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Struggle Session: Method and Madness, Boys and Barbies, Dads and Daddies

On Thursdays I respond to comments, emails, DMs, and tweets from my readers and listeners. Struggle Session posts are exclusively for Magnum Subs. So, if you’re already a Magnum Sub, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become one of my subs — 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, the Sex & Politics podcast, and Struggle Session — subscribe here!

A reader felt my response to a letter writer who wanted her male partner to feel more comfortable with the pull-out method sucked…

This is not a question but a response to the question posed, “How do I get my male partner to be comfortable pulling out?”

I am mystified that your response started with, “I’d love to get rid of condoms”! Perhaps, you should read the book Ejaculate Responsibly...

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... be comfortable pulling out?” I am mystified that your response started with, “I’d love to get rid of condoms”! Perhaps, you should read the book Ejaculate Responsibly by Gabrielle Stanley Blair. Men need to man up and use condoms. Men and women should take shared responsibility for contraception, but condoms should be encouraged for prevention of pregnancy and STDs. I would agree with you that Planned Parenthood is a great resource for any form of responsible contraception. But I do not believe in your nonchalant approach to using abortion as a method of contraception when there is enough information available to prevent pregnancy. I can tell you as a RN  and Educator in this field that pull-out method is not the best choice for prevention of unwanted pregnancies! My response didn’t start with, “I’d love to get rid of condoms,” that’s how that LW’s question ended. So, those were her words, not mine. I’ve been pushing condoms on my readers and listeners for thirty years to prevent disease and pregnancy; indeed, in this week’s column I highlighted the troubling shortage of the drug used to treat syphilis and urged gay men on PrEP to use (or resume using) condoms. Moving on… Gabrielle Stanley Blair, author of Ejaculate Responsibly, has been a guest on the Lovecast. And the problem — at least where this particular LW was concerned — wasn’t that her male partner was ejaculating irresponsibly, but rather that her male partner was ejaculating too responsibly. He insists on condoms. The LW, for reasons she didn’t disclose, would like to stop using condoms. And for all we know, the LW — who is, again, the one who wants to switch to the pull-out method — may have a good reason for wanting to get rid of condoms. I did direct the LW to Planned Parenthood’s website — or I directed the LW to direct her male partner to Planned Parenthood’s website — but the information there makes it clear that pulling out, while an effective method of contraception, is not the most effective method of contraception. (“If you do it correctly, pulling out is a pretty effective way of preventing pregnancy. But it can be hard to do it the right way every time.”) And I never recommended abortion as a method of contraception! I recommended having Plan B (“the morning after pill”) on hand in case the LW’s partner should accidentally (and irresponsibly!) ejaculate inside her; Plan B, as I’m sure you know, is not an abortion medication. I did mention abortion in my response, but only as last resort — if pulling out and/or Plan B fails — and not, again, as a method of contraception. Other than that… great feedback, five stars. At the top of the Lovecast last week I expressed some mild disappointment with Barbie, which is on track to be the biggest hit of the summer. For the record: I loved Barbie and I’m planning to see Barbie again, even if I am dreading the now-inevitable Barbie sequels and reboots. (There’s just no topping Barbie’s final line in Barbie.) What I thought was missing from the film… what I wish had been included… was a nod to all the little gay boys out there who played with their friends’ and sisters’ Barbie dolls. A lot of those boys were bullied for loving Barbie and it would’ve been wonderful to see Barbie — as portrayed by Margot Robbie — show a little love to of those boys. At least one listener felt some other little boys were left out: I really liked your review of the Barbie movie and the part towards the end — your critique about leaving out the gay boys playing with Barbies was spot on. However, as a mom of two straight boys I thought you also left out my kids. My boys play with girl dolls often and I think one of the things our society needs to get away from is gendered toys. I’ve always been open to whatever toys my kids choose to play with and that means our house has been filled with a large collection of girl and boy toys. When I watched Barbie and saw only girls playing with Barbies in the beginning I sat there with my two young boys and thought about how damaging that must have been for them to see only girls playing with Barbies. Because toys are not gendered! And all kids can play with any type of toy. I just wanted to add that to your critique because that’s another group that was left out. If your boys are still young enough to play with dolls… how do you know they’re straight? I mean, I’m sure there are lots of adult straight men out there who enjoyed playing with Barbies when they were little. But I have to ask… if your boys are still young enough to play with dolls… aren’t they too young for mom to know whether they’re going to be straight or gay or bi or pan or omni or even boys when they grow up? So, just as we shouldn’t assign genders to toys, maybe we shouldn’t make assumptions about the sexual orientations of our (presumably) pre-pubescent kids? The column opened this week with a letter from the victim of the worst Dad joke of all time. I argued that the joke — where a gay father doubled down on a terrible incest joke from his idiot FWB about his gay son — was almost unforgivable. Gordster disagrees… I agree with Dr. Kort and disagree with Dan. I imagine SHRINK’s dad is mortified by what came out of his mouth. It’s not as if he had more than a second to think of a tactful response. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dad is also freaking out by what transpired and wishes he had never said what he said. He may be wondering if he should have said something afterward to SHRINK, but didn’t want to cause more discomfort if SHRINK just shrugged it off. I still think it’s Dad’s responsibility to say something — telling his son he’s mortified himself, but somebody needs to say something. Perhaps SHRINK needs to be the bigger man in this instance and here’s hoping everybody (except the hookup — who was beyond inappropriate — and hopefully is now completely out of the picture) finds their way back to a healthy kink. I agree that Dad should’ve said something — but Dad didn’t say anything, so SHRINK, for his own sanity, is going to have to be the grownup here and say something to his father about that awful, terrible, no good, very bad “joke.” Good to see corporate America working my “Fuck First” advice — perhaps the best advice I’ve ever given — into their marketing campaigns… Thanks to Charles for sending this in! (The reference is subtle enough that Big Gum won’t suffer the same fate as Bud Light.) Claudia has some advice for the caller with the WAP problems… This is in repose to the woman having an issue with too much wetness during sex. I really liked your advice about taking the long view. As a now 49-year-old woman who used to get as wet as the Pacific Ocean, I wish I hadn’t stressed about my WAP back in the day. But there is something that can help. The caller can have a nice soft hand towel close by so when she slips off she can dry off her vulva area, down her legs and anywhere there is excess moisture — including on her partner. Her vagina will still be wet and they can get back at it. They can also have fun drying each other off. As a side note, I really wish more was done to educate women on the changes that happen as we start losing our Estrogen. I sadly had to find out the hard way. There are things we can do that greatly improve the situation. It will never be as it once was, but it can still be really bloody good! A caller this week was concerned — and also titillated — by an inappropriate message left by her counselor/spiritual leader. My Facebook followers felt something wasn’t right. Says Rich… I tell my counseling students that behavior like this from a “group leader” is manipulative, impulsive, and selfish. This person should be reported to whatever agency he is connected with and, yes, the caller shouldn’t go back. Says Kelly… Power differential between therapist and client is the reason why it’s an ethical violation for therapists to have relationships with clients. Needs to be reported to a licensing board if the therapist is a licensed provider. Ferguson adds another wrinkle… If he’s doing this to you… he’s doing it to others. Just food for thought.

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