Traffic @ 11 - There even was an Elvis movie about it!


Phascogale @8 and Traffic Spiral @11 both have good points with regards to "going native". As someone who's done a bit of "development work" in Kazakhstan, I'd say she'll have no problem finding someone for casual dating in Almaty or the other big cities, but if she's based in a small town in the south (bear in mind that it is a MASSIVE country and travelling from A to B is not always straightforward, especially for a tongue-tied foreigner), it can get complicated. Gossip travels fast and there's local customs and culture to consider. "Bride kidnapping" is still kind of a thing in South Kazakhstan (although the concept is somewhat misunderstood in the West). If she doesn't speak the language, she can find herself way out her depth, fast.

So from a purely logistical perspective - yes, while perhaps less romantic, dating another ex-pat is way easier.


^^ In general I'd advise SAD to get online, make lots of (platonic) friends, native and otherwise, and just generally try to keep an open and positive attitude (so pretty much what Dan said). She'd be in a better frame of mind to weigh things up and take advantage of an interesting romantic opportunity - if and when one comes along - if she's not dripping in loneliness and desperation.


^^ Oh, and to make a good faith effort to learn the language of whatever country she's working in, if she's going to be there for some time. It will definitely open up her world.


"you're not obligated to touch your husband and/or his junk when he's pubeless"

True, but you /should/ try to get the fuck over his pubelessness. (Maybe the libido-killing effect is temporary, or is actually triggered purely by [reasonable] suspicion of infidelity due to his pubelessness.) And Dan's analogy to Terry wasn't 100% strength; Dan is opting to avoid something; NIBB's issue is a lack of something.


Pussy Riot...fuck yeah!


1: My first thought was something to do with a harem - Ms Fan, can you enlighten about the British pronunciation with a long E? Is there any correlation to social class?

2: I'm torn between the sociopolitical discussion of LW's lifestyle choices one would see in certain venues and LW's being "priced out". Is sex work on the path to being a top-tier luxury item?

3: I like this letter, as one can tell LW to break up, fairly confident that one of them deserves it without having to care or worry which.

4: Good for LW and Mr Savage. While I can conceive of someone willing to fill the role the couple would require should the relationship open, I fear this would fit into another Unicorn category.


LW1, CN: How about Ultimate Sexual Encompassing of a Hetero Individual Male - USE HIM!

LW2, ANGST: You value quality time (both with your kids and with yourself) over more money and more sex at this point in your life. You are entitled to set your own priorities, and you have. When and if you are ready for a new relationship, you'll know it. Until then, just relax and enjoy the benefits of the lifestyle you have chosen.

LW3, NSFW (love the acronym): Did you ever resolve the "major problems" that caused the two of you to split up? Some people lose their libido due to suppressed anger or frustration with non-sexual relationship difficulties. It's possible (even likely) that BF missed you madly, and thought he'd love to jump into bed with you as soon as you got back together. But now those bad memories keep popping back into his head. Depending on the nature of your problems, you should try to talk them out, either by yourselves or with the help of a couples counselor. You can also use your words for his current lack of initiative: tell him you love him and want him sexually, but you also need to know he wants you back. Tell him the truth you have shared with us, which is that you feel rejected when you always have to be the one to initiate sex.

LW4, BABY: People can love each other with all of their hearts, yet still not be compatible life partners. I think you would be doing yourself and GF a huge favor by having the Baby Talk now, while she still has time to recognize that dream with a man who is delighted by the idea of fathering her child. Who knows, maybe she will change her mind and decide that she'd rather stay with you, even if it means possibly never experiencing biological motherhood. But most likely you will go your separate ways, as loving lifetime friends. It's heartbreaking...I know.

LW5, SAD: I've never lived as an ex-pat per se, but I have made a lot of 3-6 month foreign trips. LostM @13 @14 has it exactly right - "going native" in your dating life can be both personally and professionally hazardous in many parts of the world, particularly for a young, single woman in a conservative, male-dominated culture. In addition to seeking out platonic social opportunities in your region, I would recommend that you start looking for a new job that could provide a richer social and romantic life. (If you are in the Peace Corps or something similar, your current assignment has an end date, so you can start planning for where you will go next.) It's easy enough for Dan to say that "40 percent of your fellow expats are single," but I assume you wouldn't be writing if you could picture even one of them as a potential romantic interest.

LW6, NIBB: I feel your pain! Totally do NOT get the fascination that some adults have with making their bodies look pre-pubescent. But realistically, there's not much you can do if that's his preferred aesthetic, except to express your feelings. Psychologists would tell you to phrase it positively - "I really miss your body hair, it looks and feels sooo sexy against my skin - and it makes me feel sexy too" rather than "Seriously - are you trying look like a ten-year-old here? It's definitely not a good look for you, and it's the opposite of sexy for me."



I thought of that too, but the problem is that she's willing to date people who live hours away. So while she probably cannot date someone who is a member of the population with whom she's doing development work (like, if they are building a well in a village or something, hands off the villagers), it would be really odd if the company also had a rule against dating an entire nationality.

I suppose if she's in an incredibly remote and sparsely populated place, there might be nothing but ultra-traditional brideknapping villagers within a two hour radius of where she's living, but I really can't image that such a cartoonishly backwards place would also have 14 expats in the same radius- even in a gigantic place like Kazakhstan out in a village in a desert, I don't see how she could live somewhere so remote that there are simultaneously 14 expats but only backwards villagers within a two mile radius of her work. Kazakhstan is incredibly diverse by the way, the men there are beautiful, women travel about freely in most parts of the country, Borat isn't real, and unless she's posted to an emerging caliphate or theocratic dictatorship (and if she's in THAT part of Central Asia doing development work, she's either with the government or a church group in which case she's got bigger fish to fry I think) then people do date, yes even Muslims omg- but any sort of multi-cultural mingling like that will require a bit of discretion and understanding of the local culture and yes, learning some of the language. Which you'd think are the whole reasons for her going there? But maybe not. There are expats all over the world hanging out only with other expats, and it sounds like something of the norm with folks here.


Re LW6, NIBB -- people change over time. I would assume there are other changes going on besides the ones you can see. I would work on showing him less contempt ("eye roll") and instead trying to encourage him to be honest by demonstrating that you won't overreact if he tells you something you don't want to hear.

And what does this mean? "Do I have to be GGG on this too?" That sounds like someone who is bending too far and not feeling fulfilled yourself in the relationship. So for how long has that been going on? Maybe you would benefit from being more honest with him about your own desires.


