Savage Love Feb 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm

The Doll

Joe Newton



Griz again?


LAVA's situation is an excellent reminder as to why I'm better off single, infinitely happier----and working on myself.


LAVA can also post body pics (which don't even have to be that revealing, just sexy enough) and say she'll send a face pic if/when the men who contact her seem serious. That way, she'll eliminate most of those who only want pictures.


@4 Ricardo: Thank you for another gentle reminder re LAVA. I'm uncomfortable with dating sites and posting any body pics of myself online.


Hey what’s this? Stealing my name, well I never.


RAGDOLL seems to be dancing in few different weddings at the same time, no wonder Andrew Gurza couldn’t place them anywhere.
Figure out the activity that matters most to you, the one you are also comfortable to start with, and take it from there.

As for safety, meet in a safe time in a safe public place before scheduling a sexy time rendezvous, an issue you should discuss in person, as well as the expected limitations.
Let your potential partner know you would like to exchange legal id’s at some point during that meeting and be the one to initiate it by handing them yours.

Other than that it looks like we have another LAVA with us this week.


@3 Ricardo: I know this is SO last week, but I responded to your @66 re DUMPS ('Il la fait chier'
= English translation: 'He makes her shit'). I thanked you (or tried to) en Francais for your brilliant comment. Was my French correct or did I miss anything in the translation?
@5 LavaGirl: I know, right? I can't imagine what anagram could be made of auntie grizelda.


Any devotees who would like to give us their perspective?


I think the last line in the letter from LW1 says it all even though I think the first question is clear: He's just looking for a sexual partner. In some scenarios people could care less why the other person wants to fuck; as long as they want to fuck that's all that counts. This is one of those scenarios. So a devotee isn't going to be viewed as a problem by the LW.

LW3 needs to join some dating apps and find some possible partners who seem nice enough (i.e., not crazy) and are ready to fuck. Or, as so many of us often recommend in these threads, why not hook up with a good friend. Friend with Benefits has become a cliche but when both of those things work really well then the situation can be ideal.


I hit send too soon. LW3 might also follow the advice given to LW2: search out male friends. Then propose a friends with benefits relationship with the guy you like the most.


@7 auntie grizelda: More idiomatic: Il la fait chier = He pisses her off.


For WRAP, I would also recommend looking for public play at dungeons or mummification house parties, where you have other people around to witness if someone tries something.

Also, are you game to switch? Many people with an interest in mummification like receiving as well as giving, so it can work well to find a buddy (or buddies) and take turns.


Oh, and if you're not on Fetlife, that's one possible place to connect with fellow mummification fans.


@7 AuntieGrizelda =Utilize Grenada = Algae Ruined Zit = idealize a grunt = Eel zit guardian.... Or did you mean "I wonder what acronyms could be made?"


GRIZ... great rewards in Zurich!


Lava @5: I know, right? Unfortunate signoff! The woman calling herself LAVA should have no problem getting laid. In fact, I'm surprised she hasn't already -- the typical response to escape from a sexless marriage is to make up for lost time immediately. Lots of men into BBWs or not fussed by body type. Sadly, she's exactly the sort of person who no longer has Craigslist to turn to. But she can get on Tinder and post body pics, or shadowed pics -- lots of dudes will reply even without a pic. How to avoid psychos? That's tougher, but if all she wants is to get laid, surely Issues won't preclude that. Maybe get a burner phone and only go to their place or a hotel. I would suggest younger men if she wants stamina without attachment. (Oh, and 44 isn't necessarily premenopausal; I suggest she stop thinking about herself this way until she starts to experience symptoms.) Good luck, Other LAVA!

The devotee question is interesting. I see both sides of this: sure, it sucks to be fetishised for whatever reason. But if you have a characteristic which will make you unattractive to the majority of the population, surely it makes sense to look in that minority of the population who find that characteristic a turn-on instead? I wish him luck as well. And as for WRAP, perhaps he could try fetish clubs, as he'd be safer in a public place, or a pro Dom/me.


Ms Lava - At least you haven't been impersonated.

Ms Grizelda - Maybe there should be an acronym contest.


