"Nympho" Was Clearly a Compliment, Sexless Relationships Are the Worst, and the Precise Moment My Column Started Sucking—Reader Advice Roundup!

Comments

1

Re: impregnated by a man who assured her he'd had a vasectomy...
My parents (who had a relatively open relationship back in the 50's) wanted to ensure they'd have no more kids after my older sister was born - and that he would impregnate no one else, as well - by way of him having a vasectomy. He had the surgery in the late 50's.
My mother became pregnant in 1959. She'd had PIV sex with no one but him since the vasectomy. He returned to the doctor, was given a container in which to ejaculate, the nurse placed the lab slide under a 'scope and there was apparently no question that his ejaculate was baby-making quality.
I am here as a result. I've always been curious about this, and in recent years had DNA testing done. No room for doubt ... we're all swimming in the same genetic pool.
So ... vasectomy surgery does not always work! According to the docs back then, it's a rare circumstance that this occurs, but it's definitely possible to conceive post-botched-vasectomy.

2

"There are some minor biological incompatibilities"
Let's all speculate on what this means. She doesn't have his preferred breast or genital details? He thinks she smells weird in general? He prefers someone taller/shorter? She doesn't come from certain things he wishes she did? She's diabetic and he wants to stuff her with cake?

3

She has s prehensile tail and it gets in the way of his junk.

4

@3: Don't knock prehensile tails. I wish I had one.

@2: Ankylosaurus, they might as well close the comments; nothing is going to top "She's diabetic and he wants to stuff her with cake?".

5

@1 Kavita - vasectomy surgery these days is much more effective than it used to be. It's a different procedure. It's not even possible to reverse all vasectomies anymore because, if I understand correctly, they remove some of the plumbing and maybe laser things shut. I'm too squeamish to research the details, but you can look it up.

6

I've had multiple partners who've had vasectomies, and never thought to look for scars. Some people scar more visibly than others; I don't think that one should just check to see if the guy's got a ball-scar. Unintended pregnancy is traumatic. So is catching an STI.

Here's my deal: until and unless I am very connected to a man, he's going to wear a condom--this despite the fact that I'm completely through menopause and not going to get pregnant. This was my policy from before menopause, btw, because an unsheathed penis has the capability to be quite the disease vector, as well as the impregnator-tool. This protects both of us from many infections. If we start wanting to be more serious about each other, we both get tested and share the test results and then can forgo condoms--with each other. We still use them with more casual partners.

7

I’ve had a vasectomy, and you’d be hard pressed to find any scar (other than on my psyche), but you’re welcome to get down with a magnifying glass and look.

Oh. And as long as you’re down there...

8

I don't know about the desk, but I have noticed a disproportionate number of Hax letters here lately.

9

I think breaking up over text is not the same as ghosting. (This is not a comment for or against the benefits and/or negatives of breaking up over text vs face to face. I simply mean 'ghosting' is its own category). Ghosting means you just disappear- no explanation. A text break up cannot be ghosting since it's a break up by definition and ghosting by definition has no break up.

Biological incompatibilities- my guess is either there's a huge age gap and the dude is overly formal in his writing (which seems the case anyway) or more likely she's trans and/or she can't get pregnant. My imagination might be limited but I can't think of anything else this might mean. She's his sister? Surely not. So my guess is he's referring to her inability to conceive a child - an incompatibility with him long term since he has an idea of what he wants from a partner- and this could be due to her being trans or her being infertile for other reasons. Entirely a guess, but that's all I can think up.

10

"She's diabetic and he wants to stuff her with cake?"

Well shit. I could never think up something so clever. Yes this is clearly the case, and here I was considering junk and reproductive organs.

In that case then, I suggest he read Dan's advice last week about what can / cannot go inside a vagina with/without risk of infection. It's been a long week, but best I remember, cake is off limits to everyone so the biological differences extend to non-diabetic vagina-havers too. Seems like we settled upon penises, fingers, lube, dildos and ice cubes- the latter being my unnoticed suggestion, they melt, it's a strangegoodsometimes sensation.