BTW, It's worth mentioning that SAD did not specifically say she is looking for a date or sex- but rather that she's lonely and hanging out with couples is taking a toll on her mental health. And while (depending on where she lives) she's unlikely to find a single's scene where she can just jump in and start dating, living abroad requires learning how people do things in another culture- unless, that is, you want to limit yourself to the very small handful of people from your own culture.

Not knowing the specifics of where she lives and even considering that she might live in a place surrounded entirely by scary bride-knapping muslims, lions, tigers and bears oh my, there is no reason SAD can't make friends with local young women her own age while simultaneously keeping in touch with some of the expats so she can chill and let her hair down and talk all that good English- which jokes aside, it can get lonely and frustrating if you don't have someone to be your own culture with and naturally speak your own language with- that is valid and true. But she has that. The advantage of making friends in her own peer group (which may or may not include boys her age- maybe just girls if that's the norm there) is that she'll learn the language and the culture better and start to become actually multi-cultural and be less lonely. It gets easier and more comfortable with time, and as she really gets immersed in the culture, even if it's a place that is more gender-segregated than what we are used to- she will start to find out how young folk there date. Because, like I said, unless she's in some caliphate or theocratic dictatorship, yes of course 22 year olds date and hang out and etc. (In fact, even if she's in a caliphate or dictatorship, young folks date but I wouldn't recommend it if you have the choice not to, but what in the world would she be doing there anyway unless she went with some church group or some weirdo government posting in which case, lil sis, stop writing to a sex advice columnist and take a long hard look at what you're doing).

So I don't mean to be flippant about culture shock and loneliness, both perfectly valid, but yes, like Saxfanatic, I'm miffed that neither Dan nor the LW mentioned going out and mingling with the local youth. Some people should stay home. The specifics of the advice of how to meet people might change in another culture, but not the general gist- find people who are doing stuff together that seem like fun and go do it with them.


For those saying that removing pubic hair makes someone look prepubescent, no, it doesn't. The genitals change shape & size during puberty, so making them more visible by shaving just highlights the differences. It's a fashion, and you are free to ignore it.

But accusing people who follow the fashion of wanting to look like children is silly.



What if it no hair does make you think of a child? I agree that most people are doing the trendy thing, really a norm now among some people, and they are not trying to look like children. But when I see a man with perfectly smooth hairless yet obviously fully grown adult genitalia, it does make me think of either a Ken Doll or a child- and in both cases that's a temporary turn off. I have a preference for nicely trimmed well kept hair down there. In my own case, I can chase these incredibly unsexy thoughts from my mind and focus instead on the grown ass man and cock in front of me, but I can see how others might find that more difficult.


Clam jam!


@16 agreed - at times the idea of "you aren't obligated to X" seems really antithetical to some advice/comments we all hear of GGG....somehow its ok to tell your partner they have to pee on you every now and again or you're going to go find someone else who will, but god forbid you have to deal with someone who shaved their pubes if you didn't give 'em permission. By that logic, NIBB should find someone else to touch their pube-less balls. Obviously, getting the fuck over it is preferred and what people usually do, I thought.

Soooooo...which is it?


@25 -- beat me to it. Clam Jam is used in my group of friends.

Regarding SAD, I'll repeat what others have said -- learn the language, meet some locals, be open to the possibility of something happening. Americans have perhaps the worst global reputation among developed countries for being monolingual. Not learning the language means you will miss out on a lot, including possibly romance. And if the aid agency forbids fraternization with the locals, you should still learn the language and make friends.


Hello, some of us who remove our pubic hair are neither trying to be trendy (I've been removing mine for 20 years), nor trying to look like children, nor, before someone says it, brainwashed by porn. It's just a preference. Why it gets so much more flak than any other preference, I don't know.

To the competing "she should just accept it" (Curious @16) and "it's fine to have this as a dealbreaker" (Cap @19) bits of advice, it all depends on how strong NIBB's preference is. Some people's preferences in this -- or any other -- area rise to the level of a fetish, and a fetish is not something one can decide to be flexible on. If NIBB has a fetish for body hair, or an anti-fetish against it, which seems more like what Capricornius is describing -- they're actually repulsed by it because it makes them think of children or whatever -- then she shouldn't be expected to just accept this sudden change in his grooming. This situation is tricky because it is a change; she didn't get involved with a hairless man and then demand that he stop shaving. She married him as-is, only as-is is now as-was. And if he's making this change that she really doesn't like, I think he should at least give her an explanation of why he's doing it. In the end it's his body, but, especially if she's been up front about liking his body hair, he can't expect her to not be disappointed.


EmmaLiz @20, I don't know why you're building a strawman out of Borat, "backwards brideknapping villagers", Islamophobia, and racist expats who only want to socialise with each other. No one here remotely suggested that Kazakhstan (or any other country in that region) isn't an incredibly diverse place where women travel about freely, blah blah. I lived there. I had a great time, and since language barrier wasn't an issue in my case, made plenty of local friends who I still keep in touch with. If I wasn't already coupled, I may have considered dating someone local (although, being more on the gay side of bi, that would have presented its own challenges). But I a) could speak the language freely, b) already had a good support network of local colleagues and friends 'in my corner', and c) to some extent, understood local cultural attitudes around dating, 'hanging out', personal safety, police involvement, etc., being from a somewhat similar culture myself.

In all honesty, I don't think that the flippant romanticised attitude of your @1 comment (and, to some extent, @saxfanatic's comments) would be particularly useful in SAD's circumstances. I suspect she's already aware of the potential "personal and professional hazards" of dating local boys (or girls), which is why she doesn't mention it in her letter - or perhaps she has, and Dan cropped it out for brevity and anonymity.

Understanding local culture, when it's so vastly different from your own, requires a bit more than just "learning some of the language" (and your first comment even seemed to suggest that SAD should jump into bed with a sexy local first, worry about learning the language later). There were plenty of scary moments during my time in South Kazakhstan (alongside many other amazing ones). Like tempers going from 0 to 60 in a flash, with knife and gun violence erupting in the middle of local couple's wedding celebrations. Or the time I had to jump in and diffuse the situation, when a group of local men separated a young tipsy Swedish student from our group, and were attempting to lead her away. Which you know - can happen in any country. But is quite a bit scarier when you don't really know anyone and don't understand what they're saying.

As I said, it's a different story in a big cosmopolitan city like Almaty. But I don't think she's in a big cosmopolitan city. I think she's more likely to be in the middle of nowhere, with 14 other English-speaking expats working for the same "development work" organisation.


