Savage Love Dec 1, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Losing Out





But only because I know how to edit web hyperlinks.


COME & Dan: In the spirit of compromise, can we agree that when one reaches orgasm, one comes, and may later fondly remember coming, and that their parter came too, while wiping the cum from the counter top?

I'd always thought that Winnipeg is called "The Peg" because visiting is a lot like getting slammed in the ass with a strap on. Is that not so?


Yeah, I found today’s Savage Love with no comments yet and thought, “Oh, boy. I can be the first post.” But then I couldn’t figure out how to do it.


I think 2 is correct. "Come"is a verb. "Cum" a noun.


On the whole come-cum controversy, if you want it to sound the same, but look different in print, spell it “kome” ,and then the past tense would be “kame.” Actually, I think it’s better to use a more specific word than a word that already has many other meanings. Use of the verbs “to ejaculate” or “to orgasm” and the noun “ejaculate” would be much less ambiguous, but I guess what’s the fun in that? Incidentally, I had thought that the word “run” had the most different meanings, but according to the New York Times crossword puzzle, it’s “set.”

And @fubar, I thought “fubar” might be your actual name (Fubar Jones? Mike Fubar?) , but then I saw it elsewhere and realized it’s an acronym. Oh, well, I may be slow, but I get there eventually.


subhubby @3: someone has been tweaking the SL site, and I scored FIRDT slightly unfairly. The comments link was missing. The tech-savvy at-risk youth should look into it.

Tomlinson @4: Exactly, and I agree. But "ejaculate" is both a verb and a noun, so the whole question is unresolved, and people will argue.


'to' is a preposition, 'come' is a verb.

did you come? good.

did you come good?

i love Lenny Bruce


LW1- I think Dan gave you a good answer. That said, I may be a bit old fashioned yet would still urge you to consider that people who take off their clothes together and touch each other very properly are also more likely to go on non-sexual “dates”, or at the very least enjoy pre- or post-sex time together, than those who always keep their clothes off. This is something you and gf may have to accept, possibly also enjoy.

I'm inclined to think that your gf is sincere, not making this all up in order to dump you, and she may very well be turned on if you tell her about your adventures. If you’re worried she may be trying to set you up in this regard, start with telling her a abut a clearly stated fantasy encounter you may have and see how she reacts.

LW2- It’s better to err on the side of avoiding unnecessary drama. While “confessing” may lead to action it seems like in your case you already run into each other in some kink circles, which makes me think he would have given you some signal if he was interested and available. Please note the “available” and respect the gf as well. You may also converse with her while attempting to gauge their relationship, yet keep your feelings to yourself, at least at this point.

LW3- if “peg” is too much to handle how about “winnies” or “winners”?


I meant "...than those who always keep their clothes ON," written as "off" on the fifth line.


@1 fubar: WA-HOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's Savage Love: Losing it FIRDT Award honors! Bask in the glory and savor the highly envied riches of leading the comment threads. :)


Dan may have missed HRNTHP’s comment about running in “kinky circles”... it’s quite possible that the guy & his girlfriend might be up for a threesome or some other type of poly arrangement. Why not say, “You know, I was kind of wrapped up in some stuff a while ago, but things change and now if you’re ever interested in getting together as friends or more than friends (with or without the new gal), I’d be totally up for that.”


re COME: Agreed and seconded, Dan. Guilty confession: I was amused by your newly invented term, "cumblebrag"(as in, rhymes with humblebrag) a few weeks ago. "Comeblebrag" in this case doesn't quite work as well.
Thank you for coming forward, LW3 / COME (pun intended)! I agree, too, with CMDwannabe: how about those from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada be known as "winners"--especially whenever the Jets win the Stanley Cup? I like that. I live in Bellingham, where we locals in Whatcom County are known as "Hamsters".


FEARS: Normally I don't like the idea of DADT relationships, but if you are long-distance I think that's probably a better way to handle non-monogamy. When you are close by, you are having a full relationship with that person, and anyone else is a side dish. When you can't be with the one you love, honey, knowing they're loving ones they're with would be very difficult to process. I would only want an assurance that they're being safe and that I remain their priority. FEARS says the long-distance aspect is temporary; could they compromise that they're free to have sex with others while the relationship is long distance (and they can't bang each other) but close the relationship when they move to the same town?

My other point to FEARS is that of course the idea of your girlfriend sleeping with other people makes you nervous. That is completely natural. Dan's analogy isn't quite right: Of course a person in a monogamous relationship might catch feelings for a co-worker or friend. But if you're monogamous, the likeliest thing that will happen is that you get a crush, you don't let on, you enjoy the giddy feeling privately, the crush passes. If you catch feelings for someone you're fucking, those feelings, or at least one facet of them, is already out in the open and being reciprocated. So the risk of catching feelings that complicate the relationship is higher when you're non-monogamous. However, although the risk of reciprocated feelings-catching is lower when you're monogamous, the risk that those feelings will threaten the primary relationship is lower. Dan has hinted that his marriage has gone from monogamish to poly, meaning somebody caught feelings for their fuckbuddy, and that marriage is still going strong. If FEARS accepts a long-term open relationship, she must accept that Ms FEARS (or that she) may catch feelings, but that these feelings will not be stronger than, a replacement for, or a threat to Ms FEARS's feelings for her.

HRNTHP, it doesn't sound like you're using the correct verb tense when you describe your feelings for this guy. You're still in love, or in heavy crush, whatever, with him. You already know that he had, past tense, feelings for you too -- "He was trying to be more in the beginning." You want to know if he has feelings for you now, and if the answer is yes, that can only cause drama because he's now monogamously coupled, right? YOU may be hurting because you let this one get away, but if you care about him, you'll shut your mouth about this until either he's single or you really are over it, and you can laugh about this massive crush you used to have on him.

Agree with @2: Come is a verb, cum is a noun.


