Savage Love

Mind the Gap

Comments

1

AGE:
If the tables had been turned, and you had pushed past “no” with your 19-y/o play partner, then you’d be a consent violator and you’d look like a predator. But you didn’t, and you aren’t. And there’s absolutely no point in discussing the episode with "social-justice-focused millennials", or anyone else who’s going to victim blame.

I had never heard of the “age gap discourse.” As someone who dates and has dated women 20 years younger than myself, perhaps I should read up before the pitch forks come out.

SNIP:
I’m not for one second agreeing with the suggestion that shaved parts look prepubescent, just advocating that one’s partner’s preference be at least factored in.

You can achieve your primary objective (looking bigger) simply by trimming your pubes. Give yourself a down-below crew cut. And maybe watch different porn, if that helps.

Oh, FFS. There’s a "pubic-hair-shaving discourse” too? How come I'm out of the loop and not hearing about discourses? Is there a usenet group or RSS feed I’m missing?

Reading that Dan, at least occasionally, answers questions whilst stoned, gave me the idea that I should try reading the column whilst similarly addled. Perhaps next week.

2

Just a reminder – fubar developed an awesome plugin for this message board that enhances the user experience. You can download it here: https://github.com/ahoyfubar/SavageLUBE

Highlights:

▪︎ Move the signature to the top of the post, to save you a little scrolling.
▪︎ Move the page buttons to the top, and save you even more scrolling.
▪︎ Turn @ tags into hyperlinks, so you can click to read tagged comments, and hit back to return to where you were.
▪︎ Don't see an avatar? It lets you add one for posters without one, or replace one's you don't like.
▪︎ Highlight the writers you most like to read.
▪︎ Block or mute individual posters.

[Note: I'm posting that stuff above here because last week some of us agreed that, since the website doesn't make people aware of this browser extension, it would be helpful to post text like that near the top of each column (well, some thought less frequently, but who's gonna remember then). Because doing so later becomes let's say complicated by what reminds one to. I hope the prize committee will honor my request to not win the @1 award, particularly because in order to post this, I have only this week employed a technological means which makes it almost impossible for anyone else to post faster.]

3

@2 p.s.
"I have only this week employed a technological means which makes it almost impossible for anyone else to post faster."

OMG, kudos to Fubar who somehow posted faster anyway!

4

I am forff.

5

I think Mrs. SNIP is expressing way too many opinions about SNIP's grooming. The risk of nicks and cuts when he shaves himself is not her concern. And like Dan I think it unlikely that his erect cock makes her think of prepubescent boys. I think she's just being obnoxious and controlling. What kind of person insults their partner's genitals during sex?

I don't think SNIP's solution is a great idea; negotiating concessions with a controlling person doesn't usually work. Is she really going to shave herself when she doesn't want to? Will she really appreciate his gesture and then be more polite when he shaves again? I guess if she seems enthusiastic about his proposal they could try it for six months and see how it goes.

6

@1: Oh fubar, you silly goose! Don't you know that there's a "discourse" for every. thing. these days. Apparently, they mostly live on Twitter, and I am ever-more grateful that I never started with it.

7

The "age-gap" discourse is mostly about whether it's appropriate for middle-aged men to date 18-25 year olds. It's usually less about number of years difference, and more about the age of the younger partner.

8

Age-gap discourse - whatever happened to legal adults having agency?

9

I never started on Twitter or Reddit either - just as well.

My original post was eaten in a disconnection; the main point of interest was to wonder about where the line will get drawn here between What One Should Have Sensed Ahead of the Curve at the Time and Something on Which the Consensus Has Changed and One Moves On.

The section of the discourse I've seen tends to have a One Size Fits All flavour and displays almost willful ignorance of the needs of anyone coming out, but I'll leave it there for now.

10

Undergrad junior and senior women who happen to be dating a freshman male have been complaining about being called cougars for many years now, if the agony columns are to be believed. So, yeah, age-gap discourse has been a thing for a while. FWIW, I think most discourses get silly around the edges if you give them time.

Re: Ms. Snip: In mitigation, she can't help what it reminds her of. Maybe she doesn't see porn. Maybe they're monogamous and have been since high school, who knows? That's the association her brain parts make, she's not choosing it.

11

The difference between 19 and 26 is very different than the difference between, say, 26 and 32. Most of us don't have the brain development for impulse control until our mid-20s. That said, that doesn't mean we don't understand "no." We do. The 19 year old is the asshole here, if anyone is.

12

@1 fubar: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulatioins on scoring not one, but TWO consecutive FIRDT! Awards in a row!! Bask in the glory of leading this week's Savage Love comment thread and savor your highly envied accolades. :)

@2 curious2: WA-HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on nailing this week's SECNOD! honors, being among the first three commenters! Savor your honors and bask in the numeric glory. :)

@4 scary tyler moore: WA-HOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations on hitting this week's THIRDT! honors, being among the first three SL commenters! Savor your numeric honors and bask in the glory. :)

@6 nocutename and @9 vennominon: I share in your feelings of being grateful not to have ever started a Twitter account. I haven't missed not having one to begin with. :)

Remember, folks, it's a new Savage Love column, hot off the presses, with more Lucky Numbers numeric awards still to come. The luscious Lucky @69 is next for those participating. :

13

Aside to BiDanFan: on the last thread, I never got back to you on the slang meaning of "brain salad surgery." It was, and may still be for all I know, slang for oral sex. See, e.g., Dr. John's song "Right Place, Wrong Time."

14

AGE, there is a maturity gap between someone who is 19 & someone who is 26, because according to neuroscience, the brain doesn’t settle into full adult mode, until age 25. At the same time a 19 year old has enough maturity to hear when someone withdraws consent for a specific sexual activity, and should have had enough life experience to understand no means no and to accept your boundaries & they didn’t.
You also didn’t get up & leave when this happened the first time, assuming you felt safe enough to do this.
It’s a murky one, and sounds like you have learnt from it to pick your sexual partners more carefully. Why are you still beating yourself up about it four years later?

