Savage Love

Aroused State

Comments

1

I don't think I could do Dan's job, professionally speaking, if a woman like CA came to me and said: "I need to squelch my continuous sexual arousal and talking to you seemed like the logical solution."

2

Yeah that must be real tough for Dan. Being as he's so into college girls..

3

@1 WA-HOOOOOOO!!!! Big congrats to saxfanatic for scoring this week's FIRDT Award and leading the comment thread! Savor the coveted honors. :)
@2: Before you jump all over me, jack, take a chill and scroll down if you don't like my posts.
Just skip over all SL comments with the numbers 1, 69, 100, and from there, ending in 69 or 00 if you don't want to play the Lucky Numbers Game. You're welcome. :)

4

It seems like Jackowich's advice got written during the Before Times. Right now I think it's important for her to /not/ meet with her healthcare provider. Particularly because like Dan says, libido is commonly increased or decreased by stress. (As can a variety of other functions like appetite and sleep, by a variety of other issues including depression. Geez, this is like last week's letter the expert studying this exact topic currently answered.)

So I don't think it's surprising enough to merit not waiting before un-physical-distancing CA from her doc. But do promptly schedule a telemedicine appointment.

Though I bet this needs to be dealt with not as a physical, but as a psychological issue. I bet this is pretty normal for a lot of guys right now.

I recommend addressing the high anxiety. Try employing some kind of relaxation strategies hopefully already in your toolkit, if not some examples are guided relaxation recordings, meditation, etc. If you can't make headway on your own, try tele-talk-therapy.

"the 3.5 billion women you haven’t already dated"

Wait, how many women has UGHS dated? (There are currently 3.9B women; has he dated 400 million women?)
https://countrymeters.info/en/World

5

CA - It sounds like you are masturbating for stress relief. Don't skip straight to the reward. If you're horny, first study or create a budget or look for new work or a new boyfriend or do something else to alleviate your stress, then masturbate.

UGHS - Tell her very clearly that it would be hell to lose her, but you would rather deal with her breaking up with you than reject/betray an existing friend. Ask her if she'd rather break up with you than tolerate your happiness with your friend. Ask her if she can promise to accept your friend so long as you never get physical and you'll take a step back or tell her if she wants or maybe end the friendship immediately, if someone starts to catch feelings or talk about being together (even though you don't think it's possible, address her concerns). Remind her that she promised to drop it if she ever says a word against that friend again. I guess this is only if she is not reassured by the calm facts that Dan stated, you could develop an attraction to a new friend, it's a good thing to be loyal to friends, you are with her because you're way more attracted to her than anyone else, she apparently stays friends with exes too and you trust that she is true to you. Do not trust her to speak about her jealousy reasonably once she has unreasonably asked you to betray a friend, but if she shows she can start to be reasonable and trustworthy and welcome your friends even when it's tough then be grateful you have an awesome relationship. I'm probably projecting, I felt a lot of sympathy for UGHS.

LTAF - I like the line "I would like to talk to you about your racist rant, but not until you've gotten sober" and ignore her until she says she's sober. Also congratulate her if she says she's been sober for a few weeks or months or years and encourage her to keep it up. I do not like the line "If you can't get sober I'm going to ignore you until the day you die." How spiky and dramatic. In the future, don't give in if people blame their bad behavior on alcohol or anything else, just keep repeating "DUIs/assault/borderline consent sex are bad someone could die if you can't change your behavior" if another friend starts acting dangerously. They might call you a buzz kill and wander off and that might be good for you. Or you might help save a life.

I loved Joe Newton this week.

6

@5 Philophile: I agree. Joe Newton scored another bullseye this week.

I, too, have sympathy for UGHS. Dealing with someone who has severe and unrealistic trust issues really sucks. I was once unhappily married to a jealously possessive sociopath who freaked out at the mere mention of another man's name---even my older brother. My ex automatically assumed that while he was 1200 miles away on a ship out of San Diego I was busily screwing anyone with a penis. As IF!

7

Chronically Aroused; Welcome to the world of almost every guy in their teens and 20s (and some longer than that). Seriously, I do remember the abused parts from masturbating multiple times a day and it gets to the point it hurts but you really feel compelled to do it again. Since this has suddenly become a problem, it could be a reaction to multiple sources of stress (which at least would be understandable), but best to discuss it with a doctor as Dan and the expert advised. Hope it's nothing serious and you can get some relief.

8

CA, I hope you find relief for your pain, soon, and as Dan and Dr. Jackowich have advised, if your current doctor does not provide the care you need, find another doctor who will.

9

Things the inappropriate friend with a drinking problem does while intoxicated: assaults people, drives drunk, embarrasses her friend on their wedding day, goes off on racist rants, has sex with people she doesn't know. One of these things is not like the others! Sing along!

Re: the horny gal
I hate to tell you this, but for some women some of us are slaves to hormones and it gets worse the older you get. I have no idea what it's like to be a dude with dude hormones but I'll take Jon Balz' word for it that for many of them this is what the teen/20s years were like all the time. I've heard that from a lot of guys. For myself, in my teens, 20s and early 30s, I was horny sometimes- usually when there was a reason to be, sometimes because it was the week before I started my period and I'm always hornier then. But somewhere around 35 I started having bouts of extreme horniness, again usually towards the end of my cycle before my period, that were very similar to what you describe. I've never had a hard time having an orgasm, but in those moments (because I'm sorry to tell you, it has gotten worse with age but I'm really in the early parts of menopause so maybe eventually it just stops) I can get off from the seam of my jeans if I think about it hard enough. And oddly, sex doesn't really sate it nor masturbation - both of which are as nice as they always were and have nothing really to do with how aroused I feel during those times. Luckily for me it's not all week but just some of it. It's entirely hormonal for me and here are things that affect it: diet, exercise, how sober I am (the less sober, the less horny). Stress and anxiety makes it worse in the same way that it makes any indulgence worse- here's a nice warm place to distract from those feelings, though of course it's not conscious. I think of my arousal the way others think of stress eating- you don't do it on purpose but there's an undeniable correlation. I do not think this is a wholly uncommon experience for older women, I suspect it's behind the cougar thing and I wonder if it has some correlation to whether or not you have kids, like at 35 was my body in panic mode? In any case, if you are dealing with this four weeks a month that's way worse than me as in my case it's a switch that gets flipped. Sometimes in my not horny weeks (the period week, the one after) I think to myself of what turned me on before and I'm totally uninterested or even mildly disgusted which if I tended towards shame could've caused me some trouble in my earlier more open years but instead I tend towards laughing about it. Birth control might change things too so yes talk to your doc. Also, if it hasn't occurred to you already and if you are interested, start up a lot of nsa encounters assuming it won't make it worse for you and your studies- takes way less energy than maintaining a relationship with an alcoholic and could be a perfect way to relieve yourself as a student but I know nothing about your situation there so no idea if that's feasible for you or not you might have reasons to be with that man and I don't even know if you have kids.

10

UGHS, Dan is right, you need to stand up to your gf, and anyone else who tries to control who you are friends with. Big red flag that one, and you sure you want to keep this relationship? Such behaviour usually isn’t isolated to one area with people like this, ones who assume some sort of ownership over their sexual partners.

11

At least CA didn't call herself a 31-year-old girl.
Sounds highly unpleasant, and she could possibly arrange for a video or phone consultation with her doctor, sending her the links, to address this before the lockdown is over. Also, aren't medical consultations among the exempted activities? This does not sound like something one would want to put off.

UGHS, DTMFA. Easy one.

Yeah, if LTAF hasn't talked to her friend since her wedding seven months ago, the friend probably knows why. Ignore her. If she contacts you, tell her she needs to sort out her alcoholism and then you may think about giving her another chance (if she can plausibly prove she's not a racist). Childhood friendships aren't generally built to last until adulthood, and there's no reason to hold onto this one.

Griz @3, what was that about? Post @2 had nothing to do with you or the numerical awards system.

Jon @7, I should let the men speak, but I find it highly implausible that a majority of them are sharing CA's experience. Nothing on earth would ever get done if this were the case. A spike during puberty, sure, but if you're masturbating to the point of damaging your genitals this is not normal.

EmmaLiz @9a, if she isn't using condoms or judgment or is cheating or regrets the sex she had while drunk, that thing is like the others. Ask me how I know...
@9b, good point that this may be hormonal and perhaps can be addressed by a change in her birth control. But setting up NSA encounters? Now? That's not a reliable source of horniness relief, ask me how I know.

12

I remember seeing a TV show about CA’s affliction, and it’s painful for these women. Sorry you are in such distress LW, and hope some relief is out there, which doesn’t include over stimulating your clit.

13

Maybe a hot bath with drops of lavender, CA, could ease the discomfort. Investigate what is known about this and seek out guidance from difference sources. Is it hormonal/ could diet be involved/ would acupuncture help/ western medicine/ naturopathy.
Might be psychological in origin, as mentioned, given the alternative universe we’ve all been thrown into. Because as you say it’s just occurring now. Being locked in with a drinker contributing to the culture of your home, causing more stress. You could start there and ask him to tone his drinking down a bit.

14

For serious responses to L1, I'll defer to the women. The non-serious suggestion that came to mind would be for LW1 to start dressing in the most twee manner she could, and to force herself to stare into a mirror for thirty seconds any time she felt the urge.

