Savage Love

Jealous Typologies



My read--my inference maybe--was that ITALIANE does not have the kind of relationship with her partner where they calmly sit down and discuss things. Or think about things, even--in a genuinely open and available, open-ended and thus scary way. Has she asked him questions like, 'would you say your colleague was your girlfriend?'; 'why didn't you tell me you were working with an ex?' (that one, yes; and he would have said it was to avoid causing her undue anxiety); 'does my extreme jealousy cause you problems, even make you rethink. our relationship?', and 'we've been together a year; how do you see our relationship's future?'.

The impression I got was that her blowing up in jealousy was a deflection from her being able to ask these difficult, for-the-long-haul questions. Or submit herself to self-examination, or expose herself to rejection.

Maybe this is what jealousy often is.


Firdt, huh? I surprise myself.


One part of the second letter, I felt, was the lw's getting cold feet, his (?) fear of commitment as brought on by his partner's moving to be closer to him. ('His?'--almost certainly his, in that he doesn't want to be the bearer of the 'patriarchal gaze'). His past seems to have been having sex with men in a more inconsequential, certainly for him a happier way. He'd seem to associate boyfriends with sex, and this female partner with love.

Becoming newly conscious and sensitive about male privilege, an ally of or oriented to feminism, aware of the wrong of seeing women as pieces of meat (say), is not genuinely a boner-killer. This is a red herring. It's more possible that he doesn't desire his gf, or is going into depressed withdrawal from the world, finding it hard to take pleasure in it. Does he still have sex with men? Without his saying, I thought not. Is he bi or more typically gay? Let's take on trust that he's bi, suggesting his problems are specific to how he relates to this one partner.


@3: Interesting: I assumed that SHDDS was a woman. All we know is that the lw's currently dating a woman and used to date men, so we're looking at someone who's bisexual.

And ordinarily, I don't think that most issues change when the genders are reversed, but in this case, I think there are different possible dynamics at play. What seems clear, as Dan pointed out, is that the lw's newfound inability to enjoy any and all sex, including watching porn or masturbating--two things that they presumably enjoyed previously--is tied directly to the girlfriend.

I mean, SHDDS says, "I believe it could be my newfound awareness of “patriarchal gaze,” which I wasn't conscious of before meeting her." "This could mean that the lw is a man and now feels bad that he is the possessor of the "patriarchal gaze," but the next part of that thought, ("I used to enjoy kink but I no longer consider it sexy. I used to have a lot of sex with my ex-boyfriends and used to feel some conflict but power games were a turn-on. Loving care has replaced dirty games and I feel wrong for now if I try to watch porn and I no longer enjoy touching myself because I cannot get off without thinking in sexist ways"), suggests to me that the lw is a woman. For that matter, I took the first part of that thought (""I believe it could be my newfound awareness of “patriarchal gaze,” which I wasn't conscious of before meeting her") to mean that the lw is a woman who didn't used to think about the ways in which her male partners objectified her, and in fact, found that objectification sexy and also part of a power imbalance, which is why they brought up kink and "power-games."

It sounds like a basic sexual incompatibility to me, as these two people want different things in a sexual dynamic, regardless of the gender of the lw. No matter what gender SHDDS is, the girlfriend is trying to control their partner's sexual response and the source of desire.

But in many ways, none of this matters, because at one point, SHDDS says, "I'm worried about the sex as I feel a lack of desire for her. " That should be enough. If you experience a lack of desire for your sexual partner, they should no longer be your sexual partner.

In any case, I predict the commentariat will spin its wheels endlessly trying to interpret the letter writer's gender based on ever-more esoteric readings mixed with bringing our own histories and biases to these letters and the flights of fancy some of us indulge in. I wish Dan would just clear up the mystery of the SHDD's gender for us early on and let us get to arguing over other points.


@5 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: WA-HOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's highly sought after FIRST (and SECNOD) honors! Bask in the glory of leading the comment thread and savor the high honors, found only here in Savage Love Land. :)


@3 Harriet - Interesting take on SHDDS' letter. I actually read it the opposite way, and thought the LW is a woman who, upon joining the sisterhood of Sappho, has been swayed by some sex-negative feminist theory of the Andrea Dworkin "all hetero-sex is rape" school, and is therefore re-examining her desires in light of her newfound awareness of her own complicity in patriarchal power structures. Nevertheless, whether man, woman or non-binary, Dan's advice is sound - get thee to a sex-positive therapist, and don't move in with someone you don't actually desire.

@4 Dadddy - the crazy ones always are.


I think Dan was too hard on EJP. Often, jealousy can be a warning sign that something is wrong and it's not the emotion of jealousy that's the problem, but the accompanying emotional abuse that the emotion sometimes triggers.

For instance, I once dated a man who was also in a casual relationship with another woman. I felt extremely jealous, and was very self critical that I couldn't move past it. He was often vague when answering questions like "how was your day today?" and I kept feeling weird, but couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. Eventually, I asked him how often he was seeing the other woman - and he told me he was seeing her for 4-5 hours a day, about 6 days a week. It completely changed my understanding of the relationship; I thought I was his girlfriend, and the other woman was casual, but really, she was his primary emotional attachment and I was his side piece. I ended the relationship with him on the spot, which I think he knew I'd do, which I assume is why he hid the extent of his other relationship from me. In this way, he was being deceptive towards me, so I would agree to be in a relationship structure that I wouldn't otherwise have consented to. In this way, I was actually very grateful for my jealousy, because it got me out of a situation that was bad for me, and I dislike that our universal advice to jealous people tends to be "get over it" or "get used to being dumped" because it can gaslight people who genuinely need to leave situations that are bad for them.

I think, people conflate the emotion of jealousy with emotional abuse, because sometimes jealous people behave in ways that are abusive. However, just because you're feeling jealous doesn't mean you have to be abusive. In my experience, if you say to your partner "I'm feeling jealous, and I'm having trouble working through this emotion on my own. Would you be willing to help me move through it?" you will tend to get good results. However, if you are using anger to manipulate your partner's behavior, you are sowing the seeds of your relationship's destruction.

For EJP, I think something about her current relationship - and many of her previous relationships - hasn't been working for her. It could be unfounded fears from associations from her past she needs help overcoming, or she could be choosing partners who are not treating her well and is just so used to feeling jealous she doesn't know it can be better. I think, discussing jealousy openly without trying to manipulate her partner is the best path forward, but ultimately, if she can't rebuild trust she should just leave him because the relationship will just keep causing her pain. If you are a jealous person, learning to listen to what your jealousy is trying to tell you and talking to your partner about it productively is an important skill to acquire.


Said my straightfaced mother when my divorce to my EJP spouse finalized:
"Well, you tried to make it work. I'll give you that."


@5 no cute "I wish Dan would just clear up the mystery of the SHDD's gender for us early on and let us get to arguing over other points."

Where's the fun in that?


I think the key line in ITALIANE's letter is "I no longer have any trust in him". At this point, the relationship is pretty much over, unless you want to be stuck policing your bf's every move for as long the relationship lasts - and at that point, it's not so much a relationship as it is a dictatorship. Better to be single than to be a one-person Stasi, no?


