Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: Her proposal prompted him to issue a counterproposal, woman shocked to discover she was seeing a pedophile (spoiler: she wasn't seeing a pedophile), sometimes the damage is too great, and is secretly perving on homeless every okay? And, as always, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
About my response to PPUP:
Again, what a great answer Dan. This one was to PPUP. Your reality checks are straightforward yet gentle. You and I may not align perfectly on politics (what a boring world we’d have if we all did) however I’d vote for anyone that conversed and problem solved like you do. Yes, that was a leap from Poly to Politics but I’m hoping you’ll get my logic. Keep up the good work.
Regarding my reference—my invoking of?—imaginary sky friends in my response to PPUP...
Fan here since your "Hey, Faggot" days when I would pick up the Stranger in the U-district wearing my white shirt and tie. Here is my issue: You ask, or even demand, that Christians accept people for who they are and not criticize their lifestyle. However your repeating reference to Christians as having "imaginary sky friends" doesn't follow that creed. Mike Pence and the right wingers that came before him have given all Christians a bad name. Believe me, there are still open-minded Christians out here that love people where they are without judgment.
Hey, I'm fine with Christians thinking I'm going to hell—with the Jews and the atheists and the yoga instructors—just so long as they don't attempt (or continue to attempt and sometimes succeed) in writing their bigotry into law. And, hey, it’s not just Christians who have imaginary sky friends! Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Scientologists—in this instance my snark was ecumenical and inclusive!
And PUPP herself read and thought about my response and wrote back...
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate your thoughts, and you're right—apparently it is key to discuss the details, as subsequent discussion has proven that we may have very different ideas about what this could look like for us. I do realize poly is just one form of ENM, and it was not one of the forms he has ever mentioned before now. So the notion that he is interested in exploring romantic relationships with other people and not just sex is a brand new issue for me to try to get my head around. I don't necessarily think it's fair to characterize our first conversation about ENM as an ultimatum (and maybe it wasn't fair for me to have used that phrase either). I certainly didn't threaten to break up with him, I just felt insecure about exploring it at the time and asked if it was something that we could revisit later, and he agreed. Then years went by. I guess this is largely because he feared hurting me, and I can appreciate that. But we have a pragmatic relationship, and we aren't really "pop the question" people.
Marriage itself isn't important to me, and until recently I didn't even think I wanted it. My thoughts about it are complicated, and I guess it would be silly to try to explain them here.
We have scheduled an appointment with a couples counselor to help navigate this, but in the meantime I feel so lost. Of course I'm willing to try ENM because it's important to him. But in our previous conversation about exploring this together, our relationship was the priority for both of us. And I feel like I do need that reassurance to move forward—not just for a marriage but even to stay in a committed relationship with him. I think the reason his rejection was so difficult for me is because it signals to me that this isn't necessarily the case for him anymore. That is where the compatibility question comes in for me. Not whether he wants to fuck other people. And he can't seem to give me a clear answer on that front... which sadly, to me, feels like its own clear answer.
Anyway, thank you. When I first met my partner he was dealing with a lot of guilt and shame about sexual needs that are totally reasonable and normal, and I'm thankful to you for helping him find comfort with himself. As much as I want to continue along with him on this journey, this new chapter is a scary one for me. I'm still turning the pages. I just wish I knew we were reading the same book. — PUPP
Good luck to you, PUPP.
Regarding a recent discussion on the Lovecast: women who are up for dating opposite-sex couples are called unicorns—but what are gay men up for dating gay couples called? I proposed "horses." A listener counters...
I responded to a woman who doesn't like oral because she doesn't like ingesting fluids. What about kissing, I said, you ingest a lot of spit when you kiss. Isn't there a disconnect there? Turns out she doesn't and there isn't:
Thank you for taking my question on the podcast! I just about fell out of my seat on the bus when I heard my voice on your show. I do have a response, however; Dan asked if I am more open to open-mouth kissing than I am to oral and if so, how that might undermine my theory for not liking bodily fluids. But actually I am not into swapping saliva either! Hopefully that doesn't make me undateable. At least Im consistent, right? Anyways, thank you so much again!
Points for consistency, yes, but no oral, no kissing... it doesn't make you undatable, listener, it's just going to complicate and prolong your search for a partner.
In response to COBOP assumption that the relationship between her college prof 48-year-old fuckbuddy and an 18-year-old woman (who may or may not have been a student) was by-definition abusive...
As long as everything is consensual, these setups—older people seeing much younger people—can be all kinds of amazing. I was about 19 or 20 when I started sleeping with a 39-year-old man in an open marriage and I can guarantee that a) he 100% saw me as an adult and treated me with the appropriate level of respect (there was some joking around about the age/experience gap but it was always in fun) and b) it was actually really great for me. His relationship with his wife was a fantastic one for me to use as a reference when navigating non-monogamy through my 20s. She and I ended up becoming friends as well and, after ten years of the timing not working out, I finally got to play unicorn for them and it was fantastic!
I am now 32 and I am still friends with both of them. I go visit whenever I'm back in my hometown, though the sexual element of our relationship has mostly fallen to the side. I am sure a lot of people would have looked at my friendship with this couple as alarming, to say the least, but for me it has been nothing but positive.
A different kinky college prof weighs in...
