Savage Love




TMI, try turning your clandestine lover into your mentor. It sounds as though you trust his judgement, and the roles you are currently in make that transition really easy.

Some suggestions:
1.) Cut the texting down gradually. If it's multiple times a day, cut to once a day to start, then once every 2-3 days, once weekly, and then occasionally. He may text you more often. He may ask---no, he WILL ask why you aren't communicating as much as before. It's okay to be vague if you don't want to tell him that you're shifting the nature of the relationship. You're busy/you've been sick/you are trying to focus on ---/you lost your phone for a day. Whatever.

The point is that he can't make you text more than you want to. And just that text distance might help you start to make more room in your life for someone who has the potential to be a real partner.

2.) Stop talking about sex in your texts. Keep your conversations about non-sexual things. Again, you don't have to say "I'm no longer going to exchange dirty texts with you;" just make sure that all your texts are the same kind you'd say to any other friend.

Gradually, over time, you might want to refer occasionally and in an offhand way to someone you're dating. Send the message that you still consider him a friend, that you most definitely look to him as an adviser, but that you're backing away from the sexual nature of the relationship.

Or you know, you could also tell him that that's what you're going to do and why. If he can't graciously accept the new terms of the relationship, then you'll know you can't keep in your life as a mentor.

Good luck!


I don't do well with TLAs. What does BBC mean besides British broadcasting Corp?


PTSA, there are men who feel that their tastes change over time from being gay to being straight. Some even make an identity out of this conversion, which is natural given that it's very rare, but it's not unheard of. Of course, far more often is that a man who thought he was gay will discover he's actually bi, given that 'turning straight' involves not only developing a taste for women, but losing your taste for men. The former you might pull off, the latter tends to be rarer, and the two together is obviously rarest still.

But your uncles/religious family/whatever are all dead wrong. It has nothing to do with pure, chaste thoughts of Jesus there in some lily-white bed the night after your wedding in a church to a perfect virgin. The guys who all feel they can no longer identify as gay have at some point discovered that they really like women and that they no longer like men, that's where it begins and ends. It isn't anything they consciously control, it's a process that happens to them, usually for no discernible reason other than, one day they saw a pussy or tits or something and one thing led to another. That's life, go figure.

Religion has nothing to do with it. If religion were successful at converting gay people, homosexuality would have been a small footnote in some diagnostic manual somewhere and forgotten about, and we wouldn't be talking about this. We are talking about this, though. Religion and "just giving it the ol' college try" are really just likely to give you negative opinions of shellfish and Georgia O'Keeffe paintings.


TMI, I personally think that if you're dependent on conversation and advice — that sounds like a good solid friendship, of a kind that's in no way inconsistent with moving to a new city and being financially independent. And this friendship has benefits (which sound pretty great)! Yay! Do you feel you need this relationship to develop into something more? If you're yearning for him in between the times you get to see / talk to him, and the yearning is taking up your time and preventing you from doing other things you wanna do, then that's an issue. But what you describe in your letter sounds good — for you.

Will his marriage indeed blow up if his wife finds out? Have you talked to him about this?


@1 nocutename: If the European gentleman is her Dom, TMI should really not start "topping from the bottom" by manipulating and controlling the conversation. She should use her words and let him know where she's at.

Given the age difference, this relationship sounds like D/g, so it's probably a bit more complicated than your average three-year long-distance vanilla affair. TMI may not want to date men close to her own age, regardless of distance, and that's fine. But finding a new Daddy when you're already attached is going to be very tricky. A respectable Dom is not going to go there.

@2 happyneurupath: BBC definitely means British Broadcasting Corp. There is no other meaning, despite the insinuation that men of colour might have something big going on in their trousers. Try to avoid thinking about it.

@Dan: "On behalf of all the dudes who have objectified you with this 'BBC' stuff," I'm really wondering if it's legit for you to apologize on behalf of other people, for something you personally didn't do. Isn't that kinda meaningless?


@3 lyingface: "The guys who all feel they can no longer identify as gay have at some point discovered that they really like women and that they no longer like men, that's where it begins and ends."

Yeah. Right.


fubar @5 she identifies as submissive, but doesn't mention his long-distance dominance. She says she has become dependent on his "conversation and advice," not his orders and control. So if she's not feeling submissive to him day-to-day, then it's not "topping from the bottom" to make her own decisions about her own boundaries and choices in life.

Besides, "topping from the bottom" is a misnomer. People use the phrase to complain about bossiness from the bottom, but the solution to a bossy bottom is to stop playing and start talking about both people's boundaries and preferences.

As for "Finding a new Daddy when you're already attached is going to be very tricky" -- if she is only attached to her dom as a long-distance mentor and play-partner, it won't be that hard to find someone willing to explore a face-to-face D/s relationship.

The trick is that she may not know if she herself prefers monogamy or non-monogamy. If she doesn't have strong feelings either way, she should just tell partners that and use the next few years to explore and find out more about what she wants out of a relationship.


PTSA - are you using a condom when you top? This could be why you’re losing your erection. Maight be a good idea to get on PreP. Condom usage vs sustaining an erection is something I’ve never heard gay guys discuss, yet straight friends have said condoms are out of the question for that very reason.


Here's a song for TMI:

I'm so pleased that "wank" has entered American vernacular. Wish "shag" had stuck. Mike Myers, it may be time for another Austin Powers movie?

PTSA: A lot of gay men -- drag queens, fashion designers -- seem to be obsessed with boobs and with femininity in the abstract. Doesn't make them less gay. I agree that finding one's sexual preferences broadening (with age? He doesn't say how old he is) is different from changing one's orientation. I'll note that this realisation that he might also enjoy topping is only a few WEEKS old, so it could be a passing curiosity. I'm wondering if his dislike for topping is pure resistance to being objectified as a BBC. Perhaps he could date some non-race-fetishising, versatile dudes, and explore this in a way that doesn't make him feel objectified. As for his interest in women, if he's "repulsed by vaginas," he shouldn't try to force himself to date a woman "to make his life easier." Marrying a woman you don't want to have sex with, ever, will NOT make your life easier, nor hers. What your uncles and colleagues want for you is irrelevant. I think PTSA needs some distance -- physical and/or emotional -- from his family so that he can evaluate what he wants independently of their influence.

Happy @2: Fubar didn't spell it out, but I will: Big Black Cock.

EricaP @7: I agree with you: I can't see many Doms being put off by someone's having a long-distance play partner. TMI seems to see her Dom for what he is: a spirit guide away from her repressive family and into the world of kink. She's about to get to a place where she needs him less and has opportunities to date local, unattached kinksters. I agree with Nocute that easing out of this relationship while getting into dating/munching is a good strategy, but I disagree that she should be that coy about it. I suspect Dom knows this wasn't meant to last forever, and I hope he's a good enough guy that he can transition from lover to mentor without getting butthurt. There are more 17-year-olds in the online sea for this guy. (I hope his wife is enjoying extracurricular dalliances of her own.)


LW1: "I was 17, naive, raised in a domineering household, but no, the guy my parents' age who bosses me around is totally not grooming!" ... oh honey. Well, at least he's half a world away. Still, he's a creep and a lying cheater, so you should probably keep that in mind. 50-year-olds who go trawling for teenagers they can betray their spouses with are not good people. So yes, chalk this up to experience, now work on being someone who makes her own decisions, and also doesn't spend her life looking for older married men to cheat with - that's a bad road to go down.