Harriet @2: Congrats on the Firdt!

Harriet @3, nocute @5: I infer from "patriarchal gaze" that SHDDS is a man. On the other hand, she could have previously been having sex with men, and now, having sex with a woman, sees herself in the objectifying, patriarchal role and is squicked by it.

@Dan Savage, please clear this up. Also the question of SLLOTD and Reader Advice Roundup that so many of us miss. Please?

Dadddy @3: I'm already deeply, passionately in love with ITALIANE.

lizardliz @8: It doesn't sound like you were in an EJP situation. You were in a much different relationship than you understood or wanted. There's a world of difference between that and someone working with an ex.


Regarding ITALIANE, and just to get this out of the way, lets not talk about bunny boiling again.


@13 fubar: Agreed and seconded.


Correction: @1 & @2 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: I meant congrats on your hitting FIRDT (and SECNOD) in comments @1 & @2, not @5. but you, Dan, and everybody knew that. :)


Wow. I really wanted to respond to ITALIANE but thought, "I'd be way too harsh.. let's just see what Dan says." And thank my stars. He was WAY harsher than I would've been!


This week we have a pair of letter writers who have issues so severe that they don't quite meet the usual definition of being in sufficiently good order to date. They are both relatively unsympathetic and undesirable as presented here, and need to do some work.

EJP's are one of Mr. Savage's least favorite personality types, and mine too.

And to be so woke that dirty fantasies during masturbation are verboten is it's own sort of disorder. It is a precious sort of political correctness that begs to be mocked.

They're broken, like many of us are, but in such a way that they'd be doing a favor to most potential partners to avoid dating until their bullshit is brought under control.

Oh and I agree with fubar @12, Mr. Savage would be doing us a favor to clarify the gender of the second letter writer, and to address the issue of no more SLLOTD and Reader Roundup. My guess is that Dan has taken a substantial pay cut to try to save the Stranger from bankruptcy. Continuing his weekly column but excising virtually everything else is, I'm guessing, attributable to "the business is trying to survive COVID" while also limiting the amount of free labor he's providing.

It would be illuminating for Dan to verify that speculation, or refute it with another explanation.


Does Mr Savage even know?

The biggest question I had about L2 was how much of GF2's convincing LW2 that LW2's former sex life was basically almost entirely "wrong" was inadvertent. What well-deserving person needs that? (Now whether LW2 is a well-deserving person...)

I rather suspect that closer proximity will finish the chapter fairly quickly.


@7: Correction: The non-yet-dumped EJPs usually are.

The EJPs that are bad in bed just get dumped at first sign of EJP.


I think showing up at his workplace without coordinating this in advance is what freaked him out. It would be a surprise for anyone who didn’t confess to have sex with a still co-worker, let alone one whose gf has issues around this.
Also, please drop the request/demand to meet her. He senses your vibe and already feeling uncomfortable about it as it is. Asking him to tell the other woman, “My current girlfriend wants to meet you because she suspects we’re still fucking and/or have feelings for each other and is not likely to believe what we tell her anyway” is already stressful as it is.”

This is what I wrote before I read Dan’s advice and felt guilty for being too harsh. Then I read Dan’s advice and realized he was much harsher than I was, yet never showed a sliver of guilt despite of what Lava keeps telling us about his Catholic upbringing.

I assume you’re already fairly devastated by what you have felt to begin with, let alone what had just come your way from reading this column. I’m not a trained therapist nor advice columnist, yet based on my own experience and observations I’d say get some therapy of some sort and try and figure out what is going on and also look back to see if this situation you’re trapped in/put yourself in is an occurring pattern for you. Think of a group therapy as well. I keep mentioning 12 steps because this is what I know and what worked for me. (It’s also free, but this may only be my pragmatist self and has nothing to do with my Jewish heritage.). Check out SLLA meetings in your area, some may have women-only meetings if that makes you feel more comfortable to start the process.
Your current relationship may be doomed, maybe not, yet looking into different aspects of your life may help you regardless.

As for LW2- It’s interesting that their power games and kinks while in relationships with men never occurred to them as “sexist,” yet dating a woman makes it so delicate.


SHDDS is almost certainly a woman. "Patriarchal gaze" and not "male gaze", no self-idenfitfication as nonbinary, power games with ex-boyfriends, worried about feeling sexy as sexist destruction...


"I'm an extremely jealous person with trust issues."
"I no longer trust him."
"He accused me of not trusting him!"
Hahahaha oh you and your exclamation point. I hope he breaks up with you.


I pulled a BDF and posted my first post in this thread before reading others' comments. Apparently some of you have already stated few of my points and deserve a firstness credit.


@20 Hard to know for sure but I kind of agree that not coordinating beforehand was potentially the problem. He may have just been trying to distract her from doing something crazy.

My wife is a JP (no E) who sometimes flies off the handle. At a class reunion 15 years ago, right after my wife and I started dating, a former classmate confessed a big crush and tried to kiss me while very drunk. I backed off (I'd missed some signs but in my defense, this came out of left field for me) and my wife later found out. She flipped out and has brought it up off and on (like once a year) since - the former classmate knew we were dating and made a move anyways, she's always been mad about that. My wife is not generally a violent person but I do worry that she might do something crazy if she ever saw this former classmate again. If I started working with this former classmate and my wife showed up at my work unannounced, I'd be a bit worried she was about to make a scene or go to jail.


Two brilliant answers from Dan. I literally laughed out loud when I got to ITALIANE's "He accused me of not trusting him!" You DON'T trust him; you said so! Is there one good reason he should stay with you? I'm wondering whether her signoff is geographically accurate or whether it just confirms stereotypes. Jealousy may be this woman's national stereotype but it isn't cute and it isn't acceptable. ITALIANE, did you have a past before you met him? So did he and so will every person you date. Yes, you're being crazy and overreacting. Perhaps you need to sit down with someone, a friend or a therapist, and try to rationally analyse what exactly you feel so threatened by and where these "huge trust issues" come from. And not inflict yourself on anyone else until you can deal better with real or perceived threats. You owe your boyfriend -- and his co-worker -- a huge apology.


Harriet @3, I would place money on SHDDS being female. I read the letter as reflecting the "good feminist/bad lesbian" paradox, where we are so familiar with the shame and other bad feelings of being objectified (or worse) by men that we feel guilt for turning around and sexualising other women. And it's more likely a woman would refer to masturbation as "touching myself." I highly suspect she experienced sexual abuse at a young age, so young she was unable to tell the difference between consensual and non-. And the kinky sex she later had with boyfriends was too similar to her abuse, or perhaps was an effort by her to eroticise her past abuse as a way to overcome it. It seems Ms SHDDS is the one who has clued her into feminist theory, subconsciously sabotaging her own sex life. Perhaps Ms SHDDS has been the catalyst for SHDDS to realise she is a lesbian. (Or perhaps the lack of desire means she is so tired of men's abuse she -wants- to flee that life and replace it with a happy lesbian relationship, but she is actually straight after all.) She refers to ex-boyfriends but not ex-girlfriends, so I suspect Ms SHDDS is her first female partner, and the new relationship, without its default of falling back on gendered roles, is confusing her.