CN: "Clam Bake" would be a fine name for the first 15 minutes. Then it would be called a "Slumber Party".


NIBB sounds like a real fish in bed. Hair removal is an automatic turnoff? Let me guess, "it's NOT NORMAL! The neighbors would not approve!" But the women like it because that is why her hubby is allegedly doing it? Talk about a woman who is looking to borrow trouble anywhere she can find it.

I shave personal hair because it can be irritating when working out. My wife did not even blink when I started doing it.

I would say, NIBB, that your hubby is definitely on this trip looking for some strange. You really need to come up with an "A" game to stop him. Complaining is not sexy.


@9. Bi. My understanding was that BABY's partner was more committed to monogamy (or believed that only monogamy would satisfy her) to a far greater degree than he was. Dan's answer to him is complete; but it's not the complete solution. That would involve her taking her future into her own hands--if having children is so important for her. The words suggested (for him) might only have the effect of piling more pressure on her. Maybe he should be prepared to force the situation by saying he is not always going to be monogamous by choice.

I thought people were packing SAD off with Borat too quickly (OK, I know that's not fair to Central Asians ... it's a lazy stereotype to suppose all are unreconstructed as the fictional character. Many are Muslims, too, and are not necessarily going to jump at an acknowledged relationship with a 22-year old Westerner). I'd think of something different. Foreign aid workers, as far as I know, are usually on excellent salaries re their living expenses (enough for them not to be disadvantaged when they return back home). Why not fly some of her college friends out in sequence as fuckbuddies? The LW should not be too embarrassed to do this.


As quite a few others have already written, the idea of foreigners getting romantically involved with locals can be tricky at times.
Since we’re dealing with a more conservative/traditional/religious environment in this case one should also be aware of the difference between a man and a woman dating the locals (and I’ll discus only OS relationship here, as homosexuality/lesbianism might not even “exist” in those geographies.)

A local man/foreign woman relationship may cause less of a drama than the other way around, though could still come with a price. To begin with, it is possible that the guy is communicating/bragging with other men as to what is going on, which could result in some contempt and ridicule. It is also possible that she will be viewed as promiscuous and other men will attempt to have sex with her as a result, with a difficulty of taking “no” as an answer.

A foreign man involved, or some times not even more than exchanging looks and smiles, with a local woman could come with a hefty price of beatings and beyond.


Lava @ 4
Not sure why it would be such a dramatic shock.


BDF @28, you misread my comments @19 re NIBB. Firstly, I'm not giving you flak for your bare-pube preference. Of course you can do whatever feels good, and looks the way you want your body to look. I don't happen to find it sexually attractive, as my limbic system automatically screams "pre-teen" whether or not that was the intended effect. But as you say, that is an individual (and in this case, I think, largely a generational) preference. I don't like huge ear gauges or coffee brandy, either, but some dear friends do, and I love them even though we don't share the same tastes in fashion and alcohol. Body hair preferences are just another form of human expression. In fact, I think life would get pretty boring if we all had the same cookie-cutter tastes and preferences, sexually and otherwise.

Secondly, I emphatically did NOT say it was OK to view Hubby's shaving as a deal-breaker; just the opposite. I said she would have to live with his choice since it was his body, but she could tell him her own preferences - preferably couched in positive language about how much she enjoys his body hair, rather than complaining about his lack thereof.

Finally, I was gob-smacked by your comment that "She married him as-is, only as-is is now as-was." Is there anyone alive whose "as-is" with a long-term romantic partner hasn't morphed into an "as-was" over time...physically, emotionally, psychically? All of us are changing all the time, and we owe our life partners exactly what they owe us: a commitment to work together to try to accept and adapt to each others' changes as the years pass. Surely NIBB will be disappointed if Hubby decides to keep the manscaped look, despite her objections. But I seriously hope that she wouldn't break up their marriage over something as trivial as body hair.


@21. Erica. I think your comment very insightful.

What are the reasons her husband might have starting shaving his pubes? The first is the most obvious, that he's fucking or looking to fuck someone else. Another would be that it's a change, however minor, that it excites him to make; he feels sexy or perhaps that he's getting out of a rut. He could be tin-eared and think she likes it. Has she even asked him why he's started right now?

The one Uzbek family I know (one small child) are the most God-fearing, hard-working, desirous-to-learn people. Kind of like the best US religious conservatives.


NIBB—I prefer hairy men myself, but what is with the eye roll? If it means she trusts him, great. If it means she thinks he’s kidding himself that anyone else would want to fuck him, that’s a huge insult and very damaging to the relationship.


CMD, this was not a thing in my youth, we were the reverse, women not shaving. The shock is the visuals. Like the LW, hairless cock loses its full beauty for me, and the feel, total turn off.


Like Erica, I'm a bit suspicious about this sudden change in grooming behaviour. Is he buying new underwear too? Maybe giving his wife a message about his non availability to her or just trying the new-ish trend on for size. Going away with the boys, so he does it twice. Can the LW change her aesthetic if he insists on staying hair free.. up to her. I wouldn't leave over it, it would shift things.


Pussy riots and sausage fests? I love it! Dan the Man, you're the greatest!


Schlong-a-long? Oh, dear, now I keep envisioning that graphic image of Joe Newton's of a blood sausage.....!


Hey Grizelda, hope you're enjoying warmer weather. Ours has just turned, a little chill in the mornings.


@41: "Schlong-a-long"?! God, what was I thinking? Maybe about Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick?
@42 LavaGirl: Yes, thank you--we are finally enjoying nicer, sunnier weather now that it's springtime in the PNW. And my beloved VW is finally out of winter hibernation once again!
Time for us to hit the beach.


@43: I dunno---Brad Pitt, rather than Jack Nicholson, would still my horny little devil of choice....


I spent a year in a SE Asian country when I was 24 and had a similar issue to SAD's, made worse by the fact that I had a sort of not really fling with one of the other expats who then essentially said "fuck off" and got together with ANOTHER expat and they kind of became THE expat IT couple, so my face was rubbed in it every time our expat community got together. At the time it sucked emotionally. I was lonely, far from home, living in a tiny community of about 3,000 people with spotty internet and electricity only 6 hours a day. Looking back now though, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, and I wish above all else that I had spent less time worrying about guys and relationships and more time focused on just how amazing this experience was. And, being single (and mostly celibate) for that year gave me HUGE opportunities to grow into myself and become the person I am today.

