Savage Love

Switched On

Comments

1

'The truth will set you free, but firked it will make you miserable.' (James A. Garfield)

2

Boop

3

I wonder how custom those videos are or if she just sends the same ones to everyone and rakes in the cash. Either way, must be nice!

4

@1: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congrats to our resident firkt commenter, curious2, for another consecutive FIRDT! victory! Bask in the highly envied glory of leading the Savage Love: Switched on comment thread. :)

5

@FINDAMN
"We are more than comfortable so the issue isn't the money."

Then the answer to your question is yes,
"everyone is entitled to a “zone of erotic autonomy.”"

So most everything you said represents violating your husband's zone.

That was easy. Clearly, what's eating you is learning that he wants something from her he doesn't want from you. And maybe even that he's fantasizing about someone who isn't you, but that comes with being in a relationship, my friend.

@ICBTRO
First, take yes for an answer. Y'all are in love and happy, don't let insecurity kill that.

But also don't be complacent about things you can probably improve, for example:
"it's not easy for me to get a solid erection, and it takes me just a couple of minutes to come"

Before meds for your dick, a sex therapist or surrogate, or first just reading a damn book might help with those things. Insecurity/stress (and not plumbing) could be keeping you from being aroused enough to get fully hard. And premature ejaculation is not that difficult to learn to overcome.

6

I liked the advice to FINDAMN, but while we're here: "dominator" is to "dominatrix" what "masseur" is to "masseuse". However, FINDAMN is probably getting treated by a Massage Therapist - which is a non-gendered term.

7

jack@3
Seriously, virtual findom sounds like a great job.

The only better one is Nocute's friend who just opens up her mailbox to find envelopes full of cash. (Nocute, is your friend hot? Have there been more envelopes? Do let us know if the anonymous sender ever exposes their identity or anything.)

/Break/
What, no letters this week from people who want to know if a firm rule against dating a whole group of people makes them prejudiced? (Future such LW's, look up prejudice.)

8

@7: Ah, curious2, that wasn't me; I believe it was either fichu or fubar who mentioned it. But sure, sign me up to receive mailbox cash!

9

EricaP left a comment about this week's column on last week's at https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2021/04/27/57027422/savage-love/comments/260

10

I suspect that beyond the assumed abundance of money and the possibility of being put off by the husband submissive tendencies LW is feeling cheated and rightly so. Yes, he deserves an erotic zone or whatever like everyone else, but he should have also brought up what it is that he needs/wants and find ways to accommodate all involved.
Despite husband and fin Dom never meeting in person this is still cheating, and I wonder how “customized” those videos are.

It is ok to look for other things your spouse may not be able to provide or interested at, but it should be done with their consent and adhering to whatever both agree on, be it an occasional paid session with a Dom, DADT, or whatever. The comparisons to thinking about personal trainers and hairdressers while having sex, solo or otherwise, don’t necessarily apply here. There’s a difference between fantasizing about the bank teller dominating me than actually giving her money to do so behind my spouse’s back regardless of the amount.

As harsh as the news may be there’s still a potential for a positive outcome for this couple which should start with honest communication and accommodation.

11

If it will make LW2 feel any better (or even if not), BF2 sounds quite like someone whom I found rather unpleasant as a partner. LW2 might do well to lose the idea of anyone's being sexually "perfect".

12

CMD@10
"Despite husband and fin Dom never meeting in person this is still cheating"

Cheating?!

First, remember that money is not a factor to these people as the LW said. So you should forget the money too. Now:

Is him wanking to porn cheating?
Is him Chaturbating with a cam girl cheating? (Which is the new porn, with tech.)

I don't see this as any different than Chaturbating. Is that really cheating to you CMD?

The only thing that real is the money, and that is apparently only real to the Findom, not this couple.

The rest is all just in his mind.

We have no reason to believe that (to the LW's credit) she's ever been interested in what he yanked to. Why should this be different, CMD? I'm surprised to hear you think it is.

13

I'm getting kind of tired of Dan's writing things like: "have you ever hired a personal trainer just because he was hot? Have you ever chosen a hairdresser because you liked to look at him? Have you ever gone out of your way to get body treatments from a VGL male masseuse? And then thought about one of those guys—or all three of them—while you were masturbating or having sex with your husband?"

Because I don't pretend to speak for anyone else, let alone all cis-het women over the age of 45, but no, I don't. I don't do any of those things. And. I. Never. Have.

I may not be the most libidinous woman; I may.not be the kinkiest or the most sexually outré. But I'm pretty sexual, pretty sex-positive, pretty high libido. And I have never done a single one of those things. Now, maybe I'm just outing myself as a bore or a prude or a loser or something. But this is not the first time Dan has written or talked to a woman who's upset that her partner is fantasizing about others this way and I find it offensive.

One doesn't need to do the aforementioned things Dan has listed to not be jealous of one's partner wanking to porn or cam-people or any other virtual partners.

14

As a matter of fact, I am one of the few women I know who will even get a massage from a male massage therapist; most women of my acquaintance, straight, lesbian, bi ( but my sample is all cis, so it is less than fully representative) choose to not be massaged by a man. And I sure as hell don't know or care what my massage therapist looks like.

I have had the same hairdresser for the past 18 years--a middle-aged, not especially attractive woman, presumably straight (she's married to a man; we don't talk about sexual orientation)--and I chose her because I saw a woman sporting a haircut I liked once and asked her who her hairdresser was.

I can't afford a personal trainer (unlike the lw Dan was scolding), but the very last thing I'd want were I to hire one, would be a man I found very good looking. I fear I'd be too self-conscious to risk looking stupid, thus foregoing the benefits of having a personal trainer in the first place.

And when I masturbate, I think almost exclusively of make-believe scenarios featuring make-believe people. The only time a real person I really know from real life has ever been in my jerk-fodder file, is when I'm remembering a particularly spicy experience I've already had for real in real life.

Am I a gigantic outlier? Do all other women behave as Dan suggests? Probably.

15

FINDAMN: “I obviously couldn't dominate him financially as our finances are shared.”

Missing the point. You can dominate him financially if you stop sharing finances. All assets can be put into your name only. All income can be deposited into your personal accounts. You can control the money and put him on an allowance.

Not saying you want to do that, but you are in a terrific position to dominate him financially—if that would make you happy.

It’s a constant debate on FetLife, but for many people financial domination is exactly this sort of very personal, very real arrangement. No humiliation needs to be involved. Some findommes organize their subs’ finances and get them out of debt: they don’t take a cut, they just enjoy bossing someone around for their own good.

Financial domination is whatever you agree it is. Men often call prodommes “findommes,” especially when it’s online domination, and while I don’t find this very broad use particularly useful, I can’t stop them.

It sounds like your husband is what I would call a bottom paying an online humiliatrix. (Yes, it’s a thing.) Fee for service is not usually D/s. You pay professionals to beautify you; he pays a professional to insult him. You both bottom (you receive the actions of others) but neither of you is actually submissive in your transactions (as clients, you decide what you want and choose your providers).

16

ICBTRO,

You’re talking exactly like a cuckold fetishist. Maybe look into that and see if that dynamic works for you as a couple. If you were a straight couple I’d refer you to the Keys and Anklets podcast, but I’m sure there must be resources for gay cuckolds.

17

These days "cheating" can come in many forms. I think Findamn is (rightly) concerned that her husband kept this side of himself hidden from her.

18

Anyone else think that letter #2 seemed fake? The whole thing was so over the top, one side is entirely perfect and the other is entirely not. To me, it screams that a 16 year old wrote it and is currently chortling with his buddies.

@13/14 No offense or anything but when did this become about you? Dan gave advice to the letter writer and it's good advice. Everyone has things they keep private, everyone. It may not be a specific fantasy but it's something. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone, let it be. No one can be someone else's everything. That's good advice. I have no idea why you thought it was relevant to tell us about how you handle massages or how you have a female hairdresser or how a hot personal trainer would intimidate you. I'm as guilty as anyone of telling personal stories on here but I'd like to think they're at least somewhat relevant. And again, not attacking you or anything. Just honestly bewildered at why that was shared.

P.S. You know those times that you fantasized about an ex or past experience? Yeah, that's what he's talking about. Even you do it. Because we all do. Which is why no one should worry about things like the LW wrote about.

19

curious2 @9 -- whoops! Thanks for letting me know what happened to my post!

Here it is in the right thread:

Dan is completely right in telling ICBTRO "if you want to be with him for as long as you can, you've gotta get a grip on your insecurities."

The one thing I'd add to Dan's advice is to ask ICBTRO -- Have you had a serious conversation with your partner about this issue? You might try sitting down with him and showing him your letter and Dan's answer, and asking him whether Dan is right that you should be talking to a shrink. If he says you seem well-grounded, maybe he could write you a letter about all the awesome aspects he loves about you, and you could try referring to that letter every time you feel a wave of insecurity.

Maybe he loves the happy noises you make when he fucks you, maybe he's envious of the closeness of your friendships, maybe your looks are exactly what turn him on. Have the conversation and find out!

20

nocute @14 -- for many years I was like you, only thinking of make-believe people during masturbation. That changed when we opened the marriage.

