Jackbooted Tugs, Nonverbal Cues, Dangerous Fans — Reader Advice Roundup!

Comments

1

I agree with your comment on FASH. I'm all for GGG but I would feel deeply gross having to raceplay a Nazi or white supremacist kink for someone. It's better to keep that fetish between you and your hand. Also I'm pretty sure porn is fake and the chances of the Nazi porn stars actually being nazi is about the same as the number of "stepsiblings" pornstars that are actually stepsiblings. Also: 'Jackbooted Tugs' - hurhur.

As for the reader with no problems: I get that he's probably talking about a Third, but I can't help but think he's got an "actual unicorn" sex puppet.

2

I feel like the "reader with no problems" either got dealt the lucky hand in life... OR is not being entirely honest... OR doesn't realize their spouse and/or unicorn has unmet needs. (I also kinda immediately distrust someone who calls their 3rd a unicorn, but I could be wrong... I've been wrong before ;))

In any case... Guess I am happy there isn't too many "problem-free" LWs writing in! Just makes me feel like they're rubbing their easy life in my face LOL. (And NOW I'm projecting! :)))))

P.S. It's been an especially shitty day, so thank you for the mental image of a unicorn sex puppet @1!

3

After reading through everyone's responses to the use of non-verbal cues as means of telegraphing a lack of interest in sex, I have come to see that it allows for a Rashomon-like understanding of a sexual encounter, with everyone filling-in the silent gaps with their own life experiences, and where even some coherent retellings are flawed by contradictions.

4

On a separate note, I enjoyed watching the 15th Annual HUMP! Film Festival last night. I watched at the same time as friend and made it a fun movie date. Thanks to all the filmmakers who agreed to let their films be streamed around the world.

I definitely loved the hot coupling of Photuris, the rope scene of What You Wish For, the sensual D/s of Good Kitty, the animated Cock Tails, the rough D/s of Tell Me What You Like, the fun couple in Best in Show, the varied couplings of Fuck First, and the humor of Just For Fans.

5

@4 SublimeAfterglow - I imagine a Rashomon-style retelling of an orgy would be a great HUMP entry.

6

Pan@5: Yaaaas! Make it happen!

7

Cumblebrag? Is this a typo or a portmanteau and if so, well done Dan for finally coming (sorry) round to the noun spelling of cum! I could hug you, except that you wouldn't like it, so accept a happy dance from me.

8

Also thanks to the HARSH commenter for saying everything that needs to be said on this topic, which will save me reading and responding to several dozen messages that appeared since I last checked. :)

9

@6 Traffic - Alas, as Dan noted in the third Savage Love letter this week, not yet. We can, however, quite responsibly imagine it.

10

Many of the commenters on the original post about the woman who rejected her partner non-verbally inferred that she couldn't or wouldn't say no out loud because she feared for her safety. I suspect, given the length of the letter and the level of detail she went into about her feelings, that she would have included something about feeling intimidated if it had been a factor. She said wanted to get up and leave "but it was late and I didn't have my car with me," -- not that she was afraid of upsetting him. She said he had been rude and pushy earlier in the evening she she doesn't include anything about feeling scared or intimidated.

Several commenters wrote about how common it is for women to "freeze" at an unwanted sexual advance. This makes perfect sense to me in a dangerous situation, with a stranger, or with a partner with a history of violence or rage issues. Is it really common to freeze with someone you've been dating for several months, have had sex with numerous times, and who has no known history of losing control?

11

Greg @10: people don't rape, sexually assault, or sexually coerce because they've "lost control." They're very much in control of their actions.

12

@Traffic Spiral: Perhaps "losing control" was a poor choice of words, but I hope you understood what I was asking. No history of violence. No history of intimidation. Is it really common to freeze with someone you've been dating for several months, have had sex with numerous times, and who has no known history that would give you cause to be afraid of them?

13

@12 Greg VA - with 7 billion human libidos running around, " not really common" is not necessarily the same as "there aren't a lot of people with this issue".

14

I disagree with the Jewish commentator taking exception to Nazi-themed porn. Their argument is that people's buying the Nazi-themed porn cross-subsidises the production of Nazi-style paraphernalia (and, by implication, that some of the buyers of the paraphernalia are actual Nazis or Nazi-glorifiers). It would seem the case that there are, broadly, two sorts of buyers of the paraphernalia and cosplay garb: 1) anti-Nazi fetishists, and 2) Nazi-glorifiers. The answer is not to swear off the Nazi-themed porn, for people with that kink, but to source their Nazi-porn from producers who make it absolutely clear that their products are nothing but an aid to strictly walled-off fantasy.

I've an unrelated question: Where does the round-up get these super-articulate, definitive-statements-of-their-position responses from? They're not from the comments thread--the compilers often pass over the comments thread entirely.... (And quite right too). Are these people writing in directly, writing through Twitter, subjoining comments to the podcast...?

15

@10. Greg. I think it's insensitive to say 'safety wasn't an issue' in cases like this. The first reason is that there's a 1 in a 100, or 1 in a 1000, chance that (even with a (recently) established partner), safety will be an issue. Women know they will be comparatively defenceless if it comes to this; and it would be wrongheaded to suppose this doesn't shape female behaviors and norms.

The second reason is that, more than men, women are socialised to deflect confrontation. In the case given, HARSH would not have wanted her bf to walk round drunkenly shouting, in a (sexually) threatening manner, 'am I not good enough for you?', or something like that. It makes sense that she would try to defer or avoid that conversation.

16

@13 - Case in point - if my Rashoman-style orgy-themed HUMP entry involved gay Nazis, I would have at least one enthusiastic viewer.

17

@13 Pan Sapien - Point taken.

In this particular instance, in a fairly detailed letter about a situation that bothered her for months and she felt strongly enough to write Dan about, the letter writer never mentions feeling afraid or intimidated and yet numerous commenters are certain that fear kept her from saying no. I'm trying to understand if this is likely or if the commenters are searching for a reason to cast him as the villian and her as the victim in a situation that I perceive as two drunk people communicating poorly.

18

@18 Greg - the impression I got from the comments was that it is not uncommon for heterosexual/bi women, in particular, to freeze when they received an unwanted sexual advance from man, whether or not they had particular reason to fear that particular man. I am loathe to speculate, and I'm certain any woman could give a better answer, but I suspect it might stem from living with the constant low-level fear that while not every man you will find yourself alone with will try to hurt you or push past your boundaries, but any man could.

19

Sublime @4: Spoilers! We're watching HUMP next Friday.

20

FASH is turned on by "authority figures, uniforms, hot guys doing each other" and specifically is "not interested in roleplaying with actual partners".

How would "real-life consensual and negotiated kink scenes with a Jewish or queer person" be even the slightest bit relevant?

I don't like your kink. Here... try this other kink.

21

BDF @7: The Goog coughs up references to "Cumblebrag" dating back to 2014. Sadly, Dan has yet to concede the noun spelling of cum. We can only continue to hope...

22

Greg @10: She SUBCONSCIOUSLY feared for her safety.

23

Greg @10b, to your question, YES. She had never been in this situation with him before. Four months is not that long. She had never seen him that drunk, so he was like a stranger to her in that moment. She had never, it would seem, gone to bed with him without having sex. So this was a completely new situation for her, does that now make it understandable that she froze?

Harriet @15 and Pan @18, thank you. You understand completely. Greg, google "Schrodinger's rapist." That's what her boyfriend was in that moment. Someone who might or might not rape her, she had no way to know. She may not have consciously had a fear that this guy, at this moment, was going to hurt her. But like every woman on the planet she had the subconscious knowledge that if he wanted to rape her, he could and would, and there wouldn't be a damn thing she could do about it. She was vulnerable. She didn't know what he was capable of. Then he did stop, so she was able to put aside this subconscious fear and not think to mention it later. If you asked her, "Why didn't you say no/leave/etc?" she would not be able to answer you. That's because this process is not conscious, it is an instinctual reaction to danger.

24

Greg @12, you also forget "no known history of previous victimisation." She did not mention whether she had been the victim of any previous assaults or harassment but the odds are very, very high.

25

The position that women aren't responsible to advocate for what they want and don't want sexually due to fear, is a position that guarantees ongoing victimhood. If that's what you want to support. .. I mean, ok? To each their own. But I'm going to posit that if you can't advocate for what you want sexually, and especially if you then hold onto your negative feelings for months afterward and even more especially if you then take them out on your partner passive aggressively again for months, then you aren't in good enough working order to be in a sexual relationship. And that's a bummer. But also, too fuckin' bad. A lot of people get a raw deal in this world. Deal with your shit. That's your responsibility.

