Sex Advice for a Former Sicko

Savage Love Letter of the Day



An old letter. I hope the lw went on to have some great sex, feel confident in her abilities, and have a great relationship when she was ready for one.


Too bad this was 2005 for her. These days, she could EASILY find an ethical poly guy advertising on Tinder/OKC/Bumble who'd be just the ticket -- I feel like it's 1/3 of the ads I see.


Yeah, dating apps and sites would make her life much easier now than in 2005. Still, the situation seems the same as the letter writer last week or the week before who was seeking a sex partner who could help her enjoy sex as she negotiates trauma. Find a friend who is trustworthy, fun, funny, who cares about you. There's no entanglement with that as long as he knows what she has planned.


Okay, we get it. You are re-running old column while on vacation.

But DAN - there is a serious shortage of nice guys who are sex positive and treat their female sex partners as more than sex dolls. I have been very explicit in my profiles on dating sites over the years, being 100% clear about who I am and what I am looking for. I am open, non-monogamous, like dating for fun and for sex, and do not expect emotional entanglements after the first few dates, or even few weeks of dating. But what kind of guys do I get? I get dick pics, jerks who brag about their ability to make women orgasm (before even knowing what I'm into they think they know my body?!), assholes who think "non-monogamous" is equal to "slut who will just fuck anyone" and guys who get impatient and want to fuck RIGHT NOW and don't even want to have dinner first.

Sorry Dan, but most of the guys who are looking for NSA sex are assholes who treat women like sex toys. And yes - that includes some poly guys. I'm poly, and we have way too many of that type in my community right now. I am frankly sick of being hit on by poly guys who think "poly" is synonymous with "sex buddy".

I have a lot of experience with NSA sex, sex friends, and non-monogamy, and believe me when I say it is HARD to find a truly nice guy. It takes a lot of first dates, bad dates, and encounters with assholes before you find that one person who you might want to try it with.


My experience with less experienced women: less is more. Most people aren't good at sex, regardless of reps. If you can stay out of your head , avoid assuming too much, you'll be fine. And if it's not fine, well there's always next time


Yeah, Dan's big blindspot is his zeal for nonmonogamy/NSA.

Agree with R4: if you're a woman having sex with men, your best bet to be treated kindly, with respect, with fun, and with LOTS of desire is to go along with the story that you two are dating & possibly forming a relationship.

Dan doesn't always read between the lines of letterwriters. So let's read between the lines here: why does she want to practice sex first with no emotions involved, gaining sex skills to then embark on finding a relationship? Because she's scared of rejection. She's scared of being bad in bed, her body looking bad post-illness, etc.

She thinks she can skip rejection both now by saying "hey no feelingz!" and later by coming at potentialboyfriends with her expert sex skillz.

That's not how sex/feelings/life work.

Her BEST bet is to embrace authenticity and vulerability and not feel she needs some tutor before dating/sexing for real. Dive on in. TRULY feel you're a worthwhile woman with lots to offer sexually and emotionally -- and just start going out with these guys you like who are giving you attention.

Tl;dr: Straight guys give their kindest sex to women they're considering as potential girlfriends.


Women in LW’s situation should not be so hung up on their experience levels. She has has sex, so the mechanics are familiar to her, which is really enough for her to go out there and have sex confidently. And as some who has had sex with women who reached their 30s having had sex with just a handful of men and women who have had sex with many dozens of men, I have not found that adding a significant number of sex partners has made women better at sex. The sheer acting of fucking guys 48-52 isn’t going to improve your skill level if you aren’t an enthusiast lover and haven’t been open to trying new things.

Practically speaking, for a woman in LW’s situation, men around her age are unlikely to have had sex with post-menopausal women. So if there are things they should know, like we’re going to need to add lube every so often, or something similar she should let them know.


Jerry Hall should have picked Austin.


Casual sex doesn't have to be cold, ugly, or diminishing anymore than marital sex is guaranteed to be warm, beautiful, and uplifting.

This I have found to be true, and even though these old, (sometimes extremely old)! letters are tiresome, this message is something I am glad I read today.


Blonde @4: Amen. This may have been the reason FSSS asked Dan not to just tell her to go find a nice guy. It's easier said than done. Most guys are easily capable of acting nice for as long as it takes to get into one's pants. Some of them withdraw the "nice" act afterwards, and some during. Sure, some actually ARE nice, but FSSS may have to kiss a few frogs to get there, which she seems more aware of than Dan. What about asking friends to fix her up rather than go the online route (which did indeed exist in 2005, I can confirm)? And agree that she'll have more luck finding a longish-term sex tutor/buddy if she approaches it like she wants to date, not like she wants to fuck. This does not require to commit long term to any of the men she dates.

Thirteen years later, I hope she's found a happy and satisfying sex life.


Wow, most of Dan's response is based upon something I had no idea that "Everyone seems to agree" upon(1). Maybe that's why "the implication [Dan says] is loud and clear" is not at all clear to me in the letter's conclusion.

(1) Is "everyone" really so cluelessly ignorant, unevolved/unaware as to agree upon Dan's premise?


BTW, I don't know how organized Dan is with old materials, and I know that many older email addresses no longer exist, but I think it would be interesting if he emailed the letter writers before re-running old pieces and see if they have any updates.


It isn't just the nice guy / not so nice guy divide that I don't believe holds true. There's also the casual sex / full committed relationship divide that doesn't necessarily really exist. There's plenty of room for a friendly relationship that involves sex, involves seeing the same person again, involves fun, conversation and maybe even dates, and that both parties know doesn't have to involve a love entanglement. I'd advise FSSS, if she existed in the present, to look for that.