I no longer felt guilty about thinking about real people, so now I cast my fantasies with my neighbors and colleagues and the guy who sat next to me on my last plane flight and our mail carrier and sometimes my husband's cute friends, along with make-believe people in real roles like "stern TSA agent" or "abusive high-school coach" or "dad-but-not-my-actual-dad-ew."

I do agree with Dan that if you can get someone to think about any sexual transgressions they've felt a little embarrassed about (flirting with a colleague, dancing close with a stranger at that conference), then it might help them get past their feeling of betrayal and empathize with their partner. Won't work for everyone, but it's worth asking, in my opinion.

21

@larrystone #18: Sorry,
I didn't mean to pollute the column's effect by introducing my own experience.

I promise to stay silent after this, since my comments are so stupid.

I only meant to convey to Dan my dissatisfaction with the way he tried to get through to the lw. He's done it before: suggested to straight women that deep down, they act in every way (or want to act) like frat bros. I am tired of it, as I don't believe it to be true. Moreover, it is a poor argument to say, "well you are exactly the same, so you're being a hypocrite," if indeed the other person is not acting in the same way. I think a far better tactic would be to simply say, "people are allowed to have their own mental/sexual lives and it's extremely silly to be jealous over someone's fantasy/wank fodder.

22

curious2 @ 12
The vibe I get from the letter is that she is indeed hurt and feeling betrayed, and it goes beyond finding out hubby a switch and having cushioned finances. Let’s take a look at some of her own lines:
“… it was a shock for more than one reason when I stumbled over evidence that he's been sending money to a female sex worker who calls herself a FinDom. This has been going on for nearly three years!”

She clearly “stumbled over that” accidentally and is still shocked that this has been going on for such a long time without her knowing anything about it. There are possibly other trust issues that have come to the surface as a result.

“I thought we had a great sexual connection. I also thought I knew who he was erotically. I'm confused and don't know what to do.”

I think focusing on sexuality and telling herself money is not an issue are her attempts to rationalize and minimize the pain.
If you omit the sex from the first two sentences in the short paragraph seen above, you get “I thought we had a great connection. I thought I knew who he was.”
Dan’s response seems to be missing some nuances.

As for “cheating,” I’m leaning towards drawing the line as engaging sexually with a live human being outside of your committed relationship, and probably regardless of the medium, without having a prior understanding/agreement with those you are committed to.
I don’t have an issue with any of the activities mentioned per se, all I’m advocating is being an ethical slut.

23

It's great if a couple can have conversations about what they each consider cheating and what would be generally okay.

In the absence of those conversations, I wouldn't personally consider a friend to be cheating on his spouse if he went to strip clubs, or called a phone sex line, or had an online mistress. (Genders for convenience.) But I know that many spouses would consider those activities cheating, and I'm not the person whose opinion matters in those marriages.

CMDwannabe @22 you're right that the length of time her husband has been hiding this from her is a big part of her emotional response. I guess she needs to ask herself, now that I know he's a switch and capable of lying to me for years on end -- am I better off with him or without him? They might benefit from Esther Perel's advice on rebuilding a marriage after an affair, assuming FINDAMN wants to rebuild with him.

24

FINDAMN: "We are more than comfortable so the issue isn't the money. And while my husband has never complained about what I spend on a personal trainer or my hair or body treatments (admittedly a lot), this is obviously different"

No, it's obviously exactly the same. You're spending a lot of money on things that make you feel good. So is he. The only way this would have been unethical is if it put you into financial hardship, and it doesn't. I know it's shocking to find out something your spouse, someone you thought you knew, was hiding from you. But you know you're well off, you know he masturbates (like duh), you know that what he masturbates to isn't always you (which I'm sure applies to you too). If he bought a motorcycle, would you be freaking out? This is his equivalent of the two hours you spend dishing with your hairdresser and come out feeling great afterwards. If he's not outspending you on frivolous feel-good treats, let this go.

ICBTRO: Agree completely that you should seek therapy for your insecurities because they will kill this relationship if you make them your boyfriend's responsibility to fix. If this great guy loves you, you must be a great guy!

25

I am wondering how FINDAMN "stumbled over [the] evidence" and why she read three years' worth of messages. I hope she got her husband's permission to do so. If husband paid Mistress Moneydomme from their joint account, either he was being careless or he assumed that she wouldn't care. They both need individual accounts that they can do whatever they want -- WHATEVER they want -- with. And if she has no interest in dominating him, she needs to sit back while he supports some woman's university education and/or three kids.

26

Curious @12: "I don't see this as any different than Chaturbating. Is that really cheating to you CMD?"
CMD makes a good point and you've inadvertently made their point even better. -Is- chaturbating cheating? Is it closer to watching porn or to having an affair? Seems to me that's a matter of opinion and therefore something couples should discuss. If they agree video sexting is the same thing as porn and therefore harmless, hurray. But they may not both see it that way. Some may see camming as a sort of emotional affair. If paid, some may see it as hiring a sex worker and not be OK with that. Some may see paying a cam girl as fine, but chaturbating with someone from Tinder or even someone they know as crossing a line. So it's not CMD you should be asking, it's your (general your) partners, about their views on this form of interactive self-pleasure.

Nocute @13, yeah, me neither. Dan is off base when he assumes that this is something everybody does. (I do admit that the woman who leads the online fitness classes I've been taking is damn cute, and that helps with my motivation, but I don't have overt fantasies or masturbate to her, nor did I choose this particular workout because the instructor is hot.) I see what Dan was trying for -- trying to find common ground between Mr FINDAMN's activities and something FINDAMN may herself do -- but if she genuinely doesn't do this, that analogy will fall flat and be a weak point in an otherwise excellent answer.

Alison @15, thank you for that enlightening comment.

Larry @18: Having dated someone like this, nope, didn't think it was fake. And most young people -- hell, most people -- think their partners are perfect at the five-month mark. Mr ICBTRO probably does as well.
Nocute shared her experience to counter an assumption Dan made in his advice, which I thought was a valid point. FINDAMN may not in fact be guilty of hypocrisy because she herself wanks over thoughts of sexy service workers, and seeks them out for this purpose. It was a male way of thinking and I'm glad Nocute pointed out it may not apply to this woman.

EricaP @19, good advice re ICBTRO talking about his insecurities with his boyfriend. Not to make him responsible for solving them, but to explain why he may act weird sometimes.

Nocute @21, I don't think fantasising about hot real-life people one has encountered makes one a "frat bro." I was with you up until this comment. If she does fantasise about the hot masseur, that's okay. If she doesn't, that's also okay. The "everybody does it" argument is invalid. Point well made.

CMD @22, I agree that whenever a situation like this happens, Dan offers zero sympathy for the very real pain of discovering that the person the LW thought they knew best has been hiding a side of themself. He always does a great job of explaining why the behaviour itself is not a betrayal, but the secrecy can feel like one. Dan, perhaps acknowledge this in future.

Your definition of cheating seems a valid one. In this technological world, people need to discuss where they draw their lines.

27

CMD @22 continued, good point also that these things may all be fine, ie not cheating, if they are not hidden. As Nocute points out, men and women do differ in their "zones of erotic autonomy." Curious thinks chaturbating is the same thing as looking at porn. I've never cammed, ever, other than with someone I was already in a sexual relationship with. The typical non-Savage-Love-reading woman may be surprised to learn that camming is a common thing for men to do. So the man has to bring it up and convince her that for him, this is a normal thing, before she discovers on her own that he's been doing it and reacts the way FINDAMN did.

28

Nocute @13, 14 - your sentiments about choosing hairstylists/personal trainers/massage therapists basee on their attractiveness echo mine. I too read Dan's advice to FINDAMN and thought "well, maybe some women do, but I sure as shit never have." I am also inclined to think of myself as a prudish outlier on this board (by comparison), so it was normalizing to hear that other women on this board don't make these leaps that Dan does. Agreed that Dan's trotting out "well, you're a horndog, too" in his advice to spouses who are feeling betrayed (usually female, usually over some act that Dan clearly doesn't think of as "cheating" but is arguably at least cheating adjacent) needs to stop.

Yes to Dashing @17, CMD @22 (esp your last paragraph) and BDF @26. I think our culture shift into an increasingly digital world has created a lot of scenarios that didn't previously exist - new possibilities to cheat or cheat-ish. Conversations absolutely need to be had between partners to define what cheating means to them. I particularly agree with CMD @22, that once you add the "online interaction with another human being" component it really changes the nature of things. I think there's a big difference between wanking to some porn videos versus camming or chaturbating, for example. And maybe camming is the new standard in wanking it, but people owe their partners a conversation, I think. And I don't think it's unreasonable in a (thus far defined as monogamous) marriage to draw the line at a spouse's "zone of erotic autonomy" as being when that "autonomy" starts involving third parties.

29

The irony is that FINDAMN sounds pretty GGG. If her husband had gone to her three years ago and brought up his need to be degraded and their ability to afford outsourcing this professionally, she may well have given her blessing.

30

@BiDanFan #26: My "frat bro" comment was not about the idea of masturbating to the thought of someone in a service profession, but was more aimed at the personality trait I associated with someone who CHOOSES all their service providers based on hotness or wankability-levels.

I admit it was a poor descriptor.