26

I'm a bit amazed at the underlying theme of the responses to my question, which is that women as a gender are rendered helpless by the constant threat of sexual violence from each and every man on the planet. Their respective ages, sizes, levels of physical fitness, and whatever other factors may come into play in life aren't even a factor. Women are victims and men are all "Schrodinger's rapist." Even though the woman in question didn't mention fear, it was of course subconscious because of their respective genders.

Or it's possible that Savage Love commenters are not a representative sample and women as a gender are tougher than that. I certainly hope it's the latter.

27

@3 Sublime, Most human interactions are that way especially if strong feelings and differing motivations are involved. I'm surprised this is new to you. It's also the point of that movie as well as of any stories/movies with unreliable narrators or ambiguous plots/endings.

@14 Harriet, my guess is people who wrote Dan in response to seeing his forum in a different place than The Stranger.

@17 Greg- it's hard to get a grip on what's "common" or not in a world of billions of people, but if I had to guess, I'd say being nonresponsive (as opposed to using your words) with a partner with whom you are reasonably certain is not going to become violent is a fairly common way to show that you are not interested in sexual advances, at least as a first step, as it's likely to discourage further advances without causing a confrontation. Just like you dont say "can I kiss you" every time you kiss someone, you also don't say "please don't kiss me" every time someone leans in. Sometimes you just turn your head. So if you are in bed and someone starts putting their hands on you, you could say "not now honey" or you could just tug yourself tighter in the sheets. Most people will get the message and desist because sex with a cold fish isn't fun. The "freezing" and "gross" part comes later. If you are physically nonresponsive and yet the other person DOES persist, now you are in awkward territory. Like why isn't that person taking the hint? Lots of answers to that question and it gets too specific beyond that to generalize. In my own opinion, it's just like how some people will huff over to the sink full of dishes and make a loud show of annoyance while washing them while other people will point to the sink of dishes and declare aloud "why didn't you wash the dishes?" The message is the same, it's just about personality types. I prefer to be with someone who screams than someone who pouts- we all have our own incompatibilities etc. You could just as easily ask why the person initiating sex does it nonverbally instead of asking for it verbally. But I do agree with you that in the case of that particular letter (the info we have), the woman did not seem to fear that the man would become violent but she does give a few examples of him becoming unpleasant and of her wishing to avoid the confrontation. So it seems on par for them to handle the encounter the way they did.

Zooming out more generally in response to your question @26, something like a fifth of all women have been sexually assaulted so their responses might be influenced by this experience with other partners no matter the likelihood of violence in that situation. But aside from that, you are seeing overrepresentation of something that annoys you rather than looking at the actual sample. The conversation was more nuanced than most posters claiming this or that thing- there was a variety of opinions on it. What they had in common is that everyone sees that issues of safety and consent are something that almost all sexually active women develop strategies to handle. The extent to which that involves freezing or this particular LW is a matter of debate, but the fact that almost every sexually active het woman has strategies to deal with the possibility of sexual violence or power differential is just a response to reality, not a victim complex.

28

You read the papers Greg, @26, see where every week a male ex or present partner kills a woman, children or both? Male partner violence is accepted, nobody does much about it. Domestic violence they call it, hotlines all over during the lockdowns to deal with it. Violence of the physical, screaming sort, mostly perpetrated by men towards their partner and children.
And that’s with people who once claimed love. Girls are warned of stranger danger, ie Men. All our lives, to stay alive, we stay alert to how Men, behave.
Tough you say? Yes we are tough, yet this fear is inside us and personally I’d like to see every girl child learn self defence and assertive training in schools.

29

@27/EmmaLiz: Actually EmmaLiz, I have to disagree that human interactions are generally so fraught or with such massively differing understandings, but to be honest I am really not interested in getting into this with you.

30

The violence is getting worse too, Greg. Over my lifetime many men have not gone with feminism, they don’t want to do women’s work. Rear babies, cook meals.
Also some wonderful men who have embraced the equality and release from masculine straight jackets. These men have been taught by feminist mothers and their notion of how to be differs from the mainstream.
Take abortion. That was done you know. Women’s secret business. Stay Out. Right, how long has that lasted. Women are back at the battle lines, doing the same fight over and over.
Yes mate, we are all tough and might be time you opened your ears and eyes and realised the pressures and constraints women try to survive and thrive under.

31

I mean I guess what annoys me about this "she should use her words" stuff is that the same people saying this probably don't think sex should involve getting verbal consent before each and every encounter, even with established partners. Either we allow that we initiate and reject sex nonverbally or we don't.

Again I personally think that this particular LW would have a better go of things if she did learn to advocate for herself- she sounds like she keeps her opinions and feelings beneath a mask to avoid confrontation and that is sometimes going to lead to miscommunications. And I also agree that this particular LW (in this moment, we know nothing of her past) did not seem afraid her boyfriend would rape her. (Though I admit we don't know as she didn't say but I tend to agree that if she did she might've said so to Dan but who knows since we've already established the fact that she does not use her words.) But these factors seem a separate issue from the fact that this man nonverbally initiated sex (with reasonable expectation to receive it as it was an established sexual relationship but with reasonable expecatation for rejection as well as he was sloppy drunk and she wasnt) and she nonverbally rejected it. And if we allow that body language without words is legit in the first instance, then we can't turn around and say it's not in the second- and he, like any person who is fondling a partner who is lying stiff and still- understood her body language as rejection. I don't understand why we are belabouring this "why don't women use their words, they are acting like perpetual victims" question as if nonverbal body language isn't also communication.

Please note also that the LW did not write saying she felt assaulted, but it is clear that the man understood she was not interested and kept trying anyway for some period of time- the only question is how long. But if you are handsy with someone and they don't respond, you kiss them and they don't respond, you climb on top of them and they still dont respond, then I think the better question is, why do you need a point blank NO as if you are brain damaged and can't understand body language? If you lean in to kiss someone and they turn their head, you don't get up and walk to the other side of that person and then try again- no matter how many times you've kissed them before.

And it is just a fact that women have more likely been in this situation, sometimes it feels that guys will push and push and push until you make things awkward. Like a lot of human interaction involves saving face and white lies to keep the peace. I don't understand why it's so hard for men to believe that sexual encounters likewise involves this. In fact, I don't believe they do think it's so hard. So even being blunt and preferring that others are too and agreeing generally that firm advocacy for onesself and assertiveness is the way to go and that this particular woman handled her evening/morning badly and likewise that she didnt seem to fear for her safety, I call bullshit on this supposed inability to understand that nonverbal communication exists and also on the surprise that most women do have coping strategies (subconscious or deliberate) that run beneath their sexual encounters with men. Like you guys are acting like aliens who just dropped in from another planet and I don't buy it.

32

@14/Harriet: FASH finds Nazis "hot" and wanted to understand whether contextualizing her interest in power differentials using the Nazis was "problematic." We do not need to engage in comparing one example of genocide with another, to understand that the Nazis are toxic and it is unambiguously "problematic" for FASH to be incorporating Nazis into her fantasy life. Nor do we need to unravel why the Nazis engender this fascination while Pol Pot does not. We recognize that they do, and that is why the Nazis are both so toxic and pernicious.

I appreciate that some people may find that ideas, even offensive ideas, in and of themselves, cannot be harmful: the characters that FASH will invent or read about will not harm actual people. But with respect to FASH's concern, masturbating to Nazis still "normalizes" or "trivializes" that history. FASH may be able to entirely wall these fantasies off from the rest of her thoughts and behavior, but she is still romanticizing the characters, imagery, and scenes of Nazism for her sexual gratification, and there is good reason that FASH was troubled by her fantasies.

Again, I say this as someone who enjoys exploring power exchange with partners, and who has written erotica which explores that in words. I cannot police FASH's thoughts, and she is ultimately free to choose the images to which she masturbates, but I will not ease her conscious when it comes to masturbating about Nazis.

33

Isn’t that another tactic we learn, EmmaLiz @31, to avoid confrontation with men? Don’t want to wake the sleeping giant. A man only has to yell a few times, to activate that route for a woman. So we learn to move around the target, to avoid the yell.
No yelling anymore at our place. It’s only since I’ve come out of a thirty year marriage with a man who used his anger to control that I realise what an emotional prison I was in.
Maybe non verbal behaviour and reading it is another skill women develop along the way to read the climate. Maybe men, not so much.
I love watching men’s non verbal behaviour, reading them when they have no idea how much info they are sharing.

34

When ever a lesbian or bi woman over the years, has hit on me, shown interest in me, I rebuke because I’m not into women though I can see why by my dress etc, they might think that. All this done nonverbally. I trust my ability to read others non verbal communication, and use this most of the time to check where others are at, in relation to me.
Less and less I like words. Except with music.
Maybe Dan, it is a gender related thing, and men need to upskill their non verbal behaviour reading.
I don’t think I could follow Dan, if he called spunk, cum. It’s about aesthetics.