Uh-oh. Has Griz put her foot in it?
@11 Esperantisto: Good to know. Thanks.
@14 Limey Rick: Yikes!! Keep trying.
@15 LavaGirl: Maybe I should open a Swiss Bank account! That sounds like a good idea for Griz's retirement savings! Thanks, LavaGirl.
@17 vennominon: I think you've got something there. How about a contest for an auntie grizelda anagram contest, Dan the Man and everyone, with venn's blessings?

Here's something totally weird: it's 4 am PST, Grizelda has been savoring Cabernet Sauvignon, Match Game 73 and 75 episodes on YouTube (gawd, I love Richard Dawson, Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly!) and a blessed comedy classic, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World----and not ONE typo! Further proof that Griz types better under the influence of red, red wine. Like UB40: 'Red, red wiiiiiine......Stay close to meeeee......'
Aren't snow days fun, people?


Well done to Mr Savage for having both a pro-devotee and an anti-devotee expert.

[But people who are exclusively attracted to the able-bodied and/or the conventionally attractive are rarely accused of fetishizing the able and ambulatory or objectifying the facially symmetrical. Which is why it has always seemed to me—and Gurza agrees with me on this point—that if being with someone who is turned on by your whatever-the-fuck is good enough for the able-bodied, it's good enough for people with disabilities.]

It seems, though, that people attracted exclusively to disabled people are generally distinctly pulled or drawn that way, while those attracted exclusively to non-disabled people are often more pushed than pulled (I'd put conventional attractiveness between the other two), ending where they do because of a dispreference (borrowing from a character of Daniel Curzon's), which may be why the attractions often play out differently and don't all fall neatly the way Mr Savage sets it out.


Ms Grizelda - I'd propose two separate anagrams, one for A.U.N.T.I.E. and one for G.R.I.Z.E.L.D.A. rather than one long one.

Lucky you; I was out in snow yesterday and took two and a half hours to get home instead of fifty minutes.


"Because if everyone you've ever dated was shitty or toxic, LAVA, there's a better than even chance you were the shitty or toxic common denominator"

Honestly it's very often more complicated than Dan worded that. For example:

People who are insecure often find (then cling to) psychologically damaged partners because they fear that healthier ones will leave them, and in the lesser likelihood that damaged partners will not leave them they feel secure.

See that example: Insecurity is neither "shitty or toxic", but it does become a "common denominator". Perhaps a more general way of talking would be to say that "if everyone you've ever dated was" a problem, you probably have a problem.


"lesser likelihood that damaged partners will not leave them"
should've been
"lesser likelihood that damaged partners will them"


The thing that jumps out at me is that LW-LAVA endured a sexless marriage for at least six years before getting a divorce. (There are hints, too, that she had her hands full dealing with a challenged husband). I know there are reasons to remain married apart from its being a context for monogamous sex ... but shouldn't there be some statute of limitations on these things? No fuck for a month--and (by prior arrangement) the condition of monogamy lapses? The not-fit-for-purpose nature of conventional marriage is my takeaway from this week's column.


RAGDOLL , I’ve read where there are sex workers who work in this area, pity there work illegally doing such good work. Devotees sound a little unhinged to me, maybe chose one of those as your last bet. Find a pro Domme, check fetlife for groups and good luck to you.


@24, if your friends don't tell you about their sexual assaults, maybe it's because you don't seem very sympathetic.

I was assaulted on a second date; I had all his info but didn't report him because I had met him for kinky sex (just not the kind he wanted). I didn't think the odds of me being believed were high enough to be worth everyone finding out my sexual preferences.


Today’s woman, Dadddy? Like there are so many and if you look they are not uniform creatures. And women don’t complain about difficulties with men because it’s some badge to wear, why would they. Intelligent young women want a good guy in their lives, one who isn’t a waste of space.


Sorry to read that Erica.


Can you report him now, Erica? How many women do the same..
Hugs to you.


@8 CMD: I, too would like to hear from some devotees!


The other LAVA and RAGDOLL are fetishised by some people, which can be de personalising. It’s great that fetlife isn’t a dating site because people talk to each other, and connections occur, along with the fetish/ kink.
These two want sex now, chatting may not be required, so go for a sure bet.


