Savage Love

Quickies

Comments

1

LavaGirl you can have this one. And to respond to your previous comment. I've been around. My comments date back to 2012. I don't comment often though. I do however always enjoy reading the comments by the regulars such as yourself and Griz, so thank you.

2

"and anal, of course."

Can we put that on a t-shirt please?!

3

@1 WA-HOOOO!!!! To LavaGirl (thank you, Jack, for graciously bequeathing the honors) for scoring this week's Savage Love Quickies FIRDT Award and leading the comment thread! Bask in the highly coveted numerical honors.
And Jack, for your graciousness, I award you the FIRDT Award in a tie with LavaGirl this week. Equal congratulations to you for being FIRDT post. :)

4

I love your Quickie hearts, Joe! Another good one. :)
Thanks again, Dan, for another week of spot on sex advice. :)

5

Either that shrink is an arsehole that needs to be sacked, or the LW's overwhelmed boyfriend catastrophically misunderstood the point that was being made to him.

6

I would LOVE to hear more of Dan's thoughts on 90 Day Fiance LOL. Dan, could you please share some of those thoughts when you record your next podcast "opening rant"? ;) I think it could be a refreshing break from COVID news for us all!

7

HFATO
Dear enby, while I came out as a wannabeist in a later stage of my life and living independently on my own, coming out to family members was and still is very challenging.
The one big bam conversation concept is not mandatory. You can have several neutral ones in which you gauge the other person’s position and give them some hints while stating yours.
Conversation starters can be a person you saw at the mall, a movie or a book you are all familiar with, a sports or celebrity figure, and so on.

When the time came for the big one I also presented the beloved family member with a newspaper article in one case and something I wrote myself in the other. This way you give them some resources for an easier digestion and keep the door open for further questions and discussions.
It's ok to say "I'm not sure where this is going," and I hope you contribute to the supportive household by doing the dishes and mowing the lawn, or whatever it is that you do to show your appreciation for your folks' accommodation..

8

I'm not sure about the conclusion of A1. I get a faint cosmic vibration that BF1 had "better be" devastated after "causing" LW so much strife. If he's been at all, however unconsciously, preparing for LW's successor, LW may well prefer that he'd ended instead of the relationship.

Always interesting how Cromwell generally had rather good fortune in both advancing and disposing of Ms Boleyn only to come such a cropper over the Cleves match.

L3 is the future once gay no longer exists, only we won't have the online option.

I'm not quite sure exactly what about a "masc getup" beside a binder would be so comment-evoking, given all the fashion latitude allowed to women, unless LW4 means something fairly extreme. May the next year be happier for one than the previous has been.

Well, at least Mr Savage is being consistent in advocating for making the meaning of words less precise.

Perhaps some practitioners are just not that good at therapy.

9

CUNT~ Good at sex, bad at sex, at first blush I was thinking, well, you can LEARN...it’s not rocket science (unless you’ve got a jet-fuel powered dildo). BUT THEN, I remembered this was my exact situation with my ex...she had no desire to do anything that might make fucking fun (wasn’t that a Fleetwood Mac song?) and now I’m pretty sure she was some flavor of asexual. You say, “... my sex life suffered a major decline...” My question is, was he “bad” at sex before? Was the decline in frequency or quality? Maybe what the psychotherapist was saying wasn’t you’re “bad” at sex, but rather that you’re not wired for sex... hard to tell from third hand information.

10

FRAUD needs to let her boyfriend go sooner, rather than later. I think he will find looking for a new partner while quarantining solo is definitely better when you know every other single person social distancing alone is not getting laid either.

I decided not mention this after writing in about HUMP!, but since @Dan brought up his at home routine. I noticed during the HUMP! intro that he seems to spend time working out his arms, which have always seemed well-developed, so I presume that exercise is among the activities he is still engaged with at home.

Who is withholding the right of women engaged in FF strap-on anal to call it pegging? Does anyone really think it is necessary to change peg to paul?

One addition to the advice for CUNT: Somehow Mr. Cunt and his psychotherapist got on the topic of whether Mr. Cunt is good at sex. CUNT might want to ask whether Mr. Cunt feels like he is not good at sex, and whether anything about their sex life led him to this belief. If CUNT does enjoy the sex they have, she should let Mr. Cunt know that fact, and if there is some non-verbal cue she is making in the moment (e.g., closing her eyes or rubbing her clitoris) clue him in on how this is part of how she is experiencing pleasure.

11

FRAUD, it's a bit full of yourself to presume your boyfriend will be happier with you than with anyone else out there, specifically someone who is more compatible with him. Breaking up wouldn't be "prioritising your happiness over his," it would be prioritising BOTH your compatibility with other people, prioritising long-term happiness over short-term pain avoidance for both of you.

HAFTO should prepare a better answer than "fuck if I know," even if it's not completely accurate. Prepare some links on what it is to be non-binary or gender fluid, or whatever label they feel is at least close. Or they could say they're interested in doing some online drag king performances, which are also a thing. HAFTO is a step ahead of most people because their parents will "probably be supportive." You know what you need to do, and I rarely use this phrase but it now seems appropriate -- man up and have that talk.

Wow to the "maybe you're just bad at sex" shrink! So this is why there's resistance when some commenters suggest therapy. Anyone can become better at sex if they want to. Mr CUNT needs to find a new therapist.

Roseanne @5, another possibility.

Sublime @10, the term pegging was coined when a reader asked Dan to come up with a word to describe a woman fucking a man with a dildo. The definition of pegging existed before the word for it did. However, I guess since there is no word to describe a woman butt-fucking a woman with a dildo, pegging would seem to fit. The dildo and the butthole seem the necessary ingredients here, not the genders involved.

12

Enby LW here. Writing that letter and reading Dan's response made things seem so, so obvious.

So I came out to my parents and siblings, in a "I love you and I want you to know me" kind of way. There's some confusion; my mom can't quite grasp the difference between sexuality and gender and seems to think I'm a lesbian now and my dad never looked up from his newspaper, but my sisters and SIL congratulated me and were happy for me! We'll see where it goes (my mom once cried for an hour when I cut my hair short last year so baby steps). My SIL said I could borrow my brother's vests but he didn't seem too happy with that. My dad got grumpy and argumentative and said he'd be embarrassed to be seen with me, but that was to be expected.

When this whole quarantine thing blows over I'm going back to volunteering at our local LGBTQ org. If there's anywhere I can show up dressed however I want and not have to defend myself, that'll be the place.

So, no third option. Gotta go through it. I think I picked the right one. Thanks Dan.

Oh and @7, I'm doing my part for the household, grocery shopping and cooking and taking care of the animals and taking courses to get a new job after this is over. I know how good I've got it right now and I'm grateful!

13

Congratulations, Clementine Danger! Speaking as a dad, I want my kids to be true to themselves because that is crucial to a happy life. It sounds like you've made a big and important step towards that. It may take a while, but when he sees that being yourself makes you happy, I bet your dad will eventually come around. (Although he will probably never admit that he was wrong in the first place.)

To the last letter writer, can I recommend "Peak" by Anders Ericsson? It's about how anybody can get better at anything if they get the right kind of feedback. I recommend it to anybody who has ever been told they are inherently bad at something.

14

Funny, I'm also reading 'The Mirror and the Light', but while I LOVED 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring up the Bodies', and have been anxiously waiting for 'Mirror' for years, I'm finding it pretty slow going.

@2 agree, would love that shirt

And as to the 'bad at sex' therapist, while I very much agree w/ Dan that "One man's meat is another mans poison" so no there can be no universal definition of 'bad at sex', I also believe that there is at least an underlying attitude/approach/set of basic capabilities such as being able to read your lover(s) responses that do indeed make someone, if not 'bad' or 'good', at least better or worse at whatever version or approach to sex they're attempting.

And as a final, perhaps unwelcome, comment, I notice that this comment section, of late, is increasingly made up of conversations between and about posters, as opposed to about the column itself. While I am not a real member of this community (I've read the column since the beginning, starting back in the Chicago Reader/Hey Faggot days, but I've only created an ID to post quite recently), I would like to observe that in my experience when the comment section of a column becomes a 'club', with gatekeepers, inside jokes, and perceived rules about 'membership', it begins to lose its value and has strayed from its original purpose, which is to discuss the contents of the column. Nothing against 'firdt', and the section is also, understandably, quite a bit longer now during COVID, but one persons observation and opinion

15

Clementine @12, congratulations! Hope your dad comes round or at least learns to live and let live. Glad the conversation went as well as could have been hoped.

Rational @14, I both agree and disagree with your final unwelcome comment. Yes, this comments section has strayed from its original purpose which was for readers to comment on Dan's column. No, this does not reduce its value. For the core of us you see week after week, the camaraderie INCREASES its value, which is why we're commenting here and not on the myriad other advice columns one might find online. If you can see it this way, welcome! If you don't, treat it like any other comments section: post your comment, then leave. You're also welcome to return as often as you like and skip as many posts as you like. I'm sure the Stranger isn't bothered that the further off topic the comments go, the more ad revenue it gets. Everyone's a winner, except potentially for those who wade in to bitch about it ;)

16

FRAUD - It may help to practice ways to break up without blame, "it's not you, it's me". "I really like you as a person, but I didn't feel much chemistry." "I don't feel comfortable with a committed relationship at this point." or even "I'm developing feelings for someone else so we should go our separate ways" if it's true. And if you want to mention anything you wish he would have done that would have helped you to become compatible, ask him for what you need instead of breaking up, and then break up if he doesn't want the same things; don't use a break up as an ultimatum to get him to change.