35

philosophy school dropout @25 "The position that women aren't responsible to advocate for what they want and don't want sexually due to fear

As EmmaLiz said eloquently @31, "he, like any person who is fondling a partner who is lying stiff and still- understood her body language as rejection."

The LW did communicate what she wanted. He knew she wasn't into it. And eventually he gave up trying to change her mind.

36

Also, Dan, thank you for the anti-spoiler re the beautiful dancer. I was able to relax and watch his legs because you let me know he didn't end up losing a hand. Hope that on round three or four of watching the clip you got to watch his legs too!

37

@32 Sublime
"and there is good reason that FASH was troubled by her fantasies"

I don't think she said that.

OK, she did use the phrase "Much to my horror" WRT that she /has/ this turn on. But my interpretation is that she means that in a 'I wouldn't have chosen this' sense, because:

Nowhere in here letter does she describe actually being troubled emotionally by her fantasies. And there's a signal that she isn't: she asks if her fantasy Nazis are "trivializing" the real ones.

In other words, she's not fantasizing about real Nazis, she's fantantasizing fantasies in which the characters are trivialized fantasy Nazis.

"I will not ease her conscious"

(Assuming you mean 'conscience', ) we have no reason to think her conscience needs easing (by the trivialized imaginary shadows of Nazis she invents to get off on thoughts of).

I went on at such length in the original thread
https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2020/05/19/43714880/savage-love/comments?page=2
(@114@127@150) there would be no purpose in me repeating myself so I'm going to assume that you've read though I don't assume you have yet, but I'm surprised at you, Sublime.

"FASH may be able to entirely wall these fantasies off from the rest of her thoughts and behavior"

One thing I went on about in that original thread, was that the wall can also be between real Nazis and the ones in her fantasies.

It strikes me that people don't know how fantasies work. For example, remember all the threads where people explain that nearly everyone consuming incest porn are fantasizing about imaginary family members (and are appropriately horrified at the thought of sex IRL with their real family members)?

It seems to me that people's appropriate horror WRT real Nazis are getting in the way of them seeing that we can't assume that the Nazis in someone's fantasies are real Nazis. And if you do you end up thinking something about the fantasizer that's both unwarranted and judgemental.

Don't any of you actually have fantasies yourself? Are you aware of how they work? Think about them. You're able to design them with any parameters you like, right? So why are you assuming their fantasies have anything troubling to do with the real world Nazis?

38

@37 p.s.
And no assuming was necessary; FASH was right there in the Comments, and yet no one asked her.

I didn't ask her either, but that was because I saw no sign it was called for.

Incidentally, because I pasted my email into the original thread she contacted me (though honestly I did so in case any of the Commentariat might want to contact me, it didn't occur to me that she would; but I was happy to try to be helpful).

So if anyone wants to actually know instead of just assume things, I could direct her to your questions.

39

@32 Sub;imeAfterglow - Ultimately, it's not the people who think the Nazis were hot who are a major problem in the world today - it's the people who think the Nazis were right we should worry about.

40

For me, having a fantasy can be like watching a movie. One I create. One I'm as firewalled as I want to be both:

(One)
From how much the characters are imaginary forms which relate, or not, to real life characters only in whatever way (if at all) and degree to which (if at all) I wish or don't wish, .

(Two)
From whether or not (for me it's best to, and I nearly always choose 'not') I allow it to seem in even the slightest way real.

One is like creating a movie. Two is like the the way viewers of a film know it's not real.

(But honestly, since a film can be quite emotionally impactful [factor two], I make sure to create the fantasy [factor one] such that I'm 1000% free of concern about there being any impact of the fantasy experience.

I can't believe this is a unique experience. But for all I know maybe my aphantasia (complete inability to 'see' pictures in my mind, 3% have it) does make my facility for fantasizing different.

41

And look, yeah, HARSH could have responded better, but, honestly, how hard is it to seductively whisper "You want it?" in the object or one's desire's ear during an otherwise nonverbal encounter?

42

A couple points still haven’t been made about HARSH.

For one, there are lots of different ways to no verbally reject someone. As lots of people are saying, any of these are valid, and no one should blame HARSH for choosing to communicate in that way.

One way would be to turn away. Another would be to push him away. Another would be to stiffen up. Another would be to go limp. Another would be to be participate minimally, but not show any enthusiasm.

Again, any of these are perfectly fine. Men are not so clueless they can’t pick up on any of these, and there is no excuse for a man to continue after he realizes what is going on. But, obviously some signals get picked up on faster than others. There is going to be some lag time. And the lag time will vary among even well-intentioned, sober men. LW asked for advice, and one obvious piece of advice is: if you want your partner to get the message quicker, send a quicker message.

43

Never mind the second point. “Jack-booted tugs” was excellent.

44

She felt she wasn’t actually making choices— she said she froze— so advice from us may not be helpful to her. Whatever the reasons for the freezing up, hopefully a therapist could help.

45

@38 Curious...

While I accept that other people's private fantasies are what they are and that we should not phone up the thought police, and while I like to discuss these things in theory as humans are interesting confounding creatures and human society therefore is endlessly fascinating, and while I would try my best to handle a friend or love one's intimate confession of extremely problematic fantasies in whatever way seemed healthiest for them with full knowledge that sexuality is not a neat thing and that it's also not in our control (in the way that our actions are)- I would absolutely not personally pursue any conversation with someone who I know gets off on either fascism or pedophilia.

If you'd like to do that research and write back with a response, I'd happily read it and make inquiries as it's fodder for my urge to dig around in the human mind and see what comes out. But I do a pretty good job of keeping that urge occupied in the hypothetical realm- anyone who really gets off on nazis? Well I need to keep the distance and email wouldn't do it. If she knows her fantasy nazis aren't real nazis then I don't see the need to write a letter asking about it, and I've seen enough fascist attention seeking and manipulation (frog in the boiling water, getting people used to it before they drink the kool aid) to not be skeptical in the first place. What I mean is, the topic interests me in the same way the mindset of a religious fundamentalist interests me- I have no desire to have a real human encounter with such a person but rather to see them clinically, historically. A real live person who wants to talk about how they get off on nazis? If they are so clear about these distinctions they don't write asking for advice about how to feel about it as they understand these clear distinctions in the first place. In short I think you are being a little credulous.

If the LW just needs to hear - hey jackboots are hot and so is losing control (or taking it)- then alright. What's interesting about that? It's not that I suspect the person is interested in fascism. Maybe they are but the fantasies are beside the point. It's that I suspect the person is interested in the sort of transgressive thrills that require one to be desensitized to actual real human suffering in order to feel something exciting. It happens to be nazis for a variety of cultural reasons (simple ones I suggested are the ubiquitousness of that iconography in our culture, CMD had a deeper and more interesting response about sexual tension / exploration being baked in the nazi cake in the first place)- but I think it's a bit on the nose that this person would write about it to Dan and email you about it too. Whole lotta I'm-just-asking going on IMO.

46

Mr HARSH got the message, because he complained the next day that HARSH had rejected him. If she had used her words the night before, wouldn’t he have also complained about being rejected?
The real problem here, and maybe why it’s caused issues for months, is that her words would have probably done no better, because he didn’t see she having the right to reject sex at all, however she did it.
I hope HARSH moves on, because a man of fifty nit being able to read those clues and accept her right to reject his drunken slobbering, then to apologise, is not worth the effort.

47

Oh, private emails now.
Totally agree EmmaLiz, @45. You nailed it. Thank you.

48

@26. Greg. Obviously it's the case that SOME women are physically stronger than SOME men. But you're denying, in effect, that there's a psychic dimension to being a woman (just as there is to being a man). That, by being a member of the sex traditionally subordinated to men, in some cultures passed between men in marriage, often relegated to ancillary roles in work, (almost universally) expected to charm, accommodate and placate male idiosyncrasy, women internalise an idea of themselves as subject to male whim--such that they need to avoid confrontation as a default, frequently to deflect violence. Of course a woman, in her learnt but automatic actions, will be more likely to be 'a woman' in this way. This is whatever her temperament, her politics or her physique.

@23. Bi. This could be the place to say that many gay male/GQ bottoms are conflict-avoidant, in sexual situations with men, especially new lovers, in ways comparable to women. There are signs you learn very quickly, if you're at all femme-appearing, that you're with a volatile gay homophobe and need to deflate in order to avoid getting your head kicked in.

