Savage Love

Toy Boy





RAGING, I have no problem with the use of allcaps for emphasis. (I think that the common belief that this is 'shouting' is delusional.) But /you/, most definitely, have a problem given your apparent need to emphasize half the words in your letter.

"only managed to find people arguing in the comments about this topic when what I want is your advice"

As a bonus, MIH, behold now people also arguing in the comments about it.
Not me, fuck if I feel any need to repeat what I recall having been excellently said in the comments (by someone or someones) in the thread you already read.


This was my first hit on google, maybe it's the one


You might forget to lock your door, sure, but it isn't hard to remember to put your sex toys back in the padlocked metal toolbox that you keep under your bed after you use them.

And what is this rewarding your son's behavior nonsense? "Hey you did something you shouldn't have, again, after we specifically told you not to, so here's a gift card!" WTF? He's 16. He can buy his own damn dildos!


"My partner and I dabbled in BDSM but I never felt like he was really into it. He was just doing it for me. When I asked what I could do for him, he'd always say "nothing." That made it even more disappointing."

Yes, this happens sometimes when one person wants a thing and the other person wants to please their partner. Of course they're doing it for you, it's established that they don't want to do it on their own so yes they're doing it for you. It's like the old joke/story about the dominatrix who asks the sub what he wants and he keeps insisting "you have total control, Mistress, do whatever YOU want! You make all decisions to satisfy your own desires, I'm helpless beneath your power!" Eventually she says "Ok, what I want is to see a movie" and she takes his money and leaves.

Option 1: Find a person who genuinely wants to do the thing of their own accord.
Option 2: Acknowledge that part of what you want is for them to WANT to do it, and part of fulfilling this desire for you is successfully portraying these feelings. It's definitely additional work for them and you should appreciate it if they're willing and able. ESPECIALLY if it involves creative work like dialogue, creating a scene, deciding and implementing next steps, everything that goes into domination.
Option 3: Accept the act and sensations on their own while getting tied up or whatever while fantasizing about all the other desire/power/etc in your head.


@3 jack
Do 16-year olds have credit cards to buy dildos online during the pandemic?


Parents should always keep their sex toys and recreational drugs licked in a strongbox. And that lock should be a combination lock--otherwise the teens might go searching for the key (and likely find it)--and the combination should not be easily guessed. If you're keeping big wads of cash around the house, throw them in the toolbox along with the sex toys.
That takes care of step one.

Step two: yes, you should give your teen a way to buy sex toys (many states won't sell them to minors). Even if Jr. has a job and money of his own, he may not have a credit or debit card to buy toys online, and even if he does, some stores may not sell to a minor, depending on the laws they are subject to. Jr. should be able to buy something he'd like for $50 or less.

But now comes the tricky part: do you tell Jr. that this gift card is for sex toys, or will that be seen as / feel too invasive and an example of TMI? Possibly; but if the parents don't make explicitly clear what the gift card is for, then odds are that Jr. uses it to buy something else and still continues to try to kype mom's /dad's sex toys.

I'd recommend leaving the gift card in an envelope with a note on Jr.'s bed. The note should cover these points:

1) Going through someone else's personal things is an invasion of privacy; it's wildly uncool, and next time it happens there will be consequences.
2) Sharing sex toys is not a particularly safe practice.
3) Using someone else's sex toys without permission is a huge violation.
4) This is going to gross out both of you, so everyone should have their own toys and keep them private, for the sake of the comfort of the others in the household.
5). This Visa gift card can be used at any number of places that sell sex toys (some websites might be listed, in case Jr. doesn't have enough initiative to figure out where to spend the gift care--a highly unlikely situation, but one never knows).
6) You, the parent, will not intercept any packages that come for Jr. and you will not ask what is in them.
7) You won't clean his sex toy(s) for him, but Jr. should know that they all need to be cleaned and cleaned thoroughly (and dried, if they're made of something that is hospitable to bacteria or mold.

There's the possibility that Jr. is getting off on the fafct that he's involving mom and dad in his sex life by using their toys and knowing that they know he's using them but that's unlikely; more probably, the kid is lazy, self-centered, and relentlessly horny (in other words, a teenager), and hasn't really stopped to think about this (in other words, a teenager) .
Good luck!


@6: *Locked in a strongbox, not licked in a strongbox.


I get going through your parents’ stuff. I found my father’s porn stash at 8 years old, fun times. But is nobody else finding it weird that a 16 year old would be willing to use THEIR PARENT’S sex toys, or is that just my issue?🤪


@8: Oh, it's weird, all right. But see my comment about teenagers being self-centered and exceptionally horny. I don't think he's spending a lot of time thinking about whose sex toys they are or how Freudianly gross it is that he's using them.


Nocute, didn’t see that at the end of your comment. Exactly what I was thinking on both points. Either way, I’d book a couple of therapy sessions for him as a condition of the gift card/toys. He’s likely to have some shame issues over this later in life if they don’t deal with it now.


@5. Most 16 year olds have bank accounts with debit cards, so yes. If not he can go to a grocery store or drug store or whatever and buy a prepaid debit card.


@jack chandelier: I see getting the son a gift card so he can buy his own sex toys less as rewarding his behavior, and more as simply being practical.
After all, this kid's likely to say, "why should I pay good money to buy something I can just swipe from mom and dad's bedside drawer?"
I think sometimes teenagers need you to be far more explicit than you would expect.

Personally, I'd rather give him the gift card and know my dildos haven't been up his ass, but that's just me.


MIH: Is there a reason a sex talk is off the table? It seems like he's absolutely BEGGING for it - engaging in activities where he's certain to get caught.

RAGING: It sounds like you're a shitty boyfriend.


The gift card doesn’t have to be a reward. It can be a life lesson.

Buy a gift card to a sex toy store. Make it a nice amount so he can try out different things.

And then later on, point out that there is no birthday present this year because that was his birthday present. It’s not the one they would have chosen but he didn’t leave them a lot of options. If he wants to buy himself a birthday present, that’s a great idea. That’s what jobs are for.


MIH: I was once a teenage boy, and I'd rather have stuck pins in my eyes than contemplate my parents having sex. I'd rather have slammed my fingers in a door than than contemplate their sex toys, let alone steal and use them. Something else is going on here. The kid needs therapy. He should not be inserting himself into his parents' sex life.


MIH: Also, a conversation with a teenager who has stolen and used sex toys should probably being with a smack upside the little shit's head. But of course, we don't do that anymore.


Congrats to Curious on getting firdt honors! And thanks again for your kind assistance with the avatar, and for talking me through what wound up being a ridiculously obvious process.

@9 Nocute, howls of laughter over "Freudianly gross!" I think that's my new favorite adjective. I'm reminded of an old Animaniacs episode where the titular characters are in a mall, puzzling over what to get their "pea-sychiatrist" Dr. Scratchensniff for his birthday. They pass by a lingerie store named Freudian Slips, but decide not to get anything there because the doctor "makes his own."


@1 WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations to curious2 on scoring this week's highly coveted FIRDT! honors! Happy firkt! Bask in the glory of leading this week's SL comment thread, and savor your envied riches. :)


@18 fantastic mrs. fox: Congratulations on your lovely and beautifully apt avatar!


