Savage Love

Comments

106

Phi @103, good point that Dadddy seems to be talking about the context of ongoing relationships while the rest of us are talking about hookups or early-in-the-relationship sexual encounters. Of course if you know that your partner likes being X, it is not necessary to ask every time "do you want X?" We are talking about partners whose preferences have not been discussed and are therefore not known.

I would also like to note that Dadddy has admitted to being a heavy drinker, and to having sex while intoxicated that his even-heavier-drinker ex frequently did not remember. When one is intoxicated one's skill at reading reactions, one's skill at pretty much anything, is impaired. When one is drinking it is even more important to have clear communication, or if one suspects one or one's partner is too intoxicated to meaningfully consent, defer sex until you both sober up. This further challenges Dadddy's view of himself as someone who is so skilled a sexual mind-reader that words are not needed.

108

Dadddy @107: "Yes, some men are arrogant and oblivious or worse. I wonder what we gain/lose by centering so many of these conversations around them. I doubt many such men are listening in here." Just the one.

Sure, we can and should put forward messages about non-verbal consent, but it's not either/or. Let's preach better practices, and practice them. Yes, people for decades have been relying on non-verbal communication, and look where that has led us (Hashtag MeToo). What is wrong with putting the message across, When in doubt, use your words? And that words mean respect, not timidity, which it seems many women need to learn.

109

The abundance of necks in this thread made me think of Modigliani.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amedeo_Modigliani

110

@109, while we're free associating

http://collection.imamuseum.org/artwork/24927/

111

I’m mostly steering clear of this convo., both because I seem to have difficulty saying what I mean and also because I have less practical familiarity with kink than Andy Hardy.

@ 61. “I've very rarely had a problem with implied consent. I know that makes me lucky, rather than smart.” Does it though? At the risk of being presumptuous, Nocute, it seems to this reader that your “luck” has largely been the result of a whole hell of a lot of premeditated effort. As described in these pages, you have spent years cultivating the erotic life you desire by being open and experimental, and insisting the same in your partners. I’m sure the process has had its ups and downs, but it strikes me that one will have much more “luck” avoiding miscommunication when one strives to discover what one likes and seeks out partners who are simpatico. From your description, that would seem to mean finding partners who are more willing to push boundaries than accept the mundane. It also appears that you have the ability to discern incompatibility quickly, as BDF described @98, and that this skill probably enables you to manage any sexual miscommunication that might occur pretty decisively.

I do not mean to imply that this attitude and approach to life immunizes one from all manner of unpleasant experiences, including some of the truly horrible ones described here. I am only speculating that part of your good fortune is of your own making.

112

@94 nocutename: Many thanks. I am getting a doctor's referral for physical therapy for my "bra line" part of my middle back as well as my right upper arm & shoulder. This has certainly been a year of healing for Griz. My beloved Love Beetle and I are taking a road trip soon. :)

@100 fubar: Agreed and seconded. It is horrible happening to anyone. Sending you a major cyber hug.
Meanwhile.....@100: WA-HOOOOOOO!!!! Major congrats, fubar, on scoring this week's Big Hunsky Award! Savor the highly coveted honors and bask in the glory of its good fortune. :)

113

AlphaBanty @ 110
While grateful and appreciative for your post I wonder if you can give us some context. I wasn’t sure what to make of Ramos’ paintings which came across as a downgrade from Playboy’s Vargas’ Girl of that era.

Salami may raise other issues. While often alluding to a big penis, some of us grew up with a central European-born high school history teacher and may still associate it with “Salami Tactics” where “…an aggressor can influence and eventually dominate a landscape, typically political, piece by piece. In this fashion, the opposition is eliminated "slice by slice" until it realizes, usually too late, that it is virtually gone in its entirety.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salami_tactics

114

Talking about sex with a new lover, is awkward. It’s not a myth, and great if some find it easy. Not all.
Given that many modern males have such bag full of unsafe and clueless moves, taught them by the low life mainstream porn makers, taking about sex now seems inevitable.

115

I vote for hiding the salami rather than slicing it up.

I like that people are discussing nonverbal ways of communicating clearly. Creeping is good and acceptable so long as we are trying to pay attention to our partner's enjoyment, and willing to immediately stop if they get hurt, and keep going otherwise until they seem satisfied or it's just not working for us and we sadly give up.. as long as we seem to care about our partner's enjoyment and give it equal respect and consideration to our own. But you can't see into another's heart.. you can only try to notice signs of regard or disregard to decide if they are trustworthy, and try to discern whether they are showing enjoyment or discomfort to decide if new sex moves are appropriate.. you can only try to discern whether a partner is freezing in fear or immobilized with pleasure, if they are wrinkling their eyes, tensing or moaning in pain, fear or ecstasy.. and this is further complicated by the social rule to hide our discomfort, pain or fear, to either protect others' egos from rejection, or to protect our own vulnerabilities from being known. It's a murky minefield already. Discouraging talking about it only makes it worse.

One nice technique is to pause every so often, especially if we are the main initiator, and see what they are inspired to do. We can't really understand what someone else likes until we pay attention to their feedback, sometimes it needs to be solicited, moreso with more passive partners.

But talking is so important.. yes if you insult or neg someone gently they often become more compliant, if you dismiss someone randomly occasionally, they will likely feel and act more (insecurely) attached, if you rape a woman she will likely get wet.. you can't always tell what someone likes or what makes them really feel good from their responses. Human responses are weird.

If someone is going to get angry or turned off by something as innocuous as speaking about our sexual desires, do I really want them to be my partner? If they can't speak about their sexual desires or limits, do I really want them to be my partner? I guess it depends on how desperate I feel..

Dadddy, "This isn't difficult stuff. No sudden movements, no surprises, just go slow, tune into her, and if she doesn't respond with indicators of arousal, abandon the mission. I'm sure most of us have used this simple protocol."
Get her off, but not with sudden or fast movements. Do new things, but don't surprise her. Except that "spontaneity and unpredictability" is fun, so surprise her, just make sure you can read her mind so it's not a bad surprise. Tune into her, but don't try to understand her through talking, and don't guess, just figure it out. And it should be easy to figure out whether she's moaning and tensing in pain or pleasure, if you can't you're dumb.
Simple? Ha. Not that I think I can expertly explain love or sex clearly and concisely.

What was wrong with saying "Are you into spanking? I love to (spank, be spanked)" before going to bed with someone? And then surprising them with how you do it, not with what you are doing?

Or.. how about find someone you trust to show each other how to get each other off... to show you then explain how it works and let you practice (and vice versa)... and then try to tweak it for the next woman if you break up? As long as you're not saying "but she liked it!" and instead saying "I'm so sorry, I thought you'd like it I didn't mean to hurt you" when you discover the differences.

