Q: I'm a young, straight feminist male, and I've been dating my feminist girlfriend monogamously for almost two years. Recently, I've been coming to terms with the fact that I am turned on by rape fantasies. Of course, I find the idea of actual rape repugnant, and this is probably, of course, an important reason why fantasizing about it turns me on. I sent out some feelers with my girlfriend by initiating a conversation about kinks and asking about what types of kinks she would hypothetically be comfortable accommodating. I asked her to imagine that I fantasized about feeling up women on the subway and wanted her to simulate and help realize that fantasy scenario with me. Her response was that I needed to be "cured" of my desires, and that she would help me figure out and work through the psychological gender-power issues behind it, and to that end she would try to show me how enjoyable consensual sex could be. My first thought was, "Well that's not GGG ..." but then I reconsidered: Would indulging that fantasy only reinforce patriarchal patterns of thought that I've worked to expunge from my brain? How much of a point does she have? —Feminist Rape Fantasist
I'm not telling you to dump your girlfriend because she won't let you feel her up on the subway, FRF. She isn't obligated to help you realize your consensual-rape-lite fantasies. If that shit squicks her out, that shit squicks her out. But you can't have a mutually fulfilling sexual or romantic relationship with a woman — feminist or not, squicked out by simulated nonconsensuality or not — whose first impulse when presented with a run-of-the-mill, completely consensual role-play scenario is to pathologize her partner, declare him sick, and accuse him of not being aroused by consensual sex when consensual sex was precisely what he proposed.
There's nothing wrong with you, FRF, nothing that needs curing. The only thing you need to expunge is a girlfriend who regards you as a sicko and a rapist. DTMFA.
Q: This is going to sound incredibly naive, but here we go: How does one get better at sex? I'm a 24-year-old female, I've been with my boyfriend for four years, and the sex is just ... meh. He had a couple sex partners before me, but he is my first and only. We've been sexual for almost all of our years together, so it's not like we're wanting for practice.
We often ask each other, "What else can I do for you?" I've shared a couple ideas, which we've explored to my minimal comfort, but he always says "nothing" when asked if there's anything he wants to do or try. We have discovered that neither of us particularly cares if we, ourselves, reach orgasm, but we both care very deeply that the other is satisfied. In this light: While I don't care much if the sex is mediocre for me, I do want it to be better for him. Do you have any suggestions? Are we doomed? —Still A Noob Apparently
A: This is going to sound incredibly unhelpful, SANA, but I don't have any suggestions. There are just too many potential unknown unknowns here for me to offer any concrete advice. It's possible that your boyfriend isn't attracted to you (or that you're not attracted to him); it's possible that your boyfriend isn't attracted to anyone (or that you're not attracted to anyone); it's possible that he has dark and terrible sexual desires that he's too terrified to share with you (or that you have dark and terrible etc. that you may not even be aware of).
The only thing I know for sure, SANA, is this: One of you is going to have to nut/ovum up and get selfish. You're both so giving, so unconcerned with your own pleasure, so invested in pleasing your partner. And all of that sounds so wonderful in theory — who doesn't want a completely selfless sex partner? — but in practice, selfless sex partners make lousy lays. Giving is great, but in every truly great sexual encounter, someone is taking: taking charge, taking over, taking control, giving pleasure to their partner by taking pleasure from their partner.
And if it's not going to be him, SANA, it'll have to be you. So what do you want? Besides seeing him "satisfied." Take a look at where your concern for his satisfaction has gotten you, SANA, and repeat after me: "Fuck him and fuck his satisfaction." Then ask yourself these questions: What do I want? What turns me on? What do I want to experience and explore? You're not doomed if you can come up with the answers to those questions, SANA, but if you can't, well, then I'm afraid you are doomed. Doomed to lousy sex in this relationship, for as long as it lasts, and doomed to lousy sex in your next relationship if you wind up with another guy who's as "giving" as you are.
Q: I'm a single, 22-year-old, adorable lesbian living in Chicago. I use a dating website, but I'd like to increase my chances of meeting someone at the concerts and improv shows I enjoy.
These events aren't gay-specific, and I don't look stereotypically queer, so this scenario seems unlikely. I want to get a fitted, understated (light text, no rainbows) T-shirt that says something like "Single. Lesbian. Interested?" and wear it out. Will this increase the chances that the girl of my dreams will tap me on the shoulder? Will it make me an easier target for hateful assholes? Both? Neither? —Looking For Lesbifriends
A: Both, of course, and you may not like the kind of lesbians that a come-and-lick-me T-shirt attracts. But when you're single and feeling frustrated, and your pool of potential partners is drawn from roughly 2.5 percent of the population, it helps to move on all fronts, e.g., websites, bars, T-shirts. Your T-shirt might attract the attention of some jerks, lesbian or otherwise, but that's why God gave us Mace.
Q: Regarding last week's reply to NORTH: Sure, it's fucked-up that this woman is doing escort work without telling her boyfriend. But you let him off the hook entirely, even though he snooped through her e-mail! What you have here are two people who are both untrustworthy — they sound like a good fit to me! Because if snooping is OK, who knows what else he's doing behind her back? —JB
A: I knew that not including a little standard-issue snooping-is-always-wrong boilerplate in my response to NORTH — a woman who neglected to inform her boyfriend that she was sitting on other men's cocks for money — would get me in trouble with some readers. But I didn't include it because I don't believe it.
A confession: I've looked through my boyfriend's e-mail; I assume he's looked through mine. I've scrolled through his text messages; I assume he's scrolled through mine. Expecting your partner not to snoop is like expecting your partner not to fart or fantasize about other people. It's a nice thought, JB, but knowing what we know about human nature — and knowing that we ourselves snoop, fart and fantasize about other people — it's a little unrealistic.
And I'm sorry, but when someone goes snooping and discovers that their partner is doing sex work — or is secretly gay or is sleeping with or visiting lesbian-bondage-themed nightclubs with Michael Steele — then the snooping is retroactively justified.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
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