Ms Cute's mention of recreational drugs has put me off L1 (as someone with a parent prone to substance abuse, I know I'd be too hard for the room and so I shan't engage).
LW2 seems to be framing the situation of his long relationship as his ex's shortcomings. Perhaps it's a way of avoiding feeling selfish, but that could be going about it the wrong way. If he needs a .95 match instead of a .8, he should own it and make himself worth it. (Credit to Mr Savage for not bringing out the 7% Solution of buying it.)
LW3 resembled a LW from some time back who seemed to be channeling a creepy film character; the letter called to mind Rumpole's attempt to order mashed spuds in a three-star restaurant. This produced an encounter with the irascible chef, who'd thrown out an Arabian king for ordering filet mignon well cooked and sent film stars away in tears for daring to mention Thousand Island dressing. To the claim that his customers ate as he d* well told them to, Rumpole replied, "And you win them all over with your irresistible charm." In language LW3 might understand, I'll venture to hint that this is not a good look.

LW3 also seems to take OM3's average looks as a personal affront; on that score, I might refer him to Mr Franklin's tribute to (although female) Partners of Advanced Age. I rather wonder whether people with highly attractive partners on the whole may seek out less attractive contacts for external adventures.

I'm almost inclined to question whether LW3 really wants to continue with BF3 at all when LW3 is adopting a line so little likely to result in his achieving his stated goal. But that might be because the nature of the ongoing engagement is so dreary and servile I'd find it a dealbreaker.


Mr Bar@17 - As someone frequently hit in the head by a parent, I don't recommend it from any angle.


RAGING: Jesus CHRIST already! Take a soak in the tub, have a glass of wine, and fucking CHILL.
RAGING's BF of less than two months: RUN, while there is still time!


Holy fucking shit. RAGING's letter reminded me so much of the music from Pink Floyd's 1979 classic album, The Wall. I had to play it just now, singing along with band members Roger Waters, David Gilmore, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.
Here's hoping RAGING's unfortunate BF of less than two months really does RUN LIKE HELL and doesn't look back.


Mr. Ven, I mentioned "recreational drugs" and "wads of cash" because Dan brought up both pot and money. The letter writer doesn't refer to either. I'm not positing that all parents have stashes of recreational drugs, just that there are several things besides sex toys that parents might want to keep in a locked metal box, especially if they have good reason to suspect that their kids are rifling through their private possessions and taking things.

I took a cue from Dan and treated this letter as if it was a fairly normal thing for a kid to do, but there is something that seems off to me. One might conceivably expect a curious and horny 12-13-y/o to steal his parents' sex toys, but this kid is 16--plenty old enough to be able to find a way to acquire his own sex toys. The fact that the lw said her husband had--twice--to tell a 16-year old that sex toys are personal and shouldn't be shared is odd and disturbing ("He talked to our son and told him these are personal items, like a toothbrush, and that he needed to stop taking them. A few weeks ago I noticed my dildo was missing. I thought I had misplaced it or that my husband hid it somewhere. As it turns out, our son took it. We talked with him again and stressed that these are personal items and not something to be shared").

This has me wondering if the son isn't dealing with some developmental delays or other issues. If he has the emotional maturity and current mental capacity of a younger child, it makes more sense that the parents would need to keep having this conversation about the wrongness of stealing someone else's sex toys. And if this is the case, it suggests that it may be more important that the parents help get the kid some sex toys of his own. Because any 16-year old who doesn't already know that it is wrong and heebie-jeebie-inspiring to steal and use your parents' sex toys, probably really wouldn't know how to acquire his own.


Some great advice has already been given to the teenager’s parents. It is indeed a complicated situation, and even the most accommodating alternatives may not be easy to deliver, nor following through.
As I shared here in the past, my “cross dressing” inclinations- a somewhat archaic term I use here in a broad manner to describe in general a phenomenon that has many variants- started at home. A secretive, shameful habit at first incubated there mostly due to availability, and was dropped once other possibilities materialized.
Since the mother who wrote in did not mention any past or potential incest incidents I tend to think the same will happen here with her son.

I would stay away from punishment and shaming, yet let the kid know that you know. I think a gift card sends this message and accompanied with words and actions detailed by nocute @ 6 it is the most reasonable way to proceed. Whether the son will actually purchase anything is another issue.
Buying him stuff is likely to deepen the eek factor to all involved, and the toys he used may not necessarily be his preference as Dan suggested, yet more a combination of availability and curiosity.

FMF @ 18
Welcome aboard and congrats on the avatar choice.
Where’s the mall?


Aunt Zelda @ 24
I fail to see the connection with said album, please elaborate.


@27 CMDwannabe: A lot of RAGING's angry letter to Dan about his boyfriend of less than two months was regarding someone the BF was seeing for about a decade, and into their relationship. RAGING not only has an all caps issue, but an anger problem. From his letter, he sounds controlling, manipulative and domineering. Dan in his response called RAGING on it. In my opinion,, Pink Floyd's song, Run Like Hell from The Wall sounds exactly what RAGING's BF should do.


@27 CMDwannabe: To elaborate even further re RAGING's letter to Dan:
RAGING's letter screamed to me in all caps that he felt he owned his boyfriend of about two months. So what if the LW's BF was still seeing someone else over the last decade? RAGING's rant indicated that his new BF was his property.
I have had two past sex partners and one acquaintance of twenty one years who treated me like their disposable property--out of insane jealousy, childish insecurity, male chauvinism, and sheer pigheadedness.
My abusive ex-husband had an anger problem. Whenever he drank it was like he doused himself with gasoline and was about to light a match.
That is what I saw in the all caps.
Consequently, I really feel sorry for RAGING's BF and hope he leaves such an unhealthy, one-sided relationship.


Congrats on the firkt, Curious!

Ha, Dan just described my teenagehood, only the other way round. I've never been an invader of privacy. My sister, not me, was the one who snooped for Christmas presents; I preferred to leave them a surprise. But my mother did not return that favour when I became a teenager -- searching my purse on a whim, reading my diary and yearbook, which she'd specifically been told was off limits and in which she discovered all the things I'd thus far gotten away with. Thanks for the trigger, Dan. Is the way round Dan described "normal"? Or are they both dysfunctional? Gift card and personal safe sound like the solution to MIH's problem.

Oh and Dan, not every kid moves out at eighteen. We're not in GenX anymore. MIH may not be wealthy enough, or her son's grades good enough, that the traditional college-dorm-at-eighteen is his future. (It certainly wasn't mine, see my above paragraph.) Kid may not be able to afford rent until he's 24. I would look at this as not necessarily a problem that's going to solve itself in the immediate future. Though when he's 18, he can at least buy his own sex toys.

INCA: It seems to me that the most important thing for you is to get what you've been missing for 20 years. A 63-year-old leather daddy sounds like someone who would be in demand. INCA doesn't say whether he's a Dom or a sub, but he should get to Fetlife, its gay equivalents, and as soon as they're open again, clubs that cater for the gay BDSM community. A whole world will soon open for you, INCA. Put the vanilla guys who -might- be open minded on the shelf for now and go get those needs met.

RAGING, you're an asshole. Dump your motherfucking self already.


Ankyl @4, good point that a vanilla partner, even an open-minded one like Dan describes, will be "doing it for you." INCA didn't like feeling this way, so that's another reason INCA shouldn't waste another several years of his life hoping a GGG guy will learn to like BDSM for its own sake.

Nocute @6, Amazon sells sex toys and doesn't require ID for online purchases, so I figured, easy solution. You're right though that it could backfire if Junior uses the Amazon gift card to buy video games and continues to steal the sex toys. A sex-toy-specific online shop would indeed be better for solving this problem. Perhaps they could pre-load the cart with some toy cleaner and lube, things he may not think he needs.

Guts @10, maybe the other guy is long distance? Having a few casual buddies one sees infrequently, or a longstanding FWB as a side dish to main relationships which come and go, doesn't seem like a strange thing to me.

Alison @15, yes. "Here's your early birthday present" would sort the "reward for bad behaviour" issue.