Sorry, typo correction: "However, although the risk of reciprocated feelings-catching is lower when you're monogamous, the risk that those feelings will threaten the primary relationship is HIGHER." Meaning that if a monogamous person falls for someone else, and it's reciprocated, that could lead to either cheating or leaving, or both in that order. Whereas if a monogamish person catches reciprocated feelings, that often leads to conversations where the no-feelings rules are revisited, the people involved realise that they can all coexist even if more than one pair is exchanging L-words, and that nobody wants to lose anybody so the relationship, now with a proven track record of successful monogamishamy, is redefined as polyamorous.


Fubar @6, "ejaculate" is also a gendered word, as few women ejaculate when they come. (Not all men do, either.) Ejaculation is not necessary for an orgasm and therefore they are not synonymous. Orgasm doesn't really work as a verb, and is not a synonym for the fluid. Sorry, COME, we are stuck with cum. It does tend to be sticky, after all.

CMD @8, good point that the "no dates" rule may not be workable. How are they going to get to the part where they have sex if they don't, for instance, arrange to meet that stranger on Tinder in a bar or coffee shop first? You can't just invite a stranger to your house. That requisite public meet is a date, is it not? And what if you've gone round to your fuck buddy's place, you're both hungry, there's nothing in the house, you decide to pop out to a restaurant? Speaking as a poly person, even when the only agenda items are a home cooked dinner, Netflix and chill, that's referred to as a "date." Seems uncivilised to require one's fuck buddy to first eat dinner at their own house -- especially when one is long distance, and indeed, conversation is going to be happening pre- and during- and post-sex so it may as well happen over dinner as well.

I would also note that "She says the thought of me sleeping with other people turns her on" does not necessarily mean "she wants me to tell her the details." If they are DADT this is a moot point, but if this morphs beyond that, FEARS should ask whether Ms FEARS wants to hear juicy details or whether she just meant she likes the idea of her girlfriend having fun with others.

Donny @11, the way the letter was written implied a monogamous framework. Sure, if he's poly, then his having a girlfriend is no barrier to their getting involved. But she should err on the side of presuming monogamy, and ask if their relationship is open before making a move. I don't think offering unicorn services will get HRNTHP what she wants with this guy. The girlfriend will remain the priority, she will remain Not His Girlfriend and will probably end up feeling used and discarded, even if it was her idea.


Astronomers had to create the word "Venusian" when "venereal" became a commonplace word after the 16th C. syphilis epidemic. Two hundred years later, Byronic smartasses connected Venus for love with the Latin "vene" for "come." Dan and LW3 seem to be firmly in the prescriptivist side of the issue of "Come/cum." Reconciling prescriptivists with descriptivists would defy even Dan's skills that he's applied to aspects of sexual incompatibilities. And Dan has consistently shown himself to be a prescriptivist, since "Santorum" will always and only mean flatulent anus-drippings, either literally or figuratively.


Further clarification (I should really finish my coffee first): "When you can't be with the one you love, honey, knowing they're loving ones they're with would be very difficult to process." By this I meant hearing the details, rather than just conceptually being aware that they're under no obligation to forsake all others.


LW2 - Donny mentioned having a 3some as a solution to her problem. I love that idea! And especially if she asks the question to both of them. That way, no one gets hurt or upset (and they may even take it as a compliment) with the suggestion.

BTW, I was up at Burning Man at a huge dance party in a tent. A young lady danced over to a friend and started dancing with him. She asked him if he was polyamorous? No, I'm Bobby Shaw. I laughed so hard!


There are those who come and those who cum, it’s what separates the men (who come) from the boys (who cum).


haha. Haven’t we been over this before several times. Say it how you like, come/ cum, a rose by any other name etc.
However, cum is a restrictive and unaesthetic word, that’s why it usually only survives when attached to other words.. bedroom-cum-study.
‘Come’ has my vote.


Fungod @18, couldn't disagree more. HRNTHP got a "horrible sinking feeling in her stomach" when she saw her crush with his new girlfriend. Not a turned-on feeling. A threesome would be a great way to cause drama, when her attempt to use sex to steal the guy fails, the new girlfriend sees through the ruse and asks Crush to cut off ties with HRNTHP, and Crush does it, so as not to torture her with his presence. It's far more likely that everyone gets hurt or upset. Sorry.


Fungod @18, I agree that the most likely outcome is that they take it as a compliment -- well, he takes it as a compliment; she may take it as a power play, which it would be -- and they decline. That would be the wisest thing they could do, really. Could they continue to be friends, if HRNTHP accepts the rejection graciously? My guess is that she'd be embarrassed and even more hurt, so she shouldn't go there. Unless she does fancy the girlfriend and the girlfriend is bi. But that's a lot of ifs, none of which are evidenced by the letter. Sorry, men, your threesome fantasies are better remaining in your heads with this one.


@16 I've always been a descriptive grammarian, and to my eyes the war on cum as noun for the product of orgasm, or verb meaning to orgasm, is fruitless, feckless and lost. Any fluent English speaker understands perfectly well what "cumming" means, and they have for decades, and there is every reason to suspect that will continue into the indefinite future.

There is no equivalent to the Academie Francaise in the English language. English has always been a profligate borrower of foreign words and coiner of new words, and this process of continual innovation is what makes English a living language. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and English as a language has been a superstar performer for centuries, both in terms of the quantity of native and second-language speaker, and in the depth and breadth of English literature.

All of this is to say that cum is absolutely an English languate word, both as a noun for penile or vaginal ejaculation or seapage, and as a verb. It belongs in any dictionary of the language.


“She came out later and I'm the only woman she's been with. I understand that, as a woman, I'll never be able to give her what she might get from a man sexually and that sometimes she’ll want that, so there's also that.”

It seems like FEARS is actively trying to see this from girlfriend’s point of view, and seeking to understand her motivations. That bodes well for the relationship, one would think.

An alternate explanation of this statement would be that this is FEARS recapping her girlfriend’s “bullet points” as to why she wants/needs to open the relationship. If this is the case, I’m wondering if this is commonly how this conversation goes? Does the initiator usually present a list of rationales or arguments for pursuing this course?


On the "come" vs. "cum" and all tenses thereof front, I fondly remember the word "climax" used as both a noun and a verb as a synonym for orgasm. I kind of like it--it gives off a 1970s vibe.

