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Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: A letter writer admits that cheating on her husband was great for her marriage, another wonders if their son stole their crucifix-shaped dildo, the live-in secret boyfriend ponders when or if his poly triad should come out as poly to one partner's kid, and an older letter writer says he can't have an LTR because he's only attracted to younger guys. And, as always, last week's column and (600th (!!!) episode of) the Savage Lovecast.

One commenter regarding that mysterious crucific-shaped dildo:

Good response but I am highly dubious of the existence of a glow-in-the-dark, crucifix-shaped dildo, so I'm calling fake.

Another:

Ask and ye shall receive.

Glow-in-the-dark, crucifix-shaped dildos: they're out there.

For TRIAD:

I grew up in a small, conservative town. One of my friends, who was living in a home as a foster child, knew that her foster parents had a "roommate" who was actually their third. She found it horrifying (we were maybe 14-ish when she told me) and didn't talk about it much but it seemed that everyone in the town kind of knew and simply maintained the polite fiction the triad presented—good friends who helped each other out with housing, rent, and childcare, etc. Of course, that was a thousand years ago when people were more about minding their own business so I don't know if that would be the case in this time and in LW's location but most kids have a pretty firm deny/ignore policy about parents and sex.

If the kid is a talker, gets angry at any one of them or any of them could realistically face personal, professional, social or custodial harm if this comes out, then probably it's best to maintain separate residences and the accompanying plausible deniability. My friend only told me because she was angry at getting grounded by her foster parents' third. And in her defense, it was total bullshit.

About that ASSHOLE:

Regarding ASSHOLE (the lying, cheating, piece o' shit who wrote in): I agree with almost everything you wrote about ASSHOLE, except where you stated, "It seems like you want out, and your wife definitely deserves better..."

The first part is incorrect—he doesn't want out, he just doesn't want to face the consequences of his actions when karma catches up with him and he gets caught. He feels he needs to bail because he is terrified, not because he wants to. (He has no remorse for what he has done.) I knew two ASSHOLES (not by choice, one was an officemate and the other was in the next row of lockers at the pool) and both were proud of and enjoyed their cheating and both had sweet innocent traditional fiances who would be crushed if they found out. Poly or open would not satisfy these ASSHOLES because part of the lifestyle they crave is the "traditional" wife and home—being honest and open about it would not work for these ASSHOLEs. The lifestyle requires a real deluded innocent at home.

And:

If we only rip ASSHOLE's morality, we miss the root cause of incompatible coupling. Non-monogamy isn't widely recognized as an accepted expression of sexuality, especially in the heterosexual world. I doubt there is much non-monogamy sex ed, certainly not from parents, or validation in greater society. So it is not surprising to hear of a 30-something who is still struggling with his truth—trying to be monogamous because it is an expected and attainable goal, and not attaining it because it is not him. He is a non-monogamous person raised and living in a monogamous world. And if he has finally found his truth, he can begin to live it authentically without hurting anyone. He doesn't lose everything. He gains his identity.

But if we are focused on handing out blame, what blame belongs to everyone in society who perpetuates the myth of a monogamous social norm? Did ASSHOLE's wife ever have an inkling that her future husband could not be monogamous, but assumed that a relationship or marriage would quash the non-monogamy in him? Did she question the social norm? Or should she instead console herself with the knowledge that adultery and breakup are expected consequences of living with a bogus social norm?

Blaming society for shoving everyone into a monogamous box? Sure, I'm down. Blaming the spouse of a serial adulterer for failing to question a social norm that worked for her—or failing really interrogate an "inkling" she may or may not have had? I'm not here for that, as the kids said until they heard me say it, at which point they promptly stopped.

About... astrology:

I LOVE your column. I have been a giggling, blushing, inspired and routinely informed reader for at least twenty years and credit my general open-mindedness about sex to your writing. I'm back on the dating scene again, and I loved the letter and your response to ME, the pro-Dom with the hematospermia client. Oh, dear God, the things us single women may have to deal with!! LOL

However, I'm writing about your response to Not Ready for the Nursing Home in the same column: "...And, as astrology is bullshit, NRFTNH, being a Scorpio doesn’t matter. It never has and it never will. ..."

Astrology is not all bullshit, Dan. Scorpios are indeed more interested in sex and death and the things we hide or disavow publicly. While I agree that sun signs by themselves have no absolute significance in determining one's sexual appetites or proclivities, chart-specific astrological transits are indeed an interesting subject that stems from the pantheon of knowledge and phenomena of astrology, and they bear validity and accuracy time and again. Hence I have copied my favourite astrologer, Rose Marcus, who is also a featured columnist in Vancouver's Georgia Straight, where I read both of your columns weekly. I get poo-poohed by the scientific types in my orbit whenever I mention mercury retrograde, eclipses or birth charts. So much newspaper astrology fluff (of which Ms. Marcus IS NOT guilty) has poisoned the scientific/logical/skeptical public perception of the relevance of astrology and the subject of astrology generally.

I invite you to consider a personal reading by the talented Ms. Marcus even though I have no standing with her as a marketing agent; and thus you'll have to fork out the cash on your own. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. If you choose not to pay Ms. Marcus for a personal reading to change your mind on the validity of astrology, might I suggest making note of the next Mercury retrograde from July 26 to August 19, 2018, and increasing your awareness of problems with travel, communication, business, transportation and the exchange of electronic data between people and machines? If you are interested in doing a bit of reading about it in preparation, I suggest: Susan Miller's very detailed article on the subject. It is also curious that mercury retrograde is annually documented in the Farmer's Almanac, so there must be some widespread reliability to the phenomenon.

I remain, as always, a fan, despite your uninformed opinion of astrology.

Okay, okay: astrology is not all* bullshit. It's just mostly** bullshit.

On that pee tape:

Hi Dan,

I would not have guessed that your post about the Trump pee tape would touch on my area of expertise. However, you write: "not every germophobe is into piss... but enough [are] to qualify as clichés; we can't speak with certainty about their statistical significance because there aren't a lot of grants out there for researchers who study kinks."

"Statistical significance" has a precise definition in statistics, and applies to numbers observed in a particular study or population, and not as an immutable fact of nature. Either germophobes have a higher prevalence of urophilia, or they don't. But whether the difference between the two is "statistically significant" can't be answered until somebody does a study, and then it will be based partly on what's going on in nature and partly things like whether the study was big enough, whether they found a good population to sample from, whether they correctly figured out who is/is not a germophobe (same for urophile), etc.

I bring this up because you see a lot of people conflating "statistically significant" with "true" which is a shame. A study might show a false but statistically significant result because it was poorly designed. Or it might fail to show a statistically significant result either because it was poorly designed, or because there is a difference but the difference was too small to be observed in the study. (Suppose 80% of germophobes are urophiles but only 3% of the rest of us are. Then a tiny study will be enough to find the difference. But if it's 11% of germophobes are urophiles vs 10% of everybody else, you'll need to survey huge numbers of people to figure it out.)

TL;DR: "statistically significant" does not mean "true" or "important" (and "not statistically significant" does not mean "false" or "trivial").

And a follow-up:

From this week's column: "as a percentage—40 percent of nearby expats are single—it’s statistically significant, as the social scientists say."

Sigh. I guess you missed my prior missive on this topic.


* It's all bullshit.
** It's all bullshit.