31

Nocute @30, thanks for clarifying. You were under fire, few of us choose our words best under those conditions. * hug *

32

As I've reported before, I don't fantasize about straight men (which I'm sure is also on Mr Savage's Everybody[-Gay-]-Does-It List). I'll essentially agree with Ms Cute. I have, though, allowed myself to envision Mr Savage's being on a road trip, ordering a "hot masseuse" from the Special Menu, and then finding it too late to correct the error when what he requested showed up.

I suspect most fantasies could go off if one learned too much about the objects. It reminds me of Agatha Christie's alter ego Ariadne Oliver when she described to Poirot her experience in seeing a fat woman on a bus eating a currant bun. It came to her that the woman's name was Constance Carnaby, and, by the time she left the bus, she had the whole story in her head of whom Mrs Carnaby had just seen that morning, where she was going and what strange thing would happen to her there. She had a whole plot in her head, and the one thing that would ruin it would be meeting the woman somewhere and learning anything real about her.

I was on the brink of thinking that Mr Savage's suggestion about LW1 could well be worse in one way than what H1 is doing, but then it occurred to me that glamourous employees are a common sign of prosperity, and often appearing extremely well off is necessary to continuing to be extremely well off.

33

I'm inclined to agree with Ms Fan about LW1's likely being GGG had she been approached honestly and assured H1's outside desire didn't reflect on her.
xxx
As the resident with probably the most issues about my attractions of person, I'll have to disagree with Ms Cummins about LW2. Advising someone to wallow in a fault and make it a kink is a drastic step in the wrong direction.

34

Married bisexual man with a submissive side in a monogamous opposite-sex relationship here. For pretty much all my adult life, I have engaged in various forms of virtual sex -- online chatting, phone sex, Dirty Pen Pals, etc. When I met my wife, I never discussed this in part because I thought of it as something very private like masturbation to pornography. (In part because it seemed like an awkward conversation). I cut back to online chat and imposed certain rules on myself: no exchange of pictures, no phone sex, no video, absolutely no talk of actually meeting, absolutely no spending of money. I was always careful to keep this from my wife. (FWIW, we have a fine sex life and I never saw this behavior as interfering with it). She has accommodated my submissive desires but only to some extent..

But eventually I gave this up because I saw it as unfair to my wife, even if she never knows. I still engage in some sexually charged online behavior: I write erotica, I post on some bulletin boards about sexuality. I do miss the chatting but I know I have made a commitment to stopping it.

I wonder what is the line that most people draw. I think people generally accept the use of pornography (as long as it isn't obsessive). I use porn, but don't find it as hot as chatting. I think everyone agree would agree that an IRL affair in a monogamous relationship is unacceptable. That is something I would never do. I guess I came to see my behavior as cheating-adjacent, since I was engaging with other human beings in a sexual fashion (usually more exchanging fantasies than full-blown cybersex). And that was inconsistent with how I saw myself as a husband. if there was such a thing as a chatting bot, that would be more OK, I guess.

Anyway, I was wondering how others handle this sort of thing.

35

Ms Cute - I've been coming across a good many young women gushing over Emma Woodhouse lately and vastly overestimating the goodness of her character and how much growth she experiences. I've been wondering whether it's more wish fulfillment or the danger of adaptations. What made me think of the latter is how almost nobody picks up on the inevitable sinking of Emma's friendship with Harriet into a calm mutual good-will; the Martins won't be popping in at Hartfield or Donwell once or twice a week for whist evenings (I've always held it as a strength of the novel that Emma doesn't experience excessive growth), a point easy to miss if one watches something adapted more often than one reads it (you may recall Ms Ods' missing how Mr Bennet told Elizabeth she would not be happy with a man if she didn't look up to him as her superiour).

That led me into an interesting sideline when people began over-complimenting Fanny Price. It suddenly occurred to me last week that, while one can appreciate Fanny's strength of character and pull for her when she's being abused by Aunt Norris, if we were to introduce a new ingredient into the mix, Fanny would be Miss Austen's most resolute (if not most virulent) homophobe. I've been expanding on it since and working out which characters of Miss Austen's would be most pro-gay or anti-gay, how they would vote on marriage equality, etc. and thought you might find the idea entertaining.

36

Venn @33b, I agree. "Work to overcome your insecurity" seems far better advice than "eroticise your insecurity."

SmokedSalmon @34, kudos to you for your super high ethical standards!
If your wife is open minded enough to have married a bisexual, submissive man, and you really do miss online sexy chats with strangers you'll never meet, why not seek your wife's blessing? I'm sure she would not want to think of you as sexually repressing yourself on her account. Perhaps she'd have no problem with your chatting with others given the rules you've already set out, which I think most folks would see as sensible boundaries for a person in a monogamous relationship. Other than the conversation being awkward -- and you can set the stage to make it less awkward by first having a glass of wine or a joint or two and playing some sexy music -- what is stopping you from having this conversation? At worst, she agrees that online chatting would be inappropriate, and you'd be right where you are now. At best, she agrees there's no harm in exchanging erotica, and you can resume this thing that brings you joy. Perhaps open by asking her if she enjoys erotica -- many women do -- then share this with her?

37

nocute@14
That's very interesting.

A sports medicine professional I know who does massage, tells me that when he works for professional sports teams, he can't practice he medical massage on them because men tend to be averse to being touched by other men. Which seems very hung up to me.

OTOH, for some odd reason I feel better about colonoscopies because my woman gastroenterologist is extremely hot.

I did have a very attractive woman massage therapist; which I found extremely distracting though not in a problematic way.

EricaP@20
"we opened the marriage...I no longer felt guilty about thinking about real people"

Wow, you had been monogamous-on-steroids!

CMD@22
I agree that (like most people) they should have communicated more. But since they didn't I think her reaction is the problem.

I felt bad about my tone that your reaction was problematic. You have an interesting take. For example, Dan and I could be wrong for believing her when she went out of her way to say their financial situation and practices made money absolutely no issue.

“I thought we had a great connection. I thought I knew who he was.”

I hear you that she's in pain, but I think she's created it.

EricaP@23
"now that I know he's a switch and capable of lying to me for years on end"

My exes never asked me what I wanked to, and I never told them. I don't think that was lying. I think that was me granting them the not-knowing they wanted.

AFAIK she never asked him whether he was a switch. He could have thought she didn't ask because it would spoil it for her to know.

BDF@26
"you've inadvertently made their point"

I disagree.

"-Is- chaturbating cheating?..therefore something couples should discuss"

Yes they should. But until they do it is not cheating. The responsibility for initiating that discussion is on the person with hung up ideas about how the other person can masturbate. Otherwise, this is an area in which it is most reasonable to assume the other person doesn't want to know. That is the default assumption.

BDF@27
"So the man has to bring it up"

(Apologies for repeating this, but...) No, she had to.

38

Curious @37, with respect, that's ridiculous. Someone is expected to anticipate anything their partner might engage in and bring that up with them??

Third party involvement is not "how someone can masturbate." If I tell you that you need to use your right hand and not your left, then I have hung up ideas about how you can masturbate. BOTH people are responsible for having a conversation about what constitutes cheating in the relationship. It's mealy mouthed in the extreme to put the onus on someone else -- "well gee honey, you didn't tell me you considered fucking sex workers cheating, it's your fault" -- or to deem the idea that chaturbating is off limits "hung up." A perfectly reasonable assumption is that masturbation is a solo act, that any wanking someone does won't involve participation by others; that once it does, it's moved beyond wanking to something else, something that may or may not be acceptable to someone who considers their relationship monogamous. FINDAMN has not created her pain by being kept in the dark by her husband. Sure, there's the "it's his business" argument, which she is weighing against the "he hid a big part of himself" argument, both of which are valid. I'm surprised at your take on this.

39

I mean, I'm a clued up person. I read Savage Love, as you know. I had never heard the term chaturbate until you just used it. If I've never even heard a term, how am I supposed to start a conversation with a partner over whether or not it's okay for him to do it?? The dude knows what he's doing. I refer you to SmokedSalmon @34 for not trying to play stupid with regard to respecting his wife and their relationship.

40

FINDAMN

It's not just a "zone of erotic autonomy," it's a "zone of financial autonomy" as well. Clearly, as you say, you've been spending quite a bit of money on things that make you happy. It makes sense that your husband should have the same leeway as long as he is not exposing you to risk.

41

@34 SmokedSalmon

I believe that it's important to be transparent with future spouses about core elements of your sexuality, as far as you know them.

42

@41 ThatOtherGuy

I don't plan on there being any future spouses!

She's known that I'm bisexual from almost the beginning. I've never hid that from her.

43

BDF@38
A major theme of this response is whether something happens IN REALITY.

""well gee honey, you didn't tell me you considered fucking sex workers cheating...""

That example is not relevant. No one is fucking anyone. No one is doing anything in reality, it's all fantasy. (And people's minds are their own business.)

"that's ridiculous...Third party involvement..."

And "Third party involvement" is also overblown. I mean, if I look at a centerfold (lol do they still exist?) or watch a porn film, the star is 'involved' (in producing that content for consumers). If I then go to the star's twitter and type something, is the star /problematically/ 'involved'? If they type something back are they? (Both parties know it's about nothing but fantasy; meeting up with an escort would be entirely different of course, because that happens in /reality/.)

