Savage Love Oct 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Hearts and Minds

Joe Newton





Wishing SORD and her girlfriend all the very best.
Thank you, Dan, and Dr. Lori Brotto for offering mindfulness exercises. I'm giving that a try.
Thank you, too, Dan, for the reminder to vote this midterm election. Here's hoping we can eliminate the electoral college once and for all one day soon.


@2: And eliminate the evil RepubliKKKan agenda as well!


Contributed 500 and I’m not even officially a Democrat. Thanks, Dan.


Dan, @Ghost of Sea Otter and @BiDanFan: Please forgive me for posting a comment on a subject from last week here. But I am going to try to watch The Lobster in its entirety tonight to see if I can make it to the closing credits. If I can stomach Stanley Kubrick's bizarre 1980 silver screen misinterpretation of Stephen King's novel, The Shining, I hopefully should be able to hack this. I fervently hope Colin Firth runs for his dear life from that gawd-awful place and never looks back, taking John C. Reilly safely with him.

Okay--back to this week's SL and Hearts and Minds.


@5; Holy crap! Make that two weeks ago from SL: Fresh Starts--!
Sorry, folks--Griz is a week late having gone on vacation.


I think many women found their desire and connection dampened two years ago next month. Great answer for SORD and her girlfriend.


I think SORD needed more advice directly related to her girlfriend’s sex work. It’s only briefly mentioned that sex workers need to mentally withdraw while having sex with clients. On top of which, she is a lesbian earning a living presumably through sex with men. I would imagine that having to engage in such mind games can have real psychological consequences, one of which may be “it's hard to go from sex with zero intimacy into sex with the intimacy turned up to 11,” but there could other deep seated issues she needs to process. So it could be a good idea for SORD’s girlfriend to speak with a therapist who has experience treating sex workers. Mindfulness at home may be a reasonable complement to any professional treatment, but I wonder if it will be enough in isolation.

Lastly, I wonder if the renewed interest in sex has coincided with SORD’s girlfriend stoping sex work. Could it be that she assumed that when the sex work ended her in sex with SORD would return, but that it hasn’t, and she is finding it hard to tell SORD the truth?

Perhaps our friend Adalove will have some thoughts.


This is one reason I've steered clear of sex work: the potential that unpleasant sex with paying customers would put me off joyful sex with chosen partners. It's a shame this has happened to Ms SORD. I think DC270 @7 makes a good point about the timing: it's possible that Ms SORD is experiencing PTSD. Regardless, I do also see some hope here. Presumably SORD is not the same gender as the majority of Ms SORD's customers, meaning fewer flashbacks to work situations. The sentence "She said it's hard to go from sex with zero intimacy into sex with the intimacy turned up to 11" also jumped out at me. Why not try sex with the intimacy turned up to 5? It seems they're viewing the sex they have as an expression of a lifelong commitment rather than as a fun thing they could do together. What if they made it more playful? Try things like light kink, roleplay, perhaps some of those cheesy sex board games they sell in sex shops. If these things lead to actual sex, great; if not, they've enjoyed each other. This may help get them into a groove of taking it all a bit less seriously.

Also, they could try weed.


Sublime @8: Great comment, but I don't know where you're reading that Ms SORD stopped doing sex work? A sex-worker-positive therapist sounds like a great idea.


There is another idea. Any way for Ms SORD to change careers?


@8 There's no indication that SORD's gf is a lesbian, or isn't attracted to men.


Rhoanna @12: Good point. There's also no indication that SORD herself isn't attracted to men. Either or both could be bi, or bisexual-and-homoromantic. However, even sex workers who are attracted to men are seldom attracted to their customers, so bi erasure or no bi erasure, I think Sublime's sympathy should stand.


@10BiDanFan: It was a question, not something that was in the letter. It seems that sex work is at the root of their sexual dysfunction. So I thought it was reasonable to inquire as to whether Ms. Sord's stated interest in resuming a romantic sexual relationship was tied to a cessation of sex work. It's possible that SORD would have mentioned such as change, but on the other hand, if she had fully grasped the toll that sex work has taken on her partner, she probably would have understood that her partner's sex work experience was having a psychological toll.


Bravo for Brotto's advice!

Kavanaugh deserves to lose his CURRENT judgeship.

@2 Griz
I support
which will effectively abolish the Electoral College when joined by enough states.