Something else bothers me: this idea that she needs tutelage. She knows that she'd like sex, that she feels desire, and that she has the capacity to get turned on without freaking out in a clothes free environment. What the hell else does she need to know? Of course she feels moderately insecure, but everyone does. Just show up. Sex isn't something you need to study and practice to gain mastery.

The real bothersome note in the letter is this idea that she wants to rock the world with the very next person she's with. This is a bad expectation. Reminds me too much of my 17 year old self. I expected rainbows and orgasms and was let down when they didn't float in on unicorn feathers. When the guy broke up with me, I assumed it was because he didn't like my performance in bed. I'm glad I'm over that. Being there as a willing, active, and responsive participant is plenty. World rocking is unlikely, extra, and doesn't necessarily happen no matter how much you prepare.


@13 Fichu
"Something else bothers me: this idea that she needs tutelage."

I agree. Now that you mention it I'm surprised by so many of the relevant letters to Dan over the years. The people concerned that being with a virgin is daunting. Dan reassuring them that those people 'aren't for you' anyway.

It's not like you need to playing at an NBA level the first time you step on the court. Because sex is about the only thing I ever felt completely comfortable doing at all times from the first moment I ever had sex. Why wouldn't I? It's a journey people take together (from wherever they are), not something you need "mastery" of first (before starting on the journey).

"Just show up."

The first "G" in "GGG" standing for "Good in bed" equally surprises me when it comes up and Dan speaks of skills being needed. The only people I've slept with that weren't good in bed didn't lack skills. They lacked awareness (of themselves and their partner) and comfort with the moment. It seems to me that if one is really emotionally/psychologically healthy/together, nothing in the world is more natural than sex.

Oh, of course there are infinite facts and skills TO know, but just those few the first-timer NEEDS to.


@14 p.s.
Not just "and comfort with the moment", but also communication (both non-verbal and verbal) in the moment.


Not everyone on the dating sites is looking for a "forever" match, and even the ones who are realize that the odds are stacked against them. No need to spell out upfront, "DON'T WANT ATTACHMENT!" Instead, just put up an honest profile and start going on dates. You aren't going to find Mr. Perfect right off the bat, believe me. But you can get back in the dating scene and when you find a guy you like enough to fuck, go for it! Just be sure he knows you are dating other guys, and don't be embarrassed to tell him you're not very experienced! No one is entitled to a monogamous relationship with everyone they meet and anyone with any experience at all knows that. If you find a guy thats fuck-buddy material, but NOT Mr. Right, just tell him so if the relationship seems heading into "serious feelings" territory. Some guys will be cool with having an easy piece on the side, some won't...that's life. And, if and when you DO stumble across Mr. Right, just let the relationship continue to evolve. Last point. Speaking for me personally, I never minded if a gal didn't have mad fucking skills as long as she was willing to learn "on the job". Sex is more about enthusiasm, and technique can be polished by asking, "what do you like" and then saying, "feel free to give me pointers as we go!" It's not that complicated anyway...Tab A goes in slot B and then you buck and moan (more or less).

And don't be afraid to pick up a sex manual or two...
...and choose a diffrent page that sounds interesting to try out each time you fuck.


A lot of nice heterosexual men I've known over the years have lamented the lack of women who just want to be fuck buddies. Any one of them would have treated her well and would have been really grateful that she wasn't trying to marry them.

I don't know what het men on hookup apps now are like, I don't encounter them - but certainly a woman like her should be able to find friendly sex. Yes, there are a lot of assholes out there, but filtering those guys out is just part of the process. Once you have a friendly fuck buddy or two or three (being monogamous yourself is not good with fuck buddies) you have rewards for your efforts.


Another thought for women like her (I hope she, herself, has thrived). There are gay identified and bi men on gay dating apps who would also love to have a woman fuck buddy or friend with benefits like her. And there are women on those apps who, I assume, are hooking up with those guys. Some are Trans women, but certainly not all. I'm not sure what's up with them, I don't contact them, but they wouldn't stay if they weren't getting laid.


I love how everyone out here like the 'nice guy myth' doesn't exist despite both LW's clear acceptance of it (and several of y'alls arguments that it does, in other threads). Surely there's gotta be a study and folks can stop hopping on whichever version of the truth is convenient in the moment.


Even before apps, a woman in this situation was much in demand. Circa 1993, I was reading the (SF Bay) Guardian which ran Savage Love and skimming the personal ads. I saw one, "SWF, 32, about to get married, want one last fling - no strings attached, no follow up possible." and thought, "Man, she's going to get a LOT of calls!"

2 years later, I was talking to a 34-y.o. friend, I mentioned that ad and she said, yes, it had gotten so many responses it filled up the voicemail box of the Guardian's system. Her girlfriends had placed it for her, without her knowledge, and then gave her the call-in code.

Similarly, an ad / app stating the LWs situation would get lots of responses. Her lack of experience would put off very few guys while for far more men, it'd be a relief to not have to pretend to have more experience and game than they actually do.


@13 14: re "she needs tutelage" On OKCupid there's a question about whether you want someone with more experience than you, same experience as you, or less experience, and I've noticed that straight women ALWAYS answer it "more experience", which surprised me as "experience" is not something I've found relevant in a partner.

(But, thinking about it, how much "experience" an older man has will be strongly correlated with how suave/confident/charming he is, although as the consequence of his charm rather than the cause of it, and so it will be an indication that he's attractive company regardless of whether it's actually made him better in bed or not.)

So, if one of these women projects her perspective onto others, which people often do, she'll assume that men, similarly, will want women with "experience". And apparently men sometimes do, but I don't think it's in any way the dominant view among men the way that question makes it seem to be among women (of my age).


Old Crow @21: My theory on this is that these women want to avoid giving the impression that they are very sexually inexperienced, which is still read as "slutty" by a far too large number of men and women. Personally, I think it's a silly question and I skipped it. Again, straight people are weird.