America’s longest-running sex-advice column!

Struggle Session: Survey Says… Suck! Also: Missing Spoiler Alerts, Math Defeats Dan (AGAIN), Muppet-Faced Boy Movie Club, and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments, emails, DMs, and tweets from 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 my 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, the Sex & Politics podcast, and Struggle Session — subscribe here!

This week’s Savage Love left Paul feeling somewhat despondent…

This is one of the most depressing columns ever. It’s not just that the wife refuses to blow him, it’s that she does not seem to give a shit about, or even hear, his needs. He says, “I’ve raised it with her a number of times, but she just doesn’t think it’s important and, most frustratingly, plainly isn’t interested in trying to get...

Want to read the rest? Subscribe now to get every question, every week, the complete Savage Love archives, special events, and much more!

...hit about, or even hear, his needs. He says, “I’ve raised it with her a number of times, but she just doesn’t think it’s important and, most frustratingly, plainly isn’t interested in trying to get interested again.” How tone deaf do you have to be to think this isn’t an important need for him? And if it’s an important need for him, why isn’t it important for her to meet the need — at least sometimes, like when she is not too tired and there is time? And then there is the depressing survey in which the overriding theme is “I’m sick of my partner of X years so I don’t do BJ’s anymore but I’d gladly suck a new dick.” Technically, a blowjob every 24 months — to completion — clears the “at least sometimes” bar, which is admittedly pretty low. (From the way THH talks about the oral he performs on his wife, i.e., oral as foreplay, it seems clear that the oral he’s getting biannually is oral to completion, not oral as foreplay.) And about that survey… I specifically asked straight married women who still loved their husbands but don’t suck their husbands’ cocks anymore to write in. So, the letters that appeared in this week’s column don’t represent a random sample of married straight women everywhere. There are (presumably) some straight married women out there who still love their husbands and are willing to suck their husbands’ cocks. Here’s hoping some of them love sucking cock — basically, here’s hoping that not every straight married blowjob is motivated by feelings of obligation. And for the record… Married women (and men) aren’t obligated to meet a need just because it’s been articulated and their spouse remembered to slap the “important” label on it. Ideally, both partners in a marriage will be motivated to meet each other’s reasonable needs, sexual and otherwise. But it’s unreasonable to expect that everything on the menu at the start of a relationship will remain on the menu over the decades — desires shift and change, bodies age, etc. Says SomeoneNew… I apologize for the humble bragging here but I spent 30 years in a sexless marriage so I’m still kind of reveling in my new life. I get a BJ every time. Not to completion (usually) but that’s my choice because I’m in my sixties and that would be it for the day. She asks me on a regular basis to let me finish because she likes it. Don’t tell anyone but I think she kind of likes me. She has an orgasm every time — usually oral, sometime digital. And then we have boring ordinary missionary sex that is wonderful. Oh, and my favorite time to have sex? Saturday afternoon when the Catholics park in front of the house for their 5 PM whatever-it-is. We try to be especially loud then. I know it’s childish but fuck ’em. And by the way, Dan, it was your “oral comes standard” advice that made me realize my marriage was way past it’s sell by date. Thanks! You’re welcome, SomeoneNew. (Oh, and we Catholics call that thing mass.) And my decades-old advice — “oral comes standard, any model that arrives without oral should immediately be returned to the lot” — is still in force, and it applies equally to men and women. THH and his wife arrived with oral, which was frequent and mutual at the start of their relationship. The question THH faces now… is what to do now that his wife isn’t interested in oral anymore. I realizing I’m advancing two contradictory ideas at the same time here, but while I feel that oral comes standard and it’s reasonable for THH to expect oral (as it was always a part of their sex life)… ending his marriage and/or asking to open up his marriage (which could end his marriage) may be too steep a price to pay just to get his dick sucked a little more often. And let’s say, as some commenters suggested, that THH went to his wife and asked for permission to get his cock sucked elsewhere — would he, in the end, actually wind up getting his cock sucked more frequently? Unless he’s willing to get his cock sucked by the kind of gay men who live to suck off frustrated married straight guys, THH may have a tough go of it. There aren’t a lot of straight women out there who are dying to suck off married straight