I agree completely with Dan that this is something that will take some time and some therapy to sort out.

Nocute @5, I also hope Dan clarifies SHDDS's gender, because this is one example of how the dynamic and advice would be markedly different depending on this bit of information.

Liz @8, your situation sounds very different from ITALIANE's. You are not generally an "extremely jealous person" with "huge trust issues" like she admits to being. You are just a person who has enough of a brain to figure out when someone is being evasive. Apple and orange. Is it not clear from the letter that there is no fire here, only smoke? Being able to see red flags is a good thing; being pre-emptively jealous without reason is not.

Still @17, if you would mock SHDDS's anguish you're also not in good working order to date.

Venn @18, I suspect Dan does know because this is the sort of letter it would be impossible to address without knowing. He has the e-mail addresses of the LWs; unlike us, he can ask them for more information, and I hope he did, if the gender was unspecified.

Biggie @19, yes. The EJPs who are bad in bed get dumped, the ones who are good in bed get retained. Just like the abusive men, or the ones who never clean up after themselves, or the liars, or...

CMD @20, your initial advice was bang on. We don't even know if Mr ITALIANE's workplace is the sort of place where members of the public can just show up. I'm surprised he didn't DTMFA. Being jealous -- insanely jealous -- of an ex is her issue to work through; she absolutely shouldn't involve the poor co-worker.

Larry @24, sounds E to me.


CMD @23, don't worry about making points others have already raised. Each person brings their own experience and perspective and therefore phrases the same point in a unique way, which is valuable. Also, if the LWs check in and see multiple people, from different backgrounds, all reaching the same conclusion they may give more weight to the advice.


A Catholic upbringing CMD @20 is not to imply any clear opinions which could be construed by others as confrontational, produces guilt. I’d be swimming in it if that were true.


l-dub 1, when you showed up unannounced at your bf's place of work, you let your jealousy turn you into a total psycho. you've got a lot of work to do on yourself. you can't trust your emotions. you have to learn how to not respond to them.

l-dub 2, you are so woke your brain fell out. hope you can find it and put it back in..


larrystone007 @24,

If you think your wife’s jealousy could send her to jail, then she gets to keep the E.


Ms Fan - The question came to me because it seemed that Mr Savage at least attempted to answer as if LW's gender were irrelevant. On second read, A2 looks as if Mr Savage knows or at least thinks he's addressing a woman. It's almost a tale of two paragraphs. Does anything in P1 strike you as applicable only to a woman LW (which seemed general enough, but I could have missed something)? P2 did have that air of a bit of extra hand-holding of the kind that generally goes to women.

I'll agree that it likely changes the specific answer. If LW is male (or likely AMAB NB), then CMY for being so ready to rewrite all the prior MM sex as degrading women, This doesn't apply, obviously, if LW is female or AFAB NB.
Ms Cute - Perhaps the lack of clarification was designed to give people a distraction during a tense week. Agreed strongly that one's desire is the primary ingredient in one's sexual partner.
Trying to work out how M?? Harriet got the contrary sense, I remember some years ago reading what purported to be the first of a series of articles by a gay author whose husband had transitioned out of the blue. I didn't follow the series - that the author's immediate reaction at the end of the great disclosure was to phone his parents and say, "Mom, Dad, great news - I'm straight now!" put me off - but the article was full of revisionist guilt of a very similar sort to what appears in L2. But it did seem more likely for LW2 to be F than M, as the sudden introduction to the gaze concept would mean that in all LW2's sex life there would be at least one objectified woman.


Venn @31: I reckon Harriet jumped to male by means of simple projection. They were socialised male, they later were introduced to feminist concepts that caused them to revise their views on male/female relationships and on women, they saw themself in this LW. If it's something in addition to that, I'll let Harriet speak for themself.

It's difficult for me to read Paragraph 1 as addressing a man when I'm so certain it isn't, for all the reasons you say -- if all "his" prior relationships were MM then how could the patriarchal gaze have come into it? How could "his" power games with his partners reflect the objectification of women? Dan says that the assholes are mostly men and the people who are hurt by them are mostly women, which leads me to think he is addressing one of the latter, who has encountered at least a few of the former.

Re-reading paragraph 2 in the context of the letter, I think there are two women in this letter who would benefit from some sex positive therapy. Permit me a flight of fancy (which I will support with evidence):
Whether or not my theory that she has been sexually abused is true, SHDDS strikes me as a person who is easily manipulated, and Ms SHDDS as a person who is manipulating her, and I therefore agree with Dan that she should end this relationship.

SHDDS says that she "used to feel some conflict" when having sex with her male exes, which suggests that either she has some internalised shame around sex or that she allowed these men to override her boundaries. However, the "power games were a turn-on." Her own sexual response betrayed her in enjoying these things she either wasn't "supposed" to enjoy or didn't want to be doing.
Enter the long-distance Ms SHDDS, who teaches her about the patriarchal gaze -- extrapolating, tells her these men were using her. Sex with Ms SHDDS is about "loving care" rather than "dirty games." In a healthy relationship, as Dan notes, there should be room for both. If both partners are vanilla, "loving care" should be adequate, but SHDDS enjoys power games, and she's not getting any in this relationship. In addition, SHDDS says she had "lots of sex" with her ex-boyfriends. This implies that she is not having as much sex with her current partner. It may even have been she who put the idea in SHDDS's head that the amount of sex she had with her exes was "a lot," as in, too much.

Conclusion: Ms SHDDS does not much like either men or sex. She has latched onto someone who was already feeling some degree of internalised slut shaming and used this to further shame her for enjoying kink, for enjoying anything beyond the vanilla, possibly anything beyond cuddles. She is more intelligent or has a stronger personality than SHDDS, so that SHDDS now sees her repressed approach as being correct and her own desires as problematic. This may or may not have been conscious on Ms SHDDS's part, and suggests that she too has some issues around sex that need addressing. But I agree with Dan that if any of this is even approaching accuracy, SHDDS should place this relationship on hold while she figures out a healthier approach to sex, desire, masturbation and kink.


BDF @ 26
I’m not sure I sense an abusive past as SHDDS defining experience. It is very possible that their attitude shifts due to social construct and expectations, but maybe they are just rebellious at heart and/or not happy with the current situation.
You’re right though that some traumas may lead to kinks, but that’s not the only source.

LW1 may very well suffer from abandonment issues and that’s something she needs to figure out. Who knows, maybe she can channel watching her man fucking other women into a kink of her own once she feels secured about her past.

As for LW2’s gender, I couldn’t decide on the first read though trusting women here when they tell us it’s a woman.

Dan- not sure why you left that unclear. Some other details have been kept out of recent letters and they didn’t add much to the discussion. If anything, this is a disservice to SL, the letter writers who could benefit from a more specific advice, the readers, and the commenters who find out in post #88 when you do clarify the matter that their assumptions were wrong all along.