@25. philosophy school dropout. It's been a given in the discussion that women, as well as men, should advocate clearly for themselves. HARSH was the first to say that she made a string of mistakes in her interactions with her bf that night, probably the first of which was letting him drink so much by himself or not putting a stop to his pushiness when drunk--while another mistake, a bit down the line, was not calling a cab but allowing him to prevail on her to stay the night. I would agree with the view that it would be wrong to suppose the FIRST place she should have stood up for himself, the first place she should have mounted principled vocal opposition to his shabby treatment of her, was when he drunkenly overlooked her signals she wasn't interested in sex. Yes, she should and could have said 'no' at that point. But she should have said, 'no'--in effect, 'no, you can't behave like this'; 'no, I'm not putting up with this'--all evening. If, subconsciously, she had committed to a course of deflection and deflation, then it is easy to understand why she didn't depart from this pattern when at last he came on to her for too long in bed.

49

@32. Sublime. I think you mistake HARSH's fetish. She isn't interested in 'power differentials'. She's interested in Nazis. Her fantasies are of gay male Nazis fucking each other. I don't even know that, in the stories she consumes, there's a toppy male Nazi giving it to a subby guy, maybe younger, who's also a Nazi or e.g. caught up in Hitler Youth. That sort of differential wouldn't seem implicit in the 'meme' Nazi--which is of an evil man, holding a position in a militaristic command structure, wearing highly stylised uniform.

Obviously it's the right thing to do to strip the elements of the fantasy that have no necessary connection to WWII Nazism e.g. the uniforms, the men, e.g. short haircuts, e.g. blond hair from the paraphernalia that says specifically 'Nazi'. She should. If she can get off to porn that's set in a kind of Starship Troopers world, rather than wartime 1944, she totally should. But what if she can't? What if it's Nazis all the way down? That's her question.

50

@45. Emma. I'm with you in your background presumption that fantasies bleed over and have real-world consequences (even if this is only consequences for what people are like in our psyches).

But when you talk about an 'interest[] in the sort of transgressive thrills that require one to be desensitized to actual real human suffering in order to feel something exciting', my thought is: what if it's just Nazis? What is the fetish is just Nazis? We say of a plushophile that the fetish is just fur; say of ADBP participants that the fetish is just diapers. (I.e., we don't go round saying, with our psychiatrist's hat on, 'this kink addresses the trauma of never having been sufficiently held or swaddled in childhood'). It's just diapers. Maybe the sensitive thing to do re HARSH's kink is to understand it minimally.

51

@45 EmmaLiz
"I would absolutely not personally pursue any conversation"

As I said, nor did I. But once it came to me, I did try to provide advice to another human being.

"I know gets off on either fascism or pedophilia"

We don't know that FASH does. Who knows what her fantasy 'Nazis' are like? They might all be a cross between Sergeant Schultz and an Elmer Fudd cartoon. That was an unjustified assumption.

"If you'd like to do that research"

What research? You mean my offer to pass on /others'/ questions?

As I said I have no questions for her; as far as I'm concerned it's none of my business, and I am not inclined to go digging about to find things out about people that might disturb me. (Because being disturbed, disturbs me, and I don't like being disturbed.)

"If they are so clear about these distinctions they don't write asking for advice about how to feel about it as they understand these clear distinctions in the first place."

Maybe. (Another assumption.) Or maybe she's just really bored sheltering-in-place, who knows? It wasn't in the letter, but she's pretty young, maybe she's a sensitive snowflake.

Maybe it would help for you to re-read the letter. She's didn't say she's troubled by it. The letter said:

"this proclivity is not reflective of any deeper issues, and I'm both sexually and emotionally fairly well sorted. Not perfect, but fine working order and all that."

I'm not assuming it was any more than a sheltering-bored naive millennial trying to figure out if there's some way in which they aren't living up to some nutty millennial code, because here's what she asked:

"I'd love your input on whether seeking out Nazi porn is problematic for some of the same reasons that porn depicting sex with kids is problematic."

Is it because that's such a dumb question that people want to pretend she didn't ask it?

The letter concluded with:

"Am I normalizing and trivializing fascism?"

But (1) "trivializing" scores a point for my not assuming the beings populating her fantasy are real flesh and blood Nazis and (2) asking us about "normalizing" sounds like a millennial snowflakey question to me; and I'd simply decline to answer that because we have no way of telling her anything about what's going on in her head (and if by "normalizing" she meant not just in her head but outside her head, that sounds like a crazy snowflakey question about one's fantasies to me too).

In other words, what you imagine to be serious roots of her question is, for all we know, silly roots.

"In short I think you are being a little credulous."

It's possible, but if so it's intentional. Because as I said if she really has disturbing things going on in her head, the less I hear about them the better since I don't want to be disturbed by disturbing things; generally speaking I love when people leave things unsaid that I'd rather not hear.

And I really am inclined to respect people's fantasies and fetishes. My own are relatively pedestrian as such things go here. But I was particularly surprised to hear Sublime's position; because from what he's shared about his own sex life, plenty of deeply ignorant people would be happy to make the mistake of judging it's effects. And not just Sublime, the same goes for all of us! Which is why I think it's important not to start questioning others' fantasies. I think this is a principled stand.

So your comment was smart and articulate, but we really don't know which of us is right. And (as has been a theme of mine here over the years) I think it's a mistake to assume things.

And in the case of this situation, I would particularly like to not assume things because it's a slippery slope once people start questioning what others get off on (so best not to unless absolutely necessary). And because in this case we're just asking to be disturbed if we insist upon fishing for something to disturb us (and if I can avoid it I am not in favor of being disturbed).

Though I agree, to know if the things going on in her head we'd need to ask. But no one apparently wants to. I don't want to because I don't want invite being disturbed upon myself. Everyone else seems just to want to /assume/.

52

@51 p.s.
Imagine yourself asking her. You wouldn't would you. I think you wouldn't (and we all didn't) because it's insulting to someone to start interrogating them over ways in which the might be disturbed by their fantasies even though didn't say a word about being disturbed by them. And no one wants to insult someone to their face; or apparently even given the opportunity in writing.

IMO it's worse to assume.

53

Dan, looking at HARSH’s situation, we have in a nutshell a basic problem which occurs between the sexes. As a man and a gay man you can say till you’re blue in the face, to use your words, that no means no, and all of it is meaningless if the man is only self referencing. Which is what Mr HARSH did. As well as being clueless re a pretty clear vibe HARSH wasn’t interested.
How he did that, only self reference, was by saying she rejected him. When what she was doing was saying no to sex. And that is the bane of many hetero women’s lives, men who take no time to think thru behaviours, and see where they blundered and then apologize for it.
If HARSH had used her words, then he would have used his and they wouldn’t have been. ’ sorry sorry, I’ll stop..’ they probably would have been some grunt about being rejected and who knows what else. A drunk man is not in control of himself, anger rises quickly with drunks.
Add learning empathy to the upskills list for men, along with reading non verbal behaviour, and respecting it as a valid form of communication. The cold shoulder does it all without words exchanged.

54

Sweden's gamble for herd immunity failed

"Just 7.3% of Stockholm’s inhabitants had developed Covid-19 antibodies by the end of April [even though]...“a little more than 20%” of the capital’s population had probably contracted the virus."(1)

"“I think herd immunity is a long way off, if we ever reach it”"(2)

"Experts say populations can achieve so-called herd immunity to a virus when about 60% of people have caught it."(3)

Sweden has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates per capita in the world.(4)

(1) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/21/just-7-per-cent-of-stockholm-had-covid-19-antibodies-by-end-of-april-study-sweden-coronavirus

(2) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-sweden-strategy/swedish-antibody-study-shows-long-road-to-immunity-as-covid-19-toll-mounts-idUSKBN22W2YC

(3) https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-antibody-study-suggests-sweden-not-reaching-herd-immunity-2020-5

(4) https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

55

curious, you have identified as an advocate for the LW. Your impartiality is compromised.
Yes, saw that about Sweden. Motherfucker of a virus. If a virus had a mother.

56

What we let into our minds, curious, is up to each of us.
Up to the LW what her fantasies are about, I don’t have any stakes in her sexual life.
I have my response to the content as have others. You trying to change minds like Nazis is some malleable notion, is clueless. One day a princess Nazis and the next a jackboot one.
You got your view, and we all hear it. Respect other’s rights to theirs.

57

@55 LavaGirl
"curious, you have identified as an advocate for the LW."

No I haven't.

"Your impartiality is compromised."

Bullshit.

I've identified, as I have for years, as an 'advocate' for not being judgemental, and not making assumptions. You would be right to notice that for years you've been the primary Commenter who has called for this advocacy of mine.

58

PS @ 5
How about co-writing a script? I’m inclined to honor the original sets with the main action takes place in the woods. The different accounts of the participants will be told while a horrendous rain is going on. This portion can also turn part-mocumentary, embedding some of their past experiences as they talk about them in grainy black and white, slow motion of what happened in the woods while using different camera angles, jittery hand-held shots. Could be interesting.