She has prosthetic feet, he has a toe fetish. She is a mortal human, he is a Time Lord. She is a woman in a photograph that comes to life in he's dreams, he's a real live boy. She's a holograph, he's a mad scientist.

11

EARNEST, really has a bizarre way with words. I also don't know to what "minor biological incompatibilities" refers, but since I have found EARNEST to be self-centered, I am going to suggest these refer to perceived flaws in her physical appearance (i.e., she is not compatible with his ideal of physical attractiveness).

Proceeding on with EARNEST'S odd life-partner vetting process, his lover is being graded on "general competence" and "life effectiveness." (Is she also graded on presentation skills and customer focus?) Partnerships are just that, and couples also divide tasks in a relationship based on interest and, yes, competence. So why would it matter that your partner isn't a good travel planner, if they are a great travel companion? Why should it matter if they are a bit introverted, but want more friends, and hope to make those connections together with you? I guess it also seems rather odd that this total nympho has trouble being social and making friends.

12

EmmaLiz, the Timelord comment made my night, so thank you.

13

One of the greatest finds of my youth happened when I was about 12 or so. In our neighborhood, Wednesdays were days when people put out large items and other not-quite-trash to be picked up for disposal -- after being picked over by others. Sort of like a large, free flea market.
Well, imagine my delight when I came across a whole stack of old Playboys! This was in the 70s, the issues were all from the late 60s, so the photos were still quite demure (and the women all natural). But still! I kept those for years, until my mom got me my own subscription. Without my even asking.
Which... well, obviously she'd discovered my stash behind the panel covering the hole in the wall in the bathroom. She was pretty discreet about it, never made me feel uncomfortable. So thanks, mom!

14

The no-scalpel technique leaves almost no scar and is the most common in 40 countries (so says Wikipedia):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_scalpel_vasectomy

15

@8 EmmaLiz
"I think breaking up over text is not the same as ghosting."

Agreed. Given how I go on about the F2F dumping as the desirable default dump modality, I doubt I need to say a word about how much worse ghosting would be, say if after decades of marriage one came home from a double-shift and the moving vans had left and there wasn't even a "goodbye and go to hell" scratched into the bathroom mirror.

16

To clarify, I meant stuff her MOUTH (and stomach) full of cake, feeder-style, not stuff it anywhere else.
@11 SublimeAfterglow: General competence and life effectiveness matter a great deal to me too. I wouldn't be interested in a long term relationship with somebody who flounders with what I consider basic life skills, planning, and daily tasks.

17

It was a good joke Anky @16, anyway.

18

@5 strange observer ~ thanks for the update on vasectomy procedures (non-specific was totally sufficient, thanks). Makes total sense that the procedure has changed / improved over time, resulting in higher reliability!

19

To the irate reader claiming Dan's column sucks after eighteen years, and particularly if you're an angry white male, I have only one thing to say. I quote the late, great Robin Williams:
"You know, you are in more dire need of a blow job than any white man in history."

Dan the Man, keep on rocking the house!

20

WOW it's 17 YEARS since the Ann Landers desk purchase?! It feels like yesterday. I feel so old!

Also, I feel terrible for judging EARNEST. I have been called a "nymphomaniac"/"sex maniac" before, and I've only heard it uttered by guys with massive issues. Good to hear he really did just mean it as a compliment. The issues he brings up - having a problem and not doing anything about it etc - are perfectly reasonable concerns.

21

Dan, you don't owe EARNEST an apology. He used an offensive word and you called out its use very gently, with a lot of "ifs" rather than assuming he meant it the way you (and most of the female commenters) feared a straight man may have meant it. Instead of apologising, tell him to expunge this insulting word from his vocabulary and instead say something like "she's great in bed." Thank you!

Wow, OP3, lay off the meth. Dan can only answer the letters he's received. As he's explained before, technical questions about kinks are easier to answer using Google these days, so Dan gets fewer of them. You could try reading only the one rerun per week if that meets your "demands." Now breathe!

Ankyl @2, my guess is that five days each month she isn't available for sex with him, how inconsiderate of her. Need to find a woman who doesn't do that damned bleeding thing.