@12/Rhoanna: Yes, Ms. Sord's sexuality is unclear, and the thought that I have been mulling over is whether Ms. Sord is actually sexually attracted to women. I wonder whether a sex worker who needed to become mentally absent during sex work with men, might have found herself incapable of viewing any man as potential romantic and sexual partner. If so, perhaps Ms. Sord thought that she could form a romantic and sexual connection in a relationship with a woman, which provided a safe space from male sexual energy, but in reality, while she has enjoyed the personal romantic connection with SORD, she wasn't in fact interested in sex with women, which is why the sex stopped, and why she isn't reconnecting sexually with SORD now.


Ms Fan - My first thought was to wonder whether Mss SORD had any alternative career options, and why we didn't hear whether the idea had been floated between them or not.

The way Mr Savage and the outside consultant noticeably avoided the possibility gave me the idea that perhaps it should be certain sex workers rather than RC priests who should be considered as having a vocation for (in this case, clearly personal rather than occupational) celibacy.


Agreed with Sublime and BDF. If this were a new relationship, I would think it reckless to suggest she change jobs. But they are committed, have a good relationship other than the lack of sex, have been together for several years, so if the job is causing emotional/psychological problems for the gf and it's going to destroy her relationship, then she should probably seek another kind of employment. Or choose between the two. Sex work can potentially pay very for a fewer number of hours, so it's possible that both the gf and LW would have to go through a major lifestyle shift if the gf were to quit. I wish we knew slightly more about their finances and ages and the gf's motivation for continuing sex work when she says it makes it nearly impossible for her to have sex with her partner. Also I hope Adalove writes in.


Obviously, as a child, Mr Savage was given the same Barbie as Ms Cute. Mrs Clinton has a better chance of becoming president under the Blabbermouth fantasy scenario than the Ds do of gaining control of 2/3 of the Senate seats next month when 42 Republican seats are not being contested this cycle.


I think it’s reasonable that LW ask her partner to retire from sex work, because she will age out before “real” retirement and need to move onto her next career anyway.

That said, it’s always dicey to advise someone who is not writing in. The partner may not welcome this advice.


Also we don't know what their lifestyle and financial situation is like. Is the LW the main breadwinner or is the gf? Do they need the gf to sustain her level of income for their lifestyle to continue unchanged? Because the gf leaving sex work could maybe cause them to have significantly less money. How will their lifestyle/relationship change if the gf's work schedule changes- either by working more hours a week or by working a different schedule? All these things affect compatibility and relationship health.

So I think it's good to say they should explore this option, but it might not necessarily solve all their problems and it might also create new ones.


Re: SORD My very good friend has known sex workers who were straight, bi and lesbian. He did not get to know their "Home" intimate lives really well, but for certain at least one of them was orgasmic;.... the others - no indication.
His experience also was that those sex workers he knew also had "regular" jobs in order to (I guess) have a W-2 at the end of the year.
On work and home life: I worked as a fryer in bakery for 2 years, and stopped eating doughnuts during that time. However I have changed careers since then....and gone back to enjoying doughnuts.


Is this "my wife wont fuck me" week on SLOG?


I recommend the book Passionate Marriage, even if you're not married. Keep trying. It's so worth it.


Venn @17: I can't imagine having a job as stigmatised and doubtless most of the time unpleasant as sex work and not even have the prospect of a kind and understanding partner to make me feel like I was maybe worth a bit more than my body. So, I disagree that sex workers should be otherwise celibate. Sounds like the difference between sex work and sex slavery. I do take your point though that this sort of work would almost certainly cause issues in relationships. Romantic prospects for sex workers could include other sex workers and asexuals/greysexuals. If SORD were truly polyamorous, ie able to form loving relationships with more than one person, their open relationship might work better; as it stands now, SORD is not getting sexual intimacy with anyone.
Yet another reason why sex workers have a difficult life and deserve our support.

Emma @21: Agreed. Presumably Ms SORD is doing sex work because she has few other options. Investigate possibilities, sure; demand that one's partner give up their income because it's affecting your sex life, asshole move.