I am much more descriptive than prescriptive with regards to grammar and diction, and if "cum" and "cumming" and (god forbid) "cummed" have entered general usage, you're not going to find me railing about them. But I'm not going to use them myself, and I am probably going to be silently judging someone and raising my eyebrows when I hear them use those words.

"Come," "coming," and "came" are all easily understood through context and the allusion to arriving or arrival is a really apt one: most of us experience orgasm as an arrival to a destination. I don't have nearly as strong a reaction to "cum" used to describe the sticky stuff that emits from a body during an orgasm. But that's different, because even when "come" is used as a noun, it's a noun equating to an idea or a phenomenon, rather than a material substance.

On a related note, when I was a kid, I read and reread the book, Ramona (1884), by Helen Hunt Jackson. In that text, people, especially men, ejaculated all the time, meaning they spoke loudly and forcefully. If I recall correctly, several other books I read when I was still very unaware of sexual things used that word, too, and they were probably equally out of date. I'll never forget seeing a Playboy magazine around the same time and seeing the word "ejaculate" used in a very different way, and being really confused. Later, I couldn't reread the book without snickering. (I can't reread it now, and I don't advise anyone else do so for the sheer snort/snicker reaction, as, even though it's critical of the U.S. treatment of Mexicans and the ranchero system, and sympathetic (in its way) to Native Americans, it's racist as hell and an apologist for the mission system and colonialism. It's a product of its time, I guess, as texts that use the word "cumming" will someday be known to be a product of their time, before something replaces that usage.)


Sometimes people have a difficult time accepting reality. For example:
Orange Donald, you lost.
Anyone familiar with erotica or common usage knows "come" lost. It's "cum"; I wish y'all luck trying to change common usage, but I'm not on your side on this, COME and Dan.
(Though admittedly the past tense is I think 'came', because 'cummed' feels unbearably self-contradictory, but that's not a big deal because one rarely speaks of this bodily function in the past tense.)

And, COME, you are crazy. "Cum" is a different word, and functionally superior in that it provide clarity instead of ambiguity quite often in sentences. So it's lunacy to claim that a SEPARATE word did anything let alone "polluted...[an entirely different] English word." A rational view would see that having multiple meanings for a single word is more like 'polluting'; if you don't agree, then imagine having only one single word in the English language that means everything.

"Come" has lost no "dignity"--if anything one could say it has gained some--from being separated from the word "cum".

@13 BDF
"Agree with @2: Come is a verb, cum is a noun."

I don't think that's common usage which has cum as both a verb and a noun. Exactly as I like it. When a word is near a tipping point, it's not wrong for one's usage to be advocacy; when one's preferred usage is marginal (not to mention ambiguous), however, it is wrong and the usage is pedantic.


BiDan@15~ “....the letter was written implied a monogamous framework...”
Implied maybe, but I still think the “He and I run in the same kinky circles” comment implies even stronger that a non-traditional solution wouldn’t be something offensive to at least ask about. And yes, it might not be everything HRNTHP wants, but it might be a whole new world... she runs in those same kinky circles too, so I say half a dick is better than none, at least for the time being.


@27: Which half of the dick, DonnyK, and are you slicing vertically or horizontally? And what do you plan to do with the other half?




Donny @27, I just reasoned that if the people involved were poly, the solution would have been so obvious that no letter to Dan would have been necessary. Certainly she can ask if his relationship is open. But it doesn't sound like she is terribly keen to share him, herself.


Just me or anyone else thinking Dan just started "suk dik” and “eet pussee” as popular terms now?


It’s the ‘catch feelings’ I have issues with, Joe @31.
The LW who met her crush at a nudist camp, of all places, thinks he hit on her then she realised he’d hit on her too late, by which time she’d caught feelings, then she finds out he’s got a gf and now she wants to tell him she’s caught feelings? Why?
The man is not available, so best keep her mouth shut. Unless all this confusion is not confusion at all, and she’s set her mind on another woman’s fella and is trying to justify it, so a big No to that one.


Maybe Dan needs a holiday, Joe? It’s been a while since He’s missed a week of being knee deep in other peoples issues. And he stays so patient and thoughtfully answers each question. Then he’d need to stay off Twitter too, so he’d get a complete rest.


Lava @33, agree, Dan has not had a holiday in some time and could probably use one. Give us a couple weeks of reruns. Dan, you've earned it!

I think what LW2 should do is not confess her feelings to the one who got away, but discuss them in therapy. She doesn't mention that she's in therapy, but with childhood and recent trauma issues that have got in the way of what might have been a promising relationship, perhaps this is her kick in the arse to do so. Then next time she meets someone she likes, she can make her move before he's moved on.


Curious @26, depends what erotic literature one reads.
If I read the word cum in any letter or story, then this writer tells me something of their ways, and I lose interest.
‘ Accepting Reality’, lots of realities in a big world, you should take your blinkers off.


No other word has that effect on me, except bigoted/ racist ones.


I agree with LavaGirl@35: I read a lot of erotica, and none of it uses the spelling "cum." If it did, I wouldn't be able to continue. The sight of that spelling sort of mildly nauseates me. Fortunately, the spelling "c-o-m-e' is still alive and well and I encounter it regularly and given the context, I doubt any reader is confused as to what is being talked about.

Although I wouldn't use my platform to harp on the spelling the way Dan does and his reader apparently wishes he would amplify, my sympathies are with him. I recognize it as a fairly futile battle that is never going to be won, but I can continue operating as an agent of the resistance.

And that's okay; I'm not denying reality. One doesn't need to adopt a usage oneself to not have a continual hissy fit about someone else's usage.

I also remember reading Susan Brownmiller's ground-breaking text, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, when I was a teenager who'd only ever heard the words "orgasm" and "climax," and reading a woman's account of her gang rape. I quite vividly remember reading the phrase, "for a long time, I couldn't get the smell of come out of my hair," and thinking that the editor had sloppily left an error in the published text. I thought it was supposed to say, I couldn't get the smell TO come out of my hair." I realized that it was the smell of semen, but I hadn't yet even encountered the word "come" to refer to orgasm, and I certainly didn't associate it with the fluid that comes out of a penis. Years later, that sentence leapt into my mind and I realized what she'd been saying.