It's fake. It's a game both sides are playing. So it's not real "involvement".

"being kept in the dark by her husband"

As I said before, she kept herself in the dark by not letting him know that the default assumption that she would not want to know about his wanking was not her wish. Particularly since as both Dan and I have said he would "fear of spoiling [their]...D/s dynamic".

BDF@39
"I had never heard the term chaturbate until you just used it. If I've never even heard a term, how am I supposed to start a conversation with a partner over whether or not it's okay for him to do it??"

I have used the term here before, but of course I'm not expecting anyone including you or the LW to have seen that.

But we live in modern times. Surely you and the LW are aware that there are tech ways of wanking like camming now.

Let's say that both you and the LW are healthily cool with a partner wanking to photos and videos. If imaginary tech interaction would bother or interest you, you could ask something like:

'do you do any techie kinds of wanking?'

(Again y'all have heard of camming, you know there are techie kinds of wanking to be done. And you both know what men are. [And you have seen previously that just as I will not tolerate misogyny, I also strongly oppose non-acceptance of men by those that love them.])

Circling back to whether things happen in reality. Strip clubs are in reality (albeit a very frustrating one I can't imagine being interested in) so throwing bills at a stripper is far more real that funneling cash to someone you never meet in person. So I'd say going to a strip club would more call for disclosure (and if one gets a lap dance, I would agree it would indeed be one's responsibility to disclose in advance).

In other words, I think that things that don't happen in reality need not be disclosed unless asked.

/Break/
Everyone's 'they should have discussed it' is not relevant. Of course they should. What is relevant is that the default is to not talk about wanking unless it's brought up because it's most reasonable to assume that if they don't bring it up they don't want to know. I know that all of us are black belts at communication, but remember that outside this board there are a world of people who aren't. Very frequently women do not want to hear about their partner thinking of anyone else while wanking, and some nuts can't deal with them wanking at all; these are the cases Dan needs to advise women to accept a deal where both pretend he doesn't. If she's healthy enough to accept men, it's on her to communicate.

44

Curious @43, no, it's not all fantasy. It is reality. There is a real person he is paying to send him these videos. A real person he's been corresponding with for three years. He's not having fantasies about paying a Domme to humiliate him, he is paying a Domme to humiliate him.

A live sex worker is also faking. It's also "a game both sides are playing." So would that mean there's no "involvement" in sex work, and therefore it's not cheating?

In this woman's mind, she's married to a dominant man. How can you possibly claim it's reasonable for her to anticipate that her dominant husband might be paying other women to humiliate him, and to ask him about that?

A strip club would indeed be the low-tech equivalent, and some women are okay with their partners going to strip clubs, while some women are not. But most women would be ticked off if their husband went to a strip club and didn't tell them. One difference is that in order to go to a strip club, the man has to leave the house, and "where are you going" is a reasonable question for the wife to ask. In order for him to go to the equivalent of an online strip club, he just needs to close the door.

Dan does advise women to accept that their men masturbate, that they watch porn, and to turn a blind eye.

Surely if a man is healthy enough to accept that women may have different views on cheating than they do, it's on him to communicate?

45

I'm generally open about and to anything. That being said, my deal with my wife is that porn is totally fine, but that engaging another person (i.e. Cams and Chaturbate) crosses a line. Even though it is online and potentially anonymous, it is still bringing another person into your sex life.

I don't necessarily agree, but we discussed and set boundaries that I am happy to abide. I agree that the LW (who is clearly confused and upset) should have been privy to this and had a chance to weigh in.

46

BDF@44
"It is reality."

I guess I failed to make the distinction that by reality I meant physical reality, in other words being in physically present together. Which I think is crucial.

"it's on him to communicate..."

I think I've already done my best to make my case for why it's not in this case, and I won't inflict repeating myself on anyone.

I will add though, that Dan ("cheating-adjacent") feels as I do on whether it was cheating. And so I feel for both of them. He had good reasons I stated for not disclosing, but I'm sure he wished he could. As would I have in his place; hell, I can't imagine /not/ bringing it up, that would be unfair to him too. I only wish she had done her part to let him know she was open to that. And yes, that he had done his part to try to figure out if she was. It was a messed up situation, enough so that it feels 'adjacent' (whatever than means) to an actual violation.

I keep being reminded of the assumption of monogamy. That sucks too, I wish people communicated better (even though communication is scary). But I see and I said why he didn't. I can't say it's OK that /she/ didn't given her reaction.

47

Marquis@45
That's spectacular that y'all communicated about that!

I wonder how often it's the wife, and how often it's the husband, that initiates such a conversation.

I wonder how many couples communicate so well that it would just obviously come up regardless of who took responsibility to initiate it. Not the majority, I bet.

48

BDF@44
"Surely if a man is healthy enough to accept that women may have different views on cheating than they do, it's on him to communicate?"

Still thinking about this.
Yes he does have to initiate communication about what someone might sanely think was cheating.
But I don't agree that camming etc. is such a thing. Because it does not take place in physical reality. Anymore than (ick) flirting on the phone with customer service would.

49

Smoked Salmon @34 - welcome, and thank you for your insights! You strike me as someone with a very powerful moral compass, that you took it upon yourself to curtail certain activities after making a monogamous commitment. "I guess I came to see my behavior as cheating-adjacent, since I was engaging with other human beings in a sexual fashion (usually more exchanging fantasies than full-blown cybersex). And that was inconsistent with how I saw myself as a husband." Very beautifully put!

I'm going to try to address Smoked Salmon's question @34 re "where do people draw the line?" while simultaneously addressing Curious @37 and 43. Long answer short is it's subjective and arbitrary, which is why a conversation needs to happen. Curious, I think you are looking through a highly techie lens that a lot of us might not share. I'm arguably 10-20+ years younger than most of the regular commentariat and in theory have spent most of my life in a digital world. But I remember when online dating was a weird thing and not de rigueur. I remember when our day to day lives weren't so steeped in technology. I think the internet has created a strange new world of sexual possibilities before people have had a chance to come to a baseline agreement of what constitutes "normal" or cheating/not cheating online behavior.

Yes, centerfold models and porn actors are IRL people. But you are not interacting with a centerfold or porn video the way you're * interacting with * someone on the other end of a camming or chaturbating session. I don't think it's a stretch to see that. And yes, perhaps it's all fantasy for the people involved in a camming session. But it also seems to step over the line of what a partner should reasonably expect their partner to be doing on the DL without prior conversation that such behavior is okay. And their partner may be GGG enough to grant that it's a fantasy and be fine with that. But it's something that a partner should be given the chance to be okay with. FINDAMN is left feeling like a fool after being kept in the dark for so long (she may be more upset about the length of the findom relationship more than the relationship itself) and is now questioning what else she might not know about her husband. Is she making a mountain out of a molehill? Quite possibly. But it's the feeling of having been deceived that's the real issue here. And I tip my hat to Smoked Salmon's excellent example of feeling like things were crossing a line emotionally in regards to his wife and the commitments he's made to her.

I'm reminded of a White Stripes lyric: "You think not telling is the same as not lying, don't you?"

50

@21 Don't think what I said warranted a strawman attack with "pollution". No one called you stupid. You make many fine comments, this just wasn't one of them. I made a dumb one last week and apologized for it. It happens.

I think my overall point is that you've made this about something personal that has nothing to do with the letter writer. Dan never said the things you've accused him of - to say that Dan Savage wants people to act like Frat Bros is pretty ridiculous just on the face of it. He was talking about people having the right to private fantasies since anything else sets up a standard that no one can meet.

I think everyone, not just straight women, have a tendancy to see problems in others behavior and not see the equivalencies in their own life (e.g. "my partner looks at porn which means he doesn't find me attractive while I think about an ex every once in awhile just to get over the hump and orgasm" or on a more banal level "my partner complains about problems at work too much and they don't even understand real pain, like listening to Margie from accounting crack her fucking knuckles"). Dan threw out some scenarios that might not seem like equivlants when you're in the trenches but are similar.

You took them incredibly literally and held yourself up as some paragon of virtue. Weird flex bro.

51

Foxy@49
Good point about camming being in realtime. If I was in a monogamous relationship I wouldn't assume a partner would be cool with it. (But for reasons I already went into repeatedly, I think the LW's husband had solid cause not to bring it up, which I sympathize with.)

Yes I am thinking tech-ily, but even more, I have a big thing about drawing a huge line between fantasy and physical reality. (In the past I've only shown this by arguing about policing people's fantasies.)

/Break/
I think the only sane reasons to flirt with a cam girl is to make her feel good about herself(in other words as a kindness), or if the customer gets off on dirty talk. One would be a nut to think any of it is real. They know that most of the guys on there are thousand-year old gargoyles.

@Opal
IIRC that unbelievably magnificent opal is just a couple inches long. Since it's vaguely phallic, that's kinda SL-related too.

52

Curious @48, I meant that question to be provocative, in hopes you would see how one-sided your approach is. It's equally unreasonable to assert that men should just anticipate women's preferences and conform to them as it is to assert that women should just anticipate and conform to men's. Both need to accept and understand and compromise. Women should afford men some privacy. Men should understand that for women, sex and emotional intimacy are more closely linked so yes, a lot of them are going to be bothered by cheating-adjacent activities that involve real people, and the more involved those other parties are, the more likely it is she may have a problem with it -- or a problem with not being told about it.