Fortunately, LW2 doesn't seem too strongly attached to GF2. Equally fortunately, they are long distance. If they were living together or nearby, I'd worry that GF2 might be an admirer of Dr Barreca (a leading advocate of Female Revenge). Sometimes it's possible to bargain with a rule shark (even if GF2 isn't one now, she's likely to become one), but usually that's like betting the rent money at the casino after losing one's fun funds.

Ms Fan - In the Gentile Country Club Set, the answer would probably be that the last would be unlike the others, in that it would be the only thing she wouldn't have to get drunk to do. Drunk driving requires intoxication, my mother almost never hit people without having had a few first, and however racist one might be race wouldn't be the subject of a sober rant. (Class might, though many in the GCCS don't rant at all when sober.) As for embarrassing conduct at a wedding, that would almost be tempting, but one could write it off on the grounds that the GCCS would so rarely remain sober at weddings. My answer, though, does presume that not knowing the pool boy's name counts. I'll be up to date and add another subject to the list of likely sober rants, as yesterday I heard a rant claiming that "Karen" is a slur.

15

UGHS: you have rekindled a romance with an ex from a decade ago, and are still only long distance right now. How much have you actually invested?

Times are weird, but you really should cut your losses. Irrational jealousy doesn't get better. Even if you stand your ground, you (and she, who's also perturbed) are going to be dealing with this (and possibly worse) until it's finally too much for one or the other of you.

LTAF: Your friend sounds like a barrel of laughs. How far does she have to go to really piss you off?

16

@BDF if this is related to hormones (which is what I suggest as a possibility in my post) then situation will last beyond the current crisis, assuming there is an "after" that we are all right now "during" (which is a big assumption I know). And casual sex will not sate a constant state of arousal, as I said, neither does masturbation. But it is does provide the constantly aroused woman with more potential to have a lot of fun that wouldn't be as fun in a different state or that would require a different kind of attraction or experience, and I meant it as a kind of seize the day. Like if you woke up with the desire to eat a lot of food and the ability to do so without ever feeling full, you probably should go to the doctor about that and be careful so you don't do anything to damage your heart, but also while you're at it, enjoy a lot of overeating of delicious things. (lol) But seriously, this woman in particular is stressed with school & a relationship with an alcoholic- like the constant arousal, neither are conditions caused by sheltering at home- and she might find that putting her arousal out to play is less time consuming, more stress relieving and less hassle than her current situation. OTOH, the constant arousal may not mean fucking is a pleasure, but she doesn't know until she tries, and fucking alcoholic boyfriend probably isn't the best litmus test.

As for the inappropriate racist drunk friend who assaults people, the LW did not say she did risky things (perhaps she does) but rather that she fucks strangers, so it appears he sees fucking strangers as on par with assaulting people and being a bigot. All the other things are directed at injuring other people. In my own considerations of what to do with problematic and troubled friends/family, this is what makes the difference. Watching someone harm themselves or engage in self-destructive activity can range from awkward to heartbreaking to frustrating, none of which are healthy feelings to have in your life, but it's not so difficult to be compassionate and patient to a limit with those friends. Life is hard, you create your own boundaries and figure how much you are capable / willing to help them. But it's an entirely different story if your problematic and troubled friend/family is instead directing that harm at other people- disrupting weddings, being a bigot, assaulting people, driving drunk. I have no patience for people who destroy other people, it's not so hard to cut mean people out of your life. And you can always offer forgive & forget if they come to their senses and deal with their shit. So that was my point- if she's out fucking strangers (even if she's doing so in a way that is foolish or even risky), this is not an attack on other people, it's not mean or aggressive or likely to injure some innocent bystander etc.

17

In short, what I'm trying to say is, there's a line between having standards and being a busy-body. Dude seems a little confused about what's objectionable about his friend. She's a drunk and an embarrassment and self-destructive. These things might make him consider when/where/how to continue this friendship (she's not someone you invite to a formal event, she's someone you invite to sit in your yard and drink margaritas at night and then put a trashcan beside her on the couch so she can direct her vomit off your carpet). I think life would be boring if we removed all but the healthiest people from our life. So the problem isn't that she's an inappropriate drunk (well that might be HER problem but it's not HIS). The problem is that she's a mean aggressive harmful bigot who might kill someone.

18

It's plausible to me that the reason UGHS broke up with his (?--or her, their) current, long-distance gf (the one w/ whom he's 'rekindled' the relationship) was to go off with the woman, the ex, that the current gf is now embargoing (or seeking to embargo). I can understand that as a POA. There's no way of being sure; but the suspicion crossed my mind that UGHS cannily wrote the letter as he did in order to elicit from Dan the Dan party line that he shouldn't stand for interference in his friendships with exes.

Maybe not, though.

20

I don't think is meaningful to compare the intensity of sexual urges of teenage boys and CA. For the record, the sex drive can be very intense, and many boys do touch too many times in a day, just like CA, with the same results. Other the other hand, this intensity was entirely absent for months at a time during the summer hanging out with friends and spending time with girls. So my immediate guess is that CA's strong sexual urges are unlikely to be a sign of underlying medical condition, but rather a manifestation of being stressed from school and isolation, as well as disruption of her typical routine. I would also note that CA remarks this condition has only been evident for one week.

I would recommend that CA try to reduce as many of the stressors over which she has a degree of control, and attempt to keep as much a normal routine as she can at this time, include sleep times and exercise regimens.

21

Why was last letter included in this column? Didn’t seem to be a sex angle.

Since there is not much to argue about this week, here is a question: if someone goes off on a racist rant when they are drunk, does that mean they are more intrinsically racist than the rest of us?

I guess it probably does... most people who get out-of-control drunk don’t go on racist rants. But on the other hand, we all think horrible things sometimes. Probably we all think racist things sometimes— most of us just keep those thoughts locked down. It’s possible that a one time racist rant doesn’t reveal anything about the friend’s essential character beyond the fact that she is a horrible drunk.

In any case, being a horrible drunk is horrible enough, and going on a racist rant, whether drunk or sober, certainly has consequences. Dan’s advice was good. I suppose the point I am rambling towards is that none of us should pretend that our own inner swamps are any less fetid.

22

Joe it's likely that a drunk person would say something that could be naively racist or that they thought was funny because it's shocking/ transgressive or that just popped into their heads born of common bias that they'd have the decorum to keep to themselves sober. But that's not the same thing as going off on a racist rant which requires a person to be racist sober, too. Also setting matters. Bantering with friends is not ranting at a wedding.

It is unlikely that the alcoholism is the cause of friend's racism/aggression rather than a circumstance that impairs her executive function enough to reveal it. I disagree w/ the received wisdom that a person who is otherwise thoughtful of others becomes harmful to others when they are drunk. Alcohol removes whatever control over themselves the person was exerting when sober but I don't really see what difference that makes in the end. Most people who harm others are not psychopaths or sadists who deliberately set out to hurt others. Something happens that prevents them from exerting control over their aggression, blame or underlying resentments- be it frustration with a crying baby or jealousy over their partner's behavior or an opportunity to air their racist scapegoating or alcohol's reduction of executive function. Whether or not the aggressive racist drunk would hurt people sober is irrelevant because a) they are not sober, b) plenty of sober people also hurt people, c) plenty of alcoholics do not hurt people.

Why Dan included this letter, I dunno. To give us something to pick at that has nothing to do with COVID? Slim pickings due to the shelter-in-place?

Finally while I agree that we should all be careful not to pretend our shit doesn't stink or that we are full of shiny inner light while others are dark monsters, yes my inner swamp is less fetid than some others. Things can change, people can grow, inner swamps are a product of circumstances etc, so I'm not claiming there's some inherent filth in others to which I'm immune or from which they can't recover (but for the grace of god and all that) but absolutely the willingness to prioritize others or else remove yourself from situations in which you might cause harm to others does tend to make someone a better person than people who need to prove themselves and prioritize their own comfort with disregard for others- sober or otherwise. Like, I'm a messy bitch, but absolutely yes I'm a better person (here and now) than a bigot or a drunk driver.

23

That's all reasonable, EmmaLiz. I think it's an interesting question whether we can train our thoughts to be more virtuous, or reduce the frequency of the unvirtuous ones. Hopefully, yes. There are a lot of psychological practices that at least seem like they help... meditation, prayer, focused empathy, etc. Maybe it's one of those questions that can't really be setlled, so we might as well assume the answer is what we want it to be.

24

Not trying to defend racism here, but I think it's a slippery slope down from "make sure racists aren't registered to vote." This is one of those things which sounds great when people you disagree with aren't voting, but the ramifications of voter suppression are real and scary. Let's not go there.

25

CA~ Ignore anyone who downplays this and talk to as many doctors as you can, immediately. Sudden, drastic shits in libido/personality should not be trivialized. Find out what’s going on before your clit gets frictioned off and your finger pops out your butt.

UGHS ~ Controlling, insecure new GF wants to mandate who you can talk to. This is behavior that will get worse by a factor of 30 if you don’t nip it in the bud, pronto. Unless, of course, you LIKE licking dogshit off her heels. Then, by all means, continue.

LTAF
My friend:
1) assaults people
2) drives drunk
3) embarrassed me on my wedding day
4) is not very bright
5) my family and friends do not like her around
6) goes off on racist rants
(You can obviously see why I’ve been friends with her for sixteen years!)
MOSTLY BECAUSE
7) She has sex with people she doesn't know so I’d hate to unfriend her as I am currently working on fiendish, Clouseau-like disguises so I can trick her into fucking me!