Fubar @16, sure, same here, but this kid's doing it. Like Nocute says, his boner must be overriding his ick factor. Did you never steal your dad's Playboys when you were a kid? Despite the idea that your dad wanked to them? Did it just not occur to you that your dad wanked to them because you didn't want to think about that? Perhaps a similar mental process is going through this kid's mind.

Mrs Fox @18, great avatar! Kudos indeed to Curious for helping. I admit Maid Marian was the first vixen that came to mind when reading your username. :)

Griz @23: Right!? It seems almost worth keeping an occasional FWB in one's life so that new partners like RAGING can reveal themselves early on, and be dumped before any serious damage occurs! Anger management classes, RAGING - stat!

Nocute @25, another theory is that the kid isn't using the dildo, but wanted to show it to his friends. "Look what I found in my parents' room! GROSS! Hahahaha!" Indeed, that does seem more like something a 12- or a 13-year-old would do, but lockdown is fucking boring and people are finding their entertainment where they can.

Griz @29, yes. He demanded an open relationship yet said his boyfriend couldn't date anyone else - what? So he either wants a cucking situation or he's an abusive hypocrite. My money is on the later.


Our 16 year old son steals the petty cash we keep on hand to pay delivery people who come to the door. We have explained that the money is not his and that stealing is wrong, but he continues to do it, so we've decided to give him a gift card so he can have more money.

Our 16 year old son is only allowed to use the family car at certain times on certain occasions. We have explained that the supervision is necessary because he's young, teenagers can be reckless, and car crashes are horrible. He continues to take the keys whenever he wants, so we got him his own set of keys and will buy him his own car next week.

Our 16 year old son is rude, steals, contributes nothing to the household, does no chores, is failing school, is an inconsiderate slob, plays games all days, and melts down and gets violent at times. We've hinted several times that we'd prefer if he showed some kindness or responsibility, but he sneers at us, so we're giving him a bunch of money, some servants, and telling him he can go to therapy-- but only if he wants to.

Okay, okay, I get it that sex toys aren't cars, but stealing is stealing, invasion of privacy is invasion of privacy, and talking to him about how what he's doing is wrong hasn't worked. Provide a consequence, not a reward. Tell, don't hint. All he's hearing is blah, blah, blah.

Yes, you can hide the toys better, but presumably they weren't sitting out in the open in the first place. He had to go through some sort of bedside drawer to find them originally. That's bad enough.

Who the hell knows why he's doing it. Maybe he does want his own toy-- though I rather doubt he really wanted that dildo. Maybe he doesn't think his parents should be enjoying sex. Maybe he's trying to think of the most transgressive thing he can do because 16 year olds can be like that. Whatever you do, stop guessing at his motives and go directly to consequences.


LW1, He’s probably using your toothbrush too.


Fichu @32, "Maybe he's trying to think of the most transgressive thing he can do because 16 year olds can be like that." Yes, indeed. In that case, though, wouldn't the embarrassment of being told "We noticed you've been using our sex toys, so here's a gift card to get your own" be punishment enough?


RAGING, you have TOTALLY AVERAGE INTERPERSONAL SKILLS. Your distinction between fucking round--which is ok--and dating--which implies a division of loyalty and emotional primacy--is almost impossible to see. It is not surprising that your new bf took it differently to you. It isn't surprising, either, that he has ongoing things, sexual friendships, FWB relationships, with other guys (or actually here just one); and that his supposition was that he would go on with these, given that your relationship wasn't tightly monogamous on principle.

Why do you want to be with this guy anyway, if (as you think) he flouted your instructions and didn't take your words seriously? It sounds as if it's because he's VGL. There's nothing about his great personality or your compatible interests in your letter. At the risk of being a bit hissy ... or a bit frank, maybe you're at a stage of your own VGL-ness where your looks and charisma no longer allow you to dictate the terms of a relationship...? So that to be with a VGL guy, you have to make sacrifices, or enter into a negotiation? It's time for you to decide what you most want, if you can't have everything: to have a VGL bf; to have an emotionally exclusive relationship; to keep fucking round; to be with this one guy, or any other possibility.


With INCA, I'd say that in looking for a new relationship, he should explicitly be looking for a guy he can sub for--a Dom on the lookout for a sub. We know his relationships last a long time--he has the temperament and fortitude for the long haul--and given this, he shouldn't risk, or should run the least risk of, putting himself again in a situation where his deepest sexual wants go unsatisfied.


Mom in Houston, your idea of a credit card or preloaded credit at a sex-shop site is excellent. You only need now to overcome your husband's sense of squick. But surely the thought of his son putting his own toys up his butt is squickier...? In a way, this is a chance for a fine teaching moment. Sixteen year-old boys need guidance in lots of ways. You and your husband can tell him there is no need to be ashamed of his desires.


I applaud y'all on suggesting the son stealing his parents sex toys needs professional help.

At first I didn't even want to think about it (we've addressed it before)(LW was considerate enough to stipulate a lack of interest in us doing so). Now that I have, I think it's equally possible that the letter is fake.

Fichu @32
But it's possible that he did

"the most transgressive thing he can do"

for attention; to some negative attention is better than no attention.


Aunt Zelda- thanks for elaborating on that specific song. Run indeed. The album itself seems a bit whiny to me, towing the line with other rock songs and albums describing men totally desperate without a woman.

Hbtb @ 37
Yes, the father's reluctance to be further involved is a bit odd. Sadly this is not the first letter a woman writes here about her son, stating the father is squeaked out and refuses to deal with the issues.


@13, @15 an "early birthday gift" is fine, I guess. But you know the kid would throw a fit and they'd end up buying him another gift anyway.

I'm with @32 here. You can paint it however you like, but the fact remains that it IS rewarding bad behavior. So what if it's "normal" for a teenager to do? It's also "normal" for the parents to do some parenting and be tough on their kids for their shitty behavior so they don't create one more entitled spoiled adult for the world to have to deal with.

@13 You're saying "Oh I know I shouldn't PAY my son for stealing, but it was just easier.. I didn't want to have to deal with it." Unfortunately dealing with it comes with the territory of raising kids. Or at least it used to. Doesn't seem to be the case much anymore unfortunately.


Ms Cute - Not knocking you; I just know I'd go down that road if I addressed the letter.
M?? Harriet - Are you taking LW2 to be submissive or advising him to bottom?

General Question - How old would LW2 have to be before being advised to temper his expectations? He makes me think that, if he gets carded when he goes to the supermarket for the Seniors-only Shopping Hour, he could be like Elizabeth Elliot, who was still handsome at twenty-nine but "felt her approach to the years of danger" and would have been glad to catch an eligible baronet within the next twelvemonth or so.
It came to me in the night that LW3 resembles Tania from Muriel's Wedding in the scene at the end when Rhonda calls Tania and her friends a bunch of c*s*ers and the outraged, snarling Tania screams, "I'm beautiful!"


Thanks everyone for the kind words about the avatar!

@26 CMD, a mall is a large indoor shopping center (centre).

Where to begin with RAGING? His letter reads like it was written by someone in their mid-teens, not mid-twenties. I think Harriet @35 makes a lot of cogent points, particularly around this LW's insistence on an open relationship while simultaneously seeming unable to tell the difference between screwing around and dating. My most charitable response to RAGING would be to get really explicit about what "dating" means and entails to you, to make sure you and your BF are on the same page. Dating is one of those ephemeral terms that can mean really different things to different people (and the younger and less relationship experience someone has, the more likely they are to read deeper significance into a term like "dating", IMO).

