Savage Love

Direct Messages



Woohoo FIRST!!


What was in the first letter?!?


First letter was quite moving. Nice response from Dan. I have to wonder why her husband left that note with his lawyer. Maybe he had a potentially dangerous hobby, like skydiving, which made him think to make preparations? Or maybe he was just that prepared and considerate that he left a note on the off chance he might die accidentally? Anyway, LW, it sounds like you and your husband shared a great love, and I am sorry for your loss and your complicated grief.


I thought the headlines about Cal Cunningham were BS, too. That's not sexting, that's just flirting or something. Lamest sex scandal ever.


And now for some finicky little caveats to Dan’s generally solid advice this week. LW1, Dan is right, your discovery doesn’t mean your marriage was a lie. But you do have every right to be angry at your husband for sharing explicit selfies with hundreds (!) of people, while in a monogamous relationship, without his partner’s knowledge. I vote for a reaction somewhere between “my marriage was a lie” and “my husband was just a big ole’ imperfect lug.” It may help to think about it as a compulsion he was managing, rather than, as Dan implies, a desperate tactic to stave off infidelity and stay within the technical boundaries of his monogamous relationship with you. Being angry at loved ones for stupid things they do does not invalidate our love for them, dead or alive. Sorry for your loss.

LW2. Hypocrisy is the GOP’s native tongue, and they are genuinely scared in NC, so don’t expect them to change now. Add to that the fact that Trump is planning another superspreader event there and you can see plainly how little they think of the voters. But in fairness, the issue with Cunningham is his apparent infidelity, not the MPAA rating of his texts. Still no reason to vote against him, obviously.

LW3. Way to leave us hanging! We want to see the original letter!


While I won't go so far as to have LW1 and Mr Savage share a Bell Award (for Erasure), I do rather think H1 likely to have connected as much with the B as with the G. I shall disagree with Mr Savage's first postscript; the really good ones of any gender or orientation are sorry when an arrow strays and strikes home outside of one's target range. Now we could again revert to the Bell Award and speculate, but not just yet with a new widow, whose status gets her off being examined through a lorgnette.

Oh, l'amour.


@1 alexstrasza: WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's Savage Love: Direct Messages highly sought after FIRDT honors! Savor the glory of leading the comment thread, and bask in the glow. :)


@2 Graffik: I share your curiosity re WWE's first letter's contents.


As Dan pointed out I also think LW1’s late husband was actually sweet, loving, considerate, and quite ethical in the sense that he didn’t want to hurt his wife and found a safe outlet.
That his exhibitionist self was extended to gay men was probably just another hit he got from the attention he was getting, maybe even chuckling along the way, and nothing to feel bad about.

LW2 points to something we should all be aware of: we’re all exposed to scrutiny and lack of privacy like never before. Our emails, texts, and social media accounts, to name a few, are all hackable. If you are an elected official or running for office be aware that others are watching your every move and hire professionals to spy on you. With the exception of Judge Amy who “has no agenda”- what a huge pile of manure, why would they want you on the bench if you didn’t? - none of us is a saint. The question is what you make out of this and how you present your case.

As for LW3, my guess is she realized she is into something her husband can never provide, possibly into women but what do I know. In any case, it is often a good idea to put things in writing and ask others for their opinion. Sometimes the answer becomes obvious in the process.


Lovely answer to WIDOW, Dan. I join you in sending care to her, and of course the marriage wasn’t a lie, LW. I get you are confused hurt dismayed and grief stricken right now, and it may take you a while to hear what Dan has said to you.
Your husband had impulses and he channeled them with others. If he also had friendships with these people, maybe you’re feeling some jealousy too? Do you think you could answer the friends he made, tell them he has Died. They care about him.
Similar thing happened after my father died, my mother finding out about parts of him that he’d hidden. He was a good provider though, looking after his family, dropping dead early fifties. She never talked about it either, and never talked about him.
I’ve just finished a book with similar theme, ‘Monogamy’, by Sue Miller. It might help ease your pain, reading another woman’s story. Grief is multifaceted, as your dear husband was.


Your husband left the passwords to his accounts, WIDOW, he wanted you to know all of him, even if in life he couldn’t share that part of himself with you. Shame, perhaps. Fear you’d leave him, not love him anymore if you knew his secret life.
Now you do, and though it may take a while for you to return to feeling your love for him, his gesture in death says he wanted you to know him. I think that speaks to his love for you.


I'm confused. WIDOW does understand this. Her late husband was an exhibitionist. He didn't cheat, he just liked exposing himself, and thanks to the internet he found a safe and legal way to do this. What more is there to understand? Why he wanted her to know about all this posthumously? Why he shared his photos with men? That's an easy one: he wanted to be appreciated, objectified, and these men did that. It was about him, not them. What part of her marriage was a lie? He remained faithful; he had "his thang," which she knew about, a private life. He's now shared the intimate details of this with her. Perhaps she could try to see this as one last gift, the gift of his whole self, to her? Dan is correct that this is evidence that despite his higher sex drive, he remained physically faithful to her -- and emotionally, too, it sounds like; she does not mention any ongoing exchanges. And another good point that his equal-opportunity posing means he wasn't a homophobe. Sounds like he was a great guy; she'll be lucky to find another like him. In the meantime, sounds like she has a wealth of material if she should decide masturbating can be "her thang" too.


