America’s longest-running sex-advice column!

Ask Me Anything!

Joe Newton

That’s a wrap! Thank you to everyone who joined! All of the Qs Dan was able to answer are below.

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(1:30) Hi Dan,

How do I get the courage to break up? I’ve tried to do it a few times, but stop short. Together 4 years, I’m 25, he’s 35. There is nothing wrong. I’ve simply lost all physical attraction him. I feel incredibly guilty, and I know this is going to absolutely destroy and blindside him. And of course, we live together in an expensive condo that HE bought. Help.

A scared shitless city gay

Does he know? And what does he want?

There are lots of gay couples out there in companionate relationships — there a lots of straight couples out there in companionate...

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...does he want? There are lots of gay couples out there in companionate relationships — there a lots of straight couples out there in companionate relationships, too, but I think gay men often have more functional CRs, frankly, because we’re better at negotiating outside sexual contact. That said, at 25, you’re too young to settle for a CR, or settle into one, if that’s not what you want, most importantly, and it’s not what he wants, almost as importantly. If your lack of desire for him is creating a lot of conflict in your relationship — especially if you’re having to grimly go through the motions having sex you don’t want to have — you will have to ova up and end it. I think your BF — like %99.9999 of people who get dumped — will survive the breakup. He may be hurt and upset, but he won’t be destroyed. And you may find your circumstances reduced, as Dickens might’ve said, when you have to move out of that expensive condo and into a studio or in with roommates your own age. But what are you going to do? Stay in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy for the next fifty year because you can’t bear the thought of losing the condo? (1:28) Okay my gay friends and I have been debating this forever. Are poppers okay to use, or are they terrible for you? They… have to be terrible for you right? They have like “nail polish remover” and “paint thinner” and “VCR cleaner” written on the side! Great piece on poppers here: https://www.them.us/story/e… (1:27) Hi Dan, I’m a late 30’s woman and after several years of self inflicted celibacy, I decided I want to meet someone and possibly start a relationship. The problem I’m having is that as soon as a man makes a move, I loose all interest – even if I previously found him attractive. What is wrong with me and how do I overcome this hump? Thanks! Therapy! (1:26) For sex parties for people with penises with no ED but with a long refractory period, can they combine alprostadil urethral (MUSE) with a PDE5 (Viagra)? Which first? The first induces erection no matter what 30 to 60 min. but it should only be used once in 24 hours. The second shortens refractory period but not by much. Google is not really turning up much advice. Something to discuss with a doctor! (1:25) Hi Dan, back when MonkeyPox was all a buzz, you and Dr Carlton pointed out the concern for gay/bi Men of color who were slow to get vaccinated. However, when Dr Carlton was last on giving the good news about how gays did what they needed to do, nothing was mentioned about if there was also an increase in number of men of color getting vaccinated. Can you get some info? Thank you Going to have Dr. Carlton back on, and I will try to remember to ask him this question! (1:24) Hey Dan! Love love love your advice. Your ears must have burned off twice over with how many times I say “As Dan says …”. I don’t love how often you call adult women “girls.” Do you think you could kick that habit, plz? (Funny story about the shortest date I ever had when a chap argued with me when I corrected him. 15 mins from hug hello to punching the elevator button.) I will try! (1:23) Thanks to the internet, I’ve been growing some magic mushrooms. I’ve only taken them a few times at pretty low doses. What’s your experience with mushrooms and other hallucinogens? What’s your advice for exploring mushrooms and sex at the same time? Not something I’m very experienced with — I’ve only done them once a few years ago, with my husband’s BF, and we didn’t have sex, we watched CATS together. It sounds like a great topic for a show, though, and I will go find someone with some expertise where sex-on-hallucinogens is concerned. I am, however, the expert where CATS-on-hallucinogens is concerned: four stars, would recommend. (1:20) Hi Dan, Mid-50s straight single guy here, still looking to date and have sex with women. I was diagnosed with genital warts in 2014. Despite full disclosure and condom use, I passed them to a long-term partner, which still pains me. (They tend to form away from areas that condoms cover; I think an undetected outbreak caused me to infect her.) Recently, I disclosed to a new woman friend: she responded that she’d had one removed in the past and said it wasn’t a big deal. That helped me immensely to move forward. (We parted eventually). I’ve found the information out there on HPV/GW to be inconsistent; to wit, if condoms can’t cover my affected area… eegads! Is skin-to-skin transmission a thing, even if there’s no lesion present, like walking barefoot in a locker room? What or who is the best resource for people like me, whether promising new treatments (doctor visits add up) or best science on transmission and ways to reduce the likelihood? Any other advice? My dermatologist says GW are surprisingly common. Thank you. Please go listen to the back episodes of the Lovecast with Dr. Ina Park! We talk a lot about