I feel for FEARS, especially for being in the situation of thinking you'd be OK with monogamish, until the proposition is actually sprung on you and you find you're not. It would seem that she would rather tell her gf, 'no', 'not yet', or 'I'd be more comfortable negotiating that and starting to do that once we're together again in person'. The reason that she's not coming out with more of a 'no', as I read it, is precisely that they're long-distance; and she fears that by a blanket refusal she would lose her partner. But I think she can say as much--or should be able to say as much, laying open her fears, to her gf; if she really doesn't want to open up, it must be OK to say.

If there's anything she should prioritise in her life, I'd think it should be her relationship--she should try to get to a place where they can live together again, thinking of what compromises she can make on career or education, thinking laterally. At the moment, her headset is ''no' to dates, and 'yes', presumably, to casual sex, hookups after e.g. going to a nightclub'. This is, in principle, something that her gf could keep to long-distance; but FEARS is always going to be in a position of anxiety that her gf is dating, or wants to date--this isn't a position of strength. She does not seem to me to be the one with power in the relationship; and what she decides will be based on her own sense of how much she trusts her gf, and of what her gf is likely to do.


@35 nocute
"I read a lot of erotica, and none of it uses the spelling "cum.""

Interesting. I don't think I've ever seen anything else in erotica. Or in porn usage. (And I thought I'd consumed enough of both to have some expertise.) Maybe our tastes in entertainment are very different.

"The sight of that spelling sort of mildly nauseates me."

The sight of spelling? I would have hoped the only possibility for being nauseated being actual tasting the substance.

"I doubt any reader is confused as to what is being talked about."

In light of this dispute, I myself have numerous times over the last couple years written parenthetically about sentences I had only just typed on this forum how fortunate it is that they are different words because otherwise my own sentences would have been ambiguous. So I've enjoyed the clarity, and so did anyone who read those sentences I called attention to.

In language, nothing is more important than clarity. Simplicity is also a virtue. Out of any additional context, there are no end of sentences that would be ambiguous using the same word.


With Hopeless (as she calls herself), the leading facts are these: that she missed, or chose not to respond to, the guy coming onto her when they first met; that she disappeared, broke off contact with him, to confront her 'demons', and that he now has a gf. I'm not sure these are circumstances in which she can unburden her heart. She should rather keep in touch with him insofar as he is a friend, cultivate his friendship (and, honestly, that of his partner), by all means, and bide her time--if her time is going to come at all.

I would also wonder whether Hopeless is able to express the degree of attraction, of commitment, in theory, that she does /because/ the guy has slipped out of reach. She describes herself as having made mistakes or self-sabotaged in dating before. And she has had a traumatic sexual experience that has the potential, at least, to impair her dating. Being full-on for this guy could be her way of gaining comfort with having and avowing emotion. There is, of course, such a thing as being in sufficiently good working order to date; and, as I'm sure Hopeless knows, she can work continuously on this while other sexual opportunities come up for her, and while--maybe--the opportunity comes round for this man again.


"Are you coming to the meeting at 2:00?"
"So Tony came over last night and we played Scrabble."
"Oh my god, don't stop. I'm gonna come."
"I'm gonna come, I'm gonna come. Oh, oh, I'm coming . . ."
"Boy, you really came hard."
"That was so intense. I love it when we come at the same time."
"As soon as I saw Hailie come in, I knew it was time for me to leave."

There's not a soul out of anyone who's in a position to use the word "come" in a sexual sense and who's a native English speaker, who would mistake the two meanings in the examples above.

I once had a boyfriend call me on the telephone following an afternoon sex date and start the conversation by saying, "Nice come, Baby." I had had a massive, intense, long-lasting orgasm with him about 2 hours previously. I had also arrived at my kid's middle school to pick her up for a dentist appointment. I had no difficulty knowing exactly which usage of the verb he meant.

Even the phrase, "I'm coming right now," when followed by "I should be there in 10 minutes" is not subject to misinterpretation if I utter it or text it to my mother on my way out the door.
Context is everything, and virtually the only way someone could confuse the verb which means "to arrive" with the verb that means, "to orgasm" is if they are deliberately trying to misunderstand for the snicker-factor. Ask any 12-15 year-old.

The only ambiguous usage I can think of is "we must come together . . ." unless the sentence ends by saying, "in order to address the homeless problem in our state."

By the way and speaking of, did you know that the Beatles' "Come Together" (which punned on both those meanings), was originally written for Timothy Leary's campaign for governor of California?


@8. CMD & @15. Bi. Yes. I would think that, in starting to explore poly or just monogamish-ness, FEARS's gf is going to have a vastly better experience if she has dates, she has FWBs, than if she's restricted to random hookups. And, at some level, FEARS must want her to have happy experiences? She, FEARS, is afraid of abandonment--but does she want to condemn her gf, who has never had female lovers but her, to something impersonal and transactional?

@27. Donny. She can ask--but what if she doesn't get anywhere.

A lot of the time, kink circles are good for people who have had traumatic, problematic or confusing early sexual relationships because of the importance there of being absolutely explicit about consent. My sense was that this was true in this case. It might not work for Hopeless to smudge or try to finesse this by offering sex that would be something other, in her time, than a casual fun time for all.

@24. Ensign. I like your first point.


The word "cum," spelled that way, evokes images of a sticky floor in an old x-rated movie theater or those old coin-fed movie booths in decrepit "adult bookstores" to me: I get a visceral reaction to seeing it, and it is evocative of everything seamy and dirty (in a pathogen and disease-spready kind of way, not a sexual way), and sad, lonely, and gross.

So yes, I do get mildly nauseated when I see it.

I have strong reactions to words and I tend to see them spelled out in my head even when I hear them in speech. This is one reason that I'm drawn to written erotica and like dirty talk in bed.


BiDanFan @15: I've always thought of squirting as ejaculation.


Ms Fan - Entirely agreed about Mr Savage's analogy, but I was pleased with Mr Savage for his sparing LW1 the hard poly sell. I'd have slightly different terminology and say reciprocated feelings might be less threatening to the original connection.