Joe @3, Mr WIDOW just did what we should all do, be prepared for our deaths and leave a list of social media passwords for someone who can close down the accounts and perhaps make posts to advise our friends and contacts that we've passed on. It's been on my to-do list for ages...

Ens @5, I think she should just think of it as "his thang," since she seems able to accept and understand that concept.

Venn @6, WIDOW does not ask Dan what he thinks her late husband's sexual orientation was. She says he was straight. Why should we not believe her? Occam's razor points to Mr WIDOW's exhibitionist tendencies as a reasonable explanation of why he shared his photos with men. He was not sleeping with them or leading them to believe he wanted to sleep with them -- nor with the women he corresponded with. He just liked to show his body. What purpose would be served by suggesting to this already reeling widow that her husband may not have been straight? I will presume to speak for the bi community and state that we are happy to accept his identity as presented.

CMD @9, you're correct that most DTMFA letters are obvious before the end of the letter. I didn't get a lesbian vibe from WWE. Could have been any dealbreaking incompatibility really (kids/no kids? open relationship/monogamous? he simply won't change an annoying habit?), but she said she does not love him as much as he loves her, and I'm sure most of us have been in a situation where we had to let someone like that go for both of our sakes.

Lava @10, good idea that WIDOW could potentially identify any regular correspondents and inform them of his death. Or just make public posts announcing this tragic event; I would presume directly speaking to someone who was, in a sense, her husband's kink buddy would be very painful for her.


William Somerset Maugham wrote casually (or callously, to our sensibilities) of fulfilling his duty by burning a recently deceased friend's personal letters. And the literary world will never forgive the widow of explorer Richard Burton burning his sexually explicit writings. But at one time these destructions were understood to be the "done thing." The fight against AIDS and for legalized same sex marriage reversed this, rightly arguing that secrecy abets shame, which abets oppression. Still, the old-timers may have had something: they knew what human nature does behind the curtain, and they only asked that the curtain be drawn. As a widower who did not receive a letter (specifically a suicide letter - in actuality very few people write them), I had to learn that it's not our lost friends and families' duty to explain, its our duty to understand. I believe LW1 will now draw the curtain and get on with her life.


Very kind response to the first letter, Dan. That was lovely to read.


The bulk of my reaction to WIDOW is the same as Dan's, but I have one other thought. Maybe her husband, in providing the list of passwords, wanted her to know about his exhibitionism--wanted her to know that their monogamous marriage did not prevent him from indulging his kink. I can understand leaving the password to a personal stockbroking or 401(k) account in case of an eventuality--but to Instagram?

Whatever way, WIDOW has my condolences.


@9. CMD. This is someone who makes decisions on whether to marry on the advice of church and religious organisation elders. I think few people regard the flirty Cunningham, rather than the woman of faith Coney Barrett, as the outlier.

@11. Lava. I also thought WIDOW's late husband wanted her to know about his exchanged pictures.

@12. Bi. I doubt that her husband's nude pics sent to others hold any erotic charge for WIDOW right now.


Harriet @18, perhaps not "right now," but in future she may be pleased to have this trove of memories.

Also, why did he reveal himself (ha) in this way? Perhaps because she "didn’t judge or shame him for any of that." Or perhaps he hoped she would make a final memorial post and then shut these accounts down in the event of his death. I guess we can't know for sure.


You guys...

WIDOW's husband died suddenly. He left that list of passwords with his lawyer in advance of his completely unexpected death. WIDOW shared the details of his death with me but didn't want them in the column. I'm certain—and said so in an early draft of my response but deleted because it seemed obvious—that WIDOW's husband would've deleted those messages if he had known he was about to die. Which he didn't know. Because his death was sudden... sudden to him and everyone else. He seemed like a kind, considerate, loving guy. I don't think he meant her to see those messages and would've made sure she never did if he could have.


@ DS #20
Very much appreciate your additional detail, always nice to see you in the comments section. Any chance you can let us know, if only in summary, what was in WWE's first letter that helped her realize she needed to ask for a divorce?


WIDOW's husband sounds like a considerate, loving guy. It's pretty normal to write a will and leave instructions with a lawyer, but he went the extra mile, leaving her the keys to his digital world. I agree with Dan @20 that it's obvious that he wouldn't have wished WIDOW the distress of knowing he did what he had to do.

They were together 12 years. It's true that he really should've found a way to share his exhibitionism kink with his wife. He could easily have been discovered, regardless of his untimely death. Perhaps he tried. Perhaps... Perhaps... Who knows?