26

@25~ “SHIFTS” not “shits”. Ha!

28

Grizelda, We encourage my just on four yr old grandson to play the piano when he’s bored or melting down again. Yesterday, he sat down and turned to me.. the piano is in my studio, and says, “what do you want me to play?”
Cracked me up. He played an animal song and a colour song. Each note a different colour.

29

Monica Friday is a great user name, wonder what Monica gets up to on Friday.

30

There is something endearing about stepping back and awing all the details, and tangential discussions, BDF, EmmaLiz, and several others find to discuss in these experiences of the human condition.

31

UGHS, how old are you, because while it’s good you’ve written to Dan re this, how come on your own you didn’t see this for what it is. The weekly checking would have freaked me out. Boundaries are important in relationships, and if others start to encroach, best to let em know straight up where the line is.

32

LTAF: I find your choices quite puzzling. Having known your racist friend (RF) for sixteen years, two DUIs and an assault charge, you had every reason to know RF has a serious drinking problem.

On what planet did it seem like a good idea to invite RF to the wedding, where you were serving alcohol?

And where is your fiance/spouse in all of this? How did your fiance feel about inviting RF to the wedding? Did neither of you have the sense to listen to friends & family warning against it?

It’s not complicated to maintain a friendship where you get together once in a while in the middle of the day, for a walk or a coffee. You’ve been friends a long time, so maybe think twice before cutting off someone who is going through a difficult period.

But there’s a lot of room between maintaining a connection with an old friend and knowingly helping an alcoholic friend get drunk.

Stay out of RF’s sex life, and focus on helping RF figure out who she is when she's not drinking. If she needs therapy or medication or other treatment to bring that person in line with who she wants to be, see if you can offer support during that process.

So, while I agree with EmmaLiz's comment @17 that RF is "not someone you invite to a formal event," (particularly a formal event serving alcohol), I very much disagree with this part: "she's someone you invite to sit in your yard and drink margaritas at night and then put a trashcan beside her on the couch so she can direct her vomit off your carpet)."

33

UGHS, I suggest you give her one chance to confront her jealousy, tell her sorry, she doesn’t dictate who your friends are. Her behaviour is also questioning your trustworthiness, point that out to her. You are long distance, might be some more respectful women, close by, if she holds to her position. Jealousy is a bitch, it’s on her to deal with it.

34

My mother is a self-pitying drunk, and my sister is a mean drunk.
Guess what? My mother is self-pitying when sober, but her speech is less slurred, and my sister is mean when sober, but her speech is less slurred.

There's not enough alcohol in the world to make me spew a racist rant, but I sure can overshare about my sex life when I'm too inebriated. Those of you who have read my comments over the years can and will attest to the fact that I've consistently overshared tidbits about my sex life. I have rarely been more than a tiny bit tipsy as I comment.

All of which is to say, being drunk doesn't change a person's beliefs, attitude, or personality. It just might make those things that are only slightly submerged come to the surface.

The friend may have an alcohol problem; she definitely has a racism problem.

36

@34 I agree, if a person behaves badly while both drunk and sober, then they have a personality problem. (Not you, though, keep oversharing, please!)

But in this case, it seems to have been a one-time outburst that never happened while sober, at least as far as we know. On the other hand EmmaLiz makes a good point that there is a difference between drunkenly verbalizing an unfortunate thought vs going on a full-fledged rant, and I don’t want to press this point much farther. Most likely, yes, LW’s friend has some racism to work on in addition to the drinking.

37

Well, definitely she has some racism to work on. Most likely she has a lot more racism to work on than the average person.

38

Griz - It's hard to deal with people when they can't calm down. I imagine it's hard for them to live in their skin too, I feel awful when I can't calm down. I'm glad it sounds like your life is calmer and happier now.

EmmaLiz - While I agree it's fine to choose to have sex with strangers as long as you're considerate about your health and theirs... LTAF was getting black out drunk and having sex with strangers (and driving to the point of multiple DUIs), and she makes very inconsiderate decisions while drunk like assaulting others and launching racist rants at weddings... it's not the sex with strangers, it's drunken inconsiderate sex with strangers. More likely to harm herself or an unfortunate baby but she also might assault one of them.

39

@11 BiDanFan: My comment to jack chandelier @2 was in reference about his going off the rails about my numbers game in a previous SL comment thread, shortly after FIRDT comment. He made a big deal not only about my "WA-HOOOOOO!" announcements at every lucky numbered comment, but then bitched to Dan for only having two letters. Dan had responded, 'Okay--next week, he'd do another quickie session.' Fubar reprimanded jack for his trolling.
I made the comment that I did (@3, this week), hoping to nip any more of jack's trolling in the bud.
@15 fubar: I know that this is so last week's SL, but I hope I didn't piss you off by quoting DonnyKlicious's comment, @63, ' Don't let your meat loaf'
@28 LavaGirl: Your grandson plays the piano--I LOVE it! Age 4 is a good time to start. I surprised the heck out of my parents when one evening, my Dad was parking his car in the attached garage of our family rambler house, home from work. Mom was cooking dinner (we were back then quite the "nuclear family" of Greatest Generation and Boomers). Dad kept hearing piano music starting--and stopping. About to scold anyone he suspected of messing with the Hi-Fi, he found me, youngest daughter at age 4, picking out actual tri-chord sequences of Franco Zefferelli's 1968 Shakespearian romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet, I would quite often pick out what I heard on the radio. By kindergarten I was freaking out the other kids in grade school singing Beatles' songs.

40

@38 Philophile: My life in some ways is happier and certainly more peaceful, but at the same time is also stranger, like that of many of us due to current statewide Stay Home, Stay Healthy restrictions. Any public transportation trips to the pharmacy, community Co-op, or grocery store are essential trips only. I cannot take my beloved little car out for road trips (i.e.: visit the San Juan Islands) like I would like to. What is strangest is that if I give off a vibe of serenity and calm, as a veteran subconsciously I am in a sort of survival mode (akin to being in wartime, surviving a toxic marital relationship, etc.).
Music, my Love Beetle, cats, and the good people in my life are, as always who and what help keep me healthy, safe, and sane.

Everyone stay healthy and safe.

41

@39: Correction: my parents were both born in the Silent Generation of the 1930s, (not the Greatest Generation of 1901-1924) during the Great Depression, and grew up during World War II and married during the Korean War.

42

@Erica, just to be clear, I was not saying this particular bigoted aggressive friend is someone you invite for backyard drink. I was saying an alcoholic friend who does not harm others is. That person, your messy drunk but kindhearted friend, might require you to enforce some boundaries in your life but they are not harming others and therefore may not need to be completely cut out of your life just because they are embarrassing.

If you object on the grounds that you should not drink with an alcoholic on any terms then we just have a difference of opinion (that would be your boundary) which is fine- these situations are subjective of course. I just wanted to clarify that I was making a distinction between a friend like the one the LW described (who hurts people) and a hypothetical drunk friend who just lacks the decorum for wider social witnesses or who needs varying levels of support to end self-destruction which is a different conversation altogether.

@Philo - in best case scenario someone who has sex with strangers also considers their health and practices safer sex etc. But in worst case scenarios, they are blacking out and fucking randos with no consider of STIs or pregnancy etc. I'm saying that this totally reckless and unhealthy and mutually destructive action is still not on par with assault, bigotry, driving drunk, etc. The first thing is something a friend does to themselves and their willing partners when you and others are not around. The second is violence against others, often others who did not choose to be in your presence. I mean, it's true that this particular person might assault her lovers but that has more to do with her tendency to assault people than her tendency to fuck them right? But I guess I see what you mean in that a person with these problems would eventually get their causes and effects muddled.

I thought my original point was self evident and I see it was not. The distinction I was trying to make is that there are many harmful behaviors that we could put under the umbrella category of "alcoholism" and a person with a friend who exhibits these behaviors will have to decide in what ways he or she wants to deal with them- it takes an emotional toll to be an alcoholic's loved one.

"Directly causing others harm" is another umbrella category under which we could categorize many of this particular friend's behavior such as racist rants, assaults, disrupting weddings, driving drunk. While alcoholism might be a feature in some of these behaviors, it is descriptive not definitive. And it doesn't include things like promiscuity or other self-destructive behaviors.

I know that we can get in the weeds of it and talk about how harming oneself or sharing in debauchery can, in the long run of it all, harm others too, but you can go on endlessly in this way until you are insane- how many of your products were made in sweat shops, should you burden friends with your crises etc and this level of meta everything leads to neurosis in my opinion, ha ha.

So back up in the real world, I find that when I'm making judgement on others (which as much as the hippies and saints among us would like to say we should never do, I find it's a necessary part of navigating the world), it's helpful for me to first consider- does this person's action harm others directly? And then second, is it helpful or harmful to include this person in my life (to various situations, in various ways, to various people)? The second question is far more nuanced but the first is pretty straight forward. What you should do with a kind hearted but problematic friend is a highly nuanced question. What you should do with an aggressive bigoted friend who might kill someone is not. Of course in real life it's far more complicated, but I think this is a pretty good short hand to start out with. It's a matter of difference between vigilance and being a busy body. Like what should you do about the neighbors trashing their own yard vs the neighbors trashing yours? Both of those situations involve your interests and their interests but one is more clear cut than the other.