NoCute @6, exactly. If "I've had a vasectomy" is said by a man who's trying to get out of using a condom, don't believe him.

Sublime @11, I agree she's probably a far more pleasant person to be around that this snob. I am still highly suspicious that he's on the spectrum, due to his professed desire to understand how to handle human issues like breaking up, as well as the dry and academic tone of his letters. Perhaps he's Mark Zuckerberg?

22

If we're speculating, I'm guessing the "biological incompatibilities" is that he's 40-something and she's fresh out of college. It also explains why she's struggling to make friends and isn't good at planning trips (and also why he assumes he'd pay for said vacation) as those are both skills you develop after some time in the adult world. There's definitely some sort of weird power dynamic there if he can respect her as a fuckbuddy but not a partner and she's looking for more.

23

If this guy is talking about biological inconsistencies he's definitely talking about the way his dick fits into some part of her body.

24

@23 annerocious
"biological inconsistencies"

He wrote "biological incompatibilities".

"he's definitely talking about the way his dick fits into some part of her body"

LOL.

You mean like 'too big for his micropenis' or something?

I won't ask The New Shiny to clarify. Hell I give her a lot of credit for even just reading these threads.

25

p.s. Ooops wait Mr. "biological incompatibilities" was a different LW than The New Shiny's BF, thank goodness, sorry!

26

At least LW learned that that particular word will often be taken as non-complimentary.

27

California Wind Fire storm

You may have noticed California fires in the news.

Dry winds from the East have always meant fire danger this time of year in California.  With climate change, the winds have gotten higher, the humidity has gotten lower, and the vegetation has gotten drier.

And unfortunately, Northern California's for-profit power company PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission charged with highly regulating them have been negligent in many ways including with regard to maintaining and strengthening the lines.  Power lines in use have been in service since 1938.

Last year PG&E went bankrupt because wind blew so many lines down which burned vast areas of the state.  So having been held financially responsible for that, this year PG&E has turned off power to 3 million people to try to keep it's dangerous power line infrastructure from a repeat of last year.

A big fire started north of here anyway, because while lines which distributed power were off, the transmission lines were live and one of them went down.

Which brings us to today.  High NE winds (with gusts to 105 mph*) with single-digit humidity turned the existing fire (against which little progress has been possible despite knowing this wind event was on the way) into a, well, wind firestorm, roaring down NE-to-SW angled canyons.  Which did amazing things like jump the Carquinez Strait(2) onto the side of the Bay I'm on.

Last year the fires continued until the rain came; which is probably a month away.  By the end Bay Area air had been unbreathably dangerous for weeks.

Masks don't work well with beards, so today I shaved mine for the first time in 24 years.

(1)
"To be classified as a hurricane...one-minute maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_scale
(2)
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-27/major-fire-breaks-out-at-carquinez-bridge-in-vallejo-interstate-80-closed

28

Oh curious, twenty four yrs.. how does your face look? Keeps the wrinkles offa some of your face I’m sure, covering it with hair.
Sorry about the bushfires. We’ve got big drought in areas of Australia, towns about to run out of water and this pig of a federal govt, modeling themselves on trump et al, are, like him, feathering their own nests and throwing up their hands about the effects of climate change. Half of them try to deny it’s happening.

30

@curious, I live in the Bay Area too, and it's scary and infuriating, because California doesn't HAVE to have such dangerous conditions. The drier air and drier and hotter weather is a result of human-caused climate change. The blackouts (and still higher fire danger than necessary) are due to PG&E's selfishness and irresponsibility, a perfect illustration of all that is wrong with capitalism. As I type this, I'm glancing at my "go bag" nervously, because I smell smoke, but don't see flames anywhere. I haven't been given an evacuation notice, but I am nervous.

I hope you, Sportlandia, and anyone else from California--the Bay Area in particular, stay safe.

31

Stay safe, Curious and NoCuteName! (Sporty is in Seattle, IIRC.)

32

@BiDanFan: Well, if he's here, I hope he's safe. As are two no-longer-regular commentors, Fortunate and Lolorhone. I hope we're all safe.