@EricaP: I'm so sorry to hear that.


@34, I think if I meet privately with people who are stronger than me, yes, there's a risk of unwanted sex. I figure my experience (two assaults in my life) is better than average.


@20 vennominon; Two and a half hours in the snow? Yoiks! Sorry you had a rough commute yesterday. You don't think using all the letters to A.U.N.T.I.E. G.R.I.Z.E.L.D.A is better? I'm finding that doing two separate anagrams is somewhat more limiting.
@26 and @35 EricaP: I'm so sorry that happened to you, Erica! I can relate--my experiences are similar. I agree with LavaGirl (@29)--can you report him?
@32 That's not straining the brain--that's exercising it. 26,000 anagrams available for auntie grizelda? That's good to know. Thanks for your Google search. This is why I love crossword puzzles.


EricaP @26: I'm sorry that happened to you, too (and sadly, two assaults is fewer than I've experienced). Dadddy, you've learned something. The odds that one will be raped in a restaurant on a first date, as you dismissively say, are very low. The odds that a good actor can charm someone into a more private location, even his car, are higher. And even if assaults are relatively uncommon, the answer to "what's the worst that could happen?" is bad enough to make us cautious. I also interpreted "psycho" more broadly. A date rapist is not the only type of person out there who needs to be avoided; there's also the cling-on, the stalker, the narcissist, the manipulator (see BAWL from last week's column), the woman-resenting PUA, the double-standard slut-shamer, the kinkster who doesn't respect limits, and the list goes on. LAVA's desire to avoid "psychos" hints that her ex-husband had issues, and that ground her down to the point of never wanting to deal with similar challenges again.

Hunter @32: Does that not take all the fun out of it? Get out your Scrabble tiles and go to town.


Ms Grizelda - I was presuming acronyms in keeping with the letter sign-offs. For example - Aberdeen United Newly Triumphs In England, or Get Ready If Zoroastrians Eventually Like Drinking Amaretto. If you said anagrams, my apologies for thinking you meant acronyms.

I did once, when I was associated with a collegiate bridge group of about eight players, make up a list of anagrams of their names. Some were quite good; one or two names had tricky vowels that meant the end result was recognizably something that had to be an anagram. Alas, as they're real names, I can't list examples; my best one, for instance, currently has a magazine column, and it would be easy to work out the name from the anagram.


BiDanFan @38 -- I'm sorry to hear of your assaults. It's definitely an unpleasant side of dating which isn't accurately explained to those growing up in our culture. Too much emphasis on "how to be safe," and not enough on "if it happens anyway, don't blame yourself."

Auntie Griz & LavaGirl -- the reasons I didn't report him then are still in play. My kinky sexual history would get dragged out, and he probably wouldn't face consequences. There was never any evidence to move it beyond he said/she said. Doesn't mean it didn't happen; just means our system is weighted towards a high standard of proof for criminal allegations.


Venn @ 39
Just checked the Scottish Premiership table. Aberdeen is only in the third place, 11 points behind Celtics with 8 games remaining.


@Dadddy @34: I think dating men is like driving a car. There are dangers; you can lessen your chances of encountering them if you do some things carefully; but in the end, a fair amount of it involves trusting other people's reactions and behaviors. Nonetheless, most of us want to drive, just as most of us want to date, so you take your chances. As Bi says in @38, the issue isn't so much meeting a full-on psycho on a first date, it's meeting someone who seems pretty reasonable and cool, but is willing to press hard once you're in private. Generally guys like that don't come off like that when you meet them; they know to play it cool at the start. Otherwise it wouldn't be an issue.

I've experienced one low-level assault in my life (and I consider myself lucky, most of my friends have experienced more/worse), and it was a guy who I had been friends with quite some time. Obviously he didn't read as psycho to me. I spent some time afterwards thinking it through, wondering if I missed clues or something, and concluded that I didn't, nothing obvious, anyway. I don't blame myself and I certainly don't hold it against all other guys. I don't think most guys are like that. But I did change one or two things about how I interact with them afterwards, just as you might drive a bit more defensively after you've been in an accident.


Dadddy why don't you look up some cold hard rape statistics? 1 out of 6 women have been a victim already.

