Savage Love

The Euro Zone

Comments

1

I was sliding into firdt when I felt a sudden burdt...it's diar - you know the rest...

2

Though LW2's problem was covered by earlier SL writers (like last week) I have been in this situation and realize that it is much better to STFU about any of your desires and wayward dalliances. It is like humblebragging ("Look at me! I'm not a looker but I'm getting some wink/wink action"). Slow your roll, Frenchie, because she probably would kick you to the curb....

3

DESIRE: Please heed Dan's sage advice and "SHUT THE FUCK UP" ('STFU' aussi en anglais). Bonne chance.

4

I love Dan's response to DESIRE. It's like the guy is passive-aggressively punishing her for his monogamous commitment.

5

Came here just to say, I'm a swinger, I have herpes, I got it WAAAAAAY before I started swinging. I always disclose in my profile (spoiler alert I don't get much mail). I take valtrex every day and my gal still doesn't have it after 6 years of me trying every day to give it to her multiple times a day. Not really but she doesn't have it.

We still find people to play with, mostly others that see that I have herpes and know they have it too. I've run across exactly 2 profiles that mention having herpes other than ours so people just have to find us. We've even managed orgies, small ones but still. We have a small group of regulars, a few single guys, a single gal, and maybe 4 or 5 couples. We've done weekends away at an AirBnB with a group, weeknight threesomes, Hotel weekends with adjoining rooms, lots of fun times.

I think you ARE obligated to tell people, it is something you know, it is something that might effect them, they should know. Period. You'd tell someone if you had the flu wouldn't you? It is the grown up thing to do. You'll still have fun.

We do avoid parties like the one mentioned here, and house parties, and clubs, and cruises, as well as Desire and Hedo, just because it is hard to have that conversation in one of those environments. So we mainly stick to just couple dating and it has been fine. We really have more people we are talking to than we can reasonably play with in the near term.

6

Are invite-only heterosexual orgies in major European capitals different from invite-only gay sex parties in major cities Europe or other? I know nothing of the former, but at the latter, one is not asked about STI status before it's just pics, nor would there be much chance to ask at/during. After obtaining affirmative consent (often non-verbal), ya just kinda starting having sex or join in a 5-way in progress. Kinda the dictionary definition of "orgy". I've read about heterosexual swingers they seem to be much more about socializing with clothes on and deciding who to partner with, then heading off for coupled sex.

7

"Age and face controlled" checks could mean "no olds, no uglies" I suppose. But I lean towards it was to screen for minors, and an ID that matches your face. Also that your face matches the online profile that was probably used to organize the event.

8

@1 TUrbosDad: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's highly competed for FIRDT! Award honors and leading the comment thread in Savage Love: The Euro Zone! Savor your envied riches and bask in the glory of being FIRDT! :)

9

Dan the Man, @2 TurbosDad, @3 saxfanatic and @4 curious2 re DESIRE: Agreed, seconded, thirded, fourthed, and fifthed.
@DESIRE: SHUT THE FUCK UP before your waaaaaaaay too understanding girlfriend DUMPS YOUR ASS.

10

Don’t think we all didn’t notice you’d pass the ugly test.

11

kylecheez -- thanks for posting that alternative explanation; I appreciate your optimistic attitude!

SWAPPED -- back when you were originally thinking about attending that sex party, did you think about the possibility of contracting herpes or another STI? Would you have wanted people to attend who knew they have herpes and weren't going to disclose to you?

For DESIRE -- to me you sound like someone who isn't going to be happy never having sex with anyone else. i think you should tell your girlfriend that. Maybe what you need is a year on your own, to have some sex with other women and see how you feel about monogamy afterwards. Or maybe knowing your feelings might get her to reconsider her own need for monogamy. You won't know unless you are even more honest with her than you have already been.

12

I've gotten tested for STIs plenty of times, but I've never been checked for herpes. Is that a thing, or do you specifically have to ask for it? As a gay guy, it's always been gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV that they check for, and that's it.

13

@12 @Athari8178
You have to ask for it. Partly because the preferred method of testing requires that you present symptoms. There is a blood test, but I've found health care providers are reluctant to use it, so if you're in any way wishy washy about it, it probably won't happen. The CDC says there's a false positive risk with that test, which is presumably part of the issue. Health care providers also sometimes have a 'if it's not broke don't fix it approach' so not presenting symptoms makes it less likely they'll see a need, and more likely you'll have to talk them into it. I've had more doctors try to talk me out of std tests than the opposite for sure and a truly unhelpful nurse who flat out said: you're married why do you need it? Sigh.
This was ages ago but the disconnect between the health PSAs I got during high school (get tested for things!) Vs the reality of health care was very confusing and frustrating.

14

Imagine how someone would feel being told that they were too old and/or ugly to attend. That's truly nasty. Nobody stays young and pretty forever. They're also not being forced to have sex with somebody they don't find attractive. Gay fascism is still alive and well. Luckily I am old and ugly with a long term partner who fancies me.

15

"...considering how common these infections are and, again, how easily transmitted they are."

HSV is not particularly easily transmitted in the absence of an outbreak. The per act transmission rates without antiviral or condom are 1.7% for F to M transmission and 2.85% for M to F transmission. With condom these rates fall to 0.06% and 0.13%.

