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Struggle Session: Straight Sucking, Hard Talk, Em-Dashes, Cream Pies, and More!

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A lot of people thought my one-word response to SFDW was insufficient. A refresher: SFDW was the guy who’d sucked a few dicks in the context of MMF threesomes with a Dominant woman who got off on watching a guy suck dick on her orders, and SFDW got off on getting this woman off. He’d only sucked dick when ordered to, and only to please this particular woman, but he...

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...a guy suck dick on her orders, and SFDW got off on getting this woman off. He’d only sucked dick when ordered to, and only to please this particular woman, but he enjoyed pleasing her, which means he enjoyed sucking dick. After confiding in a few people about these experiences, he was told he couldn’t possibly be straight. But he feels he’s straight and asked what I thought: Was he straight? My one-word response: “Sure.” Inflection, tone, sincerity, sarcasm — all hard to decipher in a one-word, written response. “Sure,” can be read as, “Suuuuuuure you are, totally straight, riiiiiiiight,” or it can be read as, “Sure! Of course! We live in different times now — times when a guy can suck a dick once or twice and not just identify as straight, but actually be straight!” Now, I initially wrote a long response for SFDW about situational homosexuality, which is usually documented (among men) in single-sex environments like prisons and boarding schools and pirate ships; it seemed to me that maybe a threesome with a Dominant woman who wanted to see a man suck a dick — on her orders — could be added to the list of situations where a straight man might be able to suck a dick without having to forfeit his straight card. But! The column the letter was supposed to run in was already really long, I didn’t like my response (I thought it was pretentious and tedious), and I figured the Savage Love commentariat would jump in if I went with, “Sure,” instead. You guys did not disappoint: NINGirlJane… Hrm. I feel kinda bad for the answer SFDW got. I immediately thought of sex workers who might consent to perform sex acts they are very ambivalent about for money. That doesn’t mean that those sex acts define their sexuality. It seems to be the same for this LW. He was basically performing sex acts in service of his Dominant girlfriend. I think he’s fine to call himself straight. Of course, this does not touch upon the difference between bisexuality and bi-romanticism, which I think Dan should have gone into. Perhaps that could have helped SFDW better understand who he is. Says Andrew… SFDW seems like kind of a douche (“You must know that all the gays in North Halsted would throw themselves at me”) and a simple short answer to a non-question is probably what’s deserved. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our society’s concept of heterosexuality. There’s a deep-seated assumption that an essential part of being a heterosexual man is being repulsed and disgusted by even the thought of someone else’s penis. And I think a decade or two ago the question would be more likely, “I accidentally touched another man’s thigh during a three-way, does that mean I’ve been Tainted With Horrifying Gay Cooties Forever?” So it’s a little refreshing that someone like SFDW has shown he isn’t afraid to be heteroflexible. I don’t think SFDW came across like a douche of any kind. He mentioned living on the North Side of Chicago; if sucking dick was something he wanted to do, he wouldn’t have a hard time finding dick to suck. He didn’t claim to be irresistible to gay men — he didn’t say he could have any dick he wanted — he only mentioned living in a spot where he would have plenty of opportunity to suck dick. That’s not conceited, that’s matter-of-fact. But I agree with the rest of what Andrew had to say! And BiDanFan for the win: I would say that SFDW is straight. He’s no less straight than the straight girls who let their straight boyfriends talk them into their ultimate-straight-guy-fantasy, the MFF threesome. He doesn’t sound bisexual or biromantic to me; the cocksucking seemed more like a degradation kink, as he is straight and does not enjoy it, but enjoys doing something he dislikes to please a female partner. He’s only attracted to women, he’s not attracted to men, ergo he’s straight. Regarding Chatbot Boyfriends, which I ranted about that the show: Snowflake would rather not… The idea of getting comforting messages, sexts, etc from AI to me seems really, really depressing. And the inviting the woman out for cheesecake thing? Getting messages from a pretend boyfriend inviting me to do all of the things I would love for a boyfriend to invite me to do, but we can’t actually go do those things because the “boyfriend” is actually AI — the idea literally makes me want to cry. Is inviting your girlfriend out for cheesecake something an actual human boyfriend has ever done? That seems like a fantasy to me. Sure, your girlfriends might invite you out for cheesecake — Rose, Dorothy, Sophia and Blanche might invite you over for cheesecake — but a straight dude? Hm. It’s easier to picture a straight dude sucking a cock. An LLL (“Longtime Lovecast Listener”) asked her boyfriend to share his secret sexual fantasy. Eventually he did: vore. The LLL didn’t call in because she was freaking out (which made me so proud!), she called seeking tips on helping her boyfriend explore his fantasies. (Without having to shrink him down to the size of a drumstick and swallow him whole.) I suggested dirty talk and maybe a trip to a floatation tank, where he could pretend he was being slowly digested. Another tip came in via Twitter… On the topic of homebrew vore, you could probably make due with a home bathtub. Black out any windows. Run a hot hot shower to make it humid. Add a couple bottles of club soda or tonic water to the bath to give the water a little fizzy sensation (like stomach acid). — L͙a͙u͙r͙e͙n͙c͙e͙ (@littleoneder) June 27, 2023 The letter from TEARS, a woman who recently left a sexless marriage, kicked off a lot of commentary and a follow-up