CMD @33, to clarify, my evidence for the theory that SHDDS was sexually abused isn't that she's kinky. It's that she's second guessing herself. She did not feel comfortable advocating for herself in these relationships, stating boundaries, using a safeword. She also does not feel comfortable advocating for herself in this current relationship, telling her girlfriend that there is nothing wrong with the porn she watches or the kinky sex she enjoys. This suggests low self-esteem to me, and since it is in the area of sex, I thought it likely something had happened to her to confuse her brain when it comes to what constitutes healthy sex. Drawing boundaries, knowing where or how or even that it's one's right to draw boundaries, is a hallmark of abuse survival. Again though, this is just a theory and doesn't make any difference to the advice I would give her, it's just a sense I got from the way she wrote.


@34, there's a "not" missing from somewhere in my second to last sentence.


@5. Nocute. I agree with you that the second lw could easily be a bisexual woman; I'll scrub my 'almost certainly' for his/hers being a man. I also agree with you that lw s' situations are not mutatis mutandis substantially identical for an e.g. identity-preserving gender swap: they will have different dynamics, different power-relations; they will be experienced entirely differently.

My thinking for taking the lw as a guy was: 1) he? (or she?) was worried about assuming the pattiarchal gaze, something more likely for a man than a woman; and 2) despite being Savage-aligned or -aware, sensitive, presumably leftist-liberal/Democratic/feminist, in loose terms, they've only recently become aware of the phallocentric gaze. This struck me as more probable of a man (in his past, gay) than a woman. But maybe not?

Of course a bi woman having gay sex can worry about inheriting or embodying in turn the patriarchal gaze. If something like this is going on in the letter, she should not be shamed by, or self-shame on account of, subby sex she's enjoyed with men in the past.


@7. Pan. It was that I didn't instinctively see that a woman watching, and getting off on, straight porn would be swayed by the argument that she was sharing in the 'phallocentric' gaze. Or, to give it its full name, 'phallologocentric gaze' ;) . Why wouldn't she just say, 'but I'm identifying with, I'm imagining that I'm, the woman'?

There will be a generational difference between me and the lw, too, in my supposition will be that many of those just coming to feminism will be taking Feminism / Gender Studies 100 courses at college, where a concept like the male gaze will feature, with examples from advertising, film, etc.. In not having taken this course, the lw read to me as more likely (only likely in this connection) male than female.


I need some help understanding "patriarchal gaze." I googled and am more confused than ever.


Maybe I just need help with "gaze." "Male gaze" and "female gaze" aren't making any sense to me either.

Now back to ITALIANE. Dan is right, of course, but he's not terribly helpful. His answer is more for the boyfriend (who should dump ITALIANE) than for ITALIANE herself. The sign-off is "I'm terrified." More than that, she's terrified of something she herself might do ("Losing It and Nuking Everything.") When someone comes to you and says they're terrified they might lose control and abuse a child or lose control and stab a stranger, you don't remind them that they're terrible people; they know that. You recommend therapy.

ITALIANE-- This isn't going to be easy, but you have got to get yourself to a good mental health counselor who can help you get to the bottom of your trust issues and heal them. I don't think medicine can help (though you can talk about that with a professional). Right now you think you just need to find a man who will never give you a reason to doubt him, find a man you can trust, but you know that's not it. Good luck to you.


@18. venn. My guess, to answer your question as phrased, would be something like 'almost exactly none'. The lesbian or feminist or woke gf thinks, roughly, that cuddles are Good and that Domming / getting Dommed is Bad.

@25. Bi. An Italian woman would presumably be 'ITALIANA'? She evoked south New Jersey for me much more than Milan.

@26. Bi. So you think that because the second lw cannot distinguish between consensual Domming, or rough sex, and rape (or abusive, rape-y sex), it's likely she's been abused? I don't know what my line is on that. It's possible, sure.

Let's assume that you, nocute and ankyl are right, and that the lw's a woman. She has already deferred to her partner on an issue where there are two views within feminism, and where any sex-positive feminist is going to take Dan's position about the pleasures of consensually objectifying (or being objectified). It seems she's giving her gf too much play over what's going on in her own mind. This is someone she doesn't desire (for now). Not wanting to fuck, not ever, is a warning sign, a canary. She shouldn't accept from her long-distance partner any sort of claim that infrequent sex, that only gentle or non-penetrative sex, e.g., is normative, 'better', antipatriarchal, nonviolating. She should trust her instincts that she isn't attracted to her partner.

Of course, if that's the situation, I would feel for her partner too in making these maybe personally invested arguments.


@38. Fichu. The idea is that women are on the wrong end of structural sexism in being served up so often as just to be looked at. Think of different beauty standards for the genders, or 60s/70s advertising, 60s/70s porn or maybe almost any het porn (with the relatively greater incidence of shots of women's bodies, faces and genitals).

The concept of the 'male gaze' has a long pedigree in esp. French psychoanalysis (Lacan called Freud's scopophilia or Schaulust one of the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, and the feminists Cixous and Kristeva also analysed the gaze), in film studies e.g. Laura Mulvey, but really all of it, and has been widely taken up in more sociologically-minded Anglo-American feminism too.


@32. Bi. I've given my reasons, and they're much more circumstantially detailed than simple projection.

Now I think you're probably right. It's not inconceivable to me that my first reaction, and Fubar's, is right; and that this is a sensitive bi, formerly only actively gay guy, who's having to reckon with being a man. In order to think of the lw plausibly as a woman, you've also had to interpolate circumstances, e.g explaining why the lw wouldn't be able to justify happy kinky or D/s sex. But you've done so, for me, convincingly--more convincingly, in the big-picture sense, than my first suppositions.


BiDanFan @26: You're correct that "touching myself" would not likely be a term a man would use. I missed that one, and like Harriet @42, I find myself convinced.


Fichu @39: I don't think that Dan was telling ITALIANE that she's "terrible people" at all. I think he was being very clear in unpacking her behaviour, and pointing out that it likely led to her boyfriend's "omission" such as it was (i.e., none of her damned business anyway, and I was glad that Dan went on to point out that nobody is obligated to disclose past fucks to current partners).

I really do think that hearing a clear rebuttal of her bullshit is the only way that ITALIANE is going to be able to begin to own it. And yes, therapy would be a good next step.


I don't wanna sound all Georga Costanza, but LW1's "He had said it would be ok for me to stop by sometime but once I got there he freaked out" could really be a when world's collide situation. A close friend of mine and former roommate was going to school near by my office and would stop by all the time...and it was always awkward AF. I started to insist on meeting him for lunch just because when he was here, it just felt odd. And this isn't even a EWJ situation, which would be far more uncomfortable and weird.


A good friend of mine was dating an EJP who actually had issues with him joining our group of former cub scout leaders for a few beers. Fast forward three years, they're married. He's in his 50s so he might have to spend his waning decades like that. Maybe the sex is hot?


