Why Is Brevity Such an Issue With My Letter Writers?

Savage Love Letter of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up

Comments

1

Pompadour says much.

2

The longer it takes someone to tell you their side of the story often correlates to just how wrong they are.

3

These are not the same thing, should not be called the same thing, and should not be considered equivalent.
1) One person lies about being protected from pregnancy (pill, IUD, vasectomy, whatever), then both people agree to no condom.
2) Both people agree to a condom, then one person secretly changes it to no condom during the act. The closest equivalent to #1 would be where one person secretly sabotages a condom and then both parties agree to a condom.

4

"I know a couple where the woman stole the man's sperm in a condom and inseminated herself with it. He even pays child support as to have access to his daughter. While "the plural of anecdote is data" it is certainly not apocryphal."

Nobody ever sends in dumb Redpill letters to SLLOTD. Ever.

And yes, I do encounter people regularly online who claim Snopes-y urban legends happened to them.

5

@3: "These are not the same thing, should not be called the same thing, and should not be considered equivalent."

The "Manosphere" doesn't give a shit about consent, no matter how much they try to zero-sum discussion of rape.

6

@3 Wait, what? I get that lying about being on birth control isn't exactly the same thing as secretly removing a condom during intercourse, but in both cases, the liar/stealther is exposing their partner to risks (pregnancy, STDs) they didn't consent to be exposed to. In both cases an unplanned (by at least one party) pregnancy could occur. In both cases, the liar/stealther is pursuing a secret agenda (to get pregnant, to have unprotected sex). So they do have quite a few similarities and it's a pretty reasonable comparison imho.

7

Ankylo,

I think it depends on which way the lie works. If a person is on birth control and lies and says they are not (like if a man HAS had a vasectomy or a woman HAS an IUD but they lie and say they do not) then this is dishonest behavior for the relationship, but it does not increase their partner's risk of anything.

However, if they lie about the reverse (if a man has NOT had a vasectomy or a woman has NOT had an IUD and they lie and say they do) then yes this is equivalent behavior to lying about using a condom. It increases the partner's risk without their knowledge and tricks them into a sex act that they have not consented to.

I'm not sure if that's what you meant or not. But if not, then I don't see why they shouldn't be considered equivalent. If you tell someone you've had a vasectomy or that you have a UDI and they consent to sex with you on the grounds that it's nearly impossible that there is a pregnancy, then I don't see how this is different between saying you are using a condom when you are not.

8

Yea, the saving the cum in a condom and then using it later to artificially inseminate and then later having the baby and going to court to get child support, etc. That sounds extremely unlikely. But for sure there are women who lie about being on birth control or who sabotage condoms in order to increase the chances of getting pregnant without consent/knowledge of their partner. My guess is this rarely happens as a ploy to get child support (the financial benefits just don't add up against the cost) but rather does happen because the woman wants to have a baby or wants to force the relationship along. BTW this happens in reverse too and not just because the dude wants to fuck without a condom but because sometimes they do want to get their partner's pregnant without consent for same reasons- control, to force the relationship to the next level, etc.

BTW what I think is probably the most likely is someone who honestly says they are on birth control but don't take it regularly (just b/c life) and someone who misuses a condom- I've had them come off during sex and neither of us knew and I'm sure I was not intentionally stealthed in those situations.

9

"The main character is gay, but her [sic] doesn't know he's gay until the very end. It's set up as a mystery, but it's very well executed. Great twist at the end of the book."

/sigh/ People really need to learn how to describe things without giving away all the details, especially if the thing they're trying to promote has a "great twist." The same message would have worked, getting across the journey of self-acceptance that would resonate with Dan's readers, by cutting out those three sentences and jumping to the end where the LW states that exact thing.

10

i think, it is not just men who enjoy an unsheathed vaginal ejaculation - it seems to be universally enjoyed by women (for me, in the context of a post-condom, definitively-on-birth-control relationship) for it's bonding and erotic nature (which I enjoy as well), and, well, the clean up is generally simpler.

11

Admittedly I am indeed a serial party pooper.
The sexualized young person would have likely been perceived differently had we dealt with Nancy’s granddaughter, but that’s not the point. Sadly it may come across as a high school gay bashing tease: “ha ha, a big homo thinks you’re a sexy dude.” (Some het women may offer their gaze as a counter offer, yet once again that’s not the point.)
Now back to party poopers: welcome back undead!