Ms Fan - Well, it was more an amusing image than a serious suggestion, though I did think it would be an advantage if the last thing one wanted to have outside would be a relationship (and I'd likely have been that way myself). It's one of those professions with heavier and more "unfair" requirements for successful spouses. Of course, this puts me in danger of feeling like Mrs Clay determining that most professions spoil the health or beauty of their practitioners and that it only the fortunate few (like Sir Walter Elliot) not obliged to follow any who remain as blooming as ever. Or, somehow, I'm also inclined to reclined the conversation between Jane Fairfax and John Knightley about the post office, during which he jokes that letters of friendship are worse than letters of business, for business may bring money, which friendship hardly ever does.


@15 curious2: Thank you for your support and passing on your encouraging link.
Let's certainly hope that we can eliminate the electoral college as well as the RepubliKKKan Party of 1% once and for all. Time is running out for this planet and all life on her.


@26 vennominon
I've come to enjoy when I begin to have no idea what you're talking about in a post, and just start skimming and smiling as in appreciation of modern art. I hope you don't mind that some of us don't go googling to try to solve the puzzle presented because we haven't read the same books or whatever.


Seconding the recommendation by westy @24 for Dr. David Schnarch's book Passionate Marriage. Really helped me work through how to enjoy the marriage I actually have, with the partner I actually have, rather than focusing on my expectations for both.


M? Curious - While one always wonders how much to explain with its coming across as an insult, at least people are likely to acquire increased familiarity with Miss Austen by osmosis, which seems a net plus.


@31 vennominon
Not as much as that mere mention! I think I'll read/re-read some Austen. Even though, sadly, that will spoil the modern art (which I honestly thought was your intention!) of your posts for me. Just another of life's trade-offs.


@curious2: I read all the Austen a year or two ago, motivated almost entirely by a desire to understand what the hell Venn and NoCute were on about. (I never read them before, thinking them "girly" in a way I thought I'd dislike.) I'd strongly recommend them. I enjoyed them vastly more than I thought I would. And I promise you, you won't lose the modern art feel--you still won't know what they're talking about, because their memory/recall of the books will be far better than yours unless you read them about fifty times!


@19: 538 gives the Dems a 28% chance of taking the Senate — better odds than 538 gave Trump of winning the election.

@29: It's seriously more than half the mail.


Mr Savage - [It would take a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict and remove Kavanaugh, and Dems likely won't take that many seats—but if a trial uncovers proof that Kavanaugh committed the crimes he's been accused of and lied to Congress, perhaps enough Republicans can be shamed into voting to remove him.]

Control requires 51 seats; the 2/3 majority requires 67. 100 - 42 = 58.

I'd have thought you'd have enjoyed the image of yourself playing with the "Math is hard!" Barbie, not to mention an Easy Bake Oven.


@23: Flip that over to "My husband won't make love to me", or, worse yet---"I SO want this woman to bear my children! Why won't she marry me?!?" Those are two good reasons why I stay unmarried, Sporty.

@34: I love it when you comment, Dan the Man. Have a kickass birthday on Sunday and all the best. :) griz


You’re naughty Mr Venn. Dan is our host. And nothing wrong with boys playing with barbie.
I would have loved an easy bake oven.


Good reminder Grizelda re Dan’s Birthday. I remember he’s Libra, I forget the date.


Ms Lava - While I could make a respectable job out of taking the brief for Barbie Is the Root of All Evil, I don't think that in general it's worse for either gender. The "Math Is Hard!" Barbie, though, was a particularly dreadful idea, and any parent who ever gave it to any child deserved to take the 20 point IQ drop.

Personally, I was neutral on dolls, but liked their houses. My favourite prizes on Let's Make a Deal were the furniture and appliances, followed by the fur coats made by Dicker and Dicker of Beverly Hills.


@41 vennominon: I know I'm veering off topic here, but my all-time favorite grand prize (i.e.:The Big Deal of the Day) awarded on Let's Make a Deal was a baby blue early '70s Volkswagen Beetle convertible with a cream top--further proving what a certified Bug Nut I am. Heaven bless Monty Hall and Carol Merrill. Those were some good times.


And as for current odds, it's been a good week for Team Red, I fear. It's down to 73.9% for the House and 22.1% for the Senate.


@43 vennominon: I fervently hope that this time your predictions are incorrect.


Ms Grizelda - That seems highly appropriate, a memory well worth enjoying.


Re #43, I was just citing the most recent 538 numbers, not predicting anything. I'd rather not make predictions this time around.