Your whole post is from the perspective of a man. To be more specific it's from your perspective. You don't understand how someone in your position could possibly take the risk of hurting someone when they can get in trouble. Yes, this is how normal people think, congrats on being normal. It's not how violent criminals think however. They're not thinking much about going to prison. When Weinstein assaulted all those many, many women I don't think before every assault he was thinking "this will totally come back to bite me someday." There's a good chance he was thinking thoughts that wouldn't occur to a normal person: that he was special and impervious to consequence, that women deserve it, or secretly enjoy it. Why do you think rape is such a common crime? If everyone thought it was a bad thing to hurt people it wouldn't be.


LW3 -- On "This American Life" last week a guy said his key finding on a slutty streak was that when the bars close in NYC (and probably most big cities) virtually everyone can get laid if they're willing to lower their standards. So if you're just looking for some D, that seems like a good plan to me.

Mummification -- What do you mean you can't find anyone to wrap you up non-sexually? Call a "massage therapist" (aka escort), pay them whatever, and I'm sure they'd be more than glad to wrap you up. If you're looking for someone to do it for free, well, I don't know why anyone would do that absent ransacking your house while you're mummified.


@34 & @36 Dadddy: I agree with BiDanFan @38 and TheLastComment @43. As long as women and adolescent girls will always be vulnerable to the possibility of unplanned and / or unwanted pregnancy from unprotected sex or rape, we have more to be cautious about than men and boys ever will.
@38 BiDanFan: I'm really sorry to hear of your assaults as well. Is it just me, or is the revoltingly high statistic of men who willfully rape women basically due to the fact that since men & boys can't get pregnant and their bodies remain unaffected, they have a macho "couldn't care less" attitude?
@39 vennominon: So far, all I have come up with for an anagram is LIZARD AGENT EUI. I'm still working on it.
@40 EricaP: That's what's so messed up. We're the victims, and yet we get made to feel like criminals for calling out the real perpetrators. The sooner we can oust the disastrous Trumpty Dumpty / Dencey Pencey Administration the better. They're only making the situation infinitely worse for women and girls everywhere. Trump / Pence ad nauseum for Prison 2019.


I think (I have never heard anyone else advocating this theory) that in general the human species suffers from a habit of regarding the other sex/other sexes as pretty much a subspecies, because gender has always been regarded as built-in where race or class aren't. For decades parents have been able to tell the gender of their forthcoming child, and used this as a way to predetermine everything from favourite colours to sports to books to toys to messiness/untidiness to personality to aggression/docility--all wildly generalised from what's between the child's legs. They ignore the possibility that the child may grow up LGBTQ or simply non-compliant in what they like--because much the best way to manage difference is to ignore it completely. Then the parents bring up the child in this wildly over-determined way but expect the child to grow up to be able to empathise with a gender that's almost a separate subspecies. More properly, we erroneously expect boys to be able to do this; girls have been brought up to see the points of view of men and boys, and to read male-POV books throughout their childhood, while boys are not socialised this way towards girls.

Of course we end up with Lara Croft's tits in the first Tomb Raider: women played it because it was female-POV, while men played it because it was female-POV and the one thing they're certain of if they had a sudden sex-change is that they'd spend as much time looking at their own breasts as possible. Of course lots of people (including serial killers) like true crime about serial killers where women are regarded as faceless victims rather than driving the narrative (look at how uncomfortable most people are with the Wuornos case, the only well-known case so far where a woman randomly killed random men). Of course we end up with rape-jokes: if women were the dominant gender there would probably be castration-jokes.

Of course Dead Girlfriend in the Fridge is a massive trope in our popular culture and a lot of the examples are rapes. Women raped, tortured, abused or murdered to have an effect on their boyfriend the hero, because men can apparently read that sort of stuff happily without the discomfort of finding themselves identifying with the female character. It's escapism for them. Modern popular culture (Game of Thrones, gritty superhero stuff etc) is lightly sprinkled with rape because Of Course They Would.

I've only once seen a "female character makes terrible things happen to a male character" story in a book written by a man, and it was Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy.