guys. (Well, not for free, at any rate.) And if THH’s wife, having given him permission to get his cock sucked elsewhere, stops sucking his cock entirely — which is a distinct possibility — he may wind up getting his cock sucked even less than twice a year. Unless, again, he ascribes to the mouth-is-a-mouth philosophy and is willing to let gay men suck his cock, in which case he could get his cock sucked daily. Savage Love superstar commenter BiDanFan also weighed in on THH… Unexpected advice from Dan, who has previously advised that oral sex is standard, and that if you have a kink that your partner refuses to indulge (BJs may be seen as analogous to a kink) then you should seek a hall pass. I guess Dan has to admit that in straight world, this is just far too common to invoke an exception to a monogamy promise. I’m a fan of hall passes! And I’ve heard from lots of couples over the years whose monogamous marriages improved after the issuing of limited hall passes, which have the power to defuse conflicts over specific kinks or sexual interests. The spouse who didn’t want to tie up or pee on or suck off their spouse (usually a husband, but not always) wasn’t being nagged to do those things anymore (alleviating their resentment); the spouse who didn’t feel sexually fulfilled because they weren’t getting tied up or peed on or sucked off wasn’t feeling deprived anymore (alleviating their resentment). They opened their marriages just a crack, their marriages were happier as a result. Full disclosure: I’ve also heard from people — newly single people — whose marriages fell apart after the issuing of a hall pass. Sometimes it was the fault of the person who got the hall pass (they used it too often, all of their sexual energy was plowed into finding opportunities to use the hall pass, they were neglectful of their spouse), and sometimes it was the fault of the person who issued the hall pass (they couldn’t overcome their jealousy and resented their spouses for doing something they really, really didn’t want to do with someone who did). (I related the disastrous results of one hall pass — issued and acted on — in this Savage Love from 2017.) So, with hall passes as with so much else… individual results may vary. And asking for one, like asking to open a marriage, isn’t without risk — the ask, all by itself, has the power to change everything, and not always for the better. Says Delta35… 1. Dan gave no spoiler alert for how Game of Thrones ends, and he mentioned a MASSIVE spoiler. Shame on you Dan! Some of us have 12-hr-a-day jobs where we are a decade behind on must-watch-TV. 2. Dan’s advice to the man with the HIV-positive husband keeping his HIV status a secret, left out life-saving medical advice far more important than GoT ending: Any fluid-bonded HIV- partner of an HIV+ person should be on PrEP, even if the pos-partner is undetectable and the couple is monogamous. “Undetectable” status can change even for a medication-compliant, honest person not harboring secrets. HIV treatment drug resistance can develop in a patient previously successfully treated. 1. Forgive me, Delta35. 2. And thank you, Delta35. That’s a very good point — and definitely one I should’ve raised, and one I will raise on the podcast next week. It occurred to me last week, at the end of the show, that it had never occurred to me to make an acronym — or an initialism, technically speaking —  out of “we’re going to leave it there,” which I’ve been ending every Lovecast with since we started broadcasting the Lovecast from the ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in 1943. I clearly didn’t think this through, as Mudflap points out… Dan, I think WGLIT would work great as an acronym in print, but I don’t think you’ve used it on the Lovecast before because it isn’t a shortcut! It takes more syllables to pronounce all the letters in WGLIT than it takes to say “we’re gonna leave it there.” Maybe if you pronounced it “double-u glit” to make it even more inscrutable? Thingamajig spotted an error… Okay, I gotta say I really take issue with something Dan said in this episode: In a threesome there are three possible twosomes, not six. This is easiest to see if you think about the fact that each such twosome leaves exactly one person out. The only way Dan’s number works is if order matters, that is if an Alice-Bob moment is somehow different than a Bob-Alice one. Unless there are major power dynamics at play and someone is keeping detailed records, I don’t think that’s right. Basically, whenever you hear me doing sums on the Lovecast, it’s safe to assume I’ve already made an error or I’m about to make one. (I’m with Teen Talk Barbie: math class is tough.) I advised some newly poly folks who couldn’t talk about anything other than the people they were dating and fucking to at least try to talk about something else, especially when talking to people they aren’t dating or fucking. Kate DM’d me on Instagram to say… OMG, THANK YOU. I recently spent a very awkward weekend around a bunch of poly people who could not stop talking about their partners and orgies — including