12

There are a lot of people having sex with some deceitful ass people.

13

Mr Savage hasn't seen the Wendy Williams clip?

14

"Cases where men have proven they are not a biological father yet remain forced by the legal system to pay child support are reported in many countries. This is stealthing. This is sexual assault too."

Wait what? Being legally deemed the father of another man's biological child is... sexual assault? Being cheated on is sexual assault? And cheating is stealthing?

Did something get garbled in editing or did this writer put himself out in these weeds?

16

Hi Dan,
I love your column and read it regularly.
I found a typo in your column, though.
Instead of "the plural of anecdote is data"
the saying is
"the plural of anecdote is NOT data"
Thanks
--STEM Nerd

17

Dan! Dude! Tales of "stealthing" are mostly apocryphal? Hooo-wee ... you really don't know anything at all about women, do you.
Love you anyway, M (a woman)

19

Lying to get pregnant has always been a thing, but it is not the same thing as "stealthing." In stealthing, the man agrees to use a condom, puts it on, then takes it off midway through sex, without the woman's (or other man's) knowledge. When a woman lies and says she is on birth control and isn't, the man still makes the informed decision whether to wear a condom, and both people know whether he's wearing it. Even if she is using birth control, condoms should still be used as a backup and to reduce STI risk, until you are in a committed and mutually tested relationship. Middle-Aged Cis Guy has just confirmed a third reason to wear them. Seriously dudes, what more do you need?

20

Shimmy @6: By not using a condom the man knows that he is exposing himself to STI risk. And he knows he is exposing himself to pregnancy risk, though a lower risk than if she were using hormonal birth control. Or he should know this, before he sticks his dick into anyone. I agree with Ankyl, the only reasonable analogue to stealthing is poking holes in a condom. Which does indeed happen.

Sportlandia @10: Funny, I'd say cleanup is a LOT simpler when all you have to do is remove a condom and throw it away, than when you have to have a towel handy and deal with surprise semen leaking out a half hour later when you least expect it, not to mention washing the sheets more often. I'd say cleanup is the only advantage condoms do have over condomless sex, once risk is not a factor.

Beaver @14: Yeah exactly, anyone who equates financial fraud with sexual assault has never been sexually assaulted.

21

I also don't know why men can't see that a woman proposing not to use condoms is a huge red flag. I mean, hello. At minimum what this is saying is that she has no respect for her sexual health or yours, and therefore a big risk for both STIs and drama. At worst she's trying to get pregnant dishonestly. Again, what more do you need to realise that "we don't need to use a condom" is code for "you absolutely need to use a condom, preferably two"?

22

There's a difference because men exist in a system of privilege that leads them to believe they are entitled to a woman's body - or any body they want - in any way they please. This isn't just about a few assholes doing something wrong. It’s about a system that allows men to get away with treating certain groups of people like those people's lives, health, and wishes aren’t important. Women can also be assholes and do something wrong, but these actions are not supported by society. Everyone agrees that it's wrong for a woman to get pregnant without consent. No tries to defend those actions. However, when men don't use condoms, you get people saying, "Well, it's hardly surprising because men can't help themselves. It’s simple biology.” And if a woman gets pregnant from this, they will defend the man and blame the woman. "Well, she should have been on birth control and/or not been such a 'slut' in the first place.” Similarly, if a man takes off a condom while having sex with another man, then people will blame and slut shame gay people as well. “Hardly surprising, you know what gays are like.”

To bring up women getting pregnant without consent is directing our attention away from pervasive male entitlement and implicitly supporting those actions by cutting off serious discussion of the topic. Instead, we’re talking about how men are suffering at the hands of women, or whether the suffering of men and women is equal. Men and women and people of any other gender can all suffer from other people’s actions. In that way, everyone is equal. But the fact that men can disregard other peoples boundaries and not suffer the same consequences as everyone else makes the situations unequal.

23

Okay, okay, I know everyone is joking, but this week and last week we have had a couple mentions of using two or more condoms at once. . .and I just want to make sure that everyone knows that using more than one condom increases the risk of it/them breaking, and is not a good idea. We all know that, right? They're designed for one-at-a-time use, use them that way.

24

Yes, ciods, it's a joke. We know that.