116

CWD@109, one of my favourite artists.
Yes necks can be beautiful, Lee Miller had a beautiful neck. Stroking a neck, kissing it, no issues of safety there. It’s the hands around necks which can cause damage.
You all here are mature adults, some in their fifties and older, who have behaved safely enough to still be alive. The problem is young people with little or no sexual experience thinking this behaviour is ok.

117

I learned that you're only really ready to have sex when you're able to talk about it. Some people never get there.

118

@111 CMDwannabe, sure.

I think your description of the Ramos print (I think that one is a painting?) is pretty much right on the money... He painted a lot of contemporary references to classic nude paintings in a very graphic, 60s style, which had a certain vulgar look to it then and does now as well, intentionally I believe. I've never been terribly interested in Ramos, but I think that title is irresistible - - which is why it sprang to mind immediately when you referenced Modigliani. When I first saw the image as an art student, the way I understood the phrase was as in reference to conversations about art that are really conversations about seduction, or just seductions themselves... something I was experiencing a fair amount of at the time (Egon Schiele was another stock figure in those one-bottle-away-from-bed intense discussions of the more sensual bits of art history.)

I wrote my response before I went looking for any supporting information, but this is kind of an interesting article for putting Ramos in broader cultural context: https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/mel-ramos-art

And thank you for introducing me to "Salami Tactics" -- what a useful concept, and a term I've never heard before.

119

...aaand, @113 I got the comment number wrong. Again. Sorry about that.

120

@117 I don't know about a state of perfect readiness, but I do agree that one of the greatest investments anybody can make in their future happiness is to learn to eroticize verbal communication.

122

@117 you live in a fantasy world. in the real world, people have sex whether they meet your personal standards or not.

123

Thanks, AlphaBanty, for that little diversion.
@CMD and AlphaB, when I think "Salami," I think of Katz's Deli in New York, which has been telling people since the 1940s to "send a salami to your boy in the army," as a way of advertising that they ship.

And now I'm wondering about nudes and art and what makes some nudes art and some not art. And who decides. And why the presence of tan lines definitely makes the nudes Not Art to me. And . . .

124

AlphaBanty @ 118
Thanks. The candy images and concept remind me a scene from 1974 "Sweet Movie," yet another subversive work from then Yugoslavian exile Dušan Makavejev
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Movie
where at some point the lead actress was taking a chocolate bath (and as soon as that scene shooting ended told the director he’s crazy, left the set and never returned.)
https://vimeo.com/81649089

125

nocute @ 123
A 1930’s Tel-Aviv printed ad read: “Drink the Natural Juices of the Rubenenko Brothers”

126

Another movie night for Griz---this time, a Stanley Kramer tribute: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and Bless the Beasts and the Children (1971). I MUST be healing well after my hysterectomy----I was back to dancing to beach-bum music in Mad World! Rock on, Dick Shawn and Barrie Chase! And I LOVE you, Bill Mumy, Barry Robins, Miles Chapin, Darel Glaser, Bob Kramer & Marc Vahanian. Rock ON!

All this red, red wine and no typos! Wheeee!

128

Dropout, "you live in a fantasy world. in the real world, people have sex whether they meet your personal standards or not."
Not with me you don't. Unless you rape me. And then I'm going to try to press charges.

"if you can't talk about sex you're not old enough to have it" was a cliche when I was a kid for a good reason. If you prefer your lovers to be deaf and dumb about sex, that's your choice.

129

I'm using "dumb" in the sense of 'literally can't talk about it' rather than 'unintelligent'. That probably needs to be said..

130

I don't think there's really a clear definition of "not art". I think it happens when it offends or disgusts or bores enough people. Or if enough people use it to masturbate rather than nonsexually or technically appreciate? Michelangelo was particularly interesting to me when I was young and hormonal, but that's all still art, I think..

If you're asking "what is art" in an objective sense, it seems to be a question of popularity and culture. Individual people can find meaning in any constructed thing and validly call it "art", or find it uncomfortable or offensive and genuinely "not art". The difference between trash and art seems to be that art is appreciated.

131

Were men never sculpted with erect penises so that women wouldn't have sex with the art?

132

Philophile, @131

Perhaps they didn't want to scare the women … or the horses!

133

CMDwannabe @ 124, thanks you; I've not heard of the film or the director, and now I'm off to investigate. I haven't had enough exposure to Yugoslav film to to venture a real opinion, but it's not the first time I've watched something and thought, they are really not afraid to push things to the limit.

Time will tell whether I get myself a t-shirt made with the Rubenenko Brothers slogan on it... I laughed myself sore. I think adding a big huge picture of an orange could possibly make it even more filthy.

134

I don't think any construction or anything in the universe has objective value, people create our own value. A painting, or sculpture (or garden) is just a painting or a sculpture (or garden) until someone calls it art or trash. Always Sunny in Philly did a great episode about it..

135

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZl7nJXvpEI

136

Nocute @ 123, I've never heard that Katz's slogan before, and I love it. If we locked all these salami references in a room together, we'd end up with one righteously weird amalgam I think.

I'm glad to hear you went down that rabbit hole about art & nudes... I've spent a fair amount of time in there myself.

137

@131: Aha! I actually know something about this. Well, not about keeping women (or men) from having sex with the art, but about sculptural penises in the Western ancient world.

There are stone dildos. Presumably, they were used in fertility rituals of some sort, and presumably at least some were inserted into women--likely sacred prostitutes or cult prostitutes.

You've probably noticed how disproportionately small the penises on Greek and Roman statues are (this extends to Renaissance sculpture, which was influenced by the Greeks, so your David's dick is also unrealistically small--and his hands are disproportionately large, because Michelangelo wanted to emphasize the weapons that brought Goliath down). This is intentional: to the Greeks, a large penis was animalistic, and since the rationality of man was paramount, it was important that men be depicted as being "above" sex in a way. So regardless of what an actual man might really want for sexual purposes (and I'm sure that, humans being humans, a big erect penis was desirable to a lot of people), the ideal man was represented as having modest muscles, rather than bulging ones, and a small, always flaccid penis.

But there absolutely were sculptures of men with large, erect dicks. These were satyrs, figures associated with drunkenness, revelry, sexual hijinks, and all-around bawdiness and crude humor. The Greeks had satyr plays, which were older than the more sophisticated tragedies and comedies we think of as Greek drama, and even in the golden age of Greek drama, the main play was often preceded by a satyr play, sort of like the way, 40 years ago, most movies were double features, with a "B" movie playing before the main one. Satyr plays were shorter and earthier--lots of fart jokes and lots of slapstick, including mimed sex--but I'm not sure what purpose they served by that time. I'm not sure I even know any of the satyr plays' authors by name, which means either that they were considered not to be art worthy of claiming, or if the names of the authors are unknown to us, or just to me!