But such is the nature of the commentariat. We don't get to interview the letter writers or their subjects, but rather just chew on the words printed by Dan. I like it that way.


Long ago, I gave a key to my house to a trusted relative, and asked them, in the event of my untimely demise or incapacity, to remove and dispose of my collection of toys and implements.


One final thought about WIDOW's husband: his willingness to accept attention from and send photos to gay men is evidence, I believe, that he was simply an exhibitionist and had no intention of following through with anyone. Dan's advice on this one is bang on.

If WIDOW is reading, heartfelt condolences. Don't let the Instagram messages cloud your memories of such a loving man.


As therapy culture is always (wisely) reminding us, we should feel our feelings. It is OK for LW 1 to be angry and sad and disappointed in hubby, even while grieving the loss of a loving relationship and realizing that his infraction was not a rejection of her. I am also glad that Dan clarified the nature of hubby's final arrangements, because deliberately leaving her the passwords in order to reveal post mortem his exhibitionist activities would have been quite cruel of him. He apparently didn't do that, which LW1 should see as more evidence of hubby's compassion.


DS @ 20
Now that we get supplemental info re LW1, will you also tell us what was LW3's original letter all about?


My heart goes out to LW1. What a gut punch on top of grief.
Online communication is such a grey area. It's not physically hooking up with someone but it's not completely solo either. You are building relationships, albeit limited relationships.
I hope, in time, she will realize that her relationship was not a lie. She isn't in shock that he would do "his thang" this way. Instead, she intimately understood his desires and how they led to his secret Instagram account. She still knew the man who sent nudes online.
If it helps, The fact that he didn't meet these people in person is a telling sign that he was satisfied in his relationship. He was only looking for an exhibition outlet.


And ditto to #25. All of her feelings are simultaneously and equally valid.


CMD @26 and others: I don't think Dan should share details of WWE's original letter. Her follow-up made it clear she doesn't need advice, and ought to be viewed as a withdrawal of consent.

Besides, her original letter is irrelevant to her follow-up, which is about how helpful it can be to put things in writing. I write emails to Dan from time to time. Thankfully, on the occasions I've been drunk enough to hit send, he has had the good sense to hit delete.


Thanks for the clarification, Dan @20.

Fubar @24, well put.


Saw last night that Cunningham increased his lead over Tillis after the sexting "reveal". I hope that continues!


@25. Ensign. Yes--she's entitled to be shocked, to feel sad, even to wonder whether his contacts were a form of straying. I think what Dan said was right--that the pictures and vids were something that prevented him cheating. WIDOW also seems to be feeling guilty, or considering whether she should feel guilty, that she indulged his desire for exhibitionistic sex only once. Maybe she could feel there is no cause for guilt here, in that he had found another outlet.

On the matter of many of his correspondents or recipients being gay, my thought-process would be, 'he derives narcissistic or self-validating pleasure for people looking at his naked body. A large part of the market for pictures of naked men, into middle age, is gay. He's not a homophobe, so he doesn't seek to exclude these people'. And even if he's bi, as venn supposes, he's not functionally or actually bi. This is something I'd urge WIDOW not to worry about. What he was doing behind her back was only an extension of what she knew about him, not something that drastically changed its bearing.

@20. Dan. OK--he would have deleted them.


Agree with fubar @29. We're here to offer back-up opinions and to help, supposedly, not to warm our hands over goss.


Ok Dan @20, seems weird though, to leave his passwords for her. Might have unconsciously wanted her to know? And she didn’t find a scrap of paper in his desk with them written down, he left them with his lawyer.


My heartfelt condolences to WIDOW. I am so sorry about your loss. THank you and bless you for your kind response to WIDOW.


LavaGirl @10 - like BDF@13 I like your suggestion that she let his correspondents know that he died. It's so upsetting when someone just vanishes and you never find out why because you didn't have their real name.

Dan @20, thanks for explaining, and belated happy birthday! Hope you get the best birthday present in a couple of weeks!


Yes Erica. Though it would take a leap for WIDOW perhaps, to write them. Then maybe if she did, her understanding of her late husband might be enhanced and joy might come to her. Doesn’t the truth, set us free?
Whatever his reasons were, when he left his passwords, nobody knows.
How WIDOW moves on from the knowledge, is all, now.


I know in relation to my father, hiding truth lead to my mother reacting in her own secret way, which lead to decades of more truth hidden and she suffered much guilt about it at the end of her life.
People are imperfect, WIDOW, and most people have secrets. Might be kept in their heads, unseen by others.. fantasies of whatever.
We are allowed an inner life, and yes, your late husband did have emotional intimacies with others, that you didn’t know about. A flawed and imperfect human being, who loved you, WIDOW.