Gillette got a ridiculous amount of pushback for simply advocating the unexceptionable message that guys should be moral, that guys should be brave, that guys should stand up to misbehaving other guys in favour of women: it's difficult to see what this could mean if it's not a "bro code: you defected to the other side" sort of indignation.

Doctor Who got pushback by gender absolutists, although my headcanon for why he always presents as male was always that he has to hang around on Earth so much and people wouldn't take him seriously. It made absolutely no sense that a species that can change not only face but height/weight/colouring and even personality would find gender their hill to die on.

But what with the #metoo movement, victims are less isolated, and rape culture may slowly be on the shift.

I hope It Gets Better. I hope people socialise guys better so that they start to have a habit of identifying with female characters in books and games in a manner other than looking at their own breasts, so they lose the unconscious assumption of identifying with people like them. I hope one day blokes will see how afraid women are of them, so (for example) if they're walking near an isolated woman and feel the urge to catcall her or ask her out, they don't unconsciously prioritise their own boner over making her feel safe.


@38 BiDanFan: To further clarify my comment @45: I'm not at al accusing you or any other woman or girl of anything. What I meant was am I correct in believing that male rapists--who will never experience the body altering physical condition of pregnancy---have a reckless 'couldn't care less' attitude towards women and girls? It really is shame in my opinion that men and boys can't get pregnant and never know what it actually entails. I swear, if men and boys did and could, rape would no longer exist. I'll bet the abortion clinics would then suddenly outnumber churches and gas stations.


RepubliKKKan castration NOW, dammit!


@44 in case you didn't notice, the A in WRAP is for "aspie." It's well-known that many with autism have difficulty with interpersonal relationships and in social situations. Saying "what do you mean you can't find anyone to wrap you up non-sexually?" to him seems harsh and insensitive.


Ciods @42 and Woofb @46: Great comments, though I'd add Stephen King's "Misery" to the very short list of male-penned books featuring women torturing men. I agree that men who rape women do so because they do not see them as human beings with feelings/preferences/bodily autonomy of their own, and that this is just an extreme manifestation of that tendency. Look at dating sites: many men feel women they message owe them a response, and a positive one at that (women who politely say "no thank you" get verbally abused). Women are products, not beings with valid preferences of their own. This hard line between the sexes Woofb refers to is everywhere, perpetuated by women as well as men -- recall the book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"? We'd get along a lot better if we accepted we're all from Planet Earth. Griz, I think freedom from pregnancy (and less risk of heterosexually transmitted STIs) is part of the equation, but only part of it. Popular culture praises "assertive" men; films even including teen-aimed fare like Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Scott Pilgrim feature guys who get the girl by persisting after she's said no. It's not romantic and it's not as harmless as it seems.

Fred @50: Good point. Also, I'd like to point out that WRAP is male and concerned that a man will sexually assault him when he is vulnerable. The difference is that women are vulnerable at all times.


Harriet @23: I skipped your comment before, but a MONTH!? Seriously, no. That is nowhere near long enough to deem a relationship sexless and an agreement of monogamy null and void. Think about lingering illness (physical or mental), pregnancy, or a job assignment requiring being away for an extended period. Non-monogamy involves lots of feelings, it's not just about "you can bring someone else into your masturbation sessions and wave goodbye after you've come." "You were depressed for a month, so I fucked someone else" is NOT a relationship saver. I'd go with a year to institute a unilateral decision that the sexual relationship is over and other lovers are fair game.


@52 BiDanFan: I do remember the book, Men Are From Mars; Women Are From Venus. Good reminder that we need to realize that we're all inhabitants of planet Earth. I still have to wonder sometimes, though. Thankfully I have music in my life---it seems to be the only real form of effective communication I have. Often I feel socially disconnected otherwise.


@55: No, I don't believe I do. Why, are you taking a survey?


Who's up for the Lucky @69 Award? Tick...tick...tick...


I'm an Aspie, and I didn't clock that going past, so, good call Fred.


Hunter @55, gonna ask if she'd like one?


Ms Fan - It would be rather nice to see something with a one-sided attachment (whether it ends up conquering or not, though it probably would have to be in vain to fit) in which everyone's agency remained respected. Then again, I don't really see this sort of thing any more, but I generally found myself taking the side almost entirely of the Jilted Fiance(e).