SA @ 32
Yes, the nazi theme is indeed problematic. I would still leave it at that and let people figure it out. FASAH came across as a well aware person who can manage separating life from fantasy.
Whether intentional or not, your last sentence, “but I will not ease her conscious when it comes to masturbating about Nazis” may actually point to what could be part of the thrill. The forbidden taboo fruit, the well kept dirty secret.

Some kinks are strongly associated with defying social norms, often contradicting one’s real life and beliefs.
You come across as a thoughtful person yet by your own admission capable of beating up women fairly severely in a derogatory sexual play context.
I’m sure at least some of if not most of the women consenting to your abuse-play are well-educated professionals, strong feminists who live their lives and project themselves in a totally different manner outside of your dungeon.

I have no doubt that most of those who know me will be stunned if they saw me cleaning someone’s kitchen while wearing a maid uniform, not to mention carefully following orders while keeping my big mouth shut for a prolonged time.

Let FASH have her nazis. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the magic will wear out in the future and she will look back and be able to laugh at her herself, maybe even tell others.
Regardless, she will still have some good vibrations coming her way.

59

I'll bet that woman LW to whom Mr Savage referred ended up desensitizing herself to anti-gay slurs and now uses them with her husband as part of ordinary conversation.

M?? Harriet - That phenomenon is not restricted to bottoms, but I don't think arguing for an extension of an altered standard will be that productive. That whole discussion was brilliantly summarized once by Ms Cute in the famous quote, "I want to be equal except when I don't."

60

@58 CMD - Outdoor sex? Kinky. No wonder you're interested in 1920s Berlin. I must say I've been turning the idea over, although I've been thinking more about the narrative aspects (who are our characters? What secret is each one keeping? What mystery happens during the orgy that needs to be explained? What's the French maid doing in the woods? etc). The right narrative could also allow us to explore some darker themes in a nuanced and complex way.

61

I will note, in terms of finding interesting narratives and darker themes, Savage Love is a treasure trove.

62

Greg @26, or you're misinterpreting the answers to your question. You asked why fear was mentioned as a potential factor. We told you. Then you (and Phil) jumped to "oh, so all women are victims and have no agency?" Face palm. No, women are not all helpless victims who can never, ever say no when a man makes an advance. Surely from experience you know this. But you're asking, "why did my cake not rise, I put in eggs and flour and milk?" And we're saying, "You forgot the baking powder." And you're saying, "Oh, so cake contains nothing but baking powder??" Fear of rape is ONE INGREDIENT in our interactions with men. Much of the time it is not there at all because we CAN in fact trust some men, men we know, to respect a no. But in situations where rape is a possibility, we are aware that rape is a possibility in a way that never even crosses a man's mind because he has no intention to rape. We cannot know the man's intention until he either rapes us or does not rape us, when initial actions are taken that mirror the first steps of a rape. This does not make us frightened lambs, it makes us realistic women. This LW's fear was not a given due to the respective genders, it was logical given the facts of the situation -- his drunkenness, her reaction. A risen cake can be reasonably guessed to contain baking powder. Make sense now?

63

EmmaLiz @31, Joe @42, well said. "I mean I guess what annoys me about this "she should use her words" stuff is that the same people saying this probably don't think sex should involve getting verbal consent before each and every encounter, even with established partners. Either we allow that we initiate and reject sex nonverbally or we don't." Yes! Thank you! The same people saying "you should lean in for a kiss, not ask for one, that's not romantic" are saying "why didn't she use her words." You're right that communication styles vary and people should learn to expect that. Not responding to sexual advances is communication anyone should understand. Unfortunately, not everyone does understand that, and this man was drunk. If the hint is not received, words must be used. But this particular woman is too passive, witness not just her freezing up in the moment but being afraid to rock the boat the following day, when there was no present (actual or perceived) threat. Her body language conflicted with her words and which is the guy to believe?

64

@BiDiFan -- Fear wasn't mentioned as a "potential" factor. You asserted that she was afraid, of being raped even though she never mentioned it (see comments 22, 23 and 24). I certainly agree that a woman in that situation COULD be afraid of being raped, but assuming that must have been the case in this instance casts all women in the helpless victim role.

I'm fairly certain my mother could break my father in two if she ever gets the urge. I'm totally certain that if she ever writes to Dan with a problem where she neglected to advocate for herself a gaggle of commenters will crop up to say how she must have been afraid of him on some level (even though she could probably toss him across the room).

Personally, I think assuming this woman was afraid of her date without her having said so is demeaning to all women.

65

@59. venn. There should be a universal standard for men and women--that the person initiating sex should check in to see if their overture is desired. The same should go for e.g. a woman going down on a man, talking dirty, as for the guy in this case--drunkenly pestering his gf of 4-5 months after having been pushy in conversation. Our background sense might be that it is usually men who pushily initiate sex, and not women. It might also be that the female-initiated sex act I suggested is usually welcome and desired in a het context. But the point is that the onus is on the person wordlessly making the move.

As for 'I want to be equal except when I don't'--it's nonsense. Empty. It's either misspoken or it sets out something unconscionable.

The reason is that the usual circumstances in which het feminists say they don't want to be 'equal' have nothing actually to do with equality at all. Take a dominant guy topping a het woman sexually. They're equal. The correct basis on which they have entered into having sex is that of equality. That's safe sex--the woman being able to stop the sex at any time. They are both roleplaying an easily available role given how men and women have typically related to each other.

There are other contexts where men show women consideration or some special sort of 'chivalrous' treatment e.g. holding doors open, speaking for the couple in public to service staff (not always received well...); and these are holdovers from a more thorough patriarchal organisation of gender roles. When women agree to them, it isn't because they accept they aren't equal, are e.g. weaker such that they require chaperoning. It's another form of playacting or manners, which rests on the same presumption of equality in a relationship.

Feminism really believes in equality. The sort of 'difference feminism' that says sometimes it wants equality and sometimes it doesn't is either 1) making a joke, 2) playing with words, or 3) it's wrong--it sets out a standard which, as well as being incomprehensible, fails of justice.

@64. Greg. You haven't listened. Not taken on board points that were different from your priors. Are you communicating in order to make assertions, or in order to persuade someone? Or to learn?

Would you think a female Olympic powerlifter still 'a woman', quite possibly, in her propensity to defer to men and deflect confrontation?

66

@65 -- A female Olympic powerlifter who defers to a man for whatever her reasons is still a woman. Automatically assuming she defers to a man because she's afraid of him raping her is insulting to her and assumes that female = victim. That is not a hard concept, but some folks on here seem determined not to understand it.

67

Greg @64, underlying knowledge that men are capable of rape + reacting in such a way that implies one may be afraid = a reasonable assumption that in this particular case, this particular woman had a subconscious fear of rape. It does not mean that all women are helpless victims. You're the one who seems determined not to understand this, so I'm going to leave it here, and congratulate you on the male privilege that means you've never had to worry about such things.

68

It’s ironic when just about all the women speak about one aspect of the shared, lived experience of being a woman, and men chime in to say it ain’t so.

69

Greg, you were wondering why some people thought she was afraid though she did not say so. I'm not asserting that she WAS afraid, I am explaining why people thought she may well have been afraid, and why her actions seem irrational but can easily be understood if one assumes she was afraid. Got it?

70

Fubar @68, exactly! And then they accuse the women, whom they haven't tried listening to, of demeaning women. Greg, dude, you're the one who's demeaning us by not even trying to wrap your head around this. You're creating straw men by citing Olympic power lifters, when the odds that LW is one are minuscule. You're the one who's insulting women here, I suggest you stop pretending to take our side.

71

@BiDanFan -- I did not create the straw man Olympic power lifter -- I was responding to Harriet's example.

You, earlier: "Google rape statistics. Which is why situations like this are so scary women freeze up and react like HARSH did, by silently hoping he stops. Sure, THIS guy didn't rape her, but every man is Schrodinger's Rapist until he does or doesn't rape you. Google that too. Men simply don't understand how scary it can be for someone who is twice your size with much more muscle mass to make unwanted advances. The knowledge is always there that if he wanted to rape you, there would be bugger all you could do, so you'd better just pray he doesn't want to rape you. That's what HARSH was doing...." and "She SUBCONSCIOUSLY feared for her safety," led me to believe you assumed she feared for her safety.

Saying it was a possibility is perfectly reasonable, and I have any problem agreeing with it being a possibility. Saying that if she feared for her safety it's likely she would have mentioned it in her letter to Dan also seems reasonable to me, but the commentariat disagrees. And saying that a women might defer to a man for reasons other than fearing for her safety seems to upset some people for reasons that are a mystery to me.

72

*Saying it was a possibility is perfectly reasonable, and I DON'T have any problem agreeing....

Sorry for the omission.