138

Satyr sculpture images for your enjoyment: https://www.google.com/search?q=satyr+statue&sxsrf=ALeKk03Nkq0rCZa4xeFxeyt_2pntgeUlpg:1600007328800&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=MeT046rgWtE0NM%252CJs_0rTOyYhmCyM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRq92koTzcRlT74ZX6hinzkC6hyoA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwitj-Ljq-brAhVOHqwKHdR6A-AQ9QF6BAgKEGE&biw=1415&bih=655#imgrc=MeT046rgWtE0NM

139

I tried to link to an image of some satyr sculptures, but was unable to. Just do a google image search for satyr or satyr sculpture and you'll see a bunch. You'll also note, that the satyr is a goat-man (Pan, and sometimes Bacchus is one, too), so he's perpetually horny. And who knows: maybe someone did try to have sex with one of these sculptures!

140

Oh, good satyrs! I can add to the wealth a search for images of penis art in the Getty collection: https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/penis-statue?mediatype=photography&page=2&phrase=penis%20statue&sort=mostpopular

I don't think a full figure statue with an erect penis would make a very good sex toy for a variety of logistical reasons... ow.

141

@140: a lot of the sculptures are small enough to be held in the hand . . .

142

@141 oh yes, those for sure. But even if Praxiteles had set a fashion for erections, making it work with a life-sized sculpture sounds awkward.

143

I can recall times when a woman giving me a blowjob reached up, grabbed one of my hands and placed it on the back of her head. No words spoken but the request clearly communicated all the same. Quite exciting! And with such an invitation comes great responsibility; to be sensitive to her respiration and comfort level and respond immediately to any gestures that ask for easing up.

144

Phi @117: "I learned that you're only really ready to have sex when you're able to talk about it."

I learned that some people don't want to talk about sex, or at least the minutiae of sex. When I dated my first submissive girlfriend, I asked her what she'd like me to do to her. She was flummoxed and upset, and said "I hate it when you ask me that. Just do what you want."

A submissive woman engaging in sex with a persona such as the one that Dadddy brings - dominant, masculine, vaguely threatening - is likely to be just such a woman. It's not difficult to read.

146

Regardless of penis size many classic male statues were mutilated due to cultural restraints at some point. Plenty are still on display in museums throughout Europe.
Artsy European films, on the other hand, didn’t have a problem with male frontal nudity.

In “Sweet movie,” which I mentioned earlier, one can see close up of a gold-painted one peeing, shocking the screaming virgin bride while family members and a band are cheering outside, assuming a more traditional act is taking place.
A free link to the full film can be viewed here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWMbdB6Ab5s
and the golden shower can be found at 21:38, followed by helicopter shots of Niagara Falls.

There’s an especially hilarious penis-related scene in another Makavejev’s shot few years later, “Montenegro.”
Set in Sweden, we follow a bored US-born housewife who ends up in a make-shift community of Yugoslav immigrants. Opening night of the local bar, named “Zanzi Bar,” includes a stripping act where the performer is interacting with a plastic penis mounted on a remote-control car toy.

I regard “Montenegro” as his best film, as well as one of my all time favorites, yet can’t find a link to the entire movie. Some scenes can be viewed on different sites, but none include the one I'm talking about.
Australians and others may recall the director’s watered-down commercial success “The Coca Cola Kid.”

147

Fubar @ 144
Coming from a sub POV I can see the allure to interact with an aggressive, assertive person. I wouldn't rule out surprises, though I’d still be cautious and make sure that general play boundaries and preferences are discussed in advance. Play menu may extend once trust has been built during the first session or two.

Some may prefer skipping the conversation, yet this is not universal and needs to be brought up even if that’s the case. In a way you and the mentioned partner did just that, tough I would have delivered the “do what you want” in a more cheerful, inviting manner. Her getting upset was a sign of bad communication skills on her side, though the hope of getting punished for demonstrating a punihsable attitude could be an intentional or subconscious attempt to achieve just that.

148

Dadddy @ 145
Speaking of subconsciousness, it’s possible that some fellow Savagistas get the feeling that claiming domism in your case is also an attempt to brush aside assholism.

149

@148 CMD: The funny thing to me is that the people who think that get kinda asshole-y about it themselves, and act like they know more about his sex life than he does, based on that feeling, when they don't actually know him or anyone he's slept with.

It's fair to point out that people sometimes misunderstand sexual moments! But point it out in the generic. I personally think it's a bit silly for anyone here to tell anyone else that they (person one) have a better feeling about what might have gone on in some sexual act from their (person two) life, given, ya know, they (person one) /weren't there./ >.<

Verbal communication is great, when you can get it, and when both people are comfortable with it. And it should be attempted. But it's not a panacea: lots of people aren't comfortable with it, as fubar points out; unlike Philo, I don't think this means they shouldn't have sex. And even with verbal communication, misunderstandings can happen. People think things mean different things. So I am all for verbal communication, but don't let that make you ignore all the nonverbal stuff. The whole picture is important.

As for me, I think I've never once practiced verbal consent in my sex life. Not in the "May I kiss you now?", "May I do x?" way that people talk about here. I've had occasion, when I wanted something that might be surprising, to say, "You can do x if you like." But in 99% of cases, the sex I've had happened without that type of talk.

Now are people going to hop on and tell me I may well have traumatized partners because I wasn't more verbally explicit in my sex life? Or is that message just for guys?

sigh

150

Revision to myself @149: There has always been explicit verbal consent before anal sex, and before a couple other farther-from-the-center actions. I revise my number from 99% to 80%.

151

CMD@146

Thanks for the memories of Montenegro which I saw at the Toronto Film Festival where the director was a fan fave, with his flamingo jewelled pin on his lapel. And, for the record, it wasn't a "car toy", it was a toy bank, complete with treads, IIRC, the dildo was attached to a thrusting device. Oh, fun memories.

152

ciods @ 149, 150
My observation goes beyond this thread to include different posts and interactions.
As for this thread…You mentioned practicing “explicit verbal consent” prior to “farther-from-the-center actions.” Please be aware that D/s often fall in that farther category.

Verbal communication may not work for everyone and that’s fine. But brushing it aside and putting down the need to do so, let alone when engaged in a broad spectrum of extra curriculum activities, seems a bit odd.

153

CMD @152: The specific act under discussion here is Dadddy placing his hand gently on a woman's throat. It's just about the most vanilla D/s move I could come up with. It's barely a hint at the trouble that could be in store for the right woman.

I find it hard to believe that anyone who might be traumatized by such a move would find themselves under Dadddy. It is possible though. I once had an afternoon date with a woman who later wrote me a note, warning me that my having placed my hand on her shoulder whilst saying goodbye was a boundary violation: I should have acquired consent before any kind of physical contact whatsoever.