CUNT - "some people are just not good at sex and he should just accept that he’s one of those people"
Some people have incompatible sexual needs, have difficulty finding ways to have mutually pleasurable sex. I agree that good sex, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and so this statement seems ludicrous. How does the therapist know so much about how Mr CUNT has sex to judge? And why does anyone else's opinion of Mr CUNT's sexual prowess matter? How did this come up, why did Mr CUNT think this was appropriate, how did he respond to his therapist? You two may be able to come up with a good way to discuss this with the therapist and register a complaint if the therapist doesn't have reasonable answers to your reasonable questions. It's unclear what their sex decline is, it sounds like a drop in libido, and I thought the answer was to work to eliminate possible medical problems, stress, or overwork, cuddle and kiss more, maybe schedule sex, try to get through this tough time together.. or if the libido change is permanent, to negotiate a way the higher libido partner could be happy with the lower frequency..

17

@14 Pointless to try to keep people "on topic" and hilarious to make a gatekeeping post about gatekeepers but anyway... people will participate b/c they get something out of it and changes within communities have to be natural for them to stick- no one likes hall monitors. If you want to be a member "of the club" all you have to do is post- there is no membership fee nor rules that I can discern beyond not being blatantly abusive or hateful. Then as a regular poster, you can stick to the topics that interest you and contribute to the tone you'd prefer to see by attracting / creating a space for likeminded commenters or other lurkers. In short, be the change you want to see.

One fairly recent "club member" who is missing as of late single-handedly brought into common discussion all sorts of interesting tidbits about animal psychology that would never have occurred to me to consider. Dropped book recs in my lap that got me through a couple long nights of caregiving. I bring this up to illustrate two points- the first that one person can join and influence the tone simply by having interesting things to say. Second that off-topic contributions are valuable to most regulars here, and if you do not find them valuable, there is nothing forcing you to participate in them nor preventing you from staying on topic.

I mostly don't play the number games but I find them harmless, not at all distracting, and it brings me some amount of pleasure to see that others enjoy them- they contribute to the general community feeling and besides, it's funny to snicker at 69 jokes.

18

My heart goes out to a lot of the letter-writers today--particularly CUNT, HFATO and FRAUD.

Re CUNT: my instinct here is that her partner's therapist isn't a trained sex therapist (at all), isn't sex-positive or that accustomed to thinking about sex, and has just said the wrong thing. The therapist could have had a number of things on their mind: 1) that Mr CUNT doesn't have the virility or libido needed for penetrative intercourse; 2) that he's physically awkward or bad at picking up purely bodily signals, or 3) that he's an embarrassed or a poor communicator about what he wants, and what he's prepared to deliver, sexually.

The first isn't being 'bad at sex'. A man can go soft ... it doesn't mean he's sexually disengaged or has lost the skill or appetite to satisfy his lover with mouth or fingers. If this is the problem, then the couple only need to broaden their repertoire and understanding of what sex centrally is.

The second isn't in and of itself being bad at sex. People are clumsy, sure. Some men need more guidance then others where to lie, how much to apply their weight; some (often) want to proceed to penetration precipitately, without their lovers being aroused. CUNT needs to direct him explicitly. This can be both in bed and beforehand, giving him pointers of when (in terms of her bodily responsiveness) it will ordinarily be good to move to the next phase, or for him to look to act spontaneously to gratify himself. Following instructions can be very sexy; and acting masterfully and running the show can, too. Evidently laboring forwards without enjoying it can be a bit of a turn-off. If that's happening, sex outside the bedroom, in the form of establishing scripts and protocols and no-fault, no-stress routines for backing up again, may be what's required.

The third is a bit like the second--in that it's not just on the guy, on Mr CUNT, but on them both to sort out. If someone is insensitive, if they're a selfish lover, it's because they haven't cared to find out what gets their partner off. It's beneficial here, for anyone who might be that person, to ask their lover the simplest of questions. What do you like? Do you like this activity? This position? We've never tried that--would you like to? More talking? No talking? Toys? Props? Dressing up? Both of them should break through the barrier of embarrassment and find out what might stir their partner.

The story is sad, and question pretty skeletal; but the impression I had was that the therapist was thinking of PIV and some sort of athleticism or physical coordination. In this case, and if she can do it honestly, CUNT should tell her guy the therapist's just gotten it wrong. And let them relegate PIV for a bit, so it's one form of fucking among others.

19

Re CUNT. Obviously people are bad at sex. The question here is what the shrink meant by “accepting it.” If means accepting that he’s bad (either in general or temporarily) so that he can improve, then that’s fine—even good. Or if it means that he’s bad at an aspect of sex (say that he’s impotent so PIV is a nonstarter, or he has very low libido) so that he can compensate with other things (oral, etc) then that’s also fine.

If it means accepting that he’ll always be bad at sex, and there’s nothing he can do about it, then that’s toxic. Even if it’s some form of logotherapy where you embrace your fear so you can conquer it, something was lost when the therapist explained it.

There are physical, mental, and relational reasons why a person might be bad at sex. Physical might mean physical disability (like a spinal injury); asexuality; physical inability to achieve or maintain arousal; pain during sex; or low libido—among others.

Mental might be premature or delayed ejaculation; inability to enjoy sex without a particular element (kink/fetish/position); stress; feelings of sexual inadequacy; trauma; sexual training (or lack of it); sexual hangup (Madonna/whore); or cultural indoctrination/sex negativity.

Relational might mean personal dislike; unresolved conflict; ingrained sexual patterns due to a long relationship; or drop in relational desire due to length of relationship.

Some people are both naturally sexual and very skilled at sex, and most people are not going to be that “good.” But there’s no reason why a person can’t get better. Nearly everything in these categories can be improved or compensated for. I may never be able to piston fuck for 30 minutes straight (even if I wanted to), but I can get better at eating pussy and master the coital alignment technique.

20

I wonder about the interaction with the therapist. We are hearing what the wife tells Dan that husband told her that the therapist told him. I played the telephone game in elementary school- it's an open question what was really said, and besides- as Sublime points out- the context of why they were discussing this in the first place seems most important.

husband: "I really wish I could be better at sex, nothing I do seems to be good enough"
therapist: "You have sex the way you do. You don't have to be a porn star. Accept yourself for who you are".
husband's interpretation: "therapist says I should just accept that I'm never going to be amazing in bed"
wife's retelling: "clown says my husband is naturally bad at sex".

I mean, I'm not pretending I have any idea how it actually went down just that there are endless opportunities for misinterpretation, and since this is a conversation that is several steps removed, I'd place a bet that the wife is not reporting what actually happened word for word.

On the other hand, I have a bias against a lot of psychotherapy so if the therapist-is-a-clown wagon were to roll by my house with a lot of folks I like having a good time in the back, I'd certainly hop on.

The LW with the ill boyfriend could consider breaking up but offering to remain friends. I have known a few mutually friendly break ups, seems like it could be easier during quarantine anyway to enforce this. She seems concerned primarily that she'd be cutting him adrift at a vulnerable time. I'd say if she feels she should consider his well-being, she could consider what other support networks he has while measuring the reality of her own responsibility. Does he have friends and family to help out? I'm asking because she starts this all out by talking about how she doesn't want to end up in a sexless marriage ten years from now which seems hyperbolic- like were they ever discussing marriage in the first place? Or is she just the sort to overthink and make a bigger deal out of things than need be?

The lonely gay man, again not too much info. What else could be preventing him from finding partners? It appears he's only had one sexual partner. Is he young and inexperienced? Or just newly out and inexperienced with men? He is called out for "flirting" with men when he just means to be friendly. Is he flirting randomly with men? Or is he flirting with men he could reasonably assume are gay in social situations in which flirting is appropriate? And does he understand the difference between being flirty and being friendly? Is he looking for friends or lovers or both? Also he's talking about taking hurt and missing out on life which could refer to serious loneliness and depression, not just a lack of a sexual relationship. Does he have friends? Hobbies? Part of any community groups (normally, not here during quarantine)? I mean I don't know what more Dan could say with so little info, but I don't think "try online dating" is a sufficient answer here.

21

Re HFATO, it's time for them to start presenting as a man. The lw has no immediate prospects of having to carry off their new presentation before workmates. This makes it a good time to go at it experimentally. Their parents will be surprised, maybe concerned--but HFATO gave no indication they'd be on the kerb if they came down for dinner in a plaid shirt. Their or her reorientation in terms of gendered appearance will be something for both HFATO and their family to work through. There is one very serious point--the cost, for someone with scant income, of the equipment needed for gender confirmation.... But in one sense, HFATO is lucky, since the get-up for the FTM transformation costs less, on average, than for the MTF. I remember that my first bodyform was two weeks' salary. And, of course, it was cheap, cheap, cheap...!

22

Harriet @18, there's a fourth possibility, which you hinted at and Roseanne @5 nailed: Mr CUNT did not accurately report the therapist's words. People famously hear what they want to hear. I will always remember, though this was decades ago, someone telling a friend of mine "you have nice legs," and with his body self-consciousness what he heard was "you have big legs." In CUNT's position, I would probe my partner for exactly what the therapist said. It might have been something along the lines of, "Not everyone has to be the world's greatest lover," to reassure him that his current slump is OK. If he were feeling sufficiently bad about his lack of libido/performance, that might have come across to him as "maybe you're just bad at sex." Presuming Mr CUNT did hear the therapist correctly, a more sex-positive therapist is in order. As well as talking with his partner, who indeed should know Mr CUNT sexually better than his therapist.

23

EmmaLiz @20, our posts crossed. I like when you and I are thinking along the same lines!

24

With FRAUD, her handle has 'resentment' in it and her name spells 'FRAUD'. But there is no FRAUD here. She is not lying in being concerned about his health, whether the corona or the earlier 'flu, after they were separated. She is not stringing him along, with the promise of a future she plans to renege on. Likewise, the resentment comes from her response to her own feelings--that she can't, in conscience, break up with him, not from any unreasonable way he's behaving. She can let go this resentment--should be able to let it go--easily enough. Either she breaks up with him remotely, making a clean breast of her feelings she doesn't want to be with him, or she just can't--and she pencils in a date in the diary, say (at the latest) some time in mid- to late-July, when they meet in person and she administers the relationship the coup de grace.