HPV and genital warts — I think you’ll find Dr. Park’s perspective valuable! (1:19) Hey Dan, on an aesthetic basis, what are your favourite or (if you’re bold enough to share) least favourite Pride flags? For example, I’m bi, but I think the bi flag is a really horrible colour combination. On the other hand, I’m cis but think the trans flag is beautiful. Any opinions? <3 There are too many of them to keep track of — there are more pride flags these days than there are international maritime signal flags. And sailors have to train for years to learn all of the maritime signal flags and what they mean in different combinations. Just as there are only so many celebrities I can store in my long-term memory and keep track of, there are only so many pride flags I can store. This makes me sound like a grumpy 0ld fag, I realize, but it seems to me that… rather than a symbol of unity… pride flags have come to symbolize the kind of political and social atomization we see throughout the culture. And I don’t say that as someone who was some sort of rainbow flag purist/traditionalist. I’ve always felt — and I wrote about it somewhere — that the whole rainbow thing (the rainbow flag, the rainbow windsock, the rainbow pride merch, the rainbow branding) was a little… childish and cringe. So, I don’t really care how many there are. I just don’t want to be quizzed on them — I can’t tell the demigender, agender, and genderqueer pride flags apart, to say nothing of the pansexual, polysexual, and polyamorous pride flags — and since no one is threatening to quiz me on them, I have nothing to worry about. (1:05) Hi Dan, I’m a bi male and after a few months in sex therapy and a lot of talks with my wife, we opened up our relationship so I could explore. My wife doesn’t have any interest in exploring but has given me the go ahead for myself. We had a few talks about safety and expectations. I got on Feeld and met up with a guy to fool around. It was great. We gave each other blowjobs/handjobs and we continue to chat and send pictures. But I find it so difficult to continue the discussions with my wife. I try to bring things to like it’s a fun and exciting thing, and not like I have cancer, but often times I’ll decide today’s not a good day, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, and then tomorrow becomes next week, and then that becomes next month. Wherever I do have these discussions with my wife, she’s always very supportive and cool. I just have such a hard time getting the words out. It’s been months now since I met up with this guy. Any advice for how to continue the conversations? I’m so comfortable talking to her about so many other topics, sex included, but bisexuality and enm is like a brick wall for me. Well, there could be different things going on here. Could be internalized homophobia and/or biphobia — your own discomfort with your sexual identity. Or it could be… a desire to be courteous to your wife. You say you came to this agreement about you being able to explore after months of therapy and a lot of talks with your wife. If those talks were fraught or contentious, if your wife was hurt at first, your hesitancy to bring up the subject would be understandable. Even if your wife is cool and supportive now, if she wasn’t always — if your first conversations with her involved a lot of tears — it may take more time for you to feel like the cool and supportive reaction you get when you do bring it up isn’t a fluke, but actually where your wife is now about your bisexuality. (1:00) My uncle and I really need to know…what’s it like having 9 letters in your name? It’s the best. (12:59) How do writers get to discuss their books in your podcast? Do you get paid for that? Is there a way to send you a book to evaluate? I am a neuroscientist writing a book on the brain and BDSM. I think it would be important for the BDSM community. I do NOT charge authors to come on the show and talk about their books. The authors I have on are ones whose books crossed my radar somehow or who reached out — as you have here — to let me know they’re writing something (or that they just published something) that might interest me and my listeners. Please email us when your book is coming out! (12:57) Hello Dan! Here’s a softball for you: Have you ever regretted becoming a sex advice columnist? Thanks for all you do! Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do… etc. (12:55) I am a mid-30’s gay man from the West Coast. I have sort of a small problem wrapped in a big problem. I’m in a relationship with a guy in his mid-30’s. We’ve been together about 9 months. He’s super hot. The sex is amazing. We have a lot of fun together. The problem I’m having is about the other stuff. There is a large income disparity (I make quite a bit more). We talked about this early on, and we agreed that even though he may not be able to contribute as much financially, he could contribute in other ways. And he does do that, to a certain extent. But I’ve asked him a few times about his career ambitions, and he’s sort of content to stay where he is. He doesn’t seem very ambitious at all, and that sort of turns me off. He doesn’t seem even interested in taking on more responsibilities within his current career. On the flip side, I find that he doesn’t really push me either. I wouldn’t say “need”, but I strongly desire a partner where we can mutually push each other in all aspects of life. He isn’t really doing that. So that’s the small issue. The larger issue is I’m worried that I may be one of those people who you often say thrive in short term relationships. I tend to get bored after the NRE wears off, and I end up finding some reason to end things. I also have an avoidant attachment