Harriet @37: "Why wouldn't she just say, 'but I'm identifying with, I'm imagining that I'm, the woman'?" For the same reason she didn't just say, "I am a woman"? From her perspective, it was so obvious it didn't need to be said. Either that, or she isn't identifying with the woman. Either that, or she's not watching straight porn, she's watching lesbian porn. If this women's studies major she's dating has convinced her that all porn exploits women, unless she's watching MM porn, she's "complicit" in perpetuating the patriarchal gaze; correct? Putting herself in the woman's place doesn't get her off the hook.

And you're doing what you accused me of last week -- ignoring that non-college-educated proportion of the population. What makes you assume that everyone who reads Dan's column has or is working toward a degree? (Or that all female university students take women's studies?) My only agreement with you is that this woman sounds young. I suspect her partner's higher education is part of what has allowed her to influence SHDDS to the degree she has.

Fichu @38, I had not heard the term patriarchal gaze but I understand the term male gaze to mean that in this society, women are viewed only through the lens of their appeal, their value, to men. Patriarchal gaze seems to express the same concept.

Harriet @40 re @25, try telling an Italian American that they are not Italian. You'll be lucky to end up with only a tongue lashing! :)
Re @26, continuing to presume that Ms SHDDS has a college education and SHDDS does not, how is she to know that there is more than one strand of feminism? Her partner is the authority; much of what she says is probably ringing true, so she has no impetus to question it, indeed, as you said last week, no time to do the research necessary to become woke (ahem). She may be taking her girlfriend at her word, or the reading list Ms SHDDS has shared has run towards the rad fem. Ms SHDDS clearly has her own agenda which does not include presenting both sides and letting her timid, easily led girlfriend conclude she likes men and kink and wants to keep both in her life, and that's not incompatible with feminism.
I agree she should trust her instincts, but it's likely that trusting her instincts has gone quite badly in the past, so she does not feel they are to be trusted. Hence the recommendation to find a trustworthy therapist who can guide her.

Tim @46, or maybe some people find comfort in the devil they know. Perhaps her possessiveness makes him feel wanted? Eesh, but at least she's out of the dating pool for now. I hope your friend finds a backbone.


Harriet, speaking as someone who has on more than one occasion been the higher-drive woman in a FF relationship, there is indeed an element of "omg am I being as bad as a man in treating her like an object." Now you know.


Ugh and double-ugh.


@30 That's a joke. Sorry if not clear. She's not going to jail. But an embarassing scene? She's got that in her :-)


In regards to the letter by ITALIANE, her boyfriend needs to bail on this relationship. If ITALIANE is already this bad, it's not going to get better, it'll just get worse unless she gets some intense therapy. I suspect that every woman he works with, knew in the past, fucked in the past, every woman he ever gives more than a quick passing glance or smiles at, will result in days/weeks/months of her neurotic behavior, year after never-ending year. Like 2020.


LW2, like Fan, I think you’re a woman; you say you have desire issues for this woman, and it’s no wonder. She’s a killjoy and she’s killing yours.
My guess is you are bi and she isn’t, and she doesn’t much like men?
Whatever her problem is, you need to tell her your truth, that while she’s been blabbering on closing down others’ ways of enjoying life, she managed at the same time to lose your desire for her. She sounds a bore, I suggest you give her the flick.
LW1, jealousy is a bitch, and you need to conquer yours.


LW2: A year and a half of her getting into your head with tight twat feminism, and you have fallen for it.
If power exchange sex with men was/ is a turn in for you, then what’s the problem? Feminism involves equality, choice and authenticity. And your choice is power exchanges with men. No coercion there.
And when someone is interfering with one’s fantasy life, that’s got to be blocked. This woman is brainwashing you with crap theories and life strategies.
By the sound of your letter, she has squeezed the love of life out of you, the love of your own sex life.
Time you stood up for yourself, because once she moves here, your life is gonna get more grey.


LW1 is Italian, and you all are berating her as if she’s an American/ English/ Canadian/ Australian/ etc, and she’s not. Yes, her jealousy is over the top yet wouldn’t he perhaps have a similar reaction? Italians express their full emotions, that’s my take. Not sure why she’d write to a US gay man for advice, don’t they have advice columns in Italy.
Pull your head in LW1, take a breath, and let it go. If your guy has been ok to keep working with this woman, who is in his past, why don’t you trust he knows it’s ok.
It’s your carry on that will drive him away. He’s with you, so trust that’s his choice, and be a person he wants to stay with, not a raving jealous one.


I've been reading the column (and comments) every week for a couple of years now, but I could never bring myself to sign up and post. I'm an Italian woman (not the LW) and I've just signed up now to confirm that
@40 yes, one Italian woman would be ITALIANA and
@54 I'm not sure if we have advice columnists in Italy, but Dan's column is translated in Italian.

I will probably go back to lurking for the next couple of years, but I wanted to tell you all that I always find the comment section here as interesting and helpful as the column itself. You do a great job!


So one Night, she goes to his work place. He works in a bar/ nightclub/ similar. Not sure a lot of women wouldn’t feel a bit jealous, ones without huge trust issues.
I hated being jealous, it’s so debilitating. When my marriage ended, and he got with his new love round the rd at his house, I’d lie in bed at night seething with jealousy, with images. I knew I had to break with this man, who still ten yrs on is as arrogant and rude and proud, so I let the jealousy burn thru me and out.


Thank you Mandarina, yes.. I was being a
smart arse. Dan is read worldwide. Great you jumped on, Hi from Australia.


@54 - Lavagirl - Just a note - Australians, Americans, Canadians and Brits can all also be Italians. ITALIANE doesn't necessarily live in Italy.


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

EJPs. Yoiks. And people wonder why the love of Griz's life is an equally quirky (mechanically, at least) Volkswagen SuperBeetle. Now that my beloved is safely garaged for the winter I need to get my musically creative juices bubbling and simmering again.


Yes, Pan, she told Dan she’s from Milan. That rhymes! Isn’t that in the letter? Still, culturally as I know Australian Italians, they are family oriented and emotionally expressive people.
Correction re @57, I don’t know if Dan is read in China. Not read the whole world.


Where we lived when I was in primary school, there also lived many Italian families. I envied the girls their lovely dress and their pieced ears. Not something the rest of us did in the fifties. They would have a little blue bird of happiness dangling from their ears. I hounded my parents to get my ears pieced, and at eleven they let me. Many years later I found one blue bird of happiness charm, and I treasure it.


Regarding LW2, the consensus seems to be that the girlfriend is the problem, because she is making SHDDS feel as if her (?) desires are wrong. That seems sensible as far as it goes, but I also wonder if these might be latent feelings that SHDDS has had all along, and that the girlfriend merely brings them out. “I no longer consider it sexy.” Does is happen very often that we shift from desire to repulsion like that? Or could it be that SHDDS has always felt some tension between “loving care” and “dirty games”? SHDDS concedes that even when engaging in power-exchange in the past, there was a feeling of “some conflict.” I also wonder about the use of the word “destructive” at the end. Unless we are assuming that this is a word the girlfriend has superimposed upon SHDSS’s consciousness, it seems like it could indicate an inchoate fear that dirty sex is destructive. Either way, seems time to expand the distance with gf, not close it.