They sound young people who haven't been together long. They are sexually incompatible--and that's her major reason for splitting. He hasn't done anything to merit her resentment (it seems) and she hasn't done anything to merit her involved self-reproof. Chill. I thought Dan's advice was good. Break up now, and his attentions may turn to his neighbor or some hot chick who might catch his eye on a dating website.

I thought MATCH sad, too, in being apprehensive about Gay Dating 101 (to approach gays). There were a lot of good people needing help. As do we all.... Raising a glass (metaphorically) to Dan Savage and the concerned commentariat...

25

@20 Emma & @22 Bi. Considering the possibility that the LW did not accurately report the therapist's words ... well, the supposed comment has clearly upset her. She thinks it's just a sad, a soul-sapping, thing to say to anyone (I agree), and she's worried about the dispiriting effect on her partner. I'd guess, in these circumstances, there's be a lot of 'he/she said 'what??' on her part, trying to get to the bottom of it. I'm interested that Emma shares my negative bias against psychotherapy (which, in my case, is part a negative pre-estimate of the competence of therapists, and part a concern with the credentials of the discipline). It is, of course, fully possible that there's been some sort of Chinese whispers going on, and that the therapist has said something else responsible.

Actually, I'd have to ask: why didn't the lw say to Dan, 'my partner and I are having [such-and-such] a problem with our sex lives'--e.g. 'I never orgasm through PIV, or when my man goes down on me'; 'my partner touches me heavy-handedly and knees me in the face when changing position in bed'; 'I've called my partner's love-making 'hundrum' and 'uninspired' but it doesn't seem to me romantic to give him instructions on getting me going more'. (Just examples). Dan would have been able to answer that question so much more meatily. Is there an actual problem that the lw is passing over or deferring, or do they have no problem with their sex-lives (and she's just asking a general question about the expression 'bad at sex')?

26

@8. venn. Cromwell's fortune always depended on the king's favor. Over Anne of Cleves, he lost it.

Yet again your comments on a troubled apprentice homosexual are bewildering. We will all be troubled apprentices? It will--you're saying--be harder to come out, be harder to have sex for the first time as a gay teen, or gay young man, when queer people run in the mainstream of everyone's sexual maturation, their first experiences? (i.e. when there's no homophobia?). Why? Why won't everyone, gay and straight, be having their first partnered sex, gay or straight, happily at the same time?

27

@12. Clementine Danger. Well done on starting presenting as a man! I'm pleased you've been able to gauge and weather your parents' responses well, including their hurt and hostility. It sounds as if you have a good sense of how much confusion your re-presentation will cause them and of how quickly this will pass. There probably is only one course of action in this situation: to be you, to become yourself.

@14. RationalHuman. I've also found diminishing returns with the trilogy. However, I think this is partly because the style and mise-en-scene are so fully-formed in the first book.

@16. philophile. Yes--good point about the question of how the 'just bad at sex', even the 'bad at sex' came up at all. I think she can ask this? She won't be breaching some norm of the secrecy of therapeutic sessions? After all, he must feel he's inadequate at sex in some way.

28

"Monday is Memorial Day, Dan, in case you've lost all concept of time"

Thank you very much, FRAUD, I love pandemic humor!

"the final installment of Hilary Mantel’s epic"

I'm thrilled to hear that! (Not because I've made time to read any of it, but because I loved the TV treatment "Wolf Hall" and heard another season was awaiting Ms. Mantel's new book.)

"To live is to suffer, as some philosopher or other once said"

For one, Buddha.

"it was not a top ten year"

Show me anyone for whom this is a top ten year and I'll show you the saddest story ever told.

@HFATO, I hope your parents are the kind that will chill the fuck out about this so your best option isn't to wait. Maybe it will make sense to them that you can't know 'what this means' before you experience it.

"Can a woman peg another woman?" "I will allow it."

Can a penis-haver peg too if they use a strap-on? 'Peg' is so great I'm afraid it's fated to simply mean 'using a strap-on' regardless of whether the great word's original creator approves.

CUNT:
"Are some people just bad at sex?"

As I read on, I saw you meant fated to forever be.

"Or is this therapist a clown?"

I suspect so, unless they meant it in the sense 'accept what is' currently but in no way meant to rule out that that can change. In other words, one doesn't want to beat oneself up about it, but one also doesn't want to give up about it.

@12 Clementine Danger
Clem, am I right this isn't even the first time Dan answered one of your letters? (I'm envious!)

I'm glad it went as well as could be expected. I'm sorry your mom hasn't yet grasped it. I hope your dad can stop making it about "he'd be embarrassed" and process that until he can be mature and less unevolved about it.

(I've heard a lot of stories, including in my own family, of parents at first thinking about it only in terms of their own emotional reaction. And usually not getting to how inconsiderate it was to make it about them.)

"at our local LGBTQ org. If there's anywhere I can show up dressed however I want and not have to defend myself"

Wonderful safe place to start!

@13 A dad
"Although he will probably never admit that he was wrong in the first place"

Sad but true.

29

@Harriet, yes. I think Sublime covered that pretty well @10. The whole point is that he's in therapy talking about his sex life in the first place. LW touches on this by saying there've been some stressors lately and it has affected their sex life. Then she jumps straight to what he says the therapist says. Which may or may not be true- my guess is that it's a misinterpretation but therapists are just people like anyone else, some are going to be clowns, some are going to be competent people who have off-days in which they say something stupid.

I think the more important question is the context of this conversation in the first place and the health / mutual satisfaction of the couple's sex life and their shared and individual perception of it.

The fact that she asked Dan this question instead of others is strange to me too. Like did she think he'd inform her about the "good sex gene" that some people have and others don't? Is she asking him for evidence her husband's therapist is indeed a clown? Or does she feel unsatisfied with her sex life and wants to know if it's possible that someone really can just be bad forever? Or is the husband saying this, "honey, there's nothing I can do about it. I'm just bad at sex and that's how it is" as an excuse and she's looking for an expert opinion so she can say to him, "no look, you can get better at it".

The possibilities are endless. The only guarantee is that the psychotherapist's comment- whether or not it's presented accurately here- is a detail not a main idea.

(As for my own personal bias, there's a lot of controversy around the efficacy of talk therapy- which as far as I'm aware is the same as psychotherapy- and I tend to throw my lot in with the folks who say it's overrated. And even harmful from time to time. I don't think it does most people any good to spend that much time up their own arses, as BDF would say, assuming they were mostly functional adults in the first place and I think the insistence / expectation that people should be happy plus the impossibility of so many to be that way has more to do with historical/cultural circumstances than brain chemistry, again for most otherwise functioning people - not talking about people with severe issues like PTSD or schitzophrenia, etc. That said, I would not advice people to stop it if they find it helpful, life is hard and we need all the tools in the shed. Just that I would recommend trusting your gut if it seems your therapist might not know much more about anything than you do. Kind of the same approach I'd take to finding solace in conversation with religious figures.)

30

@28 p.s.
"heard another season was awaiting Ms. Mantel's new book"

Now I guess another season just awaits the end of this era.

"whether the great word's original creator approves"

Words like children are alive, eventually out of their parent's control.

31

Oh by the way, it seems in my mind I merged Sublime and Philo's posts so I mean both of them, not just Sublime's.

32

@19 YES. This is what I was thinking as I read it. Of course we have no idea what's really going on, but one interpretation is the LW is dissatisfied with her husband's sexual performance and also disappointed that his therapist who she'd hoped would help him had instead encouraged him to just accept his sexual performance for what it is. Another could be that she's concerned about him- his loss of interest in sex or loss of confidence- and she worries that the therapist is making this worse.

Also as an aside, I see I've assumed a het couple here in a long term relationship. There's no evidence of the first and only some for the second.

33

@29. Emma. Psychology claims to be a science when I can't see that it verifies its concepts like a hard science or even sociology. But I would not dissuade anyone at all from going to therapy that's helping them.

It would surely help if CUNT could write: 'these are the sexual problems we've been having: [.....]'; and as you say, the possibilities are too endless for us to know that we've landed unerringly on, nailed, her actual issues. Often, it seems to me, people with major and pervasive life-problems write to Dan with 'screen-problems', discrete, sometimes narrowly sexological issues to which they hope there's a Band-aid solution. If the actual problem here is the couple being unable to clear their embarrassment and talk about sex, or the husband/male partner only being up for it in a quasi-fugue state of impersonality and dissociation (whatever), that would be a bigger deal than the fact-decided question of whether some guys are just bad at sex.

Also think He/She/Did at @20 is a great comprehensive answer.

34

M?? Harriet - After managing the B marriage with what seemed like a high level of skill, to become so maladroit over the C marriage is interesting. The question is how much to attribute to Henry's aging badly. etc. and how much to something in Crum himself.

A world without G-phobia requires a world without gays, as in, no vocabulary that acknowledges the concept. Since gays-without-a-name will have no way to find each other, they will face at least five times the rejection of straights-without-a-name. Even if that does not produce the bad psychological effects that our detractors like to claim are universal in us, simply removing the penalties for approaching someone not so inclined isn't sufficient to make the world anywhere pleasant for us to live. We certainly won't on average be having first partnered sex at the same time. We'll end up having to rebuild our identity from scratch, thus making the whole exercise a colossal waste of time, effort and funds.

Mx Danger - Well done, though I'm getting a bad vibration about your brother's marriage. Good luck for future progress.