Like, if this woman had taken a dump on the table of the wedding buffet before doing a nazi salute and then opening fire into a crowd, you would not be discussing their alcoholism or sexual promiscuity, and frankly it seems rather the same to me - driving drunk kills people indiscriminantly and every fucking adult knows it. I have zero tolerance for it having lost people to it, but I'd like to think even if I hadn't I'd still have zero tolerance. And bigoted diatribes likewise deserve full social consequences- you have the freedom to say such things and I have the freedom to respond by removing you from any civil social life or friendly consideration. If everyone did so, we'd have far fewer racists running their mouths. Likewise violent assault- if you deal with your emotions by attacking people physically then you are socially ostracized until you learn to play well with others. I believe there should be professionals to help you, but I'm under no obligation to be your friend.

I don't think this should be considered in the same light as someone who, either sober or drunk, fucks a lot of willing strangers, no matter how careful they are not to spread STIs. There's a difference between judging people for causing harm directly and judging people for mutually engaging in self-harm. The second is a far more morally ambivalent category worthy of a nuanced advice columnists atttention. The first? Dump the drunken violent bigot friend. (If you are a big good hearted person, welcome them back if they get their shit together.)

43

BTW Philo that was a general riff, not all a response to you- only the first part was to you. Just in case I was confusing when I left off talking to you and when I went off on a general diatribe. Curious has been confused by such a thing and I promised to mark paragraphs more clearly but I forgot this time.

44

Forgive me if this has been addressed by someone else above, but unrelenting arousal could be a hormone problem going on. When I was doing fertility treatments, I suffered from the same symptoms depending on what part of the IVF cycle I was in and what they were injecting me with. It was severe and uncomfortable and you have my sympathy! But once the pandemic calms down, it might be worth a visit to your regular doctor or a gynecologist just to double check that it’s not something hormonal going haywire.

45

EmmaLiz, I think it's more dangerous to risk creating a child when you can't really care for yourself than to risk killing someone else or yourself driving, but I can agree to disagree. Hopefully we can agree that decisions that either risk creating long term suffering or risk severe injury or deaths are huge red flags that the people who care about her should not overlook.

46

EmmaLiz @16, seeking casual sex is not something she can do in a lockdown regardless. I think window shopping on Tinder is likely to frustrate her even more since she can't do anything about it. I also think it's unlikely that having sex hasn't occurred to her... like you say, "you're hungry all the time? Have you thought about eating?" seems an odd thing to feel needs to be said. I agree the alcoholic boyfriend is problematic, but he may or may not handle things better in normal times. I'm not jumping to DTMFA yet, which she can't do at the moment anyway...

Harriet @18, yes, if Rekindled Ex was dumped for Other Ex, or UGHS cheated with Other Ex, then Rekindled Ex has more standing to want UGHS to not be in contact. Still though, Rekindled Ex needs to either decide she can trust UGHS or that she doesn't trust him (her/them). If the former, she needs to let UGHS talk to whoever he wants to. (We are talking online messaging, not weekly coffee dates here.) If she doesn't feel she can trust UGHS, she shouldn't date him.

Philo @38 re EmmaLiz, very well said regarding the reasons why having sex with strangers is problematic when one is under the influence of alcohol. She cannot consent in that condition, and she cannot evaluate whether partners are consenting. It is evidence not that she's horny, but that she's reckless, and consequences are inevitable. So I think she IS potentially causing harm to others, which I'm glad you (EmmaLiz @42) now seem to see. I think the issue is that none of these behaviours -- assualt, random sex, racist rants -- is something she would do while sober. They all go hand in hand in sounding the GET HELP! klaxon. If she were JUST slutty after a few drinks, no problem. In her case it's part of a bigger, uglier picture.

Griz @39, thanks for that. Let's assume Jack said his piece and having been rapped for it, will shut up and let you enjoy your lucky numbers game.

Kerfrozen @44, we forgive you. :)

47

Loyal to a fault. LW3. Do you think this woman fancies you, and the wedding scene was her acting out in order to embarrass you, make a dark mark on your day.
Why have you stayed loyal when your family and other friends don’t enjoy her company and she has behaved so dangerously. Being drunk is no excuse and her behaviour at your wedding showed little loyalty to you. Why did she get drunk, if she knows she’s feral in that state.
I’d end the relationship. Why waste life energy having a friendship with a racist saboteur.

48

@46. Bi. Well, I agree with you down the line. Even if my (faint) supposition is correct (UGHS dumped 'rekindled' gf for old friend), I don't disagree with the majority and boilerplate advice. I suspected UGHS was playing to our priors--not just 1) about resisting new lovers interfering in our friendships, but 2) about online sex being as much sex as in-person sex. The way he went out of the way to describe his friend as an 'old friend' while being vague about how he met her also rang a warning bell.

Of course I am signed up to both Savagista priors--as much as anyone else.

@39. Griz. You could have praised jack chandelier for (this time) responding appositely to the first comment, rather than commenting adversely on the Numbers Games.

@47. Lava. You put everything fairly and squarely. There's no evidence I see in the letter that the friend wants help or prodding to reassess herself.

49

I knew a girl in college who developed PGAD ... we all treated it as a joke, until they carted her off to a psychiatric facility (this was 40 years ago). I.e., it's no joke.

50

Having an alcoholic partner is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting and stressful. Living with an alcohol partner during shelter-in-place orders because of a pandemic multiples the exhaustion and stress you were already experiencing before. Your options to distance yourself from his drinking and to seek external distractions and supports have been significantly reduced and limited. Meanwhile, you are attempting to keep up with all your responsibilities and I’m going to guess also managing a lot of his. In your heart and soul, you are probably aching for a healthy partner who can be fully present and responsive to you during a time when you are feeling especially vulnerable and stretched. In addition to seeking medical consultation, I would check your options for emotional support. This would include therapy, and/or community support. Al-Anon supports the families of alcoholics and offers 24/7 telephone and online meetings. You could join a meeting right now and see if it helps to reduce some of your pressure. My heart goes out to you, and I wish you all the best for your healing journey.

https://www.phonemeetings.org/
https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/

52

EmmaLiz @42
"I was saying an alcoholic friend who does not harm others is [someone you invite for backyard drink]."

I've never known an alcoholic who didn't drink and drive. Perhaps that difference between us is why you can picture a harmless alcoholic and I can't.

"Your messy drunk but kindhearted friend.. may not need to be completely cut out of your life."

I didn't recommend abandoning the friend (whether harmless or racist). I recommended seeing them for non-drinking social outings.

I am really finding it hard to understand your pleasant vision of getting so drunk with your alcoholic (but harmless) friend that you expect them to throw up during the night (@17), and yet leaving them to do so alone, and possibly drown in their own vomit. Not a pleasant way to go.

Am I misunderstanding you, or do we simply disagree about the relative risks and pleasure of drinking with an alcoholic friend?

53

I really have to wonder about LTAF who may be fascinated by the reckless drunken behaviour similar to the way people gawk at a car or train wreck - not because they want to be in one, but are curious to see what it's like.

Or else, LTAF looks at the drunk friend the way people would excuse their "dotty" Aunt Dotty or "outrageous" and "unconventional" Cousin Amanda. People end up making excuses for them and don't expect them to own their actions or to improve.

Yet LTAF needs to understand that the alcohol is merely the delivery system. The old friend is really a ranting racist, is self-centered, likes drama, and wishes she could do whatever she wants, when she wants, but is hampered by societal expectations of civility and decorum. She wants to fuck decorum and the easiest way is to shuck off the civil veneer by drinking.

The best way LTAF could be a real friend would be to engage her in seeing how drinking is behind everything. And the best outcome is that the friend would be able to examine her own behaviour, think about her root convictions, and see if she can ^unlearn^ the racism.

55

@48 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: Nope. I don't see anything apposite in trolling.

56

Cute MrD @51, except this woman is not someone to admire, driving drunk and spoiling weddings.
/ Interesting points TaniaZ @50.
/ I’m not a drinker, a wine every month or so vodka if I’m serious. Yet all around are daily drinkers, which is my understanding of the term alcoholic, someone who drinks everyday. This country is full of them.
If your beau is a serious alcoholic, LW1, as in crazy drunk, starts the day with grog, that really would generate lots of stress during lockdown along with your other worries. Have you got parents who might lend you some money at this time?
Does your beau know how painful this is for you... now you can name it for him. He does have an emotional responsibility towards you, why is he off the hook? Maybe when this is over re think his position in your life.

59

@57: How about a funny, creative, intense, rule-breaking woman who loves to have a good time AND who doesn't unleash racist invective at a friend's wedding? Or get behind the wheel of a car when she's drinking?

Oh, that would be me. And probably at least 100, 000 others.

60

Why isn't the first writer having sex with her bf? If he's around why does she masturbate so much? Is he on the Twelve Steps? It wouldn't solve her problems but at least it might scratch her itch.

61

How’s everyone doing during these difficult times. Sun coming to some of you as we go into winter. Stay safe.

63

Having a hard time figuring out what y’all’s friendship circles are like, but basically every adult I know drinks. Most of them drink too much very rarely, a few of them drink quite a bit pretty regularly, and yes from time to time people I know and socialize with vomit while drunk though I admit this is rare. I included it for a colorful example of how your friend can be messy but not harmful to others. I don’t know anyone who drinks and drives as adults though it’s totally possible that everyone I know and party with just conspired to lie to me about it. (BDF honestly I’m not sure what you mean that I’m finally admitting to regarding harming others, but I glanced back over the conversation and still can’t figure it out and so I’m moving on).