15

Of course, there are some of us for whom making ourselves look like children is a feature, not a bug. You certainly don't have to like ageplay to like shaving, but it's a darned good reason to like it, in my opinion.

16

SNIP, I’m with your wife, I don’t shave any body parts & don’t like looking at shaved men. Then I’m old & never watch porn & have never shaved, save my legs / arm pits once or twice decades ago.
You sure two months on gives enough time for pubes to grow? I’ve no idea rate of hair growth there.

17

@LG 16, plenty of time but that first few day is itchy AF.
Tried it once, spouse hated it, never bothered again.

18

AGE: This isn't an age gap question, it's a consent violation question. It's a myth perhaps that someone younger can't prey sexually on someone older, but that sounds like exactly what happened to you. That little shit absolutely sexually assaulted you. Nineteen is an adult and moreover, it's more than half your age plus seven years at the time, so you weren't even being creepy in having sex with someone old enough to join the military, vote, and drink in every western country except the US. If you're letting this rapist off the hook because they were too young to know better, please rethink. Even toddlers are taught that "no means no." We often want to look for where we went wrong so that we can rationalise that if we don't do X again, we won't be assaulted again, and that can turn into guilt and shame. You are not at fault here. Please get therapy if you need to, but please forgive yourself. You did absolutely everything right, including telling them afterwards what they'd done wrong. What this person did to you was their fault, and if they don't learn from this experience that's their fault too. Hugs. (Also, lots of 19-year-olds are more sexually experienced than many 26-year-olds, so there is that.)

xx

Thank you, Dan, for telling off people who offensively associate shaved pubes with paedophilia! I'll add, or with porn -- I've heard so many judgemental comments about women who shave being "brainwashed by porn." Aren't we just allowed to like being smooth? It's not very feminist to call other women brainwashed, or the men and women who like this look padeophiles. Sheesh indeed.

xx

Man, if only I could admit, "I made a mistake at work because I was stoned." Dan, perhaps get high AFTER you finish your day's work, like the rest of us?

19

Fubar @1, SNIP is factoring his wife's preference in by agreeing to go bushy for two months and shaved for two months. Your compromise sounds like the worst of both worlds: stubble! One's preferences for one's own body should trump one's partner's -- particularly if he was shaved when she met him. Would we pressure a woman who didn't want to shave to do so because her partner preferred it? I think not, so there's no standing to pressure SNIP to grow his short and curlies for his. His offer is more than generous.

Curious @2, good point that sharing the SavageLUBE plugin before anything controversial has been said may help avoid the appearance of passive-aggressive intent on the part of its developer or users. Thanks for the PSA! And indeed, you win only the Secnod Honours this week. Savour them! :)

EricaP @5: Word.

Slomo @11, I agree -- and AGE has already learned the important lesson for her: stay away from 19-year-olds, which at her current age is an even better idea. That said, a 26-year-old hooking up with a 19-year-old is probably just learning some of the lessons they'll need to be a more dateable 30-year-old. "People under 25 are nothing but trouble" is something we seem to need to learn the hard way. :) And yes, there is an asshole here, and the 19-year-old is that asshole. I hope they're on their way to being a better mid-20s person themself.

Slomo @13... er, okay! Thanks.

20

Slomo @17, yeah. SNIP may get tired of the itch of the hair growing back in every four months. If he's willing to go through this for his wife, she's a very lucky gal.

21

Me @18: Doh, math is hard. 19 is less than half of 26 plus seven, but just barely, and still a legal adult. AGE, it was unwise to hook up with someone that young. You know that now, but I bet a great many of those people who moralise against hooking up with a young person have done it themselves, so forgive yourself and move on. Also, remember that victim blaming is not very woke, and you are the victim here.

22

Thanks Slomo @17, Then maybe two months on is not the best solution to this, SNIP having to go thru the pain of hair growth so often.
It is your body, SNIP, and totally your choice how you cover or uncover it with hair, unless this is a change, the pube shaving, from what your wife was used to, what she signed up for when she married you. Is that why you’re ready to accomodate her, because she loved you and your pubes and now, things are different..
Not sure men look like prepubescent boys, when shaved, because prepubescent boys have skinny little penises.
Women shaved though, their folds are similar to what girls look like, which maybe Dan as a gay man, might not realize.
What about fake pubic hair, SNIP, soft glued on stuff?
Thank you Enfant @15, for your interesting comment. Obviously Dan didn’t factor age play into his analysis of what shaved pubes can evoke, for some.

23

Enfant @15, enthusiastic cunnilingus is enough reason for me.

24

@22 LavaGirl there's no way I'm going to google labia and girls but I thought labia majora grew in puberty, individual results vary?

25

There really is nothing like a short scrotum.

26

@several on age of consent and the brain maturing at age 25. It's an asymptote. Yes, car insurance is cheaper for a 25 yo male than a 20 yo but less impulse control doesn't mean one is a child.

At 18 and 19 my partners were mostly men in their 20s to 40s. Not unusual in gay land back in the day when few teens were out. I was an adult, I lived away from my parents, I traveled to far away lands with no cell phone to text my parents for help.

This protraction of emerging adulthood is an interesting function of technology and an economy where housing costs too much and jobs require too much training for an 18 year old to be independent anymore, plus, it's mostly middle class or wealthy. Poor folks often have to work at 18.

Having said that, when I see a typical college student today, I usually mistake they are in high school. They really seem children. And when I see my photos when I was 19, I look like I was in middle school.

There's a big difference from 18 vs 21 in terms of maturity. But raising the bar to 25 before "consent" can be given is paternalistic. Once Dan wisely pointed out the power isn't just one way: old people have money but young adults have energy and desirability!

In terms of AGE, clearly the LW was assaulted by an 18 yo who wouldn't take no and should have taken no. Even a 2 year old understands "no".

27

Yes, of course delta35, it’s the folds though that are similar, the puffiness; whereas a skinny little penis which a prepubescent boy has is nothing like how a man’s penis looks.