35

I guess I'm hiding by posting a comment rather than asking Dan a question, but since I'm perfectly happy, in love, I didn't want to waste his time.

I'm young, over 18, a straight guy, a virgin until I met my gf of 3 years. She's more experienced than me and was the initiator, asking me out, taking me home, starting sex. I adore her, but she was blowing me, on her knees right at the beginning - we hadn't fucked yet - when she suddenly put her finger in me really deeply. I exploded.
I almost fainted. She just left her finger inside me and started moving her finger around, the put in a second finger, etc.

It's now 3 years later and she pegs me, a lot. She loves it and so do I.

But, she has told her gfs/bfs.! She has some pics of me and has shown them to her friends. They're all artists...I posed for one. Big mistake.

Sorry about the length of this, but she's asked if I would bend over for them. I'm not against it, but she's including the men. I asked her to be honest about why and she just smiled and said she wanted me to please her.

I said I would do it...later. COVID19 has delayed it all and quite happily pegs me, sits on my face, we fuck...she's in charge, but very caring. We are in a 'new' expectant stage. She sketches me doing...everything. it's very erotic.

I just don't get why I'm doing all this, why she is, why I want to please her.

Why I would do anything she asked.

37

@35 Bendover
"I didn't want to waste his time."

On the contrary, I think this is a substantial question. I'm not sure though because you haven't articulated it clearly/fully, and you've used an odd word.

It seems like the last two sentences are asking something like why do people want to be dominant and submissive.

"We are in a 'new' expectant stage."

You are in a what?

You write "Big mistake." (Honestly, the more I think about this Comment by a brand new account, this seems like the start of a story on Literotica.)

Are you saying you actually don't consent to the various things you talk about, or do you and you like that you are?

OK, Bendover, ball's in your court. It's not my policy to start answering a question that needs clarification when I have opportunity to ask for that first.

38

Mx Danger @ 12
Congrats for coming out, though I’m a bit confused about the timeline. Was it before the letter was published or just as soon as it did?

The vibe I got from your initial letter made me think that this will be relatively easy, which never is hence “relatively,” and from what you tell us it went ok. Glad you are over this now and hope things will only get better.

That said, I think mom crying for an hour over a short haircut in the past should have been included, as it indicates for me that a more gradual coming out could have made it easier on all involved. And while dad’s reaction could have been worse it is still appalling.
Sisters and in law reactions pointing to the usually easier acceptance by younger folks who have already been witnessing some gender non conformity, and also that women are more at ease and generally more likely to accept and offer support in most FTM and MTF cases.
That said, that the brother declined to offer his clothes should be also viewed in a different context. Did you ever ask him if it’s ok or did his wife volunteer his vests without consulting him first? I would have found it odd if my in law would have offered me my sister’s clothes, and I suspect she would have told him to knock it off. (I can see her giving advice though, maybe even going shopping together at some point.)

Anyway, you crossed the big threshold. Congrats!
From my own experience, don’t expect it to be a one-time deal that will clarify everything to everyone once and for all.
Take it as the journey that it is with plenty joy and achievements, allow trials and errors and be aware of the many challenges ahead.
Join a group of like-minded and if possible make your first public appearances surrounded with friends. This will make you feel safer as well as help you in gauging conduct and places to go.
Wishing you best and very excited for you.

39

@15 - well said, and I hope yours is the experience of the majority of readers. Since many of the core commenters here come back quite frequently, I'd say it probably is so you're probably right.

@17 - I'm not sure how an observation that was in no way prescriptive could possibly be seen as gate-keeping: perhaps you use the phrase differently than I do? And my point wasn't against 'going off-topic', as I agree that conversations can and should wander a bit - it was that when a material % of the commentary has nothing to do whatsoever with the topics of the column but is instead social posting between commenters with no meaning to anybody not in their set it has less value, IMO, than comments any reader of the column can understand. As I said - one person's opinion, YMMV, etc. And as BDF@15 pointed out, if the majority of the participants in a space find this to be a feature, not a bug, then my opinion is not relevant.

As a final point, I agree w/ Dan that this comments section adds a lot of value to the column - it's why I decided to stop lurking and start participating. I explicitly am NOT trying to bend or change the zeitgeist of the place, but merely observe a change that I thought I saw taking place. I knew the comment might be unwelcome, and I'm fine with that. I tend to be a utilitarian, so if the heaviest users of the comment section, like BDF, are enjoying its direction or changes, that's really all that matters to me

40

@CMDwannabe I explained to my family what non-binary identity is and that I am one a few hours before this column went up. I didn't mention that I might be changing the way I look, because baby steps. And my SIL's comment was meant as a joke and taken as such, but my brother has always been dismissive of me and kind of a bully, so I'm glad he didn't just roll his eyes or yell at me.

My family is supportive relative to the wider US LGBTQ experience, meaning I'm not going to be kicked out of the house or sent to a conversion camp. Beyond that, it's up in the air. Not gonna lie, I cried a LOT when my dad said he'd be embarrassed to be seen with me. I've always been a "daddy's girl" but he only spent time with my brother, who didn't even want to do that butch shit! I could be the son you never had goddammit! Just take me on one lousy hunting trip and I'll stab a mofukken deer, ice cold!

My guess is that they will very pointedly "forget" that I'm not a girl, just like they keep "forgetting" that I'm bisexual and may or may not have a girlfriend in the future. And I'm going to remind them and they'll say "oh whoops" and forget again and again and again until I stop bothering and they can pretend I'm cis-straight. Might be harder to do when I've got a buzz cut and a girlfriend, if such a thing could be arranged, but we'll see. I would like for this to bring us closer. There's a chance it might, if we all put in the work. But I'm not scared if it drives us apart. I love them, they love me and lord knows I've been planting seeds about the wonders of human sexuality and identity with them for years. They've come a long way! Not sure if I want to keep pushing that boulder up the hill, but we'll see. So far, so not disowned.

41

Thanks Jack, appreciate your gesture. I’m doing well with lucky nos last few days, I can smell me luck changing.

42

@40 Clem
"I would like for this to bring us closer. There's a chance it might"

Heck yes. Without 'this', as Dan IIRC Dan puts it, they wouldn't've known the real you. And how close would a relationship have been then?

I'm happy for you, you should be proud!

Oh, and I bet "Clement Danger" will be available should you choose.

43

Re CUNT: I agree with Dan's advice as far as it goes. However, Dan stopped short of suggesting what should be done next.

Re the letter itself: my first question is if what the LW's partner reported is an accurate representation of what the therapist said. It's entirely possible that the therapist intended to say something else, but it came out wrong. It's also entirely possible that the therapist did say something different, but that's how the partner interpreted it, or remembered it.

Even if the therapist did say it, what is the context? Did the therapist's comment make things worse for the partner, or did it actually take a load off of his shoulders? Or something else?

And even if it is exactly as was reported in the letter, what can be done moving forward?

44

Clementine, I’ve just scanned answers, and will get to the letters. However I see some great news has occurred for you, so hearty congrats from me in the land of kookaburras, kangaroos and koalas. I’ll leave the poisonous snakes etc out of it.
Happy times for you. Isn’t it great to live fully in your own skin.

45

Clementine, sorry to hear of the tragedies in your life recently.
difficult, given you live with your folks and they support you. Baby steps sound good, hair cut first, will set the tone.
Sorry your dad reacted that way, and here you face his human failings. He loves you, that comes thru, he’s stuck, keep gently educating him.

46

Mx Danger - Not being sent to conversion therapy is always a plus.

If your presentation changes significantly, the hypothetical GF of your masculine-presenting self might be rather different from any GFs you've had or wanted thus far, which could be either a bug or a feature.

47

@Rational Human

FWIW I did not mean to imply that you changing things (by contributing more frequent posts that are on whatever topic interests you) would be unwelcome. In fact I tried to give an example of one person doing just that in a way that most people here welcomed. I know you are making a different point but if you think that contributing certain kinds of posts or emphasizing certain kinds of conversations would encourage other lurkers such as yourself to participate, then I sincerely mean, be the change. There is space enough for all the kinds of conversations you mention. It just seems faulty to me to say that a certain kind of conversations between certain people about certain topics leads to a club-like feel as some sort of criticism when there is nothing preventing anyone from posting other things. If it weren't this "club" it would be another. I can't imagine an alternative other than people dutifully sticking to the topic and pretending they don't know anything about one another. As for gatekeeping, you brought that up, not me, and I assumed what you meant by that was people talking about things that you or other posters might find alienating b/c they stray from the topic and therefore used that definition in my response - though perhaps I should have just asked, what do you mean by gatekeeping then? Also what changes taking place? You only mentioned longer comments sections but it seems to have the same ebb and flows as usual.

But anyway, sincerely I hope you stick around and post whatever you like. And without snark or accusation, I say contribute things that will move the discussion towards the things that you think will reverse whatever trends you say you are observing. Maybe others will appreciate it too. It's really the only way to alter a community, from the inside.

48

Mx Danger @ 40
I went back and re-read your letter. Acknowledging this is nothing but my very own interpretation you came across fairly optimistic as to the projected positive outcome of the talk in the first read.
You must be feeling rightfully proud and relieved for initiating the first step. That you did not wait till this column is posted and reviewed may tell me you’re eager to go out there. Not necessarily bad, just be aware that there may be few bumps along the road and mood swings are very common.

