Friday, January 11, 2013


Long Distances, "Terribleness," and the Skin-Crawly Feeling

1. So, I have an emotionally confusing situation I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to help me with.

I'm dating this girl, we've been together for almost a year, and are currently doing long distance, as she's still in high school and I just started college. College has been a bit tough for me, in terms of making friends, but about a month ago I met this girl at a show and we've been hanging out together on the weekends a lot since then. I find her really attractive, but never planned to do anything because I love my girlfriend and am happy with her. However, I have also not told new girl about my girlfriend because of weird emotional things related to telling people about my girlfriend and also because I'm a terrible person, apparently.

About a week or two ago I was at a party with the girl and she started dancing with me, and we danced together for the rest of the night, but she hasn't made any other moves since. I also danced with a different girl at a party at another college recently. My girlfriend and I have never explicitly said no dancing with other people, but I'm not sure how she would feel about it. What's worrying me is that I do seem to be attracted to so many other people and don't know if this bodes badly for the relationship.

How do you know when long distance isn't working? I love my girlfriend, but I'm not that sexually attracted to her, at least compared to other people. I'm worried I can't do a closed relationship right now, and if that's so, should I talk to my girlfriend about an open relationship, or realize that maybe the relationship isn't working?

Also I don't know what the protocol is for my college friend ... how much of a jerk am I being by not telling her I have a girlfriend? Should I just bring it up some conversation? Do I apologize for not telling her? I don't know if she considers dancing a casual things or an indication of sexual interest.

I'm so confused, queer chick. Have any advice?

My advice is that you should break up with your girlfriend. 

I know that sounds harsh and mean and awful, but listen, long distance relationships are so hard. They take so much work, and so much trust, and such an enormous amount of selflessness and love. They take practice, months and years of practice of being with someone, thinking of them when they're not around, making choices for the good of the relationship when something else would be so much easier and more fun and right here, and who would ever know?

Most people do not have what it takes to maintain a successful long-distance relationship. I don't. I've tried. Almost no one has what it takes to maintain a successful long-distance relationship right out of high school, when they have almost no experience with relationships of any kind. If things aren't working out with your girlfriend — and from where I'm sitting it looks like they're not — that doesn't say anything bad about you. It just says that your high school romance couldn't make it outside of high school. That's sad, but practically everyone goes through it. The only people who don't are the people who weren't getting laid in high school at all. (“God, Lindsay, why do you make everything about you?” – the world.)

Open relationships are sometimes proposed as the cure for an ailing long-distance love, and while that makes some surface-level sense — you can have sex with someone in your zip code, yay! — non-monogamy is not a panacea for dissatisfaction. It tends to introduce new levels of complication, and if things are already shaky, not knowing where your partner is or who she's doing will probably just make things worse. An open relationship won't solve the fact that you aren't as attracted to your girlfriend as you are to other people, or that you can't talk to her about something as harmless as dancing with someone at a party because you're afraid she doesn't trust you, or that you're hanging out with attractive women and never mentioning that you're dating someone. It sounds like you and your girlfriend simply don't have a strong enough foundation as a couple for the challenges that long distance relationships present. End it as cleanly and kindly as you can, and make the most of your slutty college years.

2. Hey, A Queer Chick! I enjoy your columns as a straight chick, because new perspectives, etc., but I never thought I'd actually have an opportunity to write in. However, now I do. My boyfriend who I normally live with is absolutely wonderful, and we click in every way when it's just the two of us. However, we're into D/s, M/s, and other kinky fetishy business. Part of what he wants is to experiment with exhibitionism and other people being involved to varying degrees. That gives me a skin-crawly feeling, but I'd like to be a Savage-approved GGG partner and reach some compromises. The only problem is, I can't get aroused around naked women. I just can't. It's a turn-off. There is some jealousy involved, but mostly it's just a generic feeling of NOPE. Disclaimer: I don't hate women — I have female friends, and I can appreciate an aesthetically beautiful woman in a non-sexual context, naked or clothed, no problem.

For some context, I entered this relationship as a poly person. When my primary partner threw me out of his apartment, current boyfriend took me in, and we developed this wonderful thang we have now. However, I've discovered that I wasn't actually poly. I was just lacking affection in my main relationship, so I had to go elsewhere to supplement. Ironically, now that I'm truly happy and fulfilled with him, my poly-urges have poofed. He is still decidedly poly. Also, he had an expectation going in that I would be okay with threesomes with women. This summer, he told me a month and a half in advance that he invited his female friend from a different state to stay at ours for a week. In my naivete, I thought that meant general couchsurfing. About a week before she arrived, he mentioned casually sexual things "we" were going to do all together, and I was blindsided. But I took a deep breath and decided to try. I couldn't even deal with all three of us cuddling at the same time without getting all sorts of negative Feelings, and the only way that I could get into sex with him while she watched was to close my eyes really tightly and pretend she wasn't there, which was probably a huge ladyboner killer for her. And when I got really drunk and we all went skinny dipping one night, I tried kissing her and letting her touch me, to determine once and for all by giving it the old "college try." Big mistake. Big NO NO NO feeling.

When I tried to talk to him about this, the first few times went “You're my submissive. This is what I want.” This may sound cold, but I accept that I have a tendency of being a whiner, and he might have thought I was just whining. Finally, with the help of the girl talking some sense into him (she's totally awesome and understanding, by the way!! Nothing against her whatsoever!), he finally realized that I was being serious and emotionally not okay, and he finally agreed that I wouldn't have to touch another girl sexually again. However, I have this creeping fear that he resents me for this. I recently was brave enough to tell him that I also really wasn't into seeing any other girl touch him, and I think that led to more resentment, too.

I guess my real question is, how do I deal with the fact that I feel defective for NOT being bi or wanting to watch other girls bang my boyfriend or other men? I feel like everywhere I turn, whether it's my boyfriend or other members of the kink community, it's expected as par for the course that a woman will be bi, like bisexuality goes hand-in-hand with sexual liberation, and you're a big ol' intolerant prude if you're not bisexual and might as well just give up on all the freaky stuff and go stand with the Westboro Baptist idiots. I'm having huge amounts of guilt about this, and I just kind of want to shout at everyone that if people are born gay (which I believe they are!!), then I'm sure as hell allowed to be born straight! But what is a more constructive way to deal with this? I'm spending a semester in England at the moment, so boyfran' and I have suspended all Serious Relationship Talk until we're face to face again in a couple weeks, and I feel like I have the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. Thanks!!!

I don't even know where to start with this one except oh my sweet gay Jesus you have to get rid of this dude, like, IMMEDIATELY.

The level of manipulation and guilt-tripping and passive aggression and general emotional fuckery you are describing would be nigh intolerable in a roommate or coworker. In a romantic partner, it is a huge red flag. A huge red flag being waved by a T.rex shooting lasers of “I DON'T THINK THIS RELATIONSHIP IS VERY HEALTHY” out of its eyes.

You described your guy as “absolutely wonderful,” but a wonderful boyfriend does not put pressure on you to do things sexually that make your skin crawl. A just-okay boyfriend doesn't do that. There are lots of crappy boyfriends — boyfriends who watch TV loudly when you have work in six hours, boyfriends who leave the milk on the counter, boyfriends who are rude to your mom — who would look at what your man is trying to pull and be like “dude, really, not cool.”

This has nothing to do with you being kinky, either. Any responsible kinky person will tell you that kink is about having weird sex that is fun for you both, not doing what you're told no matter how miserable it makes you. Good tops negotiate in advance to make sure they don't give their partners “big NO NO NO feelings.” Good tops care about their partners' pleasure as much as their own. Good tops do not say “you're my submissive so you have to do what I want.” Good tops do not announce, with no discussion whatsoever, that they expect you to have threesomes with your houseguests. Good tops do not accuse you of whining if you're not into the things they're into. Basically, picture a person who would do the opposite of whatever your boyfriend would do in any situation, and you're in the ballpark of a pretty good top.

A relationship in which you're not able to say “no” to sex that you don't want has more in common with a hostage situation than a romance. You shouldn't have to justify to your boyfriend why you're not attracted to women (and you don't have to justify it to me, either, just so you know) — you should be able to say “I don't want to have sex with women or watch women having sex,” and that should be the end of the conversation. Being straight doesn't make you flawed or uptight or homophobic, but trying to pressure you into sex you don't want does make your boyfriend coercive, manipulative, and more than a little creepy. Break up with him. Then build a time machine so you can travel to when you were still together and break up with him again.

3. I am a straight man who may accidentally be in a gay long distance relationship. My questions are A) am I?! How does one tell? Does that happen? B) How to I get the F out of it without undue embarrassment and tears?

This situation seems to have sprung up between me and my best friend from school (we’ll call him M). M and I were very, very, close. We spent almost all our time together and I loved him very dearly. I should mention at this point that our relationship was not entirely platonic … there were quite a lot of kisses and cuddles, but we always stopped short of what I would consider proper sex. This wasn’t unusual in my circle (UK boys' school — some of the stereotypes are sometimes true!) and M is a rather extraordinarily beautiful human being (and maybe a little bit girly?) so he was quite in demand. I know he hooked up with at least four other dudes (but no girls that I’m aware of!), so I didn’t really second guess it. Until now!

This Summer I moved to New York for university (yay!) and M was obviously gutted when I left. I was sad to leave him too, but also really excited to start my new life. We've been keeping in touch … emails, phone calls, Skype on the weekends, etc. He calls me every night at the same time to chat (he’s still in school this year, so he has a pretty set routine ...), but lately his letters and emails have been getting waaaay more, uh, romantic? He writes me songs that explicitly use the word ‘love,’ and not as in ‘I love you, man!’ … His letters are flowery and poetic and talk about how much he misses me, and while not specifically sexual, there was this bit where he was saying how he falls asleep thinking of me … It started to worry me, so I tried to back up a little, but when I didn’t take his calls for a couple of nights he send me a bunch of really desperate and sad emails that made me want to cry! He is talking about coming to visit me this for the Christmas holidays, and while I would be happy to see him again, I can’t help but feel that it’s going to be VERY uncomfortable for both of us. And how do I introduce him to the girl I’m seeing if he's in love with me? Do I tell her? (Side question; does this make me bi? I don't feel bi. Just resourceful!)

