Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: Should she stay with her girlfriend who drinks too much? Should her 12-year-old be out on Instagram? Also, poly drama and a question kicked to #SexWorkTwitter. Plus last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
I normally agree with you 100% but your advice to SLUT about keeping her flirting with her ex a secret from her current partner is off base. Like all titillating secrets that are fun in the short term, the odds of her partner finding out are high. And because it's a secret and because it's about sex, the odds are also high her partner won't be forgiving if and when he does find out. Is she ready and willing to lose her fabulous current mate for the random turn on?
Hi, Dan. I have the utmost admiration and respect for you and the things you say; you stand for honesty and integrity and decency 99.9 percent of the time. That’s why I’m hoping you get about five hundred comments telling you that you went to that tenth of a percent place in your response to Secret Longings Utterly Titillating (January 3). You’re telling SLUT that after she told her current partner she’d stop it, it’s OK to continue to get with her ex and listen to his fuck talk while soaking her panties and looking at the lob swelling in his own. You think the ex doesn’t see how hot she is while he’s lewding out with her, and she doesn’t know he sees it, and back and forth? Where does the line get drawn with that? When she begins fuck-talking back to him? When she starts muff-rubbing while listening to him? SLUT isn’t “playing with fire.” She’s making a nice little conflagration right there on the spot. This is not harmless “flirting.” It’s big-time deceit. It’s obvious from her letter that SLUT herself knows this and was probably shocked you let her off the hook. SLUT needs to either tell her current partner that she’s still at this or knock it the fuck off with her ex.
They all can't be gems. That said, I stand by my advice to SLUT. A little erotic autonomy — even for the monogamous — is good for us and good for our relationships. But it is advice, not binding arbitration, and you both make persuasive cases. SLUT is a reader, so she'll see what you guys had to say, and she's free to disregard my advice and run with yours. Thanks to you both for writing.
Regarding 12-year-olds and Instagram:
Your advice to the mom with the 12-yr-old who is out on Instagram made me smile. My son has always been a very odd kid, which is a delight for his two very odd parents, but he's always struggled with peers at school. In third grade, he was getting picked on by a group of girls who would call him gay, faggot, etc. My wife and I probably have more gay friends than straight, so this was all very confusing to him. He could certainly tell he was being picked on, but he didn't understand why being called gay was an insult. His reaction to all this was to "come-out" to us and his class as gay — I think he figured that would somehow neutralize the girl-gang. Well, that didn't work, and the school ended up moving him to another class which actually did make things much better.
This was right after you'd started the "It gets better" campaign, and my son made an "It gets better" video of himself using my wife's laptop. He begged us to let him post it to YouTube, and wept when we refused. We were pretty confident that a 7-year-old didn't need to come out on YouTube, and besides, we were fairly certain that for him, it was going to get worse again. We figured a public "It get's better" video at age seven would be weaponized by 11 and 12 year-olds, and given how things went, I'm pretty sure we were right. Anyway, we kept the video and watch it every now and then. It's so sweet. It makes me cry every time I watch it. I don't think it would have the same effect on everyone, but he's my son. You know how it is.
He's in high-school now. We live in Austin, TX and he goes to the fine-arts magnet school where there are sufficient number of odd kids so he pretty much fits right in. He walked back his "coming-out" a few years ago and now he does his best to get girls interested in him, but who knows who he'll eventually fall in love with. Whoever that may be, we'll look forward to showing them the "It gets better" video from age seven. That will be fun.
What a sweet letter — your son is lucky to have you. I hope I get to see that video someday!