So that was my charitable response. My real response to RAGING is that he is in sore need of growing the fuck up. Your writing style and they way you present your question are doing you zero favors. You come across as insecure and embarrassingly immature for your age, both of which will get you DTMFA'd on the reg if you don't look inward and do some serious work on yourself. I'm not convinced you have the requisite maturity to have a functioning open relationship, and your all-caps insistence that you do NOT want a closed relationship is giving me serious "methinks thou doth protest too much" vibes. There's clearly a reason why your BF's long-standing booty call situation is bothering you so much, and you would do yourself and future romantic partners a huge favor to dig deep and get to the bottom of what is really and truly bothering you about this. Is it because this relationship has lasted longer than any relationship you yourself have been in (and the other guy's age and average looks are just red herrings)?

Also, new rule: if you feel compelled to write Dan Savage about some problem in your relationship and that relationship can be more easily counted in weeks rather than months or years, that's an automatic DTMF.


Wait... where are the parents “discovering” their stolen sex toys? In the dishwasher? Behind the couch? In their son’s bed? In the lockbox underneath their son’s bed?

Maybe Son is saying he needs his need for privacy to be taken seriously. He’s been telling his parents to give him some space and they’ve been ignoring him. Stealing their sex toys is a desperate attempt to show them what it feels like to have your boundaries violated and to be stuck living with someone you can’t trust.

The LW doesn’t set us up with any context. Nothing about developmental issues, previous behaviour, other concerns, wonderfulness of son. Nothing. I get the feeling something is being withheld.


^ “Maybe” covers the entire middle paragraph above.


@41. venn. I am supposing he is subby on the basis of his saying that, during his long relationship, that he offered to do something to please his partner but was just met by blankness. I'm taking this, in a context that also mentioned an interest in BDSM, to designate his being a sub. I said nothing about topping/bottoming in the explicit sense of penetrating or being penetrated in PIA, as the letter wasn't necessarily about that; it seemed, rather, to be about D/s in some kind of roleplay, fantasy or specific activity context.

How old? No upper limit, I'd say. Just as he's been a frustrated or confused sub in a long relationship that didn't really grant him an outlet, there will be potentially corresponding confused and frustrated have-it-in-them Doms.


Fox @42, CMD asked "where's the mall?", not "what's a mall?" I think they want to go shopping at Freudian Slips. :)

Re RAGING, I agree he does not seem to have the emotional maturity for an open relationship, potentially for any relationship. I too would not consider a longstanding FWB arrangement to break "no dating" rules. That said, it seems odd Mr RAGING would not have disclosed this during the open relationship discussion. That said, from RAGING's tone it seems less likely this was a discussion than an ultimatum. I admit it's possible that "dating" is defined differently in the gay community, but that being said, there are clearly enough differences of opinion that any rules must be more specific than "no dating." (As I've also said before, "no dating" seems unworkable. Mr RAGING's case may be an exception, since it does seem he just shows up and blows his FWB, but does he leave again immediately thereafter? What if they get hungry and decide to go grab a pizza? At what point does a hookup become a "date"?) Regardless, though, even if these two were to agree on a definition of date, I agree that Mr RAGING should cut his losses. I will restate your new rule with an old one of mine: This relationship is within the 90-day money-back-guarantee period. That means it is fair game for an early, drama-free exit by either party, and I hope Mr RAGING decides his new, younger, VGL "boyfriend" isn't worth the aggro.


Harriet @45, I agree that INCA is more likely a sub. In addition to wanting to do things for his partner, he refers to being fascinated by guys "getting tied up," which suggested identifying with the tie-ee, not the tie-er. Also numbers dictate it's more likely he's a sub -- if he were a Dom, he'd probably already know his age would not be a disqualifying factor. But it could go either way, and so long as he is not exclusively looking for twinks I don't think his age will be an issue. Especially if -he- could go either way, aka, switch, and be GGG with kinks that aren't his own.


@16. Fubar. If the 16yo is thinking about it at all, he perhaps imagined his parents bought the toy twenty years ago and used it once. He's probably not imagining it recently up Pater's ass. But of course something else might well be going on here.

Nocute sensitively raises concerns as to why buying sex toys for the boy might be intrusive, but I would think the thing to do is for the parents is to talk to him about desire, lack of embarrassment and privacy together.


My picks for something that is being withheld, in no particular order:
• Son’s atypical development.
• Parental disagreement about how to handle Son’s atypical development.
• Parental disagreement about how to handle Son’s -typical- development.
• Parental disagreement about whether Son’s atypical development is A Thing.
• Ongoing conflict between Son and Husband.
• Hesitancy on the part of LW to interfere with Son and Husband’s relationship.
• Fear on the part of LW to talk to Son directly—LW fears upsetting Husband.
• Fearbon the part of LW to talk to Son directly—LW fears Son.
• Alliance of Son and Husband against LW.
• History of conflict between LW and Husband, with Son siding with LW and attempting to undermine Husband.
• History of separation between LW and Husband. Recent reuniting has Husband trying to impose himself as Father and meeting with resistance.
• Anxiety and rigidity on the part of Husband who nonetheless tries to be a loving father.
• Anxiety and rigidity on the part of Husband. Covering for abusiveness on the part of LW.
• Atypical development of both Son and Husband.
• Lack of understanding of appropriate boundaries on the parts of all family members.
• History of LW and/or Husband exposing Son to their nudity.
• History of LW and/or Husband exposing Son to their sexuality.

What we definitely know is missing is
• Perspective of Son—we don’t know how he responded to being confronted by Husband.

Whether a typically-developing Son would steal his parent’s sex toys under normal conditions of hormones and confinement is obviously up for debate. I’m open to the possibility that Son simply refuses to believe that his parents actually use their sex toys, making squick a non-issue for him.

Whether typical parents with a history of good boundaries would be unable to come up with the lockbox solution on their own... I’m much less convinced.

I’d suggest a lockbox and family therapy. I suspect there’s a lot going on here, and that it will take an experienced family therapist to help them disentangle and address underlying issues. Possibly also individual therapy for Son so that he can have an Officially Sane adult to talk to, one who is on his side, won’t betray confidences unless safety is at stake, but not in favour of being a terrible person.

Not because they are definitely Doing It Rong but because I’m not sure they have the tools to know whether they’re Doing It Rong. Maybe they’re Doing It Right but lack confidence.


^ I’d suggest a lockbox, -an early bithday present- and family therapy.


@46 Bi, lmao, I see that now. I thought perhaps I'd used a uniquely American/North American term that caused confusion. Interestingly enough, the town I live in once upon a time had a real-life lingerie store called Freudian Slips.

Bi, I very much had your "90 day money-back guarantee" in mind when I arbitrarily made up that new rule. I've seen you use that phrase before and it's just so perfect. I think anyone who writes to Dan about their "relationship problems" while still in this fledgling, no-fault time period belies a certain level of immaturity or lack of lived experience. It strikes me as very "middle school," very "we held hands in the hall between second and third period therefore we are IN LURV and in a RELATIONSHIP and it's all FRIGHTFULLY SERIOUS." This is very much the vibe I get from RAGING, based on his writing style and the way he frames the situation.

Also (and this is where I wish we knew when LWs choose their own sign-off or not), I found it a bit telling that RAGING's sign-off says he doesn't want "games," which makes me wonder if he's been seriously burned in a prior relationship and if that's something he's still grappling with. He seems angry that his BF didn't tell him about his long-term hookup buddy sooner (but also he told you in less than two months of getting with you and that seems fair and honest to me???), and it's possible/probable that the BF didn't see the long-term hookup buddy as a violation of their rules. Until he decided that it was something RAGING should know, at which point he was upfront. This is exactly why partners should be explicit about what specifically is and is not allowed, rather than falling back on vague terms like "no dating." What BDF said: if you go out for pizza afterward, is that hookup now a date?