Ah I HATE myself for letting it get this far, because as I said, I do really love him. It makes me feel like a complete bastard to think that he might have built a whole emotional relationship on what was, for me, just something to do when I was horny and/or bored. But then on the other hand, I think maybe I am reading way too much into it. He has never said ‘I love you as a boyfriend’ explicitly, maybe he just misses me as a friend? I don't even know if he's gay!

Oh GOD what do I do? I can’t bear the thought of hurting him, or worse — embarrassing him. If only there was a way of saying "do you gay love me? Because although I'm not so into guys, I still want to be your friend! Also don’t call me as much (but do call me)" without being awful. Help!

I'm gonna start with the easy question: no, fooling around with one dude (especially when there were no girls to be found) doesn't make you bisexual. You can chalk it up to youthful experimentation. If you never make out with another boy again, I give you leave to have “100% Totally Straight Forever” carved into your tombstone.

On to the more complicated part. First of all, if you've never had the “is this a relationship, check yes or no” discussion, I'm inclined to say that you are not in a relationship and are under no obligation to have a Big Gay Feelings Talk. On the other hand, you care about him and want to protect his feelings, so you may want to handle this with some delicacy – which means you can't just introduce him to your girlfriend and hope that gets the point across.

Because there is definitely something going on between you two. You've fooled around, you talk on the phone every night, he writes you songs, he's planning to visit you for Christmas (um, that probably already happened, sorry, we have some lag time). If he doesn't gay love you, he's at least gay working up to it. Also, the fact that you're this involved but you've never mentioned it to your girlfriend raises the question: Are you sure you don't have some kind of fuzzy feelings you're not willing to address? It's hard for me to imagine how things got to this point without at least a little involvement on your end. (Whichever end you prefer.)

Anyway, if you're going to extricate yourself from this quasi-romance, you need to face the facts: He is going to see it as a breakup, and it is going to hurt him. Approach the conversation with that in mind, and aim to let him down as gently as you can while still telling the truth. You have to be direct, let him know that you don't feel the same way, and accept the fact that he might not want to talk to you for a while ... or possibly ever. Gay breaking up is hard to do, but remind yourself that you're doing him a favor by freeing him up to search for a new guy who will gay love him back.

4. I always end up dating assholes. Sometimes they even tell me at the beginning of a relationship that all their exes despise them, which should be a pretty big red flag. But even still, some of them don't expose their bad side until much later, such as after we've moved in together and signed a lease/adopted a cat. I have been cheated on an embarrassing number of times, even while I was being puppyishly devoted to the cheater. My most recent ex cheerfully confessed she was just using me for sex and money, which kinda stings. Clearly, I am the common denominator in the everyone-I-date-is-awful problem, but how do I vet people for terribleness early in dates? Are there specific questions I should ask? Situations I should run by them, to give me an idea of what that person is really like? I like to believe people have good intentions and are generally nice, but that's not working out for me. Is there a time-tested jerk-sorting device?

Well, you've already identified one clear indicator: Anyone who is loathed by all of her exes is a bad investment. Slightly more subtle but still true: Anyone who has nothing but bad things to say about her exes — even if she doesn't tell you that they hate her – probably has some issues she needs to work on. This is something to look out for when you're getting to know a new lady, but it's also something to look out for in yourself. It's possible that there is some deeper reason you gravitate toward cheaters, and it might be beneficial to your future sexy times if you talk through your brain problems with some kind of professional brain-problem-talker.

Whether or not you decide to consult with a shrink, you definitely need to consult with your friends. It is a truth universally acknowledged that people love discussing the personality flaws of their friends' partners; now is the time to turn that to your advantage. Sit down with your bestie or besties and ask them to be completely forthright with you about the women you've dated in the past. Optionally, this can be preceded by a couple rounds of drinks to make sure they're really speaking their minds. You probably won't even need the alcohol, however. As soon as you make it clear that the library is open, your pals will leap at the opportunity to read your former lovers to shreds.

I can't tell you exactly what red flags you're missing or what self-destructive patterns you've fallen into, because I don't have enough information. Your friends, however, have been around you and your girlfriends long enough to see whatever it is you're not seeing — and once they tell you what it is, you'll be less likely to miss it in the future.

Previously: Secondary Relationships, Tequila Fumes, and the Lesbian Internet.

Lindsay Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock

257 Comments / Post A Comment


A Queer Chick makes me wish I had some queer problems so that I could ask her for advice, because the advice is always just so good.


real good stuff@j


Oh my G-d, #2, I am skipping to the bottom to tell you to DTMFA, right now, with extreme prejudice, etc. He is a manipulative juicebox and I swear you will be much, much happier getting him and his passive-aggressive ... juiceboxery (ugh, rage getting in the way of being eloquent here) out of your life.

He is the actual WORST. Burn him with fire if you must.





Right now is when I wish I could link to youtube because what would really encapsulate my response to this LW is that scene in Clue. "Flames ... on the side of my head ..."

And on second thought, it's not "burn him with fire if you must," just burn that schmuck with fire and have done. If anyone ever deserved a thorough fire-cleansing, it is this guy.


@stonefruit ALL OF THIS.

"Breathing-breathi- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths."


@stonefruit et al, obviously we need to get the new acronym DTMFAWF into circulation immediately.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@lora.bee "I hated her SO much..."


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

"Why has the car stopped?"
"It's frightened."

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@lora.bee Goddamn it I love that movie.

Valley Girl

For you, @stonefruit :)

Nicole Cliffe

@stonefruit I HATE THIS GUY


@Valley Girl oh! Thank you, sweet @Valley Girl! (Though my work filter is such that I had to go onto my phone to see the fabulous gift you had given me. COME ON, WORK FILTER.)

@Nicole Cliffe BECAUSE HE IS HATEFUL. I went and had a tea-break, and I'm still ripshit about this guy.


@stonefruit Oh yes. Yes. You are all so right.

My awful suspicion is that this is a person who likes coercing people into doing things they don't want, and is not a D dating the wrong s. (Well, he is a D dating the wrong s, in the sense that he is an awful person and should never date again.)

I hope not. But he's so gooooood at it, it seems kind of unlikely.

Oh, submissive lady. Find a top who will be good to you and for you, please.


@PistolPackinMama IOW- Boyfriend #2 sounds like a recreational assaulter, not a recreational dominator.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

@stonefruit Can a sex embargo please be called an embango?


@Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter done and done.


@stonefruit I very much appreciate the Clue reference! Best movie ever!

and yes this guy is TERRIBLE! Points to a very sinister nature if you ask me


@stonefruit This is LW2. I'm posting a response here so it doesn't get buried waaay at the bottom of all the threads, but I'm responding in general to all the DTMFA messages. :)

First of all, I love you guys. I did in fact break up with him about three weeks ago, but I've been getting "Sweetheart I love you and we can work things out" texts from him. You guys have buoyed me to stick with my guns and stay away from him, even if it means an hour and a half commute to university from my parents' house each weekday. Now the final hurdle is going to get my stuff. *gulp*

Also!! I have found the most wonderful guy in England who treats me like a queen and is nothing at all like my boyfriend from the letter. He is the sweetest, kindest, loveliest, gentlest, but still devilishly sexiest individual and throws everything my ex did into sharper relief. If we can last through long distance + a visit in February and one in March, then I graduate in May, I'm heading over there again to be with him!

So thank you, Pinners (and A Queer Chick of course!!), for having my back. <3 you all!


@NoLongerSkinCrawly I was gonna advise, if you're going to England you might want to avoid saying 'poofed' :)


@NoLongerSkinCrawly Good woman!! Yes!!!


@NoLongerSkinCrawly lady I am so glad that you are no longer with this manipulative juicebox. Bring a friend or family member to help you with your stuff if you can - not just for taking it, but for the moral support.


@NoLongerSkinCrawly YAYAY!! This is such a relief!!!!! Thanks for coming back to share.


@NoLongerSkinCrawly Consider my Saturday made! Yay you, so excited for you and the new fella, and onward to better and healthier sexing!

Also, suggestion: perhaps ask him to bring your stuff to a public location where you can meet him and take it back? And if he won't agree to that, maybe take a friend with you when you go get your stuff?


@NoLongerSkinCrawly Yay! LW #2! I'm so glad that things are going well for you, and that you've gotten away from this jerk!

Throwing another voice on the pile of folks who are advising you to bring a friend or family member to help you get your stuff. My fear is that your ex will try to sweet-talk you and manipulate you if you go alone. I know you're strong enough to stand up to that, but I think it would be a lot less likely to happen if you had another person with you.

Maybe also let your current boyfriend know when you're going, and have him text you the entire time, so that you have a strong reminder of present awesomeness.

So glad to hear that you got away from the Juicebox Ex! We're all so proud of you!


@NoLongerSkinCrawly Girl! So glad that you got rid of that juicebox. English guys are amazing- I married mine. We should hang out in England and talk about how awesome you are and how you deserve the best. :) If you need someone to talk to then let me know. ;)


There should totally be a pin-up that is everyone go with you to his house to get your stuff.


Apologies for the major delay here, but absolutely do not go alone to get your stuff from this ass.
A few years ago my sister was leaving an abusive relationship that was never physical until she went back for something alone. She left with a concussion and an ER visit and cops and restraining orders and trials.


LW #2, this guy is in the kink community and yet thought he didn't have to negotiate, set out expectations, boundaries, turn-ons etc for a week of threesomes? NO NO NO NO.

And oh, poor LW #1, it will be much easier on both of you to break up as early as you can. It's ok that sometimes relationships just don't work out. You have a lot of life changes going on. Internet hugs.


HOLY SHIT LW#2. Dump your fucking jackass asshole dickass boyfriend immediately if not sooner. I have not even read AQC's response yet, but HOLY FUCK, your boyfriend is a giant dick. His behavior is creepy and manipulative and INCREDIBLY disrespectful.

You should NEVER ever ever feel "NO NO NO NO" during sex. You should NEVER have to screw your eyes shut and grin and bear it while having sex. Jesus Christ. Holy mother of God. I fucking hate your boyfriend and I want you to get away from him as fast as you can. This is not what healthy kink, polyamory, or a dom-sub relationship looks like. You are better than this, you deserve better than this.

And PS - It is fine to be straight.