style, so things like moving in together often cause me to pull away. I don’t want to be “that person” who jumps from short term thing to short term thing, but that seems to be what ends up happening. The truth is, I thrive when I’m single. Everyone says I’m really happy when I’m single. And yet I keep getting pulled into these relationships where the other person’s intent is finding their forever mate So, I just don’t know if the “minor problem” above is legit, or if it’s just my regular pattern of getting bored and/or avoidant and finding an excuse to leave Any thoughts? – West Coast Avoidant Speaking as a person who works himself to death… not everyone is cut out for working themselves to death. Not everyone is ambitious where careers are concerned; not everyone needs to be. And people who are less driven, professionally-speaking, can be make great partners for people who are more driven, professionally-speaking. If you are happier single… you shouldn’t feel ashamed of being “that person,” since that’s the person you are. At least it is right now. You may have jumped from R to R over the last decade and change because you didn’t meet someone you wanted to be with over the long term. If you want something truly lasting — if being someone’s “forever mate” is not just something you’re convinced you should want because that’s what all good people want and so feel bad that you don’t want it because that means you’re not a good person blah blah blah — you should talk about it with a therapist. (12:46) Hi Dan, I have been listening to the Lovecast for over a decade, read all your books and am a big fan of you and your work. In the beginning you and Terry were monogamish but now I hear about different boyfriends as well. What prompted this change and did it take a lot of negotiating to move from monogamish to a more open relationship? It was an evolution. We were monogamous and then we had some threesomes — with old friends, mostly. We both preferred to have sex with people we knew and trusted. We called them “very special guest stars,” and we enjoyed spending time with them. Those relationships… those people we were in relationships with… needed names and VSGS didn’t quite cut it. So, boyfriends. There was a pretty clear line between when we were monogamous and when we weren’t anymore but the line between non-monogamous/monogamish and poly was a much blurrier one. Becoming non-monogamous was a decision we made together that involved a big change to our relationship; becoming poly was more — for us — about acknowledging facts on the ground and how things had already changed. (12:42) What’s the best way to finger my husband? Do I move it? Do I bend it? Do I try and conquer new depths? That’s a question for your husband — what feels good? If he’s big and strong and brave enough to ask you to put a finger in his ass (or to say yes when you asked), he should be big and strong and brave enough to tell you what feels good while your finger is in his ass! (12:41) My husband would like it if I would pee a little into his mouth while I’m sitting on his face but I mostly can’t! It feels like I, as a vagina-haver, have that little valve like men do: when I’m turned on, the pee flow is blocked. Google is no help, it only tries to tell me how NOT to pee during sex. Help! It turns him on so much, and seems like it should be ao easy! How can I pee on purpose during sex?? Men often have trouble urinating when they’re aroused — it takes practice and focus to learn to release a stream of urine when you typically don’t. It might help if your husband wasn’t touching you — don’t sit on his face, don’t create any skin-to-skin contact, and hover instead. And feel free to close your eyes and pretend he’s not there. (12:37) I’m a woman in my 30s, been with my husband for 7 years. When initiation/foreplay escalates too quickly it turns me off because I feel a situational pressure to get horny (NOT pressure from my husband). I had this dynamic with past partners too but it’s gotten worse over the years with my husband. It feels like I’ve gotten a lot more sensitive to what triggers this shut down pressure feeling – for example, a kiss with too much tongue, touching my nipples before I really want it, etc. I feel like there’s no space to experience “wanting”. We’re at a point where my husband can’t really initiate and I am not great at initiating and neither of us is having as much sex as we would like. I am living the female quandry you talk about of women not feeling desire until AFTER sex has started – but it’s tricky for me to get to the place where sex can start. The sex we do have (once every 1-2 weeks) is always pleasurable, if maybe a little less exciting than it used to be. We are guilty of the straight people nonsense of defaulting to PIV and not thinking of oral, etc as sex – but PIV is both of our favorites and I’m one of the lucky ladies who reliably comes that way. My husband is well endowed so PIV can by physically intense sometimes. I don’t have any history of sexual trauma. I’ve been unpacking this in therapy and recently read Come As You Are which had some spot on sections. I’m thinking things that would help are taking PIV off the table for a while so I can learn to enjoy initiation/foreplay without freezing up on what it might lead to, trying to broaden the kinds of sex we have so letting sex happen doesn’t have to mean letting PIV happen, and shaking things up with new toys, light kink, etc. Do you have any other suggestions? I want to want sex! I was going to recommend Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are before I got to your last paragraph — and I was also going to suggest taking PIV off the table. I would also suggest some scheduled