@1. Nocutename. Why should she stop having a sexual relationship with this guy? She is a sufficiently mature young woman to be capable of reconciling herself to the overwhelming likelihood that this can only ever be a three-week a year thing for him--at most. That probably it's transitory. Transitional. Why is it the only way it can be transitional for her, in your mind, is for her to dial down the sexiness of the texts? Is it certain that she won't be able to form other exciting, fulfilling relationships with men because she's preoccupied with (besotted by, in love with, full up with the thought of) this one unavailable guy?

Not all BDSM relationships are exclusive. Monogamous may not turn out to be her relationship style. Her current lover could still be an important figure in her life, and an ongoing lover--without being the central personage, her primary.

She knows, most likely, what the advice will be--go to the big city, go out and find kinky partners; and just wants to hear someone else break it to her that Euro 50s guy can't be the be-all-and-end-all.


Harriet @11: "Why should she stop having a sexual relationship with this guy?"

Did you miss the fact that HE IS MARRIED and cheating on his wife!? Yes, he's cheating, not open -- so whether she's okay with having more than one partner, openly, is a moot point. Not to mention that he's more than twice her age, lives on another continent, and got involved with her when she was just a minor (and he was older than I am now). Creepius maximus. He's served his purpose in her life, now she needs to move on to someone, or someones, more appropriate.


A Forster Award for Mr Lion.

There are plenty of good reasons to decide not to take up a potential new interest, but I would not rank the new interest's pleasing annoying busybodies high on such a list.


@10 Traffic Spiral. TMI says she has "overbearing, sex-shaming, disastrously religious parents", so she probably knows what to do with people who think they know better than her what's good for her.


Re 'Praying': My reading of your letter is that you would like to be straight to fit in with your family. Being able to top doesn't make you straight. Nor does loving tits. I'm a gay man, more queer than gay, more genderqueer than gay, certainly; I sometimes top men and women, hugely get off on breasts, but am fundamentally a gay bottom.

You don't say whether you enjoyed topping? If you did, then that's another world of pleasure and possibility opening up to you. That's the real story. A more self-loving story. Not 'I could lead a straight life'.


@12. Bi. Yes, it makes a difference that he's cheating rather than open. Does 'affair' imply cheating? (I'm round French and German speakers all the time; I wouldn't have thought it was nailed-on that his relationship was secret from his wife just from the word). Clearly this is not going to be the partnership that provides most of the love, support and companionship she enjoys throughout her life. Clearly, I think, she's going to move on from it--dating people in her new city, in a way that fits in with her job e.g. maybe going to nice restaurants but not spending five hours with them on a weeknight.

There are some things that advice to her SHOULDN'T say, imo:

"People go all on for love. Cross the seas and demand a commitment".

Disastrous advice. Her future is with her new job and new city.

"Drop this creep".

Not good. She is in love with him. She knows at a certain level she has to wean herself off her dependence on this man--and is steeling herself to do so. Any process of dissociation will be gradual. She'll find herself texting him less when she has someone else to text. Not some unappealing milquetoast guy. A better romantic match. But he hasn't entirely been a creep. She finds their relationship very valuable. She'll continue to do so in five years' time when she's a kinkster supreme. Let's not transgress her basic sense of value.

"Can't you see you were abused?" (Possibly in combination with) BDSM is horrible; if you had developed normally, you wouldn’t be into it; go back to the guys you find unsatisfying; give up all thought of sex and concentrate on your career etc.

What I find wrong here is that it suggests she doesn't know her own mind. It’s condescending. It denies TMI's adulthood and sexual and personal agency. Possibly I heard a tincture of this tone in nocute's words. But I will admit that 'the relationship doesn't have a long-term future as your only form of partnership' is a sound diagnosis. The next step is putting herself out there, risking, by looking for someone compatible.


Esperantisto @14: ...wut?

Harriet @16: Oh fuck off with the "no, teenagers are totally mature for their age and definitely know what they're getting into when people their parents' age start grooming them," shit. Teens aren't adults, don't try to justify adult predators by saying you're respecting a teen's agency.


@3. Lionface. I write as a friend of the mollusc and as someone for whom cunnilingus is something I'm glad I've tried in life. 'Cunnilingus is wonderful'--and anal is wonderful, ditto pissplay (hmm, my phone just did a virtuosic Autocorrect) and rimming's a whole lot of fun. My view is that Americans should try razor clam and Japanese spider crab. And golden showers, especially conservative Jews in the Midwest. But sometimes 'different strokes' ... yes?

Everything you say is right. I kind-of think 'once gay, always gay'. Queer is gay--or gay enough. 'Praying' doesn't have it in him to become straight. In terms of desires, that is. If he chooses that lifestyle, it will be at the cost of suppressing a big part of his sexual and imaginative life.


@17. Traffic. You are directly contradicting what a 20yo is saying about herself. Are there openings for abbesses in your area? ;) Maybe this guy has saved her five, ten years? Maybe he's spared her a failed vanilla-sex virginal marriage?


@5. fubar. I'm not sure TMI knows her own mind well enough to be sure a D/g relationship is what she's looking for. Or what she needs. A period of exploration on her part might be in order. If he's a respectable, experienced Dom, he'll handle it in a way that looks our for her. But would she be in such a state of uncertainty that she's writing to Dan?


@6 I'm no mind-reader, maybe these guys are just going back in the closet, but I do know these men I'm referencing seem to love sharing porn of just women. I happen to think a straight guy who starts sharing gay porn has just indicated something about his sexuality, ask anyone around here who's read my posts within the last two weeks. It's only fair if that goes the other direction, too. I'm inclined to believe someone is into women if they invest a seemingly large amount of time in the curation of solo female porn. That, I will believe over prayers to dear little baby jesus in the manger, any day of the week.


@18 Full respect for your accomplishments, I don't much respect picky eaters. Still, I love in my head before I love in my bed. By all means, expand your palate. Still, if you're grossed out beforehand, might not be the very best idea to agree to an eating contest involving it.

@17 She was 17, not 7. No, teens aren't as mature as adults and you may find the relationship vile, we all have our pet situations that churn our stomachs, but she's not some helpless little child.


Harriet_by_the_bulrushes @11 - it's more like one week a year with him. In their three years affair, they've spent a total of three weeks together so far .

@16 "Does 'affair' imply cheating?" -- probably, but this part definitely does: "I don't want to blow up his family if (or when) our affair is discovered."


TMI- The writer seems to be extremely experienced for her age, so much so that it makes me a bit suspicious about her authenticity. Another red light is a 17 yo having a relationship with a man 30 years her senior.
I think Dan is over-romanticizing European attitudes in this case. If I found out my spouse of (assuming) couple decades or more is having an extensive relationship with someone our children’s age which started few years ago when the other person was only 17 I would also freak out regardless of my geography.

And while TMI is suspiciously so experienced, LOAD’s naiveté, lack of experience, and guilt (oh, guilt…) could only be explained as a balancing act. Massage therapists of all sorts- please don’t take it personally, yet some in this business are fully aware they can make easy money by lending a hand every now and them (or avoid working on an OS client in order to avoid them to begin with, and I’m not implying that if you’re working on an OS client means you agree to sexual advances).
In many cases the easy money hand lenders will not make the first move for various reasons, yet will attempt to initiate it by rubbing inner thighs, “accidentally” brush against genitalia and so on.
As for a sincere accident, one can easily diffuse the situation with a joke about their arousal and/or ask for a towel to cover their crotch or wipe any outcome.