154

CMD: I don't think anyone's brushing aside verbal communication--at least, I certainly don't mean to. And up-board even Dadddy said verbalizations is good for something like choking. I just think it's problematic to act like (a) verbal communication will solve all your sexual problems and (b) there's no other way to be sure of a partner; both of which it sort of feels like this thread is implying. Your statement: "Verbal communication may not work for everyone and that’s fine" is a good one (as are statements that it's good to try it) but it seems like a lot of people here don't agree.

I get a bit touchy because the one assault-adjacent experience I've had contained plenty of verbalizations, so I know for a fact (a) isn't true. And I dislike the implication (which seems to me equally dangerous) that people have to rely on words because other communications are unreliable. SO ARE WORDS. People say things they don't mean, agree to things they don't want, don't really know what they want, know what they want but can't describe it, etc. If both people mean well, then it's important they watch all the different communication channels, if that makes sense.

And I just...I dunno, I feel odd that everyone now is acting like the way the vast majority of us conducted and still conduct our sex lives--i.e., with body language, not verbal language--is so problematic. Maybe I'm just an old fogey anymore.

And CMD, I wasn't referring to you when I mentioned what I felt were asshole-sih behaviors on this board. I realize that wasn't clear. Please do accept my apologies for my tone this week; I'm on edge because of a nearby fire.

I have had new sex partners put their hands (lightly) on/around my throat during sex. But in each case, the man in question had already made it clear to me that he was aggressive or dominant in bed, so it was not a surprise. I don't consider myself strongly one way or the other, but I'm lightly submissive, so I was up for sex with them and I enjoyed it. If I were not into anything in that category, I never would have slept with them. If I were not into that in particular, I would have said so the minute it happened, and unless they acted like a real asshole at that moment, we would have smoothly moved on.

I don't know what's going on with this LW. If people are really just doing this out of the blue, in a way that isn't easily walk-back-able, that's worrying.

155

@fubar @153: "I once had an afternoon date with a woman who later wrote me a note, warning me that my having placed my hand on her shoulder whilst saying goodbye was a boundary violation: I should have acquired consent before any kind of physical contact whatsoever."

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.
I really don't think we should be encouraging this sort of ridiculousness. Maybe that's why I overreact at threads like this...

156

No Cute Name, I think you are amazing, thank you!

I think a statue would work. I'd want the hands down by its balls if it was standing up.. It couldn't back me into the wall to add stability.. but stone has it's own stability.. A sitting man with an erect penis would be a really artistic sculpture lol.

157

"If you can't talk about sex, you're not ready to have it"

Fubar, I understand that technically, you can have sex without being able to talk about it, or go into a store to buy condoms, or even without moving, completely passively, even without consent! But if you're saying it is good to have a lover who can't talk about sex, you haven't chosen a very good story. It sounds pretty uncomfortable to have a partner freak out on you because you're curious about her sexuality. I think I'd feel a bit scared, probably too much to continue, and as a guy you must be more afraid of having your partner judge a bad mistake as an intentional offense and cry sex assault. I'm more used to guys who deflect or are just not very verbal and it might block our intimacy but doesn't hurt me much, like if your ex had just said "what do you want to do to me?".. but one recent one bottled up bad feelings and used it as an excuse to hurt me and blow up at me later, when I thought I was doing what he said he liked. It sounds much worse than your story, that's probably why it seems like a bigger danger to me when someone isn't able to talk about sex well. And I wasn't doing anything kinky at all. I guess I had the idea that kink was safer because there's a stronger emphasis on discussing desires and limits frankly beforehand because I read it in this column.

I guess I don't feel bad requiring that my lovers can talk about their desires and limits and our sex because I think anyone can learn to do it. Maybe I'm wrong. But.. people don't like to go to the store and buy condoms and rather freeze with embarrassment at first, but they learn if you require them to learn, being verbal about your own sex and sexuality seems to work the same way. I went out with a guy in my 30s who had a thing for talking in bed, it felt embarrassing at first but I had a great time with him, it was really nice to hear how he talked about what we were doing, like another dimension of sex, and I tried to return the favor. I'm glad that I believed that I shouldn't have sex until I could visit a gynecologist and talk about it with the doctor and my boyfriend outside of bed. To each their own.

I don't care that Dadddy likes to put his hand on women's necks, because he's not trying to put his hand on mine. I do care that Dadddy argues against talking about sex with the reasoning that "spontaneity and unpredictability" make sex great. And says that people who want to talk about sex are dumb or undesirable (wtf are we doing here?). And that caution is selfish. Like, those quotes in 103.

Dadddy, I'm sorry you missed the parts about soliciting nonverbal feedback and the dangers of misinterpreting nonverbal feedback when having perfectly possible nonverbal sex. I guess I'll quit if it's unappreciated. If you think your point was not heard and it's important, you could choose to try saying it more clearly and concisely.

Ciods, Dadddy started off talking about neck holding as a way to nonverbally explore choking space.. But I don't think we should be dating people and slowly trying to figure out if they might let us choke them, I think that if we have a dangerous or even very uncommon sex desire, it's more important to get used to talking about it. He also said not to actually choke someone without verbal permission, but that nonverbal communication is simple, and overconfidence and misunderstanding are characteristics of unintelligent people, he's gone back and forth about the value of talking about sex. I don't think that anyone suggested asking permission for every single move, except for you and NoCute and Fubar. Why do you think this thread is implying that verbal communication solves everything, or that nonverbal communication is also valuable? Because Dadddy is arguing against the latter to BDF and I who didn't even say it? I don't think that Fubar's ex was ready to have sex if she couldn't talk about her desires and limits, though I'm fine agreeing to disagree, it is a personal standard. Maybe it was a local cliche, it seems CMD and I agree, and I thought Dan wrote it before, while you and Fubar and Dadddy disagree.. so idk.

158

Philo @115 and @117, exactly this. I don't know what the resistance is to the idea that non-verbal communication may work most of the time, but verbal communication can bring that closer to all of the time? Fantasy world, this is advice world, and the whole point of advice is to improve things. If "just keep doing what you've been doing" were effective, no advice would have been sought. I completely agree that if one is not mature enough to discuss sex, one should not be having it, advice that is not invalidated by the fact that plenty do anyway. Many don't bother to wear masks or seatbelts (or condoms) but that doesn't negate the fact that they are best practice.

Fubar @144, like consensual non-consent, that sounds to me like verbalised non-verbality. You had a conversation in which she told you that she wants you to surprise her, to take control, correct? Very much unlike the woman in this letter. I would say that conversation qualifies as the verbal communication necessary to establish your dynamic. I would also hope that she grew to appreciate the value of at least some discussion of preferences, as she got more experience and discovered what she likes and dislikes.