LW1 My deepest sympathies for your loss. In some ways, it is more frustrating to find a small infraction like this than a really large one. If you'd found out that he was compulsively cheating (or worse), you could feel justified in full blown rage/betrayal/the knowledge that he wasn't the man you thought he was. This (comparatively) minor infraction is just enough to keep bothering you, but not enough to fully change the way you see your marriage, especially in the face of all the care he took to ease your burden should he predecease you. I think with distance, that will clearly be the better scenario, but in the moment it is the more annoying scenario in many ways because now you can't have a pure emotional reaction. So feel your complicated feelings and know that it really sucks that they have to be complicated. A way to reframe, if it helps you, is to think about this as his porn stash, but in reverse. Most guys want to look at other people's naked pictures, but your husband wanted other people to look at his naked pictures. It's not something you want to find, but it's part of the distasteful effluvia that you have to go through (like cleaning out his under ware drawer). Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.



The truth rarely if ever sets anyone free and the first letter is actually a great example of that. WIDOW has had a needless weight put upon her and would have most likely lived a long and happy life without ever knowing that.

Seems to be a trend for this year.


I disagree, GhostDog @40, the truth is all we got, whether it’s pretty or not. Needless weight? Her late husband’s truth is part of who he was, that he kept it from her is the problem here, not that it was part of his life.


I have a "friend" who enjoys exhibitionism, as do I. We are on a site fairly often that largely involves men masturbating for an audience. While we're both gay and go far beyond just wanking the gerkin, I'd assume some of the solo performers are straight and just get off on the whole thing. It's very safe sex and fully harmless. We choose to wear masks because, I mean, there could be someone taping these shows, but with all the porn on the Internet I'm not sure who cares.


WIDOW's letter is interesting. At first I was confused like BiDanFan @12. She seems to understand her husband perfectly well and to have had a healthy understanding of what part of his sex life was shared with her and what part was just his.

I suspect that her real question is: how is she to understand her husband's relationship with his correspondents? What does she owe them, as his wife? Are they just internet porn accounts that can be ignored; does she need to write them individual letters; how does she explain herself to them? Is it going to be weird, like writing to a mistress would be?

My suggestion: login to his account and update his profile. "UPDATE: My husband _ died suddenly last month. Thank you to all who shared with him. You brought him joy." That's it. That's all anyone needs. Responses to this update do not require replies. If someone particularly nice sends a particularly nice note it can be acknowledged, but there's no need.

For people who have been corresponding with him by email, there's what I did when my mother died suddenly.

Recipient: [BCC to every address in her inbox]
Subject: Sad news
Message: You are receiving this email because you corresponded with [name]. She died suddenly. You may not have known she was ill; neither did we. If you would like more information, please write to [special condolences-name email address].

If WIDOW does something similar, most pic-exchangers won't follow up. If they do, they will write as concerned internet friends and not as horny pic-exchangers. There will be nothing weird about responding if she chooses to.


ˆ I sent that as a series of bulk emails. They weren't personalized, just a set of 20 addresses at a time—the max that her email service would let her send without blocking it as spam.


I have a "friend" who enjoys exhibitionism, as do I. We are on a site fairly often that largely involves men masturbating for an audience. While we're both gay and go far beyond just wanking the gerkin, I'd assume some of the solo performers are straight and just get off on the whole thing. It's very safe sex and fully harmless. We choose to wear masks because, I mean, there could be someone taping these shows, but with all the porn on the Internet I'm not sure who cares.


M?? Harriet - I don't particularly suppose he's bi, though it would not surprise me if his audience were more B than G. One might be able to win a brief that he's a rounder, but I doubt I'd want to take it up. I was just so annoyed by LW's anti-SS tone and sweeping implication that all her husband's male admirers were the full Kinsey Six that I would not mind dropping a hint that her particular statement of similar certainty might not be all that much more accurate, even though it's not something I'd really take up.


In the kink scene, you can't wave a tawse without hitting a voyeur or an exhibitionist. The fetish is its own reward.


CMD @9: "be aware that others are watching your every move and hire professionals to spy on you."

Indeed. And this has to reflect on the candidate's judgement, intelligence, and maturity. Obviously, his shortfall doesn't compare to his opponent's complete lack of humanity, but it's a shame he's such a dope.

tim @42 & 45: "with all the porn on the Internet I'm not sure who cares." North Carolina voters, perhaps?

Alison @43: posting an announcement on his social media accounts is a great suggestion.


Ditto to Alison@43, good advice re: what to do regarding late husband's message strings. Hopefully time will help WIDOW realize that just as she knew, her husband had a separate "thang" going on and kept it separate without doing more than dickin' around on the computer. We should all be so lucky.

As for LW 2 and 3...
Thom Tillis is a Republican asshole. That's redundant.

WWE pulled the trigger on her divorce, which from the sound of it she (not her husband) was the cause of... No details available, but I would add that if you're not happy, or if you have done something to cause irreparable damage to your relationship, or if you just have finally realized that you can't live without fucking a sheep, then there are worse things than getting a divorce. Chaos ensues, feeling get battered, friends are lost (and gained). Time passes and you enter a new phase of life. Make this new reality count in a positive way.