On making consent sexy:
I just listened to the podcast in which a listener asked if there was a way to make asking for consent sexy. I recently told this story on Facebook, so here’s my reply to it. (I’m a 60-year-old, very sexy, cis gendered woman, straight-identified white New Yorker with a master’s degree...I could go on, but won’t.) About 15 years ago, I was at a gay bar during pride week, as straight women are wont to enjoy. The establishment was open to the sidewalk, and I was leaning out waving to people and shouting upbeat, cheerful things. A very cute guy stopped dead in his tracks, turned, and shouted, “I want to kiss you!” I shouted back, “Do it!” Very hot. Much hotter than if he’d just grabbed me, for sure. I commented on Facebook when I posted that: BTW: That’s how consent works. Easy peasy. It’s easy and it’s super hot, and seriously: ASK! The answer might be, “Oh, YES! Do it!” And, if not, at least you won’t go to prison.
From a loyal lesbian:
You're the shit. Every time I read your column and there's a person like READER, more than a month ago, kinda being negative to you (and I'm sure that's not the worst you've gotten by miles) I think, "Man, I hope he gets more positive letters than negative ones." Then I remember that I'm a human with a computer capable of sending you a positive letter! You're the shit. I've been reading The Stranger since I moved to Seattle in 1998. Sometimes they get piled up on my coffee table and I think, "I don't have time to read all of those, I should toss em.... right after I read Dan's page." I always learn something from reading your columns. Even if it would never be applicable to my life in the literal sense, I learn something. So, thanks! You're the shit and I'm a loyal lesbian reader.
TOOFAST's partner needs to have his dom-card pulled. I have no idea what he's doing in a scene that could ruin existing relationships ("Hold still while I brand 'I hate Brad' into your forehead"), but if she's using her safewords, he needs to honor that shit immediately. There should be no arguing. No debate. Not stopping at "red" is a red flag that should be followed by putting your clothes on and walking out the door. The sad fact, Dan, is that there AREN'T a lot of good Doms out there — or even tops. In my experience, the ego-monsters and abusers outnumber the responsible kinksters 10:1, and the scene is going through it's own #metoo moment since a lot of these guys have gotten into positions of respect in the kink community just to use them to exploit women.
Praise for Esther Perel:
Hi Dan, thanks for introducing me to Esther Perel and her work. I’m a 49-year-old hetero female, happily married for 25 years with four kids. On a blizzard day in February last year My husband told me he had crabs, came out as bisexual and told me he had a special guest hook up for non-recip BJ twice a year for the last 15 years. The crabs and the special guest really rocked my world. We entered therapy as a couple and individually. My husband did all the right things. I supported him in coming out to our kids and parents and friends. But my therapist could not fathom that I forgave him, that I supported his bisexuality and whatever that means for us. That we are re-creating our marriage. Esther Perel’s new book — The State of Affairs — helped me understand how common our "secret" situation is and gave me the tools to understand my that my husband was grappling with years of repressing his true nature.
Reading Esther Perel allowed me to feel good about the path we’ve chosen to journey together.
Regarding a response on Episode 583 of the Savage Lovecast:
I wanted to respond to the advice you offered to the caller in the podcast Episode 583. You were pretty spot-on and I was nodding along up until your last sentence. That's where you lost me. You suggested a vasectomy to this cis female caller as a way to deal with her concerns. I don't understand why you would suggest a birth control method which is entirely dependent on her partner instead of empowering her to take action. Female sterilization is a thing. It comes in a few forms, including a nonsurgical method, and it's just as reliable and hormone free as male sterilization. It also has the advantage of working great for poly and non-monogamous women who can't rely on getting all of their male partners snipped.
I've grown really tired over the years of people, even professionals, shying away from female sterilization. Too many people treat it like it either doesn't exist or like it's an extreme. Ignoring female sterilization contributes to the difficulty young women have in taking control of their reproductive health and decisions. Often, women who go to be sterilized are ignored and infantalized by their doctors, who say that they can't make that decision, who tell them to get temporary birth control, or who act as though their body belongs to a man. We're told that we'll change our minds or, if we do have children, what if our child dies? Won't we want to have another? We're treated like baby factories or freaks. Yet, men looking for vasectomies face none of the barriers we do.
Please, please don't suggest a vasectomy to a women without mentioning her permanent options for her own body in the same breath. We need people like you to stand up for us and normalize these procedures so there's less discrimination against women seeking them.