Dadddy @145, I'm not attacking you for bringing up non-verbal communication. On that point, it is indeed what most people rely on so it hardly needs a recommendation, correct? What I'm attacking you for is your attitude that you're so much smarter than any other guy out there that you can blow off all these comments, mainly from women, about our experience with men whose failure to get explicit verbal consent has resulted in unpleasant and downright scary experiences for them. The idea that you have nothing to learn from this column, unlike everybody else here. Eye roll.

CMD @147: "I would have delivered the “do what you want” in a more cheerful, inviting manner. Her getting upset was a sign of bad communication skills on her side." Yes, exactly. Why should communicating her preference for letting someone else run the fuck be upsetting? As above, I hope she became more mature with experience and that she needs to express that preference, since it is not universal, and that this conversation need not be upsetting to either party.

Ciods @150, presuming a varied sex life, 80% does sound about right. We are indeed talking about "farther-from-the-centre acts," with the explicit example of choking. In this context I am happy to see you agreeing that these need some words to establish consent, at least until a couple is familiar enough with each other that they know what is welcome and how to non-verbally signal it.

Fubar @153, and with that note, she verbally communicated that she was not right for you. Yay words!

Ciods @154, good point that some people ignore both verbal and non-verbal communication, or say things they don't mean. Implicit in the recommendation of communication is effective communication; implicit in the recommendation of verbal communication is that non-verbal communication has not worked, or that the consequences of it failing to work are serious.
"I have had new sex partners put their hands (lightly) on/around my throat during sex. But in each case, the man in question had already made it clear to me that he was aggressive or dominant in bed, so it was not a surprise." Exactly; you had already communicated that dynamic and consented to it. That is not the case in this letter, and I'm not sure why so many apples are being tossed at that particular orange. If someone has communicated that they want to dominate you, it's possible that they may dominate you by putting their hand on your throat, and if you don't want that you use a safeword. Communication has happened. This is all Dan (and I) are saying should be the case.

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@131 Philophile: Oh, no--now I can't shake off a particularly scary image of Michelangelo's David!

160

Ms Cute - Perhaps Art, similar to History (and like Literature), is decreed by the winners. We just have to keep the Hyacinth Buckets of the world off the committee.

Ms Ods - I could say that t-r-a-u-m-a-t-i-z-i-n-g is an unusual was to spell empowerment, but I won't.

161

You want to know why so many young men choke women without their consent? Because assholes like Dan Savage write article after article about how great porn is and how sexy domination can be! It's wild that he doesn't understand his role in the culture developing this way. Feminists always predicted that the "no desire is bad, porn rocks, power dynamics are fun to get off to" approach to sex would just embolden abusive and shitty men to hurt women for a thrill. Now we're at the point where you're encouraging women to literally preemptively explain that they don't want to be choked and you don't wonder if maybe you were a little too gung-ho about the whole "sexual liberation" thing? Jesus Christ.

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Jonahtwix @161: Go have a wank. You'll feel much better.

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Raindrop @ 161
As Dr. Herbenick was saying, “In a country where porn stands in for sex education and family conversations about sex, some young people do what they see in porn."
I wouldn’t call it an endorsement.

I checked out ”jonahmix” other posts from few years back and wonder if the constant waving of the feminist card is done in order to outleft the lefties. I suspect the last two words in the current jonah’s, as seen above, allude to the real affiliation.

Sadly, avoiding sex talk of any kind has a long history in this country. Things got significantly worse when a deadly sexually-transmitted epidemic was raging in the 80’s. Then president wouldn’t even mention it because, as you phrased it in your so easily forgiving defense on a different Stranger thread, “he was immensely uncomfortable talking about it.”
He was still comfortable joking about it though, “Maybe we should send Qaddafi to San Francisco,” as well as teaming up with the Christian right and ensuring the republican party will only nominate candidates who are anti-abortion, or at the very least declare they are.

Here in Washington state the takeover was visible shortly after when the state republican party presidential nominee in 1988 was tv evangelist Pat Robertson.
In 1996 the party’s candidate for governor was a Christian fanatic named Ellen Craswell. (A young sex adviser attended her election night party; his lively account got my attention and I still read his stuff to this day. We don’t always agree, but I think all and all he has done a great job educating the public on many issues.)

Few months ago, the state house was about to pass a comprehensive sex-ed bill to be taught in our public schools’ system. Republican legislators attempted to derail it by stalling as well as go up to the mic one by one to discuss various sex acts and p/references in order to shame I’m not sure whom, and attempting to ridicule anything remotely viewed as sex ed.
Those people are your real enemy.

(Disclaimer: I seriously doubt it’s you, raindrop, yet couldn’t pass the opportunity)

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Dadddy @164, it does no good to say "if you're not an idiot, you can rely on non-verbal communication" because nobody thinks of themself as an idiot and a fuckton of men (and women, but it's men who are in the hot seat this time) get non-verbal communication wrong, including the two in this woman's letter, who I would bet money do not consider themselves idiots. Your ideas are getting so much pushback because they are dangerous. The situation in L1 could have been resolved with verbal communication, but you're arguing against verbal communication. Why? Because you have an agenda. Because you feel that you, personally, are under attack. Again, why? If nobody has come back to you after sex and said, "Please don't ever do that again, it made me extremely uncomfortable," then you are not the target market for advice to improve communication by using actual words. If you are able to establish consent by establishing yourself as a Dom and weeding out any women who wouldn't be into that, then again, communication around consent has been established and no change is necessary. But your defensiveness around this topic indicates to me that deep down you do have your doubts about these non-verbal communication skills you think you're so good at. Lastly, nobody was ever saying to only use words and never cast someone a flirtatious eye or gently move someone's hand where they want it to be. On the contrary, most commenters accept that non-verbal communication happens and is useful much of the time. In fact, most of us rely on it expecting it to work. But it didn't for L1, and it hasn't for most of us on this thread at various times. So she has to do something different and she has to retrain her brain to work in that way. I don't know why that's difficult for a non-idiot like yourself to grasp.

Glad you've learned something from @105, hope you've learned something from @99 too.

Dadddy @166, the "gradual creep manuever" used to be known as Russian hands and Roman fingers. Physical seduction is another better phrase that does not involve the word creep, since it's only creepy if non-consensual.

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@84. Fubar. I think the ground rules of BDSM should be mainstreamed so as to form part of sex ed for young people before they've started to have sex--Sane, Safe, Consensual; don't be ashamed of what you want; be explicit about what you want; negotiate it. It's the rational next step after no longer reprobating some sex acts e.g. any gay sex because they're disgusting.

@85. venn. But do you like, or did you like, grouping, sex in dungeons or bathhouses? Perhaps the distinction between those who like the voyeurism, exhibitionism, chance slight encounters, and those who don't is as sharp and categorical as the gay/straight distinction.

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@98. Bi. 'I read the second time was a different guy'. You did? Did everyone? (It may be I've gotten the basic situation wrong).

