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STRUGGLE SESSION: Closeted Dads, Popping Pills, Queer Kinksters, and More!

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 a sub, THANK YOU and read on! If you’d like to become a sub — which gets you access to the Magnum Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maxi Savage Love column (more Q, more A), the Sex & Politics podcast, Struggle Session, and Savage Love Live — subscribe here! (Also included free of charge? Bragging rights! You’ll be one of my subs!)

First up: says Aaron on BlueSky…

I love how “magnum subs” has layers of innuendo.

I don’t know what you mean to imply, Aaron. Moving on…

A caller and his boyfriend had a threesome with another man who suddenly started slapping the boyfriend’s cock — to “enhance” orgasm — just as he started to come. Says Crasher35

The dick slapping call made me laugh...

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...is boyfriend had a threesome with another man who suddenly started slapping the boyfriend’s cock — to “enhance” orgasm — just as he started to come. Says Crasher35… The dick slapping call made me laugh so hard! It reminds me of when I used to work with horse handlers. They were all male horses at this place, and they would bring them out for photo ops and stuff with visitors, but often the horses would get erections and the handlers would smack their dicks with the bridle to get them soft again. Not gonna lie, there’s been a few times it’s crossed my mind when guys are cruising at my gym and keep trying to get my attention when I’ve made it clear I’m not into it. Slapping someone’s dick is fine — so long as you have his consent, Crasher. But asking guys if you can slap their dicks to “punish” them for cruising you is likelier to incentivize the very behavior you’re hoping disincentivize. Brendan — posting at The Bad Place — thought my response to the caller whose mom, suffering from dementia, was hurling homophonic insults at his dad, who is gay and closeted, fell short… Whoa, @fakedansavage, what a miss on the dementia call this week. Tell that son to tell his dad what any parent in that situation must tell a child: I’m not sure what my mother meant, but I love you no matter what she may or may not have referenced. #NationalComingOutDay National Coming Out Day ≠ National Getting Outed Day. Honestly, that call made me sad for all involved — I felt sad for a sick old woman who for decades swallowed her anger about her loveless marriage (her husband married her under false pretenses), I felt sad for a man who never came out (for whatever reason) and doesn’t want to come out now (or be outed now), and I felt sad for the kids who know what they know (their dad’s gay) but feel like they have to pretend not to know it (to spare their dad’s feelings). That said, Brendan, I agree with you: the caller and his sibling should send some signal to their father that he can tell them anything and that they love him and always will, no matter what. I haven’t listened to my response again… but I believe I said as much in my initial response. (Also, the caller and his sibling should offer to help dad out with his caretaking responsibilities.) But I gotta say… Walking back the lies I’d told the most important people in my life — lies I told under duress — was one of the hardest parts of coming out. I had denied being gay to family, to friends, and classmates, sometimes in response to mean-spirited accusations or cruel jokes they’d overheard or made. I only lied about being straight for a few years; I came out as a teenager. I can’t imagine how hard it would’ve been to walk back those lies back if I’d been telling them for five or six decades. So, while part of me can’t understand why the caller’s dad didn’t come out decades ago (the caller’s dad is probably pretty close to me in age), I find myself sympathizing with the caller’s closeted dad in a way that feels unlike me. (I don’t have a soft spot for pathetic old closet cases.) Anyway, the caller’s mom is kicking down a door that the caller’s dad might not be prepared to walk through yet or ever. If dad doesn’t want to come out — if he would rather take his not-very-well-kept secret to the grave — his kids telling him he can might not be the kind of support he needs right now; indeed, it could land like more bullying at a time when he’s frazzled and emotionally exhausted. But, hey, here’s hoping dad pulls a Christopher “Beginners” Plummer once mom is dead. TheActualFeck took issue with my two of responses in my last Quickies column… 1. Don’t use masturbation as long-term medication. Besides age