Venn @31: No, it's not insulting someone's intelligence to assume they may not have read (and retained!) every book you have. In fact, quite the opposite. Your posts with their -- to most of us -- obscure literary references, which most of the time include only names and not the works from which they're taken, come across as an effort to make the rest of us feel that we are of lesser intelligence than you are. Ha, of course we all know what you're talking about, don't we? No, we don't, and you know that full well. I would never assume, for instance, that all of the SL readers have seen the latest series of Queer Eye, and provide some background when citing it, otherwise my entire point is lost.

But, you know, you do you! If you enjoy testing the crowd to see who has an MA or above in literature, that's entirely your prerogative.

Dadddy @35: Given the events of late, I'm surprised the number of murders of men by women haven't skyrocketed. Particularly in a country where so many own guns. You men are fortunate that women are far more likely to lash out with words than with violence. But perhaps you know that, and that's how you know you (collective you, not you personally this time) can continue to get away with it.

Lava @40: Wikipedia says Dan's birthday is 7th October. Happy slightly early birthday, Dan!


Ms Fan - Let's frame it as, I think people know more than they know they know. It's similar to how much more familiar people are with Shakespeare than they realize. (The LVBT adore that programme, which makes gays into total toadies.)

But here I'll give you a paragraph from Brideshead Revisited, on the occasion of the first luncheon party Charles attends in Sebastian's rooms:

"The party assembled. There were three Etonian freshmen, mild, elegant, detached young men who had all been to a dance in London the night before, and spoke of it as though it had been the funeral of a near but unloved kinsman. Each as he came into the room made first for the plover's eggs, then noticed Sebastian and then myself with a polite lack of curiosity which seemed to say: "We should not dream of being so offensive as to suggest that you never met us before."


It’s ok Mr Benn, your words are lyrical enough that we don’t need to know what the hell youre referencing.
I’ve been reading a biography of David Garnett, another Bloomsbury character. I stop watching the news or checking fb and go hide out with him
and his literary/ artistic/ etc set. Free love was sure going on with that lot.


I forgot to edit! Mr Venn.


Venn @48: I think you are overestimating us, then!
I've never read Brideshead Revisited. But to your example, I've met a lot of people and I frequently forget their names. Like most people. I would much rather someone re-introduce themselves than leave me in the awkward position of falling into a trap where I have to admit I've forgotten their name. I can't wait until Facebook partners with Shazam! to develop an app where you can point your phone at half-familiar people and Facebook will use its facial recognition software to find them in your friends list and remind you who they are.


I had assumed (and been truly amused by) that Mr. Venn didn't care that almost no one knew what he was talking about. (I'm still not dissuaded from this, but...)

If Mr. Venn is telling the truth that he hesitated (quoting @31) "to explain with its coming across as an insult" because (quoting @48) "people know more than they know they know" then he is a character (I can't speculate what kind) more amusing to me even than I've been amused assuming he is fully comfortable with being unintelligible.

Here's one of many examples of why I'm leaning towards not believing he thinks people know what he's talking about, from @26:
"Or, somehow, I'm also inclined to reclined the conversation between Jane Fairfax and John Knightley about the post office..."

Even if I knew those people or anything else in the sentence, what on Earth is the word RECLINED doing in there if not to magnify the already abundant incomprehensibility (or, OK, a typo for something...but I think not since it's standard in these cryptic posts)?

I'm most emphatically not complaining. (Quoting @47 BiDanFan) " do you!"

I own that 'me doing' me tries to use language in a way that communicates (aka "is understood"), and yet one of the follies of my doing so is that probably no one cares once they do understand. If they thus even bother to read it; which I also admit to interest in, but that too is my own folly I guess, recalling EmmaLiz over on the
thread saying (to someone opposed, unlike me [" do you!"], to the length of her posts) "yes no doubt the length causes most people to skip over a lot of my posts. Shrug."


🎉Happy Birthday Dan 🎂.
it’s the 7th in this part of the world.


Venn @48: Reading passages from Brideshead Revisited makes me almost as queasy as the news that Kavanaugh has prevailed. Trigger warning next time, please.


Happy Birthday tomorrow on 10/07/18, Dan, and all the continued best! My local Co-op makes the BEST gluten free peanut butter cookies, and every time I enjoy one I think of you.


@54 fubar: I know--I am just SICK about Brett Kavanaugh getting confirmed by 50 dumb shitheads who have absolutely no conscience. We, the People are going to have to overthrow this nightmare administration and drain their filthy, putrid swamp if we ever want to restore a once great democracy.


