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Relevant Questions

Joe Newton

I have been involved in a long distance situationship (intimate friends) for three years. We live in different states. We met in person, then became friends online, and that is where the relationship blossomed. I went to visit her once for a week, and it was a very intimate and fun experience for both of us, although she did mention while I was there that she noticed my body order. I took care of that ASAP, and it didn’t seem like a big deal, and it only seemed to come up when she was angry or frustrated about something. We have been planning on another visit, but she keeps bringing up my BO problem and has even said, “If it’s as bad as it was last time, you have to get a hotel room and can’t stay with me, and I won’t kiss you or fuck you.” Which is confusing...

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...iss you or fuck you.” Which is confusing because we were very intimate last time, she seemed to be enjoying herself quite a bit, and even told me how much she enjoyed the sex for weeks afterwards. This issue arose months after that visit. Should I take her advice and be super diligent about BO or is this some sort of emotional manipulation or gaslighting? My close friends tell me they never notice my body odor — they don’t get as close to me, of course, because I’m not fucking them — and I shower at least once daily and use deodorant every day and brush my teeth multiple times a day. I realize I have BO sometimes, but I take care of it when I do. Also, and here’s the dinger, she has untreated BPD. Oddly Disrespectful Odor Request That’s quite the dinger you dropped there at the end of your letter, ODOR. Adults with untreated and severe BPD — bipolar disorder — sometimes experience olfactory hallucinations, i.e.., they sometimes smell things that aren’t there, in addition to sometimes seeing things that aren’t there and hearing things that aren’t there. Some studies have shown that olfactory hallucinations are more common than auditory ones — again, among adults with untreated and severe cases of BDP. Now, I don’t know whether your fuckbuddy is experiencing olfactory hallucinations. I don’t even know if your fuckbuddy has BPD. I don’t know why anyone would lie about something like that, but this woman’s behavior seems kind of erratic — itself a symptom of BPD — and people lie about things they shouldn’t all the time. But I do know, and can say with some certainty, that no one as diligent about his personal hygiene as you claim to be, ODOR, is walking around with terrible BO. You have a scent, of course; we all do. And once in a while someone is gonna be turned off by our natural, baseline, freshly showered scent for reasons that can’t be explained. If that was the case here — if it was just one of those chemical things, just one of those pheromonal things — then you didn’t do anything wrong, ODOR, and you can’t do anything about it. Of course, it’s possible you’re lying to me about your personal hygiene routine, ODOR, and it’s possible your friends are lying to you about your BO. It’s also possible this woman didn’t feel safe being honest with you when you visited her — when you were standing there in her apartment, stinking the place up — and she pretended that shower solved the BO problem and pretended to enjoy the sex because she was worried you would react badly if she was honest with you about how unhappy she was. But if that was the case, ODOR — if you smelled that bad and she was that afraid of you — why would she make plans to see you again? If you smell so bad she has to threaten you in advance with getting a hotel room, why on earth would she want to see you again, much less fuck you again? Only she knows the answer to those questions, ODOR, but you can answer this one: Why do you wanna see this woman again? BPD or no BPD, she doesn’t seem… like a very nice person. Decades ago Old Dan might’ve said, “Don’t stick your dick in crazy,” but that expression is ableist, as New Dan knows, and it has a long history of being used to control women. For fear of being labeled “crazy,” and therefore unworthy of having some random guy’s dick stuck in her, countless women were manipulated into putting up with terrible behavior, from poor personal hygiene to unsatisfying sex to much worse. I’m not using that awful expression — New Dan would never — I’m merely mentioning it, and mentioning is not using. (Angry readers are invited to Google “use/mention distinction”). But I’m not above tweaking it: Don’t stick your dick in unkind. And whatever else is going on with this woman, she’s being unkind to you. So, tell her she’s going to need that hotel room after all, ODOR, because you won’t be available to see her ­— and be insulted by her — when she comes to town. I’ve begun to think I am a lesbian. I’m 