28

Some two years do, delta35, @26, a lot throw tantrums when one says no to them.
It’s what I’ve read and I tried to find the book about it by a well respected Dr, but failed, to find the book. Maybe it’s just westerners?
I had an affair @ 24 with a 32 yr old man and looking back I see he ran ropes around me for life experience, relationship wise.

29

Just to clarify; like Dan & his guest, I don’t think AGE is the bad guy here, and yes she was sexually assaulted by that person.
My response was to the question she asked.. “ is there a maturity gap.”
AGE did what many women do & have done with insistent, insensitive partners, get to the point of ‘whatever.’

30

18-BiDan-- Thank you for this: "AGE: This isn't an age gap question, it's a consent violation question." That's what I was thinking as I read the letter which seemed to derail itself from the real point.

Here's the thing, though. "The cycle continued until I just got worn down." She fell asleep fully aware of what he was going to do. In other words, from his point of view, from a legal point of view, she eventually said yes. She had the option of getting up, getting her clothes, and leaving.

31

The campsite rule? AGE had the opportunity to teach Insistent Young Man that asking again and again doesn't mean you win. If she hadn't given in, she'd have left him in better shape than she found him.

33

Fichu @30-@31, if that's what the law says, the law is fucked. Going to sleep is not consent, it's the opposite! Like any other victim, AGE was at a disadvantage because she was in the home of her attacker, who she clearly did not expect to violate her consent. If she'd been drinking -- or even if she was just tired -- she didn't have the opportunity of getting up and leaving (and driving several hours to a different state late at night). Shouldas and wouldas are really inappropriate here. AGE -did- message her attacker after the fact to tell them what they had done wrong, which fulfils any campsite rule responsibilities. I'm really disappointed by your victim-blaming comments.

34

Apologies Fichu @30-@31. I should say, your comments appear victim blaming. Can you clarify?

35

If you associate shaved adult genitalia with prepubescent genitalia, YOU are the creep.

36

BDF @ 34
Fichu has a point, LW should have left which could have been the best lesson for the younger aggressor. If she could. She was away from home though which put here in a vulnerable position.
No need to beat herself up about what happened, but next time she, or anyone else, plans first time hook ups they should have more options then spending the night with a far away total stranger they depend on.
In this situation they could have met in a motel first, or she could get up and leave and drive back, provided there was a car involved.

37

De Zhivago @ 32
What is a "1/5 year relationship"? Two months and a week or two?

38

CMD @36, yes, I'm sure she has learned that well. "Should haves" are not helpful; all they do is berate and disparage someone who is already blaming themself. "Next time, do differentlys" can be helpful. AGE is not to blame for what happened, and she is not responsible for singlehandedly teaching a 19-year-old adult about consent. Even if AGE had the option of leaving, recall Nocute's story from last week. When these things happen to us (I'm using "us" as in including myself), one's mind becomes confused. We are saying "no," which should stop the thing from happening. But it isn't stopping the thing from happening, so it's difficult to know in that confusing moment what else we can do. We are naked and vulnerable. We often freeze up, or our instinct to avoid further violence kicks in, or we simply can't process what's happening, and the easiest way out of the situation appears to be through. It's bad enough to have that happen; to pile on by saying "well you should have dealt better with being assaulted" is adding insult to injury.

AGE, what you should have done is exactly what you did do; this person's actions were their choice, their fault, not yours, and you dealt with the situation the best you could in the moment. Do not listen to the should-haves that seem easy and obvious coming from people who haven't been in that situation. Speaking as one who knows, that is far from the case in the moment, and you can't be held responsible for your less-than-perfect reaction.

39

nocutename @6: I was trying to recycle Dan's Crowley's Department Store joke from last week. #Fail.

BiDanFan @19: A crew cut isn't stubble. Agreed, one's preference should trump one's partner's, unless one is a subby sub, but SNIP led with his motivations, which I pointed out could be otherwise achieved. If he simply likes smooth (maybe he likes his sweaty balls sticking to his legs), his compromise is quite generous. Perhaps she'll join him?

BiDanFan @21: You were right the first time: 26/2+7 = 20.

Fichu @30: That's not what the law says! She said "no" repeatedly, until she stopped saying "no" and tried to sleep through it. She didn't say "yes" or "okay ffs", or at least doesn't report having done so. She clearly expressed non-consent. Passive acquiescence doesn't negate that unless, perhaps, the neighbouring state was Texas.

Fichu @30 and CMD @36: I think it's fair and reasonable - and default - to presume that AGE did /not/ have an easy option of getting up and leaving, because she would have done that if she could. There are lots of scenarios that would have made it impossible.

40

Does the Spam even get removed anymore? I report it but I never notice if going away; and I used to see it disappear promptly on weekdays.

41

DragonRose36 @35: Try not to think of an elephant.

42

@35: Seems awfully judgmental of you in a forum such as this where a wide spectrum of prurient interests and proclivities are freely discussed among good citizen taxpayers without guilt shaming.

43

I think there's an interesting balance to be struck here, conversationally. On the one side, it's good to be aware that in moments like AGE had, most of us aren't thinking clearly and aren't going to be able to behave in some Platonic manner, and yet it's also useful to talk about what that Platonic behavior might be--because the more people hear about and are aware of legitimate options for action, they more likely they are to act that way in the future.

In other words, I wish it were easier to say "You could do x" and so on without it being borderline victim-blaming; but of course the person may hear any such statement as "You should have done x, therefore it's your fault," which is neither true nor the goal. So how can we get people to realize they can do x in the future without making other people feel bad that they didn't do x in the past?

Anyway.

I agree with others that the age gap is a red herring here. But then, I tend to think age gap issues are exaggerated these days. It's quite possible to be happily having sex with older partners as a teen--I was--and in any case, only having sex with people very near your own age is no guarantee of good treatment, lack or heartbreak, or anything else. As with all things in life, we get better at sex and relationships by trying and making mistakes. Even if everyone waited until their brain was (almost) fully baked at 25, there would still be drama and hurt. It's fine to call out particular examples as creepy, but I don't see much point in trying to generalize or make specific rules about age-matches that are okay or not okay, given how much individuals vary. shrug

44

Great question, ciods @43. That would be a discussion from which I'd recuse myself, but I'd hope that people with lived experience could speak up without feeling that they're victim blaming, or being accused of doing so.