question that opened this week’s column. At least one reader thought my original advice to TEARS — maybe she could’ve tried opening her marriage before ending it? — overlooked an important detail. Says LuckyDipper: “If TEARS’s husband couldn’t talk about not getting a hard-on, how would TEARS’s husband have been able to talk about her opening up the marriage and having a sexual relationship with someone else? The idea would be so intolerable to him, perhaps a blow of his self-esteem or his sense of himself as a man, that most likely he would have clammed up. Or been hurt by the suggestion.” I’ve walked people through having this conversation — talking to a spouse who doesn’t want to fuck you — about ten million times over the last thirty years. Even if Mr. TEARS doesn’t want to talk, he has to listen. Mrs. TEARS could’ve gone to him and said (she could still go to him and say), “Look, I love you, and I love our family, but I’m done asking you for sex. We can have a sexless marriage, but I’m not going to lead a sexless life.” Sometimes it’s not about having a conversation; sometimes it’s about acknowledging a new reality and making your intentions clear. If the other person wants to talk about it, you can talk. If they don’t want to talk about it, someone in Mrs. TEARS position can say what they need to say, for the sake of their own conscience, and then go do what they need to do for their sake of their own sanity. (Here’s a longer version: “We’re obviously not having sex and may never again, but that doesn’t mean I’m not having sex ever again. I’ll always put you first — emotionally and socially — and I’ll be discreet. We don’t have to come out as open or poly, so the kids don’t have to know, and our parents don’t have to know. But I’m letting you know, as a courtesy, that I’m going to take care of my own needs. If you want to do something about it, we can talk — so long as we’re doing something about it.”) I don’t even think someone in TEARS’s position is obligated to say anything. You don’t owe someone who hasn’t fucked you in six years… and who refuses to do anything about it (not just talk about it)… an explanation before getting your needs met elsewhere. (Needs they promised to meet, needs they’re neglecting, needs they wish you wouldn’t bother them about anymore.) If you want out of the marriage, get out. If you think the person who’s refusing to fuck you wants out and is going to make themselves increasingly intolerable until you leave them, definitely get out. But if you don’t want out and they don’t want out and the only problem in your relationship is the lack of sex… well, then do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane. Recognizing, of course, that you will be cast as the bad guy if you get caught. Zoftig weighed in on TEARS: “Kids, work, a house to take care of — logistical challenges whether a couple is practicing ENM or one half of a couple is practicing UNM. But getting a divorce and establishing separate households and shuffling kids between them presents logistical challenges, too.” I think living in separate households and co-parenting children often does free up time to start dating, particularly for women. It’s having kids that makes dating hard — single parents complain all the time about that. Also, there was a whole NY Times article about a rise in people who wanted to stay married but didn’t want to live together anymore or at least wanted to take some time to live apart. One of the reasons I married my now-husband is that I felt we lived together really well (which we still do), and I still see the appeal. When we lived in an apartment building, my dream was to have seperate apartments next door to each other and switch whose place we slept in (because I enjoy sleeping in the same bed). Pick your poison: A sexless-but-otherwise-happy couple can front-load logistical headaches and get them out of the way before they start dating and/or fucking other people — separating, establishing new households and routines, finalizing (and paying for!) a divorce — or a sexless-but-otherwise-happy couple can confront the smaller but ongoing logistical headaches that come bundled with staying together while dating/fucking other people. Also, it’s important to bear in mind that not everyone can afford to get divorced, which is why divorce rates plummet during recessions. Apropos of Nothing: It’s been a while since I plugged a Muppet-faced guy in Struggle Session! One of my favorite Muppet-faced actors — Mike Faist — has a new movie coming out, as does one of my favorite (okay, my most favorite) Muppet-faced pornstars. Enjoy! Weenie — who is a long-time reader — thinks that I’ve been using — in general, but in this column in particular — way too many em-dashes… I don’t know how this is the first time I’m noticing this after having been a reader on and off for 20-odd years (more on than off in recent years), but holy em-dash, Dan! I think it stood out to me particularly in this column for the sheer frequency and the number of uses that could and/or should have been commas or parentheses! It probably also stood out here because Midori seems to have the same penchant for em-dashes as you. I like em-dashes as much as the next writer, but they lose their emphasis when you use half a dozen over the course of just a few hundred words! I will try — in future columns — to be more sparing with those em-dashes, Weenie! A woman called the Lovecast to ask about the etiquette of asking male partners to go down on you after they’ve blown a load inside you. A few Facebook followers joined in the conversation. Tim says the quiet part out loud here… I’m not sure how interested a genuine straight guy would be in felching his own product from his lady shortly after he deposited it there… Seeing as we opened this week’s Struggle Session with a discussion about a straight guy who sucked a dick and lived to identify as straight, I would go with “average” instead of “genuine” here. Still, I’m guessing SFDW wasn’t in the throws/lows of his refractory period when he sucked that dick to please his female partner, but horned up and very turned on. That makes a difference. Dana isn’t a fan of the straight male POV