Mr. Venn @46: I re-read and cannot find an anti-SS tone in WIDOW's letter.

She was confused that her husband, who she knew or presumed to be a zero on the scale, was engaging with men in what she thought was interactive sex. It wasn't, or at least not the kind of sex she was accustomed to.

Her confusion shows her lack of understanding of her late husband's particular brand of exhibitionism.


I’m confused (nothing new there). I’m not really familiar with dating apps or social media, but the impression I get is that the use dick pics is a highly ineffective method of attracting women. So what mechanism did LW1’s deceased husband use to get hundreds of women clamoring for more? Did he lead them on with hope of a romantic relationship? Are most of the respondents actually men?


Regarding WIDOW writing to her husband's online friends, I really think that's a bridge too far, and could possibly make her healing more difficult. I am a bit less forgiving of his behavior, though I realize I am in the minority here. I don't think this guy was a heel, necessarily, but I'm not putting him up for husband of the year either. Some have pointed to the fact that WIDOW had an inkling about hubby's tendencies. And didn't he have a good idea of hers? He must have known how she would react to this, since she seems really good about establishing her boundaries with him. And I am unconvinced that this was something hubby "needed to do" in order to stay monogamous. That seems pretty speculative on Dan's part. Again, they seem to have had a good marriage, and she shouldn't let this discovery besmirch that. But I still think she has a right to be a bit angry, and should not have to look for a bright side to his behavior in order to grieve him lovingly.


subhubby @51: WIDOW's late husband wasn't leading with dick pics. Instagram frowns on dick pics.


@51 I get a strong sense of good girls don’t like sex so really don’t like dick pics - they must be banned to protect the innocence of women!
But I’m over here being a gay man so .


I do wonder just how often Dan gets a letter from someone and then another the next day like "Y'know what, I'm good, rereading the letter I wrote to you helped me realize what needed to be done."


I don't understand the password situation -- I would expect the wank pix are on a special-purpose account and then why lodge that password with the lawyer? But maybe the point is that people use their personal accounts for memes and for dicks without differentiation?


Lava @34, I wonder if he left the passwords with the lawyer with the intention that the lawyer do the deleting, but hadn't made those instructions clear.

Zoftig @39: "A way to reframe, if it helps you, is to think about this as his porn stash, but in reverse." Yes, well put.

Venn @46, this woman has just lost the man she loved, discovered a (to her) shocking secret about him, and you are scolding her for rounding the men who enjoyed his photos up to gay? Again, on behalf of the bi community, get your priorities (sorry) straight.

Subhubby @51, the mechanism of being "a very good-looking man who took meticulous care of his body"? Women want to look at that. And it's not as if women don't want to see dicks, we're just particular about whom the dick is attached to. If the late Mr WIDOW had an Instagram account full of photos of his hot nude body, some percentage of his correspondents will want to see various close-ups. It's the sending of pics to people who haven't asked that's problematic, not photos of dicks in and of themselves. But, sure; WIDOW says he corresponded with "hundreds of women and gay men," not "hundreds of women and also a few gay men." It is likely, as you say, that the consumers of the genital-only shots skewed more toward the male.

Ens @52, I agree she should not reach out to her husband's online admirers. An announcement post should be sufficient. E-mail contacts are different and I like Alison's detailed recommendations.

Mythic @55, I recall at least one follow-up by an LW who said "I decided to DTMFA even before you ran my letter." But who hadn't had the courtesy to write back and say "please disregard my question." I think that is probably more common.


Also, Venn @6, your scolding of Mr WIDOW for corresponding with gay (or bi) men is out of line. He seems to have had an Instagram account where he posted nudes. Anyone who contacted him asking to see more photos self selected. He didn't intend to pursue a sexual relationship with ANY of his correspondents, male, female or otherwise. He wasn't, in other words, firing arrows. These men got exactly what they wanted from him, wank material. He is innocent of the crime of being a tease.


Ms Fan - I wasn't scolding H1, just stating that Mr Savage overpraised him in calling him "one of the good ones" for something that really had the flavour of those vapid celebrity "I love my gay fans: interviews. That's setting the bar too low. I'm not sure about "firing arrows"; there might be a better phrase.

Had I wanted to berate LW1, I would not have said [While I won't go so far as to have LW1 and Mr Savage share a Bell Award (for Erasure)].

I shall not fault your team for not wanting to claim its rightful share of an insult.


Her husband has recently died, Mr Venn @46, you get that. And here you are complaining her tone re gay men is somehow anti? I took WIDOW’s tone to be shock that she believed, not only was he hiding his exhibitionism, that he was also into men. That her late husband’s deceit included not disclosing his true orientation. That’s the tone I picked up, along with her grief.
Agree with others, Alison, good suggestions re how to tell others on his page.
Was this recent, your mum dying? Hugs to you. I know of sudden death, twice now, it gives a deep shock.