I highly recommend joining a group of some sort where you can air your joys and struggles, hear others’ accounts and form a support group.
Not sure where you are located, but hopefully there’s a place in your area that offers free meetings of different kinds as well as affordable, all-gender friendly therapy like Savageville’s Ingersoll Gender Center.
https://ingersollgendercenter.org/

49

FRAUD, reframe this for yourself: "I feel guilty because I'm choosing my happiness over his." That's not what you're doing. Unless he's an enormous asshole (in which case you're well rid of him anyway), he doesn't want to date someone who doesn't want to date him (he might want to date an imaginary person who is almost exactly like you and also wants to date him, but that person doesn't exist - you are the only real version of you). So you're actually choosing both of your happiness over some misery for him and more for you. That's a good, caring choice; breaking up with people promptly (and rejecting them initially if you're not feeling it, for that matter) is a KINDNESS, even if they don't take it that way immediately; pity dating (which can predicate problem behaviors from lying to gaslighting to maintain the ruse) and hostage situations are not kind nor healthy.

50

Harriet @24, it is not a given that she picked her own sign-off. But yes, there is a fraud here -- she is fraudulently pretending that her feelings for him have not changed. And she is resenting him, or possibly herself or just the situation, for that. "I've been playing the role the supportive and worried girlfriend from afar. But it's been hard." I think all of us are resentful in the lockdown, of our loss of a normal life. Resentment does not need a human target. But again, it's possible a copy editor or Dan himself crafted the sign-off. When sign-offs conflict with the letter they accompany, they are best rejected as irrelevant.

Harriet @25, probably because there is no specific sex problem that she needs help with other than what she did mention, "My partner has been overwhelmed with work and our sex life suffered a major decline." Is it necessary to describe the decline in detail? The issue is that a therapist has said something to upset her partner, and in turn her. The issue is not that [fill in the blank, which you, as usual, have already done].

Harriet @27, it was not my impression that Clementine plans to "present as a man," which would be easier to explain, but wants to present a more gender neutral appearance, potentially not all of the time. But they can speak for themself.
The "norm of secrecy" applies to the therapist, not the patient, and is not "secrecy" but "confidentiality," which are two different things. A patient is not duty bound to keep their discussions with their therapist secret, which in most cases could defeat the purpose of helping improve their relationships. It doesn't make sense that someone would discuss relationship issues with a professional but be prohibited from sharing what they learned with the other people in those relationships.

51

EmmaLiz @32, agree re your second point. Curious, do you feel better about using CUNT's acronym in light of the fact that they might not be a woman? (The acronym implies female, but I remind myself of my earlier point that the LW might not have picked the acronym.)

Harriet @33: "It would surely help if CUNT could write:..." It would help whom? You? We are not entitled to more information than LWs want to share. As I see it, this is a rather narrow question: My partner's therapist made a comment we both find upsetting. Were they out of line, yes/no; do you agree with that comment, yes/no. Why would forcing out details about a couple's sex life affect the answers to these questions? Respect their privacy. (Also, yes, if there IS a specific sex problem, CUNT knows Dan can offer advice. Either they didn't ask for a reason, or they did ask under a different acronym. There is nothing to be gained by prying here.)

Curious @42, Clement Weather would be an excellent drag king name. :)

52

Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement everyone! It's so heartening to hear "Yay congrats!" instead of "You're a what now? Oh no..." Sincerely, thank you.

Clement Weather is fekken perfect. Clement Weather is going to go out there and live that butch life. Clement Weather; women want him, men also want him. Clement Weather will cause a lot of confused boners. Clement Weather does not give a fuck. LOOK AT YOUR CHILD NOW FATHER.

53

It has to happen, Clementine/ Clement Weather, we step away from our parents and live our own lives. They accept us, or lose us.
/ I’m also not happy writing the C word up.
The man has just had the Virus, and for some ‘recovery’ is not going back to prior health, post infection. Sounds to me, LW, this guy will be better off without you.

54

I mean the C word as a derogatory label. Even to describe genitals, I find it a confronting word. Strait away it conjures up the mad creation that it describes. All that meaty flesh and those folds.

55

@EmmaLiz/47 - Thanks - nice to be welcomed

56

@rationalhuman... just skip right over the self-claimed in crowd. their insufferability is pretty easy to identify within a sentence or two. the comments section gets A LOT shorter and A LOT better in a hurry.

57

Phil @56, I look forward to your taking your own advice.

58

Rock on you "Clement Weather"! Then the phrase "In Clement Weather" can appear when discussing sex with Clem.

59

BDF re CUNT, "The acronym implies female"
The sign-off may refer to the therapist..
When something that my therapist said niggles at me later, I take that as a sign that I should discuss that in therapy the next time. Even if I don't develop the interesting idea with the therapist, it at least helps me feel better about our communication. So I think the big question is, what does Mr CUNT think about the statement, does he accept it and think it helped him? Or does it disturb him and is he willing to ask his therapist how she thought that odd statement could help him? Or invite CUNT along to a session to see what this sex talk is about while all participants are talking together, if the therapist offers couples therapy.

60

Not every bad feeling about using certain words ought to be overcome.

61

The best part of 90 Day Fiance is the live chat on Reddit.
While it's heavily contrived and has become dominated by people more interested in their Social Media Brand than an actual relationship, the live chat is the catty, light hate filled void we all have in our life.
Please join us, Dan!!!!

62

@52 Clement(ine) Danger/Clement Weather : Hi hello welcome, congrats, may you live your best life! Your second paragraph made me cackle out loud and I take it as strong evidence that you are an excellent human being. Get out there and confuse the hell out of some boners with your bad self!

63

Phi @59, yes, that makes a lot of sense!

64

Sorry C..., I got you confused with TheVirus LW.
Stupid therapist talking like that. Defining their patient is not therapeutic, your beau needs to change therapists.

65

Lava@41 “...I can smell me luck changing...”

Guy gets on an elevator, looks at the woman next to him and says, “Pardon me, can I smell your pussy?” Of course, she replies indignantly, “Certainly not!” “Oh,” the guy says, “Must be your feet, then.”

66

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

67

@34. venn. It's almost as if Cromwell sleepwalks through the whole trial and execution of Anne, though. Obviously he's the one pulling the strings, but he seems to experience the process himself as if he's compelled by a higher necessity. This could be a complicated technique of self-justification, of course. The parts that remain most vivid to me are those where he is acting in concert with others, including his enemies, such as when he entraps the musician Mark Smeaton into an admission of adultery at supper table.

As I understand, you're saying that there will only be no homophobia when there are no 'gays' (gay men or teens). To begin with, I think there will always be homophobia. But we can do our best to make it the sport of cranks, of a few outliers--of the 5%, not the 25%+. Then perhaps there could be analogy between the eclipse of homophobia and the eclipse of sexism or misogyny? There is a strong impulse in common morality, in the way children are taught, to treat 'people as people', to accept that everybody is a person, and not be a sexist. This will include not marking down characteristic expression of female gender identity just because they're female--e.g. not saying that traditionally male handicrafts require skills, and traditionally female sewing or knitting are vapid; not saying that being more likely to agree with or accommodate others is a sign of mental vapidity; not supposing that being boisterous or outspoken is a sign of energy or intelligence, and being circumspect a sign of lacking enthusiasm. We can understand what it is to be residually sexist in these ways because there are still men and women, boys and girls, even though we've emphasised the moral criteria of personhood. There is still a differential distribution of attributes across boys and girls, and in that sense, the traditional genders still obtain.

I would think that gay male and straight identities would still obtain in this sort of way if we allowed homophobic bigotry to wither on the vine.

There is another reason I disagree with you, which doesn't have to do with values, as I'd see them, at all. This is because, in my estimate (and it can only be an estimate), the underlying natural 'ontology' of sexual orientation in male teens would be something like: 55% heterosexual; 40% bisexual or bicurious, to varying degrees, and 5% homosexual. So I would think, in principle, that something like 40% of guys by the time they're 21 could call themselves gay or queer. I have to think we would have a better society if this happened. But ... maybe you think otherwise? (Perhaps this is a question of values after all).

68

@50. Bi. (A) It's true that there's an element of 'fraudulent' imposture in FRAUD's allowing her bf to go away with the impression she wants to stay with him when lockdown ends. I'd think that 'fraud' rather a punitive way to conceive of this, though. If the 'fraud' really stinks in her nostrils too much, she should end the relationship remotely.

(B) You are right that Clementine, as it seems to me, is primarily concerned with explaining to her/their/(his) parents their gender-neutral or more broadly nonbinarian identity. Appearance will follow from this, and there may be a lot of latitude or variety in it; but it's likely to be impossible for an observer to imagine that Clementine is cisfemale. I would think CD's statement of how their parents are likely to resist (and assimilate and manage) the process of their child's gender re-presentation accurate; why would it not be? My father was always incensed by my effeminacy, and did not discriminate between my dressing like a girl and dressing like a 'cissy-boy', a 'fruit', a 'pussy' (I did, but mostly in my own head). I could never have gotten anywhere with him--which in some respects made my very slow, in-the-dark and (one would have to say) ongoing transitioning easier than what Clementine appears to face, and in some respects harder.

(C) Here I think I agree more with EmmaLiz than with you. The lw has a problem she's written to an advice columnist about. But I can't think it's the one she canvassed his opinion on. (And I'd think this typical of many correspondents). I don't believe, for instance, that she will go back to her partner saying, 'I asked an expert / I looked it up in textbooks, and your therapist is wrong; some people aren't just bad at sex--so you needn't worry about the [drooping libido / terrible coordination / inability to talk about sex without freaking out]', and that, subsequently, their previously good sex life resumes. This does not seem the situation hinted at in the letter. It's not that I think we have a right, as auditors of Dan's 'consultations' and of his correspondents. to know everything about their lives--to demand from them what they don't want to give. And it's not that I think we, or any one of us, or Dan, would be able to diagnose someone's real malaise if we forced them to answer a well-angled series of investigative questions. But I would say what I said before: that people have a tendency to fixate on things that are concrete, specific and technical; and these objects function as their stand-ins for bigger and harder-to-analyze problems.

After saying that I'm distrustful of psychoanalysis, I've said something that comes straight out of the drawers of psychoanalysis.