SAD, trust me, I know how lonely it can be. Especially when you feel like you're surrounded by couples and all you can think is "why can't I find that?" I know it's easier said than done (trust me, I know), but you just have to embrace this experience for what it is. Not necessarily "focusing on your career" or whatever. Focus on you, focus on the present moment of this amazing experience you are having. Explore, push yourself outside your cultural comfort zone, immerse yourself in the local community and culture. (Be respectful and safe about it, of course). It will shape who you are and how you view the world and your way more than any "coupledom" could. And honestly, you'll probably get way more out of the experience than you would if you were in a couple anyway.

(And listen to Chris Ryan's podcast about traveling to give you some perspective)



You're right of course which is why I tried to give a more toned down version of my advice later on in this thread. I was responding in the opposite direction because of the complete lack of acknowledgement that the LW could make friends with locals- it was assumed by her, in her letter, and Dan, in his response, that the only people she could possibly consider were these 6 expats. You are correct though that I initially responded with the extreme opposite- pendulums and all that. But you also must admit that bride-kidnapping (your suggestion with a nod to the nuance of the term) is an incredibly unlikely thing to happen to an American woman socializing with locals, even in remote Kazakhstan. I too have spent plenty of time there though I've never lived there and my extended trips have been mostly to Aktobe and Almaty with only outdoorsy excursions into the more touristy center. But I've traveled widely around Asia and the Muslim world and lived some of my life in India and I'm sensitive to Western expat dismissals of "the natives". Yes it takes learning a new culture and yes it has a different set of risks, but what a shame if someone instead chooses to just self-segregate.

And I always advise people in their early 20s to lean towards casual flings, regardless of where/whom. So long as you keep your head and use safe practices, you are unlikely to grow old and wish you'd fucked fewer people or had fewer international flings.


LavaGirl @39, I'm not suspicious of him. I think the second adolescence people often go through in midlife is just as important as the one they go through in their teens.

I'm not suggesting she snoop through his phone; I'm encouraging her to sit down and try to hear what's going on in his internal life right now. And open up about what's going on in her life right now too.


M?? Harriet @36 - "Best" was interesting word choice. Did you mean it as in "most faithful adherents to the dictates of their creed", as "least bad", as the "creme de la creme", or some other way?


Lava @ 38
I get the “shock” and yet we’re dealing with body hair that can grow back in a week or two. Not a permanent tattoo nor piercing, not even a double layer semi sheer pink nylon vintage-inspired Betsey Johnson baby doll with black lace on top and bottom which Nordstrom used to carry few years ago, accompanied with growth allowing pink satin thong, fluorescent pink stretchy thigh high fishnets and red marabou medium heel sandals.
A long black lace robe is optional.

IslandGirl72 @ 46
Yes, travelling and living in a different country for some time is a wonderful opportunity to grow, regardless of romantic/sexy experiences.

EmmaLiz @ 47
I get that vibe from you too, though I’d further emphasize caution in unfamiliar cultures and situations. Taking matters into your own hands may keep you out of potential trouble in some situations.
As for, “you are unlikely to grow old and wish you'd fucked fewer people or had fewer international flings,” some times the what-ifs can provide an inspiration in later life.


CMD @50, you are the best at knowing how to tease it. Thanks for the sexy bedtime imagery!


Okay obviously the counterpart to a sausage fest is a Taco Party.


You having a lend of me CMD. The shock is because it looks ugly as fuck shaved, imo.


In reference to the shaving husband, I think there might be a few contextual things to consider depending on his age. Let's say the husband is in his mid 30s or older. That demographic group of heterosexual** men was less exposed to shaving until relatively recently, given my experiences falling into that age demographic. So he wouldn't have thought about shaving or manscaping when he was younger and when the couple first married if his mid 30s+. Second, the aging male body (wow, that's a sexy phrase) does not re-distribute hair in a way that most men would prefer. That is, hair seems to disappear from the legs and head and forearms and yet grows more on the back, chest, ears, nose. See, not very sexy. Therefore, maybe the husband is just trying to make some choices that allow him to feel his own body in a way that seems to be sexier to him. Of course, there is nothing more sexy than having one's partner want to fuck you a lot so he's making choices that run counter to feeling better IMHO.

**I can't say when the shaved body as a popular representation of one type of gay male aesthetic became the norm since I'm not gay and didn't start having conversations with gay friends about manscaping until I was older. In my experience there is certainly a parallel between more women shaving completely or opting for a very, very low cut bikini line post-Internet porn boom. But that's anecdotal, not scientific. A New York Tmes article published 10-15 years ago attributed pubic laser hair removal among women to porn and low-rise jeans. And hair removal among men was often attributed to sports (esp. cyclists). The NYT writer came to these conclusions through interviews with laser hair removal folks.


@52 I was going to propose "Taco Truck"


Here is a link to that article for the NYT article in case anyone is interested in a longer history of pubic hair removal:


CMD @50 -

That is a disgusting and horrifying mental image.

You need the black marabou sandals.


26 and 31 on NIBB - yes. My ex husband started shaving because we moved to the South and he worked outside. It was just far more comfortable. Not saying this is what's going on with her husband, but why not try to be open to how he wants his body to look and feel? This just seems controlling. Do you tell him how to wear his hair or clothes? Maybe try letting him be comfortable in his own skin.


Does it grow back the same CMD, soft and curly.


I am a woman in my late 30's and have been with some men who shaved. I always hated it. For me, it has little to do with the visuals or what I'm attracted to - it's about the STUBBLE BURN! Maybe I just have more sensitive skin, but sex with a man who shaved, even if it was just minutes before, is always rough on my delicate parts. So I think it's a legitimate request for a wife to say, "Your desire to be hairless means you are rubbing me raw and sore every time we have sex. I am not cool with this so you're gonna need to get hairy or get lasered if we're going to continue having sex."


Harriet @32: BABY didn't mention his girlfriend's views on monogamy. All he says is that having kids is important to her. Monogamy may be as well, if you're extrapolating "she wants a traditional family" from "she wants a family," but it wasn't said -- all that WAS said was "We never discuss it," and that's got to change.

Cap @35: Sorry but saying "eww, you look like a 10-year-old" IS giving flak over a shaved-pubes preference. You've been quite disparaging on this topic in the past. Perhaps you should take your own advice on tact regarding this choice when made by others: "I don't find it attractive," fine; "I prefer pubic hair," fine; "you look like a prepubescent," not fine. Thanks.

"Gob-smacked"? There is a difference between accepting the normal effects of ageing -- hair loss, weight gain, etc -- and making an active decision to change something you know your partner likes about you. The former is just life; the latter could amount to baiting and switching. Let's say you have a thing for small breasts, and out of nowhere your partner decides to get huge implants. Of course that's going to affect how attracted you are to them. If body hair is a massive turn-on for NIBB, it's not at all "trivial" that her husband has now decided to get rid of it.