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20160102/risk-for-hsv2-transmission-using-condoms-associated-with-gender

The manufacturer of Valtrex claims antiviral suppressive therepy further lowers these rates by 50 to 90%.

To understand the risk in context, we also have to consider how impactful a bad outcome is, then multiply the likelihood by the impact. With 80% of folks who are positive not aware that they are and CDC's position on testing, that impact is relatively low. Now Compare birth control failure rates and the impact of an unwanted pregnancy.

After a deadly viral global pandemic, one might hope people would be better at putting the inherent risks of sexual activity in context, but one might be disappointed.

16

Er... fall to 0.6% and 1.3%.

17

@14: The LWs are straight. That's straight fascism. Also: not being invited to a sex party ≠ fascism, gay or otherwise.

18

@12 Athari8178 and @13 Luluisme also false negatives with the blood test for HSV exposure as it is testing for antibodies, and the technology / tests are not as accurate as with some other viruses (like HIV where the stakes are higher and the tests are better - have very few false positives or very few false negatives). Med terms are sensitivity and specificity which vary widely.

Screening for chlamydia / gonorrhea in throat and ass - many docs don't do that even though asymptomatic but transmissible infections can occur in those sites. Even "gay" health providers (like GHMC in NYC) doesn't routinely do every hole for every STI. It's one reason there is an explosion of STIs, even responsible sexually active people find it difficult to actually get every test in every hole, so a lot of infections slip through.

It's also a cost/benefit from the insurer and provider perspective: unethical to do every test under the sun, and, in USA insurers don't like it and pressure docs (directly or indirectly via their employers) to not over-prescribe testing.

In England sexual health and wellness was outsourced from NHS to local councils with no funding and so in some cities you can't even get tested waits are so long.

19

@18 myself - some providers will test every hole if you ask.

20

@14 JJinAust there are age-inclusive and body-inclusive sex parties, especially in the gender-inclusive LGBTQIA+ sex party scene.

21

I’m still stuck on “face-controlled”

22

I think Dan's reply to DESIRE assumes that DESIRE does the "confessing" on his own initiative, and his girlfriend hasn't asked for and doesn't want this, but this isn't evident from the letter.

"Once I kissed another girl and the day after I confessed this to my girlfriend. Now every time I find myself attracted to someone else I immediately tell my girlfriend. She doesn't blame me for finding other women attractive or even when I confess to flirting with another woman but I know she doesn't feel good about it."

The sequence of events here makes me think that initially DESIRE did keep his naughty thoughts to himself, but after he ACTED ON IT and then confessed to kissing another woman, the girlfriend was justifiably taken aback and upset, and may have (somewhat less justifiably) asked him to tell her every time he felt attracted to someone else. This was probably not the best idea, but could be her way of dealing with the broken trust, and keeping him "on a short leash" in the aftermath of his cheating (as it sounds like kissing someone else was considered cheating in the context of their relationship). Now his regular confessions of thought crimes are clearly causing her some distress, but she is perhaps reluctant to let go of the rule, so as not to be blindsided by another revelation of infidelity. To me, this seems more likely than DESIRE randomly deciding to start confessing his every thought for no good reason.

Which would make it a more complex situation to what Dan presented in his reply. I do think that DESIRE did the right thing by 'fessing up to the kissing. I'm not monogamous, but I'd be pissed if my partner kissed someone else and kept it from me (unless we had a DADT agreement). His girlfriend shouldn't have asked him to declare every impure thought about other women - if she did ask this, - as it's a) a violation of reasonable human privacy, b) not helping, and c) puts him in an impossible situation. But she might still be processing the kissing confession and struggling to forgive and trust him again. She might be trying to protect herself from further heartache, but the reality of relationships is that you can't really prepare for emotional blows, you just get better at handling them with experience. If she's of a similar age to DESIRE, this couple may still be awkwardly figuring out the boundaries of sexual autonomy in a relationship, the reality of being with someone long term, learning when to compromise and when to recognise irreconcilable differences and walk away, etc. I know I have made some unreasonable demands of my partners at that age, and had unreasonable demands made of me. I don't really have much advice for these two, other than to have more communication - not less! - and to look long and hard at their fundamental differences. They clearly have a great connection and a lot of love for each other, but might be better off with more compatible partners.

23

Does age- and face- controlled mean that they checked photo ID to make sure all attendees were over 18?

24

Delta35 @18: I've had many STI tests over the years, and never was a hole probed.

25

@14 Yes, gay fascism IS still alive and well. Unfortunately, Peter Thiel continues to thrive.

But as a guy who has never been pretty or butch enough for the pretty/butch gay scene, I would feel super-dumb comparing my limited sexual choices to the real and growing threat of the anti-democratic authoritarian right wing -- with all its homosexual fellow-travelers.

26

JJinAust@14
"Gay fascism is still alive and well."

Where did you get that SWAPPED is gay?

I assumed the opposite from that they're "swingers". (I've googled a bit just now, and it seems I was right to understand that calling it 'swinging' is a straight thing; I saw one theory that outside the straights, people are less hung-up and thus "there’s no need for a separate community".)

(Thanks to Dan for confirming @17 that they are straight.)

27

@22 incompatible libidos are something that to one degree or another every relationship has to struggle with -- and I think the issue is always going to be a particular sticking point in a relationship between a lad in his late teens/early twenties and any person who is not that age and sex.