69

@ BDF:

"My partner's therapist made a comment we both find upsetting. Were they out of line, yes/no; do you agree with that comment, yes/no. Why would forcing out details about a couple's sex life affect the answers to these questions? "

Dan does a pretty good job sometimes of approaching a letter by sticking to an answer to the question they asked rather than the ones lurking around the question. So I'm not saying Dan should've speculated more.

We in the comments though have no imperative to pretend we can't read between the lines.

The answers to your questions:

Was it out of line for the therapist to say this thing?
Who knows? Absence context and given that we are several steps removed, it's hard to say if it was out of line. The only way we can answer that question with no context at all is if we also drew a hardline and said it's ALWAYS under any imaginable circumstances out of line for a therapist to tell a patient that they need to accept that they are "bad at sex". Considering whether or not this is true will naturally lead someone to think of hypothetical situations in which such a statement would not be out of line. So you can't actually answer the question. And all of this assumes the exchange took place exactly as presented which is unlikely as well. So this is why knowing more details would affect the answer.

But if we are going to stick to the LW's question, then they did not say "Is the therapist out of line, yes/no". They asked the following:

Are some people bad at sex?
This is an objective question that can have an objective answer and Dan answers it perfectly by pointing out that this all depends on the opinions of the people having the sex. If we assume the LW is asking about herself instead of just general "people" then the details of her own sex life matter.

Am I overreacting?
Who knows. We'd need context of the conversation which we don't have.

Is there some way to take this as anything but wrong?
Closest to your "were they out of line" which I've already addressed.

Or is this therapist a clown?
No idea. Would depend on why the therapist said such a thing to your partner, if this is indeed what the therapist said.

70

Like if the LW's partner told the therapist that he really wasn't that into sex, that he just puts on a show of it to please his partner because he cares about his partner's pleasure, that he can't muster up this energy for either the performance or the physical act when he's stressed, and that this distresses him and increases his anxiety to the point of suicidal thoughts because he feels he'll always be letting his partner down, then the therapist's response might not be out of line.

Likewise if LW needs very skilled and prolonged stimulation to get off or needs a big scene every time and the partner just isn't up to it and is feeling like a failure over it and beating himself up about it.

Or if the LW himself has physical limitations or issues with performance, etc.

The point here isn't to "force details out of" someone. The thought exercise happens because it's impossible to answer a question of "Is the therapist a clown?" for saying this thing if we don't know why the therapist said it.

71

Mx Danger - [Clement Weather will cause a lot of confused b**s.]

While I appreciate that the overall tone of the thread has reasonably erred on the euphoric side, that sounds as if you're setting out to be, in Brodiean terms, intrusive rather than educational. Helping lead out of someone a type of attraction of which (s)he might not have felt capable can be a good thing when done right. Your mission statement seems ready to veer into thrusting attraction to you into people against their will, confusing them and then going on your merry way, leaving them to deal with the consequences, which, for many people, have been quite serious at one time or another.

72

Congrats, EmmaLiz @69!
"Am I overreacting?" I think this is the question that, more than any other part of the letter, caused me to think that the LW is female. Men rarely worry about overreacting. Just as a completely tangential thought unrelated to the discussion.
And asking myself the same question, I realise I have reacted differently to your observation that "we don't have enough information to draw a conclusion" -- fair -- than to Harriet's similar comments, which had an air of DEMANDING more information in order to draw a conclusion. Whenever information is missing, Harriet loves to just make it up, which I find annoying. "We don't have enough information" is different to "I demand more information!", even if you were both trying to make the same point.

Personally, I think it is possible to answer the question "is the therapist a clown?" without prying into this couple's sex life. What do we know? That their sex life has taken a downturn due to his work stress. That he felt bad enough about this to talk to his therapist about it. Do we need more detail? I don't. We also know that she asked advice about the therapist's words instead of the problem itself, which indicates to me that she might not consider it that big a deal, at least compared to the self esteem body blow he's just received. Demanding more potentially embarrassing detail just felt like kicking the guy when he's down.

73

M?? Harriet - Sleepwalking is not a bad image at all. I keep thinking of all the necessary side-changing, and conclude that the view attributed to the Duchess of Milan - that it would be as well when dealing with Henry to have two heads - is as close to the mark as anything.

I wish people wouldn't try to appropriate. The hijacking of the thread about Mr Kramer was bad enough. If you want to better the lot of women, a noble goal, please don't attach it onto attempts to better other groups, especially as that invites the inference that the only lasting threat to gays originates in DS men. You wrote more than three times as much advocating for women than you did advocating for gays.

I'll agree that there will always be anti-MM sentiment. (Again, "homophobia" is way too much of a catchall; it's tempting to joke that the main purpose of the word is to let women feel threatened by gay-bashings.) What's around at the moment seems to be on the increase. While there are some areas of correlation with prejudice against women, anti-MM sentiment that originates in women (even if expressed by men; think of Quinn Morgendorffer wanting someone to ask her out only to learn he's gay and feeling obliged to send Joey, Jeffy and Jamie to beat him up to defend her honour and popularity) strikes me as harder to eradicate.

As for numbers, I think mine are a little more functioning-oriented; I'd put it as at least 80% straight and about 6% gay. The rest is too tricky to try to cover quickly. Your numbers would terrify me if they were true, especially as you don't want the existence of a specific same-sexer community. If DS non-straight males really outnumbered gays by a ratio of eight to one, then the hope of any MM advancement would, by being a secondary or even tertiary concern for the vast majority of "the" community, keep getting flushed. I shall spare the assembled company my standard speech in favour of an amicable divorce of the many groups that would thrive far better as separate communities with individual voices.

74

Agreed more generally BDF. If we take the words at face value, the partner must've said something about not being/feeling good enough in bed- not just the stated thing about work stress & their sex life. Relevant: LW does not sound confused as to why/how the therapist might come to say the partner is bad at sex in the first place (just that it might possible or inappropriate to say). I don't think it's kicking-when-down to suggest LW should focus on that issue as it's likely the key to both understanding the therapist's statement and the couple's perception of their sex life.

Sublime @10 (who's comments have seemed to me very good lately) said about the same thing without making any demands or hypothesizing so I know what you mean. I think suggesting specific possibilities is a good strategy to illustrate why the context matters to the interpretation of the therapist's statement, but yes- to take that to a second level and respond with analysis of those specific hypothetical problems goes well beyond that, and then to conclude with final specific suggestions as to how the LW should respond sexually to these imagined example problems is a third step even beyond. To be honest, I was only responding to H's response to you @68 in which I was mentioned and which mostly stuck to the first level. I had not read the earlier one.

75

whose but whatevs, the world is burning down

76

vennominon @8 "Perhaps some practitioners are just not that good at therapy."

Thanks for the chuckle!

EL @20: "I have a bias against a lot of psychotherapy so if the therapist-is-a-clown wagon were to roll by my house with a lot of folks I like having a good time in the back, I'd certainly hop on."

Wonderful image. Thank you for brightening my day.

"Clement Weather is going to go out there and live that butch life"

Enjoy!!

77

If a therapist is trying to help someone feel better about some body quirk or sex act, too big or too small, or a preference for sex that is too long or not long enough, I would still not think the therapist's comment was appropriate. I can't think of any type of sex that is so "bad" that no one has managed to fetishize it. Since sex unlike masturbation involves partners, I would think that good sex advice must also involve a discussion of real or theoretical partners. Bad sex involves incompatible bodies or desires, good sex involves figuring out how bodies and desires can be compatible. Bad sex seems more like a compatibility problem with a particular partner than a solo personal attribute.

78

Even asexuality would be a perfect for another asexual.

79

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who said this, but the relevant "therapy" discussion seems absurd and foolish here since we have no idea what the therapist said to CUNT, that CUNT related to us thirdhand as

"some people are just not good at sex and he should just accept that he’s one of those people"

As I wrote @28, if the therapist /did/ say that then the therapist is a clown. But I think that thinking they did say that is crazy; they would have to be by far the worst therapist in history. The thing that a therapist in our universe might say that would get twisted after being twice retold is something which adds up to (now quoting me @28):

"'accept what is' currently but in no way meant to rule out that that can change. In other words, one doesn't want to beat oneself up about it, but one also doesn't want to give up about it."

In other words, the partner was probably whining and depressed in therapy, and the therapist probably wanted them to stop obsessing about what was happening because feeling shitty about the present is of no value, the productive thing is to work on changing what is. Because I am not an idiot I would stake everything I have that therapist's message in no way urged the LW's partner to give up.

I suspect the partner mis-retold it because they do want to give up (currently, while overwhelmed with work); their psychological state probably could hear the operational message of hope. I'm not blaming the LW for instead or also mis-retelling it because the LW said it broke their heart. But I think CUNT is pretty gullible for thinking the therapist said what CUNT's partner reportedly said the therapist said.

(Again, I recall noticing others observe this, but I couldn't stand to pay much attention beyond that.)

80

@79 edits:
"would get twisted after being twice"
should be
"would get twisted INTO THAT after being twice"

"probably could hear"
should be
"probably could NOT hear"

p.s.
I can see why Dan would want to pretend the LW's thirdhand story was correct though, given the attraction to a sex advice column of speaking to the supposed question:

"Are some people just bad at sex?"

81

@69 EmmaLiz: WA-HOOOOO!!!! Major congrats on scoring this week's Lucky @69 Award! Bask in the glorious decadence. :)

82

EmmaLiz @74, in other words, they should take the approach of proving the therapist wrong by solving the actual problem? I see that as a win/win.