73

Greg @72, thank you for your calm and rational response. Reading the letter initially, "she was afraid" was not my initial reaction but I do think it's highly likely that she was afraid, so likely it didn't make sense to deny that this was the case. I was responding to your assertion that she did not fear for her safety because she didn't say she did. Perhaps I should have phrased it, "any fear she had was likely subconscious," and that's why women -- who have pretty much all had similar experiences -- presumed the presence of fear. Would we be afraid in that situation? To a greater or lesser extent, most of us absolutely would be. And this woman is clearly very meek and conflict averse, more so than most, which means the odds that she in particular was afraid go way up. The fact that most of us would experience some level of fear in that situation does not make us "helpless victims," it means we are conscious of potential threats. He was a potential threat until he finally got the hint and stopped touching her. Agreed, humans are complex; women have BOTH been socialised to avoid conflict AND have an underlying awareness of the danger of rape. I think it is oversimplifying to pin her actions exclusively on one and not at all on the other. But since you didn't think fear was a factor and a majority of women do, are you willing to revise your opinion of how strong a possibility it is that she was experiencing some fear in that moment? That people who know the female mind because we have one might be on target in guessing what she was feeling?

74

Insufferable bullydom in support of perpetual victimhood. Savage Love, 2020.

Dan! Save yourself! Retire!

75

PS @ 60-
As I recall Rashomon is about a woman attacked by few men, all expressing their regret and blaming themselves for the outcome. Kurosawa and co. rigged cameras and glided them between the trees, music resembled Ravel's Bolero.
We can change it in different directions, a twist with corresponding images and plots, and yes, look no further for SL as an inspiration. (I have some casting ideas as well but not sure how this will be perceived by the future stars.)

As for the plot, think Rashomon meets little red riding hood.… an innocent maid is on its way to deliver hummus for grandma who lives I the forest. At some point she is surrounded by a pack of horny wolves. Forest women equipped with penis-shaped batons come to the rescue. The ensuing battle becomes sexual with all sorts of activities and interactions. At some point grandma show up and picks couple wolves to play with.
Once it’s over the maid sets up the picnic basket and they all have hummus and sparkling water.

The interviews section is supposedly done years later. We see older folks reflect on what happened, throw in some guilt-induced clichés with corresponding black and white footage. A young guy remembers grandma telling him that wondering alone in the woods may lead to great adventures.

76

BiDiFan @73, thank you for your calm and rational response as well. I never asserted that she didn't fear for her safety. I asked if it was likely for a woman to freeze in that situation -- "In this particular instance, in a fairly detailed letter about a situation that bothered her for months and she felt strongly enough to write Dan about, the letter writer never mentions feeling afraid or intimidated and yet numerous commenters are certain that fear kept her from saying no. I'm trying to understand if this is likely or if the commenters are searching for a reason to cast him as the villian and her as the victim in a situation that I perceive as two drunk people communicating poorly."

I imagine her reluctance to speak was a combination of factors, and fear could have been one of them. I also imagine that if fear had been a major factor in the situation she would have said so in her letter to Dan. I still believe that assuming fear was her primary motivation for staying quiet in the absence of her saying so is reinforcing a stereotype of woman as victim.

None of this feels remotely controversial to me, but we all have our own perspective.

77

M?? Harriet - No; you take the dominant man topping a DS woman - much more your street than mine. Your essentialist invited inference that among gays only bottoms are ever deferential said more than enough. You do get some credit, though, for trying to stem the flood of sentiment that it's only okay for women to divert or deflect.

It was an exact quote from Ms Cute, I believe from a time before your being among the assembled company. At least one particular was given; she admitted to not wanting to surrender being the first one on the lifeboat. It was a serious post.

Obviously I've no stake in where standards are set for FM or FF encounters. It's more a case of wanting it established when the Woman Card can be played and when it cannot. That matters much more than how often.

(My apologies if this turns out to be #69 - when I began it, the previous post was #66.)

78

Anyone who thinks that Nazi sex fantasies are problematic because they "trivialize" or "normalize" fascism needs to deeply ponder "Stalag fiction". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_fiction
In Israel in the 1950s (when much of the population was actual Holocaust survivors), Nazi porn was incredibly popular. The only reason its popularity declined was because the government banned it! If actual Holocaust survivors and their families found Nazi porn a turn-on, it's rather questionable to suggest it's bankshot pro-Nazi.

79

Greg VA: your comments grow further off-base the more I read. I can't tell if you're intentionally dense or just trying to argue in bad faith. You're acting like she had some full-on flashback panic attack during the incident and then called the cops on him the next morning, and we're discussing whether she should continue to press charges.

Calm down dude. She was mildly disgusted by his drunken pushy behavior during the night in question. It probably would have blown over but the next morning he doubled down on his "I don't like to take no for an answer" behavior by whining about how "rejected" he felt, until she felt obligated to apologize for saying no. Accordingly, she just doesn't like him as much now.

It's the equivalent of puking in your date's bathroom and not properly cleaning it up in the morning. Not a crime, but gross drunk behavior plus not making it right in the morning often can spell the end of a just-started relationship.

80

@78 Fuzzy
That's an interesting insight into the human mind!

81

@75 CMD - You are very naughty. It just so happens that many years ago. I wrote a Red Riding Hood themed script for an animation a friend was planning, although sadly he did not have the opportunity to make it in the end. The only line I can remember is without delving into my archive is "Wolf (hungrily): What you got in the basket, Red? All sorts of goodies, I guess." I wonder if I still got a copy of the script somewhere?

82

@79 -- I'm not sure whose comments you're reading but go back and try again. How did you turn "....a situation I perceive as two drunk people communicating poorly" into a "(y)ou're acting like she had some full-on flashback panic attack during the incident and then called the cops on him"?

83

I'd like to relate a similar experience that I had quite a few years ago. My bf of a couple years was living with me at the time. We started messing around, but I wasn't really feeling it. I told him so. Yes, I used my words. He continued to try and mess with me. I pushed his hands away and once again told him No. He got on top of me and tried to wriggle his way between my legs. I laid there like a dead fish until he finally got the message and huffed off. At no point was I actually afraid, but I believe that was because I completely shut down. Nothing like that ever happened again and I more or less stuffed it down the memory hole. Now, I'm no pantywaist, but this dude had 75-100 lbs on me. If he had really wanted to rape me, I'm sure he would have. But at heart he was a coward and knew that it would end up badly for him if he had. And even though I am instinctually a fighter I have no idea how I would have reacted in that moment if he had continued to push me. I legit froze up - and this was after I used both words and actions to make it clear that I did not want to have sex.

No matter how a woman advocates for herself, there is no way to tell how she may react in such a situation. This does not make her a shrinking violet or an eternal victim. It simply makes her human.

84

@66. Greg. It's not about saying 'all women defer' or 'automatically assuming' that a woman will defer to a guy on the basis of being a woman. The point is that, much more than the other way round, a woman is primed to defer, is socialised to defer. A woman internalises the habitual role and social behavior of being a woman, as this is differentiated from being a man.

My suggestion was that this internalisation of role, this identification with being a woman, will go on whether there are underlying physical reasons for it or not--whether a woman is hefty and could likely 'take' a man, or the more average case that a woman is physically slighter than a man and could not fight him off.

Your idea seems to be that it's disempowering to women to presume that they all go round behaving in constrained ways through fear of rape. No. It's not disempowering. And no one is saying to women, 'no, don't do that, don't take that risk, turn down that wild and possibly liberatory chance of pleasure because you might get raped'. It's more about noting that, in unfamiliar personal and sexual situations, women will typically have a standing fear of violence in the back of their minds. An analogy might be to think that it over-emphasises children's incomplete personal autonomy to note their dependence on their parents or caregivers. 'You are denying children's full personhood!'. No--I'm just describing what it's like to be a child in society.

84

Greg @76, thank you for clarifying. I do admit it is easy for my emotions to run high when men are denying, or at minimum failing to accept, the truths of the female experience. You say you don't want to assume women fear men because that stereotypes them as victims, but the truth is that a large majority of women ARE victims of sexual violence of some sort at some point in their lives. You may as well say, "I don't want to stereotype men as being able to grow facial hair." However, you are conflating "victim" and "helpless." We are aware that we may be victims. We probably have been victims. We are unlikely to be able to fend off a determined rapist. All these are facts but you seem to think that admitting to them means I (a woman myself, a survivor of rape myself) am "helpless" and therefore "weak" and therefore I am somehow insulting myself by pointing out the reality that sexual violence is an issue we all have to deal with, either in real or hypothetical terms. I would encourage you, if you want to do something about this, to not focus on trying to "empower" women by denying we are at risk, but by speaking up whenever other men make rape-culture comments. By ACCEPTING the reality, not trying to deny it. Picture yourself in bed with Andre the Giant who is drunk and pawing at you. Would that not be a little bit scary? Of course it would. Does it not say something to you that the people who are alleging that her freezing up is a sign that she was experiencing fear are women?