This guy also seems like he has a bit of a penchant for drama and is looking to be pissed off and to have his anger validated. I feel like he would have been mad with his BF regardless of when or how or why he told him. And pro tip, RAGING, when you blow up at a partner for sharing a (potentially hard) truth with you, it's a major disincentive for them to be honest with you in the future.


RE squick:

If sex toys really are like a toothbrush, why would the parents even want them back? Son can keep them. -That’s- his early birthday present. Eeew. Parents will buy themselves fresh, new sex toys thankyouverymuch.

Too late for that. Parents have already taken them back, undermining Husband’s toothbrush statement.


Further RE understanding appropriate boundaries:
• LW and Husband come from angrily abusive families and are terrified of expressing anger or outrage or even of just being indignant.
• LW and Husband come from controllingly abusive families where any kind of negative emotion was forbidden to them and they have no idea what to do with anger besides suppressing it.


LW1: Leave a few military academy brochures lying around the house. I find that they work wonders.


@32 This was me at 16. In my case I was going through hell at school and the last thing I needed was extra hassle from my parents when I got home.


55- JodoKast-- I don't understand your comment. Are you saying that at 16 you went through your parents' room and took their sex toys?


Dan, I remember an Ann Landers column in which a mother was worried that he 16 year old son and 16 year old step daughter were beginning to be much too intrigued with each other. Ann said not to worry, they would be going away to college in two years! The column was likely 40 years ago, but the advice she gave then was as bad as the advice you gave to the mother of the dildo thief.

First off, what makes you think the kid will even go away to college? Most kids didn't go away, even back when Ann gave her advice. It is less common to go away to college today.

Finally, two years is about the same as twenty years to a teenager. A teenager who is fascinated by "Mom's dildo" is more than just a little curious. Hoping the kid will be gone in two years isn't much of a solution.


What is this world where teenagers can easily acquire sex toys? Teenagers who can get game ID's, drugs and alcohol could probably get them. That is not every teenager. Teenagers who are working and have a bank account of their own may be able to get them from some websites. I'm not sure how effective the parental controls or 18+settings are, so maybe they can.

This leaves stealing them. Either from you, or from a store. Or alternatively, using random household objects.

I think speaking openly about them and providing them are better solutions than all of the above, and don't at all resemble rewarding teenagers for stealing cars or behaving badly.


@32, Congratulations; Presuming your son was born and resides in, the USA, in 19 short years he will eligible to run for President, a job he seems eminently qualified for.

Did the parents really want the stolen toys back? how many toys does one kid need? maybe they just threw them away because letting the kid keep them would be rewarding his bad behavior, but letting him buy new toys of his choosing would not? Sure the idea of him using their toys is gross, but that ship has sailed.

Of course there is a large difference between not respecting boundaries concerning a person's property and a person's "person". But considering the nature of the property in question, I wouldn't let that kid anywhere near my 15 year old daughter (hypothetically, if I had a daughter)
Reminds me of the South Park episode where Eric Cartman's mom wanted an abortion.

@34, "several months ago.... He talked to our son .... A few weeks ago I noticed my dildo was missing...We talked with him again "
It doesn't seem to me the kid is easily embarrassed.

One might hope the letter writer is just a troll, but that hope may be in vain as this sound SO sincere:
"people arguing in the comments about this topic when what I want is your advice."


Entertaining thoughts of giving your children sex toys is icky, but getting a nod to do so from a sex columnist is doubly so.

In addition, what kid would be able to enjoy a dildo from mommy and daddy? Kinda nullifies the fun of being kinky.


Why am I the only one who thinks the letter about the 16 yo old boy using his parents sex toys fake? It’s fake.


raindrop @ 60
I was just about to give you a historic compliment, yet when I was about to post it, I noticed your current post.
Here’s what I first wrote:
“While Yom Kippur, the annual Jewish Day of Atonement, is still a long way away here’s a good word for raindrop:
Few months ago, a letter writer described their sex toys arsenal. Raindrop chimed in, wondering how to handle a situation in which the children find the stash. I replied in a polite, civilized manner, nothing like the ongoing saga we had here not too long ago, yet also questioned his motives in bringing up the issue. In my defense, two reputable commenters sided with me.
Granted, the current situation seems to be much more complicated than an accidental find, yet whatever raindrop intentions may have been, he did have a point about stashing sex toys in a secure manner.”

As for the recent one, a responsible advice columnist would have given the advice Dan did, maybe also dig a little deeper as Alison Cummins and others have suggested.
Some parents actually do advise their children about sex toys. While not very common, it is more likely to be a mother helping her daughter find a suitable vibrator. It was brought up in this column in the past and I have also heard it in person.


Wow--we're already getting close to the Lucky @69 Award?
Who's hungry for this week's luscious Lucky @69 honors?


@31 BiDanFan: Everything about RAGING's explosive letter to Dan screamed of my toxic ex. Personally, I think RAGING and everyone like him should be locked in a room together, and have to enroll in an anger management program with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Whoever survives eight weeks of mental boot camp instructed by Happy Gilmore (find your Happy Place!) and womanizing Houston astronaut and swimmer Garrett Breedlove (show us the Breedlove Crawl, Jack!) is among the winners.
If only it could be that easy.


All the fuckbud relationships I've had lasted a few years and we saw each other once every few months. And I can't imagine dropping a fuckbud just because I'm dating someone, especially when it's already been established that it's an open relationship. With someone like RAGING, the relationship would be over before I even saw my fuckbud again.


@32 Fichu, given your description of your 16 year old son, I have to ask, does he have autism or adhd? It's something you may want to look into if it's something you haven't considered before.


Alison @52, yes. Maybe they could take a you used it, you bought it approach and have him replace their toys at his expense.
But I'm not convinced he's using them as opposed to fucking with Mom and Dad out of transgressiveness and/or boredom. Either way, "you used it, you bought it" should send a message. And get a lock box.

Crazy @59, those were metaphors.

Tuffy @61, you're not the only one.

Athari @66, again, that post was a bunch of metaphors.


Fichu @56, since JodoKast hasn't come back, my interpretation was that during their teenage years they were being bullied at school and acting out at home, and what they needed from their parents was support and understanding, not punishment. JodoKast, from a fellow survivor of teenagehood, I hope you got more support from your parents than I did.


59- Crazy cat and 66-Athari-- I'd forgotten how poorly exaggeration and sarcasm go over in comments sections, how easily they're misunderstood. I do not have a son, 16 years old or otherwise. I was comparing the suggestion to give Mama in Houston's son a gift card with similar rewards for egregious behavior. I apologize for not being clear.

68-BiDan. Your interpretation of JodoKast's post makes sense. Let me ask. What form should the support and understanding take? Because from where I stand, support looks like "go ahead and act out the way you're acting out and never see a consequence to your actions." I'm against that. I think one can be understanding, supportive, AND help a troubled teenager see the way actions are unproductive and harmful.

Take being bullied at school as an example. Listen. Offer sympathy. Talk about ways to deal with the bullies head on. Possibly talk to school officials about the ways the school is unsafe and what they can do about protecting victims. But if a teenager is stealing as a way of dealing with bullies, and if the solution is to let the teenager get away with stealing, I can't sign on to that.

Also note how quickly "consequence" got turned into "punishment." They're not the same thing. Consequences teach. Punishments are (usually) vindictive and foster anger in return.

As for embarrassment being punishment enough. I don't think so. I can't possibly know what's going on in this 16 year old's mind, but it seems to me that if he steals the sex toys, he's not going to be embarrassed at being caught.