@60 - It's Dan who mentions Milan (hey, also a rhyme!), and I'm not disagreeing particularly with your point - it's just a particular bugbear of mine that Anglo-Australians often think of ourselves (often unconsciously) as unequivocally 'Australian', and I always think it's worthwhile to disrupt that assumption even when (maybe even especially when) it's a bit ambiguous, fairly harmless and obviously non-malicious example like yours (and also, I did miss the reference to Milan in my first reading).


I'm going only slightly off-topic here, but dearest graphic genius Joe Newton---GREAT artwork for this week's Savage Love: Jealous Typologies! I think it would make for a cool mask.


@64: .....not that Griz is an EJP.........


Lava @52-@53, there are times when you cut directly to the heart of the matter, and these comments illustrate your skill at doing so. I hope she reads these comments!

Mandarina @55, thank you! Do stick around and please feel free to chip in with your thoughts. As you've probably noticed, the horrible people have mostly left.

Lava @60, yes, Dan was the one who mentioned Milan and either he has reason, such as she included her contact details, or he made that up as an example, which I'm inclined to go with because he also made up two sisters. Either way her nationality is not important; she may or may not have picked her own sign-off, and she chalks her EJP personality up to "huge trust issues," not her country of origin/familial origin. Perhaps a copy editor made up the signoff after catching Dan's reference to Milan. We may never know -- unless Dan pops in to set us straight.


Larry @50, if your wife would make an embarrassing scene over an incident that happened 15 years ago, she qualifies for the E.


Extreme jealousy quickly turns abusive. I hope this person gets help.
Another term for a non-sexual relationship (long-term or otherwise) is "friendship."


@47. Bi. This is a case where you're overwhelmingly likely to be right. I came round to your view, more or less, when I read nocute's response (and was so pleased nocute had written to me, civilly and in an exploratory manner, without belaboring my apparent mistake, that I got back at once). The reason the lw's not back-at-her-gf-ing with something like 'I'm identifying with the woman in the porn scene' or 'I'm a queer woman; I'm queering the patriarchal gaze' ... well, the reason/s/ are the reasons you give: that she's easily convinced or manipulated, and she's not confident about telling good from bad sex.

Another possible reason she's hesitant about revealing herself as a woman is a reluctance to perpetuate the stereotype of lesbians U-Hauling to pursue something formerly long-distance on the back of (possibly) very little sex.

My supposition was that the lw had not gone to Gender Studies 101 and that the gf had (either literally or figuratively, in both cases). To me, the natural read (but false read, as it's turning out) was that the lw was more likely male on this account. I've both taken and taught Gender Studies classes (not taught Gender Studies 101), and the class is overwhelmingly female. As a freshman I dressed in female or gender-neutral clothes for the first time (in school during the day) to fit in. Upper-level Gay Studies or gay-themed classes have more of a gender mix. However, your point about not everyone's being college-educated is well-taken. Even when what's at issue is a palpably academic handle like 'the patriarchal gaze', not everyone using it or believing in it will be well-versed in its appropriate use in academic circles.

I think you and Dan are right that the lw could valuably talk to a sex-positive therapist (or trusted authoritative figure(s)). It's not a given to me that she's a survivor of abuse.

@47. Bi. Of course Italian-Americans are Italian in the way that hyphenated Americans are the thing before the hyphen. I don't think many suburban New Jerseyites are native Italian speakers, though. The language (Italian) has changed a lot since their families came over.

@53. Lava. Agree with Bi. I like the phrase 'tight twat feminism'. I applaud tight twat feminism, I salute it--understanding it, in the affirmative sense, to mean that the feminist 1) only has sex when they really want it, 2) with someone they unreservedly love, or at the very least unequivocally admire 3) when the stars align, and 4) are happy only having sex, say, two or three times a year, if these are the only times the conditions are met. And 5) their partner is also happy with sex on these terms.

Probably when 1) and 2) are available or come up often, said feminist's twat gets a little less tight.

One could argue that the woman who has now dumped the unrepentant 2020 Trumpista is a 'tight twat feminist', and more power to her thigh muscles, I say.


@55. Mandarina. Thank you for your upvote of the commentariat.

@56. Lava. You see, I don't think she's Italian. Isn't her English suspiciously good? The last time I said something like this, I got called out on my presumption by Lost Margarita.


Harriet and BiDan-- Thanks for the explanations.

Now back to ITALIANE again. A place to start in your road to therapy is to ask yourself how you feel about any of the women your boyfriend used to be involved with even if they're completely out of the picture. No running into them on a daily basis, no old letters, no photographs, just a blip of knowledge that your boyfriend wasn't a virgin when you met him and surely remembers his ex sexual partners even if he doesn't think about them often. Another question to ask yourself is how you feel about your exes. I'm guessing you weren't a virgin when you met your wonderful boyfriend either.

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a little, at the way the usual roles are reversed in this case. I usually think it's the man who's controlling and irrational through jealousy, not the woman.


@62. Ensign. Yes, or to have a conversation about whether each of them would want a companionate-style relationship with infrequent sex. We don't know what the gf wants or anticipates. Her view might be that her partner, the lw, has had some bad, iffy or compromised in terms of sexual politics sex in the past; but will come round, to loving sex, with encouragement, maybe cohabitation. But is this something the lw can foresee?


I haven't read all of the other comments, so maybe someone has already said this, but that is a BIG/weird ask of someone you slept with a few times and still work with (i.e. "hey, you know how we went on a few dates a long time ago and aren't sleeping together now, well my super jealous girlfriend would like to come to our place of work to meet you").

What was the vacation? A long weekend, or six weeks in Europe? The vacation feels more like a red herring she is using to psych herself up for extra anger. Just saying.


Ms Fichu - Ms Cute may join in on the chorus that, in matters pertaining to jealousy, "excellence is pretty fairly divided between the sexes". It could well be easier to detect in one direction.
So Jack Nicklaus has made a strong endorsement of Mr Trump. I wonder a little how much of it may be inaccurate perception (for some odd reason golfers seem to be far more conservative than tennis players in general). I still remember how Mr Nicklaus won his last Masters with his eagle and two birdies in the last four holes at almost the same time that Ms Graf came back from 0-4 in the second set for her first win over Ms Evert; I was going back and forth between the two events.


Fichu @77,

I agree with Vennominon. I have had two exes show up to my places of work to rage out. For the record, I have never cheated on anyone, which they knew.

I did, however, have a pretty serious predilection to crazy in my twenties.


Harriet @69, congrats on the magic number!
"Another possible reason she's hesitant about revealing herself as a woman" -- I didn't think she was hiding her gender on purpose. Perhaps her e-mail address is something like susie@blabla dot com, so she didn't feel the need to say "I'm a woman." Or she felt that the substance of her letter made it obvious. Just because many LWs introduce themselves with a quick "I'm a 28-year-old cis bi man in the Midwest" does not mean it's a requirement.
I'm not arguing it's a given that she's a survivor of abuse, I just think it's likely, and if it were the case it would make her situation a lot more understandable.
Lastly, who's talking about ITALIANE's native language or languages? Nobody, I thought?
But thank you for your gracious words of agreement, that's rare and it is appreciated!