As I see it your experience getting the massage means one of two things happened, and in either case you are in the clear.
Dan has already mentioned the first possibility, that this was a professional, therapeutic massage, in which case her inadvertently touching your sack was bad form on her part (I've never had a therapeutic massage where someone grazed my genitals, let alone multiple times) and your inadvertent orgasm is not your fault.
The second possibility is that the masseuse was trying to signal that she was willing to give you a happy ending but since that wasn't what you were after you are still in the clear.
Also, at massage parlors where happy endings are an option there is protocol for masseuses and clients signaling interest. The masseuse will try to tease out whether you know that happy endings are an option with questions like "Is this your first time visiting?" But more importantly, the client is supposed to signal an interest in a happy ending so the masseuse knows this is not a sting. Examples include touching the masseuse during the non-erotic part of the massage, making no effort to cover your genitals after the flip, or guiding the masseuses hand toward your crotch after the flip.
You specifically mentioned doing none of these things so a legitimate massage therapist (even a sloppy one who allowed her fingers to graze your sack) would recognize you were not attempting to come onto her, and an erotic masseuse should have recognized that you were not interested in one, in which case her grazing your balls was her pushing the issue too far.


@23. Erica. Yes, one week a year. I agree he's very likely cheating.

TMI knows the arguments: 'he was the guy you lost your virginity to--of course you feel a special connection to him. You think you love him. You'd be unusual if you didn't. But you need to have more experience so that you can get perspective on your first experience and push it into the past'. And 'he introduced you to kink. Of course he's your Dom. Of course you don't feel you could do it with anyone else. But give it time'. She's aware of these arguments and she's resisting them. Even if she thinks / knows they're right. She loves him, after all. I don't think we should deny her love or tell her she's entirely wrong-headed, but instead stress the wonderful opportunities opening up for her in her career and impending big-city life.


@22. Lionface. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying gay men should try sex with women to broaden their minds--or palates. This is not the right principle. In specific situations, people will usually know whether they want to do it or not.


@34. CMD. I can't come from my balls being stroked. Is this letter a lesbian fantasy?


A 50 something married man who fucks teenagers is a sexual predator. Period.


Harriet @16: EricaP has already provided the evidence that affair in this context means affair. And gee, no, there's nothing creepy about a 47-year-old man having a sextual relationship with a 17-year-old child. ::eye roll:: No, I'm not arguing that TMI at 17 wasn't capable of making her own decisions on whom she wanted to get involved with. I'm arguing that HE should have vetoed her decision, because he's supposedly older and wiser, and eww. Just because she isn't a victim doesn't mean he isn't a predator.

I also think you're taking a flight of fancy by claiming that she's "in love with him." She never says that. She says that the time they spent together was amazing and that she's "dependent on his conversation and advice." She knows this affair is a dead end and she wants to break free. People who are "in love" don't think this clearly about their futures.

May I point out that you directly contradict yourself in your posts @16 and @20, first by claiming TMI was 100% in charge of her decision to get involved with a married man when she was 17, and then claiming that, three years later, she DOESN'T "know her own mind" well enough to know that she wants a D/g relationship?

CMD @24: Good point. Many French folks (in particular) might be fine with their spouse having an affair. Far fewer would be fine with their spouse having an affair with someone younger than their own children.

Unknown @25: Oddly, just yesterday I had a massage in a beauty salon, similar conditions, and more than once the massage therapist grazed the area where my balls would be if I had them. I'm wondering whether LOAD kept his underwear on, and if not, why not?


Harriet @28: Lesbians generally are not thinking about scrotums.


@Harriet throughout and fubar @5: Here's TMI's letter again:
"I'm a 20-year-old submissive woman. I'm currently in a confusing affair with a 50-year-old dominant married man. He lives in Europe and has two kids close to my age. We met online when I was 17 and starting to explore my BDSM desires—out of the reach of my overbearing, sex-shaming, disastrously religious parents—and we've been texting daily ever since. We've since met in different countries and spent a total of three weeks together. Those weeks were amazing, both sexually and emotionally, and he says he loves me. (Some will assume, because of the age difference, that he "groomed" me. He did not.) I date vanilla boys my age, with his full support, while we continue to text daily. I don't know what to do. I don't want to blow up his family if (or when) our affair is discovered. But at the same time, our relationship has really helped me navigate my kinks and my sexuality. Expecting him to leave his wife for me is a highly unrealistic cliché, I am aware. Yet I fear I've become dependent on his conversation and advice. I'm graduating soon and have a big job lined up in a big city. I'll finally be financially independent, and I'd like to start making the right choices. Any perspective you have would be much appreciated."

She doesn't say she was a virgin when they met; she doesn't say she loves him. She makes it clear that he's cheating on his wife (the use of the word "affair," the "I don't want to blow up his family if (or when) our affair is discovered," the "Expecting him to leave his wife for me is a highly unrealistic cliché, I am aware"). This isn't an open marriage. Perhaps she has come to the decision that she doesn't want to be part of a clandestine relationship anymore. She seems to want to move on in some way, maybe because once-a-year-weekly meetings with a married man isn't what she really wants.

TMI has written in asking for advice because she is concerned she's become too dependent on him--not necessarily for kink or D/s-related things only, but for "conversation and advice." That sounds to me like something that could transition into a mentor/protégé relationship. Which is what I think TMI wants now that she is graduating college and getting ready to start her independent life as an adult in a big (presumably new) city with a big new job.

When she says, "I'll finally be financially independent, and I'd like to start making the right choices," it suggests to me that she doesn't think that continuing in her affair with a much-older married man is a "right choice;" it also sounds as if there has perhaps been a sugar daddy/sugar baby aspect to this relationship (meeting in different countries was probably financed by him). But it definitely sounds as though she wants to end the relationship but she is afraid to because it's been so meaningful to her.

She doesn't say she is looking for 24/7 D/s. It seems to me that she likes her sex kinky and assumes a submissive role in the bedroom. She also didn't say she was looking for a new, older Dom, though who knows; she may be. But she seems open to more typical relationships with men she can be with openly, as opposed to a married Daddy. She's already dating men her own age, but so far, all she's found are vanilla guys and she wants more kink. That will be easy-peasy for her to find: she's a 20-year-old woman who is sexually submissive. There will be plenty of single men closer to her in age who she can partner with both sexually and socially who will be into her kink. Right now, this man represents all her positive experience with kink; he's associated with her sexual/kink awakening. He's been her teacher. It's hard to think of giving him up entirely. Nor do I suggest she has to. I think if she shifts the nature of their relationship, they can preserve a friendship as well as the mentor/protégé relationship. But she appears to view the sexual D/s/sugar daddy/sugar baby nature of the relationship as something that, as she graduates from college, and moves on to financial independence in the adult world, she doesn't want to continue. This man will always be important and special to her: he helped her explore and understand her kinks. He has already been a kind of teacher. But most of us tend to learn from our teachers, hold them in regard throughout our lives, and move on to form other, often more egalitarian relationships.


It appears that in the time it took me to write a long comment, BiDanFan has gotten in and made the same points.


@Hunter: I just saw your final comment on last week's column, and I have to say, well done! And timing is everything.


