I’ve been reading Savage Love for years and think you are serving up exactly what people need not what they want to hear. In that vein, I have some questions if you have some time.

I’m 19, a college sophomore, and a cisgender straight woman. When I was 15, a girlfriend and I were walking to get ice cream and we took a shortcut through a wooded park type area and found a homeless person living there. My girlfriend dared me to make out with him and to both of our surprise I did. It wasn’t really anything amazing just some sloppy kissing and me feeling nervous that my friend was watching me. After that makeout session I started to fantasize about what would've happened if things had gone further in a consensual way and this was a common theme to help achieve release on many of my lonely high school nights.

In high school and now in college I volunteer at a soup kitchen and often times I will substitute the people I meet and serve into my fantasy to help get me where I need to go. My questions are:

1. Is there a community or a name for people like me, i.e. women that fantasize about sex with homeless men.

2. This may seem weird but am I predator? I feel strange having an attraction for a group of people and then engaging in activities that puts me in close proximity to them without their knowledge of my kind of ulterior motive. Sometimes I just feel strange when I’m chatting to patrons of the soup kitchen.

Better Understanding My Sexuality

I've previously said I don't lose sleep over letters that might be fake because each question that appears in the column or as the SLLOTD is a just hypothetical question (but hopefully a good one) for every reader save one.

So while I definitely have my doubts about BUMS letter because I'm not an idiot and it is very likely a fake... it's also true that people are infinitely perverse and you never know and, hey, pretty entertaining hypothetical... so here we go...

1. There is not. So far as I know. But there wasn't a community for people into stuffed animals before the Internet came along and helped all the stuffed animal fuckers out there find each other. So anything is possible. And, hey, if enough people wind up watching Russian Doll during that impressionable/lifelong-fetish-forming stage of life, aka "childhood," a community of homeless fetishists—excuse me: a community of persons-experiencing-homelessness fetishists—could emerge. (There's nothing overtly sexual about Nadja's relationship with Horse, of course, but something overtly sexual doesn't have to happen for our erotic imaginations to latch on to that thing or that kind of thing or that kind of person and lay down the wiring for a lifelong kink.)

2. Well, gee. The logic behind my highly conditional stamp off approval for "secretly perving" foot fetishists working as shoe salespersons...

[Take] the foot fetishist who works in a high-end shoe store. He really loves his job, he gets to look at feet all day long, and he moves a lot of shoes. So long as the shoe store salesclerk with a foot fetish is good at his job and so long as his secret perving is undetectable—no spotting, no bulges, no heavy breathing, no creepy compliments—there's no harm. If the foot fetishist/shoe salesclerk goes home at the end of a long day and jacks off about the feet he saw and, yes, handled during his shift—and the people he sold shoes to are none the wiser—he's not hurting anyone. The secret pleasure he takes in his work shouldn't disqualify him from being a shoe salesclerk. (Important note: it's not just about how the foot fetishist/secret perv/shoe salesclerk/aspiring podiatrist perceives himself, but how he is perceived by others—by his customers and his coworkers. He may think he's playing it cool, he may think his perving is secret, but if his customers are creeped out by his behavior, demeanor, bulges, spots, heavy breathing, etc., or his coworkers are creeped out by him, then his perving isn't a secret and he should be fired and/or go into another line of work.)

...would seem to apply in the case of a persons-experiencing-homelessness fetishist volunteering in a soup kitchen.

But like a woman who lost her leg in a car accident once said to me about devotees, BUMS, you're not perving on a neutral fact about a person. You're perving out on someone's trauma. So, yeah, a person experiencing the trauma of homelessness probably wouldn't want to know what you're thinking about when later that night when you bust out the vibrator. Still, people masturbate all the time to thoughts of others without their knowledge or consent—and sometimes people fantasize about unpleasant things happening to those particular others. Every day people cast strangers, coworkers, Instagram crushes in their ravishment fantasies or piss play scenes or BDSM scenarios—whatever it takes to help them achieve release.

And, yes, sometimes people intentionally put themselves in places where they'll encounter the people things that turn them on—like foot fetishists working in shoe stores. The big difference here is power. Homeless people in shelters seeking a dry place to sleep and a meal aren't analogous to customers in shoe stores. They're not in the power position, like a customer would be, they're actually in pretty desperate straits. So in addition to saying that your secret perving must remain secret for your volunteer work to be permissible, BUMS, I'd add that you have to be on your guard against abusing your power.


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