45

ciods@43
"I don't see much point in trying to generalize or make specific rules about age-matches that are okay or not okay"

I think that's why I've seen the One-Half-Plus-Seven rule presented a guide to what people with think.

46

ciods @43
"how can we get people to realize they can do x in the future without making other people feel bad that they didn't do x in the past?"

If someone tells their specific story of a recent assault, I respond with compassion and zero advice.

If someone talks about an assault that happened years ago (as in this case), and seems interested in advice (as in this case), then I might give advice.

These topics also come up generically, so most adults have already seen a lot of advice, good and bad, for how to avoid assault. I'm happy to add my own perspective to those discussions, while focusing on not giving advice to recent victims who haven't asked for any.

47

Fubar @39, exactly, I was wrong the first time. 26/2 + 7 = 20, and 20 is older than 19, so AGE failed the half-your-age-plus-seven rule. Or, I should say, guideline.

Thanks for confirming that it is not legal to attribute consent for sex to sleeping people. And for confirming that "just get up and leave" is seldom as easy as it seems in retrospect, from the perspective of someone who was not there. Sincerely, thank you for stating this, I needed to hear it (and I'm sure AGE will too if she's reading these comments).

48

AGE is revealing the conundrum of hearing messages aimed at her that are 'meant' for boys: You're a predator. Your partner doesn't want sex, they allow you to have sex with them, you constantly think about sex and are never harmed by it, you always want and enjoy sex, etc. The things we learn when we're 6 stick with us forever.

In this case, of course, she ran into a nascent predator herself. I wonder how her vision got so clouded that she'd dismiss blatant predatory action upon herself? Bueller? Bueller? This is the danger of intensively identitarian politics: Individuals and their actions are dismissed and subsumed into the group. Can this 19-year old be a predator? No! They're "young", they're very, very likely to identify as something other than cishet (and of course, we know only cishet males can be dangerous).

This is insanity. AGE: You ran into someone who doesn't respect boundaries. That's it. There is nothing to judge this person on other than their actions. I get that it's hard out there to find love while trans, but you're 26. There is more and better out there, you don't need to be driving across state lines to get some from some loser.

49

@Bi @47: Your adjustment reminds me of own of my favorite movie moments: "I make it a rule never to sleep with possessed people....well, actually, it's more of a /guideline/ than a /rule/."

50

Good god, "/ONE/ of my favorite movie moments..."
More futile wishes we could edit...

51

Re SNIP: if her concern about shaving herself is nicks and cuts, then how about waxing? Or trimming?

If he likes to shave himself and she prefers him to be fuzzy, how about a male merkin? (Is there a name for that?)

As others have said, the "prepubescent" complaint is mostly a red herring. There are people who are into age play (such as @15). There are people who may be creeps (however one defines and experiences that). However (as I hardly need to tell this audience!), there are many others who shave, wax, etc. for many other reasons. One example from personal experience: getting hairs caught in bicycle shorts is uncomfortable.

But the reality is that people who prefer adults with shaved pudenda, prefer adults with shaved pudenda.

52

@40: I wonder the same thing. I also noticed that my recent spam reports have not been acted upon.

53

Music @51: "if her concern about shaving herself is nicks and cuts, then how about waxing?"
OWWWWW! There's no evidence she's a masochist. :)

There is, however, ample evidence that she prefers herself with a natural bush. And that's fine. Doesn't matter what her reason is. He likes -himself- shaved; he didn't say anything regarding a preference for her pudenda (fantastic word, btw!). Up until now, they've both seemed accepting of each other's pubic hair choices, so I don't think there's a need to make suggestions on how she could remove or reduce hers.

Hmm. If he likes the feel of smooth skin but she likes the look of pubes (on him), a less itchy compromise might be henna-ing some swirls onto his crotch? My first thought was tattooing, but that might outlast his wife, and there's no evidence -he's- a masochist. Hee hee.

54

BiDanFan @47: Oh boy. I'm going to refrain from further attempts at arithmetic in this week's commentary; even further attempts at simply comparing two numbers.

55

@Nocutename
I have posted a comment in last week's thread, because I realized that my cockamamie construction about stolen time being a fuzzy wrong sounds nuts to me too.

It's at https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2021/10/05/61721605/savage-love/comments/255

56

@51 - pudenda - I learned a new word today!

57

I recommend this article for those who use "pudenda." It is a word I'd like to see retired. Maybe we could just use "genitals" or "gentitalia."
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/21/science/pudendum-women-anatomy.html

@Curious--I'm out and about, but will take a look at your comment later. Thanks for alerting me.

58

EricaP @46, gold star.

Nocute @57, I had no idea. That word went into and out of my vocabulary in a matter of hours! Musicbiker seemed to be using the word as a unisex term, which I liked. Guess we just have to say crotch or, as one friend terms it, "bathing suit area."

59

nocute@57
"The term derived from the Latin verb pudere: to be ashamed."

OMG. It's never been in my vocabulary, and now I can rejoice for that.

"I'm out and about, but will take a look at your comment later."

Thank goodness for the delay. I wrote something crazy by mistake; thankfully ciods kindly corrected me before you had to face it!

60

WOW---we're getting closer to this week's luscious Lucky @69 award honors.
Tick...tick...tick.....

61

My only objection to pube-free V is the vigilance required to maintain it. I would rather risk the stray pube in the back of the throat than the inevitable stubble burn when going down on said V day 2 or more post-grooming.

For men it would seem that the primary focus of fellatio would be (at least for those without a micropenis) sufficiently removed from any potential stubble as not to be as much of an issue. (Caveats of course to allow for more immersive blowjobs)

In my experience, when you do it yourself, it is time consuming, requires a good deal of flexibility (and a place to sit), and simply doesn’t last long enough to guarantee that the person taking the plunge doesn’t experience discomfort and/or actual pain. Of course if you can afford the regular spa treatments more power to you. And your partner!