I have a feeling that because of yet one more RepubliKKKan atrocity of Kavanaugh's confirmation this week, that this week's SL column, Hearts and Minds won't make it to the Lucky @69 or @HUnsky Award--due to mass depression.
Griz votes to celebrate Dan's birthday, instead.


Happy Birthday Dan, wish the Senate could have given you a better present. I'm more convinced than ever that the scientists at CERN inadvertently sent us off into an alternate timeline where the bad guys win and the good guys can do nothing to stop them. Dan, thank you for at least continuing to provide needed distraction from the international shit show!


BiDanFan @51: I would find this app incredibly helpful . . . but then of course I would be using it for Good, and not for Evil. Thinking about this People-Shazam app reminded me of this cool weird art video:

And happy birthday to Dan!


A Quarterly Apology for my typos, the result of multi-tasking of a quality which (borrowing from the Canadian film Lilies) would make all the women of Roberval blush with envy. I almost never complete a post of more than a sentence or two without interruption.

Whomever I may be addressing in a particular post, almost anything literary takes shape in mind as if it were part of an ongoing dialogue with Ms Cute. I am also reminded of the episode of the McLaughlin Report that aired after the death of Mr Sinatra, when a much younger Mr Carney was inclined to call his death perhaps an official marker of the end of the time when cultural references were usually generally understood. I am just of an age for it to be so instinctive to think that everyone has at least a passing familiarity with various time-honoured references that my composing spirit automatically goes there. I can get intellectually that some people may not be able to tell Mary Bennet from Mary Crawford from Mary Musgrove from even, perhaps, Mary MacGregor, but that is all. Fortunately, anyone who even skims past often enough will acquire at least a nugget by osmosis.

Ms(?) Bar - Thank you for giving me the impulse to imagine what Antony Blanche would have to say about Trigger Warnings.


@60 Hunter78
There is nothing "psycho-babble" about mindfulness. About being aware (and self-aware). About being just present in a moment instead of stuck in one's stream of (face it, for most everyone mostly dysfunctional and incessant) thoughts.

Most people who would call it "pop psycho-babble" would never consider psychotherapy either. These are odd for a couple reasons.

First, not having tried something doesn't best position one to knowing it's usefulness.

Second, the people who could most benefit from psychological growth are also the people most unwilling to try it. On some subconscious level their 'ego' is reacting as a disease could be imagined to feel about it's cure (or a bacterial infection could be imagined to feel about it's nemesis antibiotics). In other words, they're clinging to dysfunction instead of being open to progress. I get that growth isn't easy but it couldn't be more worth it.


Manxsome @59: Oh, the intent is wholly to use it for good -- remember the app would only scan one's friends list, so it couldn't be used to stalk strangers. Just as an aide de memoire of people you'd already met. Another useful facet would be to have a notepad one could attach to one's Facebook friends, to remind oneself of a few key facts about them. What's their preferred name? (Not everyone is allowed to, or chooses to, use their preferred name on Facebook.) What do they do, who are they dating, where did you meet them. Just a few reminders so that one is not flailing about wildly when one runs into someone one last saw several years ago. If only I had some technical ability! Customisable Facebook is the way forward. Make it happen, Zuckerberg.


Mr. Ven, I'm flattered. You know that unless it's an Austen reference or to "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," I'm as lost as anyone else, though I keep meaning to read "Brideshead Revisited."
But keep on doing what you do, as The Roches once sang.


"Last night there were four Marys
Tonight there'll be but three
There was Mary Seaton and Mary Beaton
And Mary Carmichael and me."

The Ballad of Mary Hamilton


Here's hoping that, despite the bottomless assholery of shamesless RepubliKKKans and spineless Democrats, that you had a kickass birthday today. I went to the Co-op, and in your honor, stocked up on gluten free peanut butter cookies.
Okay then, regarding the Lucky @69 Award, at least---congrats in advance to this week's coveted winner!


In honor of his birthday, I think Dan the Man should get the Lucky @69 this week. ~:)


@69: I really was hoping that this week's honor would have gone rightfully to Dan the Man.


No comment, Dan?


BDF @63, that's a much more benign app-optimization than I was imagining . . . and since the technology already exists (viz. "do you want to tag Jane Doe?"), I say yes, do it, Mark Z.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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