I don't think being hornier than he feels he should be and hornier than his girlfriend likes is necessarily a sign of a "fundamental difference" between this pair -- or at least, not a permanent one.

28

@26 p.s.
OTOH, thank you Jebus that we now live in a world where someone could assume that "a happily married couple" is gay!

29

Patientpoly @15 and @16
“HSV is not particularly easily transmitted in the absence of an outbreak. The per act transmission rates without antiviral or condom are 1.7% for F to M transmission and 2.85% for M to F transmission. With condom these rates fall to 0.6% and 1.3%.”

These rates are HUGE!

They are per-act. A high-performing woman at a sex club could have sex with over ten men in one evening,

If all 10 men are HSV2 positive, none of them have outbreaks and all wear condoms, that gives her a 12.3% chance of contracting HSV2 at that one party.

If only 3 of the 10 men are HSV2+, that falls to a 3.8% chance that she will contract HSV2. Just at that one party. When none of them have outbreaks and all are using condoms.

(There are different ways of playing at a swing party. At some parties, two couples might meet up and swap partners for the evening. At parties where single men are allowed, a woman might get plowed by a series of men while her partner watches.)

30

I believe those rates are per year for herpes transmission not per act. At least I've never seen a per act stat on herpes. If it was per act my girlfriend would have herpes 14,267 times over by now...lol

31

this site has it at per 1000 sex acts, never seen it that way before, but that is about right for a year for me...lol ... not really but also not too far off

https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20160102/risk-for-hsv2-transmission-using-condoms-associated-with-gender

viral load plays a role too, the longer you have herpes the more under control it tends to be so the viral load goes down and the number of days of shedding drop along with outbreaks. I've NEVER had an outbreak as far as I know.

If you have the stomach for it the NIH goes WAY into it here

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006256/

Lastly this one has it at 10% ish per year for couples, I assume that is without Valtrex

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/genital-herpes-beyond-the-basics/print

32

Nice post LM @22, I like your analysis better than Dan’s.

33

Thanks, coolie! That makes sense. I’ll be doing some reading.

Either way, a 1.3% per-act rate of almost anything you’re going to do fifty times in a lifetime or that is going to have a significant impact on your life should be understood to mean “HUGE.”

Human brains don’t do stats well or easily, so I wanted to underline that.

34

Also coolie—if you’ve never had an outbreak, how do you know you’re HSV+?

35

Hexprone @27, I didn't read it as a problem of incompatible libidos, as DESIRE describes their sex as "truly great", experimental and GGG. It sounds like he's pretty happy with their sex life.

I saw it more as a non-monogamous person trying to do monogamy and feeling bad for still feeling a lot of attraction for other people, despite being with a "perfect" partner, who seemingly only has eyes for them. I remember feeling like this in some of my early mono relationships, before I figured out who I was and what I wanted. Hence the comment about "fundamental differences".

But maybe you're right and it's just excess hormonal horniness. I've never been a teenage boy or a young man, so happy to take your word for it :)

36

@34 got tested when my wife had something suspicious. Her doc thought it was herpes and she was right. We were monogamous at the time and had been for many years. So either she gave it to me or I gave it to her, no way to know. So I've had it since at least 1987 lol.

37

Here's another way to think of it. Condoms have a 3% failure rate when used correctly and people rely on them to prevent HUMANS! Seriously herpes is no big deal and way less transmissible than babies.

38

Does face-controlled mean literally face, or face+body? For a night of sex with strangers and acquaintances, a stellar body is much more important to me than a pretty face.

39

Skr Curious - I'm mainly wondering why, if the letter had specified C1 to be straight and not some alternate flavour of DS, that was edited out.

I may not have much to say this week; I am trying to decide on a response to this year's new flag, among other things. This has been a long month.

40

@24 fubar did you ask for holes to be tested? :)

41

Mr. Venn@39
I think that "swingers" sufficiently identified them as straight.

I've been out of touch with current events, but given the time of year I'm guessing the flag in question is
https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/06/theres-update-updated-update-pride-flag-better-include-intersex-people/
I'm sure we all support intersex people.

The flag is really complex. And is the increasingly long acronym.
On the one hand, the greater the coalition the better.
OTOH, in terms of political messaging there's benefit to simplicity.

Maybe there needs to be two flags and two acronyms. One set to celebrate the full scope of the coalition. Another set that is simple enough to be used and universally identified and embraced in practice.

42

@7 kylecheez & @23 Allison Cummins: Excellent questions and observations! Glad that you both caught that.

@17: Dan: Thank you for confirming that the couple in SWAPPED's letter are both straight.

@24 fubar: I apologized for my response @53 to your comment @41 in last week's SL column. I didn't mean anything offensive, but after a reread much of what I posted I found to be a bit hasty and abrupt. Obviously I didn't give it a thorough enough read. I'm sorry.

@26 curious2: That's what I thought, too. Upon reading "swingers" I identified them as a straight couple.

43

We're getting close again to that delectably luscious Lucky @69 Award! Tick...tick...tick...

44

@Dan Savage
Unfortunately, not everyone can get the HPV vaccine. The cutoff is 45 years, currently. The FDA hasn't approved it for anyone older, so even if they are willing to pay cash, doctors offices won't provide it.