Anyway, as someone who delights in the fine art of cunnilingus, that’s my 2 cents.

62

The numbers: I always understood it as half your age plus seven, that is, add 7 to your age, divide by 2. So 26+7=33, /2=16.5. Not 26/2=13, +7=20. The formula works better for older ages. 35 year old can go as low as a 21 year old. It’s not about age of consent so much as social appropriateness, and of course doesn’t apply if one party is under the age of consent, whatever that is.
None of this matters in the situation the LW describes, of course. Even people under the age of consent are capable of assault so the age of the perp shouldn’t be a factor in her friends’ sympathy and support. I don’t understand how friends could blame her for such an horrible experience. So sorry that happened to you!

63

Squidgie @62: As the resident pedant, I'm going to have to disagree.

"Half your age plus seven" would be a poor way to express your algorithm. "Your age plus seven, divided by two" would be correct.

"Half your age, plus seven" is the rule, or guideline, or meme, or whatever, proving once again that the oxford comma rocks.

64

Why on earth did SNIP (his letter is about shaving) call himself 'SNIP'?--does he want the push to proceed to castration?

I think there are a lot of reasons why a transwoman might drive to another state for a hookup--reasons not broached in her letter, having to do with shame or circumspection about being trans, about being sexual and trans, about others' reaction (including gossip), or less about these feelings than about the newness of assuming a different bodily ethos or embodied gender identity. There are good reasons, reasons to do with normalising and affirming transness, why they are not in the letter; and I am not saying she at any point was hesitant or ashamed, but the possibility, at least, is so strong that it should disarm the people saying, 'what were you doing driving over state lines to see a guy six years your junior?'

She was assaulted. My heart goes out to her; and I hope she gave herself time to recover (rather than, for instance, beating herself up with questions about the age gap).

65

@30. Fichu. Leaving? She's in the wrong state!

@36. CMD. In a situation like that, when you're exhausted, exhausted from interpersonal friction as well as your long drive, I think there's a temptation to minimise what you suspect is going to happen--to say to yourself it might not happen--and to downgrade it from sexual assault to something in a gray area, which you don't like, would never initiate, but can perhaps live with. But when it happens, it is traumatising and it is assault--and it can be a long time before a person, especially when outwardly they seem to bear some blame, can identify it as such, can grieve or can address their trauma. I'd say, actually, that this is just the case here.

@43. ciods. I guess the mistake was her getting herself into that situation, and this is perhaps something that can be said neutrally.

66

@53: "OWWWWW! There's no evidence she's a masochist. :)"

Yup, there's that. :-) It just depends on what her concerns are. Maybe one type of ouch is preferable to another type of ouch? Maybe wax or sugar near her genitals is preferable to a razor? Or maybe neither is palatable. I'm just brainstorming possible areas of compromise for them.

@57: Good point. I used the word somewhat ironically, having read that NY Times article last month, but I was too subtle. I should have cited it. Thanks for doing so.

67

My take on Fichu’s post was that the best thing AGE could do was to get up and leave. If she could.
I’m aware that maybe she couldn’t yet discussing the steps that could have been taken is not meant to put her down nor anyone else.

I think it will be helpful for LW and many other readers of this blog to be able to identify potential risks and acquire tools to minimize them.

I’m aware that sometimes we can face unexpected situations that are hard to navigate even as experienced adults, like nocute told us in last week’s thread. Yet in LW’s case it seems like she trusted a faraway stranger she never met before and probably didn’t have an alternative to spending the night at their place. Again, not blaming nor putting down anyone, yet pointing to a situation I would probably avoid.

68

@63 Fubar My style guide thanks you, my colleagues thank you, and I thank you.

It's the fewest I could do.

69

Shoplifting the post. It is our Way.

70

Squidgie @62, Fubar is correct. Remember the order of operations from school: multiply and divide come before add and subtract. So "half your age plus seven" means that first you divide your age by two, then you add seven. (If you hadn't remembered that mathematical rule, the way the sentence is written also suggests that the first thing you do is halve your age, then add seven. Not to mention the results -- does it make more sense to say a 26-year-old should be dating people who are at least 20, or that are at least sixteen and a half?)

Musicbiker @66: Her main area of concern seems to be that she prefers the look of hairy to the look of smooth. She didn't say, "I'd like to remove my pubes but I don't like nicks and cuts." She likes her pubes the way they are. It's his pubic hair or lack thereof that's the issue here, so I'm perplexed as to why you're suggesting things she could do to solve a problem they don't have?

CMD @67, but she didn't, so saying that is no help to her dilemma four years later, and hurtful to her or anyone else who's been in a similar situation and, trust me, is already beating themselves up about what we should have, could have, shouldn't have done. And even now, she is not asking "how can I avoid similar situations in future?" So it remains pointless and cruel to speculate on what she could have done, but didn't. Yes, she now knows she made a mistake. I know you and, probably, Fichu meant well but there seriously is no way to put this without coming across as victim blaming, so please re-read EricaP's response, and stop digging.

71

@69 slomopomo: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's Lucky @69 Award honors! Savor your much envied accolades and bask in the glory.:)

Griz had another movie night to celebrate her highly productive soundtrack weeks. Nothing like a good teen revenge fantasy flick during Halloween month with Carrie (1976), Waste the prom, Sissy!

Griz will have to get back to Dan and everyone later. I went on Google and caught sight of phallus impudicus and could not stop laughing. Methinks it was the red red wiiiiiine.

72

@71: I'm personally glad that Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles are retired. I never saw what the big deal was in their acting abilities, other than their being eye candy for horny heterosexual male film audiences. I'm now on my fifth of seven short soundtracks based on a Stephen King novel. This latest fully orchestrated score emphasizes the horror. Griz is on a roll!

73

Musicbiker, I'm pushing back because your comments reinforce the misogynistic idea that women SHOULD remove their pubic hair. They shouldn't -- unless they want to. She doesn't. So she shouldn't. So there's no need to brainstorm how she could. See where I'm coming from?