YOUR opinion is that camming is not cheating adjacent. I hope you see from these comments that your opinion is not universal -- not even amongst the penis havers of the board -- and that is why you should discuss it with partners.

Curious @51: "Good point about camming being in realtime. If I was in a monogamous relationship I wouldn't assume a partner would be cool with it." Yay! Thank you Fantastic Mrs Fox. I think we all draw a line between fantasy and reality, and I'm glad you now see that some draw it in different places than others.

As for why Mr FINDAMN didn't disclose this, perhaps he thought it wasn't his wife's business; perhaps he didn't want to break character as a Dom; perhaps he resented all the money she was spending on beauty treatments. It's FINDAMN that he needs to share his reasons with, and he needs to accept that withholding this aspect of himself was detrimental to the intimacy between them.

52

p.s. Here's an odd way of phrasing it:

While I don't consider him blameless, I still think /she/ has only herself to blame.

53

BDF@52
I never said I'd do what he did. And I will say that it wasn't right.

"some draw it in different places than others"

I don't consider it a matter of opinion. I tend far more than most to think ethics is something objective. Of course that's just my opinion.

54

@53 p.s.
"I will say that it wasn't right."

Which is not the same as my saying it was wrong.

55

A conversation would allow FINDAMN to decide if this lives sufficiently in the realm of fantasy for her. She may be projecting an emotional component onto the situation where none exists. If he could have had a conversation explaining that this is purely transactional (and if FINDAMN is GGG about that), he could have avoided unnecessarily hurting her feelings and giving her (perceived) reason to doubt him.

FWIW, hypothetically I would be open to letting my husband engage in camming or what have you in a transactional context, but would be less open to camming with random people in a non-transactional context (even if there's no likelihood to meet this person IRL [though that would be a mitigating circumstance that I would factor into the equation). I'm fine with my husband going to strip clubs; I wouldn't be fine with him sending nudes or sexting with Tinder randos, for example.

56

I think most straight monogamous women have a don't ask don't tell policy WRT their husband's masturbation thoughts and practices. Which I think would mean the LW was not disclosing by request.

But I don't think newly invented tech they've never heard of is appropriate in this regard.

For example, let's say I have a GF and it's monogamous and she doesn't want to hear about my wanking.

If I were to invent a new kind of cyborg that people could transfer their consciousnesses into and feel totally realistic bodily sensations, it would not be OK for me and her sister (or anyone else) to transfer our consciousnesses' into a pair of cyborgs to cheat. That would be real cheating.

57

BDF@36 Thank you for the kind words. I don't know how I would bring up my chatting, but maybe sometime I could introduce her to my erotic writings. I tend to write (and chat) about the topics you would imagine I would be into: fem-dom (maybe better described as male-sub, since I get off on subbing for both males and females), crossdressing, cuckolding, F-m spanking, CFNM, etc. I have some freakier fantasies that I wouldn't want to share.

58

Maybe it would be better just to say that I write erotica on-line rather than go into detail about my subject matter, LOL.

59

Curious @52, yup, that is an odd way to put it. What's she to blame for, not being psychic?

And nope, the ethics of camming being acceptable in a monogamous relationship -- the ethics of anything within a relationship -- are subjective. Monogamous people think it's unethical to have sex outside the relationship; monogamish and polyamorous people disagree. Some ethically non-monogamous people think it's ethical to tell your partner about your other lovers; those who practice DADT think the opposite is ethical. So you can't just blanket decide that camming is ethical and everyone has to agree with you. As a matter of fact, you kind of just disagreed with yourself, so that shows how set in sand this ethical pronouncement is! What is ethical is being honest and respectful to your partner. And you can't know what's respectful to your partner until you talk to them about it. So things aren't ethical-by-default-unless-someone-objects. If one has good reason to believe their partner would object but doesn't bring up the topic, that's hardly ethical.

Smoked @57-@58, perhaps ask her if she'd like to read your erotica, start with something relatively tame, then ramp it up from there. ;) Then mention that you have online friends that you share erotic stories with, or that you would like to, but you wanted to make sure that was OK with her. Good luck!

60

BDF@59
I think I've already responded to all that.

But I see I made a mistake in my (to me important) first paragraph @56 though, so I'll edit it here:

"I think most straight monogamous women have a don't ask don't tell policy WRT their husband's masturbation thoughts and practices. Which I think would mean the LW was not disclosing" DUE TO HER WISHES.

61

Oh crap I messed up the paragraph that time too. Here's the corrected version:

"I think most straight monogamous women have a don't ask don't tell policy WRT their husband's masturbation thoughts and practices. Which I think would mean the LW was not disclosing"

62

Oh for bleep's sake; sorry everyone. I just discovered that the site wipes everything that's in brackets (the greater than and less than symbols). Here it is without those:

"I think most straight monogamous women have a don't ask don't tell policy WRT their husband's masturbation thoughts and practices. Which I think would mean the HUSBAND OF THE LW was not disclosing" DUE TO HER WISHES.

(In other words, the DADT was her choice.)

63

Assuming that your partner would rather not know (about a potentially hurtful sexual behavior) and that you're doing them a kindness by staying mum is a slippery slope indeed. DADT is a very specific arrangement in ENM relationships that has rules laid down by the couple involved. "I didn't tell you about this hurtful thing because I knew you'd be hurt and probably you'd rather just not know anyway" isn't likely to fly with many partners.

Curious, I know you're trying to make the argument that wanking with someone else via camming is essentially on par with wanking to a porno video, and that it therefore goes into the category of "what I fantasize about while I wank is absolutely no one else's business." But.... clearly this addition of another person that you are interacting with in real time (even though not physically IRL) is enough of a gamechanger to enough people that it seems an unfair thing to try to sneak under a partner's nose.

64

DADT is not a choice if a couple hasn't had a conversation about how to handle ethically non-monogamous or NM-adjacent behavior. Otherwise you're at least being deceptive by omission and insulting the intelligence and emotional maturity of your partner (ie, their ability to "handle" certain information). And it's potentially a slippery slope to justifying more deceptive behavior going forward because, you know, at least you're doing them the kindness of keeping them in the dark, right?

65

Curious @62, in addition to Fantastic's comments, the letter never says, "I asked him that if he ever hired a sex worker in any capacity, in-person or not, that he not tell me." So your presumption that DADT is her preference is flawed, and she has nothing to blame herself for. In fact, I think most women WOULD want to know if their husbands were paying sex workers, even online-only ones. There's absolutely no evidence here that the husband's decision was based on "her wishes." He may have based it on what he THINKS her wishes are, but if he did assume she wouldn't want to know, he was clearly wrong, wasn't he?

You may be right that most women wouldn't want to know who or what their partners are thinking about when they masturbate. But this situation isn't, "I'm shocked to learn what he's thinking about when he masturbates," is it? It's, "My partner has an ongoing, highly personal relationship with someone he's paying for services I never even knew he had an interest in." Don't make this about objecting to masturbation.

66

fantastic_mrs_fox @64 "DADT is not a choice if a couple hasn't had a conversation about how to handle ethically non-monogamous or NM-adjacent behavior."

That's right. It's hard for an outside party to distinguish actual DADT from pretend DADT (aka cheating), so many people just avoid dating people who claim to be DADT altogether.

But it's not hard for a person to know if their own spouse has explicitly agreed to a DADT. And if that is not an explicit agreement they both know about, then it's not DADT.

You (general you) may think you're doing your spouse a favor by hiding the non-monogamy or non-monogamy-adjacent activities you're doing, but if your spouse finds out and doesn't appreciate the "favor" -- then you both have to live with the consequences of your poor judgment.

67

@35: Mr. Ven, I have never thought at all about which Austen characters would be the most or least homophobic, but if I were going to take a stab, I'd plump for Mary Crawford as least homophobic and Sir Walter Eliot or Augusta Elton as most. I'm kind of up in the air about Admirable (or not) Admiral Croft, who I think could also fulfill either one of those roles, depending!

I, too, have always liked that I never fully like Emma (I wonder if that's an uncommon reaction), yet of course, I want to see her happy. I am always unsure what to think about the fact that Emma seems wholly untroubled by the severance of her intimate friendship with Harriet. Part of me attributes this to her snobbishness (and though you're absolutely correct that the Martins are unlikely to pay casual calls at Donwell, I think that if they did show up, Knightly would be far more gracious and genuinely more happy to see them than Emma would be).

But part of me knows that Austen is a pretty clear apologist for maintaining the class system and all its divisions, and I think that she always means for us to understand that Emma's association with Harriet is wrong on multiple levels: she really does Harriet significant emotional harm more than once, but she was also wrong in forming the association to begin with because Harriet isn't in her social class, and that's not only not fair to Harriet, but a bit of class-treachery, too, which must be corrected. Harriet is more likable than Jane Fairfax--at least if one defines likability in terms of how much flattery is involved--but it's one of Emma's failings that she prefers Harriet's company to the more appropriate Jane's.