How would Gone Girl compare, not being physical torture?

If everyone must be from the same planet, then I'll tentatively locate men and women in Brasilia and Chicago, either way around. Bi-straight-gay is trickier - Quebec/Philadelphia/Auckland for starters? Apologies to others, but I'm not sure yet whom to place in Alexandria, Amsterdam or Tokyo.


After such results as ZEAL UNITED RIGA and IGNITE AZURE LAD, my favourite has an Austenian flair that I think might amuse Ms Ods and Ms Cute:

Unable to say anything that persuaded Mr Collins she really wasn't going to marry him, ELIZA TRIED A GUN.


Venn @60: How about My Best Friend's Wedding? It's the usual trope where the heroine only realises she's been in love with her best friend all along when he gets engaged to someone else, then sets about underhandedly trying to win him for herself. Plot twist: she fails. That's my kind of romcom. And there's Gone With The Wind, in which Rhett Butler finally decides he's had enough of Scarlett O'Hara's drama. Tomorrow is another day, but another day we never see. (I haven't read the belated sequel.)

I haven't seen Gone Girl. There's Monster, about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, but that does not count as fiction.


BiDan@59 ~ Ha!


@59 BiDanFan: Good question, and I second Donny's ~Ha!
@61 vennominon: Sometimes I wish my username contained at least one letter O--then I could have had "zealot". It's interesting what we can come up with. I like LIZARD AGENT, but what to do with the extra E, U, and I?
"Unable to persuade Mr. Collins that she really wasn't going to marry him, ELIZA TRIED a GUN". EEK!---venn, did I ever tell you about an old male college friend of mine who wasn't okay with his and my just "staying friends" after 20 years? I believe he must have suffering from a midlife crisis--and / or severe pressure from his conservative Catholic family. Once he reached age 40, he went right past me, not bothering to ask for my hand (it didn't matter, I still would have said no) but instead went and told my father that he had $70,000 in the bank---as if I could be bought and sold.
@63 DonnyKlicious (re BiDanFan @59): I second your ~Ha! Our usual troll @55 is proving to be quite amusing these days, isn't he?

Meanwhile, who's our Lucky @69 Award winner gonna be....? Tick...tick...tick....


@53. Bi. Of course there are circumstances that can mean a relationship goes without sex for a month without there being a loss of sexual interest on either side. My point was more that it's not a good thing, most of the time and for most people, that there's a tacit default. And the default would be: 1) that the relationship is monogamous; 2) that it's conceived of as all-in, with partners being soulmates, best friends, co-parents, cohabitants; 3) that sex is taken as a sign of emotional intimacy and deep compatibility, especially when it's absent; and 4) being in a state of frustration or pain is seen as more meritorious than accepting obvious work-arounds, that allow you to uphold most of your important obligations.

To me, the rationale of 'monogamy-as-a-default' is that it's right to restrict sex. It’s part of a religious worldview (whether God exists or not). I'd like to see, well-spread in society and equally uncontroversial, a different default. Something like 'everything re monogamy or poly negotiated up front' or (the default) 'monogamy presumed, but needs to be confirmed on a monthly basis, with the frequency dropping with the life of the relationship; finances separate; weekend nights together unless otherwise arranged; presumption of monogamy but not relationship drops after one month's sexlessness'. This is clumsy but I hope the motivation's clear--to come up with a rule of thumb that accepts sex and love are ubiquitous, not rare. I wonder whether people with a need for monogamy in their own relationships would have any concerns with an alternative tacit norm taking hold in society.


Somebody else should rightfully get the Lucky @69 honors his week as Griz made First Post.


Harriet @65: I agree that there shouldn't be a default assumption of monogamy (even though I disagree that low-sex-drive partners should have a constant spectre of "put out once a month, whether you're feeling it or not, or I'll start banging other people" hanging over their heads). There are people who are okay with once-a-month sex, and yes, we can only hope that they pair up with each other, but in many cases slightly-higher-drive people decide to accept less sex as the price of admission. There will always be some degree of mismatch in drive, just as there will always be a mismatch in, say, tidiness. Your proposal sounds like a decree that if a less-tidy partner does not put something away for a month, the tidier one can start throwing their things away. Partners should accept and work with each other's differences, not hold each other hostage with ultimatums and consequences if they don't get their way.