74

I'll try to clarify, though at this point I don't think it's going to do any good. This may be one of those things where we disagree so both sides repeating themselves doesn't bring any enlightened understanding of how another could see things differently. CMDwannabe may have summed up what I'm trying to say better than I can.

Let me start with this. I find what the 19 year old to be utterly despicable. I think he did a horrible thing. He may at some level know he did a horrible thing-- or not.

There is always a fine line between responsibility and blame. If I leave valuables lying around unlocked and unguarded, and if a thief walks up and takes them, the thief is at fault for stealing. Still, I can learn not to do that again. I can kick myself for leaving the valuables out in the first place. That doesn't make me at fault for stealing them. It doesn't make me to blame for stealing them. It does make me somewhat responsible for what practically inevitably happened. This is an example of what I mean by the fine line between blame and responsibility.

Here's another example of that fine line. Compare these two:

A young woman goes to a college party with the idea that she'll have fun. She gets drunk because that's something young people often do when they don't yet know how much they can drink and still have fun. While she's pass out drunk and unable to remember, men have sex with her limp body.

A young woman goes to a college party with the idea that she'll drink a lot and have sex with anyone who looks good along the way. Young men at the party, also drunk to the point of not making good decisions and not remembering much, have sex with her.

Can you see what a fine line it is? There is some consent going on, not full enthusiastic consent, but some, in the second scenario.

Now back to AGE's letter. Let's pretend for a second that the 19 year old hadn't brought up the first agreed to and then not agreed to sex act but had instead indicated that he intended to kill her with an axe and a knife. AGE would have run out of the room, clothed or not, and gotten the hell out of there one way or the other. She'd have done anything she could to defend herself. If she hadn't, I wouldn't say she consented to her own murder, but I would wonder why she didn't take every step to prevent it from happening. With the unwanted sex act, she said no several times before deciding to roll over and passively accept what he did. There's that fine line again between passive acceptance and consent. I don't like this. I get that the 19 year old is utterly despicable. I do not see what I said in my earlier posts as victim blaming. I see my earlier posts as giving agency to AGE to take more clear action.

75

CIODS; @43; it depends on the ages involved. In this case 19-26, yes, not a red flag, if those ages were
15- 23, I’m sure all of us, or hope all of us, would see that as very problematic.

76

Good point Harriet @64, why did he call himself snip.
Re AGE, I also see no issue re crossing state lines, though at the moment in my country with state borders closed because of covid, getting an exemption might be difficult.

77

Ah that old chestnut. When its not good enough to state your preference you have to rationalize it with insults so the other person has to defend theirs.

@fubar I've heard the clean shaven conflated with paedophilia thing for I think decades. It lives adjacent to the "real women don't..." arguments. Ugh.

Ok, so I'm 100% with EricaP and BDF. I think it's easier to see where this situation went wrong if you imagine pubic hair styles are no more or less than other grooming styles. Here are some conversational possibilities:
1) Hey honey how do I look?
Polite responses will usually fall somewhere in the vicinity of: Lookin good, sailor!
2) I'm thinking of changing my look, what do you think?
This is a good opportunity to say something like: I think you'd look good with XYZ
3) I'm thinking of shaving my head again but [angst filled conflicted reasoning]. What do you personally prefer?
This is the time when you can neutrally state something like: I prefer you unshaven.
4)
There is no polite way to bring it up

Now regardless of how the conversation started if she responds with: "I hate your hairstyle and you look like Jeffery Dahmer", that's probably a bit much to say to someone you purportedly like, no matter how pressed you are for the truth. And there's no evidence SNIP asked for this level of judging.

So, in short: Ms. SNIP was rude.

SNIP: what I'm hoping you might take away from this is
1. to frame decisions about body hair as preferences and matters of body autonomy. You are entitled to change your hair (any of your hairs) any way you like and for any reason (including no reason AND pleasing a partner). You can change your hair every second Wednesday.
2. And the next time someone says something rude about your hair, you could consider including in your responses something along the lines of "Wow that was uncalled for."

78

Harriet @65; AGE may need to see the experience as traumatic, and that it is unresolved trauma could explain why she’s still musing about it four years later.
Music maker @66, she doesn’t want to shave, there’s no mention she is willing to adjust her stance. SNiP is the one looking to change & two months on doesn’t sound workable.

79

@77, it’s not that old a chestnut because nobody shaved their pubes off in my youth. And yes that was several decades ago but this woman is under forty, and she’s allowed her perceptions. Not sure your patronising tone is helpful.
As stated, it’s porn which has made it a fashionable choice. Pubic hair is there for protection of our genitals.
Arm pit hair is there to catch the sweat, and it’s sexy as fuck. As is pubic hair. That’s my perception.

80

Apologies for the poor grammar and math notation. Typing on a device, I couldn’t get the math notation right and the grammar seemed superfluous. You got the point and that’s the object of communication.

No, I don’t see 16 for a 26 year old as necessarily problematic. In fact the whole idea of a formula for 20-somethings seems ridiculous. In one’s 20s, generally anyone above the age of consent is old enough. The rule of thumb seems more of use to older people. It’s creepy for 60 year olds to hit on 26 year olds. 26 to 19 is not in the slightest the problem with the situation described.

The other problem is seeing an age difference as inherently a power balance problem. It can be, but it doesn’t make whatever goes on abuse by the older person to the younger. Might be, might not be. An adult having sex with a person below the age of consent is statutory rape. A 26-year-old having consensual sex with a 19-year-old is not a crime, maybe a case of poor judgment at worse. I am still baffled at LW’s friends’ perspective that she did something wrong hooking up with a younger, but adult, person.

I will accept that I had the math operations of the rule of thumb in the wrong order. My way results in wider ranges of possibility, but nothing I find too extreme.

Speaking of math, I appreciate the numbers game is fun for the regulars, but, could the rule be that to get credit for a number, you have to make an actual comment? As an irregular, seeing the first few comments be one word, not even a real word, makes it look like there nothing worth reading in the comments. Here is one vote from an irregular to say, you should make a comment to get the number prize for that comment.