I suspect that modern readers take Harriet and Jane at Emma's valuation of them and think more highly of Emma's assumed spirit of egalitarianism than Austen would have expected, and that contemporary readers probably would have felt. At most, I think 21st-century readers see Emma's friendship with Harriet as wrong or bad because Emma is using Harriet for her own amusement and we can sense that Harriet will end up hurt. But contemporary readers would have seen Emma, powered by ego and boredom, as debasing herself, seduced by a pretty face and an overly-amiable disposition into a socially inappropriate relationship. So that the fact that the Knightlys will inevitably snub the Martins (actually, there'll be no need: Robert Martin has enough refinement to be sensible of the inappropriateness of the continued social relationship and wouldn't expose himself or his wife to that snub) would be read as a return to normalcy and a restoration to security of a threatened social class hierarchy.

By my lights, Emma in the text comes off far worse to modern readers than she probably did to readers in 1815; the irony is that she's been redeemed to be more reformed in film adaptations, which would make her completely unreformed by 1815 standards.

Plus, you know, the actresses who play her are always so /pretty/. We have a hard time disliking pretty, blonde, sweet-looking women on film, so ya do what ya gotta do to make them as likable as possible.

68

@ BiDanFan 29 and Mr. Ven 33: I don't assume from her letter that LW 1 is necessarily GGG. I am curious why you assume that. Because she's submissive and likes her dominant husband to be in control in the bedroom? Does that really meet the GGG definition? Or is it the fact that she reads Savage Love and is writing Dan?

One could argue that her rejection of this newly-discovered element of her husband's sexual persona makes her the opposite of GGG.

69

First, I apologize for using the phrase DADT. That has clearly muddied the issue.

Second, I'm not quoting BDF here because I feel like her newest points are not as relevant to the main point as I personally see it as the upcoming Foxy quote and I don't want to escalate a debate just for sport.

Foxy@63 is right that I'm

"trying to make the argument that wanking with someone else via camming is essentially on par with wanking to a porno video, and that it therefore goes into the category of "what I fantasize about while I wank is absolutely no one else's business."

However, I strongly disagree that the LW's husband is "try[ing] to sneak [it] under a partner's nose."

It not just wasn't her business, but more importantly /she/ determined it would not be disclosed by not initiating conversation. Because for the reasons I've already addressed, the default for a man is to not discuss wanking unless the woman asks him to, for the very good reasons I've already addressed repeatedly.

Her own failure to communicate lacked such very good reasons.

He should have /also/ initiated conversation, but that makes it no less her fault. Which is why she has no one else to blame. (As in many if not most situations, many are somewhat to blame, but a subset holds Primary blame/responsibility. That's her in this case.)

I acknowledge a reasonable line of argument BDF has been pressing that the LW doesn't think this is just about wanking. That does make this a sticky situation (including for the husband all by himself I imagine). But I have two responses to that:

One. That I believe it is, not just subjectively but objectively, as regards this debate just about wanking.

Two. I know that that's problematic for her subjectively. But she could have solved that, given that apparently some kinds of unproblematic wanking are TO HER problematic, by fulfilling her own responsibility to initiate the conversation. (I recall BDF asking me how she was to know something, so I think it's notable here that...) How was he to know that there was unproblematic wanking that is TO HER problematic?

/Break/
I think what irritates me the most, is that this natural healthy thing men do freaks out so many women that men know not to talk about wanking unless asked. (That's shitty enough.)
So a guy does a specific kind of that natural healthy thing that (because of this societal policy of silence which exists for the benefit of women at their request) he has no way of knowing unless she brings it up that he IS supposed to talk about, because it's a kind of wanking and he is not supposed to talk about wanking!

Everyone knows men are simple creatures. Please don't put us in an impossible situation. Possible ones are difficult enough for us.

And I'm getting very sick of writing comments that Sportlandia might agree with.

70

Curious @69
You are getting pushback because you are using a different definition of masturbation. It's similar to the misunderstanding with Philophile last thread about mean.

As soon as it involves interacting with someone else, I don't classify it as solo masturbation.

That applies to cam girls, phone sex, strippers, pro-Dommes, kink playpartners, etc. He isn't required to ask her permission to masturbate or give her details.

As soon as he brings another person into it, it's a form of non-monogamy. In order to be ethical, he needs to discuss it with his partner(s).

71

Curious @69
I agree with you that she has equal responsibility to discuss it with him, early into the relationship. It's important to be on the same page.

I agree with BiDanFan that some people are not aware of all forms of porn, so they may not have the vocabulary to ask the questions.

If someone is new towae kink, and tells me they don't have limits, it means they aren't aware of their limits yet. They probably haven't been exposed to the concepts or vocabulary enough to say that certain things are off limits. So, it's my responsibility to check in with them before introducing anything new.

I think the same is true of people who want to participate in interactive porn and sex work (online or in person). It isn't sufficiently mainstream enough to guarantee the other person is aware they need to ask.

72

Opal@70
That is an interesting observation, but it doesn't change my position.

Maybe we have a gender divide here.

/Break/
Where's your cool avatar? Everyone on the Internet uses downloaded images, don't worry about it. Just don't start selling it or keep using it if the photographer (Richard Lyons per https://artdaily.cc/news/80497/The-finest-opal-ever-unearthed-will-be-publicly-displayed-for-the-first-time-in-Australia ) asks you not to.

73

Ens. Pulver @68
I don't know for sure whether she is GGG. When she said that "My husband says he doesn't want to be degradated by me," it sounds like she offered and he turned her down. It's entirely possible that the discussion went another way.

I consider myself to be pretty GGG. I'm a switch, and am open to trying new things that my partner was interested in. Those include but aren't limited to pegging, him cross dressing, needle play, sounding, etc.

My submissive has gone to a pro-Domme who he had been seeing before we met, with my blessing. He had a scene recently (everyone involved is fully vaccinated, and they wore masks) with three Dommes. None of them are pros, and they didn't accept any money from him.

His scene involved catheterization, cock rope bondage, and golden showers, among other things.

I would be furious, and it would severely damage my trust in him, if he kept something like this from me.

It's been going on for three years with the same person. So, I would have trouble believing there's no emotional involvement.

It would show that he doesn't have enough emotional connection with me to trust me with something so central to his sexuality.

74

Curious @72
I was commenting first, but since you poked me, I went ahead and changed it. Thank you for finding it for me!😊

I don't think it's strictly on gender limes, but I agree that there are strong tendencies correlated to gender. Now that you are aware of it, I think you would be wise to check in with your current/future partners.

Since you know that a significant percentage of women consider interactive porn/sex to be a separate from masturbation, you can take it into consideration.

I don't think men are "simple" or umempathetic or unable to read body language, FWIW.

75

Curious @72 if you find yourself channeling Sportlandia, it is always a good idea to reconsider! 😳

76

Erica @66
That's one of Dan's things that I strongly disagree with. If they cheat, it's patronizing and infantilizing to refuse to tell their partner on the grounds that they won't do it again. Clearly, if they did it once, there are some circumstances in which they will be tempted to repeat.

Also, some STDs (HPV, HSV, etc) can be carried and transmitted by a asymptomatic carrier. That's actually fairly common for men. So, she needs to know that she may need to be tested, or get her Pap smear earlier than usual.

Plus, all of the emotional stuff going on. I think I could get past being cheated on, or him paying a Findomme to humiliate him. I would really struggle to get past, forgive, and rebuild trust if they hid it from me.

77

BiDanFan @65 Mrs Fox @63/64
That's my perspective as well. Before interacting sexually with a new partner, even online, people should check in with their partner. I don't care whether it's a FinDomme on FetLife or a Night Elf on Moon Guard server in World of Warcraft!

78

Smoked @57-58, BiDanFan@59
Smoked, I agree with BiDanFan that it would be lovely to test the waters very gently! It's entirely possible that she would be comfortable if you keep things within the boundaries you describe, or similar. I am impressed by your ethics!

79

Curious @51
"I have a big thing about drawing a huge line between fantasy and physical reality"

I could be misunderstanding, but do you not think of people online as real, just a persona or fictional character? Or are you drawing that line since STDs, unlike some other viruses, aren't transmissible over the Internet?

I met my first people from online in person less than a week after I first connected (from an online game).

Since then, I have literally met hundreds of people both in person and online. In all but one case that I can think of, they had the same personality, looks (if they shared a photo), and similar communication style (allowing for text vs speech).

Yes, there are catfish, scammers, and people who are strictly into fantasy. I rarely encounter them, probably because my profile and communication style don't draw them to me.

I wouldn't dismiss an online interaction or relationship as "just a fantasy" unless both/all people involved are in agreement.

80

@73 Opal. Good point. Her opening a discussion about degradation could mean she's trying to be GGG, although her saying "I have no interest" smacked a a little more of "ewww" than "meh" to me. Still you make a reasonable inference. I also forgot to say earlier that my speculation about her GGG-ness has nothing to do with whether I thought this was a cheating-adjacent situation. For my two cents, it was.

@ 69 Curious: "The default is for a man is not to discuss wanking." True enough, I suppose. I also suppose it is the default for a man to not discuss his sexual involvement with outside partners he doesn't want his wife to know about.

81

Larry @50 nocute @21
"Pollute" / "stupid" are a bit of hyperbole. I agree with her that you were unfairly critical, and very rude, about her posting her views. It definitely came across to me as an attack on her, not bewilderment.

Unlike you, I think it is relevant. Even if it weren't, she is still allowed to post about it, just like the number game and such.