As for the possibility of an unfit person getting pregnant, being intoxicated has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not someone is on birth control or can access abortion and honestly I think the concern that this person might a) get kncoked up, b) choose to continue the pregnancy, c) choose to parent the child, d) abuse the unwanted child- seems an overly ridiculuous and misplaced concern, despite the fact that all of which happen to sober people as well. The LW says she fucks strangers. The LW did not say she isn’t on birth control and fucks strangers without condoms despite being prochoice. Also the strangers part has nothing to do with this concern since an alcoholic fucking her one and only true love and sex partner could likewise get knocked up, have the kid, be an unfit mother, etc.

Specifically to Erica, yes I have alcoholic friends and family members, and yes, since I drink several times a month myself, I also drink with them when they come over to visit. As of yet it has amounted to nothing more dramatic or destructive (to self or to others) than once when one of my oldest friends fell asleep in a yard chair and had to be dragged indoors with the help of neighbors. She was wearing pretty undies that day with four leaf clovers and horseshoes on them which we all saw when, while dragging her in, her skirt fell eventually slid down to her ankles, leading to endless jokes thereafter about her “get lucky pants”. Another friend who likewise drinks most evenings likes to drone on about the military and aliens and stealth bombers- in most moods it’s a bore, in some I like to pick his brain. I suppose his time in the first Gulf War did him more harm than the booze. I would not invite either to a formal event. I trust them both to be kind.

My guess is that if you think you don’t know people with drinking problems who are not a total mess out destroying people’s lives and popping out babies to beat up then it’s simply that people aren’t revealing their habits to you as alcoholism is ubiquitous in both American and British culture.

64

despite being prolife I mean.

65

Joeburner, " I think it's an interesting question whether we can train our thoughts to be more virtuous, or reduce the frequency of the unvirtuous ones."
Well, I feel like ethics makes sense, don't hurt yourself, don't hurt others. I think you can make a rational argument why it's in your own self interest to behave ethically if you care about other people and want close relationships with them, or even just by living in a society it's generally in your own self interest to respect the law. Desperate people don't mind hurting others to get what they want, so taking care of yourself is #1. Some people don't value being around other people, or they value being around unethical people, so they don't have much need for the "dont' hurt others" part, so part of being a capable ethical human is learning to judge another's ethics and try to detect and value sincerity and insincerity. So if you want to fit in with very capable ethical people, it works better to actually be ethical rather than pretend, why not? Or maybe you're into an incapable but kind mostly ethical person and you can easily fool them at least for awhile, but seems like it wouldn't feel very good overall or be sustainable, just painfully teach them to be more capable when it ends. But I don't think some people are capable of being very ethical, they can't take care of themselves well, so of course they're not going to be very considerate of others either. But people can grow more capable...

EmmaLiz, "does this person's action harm others directly?"
This is a nuanced question too. There's a difference between accidents/mistakes (everyone accidentally hurts others at some point except maybe my grandma, she just had her first accident ever and bumped her fender on my uncle's house, no one hurt), and justifying that harm. Is driving while drunk, or busting open someone's nose on the dance floor while drunk, an accident or the sort of directly causing someone harm that makes one unfit as a friend? I think her case is especially bad because she blamed bad mistakes on the alcohol, and the fact that the drunken driving didn't stop after the first DUI or strong warnings she heard, I think that's why I'd refuse to hang out with her until she tried sobriety. I don't think she'd get an assault charge if it was an accident idk. The racist rant sounds bad but idk what she said. The sex part was even more unclear, he seemed to lump it in with the negative effects that she blamed on alcohol, I assumed because she spoke about it as something negative or about its negative effects, either being risky by noticing she couldn't remember key parts or did something unusually unsafe or started fighting with her lover, or maybe a bad consequence like STI or abortion or someone stalked or robbed her or something. But it's nice to remind everyone that it's great to have sex with strangers if you are very informed about STIs and pregnancy and consent and you met someone you spark with and you know what gets you off and are nice to people and have a sense of humor about the legal foibles and prosecute if your judgement really fails you and you screw a criminal. Ah, love.

66

Driving while drunk is never an accident Philo, it's causing direct harm to others always. And it differs from accidents like drunk dancing on a dance floor as other dancers are entering a dance floor freely knowing that things like flailing limbs are common, they can see the other dancers, etc. The equivalent vehicular accident to being slammed in the face on a dance floor is being in a car wreck with a sober person. Every driver knows accidents happen, it's a risk we take, often with no alternative (unlike dancing) but drivers also have a reasonable expectation of safety in the sense that people drive somewhere near the speed limit, mostly drive according to traffic rules, etc. We would not call it an accident if someone is speeding down the wrong side of the freeway into on coming traffic because it's not. It's not an accident when someone drives drunk either and there is no one who doesn't know it's dangerous. Also it's not a comparable situation as even grandma's not likely to die or end up in a coma or paralyzed by even the wildest of dance floor mishaps.

As for reckless sex with consequences, again I don't really see how it's any of the LW's business. If consenting adults are fucking without condoms, I think they're dumb but I don't see what it has to do with me or any innocent bystander. If the LW's friend is sexually assaulting people, that's on par with her other assaults, but I don't see what it matters to the LW if her friend can remember the lovers or not. But regardless, all we know are the words in the letter, and the LW said "sex with strangers"- this is not something that fits with the others (assault, bigotry) and it really surprises me that such a simple statement could've elicited such a response, especially in this community, and since of course we aren't pearl clutching at anonymous sex (surely?) then we must create scenarios in which it does belong with the others again (maybe she gets pregnant by the stranger and then delivers the baby and keeps it and raises it and becomes a bad parent to it) - Occam's Razor, the LW just thinks fucking stranger is on par with assault and bigotry.

67

BDF, no I do not assume it occurred to the LW to lean into the newfound arousal and have sex with people other than her partner, or at least not to seriously consider it. For one thing, she seems more concerned than anything by this fairly new occurrence, worried that something is wrong with her, for another she doesn't mention it, for another she says she's in a relationship. I said nothing about dumping him and yet again I'm not talking about right now during the COVID lockdown. If this is a hormonal thing, then it's possible that she will feel like this a week or two a month for the next decade or two. This is a thing that happens to some women (hello!) and yeah it might be helpful to hear from another woman that one of the upsides of this is that sex (and partners) that are not normally her thang can suddenly be loads of fun during the randiest week(s) of her cycle.

Again I have no idea if this is what is going down with her but Dan and the expert are both speculating and so, since she is describing symptoms very familiar to mine at an age close to when they started happening to me, I'm adding my speculation as well.

68

EmmaLiz @63 - Thanks for explaining. Yes, it seems like our circles are very different. I know quite a few alcoholics, and, like everyone else where I live, they drive a lot, and don't avoid driving when they've been drinking. I'm glad the alcoholics in your circles don't drink and drive.

I appreciate that your "put a trashcan beside her on the couch so she can direct her vomit off your carpet" was meant to be light-hearted, but I would stay up to watch over a friend if I thought they were likely to vomit while asleep. Just wouldn't be able to get to sleep otherwise, for worrying about them choking.

As for this "if you think you don’t know people with drinking problems who are not a total mess out destroying people’s lives" -- the people I know who drink and drive haven't hurt anyone yet. So they're not currently "destroying people's lives," but that's because they've been lucky. Luck is great, but it's not a replacement for good judgment.

69

Six to the nine.

70

Dadddy @58: Alcohol-related memory loss? Sorry, but alcoholism isn't fun, it's destructive. Thought you'd have learned that through bitter experience by now.

SJL @60, who said she isn't having sex with her boyfriend? She's horny constantly and her boyfriend is, presumably, a mere mortal. Or perhaps his drink problem interferes with getting erections or staying awake long enough to finish. Alcoholism, so much fun!

Dadddy @62, by forgive you mean exploit, yes?

EmmaLiz @63, I admit your posts have far too many words to read each one, but when you told Philophile "I guess I see what you mean," I thought that related to her explanation of how sex with strangers in the context of alcoholism can indeed cause harm. Wishful thinking perhaps.
"Being intoxicated has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not someone is on birth control" -- Being intoxicated has a lot to do with memory loss, as in remembering whether you took your pill, and with making responsible choices like using condoms. I admit that bringing a child into the world is probably not a likely risk, but she is risking pregnancy more than a sober person might, and some pro-choice people DO get confused by their own hormones once a baby is implanted in their wombs.
"Specifically to Erica, yes I have alcoholic friends and family members, and yes, since I drink several times a month myself, I also drink with them when they come over to visit. As of yet it has amounted to nothing more dramatic or destructive (to self or to others) than once when one of my oldest friends fell asleep in a yard chair and had to be dragged indoors with the help of neighbors." You are projecting your experience of heavy drinking being relatively harmless onto a situation that is very different. This woman has been arrested for drunken assault and DUI. Clearly her problem is more extreme than those of your friends and relatives, whom no one here is judging, just to be clear.

EmmaLiz @67, again, I think that you have assumed this woman is like you and I don't think she is. From her description, this does not sound like a perfectly normal and healthy hormone-driven spike in her sex drive. She is masturbating to the point where she is hurting herself and still not satisfied. I think Dan's advice of contacting a doctor is far better than yours of, just accept it and as soon as you can, start banging randos. A doctor will (hopefully) be able to determine whether this can be addressed medically, perhaps by changing her birth control, so that, ideally, by the time the lockdown is over she won't feel desperate enough to fuck anything with a penis. (Or without; she does not say she is straight.) If this is lockdown-induced, she will find out soon enough. Honestly if you're so horny you could bang anything that moves, banging anything that moves has occurred to you. If what you mean is, don't slut shame yourself if you decide to scratch your itch in this way, okay. It just seemed odd to suggest that it might not have occurred to her.