@87. Dadddy. There's a basic point where I agree with you--that enthusiastic consent can be nonverbal.

But, speaking in the most generic terms, I don't see why someone pulling a move during sex can't ask, even by moving their hands suggestively and saying 'hmmm?' or 'OK?', then (esp. if the asking has been minimal) checking back--e.g. 'all right?'. In my experience, this doesn't kill the vibe. Further, you're talking about D/s with well-defined acts, routines, gender roles (defined, in most people's minds, before sex starts). There is much less clarity in lots of gay and queer sex, sex with nonormative bodies, over who will do what to whom, and indeed over what it would be vanilla or expected to do. An example might be I might like spontaneously or thoughtlessly to finger a new lover's ass--but there's no good way I could do that, either grouping or in private, without negotiation. It might not be welcome; it could be wrong in some settings for someone and right in others; it could lead to someone believing I would be doing things later, like taking a more top-py role, that I didn't want to, and my disappointing or angering my sex partner.

Painstaking verbal communication has to be the norm for someone like me wanting to have any kind of exploratory sex life (maybe just outwith my longstanding partner).

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@104. Savage. So, in some contexts, a man jettisons his sexy image as a dominant, decisive, go-for-it lover by asking...? By ... speaking? I'd have to think a paradigm shift would be welcome--and it seems to be happening....

@105. alphabanty. Yes--excellent illustrative story.

@107. Dadddy. Men who find it hard to speak up need to learn--more than most--to speak up. I don't doubt that you and your partners learnt between you how to have hot, not-overscripted sex; but that remark did you no favors. 'Proceed directly, and wordlessly, like a mummer, to the garrote'.

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@148. CMD. Dadddy is the opposite of an asshole. He's always compassionate, thoughtful and substantive in any matter that has nothing to do with the hows of fucking (like emotional incompatibility in a marriage, the pain of breakup, the fear of missing out or not realising your best self, raising kids mindfully and so on...). This would come over more if there was more life advice, not just sex advice, on this page.

I think he's an easy misread for some ciswomen who confound his sexual style with the rather ghastly whole-life stereotype of the man who often has his sexual style.

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@152. CMD. As far as I know, Dadddy is not talking about the kind of D/s where there's any switchiness in the relationship of two people. The Dom's always Domming. Nor is there a dungeon. This reduces the scope for any activities or roleplay that might require the prior ascertaining, in the most explicit way, of boundaries.

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Bi @167: I understand the point you are making here, and I can't decide if I agree or not.

I've been thinking a lot about why this particular comment thread got me all riled up--given I really have nothing against verbal communication--and I keep landing on different answers, so I must not completely understand it yet. But one idea that keeps coming around is that I feel like our current society is moving farther and farther away from acknowledging or working to understand nuance. A move towards a simplistic view has been happening politically for decades, with sound-bite-driven campaigns, and so on; it was a big part of the war on drugs (remember those ads that implied smoking weed would cause you to gleefully murder someone because you'd forget guns were for real?), where we decided we have to paint all drug use with one brush; and now it seems to be happening in our attitudes towards interpersonal relationships and sex, as well.

But the thing is, all those things--all important things in life--are heavily nuanced, and pretending they aren't hasn't (to my mind) helped at all. And the argument seems to be: we have to make this simple when we explain it, because so many people are idiots that we can't rely on them to do the right thing otherwise. I find this sad and problematic for two reasons: I don't think that many people are actually that level of idiot (although they can get that way if you treat them like that for long enough, cf FOX viewers); and in any case, I don't think the true idiots are listening to the conversation anyway. I feel, in other words, like we're preaching to a group that isn't even in the damn church. And I'd much rather talk to the people who are here--none of whom I think are severe idiots.

As that relates to this letter--maybe the guy(s) who put their hands on this woman's neck without consent, explicitly verbal or non-explicit--maybe he just didn't know that wasn't okay. And so this comment thread might be an eye-opener, assuming he's reading it, which he certainly isn't. Or maybe he's a genuine asshole who really just didn't care what she wanted or liked. Those people exist, and I am not sure they're that uncommon (among both sexes), and I don't think discussions like this affect them /at all/.

But I do think that we miss an opportunity to teach people that shit is nuanced, and there is no one guaranteed way to make sure things go well. You have to pay attention on all the channels.

Venn @160: Generally I love your oblique comments, but in this case I genuinely have no idea what you are talking about. No one here is advocating for trauma, nor has the topic of empowerment come up at all.

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A point I think no one else has made is that effective nonverbal communication for sex is perhaps very like verbal communication (not UN-like it). Someone stroking their lover's clavicle, and in a conscious semaphored retractable way, moving 'his' hands to their neck while saying 'hmmm?', 'yes?', may grade into saying, 'may I touch your neck?', 'may I press your neck?', in the act, and into asking whether a new lover is into breathplay beforehand.

And even if you've ascertained that 'she's' into breathplay, say, two days before, it's still advisable to run through the quasi-verbalised nonverbal consent.

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Ms Ods - You were speculating on whether your conduct in certain instances might be interpreted as traumatizing; I was saying there was potential for its being called empowering.
xxx
M?? Harriet - I think there are likely a great many more of those A/B distinctions - recalling to mind how they devised the final round of the MTV dating programme Singled Out. It's often particularly the case in tennis, which may be in part why Mr Djokovic has found it so hard to gain traction in trying to win over hearts and minds.

176

I liked Djokovic, till this year when he’s behaved like a tool.
Sending love to all affected by these horrible fires. Our earth is telling us to change.

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He has lots of fans in Australia, Mr Venn. He did have, in January, when he won our Open. That seems ions ago now.

180

Griz, I'm sorry! I hope you can imagine a David that is really sexy to you instead!

Dadddy, "I'm advocating both verbal and nonverbal communication."
I'm advocating that we teach both verbal and nonverbal communication, I think of them as some of the tools in my toolbox for sex, they are both sex skills/techniques. Dirty talking and phone sex are not inferior parts of having sex, they are not inherently frightening or impossible to learn, they are just different. I think it's wrong to discourage someone from learning either verbal or nonverbal tools, and this is where we seem to disagree, because you have discouraged talking about sex often on this thread.