29 years old, and I’ve only been with men up to now. The first guy I was with was sexually abusive and convinced me that sexually servicing a man regardless of how I felt was the norm. I carried this into my next decade-long, mostly long-distance relationship with a man, another relationship that involved a general disregard for sexual boundaries. (At one point when I refused PIV to prevent pregnancy, he joked about pinning me down and “just sticking it in.”) I didn’t realize that being happy in a long-term sexual relationship was even possible. The thing is, while remembering most of the sexual things I’ve done disgusts me, and while I find myself uninterested in the male form, I did enjoy making out with someone and being held. But while I am now repulsed by the thought of being with a man, I have no experience with women at this late age and having actively sought out relationships with men makes me think I can’t be gay. Why would I have sought out sex acts which now disgust me? Why did I pursue men if that wasn’t what I wanted? Done With Men Lesbianism is not a consolation prize; lesbianism is not a severance package a woman is handed on her way out of a shitty straight relationship. Lesbianism is a romantic and sexual orientation. It’s a positive force — it’s about what (and who) a woman is drawn to, not what (and who) a woman is repulsed by. I mean, think about it… if having shitty relationships with men turned women into lesbians, DWM, there wouldn’t be any straight women left. Hell, if having shitty relationships with men turned people off men generally, DWM, there wouldn’t be any gay men left either. Straight guys with shitty ex-girlfriends would go gay, lesbians with shitty ex-wives would go straight, and bisexuals wouldn’t know what (or who) to do. So, after reading your letter, DWM, I have few questions for you: Are you attracted to women? When you think about making out with someone and being held, do you see yourself with a woman? Does the thought of having sex with a woman turn you on? Do you get aroused when you think about going down on a woman, being gone down on by a woman, and doing all the other sexy sex things women do with women? If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” DWM, then you might be a lesbian. Many women realize they’re lesbians later in life, DWM, so your experience — years in unsatisfying straight relationships before coming out as a lesbian — wouldn’t be an uncommon one; you wouldn’t be the first lesbian who struggled to dig her authentic homosexuality out from under compulsory heterosexuality. Lots of women go through the motions with men — putting up with their smelly bodies and their vaguely threatening “jokes” about sexual violence — before coming to the realization it wasn’t men they wanted at all, or not men they wanted exclusively. I’m a 47-year-old cis woman. I’m sexually active and don’t want to be on hormonal birth control anymore. How risky is this plan? 1. Go off BC. 2. When my period is late, take a pregnancy test. 3. If positive, do a medication abortion. 4. If negative, test again in two weeks. I would get the M&Ms (mifepristone and misoprostol) to have on hand. From what I have read, most pregnancies at my age are due to fertility treatments. The chance of becoming pregnant without treatment isn’t zero, but it’s very close to zero. I know that a major factor with most birth control is human error. I’m very careful and I know I will stick to the plan. I already track my cycle and take my birth control on schedule. Pregnancy Risks Ease Getting Older Your odds of getting pregnant at your age are extremely low, PREGO, but 100% of people whose parachutes fail to open go splat. So, while it’s unlikely to happen to you — while you’re highly unlikely to get pregnant at your age without the help of a fertility specialist — it could happen to you. Until the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer, I would’ve slapped a “low-probability, low-consequence event” label on the worst-case scenarios here, PREGO, so long as you were pro-choice and could access abortion services. But with rightwing judges trying to ban M&Ms and radical Republicans criminalizing abortion care in state after state, a possible pregnancy — however unlikely — could become a “low-probability, high-consequence” event. If you were to run out of M&Ms, would you be able to get more? If you were to experience complications, which are very rare but do happen, would you be able to seek follow-up care where you live without risking prosecution? I’m not suggesting you should stay on birth control at your age, PREGO, I’m just urging you to have a backup plan — like living in a blue state — in case your initial backup plan fails. Send your question right here on Savage.Love. mailbox@savage.love

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