@29 SuperQueero TMI says that her parents were "overbearing, sex-shaming, disastrously religious". I suspect you're not the first one to claim to know better than herself what's right for her.


unknown_entity @25 - how would expressing interest in a happy ending reassure the masseuse it's not a sting?

BiDanFan @30 - I've always been naked under the sheet for massages. I think that's normal. They uncover just the part they're working on and I don't feel naked.


@29 Yes, and clearly the destruction he's wrought upon this poor girl's psyche is terrible; why, she's so scarred for life that she's got her shit together and a healthy perspective on her own sex life, habits, and desires. The nerve of that horrible man!


I know the times they are a changin’, but I’m still baffled by TMI’s letter. I can see a 47yo man preying on young women, yet wonder about TMI’s authenticity.
She knew she is submissive at the age of 17, and seemingly could also act on it fairly independently despite her parents. She could easily act locally, yet opted to do so globally. I find it extremely alarming that as a teenager she flew to the other side of the world, putting herself in such a vulnerable position, only to have kinky sex with a man 30 years older when she could easily meet plenty`in any USA major city kink scene.

Would controlling, religious, sex shaming parents let their daughter travel to Europe or any other destination on her own, let alone three times? And who paid for it? If Euro dude did, wouldn’t it be suspicious to them? Wouldn’t Mrs. Euro notice thousands of dollars’ worth missing from their account or appearing on a credit card statement? Same goes to international texting/calling.


@30 I go in for regular massages. For back and shoulder pain, with a prescription to a licensed massage therapist. No sexy stuff. I never wear underwear, my wife see's the same therapist, she never wears underwear. It is expected that you will not wear underwear. If she is working on my hips, underwear would get in the way.


@38 there are many apps available that allow international texting for free. Also, as a college grad about 5 years out myself, there are lots of available travel opportunities for students that parents wouldn’t object to: study abroad, academic research, etc. I agree that it’s unusual but not impossible


EP @ 36
"… how would expressing interest in a happy ending reassure the masseuse it's not a sting? "
One gets on the massage table while non-chalantly placing a $50 bill (or $100, or $150) by the pillow, doesn’t say a word, lay on their stomach, close their eyes, and turn their head the other way. If it’s not there by the time the giver asks you to turn on your back then it’s very likely that the message was received. An accidental crotch stroke while you are still on your back may also be a positive sign.

Nothing but speculations. As Marshall McLuhan would have said, “The medium is the massage.”


@38 CMDwannabe. When I was 17 and 18, I went to Europe, alone, three times, for a total of four months. I never thought I was putting myself "in such a vulnerable position" and never regretted doing so.

As for "international texting/calling", surely you've heard of Skype and Facetime.


boiboiboi @40
“We've since met in different countries and spent a total of three weeks together.”
That semester in Vienna proved very productive after all.


Esperantisto @ 42
I assume your parents were not religious control freaks and also paid for the trip.
I’m not necessarily worried about youngsters going to Europe on their own, but I would likely freak out if my child or anyone else would cross the Atlantic for the assumed sole purpose of meeting and having sex with a man 30 years their senior they never met in person.


@CMD: What's to stop a college student from telling mom and dad that she's going to Cabo San Lucas for spring break and then heading to Berlin instead? Say she lives in the dorms: "It's okay, Dad, my friend will drive me to the airport." How do you know the parents paid for the trip? My kids pay/paid for those kinds of things with the money they save from their summer jobs. Or: "Thanks, Mom for the money for the new computer. You can just transfer it into my account and I'll buy it here at the student store--there's a special price break for students."

Surely you are aware that someone aged 17 and up can make up a convincing lie or two.


For that matter, how easy would it be for a college student who lives away from her parents' home (maybe even out of state) to simply miss classes for a week--tell her professors that she's sick--and send the occasional text to the parents, who are unaware of their daughter's whereabouts.

As for keeping the money hidden on the older man's part: he has a bank account he's kept secret; he charges everything on a company card/account she doesn't look over, he squirrels away cash in small increments, etc.


LW1, you are on the cusp of financial independence. Use it wisely.
And I’m with the mob here saying this man did groom you. You were 17 yrs old and ripe for a new authoritarian person to take the reins from your parents. He’s an old guy, for you, and he’s lying and cheating on his wife. And he has kids. Let him go and do some therapy so you don’t fall for such a predator again.


CMDwannabe @41, that's a clear indication of interest, but why couldn't a vice cop do the same?


TMI revisited- assuming she’s real, here is how she comes across to me: very mature, experienced, confident, adventurous, extremely intelligent, and also extremely lucky.
She started college at the age of 17 and graduated only three years later, despite possibly taking a weeklong sick leave every now and then, and while still in college already landed a big time job.
People like her exist, a rarity for sure, yet do exist. I’m not being sarcastic; I have personally met some youngsters who could possibly qualify, though admittedly never inquired about their sex lives.
I still have this strange feeling about someone that young dropping everything to meet a kinky, much older person on another continent when they could find others in the nearby town.


EP @ 48- beyond showing interest it is also an indication that you are not trying to make a conversation on the subject, possibly trying to make them say something that could be used against them in court.
No words, no gestures, only “spontaneous” stuff that consenting adults are entitled to.
One could always say later that the money was nothing but a tip for appreciated service.


Hey everybody: in most of the world (and most of the US), the legal age of consent is 16 or 17. Your disapproval of the age difference in this relationship is just that: your disapproval.


Should TMI fundamentally alter her current relationship with her European friend? That depends on the answer to one question: Is this relationship negatively interfering with her social development where she lives, specifically her ability to enter into relationships with potential long-term dominant partners. If she can maintain her connection with someone overseas, while simultaneously dating new partners where she lives, her specific concern about her dependence on this relationship will over time resolve itself naturally, as there is every reason that she will find someone on greater physical proximity. Indeed, her European friend has supported her dating experiences. So if TMI's question really is can I have my cake and eat too, the answer is yes, TMI, you can have your European Dom and your Local Dom(s) (boyfriend, lover, partner, husband) too.

Of course that looks at this relationship in isolation. TMI needs to separately decide whether she wants to continue this relationship if her European friend's wife is unaware of her husband's activities. But that is a moral issue apart from the nature of her relationship with this man. Although some comments above were focused on that issue, others weren't, and in any event, TMI needs to come to her own conclusions about that aspect of this relationship.

@nocutename: Your first instinct was to have her withdraw evasively from this relationship, notwithstanding that this man has already been encouraging her other romantic and sexual relationships. Later, you hypothesize that they have a sugar daddy / sugar baby relationship, yet absolutely nothing in her letter suggest that would be the case. SD / SB is not a kink dynamic, and it would not arise, even if her European friend paid for her flight to Europe. I think there are many aspects about this relationship for which your instincts are off.


Interesting how many commenters don’t say boo about this old geezer being a CPOS, with children under his care.


Old geezer for her I mean.


Nocute @32: I read "financially independent" as probably referring to her parents supporting her, not this man.

CMD @38: Graduating, presumably from university, at 20 also jumped out at me. Either this young woman is academically precocious or she lives in a country that is not the USA. Or Dan changed a few details, which is hardly unprecedented. The Internet is global, and yes, there are apps for free international calling and texting (Skype and WhatsApp come to mind). It does seem odd that restrictive parents would have allowed TMI to spend weeks abroad on her own, but who knows what sort of cover story a person like her could have come up with?
I'm more skeeved by the thought of someone who is essentially my own age getting involved with a 17-year-old. Anyone my age who would WANT to get involved with a 17-year-old has serious problems.