38- Curious-- I agree that for some, negative attention is better than none, but a bid for attention isn't the only explanation for bad behavior. If the teenager is truly being ignored, then address that, but if the teenager is merely feeling ignored because teenagers can be awfully self-absorbed, then continue with appropriate amounts of attention.


Mr. Venn @22: I too was raised with a generous helping of parental violence, and while I don't recommend it beyond rhetorical flourish, I do believe that children should be taught to fear the consequences of their abysmal acts. On the other hand, this young man's Oedipedal fetish is probably well baked in by now, with nothing to be done but padlock the bedroom.

BiDanFan @31: When I was in my early 20s, my mum was quite unwell and my dad confided to me that he wasn't getting any, and as a result, was climbing the walls. I suggested that he might self-pleasure. He was appalled. Suffice to say, he never had Playboy magazines for me to steal when I was a kid. I had to obtain my own, and hide them in a plastic bag in a neigbour's hedge.


Fichu @69, congrats on the lucky number!

I admit that it took me until the part about servants to clearly see that your post was facetious in nature. Up until then, I was thinking, wow, you're a MUCH kinder parent than mine were. There was no difference between consequences and punishments. Using your first example of stealing money. Why is the kid stealing the money? Perhaps they need money for hanging out at the mall and doing the things their friends do. Perhaps part of the bullying is that they're wearing woefully out-of-style clothes, and think that new clothes will help fix their image problem. (This is a significant issue for teens.) Perhaps the consequence isn't a punishment, but a discussion of how much money the kid needs and what they can do around the house to earn it. Perhaps they're stealing the car keys because they feel isolated and unable to spend time with their friends. Perhaps the consequence could indeed be getting them their own car -- an old banger that they'd need to partly save up for, or some other form of transportation like a bicycle or moped. Perhaps the teen is sullen and doesn't contribute because they have bad skin and feel like they'll never find love, feel misunderstood, feel like nobody listens to them, feel like their prettier or more talented sibling is favoured, etc. If I knew the solution for all of this I'd be a family therapist, but family therapy would indeed be the starting point, rather than leaping to a punishment that will just make the kid more resentful. (Another option would be to wait it out -- teenage angst is indeed just a phase, a phase that to the teen will never end, but to the parent will be over before they know it.) And if a kid is stealing sex toys, the answer may indeed be to provide them with their own sex toys. I'm unconvinced about this, though -- the fact that the kid wasn't embarrassed the first time suggests that he's having a laugh rather than having a wank. So, lock the toys up, tell the kid he had a warning and now he owes you a shiny new dildo, he can keep the old one since you're presuming it's now been up his butt. That sounds like a consequence to me.


I really liked Dan's answers this week.

MIH- "I want to give him a prepaid gift card and have him pick out what he wants from the website a reputable shop. Is there a better way to handle this?"
Yes- I don't think you should have taken your toys back after he used them, just as you wouldn't take your toothbrush back after he used it. Please don't gift him new toys and show him that you will use sex toys after him, in return for his bad behavior. You should try to talk to him about sex, pregnancy, STIs, and the difference between porn (solo male fantasy) and real mutual pleasure, because he should understand the basics of safety and consent rather than guess and steal his sexual experiences. He should try to work off the cost of replacing the stolen toys with chores or an actual job, and so learn to try to compensate others for his cruel or illegal actions. As it stands, he seems to be learning that secretive and disrespectful behavior works well for sex, because others are too embarrassed to effectively address sexual problems or enforce sexual boundaries. (Also lock up any new or additional toys to show you dislike and refuse to tolerate sloppy seconds w toys.)

INCA- "I don't want to date purely vanilla people or people with kinks that aren't compatible with mine. I'm just not sure what to do. Any advice?"
Then don't date them? If you're having trouble finding someone kinky to date on Recon.. Try to befriend people in the sort of D/s relationship that you want, to see how a good one works outside of the bedroom? Special guest star as a rope dom or sub for couples, to see what you can learn, how to improve and display more attractive D/s qualities? Lower your standards in other areas like beauty or wealth? It sounds like you could use improvement in showing appreciation for your partner, stating how your regrets have produced growth, asking specifically for what you want and ability to take no for an answer, and otherwise showing the attractive things you have to offer..

RAGING- "I do not see why my boyfriend won't GIVE UP this man for me."
People will not always want what you want them to want. Or do what you want them to do. Part of being a well adjusted adult is respecting other's right to do what they please, inside the law. No one feels exactly the way you do, you have to be open minded if you'd like to understand other people, what they like and dislike, so you can more realistically predict what they will do. You will be disappointed and angry so long as you hold unrealistic expectations that others will do what you want, rather than trying to understand the way others feel in reality. Anger and disappointment is not generally attractive.. when did you think an angry, demanding person was attractive, was someone worth your sacrifices and effort?


Assuming this letter is true (or acknowledging that teenagers have in the past appropriated their parents' sex toys or other household objects to use while masturbating), I don't see helping your child to acquire their own sex toy as rewarding bad behavior. If the parents simply punished the kid, I expect we'd see a letter from him in 20 years time talking about the way his teenage sex-shaming has had deep-seated negative repercussions.

He may indeed be trying to mess with his parents; he may be desperately horny; probably, he's a bit of both.

When I was a teen, I stole money out of my dad's wallet a couple of times. I never took more than $10 at a time and probably took no more than $30 all told. Nevertheless, it was stealing, and it was noticed. When questioned, I feigned ignorance and innocence and my parents pretended to believe me, probably because they had no proof. However, just knowing that they weren't oblivious and that they noticed and had (rightfully) suspected me was enough to make me stop before I got caught red-handed. Why did I do it? I wanted more money than I had from my babysitting gig, I guess. I did not grow up to be a criminal; I did not grow up to be either a sociopath or an embezzler. I stopped because of a combination of guilt and fear of getting caught, of disappointing my parents, of being punished (I have no idea what that punishment would have consisted of; my parents didn't use corporal punishment and I was never grounded--probably I was too sulky and unpleasant to be around and the last thing they wanted was for me to be trapped in the house with them!).

I also used several household items as homemade dildos when I was about 15-17. I am so old that the only places to buy sex toys back then were really sleazy "adult bookstores" where you had to be either 18 or 21 to enter and, which were gross and hypothetically scary to me--hypothetically, because there weren't any that I knew of for about 30 miles or so. I used cucumbers (mom: "I could have sworn I picked up a cucumber at the grocery store. I don't know what happened. Well, no cucumber in the salad tonight"), carrots, a candle (the beeswax was so soft that my body heat misshaped it and I tried desperately to form it back to its original shape, only partially succeeding. Fortunately, my mom didn't seem to look too closely at it).

But maybe she was on to me all the time, for all of it. She didn't help me to get a dildo, but since they were not so ubiquitous or easily acquired (see the paragraph above), that would have been a bizarre response. But perhaps she guessed what was happening and just pretended it wasn't, in the same way that parents of teenage boys don't ask why the sock or hand towel is crusty or why the kid is going through so many boxes of tissues when he doesn't have a cold. Everyone needs some privacy for their sexual life, even if they are stealing something to achieve that sexual life (disclaimer: I'm not talking about major theft or dangerous practices).

I have a friend who found his dad's porn when the kid was about 13. (Again, because I'm old, that porn was in the form of print photos in magazines or stand-alone prints). This wasn't "Playboy"--it was graphic hardcore kinky porn. His father realized what had happened, but didn't say anything to him until years later, when he finally told his now-adult son that he knew his kid must have been unable to stop himself, in the grip of teenage horniness and the lack of any other opportunity for getting some wanking material. That kid grew up to be a kind, decent person--and a brilliant microbiologist--who doesn't have a theft problem today. (But he is kinky, and sometimes wonders if there's a gene for it that both his father and he share or whether seeing kinky porn at an early age tripped something in his sexual psyche.)