45

patientpoly @15/16, Alison @29, Coolie @30
"Depending on the study, transmission rates when there are no symptoms vary between 4-30%

According to studies done by Valtrex, these are the rates of transmission per year of regular sex:
If partners avoid sex during outbreaks: 4% chance transmission from female to male; 8% male to female
If partners also use condoms or antiviral medication: 2% female to male; 4% per year male to female
If partners also use condoms and antiviral medications: 1% female to male; 2% male to female"
Source: https://justherpes.com/facts/genital-herpes-statistics-us-hsv2/

"In studies of transmission of Genital Herpes in couples, the annual risk of transmission averaged 5 to 10% per year for those abstaining from sex during outbreaks. The risk of acquisition was much higher (16.9%) for women"
Source: https://herpesite.org/herpes-virus-infection-transmission-risk-shedding/

46

@2 TurbosDad, @3 saxfanatic, @4 curious @9 Griz @22/35 Margarita
I make similar confessions over things that are pretty innocuous. Fortunately, my partners have usually found it cute and sweet, rather than upsetting! For me, it's mostly a way to check in to make sure I'm not doing anything that's upsetting them or crossing boundaries. It can be hot to "storytell", as well.

If my partner does anything with other people, i similarly want to know what's going on. As long as I can trust him to be honest with me and respect my boundaries, I'm generally fine. I also want to be able trust the people he does them with to be respectful of me and our relationship.

It sounds like DESIRE's girlfriend has a different take on it, and he should do what works for her. It's possible that like Margarita speculates, she wants to know when he's attracted to other women, even if she isn't happy about it. It could be important to her to know that he's being honest, and catch things before it strays into kissing (or other things) again.

47

Also, hearing from him about his adventures lets the compersion kick in for me. It's generally worked that way vice versa as well, but varied depending on the individual partner.

If I don't know what he's up to, I can't be happy for him! If I later find out, then I'd be worried and stressing about why he hid it from me, what else he's hiding, etc ad nauseum.

50

Skr Curious - It clarified them as a DS couple, which made the "gay fascism" comment odd. I was unaware that no multisexual people ever swing, but it's Holmes/Sun/Earth for me anyway. We've just had letters lately with intrusive editing.

As for the flag, if they had instituted a rota to showcase one group and then another each year and devised a flag particularly for each year, then I'd probably have no non-aesthetic objections to any of them [note to Mr Savage - please pronounce aesthetic with at least am aitch if not a haitch]. The difficulty is that nothing added will ever go away. I'm already seeing numerous online comments that it's not inclusive enough. To my mind, the best thing about the new flag is that it makes its viewpoint blatantly clear.

51

Griz @42: I read your response last week as a PSA. I was glad to learn that some wines are lower in sugar, although disappointed that it doesn't matter when I drink the whole bottle. No apology needed.

52

@48@49
It appears our Spammer reads Comments now.

53

Twenty years ago, my friend and I- in a European capital, no less!- decided to try visiting a sex club they'd heard about while living there, which had a very clear description online of what it was offering. Upon arrival (note of caution: if the house waives the hefty door fee for you upon your arrival, BAD SIGN), we quickly discovered that we were the sort of entity it was offering, but had in short supply. Getting out of there felt like escaping from a castle full of zombie predators. I've never chanced it since, although clearly there are multitudes of such parties that exist and are satisfying to all their guests. Long story short, while I think ageism and obsession with conventional appearance are issues to be tackled head-on in all outer aspects of life, when it comes to groups one is choosing to have sex with, vetting and transparency is certainly acceptable. Fleeing on a Vespa from a hundred Bluebeards makes for a good story later, but in the moment, it was scary as hell.

54

Is #17 really Dan, or just someone who wants us to believe it's him? I find it hard to believe Dan actually reads these comments but I could be wrong!

55

wayne@54
Note the "Stranger Staff" badge on that Comment. It's really Dan.

56

morganatic @53, wow, I have a very similar story, also from a European capital! My now-wife and I were visiting Paris a few years ago, and our ex-Parisian friends recommended a dungeon in Montmartre. The entry fees on their website looked something like this:

Couples: 75 euros
Single men: 120 euros
Single women: free

I wouldn't normally go to a sex club with gendered/ heteronormative pricing, but we decided to give it a go in the spirit of exploring a different city and in light of our friends' recommendations. I contacted the place beforehand to say we're a couple made up of two women, so what price do we pay? They checked and said we get in for free. Bad sign indeed. As the saying goes, if the service is free, you are the product.

When we got there, it was hands-down the most gorgeous dungeon I've ever seen. But it was half-empty, with a bunch of thirsty-looking guys hanging about. My GF thought she'd strap me to a spinning wheel - not even to play, just to try it out - and immediately half a dozen guys came in and sat right in front of us on the floor, waiting for a show. She hastily unstrapped me and we left the room, but a trail of men continued to follow us about from room to room, hoping for some action. It was pretty unnerving! We tried doing a bit of impact play in a little cubbyhole which had a metal gate, but even then my GF had to stop to shoo off some guy who was standing in the doorway giving her "directions". In the end we just sat at the bar and chatted to some folks, and it ended up being an OK night, but I won't be repeating the experience. The enforced heteronormativity and gendered pricing is what's always put me off the swinging scene, too. Age-and-face-controlled parties sound like a total drag, but to each their own.

57

Morganatic @53,
You were single women on a night that allowed single men? Oh my. Terrifying.

coolie @36,
Got it. Thanks.