25

Why is brevity an issue?

In some cases, seemingly, because writing an email to Dan is $130/hour cheaper than speaking the same words to your therapist.

26

BDF @21: A whole lot of people - men and women - are just not that concerned about STIs. My own doctor is not a big fan of testing. He'll write a requisition when I ask, but basically says that if you contract something, you'll know it from the symptoms.

I'd throw in my own story of being asked, in my 20s, by a new girlfriend, to not use a condom, but I don't want to cut off serious discussion about the patriarchy.

27

Ah, the Savage Love comments thread, where it is regularly denied that women can do bad things to men.... Remember, no matter what, the man is worse. And any man telling a story about a bad thing a woman did to him is lying.

29

Some arguments seem sillier than others (to me, at least).
Yeah, trying to undermine efforts to keep a pregnancy from happening is not a nice thing to do, regardless of who's doing it, how it's done, or for whatever reason.

31

@Bi @24: Sorry, explaining a joke kills it, I know. It's from too many years teaching college kids. It's hard to underestimate what they know.

32

Too bad the spammer assholes appear to have leaned the days/hours Spam reports aren't monitored. The only countermeasure I can think of is moderating a new account's first post ever.

34

curious2 @32 (and the Tech Savvy At Risk Use): another effective way would be to hide and moderate everything that is reported by several people - which would require that it be a bit easier to report stuff.

35

I've been "stealthed" several times (by women; I'm a guy); both in one night stand situations and LTRs. In my opinion birth control is on both parties, and I could have always worn a condom as a failsafe, so I never got very mad, just felt violated in a strange way. But obviously that doesn't make it right.

36

Those silly "select all traffic lights" tests doesn't make the reporting any easier. By the way: I just found out the pole of the traffic light doesn't count. I suppose the same rule applies to the traffic signs questions. 🙄

37

10/Sportlandia: "i think, it is not just men who enjoy an unsheathed vaginal ejaculation - it seems to be universally enjoyed by women..."

We men certainly do enjoy an unsheathed vaginal ejaculation (aka OGE) but, of course, we pretty much enjoy ejaculation anyway, anytime, anyhow, anywhere.

38

@4 & @5: There are multiple legal cases where men tried, unsuccessfully, to sue women who readily admitted to impregnating themselves with discarded condoms (or spitting in a turkey baster after a blowjob).

39

Women, as we all know, are also capable of duplicity. This is not a surprise.
Men need to wear and then discard their condoms and watch her spit out the sperm in tissues, all of it. Check there is none hidden under her tongue.

40

Best to take it with you, the used condom. Going thru the bin is not below these desperadoes.

42

‘But if there is ANY part of human sexuality that is hard-wired into our DNA, it has to be the desire to leave semen in a vagina’
Em, no.

43

Fubar @26: I do know this, and lament it. All my comments are directed towards the world that should be, not the world that is. I know, for instance, that a strategy frequently employed by men who really really don't like condoms is to find women with low self-esteem or who are drunk, as an alternative to my advice to seek quick routes to STI-tested monogamy. I know men do this. I'm talking about what they SHOULD do, not what they do do. I know also that there are well-intentioned people who get caught up in the moment. I think there are very few of us who've never slipped up; even I haven't followed my own rules 100.0% of the time. But these are rules to aspire to, and as this is an advice column, my advice remains to aspire to perfection. :)

Curious @32: Eh, it's easy enough to report spammers. If the Stranger had to pay moderators to work round-the-clock, it might have to become a subscription service, and we wouldn't want that.

Mickey @35: Can you elaborate? My understanding of the term "stealthing" is that a man puts on a condom then removes it during sex without his partner's knowledge. I'm struggling to envision how a woman could remove a condom from a man without his knowledge. If by "stealthed" you mean lied to about birth control, I think you need to use a different term. Because removing a condom without knowledge or consent exposes one's partner to STI risk entirely against their will and is therefore sexual assault, while lying about birth control still gives you the option to use a condom and is therefore a far lesser infraction in my mind.

44

@43 BiDanFan
"Curious @32: Eh, it's easy enough to report spammers. If the Stranger had to pay moderators to work round-the-clock..."

I need to explain my suggestion of "moderating a new account's first post ever"; it would put it in a queue for Staff review. Which needn't occur any more frequently than Spam reports are now monitored. (It would, sadly, mean that a fresh noobie's very first post couldn't appear in our vital realtime play.)