As for dates, I would think more along the lines of, No Romantic Movies or No Miniature Golf. Perhaps for a true foodie dinner in a neutral place is enough to make a date a "date". As so often, it's a question of who gets to be Humpty Dumpty.
Mr Pulver - This is where one would want a time machine to go back and advise LW1 to be careful about entering committed relationships with someone for whom she was a first.

I suspect that, consciously or not, LW1 is worried about emulating Franca Sheerwater from The Message to the Planet, who first accepted Jack's having other women, then one thing after another until Franca even agreed to remain a secondary partner of Jack's after he would divorce her and marry Alison. About a century ago, it was popular in Britain to play casual chess games with a "five minute rule" that neither player could exceed the opponent's time used by more than five minutes. Maybe some sort of arrangement in which neither partner would take more than a certain portion of initiative in rearranging terms might suit C1, though of course I yield to those with experience of open/poly.
L2 isn't quite Death on the Nile, but still... This might be a case where it would be useful having a chatterbox among one's friends who couldn't keep a secret. How used, one wonders, is the circle to partner-poaching?


The OED has both, so what you use depends on your sexual preference (so to speak). From OED unabridged:

come, n.1:
5. slang. Frequently in form cum. (Ejaculated) semen. Also (rarely): fluid secreted by the vagina during sexual play or intercourse. Cf. come v. 22.


@2 only in winter


My advice to FEARS would be to assess realistically the timeline for moving closer to each other. If that's unlikely to happen in the next couple of years, I would propose much looser rules, allowing for the possibility that either person may date other people and may fall in love with someone new. But that's because I would rather risk a break up (if they met someone awesome) than worry about my long-distance partner feeling pressured to lie to me about a new romance in their life.

If the odds of moving close to each other in the next year or two are high, then the proposed agreement seems more reasonable to me.


just, er, came here to heartily second @26. for some reason, i have always found cum delightful. and i think it works partly BECAUSE it verges on seeming silly/juvenile/gross/whatever... that just makes it hotter when it's used unapologetically. at least for me. 'come' feels kind of uptight and self-conscious somehow.


@ Ven 45. I think we can all agree that “No Miniature Golf” should be a blanket rule that applies to everyone at all times and situations. But as for advising those who’ve been around the block against getting involved with newbies, I can’t quit agree. A lot of folks would have been doomed to a life of fumbling without a more experienced partner at some point in their lives. Of course, the advantage of such a pairing to the veteran is less clear.


Thirding that "cum" as a verb is a turnoff for me. But then bad English in general is a turnoff for me. Haha. Nocute @37's example illustrates this: "come" used as a noun is incorrect, that's why it confused her.

Ens @24, FEARS says she is an avid Savage Love reader/listener so presumably she has read enough letters from people who want to open their relationships to understand the reasons why. And I would imagine that anyone seeking to open their own relationship would furnish their partner with their reasons. In this case, who knows; it is, as you say, a very good sign that FEARS gets it and doesn't think it's because she is inadequate or undesired by her girlfriend.

Harriet @40, good theory that Hopeless is aware she is not in good working order to date, so subconsciously avoided this man while he was available, preferring to pine over "what could have been" as an unspoiled alternate reality in her head. Therapy, for sure.

Harriet @42, another good point that FEARS is not considering her girlfriend's -- nor indeed her girlfriend's other partners' -- needs in formulating these restrictions. They're also somewhat incompatible with a DADT -- if Ms FEARS is meeting her shags for a drink or dinner first, FEARS won't be told either way -- and with modern hooking-up, which is more often done via app than pulling someone at a bar. As usual, you're thinking about the other person in the story, but that's rarely what someone reluctant to open a relationship does.

Fubar @44, yes, and only a small minority of women squirt. That's why I said "few women ejaculate," not "no women ejaculate." I suppose you could have read that as trans women, which is also true, but I was in fact referring to squirters.

Venn @45: "This is where one would want a time machine to go back and advise LW1 to be careful about entering committed relationships with someone for whom she was a first." And this attitude is why so many bi women find it hard to date other women and overwhelmingly end up with men. Sigh.

Collosal @49, OK, Beavis. ;)

Ens @50, thank you. Everyone has a first partner. It may be risky, but what isn't? Someone's gotta break those cherries. Thank you, FEARS, for being willing to give this newbie bisexual a chance. I hope it works out for you both.


@49, ‘come’ seems uptight? Good one. Cum in socks and come in people, is how I see it.


Lava @52, but always Come On Eileen. :)


Context, Fan, as nocute points out.
LW1 is heavy going, so many restrictions, which is unrealistic as I know the phenomenon of catching feelings. DADT is the structure, all the rest won’t hold if her gf and others develop feelings for each other.
Open a relationship sexually, or don’t.


Mr Pulver/Ms Fan - By "being careful", I meant for GF1, not for herself. As Mr Pulver is a recent member of the assembled company, he won't have known that I was the first (of a slightly different sort; he was nineteen and previously closeted) for my Positively Last Boyfriend, who is now successfully out and a credit to the G. I was thinking of classic Firsts Mistakes LW1 might have made. It;s easier to think of the joys than of the responsibilities. Too many firsts try to jockey a newbie. They may often not bring up potentially touchy topics even when they're pertinent; LW1's musing on GF1's attraction to/desire for men sounds more abstract than a conclusion drawn as a result of conversing about it - Before Entering Commitment. And the commitment can often be rushed out of a desire to lock in a favourable deal. If Ms Fan has herself been a First, she may have experienced how it can be like knitting with limp noodles one moment and knitting with gunpowder the next.


BiDan@53~ Another example of why commas matter, i.e. “Come On, Eileen” vs “Come On Eileen”. Have to ask Dexy which was meant.


@41 nocute
" in the examples above"

Yes. But that doesn't contradict my point@39 that

"there are no end of sentences that would be ambiguous using the same word"
"The only ambiguous usage I can think of"

I like to start simple, so the first one I thought of was:

"I've come."