To answer your questions, yes, it is likely someone in that situation who was afraid would freeze, and therefore it's likely that her freezing is an indication that she was afraid. And no, women are not saying this because they want to cast him as a villain. Read what we wrote -- the only wrongdoing most of us see is being upset that he was denied sex. You seem to want to directly tie her fear to whether HE, IN PARTICULAR, was a clear and present danger to her. You don't seem to see that his intentions were unknown to her and are therefore not directly connected to any fear she was experiencing. You seem more interested in proving a man's innocence than understanding why a woman might be afraid of something that may or may not happen.

Here's an example: Let's say you are walking in a dangerous part of town late at night. In the distance, you hear shouting, perhaps even gunshots. Someone taps you on the shoulder. You panic and spin around, eyes like saucers. It's a friend of yours. Has this friend done anything wrong? No. Does that mean you were wrong to feel afraid, prior to assessing you were not under threat? No. Do you understand now what may have been going through her mind? You can accept both that she was experiencing fear in the moment AND that he was not a threat to her. These facts are not contradictory.

Sangui @83, I had a similar response when a literal stranger in a dark alley attempted to rape me. I screamed, I begged, I attempted to push him away. At some point, like you, I accepted the inevitable and just lay there lifeless and unmoving. If he was going to do this to my body, I didn't want to be present. Fortunately, going stiff as a board meant he was unable to penetrate me, and as he struggled, my brain started working. I bet he doesn't actually have a knife like he claimed, I never saw a knife. As he fumbled, suddenly he no longer seemed so all powerful. I seized the element of surprise, grabbed him by the throat, pushed him off me and ran off across the street, naked from the waist down. So yeah, I don't need some dude attempting to advocate for me by telling me that women have nothing to be afraid of.

85

Sangui @83, I'm glad you're OK, and I hope you dumped the motherfucker already.

86

One last point for Greg: You are equating experiencing fear with being a "helpless victim," when this is absolutely not so. Fear is a survival instinct! If humans did not experience fear, we would have been hunted to extinction by predators millennia ago. Experiencing fear means a woman's instinct for self preservation is kicking in. It does not mean she is weak, it means she is formulating her defence against potential danger. Fear doesn't make her a victim, it makes her a survivor.

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@74. philosophy school dropout. How is inviting someone to engage in a rational argument bullying them?

@77. venn. Then I will say that in gay life, characteristic tops and bottoms negotiate their sexual encounters, and both rightly defer to and accommodate the other. I don't see it can be possible to be either 'essentialist' or the opposite of essentialist--'sensitive to shaping social or cultural factors'--in making presumptions about gay male tops and bottoms, in that both are evidently social roles, which have evolved relatively recently. Both parties involved are aware of this. The mindset of anyone in that situation is going to be 'as someone with a certain temperament, I am more inclined to do certain things'--e.g. to be passive in sex, to initiate roughly without preamble. It won't be 'as an X' (as a woman, as a bottom), 'I'll instinctively act like this'. Further, the value placed on being vers in gay sex means that, in any spontaneous sexual encounter between strangers or near-strangers, the bottom is much more likely to take an uncharacteristic role (for him) than a het woman is e.g. to pull a pegging rig out of her handbag to propose something hardly suggested by any essentialist conception of gender.

I would think nocutename was making a joke. The joke would seem to be that it is not self-interested to give up privileges readily. The fourteen year old accepts being designated as a child when the question is of being served first at supper table (and she's hungry), but not when it's of going to bed at 9pm. The point doesn't necessarily have anything to do with feminism. If you can find anyone arguing that it exposes the inadequacies of 'equality feminism', holes it below the water, or should nocute want to come back to argue the case seriously (I'm guessing she doesn't ... really doesn't), then of course I'll consider the argument ... and of course say that feminists should abandon difference feminism and embrace equality feminism.

Why you think the most ordinary or banal form of heterosexual sex is more my scene than yours escapes me.

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@77. Venn. The Woman Card can be played when women's historical experience has been undervalued or overlooked.

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M?? Harriet - Thank you for clarifying. On gay interactions, I doubt we can find enough common vocabulary for a profitable discussion. Just please don't queersplain gays; people might believe you, and your views can do my people considerable harm if the Wainthropps accept them as Total Truth. And any sexual activities involving women in any capacity are far closer to your venue than mine.

I stick with Mrs Woolf, whose definition of feminism made no reference to equality one way or any other. Equality is far too complex a rabbit hole - and in certain contexts much more important to DS people than to exclusive SS people. If you don't think I'm capable of remembering enough of a thread and a post that you never saw with sufficient accuracy to be believed, then we're not likely to get anywhere. It was one of Ms Cute's characteristic posts containing deep reflection.

Our Woman Cards are on different planes. Mine entails the particular establishment of a Women's Standard. I entirely accept the testimony of the women present, particular that of Ms Fan, regarding the interpretation of women's conduct in the situation described. To your credit, you tried to expand the interpretation at least a little beyond women, which at least was trying to complete the circle. Most posts ended in a limbo of invited inference of a Women's Standard, the least gay-satisfactory outcome.

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Curious and Harriet, Sorry if I was unclear.

I'm simply saying that a person who fantasizes about nazis but is completely aware that it's just over the aesthetics or the power play and not over a sincere interest in fascism or excitement about cruelty or inflicting genuine suffering would have little need to write Dan about it. Therefore there are a few possibilities-

One, it's sincere "omg I'm a little disturbed / ashamed / confounded by what gets me off, maybe this sexpert can help shine a light on what's going on and I can ask anonymously as it's less risky than telling friends/a therapist face-to-face" which is likely and our advice seemed to assume this is the case.

Two (and not exclusive to One) part of the excitement of the fantasy is the transgression, and as sometimes happens with these sorts of thrills, the impact dulls with time and she needs to step it up a bit. Exposing others to her fantasy via writing the letter might do that for her- now there are other people who can see (be shocked or disturbed by?) her fantasy. The letter is like cornstarch, thickening the transgressiveness. I submit as evidence that she'd like to talk to total online strangers about this privately as well.

Three, she's got an actual interest in fascism as it's a common tactic these days for the thugs themselves to stir up shit under the cover of claiming some more innocent motivation- I'm just asking questions, free speech, just pointing at what the data says, defending myself, etc. This is common in real life when they instigate encounters either on campuses or when they bus into cities to pick fights, but it's especially common online where they might've hoped for some response that would give them the opportunity to cry outrage at the pansy snowflake liberal thought police. Mostly they did not get this response. This has a sort of frog-in-the-boiling-water tactic- fascists have strategies of finding potential allies, slowly normalizing this bullshit, they discuss it online.

Personally, I think #2 is most likely, probably in combination to some extent with #1. #3 is a bit far-fetched, but these are the times we are in. So I'm not claiming AT ALL that people's problematic fantasies might bleed over into the real world and Im sorry if my words made it appear that way. I'm questioning the motivations of someone with these fantasies who would write to Dan about them and then follow up with an eagerness to engage strangers on the topic. Though perhaps I'm being overly suspicious.

I think this clears up your questions / responses to me, Curious. As for making assumptions, of course- I'm making an array of them as we typically do in these discussions. As for research, I simply meant to acknowledge the apparent hypocrisy of my willingness to discuss these things from afar while also tsk tsk-ing your credulity for engaging with her privately on her terms if you chose to do so. In short, I like to hear about other people's drama while also protecting myself from its consequences.

The larger question about minimizing fascism is not interesting to me, seems much more straightforward that what stays in your mind can't hurt anyone. I'm questioning the sincerity of asking it in the first place.

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@90 EmmaLiz
As always a thoughtful, interesting comment.

With my (as I wrote @51 intentional) "credulity", I was happy to accept what seems to me your Possibility One'a "confounded" since the letter seemed to me (particularly when I learned her age) to evidence no more than the kind of hand-wringing self-interrogation I've learned here in particular that millenials have taken to a new level.

"your credulity for engaging with her privately on her terms if you chose to do so...I like to hear about other people's drama while also protecting myself from its consequences."

It sounds like you wonder about whether I was safe. I think so; in fact half of what I said to her (aside from the half which one would expect was my usual armchair philosophizing) was advice on how to be safely anonymous online. She wanted me to elaborate a little on my mention of it, and I think I did so adequately since I'm a bit of a techie.

/Break/
Was anyone else interested by Fuzzy@78 pointing out that

"Nazi porn was incredibly popular...[amongst] actual Holocaust survivors and their families"

I think people who need healing tend to gravitate towards things that heal them, so it seems pretty reasonable to me to imagine that it was healing for them. And perhaps does something similarly positive for our LW.