@wee_ramekin Also! You say: "I feel like I have the sword of Damocles hanging over my head."

LISTEN TO THAT FEELING, friend! This is your gut, your instinct, the part of your self that preserves your "self". Your gut is telling you to stay the fuck away from this guy. In a healthy relationship, you would be ecstatic to see your boyfriend after a semester abroad. Instead, your guts are all tied up in knots (and rightfully so, because this guy is a FUCKING BASTARD).


@wee_ramekin Okay, LW #2, I have had a second to calm down. There is a part of me that wishes I could delete my first response, because the swears and strident language probably put your back up. I'm sorry if that happened; it is not my intention to alienate you or make you feel defensive.

I think part of the issue here is that you may not have any really good experiences with tops. A top (or anyone) should never ever ever EVER say "You're my sub, so you have to do this". Not only is that coercive and disrespectful, it actually negates the thing about a top that makes them so attractive. Tops are attractive (to me, at least) because I can trust them to take care of me. I can trust them to take my desire and preferences into account when we're together. And then I can just let go and let them control everything. But you can't safely or fully "let go" if you don't trust your top, and your boyfriend has shown you with his actions and his words that you cannot trust him to take your perspective into account when building your dom-sub dynamic.

There is a small part of me that is glad that I can't delete my first response to your situation. I am glad because that was my instant, honest gut reaction. It was a visceral response to your relationship. It looks like other Pinners on here have mirrored that response. Sometimes when you're in a crappy relationship, it's very hard to see your couple-dynamic clearly; a lot of the time, you've gotten to a place where you think there is something wrong with YOU, that YOU are the reason the relationship isn't working. Hopefully the horrified reactions you see in response to your letter serve as proof that something is off in your relationship.

LW #2, it is not you. It's not that you are a "bad" sub, or that you are wrong for not being bi. The problem is that this is an unhealthy relationship with a controlling partner who uses kink as a cover for his juiceboxery. Once you get out of this relationship, the "problem" that you're having regarding your sexuality will probably disappear.

Good luck, and I hope your semester in Englad was great (OMGdidyouseeBenedictCumberbatch?)!

Quinn A@twitter

@wee_ramekin I definitely had the same initial response as you! Your second, more measured comment is really helpful, though, and I hope LW2 takes it to heart.


@wee_ramekin EXACTLY. A good top should respect and know that she is straight and not ok with threesomes with women, and work within those hard limits, and still be able to top just fine. It is exactly the fact that you can trust your top to do things that are good for you that makes being a submissive worthwhile. This guy is the best example of the worst dom - someone who is doing it out of selfishness and malice, to get what he wants without any concern for his partner. Ick. I think this lovely woman could find a man who is willing to dominate within her limits and actually care about her as well. This guy needs to go.

ALSO Benedict Cumberbatch OMG.


@wee_ramekin I completely agree. LW2 should absolutely not feel guilty for not wanting to do something sexually, and she can be GGG without agreeing to try everything a partner expresses interest in. LW2: you are allowed to have your own sexual agency, and it's okay your desires and your bf's desires don't exactly match up. You are not obligated to do everything, and you should not feel bad about it! It's okay to be straight, and it's okay to only want to have sex with one person in a monogamous relationship (if that's what you want). He is a complete asshat if he is pressuring you to do something you don't want to.


@wee_ramekin guys you know when someone makes the wee one angry, that's a real fucking bastard.

Judith Slutler

@wee_ramekin Yes to your first and your second responses. Being good, giving and game goes BOTH WAYS and setting someone up for unexpected threesomes is not cool EVER.

lw2 you are allowed to have hard limits and your motherfucking SEXUAL ORIENTATION is one of them! It sounds like your boyfriend is ensconced in a community where "all women are bi, now make out with this girl for me" is somehow acceptable, and that's not okay. You might want to try reading some of Cliff Pervocracy's posts on the kink community just in order to gain some perspective on this kind of "sex positive = sex mandatory" stuff, because fuck that noise. Kink doesn't have to be that way.

I hope you are enjoying England and that you are able to get some room to breathe and think and gain some perspective on all of this stuff while you are there!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@iceberg Do not enrage the wee one.

Quinn A@twitter

@Emmanuelle Cunt Seconding the advice to read Cliff Pervocracy's stuff!

Judith Slutler

@Emmanuelle Cunt And I just realized that "motherfucking sexual orientation" is the worst phrase I have ever written, SORRY EVERYONE


@iceberg Hahahaha, man. Looking at that comment again, I used the prefix/suffix "ass" and the word "dick" so many times.

(_|_) C=====3

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@AmandathePanda I completely agree. Something tells me this guy isn't really into being a real dom or a true top - he's just selfish. All take, no give. That's not how that's played, bro.


@wee_ramekin that guy is definitely a C=====3.

Summer Somewhere

@Emmanuelle Cunt or is it the best?


@wee_ramekin I love your reply! When I was reading this person's question, I had the thoughts: he is not a top (not that I know anything about this world/way of life; he is an a$$*7%#! And: she isn't a sub, she is in an abusive relationship!


@Summer Somewhere yeah I'm pretty sure it's the best. @Emmanuelle Cunt, you should be patting yourself on the back for that.




@wee_ramekin "you've gotten to a place where you think there is something wrong with YOU, that YOU are the reason the relationship isn't working." It's gaaaaassslighting, and I just got out of a relationship where I was feeling exactly like that. And when we broke up, almost all of my friends were like "OH thank god." So yeah, sometimes objective opinions can point you towards the truth, even if it is hard to swallow.


@wee_ramekin So I haven't read all the way down but it strikes me that it's profoundly ODD that the writer "escaped" from a Poly relationship, is worried about what the definitions of dom/sub are, and then wrote in to ask what is OK or normal for a straight woman to feel vis-a-vis being bi.

Bracketing the fact that the man in question is a horrible abuser, what is up with her need to model her sexual behavior on some kind of formal label and then ask other people for a permission check? I think that is a clear indicator for therapy before getting with anyone else.

sarah girl

LW #2, you're not the one who's doing kink wrong. Your boyfriend is.


@Sarah H. YES. THIS.


Just bopping down here to ask someone to please make a picture of that T. Rex for us. Please? Pretty please?


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll
This was so quickly done on my iPad with the Paper app but...


That's lovely. Thank you.


@milkbreath AH! That is so great! Can I HTML it so that everyone can see it at a glance?


@milkbreath <3 <3 <3


@milkbreath That is really cool looking.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@milkbreath Oh my god that's amazing.


@wee_ramekin of course! It slipped my mind to do that.


@milkbreath YOU'RE A STAR. <3


@milkbreath Can I put this on a t-shirt? Would that be okay? I would never sell it...I just want to give it to certain people that I know...

femme cassidy

Oh my god, to hell with tiny fluffy birds, I want this to be my new mascot.

Judith Slutler

@femme cassidy Dinosaurs are basically birds and therefore chicks anyway, right? Plus I am reading the Grantland Jurassic Park article linked above, and apparently there are gender theory papers on Jurassic Park being a story about Woman gone wild, because all the JP dinosaurs are female.

What I am saying is that this t. rex is a perfect mascot for you


@Anxiety DO IT. :D

ghost with the most

@wee_ramekin thanks!!! was about to post "WHERE can i get a 'A huge red flag being waved by a T.rex shooting lasers' every time i'm about to make a mistake / it isn't working out?'

dracula's ghost

if only I had broken up with my high school boyfriend before a full year of my possibly-slutty college life had gone by! LW#1, it's not going to work. Long distance only works for old people and the super committed. Later in life (like, at age 26), I did long distance for three years with my dude and it was fine because the commitment and love and respect and trust and everything else was 100% in place, and we knew who we were and there were no issues. In early college none of that would describe me or any boy I ever dated. It's okay! Move on!

LW#2 I can not even. Girl RUN. SPRINT!!!!!! NEVER LOOK BACK


@dracula's ghost God, seriously. Why do we do these things?

Rule #1 of going to college- Dump high school S.O. before you leave! I know you think you're in luuuuurve and that it will last forever, but life is so long and you don't even know. The End.


@dracula's ghost Yes! I wish someone had told me to break up with my high school boyfriend! I stayed with him for another 7 years, and while he is a really great guy, I missed out. I am working on making up for it now but my college experience could have been so much more fun! Long distance relationships are hard and as a college freshman is not the time to try to manage one.


LW#4 - Terrible people are generally insanely charming - they need to be in order to keep being terrible. If they are not charming, their terribleness means they're become an obvious failure of a person, and I'm guessing you're not dating obvious failures.

I've been lucky enough to date almost exclusively awesome people in my life, and when things didn't work out, it was never for a bad reason. It's probably been mostly luck, but thinking about it, I've realized that everyone I dated had something "WRONG" with them from the outset - not "wrong" like, they were broken, but just maybe not perfect for me. Not incompatibly "WRONG", just, not a fictional dream-girl.

Which, ya know, makes sense. Nobody is 100% awesome all of the time. Regular people sometimes make unfunny jokes, or are shitty cooks, or love the opposite kind of tv as you love. And decent, regular people who are legit trying to find a good partner don't hide that shit - they want someone who loves them for them, so they go out and just be themself. Which is hopefully pretty great, but occassionally you will wonder "OMG How does this otherwise lovely person INSIST on cutting the crust off their sandwiches? CRUST IS SO GOOD."

And that's awesome. But terrible people, and psychos, and all - they know they are using you. So they have to be charming. So they pay attention to all of your little subtle cues, and will do everything in their power to not alientate you, to not be wrong, to seem like THE BESTEST EVER.

My rule of thumb, at this point in life, is that if by 3 dates in you haven't found at least one thing you don't like about someone, you aren't really compatible. Not that they're definitely a bad person! Maybe they're just really polite, and your rapport hasn't been "clicky" or magical enough that they're baring enough of themself for you to see the potentially negative bits - nothing wrong with that, we're not all good matches.

So, maybe "Only Date Someone If You Dislike Some Things About Them" is weird advice? I dunno, it sounds weird. It's certainly non-romantic, on the surface. But I like to think of it as super-romantic, cuz instead of finding some special-crafted dream-zombie conjured up just for you, you are taking your own big ball of mess and finding someone else who has a compatible big ball of mess, and liking them so much you're willing to ignore the stuff you don't like to smush your messes together. And that seems like a pretty special commitment to me.

fondue with cheddar

@leon s In other words, if they seem too good to be true they're probably too good to be true.