I agree with her that Dan often uses "see, you do the same thing" analogies without checking whether they apply.

It's one of the things I disagree with him about, along with hiding cheating from one's partner. I used to disagree with his stance on bisexual men, but he has mellowed or changed his mind over the years.

He can't know that some of his readers find it objectionable if we don't speak out.

"Because we all do (it). Which is why no one should worry about things like the LW wrote about."

If my boyfriend/submissive did that, I would be incredibly worried. As I noted in my other comment @73, his hiding it would be my primary concern, not the fantasizing.

82

@LW2, Venn @33
It's possible that eroticising it would help him view himself in a more sexy way. I agree it is dangerous, fraught ground.

Some of us struggle to feel loveable until we are loved, or desirable until we are desired. Some people are black holes. No compliment or reassurance can get through their event horizon.

I agree with Dan that it sounds like Mr LW2 has lots of options, so he genuinely wants to be with LW2.

83

Mrs Fox @28, Nocute @13/14
I'll hang out with you in the prude corner! I don't interact with people that way. It's especially awful directed at service people, who need to be polite and attentive, no matter how uncomfortable they are.

I heartily agree that autonomy doesn't involve any third party vendors or candidates!

84

Ens. Pulver @80
Thanks for clarifying! I thought you were claiming that anyone who isn't ok with this isn't GGG.

I reread it, and she did say "I don't really want to degrade him", which might not be GGG of her. That doesn't mean that she isn't GGG in other aspects of their relationship.

She is a submissive, so not being comfortable dominating her Dominant doesn't strike me as unreasonable.

85

vennimonon @33: “Advising someone to wallow in a fault and make it a kink is a drastic step in the wrong direction.”

BiDanFan @36: “‘Work to overcome your insecurity’ seems far better advice than ‘eroticise your insecurity.’”

Actually, my thought is that he already is eroticisng it and he’s writing in to get Dan and all his readers participating nonconsensually in his kink.

larrystone007 @18: “Anyone else think that letter #2 seemed fake? The whole thing was so over the top, one side is entirely perfect and the other is entirely not. To me, it screams that a 16 year old wrote it and is currently chortling with his buddies.”

Yup, absolutely over the top. Which is why I suspect he’s a fetishist and not someone caught in a bad, soul-sucking power dynamic.

Everyone’s different, but the letter follows the basis of the typical cuckold script.

1: Partner is perfect and amazing and deserves the best.

2: Fetishist is a pathetic excuse for a man whose penis is incapable of satisfying Partner.

Not in the letter, but typical elements of a cuckold fetish:

Partner MUST want to be fucked by other people. Fetishist is simultaneously terrified and aroused by this certainty.
Partner might participate in the fetish in various ways.
• Small Penis Humiliation — SPH. Or in this case, Premature Ejaculation Humiliation.
• Partner can require Fetishist to wear a cock cage to emphasize the pointlessness of his useless penis.
• While they’re having sex, Partner can arouse that powerful “cuckold angst” by talking about the sexual superiority of other men.
• For even more cuckold angst, Partner can cease having sex with Fetishist entirely and instead seek out high-performing bulls for sexual satisfaction.
• Partner’s bulls can participate in the domination and gentle humiliation of Fetishist.

It’s more common than not for Partner not to share Fetishist’s enthusiasm for all aspects of the kink. This can result in Fetishist posting stories on the internet to get other people talking about his useless peen.

If LW2 is not a cuckold fetishist then yeah, he needs to get help.

On the other hand, if he is a cuckold fetishist, then can he please just own it already!

86

ICBTRO, if you are reading this, please do these three things:

Buy yourself a cock ring.
Get online and buy yourself a copy of the book “Feeling Good,” by David Burns. This is a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) book.
Find a counselor familiar with CBT and start sessions.

I’ve been where you are, with that nasty little voice in my head telling me “you’re stupid, lazy, and ugly” when in reality I’m none of the above. CBT trains you to make observations and use those observations to talk back to that nasty little voice, telling it to STFU and go away. Essentially, you are training yourself to acknowledge your emotions, over which you have no control, and manage your REACTIONS to those emotions, over which you have considerable control.

In your case, the emotion is fear and it’s manifesting as insecurity. Specifically, fear of rejection and fear of humiliation (which is the root of “why is this total hottie dating ME?”) I strongly suggest you learn these skills for YOU: yes, you’re dating this hot guy, but you will have other situations in your life where knowing how to tell the voice in your head to STFU is a key skill.

CBT work, just like a new Couch to 5K fitness plan or learning Spanish in DuoLingo is work. And like the C25K or DuoLingo, the process is developed through science and not fluffy-bunny woo woo. You can follow the workbook on your own, but it’s easier to do with a counselor to steer you through the hard parts.

I did CBT using this book about 20 years ago, when I was just a little bit younger than you are now, and I use it to this day.

Finally, read this tweet and the comments to see a whole big group of people who admit to being schlubby, know their partners are superstars, and are delighted and proud to be partners with their superstar spouses:
https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamSerwer/status/1325823234839810051

Feel that vibe.

87

@85, 86: Wow: taken together, your comments reflect two totally distinct possibilities but depending on which the real situation is, you both offered such good, practical, useful, and compassionate advice! I really hope that ICBTRO is reading the comments, knows which of the two interpretations applies, and takes the appropriate advice.

88

@85 and @86 can both be accurate; someone can have serious insecurities and also have found a way to eroticize some of them.

I'll second the recommendation for "Feeling Good,” by Dr. David Burns. It helped me when I first read it and did the exercises 10 years ago and still helps today.

Even if ICBTRO is making kinky lemonade out of his insecurity lemons, it's still good to have other tools to address those issues in the rest of your life.

89

Opalescent @84: "She is a submissive, so not being comfortable dominating her Dominant doesn't strike me as unreasonable."

You're right, that's not unreasonable.

And yet, as a sub who eventually learned my dom partner of many years has switch tendencies, I do think it's good for subs in that situation to consider if they can develop and nurture their own switchiness.

It's pretty common for doms to evolve in that way, and healthy for subs to consider if they can bend a bit -- that sincere assessment, and being willing to assess again every so often to see if they now can envision a bit of switching, that's key to being GGG, in my view.

90

Erica @88 Nocute @87 Slinky @86 Alison @85

Taking the LW's account as truthful is SOP for dating columns. Even if they are trolling, it's frequently applicable to other people.

For example, while I don't have any insecurity about my non-existent penis, and don't plan to experiment with cuckqean, I have been trying to wrap my mind around erotic humiliation play.

I haven't found it appealing, so far, but that was true of some kinks I now really enjoy!

Plus, I love getting glimpses into how other people's minds operate, even (especially?) if we disagree or have different perspectives. I think it's a fantastic way to understand other people better, and sometimes ourselves.

I plan to check out "Feeling Good" from my library or interlibrary loan. I sometimes struggle with self-esteem.

I don't find the standard "you need to love yourself before anyone will love you" or "say mantras in the mirror" helpful. The first isn't true, as I know from experience. A lot of people get more depressed and insecure when they hear it.

The second makes me feel embarrassed, not good about myself. Doing a collage style thing online with photos of myself, quotes people have said about me, things other people have said (not about me, but that resonate) works far better!

For the most part, I like myself. I think I am cute, and I can acknowledge my strengths. There's a few things I pick on myself about or feel insecure about. External validation helps me significantly.

One tool I have found helpful is to imagine that a close friend was saying the same thing about herself, or sharing her insecurities with me. I try to give myself the same compassion and empathy that I would give her.

It also helps me take a step back, when I am mired in my problems, and look for another angle. Sometimes there's an obvious or creative answer that I was too upset to see.

The whole point of advice columns is to discover and share those tools and perspectives with people who are struggling!

91

(sorry, I didn't mean to write a novel! I should have broken it up into 2 or 3 posts)

92

Erica @89
I am a switch, who started out as a Domme for almost 10 years. I was resistant to submitting, because the people who brought it up were pushy. Several of them did the "you are a woman, therefore you are submissive" or "you are polite and helpful and look cute, you couldn't possibly want to hurt anyone!"

I advocate for newbies (and more experienced people) to sample an amuse bouche of both sides.

I think that submissives who are open to trying to meet their partner's bottoming or submissive needs are fantastic!

I think it's unfair to accuse those who aren't comfortable with that of not being GGG.

93

Ens @68, yes, both these things. She's kinky and she reads Dan Savage. Also, she's clued in enough to use terms like "zone of erotic autonomy" and says, "I don't REALLY want to degrade him" -- which implies, "but I'd give it a try if he asked me to." And I agree that someone in a sub role might find it difficult to switch, but I meant GGG in the sense of being good, giving her blessing, and game for him to see a pro domme. I'm giving her the potentially-GGG benefit of the doubt; her husband should have done so too. Her reaction is completely natural for anyone who's been deceived, GGG or not. In fact, a GGG person may be -more- hurt to discover their partner was hiding something they would have been OK with, if only they were asked.

Curious @69, you're just completely wrong that (a) her objection is to his wanking and that (b) it was on her to anticipate that he'd consider hiring a pro domme and object to that in advance.