Thanks for the comments re: massage and underwear. I guess I felt strange disrobing completely because the massage therapist didn't leave the room to give me any privacy, and it felt weird to flash her my genitalia. Another reason I won't be going back to that particular salon.

CMD @50: One doesn't know whom one is going to meet on the Internet. Perhaps she started these conversations with zero intention of meeting anyone in person. Then as their relationship grew, he invited her to fly to Europe to meet him -- who wouldn't be excited by such an invitation? Nearby-Town partners might paradoxically present a bigger risk of her parents/friends finding out what she's up to. I agree it's easy for wealthy folks to hide money from their spouses.

Bouncing @52: Did anyone allege otherwise?

Lava @54: Oh, lots of us mentioned how creepy this old geezer is, and his children are now adults and no longer "under his care."


@28. Bi. Oops. 'Lesbian' was a brain-fade. Is it the fantasy of someone who does not have a typical male anatomy? A woman's fantasy? Let's not worry for now what motivates the fantasy. Or is it the sport, the jest, of someone taking the rise out of something--like the hypersensitivity of liberal men towards appearing sexist?


Women seem to have Fan @56. Some of the men don’t see any problem. And yes, his kids are older, I got that wrong.


@30. Bi. Yes, their relationship is covert, hidden from his wife--'cheating'. I'm not dragging my feet on this. There's a small chance the guy has a dadt understanding with his wife--but this could be violated by his being discovered to have sexted and initiated sex with an 18 or 19yo. But--yes--there's no indication that the 50yo is exploiting a latitude granted to him by his wife, rather than engaging in underhand behavior.

You are also right that the expressions of attachment on her side in the letter are implicit. There isn't anything like so strong as 'I love him', 'I think I love him' (for example). Rather the older guy says that he loves her! There are many ways of taking this--but few are good. He could want to hold onto a relationship that isn't sustainable--to which he isn't contributing sufficiently (for it to take up as much of her mindspace as it does), and which is properly only a rite of passage for her. He could insidiously, or just through inexperience or weakness, be placing barriers in the way of her finding something else. Her letter is asking how she can move ahead in life in a more balanced way. Supposing that she doesn't want to be told that the guy just might be forced to leave his wife for her, there are broadly two things she could want to hear: 1) you know your relationship and texting with your Dom/Daddy are wrong, and 'desist forthwith'; or 2) you're moving to a big city. Whatever reason you spent your college years having a kinky affair with a married man in his 40s will no longer apply. Go out and explore your interests in a new setting. I think the last has to be the better thing to say--because it doesn't question what she's done for the last 3-4 years, in a relationship that is in some ways unusual but which she's found broadly liberatory.

Your reaction to a 47yo guy sexting a 17yo is ... ewww. Well, how could the two ever have hooked up? TMI would have gone onto D/m or kinky chatsites. He would have befriended her, and their talk would have eventually turned sexual. She's adamant this wasn't grooming. He could have had some experience as a Daddy or very little (Domming a younger woman isn't necessarily entering into a relationship structured so explicitly in that way). Sometimes when the age and experience differential is so great, the effect is for all the power to reside with the younger person. That's possibly what TMI would say of their entering into a sexual relationship. (But not necessarily, pace the intuitions of Traffic and nocute; his saying he loves her--unless it's 'I'm loving you and letting you go'--isn't a great sign).

I don't think I contradicted myself (though who knows?, given some of my recent mistakes...) in that a relationship between a man old enough to be his lover's father and woman young enough etc. isn't necessarily a D/g setup. That's a specific arrangement, at least an understanding of what sexual interactions 'in scene' will be like. After her first experience, TMI could think, looking forward, that she was very sub-by in the bedroom, that she wanted kink in her relationship, that she wanted an experienced Dom as a partner or that she wanted a D/g relationship--all different things. But it's clear she doesn't want a vanilla 20yo from her parents' church.


@32. Nocute. You say 'she wants to end the relationship but is afraid to' because he's been so important to her. Perhaps. This is definitely one of the things going through her mind. But she is more confused than that. She says she is in a 'confusing' relationship. She's confused. Other things going through her mind are: 'if he really loves me, he'll break off his relationship with his wife'; 'I won't find someone with whom the sex is so good'; 'I can have non-sexually and -emotionally mind-blowing relationships with men my age for 50-1 weeks of the year and still see this guy' and 'it will be scary to make the transition to a big city kinky scene, rather than having this well-established relationship'.

The heads-up she needs is more general than 'how do I walk away from this valued but not-really-sufficient guy'.

I agree that this relationship isn't on a very egalitarian basis; and that her relations later in life are likely to be more equal this way. But your recommendation--to break from the guy gradually, and retain him in her mind as a mentor--does not seem more warranted than 1) to keep fucking him when he's available, but know that he could not be her primary; and to look for that person, or 2) reluctantly to say goodbye to someone offering so much less than what she can find in her new life. What you say could be workable, and the best option--and I'm not saying it's wrong. It implies, though, that she isn't fully in possession of her will or just lacks a cool head, and needs help in dissociating herself from his influence. It would be better (the situation would be better for her--more equal, more negotiated, less potentially abusive) if she were able to keep what was good about her set-up but rationally, hard-headedly look to match the quality of sex and connection for the other 50 weeks or the year.

For a sub or 'girl'/'daughter' this may well mean finding another exclusive Dom or dominant partner.

If her relationship with her older lover were such that your first advice were necessary--'say you haven't answered his five texts a day because you lost your phone'--I'd say something very different. Then I'd say, 'however D/s your setup, the power dynamic is wrong. It’s not negotiated beforehand. You were too inexperienced getting into it. It’s no longer what's best for you; and you can have a hotter, happier relationship on the back of the best you've learned from this guy'. You may well be right about her mindset--but then 'drop him like a hot potato' seems a better option than 'think kindly of him as your mentor'.

Parents as religious as she describes hers do not believe in sex before marriage. The boys she will have met through her social circle at 16, 17, may well have shared their view. Yes, she could have had sex with someone other than this guy. But I'd think she began to cathect kinky forms of sex in reaction to her parents' repressiveness and primness i.e. before losing her virginity. Her lover would have helpful to her in helping her distinguish and disentangle hatred of conventionality, religious mortification-of-the-flesh, hypocrisy etc., excessive sex (for her) and hot and exciting kink.


@38. CMD. I never wondered whether TMI's letter was fake. She could be going to a community college (she's graduating at 20), living at home or with continued close contact with family in a community of 20,000 in Middle America. London or Berlin aren't imaginatively further away than NYC. She could say she's going on a College trip when she jets off to see him. He's the guy she trusts and has built up a relationship with, not someone in a major US city.


@50. CMD. How about 'confused'--which is almost her word?

Your 'speculations' about getting jerked off on the masseuse's couch (most trained masseuses are not sex workers and want to be recognised for their specific expertise) are blinding you to how unusual it is to come from one's ballsack being brushed. Actually, maybe it is a shy guy and he spots with precum and thinks that this is coming. Well--that's just a pleasant experience.


@53. Sublime. Ah, the German flag, an outbreak of sanity. Compared to the 'mob' crying abuse because a 17yo opts for a first--or early--experience of sex that's kinky.


@56. Bi. So what are the upper and lower age-limits for you for both partners in a D/g relationship?

