On Thursdays I respond to comments, emails, DMs, and tweets from readers and listeners. Struggle Session posts are exclusively for Magnum Subs. If you’re already a Magnum Sub, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become a Magnum Sub — which gets you access to the Magnum Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maxi Savage Love column (more Qs, more As), special events like Savage Love Live, and the Sex & Politics podcast — you can subscribe here.
When I get an email with a subject header like, “Your 6/13 Opening Rant,” I brace myself. But Dave’s email about this week’s intro was all bouquet, no brickbat…
That was some of your best editorial work to date. Personal, historical and thereby instructive (“those who don’t learn from history…”), and rightfully celebratory — without gleeful excess — in the wake of such a small-minded hypocrite’s passing. Thank you for the work of love you give each week and the way you...
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...ive (“those who don’t learn from history…”), and rightfully celebratory — without gleeful excess — in the wake of such a small-minded hypocrite’s passing. Thank you for the work of love you give each week and the way you help to frame the significant and sometimes glossed-over current events of the world. I look forward to it every Tuesday morning.
Thank you, Dave, for the nice email.
At the end of last week’s intro I kicked off what is sure to be a years-long feud with The Gist’s Mike Pesca about whether it’s “chaps” (Pesca’a preference — rhetorical, not sartorial) or “assless chaps” (my preference — rhetorical and sartorial). Gregory emailed to say we’re both wrong:
The pronunciation of the word chaps, as used by cowboys and other Western-style riders in the American West, is with an “sh” pronunciation (English pronunciation: /ʃ/ shaps) rather than “ch” (IPA /tʃ/ chaps).
Assless shaps? As if we don’t look gay enough wearing them… now we have to lisp too? Sorry, but nope. We’re not riding any cowboys around here, so we’re going to stick with (and sometimes to) “assless chaps,” if that’s okay. But if we ever get to ride a cowboy, we will of course respect his preferred fricatives.
Recent Lovecast guest Dr. Evan Goldstein of Bespoke Surgical read the question in this week’s Quickies about kegels (“Does performing kegels with a cock or dildo in a male’s anus strengthen the sphincter?”) and my tossed-off answer (it was a Quickies column, they’re all tossed-off answers!) and sent in some actually helpful advice…
Answer is for sure it does. I usually tell people to use a small toy — with the goal of a good kegel squeeze holding for three seconds at a time. Most do like we would with any other muscle group workout at the gym: 2 sets of 10 or 12 a few times a week. Now it depends on what’s the ultimate goal; if someone is too loose, this a great start, but there are other options of measuring the pressures first with an anal manometry and then physical therapy with a machine called EMSELLA. That machine is like doing 12k kegels a session. You sit fully clothed for 28 min a session and we do six sessions over three weeks. This improves contractility up to almost 20%, which is high for this muscle group. Hope this helps!
Thank you, Dr. Goldstein!
Madeleine had some advice for a caller on this week’s Lovecast worried about her libido flatlining during her third trimester:
Mom to a toddler here, I’m writing in response to the pregnant caller in Episode 869 who despaired at the changes in her sex life in her third trimester. I loved Dan’s answer and truly appreciated his awareness that the postpartum period lasts… a whole lot longer than we usually think. I just wanted to pass on some great advice I got in pregnancy that took me a while to wrap my head around.
As a brand new mother, I obsessed desperately over “getting back to myself”, whether that be my pre-pregnancy body, my personal time and hobbies, or finding my libido again (which frankly I haven’t discovered yet, nearly three years after giving birth.) It’s took a lot of patience and kindness toward myself to grasp that there is no “getting back” to an old self; things are different now, and different isn’t better or worse, it’s just different. Even though you’ve gained so much, it is also okay to grieve this painful loss of the old self.
Also, I wish someone had told me that after giving birth, things down there physically change, often permanently! You will likely find that many of the things that worked for you during sex no longer push your buttons. It takes effort and time to discover new things that work, but if you enter into it with this mindset of change rather than trying to restore a lost past, it gives you permission to be curious and kind to your new body. Your amazing body, which brought a person into the world and continues to nourish them! Good luck, mama!
That is really great advice, Madeleine, far better advice than I was able to give. Thank you for your email!
Carly wants a signal boost and I’m happy to deliver:
I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again (looking for that signal boost!) Question #15, and anyone else who can get pregnant and doesn’t want to rn: yes to all of the plans b and c, yes to vasectomies for penised partners, etc. But also: YOU CANNOT GET PREGO EVERY DAY OF YOUR CYCLE. It breaks my brain that more ppl aren’t talking about this. Sure, it’s a little tricky, b/c ovulation doesn’t happen on a set day. But if you learn how to track LH & basal body temp you can get a pretty darn good guess as to several days a month where you cannot get pregnant!
Just don’t use period-tracking apps in red states, please.
Mudflap didn’t request a signal boost on age-gap relationships but I’m giving him one…
As Dan always says, age gaps of this nature *should* invite further scrutiny and the older partner should welcome that scrutiny. To reduce such age gaps to automatically predatory and borderline pedophilic doesn’t help anyone actually know what sorts of red flags to look for. Because people with age gaps are still gonna date, and telling them their partner is an abuser absent any evidence beyond their ages isn’t helpful.
A straight guy in this week’s column (let’s call him #9 Guy) wanted to be forcibly feminized and fucked by a dominant alpha gay dude. Celia had some thoughts about a couple of words that #9 Guy was excited about being called…
I’m very open and have done almost everything on my sexual bucket list but oh how I hate the words “fag” and “sissy.” I was called them so many times as a kid by both family and others. I know some get their kinks on being called those words but… ugh… not for me. Normally, I love meeting with #9 Guys but just uttering the f-word would make me kick his weak ass to the curb. I’d be very nice and sweet about it though so he couldn’t get any enjoyment out of it.
