Welcome back to Struggle Session, my weekly roundup of reader/listener comments, DMs, tweets, critiques, and the occasional photo a hot guy with a Muppet face…
Going to depart from tradition and open this week’s Struggle Session with a compliment. Says Sara via email…
Thank you for your podcast and continuously sound advice. I’ve been a Magnum Subscriber for a few years now and my husband and I are all the better for it. I could go on and on and on. Thank you, also, for overriding Nancy (!) and telling us about Young Royals. I’m a 44-year-old straight woman and I bawled my eyes out watching the show. What a fantastic portrayal of tenderness, vulnerability, and intimacy! Edvin Ryding, in particular, was so impressive. I made my 16-year-old daughter watch it with me just so I could watch it again. Finally, I’m generally a quiet and respectful person, so I send this last...
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...so impressive. I made my 16-year-old daughter watch it with me just so I could watch it again. Finally, I’m generally a quiet and respectful person, so I send this last bit with some trepidation. But when you said the word contemplative on episode 861, it pushed me to write. Have you heard of the Franciscan Richard Rohr? He’s brilliant. His teachings deconstructed and reconstructed my Catholic roots. His teachings on human intimacy & sexuality, including homosexuality, are beautiful. Here’s a primer on him from the New Yorker.
Thank you, Sara! But to be clear… continuously sound advice ≠ invariably sound advice. Point in case: last week’s Savage Love. From the misppeling of “relevant” in the headline to the misidentification of a commonly acronym, mistakes were made. Says BiDanFan:
Wait — BPD is not bipolar disorder! It stands for borderline personality disorder.
In my defense… it took BiDanFan a moment to realize BPD didn’t mean bipolar disorder, but borderline personality disorder. To my everlasting shame… BiDanFan quickly spotted my mistake, whereas I didn’t spot my mistake until I read the comments days after drafting my response. So, if ODOR’s fuckbuddy is suffering from borderline personality disorder and not bipolar disorder… then she’s not experiencing olfactory hallucinations, which are not a symptom of borderline personality disorder. She’s just acting like an asshole, which is definitely a symptom of borderline personality disorder. (Or, I should say, definitely how the person on the receiving end views a BPD sufferer’s mood swings, angry outbursts, relationship sabotage, intense paranoia, etc.)
I’ve heard that acronym (BPD) used for both — I’m a psychology professor. An important distinction, but the advice is the same. No need for him to experience emotional abuse like that. Her disorder is not her fault and shouldn’t be stigmatized, but it is her responsibility to see how it’s affecting her intimate partners and to address it.
In my experience as a licensed therapist, most people use “ BPD” to mean borderline personality disorder and the colloquial term for bipolar disorder tends to be “bipolar.” As for olfactory hallucinations — that’s a stretch. Odds are, the lady who is leaving her disorder untreated (this country, health care, etc.) is exhibiting a classic borderline trait: “I am uncomfortable but will over correct for this by issuing threats.”
Life goal to chat with Dan Savage 💜 https://t.co/zmNAUQiJgH
— Mae Martin (@TheMaeMartin) April 25, 2023
I so enjoyed my conversation with Mae Martin — if you missed it, it’s here!
A caller to the Lovecast was worried about damaging her boyfriend’s cock by locking it in a chastity device. Would he still be able to get hard? Would his cock — would his big, beautiful cock — somehow wind up getting smaller? Nope, says Locked Fist Monster, the host of Chastity Pod:
Listening to @fakedansavage‘s #SavageLovecast. A caller asked if she can lock her boyfriend in a chastity cage for 24 hours without damaging his beautiful penis. I’ve been locked for 143 days in a row without unlocking. My penis remains the same size. And my erections remain as rock hard as they’ve ever been — to the joy yet consternation of my husband when he bottoms.
Locked Fist Monster tweeted this at me… and while I would embed a tweet… Twitter won’t let me embed this particular tweet. I’m guessing it’s because Locked Fist Monster included a couple of photos of his big, beautiful cock in his tweet, which is obviously NSFW. (My apologies to anyone who clicked on the link to his tweet before reading the next sentence.) Also, while Locked Fist Monster’s experience is relevant (and while I’m happy for his dick and feel sorry for his boyfriend), this study had a sample size of one, no control groups, no randomization, etc. We need more and better data!
A bisexual listener wrote in — via email — to let me know my answer to a bisexual caller fell short:
I looove you but I was so disappointed to hear you echo the rampant biphobia in our community to the caller in Episode 860 who was rejected by a lesbian for being bi. The notion that a bi woman will “always go back to a man” is a hateful and frankly heinous notion that ultimately negates bi folks’ identity and autonomy. It plays into the idea that we’re really just straight, or flaky, or cheaters, or any of the other horrible stereotypes that we need to be smashing rather than legitimizing.
You raise some good points in your response — it’s awesome that more folks are embracing their bisexuality than ever before, and I totally get why someone would want to be bi4bi, and furthermore, obviously no one is entitled to a date with someone on any grounds. But. I don’t think the solution here is to encourage like with like. Instead of encouraging bi babes to date only other bi babes, we need to be educating people on the magical experience that is bi/pan/polysexuality and sharing and celebrating that experience with the world!
One of the things I love most about being bi is the fact that I could be with literally anyone no matter how they identify. I’ve had amazing experiences with gay and straight monosexual folks that I would never give up for anything. Bi folks are ambassadors—or I guess am-bi-ssadors?—to monosexual communities and it’s a superpower, not a shortcoming! And it definitely doesn’t make us undateable! (Not to mention, those of us who do have straight male partners are literally spreading the gay agenda to the straights. We’re in their homes and their heads and their hearts, infecting their brains with gay slang, and bringing them to drag shows, and calling them on their homophobia and biphobia and transphobia. We’re literally out here growing the gay liberation movement at the margins. And that is a beeeautiful thing — not something to fear!)