I don't think you always have to punish teens for misbehavior. I think you need to try to understand why they're committing the "cirime" in the first place and address that. In the case of emerging sexuality, I think parents should do what they can to facilitate as healthy and easy acceptance of sexual urges as possible, including an appreciation that everyone deserves to have a private sex life.

And I'd stress that need for EVERYONE to have a right to sexual privacy when I gave my kid a way to buy his own sex toys and stay the hell away from mine. And buy a strongbox with a combination lock.


@73 cont.: I don't think that failing to punish a child or a teen for every infraction necessarily leads to that child/teen becoming a lawless, amoral adult.

I believe there are plenty of ways to raise decent, ethical children who become decent, ethical adults without relying on punishments. I further believe that even decent, ethical adults are themselves not perfect all the time.

I still further believe that the embarrassment of having your parents say "I know you've taken my dildo; I don't want it back now that it has been up your butt. You get to keep it, and I'll use what would have been your birthday money to buy myself a new one--which you had better not touch" (I'd still get the lockbox). But I believe that the embarrassment of having a parent say, "Jr., it's not okay to take other people's stuff without permission and that goes double for anything sexual. You know that. And I know you took Mom's dildo. Here's a way to get your own," would be almost as potent.

Beyond either of those deaths by embarrassment, I don't think any other punishment is necessary. But I raised two ethical, compassionate children, not-in-any-ways-spoiled-or-entitled Karens, who are now ethical, compassionate children, not-in-any-ways-spoiled-or-entitled adults, with very few punishments, so I am biased.


Dang! Should have proofread comment @74 before posting. Apologies.
My kids are adults now, not children/adults.

I believe that embarrassing a teen who has done something for which he SHOULD feel embarrassment is an appropriate consequence. That was what I was trying to say in a very confusing paragraph.


M?? Harriet - I wish we knew which specialty realm of BDSM were LW2's particular venue, as that could give his odds a nice boost. On which end does the spotlight fall? It's less likely he'd be the Dancing Queen himself, but, if "anybody could be that guy," then he has the best market.

I'd also hope he'd at least be able to enjoy topping, which has greater longevity in many areas, where the in-demand young bottoms gradually age into the other role. Again, perhaps he's lucky enough if he must bottom to go in for a variety which does not make great demands on one's stamina and flexibility. I know how I'd have to adjust my own choices if I were to become active again.


@73: Fortunately I grew up in a home where the mere mention of sex toys as a kid would have caused a scowl as my parents had an elevated sense of decorum.


Mr Darcy @74 conclusion - I never saw such a woman (or man either, for all that), and I don't know that I'd be eager to meet anyone so (as Tennyson would put it) faultily faultless. Perhaps I might, though, as, should they live up to their billing (I'd approach the assessment with a reasonably open mind), I could bestow upon them my annual quota of designating them to merit the (two-syllable) L word.


Mr. Ven, could you give me a clue regarding your two-syllable L word?
And I wasn't claiming that my children are faultless--just that they're not brats with no conscience just because I raised them largely without punishments (natural consequences are not punishments, but were used as teaching opportunities) and absolutely without corporal punishment.


Also, my daughter once opened a drawer and saw my dildo/vibrator. I was in the room with her at the time. As she was very young, and certainly didn't know what the object was, I didn't try to explain it, but simply closed the drawer and said that people's closed drawers were private and she shouldn't open it. Then I went to the hardware store, bought a locking strongbox, and put in there.

Years later, she asked what was in my drawer that she wasn't supposed to see. I guess she had realized there was something in particular that I didn't want her to see (I wasn't calm and quiet: I was a bit panicked and kind of yelped). I told her that I was just objecting to the bad manners/invasion of privacy. She looked skeptical and asked if she could open the drawer now. Knowing there was nothing potentially embarrassing, I said sure. She seemed disappointed not to find anything exciting. I'm pretty sure that now she's an adult, she has figured it out if she ever stops to think about it, but it's not mentioned, even though she obviously remembers the incident.


Nocute @73-@75, I wish you had been my mother! I'm not at all surprised that your kids turned out to be well-adjusted, ethical adults. It sounds like you took after your own mother. It has heartened me to read that not all parent-teen relationships are fraught with conflict. Re stealing from your dad, I think children of all ages push boundaries to establish their senses of self and also to see what they can get away with. A kid with a good sense of ethics will feel guilty whether they are found out or not, and stealing won't become a habit.


I am sure it wasn’t funny at the time, but the beeswax candle story @73 is hilarious. I did a Sid Caesar-level spit take when I read it. Hollywood could make a girl-focused remake of “American Pie” based on this tale. Or maybe they already have.


Wow, a lot of you are really squicked out by the idea of sharing a toothbrush. I stopped believing in cooties once I learned the germ theory of disease, but some squick runs deep, I suppose.

I'd not throw out a toothbrush - or sex toys (which can be very expensive) - just because someone else used them, because they can be cleaned (and a toothbrush is generally cleaned automagically while it's being used, assumng it's rinsed well after, so that one doesn't even register for me, though you can sterilize one with boiling water if you have some particular pathogen concern). And I don't believe in any sort of metaphysical essence that is somehow left behind on a clean sex toy.

That belief is the exact same false belief that causes some people to think that other people are forever sullied by having engaged in sexual behavior with someone else, meaning you have no valid stance from which to criticize such people if you argue it's reasonable to refuse to use a sex toy someone else has used. If you can get past that belief in the case of a person, why not do so regarding something that can be scrubbed with soap or submerged in boiling water? Your squick about sharing sex toys is the same squick behind those creepy abstinance-propaganda chewed gum analogies; even if you can't get past it, stop evangelizing it, because it's harmful.


After many years of following SL, I've been away from this column for about year now, until today, and I'm here to tell ya, the letter about a 16-year-old kid STEALING HIS PARENTS' SEX TOYS, together with Dan's maddeningly normalizing response, is the squickiest thing I've read in a while. Alison Cummins @49 (and others) may go slightly far with some of the conjecture, but of course she has the right idea: there's critical missing information here from lw, and yet it's clear from even the partial story that this whole family suffers from a very serious, layered, and highly off-putting dysfunction. This situation is really off the rails, and no one involved is best served by Dan or any other commenters approaching it with such "open" minds and closed eyes -- as if the kid borrowed the car twice without asking. (And even then, talk shouldn't go straight to buying him his own car!) I mean, is this really where we are now?


All that said, there's clearly a problem with respecting privacy and boundaries that MIH needs to address, and we're missing almost all relevant information and context to make useful recommendations on how to go about that.

Several of you are applying the logic of operant conditioning - rewarding behavior one would like to inhibit - to a far more complex process, which isn't a valid concern here (in fact, that particular type of conditioning requires a reward or punishment that immediately preceeds or immediately follows the behavior in question; even waiting a minute negates that impact, so any actual conditioning involves a far more complex form of social behavioral regulation, which isn't nearly as simple as "rewarding bad behavior" leading to more of the same). It is potentially the case that buying the kid his own toys won't help or is even counter-productive, but we don't actually know enough to make a determination about that, because we don't have a clear picture of what's going on with the kid. Professional help is warranted, because problems regulating antisocial behaviors are going to be an increasing problem for the kid as he's increasingly expected by others to exercise normative degrees of self control and restraint in most contexts.