Ma Cummins' approach seems quite practical.
Mr Bar - I didn't mention it at first because it's not at all clear whether it's shock or inherent. It's the sort of thing one recognizes if one's seen enough of it over the decades.


WIDOW, Jack above is right, feel what you feel and strong grief takes one to feelings of intensity, and yes the mind tries to find things to attach these feelings to. Blame him, you weren’t good enough, the thoughts roll on. Along with those painful, sometimes beyond endurance, feelings of grief.
A time of reflection, grief, and a time to honour the person whose life one is grieving.
I hope you do talk with a close friend, WIDOW, share this part of your grief. Be with people during this time, and be careful, one can get very absent minded with grief. And be gentle with yourself.


The Instagram Vortex is very seductive to many many people, WIDOW. Your husband wasn’t Robinson Crusoe there.


WIDOW, he left you a Love letter, his papers all in order. Not a murderer, wife beating, lazy man, was he? You had twelve beautiful years with this man, the time he spent online didn’t define him, anymore than it defines any of us who interact online, in a myriad of ways.


You had him, WIDOW, you had his body with you, not images on a screen. Now he’s not with you, and you are grieving. Hugs to you.


@46. venn. I don't think she was anti-SS. She just wants to know how much she has to reassess.

@48. fubar. Let's hope Tillis voters will be arriving at the polls a week late. But you're right; NC voters hardly have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

@51. subhubby. Yes, maybe most of his correspondents were men.

@54. JodoKast. Sex might be a smile or a smize, or prefaced by feeling engaged or empathised with over a good meal, rather than by a stranger's schlong-pic.


Mr. Venn @59: I'm curious as to where you'd set the bar for qualification as "one of the good ones".


Mr. Venn @61: I was reminded of the old adage, "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail", but realized that my own bias is informed by not being subjected to (much) prejudice or erasure. As you said, it's not at all clear whether it's shock or inherent.


@54 - women writ large (I am sure there are objections) apparently don't want to gaze on the Johnson. I don't know why men and women are different this way.

I've never heard a man say he was offended by a picture of female genitals (yes, there are plenty of moralizers who think that no one should ever see the genitals of either sex, but I am talking about personal offense by being shown it). If a female flasher actually existed in any context but a Halloween costume I can't imagine any man calling the police on her. The difference in attitude seems to be very widespread.


dvs99 @70: The fact that most women have been on the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention, even aggression and fear of bodily harm and death, from men, may have something to do with it.

I've known more than a few women who love dick: looking at, touching, kissing, licking, sucking, riding. But that has invariably occurred after I've established that I'm not a mysogynistic, murderous asshole. Leading with dick pics, or worse, flashing, does the complete opposite of that.

I would be quite likely to call the police if a woman leaped out of the bushes and flashed me. It would be unhealthy, aggressive and likely escalating behaviour.



(Friendly reminder - I am a lawyer who does estate planing as part of a larger practice)

In every state in which I am licensed to practice, a lawyer could absolutely not delete or destroy anything after someone was dead. Period. Whatever LW’s husband intended, it was probably not for the lawyer to do that.

If you want someone else to do wipe your online accounts, you’d have to designate that person in a legally valid document, such as a will. That being said, some states don’t allow this yet under any circumstances and some Terms of Service expressly bar any 3rd party access. Also, some states take a dim view to destruction of anything of value.

Practically? I’d advise you to have a designated “porn and secrets” buddy. Given them a sealed envelope with all your login info. Have them login the minute you kick off and wipe the slate.

Of course, that’s presuming they can do so without access to your personal cell phone. 2 and 3 factor identification protocols are making approach more difficult.

So, honestly? There’s no good solution here for someone who wants the slate wiped. It’s an area of law that hasn’t caught up not modern realities.


Also, it’s highly likely that LW’s husband was still figuring it all out. So speculating on what he intended may be a fool’s errand. He may have not yet had a fully-formed intent.


One last thought: I always advise people that if there is anything they don’t want being absolutely public when they die, they need to destroy it before they do so.

After you are gone, it’s all potentially public.

Look at Prince. He absolutely did not want all the unfinished, unpublished music he’d kept to himself out in the world. Unfortunately, he didn’t destroy it. So now it’s out to the public. Against his express wishes.

American law favors the use of anything of value. So, too bad Prince, that music is now going to be put out there.


@69 fubar: WA-HOOOOOO!!!!!! Major congrats on scoring this week's Lucky @69 Award honors! Bask in the delicious glow and savor the glory. :)


I did something unusual today. I'm usually a bit of a doormat, but, when asked while I was getting my exercise in the park whether I had the time to take some pictures of someone (whom I'd seen taking up glamour poses near a statue of a Colonial notable and being photographed by someone else a few minutes earlier), I politely declined and went on my way. She seemed rather surprised, and even repeated the question as if I couldn't possibly have heard correctly. I was a little surprised, as normally I accede to such requests almost automatically.