Jack, so now you see the fun in the lucky numbers game? Griz, you win.

71

BDF

First off, regarding the alcoholism, it was a simple post that fucking strangers is not the same as violent bigoted assault. I'm surprised it unraveled as it did. I think pretending that the opposition to fucking strangers is because she's an alcoholic who might become pregnant and might keep the child and then beat it is silly. The same could happen with a committed partner, so are we just saying alcoholics should refrain from sex? I think that's even more amusing, we could add it to her list this way "My friend is arrested for assaulting people, drives drunk, has bigoted rants at my wedding AND SHE FUCKS HER HUSBAND!"

But anyway that well is dry.

Regarding that other letter about which I'm more earnest, yes absolutely I'm speculating (not assuming) that she might have a similar hormonal issue that I have since the symptoms are in fact that same and I don't know what you are arguing about. I said in the beginning this is a speculation, that it does happen, I don't think any reasonable read of that post could deduce that I was saying my advice should be considered above Dan's or a doctor and honestly it's weird that you are objecting to it. But in short, yes absolutely, when one experiences dramatic and new changes in your sexuality and libido it is disorienting and I think it's helpful to talk to people who've had common experiences and hear what it was like for them. And no, I don't mean don't slut shame yourself (though that's good advice all the time). I mean literally, it might help her to approach it as a lean in thing rather than an OMG what's wrong with me thing, especially if the 'problem' will be on-going for the rest of her fertile years. Also if I remember correctly, our sexualities and libidos work VERY differently- you've told me before that you are often sated after you masturbate that you only masturbate when you are horny (when you could otherwise under perfect circumstances have sex) and that you have a refraction period after orgasm. These things are so untrue of my own experience that we might as well have entirely different genitalia. And as such, it's possible (possible?) that you don't get what I mean about finding yourself in a period of extreme prolonged arousal that would make unappetizing sex acts or sex partners a lot of fun during a moment of arousal- and no, I repeat, I was saying that it might not have occurred to her that with sweeping changes to her sexuality, she might enjoy things that if she just thinks about them don't seem too pleasant. If you've spent your entire life thinking about and experiencing things in a certain way and then you have a couple weeks of something new, it's discombobulating. It might be something to explore and seize rather than something to "fix" and any experiences she has with her current boyfriend (despite the stressors of the current moment and his alcoholism) are probably no indication of how she'll enjoy other experiences. Generally again, it was a minor point- hey seize the day- and odd to me how much you are making a thing out of it, though I'm happy to play.

And I said nothing about feeling desperate enough to fuck anyone with a penis, for one thing it feels nothing at all like desperation and for another thing, exploring sex acts with partners that you'd otherwise have no appetite for cannot be the same as "anyone with a penis".

72

Also BDF I'm projecting no such thing about the relative harmlessness of drinking. As I said, I have lost a loved one to drunk driving. My alcoholic friends are harmless because I cut people who harm others out of my life not because I've never known people who harm. As being an alcoholic does not = being an aggressive asshole, I'm left with both happy and melancholy drunks in my own life. That does not mean I've never known any other kind.

I was simply making a distinction between behaviors that harm others and behaviors that you might personally find embarrasing or worthy of disapproval because I've found this is a good guide to how to handle messy friends. WHICH WAS THE LW'S QUESTION.

Now I'm serious here- I don't care if you want to skip my posts, but it's impossible that you could read what I've written and then conclude that I'm projecting about my personal experience with the harmlessness of heavy drinking when my post literally recounts the ways in which many violent or selfish people can continue to demonstrate that behavior while drunk. I'm simply not pretending it's the alcoholism that's objectionable about them. I totally understand choosing not to read these posts. I do not understanding choosing to skim them and then make assumptions and respond to them based on that. And my original post on the matter was literally two sentences.

73

Mizz Liz - "Whether it is or isn't LW's business" is another perfectly valid approach, by which sleeping with strangers would clearly make it unlike the others. (I gave up composing acrostics because I kept thinking the clues were far too easy.)

Ms Erica - We seem to know many people of the same type. As a non-drinker, I look at these discussions wondering if everyone's using the safe definition of drunk.

74

EmmaLiz @71: "I'm surprised it unraveled as it did." Really? You shouldn't be surprised that some commenters have direct experience with this sort of thing, just as some commenters have direct experience with every sort of thing, that's why this board is so valuable. No, fucking strangers is not as bad as driving drunk, but driving drunk is not as bad as assaulting someone while drunk, so while I appreciate the motivation behind your defense of fucking strangers, can we agree that fucking strangers might be a very bad idea when one is too drunk to reasonably know what one is doing? There is a reason it is said people who are drunk are incapable of consent, which is the point Philo and I were trying to make. Since this was part of a list of activities the friend does under the influence of alcohol, I do not see the judginess you do.

Re your second point, perhaps I am objecting because LTAF's friend's situation is so at the forefront of my mind I am conflating the two. If she can seize the day without making choices she regrets, nothing wrong with that I suppose, I just think it would have occurred to anyone who is horny that there are men (in particular) out there who would help out with that.
For the record, the only point you recalled correctly was that I only masturbate when horny.

75

EmmaLiz, look at it this way: Driving isn't a problem, right? Drunk driving is a problem. Having sex with strangers isn't a problem. Having drunk sex with strangers is a problem.

77

@69 WA-HOOOOO!!!! A graciously accepted and much appreciated Lucky @69 WIN for Griz! Thank you, Jack. :)
@70 BiDanFan: Hee hee! This is exactly what my little Lucky Numbers Game has been designed for--truly decadent, and at times, mischievous fun. :)

78

But the LW did not say she has sex with people who are too drunk to consent. She said she has sex with strangers. All the other circumstances you guys made up.

79

"77" reminds me how worried I am about Calli; even more her state psychologically than physically. Please come back, Calli!

80

This woman is obviously troubled, or she wouldn’t have ruined her friend’s wedding. Her driving drunk, her sexual exploits are what he puts in to show that this woman is a loose cannon.
It’s been several months since the wedding, and she hasn’t contacted him it seems, least it’s what I gather from the letter. She knows she’s gone too far this time, and she has. Terrible thing to do at a best mate’s wedding, and to expose racism as well.
I think she fancied him and by the wedding she knew it really wasn’t going to happen. She was angry he never loved her back the same way so at the wedding she got so drunk she let her rage fly, thru a racist rant. That’s my fantasy about this.
Why is this man even still thinking about this, unless this friendship is deeper for him too. Otherwise the wedding fiasco surely would have seen him slam the door in her face, no reprieve.
/ My father was a bad alcoholic, he gave it up before I was born. My mother was a functioning, ha, alcoholic all the time I knew her. She stopped the last couple of years and that’s when she went down fast, physically. It was bizarre. Can handle stoned people I don’t go near drunk ones.

81

EmmaLiz, very sorry that you lost someone to a drunk driver, I lost a cousin and an amazing mentor myself. (She was a fucking hard core angel of mercy and the world lost something amazing that day.) But.
"Driving while drunk is never an accident Philo, it's causing direct harm to others always"
I have to disagree that driving drunkenly causes direct harm to anyone. Driving your car drunkenly into another's property, car, or god forbid another person does cause direct harm to yourself and others. I guess only to yourself if it was your own property. But if no one is harmed, then you only risked harm, you did not cause direct harm. And even if you do directly harm yourself or others it is technically called an accident because it's assumed to be unintentional, although you can be prosecuted for additional crimes especially if someone dies. So it's still unclear if it's the sort of direct harm to others that you'd drop a friend for, I sort of thought you meant that as intentional harm, not accidental harm. That is the nuance in the question I think, where is the line between a forgivable mistake or harm and the direct harm to others that should end a long friendship? Also where is the line between unintentional and intentional? Where is the line between being a helpless product of nature and nurture whose future is already determined by cause and effect, and having choice and control over ourselves? Sometimes I think our sense of choice is just there so we can create plans to prevent mistakes even when our feelings or habits are leading us to make mistakes...

82

Drunk driving is intentional harm. It's selfish disregard for other's life. I don't really care if you are lucky and do not kill anyone. If you do it- after your frontal lobe has developed- you are a selfish piece of shit. Likewise I find it difficult to love someone who harms themselves but it's a question of boundaries in my own life, not a question of their actions hurting others. All mistakes are forgivable, including assault and ranting bigotry, but if someone is still in the phase of their life that they are doing those things, they are not yet honestly seeking forgiveness.

I understand that you wish to have a more nuanced discussion about analogous situations, but right now I'm talking specifically about an action, drunk driving, not other situations. Yes if you are an adult and you live in this culture, you know damn well that drunk driving puts other innocent people who did not choose to share the road with you at danger. You know you are doing that and if you do it anyway you are demonstrating your selfish disregard for other people's lives and a willingness to risk killing or maiming someone just for your own convenience. Whether or not it happens is irrelevant to me.

I understand that you are asking questions about other scenarios to try to derive a bigger more nuanced point, but honestly I don't see your point. Where is the line between intentional and unintentional? If you are sober and basically follow traffic rules and get into a wreck, it is an accident. If you do something that everyone with a developed brain knows is extremely reckless just because it's easier for you in that moment, it is not an accident. This is not limited to drunk driving. If I chose to drive down the wrong side of the freeway or speed through a crowded residential area, I'm demonstrating complete disregard for other peoples lives.