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BDF @85 - Thank you, and yes. It took me longer than it should have, as I was young and it was my first long-term relationship. Thankfully have not heard hide nor hair from him in over a decade.

I'm sorry to hear of your encounter and am thankful that you're here to share your wit and wisdom.

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@89. venn. You are saying 'deep reflection' because you agreed with it. Or you thought you agreed with; what you understand by the assertion that 'women want equality in every context apart from those in which they don't' and what nocute may (or may not) understand by it are, conceivably, quite different. And even if this were a fully-elaborated feminist position, by nocutename and other feminists, it would not be the only, or even a dominant, feminist position. There are feminists who say that feminism can claim both equality and difference, and those who say it reasonably can't--and strategically shouldn't (I am one of the latter). There are feminists who say that difference is the more important, and those who say equality (I'm again the second camp). There are feminists who say that feminist activism should primarily restrict itself to making claims for equality in the legal, juridical and political spheres; and here I disagree, thinking that equality also pertains to the psychic dimension of gender and to people's intimate and personal lives.

'Feminism' is not the same to me as 'gay experience', in that one can responsibility explicate feminism by faithfully stating the content of feminist argument (i.e. without having to be a ciswoman). It's easier to say that, in order to be explain gay male experience, you have to be (or to have been formatively) gay. Anyway, if you can find a statement that says 'feminism does not crave across-the-board equality', I'll debate it.

I find it difficult discussing gay life with you in that it's never clear to me what gay sexual experience you've had. Both of us grew up well before the Internet in an atmosphere of pervasive homophobia ... yes? My first gay experience was sucking guys off, even in an uncontrolled way. This involved putting myself in situations I now find hair-raising--on occasion having the guy mutter 'fucking faggot' even as his cum was dribbling off my lip. In these situations, or before if I felt there was danger, I would defer. I would de-escalate, I would avoid confrontation. I was behaving, I understand, as an effeminate young gay man, with a female physique in some ways, comparably to a woman. This is all my remark meant. Women are socialised to defer, and sexually subordinate gays learn to defer. Yes? No?

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@90. Emma. Actually, I thought that the lw was someone imprinted with the aesthetics of Nazism, esp. man-on-man sex in Nazi settings, and imprinted /only/ with the aesthetics, and who was also hyper-woke and second-guessing themselves.

But if you're right, and I'm off-beam here, you've said a lot of detailed and useful things to the lw.

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Yes Harriet, I think so too. That would be option #1, but it leaves the question as to why such a super woke person who was imprinted only with the aesthetics of Nazism would write to Dan about it, follow up in the comment section, and seek out private email correspondence about it. Could be for the same reason we all do, she's bored, human behavior is fascinating, etc. "Is it unethical to search out the dark web for censored Nazi content?" seems hardly a real question to me, which is why I'm questioning its sincerity, but sure - taken at face value, the answer is obviously yes. If we're going to assume that marketing and propaganda has any effect at all and if we're going to acknowledge that there is a wider culture that influences society which influences culture (ho hum) then of course seeking out and contributing to the creation of and wider exposure to nazi fetishism is problematic. Does this actually matter that much in relation to other things? I doubt it, especially as you keep it within the confines of your mind. Because it does not follow from the existence of problematic messy content that attempting to ban it causes less harm, lots of people want to pretend that such content has no real world effect at all, doesn't matter, just fantasy - which imo is just a desire for people to wrap things up with a neat bow and avoid cognitive dissonance. It's an old conversation, and maybe the LW- like so many posters- wants to have this conversation (or something in a similar vein) with a lot of people online, specific to herself and her own interests which is a normal way to wish to relate to a wider concept.

That's all fine and likely I suppose. Occam's Razor- this is probably the correct answer and I'm making much ado about nothing. I did not engage at all until I hear she's privately emailing a poster who now admits that he gave her tips about how to do her nazi searches more securely which reminds me of how in the comments she acted butthurt and cried UNFAIR! that some posters could've interpreted the fact that she detailed her frustrations finding such content as a request for help finding it. Raises my eyebrow, I admit. But initially it was Curious offering to be a medium, in case anyone wants to know more specifics about the content of her fantasies, which she danced about in the comment section (understandably I agree). Though maybe I misread that too and all he's offering is to clear up her reason for writing the letter in the first place, though that seems strange as she stated it clearly enough and repeated it in the comments. I don't understand Curious's statements either that they are maybe not real nazis when of course we are talking about fantasies and also that our french dark star is clear that it's about historical fucked up "dynamics in occupied territories".

But yes I do agree that probably I'm over-reacting given the current state of nazism online- this person could be super woke and extremely naive. I think Sublime had the best answers to her originally BTW.

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I guess it's the details that 'triggered' me, snowflake that I'm being. Like that covid protestor waving the auschwitz sign at the jewish governor. That she did such a thing, ok, that she claimed that she was saying the governor himself was the nazi and she wishes to go back to work, fine, but look at the upside down Bs in her sign. This is someone with such an interest in that particular iconography that she can't realistically say "I'm just making a metaphor" or chalk it up to bad taste. Nazis these days ALWAYS do this plausible deniability bullshit, and I think I'd rather err on the side of caution despite the fact that the most likely explanation is usually correct (in this case, that we can take her letter at face value). Nonetheless if she's going to go play in the nazi parts of the web she ought to learn to think about these things this way just like a person who plays around with consensual nonconsent does have to put some thought into what consent really is, etc.

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Curious & Fuzzy "Nazi porn was incredibly popular...[amongst] actual Holocaust survivors and their families" I think people who need healing tend to gravitate towards things that heal them, so it seems pretty reasonable to me to imagine that it was healing for them. And perhaps does something similarly positive for our LW.

I saw that comment. I wonder what constitutes "incredibly popular". But let that aside. This is not unique to the holocaust. See just about any Quentin Tarantino movie. There's a certain thrill in exploring exploitation - violence or sexual- and the more graphic or bizarre or horrific, the more people are interested, like watching a trainwreck. Then you end with a nice old comeuppance, the women kill the man who was torturing them, the slaves kill the master, the resistance jews kill hitler. Tarantino's a master at this sort of thing, you get to have the thrill of the transgression combined with comeuppance that makes you not worry about how problematic it is. Interest in serial killers is another. ISIS does a pretty good job of playing on this shit, it's part of their recruitment techniques for a certain audience, keeps their targets fascinated and horrified. A more typical American corollary is cucking porn, usually about black men with white women- there's more than a bit of horror lingering just beneath that genre. It is totally unsurprising that a segment of actual holocaust survivors would likewise display this human tendency and perhaps healing is part of it for them, but it's a wider experience.

This touches on the more interesting (to me, Sublime disagrees) question of why-nazis. Americans are obsessed with WW2, especially the Boomer generation, and at least two generations (three?) are raised with historical accounts of the holocaust as a uniquely-once-in-history level atrocity which is questionable. It might be shocking for many Americans to know there are people around the world who know basically nothing about it. I could say more about the current American failure to understand current power dynamics and rising fascism due to the way they've been taught about nazis, but that's another topic.

As for Israelis themselves, they are people like anyone else so naturally they will have these tendencies around their traumas and histories and they'll manifest in this way. Worth pointing out that being subjected to various oppressions and horrors appears to have little to do with people's tendency to inflict them later. A minority of Israelis brought lawnchairs to watch bombardments of Gaza as if it were a football game. There are Hindu fascists right now, living in northern India because they are the descendants of refugees fleeing the bloodshed of Partition who are currently themselves leaving migrants to die in trains either oblivious to or embracing & weaponizing that symbolism. This stuff never ends.

My point, unless the LW herself forgot to mention that she's a Holocaust survivor or a descendant of one, I don't see what her interest in these things have in common with that interest. I think it's far more likely to be of the aesthetic, portrayals-in-the-culture variety that we find in Tarantino films (he's not healing his trauma) or netflix series about serial killers or in the sexual undertones of torture scenes in either religious or adventure portrayals, both of which play around with masculinity and vulnerability in the way that the LW seems to enjoy.

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@97 EmmaLiz
"I wonder what constitutes "incredibly popular""

Perhaps Fuzzy will tell us, but it was apparently popular enough that the idiots in "the government banned it".

Very interesting thinking @9, though I really don't know what form the "Nazi" characters in anyone's fantasies (or in the popular Nazi porn) take (real life Nazis, completely unthreatening and cartoonish ones, etc.).

I wondered if team-'problematic'-fantasy might be influenced by that "actual Holocaust survivors" used the "incredibly popular" Nazi porn. Since if it was healing for holocaust survivors, it's not obvious to me that it was a bad thing. Not that I expected anyone to speak up, honestly online I figure that the best comments are ones no one picks on.