81

Those who shave/ wax are happy to do it & those who don’t are happy not to do it. Problem with SNIP & his wife is a shaver/ water is with a non shaver: waxer & there are issues coming up for them. I wish them luck resolving them.
What could be the connection with the
practice of pubic hair removal for pussy havers & the incidence of surgery to correct how it looks down there? The hair does cover the shape/ s so one can’t as easily see or compare with others.
Cutting into an area with so many nerve endings associated with our pleasure, is sad.

82

Sorry bout the errors.

83

Fichu @74, the fact that you can't comprehend why someone would allow a sex pest to have their way with them as opposed to running out of the room shows that you've never been in this situation, and you should count yourself lucky. Being murdered is not a good analogy because being murdered is far worse than any alternative would be, while being, let's say, digitally penetrated by someone who, up until this point, you liked and trusted enough to make out with, might be less unpleasant than being thrown out in the cold, or overpowered with violence. Everything in your mind up until now has been, "This is a good person who I want to be intimate with." Then you ask them to stop doing something, and they don't, and this throws most of us beyond our ability to react rationally in the moment, because you've formed an impression of them as a good person who you like. Your main hope is for the unwanted behaviour to stop -- and one literally effective way to get the behaviour to stop is to let them do it, then they're done and you can get some sleep, or at least have some mental space to process the fact that they're not the person you thought you could trust, that you made yourself vulnerable to. You simply underestimate most people's power to make rational choices in that irrational situation. If they are able to, yay for them. If like AGE, they are unable to, they deserve sympathy, not shouldas.

Lulu @77, one thing that's missing is how this came up. I mean, they seem to have been married for 16 years before she said anything about his shaven crotch. Sounds to me like she had up until this point done a good job of keeping her preferences to herself and respecting his bodily autonomy. SNIP says they were "chatting" while she was masturbating; it's possibly this dirty talk took a turn such as, "Oh baby, tell me how much you love my freshly shaved balls," and she was thrown and said something like, "Actually, I'm not crazy about them... they remind me of prepubescent boys." So, perhaps she wasn't being rude, just blurting out an opinion he kind of asked for. Regardless, she chose to stay with a smooth-balled man for 16 years so she's clearly okay with this as a price of admission.

84

Squidgie @80, it makes more sense if you think of the age-gap guideline as referring not to who it is or isn't creepy to have (consensual, non-predatory) sex with, but to date. A 26-year-old dating a 19-year-old will probably get annoyed pretty quickly with their maturity level. Same with a 53-year-old dating a 29-year-old. Doesn't mean there is something inherently coercive about a 53-year-old shagging a 29-year-old, or that the 29-year-old can't consent, it's that both parties will usually find out pretty quickly that they don't have enough in common to make a relationship work. The 53-year-old's cultural references will go right over the 29-year-old's head, and their middle-aged aches and pains will be a drag on the 29-year-old's social life. Of course this does not apply in all cases, which is why it's a guideline rather than a rule. But as someone who more often than not has dated people younger than me, it does seem a truism that half my age plus seven years, or thereabouts, is the youngest someone can be and not get on my last nerve. :)

85

Fichu @ 30, 31 & 74 Are you for real? Are you trolling? In your hypothetical where someone steals your shit, you would immediately start realizing what you could have done differently. Months later you’re asking for advice on something else and someone says, “You shouldn’t leave valuables out in the open.” Like, no shit. IT ALREADY OCCURRED TO HER SHE SHOULD’VE LEFT! She thinks about that daily. She doesn’t need any “helpful” advice from you.

86

Fichu: Sorry, but your post @74 is not your best work. I'd walk on by, but what you've written needs to be called out.

"A young woman goes to a college party with the idea that..."

She's passed out in one scenario, and consenting in the other.

But if she became too inebriated in the second scenario to maintain consent, then there /was/ no consent. End of story. Done and dusted. No fine line. None at all. It makes ZERO difference what her plan was before she arrived at the party.

They teach this in middle school.

87

I'm resting my case and apologize if any of my comments on this thread have triggered and offended others.

88

Fubar @86, I thought Fichu was comparing the woman who passed out in the first hypothetical (not consenting) to the MEN who were too drunk to consent to sex with the woman who sought it out in the second scenario (also not consenting but, er, male?). In the first scenario she's the prey, in the second she's the predator. Is it worse to have non-consensual sex with someone who you're absolutely sure can't consent, because they're not even conscious? Yes, of course. And this applies in the case of AGE, who, after saying "no" repeatedly, attempted to shut down her attacker by going to sleep, since obviously people who aren't conscious can't consent. So, Fichu, you have contradicted yourself by claiming AGE intended to signal consent when she went to sleep. At no point did she consent and there's nothing grey here, except for a few more of my hairs, yeesh.

89

@Curious: I responded to your comment on last week's thread.

90

@Nocutename: Now me too, professor.

91

BiDanFan @88: Oh boy. Thanks for translating. I was confused by the analogy.

I agree with you. It's objectively worse to have non-consensual sex with someone who is unconscious than it is with someone who is "drunk to the point of not making good decisions".

Perhaps Fichu is suggesting there's a fine line between the latter and being too intoxicated to consent but still conscious. Apologies if I'm inferring unintended meaning in Fichu's comment, but I would not agree.

It's not that difficult to limit oneself to fully consenting partners and sex acts that are actually on offer.

92

Fubar @91, indeed. In fact, one could make the argument that the second woman, who went out with the intention of having sex with men whether they like it or not, has behaved worse than the frat boy who comes across a passed-out woman and opportunistically rapes her. I wouldn't argue that, but if Fichu was trying to argue one situation is more acceptable than the other then I'd beg to differ. But notice whose actions we're talking about in both cases? The rapists'. Because it's the rapists' actions that caused the rapes to happen. In both cases, what did the victims do? They went out and had too much to drink. They did not rape themselves. They perhaps behaved carelessly, but millions of people go out drinking every day and do not get raped. Millions of people meet up with people they meet on dating apps and do not get raped. AGE did not cause herself to be sexually assaulted by behaving in a manner which was in retrospect unwise. Should a portion of the blame for the assault be assigned to her? Absolutely not. Can she learn something from the experience? No doubt she already has, as Zinaida @85 explained so well.