Phi @77, when I hear the phrase "bad at sex" what I think of is lazy or selfish. If bad at sex equals lazy or selfish, one can cure oneself of being bad at sex simply by making more effort. I agree that bad at sex and incompatible with a particular partner are not the same thing; one person's subjectively bad is another's ideal. Yes, even selfish and lazy might be ideal for a submissive who only wants to serve. However, I suspect that may be how this week's spanking-cheater may have got himself into his predicament. Even for a service bottom, selfish and lazy must get old after a while.

83

@71 There is a huge difference between expressing some joyous bravado in the place where I thought it would be safe to do so and active tearing my family apart with the power of my spirit dick.

But sure, thanks for reminding me that my private joy MIGHT hurt and upset some people if I ever expressed it publicly. If there's one thing baby queers need, it's to be constantly reminded of the fact that their identity is a bomb that could devastate and destroy everything they love.

Thanks for keeping me in my proper place, Imma go cry now.

84

Clem @83, don't heed the bitter old queen. You have every right to celebrate the new you!

85

Curious, "But I think that thinking they did say that is crazy; they would have to be by far the worst therapist in history. "
I wish. How about 'If your spouse hits you, divorce is the answer. Yes, even if it was a rap on the knuckles.' Or 'You two appear to be very much in love, it looks like you've reached a good compromise of limited nonmonogamy, there's no reason you shouldn't get married.' Or the therapist who broke client confidentiality and told my friend that his wife-at-the-time had completely given up and he should move on. And when he started dating and his wife-at-the-time found out, she did truly give up and divorce him. I've heard of and experienced worse therapists.

I disagree that we need any more context, I think that if we accept the LW's story at face value, the therapist has some funky values to answer for. I hope the therapist just claims to have been misheard, or can calmly non-defensively realize their mistake. If they try to justify their judgement that some people are just not good at sex, I hope they report this therapist to superiors, or at least leave a review warning others about this person's "technique".

86

Mx Danger - You misread. I was my last boyfriend's first same-sex attraction. Had I treated the matter flippantly, I could have done him any amount of harm. Confused b**s have driven people to suicide in the past. I was thinking entirely of the people you'll attract, who are likely to be rather different in nature from the people you've attracted to date if your presentation will be changing so significantly. Treat them kindly. Appreciate how they might experience the attraction as confusing. Don't become Sandi Griffin.

Ms Fan - "I'm free and feel twenty times more attractive than ever before!" is celebratory; "I want to go out and hurt people just because I can," is what one doesn't want it to become.

87

I've seen some amazing weather lately. Spider webs of lighting bolts, sideways lightning.. I chased a double rainbow the other day.. I didn't find the end of either rainbow.. I hope everyone is getting out and enjoying themselves safely.

88

Re orientation queerness vs gender queerness

It's great to feel free to express your affection to anyone you consider attractive regardless of gender or presentation.. So long as you respect their feelings and consent, and restrict your affections to those who are already somewhat comfortable identifying as queer rather than trying to convert people. Take care that you are not using a platonic assumption to your advantage in order to pursue sex.

It's great to feel free to present yourself in whatever way you feel sexy regardless of gender.. So long as you respect the feelings and consent of those you pursue, and restrict your affections to those who are already somewhat comfortable identifying as queer rather than trying to convert people. Take care that you are not using a cis assumption to your advantage in order to pursue sex.

89

@85 Philophile
Maybe this is another opportunity for me to be glad I chose to live somewhere such a therapist could not work. I retract my claim that that would make them the worst therapist in the universe.

Of your three examples:

1 surprised me. I figured that an example that began "If your spouse hits you" would end differently (and be an example of /much/ worse advice I was gonna hope was from another era). But I agree, a therapist that recommends divorce for a single rap on the knuckles is an incompetent moron. (Though I'm not saying a rap on the knuckles needs to be OK.)

2 on it's face sounds plausibly reasonable if the couple has reached a mutually satisfactory agreement.

3 of broken confidentiality certainly is an unconscionable breach of professional ethics. (How is it that this happened, were they both clients of the same therapist?) It sounds like your friend was still the one to blame for cheating instead of being honest. Are we really sure that the therapist wasn't actually correct that she had already given up? (Not that that would excuse the violation of professional ethics, but one could imagine it being well-intentioned.)

I'm probably not the best judge of professional ethics. When watching a show about a detective trying to stop a serial killer who's too smart to stop, I think it's best I was never a detective as it would feel difficult to obey all the rules of evidence if it meant more serial killings.

I'm probably not the best judge of such a breach of therapist ethics, either. In college I was in one of three couples that were supernaturally close. All six of us went to the same trusted therapist specifically to benefit from the insight that could lead us all to about each other in our interconnectedness. I'm certainly not saying that our therapist divulged secrets; if we had secrets and had a therapist who would divulge them that would have been different and very unwelcome.

Come to think about it, the last therapist I saw also took on as a client someone I referred to her. It really doesn't bother me that I think she's been slightly less than a perfect boundary, because I've never known a better person than she is.

"I disagree that we need any more context, I think that if we accept the LW's story at face value..."

To me that sentence begins in a puzzling way. Why say you don't need more context then CYA with the premise that follows it?

Just because they're not the worst therapist in the world does not make it more likely they said that ludicrous thing, than the far more likely explanation that a person in therapy is likely to hear what they're able to and want to hear, and that they're likely to tell third parties what they want them to hear. (Not to mention that those others are likely to pass onto us something different than what they were told, too.) In other words, I'd be happy to react to afront related to us by the LW's partner, because I would then hope to gather more info from them. But there's too many more likely unknowns for reacting to a thirdhand statement from a therapist to be more than a parlor game I have little patience for.

@87 Philophile
I was once a passenger in a small plane that flew through the middle of a circular double rainbow. I would not have known that was even possible.

@86 venn
What I can understand of what you say I value reading. A couple days ago you told me "Good; you've gotten the spirit of "; I couldn't bear not asking what an acronym directed at me meant, but joke was on me, when you defined it I still had no idea what you had meant. So that I haven't asked what your repeated use of

"b**s"

means does not mean it makes any sense to me. (And I am not asking for clarification of these prior incomprehensible statements, but:) For shit's sake, why the fuck censor anything here, particularly to make it incomprehensible?! Why pain people who would like to hear you communicate?

90

Mx Danger- I think everyone here is very happy for you and your joy is indeed contagious. Some of us have been in similar situations to yours and may recall the euphoria of a new freedom, yet also aware of the challenges and heart breaking experiences that are an imminent part of the deal.
As I see it venn may have been a bit blunt but probably didn’t say anything I didn’t touch on in my previous posts on this thread.

From what I can tell it will be very beneficial for you to find group/s and safe places where you can be yourself and talk freely with nothing to worry about, as opposed to a need to stick out a preemptive projection in order to fend off potential hostility.
Making friends and hanging out with like-minded people will help you navigate your journey while finding joy and support in happy and challenging times alike.
We can take this off line if you’re interested. Wishing you the best.

91

Curious,

1) Actually literally a slap on the wrist, in public, but same general idea.. this action was very inappropriate in marriage because it expressed extreme contempt but I would not judge it so dangerous as pushing, painfully grabbing, throwing things, threatening physical harm, or hitting or kicking or biting and such, not a sign of imminent physical danger which would warrant emergency safety measures.

2) The main problem I had with this advice is common to all three bits of bad advice.. Therapists should not involve themselves on judging whether it's a good idea for you to marry or divorce! They should be asking you questions to help you decide if you really want that marriage or divorce! They can encourage ill considered, unwanted marriages and divorces when they abuse the scope of their services.

3) I met him 20 years ago right around when the divorce went through, about a year after this went down, but I think I'm reporting accurately because we've discussed it again in the last few years in greater detail. They were separated and trying couples counseling, but also had individual sessions with the counselor which seems standard in my experience. His ex wife did tell the counselor that she had given up, but later, when they were divorcing, she said it was just a moment of weakness, she truly gave up when she found out he had started dating another woman. I'm not sure if it was cheating or if they had agreed that dating was fair during their separation. IIrc he didn't try to hide it from her, and he thought that he was following the advice of his therapist, but obviously he must not have discussed it with her well beforehand, but I also think the therapist was wrong not only to breach confidentiality but to encourage him to move on and get over her.

CYA? I disagree that the advice "just accept you're one of those people who's not good at sex" is ever appropriate or helpful way to address one's sex problems. It doesn't matter what else is happening with these people, I think it's always better to keep trying to make sex good with your partner, or think about finding a more compatible partner for sex. Unless you are asexual then you should be trying to find a person who wants the same sort of sexless romance that you want.

Have you thought about the contradiction involved when you choose to break the law in order to uphold the law? If you don't think you could keep an oath to the public trust, it's good you didn't swear it!

Wow on entering a circular rainbow! Did it shudder if you touched the edges? Was it orgasmic for you? Lol it is Savage Love..

b*s works best as bats imo, it really makes the posts awesome. buds? bums? bans? I think that Venn censors words that may possibly offend others, but that he thinks are important enough to his point to mention, so from context I thought 'boners' but not enough stars.. if this is correct then bo**s could have been both discreet and more understandable.

92

@91 Philophile
"Therapists should not involve themselves on judging whether it's a good idea for you to marry or divorce!"

I don't think that's true. They shouldn't offer, and they probably shouldn't answer if most people ask. But as you probably know from my @89 if I have a question from a therapist I want their opinion. (Do I want most therapists judging which patients can handle the truth? No I don't. But I want a therapist who is capable of figuring out that /I/ can. In other words, your rule is a good one generally, but not one I'd want to be restricted to on either side of the patient-therapist relationship. So now I'll add it's probably good I never was a therapist either.)

"They should be asking you questions"

Yes generally that's probably best for most people.

"They can encourage ill considered"

True, but ultimately the decisions are the primary responsibility of the patient.