I agree that monogamous assumptions arose when there was no birth control and people wanted to know whose kids were whose, a factor that is far less relevant in today's world. The default should be to communicate one's desires and expectations, and to see monogamy and the various forms of ethical non-monogamy as equally valid choices based on individual preference -- not to replace a default of monogamy with a default of non-. In other words, as a person who is not monogamous, -I- have a concern with it becoming an "alternative tacit norm." Many, many people are not suited to non-monogamy, and they should not feel pressured to accept sharing their partners as a condition of even having a partner. In other words, feel free to make clunky "rules of thumb" for YOUR relationships, but imposing them as defaults for everyone is no more progressive or workable than imposing monogamy for everyone. (As an example, I prefer spending weeknights with my partners and going out with friends on weekends! Your system would not suit me at all, but it suits my partners and me just fine.)


@68. Bi. I don't think there is really any disagreement between us at all.... The best default would be 'no default'--everything negotiated and explained up front between individuals e.g. 'I'm in a relationship-anarchy style relationship with someone who's very important to me--whom I see no more than every three months, for two nights at a time. We'll have to work round that--but I can always give you three weeks' notice'. Gay male relationships have always had these riders.

In my mind, although explaining-and-negotiating-absolutely-everything might be ideal or preferable, there might be a need for an alternative default to monogamy, just because laying everything on the line is so arduous. The idea--'there should be an alternative default!'--also comes back to my outsider's fascination with straight dating. Let's say an OS couple in their 30s have sex a couple times. What's the default assumption? That they're together--monogamously? That each is still dating? Would there be any use, in situations like these, for a different default?

I find it hard to get inside the headset of someone who accepts a relationship where they don't have sex in five years. Supposing they enjoy and want to have sex, why would anyone accept that?


Harriet @68: If you're arguing that straight people should adopt the gay male approach, I will agree with you there!

I take your point that currently, the OS "couple" (poor word choice) in your hypothetical may expect monogamy, but they shouldn't, not until a conversation about monogamy is had. So I guess that in practice, not presuming monogamy would equate to presuming non-monogamy, but still, I don't see how you couldn't get to the point of realising you really like this person and not have a conversation about that. Personally, I would advocate a standardisation of my "90-day money-back guarantee" approach, where you date non-committally (whether concurrently with anyone else or no) for three months before deciding whether you're compatible. Then again, even I haven't always followed my own rule -- sometimes you fall in love quickly. Then the relationship conversation might open with "I've fallen in love with you." In my experience "let's get tested and stop using condoms" is the trigger for a Conversation; at that point, you need to know who else, if anyone, they're having sex with and/or agree to not have sex with anyone else.

Why would anyone accept a long-term sexless relationship? Duty is my guess. This whole "for better or for worse" thing in the wedding vows. This notion of commitment. Children. Not wanting to cheat, either for reasons of morality or fear one will get caught. I take it you've never been married? I have, and one would think it's merely window dressing, but there IS this increased sense that you've made a lifelong commitment and you need to make it work no matter what. Also, many cultures send the message that wanting sex is selfish and shallow, that it's for baby-making only, that sex for pleasure is not a person's right. That if you leave/cheat because of lack of sex, you'll be seen as the bad guy. Lots of baggage here, and it's nowhere near as simple as you make it seem. (There's also a massive gulf between one month and five years! Far more people, including myself, would condone cheating/unilateral opening in the latter case than the former.)


@69. Bi. Pleased I set the number up for you! ;

'Let's stop using condoms' isn't something I'm accustomed to hearing. I have a sacred terror of unsheathed sex going back to my promiscuous days in the late 80s and again in the 90s. My insisting on condom use wasn't just about safe sex; it was my way of reasserting autonomy, of drawing a line, after I had put myself recklessly into ambiguous situations in clubs and bathhouses. I was typically high, possibly on poppers. The disinclination to have the guy take it off persists despite PrEP--is possibly even strengthened. I'd think I'd know, in almost all cases, who a partner is fucking (besides me) before any conversation about 'no condoms' could come up.