Fubar @71, right on, I nominate you for a gold star this week! It's not about whether women like the look of a penis. It's about consent. Mr WIDOW's story should show that women indeed like nude bodies, when they're the bodies WE want to be looking at. And yes, if women flashing their genitals was common and threatening, men wouldn't like it either. Men, keep your penises to yourselves unless we ask to see them. Shouldn't be rocket science.


Oh and congrats on the lucky @69, well earned!


If the guy who sadly passed away had written Dan asking for his advice on what to do because he's in love with his wife, doesn't want to lose his marriage, but feels compelled to be an exhibitionist, and is afraid it would ruin his marriage, and his wife has put the kibosh on non-monogamy, how can he do it safely without getting in trouble... I mean, his actions seem like he tried to do the right thing.


BiDan@77~ Actually, rocket science could be helpful here... As we all should know, given the initial momentum of the penis in the control volume is m_v u . The final momentum of mass in the control volume (the pussy plus the mass expelled, dm) is (m_v - dm)(u + du) + dm(u - u_e) = m_v u + m_v du - udm - du dm +u dm -u_e dm. Solve the equation and it will give you the likelihood that a pic of an erect penis will be welcome. (Limp dick pics would be a whole 'nother equation, of course.)


BiDan @77-78: Thanks and thanks!

lily @79: I agree. It's pretty clear that he invested the attention he got in his spank bank. Not so clear if WIDOW considers, or would have considered, that to be a monogamy violation.


I was trying to figure out why Venn's contributions to this thread made me so furious, but then I remembered that my Dad died a few weeks ago, and my Mom's been reeling in grief.

Erasing the bi was entirely appropriate in this instance, as was upgrading the man to "good guy" status. The poor woman is confused and befuddled by her grief. Reassuring her, calming her panic in a truthful way, had to be Mr. Savage's over-riding concern. Explicitly excluding talk of bisexuality was straight up compassion. Why muddy the waters, when she is already filled with doubts about him and their relationship, by suggesting he and/or his male fans might have been bi. The good non-erasure aspect of that suggestion is inundated by the primary issue of calming this woman down--helping the letter writer.

And why not be generous and compliment the fellow as one of the good ones? So churlish and small of you Venn, to begrudge that kindness.

So yeah, Venn, your whining about erasure really pissed me off, because you're selfishly prioritizing bi erasure over what's going to help a grieving widow. Shame on you.

Salud to fubar and bidanfan, they won the thread's good guy award.


Seventies @79, I'd go further and say he DID do the right thing. He managed to find an outlet for his exhibitionism that was consensual and legal, and he remained faithful to his wife, setting aside his own desire for an open relationship. If she hadn't been given his passwords, she'd never have known about this and it wouldn't have damaged their relationship in any way. On the contrary, as Dan said, it enabled the relationship to continue. His other options would have been to repress his desires, which would have come out in the form of resentment, cheat, or leave.

Thank you, Still @82, and I'm sorry for your loss.


@71 fubar: SO well said and summarized! I second BiDanFan's nominatin for a Gold Star Award, along with your very well earned Lucky @69 honors! :)


Thank you for your wise and compassionate reply to WIDOW. Your perspective and advice are absolutely on the mark. I sometimes hear from widows who discover after a longtime spouse's death that he flirted on dating sites (no evidence that he met anyone or did more than flirt), for example, and the widow thinks all those decades of love and marriage were a lie. We all have parts of ourselves we keep to ourselves (don't we?) -- and our fantasies and contactless sexual outlets are a way to stay whole and still honor our commitments. If WIDOW's husband left his passwords and a love letter, it seems clear to me that he wanted the love letter to count the most and also wanted no more secrets.


Still @82: Thank you. Sorry for your loss, and thanks for the reminder. We sometimes forget that letter writers may be reading.

Griz: @84: Thanks :)

Joan @85: Re. "wanted no more secrets" please see Dan's update @20. Posthumously dumping secrets - unloading the burden onto those left behind - is not kind, and doesn't fit what we've read about this man.


@80 Donny rocket science! kewl. a couple of weeks ago, math and poly. This must be the most erudite of commentariat!

@many against leading with dick picks - clearly y'all haven't heard if Sniffies. It's like Grindr, but without the romance.*

Sniffies gives a map w/ floating mini-pics, usually dicks or holes. of course, it's solicited in that you wouldn't be using the site if you weren't lookin' for dick


...And to ask the question that has been oft asked before, usually in the same perplexity, and with the same emphasis:

Are the holes assholes or cunts?


delta35 @87: I think @many are against leading with unsolicited dick pics.

If Sniffles is a dick pic solicitation site, then it's quite unlike, say, Fetlife, were the dick pic brigade are out en masse with "Hey! I have a dick. Here's my dick! See my dick? It's my dick. Ooooh... I have a dick. Look at my dick! My dick! LOOK AT MY DICK!!!".


It's interesting that Cal Cunningham actually had an affair, meaning sex with someone else who isn't his wife. Shame on you Dan for just glossing it over as just sexting.


chs @90: Fuck off now. There's a good troll. Byeee.