The other thing that matter is if the other people you are harming are choosing to participate in your risky behavior. Other people who just happen to be on the road at the same time as you are not. Other people who consent to being a part of your sex life / party with you on the dance floor, etc are.

The fact that we can explain through a study of social conditions why some people might behave with total disregard for human life and that they might not do such things given a different situation (upbringing, society, opportunity, etc) does not change the harm that they cause. The question wasn't about how to design societies or justice systems so that they can handle these nuances. It was about what to do with one's own messy friends. For myself, regardless of how sympathetic I might be to the person's story and unique problems, the distinction is clear: I have no tolerance for people who are aggressive, bigoted, violent towards others, especially innocent bystanders. None. They can fuck right on out of my life. I also don't think this has very much to do with their drug or alcohol use as plenty of very kind people poison their own bodies and minds, usually also to deal with those same hardships. Life is tough and the question of what to do with broken people in one's own personal life is more complex in a situation like that. Luckily for the LW's situation, the LW does not have to make such measured considerations as the friend is a violent aggressive bigot who regularly engages in an activity that might likely one day kill someone.

You could set up a target in a crowded park then open fire, and you could reasonably claim you were only trying to hit the target, that your intent was to enjoy your own target practice. Whether or not your stray bullets killed a family, you are an asshole who has no regard for other people's lives.

83

EmmaLiz, sorry that got rambly. Back to your criteria for cutting off a friend.. I'd much rather decide if I had the mental bandwidth to put up with probable worst case scenarios with a certain person, and if I wanted to be around the person enough to do it. I feel like I know myself pretty well and my gut feelings are decent if I can calm down and listen, I might skip straight to question 2.

I think I'd ask a different first question, more like if they are ethical, if they seem to value their health and happiness and care for others' health and happiness pretty well too... Sort of informs how much I can like and trust them and want to be around them. And if they make sense and seem sincere and common interests and energy and any other admirable traits that make me think I'll grow around them, I'll really want to keep them a part of my life if I safely can.

Dancing elbows: I was using the most generous case I could think of as an example assault charge (he didn't say conviction) to point out that it may not have been intentional, although the charge was probably for something more intentional that's pending or she beat or pled out of.

If someone falls asleep at the wheel and veers into oncoming traffic you think that's not an accident? There's two issues, intention, and severity. That's a severe one, it could be intentional or unintentional depending on cause.

If everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous then why do so many smart generally kind people think it's ok until they get a DUI? I did it as a kid, when I was drunk I couldn't conceive of actually hurting someone else, it was common in my rural circle, better me than someone else, although one time I did something stupid with a median and pulled over to sleep it off and convinced my bf not to try to drive and risk something either. That was weird, the cops eventually found us and told us to park somewhere better if we couldn't drive home. They could have given us a ride instead of telling us to drive off I mean come on. Even after my mentor died I thought it was ok on a motorcycle, I'm just glad I got through that particular stupidity without anyone getting hurt.

I don't see how bigotry directly harms anyone. Now if someone admires the bigot and starts to think that scorning some race makes them stronger, or if the bigot mistreats the people she scorns directly, then ok. It directly harmed LW by provoking intense embarrassment, I guess. If everyone else knows the bigot is full of shit, understands that they are just so desperately insecure they need to make up random reasons why they are better than others and it's just sad, then I don't see how anyone is harmed... Maybe he regrets not stopping the rant, assigning someone trusted to watch her drink until she could get a cab, and wished to express that he both cared about his friends and about equality and acceptance and his new marriage and he'd like to continue in the spirit of forgiveness and fun.. If it's all about the rant maybe he can forgive her by forgiving himself..

" If consenting adults are fucking without condoms, I think they're dumb but I don't see what it has to do with me or any innocent bystander."
?? The LW wasn't talking about me or you or an innocent bystander, he was talking about why he had stopped talking to his friend, his problems and her problems, and whether he should try to salvage the friendship now that he's calmed down, or ignore her forever. I thought we were talking about what makes a friend worthy of being cut out of one's life entirely? I'm surprised that you don't likewise assume that he's accurate that she explains the stranger sex as another dumb thing she does when she's drunk.. I don't know whether her problem was risky sex or bad sex consequences, those are the only reasons I imagine he'd lump it in with the rest of her problematic behavior while drunk. I think my friends' problems are important because I care about their health and happiness...Personally I'd have to tell a friend that I couldn't hear any more about what happens when they go home with strangers drunk, if they kept complaining but didn't stop that behavior, or acting like dangerous sex decisions should be fine. If they couldn't drop it I'd be hard pressed to want to stay in contact. I'd imagine the worst case scenario I could based on whatever they were complaining about and tell them that I don't want to hear when it happens to them. But maybe your hypothesis is correct and she hasn't complained about her drunk hook ups and LW is calling it a problem for no good reason, so LW is sex negative to include it with her problems? So?

84

EmmaLiz @82: I understand that drunk driving is a touchy topic. I've had a couple of alcoholic relatives who would drive drunk. It wasn't a choice, per se. They'd get drink, get drunk, and then drive. There was no thought process involved, because drunken alcoholic people are irrational and lack impulse control.

I'm not talking about hard drinkers who, like lockdown protesters, just don't give a shit and think they can do as they please. Fuck them. I'm talking about chronic alcoholics.

Alcoholism has to be treated as what it is: a disease; a mental illness.

Mentally ill people shouldn't be allowed to own guns (sorry not sorry American so-called 2nd amendment nuts), and they shouldn't be allowed to own cars.

Here in Canada (where just today assault rifles were banned FINALLY), a doctor will report a non-recovering alcoholic to the transportation department, and their license will be cancelled. Getting it back means being in recovery for a year, plus the advocacy of a medical doctor.

I don't think it goes far enough, but it does make it a medical issue, rather than a criminal one. In fact, by not going far enough, it's left to the criminal justice system to try to enforce compliance.

85

EmmaLiz, I don't think you have anything against alcohol. But I don't think that you can speak calmly about drunk driving. Your way of preventing it to cut drunk drivers out of your life. Erica's way seems to be to encourage alcoholics not to drive. I don't think it's a matter of which way is right or wrong, but that everyone can chill and acknowledge that it's risky behavior that doesn't just result in costly DUIs but can easily make you guilty of manslaughter, which you can't correct just try to heal the survivors.

86

Is it loyalty or something else, LW? You have a wife now, what does she feel about you continuing a relationship with this woman. A woman who put a big black spot on your wedding day. Her Big Day.
I think this story is more complex, emotionally, than you acknowledge.

87

OK I've distractedly failed to grok the whole discussion, but I do have input on a very minor logical point:

@82 EmmaLiz
"Drunk driving is intentional harm. It's selfish disregard for other's life. I don't really care if you are lucky and do not kill anyone."

I will only disagree with the choice of the word "harm" (since as you say the DD might get lucky).

As such it's:
Possibly at best only potential harm.
And deeply ethically wrong; evil behavior.

But until actual harm is done IRL it's not actual /harm/ yet.

(My apologies if this 2 cents avoids the actual discussion so very much as to interfere in any way.)

89

@88: Hunter, you're gonna do what you're gonna do. But in light of the cosmic shitshow that we're all enduring right now, I'm inclined to let people's harmless foibles be. Whatever gets you through, you know? You may not enjoy auntie grizelda's little numbers game. But it's not hurting you, and these days, I would hope that we can all find a way, as that wise rabbi Rebbe Rodney King once said, for us to all "get along."

90

I know I always wait if @69 is up, give others a turn. Brought me good luck, and then when I score the mountain man @100, the very next day.

91

It's not so complicated. It's the person's disregard for other lives that I care about. The outcome is irrelevant to me - speaking strictly in terms of whether or not we'd want to be friends with that person.

A person who chooses IN THAT MOMENT to get behind the wheel of a car when they are drunk does not care about other people's lives. THey are prioritizing their own convenience over the lives of others. It is impossible that they do not know that drunk driving is extremely dangerous. It is this choice that makes me judge them as a selfish reckless person that I do not want to befriend. I don't understand why you keep talking about other scenarios in which things might incidentally happen unforeseen or reasonably unpredictable by the people involved.

Sure if you took some sleeping pills and knew there's a pretty good chance you'd fall asleep in the next 15 minutes and you got behind the wheel of a car anyway for a 20 minute drive then yeah you are a reckless inconsiderate asshole.

I'm also amazed at the people who think it's terrible to fuck strangers while you are drunk because you might forget to take a birth control pill and then end up pregnant and then choose to go through with the pregnancy and then choose to raise the child and then later beat it but who think drunk driving is just some minor mistake.

And yes, alcoholism is a a disease. Mentally ill people are no more likely to be aggressive or selfish than others. Most mentally ill people harm themselves more than they harm others. Just like alcoholics. Remember, this conversation was not about policy- how we should arrange our health care systems, housing, criminal justice systems etc for alcoholics or people with mental illness. It's what we do with friends suffering from these things.

Also I agree Philo about the mental load of caring for a friend who has severe problems- those are the nuanced choices. I'm saying I approach it this way:

1 Is my messy friend violent, aggressive, bigoted (basically a terrible person)?

If yes, dtmfa.
If no, move on to #2

2 Is there some way I can enforce my own boundaries (physically, mentally, emotionally) so that my family and I are healthy and still maintain a friendship with my messy friend?