"couples counseling, but also had individual sessions with the counselor which seems standard in my experience"

Yes I think it is. That's what I did. (It helped us try everything, and when that wasn't enough it helped me navigate initiating the best possible marital breakup.)

"did tell the counselor that she had given up, but later, when they were divorcing, she said it was just a moment of weakness"

That is an excellent example of the need for keeping secrets, and I think that therapist did serious harm and shouldn't have been a therapist.

"I'm not sure if it was cheating or if they had agreed that dating was fair during their separation"

Ah. If they did have a 'no dating during separation' rule that rule probably wasn't well-advised. And in the absence of such a rule I think separation implies dating is expected.

"CYA?"

I was talking simply about that odd sentence, and the way it simultaneously feels no need for further information, and qualifies that what follows is applicable only "if we accept the LW's story at face value". It was /logically/ puzzling in that those two things in one sentence aren't compatible.

"I disagree that the advice "just accept you're one of those people who's not good at sex" is ever appropriate or helpful way to address one's sex problems."

You disagree with who? Neither I nor anyone else said it was. (I just said it was very unlikely to have occurred that way the LW told us it had.)

"Have you thought about the contradiction involved when you choose to break the law in order to uphold the law?"

I already told you I had (jeez it's such fun for me to discuss with you P.), when I said "I think it's best I was never a detective". What on Earth was your point in saying the same thing back at me ("it's good you didn't").

Though to be honest, while I don't trust anyone else to do it, I hereby state I would trust myself to. (I don't expect anyone else to trust me to though, because they're not me.)

"b*s works best as bats imo"

LOL.

"I think that Venn censors words that may possibly offend others"

Yes, but it could not possibly offend others as much as it offends me to be in the middle of a venn Comment and suddenly discover it's become intentionally incomprehensible. I hate being toyed with.

93

curious2 @92 - if it offends you to suddenly find a comment by Mr. Venn incomprehensible, I recommend avoiding reading them. Being obscure is his thing. And fortunately his style is recognizable.

In this case, since our new friend Clement Weather had posted the original phrase "will cause a lot of confused boners," I imagine he felt the reference would be obvious even with him daring to reduce the number of asterisks.

BDF the insult you chose @84 says more about you than about Mr. Venn.

94

@92 correction
"You disagree with who?"
should be
You disagree with whom?

@93 EricaP
You're right of course, but it seems like sometimes he's made more effort than he used to to be comprehensible. But maybe if it stays like this, since I hate to find my time wasted, I'll have to return to either skipping them, or basking in them like they were jabberwocky (for pure entertainment).

Oh thank goodness he abbreviated "boners" as "b*s". The whole word would have caused me to faint and hit my head on something, and perhaps do the same if there were enough asterisks to act as a clue.

"Being obscure is his thing."

It is indeed, and apparently my thing is scolding him (for not trying to communicate when he communicates) every year or two.

95

Who's up for this week's Big Hunsky? Lava?
Tick...tick...tick...

96

Venn @86, "I'm free and want to go out and hurt people just because I can" is something that you made up. Please get help before you hurt more people just because you can.

Erica @93, I apologise for the words chosen. I am tired of Venn's insulting every other person on the queer spectrum and his paranoia that the rest of us are out to destroy the concept of gay men. It simply isn't true. Venn is both bitter and old, I stand by those adjectives. I regret that the pain he caused poor Clement who has put their most vulnerable self on display here caused me to sink to the level of insults. I hope he can apologise to Clement for the pain he caused them and see that their reference to confused boners (be an adult and type the damn word, it's just a word) WAS NOT ABOUT HIM, was not about try to negate the sexual identities of gay men, was not about anything other than Clement celebrating their new freedom in expressing themself.

Phi @91, Venn is deliberately obtuse because he wants the rest of us to feel intimidated by his "superior" intelligence. He censors words because he is offended by them; he should know by now that nobody else who reads a sex column clutches their pearls at naughty words. Fair that he has an issue with certain words that refer to gay people, but "boners"? Grow up, Venn. I have long had a practice of skipping over his posts, as he surely intends when making them so incomprehensible. His posts don't offend me, they merely annoy me, but when I saw the distress he caused Clement it made me go all mama-bear queer to try to protect them. Venn, Clement, there are places on the LGBT rainbow for both of you.

97

Personally, I believe that psychology/psychiatry, like any other soft science (a concept I hate), is better viewed as a discipline of the humanities than of the sciences at all. This does not reduce its value or its potential meaningful application unless you try to force the scientific application to them. The humanities more broadly (art, philosophy, languages, law, religion, politics, etc) can give people meaning and purpose even to continue living, can give them tools of self-knowledge, knowledge of the world, etc. So I'm not insulting psychology/psychiatry to say so.

It's my opinion we should approach psychology the same way we would these other humanities - they are not objective nor scientific. There is far less evidence than you'd think (by looking at the rate of people on SSRIs) for the whole depression-is-an-imbalance-of-neurotransmitters theory; the efficacy of talk therapy alone is extremely controversial; there is a lot of subjective interests and shoddy clinical trials making up the core of whatever "this is it" therapy happens to be trending at the time. (Is it still cognitive behavior therapy?). And the psychiatric disorders that we understand better because they have clearer organic causes are treated first on the physical level anyway.

Again, not saying it can't help loads of people- it absolutely can and is worth trying. And I called this a bias because of course it's variable- for example class is at play with who receives care through public institutions/programs vs who can bounce about trying out many private therapists until they find their fit- and my experience was mostly in the public health infrastructure. But the proportion of total incompetents and/or abusive therapists I've encountered is much higher than other professionals and I think it's because there are no objective standards by which you can measure success/failure or harm/benefit therefore they tend to get away with it, especially considering that talk therapists are incentivized to retain patients, in fact most of them need to do so to stay in business.

In short, I think it's naive to think that this therapist couldn't (just as likely as a misunderstanding) be totally incompetent or abusive - they are a minority in my experience but still common and they're unlikely to ever be found out if they don't do anything too blatant to anyone with enough social standing to file a complaint and follow up.

98

Curious, ""Therapists should not involve themselves on judging whether it's a good idea for you to marry or divorce!"

I don't think that's true"

I think the idea is.. when you ask a therapist how they judge your relationship, they should remind you that it doesn't matter how anyone else judges your relationship. What matters is that A) you want to be in the relationship and that B) you feel good about how you are handling any relationship problems. Of course they are going to work their personal concerns into the conversation, but there's no need to pretend that their concerns matter more than the feelings of the couple or that they know the "One True Way" way to have relationships, they can just tell you about the relationship patterns learned from studies and help you figure out what you really want when you are being most considerate, try to identify your weaknesses in relationship skills and provide some of the problem solving tools that work for some humans who have similar problems. It seems like a tough job already, why bother with ineffective inappropriate judging and shoot yourself in the foot?

" But I want a therapist who is capable of figuring out that /I/ can [handle the truth]"
Why are you so interested in being able to "handle" the opinions of others? They have no divine knowledge or truth of whether you should marry your partner, or if it is time to divorce! Why would you value their opinions and judgments of your romance anyway, unless you were trying to score with them? From my perspective, therapists are contracted helpers for chosen personal problems, not artists or oracles.

"And in the absence of such a rule I think separation implies dating is expected."
Not everyone would agree that dating during separation is different from cheating. It depends on your partner, not majority expectations, whether it is cheating. I'm simply unsure if cheating was a factor in my example, my best guess is that they did not consider it to be cheating, more that she felt it was meaningful that he had given up or started moving on in this way.

"ultimately the decisions are the primary responsibility of the patient."
My point was more that the therapist has responsibilities as well as the clients. But it also provides a more forgivable context when you can say "I was trying to follow my therapist's advice and do the best thing for both of us" when you make a mistake. But yes, a mistake doesn't cease to be a mistake just because a therapist said so, and we are all responsible for our own choices, so it's important not to trust therapists blindly and be able to discuss your disagreements with them.

I don't see what is so weird about choosing to accept the LW's words at face value as default, or why that would imply some logical incongruity.

I was disagreeing with both the sentiment that more info is needed to judge the therapist's comment as appropriate or not. I'm sure at least Emma Liz stated some circumstances under which she feels the therapist's sentiment would make sense. But in her examples, I believe that it would make more sense to point out that your sex problems are dependent on your particular partner, and as long as both people having sex are happy with it, it's good sex. IMO the statement in question is not circumstantially appropriate but a blanket inappropriate statement. You say you don't understand certain statements of mine, but I can't figure out the source of misunderstanding. If you just disagree and don't feel like explaining why, we should just agree to disagree.

99

Venn likes puzzles. His comments are koans only the cultural references and riddles usually lead to insight into his own opinions/contradictions or perhaps insults at others. Sometimes I'm sure which is which, sometimes I'm not, usually I don't bother with trying to figure it out. But it seems really bizarre to me to be offended by any particular writing style. How boring it would be if everyone communicated the same. Like the first season of Star Trek TNG when they presented everyone as super healthy and professional and it just became a snooze fest. This is my attempt to both use pop culture references a la Venn (though not with any obscurity as that's definitely not my thing) and also to nod at Calli if she comes around again. Hope she's OK- lots going on right now.

As to the content, I stay out of his G in the alphabet soup thing as it's way above my pay grade until he strays into feminism where we've butted heads but it's always been enjoyable and sometimes interesting on my part anyway. But I enjoy nuance and don't care very much about form.

I'd think that of the assembled cast, probably CMD has the most consistently measured and sound advice for a person newly dealing with personal growth around their gender/sexuality. So I have no comment on Clem's situation specifically other than that.

100

What does CYA stand for?

101

In honor of the generosity of all the numbers game players lately, I bequeath my Hunsky to every commenter who feels attacked or unloved, that they may calm down and spend some time making their life more pleasant and comfortable, until they can take comfort in their loved ones again.