My usual mistake was to suppose that any new partner felt the same way about me I did toward them--so a 'convenience' fuck, a scratch-the-itch partner for the nights I didn't want to work, would view me in comparable pragmatic terms. Of course they didn't--always. And there were guys in whom I saw great long-term potential for whom I was finally a curiosity (with one, over whom I was eating my heart out, I remember, I never even got to have sex). Evidently it's better to have a conversation, rather than relying on a default, in these cases--but shyness and not wanting to miss your chance mean it doesn't necessarily happen.


@69. Bi. I've never been formally married; but I've been in one relationship which I viewed as closed, committed and analogous, in 'for better or for worse' terms, to a conventional marriage. It was the worse relationship of my life--and only, really, the second or third relationship I'd ever been in (I'd been vehemently anti- them, as heteronormative). My partner was the first person to believe as implicitly as I did in my feminine identity/person--actually, more implicitly--and to see our menage as a queer take on straight domesticity--something defiant and beautiful, we thought, and needing cultivation, the lavishing of effort, care. The reasons the relationship were bad were ... his escalating substance abuse; his refusal, or inability, to deal with the fallout from his previous marriage--to a woman--including relationships with his child (a teen), debts, a home, other soured and impaired family relationships; my ability to compartmentalise and be different people at work and at home, and to escape home at work; his unrealised and probably unrealisable artistic ambitions (sub-Altman-esque), and my skepticism about these, despite funding them ... and so on, actually--but mostly his drinking. There were more than one-month periods of sexual dryness in that relationship--unless you count fumbling, apologetic limp-dick competitions, my trying to top him, in a yard-sale pinafore he'd bought me ... something like opening a can of baked beans for Martha Stewart. When it ended, I formed the vow I was never going back--not to monogamy; not to that conception of trans or the gender binary; not to 'the ideal relationship'. Of course my relationship with his child has not ended--will never end.

I agree that there are lots of reasons that a person might put up with sexlessness--but the main one is that sex is too valuable to be scattered freely. Bullshit. Give it with grace and, sooner or later, you reap what you sow. The 'precious resource' view is patriarchal control of family reputation or honour masquerading as theology.


@69 BiDanFan: Congratulations on scoring this week's well deserved Lucky @69 Award! Savor the riches!


Harriet @70: It seems both of us have viewed our own approach to condoms as so reasonable that we've been surprised others do not share it. To me, condoms are a default, and yes, to get to a point where I trusted someone enough to go condomless I would indeed have to know them well enough to generally know who else they were sleeping with. I'm thinking about my serially monogamous past here, when "let's stop using condoms" equated to "because neither of us is sleeping with anyone else and we're ready to commit to that," but it applies to poly as well. If anything even more so, because I know that we both WILL be sleeping with other people, and I need to know they can be trusted to use condoms every time with those other people. I've only been fluid bonded to one poly partner. Fortunately, in poly circles that attitude to condoms is the default.

I agree that having conversations is easier said than done, or more easily thought than said! Things can indeed feel awkward in the moment, and once we've scared one person off by revealing our feelings too soon, it makes it harder to do so.

Harriet @71: "I've been in one relationship which I viewed as closed, committed and analogous, in 'for better or for worse' terms, to a conventional marriage."
So have I, and then I married him, and things did change. I didn't expect them to, but they did.

I'm sorry to hear the relationship wasn't a good one. Your commitment to non-traditional relationships makes more sense in context, and I'm happy to hear you're still close to your former almost-stepchild. And count yourself lucky you didn't have to suffer through a divorce. (Though, having done both, if you jointly owned a home with him you went through similar pain.)

Griz @72: Thanks!


@73. Bi. Disentangling finances was hard, but one thing that made it easier was the degree to which I (the 'wife', the fantasy homebody) was the one with the high-powered job supporting him. There were a lot of ironies in the case.

I do have a relationship now; but don't live with my partner all year round. Sex is completely something I expect from him, though I'd think he offers it out of politeness or largesse, in the way he'd compliment a tie or a blouse.

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