Fichu @71, I think that EJPs are often good at not showing this side (as Dan says) to anyone outside of the relationship. The only time we see EJPs is when we are dating them. So it might seem logical to a straight woman that it's mostly men with jealousy problems, and to straight men the opposite. I think it's a human problem, not a gendered problem.

Savage @73, good point. I don't see anyone readily agreeing to that ask. "Hey, meet my psycho partner who's jealous of you so she'll know what you look like!" No thank you!


Fichu @39, the term "male gaze" was coined by Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (it was still compulsory reading when I went to art school in the early 2000s). Nowadays this term gets thrown around in all sorts of contexts, but to me it makes the most sense when we're talking specifically about the production and consumption of visual media. It was never meant to apply to private sexual experiences between individuals, and I think things get kinda muddled when you try to stretch it that far.

In the essay, Mulvey uses Marylin Monroe's iconic "billowing dress" scene from Seven Year Itch to illustrate the male gaze. It's a gratuitous scene where the erotic gaze of the heterosexual male character is a stand in for both the male creator and the male viewer. While people of other genders and sexual orientations may like this scene as well, it's main purpose is to provide titillation to a het male audience. "Female gaze" has been conceptualized in a number of different ways. I find it easiest to think of it as the erotic opposite of the "male gaze", which puts women in the position of a viewer/subject. An example that comes to mind is that scene from the 50 Shades movie, where Anastasia observes Cristian Grey mid-workout, and the camera lustfully scans over his body as he remains oblivious. He is objectifed through the gaze of the female character, who channels the gaze of the (assumed) het female audience.

IMO, Mulvey's essay was very "of its time", and is best looked at in the context of othet feminist writing of that period. It isn't gospel, and has been criticised from a number of different perspectives. What we think of as "visual media" has changed quite dramatically as well.

With all that in mind, LW2 may want to read up on "queering the gaze" and maybe check out some queer-made porn (CrashPad et al). It might not be her cup of tea - in which case she'd need to find another way to reconcile her politics and her sexuality - but it might give her some ideas on what non-heteronormative kink could look like.


@71 unsubstantiated man-hating. a savage love commenting standard. be proud.


@74. Too bad about Nicklaus. His erstwhile rival for total major wins seems also to have a soft spot for Trump. The sport is indeed quite conservative overall, and so many of the players have relationships with Trump dating from the days when he was slapping his name on courses all over the world. Interesting point about the contrast with tennis, especially since both of them were traditionally country club sports and perhaps tempermentally tied to the party of the upper class. Clearly tennis has diverged for the better.


Pan, @63: Pan. Not sure what your point is? I thought a lot here were coming from their place of Anglo attitudes.. given we all started as colonies of the once Great Britain.. and if any of the commenters, before Mandarina jumped on, had Italian blood, none acknowledged it.
Fichu, @71, my ex indulged his jealousy, yes. No way could our end of marriage strategies been reversed, ie me bringing a lover home before he did. Our attachment was still strong, even at the end. And for many women, their male partners’ anger/ jealousy proves fatal, even sometimes for his children as well.


Tight twat feminism is not referring to an actual twat.
It’s about using feminism as an cover for rejecting men, and fun killing bull shit ideas.
Yes women get as jealous, as men, are they given as much room in a relationship though to express it? Individuals vary, relationships vary. My ex gave himself permission to express his jealousy, loudly, and carried on like a wounded bull if I did.


LW1, what is it you want? Jealousy pops up in sexual relationships for many when attachment occurs. Good with the bad, and it’s on each of us to process jealous feelings ourselves, ideally.
Basically, it’s your problem, not his. If you don’t deal with it, then you will lose him. Unless he gets off on hysterical women, which doesn’t seem the case with this man.


Phil @78, we can always count on you to substantiate any man hating around here. Well done.


@80 cont: I knew this woman at his work set her cap on my ex, her marriage a dud. So I knew he would move onto her, when I finally found the courage to say enough, mate. We are no longer children of the fifties. That she was a black widow spider who would rip him from his children, that, I didn’t plan for. Then without his bomb blast, they are all going ok.


LW1, nobody much likes hysterical people. Yes, in the moment they control others, with their noise and energy. It’s only momentary, and later these people go.. well, isn’t that person ugly, how do I get out of here.. unattractive behaviour kills love and desire.
If you no longer trust this man, then end it. If that’s your jealousy talking, then it’s this destructive/ afflictive emotion which is your enemy. Face off to it.


Patriarchy exists, Mr D, and often you present as a classic case of a patriarchal man in your responses. Great you still hang around.. perfect case study.
Yes, she’s no longer feeling attracted to this woman. And.. this lessening of all her areas of sexual interest, appears to have evolved, in her mind, since the gf started feeding her the wonky versions of feminism.


I don’t hate men, I even have affection for you Mr D. Such a stayer.... surely we are past panicking when cultural structures are pointed out. It’s clear when one looks at Saudi Arabia, yes? Clear Patriarchy. The eyes of the Top Boy, brown and vicious. He owns it all.
I loved my father because he was such a good hearted and generous man. My mother was the sharp weapon in our family, and I married a man like her.. not one like my dad. Even fifty years later, I miss him.
So we have the cultural structure, Patriarchal Capitalism, and we have individuals with all variety of interpersonal patterns, learned in their first years of life.
I stuck with a bully because my mother programmed me to accept such manipulative behaviour, and though I had done some therapy before meeting him, it wasn’t enough to stop the hooks going in.


While I agree that jealousy is likely to be a 50/50 situation when it comes to gender, I think Fichu’s observation @ 71 is based on their assumed-woman experience, as well as statistics of women being attacked by men for jealousy and “ownership” issues.
Women are less likely to act in violent ways and are also guided by society to keep jealousy-related issues internal as well as “accepting” that men are different and have their own needs.
Lava deserves a credit for touching on those issues in some of her recent posts.

Speaking of… Lava, thanks for acknowledging that some feminist theories and ideology may stand in the way of sexuality and other healthy fun aspects of our lives. It wasn’t always this way and I appreciate your willingness to look at things differently and the ability to change. I hope you are also willing to reconsider a statement you made here about a year ago re the "danger" that trans women pose for feminism, which I found odd and offensive at the time.
If you're ok with it, I’m interested to know what caused the recent changes and hope you take this paragraph as the compliment it was meant to be.


I love your back handed compliments, CMD.
Wasn’t it always this way? I think it was.. I’ve never been against the throbbing clit, though yes my delivery has evolved. And years of reading here, is an education and opens ones mind.
Has my feminism changed? it has many aspects to it. Not going to bring out the heavy guns for this LW, she’s caught in trying to live some pure non patriarchal something. It’s part of us women too, part of our erotic life, patriarchal images etc.
The separatist feminists in the early 70s, that’s what this stuff sounds like to me.
Really? You bring up these issues now. I have no issues with trans women, if they recognise that we as their cis sisters, that some of our battles are not the same as theirs, and the differences between us are acknowledged.. and that we stand together defending the rights of all women, cis and trans.
It’s some of the more radical trans women I would have been referring to. The ones trying to erase cis womanhood, redefine All womanhood in their image only.
Feminism came out of cis women’s struggles, and by the sound of this new Supreme Court Justice, the cis women of the US might find themselves back in the fifties.