Yes yes. But the advantage and superiority and joy of having different words, is that that makes the provision of context unnecessary. Like I said "Simplity is a virtue"; it's more efficient and thus better communication, hence my joy in it.

As I mentioned @39, I've called attention to parenthetically in these pages "myself...numerous times" sentences I wrote that benefited from being free of the burden of forcing me to make, and readers to read, effort to provide context to prevent ambiguity. It's simply better if a reader needn't have a question in their mind about a word until they've read more sentences.

"Beatles' "Come Together""

Oh no, now I think I can relate a tiny bit to your nausea! That song won't be the same to me if I can't forget that.

@43 nocute
Maybe the erotica that I read, that I always see that spelling in, would seem "seamy and dirty" to you too. As I said @39

"Maybe our tastes in entertainment are very different."

Maybe what you're calling "seamy and dirty" is a feature for me in erotica and not a bug.

I also think a defect I have (aphantasia, the lack of a mind's eye) frees me from having images evoked from which I might have visceral reactions.


Does anyone have examples of long distance relationships that actually work out for the long haul? Let's take out temporary situations like grad school, military deployment or non-permanent job travels.
Everyone I know who found themselves in one either drifted apart slowly or one of them cut bait and moved in with a new lover soon after.
I think Dan needs to give this woman the realistic outlook -- 99% her gf is wanting to open this deal up because she's already banging someone else. Just my experience.


@57: The thing about "cum" vs. "come" is that they're not different words; they're just spelled differently.

I think one of the reasons that "cum" irritates me is that the spelling is so obviously artificially created, for what reason, I don't know, though I imagine it might have been to distinguish it from the verb meaning "to arrive." But it's kind of like when people spell words that begin with a "c" with a "k"--like "Karen's Kozy Kitchen," or "kart" or any of those. Or "ye olde pie shoppe:" it's too cutesy for me, too contrived.

English spelling is ridiculous, to be sure, and I'm not sure it's defensible, so I'm not going to try to make up justifications for it, but the idea that you'd have one word that means two different things (which we have several of in English), and yet in order to differentiate between two different things, we spell one differently . . . well, I get how that works in Spanish with words like "si" and "sí," and in fact, English does it with "it's" and "its," but this just seems so silly to me. If it's any consolation, I also have issues with people who have stopped spelling "you," and now always and only type "u." Is it really so hard to type the extras two letters?

As for the quality of erotica that uses "cum" vs. the quality of erotica that uses "come," I can't comment, given that I am not familiar with the erotica you cite, but I will only say that the erotica I read and write is explicit and not at all soft-core. The language is plenty dirty and the sex is not soft-focus lovemaking amongst the daisies. But if the idea of walking though other people's stuck-to-the-floor jizz is someone's thing, than yeah, that's a difference.


I don't understand this feeling that "come" can't be a verb and a noun. We do that all the time in English; it's one of our wonderful flexibilities. "Run" is a verb and a noun, "ski" is a verb and a noun, "sleep" is a verb and a noun, "scream" is a verb and a noun, etc., etc.

As for all the folks insisting that "cum" has clearly won; maybe on the internet. (Is internet vs. print perhaps the distinction in the aforementioned erotica?) But then, gmail recommends to me that I correct "all right" to "alright," based on its usage algorithms. The internet is full of bad writing of all varieties and hardly the basis for a convincing argument to people who care about usage. Should we put l8r in the dictionary?

English is also chock-full of words with multiple meanings, so the "it's less ambiguous" argument is a bit silly, as well, unless you're going to start arguing about half the words we use; this is even more true with words about sex, where double meanings are often folded in so that conversations can pose as non-explicit. No one claims we should spell "pussy" differently because it might be confusing for someone with a cat.

Although clarity is important, language usage conveys a number of things beyond its base meaning. In that sense, the two spellings may be useful, as they convey something about how one feels about language. It allows people like me (and perhaps nocute) to avoid erotica we're unlikely to like--and in some case, perhaps, relationships we're unlikely to like.


@Tim @58: "Let's take out temporary situations like grad school, military deployment or non-permanent job travels."

In my experience, even those temporary ones never work out. I know lots of people who only had to make it two years, say, before they could live in the same place again; I don't know any who managed it.


@60 ciods
"maybe on the internet. (Is internet vs. print..."

Maybe so.
I think 'on the Internet' is a very significant distinction since print is dying.

"you're going to start arguing about half the words we use"

I would, sure, were time not an issue and were there more common alternate usages.

"No one claims we should spell "pussy" differently because it might be confusing for someone with a cat"

It's that (I'm guessing) it /came/from/ the word for cat that keeps me from wanting to clarify the /intentional/ ambiguity by using (one of the many) alternatives.

@59 nocute
""cum" vs. "come" is that they're not different words; they're just spelled differently."

Wait. I think you're extrapolating from your own perspective.

From the perspective of the usage I'm advocating, they're different words /because/ they're spelled differently.

From the perspective of the usage you are advocating, they're the same words but one is a wrong spelling (which many have developed strong feelings about, but I feel that is not relevant to a purely theoretical discussion of language).


@Tim 58 and clods 61, I actually know of 2 couples where long distance worked: 1. A professor I knew spent most of her academic career living on opposite coasts from her husband, but finally lived in the same place after 20 years. I know another couple where a forced separation due to work (one was transferred for 5 years put of state) actually strengthen their marriage and 20 years later they are still together. So rare, but can work.


@63 MizM (love that name, btw) -- It sounds like the couples were already married or at least very serious when the distance came up?


Mr. P and I had to spend 9 months apart, but knowing the end-date going in helped enormously.

Since becoming poly I had a three-year long-distance relationship with no prospect for moving closer. That relationship was fun while it lasted, so I'd resist any implication that long-distance relationships aren't worthwhile.

Though (as I said @48), I'd advise against DADT for an extended long-distance relationship. Better to know what's really going on.


*an extended long-distance non-monogamous relationship


Okay, I'm jumping into the literary game. Come and "cum" are two different words because they're from two different languages, English and Latin. The Latin word means "with". Not pronounced the same either. IIRC, it's "koom" in Latin.