being a factor in it being harder to reach climax, you’re creating a disconnect from your body by constantly masturbating when not aroused, horny, or in the mood for it. I’d recommend to look into why you have trouble sleeping, rather than (what it seems) focusing on treating the symptom of it. 8. I’m a bit put off but what I see as an American mindset of “pop a pill and make it go away” sort of mentality. It’s recurring in Dan’s advices and I do agree with it sometimes, but a lot of times that’s treating a symptom instead of getting in touch with your body and needs. I feel Dan could do a lot of good by getting into somatic therapy/experiencing in order to have another perspective on questions such as these. TheActualFeck makes a good point in regards to 1: while many people use masturbation as a sleep aid — a friend calls it Ombien (Orgasm + Ambien) — masturbating when you’re not horny and/or when the horniness has worn off is a bad idea. (But the LW in 1 didn’t mention not being horny, only not being able to climax as easily these days.) But I didn’t advise 8 — a reader who was worried about maintaining an erection during partnered sex after decades of “self-pleasure” — to immediately reach for a bottle of boner pills. I advised him to incorporate self-pleasure into partnered sex (good advice IMO for all) and, if that didn’t work, to think about getting his hands on some boner pills. (Somatic therapy sounds a bit more involved, but it couldn’t hurt.) Says Peter via email about the gay ER trainer who had a bad experience with a gay trainee… The emergency room trainer on Episode 885 who called a trainee or coworker “gay” was definitely in the wrong. Unless a person’s sexual orientation is relevant to their job (and working in an ER, how could it?), there’s no reason for coworkers to bring it up, and therefore, calling a coworker “gay,” whether it’s accurate or not, just isn’t professionally appropriate, and the coworker can make a case for that being sexual harassment. While the caller seemed out and proud (and more power to him), what if the coworker wasn’t? What if the coworker was still wrestling with the question? What if the coworker is a repressed Irish Catholic, and doing his best to deny his closeted sexuality to his wife for the sake of their kids? What if the coworker not only isn’t gay, but is also really bothered when people assume he is? In today’s hypersensitive environment, bringing up a coworker’s or subordinate’s sexuality is just begging for a meeting with an HR manager. Sappho’s Beard — who has some relevant experience — sees things differently… Lesbian ER doc here. Assuming everything went exactly as the caller reported it, this absolutely reads to me as an act of retaliation from the trainee after getting a negative rotation evaluation. Even though the vast majority of medical trainees are good with feedback (including giving us constructive negative feedback that makes us better educators), every once in a blue moon a trainee who is more focused on enacting punishment for perceived wrongdoing than on learning will write a spurious negative eval with a bold or even outlandish unsubstantiated claim. Add many LBGT folks’ hypersensitivity to being perceived as predatory in any way (thanks, internalized homophobia!) to the mix, and I can see why your trainee’s sexual harassment report was so unmooring for the caller. However, the caller didn’t mention any other similar prior incidents, and if they have a proven track record as an effective and engaged educator, they should definitely keep teaching. I also want them to continue creating community for their LGBT trainees. Med school and residency are still generally pretty straight worlds, and getting that mentorship from someone with shared identity makes a huge difference. During my conversation with author, filmmaker, and substacker Leo Herrera on the latest Sex & Politics — we discussed a couple of kink nazis at Folsom Berlin and one shit-smeared asshole at Folsom SF — I mentioned that Folsom SF, unlike Folsom Berlin, is at least “half straight.” Says BiDanFan… I don’t know where Dan got the “half straight” statistic for Folsom, but I have to wonder if a significant proportion of these “straight” kinksters are bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships. Or enbies. I have some good friends who always go to Folsom, they are queer as a three-dollar bill, but to the untrained homo eye they might appear to be a straight couple attending with their female best friend. Just a thought. I made that stat up — so, it’s not data, and I honestly wasn’t trying to pass it off as data. It was