Harriet @36: Another possibility that occurred to me was crabs. Although aren't those largely extinct, thanks to us awesome people who shave our pubic hair? ;-)
(There's a winkyface icon at the end of that sentence, in the event it doesn't post. Formatting seems to be going missing this week, I don't know why.)


Venn @18: Missed your question. Yes, "harem" is pronounced "hareem" in England, though I couldn't tell you why. And hasn't sex work always been a luxury item? Particularly when one has two kids and potentially alimony to fund too.


EmmaLiz @47

Thanks for coming back to clarify. It seems like we mostly agree. A couple of minor points:

"But you also must admit that bride-kidnapping (your suggestion with a nod to the nuance of the term) is an incredibly unlikely thing to happen to an American woman socializing with locals, even in remote Kazakhstan"

It is an unlikely thing to happen to an American woman who is just "socializing" with the locals (though socializing without a common language would be pretty difficult, I'd imagine). As far as I know, bride kidnappings in that part of the world are usually consensual, and often staged by young couples (and their families) who can't afford the traditional lavish wedding with 500 guests. It's a way of saving face. However, if SAD was actually dating a young local guy, I think it's not beyond the realm the possibility, that in the absence of clear verbal communication (that pesky language problem again) he might interpret her willingness to engage sexually as consent to be "abducted" and married. He may even think this was the honourable thing to do. From what I observed, casual dating really isn't much of a thing over there (though it might be more of a thing in the more Westernised/Russified parts of the country). Which brings me to...

"And I always advise people in their early 20s to lean towards casual flings, regardless of where/whom."

That's the thing though. It's all good and well to advise it, but somewhere like South Kazakhstan most 22 year olds would either be already married with kids, or looking to do so in the near future. So it might not be much of an option.


Oh, and as for this:

"I was responding in the opposite direction because of the complete lack of acknowledgement that the LW could make friends with locals- it was assumed by her, in her letter, and Dan, in his response, that the only people she could possibly consider were these 6 expats"

I didn't read it that way. What SAD said was "I can't help but feel lonely at times, especially since I can't speak the local language well and these 14 other people are the only ones near me who speak English." Which I can believe, as it was similar to my own working situation: a bunch of English-speaking foreigners in the middle of a desert, all working on the same project, and no English speakers in the local population, save for a couple of teachers/ translators (whose English wasn't necessarily fluent either). If it wasn't for me and the other multi-lingual people on the project, the two groups probably wouldn't mix socially at all - not because people wanted to "self-segregate", but because it's bloody hard to do when you don't understand each other. It's OK to mime your way through a food order or a car breakdown when you're a tourist, but maintain an hour-long conversation without a common tongue? Let's be realistic.


ANGST, good to hear you prioritise your kids and yes having a few years off relationships can be very beneficial. Time for reflection on why the marriage failed etc etc.


Cap @35, cont'd: It's offensive (not to mention, as Emma @24 notes, inaccurate) to say "shaved pubes make you look like a prepubescent" because not only does that body-shame the person doing the shaving, it implies that people who like this look/feel are paedophiles, which is most certainly untrue.


QuiteContrary @ 57
Those are saved for the purple bustier with garters, along with the black stockings with the red bow on top, and the dotted purple panties.
That same long black lace Leigh Bantivoglio(!) robe is still an option.

Lava @ 59


BDF @61 @66, I apologize if you took personal offense at my comment, but it was truly not intended as an insult. I commented @19 that I really don't get why any adult would want to make their bodies look pre-pubescent - an objective statement ABOUT ME, because that is what shaved pubes look like TO ME. But I have no personal beef with anyone who prefers the bare look. It's obviously a matter of personal taste and style, and everyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their own bodies. I have no reason to judge or body-shame you, or anyone else who chooses to self-depiliate.

I don't think my saying I have a strong preference for hair is any more offensive than you saying you have a strong preference for bare. You can't argue that one choice is better than the other, when it's a matter of taste. But plenty of folks have commented on this thread with strongly-held opinions, one way or the other - so I'm guessing it's more of an either-or issue than most aspects of human sexuality, which typically range across a wide spectrum of preferences. No one here has commented "Meh, body hair, who cares? I can take it or leave it."



Having said that, there was some romantic interest between a couple of Western men on my team and a couple of Kazakh women. The women weren't "local village girls", mind, but researchers from an Almaty university, who were also assigned to our project. They spoke a little bit of English, and the Western guys a tiny bit of Russian (funnily enough, none of them spoke Kazakh), but mostly they communicated through texting apps/ Google translate. So, you know, it's possible that SAD might stumble into something/ someone like that if she keeps her options open and has technology on her side :)

In this case though, the romances didn't go anywhere, because the Western guys only wanted "something casual", and the women weren't up for anything like that.


Cap @68: I'm not arguing that saying you have a strong preference is insulting. I'm arguing that equating shaved pubes with pre-adolescents is insulting.
Let me give you an example: "I don't get why anyone would want to shag someone who looks like a whale." Is that a statement of preference, or could that be construed to be body-shaming fat people?
I'm presuming the large number of people who can take or leave (average amounts of) body hair just haven't commented.

Margarita @69: Congrats on the magic number!


Ms Fan - Perhaps it depends on how one defines "luxury". On the comic side, I got an image in my head of how the only people able to afford sex workers would be other sex workers. On the serious side, if it really is a luxury item, then it's very 7%y of Mr Savage to keep tossing off the recommendation so casually. If I had the brief to defend him, I suppose I'd try Abbess Catherine's line from In This House of Brede when Dame Agnes, newly appointed cellarer, laments the expence of the special diets of many of the nuns, especially all the tomatoes for the precentrix, Dame Maura, that Dame Maura's [arthritic] wrists are valuable to the community.

As for the hareem, I think I just suspected it was a class issue because the primary voice I keep hearing pronouncing it is Abigail McKern's when playing the quintessential Labour woman Mizz Liz Probert. At least the question isn't of the same level of interest as whether the minority three-syllable pronunciation of the name Irene is a regional thing or not. If it is, I have a fantastic clue for a mystery.


sweettree@60~ ..."it's about the STUBBLE BURN! "...
Ditto for stubble on the girlfriend...if you're going to shave you have to do it every day (or at least every time you're going to have sex. Me & the missus try for a happy medium, Short enough so I don't need a jungle guide to find the promised land and GF isn't flossing her teeth every time she blows me, but long enough to be comfy.