@leon s "hey, want to smush our messes together?"

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg If you want to clean up messs, you ask A Clean Person. But if you want to smush messes, you should ask A Dirty Person.


@leon s Ohhhhh, I needed to read this. I've been very happily single for years but just started dating someone rad. All major signs point towards 'go' but I've caught myself getting hung up on some incredibly minor things (style stuff, mostly) as reasons for why we can't work out, when in reality I know they're bullshit. So thanks for this, and here's to hopefully not sabotaging a good thing.

Homestar Runner

@fondue with cheddar I am assuming this is a call to Porn Peddler? Hello, we need you!

Springtime for Voldemort

@leon s I am having the same issue as LW4 (hopefully I'm getting better), but this is possibly the best, most concrete advice someone has given me so far. So, thanks!

Tuna Surprise

Oh LW #4, I am you. Just hours ago I got an email from my ex-husband that I haven't spoken to in years that read like the 9th step of an AA program. He apologized for cheating on me and being a general schmuck but, to top it all off, he threw in a truth bomb along the lines of 'I didn't want to be in a relationship with you but I was too chicken to admit it, so I just boned around until we finally got divorced.' Gee, thanks!

I'm over the pain so the letter didn't stir up any feelings, it just reminded me that I had a pattern of dating guys like that and it took me a long time to realize a fundamental truth: Assholes and People with Self-Esteem Go Together Like Oil and Water. They do not mix.

Wherever there is a lying, cheating, just-using-you asshole, there is a partner who doesn't think highly enough about his/herself. That's the real truth bomb.

Once you learn to love yourself, your self-pride will become kryptonite to these useless motherfuckers. And the good people will become magnetized to you. I guarantee it.

Where you get your self-esteem is a harder question, but you need to focus on it until it comes. Because you're awesome and you deserve better and everyone knows it but you.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Tuna Surprise So many truth bombs. I'm into it.

honey cowl

@Tuna Surprise Where were you when I was in high school and so, so badly needed to hear this???


@Tuna Surprise This is amazing advice and I don't want to ruin your truth bomb with levity, but I have had this song stuck in my head FOR DAYS and will use this opening to share it with you.


@SarahDances I like that song so much!


@smidge It's my zen place to go to whenever I'm dealing with a guy not calling or whatever. My self-esteem isn't low enough to put up with this crap! Onward!


@Tuna Surprise SO TRUE. Also, I so wish I'd heard this in high school. Well, I wish I'd been in a place to hear that in high school - no matter how true something is, sometimes it just bounces off of you. And now that I've embraced this fact of life everything got so much better. That, and embracing the idea that I'm not guaranteed a significant other, so I should probably lead a life I'm excited about instead of sitting around hoping for a date. I'm kind of embarassed by how long I did that.


@packedsuitcase My grandmother claims the best advice she ever got when her 1st husband left her was to build a life that made her happy. Not in the expectation of a partner because that isn't guaranteed but that she alone could be happy with. She gave me the same advice and it has been working very well. I am single but I am happy : )


@melimania Yeah, I was in church and my pastor was talking about this and it was like a lightbulb went off for me. Build a life you want to live. Surround yourself with people that respect you and make you want to become better and make you happy. Make the best choices you can make for yourself, because at the end of the day, it could just be you on your own forever. I found it terrifying and totally liberating and it has honestly changed my life.


@Tuna Surprise BEST.COMMENT.EVER. You are so so so right.


@Tuna Surprise You speak so much truth.

This: "Once you learn to love yourself, your self-pride will become kryptonite to these useless motherfuckers. And the good people will become magnetized to you. I guarantee it."
My life changed sooo much for the incredible better once I understood and lived that. It's true that finding your self-esteem can be challenging, but it is 100% worth it and the work it takes to get to a good place where you really love yourself.
And LW#4, you are 100% worth it.


@honey cowl high school? It would have saved me so many stupid mistakes.


@Tuna Surprise Geez, I hope that wasn't actually part of his 9th Step, because isn't part of the 9th Step "don't contact people you've harmed if you're going to be a douchebag about it?"


Holy crap, I don't think I've ever had such a visceral DUMP HIM DUMP HIM DUMP HIM reaction in my life. LW2, it sounds like you love the guy, but please listen to A Queer Chick, she is wise and very correct here.


@crocuta Seriously, all I could think while reading that was RUN AWAY, GIRL, RUN AWAY!!!

LW2, whining is making a stink about having to the clean the dishes or shovel the driveway. What you did was voice your discomfort. You are well within your rights to and should do so! Your boyfriend is being an insensitive and manipulative dick


@crango Yes! It is not "whining" to say "Hey, this sexual scenario makes me uncomfortable and I don't want to continue".


@crocuta Oh same here. I expected and was relieved to see AQC say exactly what I was thinking right off the bat. My eyes just kept getting bigger and angrier and flame-filledier. I MEAN HOLY SMOKES YOU'RE MY SUBMISSIVE WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

Nicole Cliffe

I think there are guys who believe that BDSM is short for Being a Dick is Socially Mandated.


@Nicole Cliffe ZING.


@Nicole Cliffe Nice and nicely done.


@redheaded&crazie and to make this sound less ... whatever ... I am totally submissive as well and love being told what to do in bed! Takes all the pressure off man! But there has to be a consensus on what kinds of things are okay to tell me what to do and not. Okay to tell me to move into this position? YES! Okay to tell me you're bringing another person into the bedroom? NO! (I mean those are MY boundaries, other people have different ones right, but CLEARLY THESE ARE HER BOUNDARIES)


@redheaded&crazy EU foreign ministers go to Kiev On Friday, pressure Yanukovich to agree to the demands of a violent mob, Minecraft Cuenta Premium He does. All of them (election, amend constitution, amnesty, etc.). They leave, on Saturday the rioters tear up the agreement, depose the (freely elected) president who, with lynch mob on his trail, flees Kiev.

P.S. Please don't hate me

"(Whichever end you prefer.)"



LW #1 - I was also the in-college one while my SO was still in high school, and I know those same feelings very well. It is better to end it now, on as good terms as you can, and as gently as you can, than to let it go on and on and fester suspicion, jealousy, and doubt. Neither me nor my SO was brave enough to end it even though we could both feel the beginnings of it, and I ended up unhappy, in constant fights, my grades suffered, and I was ultimately cheated on. What could have been a sad-yet-understandable amicable breakup became an atomic explosive mess.

LW #2, GET OUT. GET OUT OF THERE. Get rid of that jackass boyfriend. He is disrespectful of you, abusing the parameters of his role as a top, he is coercing you, some would say terrorizing and maybe even abusing you. No one should EVER say to you, "You are my submissive, so you do what I want." He is BAD NEWS, and you deserve better, so DTMFA and get out of there!

fondue with cheddar

LW1, when I was in high school my boyfriend broke up with me so he could date college girls (I was still in high school). I was heartbroken and thought he was a jerk for doing so at the time, but eventually I realized he did the right thing. He could have cheated on me and I never would have know, or he could have stayed with me and let resentment build up because he wanted to date girls who were in the same place (because there's a huge difference between high school and college students). I know now that breaking up with me was the best thing for both of us, and it sounds like it's the best thing for you, too.


Jesus Fucking H Christ on a cracker LW2. GET OUT. I mean, it won't even be that hard if you're in another country. Also since you don't want to be poly, stay away from guys who are poly! It's perfectly alright to be monogamous, but you can't date someone who is poly and hope that magically he will feel the same. Or you can, but you have to be pretty upfront about it, and talk about it really, really early in the relationship.And yeah, anyone who is that much of an asshole about your very legitimate needs and feelings towards your sex life is a piece of shit who should be dumped immediately.
So many wee babes in this installment, I just want to hug you all.

dracula's ghost

still upset about LW #2
please leave him this instant, over email, and don't take any of his calls
and use your time away from him to try to break some of his emotional hold over you, by not talking to him, by walking around and reading books and being by yourself, by writing lists of qualities an ideal boyfriend would have, for you, ideal ways he'd make you feel, and all the ways he'd ideally NOT make you feel

you can do it


@dracula's ghost - this is great advice.


@dracula's ghost I agree, this seems very smart, I don't want her even in the same room with him ever again!


No, it's true, I never went through it because I literally never got laid in high school.


@smidge me too :(


@martinipie High five?


@smidge, @martinpie this meeting of the Late-in-Life Deflowering Club will now come to order.


@stonefruit Present!


@stonefruit Here!


@smidge But look at how much heart break we saved ourselves!


@stonefruit I brought these awesome jackets for us!


@smidge Here! Virginity is pretty much guarenteed to a chubby goth attending a very rural high school.

Roaring Girl

@smidge I consider the fact that I never had fumble-y awkward high school sex a gift I gave myself. High school me would have disagreed, but high school me didn't know shit.


@everybody You are all making me feel so much better about high school.


@Roaring Girl same! thought I was the lamest for a few years there (dumb!) and then eventually had an extremely top-notch non-fumbly first sexual experience. non-high school sex ftw.


@Roaring Girl i agree. If I had lost my virginity in high school, I would have never had experienced losing it to my wonderful boyfriend in a hotel bed-sheet fort after eating a ton of stolen waffles.


@smidge Is it weird that I'm jealous of you guys?


May I also join this club??


@kickupdust Yeah, I didn't do the high school fumblesex, but my early college fumbly deflowering was all kinds of wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


@packedsuitcase woo! I definitely think there is a lot to be said for (a bit of) waiting.


@RubeksCube We have a jacket in your size and everything.


@packedsuitcase I just... didn't want to have sex? It sounded like a lot of trouble. (And today I want to have a lot of sex but IRL it's totally a lot of trouble sometimes).


@smidge Hooray!!!

Pocket Witch

@RubeksCube I spent high school being afraid that my parents were right and I'd grow up to be a nice straight girl who'd get married to a nice boy and then have children.

And then I went to college and realized that no, I don't have to have sex. Ever. And I don't have to be interested in sex. Ahahaha epiphany and I'm going to be happy with my life!