just a personal observation after attending Folsom SF. And while I like to think I have pretty good straightdar, it’s entirely possible that bisexuals and/or enby AFABs and AMABs were pinging my straightdar. For the record: bisexual and enby AFABs and AMABs are not only really queer, they’re really most sincerely queer. Still, it’s fair to say that this leather/fetish event… which was created by and for gay men 40 years ago… today attracts an awful lot of straight people. (And I’m not the first person to make this observation.) Still, it may not be accurate to say the event is “half straight,” but I feel safe saying the event is “half not gay.” Which is fine! We’re happy to share! Come one! Come all! But it would be nice if all those queer kinky people in opposite-sex relationships who attend Folsom and all those straight kinky people who attend Folsom spoke up a little more — or spoke up at all — when right wing bigots point to Folsom as proof gay men are sexual degenerates. Attend Folsom? Defend Folsom. A woman and single parent really wants a male partner… but she can’t stand the idea of winding up with one of those awful men who watch step-parent-incest porn, which is an extremely popular genre (and not just with men). Says Cordelia57… I think the prevalence of step-relative porn isn’t so much about people being turned on by quasi-incestuous situations specifically (although I’m sure that’s part of it). To me, it seems like “step-sibling/-parent” is just an easy way to add an element of transgression and romantic tension to an otherwise basic vanilla sex scene. Usually the sex itself in step-____ porn is pretty tame and fairly “accessible” to those who might not be into watching rougher or kinkier stuff. The lead-up and “will-they-won’t-they” adds enough to make it feel kinky. BigAppleMaeve makes a great point over at The Bad Place… Re: Episode 886 — why not apply the concept of enthusiastic consent to childbearing/rearing? operating out of FOMO sounds like a terrible reason to have kids! Overall, my followers on Facebook had similar sentiments for this maybe-mom-to-be who was on the fence about utilizing one of her 33 frozen eggs to have children. Says Kora… If it’s not an enthusiastic yes, it should be a no. Being a parent is extremely difficult and it changes the trajectory of your entire life, in both positive and negative ways. Dana once faced the same choice… With everything in life I calculate with one meter: “Will I feel dead inside if I don’t do this?” If the answer is “no” for you, skip it. My whole life people told me I’d regret not having kids. I turned 51 last week and it is the one decision I have made in my life that I never second guessed. Elizabeth has a word of warning… I would say, if you are this ambivalent, do not do it. I wanted children more than anything, I went to great lengths to get pregnant, ended up doing in vitro fertilization. And parenting is the hardest job in the world. Overwhelming, exhausting, if you’re doing it right. Moving on: Chris, a Magnum Sub, is diving into my back catalogue… I’m a Savage Lovecast Magnum subscriber, and I’m listening through the archives, and unfortunately I’ve hit 2016 and when @dansavage.bsky.social tragically predicted the danger to the the Supreme Court. The next 11 months of episodes are going to be pretty grim. You know… I wasn’t the only one who saw the danger. Way back in 2016 (and wayway back in 2000), people on the idiotic left (not to confused with people on the left, center left, pragmatic left, etc.) condemned anyone who mentioned that judicial appointments were, you know, something we might want to consider before casting our ballots. We were accused of using “scare tactics” to keep people from voting for this self-aggrandizing idiot or that self-aggrandizing non-idiot. Well, we should’ve been scared. She was right. Speaking of the Bad Place: Matthew makes an excellent point at BlueSky… Note to @dansavage.bsky.social: this story about sex workers on Twitter (and Musk’s New Brilliant Idea) may provide additional motivation to spend more time on here than the other place. If Musk purges sex workers, porn performers, sex work rights advocates, and sex educators from Twitter… yeah, then I’m gone. In the meantime, I’m trying to spend more time on Blue Sky. If you don’t already follow me there, please do! And finally: Asheena’s nominee for the Muppet-Faced Man of the Week: Nico Mallado! And is one of my most famous bits of advice — so famous you can literally get it on a mug — actually wrong? I will investigate and get back to you soon!

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