But I think it's a hopeless battle when I see people using your/you're or its/it's without knowing the difference.

As for this week's letters, I think Hopeless should remove her 20/20 hindsight goggles - especially as the guy does have a new gf. If she originally hesitated to act on the supposed attraction, then she wasn't ready at that time. But seeing him with another woman is a constant reminder of what might have been - certainly NO guarantee of a solid relationship.


Don’t know why all you trained in grammar/ linguistics/etc, prescriptive or otherwise, think knowing where words come Come from, their origins, changes one’s reaction to them? Interesting as these lessons are for the ignorant.
My gut says no to ‘cum’ being used to describe the sticky fluid coming out of those with cocks when they orgasm, I go no further than that.


And this week's Lucky @69 winner IS (see what I did here?)......


@69: .....Griz?


Cum is a male favoured word, where Come is gender friendly.


Glad you scored it Grizelda, and congratulations. May big fun, exciting and creative times come your way.
I’m going to break thru my prejudices and buy Miley Cyrus’ new album. RS gave it an ok review. That’s Rolling Stone for you younger folk.


@69: Indeed, as LavaGirl aptly says, there is magic in my little numbers game here in Savage Love Land. Griz just recently won another state lottery scratch prize. Good fortune is again mine!
WA-HOOOOOOOOOOO!! I humbly accept the delectably wicked-kickin' Lucky @69 honors, and officially pass future lucky number winnings (i.e.: Big Hunsky, @100, Double Whammy, @169, etc.) on to the next lucky SL commenter. :)


@69: Griz officially came to collect her prize. lol :)


Lava @71, I did notice that with the exception of Dan, women seem to dislike the c-u-m spelling while men like it. Perhaps this should be a hint to men. If you're trying to seduce her with your words, don't use the word cum.

Congrats to Griz on the lucky @69! Guess it was indeed lucky for you!


Perhaps we have here in language a relic of history which ignored herstory. In which language, like men, thought more of the noun for semen, than they thought of the women who don't produce semen, and who they tended to not much care (or worse) whether they orgasmed.

To put it more simply, it makes sense to a guy that the orgasm that produces their semen has a word with similar spelling. And it makes sense to a woman that their orgasm, since not producing semen, doesn't have similar spelling.

In this light I've switched teams, and now wish the usage which predominates were different.

So I'm torn; on the one hand I believe in using language which predominates to communicate best; OTOH were my personal usage capable of making a difference, I'd like to be an advocate for as much "coming" anywhere and everywhere as humanly possible.

"don't use the word cum"

I don't think I've ever written the word, and I don't think I pronounce it differently based upon either spelling.


@71 LavaGirl and @75 BiDanFan: Agreed, seconded, and thirded. I have always been more comfortable with the word "come" over "cum", too. :)

@72 LavaGirl: Many thanks! Miley Cyrus. There's another album I'll have to check out. Rolling Stone magazine---there's one I haven't read for a while. Thanks, Lava. :)

@75 BiDan Fan: Many thanks! I had meant to make what I thought was comment @68 as a lead in to Lucky @69. I guess I hit return at the right moment. :)


Okay--now LavaGirl needs to score her sexy Big Hunsky Mountain Man. :)


Might be a little warm for a mountain man, Grizelda. A sexy beach man for summer?
I was happy you landed @69, because for the next year I’ll know that number intimately as I head towards 70. Yikes!


Yes Grizelda, RS still going, online. Australia printed one during the year here, out of nowhere, so I have that. Plus years and years of that paper. It was a Bible, with some wild writers before they shot themselves, Hunter S Thomson did. In his hey day he took us all on some very strange journeys.
Just finished listening to Miley’s CD, and it’s got punch. You can tell this girl has been blooded, and so publicly! Yet here she has transformed that pain into her work. Good on her. Australian men, what can I say, Miley..


Couldn’t disagree on “cum” as a verb. “Cum” helps people express what they want to express - it’s more specific than “come”. The people have (literally) spoken on this one, and in this case I think they’re right. “Cum” is coming.


Curious what “no dates” means to the LW. Does it mean “don’t be seen in social/public settings with other romantic partners” or does it mean “don’t soend time chatting with people you (hope to) have sex with”. The latter seems very hard to avoid and banning it could lead to hurt feelings when it inevitably happens.


@81 couldn’t disagree more (curse these triple-negatives).


@auntiegrizelda @fubar you do realize you’re annoying people with your “first!” antics, right? I don’t assume you’re doing it with that intention, since this is a largely reasonable space. But for the lurking majority of us, you’re just creating contentless noise, and making us think “Didn’t this problem get quietly solved, already?”


Afre @84, yes, this problem did get (noisily) solved. Like the cum wars, the firdt wars have been fought and you lost. Firdt and the rest of the "lucky numbers" games are staying; the annoyed have been advised to scroll on by.


Afre @81, as a data point for my theory, what is your gender, if I may ask?


l-dub 1, just break up now and deal with the pain of it. you don't want non-monogamy. the world tells you, you aren't cool because of it... so what? this is a good opportunity to grow up and do what is right for you, not what is ideologically appropriate for a good leftist. dan's advice is a prescription for misery for you. as dan often is, he's being an advocate pushing for his ideology here, not someone looking out for your best interests.


also, it is highly entertaining to watch dan and his minions go full pearl clutcher over a neologism. get over yourselves. language changes & adapts over time. you don't get to control it, no one does. that's the beauty of it.


BiDanFan @51: “I would imagine that anyone seeking to open their own relationship would furnish their partner with their reasons.” Right, that’s what I would imagine too. I was just curious about what the folks in Savage Loveland think about the propriety or necessity of a partner providing rationales for their desire to open a relationship.

After all, Dan is always saying that all of us want to fuck other people, that these feelings are normal and expected even in monogamous relationships, etc. So once one accepts that reality, does one need to provide an argument or justification for wanting to open the relationship? That is, isn’t the natural desire for variety enough to be its own argument? Of course, a considerate person would need to discuss things thoroughly with their partner before actually moving toward such a change. I was just curious if the commentariat thinks part of that discussion would need to be “this is why I want to do this,” given the widely assumed acceptance here of the diversity of human desire.