@69 "59- Crazy cat and 66-Athari-- I'd forgotten how poorly exaggeration and sarcasm go over in comments sections, how easily they're misunderstood"

ROFL I guess that makes two of us!
I mean, I said your fictional son was eminently qualified to be POTUS, how much more sarcastic can one be? (yes I know 45 WAS POTUS, but that kind of is the joke, dark humor to be sure, but "if I didn't laugh I'd have to cry")

Though you did get the 69 there is that

I still wouldn't want the letter writer's (possibly fictional) son anywhere near my fictional daughter.


@80 my mom had - back in the 80s - what would be referred to as a "hitatchi style" vibrator. I used it frequently - on my neck, like the product was advertised as being for. My mom never let on it was a sex toy and I didn't realize what it was until I was deep into my twenties when a girlfriend had a similar device.

I guess I feel a little squicky about it now, but like John @83 says, no harm, no foul.


@Ens. Pulver: I'm glad I could make you laugh. I actually laughed about it within a few months.


@80: Endless_Ork: my friend's daughter found her "massager" (a smaller, non-Hitachi thing) once and used on her neck and shoulders while her mom looked on in bemusement.

The toy my kid briefly saw was a big blue silicone penis with a bear at the base--a rabbit-type thing. She hadn't yet seen an erect penis, so it's not that I was worried she'd know what it was, but at least I didn't have to witness her using it on the back of her neck!


@69 Ah, I see. I did think the phrasing was a bit weird, but since I'm not familiar with the frequent commenters on here, I just assumed English might not have been your first language. But if your hypothetical, metaphorical son did exist, ADHD would be on my radar.

On the subject of MiH's letter, I will say, the first dildos I got were bought by my parents. I think I was 18 at the time, but I didn't have a credit card, nor the money to buy them anyway, so I had to have my parents buy them for me. But I picked them out, and sent them the website links to buy them. My parents might've been embarrassed about it, but at least they knew I wasn't spending the money on something else, and I wasn't getting over (or under) paid in order to get them.


John @83, yeah, I agree. A toothbrush -is- a personal item, and you should ask before borrowing someone else's, but it's not as if it's tainted forever. My partner uses my toothbrush, but he also sticks his tongue in my mouth. And if a date or friend were unexpectedly staying over, I'd rather they use my toothbrush than go to sleep -- and wake up -- with a nasty mouth. I also agree with your analysis of preloved sex toys. I remember one letter about a woman freaking out because her boyfriend had used, or wanted to use, a dildo with her that he'd used with his ex. Some made the point you did: her boyfriend's dick had been in other vaginas and been cleaned afterwards, and she wasn't bothered by that, so what did it matter that her boyfriend's dildo had been in other vaginas and been cleaned afterwards? You're right that some people would be bothered by both, but it makes more sense to be bothered by neither. Of course there's a difference between using one's own dildo with more than one person and borrowing anything without asking, but it's the borrowing without asking that's the problem, not some notion that the item is now ruined.


Ha, that's reminding me of a time in our 20s when a good friend crashed at my place after a night out. I had to work in the morning and asked her to lock the door when she left. She later messaged me to say she'd borrowed a pair of underwear and a bra, and complained that my bra was too small! :-O


@49. alison cummins. None of the possibilities you raise are out of the question, but I would think that if the son has a learning difficulty, the mother would know about it and not write to Dan for a heads-up on an isolated behavior. (Evidently 16yo s with learning difficulties do say inappropriate things and act in challenging ways over sex). It's more likely that taking away the toys, among other typical forms of teenage behavior (like not clearing up after yourself), is a standout infraction in Dan's field of expertise.

The first goal to secure is surely to be on the same page as her husband. What he said before wasn't bad. But repeating, 'hey, that stuff is private!', as if through a semi-closed door, or while shaving, or before turning on the ball game, or in any other embarrassed or semi-engaged way, is not going to cut it. They have to engage together. The suggestion of family therapy if he does it again might well be the cue he needs to stop taking the toys!

In thinking about what's going on, I would not for now overplay Freudian interpretations. We suppress any idea of familial or incestuous undertones in having sex--that's what being in the moment and being intent on getting it on is. It would seem that MIH is carrying on using her dildo despite its having been up her son's butt (apparently). Fine--the only real issue is whether it's hygienic.

I have enjoyed (am enjoying) this week's column--three people who have a genuine need of Savage's advice. One maybe wrote in an unfortunate moment and showed himself in a bad light, while the other two come over as estimable people in a state of perplexity.


@59. crazy cat lady & @61. tuffy. I see no reason to imagine the letter's fake. What would be the paraphilia someone would be indulging in, be getting off on, if it were fake? The underlying motivation to send in something fake is to waste everyone's time--but a concerned group of people engaging with a widespread, genuine problem are not wasting their time.

People 'arguing' in the comments are only just offering differing advice. If she's saying she would trust Dan on this issue more than the commenters, fine. If she's saying commenters would use her son's Great Dildo Theft as a pretext to squabble, not really.


@76. venn. Of course bottoms age into tops, but I'd be hesitant about assuming this is the cast-iron way of the world and they just have to do so. I would still never top in a gay context by preference, or not (say) one time in twenty, or ever with a stranger or casual acquaintance. The lw could well be into things other than PIA (if only, at this stage, in his head); I'm not sure he knows right now quite what is the range of things he'd enjoy. @72. Philophile makes a very good suggestion about getting to know a D/s couple and maybe guest-starring.


@84. slaad. There is no evidence whatsoever of family dysfunction in MIH's letter. The suggestion they should all be hurried off post-haste to therapy is grating. It's the sort of thing that illustrates why the educated left get so much side-eye from rational centrists (exactly in places like Houston TX). Very often people resist having their problems medicalised and psychiatrised--especially when they're things that a little bit of compassion and common sense could sort out in-house. (Of course it's not impossible that the child needs therapy--but there would have to be lots awry that the letter doesn't tell us).

A 16yo boy taking his mother's dildo is well within the range of normal. (We don't know what he did with it; he could just have left it out to leave some sort of message; he could have been practising sucking dick with it; he could have used it as a prop sexting or in video chat with a friend or sex bud). It is not within many heteronormative assumptions for masculinity that a man would enjoy a dildo up his ass. This is why the parents should say, 'you shouldn't be ashamed of wanting to play with a dildo'. And they should also say, of course, 'you should respect our property and privacy'.


Harriet_by_the_bulrushes @98,

“There is no evidence whatsoever of family dysfunction in MIH's letter.”

But she is holding something back: the reason that people who’ve been parents for sixteen years can’t figure out how to solve this with a lockbox and an early birthday present.

When the solution to the problem as stated is easy, the problem as stated probably isn’t the real problem.


it isn't rewarding bad behavior to get the kid a sex toy. it is not punishing stupid behavior. just about every teenager is simultaneously embarrassed about sex and ragingly desirous of anything associated with it. they lack impulse control, are horribly embarrassed and driven by hormones they can't possibly understand. don't add a punishment to their struggle with that. make them 10 times more horrifyingly embarrassed. that's just cruelty dressed up as 'good parenting.'

instead, maybe have a laugh about it! a 'wtf? dude?!?' laugh. smile, shake your head, maybe roll your eyes a little bit and say something like... 'i don't have to tell you why it wasn't ok to do that, do i? cool. now, use this gift card to get yourself a sex toy and let us never speak of this again. deal?'


M?? Harriet - That's why I wanted to know which realm, as in others tops age into bottoms. Neither is universal, of course.


@69 Fichu: WA-HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Major congrats on scoring this week's luscious Lucky @69 Award honors! Savor the envied glory found only here in Savage Love Land and bask in the glow. :)