@Pocket Witch I spent high school completely uninterested in sex (I come from a VERY conservative background), and was completely baffled by those who were obsessed with it.
I went to college, and kind of "got it," had sex, but wasn't in a good relationship until grad school, so maybe that was when I really understood. Ha! Hooray epiphanies!

Pocket Witch

@RubeksCube I've pretty much concluded that I'm asexual. (Actually my dearest friend was like "hey, personal question, have you ever thought that you might be asexual?" and then there was this LIGHT BULB of "Oh, that's me.") Maybe I'll try dating without sex, but it's not a high priority.


@smidge Me too! No romantic history until I got to university (which consisted of one person, who I am still with).


@Pocket Witch

Note to P.W.: Just be sure not to ask Dan Savage his opinion of what you should do.

Pocket Witch

@purefog Everything I need to know about Dan Savage, I've learned from The Hairpin.

This is my new username

@stonefruit Awwww I am sad I missed this meeting! Are there any jackets left? Late de-flowering ended up being an excellent option for me.


1. Dump
2. DUMP!!!!!!!!
3. Dump
4. Find a hobby that makes you feel good about yourself, and don't date again until you feel good about yourself


"I don't feel bi. Just resourceful!" Oh my gosh. I don't mean to make light of a difficult situation but where can I sign up to hang out with the resourceful British boys?


@heyhaley Yeah, I might have had to fan myself at my desk in response to that.

evil melis

@AmandathePanda It made me SO HAPPY to think that British public schools are still as gay as I always hoped they were.


@heyhaley Right? Love that description of it.


@heyhaley Seconded. I was totally unaware that there was a stereotype about British public school boys being gay, but that letter = very hot.

Blackwatch Plaid

@heyhaley So the central conceit of so much fanfiction is actually true? I am very okay with this.


Good god, LW2. GET OUT OF THERE.


LW1, I agree you should end things with your girlfriend (as soon as possible), and then you should absolutely tell your college friend about your girlfriend! Just on a friendship level, I would feel weird if a friend of mine didn't tell me about a relationship, but if it's going to progress beyond friendship, I especially think she should know! You can say something like, "I'm kind of sad lately because I just broke up with my girlfriend from high school. I'm really sorry I didn't tell you earlier; the relationship was on shaky grounds toward the end and I didn't know how to talk about it."


@SarahP i think this is great advice.


LW2, this guy is NOT a good top, and any good top would tell you the same and be super pissed a scumbag like him was fucking up the reputation of good tops everywhere. This is not typical and DEEPLY NOT OK. GET OUT, and don't take any "you're my sub" shit, okay? Leave him with his shitty Christian Grey fantasies, because you are NOT Ana Steele and you don't have to be ever again.

ugh kink assholes make me capsy!


@martinipie lol so i shouldn't reads 50 shades of gray? i keep seeing it everywhere but then i remember how terrible twilight was and that is the last book i read for that reason. (which is funny, right?)

Petit Prince

Oh my God, for the first time ever I have logged in without even finishing the entire column to comment. LW3, I have been the exact other person in this exact relationship (Harrow) and had all my CLOSE friends, if you will, leave school the year ahead of me and OH GOD thinking now of how mortifyingly awful the letters I wrote were - this was in 1996, so we still did that, letter-writing.

It is going to be rough but I suspect that your friend - if he is actually gay - is writing these letters and focusing his feelings on you as a test of how he can feel these things in a safe-ish context. I fell crazily in love for about 2 and a half seconds apiece with a series of boys during my final year - who I could more or less only communicate with via letters and occassional phone calls and perhaps see fleetingly at Christmas and I look back now in such thanks that they were so nice to me and so patient.

Your friend almost certainly knows you are straight, and I think almost certainly knows you aren't in love with him, and probably - not to insult you, as I'm sure you are very fit - isn't in love with you. Popular teenage culture has changed a lot, but the kind of easily contextualized and culture-appropriate things straight boys go through with girls is much more formal and deliberate and a bit delayed-onset for Us Gays.

Be patient with him, be nice to him, very firmly do not allow him to fondle your wang unless you mean it and in two years he'll have a serious boyfriend and access to really amazing parties and in ten years you'll sit in a cafe somewhere and laugh-argue about this while your kids get in trouble somewhere just out of vision.

Good luck! It will work out! Enjoy your university years and Don't Do (too many) Drugs!

Judith Slutler

@Petit Prince This is just so sweet to read about. The end of school and friends figuring out who they are sexually, is often a process full of so many messy Feelings and hormone fueled sexual experiments. I think the LW will really appreciate what you said about how it can all end up OK!

Daisy Razor

@Petit Prince This is a wonderful comment, because the worst thing about semi-romantic disasters (when you're in the middle of them) is often that you feel like you're losing a friend in the most ridiculous, mortifying way possible. But it doesn't have to be forever, and you've painted such a lovely picture of one possible outcome.


@Petit Prince really wonderful reply and I read it in my head using a British accent, hope that's okay.

Quinn A@twitter

Oh, my God, LW2. Get out. Get out now. Your boyfriend is terrible, and believe me when I say I know from terrible boyfriends.

(Also, Dan Savage is terrible too. Don't listen to Dan Savage.)

As a person who was once pretty heavily involved with BDSM, I can tell you that your current situation is not the norm and is not acceptable. Seriously, get out.

On the subject of terrible boyfriends: LW4! I have been you, right down to having had an ex who confessed to having just used me for sex and money. There are people I've dated casually whom I still like and/or talk to on occasion, but all of my long-term relationships were with people who were somehow awful and I definitely blamed myself.

Good news: it's possible to break the pattern. My current partner is pretty much the best person ever, and for some reason she also thinks I am wonderful. It's pretty great. :D

What worked for me: first, I spent some time figuring out exactly what I needed. What personality traits did I most value in my friends? What kind of communication styles worked for me? Etc. Next came learning to recognize the behaviours that should have been serious red flags to me before. Like, if a person criticizes other people a lot but has left you alone, eventually that person will probably start to criticize you. If people push small boundaries, eventually they will probably push more important boundaries. Stuff like that. And finally, when I actually started dating: I considered whether or not I would be comfortable introducing my date to my most judgmental friend (or friends, in my case). Ask yourself would your friend find your date kind, pleasant, funny, smart, interesting, etc? I have had partners I wasn't sure I wanted to introduce to my least judgmental friend, but my current partner is much-beloved by my most judgmental friends.

Good luck!

Judith Slutler

@Quinn A@twitter Dan Savage is definitely terrible, but even he would be screaming GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT at this relationship.


@Quinn A@twitter Oooo, gurl. I think your advice for LW #4 is spot on.

Also, LW #4, if this has been a pattern that has repeated itself in all your past relationships, it might be a good idea to set a definite time period of No Dating for yourself so you can get your head in a good place. Maybe 6 months?


@Quinn A@twitter I am so glad I'm not the only one who gets real bad feelings from Dan Savage. I'm always like, "Hm, we're awfully should-y for someone so supposedly open-minded, aren't we?"

lasso tabasco

@Quinn A@twitter Why is Dan Savage terrible?


@lasso tabasco Oh man. His attitude toward bisexuality is laughable, and he's really not good with trans* issues either.

Quinn A@twitter

@lasso tabasco Right now I can't give you links to the posts I'm about to reference (though if no one helps me out in the next few hours, I'll get back to you), but basically: he uses transphobic slurs, he's fatphobic, he tells asexual people and people with low sex drives not to "inflict themselves" on "normal people", he thinks bisexual people should only date each other instead of hurting gay or straight people, he's misogynistic...he's terrible.

Judith Slutler

@lasso tabasco Fat hatred, he pushes the "female sexuality is more fluid" thing that leads to exactly the attitude espoused by LW2's boyfriend, kind of trans* ignorant and keeps using a lot of slurs.

Also I don't think it's Savage's fault, but the concept of GGG can also be twisted beyond recognition, see above.

Daisy Razor

@Quinn A@twitter Don't forget racist, for blaming Prop 8's passage on black people!

lasso tabasco

@wee_ramekin @Quinn @Emmanuelle Cunt Thanks guys! I've been listening to him for years and I think his advice is usually pretty solid/sane, and expect for the fat shaming I've noticed anything particularly problematic. I'll pay more attention next time I listen.
Although, the asexual thing.... I think he has a reasonable opinion, even if his verbiage isn't always the best. I would be hella mad if I was dating someone for a while and all of a sudden they were like SURPRISE I DON'T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU.

honey cowl

@Quinn A@twitter I love Dan Savage unabashedly, but the rest of your advice is awesome. Introduce your new partner to your most judgmental friend. PERF.


@lasso tabasco I think a lot of his advice is great. I just think that his problematic stances are REALLY problematic.


@par_parenthese The whole "should" thing is what finally turned me off (rimshot) from reading Dan Savage. He's all "you can do whatever you want, but MONOGAMY SUCKS and here's why" and you know what? Some people are just into only sleeping with one person at a time.


@wee_ramekin yes! you've encapsulated my reaction to DS. Like, solid advice, but could you please stop taking such sucky positions on things because it makes me less likely to want to read your solid advice.


@Quinn A@twitter God yes, thank you. As soon as I got to that Dan Savage line, I was like "OH GOD ANOTHER THING THAT DAN SAVAGE HAS TO REPENT FOR IS MAKING POOR WOMEN FEEL LIKE THIS." He sucks, please back away from the Savage.


@causedbycomma I honestly think 'pinners are ten thousand times more open-minded than he is. Exhibit A: the reactions to the Virgin posts. I sometimes feel like he's the reverse of Dana Carvey's Church Lady -- someone with a really strong opinion about how other people's sex lives should look. ;)


@wee_ramekin I'm LW4 (and a lurker whom nobody knows), and your advice is basically what I'm attempting- I just started university, and I'm going to go a whole semester without dating anyone, just to, um, refresh my palate or something. Lose my acquired taste for assholes. Something like that. Just me and a stack of textbooks, gazing longingly at my OKCupid inbox!


@Fluff Throw yourself into university life! There's so much to do and so many people from everywhere to meet every day. I miss that a great deal. Maybe consider finding a club you are interested in?


@par_parenthese can I just tell everyone how stoked I am about the DS opinions on this thread? You articulate all my thoughts. Especially about misogyny, trans and fat phobia etc. etc. etc.