As someone who was also called the f-word a lot growing up and hated it, I gotta say… something miraculous happens when one gay man (who likes the f-word now) gets called that word (by another gay man who checked to make sure it was okay). Even when the person using the word gives it a performatively contemptuous spin, the word undergoes a kind of transubstantiation in that moment. What was an insult, the worst, becomes a compliment. And an opportunity. All those times you were called a faggot and said “I AM NOT”… all those times you had to deny it… because you didn’t know it yourself or you were sill hoping it wasn’t true or you didn’t want to get beaten up but got beaten up anyway because the game was rigged: “YOU’RE MOTHERFUCKING RIGHT I’M A FAGGOT.” Being called the f-word by someone whose hard cock is in your mouth or ass — being called the f-word by someone who is clearly enjoying your f-skills — doesn’t feel degrading for some of us. Coming out of the right person’s mouth… it feels like praise, it feels empowering, and it can even feel healing. Personal and subjective stuff, individual results may vary, always check with someone first, etc. As for sissy, meh. Very few gay men use that word in erotic contexts. That’s more of a straight (guy) thing.
Thoughts from followers of mine on Instagram about #9 Guy:
“That wannabe be guy in Question #9 can DM me any time. Just saying.” — Austintacious.
“‘I’m straight but –” is the gayest shit I ever heard in my life.” — Kari
I called back a woman on this week’s Lovecast who was bumping against her Dom’s request that she shave her body hair. Mx.Meow had some thoughts…
Hard disagree about public hair preferences. There’s a reason “teen” is the most popular porn search phrase on straight porn sites. A non-insignificant number of straight men want to fuck teenagers. Obviously people are entitled to their preferences, but don’t play dumb about the deep-seated history of men sexualizing teenage girls in this country. Adult men started hitting on me when I was nine years old and most other women I’ve spoken to about this topic where of a similar age when it started happening to them. Some preferences deserve to be scrutinized to make sure there isn’t a deeper issue. Maybe it’s different in Gayland but in Straightland this is a very real issue.
Here in Gayland, some people shave their pubes because it’s what they want, not because it’s what their partners want; some people shave their pubes once in a while; some people never shave their pubes; some people have a strong preference for hairless crotches, some prefer natural hairy crotches; some people don’t have a preference one way or another; and some people — like the caller whose question you’re responding to — might consent to shaving their pubes as an act of submission because following orders turns them on. I expect it’s much the same in Straightland.
And I gotta say… if you believe all the people out there who prefer hairless crotches some or all of the time — in Gayland or Straightland — are secretly pedophiles (or not so secretly pedophiles, if asking someone to shave their pubes is tantamount to admitting a preference for children), well, I honestly don’t know how you get out of bed in the morning. According to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 97% of women and 79% of men have shaved their pubes off in adulthood at least once. So, you can either believe that almost everybody is a pedophile (or almost everybody is comfortable attracting the attentions of pedophiles) and never get out of bed in the morning or you can believe that pubic hair preferences — shaved or not, some of the time or all of the time — aren’t a good way of figuring out who is or isn’t a pedophile and face the day. (And before anyone accuses me of being defensive: While I don’t mind a shaved crotch, I prefer pubes. It’s facial hair I can’t stand.)
That said, I’m so sorry you were subjected to unwelcome sexual attention from creeps when you were a child — sexual attention from creeps is unwelcome at any age, but it’s particularly scary and potentially traumatizing for a kid. The daughters of so many of my friends went through what you described, and it made me (and still makes me) incandescent with rage. (Have you read The Power? You might find it cathartic.)
Can a woman be a feminist and enjoy being the sub in D/s or BDSM sex? My Facebook followers weighed in…
Yes, many BDSM can go against feminist ideals. That’s part of the taboo and the excitement in the taboo. But if a particular activity makes you feel icky or bad about yourself, don’t do that one. Just say no. For the caller, body shaming is off the table. Easy enough.
And Stéphanie added…
Your body, your rules. The pre-play conversation is just that, a conversation to negotiate the scene. Consent is always required! If he has requirements that don’t work with your boundaries, then it’s not a match and you can move on.
There was universal condemnation on Facebook for the caller’s BF who has an issue with her passion for taking and sharing nude photos of herself. Says Rebecca…
I’m a professional nude model of over 15 years and yes, this is a huge deal breaker. She should dump him and in the future disclose her nude work very early in dating — for me his reaction to my modeling speaks volumes, not just about whether he’s going to conflict with my career but also what kind of person he is and whether he’s secure enough to be in a relationship with. I am speaking from personal experience and hundreds of conversations with other nude models. No friend of mine who ever tried negotiating this with a partner has been happy with the result.
The problem is that he thinks it’s “disrespectful” for someone else to see your body. He doesn’t own you and what you do with your body is your choice. That’s a super controlling attitude for him to have. If you had been married a long time and suddenly wanted to model, it might be a slightly different circumstance but that’s not the case. He wants you to give up something you did before he even met you because he is jealous. That’s not ok.
Brad gets the last word…
I suspect this will be unanimous: deal breaker. DTMFA.
And finally, the Style Section of the New York Times had a big piece over the weekend about unhappy newlyweds who clearly aren’t readers or listeners of mine…
Picture the wedding night, as popular culture has often dictated it: The vows have been exchanged, the champagne flutes are empty and the guests are gone. The newlyweds retreat to their private quarters — finally — for the exhilarating consummation of their marriage… However, the reality, according to multiple mental health experts consulted for this story, is that many couples do not reach this rite of passage on the wedding night itself, even if they had hoped to.
My readers and listeners know to fuck first! Wedding days, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Trump Indictment Day, That’s a Wrap On Pat Robertson Day, Feast of The Ass — always fuck first!