one that had taken place on the couch I was sitting on. Is an orgy that fits on a single piece of living room furniture really much of an orgy? Someone could have a very large couch, I guess, but as a general rule… if you can fit all involved on single piece of living room furniture, you don’t have anything to brag about. Regardless, the person sitting on that piece of furniture now — after the orgy they weren’t invited to — doesn’t need to hear about it and most likely doesn’t want to hear about it. A cis-het teacher in Florida called into the show wondering if he should stay and fight new anti-teacher, anti-trans, anti-woke measures by the state — or flee somewhere safer. My Facebook followers understood the dilemma but tended to fall on the side of “fight.” Says Roland… Stay and fight. Stay and vote. Stay and rally those who you can to your side. That being said, I would not blame you for wanting to go to someplace more accepting. But tell your friends and family that Florida, for now, is for Floridians. Don’t come to spend your time or money. The sad part is that lots of those who retire to these states don’t care about what is being taught, but they are caught up in the fear factor generated by Fox and the GOP. Says Rayellen… Please be the ally, and consider NOT being covert about it. Develop a powerful language of obfuscation so the haters don’t know what you are talking about but the kids know you have their backs. Says Milli… Nowhere is safe unless everywhere is safe! As a cis-het male you are safer than many. And, more importantly, your vote is safe. Stay where it can make a difference. I live in Texas, and I’ve had the same dilemma. But as a cis-het, white, old woman, I realize that my voice would be one of the last to be silenced. So, I’ll stay as long as I can, and vote as often as I can, in hopes that it makes a difference for those without my privilege. Another caller was worried about her 13-year-old step sister, who had a large following on YouTube. Should she tell the kid’s mother what’s going on? Or, per my advice, should she say nothing to mom and act as her step-sister’s confidante? My followers also weighed in on this but couldn’t quite agree… Deb thinks this is pretty cut and dry: As a survivor and attorney that takes SA cases, absolutely TF not. My children do not and will NOT have social media until 18. I would want to know because my kid would not be allowed to put out on the public Internet they were a teen girl. Cheryl would go the other way: Talk with your step-sister and discuss internet safety. Make sure she knows what to be cautious about — not giving her name, personal information about where she lives, goes to school, etc. Explain that there are people who may try to take advantage of her. Don’t tell her mom unless you talk with your step-sister about it first. Allen has an idea for a soft approach: You could tell her that one of the things that happens once you’ve turned 13 is that people expect at least a basic level of authenticity and accountability and that you think it would be good for her to tell Mom about the account. Offer that you’ll be present for the occasion. It’s really hard for preteens to find their place, so it would be sad that she might feel that she has to hide this part of herself (if she really feels that way). MUPPET-FACED BOY MOVIE CLUB: Okay, so I watched Marry My Dead Body, on the recommendation of a listener, and it was… an intermittently funny film featuring two charismatic Taiwanese actors with Muppet faces. There were some good moments, some WTF moments, and some moments that reached for emotional payoffs the film hadn’t earned. The CGI (or AI?) car chases answered a question I never thought to ask: Is there an uncanny valley for cars? (There is, as it turns out.) The film also tries to make a sentimental pro-gay statement after serving up scenes of gratuitous homophobic violence along the way and… um… let’s just say the scenes where the straight cop pretty brutally beats up his dead gay husband’s ex-boyfriend doesn’t pack the intended punch. It’s also really, really long — more than two hours. My favorite scene — dead gay guy possesses the body of the hot straight cop and takes his body for a naked run down the street — comes early in the film and raises interesting questions about public nudity, consent, and possession as form of coercive control. But I’m glad I watched it. Got a film recommendation for the Muppet-Faced Boy Movie Club? Send it in, I’ll post the trailer, and we can all watch it together! And until then… I’ll be watching my favorite new film, which is untitled, much shorter than MMDB, and is absolutely perfect in every possible way. Five stars, no notes, two thumbs up, would recommend, rewards multiple viewings, and features a career-making breakout performance from Anarchy Princess. Okay, that’s it! Hope you enjoyed this week’s Struggle Session. Keep those comments, DMs, and movie recommendations coming!

Comments on Struggle Session: Survey Says… Suck! Also: Missing Spoiler Alerts, Math Defeats Dan (AGAIN), Muppet-Faced Boy Movie Club, and More!