@Fluff Yay! Thanks for responding!

Girl, I don't think you're going to regret a semester-long hiatus from dating. At first, you might feel a bit lonely, but you can take that lonely feeling and channel it into doing fun stuff that you like and meeting new people in a totally non-romantic way. It will help you build up a slew of interests (especially since you're in college -- there's always something to do in college!) and a network of people who can have your back once you start dating again.

Good luck!


@Quinn A@twitter Is this a safe place to admit our middling enthusiasm for Dan Savage? Oh good! Like, GGG is great in THEORY, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who's been all "Uh... I don't think this is... maybe? Okay... I'll try... NOPE, DEF NOT. SORRY." and then felt guilty about dropping the GGG banner. I am also not crazy about the way he talks to and about women, but might just be me.


@angermonkey YES THANK YOU. I never tried GGG officially to me it just seems like what I would want to do. And then after I heard one too many callers on his show (all or mostly straight women) being like, I tried to be GGG for xxxx but I just can't do it, and he was like, try anyway, then I was like, no.


Dear LW 2, I registered here just to say this:
If somebody (me) is reading your letter and thinks 'Wow that sounds just like Christian Gray', who is probably the best example I can think of how NOT to do consensual happy dominance, YOU SHOULD REALLY DUMP THEM. LIKE NOW.

Miss Maszkerádi

@larouxvixen Gah you beat me to it! I was feeling very panicky-1980s-PTA-mom when I couldn't get the thought out of my head, "Is this what happens when 50 Shades gets lauded as remotely erotic and healthy by the entire god damn country?"

LW2, honey, the description of your "relationship" is literally the most upsetting I have read on this site. You deserve so fucking much better. (And so much better fucking. Rimshot!)


@Countess Maritza SAME

fondue with cheddar

Of all the bad boyfriends/girlfriends depicted in the various Ask A's, this one might be the worst. LW1, breaks my heart that you had to deal with that bullshit. You seem like such a sweet and considerate person who knows what she wants, which is exactly the kind of person who makes a great partner. YOU CAN DO BETTER!


LW2 getoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetout

get out.

On the topic of partner-resentment, I have a story: My husband is vegetarian. I am not. I do not cook or keep meat in our house (except for sealed tubs of deli sliced stuff which goes with me to work ASAP), and I only eat meat in our house if it's takeout I've brought home, which is extremely rare, although eating out is slightly less rare and I do try to eat meat then too.

Occasionally I feel resentment toward smy husband for not eating meat, because damn it I'd like to eat some chicken or whatever in my own house. But that resentment is on me, because we negotiated terms we could both live with and I agreed to it. I guess what I'm saying is, if you strip away everything else that makes LW2's boyfriend a case for justified immolation and just had the part where she worries about him resenting her for not doing things he wants to do sexually, she also shouldn't worry about that, because he said okay and continued on in the relationship with her.


Crap, there should not be any more unpleasant control freaks using kink as a cover for their basic assholishness. That letter made me so sad for the writer.
Oh, LW#2, you are not the only one who has been someplace like that place, and I'm sure this entire thread is full of "GET OUT IT WILL BE GREAT" advice, so please take it. He's all wrong; you are all right.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Holy shit, LW2, talk about skin-crawly feeling! Get away from that dude, immediately, and take that nice couch surfer with you. Not to sex her or anything, just to ensure that someone who is remotely delightful will not be tainted by that asswipe.


LW2, remember that the things you're expecting of yourself go both ways. You say you feel guilty about not being GGG (which, let's not get into how problematic Dan Savage can be), when your boyfriend is actually the one who is being the exact opposite.

You also say that you feel guilty because you're not the person you thought you would be when you started the relationship (you thought you could at least fake being bi, and you can't), so you feel like you misled your boyfriend. This is something that happens ALL THE TIME in relationships. You weren't (or were) vegetarian, but now you are (or aren't). You used to like going out a lot, and now you don't. You are allowed to do that. In healthy relationships, the conversation goes: you: "I am now different in X way from how I was when we started this relationship" partner: "I am a mature human being, and, after some thought and introspection, have decided that I can/cannot deal with that, and therefore we will continue our relationship/break up."

Even if your boyfriend wasn't a manipulative asshole who is using kink to excuse his behavior, you would still have the right to change. Of course it's bad to mislead people in relationships, but you told him the truth at the beginning, and you're telling the truth now - it's just a different truth.

Tl;dr: you deserve the same from a relationship that you expect from yourself, and are allowed to change as much as you want, as long as you try your best not to be a dick about it.

Judith Slutler

Hey LW4, here is a brief thought: do you have good friends that you trust? Start considering them your Relationship Barometer. By this I mean:

1. Don't date anyone who's not as awesome as your friends

2. Confide in your friends about your relationships and listen to them!


LW3 makes me think of Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte. Flowery British public school boys!


@Mae RIGHT? I didn't know it was really REALLY a thing! Can we get an MTV True Life: I went to British Public School already?


@Mae <3 Brideshead.

I went to Oxford, and there were SO MANY delightful camp boys there who basically dressed like it was still 1925 and took one another for river picnics and poetry readings.


LW2&4: Multi-purpose advice for multi-faceted bad relationships: I left a relationship with someone who was truly, truly awful and then almost immediately got involved with someone else. Thus far, my new sweetheart has proven to be not awful at all, but still, at nine months, I find myself going over his behavior with a fine toothed comb. If he does something that doesn't sit quite right with me, I feel compelled and almost obligated to tell a few close friends about it and see what they think. Something I did in my last relationship was put my ex's inexcusable behavior through a little justification machine in my head and then pretend like it didn't happen, or like it was my fault. My best advice for you is to be transparent about your relationship - with yourself, with your partner, and with others close to you. This doesn't mean you have to tell everyone everything, but it does mean that your experience is your own and you are allowed to ask for outside opinions! If you don't want to tell your best friend about something your partner did because you know they'll tell you it's not OK, well, that's a pretty good indication of where the relationship is at.

Litebrite Idea

@roadtrips Great advice. I started hanging out with someone who jokingly said something that raised my antennae, and I've had to ask a few different people about it since I still find it difficult to differentiate flirty teasing from testing boundaries that can be pushed.


I guess my real question is, how do I deal with the fact that I feel defective for NOT being bi or wanting to watch other girls bang my boyfriend or other men? [...] But what is a more constructive way to deal with this?

Constructive is as constructive does, I guess, but people who say these things and make you feel this way do so because they do not believe that women are humans with sexual identities and desires. Rather, they believe that women are organisms almost wholly composed of conditioned reflexes and maybe a rudimentary brainstem. They give you these messages and say these things to you because they notice that your reflexes are not sufficiently conditioned to their liking as you still retain some instincts towards freedom and individuality. The entire cultural edifice of sanctioned heterosexual female expression is centered around compelling women to deny what they want and hide what they like, and, worse, to declare that they themselves do not know. What does woman want? Nobody knows what women want. Woman is a mystery even to herself. When they want your opinion, they'll give it to you, as the saying is.

But you still know what it is you like, in spite of a couple thousand years of history and a douchebag abusive boyfriend, because they failed and you won.

To these people, a woman is an inferior copy of a real doll. These are garbage people. Say all this to them, it will make you feel better.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@queenofbithynia Whoa. I'm going to need a massive pillow, because I'd like to crochet all of this on it. Maybe I'll just use the couch? (Also, I just compulsively clicked the thumbs up button like 76 times.)

Judith Slutler

@queenofbithynia This is so goddamned true. People like that think female sexuality exists solely to please men and that women shouldn't have any actual preferences beyond mirroring exactly what our partners would like us to like.


@queenofbithynia As kind of a corollary to your point, I will never cease to be amazed at the breathtaking self-centeredness of people who insist that they be allowed to express their sexuality however they choose, and then turn around and insist equally strongly that they know better than you who you are and what you want.


@queenofbithynia yeah girl. YEAH. I want to like this eleventy-frillion times. This is both full of truth and deep, compelling insight.


@queenofbithynia So good. Also, this kind of reminds me of the earlier discussion from SoCH about Theda Bara and female sexuality.


@queenofbithynia well said!


@SarcasticFringehead Your comment is spot on. It is seriuosly SO true and SO reflective of a guy I dated that I got a flashback to his horribleness.


@queenofbithynia those are indeed "garbage people." thank you.


(Hey Edith, if you ever want to have an ask a kinky person column, just let me know)

Okay, so there are ways to have healthy D/s relationships, and there are ways to have unhealthy D/s relationships. And there are times when you can power through doing things you'd rather not do because your desire to obey/please your Dom outweighs your desire not to do X. There are times you can't (we call these "limits"). And some people can do the whole "forced bi" thing and be fine with it, and other people can't.
LW2, in your letter, you don't talk much about negotiation and what you have and haven't agreed to. I think perhaps your Dom made some assumptions that were incorrect about what you were interested in/willing to do. I think the fact that you have tried this and discovered that you can't proves that you're not just setting an arbitrary limit (which is also allowed).

The response of "you're my submissive, so do it anyway" may be hot in certain fantasies, but it's not a healthy way to do D/s. A good Dominant would be interested in learning about and respecting your limits, even if also trying to help you push them. And you are always allowed to say "no" or "safeword" when being asked to do something that makes you legitimately unhappy. The fact that he didn't even seem to notice your discomfort or attempt to address it makes me think he is in this more for his own jollies than for meaningful relationships.

I can relate to that feeling of not being bi enough (though I have happily participated in a few threesomes and played with girls in various ways). And I can definitely relate to not wanting to watch my partner fuck another girl, mostly because I have almost no voyeuristic inclination (which makes me feel left out at parties sometimes). Kinky people sometimes have this reaction of thinking that if there's something sexual you're not into, you must be repressed or homophobic. And for people who routinely engage in sex that's outside the norm, we can be awfully judgy about other peoples' sexual choices. But just as it is okay to be a masochist or a submissive, it is also okay to be straight, or gay, or bi, or asexual, or whatever. A good D/s relationship can help you grow as a person, but it shouldn't attempt to fit you into a mold based solely on your partner's fantasies.

All of this to say - either have a serious heart-to-heart negotiation about your relationship, your limits, etc, or DTMFA.