"Everyone knows that men are simple creatures," you say. So a woman might well anticipate that a simple creature might do a simple thing like watch porn and masturbate. A woman can't be expected to guess that a simple creature might do a complex thing like spend three years communicating with a pro domme and pay her to record and send him videos of her degrading him. A woman can't be expected to guess that a simple creature who is dominant with her is also submissive in other situations. You've just supported my point -- a woman can't be expected to guess at complex scenarios involving these simple creatures. The only one who had reasonable grounds to believe he was involved with a pro domme was him. It remains ridiculous to put the onus on her to anticipate the unexpectable.

Curious @72, I don't see how you can write this off as a "gender divide" when CMD, SmokedSalmon and Ens.Pulver are on the side of this being cheating adjacent. Sorry dude. Men of the board, what do you think?

Opal @74: "I don't think men are "simple" or umempathetic or unable to read body language, FWIW." Agree. That sounds like a copout to me. If men are so simple then why are they CEOs? And now, after this week, Curious, you can no longer play dumb in your assumptions about what women (a) consider masturbation and (b) would and wouldn't want to know about.

Opal @81, agree re Larry. Larry @50, looks like another apology from you is in order.
Agree as well that it's the hiding that's the issue. To avoid Curious's pro-wanking tangent, perhaps she should have said, "While my husband has never complained about what I spend on a personal trainer or my hair or body treatments (admittedly a lot), this is obviously different because he hid this from me."

Opal, great comments again this week. Thank you for being here!

94

@10. CMD. I agree that getting a haircut is not cheating and that getting someone (here, a professional findomme) to make personalised degrading sex vids is.

I also think that (while the transaction is sexual in character anyway) the exchange of cash for services, which is integral to the 'Dommed' part for the husband, makes it more so--makes it more a matter of cheating.

@17. Dashing. Yes--exactly so.

@24. Bi. It is not the same at all. The superficial but genuine reason it's not the same is that the personalised, paid-for taunting pertains to sex, is a form of sex, and that getting a haircut is not having sex. A less superficial reason is that FINDAMN's husband knew about the haircuts and spa treatments, while he hid the sex payments from her; he was cheating.

FINDAMN is hurt and perplexed. She feels cheated on, but isn't sure she has the right to feel cheated on. She isn't sure she knows her husband, or that their relationship, re sex or in broader trust terms, is as she thought it. The least that Dan could have said to her was to confirm that he was engaged in a low-grade form of infidelity. Someone informed, sensitive, present-day enough to know that virtual sex is sex, virtual sex can be coupled as well as purely masturbatory, should have granted that cheating virtual sex was cheating. He should have given her permission to explore her feelings of hurt and to lay them before him. But he answered her question in a dismally unsupportive up-and-down way: she asked whether he was merely taking advantage of his zone of erotic autonomy in wiring cash to a Findomme, and he said that it was.

His response is colored by his in-principle negative feelings towards the rich. (One suspects that FINDAMN has all these haircuts and supervised workout sessions because she doesn't work; maybe he works and pays for them). But the rich are Dan's audience. It isn't the struggling, stigmatised young transwomen in the nail bars who are writing in to him. And he's probably in the same wealth bracket as FINDAMN. His practical advice is not too bad; but his tone and his literal-minded response to the question asked are off. Rich people are people too!

95

@25. Bi. On the matter of individual financial accounts, you are right. Whether both work, neither, or just one of them, at least part of their finances should be segregated. She has the time for the spa treatments etc.; on the supposition (plausible but not sure) she doesn't work or works part-time, they should allocate some of their income to her personal account. After all if she's a mother or just a homemaker, she does work!

He should of course pay the Domme in a broadly negotiated way, a way that does not impinge on their primary sexual relationship, from his personal account.

96

@26. Bi. Part of the erotic frisson for him of the humiliating sex messages is likely to be that he gets them behind his wife's back. The power trip for the guy is to get away with something in relation to his wife (or it was) and to be abased in fantasy in another connection.

This make it cheating-ish--more than cheating-adjacent.

If there wasn't a getting-away-with-it motivation to the vids, why didn't he just tell her?--e.g. 'you spunk enough on the massages, I'm going to spunk a little (as it were) on getting humiliated'. She reads Savage Love (it's a leisure activity for her, like the spas), for heaven's sake; she'd have thought 'huh', learnt something about her husband and granted the pass. Possibly he was ashamed he was partly non-Dom (as it were). Possibly he didn't want to bother her or compromise a sexual identity that was working for them both. But .... I can't believe that was all there was.

@28. Fantastic. Well, anyone non-gender-normative getting a haircut wants 1) to find a hairdresser who can give them a good haircut (desperately); and 2) to find someone who won't be snide about e.g. 'a man getting a woman's haircut, fancy that' in any shape or form. If that makes us marginal, go back to having a column predominantly for gay cismen.

I agree with you that paying for camming and jerking off are not the same thing. In this case, the extramarital relationship is professional. Would it actually make a difference if he had been going to see the sex worker in person, and she had offered him a sexually enjoyable in-person experience of humiliation? (I am not sure that humiliatingly Findomming a rich person typically consists of something that would be broadly taken as conventional 'cheating', like Mr Findamn scoring PIV sex). I don't see any substantive difference between the virtual pseudo-cheating (which he in fact allowed himself) and an in-person interaction. In fact, 1) granting that virtual sex is sex, and 2) granting sex work is work with professional boundaries, would seem to narrow down any difference almost to nothing.

97

@Harriet: I agree with the part of your comment @94, in which you say:
"FINDAMN is hurt and perplexed. She feels cheated on, but isn't sure she has the right to feel cheated on. She isn't sure she knows her husband, or that their relationship, re sex or in broader trust terms, is as she thought it. The least that Dan could have said to her was to confirm that he was engaged in a low-grade form of infidelity. Someone informed, sensitive, present-day enough to know that virtual sex is sex, virtual sex can be coupled as well as purely masturbatory, should have granted that cheating virtual sex was cheating. He should have given her permission to explore her feelings of hurt and to lay them before him. But he answered her question in a dismally unsupportive up-and-down way: she asked whether he was merely taking advantage of his zone of erotic autonomy in wiring cash to a Findomme, and he said that it was."

But all this speculation about rich people being Dan's target audience, and that FINDAMN regards reading Savage Love as she gets spa treatments, etc. doesn't have anything to do with anything, and focusing on how wealthy they may be or how they have their money and what she does or doesn't do in terms of working outside the home only seems to take away from this woman's genuine pain and confusion.

My take is that Ms. FINDAMN is pretty ggg--there's not a lot of judgment in her letter. Mainly what I read is bewilderment. There's a lot of new information for her to take in. She just discovered something that has her reassessing her husband's sexuality, and by extension, her own, as she is obviously considering how she can meet needs of his she didn't know he had, all the while wondering if she has been wrong all along about what she had heretofore considered a good sexual connection, in which their different approaches sync so well.

That this has been going on for 3 years; that she has had no idea her husband had an even mildly submissive aspect, and the way she finds out is to realize he's been paying for what amounts to bespoke porn to him; that he hid this from her; heck, even that findom is a thing. All of this was sprung on her. I found the ending of her letter especially poignant: "I don't really want to degrade him and I obviously couldn't dominate him financially as our finances are shared. My husband says he doesn't want to be degraded by me but he was nevertheless willing to pay a complete stranger to heap insults on him?!? I don't understand. I thought we had a great sexual connection. I also thought I knew who he was erotically. I'm confused and don't know what to do."

She's upset that her husband has hidden this side of himself and this interest for so long and yet contrary to the usual letter of a spouse in this position, who is generally furious, her focus is on how she can help fulfill HIS needs. She asks good questions about how she can support him when she isn't a naturally dominant person, sexually and when it would be her own money she'd be demanding from him. She deserved a better answer than Dan gave her.

98

Also, Alison Cummins had some good suggestions and some good ways of thinking about financial domination, submission v. humiliation, bottoming as paying clients, etc. @15

99

@34. Smoked Salmon. It doesn't cross your mind you could dip into both your money to pay for something like Chaturbating. Which is what this guy's been doing.

I think you could chat and find gay sexual release up to a limit you find healthy with your wife's agreement-in-principle.

@40. ThatOtherGuy. Isn't a zone of financial autonomy properly enjoyed from within a separate, not joint, account?

@44. Bi. A-ha, we make the same point re sex work. You have now come round from your initial reaction. A good thing about all of CMD, Nocute and Fantastic is that they can be right when Dan's wrong. (As can you, though it might take you longer-- ;) ).

Apropos @52. curious. He cheats on her, and she has only herself to blame for its mattering to her. Wow.

@55. Fantastic. For the person Findommed, there is--there must be--an erotic component to their paying (symbolically, over and above what one would fairly pay a sex work provider). It must be something they are ambivalent about, perhaps that violates a taboo, or be a case where they gratifyingly overcome a reluctance--like the kink of being cucked, or being humiliated for having a small penis. Things will be more complicated for the husband than 'transactional' meaning 'not emotionally invested' (to one side of how FINDAMN can come to conceive of it). 'Transactional' here almost certainly means 'highly sexually charged'.

But in the part of his mind not enthralled to the fantasy, he could have sought a professional relationship so he could detach from it.

But I don't know. The personalised humiliating vids may be something he finds hard to give up.