here… It bums me out that there are dudes who won’t continue doing stuff after they get off even though their partner isn’t done. I can reluctantly excuse not wanting to put your face down there after you’ve spluffed it up, but there are tons of other things you can do. No excuses for lazy and selfish lovers, please! Amon has words for his fellow men: A gentleman shouldn’t have to be asked. Choking came up — again — on the Lovecast. Citizen thinks I’ve got it wrong… You’ve said a few times that porn has mislead men to believe women want choking, but that doesn’t match the best data I’m aware of on the topic. (Sorry, it’s a long article, the graph I’m referencing is “Light Choking preference by porn use.”) At least in that dataset, the majority of women want choking more than most men think they do, especially the women seeking relatively casual sex. More generally, I think Aella would make an excellent podcast guest — she’s doing some of the most interesting research on kink these days. Inspired Desires seconded Citizen… I’m glad somebody mentioned that. I wasn’t even into choking, either in my porn or fantasies until several women back-to-back requested it. Even now, it’s only something I do with them, and I get the feeling that they would like me to go harder. Fortunately, I’m aware that it’s okay for Doms to have limits too. I could be wrong… and I don’t wanna start a beef… but I believe Aella, the Only Fans porn star turned sex researcher, gathers most of her data by asking her followers to take online polls. So, maybe not random samples? I asked Dr. Debby Herbenick, a professor and sex researcher at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, to weigh in. Dr. Herbenick has conducted a lot of research into choking and porn, how men feel about it, and how women feel about it. So, do women like to be choked? “It’s complicated,” said Dr. Herbenick. I’m turning the rest of this week’s Struggle Session over to Dr. Herbenick, who was kind enough to respond at length: In one campus-representative survey that we led involving young adult students (in this paper, it was men), in analyses led by my colleague Paul Wright we found this (as noted in the abstract): “Consuming pornography more frequently leads to more exposure to pornographic depictions of sexual choking, which in turn predicts a higher likelihood of choking sexual partners through the belief that sexual choking is pleasurable, the belief that sexual choking is safe, and the disbelief that sexual choking requires consent from the person being choked.” It is likely that case that yes, pornography often does communicate to viewers (who are mostly men) that women like to be choked. Watching pornography will not have the same effect on all men, though, and as various studies on pornography show, watching it will function differently for different people. For example, viewers who think that pornography is realistic or who identify more strongly with the actors may be more likely to learn certain things from watching pornography. Also, it’s worth considering who the viewers are – viewers who are young and sexually inexperienced in real life may be more likely to think that what they are seeing is real or that they should copy it or that their partners would like them to do certain things to them. For many years, this is what my college students have described – a learning curve, in which they often start out doing what they see in pornography and, with time and experience and feedback from real life partners – they learn and grow and change. We see some evidence of this in studies such as this one from Sweden, involving teenage girls. As for whether women generally want to be choked, it’s mixed. We have found that many young adult women would indeed like to be choked (more than I would have guessed when I first started this research on choking several years ago), but this too is complicated. Of those who do want to be choked, it is most common to describe a preference that involves light pressure and just one hand (not a ligature and not two hands, which many describe as feeling too scary or aggressive). However, people of all genders generally describe in our studies that communicating about choking *before doing it* is important, even though many of them don’t actually communicate about choking before doing so (this obviously has serious implications for consent and potential assault allegations). And sadly I’ve seen far too many instances of choking gone wrong (done without communication or consent or too hard/intense or done with a ligature from behind when the person was not expecting that; people getting hurt). For parents who have teenagers or young adults kids, I have a great deal to say about the importance of talking with young people about choking, rough sex, health, safety, communication, and consent in my new book — available for pre-order right now — “Yes, Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today’s Teens and Sex“. Also, just because many young people are into choking does not mean that choking/strangulation is “safe” (side note: people seem to mean lots of things when they describe choking as “safe” or “not safe,” so let me clarify; there appears to always be some risk of death, even if very low; there is a greater likelihood of short- and long-term health consequences such as neck pain, neck bruising, neck swelling (very serious, should be seen by a healthcare provider ASAP), and even traumatic brain injury). In talking with my own college students about choking and other forms of rough sex, I get the sense that many of them feel there has been too much emphasis on, “Are people into it?”, and not enough emphasis on, “Do people truly like it and is it safe/good for people?” Being “up for choking” is not necessarily the same as truly enjoying it (in our interviews, quite a few women, men, and gender-diverse people) say that they’re “fine” with choking or do it for their partner. Interestingly, in a recent US nationally representative survey, even though most of the choking was consensual, choking ended up not being predictive of pleasure or orgasm for either women or men.

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