@Blushingflwr Such a good response! For me (and me only recognizing that everybody has different boundaries), I'm totally okay with somebody being like "Well you're my x so you're doing it anyway" but only if it's something that we've already done, or have talked about doing. If somebody is like "Well you've expressed that you do not want to have needles poked into you and we're doing it anyway" I mean, it seems to me there is a fundamental disconnect in our sexual desires here. IF somebody is like "Oh you don't want to be spanked today TOO DAMN BAD" that's hot. To me. I mean, respecting that I would still have to have a safeword if I was like, no I REALLY don't want that today.

Safe words. Where are the safe words here?!


@Blushingflwr I would LOVE an "Ask a Kinky Person" column. I have questions!


@RNL Well, in the meantime, if you have pressing questions, you can shoot me an e-mail at this screenname at gmail (or hit me up on Twitter under this name, yay consistency!). I can't promise I'll have the right answer, but I will almost certainly have an opinion, and possibly an idea of where to go for more information.


@Blushingflwr Oh that's lovely! Thank you for the kind offer. I may, but I feel a little silly. Mine is basically a run of the mill "I think I'm pretty kinky, have explored that part of me but not fully, am now with a (lovely)but pretty vanilla guy and don't yet have the self-knowledge and words to be able to really talk to him about what I want help" kind of question.

Not ground breaking stuff, and I think the answer is just time and continuing to work on our communication.

I think he will probably work with me on this stuff, and things will look pretty different in 6 months. I guess I'm feeling conflicted because I really like him but I really miss the enthusiasm and lack of inhibition I was experiencing with other partners before he and I got together.

My question is probably the unanswerable: is this worth it? Should I be in this relationship or be out there looking for someone who shares some of my more "out there" sexual tastes?


@RNL That's a hard one. I think issues like this are one of the reasons you find such a high rate of non-monogamy in the kink scene (another reason being that if you're already throwing off social norms by being kinky, why not do other things too?). Non-monogamy allows you to explore your kink side with someone else while still having a vanilla relationship with your partner. But it's not a viable solution for everyone, for a number of reasons.
So, there are a few things to consider.
One, is that you should consider getting involved in your local kink community. Depending on where you live, there are almost certainly classes available, which will help you learn more about various activities, and help you clarify your desires and learn ways to communicate them. If you can't find a group, consider an online community like Fetlife, where you can talk to people who are experienced (though of course it's the Internet, so a good percentage of the people are talking out their asses). And of course, as you get more comfortable with your guy, you will hopefully be better able to communicate your desires to him anyway.
The other thing is to consider asking yourself how important kink is to your sexual satisfaction. Some previously vanilla people become enthusiastic kinksters after meeting someone special, some give it a go and find it's not for them. Is this something that you enjoy but can live without? If after 6 months, your partner is still not in the same place, kink-wise, will that be something that you're okay with, or do you think it will cause friction? Is non-monogamy an option you're willing to explore, and if so, what are the boundaries of that you think you'd be comfortable with? I know people who are sexually and romantically monogamous but who play with other kinky folks, and of course I know lots of fully polyamorous people, there's a spectrum of ways that kink and non-monogamy can interact.
I think "is this worth it" is an answerable question, it's just one that only you can answer. It depends on how much you like the guy in question and how good the relationship is otherwise, and how important kink is to having a satisfying sex life.
I, personally, pretty much only date kinky people, but that's because D/s is important to me as a relationship component, and because I am heavily involved in the kink scene, so most of the people I meet are kinky.


@Blushingflwr Thank you for your response!

Reading it I decided that, no matter what, I want to embrace that part of me as part of who I am. The rest I can figure out as I go. I took your advice and joined fetlife, which is great.

(Part of my problem is that the kinky/poly guy I was involved with until recently also happens to be the most selfish and callous person I've ever met, so I'm trying to keep him and those feelings separate from my feelings and thoughts about kink and poly stuff.)

I will figure it out! And my vanilla guy is not really that vanilla, he's just vanilla in comparison to me and my past. So there's hope. And he's also great in so many other ways.


LW#3: In a reversal of our usual advice, I think your (boy)friend should dump your ass, you motherfucker.
Did you READ your letter, you self-centered butthead? "Something to do while I was horny and/or bored"!!??! No, you don't "really love him." You really love the attention he gives you. You used him (fine, people use each other all the time), but now that you realize he might not have been using you back you don't even want to give him the dignity of a real ending, or acknowledge that you guys were ever anything more than bros. If you think you're stringing him along, you are.
I hope you haven't broken his heart, because you're not worth it.


@gobblegirl wow that's a little harsh! LW3 sounds YOUNG, and yeah - he's acing immature and douchey, but he's immature. And who isn't a douche to start out, right? 17 year olds like attention. It sounds like he's trying to save his friend's dignity, and thus their friendship... in which case i would say, LW3 - maybe just ignore it until your both drunk together and then hug it out? Hug, not tug. If you wanna be 100% straight 4eva, then those days are over. sorry!


@Plexia I have no patience for selfishness and callousness, regardless of age. If you let people be douches when they're young and don't call them on it, it lets them grow into old douches. And we have enough of those.

Miss Maszkerádi

@gobblegirl Um, people make mistakes? Let she who is without sin, etc.
I read it as he did something a combination of douchey and simply naive, and (crucially) is trying to right it somehow. So, like, every last one of us on the planet at some point in our lives.


@gobblegirl Again, Harsh! You can call people out on being selfish and callous (though i prefer callow in this case) without calling them a motherfuker. I think this guy is childish, not mean! He's trying to wriggle (heh) out of an awkward sitch of his own making, but whothefuck hasn't? Butthead, yes. Agree. But I have 'accidentally' lead on enough friends to know that sometimes it's really hard to negotiate the 'do I love you or love the attention?' complex. All in all, I don't think shame is a very useful tool here.


@Plexia My use of "motherfucker" was simply for humour, as in "DTMFA." You'll notice I didn't advocate burning him alive.
I don't deny I've taken a hard line on this guy, based on the limited data of how he's chosen to present himself to an online advice column.
I'm a butthead too, all the time, rarely on purpose. Perhaps this is one of those occasions! I'm okay with you calling me on it if that's how you intepret it. I wasn't nice (wasn't trying to be, in this case, though usually I do), but it's my opinion of how he describes his actions. Hopefully he'll read this thread and get both sides of the coin, and govern himself accordingly.


@gobblegirl Bleh I know, I'm being a butted too! Did not get the DTMFA ref.


"This summer, he told me a month and a half in advance that he invited his female friend from a different state to stay at ours for a week. In my naivete, I thought that meant general couchsurfing."

I think you mean, "because I am a normal person, I thought that meant general couchsurfing."

My college roommate was into BDSM with a partner who took that power dynamic to places he shouldn't have (ie, "you're beneath me in every way. You aren't good enough to eat spaghetti with."). It was horrible, and it took her a really long time to see it.

And to answer your "is it ok to just be straight" question - of course it is. I think you need to embrace that and have zero problems telling someone who judges you for your sexual preference to shove it. It's a bit ironic that this judgment is coming from a community that's all about openness and knows a thing or two about people judging it, right?


I want to hug LW2, and pour her a big glass of wine, and then hug her again.


I haven't finished reading yet, but I wish I had gone to a sexy lady version of the free-love, all-cuddling boarding school that LW3 attended. That sounds like a pretty fine experience, sir.


Maybe I'm late to the party but I have a comment/question about the whole "ask your friends about your boyfriend" . I'm usually the friend who is all DUMP HIM! when I think my friends are not happy, but I'm starting to be a lot more cautious beacause then they get back together or never even break up or things turn out OK. And then I'm the asshole who wanted them to break up and they stop telling me things.
My best friend just reunited with her EXTREMLY jealous and possesive ex and she hasn't even told me (fount out through mutual friends).I don't think it's OK but, what do I know? why to I gat to judge her?

Judith Slutler

@Mariajoseh Oh nooooo. I used to do the "dump him" thing, but it isn't very effective. Try this: when friends tell you something about their relationships, just say, "Whoa, how did you feel about that?" or "What did you think when she said that?" or something. Then listen to what they say. Be a sounding board for them. If something terrible is going on, don't say THAT IS TERRIBLE, say, "If I were you, I don't think I'd be ok with that."

If you want them to confide in you, you have to show them that you have respect for their choices and agency. Not necessarily approval, but respect.


@Emmanuelle Cunt oh, yes. I didn't mean that I SAY "dump him", and I think I use some of the strategies you mentioned, but maybe I do make it pretty clear that in my head I'm singing the "dump him" song. And I agree that I have to show them respect (I actually feel it, too), I just meant that... sometimes I feel like they come to me because they KNOW i have high standards and what my opinion is but then they do whatever they are going to do anyway. What i was trying to say is that asking for your friends to "grade" your boyfriends is a minefield. Even the most sane friend has her own hang ups.


@Mariajoseh It's really hard not to end up being this friend sometimes (I am this friend too!) because when your pals break up with their boyfriends and complain about him/explain why they broke up with him, and you do the supportive "Yeah, you did the right thing! He is an asshole" thing, and then they get back together-- you can't unsay all the stuff you said.

Judith Slutler

@Mariajoseh Hahaha, there is no correct answer to "grade my boyfriend!" Refuse to do it. Conscientiously object.

Quinn A@twitter

@Mariajoseh I usually say "okay, describe the behaviour to me. All right, I didn't see it, but that sounds like one of the classic signs of abuse. Do you have any idea what you might want to do about it? I'll give you whatever kind of help or support you need".

I feel like it strikes a good balance - you let your friend know that you're concerned, you let your friend know that you're there to help, and you empower your friend to make his or her own decisions.


@Quinn A@twitter thank you! that sounds doable

Miss Maszkerádi



@Countess Maritza I KNOW RIGHT


Miss Maszkerádi

@stonefruit I want to offer her my couch to sleep on as she escapes that horrible Christian Grey knockoff. In a completely normal couchsurfery way. Except my apartment is too fucking small to fit an actual couch, because Manhattan. So I want to send her massive quantities of chocolate and wine? Gackk. What the hell do I/we do and how do we help her?


I wish all of the writer-inners would post follow ups: what happened? Are you all okay and happy? Safe? Still friends (last writer guy)?