I’m not calling for bisexual separatism! And you raise great points about the wonderful work out bisexuals do with their straight partners! I was reflecting on the anxiety expressed by so many bisexual women — particularly newly out bi women — about their fear of rejection by lesbians. Newly out bisexual women talk about lesbians like lesbians are their only option — if they don’t appeal to lesbians, they won’t get any pussy at all. Which is nuts. Bisexual women vastly outnumber lesbian women — according to a recent Gallup poll, more than half of all LGBT-identified adults are bisexual.
While most of the lesbians I know are open to fucking-and-or-dating bi women (hell, some lesbian-identified women I know are themselves bisexual), bisexual women don’t have to conquer their fear of rejection by lesbians to get some pussy. Fears that may not be entirely unfounded, as some lesbians do reject bi women for being bi because they believe the stereotype: “The notion that a bi woman will ‘always go back to a man.'” And while I agree that’s a harmful stereotype — and a self-defeating one (lesbians who believe that steeply reduce their odds romantic and sexual success) — lots of people are bisexual and heteroromantic.
So, when it comes to romantic partners, many bisexual women are only interested in partnering with men and many bisexual men are only interested in partnering with women. Not because they’ve succumbed to societal pressures to choose opposite-sex partners, but because they’re orientated toward opposite-sex romantic partners. While many bisexuals are bi-romantic and could, like you, be with literally anyone no matter how they identify, some — no hard numbers, as there’s no Gallup polling on this yet — heteroromantic bisexuals exist and their bisexuality is just as valid as other forms/brands/flavors of bisexuality.
And for the monosexuals… particularly the gay and lesbian ones out there… it can really suck to be dating a bisexual person who only realizes, after you’ve fallen for them, that they’re heteroromantic. Which is why it’s important to include – and validate — bisexuals who are heteroromantic when we talk about bisexuality. Not to protect monosexuals from getting their hearts broken (0r not just to protect the monos), but so bi-but-heteroromantic people don’t waste their own time on relationships that won’t work and/or won’t wind up feeling guilty about hurting someone they liked and were attracted to, but could never — through no fault of their own — fall in love with.
John has a suggestion for PREGO, the reader thinking about going off hormonal birth control (at age 47), stocking up on M&Ms, and taking her chances:
How about only sleeping with men who have vasectomies?
PREGO, have you considered non-hormonal birth control options like a diaphragm or male or female condoms? Your letter makes it sound like the only birth control choices are hormonal or nothing, which is obviously not the case.
Yeah, I found that to be a very weird omission. I’ve been successfully using non-hormonal birth control methods for the majority of my life. It seems like those options would at least be considered/discussed, even if she has reasons to decide against them.
Two quick thoughts: People who’ve actually used female condoms — people like me — almost never suggest female condoms. Because they’re awful. I would recommend the pullout method (highly effective, when done correctly) over female condoms (or internal condoms, as they’re also known — I mean, I obviously didn’t use them with a female). Also, regular condoms are an option, as is anal.
As for M&Ms… Charles disapproves:
I’m kind of cringing at the use of the term “M&Ms” for medication abortion pills. It makes them sound like candy that you can pop anytime you want and to me at least trivializes abortion. All women should have the right to choose and have access to these drugs. But it is not always an easy decision. As a penis haver, I will never know what women go through when terminating a pregnancy, but I’m sure it isn’t a fun time.
Lots of women — lots of people of all genders — have shared their abortion stories at Shout Your Abortion. Yes, as penis-havers, you and I can’t know how we would feel if we had experienced an unplanned pregnancy we were able to terminate or a wanted pregnancy that went terribly wrong that we had to terminate. But by listening to people who’ve actually had abortions, I think its possible for penis-havers like us to understand what women go through and how it feels — and that includes the understanding that it doesn’t feel just one way, for all women, everywhere. (And if mifepristone and misoprostol were a little easier to pronounce I wouldn’t have landed on M&Ms.)
Followers on Facebook had some thoughts for the gay man who wanted to hook up with a trans guy but didn’t want to come across like a chaser. Says Matt…
Everyone is a chaser, for one reason or another.
I agree with Matt. Everyone is chasing after the people they’d like to be with — so, if we disqualify people for “chasing” us, who are we going to date/fuck/marry then? Only people who don’t wanna date/fuck/marry us? That doesn’t sound like much fun. Says Terri…
There has to be an app for that?
There is — it’s called Grindr, a hook-up app for gay and bi men. The caller was already talking to trans men on Grindr, but he was so worried about coming across like a chaser that he couldn’t bring himself to chase down trans guys who were literally standing in front of him literally screaming “Chase me! Chase me!” at the literal top of their literal lungs. (Yes, I’m using “literally” and “literal” to mean “figuratively” and “figurative,” but my friend Merriam says that’s okay.)
@fakedansavage hell, yeah, hooray for Lizzo! Thank you to that amazing, talented, kick ass woman for bringing drag queens to the stage in TN. But, hey, in general, hooray for @lizzo every frickin day!!
— DCLB (@KittyVanDerPoof) April 26, 2023
On that I think we can all agree! Oh, and if you read all the way to the end hoping to find a photo of a hot guy with a Muppet face… I’m sorry I let you down. I promise to have one — at least one — for you next week!