Fubar @89, the way I see the "logic" (by which I mean, when hormones kick in they override logic) is: I'm feeling horny. Because I'm feeling horny, my dick is getting bigger. My erection is associated with arousal. Therefore, I'm sure if other people see it they'll be aroused too! Erm, no.


@41: If people were all entirely rational and and compassionate, total honesty and truly full disclosure would be socially functional. But people are biased, bigoted, tribalist, and believe in all kinds of contra-reality (and often anti-social) myths. Hiding truths that are unacceptable according to (dysfunctional) social values is a necessary feature of human societies, as social cohesion is impossible without it (lying - which I characterize as an active misrepresentation in contrast to non-disclosure - may also be necessary to some degree, though I'm generally less willing to defend it than I am secrecy/privacy).

Being known to be gay used to be a high risk for people assaulting you in amny places (fewer places today, but not zero); being transgender still is to a greater degree. There are a bunch of businesses that can and do fire people (or refuse to serve people), especially women, for having sex with someone to whom they aren't married. Pedophiles, zoophiles, and other people with non-consensual desires who actually do manage to not harm anyone are nonetheless ostracised for their thought crimes (especially hypocritical in the case of zoophiles in a society that mostly mistreats non-human animals in far more harmful and mass-systemitized ways than sporadic sexual exploitation, which is not necessarily even non-consensual in the way that fantasies of assaulting humans are; even furries and plushies, who mostly claim to be entirely distinct from zoophiles, are generally pretty marginalized if they're out, because many people in my present society think that sexual gratification involving non-human animals, even in cartoony costume or plush toy form, is creepy and wrong). (Side note, I'm not equating rape or bestiality to polysexual or homosexual - or furry - behavior; I don't aim to reinforce that homophobic smear, rather noting that the objection to thought crimes that aren't acted upon in those cases comes from the same place as objections to extramarital sex and homosex, the idea that they are WRONG irrespective of whether they cause any identifiable harm, and more generally that's it possible for something to be wrong at all in the absence of demonstrable harm.)

Most people can and do have good reasons to hide at least some secrets from public knowledge, even, and sometimes especially, from the people to whom they are closest. For a more tame example, we have good reasons to not proactively inform all of the people we meet of everything we dislike about them, or things we don't even dislike but that are stigamatized (it would be shitty to go around and say, "I think you're fat," to every person we saw as "fat," though it would be true). A norm of full disclosure is completely absurd given the current state of human societies (and possibly biology, depending on how much of this is rooted in evolved brain structures), even in a marriage, even with a very compatible partner.

@51: UNSOLICITED dick pics are harassment (they are effectively flashing, with the caveat that the threat of imminent physical harm is eliminated because of the physical separation, but still activate similar psychological responses) and a bad (ineffective and objectionable both) way to attract straight women. The same goes for shouting lewd comments at random women on the street; that doesn't mean that people aren't turned on by DESIRED dirty talk, or SOLICITED dick pics. Plenty of women like genital-focused porn, though IIRC it is a lower proportion than men (but it's not zero percent, nor even something close enough to round down to zero).

It's a bit worrying that consent as the magic ingredient in social relationships still isn't universally and automatically understood, though I suppose it's still a relatively new concept on a historical scale, and it's not necessarily a value that's in full agreement with evolved biological human social cognition (we instinctually DO feel like we have a right to dictate other people's behavior and a right to their consideration and labor in many circumstances, because we evolved as a social species, and that proved to be a useful social motivator for group survival).

@70: Men are, in many (sub)cultures, socially constructed as sexual predators (not just aggressors, but predators), while women are constructed as sexual prey/victims. This is true even in many otherwise liberal worldviews; for example, see otherwise liberal people who insist that all sex work is trafficking, regardless of the opinions of the people doing the sex work (male sex workers are almost entirely invisible to such people exactly because they only and inherently see women as sexual victims, with an exception for young men, since we've apparently arrived at a place where the putative Left can consider adults in their 20s to be exploited victims if they're having consensual sex - with other men, men in their 20s having sex with women flip back into the predator mold - if there is any sort of power differential that can be constructed, including simple age or the relative social status of various vocations, not even direct supervisory/employment power - see the smear campaign against Alex Morse, for example). This is why it's actually impossible for some people to imagine, for example, how a woman could rape a man (I've even seen putative feminists go so far as to assert that rape is definitionally only a crime men can perpetrate aginst women, most prominently - since Andrea Dworkin's heyday - when the FBI ungendered their definition used for crime statistics reporting), or how leabians have sex; it's why there is VASTLY more attention paid to trans women in women's restrooms than trans men in men's restrooms in anti-trans-rights activism. Absent a predatory construction of heterosex, we'd probably see much less difference in response to nudity or overt sexual displays by gender, even if there are some biologically based differences in sexual behavior between genders. People's understanding of nudity and sexuality is gendered (in most cases), so their responses to it are also gendered.