This is what I think. Forms of prejudice like homophobia become unacceptable; but the underlying disgust and othering impulses informing them persist and mutate into other forms of tsk-tsk-tsking. Two evident targets of this prejudice are trans people and the kinky. Exactly the same discouraging, deflating, aversive, shaming arguments are used on them as, thirty years ago, were routinely aimed at queers: "shouldn't you be older before you decide? Shouldn't you have your first experiences in the gendered body you were born with? Aren't you too young for that kind of thing? Isn't the natural order vanilla when you're 18, kink when you're older than 28 (then pregnancy, then a polite silence about your sex life. Maybe abstinence)". Young kinksters are making a decision on their own terms about how they'd like to have sex--not having sex on the unequal, designedly ignorant or ignorance-cultivating terms of the general culture. They're resisting heteronormativity, compulsory heterosexuality, compulsory gender (and gender dynamics)--which is the reason, at base, that gender-conservative bigots like Lava are uncomfortable with them.


Sleazy men everywhere. Can’t seem to shake them from SL, like dog shit stuck to one’s shoe.


Harriet @57: I don't think many women who like men would fantasise about a man who comes from their balls being brushed against a few times!

Harriet @63: I don't know what "mob" you're referring to; no one here mentioned "abuse" but you. Creepy and abusive are not the same thing. Involved with an inappropriate partner and victim aren't the same thing either. TMI herself recognises that this guy wasn't her best choice (when she says she wants to make better choices). She's young and this is a learning experience for her. He has no such excuse for his poor judgment. Thankfully, for her, this seems to have been a positive experience, and I hope she does quit the relationship while she's ahead (ie before they get caught). I hope she can take what she's learned about kink and apply it to future relationships with people who aren't cheating creeps.


Don’t read your long winded raves mate. Then I caught my name. This is not about kink, and it’s offensive of you.. whoever you really imply my reaction is about kink.
The 17-20 yr old girl, no matter how educated she may be, is no match in experience to a 47- 50 yr old man. He groomed her. Not enough yrs up for her to see how this creep is using her.
Luckily she wrote to Dan, and his answer is perfect.
And however bored you are with your echo chamber, don’t ever reference me again. I’ll hold my nose as you waft by, please, do the same for me. Thanks.


@67. Lava. It is passive aggression on your part to say 'don't ever reference me again'. There are two better options. The first is silence. Or if you want to argue your case without specifically engaging with me, to do so in general terms, without addressing me or invoking my name. The second, which in many respects is better, is to speak with me civilly. To air any differences in a spirit of listening, of calm. There have been, in fact, a handful of occasions recently when we have been in a minority arguing the same side.

Please do not misgender me as a man, rather than as GQ, if the context is going to be a comparison with dogshit stuck on a shoe. I have as much right to the status of a female feminist as a hardened TERF.


@66. Bi. My theory now, if the letter is genuine, is that the guy involuntarily lets out a bit of precum and is mortified. But I think this is a wind-up. What's your theory?

I've made this @69 because it's a funny or mildly curious story--as against disagreements over relationships between 48yos and 18yos, which risk becoming bitter.


Seriously with your bull. Fu*k off and never refer to me again. Simple, eh.
You creep me out.


@70. LavaGirl. I'm going to try a different approach with you. Whenever you say anything I agree with, which I find insightful, funny, richly human--which cuts through the crap--which gets hold of the moral essentials and delivers good advice--because you are capable of this frequently--then I'm going to highlight and agree with it. This will shows that I am reading your words, not deluding myself with some chimaerical conception of your person or identity. The lovebomb approach! You can ignore these plaudits or not, entirely as you wish.

If you say anything intolerably transphobic or otherwise hateful, I'll just report it. I don't know why a transphobe is reading Savage Love.


@66. Bi. My using the word 'mob' was a reference to this:

"I’m with the mob here saying this man did groom you. You were 17 yrs old and ripe for a new authoritarian person to take the reins from your parents. He’s an old guy, for you ... Let him go and do some therapy so you don’t fall for such a predator again".

Erm, yes. The word 'mob' is perhaps well-chosen. The word 'ripe' is perhaps a little off-color.

I would think that 'grooming' is cognate with 'abuse' (one might think that grooming is preparatory to abuse, that an abuser might not go through with it or get the chance; but, to me, grooming is a form of abuse). There are commenters who go over TMI's head to insist that her older lover did groom her, e.g. " "the guy my parents' age who bosses me around is totally not grooming!" ... oh honey". But you may be right in that there would seem to be only two commenters who take so extreme a view. So this isn't really a mob; and the person who supposed there was a sizeable body of opinion backing hers wasn't following closely.

I'm not sure that TMI recognizes that this guy 'wasn't her best choice'. To me, she's more ambivalent--she could think she'll never find someone who pushes her buttons so much again; she could care for him so much that she finds it hard to consider leaving (it was Dan who said 'you're in love'); she could suppose that someone like him in her life was necessary to break with her repressively Evangelical family but that he is necessarily a transitional figure. You (like me) think the last.

You do know there are such things as D/g relationships ... don't you? Where the motive principle, the mechanism for the fantasy, is, ahem, that one partner is old enough to be the father, and the other young enough to be the daughter... In a sense, my question about the age-bands, in your mind, for the D and the g wasn't rhetorical.


@67 LavaGirl. TMI obviously thinks that her experience with her lover was generally beneficial. Why should she be shocked and disgusted instead for your benefit?


bouncy @ 52
Legality is not so much the issue as is the huge imbalance of power- good or bad, yet needs to be acknowledged- represented by the substantial age difference, geography, who pays for the flight and most likely also for the room and the meals


Several people see TMI's relationship as being more D/s or D/g than I think it is. I read "I'm a 20-year-old submissive woman. I'm currently in a confusing affair with a 50-year-old dominant married man. He lives in Europe and has two kids close to my age. We met online when I was 17 and starting to explore my BDSM desires" to mean that she likes to be submissive in the bedroom, but not that she was interested in a 24/7 Master/slave-type thing.

I guess what I was doing, was essentially projecting my own personality/desires/relationship models on to her--and I could certainly be wrong. But I also think that viewing her letter and what she says she wants though an exclusively kinky lens is also wrong. She doesn't call him her Dom, she describes him as a "dominant married man." So who knows. But even if I did put more weight in the D/s or D/g nature of the relationship, I would give the same advice. Maybe because I'm a woman who likes her sex somewhat kinky and prefers to be sexually submissive, but otherwise be an absolute equal partner in all non-sexual aspects of a relationship, I don't understand the nuances of the differences between my kinds of relationship models and the D/s that some are suggesting make such a difference in the type of advice.
For what it's worth, I'd point out that Dan didn't address the D/s nature in a way that would make his advice different from the advice he'd give if she had left that part out, and that our resident best-example of a submissive woman in a D/s relationship, EricaP, didn't consider this relationship to be seen only through that lens, as well.

I see sugar daddy/baby in this because of the statement that now that she's about to be financially independent she wants to start making "the right choices." True, she's probably been financially dependent on her parents--for college. But if she's not talking about the financial support she gets from him, why would this be a factor in her decision? If anything, the fact that she has been dependent on her parents financially suggests that while accepting their money, she needed to live by their rules, and that now that she won't be financially dependent on mom and dad, she can have a kinky, confusing affair with a much older, married man. The inclusion of that tidbit (now that I'll be financially independent, I want to make the right choices) implies strongly to me that her financial dependence on him is one of the factors that has kept her being with him. Perhaps she has wanted to leave the relationship before but felt that was not economically feasible.