Congrats, Margarita, on having lucky 69. Did you wax before?


@52, @55

Back in college, pink tacqueria was a favorite amongst my friends. And for Dan... clam bake was big too.


@Lost Margarita,

It might be because you speak one of the languages that your bias is there about socializing? Although you might've lived other places as a language learner.

Once you get the basics of a language (what the LW seems to have) the best way to learn is to socialize. And yes, it's tedious and hard sometimes- it's also how you learn to speak other languages. Now most people never become fluent, but you really can't attain a conversational level without socialization and immersion unless you have some genius knack for it or a lot of class time. The best way for the LW to stop being lonely is to go out and make friends with the locals and learn the language. I said "in bed" and perhaps I was being a little flippant, but yes learning by hanging out with people is one way too. And as you probably know, there are loads of young people everywhere, especially in small villages and remote places who are curious about the rest of the world and want to make friends (and practice English as well)- I'd say she'd actually have to be actively avoiding socializing. Or she doesn't have the patience for the cultural differences which is what the letter sounds like to me.

As for bride-kidnapping, yes exactly. That's what I meant by nuance and of all the dangerous things that could happen to a young American abroad, that one is ludicrously unlikely. You have created some really bizarre scenario here in which the woman gets kidnapped in good faith- this doesn't seem a little hysterical to you? For one thing, there would be absolutely no reason to do such a thing even within the realms of your own scenario as there is no family to stand in the way, no reason to lose face, no shame (on the part of the woman) of having sex in the first place, so why in the world a marriage would follow is beyond me- it's ludicrous. What's an actual risk is plain old sexual assault, but this woman is already navigating those risks, and fraternizing with the locals is not going to increase them unless she's reckless- it's something women face every where every time they travel (and frequenlty at home) and increasing your chances of being safe requires some observance/understanding of local customs- which as I've been saying- seems to be the LW's problem- does she want to immerse herself in the culture of the place where she lives or does she want to self-segregate. She and Dan don't even consider the first option, and responses that hint about backwards Muslim traditions and bridekidnapping (without even knowing where she lives BTW!) are xenophobic and hysterical- as well traveled as you might be. Why are Americans so scared of the rest of the world?

Have you ever tried to learn another language? I've lived on three continents. I've traveled in all of them. When I was the LW's age, I lived in a place where I did not speak the language. I never became fluent but I did become conversational. And yes, you do that by struggling through conversations and miscommunications. It can be frustrating sometimes. It can also be charming, worthwhile, fun, mind-expanding, etc. There is no other way to learn a language- this is how people have been doing it for thousands of years. I'm surprised by your suggestion that this is unrealistic when it's literally what every migrant does everywhere and always has.


EL @ 74
“…responses that hint about backwards Muslim traditions and bridekidnapping (without even knowing where she lives BTW!) are xenophobic and hysterical- as well traveled as you might be. Why are Americans so scared of the rest of the world?”

I agree with much of your advice re keeping an open heart and mind, and making sincere efforts to learn the local language and culture. That said, you seem to highlight only the positive outcomes, which certainly exist, while nonchalantly dismissing or belittling the possible complications.

To my credentials I grew up in a small place and was chasing foreigners (all women back then) as a teenager and a young man, and also traveled and lived in different geographies. Much of my mating assessments in my own country were also described by a young woman who wrote a book about travelling there some 15 years ago.

Americans don’t know much about the world mostly because this country is so isolated by geography and the fact that US news outlets were always private, hence the emphasis ratings. This results in lots of stupid local news, sensationalism here and elsewhere, and meaningless slides of clouds moving around the continent which don’t offend anyone during dinner.
Sadly enough the term “stupid American” still exists.


CMD I wish we'd met back then. I think you would be loads of fun to have a foreign fling with. I bet you don't want to share that book title here, which is understandable, but if you do, I'd love to read it!

I admitted already that I was being a tad flippant in response to what I thought was the pendulum swinging massively in the other direction. I'm happy to talk about the actual risks women face while traveling and dating abroad and how you can navigate those risks. I've done a lot of that in this forum over the years, and the reason I'm not bringing it up now is because I'm assuming that the LW- who is actually living in the place that we don't know- is already navigating that risk. Dating abroad is not going to look like dating at home, and perhaps the conversation ends there as she's not interested in doing more than looking to expats. Hence my flippancy in response. I tried to correct later, but without much more knowledge than the LW gave, there really isn't anything we can say to that. So I responded instead to the tone here of justification for the LW's disinterest in her new culture- which is that it's probably some ultra-traditional Muslim land and we need to be careful about bridenapping. Which is frankly ludicrous as I said. I'm not suggesting she go out in a halter top drinking and dancing in the town square, but making friends with locals is not going to result her being kidnapped and taken as a bride- especially when you consider the context in which this does happen among local villagers most of the time, almost none of which would apply to her. The risks of assault, social stigma, abuse- sure that's all real. But it's also real in our own culture. It's just that we know a little more about how to navigate that culture and we understand how it manifests. And I'm not downplaying this- I've lived places where women cannot walk the streets alone at certain times of day and the US is overwhelmingly NOT that way. Risks are different in different places, but I don't see how we can really get into a conversation about that without knowing where she is, and plenty of places in Central Asia are also perfectly safe for women, as safe as in the West and muliticultural nonmarried relationships are a norm and the LW said nothing to the contrary- she mentioned language barriers. So it bothered me again to have people here respond that it's probably because she lives in some backwards place. Etc.

Anyway, I'm probably being stubborn because expat attitudes about the natives really do bother me and I'm probably projecting more than a little.


If you just mean that I'm downplaying the differences involved with culture shock and language barriers more generally (not actual risk) well maybe. But that's because my advice would be to lean into it. That's where you'll find all the beauty and experience of travel.


EL- if you want contact me at cmd78014 yeah who.


As an "over-60" gentleman, I used to laugh at the younger males shaving their pubes. Then I had to stop jogging for exercise (glass knee-syndrome) 8 years ago and switch to wheel sports for my fitness regimen. Quickly learned that my gray hair (up on the roof and in the cellar) is much less curly and thus,...the pubes get into odd, and painful positions. Shaving the scrotum and some (but not all) of the other hair has removed that issue.
A positive side effect is a more sensitive skin sensation in the scrotal area.
This move was controversial.
My Miss N . immediately was suspicious of my motives, but has been game once she is assured that I am not grooming my body to mollify another woman's taste.
In NIBB's case where he has gone bare below and now also his upper body, I must assume either that he has a love interest who has different taste in body hair, or possibly he is socializing and maybe involved in sports with younger men who groom themselves more bare and he wants to fit in. In any event communication must ensue.
People change over the years.
I am not the man I was when I married at age 19, Miss N. is not the girl I married at 18. She has accepted my decline in a decent way, I do the best I can to accept her changes too. I realize that if something happened to her and I was thrown into dating again I could never attract anyone as good or good-looking as she is.


sb53 @79, there are many reasons someone might shave. You mention a couple; there can also be gender issues, or a particular kink, or, well, we don't need to guess the reason. The point is to try to open a conversation and get to know one's partner.