"(If you're not an idiot) it's possible to safely explore this [choking] space nonverbally during sex"
"Even if you and your partner hired a team of lawyers to outline what is and isn't allowed during sex, there's no guarantee you are going to actually enjoy the things you agreed to. I think a good lover pays attention to his partner's reactions rather than disappearing inside his head and putting it on her to tell him what is and isn't working."
I think it's important to bring up choking verbally before trying to explore it physically, we disagree there, I think.. Sometimes you say you'd get verbal permission first, but I'm worried it would be suddenly in the moment like Harriet suggested, as if you are trying to use your lover's horniness to tempt them to do risky things/break their own limits/agree to things they would never agree to while calm or sober.. And I think that's ethically shoddy consent. I don't think I'm an idiot if I mistake my partner's tensing or moaning or stillness wrongly as pleasure or pain, because some people are harder to read than others, it just means I need to use other tools of nonverbal communication like to more often look at their eyes or pause or use verbal tools to check in, "do you like it when I ...". And I've felt grateful to the man who told me that he was relieved to hear it was great for me because he wasn't sure whether I was feeling really good or in pain from my expression, I didn't think he was an idiot, we disagree there, too. That recent ex who got angry when I thought I was doing what he said he liked.. he also thought I was responsible for figuring out what he wanted without having to tell me, he'd get angry if I guessed wrong and accuse me of being a bad lover on purpose, he always wanted more, and the more he wanted, the less I guessed correctly, and the angrier he got. So I don't really want to hold anyone responsible for guessing my preferences and be like him. Also I don't think I'm a judge or jury or have any authority to enforce how anyone else has sex except for myself, I disagree that I can tell people what they are allowed to do, I can only talk about what I think would help and what I would do and what I've done, and my opinions and experiences are just as valid as anyone else's. I disagree that nonverbal communication is more clear than verbal communication (although it's also easier to verbally fake it or lie, I think talking is more precise but perhaps less accurate). Hopefully it's clear what we disagree about now.

I mean, you can still keep arguing that nonverbal sex is ok, even though no one is disagreeing with you, rather than engaging with any of my actual words. Maybe it makes you feel better?

Harriet, Why do you think it's more important to talk about equipment or dungeon play than choking, slapping, fisting, spitting, put downs, anal play, pee play, etc?

Ciods, I didn't think I was preaching my opinion. I disagree with some here and think that verbal communication is ethically necessary for dangerous and even very uncommon sex, and the ability to civilly discuss your own sex and sex preferences in general is ethically necessary, so that you are less likely to hurt your sex partners and yourself. I realize lots of people have sex without being able to discuss it civilly, and nonverbally initiate dangerous sex that still satisfies both people, but I would still not call that ethically good sex. Do you agree that my opinion is just as valid as yours, or can you explain why you find my opinion to be 'preachy'? If you're disturbed by something on this thread, you could try to identify which words you found disturbing, and then try to write a response to those words? I can't figure out what you're complaining about, what nuance you think is being neglected, something here seems to be disturbing you, though. And I often find your posts to be insightful, so maybe it's important. And it's possible you traumatized some partners if you asked them if you could press down on their neck during sex, or did it without asking, even if it appeared to go ok.. although it was more likely you hurt them if they distanced themselves afterward.. and I would not call that behavior empowering.

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@Philo @180: My statement about preaching to people who aren't even in the church was meant as a variation on the common cliche "preaching to the choir," namely, a statement about who exactly we are talking to here, not as a statement that anyone was actually being preachy. I'm sorry if that was confusing.

I am sorry I keep being so unclear. I will try one more time, with a few short statements to start, including: I think verbal communication is great, and a good thing for everyone to be capable of.

My counterpoints, I guess, would be first, that I don't think it is always necessary, even for new/borderline actions, because I think many people can communicate clearly without it; and second, I don't think it automatically trumps nonverbal communication.

To the second point: we're all familiar with the despicable trope of "Her words said no, but her body said yes." Not good logic, right? To that I would add that it's not infrequent for people (esp., say, young women) to say yes with their words, but actually mean something closer to no. So I think the conclusion to draw is not that verbal trumps nonverbal, but that no trumps yes.

To the first point, your post at @180 makes the excellent point that other people's expressions/etc. can be very hard to read, esp. in sex when we do all sorts of unusual things :) and in that case, it's great to get verbal confirmation. But I also think for many people, there is a set of (nonverbal) actions/reactions which are pretty clear: rotating your hips against someone, types of moaning, pulling them closer to you, wrapping your legs around them, etc.; the set probably varies from couple to couple. I think for those people, it's fair to rely on that a lot of the time, even for new or slightly scary things. If a read goes wrong, or if either person was unsure, I would hope they would fall back to verbalizations. But I don't think that's necessarily for ethical sex. So I suppose I disagree with your sentence that when people "nonverbally initiate dangerous sex that still satisfies both people" it was nonetheless unethical. It seems to imply that the mutual satisfaction is based on some sort of luck, and couldn't possibly be based on good judgement of each other's body language, and to me that's not clearly the case. Could be either. :)

If it helps, it's not a strong disagree. Just a mild one.

As for this, in your comment to Dadddy: "Sometimes you say you'd get verbal permission first, but I'm worried it would be suddenly in the moment like Harriet suggested, as if you are trying to use your lover's horniness to tempt them to do risky things/break their own limits/agree to things they would never agree to while calm or sober."

To me, this reads as if what you fear is that he's an asshole. Trying to push someone past their agreed-to limits makes you an asshole. Fair enough! But in that case, the problem isn't the lack of words; it's that person one is an asshole. Do you see what I mean? Assholes who are sufficiently manipulative can probably get people to agree, verbally, to things they don't want to do. Does that make it okay? No. I am afraid I'm still not being clear here, but I'm trying to point out that using words doesn't mean a sexual situation is okay. Both people caring about each other's enjoyment and happiness is a better bet, if your goal is a positive experience. (And if you have that, then words can help, yes!)

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@169 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: WA-HOOOOOO!!!! Major congrats on scoring this week's Double Whammy Award honors (Lucky @69+ Big Hunsky @100= @169)! Savor the glory of double prizes and bask in the delightful riches. :)

@180 Philophile: No worries. I can always shift my gaze toward Brad Pitt. :)

183

Ciods, Thanks, that was more clear! It's funny, because I've thought that you and Dadddy have been preaching to the choir to say that nonverbal communication was important! I don't think of one tool as better than the other, they are just different. I don't think that verbal communication is more important than nonverbal, or that one trumps the other.

Lots of my beliefs assume that verbal communication can be more clear and unambiguous than nonverbal. I also assume that there are some abstract concepts which can only be communicated verbally, and that verbalizing emotions helps us to process those emotions. Perhaps we disagree about one of my axioms?

Just as we can't absolutely know if our partner is having fun or pretending, or we are mistaking pain for pleasure, we can't absolutely know if our partner really cares about our enjoyment or is just pretending (if they are an asshole). It's polite/common to start dating with the assumption they are not pretending assholes, and just dump them if we're ever proven wrong. That's another motivation to use verbal communication, to further explore whether my partner cares about my enjoyment or not, to establish reasonable trust.. or not.. (and to express my care for his enjoyment more clearly by encouraging it verbally, and to reassure him verbally that I'm having fun so he doesn't have to guess, or point out that it's not working if he can't guess from body language, or verbal check ins to make sure I'm reading his pleasure correctly if there's a much different response or he's new, and if I want to try something weird or dangerous** I talk about it before sex). I find it more clear to judge cruel or dishonest intentions when someone tries to persuade me to do dangerous or unwanted things with words rather than actions, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so they may be able to claim ignorance about my nonverbal "no" unless I punch them but they can't reasonably claim to mistake a verbal "no". If they pretend not to hear "hello? I said no!" then I run or do what I need in order to free myself to run.