33

Fwiw I would appreciate more Ann Landers-style q&a (by this I mean issues turning on manners, not sexual ethics). I know there are other columns for this, and sometimes read Daniel Mallory Ortberg, but despite in some sense having something in common with him, I'd feel there's a real generation gap there--I can't always see how some of the problems discussed are any big problem. (I suppose I also think many issues of sexual incompatibility at bottom questions of manners or good form in extricating oneself from a set-up that's impossible). The upshot of all this is that I want to hear more about etiquette from Dan.

34

@11. Sublime. A relationship where one person thinks the other vexatiously incompetent isn't a goer. But you're right that people in relationships often have complementary skills.

@21. Bi. Agree that the apology being unnecessary.

I'm horrified that the Bay Area should be at risk of fire and hope anyone threatened is prompt and precautionary in getting out.

35

@28 LavaGirl
Now that you mention it, I really don't look like the same guy I was 24 years ago, it is freaky to look in the mirror. Maybe you're right about a beard's preservative value, underneath does look like the youngest part of me.

@30 nocutename
Good to know you're ready and safe; I knew no one would be smarter about all this.

Please stay safe nocutename and Sportlandia and Fortunate and Lolorhone and everyone!

/Break/
Another point of incompetence. A friend tells me that Greece, with a much smaller land mass and population, has a fleet of 20 great firefighting planes. (Helicopters can’t do what these planes do.) Why hasn't California, the 5th largest economy on the planet, invested in a fleet of fire planes? Instead, we hire a couple from Canada every year and pretend we're good.

They effing waited until just hours before hurricane-force winds arrived to land one plane. One. Despite a wind event known for a week sure to stoke a still-burning fire that the wind that would magnify exponentially and evacuate and destroy whole counties.

The hurricane-force winds are shifting southward now towards the already horrific fires there. I just heard that the fires have jumped I405; the Getty Center and it's extensive and irreplaceable collection is less than a mile away.

I remember how much of a toll the smoke took on my respiratory health last year, so:

"Build a do-it-yourself home air purifier for about $25"
https://www.uofmhealth.org/news/sinus-hepa-0630
"a 4” thick filter works quite a bit better than a 1” because more of the air can get through rather than bouncing back on the fan input."

another DIY article: https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/this-diy-air-filter-for-wildfire-smoke-is-less-than-20/281-584346009

Last year I bought box fans and the last remaining filters I could find that fit. Then I ordered a whole pile of these optimal filters online:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Honeywell-20-in-x-20-in-x-4-in-FPR-10-Air-Cleaner-Filter-CF200D2020/203781263

36

@21 it's amazing how much of a gumby you turn in to when you're trying to rationalize being completely and 100% incorrect. Simone Biles is asking for some flexibility tips. Like, all the evidence that you were wrong was starting at you; yet you ignored that and choose the worst possible interpretation, and then when LW directly confirms you were wrong, you have a new explanation for how you weren't. Good fucking grief, do you have any shame (of course not). Since this "white feminist" thing seems to get to you, let's zag: You more of a Breitbarter here than anyone else, you just replace the nouns and call it a day.

37

Idk there is still something that rubs me the wrong way about EARNEST. Perhaps it's that in his original letter he stated he was 'emotionally unavailable' if I remember correctly. This screams avoidant to me. He then says that the woman he is dating is great (kind, intelligent, and uses that word nympho...ugh) 'but' and then lists kinda nit-picky if you ask me issues he has with her. Some people aren't great at making friends right away and not everyone is a planner. Honestly, you wouldn't want two planners planning a trip anyways.
The way he wanted to defend his use of the word. Sure he sees it as a compliment. At the same time that doesn't mean that there still isn't some Madonna-Whore dichotomy (MWD) stuff going on. MWD doesn't always present the way we think it does.
I'm with earlier comments like @BabyRae's. There is some weird power dynamic going on here. It could be an age difference or not. I say all this to say, Dan, I think you had him pegged in your first response. And he might want to look a little deeper at why he uses the words he uses and why he wants out of this relationship.