NIBB says "we've become a little more open about our wants and needs" -- that suggests there's a lot more they could be talking about.


When I worked in a restaurant it was always "patties or links." When it was a bunch of girls working, it would be a sausage patty party as opposed to a link party.

But clam bake is hilarious.


NSFW, this man may love you and want you around, he's just not into sex. Leave, wish him well to find a wife like himself, and go find a man like yourself. Sex and wanting it and enjoying it, if part of your relationship requirements, then that box should always be ticked.


MMMM Terry with a mustache. Thanks the gods Dan travels alot


BDF @70, I do see your point now, and I don't want to unintentionally offend or hurt anyone's feelings with careless words. Thank you for your post.

Venn @71, another fun use of "hareem" is in "Absolutely Fabulous" Episode #36, "White Box," in which Edina's daughter Saffron returns to London after traveling to Africa to marry John. She sadly reveals that she learned on her wedding day that John is a polygamist, with many other wives. Her Gran exclaims, "Oooh, Saffy! You've joined a Ha-REEM!"


Mr Corn - My example came from a favourite episode of Ms McKern's. #3 Equity Court gets thrown into a tizzy when typist Dot Clapton turns up for work with a bejeweled nose. At first, Mizz Liz Probert is Dot's only supporter. "We're not imitation men in pinstripes; we're the Radical Sisterhood of Free Spirits!" But Dot is just trying to get the typing done. Then Liz's SO Dave Inchcape rushes in with an urgent statement of claim to be typed. Dot twinkles at him, "I'll make you my top priority," and out the window goes the Radical Sisterhood. By the time they discuss Dot's nose at a Chambers meeting, Liz proclaims Dot's nose "politically incorrect" and "nothing more than a hareem signal," with a burning look at Dave, who admits to Rumpole afterwards that he'd never even noticed it. (The one jarring note of the episode, which has a fun sub-plot with the Erskine Browns, Phyllida getting Claude his QC at last just as she becomes a Red Judge, is that Rumpole solves the problem of Dot's nose, despite her giving him information helpful to his case, by telling her that Dave never noticed the ornament, after which it promptly disappears.) Ms McKern greatly enjoyed getting to show that even Liz's ideology would only stretch so far.


@69 Lost Margarits: Congratulations on scoring this week's Lucky 68 number! May profuse riches of benevolent good fortune shower upon you.

@79 sb53: Bless you for your continuously wonderful posts! Congratulations to you and Miss N. for being together since your late teens. Obviously, a mutually loving, GGG relationship.

The comment thread regarding shaving public hair (@79 sb53 et al) caught my attention. When I was married, I shaved my pubes regularly to be GGG to my then-spouse---until he kept griping about rug burn. Meanwhile, HE grew a mustache insisting I click heels and like it (I'm with you, Dan, on saying no to mustaches. He came from a truly bizarre family background of abuse, which included tasteless mustache jokes). There's no pleasing some people.


@86: Good grief, Charlie Brown! No alcohol yet and look at all my typos.
Make that: @69 Lost Margarita: Congratulations on scoring the Lucky 69 number!
May profuse riches of benevolent good fortune shower upon you.



I know the feeling. I always wondered why muffin tops and man buns get more flak than other fashion choices.


Venn @71: My take is that sex workers are a luxury item in the sense that most average-income folks could afford them as an occasional splurge, but it would take a rather high income to support a regular sex worker habit. So a recommendation that someone turn to a sex worker for something a spouse they're otherwise happy with won't do makes sense. A recommendation that a high-drive spouse whose partner has gone asexual fill the gap with sex workers doesn't make sense, for most people. (Whose asexual spouses would most definitely notice the big hit to the family budget.)

Lava @82: I didn't get the sense that Mr NSFW wasn't into sex. She (?) says they had sex every day at first, and then it dwindled. That seems pretty typical. It could be that he's not initiating now because he suspects SHE isn't into HIM anymore, or he suspects that her earlier enthusiasm was just a show for his benefit. They both sound very young. They need to stop playing these games with each other, or just accept that this was a young romance that has run its course.

Cap @84: You're welcome. I know that you are the sort of person who doesn't want to cause undue offence, so thank you for taking my comments on board.


@2 I assumed ANGST was female.

re: NSFW - 100% chance she fundamentally enjoys being chased. Making the first move is probably a panty-dryer for her.

BABY: As a late-30s man who isn't ready for kids, I experience the same guilt over being with a woman who wants kids and knows that the clock is ticking. I'm also more sensitive to having my time "wasted" or wasting someone else's time. You're in the big leagues now, time to do the big league thing and put the cards on the table.

SAD: Seriously, just fuck someone. You're 22.

NIBB: Unless you're willing to cede your grooming habits to your husbands wishes, it's probably not a good move to make demands on his grooming habits unless you're willing to go to war over it. If you can win that war, more power to you, but some pubes might not be worth the cost.


@90 correction: fuck an expat.

@3 central asia is largely muslim; public drinking and co-ed dancing and the other ways that young adults meet each other in america are not as prevalent.


"He used to say he wanted me to make the first move. But if he really wanted me, wouldn't he make a move? I feel so neglected"

In other words, you want him to initiate because being initiated on makes you feel wanted. He gets to want that too. He actually told you he wanted you to initiate more. Did you?

The clues in your letter suggest you didn't. Do you suppose maybe he's feeling neglected the same way you are?


Sporty @90: I wouldn't think it likely that a woman in a sexless marriage would "see professionals until I was priced out," that's why I read ANGST as male. I suppose it is a possibility.

Avast @92: Bingo.


Sitting on our deck one night as "a purely hypothetical thought experiment" I asked my Miss N. the following question:
."If something were to happen to me, and I was locked up or really sick and you wanted some intimacy that I could no longer provide, would you pay a gigolo?"
Without missing a beat she answered me;."Hell no. I can pick up a man at the drop of a hat"
Soooo..... that was a short discussion. I shifted into talk of the weather I think.