The fact of my friend's alcoholism or promiscuity or lack of decorum or embarrassing antics or boring intense discussions or sloppy flailing on the dancefloor or inability to manage their jobs/bills or my friend's self-harm all fall under #2. These are nuanced considerations.

The fact of my friend's choosing time and again to get behind a wheel of a car when THEY KNOW damn well that they might kill someone or the fact of my friend being a white supremacist or the fact of my friend being violent- these are indications that my friend is a selfish aggressive violent asshole who I do not want in my life under any circumstances because they are a horrible person. So it's easy to decide what to do with such a person- cut them out. This is on a personal level. On a societal level, we have to deal with and care for these people and stop the conditions that create them, but we don't have to be friends with them.

92

More directly Philo, I drove drunk as a kid too, and my nephew did it once despite losing his own mother to it. Drinking and driving separately are extremely dangerous things for young people to do, being as their frontal lobes are not developed and as alcohol affects one's executive function- impairing what is not yet even properly functioning! Young people need guidance, it takes longer for the severity of their actions to sink it, it's hard for them to imagine consequences, prepare for things.

But there are no adults in our cultures who do not know already how dangerous it is. The point is that they CHOOSE to do it anyway because it is more convenient for them or because they think THEY are somehow above all the risk- but mostly it's because they just don't give a shit if they harm other people. I think there's a serious lack of empathy and concern for others in our culture, perhaps in all cultures but certainly in ours. And I don't want people like that in my life. There is no other excuse for an adult who drinks and drives. They are just demonstrating selfish disregard for others' lives.

You seem to be focused on the actual tangible outcome of particular circumstances and then talking about legal categories or demonstrable results. I understand that this is necessary to determining policy or law. But that's not what the LW talked about and while I think that is a very interesting conversation and I've discussed a lot of that in this forum as well, that's not what I've been talking about either. I'm talking about under what circumstances you continue a friendship. I do not continue friendships with people who show reckless disregard for others' lives. I don't care whether or not the reckless disregard manifests in killing someone or not- that's a matter of luck. ON a personal life, it is not the luck of their circumstances that makes me like someone or not. It's their kindness or their reckless disregard for others' lives that matters.

Also yes bigotry causes harm. You would know if you've ever been a victim of it. It does not have to be physical violence to cause harm. But more importantly, a bigot is someone who scapegoats and dehumanizes others. THere is no reason to continue a friendship with someone who is a bigot. Like, I really don't care about the outcome of the rant or how it should've been / could've been handled. The point is, this person feels & says those things, demonstrating bigotry which necessarily targets members of a particular group and which offends the people around them and which disrupts the friend's special day. A hateful selfish person does this. It's not a matter of "oh you broke some rules of decorum but the consequences were X instead of Y". It's a matter of "oh you are full of hate and you display that hatred in a way that has no regard for other people because you are a terrible person".

Just quick bit on the sex with strangers thing- I think we're speaking past each other. Having sex without a condom could harm someone else via transmission of STI. This is not the same thing as killing an innocent bystander while drinking and driving as the sex partner willingly engaged with the risk. The LW simply mentioned "sex with strangers" and I think it's likely they simply think this is a sign of being reckless (oh my god she gets so drunk she fucks people she doesn't know! clutch the pearls) and as such it seems totally unlike the other examples which do in fact prove the friend to be harmful to others. People in this thread for some reason spent a long time arguing that sex while drunk can in fact harm others b/c of either STIs or pregnancy which is convuluted in my opinion and nothing at all like drunk driving or ranting bigotry to a captive audience or assaulting someone - all of which are done to people not with them.

Finally in regards to your experience with your mentor etc, I never said that people are unchangeable or that they aren't worth saving or that you shouldn't offer forgiveness to people who have learned and grown. I'm not so jaded as that. In my own experience, people mostly stay who they are and past behavior is the best indication of future behavior, but sure people can change and if they do, I'm more than happy to offer them my own acceptance or forgiveness if that's something they need from me. Dan said as much in response to the LW btw.

It was a fun diversion anyway.

93

EmmaLiz, I was trying to say I have a different criteria to judge if a person is ethical enough for me. (Or a terrible person or whatever). I hope you don't think that everyone should share your ideas of what makes someone terrible or unforgivable.. And while I don't much understand your criteria and you don't seem to understand mine, I hope we can agree that sex and driving are the most dangerous, heavy-consequence-laden activities that most people attempt in their daily lives, and they should try to develop good judgement around sex and driving.

94

Philo, I don't care if others agree with my criteria for friendship. As usual in these conversations, the diversion comes from the disagreements in understanding one another, not usually in whether or not we agree in each other's points of view. And from those cracks, sometimes interesting discussions arise. Other times it just creates more opportunities for diversion.

If you are looking for an agree to disagree moment, sure sex and driving have consequences and people should behave responsibly, seems a rather mundane observation and in terms of how I feel about other people, I don't really give a shit if they are responsible or not.

I care about how they treat other people. I have diabetic friends who continue to eat icecream and big gulps and other desserts. I personally think this is stupid and self-harming. It does not have any bearing on their kindness to others. If they spiked another diabetic's meals with syrup unbeknownst to that person I'd feel no friendship towards them. If they support keeping insulin prices so high despite having other political alternatives available to them and the knowledge to make the choice I'd likewise feel no friendship towards them. But if they just want to poison their own bodies because of a complex and unhealthy relationship with food due, well I'm not judging them for that though it might distress me to see them do it to themselves. We all have our ways of coping.

96

Yes, EmmaLiz, exactly, I'm trying to agree to disagree because I think we had a big communication fail. As long as you're not telling everyone else that your way of cutting off friends (if you found out they are drove while drunk or found out they hit someone or that they went off on a drunken racist rant) is the right way for everyone to handle it, I don't see anything important worth fighting about, I already tried to express myself and it didn't come across very well. Judging people is a complex subject, I'm not really surprised.

97

@88,

Perfect asshat. Better luck tomorrow morning.

98

@75 BDF nope, IMO getting drunk and having sex with consenting strangers is not a problem. But even if I thought it was (under some circumstances not mentioned in the letter), I don't really give a shit if my friends get drunk and have sex with strangers any more than I give a shit if they like gang banging at sex parties or fucking while on cocaine or fucking without condoms or any other of the number of sex acts that seem pretty dumb and distasteful to me personally. I don't pretend to know the percentage of hook ups at parties or on apps involve intoxicated people, but my guess is it's more common than not.

@Philo I dunno if we had a communication fail. Probably since we didn't end understanding one another but I did learn a few things - especially about how differently people think about things that are self-evident to me and I'd assumed were to others - and I had a fun distraction. So 2/3 posting goals achieved I guess ha ha ha.

99

Personally, I appreciated the civility in the exchanges between BiDanFan, Philophile, EmmaLiz, and EricaP. It was refreshing to see people disagree, try to explain themselves, try to come to an understanding, and all without resorting to name-calling and snark.

I found it all the more laudable because these days, we're all a little touchy and irritable.

100

Griz?

101

Re @100: @89 nocutename, @90 LavaGirl, and @97 fubar: WA-HOOOOO!!!! Since Griz already scored this week's Lucky @69 (thank you, jack chandelier for bequeathing me the six to nine--) :) I award all three of you a Big Hunsky Award. Revel in the much envied glory that can only be found in Savage Love. :)

102

@99 you included BDF in a list of non-snark debaters? you officially have zero credibility. zero.

104

Griz @101: Thanks. Much appreciated. I shall not squander it!

Philo @102: I believe that @99 was referring to the current debate-in-progress.

105

nocutename @99 thanks for the kind words! Thinking of you these days; hope you get some alone time.

fubar @104 - it's confusing to use "Philo" as a nickname in a thread where Philophile participated as well as philosophy school dropout. Maybe "philos" instead?

106

Thanks Grizelda, hugs to you. Glad you enjoyed their convo, nocute. I find people writing so many words and just directed to each other might though be better done on fb, not a public thread, sort of closes it down for those not interested in wading thru essays.

107

NoCute - Aw, I love praise, thanks. I'm glad EmmaLiz had fun. Sounds like I had too much fun on my stoned tangent but ah well..

A "more" button for long comments would be much appreciated here, I think.

Hun - Good luck hunting snark. I stumbled across one nasty sumbich once and it wouldn't let go of me for years, chewing in with its bitty snarky butt teeth. I managed to put that fucker out of its misery at last but those lil baby snarks are chronic pests. I think the last one I saw one was hiding out behind that hipster deli on the east side. Get it good.

108

People and their styles, hey?
Yes, dropout.. Fan is snarky. ESP if she’s on your case. She’s also kind, intelligent and keeps her mind open.

109

Oh and nocute, I left a note for you on the main column a couple weeks ago, I hope that you are doing ok. I know you're having a hard time, but I also know you'll pull through and probably be chattering about interesting guys you're meeting again next year, just take it slow and easy..

And I can't believe y'all forgot I mentioned less than 10 years ago that I liked the nickname Phi, but only Hun picked it up... I think dropout is a boy, he could be Phil..

110

@Philophile

If we're going to be all nostalgic, I remember BOTH the More button for longer comments AND html AND an Edit function. Sigh.

111

What’s wrong with snark anyway.. sometimes it’s needed if some loopy attitude is thrown up.

113

@110: AND block. Please let me block them. Please.