38

Sporty @21, I have no shame because I have nothing to be ashamed of. You never answered my question of how you'd react if someone described their partner as "a kind and generous negro who has many other positive qualities," and whether you'd support Dan calling someone out on the use of this word. "Nympho" is offensive whether he meant it that way or not, which has always been my explanation. Nice try (by which I mean pathetic try).

39

My original comment, in which I literally state: 'EARNEST clearly doesn't know that "nympho" is a sexist, slut-shaming term'
Sporty, clearly you didn't know that either, now you do.

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/10/22/41759736/when-you-say-the-woman-youve-been-dating-is-a-nympho-you-mean-that-as-a-compliment-right/comments/48

41

I rest my case.

42

Eyeroll Thank you EVER so much to the kindly commenter who put Dan BACK on the never-ending train of already asked, already answered questions about cheating and [non]monogamy. I love your column, Dan, but please, dear GOD, don't be afraid to break the status quo now and then with a weird question...

43

Pollyc @42, you'll love today's letter of the day! (Are you the mystery LW1?)

44

@BiDanFan, 43: Lmmfao, you mean the space cadet trying to Make America (and Dan) Straight Again?? Unfortunately, no, I don't think I'm THAAAAT creative, that one came right out of left field.

45

Pollyc @44: Yup, you asked for a weird question, and we definitely got one! :)

46

Add Michael (he goes by Mike) Roedik (pronounced like salmon roe, not the Germanic open mid rounded vowel) to the list of prank call names.

Regarding vasectomy scars, current techniques barely make an incision, and notable scarring would be unusual. No-scalpel is now most common, and it uses a small puncture rather than a scalpel incision, minimizing infection risk, recovery time, and scarring.

@3: Hotttttt. If it's prehensile, she can keep it out of the way when necessary, and in the way (or in other places) when desired.

Re: 21, 38 - I really think you should observe the First Rule of Holes here, Bi. "Negro" is a perfect analogy - to demonstrate why it's important to pay attention to contextual clues when interpreting language, even and maybe especially regarding words that are (sometimes) slurs.

If the context were, say, that I was in Chicago in 1940, I wouldn't blink, whatever the speaker's race. Rather ironically, from today's perspective, "Negro" replaced "colored" in the American vernacular because "Black" was considered more offensive a century ago (though, of course, "negro" is the Italic word - and related languages - for our Germanic-derived "black"). If it were present day and I was in an area of the USA with a predominant Black and Spanish-speaking population (like some of my own Milwaukee's neighborhoods), I'd interpret it as the unoffensive Spanish "negro" (particularly were it pronounced "NEH-grow" rather than "NEE-grow") as the preferred term in the particular local espanglés pidgin or creole. If the "someone" in question were standing in front of me today and happened to be Black, I'd interpret it as the person using it in an ironically old-timey manner or as a more mild form of the common in-group use of n**r (hopefully that's clear enough without writing the word, as I don't want to escalate things; I dislike euphemisms for the lack of clarity, but I'm also willing to make concessions to cultural sensitivities, and "n-word" may be more confusing, given that this discussion involves at least three n-words that can be slurs), unless the inflection were particularly venemous, in which case my interpretation would be internalized racism.

I'd really be given pause more by listing being Black as an inherently positive (rather than neutral) quality, since that suggests some kind of racial fetishization based on problematic (even if positive) stereotyping, than I would by the use of "Negro". In contexts other than those I mentioned, I might tell the person that the word could be interpreted as a slur and is best avoided, at least in the social groups I inhabit (I do this for "g*psy" all the time, as lots of Rroma consider it a slur and lots don't, but most Rromani people I know do and especially object to gadje using it; in another irony, they're fine using the Romany word "gadje" to describe the rest of us, though it carries a connotation as a mild slur similar to "hick" or "yokel", but tends to be used neutrally or even affectionately in my social groups, much like the Hebrew/Yiddish "goyim").

47

John @46, thank you. Not sure what holes have to do with this, because context was EXACTLY the point I was trying to make, and I'm glad I did pick the "perfect" word to do so. My point was that the context showed LW meant nympho as a compliment, but regardless, it's an offensive word and Dan was right to point this out, as I think anyone would do if a well-meaning person used the word negro.