The world, the US, is going thru enough, CMD. No point adding to it.. despite having such rage at how things are going, politically, what’s the point in shedding it? That energy is needed to resist them, and us mob here don’t need to battle, we’re all on the same path as I read it, caring about others.


Finding compassion for trump, putin et al and their followers is the hard work. Seeing they are driven by gross, ignorant and deluded minds.
Doesn’t mean sleeping with them, or not resisting their destructive ideas.


I often feel like you want to catch me up, CMD. Might just be my paranoia. Feminism, to me is complex. Analysing it is different to having to live in the real world.
Jesus, looking at one’s fantasies for sexist content! That’s dry tight twat feminism. When in Rome.. and chip away at the same time.
I believe in yin and yang, differences between the sexes. I trust the erotic component for hetero people is always there. And that it takes many forms, and it’s about people lining up their erotic life: long as it doesn’t involve children or animals, go for it.
Bring feminist analysis to it, yes, it is still always about what we choose, freely and autonomously. Each woman has her own version of what being a feminist means for her.
She’s a broad church.


All the attacks have dropped off too, CMD. I’ve been given more of a free rein, nothing like a Scorpio tongue to give people pause.


CMD @89, yes. Typically, a jealous, controlling woman shows up at somebody's workplace and makes a scene, while a jealous, controlling man is more likely to be privately violent towards his partner. Neither is ok, obviously.

Side point re Ms SHDDS, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that she (too?) is a survivor of sexual abuse, and responded to it in the opposite way from her partner, by shutting her sexuality down. I do hope both these people find a way to embrace their sexuality in a way that does not feel pressured nor judge others.


Lava- no backhand, no fights. I noticed a change of position and it was welcomed. It did cross my mind though that it may be perceived as somewhat suspicious.


I think Dan might have missed something in SHDDS's letter. The new feelings started at the same time SHDDS started seeing the current girlfriend, but the previous partners, at least some of them, were MEN. So regardless of SHDDS's gender, there are partners of different genders in the mix here, and SHDDS is having difficulty especially with a female partner.

Because of our cultural assumptions and dating rituals, dating women is different from dating men. When I date men I can fairly reliably allow them to take the lead. I don't have to interrogate my own desires or my own gaze, since I'm swept up in the flow of having sex initiated by someone else.

Women don't take sexual initiative as often or reliably as men. They are more mixed in approach: some women anticipate and invite ME to take the lead, instead of taking it for me. Sometimes I even feel PRESSURE to take the lead, to be, you know "suave" and "chivalrous" and "dominant" all that stuff. It can be stressful, even though it's also exciting. And even though I have dominant impulses and desires, those desires can be hard to come to terms with. I think people who date exclusively women learn to get over this hump (so they can hump) whereas people who date women less frequently might still be in a different place on that learning curve.

When it comes to kinky sex, which SHDDS mentions enjoying, the dynamic is magnified. The most common and popularly consumed kink features women as receptive partners or recipients of kinky sex. And since kinky sex is kinky, that can look really violent. Coming to terms with your desire to have consensual violence done to you is really different from coming to terms with your desire to do consensual violence to someone else.

If LW was the subject and recipient of kinky sex with male partners, or if those partners took the lead more, it makes sense that the landscape would feel very different now that there's "a new girl in town" (or a new girl potentially coming to town). I agree with Dan that they have a lot of talking to do about their relationship, but it sounds like SHDDS is experiencing something very common for bisexual and pansexual people, and should consider getting on some chat groups to meet folks with similar experience.


EJP does come across as awful, but I think in fairness we should remember that she's describing HERSELF as awful. Maybe that's because she's totally lacking in self-awareness, but to me it seems more likely that she knows she's a mess but doesn't know what to do about it, and that's why she's asking for help.

In fact, she may already be being harsher in her self-description than she really deserves -- unhappy people often are.

So yes, the behavior she describes seems pretty psycho, but that doesn't mean just replying "Newsflash: you're a psycho, and you're going to get dumped." is especially helpful.


Hexprone @98: You make a good point about her lack of self-awareness but "I'm an extremely jealous person with trust issues" was mentioned as a disclaimer, not as part of a request for help, and with "I no longer trust him" / "He accused me of not trusting him!" she made it about his behaviour, rather than her own.

Agreed too that calling her a psycho isn't helpful (or fair, or compassionate), but most people, including Dan, have tried to shine a light on this being her problem, not her boyfriend's.


Sarah @97, gold star. The dynamic in FF relationships is different, and confusing for many if not most of us, since we don't have familiar templates to fall back on. One of many reasons bi women more often than not find ourselves in relationships with men, and why this does not necessarily indicate a preference for them.

Hex @98, she asked if she was being crazy. The answer was yes. Dan's answer of, stop behaving this way, was a good one. "And get some help" perhaps should have been included, sure, but neither Dan nor anyone else called her a psycho. (My use of the word was simply to illustrate, from the perspective of the innocent ex, what a request to meet would look like and why it was therefore unlikely to be received well.)


Mx Wanna - I'm somewhere between the Humpty Dumpty explanation that so much depends on what one counts as "controlling" and the Barcelona Defence that (as is the case with suicide) one side is just more effective in its execution. (I call it the BD after the scene in which an American character in the film Barcelona argues that the high number of US shooting deaths doesn't mean Americans are more violent than other people; "We're just better shots.")
Mr Pulver - Mr Woods may be chummy with Mr Trump, but he's not especially high in the good graces of most of the tour, dating back to when he didn't join their weekly Bible study. Mr McIlroy, who shortly before the pandemic played a round with Mr T, seemed to stake out a reasonable neutral ground. But the PGA has probably always had a strong right tilt. When Pres Clinton asked the Ryder Cup team to the White House for the first time in decades, there was a lot of whining from the members not wanting to go because "I didn't vote for him" or "he wants to raise my taxes". Why tennis players tend to be politically so different doesn't jump out at one from comparing the two sports - the closest one gets to an idea is that one is predominantly American and the other predominantly European, but that doesn't feel right.

I was a little annoyed yesterday when I heard a leftist panel trying to analyze the left/right composition of sports going almost exclusively by the most general demographics of their audiences.


Golf and tennis both require some money to play, but golf costs more money. For tennis, you need a racket, but tennis courts are available at lots of public parks. Show up, and if no one else is using the court, play. If someone is, go for a run for an hour until the other folks are done. For golf, you likely pay membership to the golf club, then pay for each round you play. The upkeep for the grounds is far more costly. There's also golf carts and golf clubs which are more costly than that racket. Conclusion: wealthier people play golf. I get it that there are lots of exceptions in that poorer people can be conservative and wealthier people can be left of center, but the relative cost of playing each is a starting point for explaining the different political views of the players.