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Struggle Session: Spitting on Things, Cheating on Instagram, Trying on Polyamory and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments from readers and listeners. These posts are for Magnum Subs only. So, if you’re already a sub, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become one of my subs, do it now! Magnum Subs get the Magnum Lovecast (more guests! more calls! no ads!), the Maxi Savage Love (more Q! more A!), the Sex & Politics podcast, invites to Savage Love Live, Struggle Session, and bragging rights: you’re one of my subs!

I’m speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival today, which means this one will have to be short. Yeah, yeah: I say that every week and Struggle Session always winds up clocking in at 2K+ words. But this week I mean it!

Okay, first up: a couple of quick questions/requests from my Instagram followers…

Please talk about the viral hawk tuah phenomenon!


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...uick questions/requests from my Instagram followers… Please talk about the viral hawk tuah phenomenon! What is there left to say about hawk tuah? I mean, it’s excellent advice — spit on that thing — but I don’t think spitting on that thing has the power to drive men crazy. (And some men are turned off by audible hacking and spitting.) But yeah: the wetter the dick, the better the blowjob. That said, I’m not sure what there is to say about the “hawk tauh phenomenon” except this: a very pretty and charismatic young woman said something dirty and kindasorta obvious about a standard-issue sex act, but she said it in an original, creative, and catchy way and it went viral. As a giver of blowjobs and a coiner of dirty catch phrases myself, I have nothing both respect for this woman’s blowjob skills and her phrase-making abilities — and she deserves every cent she makes off it before it blows over. (The Cut has a good rundown for people who don’t know what we’re talking about.) Another Instagram follower directed me to this post on the Washington Post‘s Instagram account which linked back to this story in the Washington Post itself: “Is an Instagram ‘Like’ Micro-Cheating?” Betteridge’s law of headlines — “any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no” — definitely applies here: The answer is no, FFS, liking an Instagram post is not cheating. But instead of telling their clients that liking an Instagram post isn’t cheating, the couples counselors/arsonists quoted in Tatum Hunter’s piece are telling their clients that liking an Instagram post counts as cheating if they feel like it counts as cheating. Or as Hunter puts it in her story: “Each relationship has different boundaries, and what’s too far for one couple might be normal for another.” Look, rules are great and boundaries are necessary — every relationship has rules and boundaries — but there are reasonable rules and there are unreasonable ones. A reasonable rule tends to defuse conflict, thereby making relationships more resilient, whereas an unreasonable rule invites or creates conflict, thereby making relationships less less resilient. But promoting batshit rules like “an Instagram ‘like’ is cheating” hands the worst kind of people — emotionally abusive controlling types — a stick they can beat their partners with. As I said in a quick response I posted to Instagram: Encouraging people to believe cheating is absolutely unforgivable and then encouraging people to believe that absolutely everything is cheating is fucking crazy. Once again: If you wanna have a lot of sex with your partner, you should define sex as broadly as possible. If you don’t wanna get cheated on by your partner, you should define cheating as narrowly as possible. And if you can hold both of these ideas — these opposing ideas — in your mind at the same time, congrats: you’ve got a first-rate mind! Also from Instagram… I’m a few episodes behind on the podcast, so I’m not sure if you commented on this already, but are you watching “I Kissed a Boy” on Hulu? I am not! Should I start? Please advise. Also from Instagram… Dan, I would love to know your thoughts about social media warriors who think they’re “catching people” cheating and posting on TikTok and stuff. I spoke about this shitty phenomenon at the top of the show recently — I’m 100% against it — but TikToker PrettyCritical said it all better than I did. Watch, listen, and learn: @prettycriticalwhen i saw someone post a family photo, i knew y’all had lost the plot♬ original sound – prettycritical I took a call recently from a woman who understood being poly in theory and wanted to be poly in practice but was having panic attacks whenever her BF was with another woman… ANOTHER call from a panicky non-monogamist-who-probably-shouldn’t-be-a-non-monogamist? Seems like you’re answering an awful lot of those lately. A person can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts and understand being open/poly and want to be open/poly… without the reality of being open/poly working for them. And that’s okay. What I’m reminded of most when I hear from someone like this caller — when I get calls from people who worry they’re failing at polyamory despite their best efforts — is myself when I was trying to be monogamous and failing at it. As I’ve said before: I eventually realized I wasn’t failing monogamy but that monogamy was failing me. I stopped trying and failing at monogamy and started trying and succeeding at non-monogamy and I’ve been much happier ever since. Now, monogamy is compulsory in ways that non-monogamy is not — monogamy is the default setting/expectation for most people — and there are lots of people out there trying to be monogamous and it’s making them miserable and they need to stop trying. But there are more and more people out there who seem to feel like non-monogamy should be their default setting and they’re trying to be non-monogamous and/or polyamorous and it’s making them miserable. They also need to stop trying. Says Dawn about the same call… This is in response to the woman who has agreed to try non-monogamy and has trauma responses when her husband goes out on a date. I agree with your suggestions, but I would go further and say that a sex positive trauma therapist would be good, here. They can help identify triggers and help reframe thoughts. Good trauma therapy goes a long way. I’m all for people stepping outside their comfort zones and questioning default settings and experimenting with different relationship models. But if you need to see a trauma therapist to make non-monogamy work for you — and that’s the only reason you need to see a trauma therapist — maybe non-monogamy isn’t for you? Okay, that’s it for this week’s Struggle Session. Last order of business: Our Muppet Faced Man of the Week is… Berlin-based, hippie-souled rockstar Jannes Arndt!

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