I'm a mid-40s college professor, too (besides being kinky and poly) and I'd like to quickly share with you one of my FetLife writings to illustrate why, regardless of pedophilia, doing what this guy is doing is Very Bad Idea:
I live in a college town suffused with intelligent young women between the ages of 18–22, and, unsurprisingly, I've been contacted or hit on by much-younger women a few times in the past few years. While the appeal of an older partner is understandable (experience, sophistication, appreciation of David Bowie), and I'd never deny a college-aged person's ability to consent or withdraw the same, I made it a policy to Stay Away even before I wound up in a full-time situation with two age-appropriate women. There are a few good reasons for this:
(1) I'm a professor seeking a full-time job, and being seen publicly in non-kink spaces with a college-aged woman could have be a disaster. For instance, I finally got a full-time lecturer job this year because I knew someone socially. Do you think they would have offered me the job if they saw me on a date with a hypothetical 19- or 20-year-old? Similarly, what if I worked at one of my local schools? Dating an undergrad at a school where one works (or even one in the consortium) usually results in getting fired due to the inherent imbalance of power. The Title IX coordinator would probably say that consent, in such a situation, is impossible. (Also, I know someone my age who married one of his students... and he's generally regarded as a creep.)
(2) Even if my relationship with the hypothetical much younger person was kept to kink spaces (which is so not me...), I don't want people even thinking those thoughts about me. The fact is that there ARE predatory guys out there, and part of being a responsible male dom is that you ALWAYS have to watch out for appearances and NEVER want to be mistaken for one of the assholes. Reputation, once lost, can not be regained. And, of course, there is the imbalance of age and experience, which does complicate consent, even if you deny it.
(3) Let's suppose that a hypothetical much-younger woman and I hit it off and we played together or even dated. She might not regret it now, but would she feel the same way when she's 30? 40? I don't want anyone to ever regret doing anything with me.
(4) My partner who has kids' oldest child is 28 (she started young...). The idea of doing something that age or younger is quite icky.
(5) Finally, I like fancy cocktails, and you can't get served if you're under 21.
Power and privilege are fields; they're societal and systemic, not personal, and they affect us all, even if we don't want them to. As a privilege-holder, I have to be keenly attuned to how my behavior affects others. Not to do so is irresponsible in the extreme.
Regarding the young woman who claimed to have a kink for homeless guys...
I just read your response to a letter in regards to a woman's apparent attraction to homeless people, and in your response you express your suspicions that said letter might be fake. I wanted to tell you that, as a gay cis-male, this woman's fantasy hit close to an experience of mine at the peak of my sexual awakening. At the time, I was 20 years old and had met an 18 year old homeless guy who had "jumped a train" from California to Marysville. In the course of the evening I invited him to my friends apartment, we washed his clothes and he bathed. We kissed. He tasted like cigarettes. His name was Isaiah.
Ever since, from time to time I'd see a homeless person and fantasize about what else could have happened that night. While living in Seattle I'd occasionally fantasize about taking in an attractive homeless guy, or jumping a train and bumming around the country. This romance was likely fueled by my addition to Boxcar kid novels and idyllic portrayals of hobo life as described by folk music of the "Rock Candy Mountain" variety.
I'm presently living in Tokyo and no longer harbor those fantasies. But reading this letter reminded me of where I had come from and of the person I had been. I was reminded of how weird I felt for having romanticized someone else's waking nightmare. On the other hand, though, my fantasy was just that. I much preferred to imagine me and Isaiah sleeping out under the stars in suburbs of Phoenix than him dead in a ditch with a needle in his arm. If that is the extent of my weirdness and depravity, then I think I'm doing okay.
I screwed up something pretty basic and, yes, I'm pretty mortified...
@fakedansavage I hate to be "the correction guy", but in the latest SLC intro you suggested that all other democracies choose their leader by popular vote, but in the UK & former Commonwealth countries Prime Minister's are chosen by which party wins the most local elections. 1/2
— Dustin Hertel (@DustinHertel) March 21, 2019
@fakedansavage ...so a) one party could win 51% by narrow margins and the other could win 49% by landslides & the former would win (not that diseilimar from the college), and b) a party can oust and replace their leader, changing the PM, without an election. It sucks. 2/2
— Dustin Hertel (@DustinHertel) March 21, 2019
Oy, yes. The parliamentary system. My bad. Thank you for the correction! (I screwed that up in an opening rant about how we need to get rid of the Electoral College and elect presidents by popular vote. Anyone who has doubts about getting rid of the EC—or doubts about National Popular Vote Interstate Compact—should go listen to Jamelle Bouie make the case for both on this week's edition of the Slate Political Gabfest. He makes the case better than I did—he makes the case better than I've ever heard anyone make it. Listen.)
And finally: regarding HMM, the married guy who wanted to get a blowjob from another man but didn't know how to sell that to his wife...
Tell Horny Married Man that there are plenty of men in the same boat. And as far as giving him BJ in front of his wife, that would be great and there are men (men like, oh, me) who would be comfortable doing that and would make sure everyone involved felt comfortable. Feel free to pass my information on or print it in case he or someone else is interested. [redacted]@[redacted].com. (P.S. i go by that handle for a reason!)
As much as I would love to print, post, or pass on your email addresses, readers and listeners, I've been advised not to do so because, you know, lawsuits and liability and like that. Still, there's nothing to stop people from reaching out in the comments threads. Ahem.
Okay, have a great weekend everybody—and in case you missed it...