I supposed ANGST could be a lesbian.
Still, I can't picture "I'm happy with my job and my kids, and I don't miss casual sex, us there something wrong with me?" as a worry many women would have.


ANGST is a man. would a mother mention their job prospects, taking lesser paying work, so they could be more flexible to see their children? spent all their money on sex workers and they have small children?
Funny a job is mentioned, it's as if this guy doesn't see that his kids are also his job, going elsewhere isn't an option when children are little. Maybe the last two yrs of marriage there was no/ little sex because of the young children. Sure hope this dad does his share,and his ex can have some spare time to find a bit of fun for herself.


@EmmaLiz, you obviously have very strong feelings about this topic, and perhaps it's best to leave the conversation as it is, as we seem to be talking past each other. Like, I literally gave advice to "make lots of (platonic) friends, native and otherwise" and "make a good faith effort to learn the language of whatever country she's working in" as "it will definitely open up her world", - and at least two other commenters agreed - before you came back, claiming that people were being xenophobic and hysterical, and that "the best way for the LW to stop being lonely is to go out and make friends with the locals and learn the language". No shit.

About bride kidnapping - a cursory search of KZ news sites shows that this issue has been getting a lot of national media attention recently and that reported bride kidnappings in South Kazakhstan are on the rise (and the practice is actually far less benign than I was previously led to believe). Various articles in Kazakh and Russian quote an estimated figure of 5 000 (non-consensual) bride kidnappings annually (apparently this statistic comes from human rights orgs, though I haven't been able to find the original source). The problem is compounded by the fact that not only is this issue believed to be severely under-reported, but it also falls through a loophole in current legislation, which assumes that criminal abductions are either done for financial gain, or for exploitation purposes. There are many calls to change the law to specifically include bride kidnappings, as was done in 2013 in nearby Kyrgyzstan, where bride kidnappings are estimated at 10 000 a year.

If you want to read up on this yourself, here are some links (the articles are in Russian, but you can C/P into Google Translate):

There are also some fairly decent (albeit a bit dated now) research papers in English, freely available online:

Sevara Azizova (2009). Bride kidnapping in Kazakhstan in Discourses of Law and Custom, Nationalism and Tradition, Kinship and Gender.

Cynthia Werner (2004). Women, Marriage, and the Nation-State: The Rise of Nonconsensual Bride Kidnapping in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan.

So, is it -likely- that a Western woman living in Kazakhstan could become a victim of bride kidnapping? Hell no. Victims are almost exclusively local women, although cases involving foreign nationals have been reported. Is it so ludicrously laughable, that we shouldn't even -mention- this practice in the context of "hey, make sure you research local culture and customs before you go picking up the locals", because doing so is offensively xenophobic and anti-Muslim? What a load of nonsense. If you're a young woman trying to date in a culture where bride kidnappings are real, common, and inadequately prosecuted, this information is not at all irrelevant, even if you're unlikely to be a victim yourself. The research papers above explain at length how the practice and sheer prevalence of bride kidnapping is supported and underpinned by so many other things in modern rural Kazakh society: history, gender norms, attitude to sexuality, family structure, community structure, religion, etc. Dismissing this information as not-real, "xenophobic", "hysterical" and an "ultra-conservative backwards Muslim tradition" is not helpful, IMO. But, whatever.

BTW, I'm a Russian woman of Ukranian and Tatar heritage, who is now a naturalised UK citizen. So if your latest missive about xenophobic anti-Muslim Americans, who are sooo afraid of the world, was directed at me personally, you're adorably off the mark :)


Feminism to me is a fail. These men, like angst, don't even get it yet. It was because women were left with the kids and stuck in a house all day that prompted the explosions of the sixties.
Yes the pill was newly available, it was the Mothers, the trapped ones, who kicked the doors hardest. And they weren't after more sex so much as not being Stuck with the baby 24/7 etc etc etc while the men left the house in the morning and expected their dinner cooked by six.
And here's this guy all these yrs later patting himself on the back because he's taken less pay to be with his kids.


@97 I never said bride kidnapping wasn't a problem. I said it's ludicrously unlikely to happen to a Western expat. Like dowry attacks in India which are also on the rise. Of all the things one has to worry about as a woman traveling abroad, these are not among them. I doubt very seriously she is unaware of it (IF she even lives in KZ) as she is the one there. So it seems a rather odd thing to jump straight to- in fact not odd, but hysterical & xenophobic as I said. And a cursory scroll through the comments will show you that you are hardly the only person to immediately equate Central Asia with Muslims with Western Woman Can't Date. I count five separate references. This despite the fact that we know nothing about where she lives.

BTW I did not intend anything against you personally other than the ludicrous focus on bride kidnapping- otherwise I think we agreed. But since you mentioned it, I think it's worth pointing out that being multicultural oneself has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not ones' views are xenophobic and anti-Muslim. Being bicultural myself, I know plenty of people- usually very well-traveled people of means- who self-segregate themselves from "the natives" and who only associate with others like them. We call them "expats" when they are white or Western, but they come from all backgrounds. It's totally the norm in India, for example, for the middle classes and wealthier to look down on the vast majority of the population as "the locals". I haven't spent enough time in KZ to know if this is the case there as well- my own time has been limited to Aktobe and Almaty with some short trips out backpacking in the outdoorsy touristy places and one work trip to Astana. My very brief experiences there were that the more moneyed and educated classes, usually Russian speaking, were very likely to sneer at everyone else as backwards. My own extremely brief (and touristy!) experiences in the countryside were with Muslim families- none of whom included even women in headscarves and all of whom had alcohol in their households. I have no doubt that this is NOT the norm once you move into more rural and isolated places which are likely more conservative- of which in KZ specifically I have no experience. But let us keep in mind again that we have no idea where the LW lives, and everyone here seems to jump at the idea that it must be a scary traditional Muslim place, as if she's in some caliphate, whereas the majority of Central Asia (a wide region that includes cultures as diverse as Mongolia and Uzbekistan- and within each a diversity of culture greater than in Western Europe) and yet here we are talking about Muslims and bride-kidnapping, and no suggestion from most people that she could possible alleviate her loneliness by learning how to socialize with the locals she has chosen to live among.

And don't tell me not to comment about things that I personally care about. That is not your job.


@93 Hah, I assumed they meant "professional therapist/marriage counselor", not sex worker! Maybe the "spend time with kids" line made me assume it was a mother rather than father. ¯(ツ)


I've been to New Zealand and Tasmania, and even with the natives there.. one had to be very careful.

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