sex; as the kinksters and swingers prove every weekend, scheduled sex can be hot sex. And while you might worry you’ll dread the thought (due to pressure and expectations), if you take PIV off the menu and you both agree that you will set the pace… you might find it more pleasurable and exciting. You clearly don’t want to be rushed — but you do, most likely, want to be desired. So, let him tell you that he wants to touch your nipples (let him use his words, not his fingers), for instance, but he doesn’t get to touch your nipples until you tell him he can — make him beg, make him earn it, let him really want it and bask in his want until you want it just as much or more than he does. (12:32) Is there ever a good way/time to say “if we’re ever both single I think we’d make a good couple/it’d be fun to date you”? I feel this way about a friend who I work with at a seasonal job (aka everyone is moving around all the time, and who knows when/if we’d ever land back in the same place without intention). They recently expressed that, though their current relationship isn’t something they’re 100% sure about, one of their fears is that they’d never find someone else to date long term. In my head I’m like ‘uh, me?’ but that seems like a rude can of worms to open…or a nice thing for them to know? To be fair, I also have this fear, as does my ex from a recent breakup. I think we stayed together partially because of that and now that we’re broken up I’m glad we’re not dating anymore. But it seems like a common fear for single folks over around 28. So. Eh. What are your thoughts? Not everyone is going to hear, “I’ve always seen you as my safety/fallback,” as a compliment. But it is a thing that people sometimes talk about — but it’s more of a drunken-dark-night-of-the-soul kind of topic. And it seems to me that you have a better way of broaching the subject: “We’ve never really been in the same place for long, and we’ve never single when we were in the same place. Do you think we would’ve dated if we had been in the same place for a while and single? Do you think we ever could? I’ve obviously thought about it, otherwise I wouldn’t be raising the subject now.” (12:27) I feel a little guilty, Dan. A few years ago, while talking about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, you totally–and innocently–and understandably–mispronounced “Tuskegee,” of Tuskegee University. I chuckled at your mistake, and did nothing to correct it, certain that someone would call in and clue you in. Well, not too terribly long ago, you had reason to mention that study again, and I think I heard you STILL mispronouncing “Tuskegee”! Kinda felt bad, since clearly no one had stepped up and contacted you about it. So let me do here what I should have done years ago, and help you out: it’s properly pronounced tus-KEE-gee, Dan, and that last syllable has a hard “g,” not a soft one. (And by the way, if you ever have reason to mention the name W. E. B. DuBois out loud, it’s not “du-bwah,” although anyone who speaks French or is aware of French pronunciations would think so. It’s actually “du-boyce.” Just getting in front of that one, heh.) LOVE your column and podcast–I’ve been reading and listening for so long that when my now-in-her-early-thirties daughter came out, I knew just what to say and how to act, since I’d been reading your column since she was a baby. Cheers! As the saying goes… “Never make fun of people for mispronouncing a word. It means they learned it by reading.” Not that you were making fun of me! I mispronounce a lot of words — because I was a solitary kid who did a lot of solo reading. And once a particular pronunciation is lodged in my brain… it’s really, really, really hard for me to dislodge it. Still, I appreciate being corrected and I would rather get something right than wrong. So, thank you! (12:23) Hi Dan, 30-something female here. My boyfriend loves blow jobs, but unfortunately it’s something that has gotten very painful for me to do. I have a small mouth and I’ve had some issues with TMJ that have gotten worse over the years to the point where simply keeping my mouth open for more than a couple minutes is painful. I try to use my hand as much as possible to try to give my jaw a break, but it’s obvious that I’m pretty uncomfortable, which kills the mood for both of us. Any advice? Get some masturbation sleeves! Not the Fleshlight kind or the hard plastic vibrating ovals, but the simple silicone… sleeves. With the right amount of spit — you can still spit — pressure, motion, and a little lip and tongue action on the head of his cock (which will poke out the end of the sleeve), you can simulation a pretty great blowjob without having to open your mouth very wide at all. Here’s an example: https://www.early2bed.com/b… (12:17) Dan, do you and Terry practice hierarchical polyamory? How many partners do you and Terry have? We do. Although it feels weird to say we “practice” a particular form of polyamory when in reality we backed into and improvised the form we eventually took. Regular guest stars — back when we were monogamish — evolved into casual BFs, casual BFs evolved into serious BFs, those relationships with BFs evolved into long-term commitments. But while we make a lot of decisions communally, with input from all, there are some things — some issues — where only Terry and I hold “voting shares.” (12:13) Hi Dan! I wanted to ask about this uncomfortable feeling I get after I ejaculate (male). Unless I have a really huge orgasm (think edging for ages or play with another person for the first time in quite a while) my dick feels so uncomfortable it takes away from my post cum bliss. The only way to relieve this is to go pee immediately, which isn’t a