58

To those who have shared their sex club/dungeon/etc experiences, all I can say is, holy shit!

At the risk of getting too specific and outing my location, I have to toot the horn of the one and only sex club Mr. Fox and I have been to. Not European, and everyone has to pay, even single females. It's membership based (so you have to buy a yearly membership, plus still entry fees [that are admittedly based on couple status and gender, but no one gets in free]), and there's a dress code, especially for men. They have different themes to suit different tastes and sensibilities, and is well-staffed with amazing volunteers who make sure everyone is being safe, having fun, and following the rules. There is an area that is for couples (of all stripes) and single females ONLY. There is zero pressure to play with others and an amazing lack of skeevy folks skeeving out. We only got to go a couple of times as it's over 100 miles from where we live, but both times were really great experiences. There was a great community vibe to the place, exceptionally clean, and everyone was very respectful of everyone else. If I ever make it to Europe I think I'll be taking a hard pass on any sex clubs.

59

Also, fun fact: the term "face control" in English comes from a Russian pseudo-anglicism фейсконтроль (fejskontrol). So it started off as a made-up English-sounding word in mid-90s Russia, and then actually made its way into English (though you don't hear it very often):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_control

From personal experience, I can add that in Russia, this term originally referred to the standard bouncing of drunks and troublemakers at the door, same as anywhere else. But in the 00s it evolved to mean this highly judgemental screening practice of only letting the "right" people in to maintain a fancy nightclub's prestigious status and air of exclusivity. It's not so much "no uglies" (although that's part of it), as "high-status people only", whatever that means in context. Which I'm pretty sure is what LW1 means by "face-controlled swingers night". I'm also curious about these "background checks on every participant"? Is that just references from swinging partners in the inner circle? Criminal records? Bank statements?

60

Mrs Fox @58, noooo, please don't judge all European sex clubs on these horror stories! (though totally understand if visiting sex clubs may not be top of your agenda on your first trip to Europe :)) There are some amazing parties and venues. I adore the KitKatClub in Berlin and would totally recommend it to anyone!

Your local club sounds really nice, hope they'll bounce back after the pandemic!

61

Lost Marg @60 - I was fortunate to spend a few weeks in Europe circa 20 years ago the summer before starting college, but was definitely too young (et trop timide) to have sex clubs on my radar at that time.

63

I hope the derth of comments this week is a testament to sunny weather and easing COVID restrictions so folks can get back to enjoying the real world. However, I also feel like the SL letters have become increasingly dull and devoid of content that's worth commenting on. And that's a bit of a bummer. Probably time for a new hobby/distraction.

64

Fox@63
At least this week it's people who want to have a lot of sex, instead of last week's sad lineup of people needing to break up.

In any case the main goal is for letter writers to be helped, and I think Dan's achieving that.

Personally, I'm happy to not need feel a need to say anything; my least favorite threads are the ones where I and my carpal tunnel feel a need to say a crapload of stuff. Hell, probably everyone hates those threads as much as I do.

Now, on the threads where all you wise people debate difficult questions, sometimes I feel equally mute. Sometimes both sides seem to have strong arguments, and I might then too enjoy not feeling a reason to say anything.

I wish I had time to say anything, let alone a new hobby.

"time for a new hobby/distraction"

I forget where I heard it, but I hear if one goes to Major European Capitals there are remarkable sex clubs.

65

Yes...

66

I...

67

Read...

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The...

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Comments!

70

Congrats on the magic number, Dan!

I'm back from my European holiday and catching up. Agree with Dan that DESIRE is torturing his girlfriend by telling her about all the other girls he finds attractive. Even if she likes girls, take it from me, she doesn't want to know. Turbos @2, it is indeed better to STFU about finding people attractive, but that is very, very different from STFU'ing about dalliances, which is also known as "cheating." DESIRE may or may not have been right to confess about kissing another woman. I think this shows integrity on his part, but seriously, she knows you find other women attractive, just like every other man on the planet. Unless you're ogling women together, you don't need to disclose. As for flirting, if she's said flirting doesn't bother her, then that constitutes a hall pass to flirt and not tell her every single time. If she doesn't want you flirting, then maybe it's time to say, we've been together since I was only 20, and I am too young to pass up other opportunities. How do people get out of these sorts of situations? Do you want to get out of the situation? Then you stop passive-aggressively hoping she'll get tired of you rubbing her face in all the other women you fancy, and break up with her yourself, that's how.

71

Athari @12, yes, this. Herpes is so common they don't even include it in the standard battery of STI tests -- and they don't make this explicit. Someone with herpes could go around happily (and honestly!) telling partners all their STI tests have been negative.

Margarita @22, the letter didn't read as if the girlfriend insisted he tell her literally everything, including when he ogles someone else's breasts. If this is at her insistence, he should DTMFA and find someone more secure and sensible.

Curious @28, agreed! SWAPPED sounded male, but there was no indication of his partner's gender. I did eventually read them as a DS couple, and none too sympathetically, due to their cavalier attitude toward Covid. I do agree that if they and their partners are ignoring the Covid restrictions (and safe practice) and moaning that they caught herpes, they are operating a double standard regarding their health.

Margarita @35, I read it is normal male hormones and horniness. DESIRE has never been with a woman besides this one. I think it's totally normal for him to lust after other women, and that if he truly were non-monogamous by nature, he'd have done more than flirt and kiss by now. Though, since he has only ever been with this one woman, I guess we -- and probably even he -- can't say for sure.