The answer to the first question seems a little...disingenuous, in that Dan doesn't really acknowledge that one is much more likely to catch feeling for someone they are having sex with, than someone they just encounter regularly in non-sexual contexts. In fact most people are going to have at least some romantic feelings for their sex partners. If a couple is choosing nonmonogamy, they should make room for that: "there are going to be feelings for outside partners, can we handle that?"


Mr Pulver - Partly it's just typical Savagerian over-egging the pudding and turning "still finding people attractive" into "still being attracted to others" into "feeling an impulse to boink others" into "wanting to be in a state of boinking multiple people". Mainly, though, there was presumably a reason why the relationship was exclusive in the first place, if not a decision then at least an acknowledgement that it was exclusive. Wanting X now when someone wanted X then and renounced it, unless it was clear at the time that one was only renouncing X for a period of time, would seem still to ask for an explanation of why the renunciation ended, or, going back to my opening framing, it would not so much be explaining why one wants to boink others but explaining why one wants to be in a state of boinking multiple people,


@91 venn
What a wonderful answer!

But even aside from that, even if it could be fully rationally assumed (as Mr. Pulver, still without promotion from ensign, suggests), relationships are about more than logic. Such as emotional intimacy. People will likely want to talk about such things because people have feelings.


@92: And THAT's a wonderful answer, too, curious2


Dan isn't a god and he isn't the arbiter of all things sex-and-relationships, either.
He has a tendency to go overboard about something that he has experienced or believes or wants to believe, and one of these things is his insistence that everybody down deep, wants to be poly and it's only societal expectations that make people decide that they'll be monogamous.

It's not a short hop from thinking that someone is attractive or having a temporary crush on someone to wanting to have sex with other people--it's a much bigger step, and one that plenty of people don't want to take.

He also addresses any incompatibility any couple who married young is having by railing against the caller or letter writer for having the poor judgement to marry before he has deemed they are old enough to make that decision, yet he routinely talks about 18-year-olds as adults when it comes to sex. Lots of people who marry young have incompatibilities, but not all of those would have been addressed by marrying someone else later; lots of couples who married young have strong, happy marriages with satisfying sex lives; lots of people who date extensively and marry later end up having problems in their marriages and some of those problems involve sex.

There's no magic formula for success in long-term relationships.

And lots of people do end up getting emotionally involved with the person they're having sex with. Dan always dismisses that because it gets in the way of his open relationship agenda, but in the case of the first letter, for instance, there is simply a greater chance that the lw's girlfriend will fall for someone she's having sex with, especially if the couple is long-distance (the letter didn't say how far apart they are, how frequently they can see each other in person, and how long the separation has been going on for or when it's supposed to end--all of which could be factors in the expectations of success for them if they open their relationship, then that the lw's girlfriend will leave her for someone else (or just leave her) if they remain monogamous.


@94: A typically nuanced and compassionate response from you. As to Dan’s “insistence that everybody down deep, wants to be poly and it's only societal expectations that make people decide that they'll be monogamous,” I concur with your analysis. And of course, he’s not the only one doing this. Plenty of sex writers (some good, some not) have written entire books with the same proselyting tone. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, as long as one is aware what is going on, and doesn’t buy into the tendency base the Crusade upon overstated notions about evolutionary biology and such.


@79 Lavagirl: Sexy beach man--I like it! Go get him, Lava! Big cyber hugs, positrons, and VW beeps from my beloved Love Beetle and me. :)
@80 LavaGirl: Bless you and RS. I will indeed need to give Miley Cyrus a listen.:)

@84 alfreschetta: Like I and others happily playing the lucky numbers game here in SL have explained in length, you can always scroll down or skip over any comments of mine or the following numbered comments: @01, @69, @100, @169, and any further comments ending in 69 or 00 through the end of that week's comment thread.
Savage Love is Dan Savage's beloved, highly read sex advice column, and has been in The Stranger since the 1990s. Dan has shown no signs of annoyance about the Lucky Numbers game, meant entirely for fun ever since one commenter was apparently SO excited at the idea of commenting first, he or she posted FIRDT! in all caps, The unintentional typo has since become part of the joke---and an inspiration for the game. Lucky @69 is a play on numbers, so to speak (well, this IS a SEX ADVICE column, after all).
If you don't want to play, that's up to you. Again, and with heartfelt feeling: you are not required to participate. However, I am in agreement with fubar, BiDanFan, and others who enjoy the numbers game. If you're here to troll and gripe, you can always explore another comment thread. If that's the case, then 'bye-bye.

@85 BiDanFan: Agreed, seconded, and Amen. :)


@84 alfreschetta: By the way, majorities don't tend to lurk. Gotcha! Trolls like you can always go get your moms a Pepsi with ice, and step on it. Tell your ma I said hi. :)


@86 BiDanFan: I could seriously be wrong, politically, but alfreschetta (particularly in comment @84) if cis male, to me screams of trolling, unmasked white incel, with his tightie-whities in a wad that DJT officially lost to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and that the deeply divided U.S. is finally getting a REAL President and Vice President on January 20, 2021, after four long years of GOP-induced Dark Ages. Either that, or if alfreschetta is cis female, she's horrifically blindsided by DJT, regardless of her skin color. It's possible that she feels she's "safe" from any harm caused by the Trump / Pence Crime Syndicate if she's white and over 50 voting Republican.
I find it appalling that ~ 73, 000,000 voters actually cast ballots for another four years of Trumpage Spiral. DJT is no president. He's a disease.

Okay. Who's game for that Big Hunsky? Tick...tick...tick... :)


afreschetta @84: Knowing that my post annoyed you pleases me greatly. Thanks for the feedback.


@86 BiDanFan, re my @98: By the way, did DJT ever get milkshaked when touring the UK? If so, I hope it went viral. :)

If I accidentally hit @100 the Big Hunsky I will forfeit my numerical honors to the next commenter, as Griz already hit the Lucky @69 this week. :)

    Please wait...

    Comments are closed.

    Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

    Add a comment

    By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.