@Joey i loooove when LWs chime in to let us know more / updates.


@iceberg @Joey Both LWs #2 and #4 have followed up at other places in the thread! I love it too!


Skipping to the bottom to join with what I am sure has been chorus of people saying: LW2, DUMP HIM RIGHT NOW.

I'm a switch who has only recently taken his BDSM out of fantasy and into the real world, and I spent a lot of time talking with a friend of mine who is very much a top, and he said this to me which made things SO clear: Behind the scene, behind all the dominance and submission, it's the bottom who is in charge. It was something I knew but had never exactly articulated.

So yeah, this guy is a horrible top and is basically the worst. Dump him yesterday.


@TheUnchosenOne Awesome advice. Also, hiya! I haven't seen you around in the comments lately -- it is good to see you :).


@TheUnchosenOne Yeah, except no. I don't want to turn this into a whole thread about the right and wrong ways to do BDSM, but two points -
1) people have a tendency to use "top" and "dominant" (and "bottom" and "submissive") interchangeably, but they're not. They don't mean the same thing. The bottom may be in charge of a scene, but the submissive probably isn't. Which isn't to say that submissive have no rights or agency or power in the relationship because we do, but we're not in charge.
2) I am of the opinion that the idea that "the bottom is actually the one in charge" idea is one of those things that we tell people to make them more comfortable with the idea of consensual SM.

None of this negates, however, your point that the so-called Dom in the second letter is a jerkface who does not deserve the letter writer.


@Blushingflwr Oooo! I am one of the people who uses "top" and "dominant" interchangeably! If you have the time/inclination, would you mind spelling out the difference? I'd be interested to know!


@wee_ramekin I have both the time and the inclination!

Okay, these are partly my own personal definitions, but they are also shared by many of the kinky people that I know here in DC.

BDSM breaks down to "Bondage and Discipline", "Dominance and Submission" and "sadism and masochism".

A Top is someone who does things to the other person, a bottom is someone who has things done to them. So, if two people are doing rope bondage, the one doing the tying is the top, the one getting tied up is the bottom.

A Dominant (or Master) is the person in a power exchange (D/s or M/s) relationship who is in charge. A submissive is the person who gives up control. A D/s relationship may or may not involve other elements of BDSM.

A sadist is someone who likes to hurt others; a masochist is someone who enjoys pain. Not all BDSM activities involve pain.

There is a lot of overlap. Most of the dominants I know also identify as tops and sadists. However, I know some who are also switches, and who will order their submissives to top them. The fact that the submissive is tying up the dominant doesn't negate the fact that the dominant is the one in charge of the scenario, even though the submissive is the top in this case. Most of the submissives I know are also bottoms and masochists, but I know people who are bottoms who are not submissives, submissives who aren't interested in most of the other elements of BDSM play, etc (and many of the people I know switch along all three axes - top/bottom, dominant/submissive, sadist/masochist).

Also, when I play casually, with friends or with new people, I may bottom (let them hit me or whatever), but I usually save actual submission for relationships. Just because I let someone tie me up doesn't mean I let them tell me what to do.


@Blushingflwr I was using them interchangeably, and that was wrong. That's how it's shaken out in my particular experiences so I've gotten into the habit, but it's one I need to break.

I think "The submissive is really the one in charge" is a good way to look at it, though, from the Dom's perspective. At least for me, it basically means I need to be very attentive. I mean, yeah, the Dom is in charge of what's going on, but they need to do it with a sense of what the sub is going through, and watch out for any cues the sub might be being overwhelmed.

@wee_ramekin Hello! I have been busy with stuff lately. "Top" and "bottom" refer to who is giving (the top) and who is receiving (the bottom). Usually this will be a Dom, but not always.

ETA: Ah, dang, beaten to it with a much more thorough explanation! Stupid work making me do things that aren't write comments.


@Blushingflwr Ahhhh, thank you! I think I was using the two terms interchangeably because that's how the dynamic worked in my last relationship, but I see where the difference is now. Thanks again for your answer.


@TheUnchosenOne I know, don't you hate it when that happens?

I think there is some value in looking at it from the perspective of the submissive being in charge, and certainly there is a great deal of value in recognizing that the submissive is a human being with thoughts and feelings and desires that may not line up with the dominants. As a submissive, I have certainly done things I really would rather not have done because the act of submission was more important to me than not doing whatever it was. Sometimes those things were good for me, sometimes they weren't. I certainly have a great deal of power and agency - I can say "no", or I can safeword. I can communicate to my Dominant that something is hurting in a bad way, and he'll stop, because he is not an asshole. And obedience and submission are ongoing choices, just as commitment is. So yes, I think it is important to recognize the power and agency that a submissive has, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're in charge. In your example of wanting to be sure the sub isn't overwhelmed, you'd still be the one making the decisions, just based on the information that you were receiving. A lot of people hate this analogy, but I like it - if your car's check engine light comes on, you get to decide what to do about that. You can take it to a mechanic, or ignore it and keep driving up the mountain. One of those choice is certainly more responsible than the other, but their both yours. Having a check engine light doesn't mean your car is in charge. If a submissive is telling you something (verbally or otherwise) you get to decide what to do with that information. Some of those choices are more responsible than others, and a submissive always has the ability (we hope) to walk away (unlike a car), but having limits and using safewords doesn't make the submissive in charge.

At least, that's my opinion. One of my other opinions is that there is no one right way to do BDSM (though there are a few wrong ways), provided that you are doing it in a way that is consensual, and that people are free to negotiate their own relationships for themselves.


@wee_ramekin As I said, there is a lot of overlap, which is why people use the terms interchangeably, but this is one of my personal soapboxes, so thanks for giving me the chance to climb on it! :)


@Blushingflwr I pretty much agree with all of this! I guess to me "in charge" in this instance is just a reminder to be a good, responsible Dom.


@TheUnchosenOne Which is something no one can argue with :)


LW 4: One thing that's helped me is asking, up front, what the person I am interesting in dating is looking for in a relationship. My pattern was to date dudes who didn't want actual relationships and then be crushed when they did not want me for a girlfriend.

I asked the present Senor Sparrow what he was looking for on our first date, and his answer was "a partner". No timeline, no specific expectations, but someone to genuinely team up with for the long-term. Me too! We get along famously, and I feel much more comfortable knowing where he stands.

TLDR-- Ask them about themselves and LISTEN to what they tell you.

ALSO this Queer Chick is the greatest Ask a Relationship Person IMHO. The t-rex, the time machine? I died. I want to be friends with you, AaQC.


LW2: hugs, wine, I hope that our collective aggressive reaction to your letter is not freaking you out too hard, and that you get out of this relationship safely and quickly, take some time to get your head right (as we all need do after any sort of break up) and find a new situation that works better for you than this one.

But also, and relevant to upthread comments about Dan Savage harshing on monogamy: folks who are straight and neither poly nor into kink are not necessarily Westboro Baptist idiots. Some of us are uber-liberal northeastern urbanite intellectual atheists with healthy if vanilla sex lives.

It seems like recently there's a lot more conversation in our culture as a whole about out-of-the-socialized-norm sex and relationship stuff than there has been in the past (maybe some causality w/ 50 Shades, but I think it works the other way around: that book became what it is partly b/c we needed to be having this conversation more openly) - and that dialogue is great! But I don't think it's a fair assumption for anyone or any community to make that people with more traditional preferences are repressed, or haven't considered their preferences as carefully as those with kinkier tastes.


@PomoFrannyGlass Thank you for those last two paragraphs, from the bottom of my straight virginal heart. Reason #982731263876 why I believe 'pinners are some of the most open-minded people on the planet.

Regina Phalange

Excellent advice (as always)!
I particularly agree with the advice to the last letter writer. I dream of a day when Barney Stinson's Lemon Law becomes a realistic option...

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

LW2: As a former 'Pin advice-getter, I know the tornado of DUMMMMP HIMMMM can be upsetting and overwhelming, so I'm just going to ask you to consider a couple things.

1. Sex should feel good. If your boyfriend is asking you to do things that don't feel good to you, regardless of how bangin' they make him feel, then you need to be upfront about it (which it sounds like you have been - kudos! That can be intimidating!). I know that BDSM often has some winding roads to feeling good, but remember: at the end of the day, pleasure is the point. If your sex leaves you feeling upset, then it's not good sex for you to be having.

2. Topping is a delicate balancing act of asserting control and being considerate. It's not code for "I'm the top, I do what I want." If your partner is using "topping" as if it's Manifest goddamn Destiny, he's being selfish, inconsiderate, and bad lay and a bad boyfriend.

3. If you decide to leave him - which I strongly encourage - rest assured that there are tops out there who will treat you right. And if you decide to stay - which, please don't, but humans, amirite? - at least tell him in no uncertain terms that, topped or not, BDSM or not, the power dynamic will hereby be shifting. Step outside the BDSM dynamic for a while until equilibrium is established. Until you feel cared for, and like an equal member of your relationship. And if he's unwilling to do that, after a traumatic sexual encounter? I know of several commenters who have flamethrowers and a T. rex on a leash.

Big Rig and Jesse

Oh, LW#2, so many people have told you good ideas to dump your terrible boyfriend, though your letter made me super sad and reminded me that the Old College Try never works: "From the cities, to the swamplands, our love had never had a leg to stand on." I hope that you have the strength to listen to these well-meaning strangers.


Having been the girlfriend in LW #1's situation (although with a still socially dissatisfied sophomore, if that makes a difference, which it might), dude, tell her. 1) If you want it at all to work, clear cut communication has to be A Thing. My ex and I were supercommunicators, and it still only lasted six months. 2) It sounds like you might not want it to work out. So tell her that. No one wants to be putting in the emotional effort required for a LDR if it isn't being reciprocated.


Gosh, people think about sex too much. What I mainly think about sex is: ew.


@Trilby I think the right amount to think about sex varies from person to person. I spend a lot of time thinking (and talking) about sex, and a good deal of time having it. Other people spend the same amount of time thinking about sports, or art, or literature, or reality TV.


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and never mentioning that you're dating someone. It sounds like you and your girlfriend simply don't have a strong enough foundation as a couple for the challenges that long distance relationships present. End it as cleanly and kindly as you can, and make the most of your slutty college years. food storage


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