Curious @41: "Swingers" to me implies a high probability that at least one of them is bi.
I'm happy with an acronym that names everyone by initial -- LGBTQIA+, the + meaning others not specified, but who do not identify as straight -- and the umbrella term queer.

Mrs Fox @63, part of it is due to my being on vacation ;)

72

BDF@71
""Swingers" to me implies a high probability that at least one of them is bi"

Thanks, good to know.

Now that you mention it, it's only WRT the males that I'd read that they're always homophobic. And I'm happy to hear that that's /not/ always the case.

73

@56 Lost Margarita, I think we were both at the same Montmartre club, years apart! Your description of it, and the following by men, room to room, waiting for a show, it was a living nightmare. Side note, and this is the last I'll speak of it, if you stopped at the bar in front for a cocktail first, were you and your now-wife also served hard-boiled eggs and a small dish of prunes as an accompanying tapas snack? We did not partake, for very obvious reasons, but that, too, was a warning bell for departure.

74

@ Fan 70 -- A problem with having rules about not flirting, confessing all flirting, etc. is, in my experience, that what qualifies as flirting is kind of subjective. My recent ex felt very strongly that flirting when in a relationship is wrong and that both of us should confess to each other if we were to flirt with someone else ... and then we spent two years constantly fighting about whether or not I had been flirting. I feel like a certain level of mild, flirting without intent needs a hall pass.

75

Snowflake @74, I agree completely, if that wasn't clear. He seems so wracked with guilt over this kiss that he's confessing everything, including completely innocuous things that she probably doesn't want to know. So long as it's just flirting and not "flirting with intent" he's doing more harm than good by confessing. But it seems she may need to be the one to tell him that. Unless my theory that he's sabotaging this "perfect" relationship because he's just not ready for it is on the mark.

76

morganatic @73, amazing! If it really was the same establishment, then your reference to "a hundred Bluebeards" is particularly fitting, as it was in a very atmospheric old building, with narrow corridors and spiral stairs and vaulted brick chambers and suchlike. Later in the night, we actually ended up chatting to the guy who interrupted our scene by giving unsolicited loud "directions" to my partner, and he seemed like a nice enough bloke, and new, so I also felt sorry that this place happened to be his first exposure to the kink scene. Their shitty policies and business model were definitely the main issue for me.

And no, we didn't go to the bar in front and no one offered us any unorthodox hors d'oeuvres! The bar inside the dungeon was horribly overpriced though, so you probably got a better deal, with or without the eggs-and-prunes side dish.

77

Someday, I think the only thing I might remember about this comment thread is 'face-controlled'. What a phrase.

kyle@7 "I lean towards it was to screen for minors, and an ID that matches your face."
Alison@23 "...checked photo ID to make sure all attendees were over 18?"

Then why wouldn't one say something about age-verification instead of

"age- and face-controlled"

Not that I object to anyone having such a sex party, it's just the 'face' phrase that gets me. After all, per:

delta@19
"there are age-inclusive and body-inclusive sex parties"

Hex@21
"I’m still stuck on “face-controlled”"

Ditto.

78

Curious @77, Margarita @59 explained it and linked. It's a combination of looks, style, wealth, etc so that their club is more prestigious when graced by their presence.

79

BiDanFan, I hope you enjoyed your vacation!

Alison @57
They weren't single women, they were a couple. That probably made it even worse! Apparently even complete beginners felt entitled to telling them what to do to each other

Mrs Fox @58, Morganatic @73, Margarita @76
I've attended several local dungeons/play spaces when I was single and not attending with a date. I had one guy touch me inappropriately, but he stopped immediately when I objected. Everyone else was very respectful! I have (or had, not sure what the post-Covid scene will be llike) enough friends and comfort with the organizers to feel safe/comfortable.

80

Opal@78
Yes I saw that. It's not that I don't understand the phrase that the phrase (itself) 'gets' me.

81

@46 Opalescent: You and Margarita make some good points re DESIRE. I hadn't thought of that. :)

@51 fubar: I propose a toast for both of us to celebrate with red wine in moderation. Cheers! :)

@69 Dan the Man: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on landing on the luscious Lucky @69 Award!! Savor the highly envied numeric honors and bask in the glory. And kudos for your clever way of nailing the lucky number! :)

@75 BiDanFan: I hope you have been enjoying a kickass vacation! :)

Are we already getting close to this week's Big Hunsky as the weekend draws nigh? Tick...tick...tick...

82

A rare time when I disagree with St. Betty. I think one must disclose herpes. Those who think they can manage it without transmitting are rolling the dice of their partner(s), and that's a boundary violation.

83

@77 curious2:
The phrasing had a somewhat stilted feel of wonky translation despite the rest of the letter being more informal.

As in the intent was:
"It was our first time and the group was very very careful to make sure there were no minors present and there were no profile catfishers there, so we felt comfortable pushing our limits."

But exploring outside of that screened group resulted in a STD. Not a terrible one but not inconsequential either.

LW:
"Oh noes! Can we still explore?"

"Will we be banned from the exclusive club that opened our doors in the first place?"

Just my interpretation, I don't have any advice however.