I bet the number of new accounts isn't exponentially more than the current number of Spam reports (and the later would be expected go down if implemented). I've never admin'ed a moderated forum, but then I've never even been on one that gets targeted by Spammers as much as this either.

45

curious @44 "I need to explain my suggestion of "moderating a new account's first post ever"; it would put it in a queue for Staff review."

I'm not sure that that would help all that much. The first post would be something innocuous like "great advice" and the second post would be "Hi everyone am AMBER ERIN" etcetera.

46

Instead of "select all traffic lights" or "select all bridges" which a Nigerian scammer can do as well as an American kinkster, how about or "select all butt plugs" or "identify the Hitachi Magic Wand"?

48

Get back at them:
Supremespellcast@gmail.com
Supremespellcast@yahoo.com
doctorzakuzaspelltemple@hotmail.com
infinitylovespell@gmail.com
assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com

Suggested message:

Dear Dr.
Just wanted to let you know that most of us here are happily divorced and have no desire to get back with our exes.
That said, the neighbors are extremely sexy and wonder if you could help...

49

If some guy/s want to write letters about being lied to re contraception, fine, do it. This woman wrote in about her experiences, and her question was the one that was answered. how quickly some men jump to the YesBut position, immediately turns the attention on them.

51

Lava @49, Dan invited these examples by stating he did not believe women ever "stealth" men. Which I agree with using the definition of "stealthing" as agreeing to use a condom then removing it midway through sex without the partner's knowledge. Men wrote in stating that perhaps women don't do this, but they do engage in other means of deception regarding the risk of pregnancy. And I'm sure quite a few have said they don't have STIs when they really do, or simply not disclosed them. People are generally selfish, that's why if I were a man I'd have a vasectomy AND use condoms every single time.

53

curious2 @44: Your spammer solution would also foil that one troll who creates a new account (with a topical username) for every comment.

56

BDF @21, "I also don't know why men can't see that a woman proposing not to use condoms is a huge red flag." Maybe because condom-free sex is incredibly common, even between people not in a committed relationship and/or because the men not seeing this as a red flag strongly prefer condomless sex and/or cannot come with one on.

True story, this one time I came in a condom. It's actually up to around two or three times, but when condoms are required for PiV sex, I have generally gotten off some other way or, more often not gotten off. I haven't generally whined about it, but it has been a fact in my life. I suspect I'm not unique.

It might be different now. I seem to get off more easily than I used to, but I've been faithfully married for quite a while and I haven't tried a condom in many years.

58

DCP123 @56: Many women (and quite a few men) can't come from intercourse, full stop. It is a fact of life for some and, IMO, doesn't justify running around endangering the lives of everyone you (general you) are lucky enough to receive sexual interest from. I'd bet the woman Fubar @26 refers to bore out my prediction of being a drama llama; am I right? DCP, I'm glad you're happily fluid bonded now. As am I, and I'm glad we did it the right way: with discussion, STI tests, and a strict requirement for condoms with any other partners.

I would be interested to poll cycling communities and see how closely helmet use correlates with condom use.

59

@58 BiDanFan
In addition to saying YGG...

"I would be interested to poll cycling communities and see how closely helmet use correlates with condom use."

I wonder if after the helmet-non-wearers suffer a non-fatal blow to the head, they become more, or less, likely to endanger the welfare of everyone involved with such non-condom-related reckless disregard for others.

60

I am a woman familiar with more than one accidentally-on-purpose pregnancy.

I even know a woman who admitted—I heard her—she would have wanted to know beforehand that her partner (who kept telling her there was no way he wanted to have a third child but she was sure that down the road he would change his mind) was getting a vasectomy (which he didn't inform her of until AFTER he was infertile, to avoid arguments and attempts at accidentally-on-purpose pregnancy or the need to stop having sex entirely until he was safely infertile) because "it might have made a difference." Yes, I asked didn't she mean trying to get accidentally-on-purpose pregnant, and she said Yes. (She didn't even get that he would have hated her to pieces ever afterwards, end of relationship. Who knows how people in that situation could co-parent without lawyers between them.)

61

@20 ah, I was referring to the cleanup of an unsheathed vaginal ejaculation versus a... non-vaginal one.

62

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