massive thing I admit but if I don’t have much in me or I went beforehand then the feeling will stay until I can pee a decent amount. It kinda feels like I’m still a bit blocked up and I need to get the leftovers out. What’s going on and have you heard of this? Thank you! You’ve diagnosed your own issue — underwhelming orgasms leave some spunk behind, clogging you up, and you’ve got to go flush the pipes after one of those less-than-shattering orgasms. The lesson here: edge more often and/or drink more water. (12:11) Hi, Dan. Could any podcast I start about personal experiences of being transgender do any good toward answering honest questions and creating allies? Or would it just bring out the trolls and haters? The topic has become so toxic in both my countries (US and UK) that I’m about to give up the idea. I’m a weird trans man — I didn’t transition until I was almost 62. I think it could do some good — but you would attract haters. But the thing about haters… they tend to get bored and wander off if they don’t feel like they’re getting to you. Now, if they are getting to you, it won’t be worth it, as the effort required to pretend they’re not getting to you would be an additional burden on top of dealing with their hatred. That said, I think it’s good to answer questions from ignorant people, even questions that are sometimes asked in bad faith — because not everyone listening to or reading your answers is listening or reading in bad faith. Back when I started writing Savage Love, I got a LOT of questions from straight people about how gay sex worked exactly. Now, the attitude of mainstream gay rights activists for years had been to answer a question like “What do you do in bed?” with something huffy: “We sleep, we read, we watch TV, and sometimes we make love — everything you do in bed.” We weren’t supposed to answer the question directly and honestly… for reasons, some of which evidence of internalized homophobic. (We weren’t comfortable discussing gay sex!) My feeling was… you know what, I’m going to answer that question in great detail. I wrote a lot about anal sex, consequently, and my column made a lot of people — gay people — uncomfortable. But I thought it was a better strategy to answer the question and keep answering it until they (straight people) were begging me to stop. A lot of trans people have argued that they shouldn’t have to answer invasive or personal questions — and they’re right. All gay people everywhere weren’t obligated to answer explicit questions about gay sex just because I was answering them in my dumb column. But just as I thought it was good for straight people to have someone gay they could put those questions to about gay bodies and life and relationships, I think it would be good for cis people to have someone trans they could put their questions to about trans bodies and life and relationships. (12:08) How big is the Savage Love Empire? Is it comfortably profitable or a constant slog to pay the bills? If Savage Love was a country, it would have the world’s fifth largest economy — no, wait. That’s California. I think Savage Love, if it were a country, would have world’ 196th largest economy. (12:00) How does not having a driver’s license affect your relationship? I was the sole driver in my household for a long time and being the main source of rides for partner and kids was… more constraining than proud. Does driving come up? Do you and Terry structure things to balance against driving responsibilities? It helps that we live — it helps that we chose to live and it helps that we could afford to live — in a place that’s walking distance to everything. Whenever we’ve been looking for a place, we didn’t consider spots where I couldn’t get around on my own — on foot, by bike, and public transit. When I do need a lift, I ask for it, and Terry is happy to provide it. But I don’t make him run errands with/for me and I’m happy to run out and get eggs in the rain in AM, if we’re out, on my bike, so it’s not always Terry running to the store. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were consciously creating the 15 Minute City for ourselves, back before that had a name and became a movement — and a target, like everything sensible thing, for lunatic conspiracy theorists. (https://www.nytimes.com/202… We’re a one-car, one-driver household, and I think our one driver doesn’t feel constrained or stressed about it because most of the time… I’m happy to get to and from the airport by myself, to work and doctor’s appointments, etc. (11:59) I sometimes listen to the dating advice podcast U Up. Their listener-ship is pretty different than yours. They give advice to mostly women in their 20s who are trying to figure out rules to date intentionally and often trying to find “the one”. It is not their strong suit to handle questions of polyamory or anything that isn’t hetero normative. They had a show with guest Adam Pally which was the best because he had such a strong (and thoughtful) take on a question asker being a total POS. You also have some strong and thoughtful takes; I don’t know if you’ve ever considered going on their podcast or having them on yours, but it would be interesting to see the two worlds collide and see what happens. I would be happy to go on U Up and explain — patiently — that there is no “The One,” only “The Close Enough,” which most people know in their bones, even people who use that expression. My concern is always for people who believe in the myth of “The One,” which can fill a person with doubt about every relationship they’re ever in because… how do you know for sure this one is “The One.” Also, happy to have their hosts on my show!

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