84

Of course I'm open that it was a "pretty people only" party club, was an initial observation on my my part

85

Yeah, SWAPPED said they're from Europe, meaning English is probably not their first language (but their English is better than our whatever-their-language-is, har har, yawn), so I took "face-controlled" as potentially an odd sounding translation. It could mean no olds or uglies, or it could just mean, we're verifying you're of legal age and not a sex offender by checking a photo ID rather than letting in anyone off the street. Aside from that, I too am unsure what a background check would entail. Maybe their online profiles, or various swingers' online communities to see if anyone's posted any complaints about them? Or perhaps they need a current member of the community to vouch for them?

86

Thanks, Griz @81! Hugs and bicycle beeps to you!

87

Looking up 'face control' led me down a rabbit hole of reading about a Russian club promoter and manager, nicknamed Pasha Facecontrol. He was a big name on the Moscow club scene in the 00s, and was known for his particularly strict admittance policy and turning away celebrities and oligarchs on the regular. He died a few years ago, in mysterious circumstances, at the grand old age of 38. Maybe he face-controlled the wrong people somewhere down the line. Kind of a hazardous job, if you think about it.

88

Margarita@87
Wow, Pasha was defeating the whole point of being a celebrity or oligarch!

89

Skr Curious - Flag update: it seems that the idea to replace the original flag with the "Progress" flag may be on a par with trying to establish widespread use of "Latinx". Early returns suggest that most of those specifically included in any of the three versions of the P flag, even if they like the flag itself or the idea behind it, don't want it to replace the older flag because they felt included in that one and are a bit put out that the older flag is being called non-inclusive.

90

Curious @88, yeah, but I bet the oligarchs and celebrities who -did- get into these swanky clubs, felt extra special and A-listy :) Whereas not getting in implied that you were not affluent or famous or stylish enough, or losing it, a has been, etc. Pasha was getting paid to have his finger on the cultural pulse and keep track of who's friends with who, who's up and coming, who's on the outs, and who will blow the most money in the club without getting totally trashed and upsetting other punters. He set the tone for that whole elite scene and I'm sure made plenty of enemies along the way.

91

Margarita, Opalescent, Morganatic, BDF and others
One ongoing pre-pandemic event that offered absolute safety and respect for women is Club Pedestal which was held monthly in London for years and hopefully will come back. They used to have lots of pics and links on their website which seems depleted nowadays.

While a Femdom event labled as “a playground for the dominant woman and those who worship her” it includes a wide variety of activities one could engage in, as well as women interacting with other women if they so choose.
The strict rules forbid men from talking to women unless permitted to do so, and an instant ejection policy once violations are reported.

92

I completely understand how DESIRE is feeling, he's young, sexual but has only been with her sexually. ALthough their sex life is great he is curious about how things would be with another woman. I had a similar situation, a monogamous relationship, my 1st partner, both in our late teens, that lasted for 5 years until we graduated from
college. Finally my curiosity got the best of me and we broke up and I started screwing around. I was feeling cocky after starting some male modeling for Eddie Bauer at the time and the extra attention associated with it from it. Long story short it was one of my major regrets, never have I had such compatible sex as with her nor been in love in the same way. After some quick dating and sex I tried to reconnect (maybe 5 months passed) but it was too late, she was engaged in a rebound relationship. Took me awhile to get over for sure.

Sometimes you do get lucky and your 1st love is the best sex ever, but you don't know it as you have no comparison. Was for me and maybe for you as well, don't blow it!

As for group sex, there was a time when I was into exploring it and had more than a few experiences in various roles, as a single guy in 3 some (2 girls, male/female, I'm Bi) at group events and as a str8 couple. For me there were a lot of trying to exit nicely stuff, people who were super pushy who wouldn't take no thank you for an answer. and a couple of downright scary stuff where I felt lucky to get out with my face or life intact. I didn't find most people doing it as that attractive, to me, but I'm sort of reserved anyway. But there was one perfect couple where all three of us jived perfectly...mutual attraction between and no jealousy, a lot of fun mixed with compassion and understanding what the other needed sometimes. But I found that often with couple swingers one is going along with it to keep the other from leaving and was not into it and I found it kinda sad. For the most part the whole thing is rather selfish as a lot of the people are looking for a fantasy of some sort, an archetype, and are a lot more concerned with scoring than having concern over your sexual health.

93

CMD @91, I agree that events billed as Female Dominant events would have a better chance of women being treated respectfully. Of course, women wanting to sub might not find what they want there (unless they'd be OK subbing to another woman), and even subs can be pushy. This is presumably why the hosts in SWAPPED's circle were conducting background checks.

NWGuy @92, thanks for sharing your valuable perspectives! I've found similar dynamics with couples, either it's all about them and their fantasy and they haven't given the least bit of thought to the third person's needs or desires (just hire a sex worker if that's the case), or one person is going along with things which makes it awkward. There have been exceptions, but I've found those have happened without planning, when there is just mutual attraction and perhaps a bit of alcohol involved. (Of course, spontaneous sex, whether twosomes or moresomes, is the most difficult to pause and say "oh by the way, I have herpes...") I'm sorry you, too, had experiences where a couple ganged up on you and violated your consent. This was an early experience for me as well and put me right off the idea of unicorning. Fortunately, I too have had great experiences as well, to balance it out.

94

While I agree with the substance of Dan’s advice to DESIRE, I question whether or not the harsh ferocity of his response to this inexperienced twenty-something was necessary to get his point across.