Also, we seem to weight the possible pain of our lover differently, I'd need the extra reassurance of words before I'd really start feeling out diapers or nonmonogamy or choking, and you and Dadddy would prefer to try to introduce weird or dangerous things without using words**. Although perhaps you two think that it's safer to proceed purely nonverbally and you are being more cautious about not hurting your lover? I don't mind that we disagree! I like honesty a whole lot more than agreeableness. I was chafing at the vagueness, the confusion and misunderstandings. I appreciate your help. Also.. I don't think it matters how many tools you have in your toolbox, you can still use them ineffectively, or have to make new tools to handle a particularly weird problem, there are no guarantees. We seem to agree there. I'm more surprised we agree so often than that we don't agree about everything.. I would like to understand where we disagree though, and I have a better idea now, thank you. Also I'm sorry, other people were starting to call some opinions here preaching, not you, my bad. I do like to think about this comment thread as a discussion rather than a sermon, though. I guess I could worship at the church of Dan a bit if this grew into a true cult idk..

Ironically, I'd judge Fubar's bad date to have neglected to use her own words effectively, she could learn to say "that makes me uncomfortable" when someone touches her in a way she dislikes, and given him points when he immediately removed his hand and apologized. But she held Fubar responsible for all the talking instead of expanding her toolbox. Blaming other people for our anger/disappointment/frustration/pain stunts growth. Is that last sentence preachy to say? It's a fairly tentative conclusion I was putting out there to see if someone could poke a logical hole in it..

**Weird=Non vanilla things that many people have said they disliked, unless it's firmly established that the partner likes it.. When a guy says he likes a bit of pain with his sex, or that he likes his butt played with, I feel free to smack his butt and grab it harder, and hope he feels free to tell me if I misunderstood.
Dangerous=things which are reasonably more likely to cause physical harm than vanilla sex

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@175. venn. What do you mean about Novak Djokovic? That the people who don't like him can always find another binarism to justify why they don't like him? I've always really admired him, his comportment, his athleticism on court--and this is coming from someone with grave doubts about Serbian nationalism, or who finds the mainstream of Serbian self-understanding delusional.

@180. Philophile. You're right--it's not more important to talk over potentially group activities than the forms of sex you mentioned. I thought that there was more likely to be a well-established two-person interpersonal dynamic governing whether or not e.g. slapping was acceptable in the kind of sex Dadddy was talking about--but that's not a given; and part of what I was saying, anyway, was that with many partners you would probably to do well to ask, to secure explicit consent, whatever your ground rules, for some acts.

185

@Philo @183: I think we agree maybe more than we thought. Thanks for also taking the time to clarify.

My only additional comment, about this:
"I'd need the extra reassurance of words before I'd really start feeling out diapers or nonmonogamy or choking, and you and Dadddy would prefer to try to introduce weird or dangerous things without using words**."

I think maybe he and I are making the assumption (probably not true for everyone, but maybe true for some types?) that certain actions--e.g., a hand near/on the throat--are okay to explore nonverbally once they sit within a larger context that's already been established. And that even that larger context can happen nonverbally, or in verbal but indirect ways. But that means in a larger sense I agree that doing things like that totally out of the blue would be a problem.

I can't imagine how one would even go about diapers or non-monogamy without talking!

About this: "Lots of my beliefs assume that verbal communication can be more clear and unambiguous than nonverbal. I also assume that there are some abstract concepts which can only be communicated verbally, and that verbalizing emotions helps us to process those emotions. Perhaps we disagree about one of my axioms?"

I think I agree with this 90%, if one can quantify that sort of thing. My 10% goes something like this: rational brains are great at lying to us; that's what they do most of the time. Without a lot of good will (towards self and others) and a lot of practice, it's completely easy to, for instance, assign responsibility for a mood you're in to one thing when it's actually about something else, or to misjudge the source of an emotional reaction in some way. (Just as the most basic example, think how common it is to have person one ask if person two is okay, and have them say they're fine, when they clearly aren't. Maybe they know what's wrong and they're being passive-aggressive; maybe they don't even know themselves, consciously, what's wrong.) I think it's good for people to practice and be as self-reflective and aware as possible; I also think most people just don't do that at all. So I get slightly hesitant when people (seem to me to) imply that verbalizing things clarifies them. Maybe? If you're lucky? It can also muddy waters, though. (Although that's totally true of nonverbal stuff, too, so here I'm not saying either is better, I'm saying don't assume either is perfect.)

"Blaming other people for our anger/disappointment/frustration/pain stunts growth. Is that last sentence preachy to say?"

Maybe, but it's true nonetheless.

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Ciods, I'm glad you expanded on the clarity of talking. Because I think actions are more important than words, animals get by fine without words, and that seems a lot more natural or comfortable than online relationships conducted entirely with words devoid of nonverbal communication. I was using precise in the sense that everyone has the same dictionary, so our stated motivations are less ambiguous than our actions which are devoid of information about why we want what we are doing..

"a hand near/on the throat--are okay to explore nonverbally once they sit within a larger context that's already been established."
Unless it's been established verbally that this is being done by a partner who wants to progress to choking, this isn't a good way to feel out choking, in my opinion. I don't think that many people would consent to choking if they were given the choice in a relaxed environment, especially with a newish partner. If they've already said they'd be ok with some breath play and it's within their limits to hold or press down on their neck, then that could be fine foreplay for choking. I think that creeping slowly, as in your example, toward choking, was probably the guys' mistake in the first letter, so she needs to be more proactive if she's attracting those sorts of guys. She could ask up front as soon as they start flirting about going to bed if they are into choking, and dump them if they are, to make sure she doesn't get surprised with it in bed again. If they just asked up front, then she wouldn't have to preemptively ask, herself, to avoid a bad time.

I'm not sure you're saying that you'd try that on a lover, maybe you'd just accept that sort of 'accident' from a lover, who creeped into choking space slowly but hurt you or made you uncomfortable with it, more through negligence than malice? The only reason we were talking about this move was as a way to slowly explore choking space, correct? Because if the neck is not ever going to be asked or attempted to be choked, then covering the throat gently without pressure, or pressing on the safe massage parts of the neck seems fine or likely pleasant touch. But as a precursor to a dangerous sex act? No. We might have a different regard for safety of our partners, or a disagreement of what is safe or reasonably cautious.. I can argue the latter but the former is just preference.