93

Back to the age thing, the LW says:
“The consensus, as I understand it, seems to be that there is a vast maturity gap between someone who is 19 and someone who is 26; therefore, someone in their mid-twenties has an affirmative duty to make sure nothing sexual happens with someone who is 19. It is also suggested that someone like me is a creep and a predator for even thinking about hooking up with a 19-year-old.”
I agree with BDF that the “formula” applies more to workable relationships than to hookups.
I am pushing back on the idea that it’s irresponsible for an older person to do anything sexual at all with a younger person.I’ve never heard of this; that is why the “age of consent” matters more. It is a bogus “consensus.” The campsite rule is to leave them as good or better than you found them. There is nothing about an “affirmative duty” not to engage sexually with other adults based on their age. That’s bullshit. LW is getting weird shaming from her friends about a thing that no one outside her little group of social justice people thinks.
The other thing is that, according to some sources, there is sometimes something like a fresh puberty or delayed adolescence after transition, whether due to new hormones, or the newness of being an adult in the gender that’s a better fit. A person may not have had the opportunity for “normal” experiences of adolescence, first crushes, first kisses etc, having been in the wrong gender during those years. So a newly transitioned 26-year-old might be more like a 19-year-old in experience, navigating dating situations, and so on. I hope LW eases up on herself. I think many or even the majority of women have experienced exactly the kind of situation she describes, sometimes getting out of it without being raped, sometimes not. We grok, LW.

94

@83 BDF
"one thing that's missing is how this came up. I mean, they seem to have been married for 16 years before she said anything about his shaven crotch. Sounds to me like she had up until this point done a good job of keeping her preferences to herself"

Yeah, the details on that are spotty. And agreed on your timeline interpretation. Still... telling someone they make you think of a paedophiliac is a little bit of a conversation ender, no?

I mean... the people I've heard say this kind of thing in the past either thought it was funny or irrefutable. But either way they weren't interested in anyone else's opinion.

Speaking of which
@79 Lava
"Not sure your patronising tone is helpful.
As stated, it’s porn which has made it a fashionable choice. Pubic hair is there for protection of our genitals. "
While I feel strongly that you are entitled to wear your hair however you like, I also feel: Wow that was uncalled for.

Is the idea of stating a personal preference without insulting someone really that difficult?

95

@73: I'm confused. In what way did I suggest that "women SHOULD remove their pubic hair?"

I did write: "I'm just brainstorming possible areas of compromise for them."

Why might I think that this could be helpful? Well, SNIP did say in his letter: "She let me shave her once, she didn’t like the result, and we’ve never done it again." That certainly suggests that he has at least some level of interest in her being shaved. Or, I suppose, it's possible that his interest lies in shaving her. SNIP didn't elaborate, so we don't know either way.

Irrespective, it was important enough to SNIP, that he mentioned it in the letter (and, if Dan redacted the letter, Dan chose to leave that detail in it). Therefore, it is a subsidiary part of this discussion.

96

@92 BiDanFan: Thank you for helping expand my reading to Neil Gaiman. I am almost finished reading Trigger Warning, and am on to Smoke and Mirrors and Coralina next. I really like his writing style and am getting a few ideas for setting a poem or short story of Gaiman's to music. :)

Big Hunsky, anyone?
Tick..tick...tick....

97

@96: Much as I love and miss my beloved VW's automotive company during the stormy months when my car is in seasonal hibernation, my creative juices are back, bubbling and simmering.

98

Getting into the wee hours here....Griz will have to sign off for now and catch up with the lucky Big Hunsky winner among SL commenters. It has been a productive night for reading, and the music is flowing out of me like water from a fountain.
And 20 years of liberation as of Saturday.

99

.....and this week's lucky Big Hunsky winner IS..........

100

Squidgie @93: Yes, I agree that this is far from a "consensus." It sounds like the extreme sex-negative view on age gaps, a "consensus" being more along the lines that it's a bit immature to seek out much younger (but of legal age) partners, potentially creepy, and that indeed there is a campsite-rule duty of care to make sure you are not being a predator -- a higher bar for ensuring their enthusiastic consent, but not a complete and total ban.

I agree that a 26-year-old trans person -- particularly a newly transitioning one -- is likely to have a similar level of sexual maturity and awareness as a cis teenager. Dan's expert briefly referred to this; thank you for expanding on it. Viewed this way, it was indeed the 19-year-old who was beholden to the campsite rule. And indeed -- perhaps this was just AGE's first experience of what just about all of us experience with at least one man in our lives. AGE does not give her date's gender but this is a sadly common male/female dynamic; perhaps the 19-year-old fell for the "it's the man's role to push for sex" stereotype, ugh. Or maybe he/she/they were just an asshole. Indeed, AGE, we grok you -- and indeed, if you sleep with men, this probably won't be the last time one of them tries to push your boundaries. Hope she's more prepared for it next time.

Lulu @94, meet LavaGirl. Commenting on any topic without insulting someone is really that difficult. See comment @2.
Sadly, the association between liking shaved pubes and being a paedophile is pretty common -- among people who dislike shaved pubes. Like I said in my first comment on the topic, I couldn't agree more that this misconception needs to go in the bin. It does seem odd that someone with this visceral aversion would stay with a shaved man for so long. I guess people tolerate all sorts of things for love.

Music @95, I took that as evidence of her decided stance against pubic hair removal. She tried it once to be GGG; she didn't like it; to his credit, he dropped it, because it's her body, not his. You must be aware of the pressure women face to remove their body hair, and the shaming they get when they don't. Your comments must be read in that context, the context of constant messages that women are "doing it wrong" when it comes to their own bodies. "She let me shave her once, she didn’t like the result, and we’ve never done it again" says to me that this subsidiary part of the discussion is closed.

101

Griz @96, so glad you're enjoying Neil Gaiman and that his works are getting your creative juices flowing! :D