She also describes the relationship as "confusing," and I wonder if it's because it maybe started as a more commodified relationship (the sugar thing), and now he says he loves her. There is every possibility I'm reading too much into that and that she also loves him or that this has never been a commodified relationship. But here's how I can see "confusing": "What is this relationship to me," she wonders. "This guy lives in another country; he's much older; he's married; I know he's not going to leave his wife for me. But he says he loves me! I don't know if I love him, but I look up to him and I feel like he introduced me to this important and meaningful side of my life--my kinky sexuality. Maybe I should end things. But if I end things, I'll have to get a job and it sure is nice to get the financial help. And he's just such a big part of my life. But I feel like this is wrong--I know I shouldn't be having an affair with a married man; I know his marriage could end and people would be hurt if this affair were discovered, and I don't want to be a party to that. But how can I leave? He's meant so much to me." And on and on. She's 20 years old; yes she's confused. Would she feel less confused if he didn't say he loved her? Probably, if this began as a commodified relationship. But even without the sugar thing, she is likely to be confused and conflicted.

We all read our own worldviews into these letters. Mine has no greater chance of being accurate than anyone else's. But I try to make sure that everything I say can be supported by the original letter. I don't, for example, operate on the presumption that TMI loves her older, married, dominant man, because she doesn't say she does. But of course, she could love him and just not bothered to put that in the letter.

I suggested a gradual weaning and morphing the relationship into a mentor/protégé one, because from the way I read her letter, that's what she seems to want. She wants to change the nature of it, and she wants to make the right choices; she depends on his daily texts and leans on him for advice, but she also dates guys her own age (which she acknowledges he knows about) and she is at least somewhat realistic in her expectations: she knows he won't leave his wife for her; she considers that his marriage might blow up if this affair is discovered. She's about to start a new phase in life, complete with a move to a new city, a "big job" that gives her financial independence, and a college degree. She's ready to move on. But she doesn't know how to give up her security blanket.
My advice was to keep the security blanket in the dresser drawer. She doesn't need to throw it out, but she might want to keep it at a remove as she gradually adjusts to life in which it doesn't play so big a role. I suggested the transition because I don't think she's ready to just walk away completely, which is probably what should really happen. But if they stay fondly and only occasionally in touch over the years, I don't see that as a problem.

I suggested the subterfuge because as I initially read the letter, I thought she might be concerned that he doesn't want to change the nature or terms of the relationship, and he does seem to be the one calling the shots--he is dominant man, after all, not to mention much older. I did suggest, @1, my original post, that she could just tell him she wants to alter the nature of their relationship, but my guidelines were based on the assumption that she had considered doing that and didn't know whether she could. Again, I could be wrong, and I'm always in favor of directness and honesty. So maybe my suggestions that involved subterfuge were misguided, but the general steps are still a way to wean oneself off of a beloved habit. Or she could employ the rip-the-bandaid-off technique, make a clean break, and never have contact with him again. I simply thought that if she hears that, she wouldn't want to do it, and I think that this relationship as it exists now, should come to an end.


@54 CMDwannabe. What power, and what power imbalance? What power does her lover have over TMI?

Assuming he paid for the flights (TMI doesn't say so), then sure, he can stop paying them. He can also say he no longer wants to speak to her, sleep with her, or see her. TMI can do the same to her lover. That's not a power imbalance, that's a normal part of any relationship.


@64 I think you're onto something. People's feelings don't really go away, but yes, they shift targets. Just a couple weeks ago these roles were reversed, I was grossed out by a relationship (a consensual, nonabusive one, to be fair) that Lava and Fan were okay with, now they're grossed out by something I'm okay with.

The one thing I disagree with is the notion that the impulse can be totally gotten rid of. It's part of the mechanics of social behavior. We like having targets we can treat as bad and undesirable. It strengthens our bond with the people we see as 'with us' by comparison, even if they don't necessarily share our prejudices, but especially if they do. The best we can hope for is to target some group so rare and specific that our chances of ever actualizing our desire to harm others for this purpose are next to none.


@71 Don't take any of that personally, by the way. You aren't the first to get this and surely you won't be the last.


BiDanFan @56 - here, I'm usually shown into a room by a desk attendant, who indicates I should disrobe, get on the table, and cover myself with the sheet. The masseuse comes in a few minutes later. I agree that you might try a different place.


@75. Nocute. It's the Jesuit mode of giving advice: rather than telling someone what you think they should do, as you see it, on your 'moral' estimate, you tell them something you think they're likely to do, so that--after they've done it for a while--an advisee is in more of a position to evaluate their situation as you saw it when you gave your guidance. But I think someone asking for help deserves to have people be a bit more upfront with them e.g. 'you know that your current LDR with a married man isn't going to be your main, emotionally satisfying form of partnership when you're two years into whatever scene you find in the city'.

You say:

I'd point out that Dan didn't address the D/s nature in a way that would make his advice different from the advice he'd give if she had left that part out...

This isn't strictly true. He says:

You can continue to text with him, and he can continue to provide you with his advice and support while you continue to date single, available, and KINKY men...

This advice is signally different from yours, too, in a way you're not acknowledging--in that your gist is that TMI should end the affair, and Dan does not say 'end it'. He says that it's a functional relationship, 'as-is', on its own terms, and perhaps he imagines that she'll outgrow it. (This is one of the cases, imv, where the professional advice-giver says something due and moderate, and the commentariat interpolate, escalate and embroider).

Where are you getting sugar-daddy? You can't get it out of 'dominant married man'. 'My sub partner is a trophy wife'. You don't see the category confusion? The feeling I get from your latest post is that you are trying to 'save' your first advice--which wouldn't necessarily have been wrong for the projections it contained--rather than giving the best advice you can now, after getting feedback and discussion.

@78. Lionface. Oh, have you have run-ins with Lava yourself? Lava often has excellent instincts, for fairness on both sides of a relationship, and for the work that couples need to do to make relationships, especially marriages, work. She is gutsy and unfiltered in calling out selfishness, hypocrisy, laziness. She does not realise how thoroughly heteronormative and gender-normative she is. Rather than taking it personally, I'm quite prepared to have some fun with her remarks in a respectful and civil way.


@77. Lionface. There's a big political difference between queers feeling a bit queasy at the 2.4 child families of Moral Majority Pleasantville and soi-disant voices of feminist tolerance being grossed out by teens exploring sub-by roles in preference to dull fumbles with the local whitebreads.


Esperantisto @ 76
It's about a 47 yo starting relationship with a then 17 yo, flies her around the world, etc.
If this part of what you would consider as "a normal part of any relationship" then I'm afraid I have nothing else to say to you in this regard.


@81 You are correct, but in both cases, the concerned subjects are applying a heuristic (ex. 'closeted men are abusive,' or 'older men with teens are predators') which is unaffected by the consent of the submitting party, and has more to do with the filter of the commenters.

I recall knowing what I wanted earlier than 17, and getting it earlier than 17, so it doesn't much bother me emotionally. She could have just blocked him if he creeped her out. Fan and Lava have totally different filters on this because their experiences with older guys hitting on or hooking up with teens or young women is naturally going to be different. Similarly, they didn't see anything wrong a couple weeks ago while I really didn't and don't like it one bit. I have different experiences than they do with closet cases that leads me to adopt that heuristic.