It’s one of the qualities of Dan’s advice that has really turned me off of him in recent years. A woman writes in, and no matter how apparently unreasonable her behavior, unless she is literally physically abusive, he treats her with kid gloves. Often he reflexively adopts and validates her version of events as the Objective Truth and gently steers her away from behavior that is harmful or unreasonable. A cishet man writes in, and you can just forget it. Dan automatically assumes that the guy is some kind of bad actor and appears to delight in really letting him have it. No way would I ever reach out to Dan for his advice.

Sure, this guy was insensitive, but to me that seems to be the result of inexperience and his conflicting feelings. This guy describes himself as unattractive and admits to not having had any previous partners. I wonder if Dan or anyone else on this forum ever made a mistake in their first relationship? Jesus, he is going out of his way to look for help on what he should be doing. I kinda-sorta think a simple, “Hey, don’t do that for the following reasons...” might have been a sufficient response.

95

Pythag @94, I disagree. Dan was not at all kind to, for instance, the woman who discovered her husband was having a relationship with a FinDomme behind her back. Many commenters called him out for showing no sympathy over the deception and just advising her it was no big deal and she should just get over it. I agree, his bang-on advice that DESIRE seriously stop torturing his girlfriend with these confessions wasn't phrased very gently, but women get blunt words from Dan too, and plenty of men get sympathetic ones.

97

@86 BiDanFan: XOXO and more VW beeps coming right back atcha! Your turn. :)

98

CMD @91, I used to go to Ped about 7-8 years ago, and had a really good time. It was busy and had a very 'up', carnivalesque sort of atmosphere, and I loved the way the women interacted with each other socially, without having to compete for space and attention with men (and/or with other women for men's attention, etc). I lived in London at the time and knew loads of people on the kink scene there, so that was probably a factor, too.

Then I went back a couple of times in more recent years (pre-pandemic), and didn't really enjoy myself. 95% of the men there seemed to be foot fetishists, who were pretty pushy about their kink, sniffy about rejection, and not really into anything else. I asked the Maitre D to set me up with some masochists or rope bottoms (since this type of 'matchmaking' is a service they offer there), but the guys he introduced me to initially expressed interest in what I wanted, then tried to bait-and-switch to a humiliation or foot worship scene, which I don't do with strangers. I also knew several of the male club promoters for Pedestal, and they were foot fetishisists too, and regularly approached women at other London events and offered free entry to Ped in exchange for access to their feet. I found this constant leveraging of club entry for play pretty squicky. None of this really rose to the level of a reportable consent violation or safety concern, but there was just a lot of this low-level pestering and wheedling from 'sub' men, and I don't think I'll be back.

I dunno what really changed for Ped. Maybe there are less women coming there now, so the men feel like they have to compete with each other more and push to get their kink itch scratched, otherwise they'll just get ignored? I also thought that Ped's whole event concept was maybe beginning to look a bit dated and too 'gender essentialist' for the current zeitgeist, and the younger people on the London scene were beginning to look elsewhere. I've been to a couple of newer, buzzier London events that had more of a queer/pan slant, and they were a lot of fun. I'd recommend the Rabbit Hole and Klub Verbotten to anyone interested in such places. The vetting process for these parties was a pain in the arse, but I ended up feeling that it was worth it, as everyone there was really well-behaved (while also being friendly and flirty and playful). The London kink scene is pretty fickle and transient though, IMO, so once things return to normal, there will probably be newer and cooler places to go to :)

99

Oh, and

"The strict rules forbid men from talking to women unless permitted to do so"

I'm pretty sure this is a rule for just one of the rooms at Pedestal, not for the whole event.

100

Reading all these comments, I feel sorry for those who attend mixed or swinger events, including women, men, and non-binary. So many rules make them sound more like prisons than places of sexual liberation. While I understand the reasoning behind them, how can anybody even relax with such narrow parameters and so much judgment going on?

Male gay sex clubs and events are so much simpler. Men are simple. A certain level of nonverbal communication all but eliminates unwanted advances.

101

@94 yes, there is probably a bit of bias against cishet men, but I think Dan gives us a fairer shake than most others in his political circles. As bdf notes, he can be equally harsh on women and gay men. I agree he was somewhat out of line in this case, but the column is written for entertainment value, and a lot of people enjoy when he takes out his frustrations on (what he views as) asshole LW’s.

Perhaps there should be a warning for prospective LW’s that they may get rudely and profanely dressed down. On the other hand, the archive is free to browse, and anyone who reads more than three columns should be able to figure it out for themselves.

102

cbu@100
CockyBallsUp, is that you?

What happened to your CockyBallsUp account?

I know you said you would leave, but AFAIK there's no way to leave voluntarily, so how did you make your account disappear?

I also know that you rarely see followups to your posts.

But just in case, you said you were leaving because your friend was booted...but your friend popped in here since you said that. I replied to your goodbye that I didn't think they were booted, but like I said it seems you don't see followups.

103

curious@102, yes it's me, thank you for noticing. I asked Stranger Staff to delete my previous account and they kindly did so. I needed a little break. As for how, I think I used "report this" on one of my own posts to make the request.

104

cbu@103
That's good to know!
(I have an old joke account I've wanted to get rid of.)
Good to have you back, Cocky old friend!