The subjects and their power dynamics might change but ultimately these relationships are consensual and they're not going away just because we don't like one or more of the parties or elements involved.


I'm 37. Occasionally I have the opportunity to date someone, and then think to myself, "they're too young". They're like, 27. I can't imagine having the balls of a 47 year old European meeting at a 17-year old for sex. Jesus.


I don't have quite enough time to read through all 84 comments, but could someone just confirm that the fact that TMI's boy toy has been cheating on his wife for years was addressed? Cause that's kinda uncool.


@82 CMDwannabe. TMI's lover, you assume, paid flights for her to Europe (not "around the world"). Where's the power imbalance? That he might stop paying for these flights?

Of course he'll stop paying for these flights if they're no longer in a relationship. That's not a power imbalance. That's a normal consequence of the end of the relationship.

Obviously you're outraged about the age difference ("It's about a 47 yo starting relationship with a then 17 yo"), but that's no reason to invent a non-existent "power imbalance" to give your outrage a factual justification it doesn't have.


@85, BiChicagoMama. Yes, the cheating has been mentioned, though Dan didn’t seem to think it such an issue. And his old dude status compared to her fresh faced one, also mentioned. Seems that many here.. mostly men it seems.. think it’s fine, this thirty yr age gap, when she is still in her late teens. That’s Patriarchy for you.


@87 LavaGirl. That Patriarchy is really terrible: it won't tell a woman what to do and think!


Maybe that filter Lionface @83, could be because Fan and I are women, you think?
We know, thru experience, how entitled many men think they are.


What’s with all the apologists for predators on this thread? Patriarchy does tell women what to think and feel you dimwit @88.


Esperentisto @ 86


@3: "Religion and "just giving it the ol' college try" are really just likely to give you negative opinions of shellfish and Georgia O'Keeffe paintings."

My sides are in orbit.


@87 LavaGirl, right, I was surprised Dan didn't address it. Jesus Christ, what a mess. She was a kid when this started. Here's hoping she dumps him.


Contrary to what I suspect is popular belief, I can reassure the assembled company in the firmest terms that I absolutely did not groom my PLB. I can accept that there are many present who would have advised me to turn him away at the time, but it would be a major ask for a former suicidal gay teen to turn away another such, despite how the worry aged me five times faster than normal.


Not everyone who "graduates" gets a four year degree. There are plenty of vocational certificates and associate degrees that last 1-3 years. Most people are 18 when they graduate high school in the US unless they have a very early birthday or were held back. The ages add up and do not seem strange to me. Moreover, she did not say she flew to Europe- she said they met in different countries. I don't think there is anything weird about a college aged person going to Europe alone, and we don't know what she told her parents- she could've said it was for school, work, internship, church, or just a vacation. I doubt she told them she was hooking up with a 50 year old married Dom. Also we do not know that she is American- she never says this.

Finally I agree with people above that the age difference is the least disturbing thing here. She sounds mature, 17 is legal in most places, they did not do anything until she was older, and she's asking all the right questions. From her point of view, she just needs some good advice and guidance- this isn't really LOVE though it can be a kind of love. Dan's advice is good.

I agree with BDF that the shitty part (and the reason this needs to end) is that boyfriend is married and cheating on his wife in a situation that could blow up his family. And while that's not the LW's fault, it is a problem she has to grapple with, and she should end this thing now before it becomes a negative experience. Take the good lessons and good memories from it and move on.

I also agree that the boyfriend is likely going after such a young foreign girl because it's easier for him for all sorts of reasons, and this could be a less healthy sub/dom experience than she deserves. LW sounds mature, and she'll probably get a little older and realize how much better she can do. She can still end this now and have it be a fun, passionate, positive, romantic, youthful, sexy experience that she learned from- good memories all around regardless of the intentions/skills of the man. If she keeps it going though, it's going to take a turn eventually. Get out now.


Harriet @57: Ah, I finally grokked your meaning about the massage thing being "a woman's fantasy." A woman might fantasise that she could come that easily; is that what you meant?
Congrats on the lucky number, but alas, I have no theory as to whether this letter is real or not and if not, what might have motivated someone to send it.

Harriet @72: "You do know there are such things as D/g relationships ... don't you?" Of course I do; don't patronise me. My understanding of a D/g relationship is that the people involved are playing the ROLES of a Daddy and a little girl. This roleplay does not require that the participants actually be 30 years apart in age. Why would someone who -is- a little girl need to roleplay as one? This strikes me as more your standard vanilla Daddy-issues scenario, where again, -she- can be forgiven for seeking out someone older who can replace an "overbearing" father, but -he- has no excuse for sexualising someone who isn't even old enough to drink. This isn't "abuse," because it was consensual, but it (along with the cheating) reveals he is a deeply flawed person and she's right to realise she needs to move on. The "mob" thinks he's a creep, and the mob is right.

Nocute @75: I do want to slap this guy for telling her that he loves her. If he meant it, he's deluded, and if he didn't, he's a manipulative shit.

Lionface @77: It's the power of projection. Lava and I are old enough to picture ourselves in the role of this man, and the idea of our having an affair with a teenager horrifies us. Not you; you're 25, so you're doubtless casting yourself in the role of TMI, and thinking that an affair with an older, dominant married man sounds kinda hot. Whereas, as a dominant gay man with a strong bias against closeted guys, the idea of submitting sexually to a straight-identified man repulses you. Without that bias, the idea of two young guys playing sexually sounds hot to someone like Lava or myself.

Harriet @81: It's not about teens preferring kinky sex to vanilla sex. As CMD succinctly said @82: "It's about a 47 yo starting relationship with a then 17 yo, flies her around the world, etc." Even Sportlandia @84 is skeeved out by this man's actions. You're right, Lionface @83, that disapproval won't force any closet case to come out nor any middle-aged perv to act his age. All we can do is shudder and thank fuck we aren't like that.

Esperantisto @86: Of course there is a power imbalance between a financially secure middle-aged man and a barely legal teen. You're deluded if you can't see this.


Amending my reply to Nocute @75: If he meant that he loves her, he's pathetic. Not deluded. Love is always a delusion :-)


Venn @94: I believe you. I will also say that the dynamics are different with same-sex versus opposite-sex -- and that's another reason Lionface is missing the skeeviness that the women on this thread are seeing. There is already a power imbalance between men and women in relationships, and a massive age difference exacerbates it. For instance, an older gay man will never impregnate a younger lover and force him to give up his own youth and education to raise his children, which has been such a common older man/younger woman dynamic.


Everyone has covered a lot of the bases surrounding TMI's letter pretty well, age difference, power, money, her Christianiacally barricaded upbringing, etc.. But I think it's odd that mcost have neglected addressing the D/s stuff, which seems odd, because it's weird that she proclaims dating vanilla boys her age, but only this guy, thirty years older than her, countries away from her, unlocks her true Dionysian urges. A few commenters pointed out, there must be easier ways, but perhaps she enjoys this dynamic: an upstanding boy to bring home to mom, and a married man who spanks her when they secretly meet in France. This is probably because she is in rebellion, which is the Christian equivalent of Rumspringa. Perhaps, she will look back and realize she could have had it all, in the same time zone, at the very least.


@100 "For instance, an older gay man will never impregnate a younger lover and force him to give up his own youth and education" would that that were true.


@100 thank you for editing the direct quote I took from your comment.