How to lose a fetish 

Q: I’ve got an incest fetish and, while I don’t plan on acting on it, it’s still very annoying. I was also raped repeatedly by a sibling as a child. At first I was upset by this, but I eventually began to enjoy the sex. So I hate myself. Is this common? I’m seeing a therapist, but due to my guilt and shame I’m unable to ask her these questions. —Sick In Boston

A: I’m sorry, SIB, but there’s no way to get rid of a sexual fetish. You can only make an informed, ethical choice about whether or not to indulge. That’s easy for most fetishists, because most fetishes are relatively tame and very few are so clearly tied to traumatic childhood experiences. When you have a sexual fetish that involves a large taboo and an even larger trauma, you can’t just go for it. You must proceed with extreme caution, whether or not you decide to indulge.

And you can indulge, SIB. I suspect that the same hang-up that prevents you from being totally honest with your therapist is preventing you from being totally honest with me. When you tell me that you “don’t plan on acting on it,” I suspect you’re afraid I’ll think you’re a scumbag if you tell me how you really feel. And I suspect that you really feel something like this: “Fantasizing about incest turns me on like crazy, and I wish there was an ethical way for me to act on these fantasies.”

But there is an ethical way to act on incest fantasies, SIB. Consider the perfectly ethical erotic lives of sex slaves and their masters and mistresses. While it’s unethical to own an actual slave, it’s not in the least bit unethical to pretend that you own one, if that turns on your partner. Similarly, while it’s highly unethical to rape someone, it’s not at all unethical to pretend to rape someone who has a rape fantasy — provided that the pretend rape is controlled and safe, and can be aborted with a word from the “victim.” In the same spirit of pretend slaves and pretend rapes, SIB, you can indulge your incest fantasies without actually committing incest. Incest is wrong, yes — just as owning slaves and raping people is wrong. But a hot guy who’ll pretend he’s your brother if that’s what turns you on? That could be very right.

Only could be, mind you. Fantasy incest isn’t something you should even contemplate until you open your fool mouth and tell your therapist what’s going on in your head. Is it common for people who were raped by family members as children to struggle with feelings of guilt, self-hatred and shame? It’s so common it’s a cliché. If your therapist has been practicing longer than three weeks, she’ll be able to help you. But so long as you sit there trying to impress your therapist with just how gosh-darned healthy and together you are — just as you tried to impress me by emphasizing that you would never, ever act on your fetish — she won’t be able to help you get over the self-hatred, let go of the guilt and shame and get on with your life.

Q: Even though I am on birth control and have been with my boyfriend for more than two years, he still won’t come inside me. He insists on coming on my stomach. Why do men like coming all over your body instead of the natural way? Is this some primal instinct to mark his territory? What is the deal with this behavior? —Sticky Mess

A: He may very well be “marking his territory,” but it’s more likely that your boyfriend, like lots of guys, judges his sexual performance based on how much and how far he shoots, or, like lots of guys, gets off on the sight of his own dick shooting a load — and no, SM, there’s nothing necessarily gay about that. If you would rather he came inside you, SM, tell him so. But instead of telling him your way is the “natural way,” thereby implying that he’s some sort of a freak, why don’t you make a deal that’s respectful of his turn-ons and yours? Something like, “In me Monday, Wednesday and Friday; on me Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.” And on Sunday, of course, you rest.

Q: At work I can clearly see who is going in and out of the restroom. When I go into the restroom and no one is around, I wipe the hairs off the urinal. If my “distraction stud” enters and leaves the restroom after I wipe down the urinal, I go in, lock the door and sometimes find two or three of his pubic hairs. I collect his pubic hairs and take them home and sterilize them. I store them in a plastic sandwich bag, which I bring out when I masturbate. Imagining that I have just orally serviced him, I place his pubic hairs in my mouth and let them rest on my tongue. Then I climax. Is this healthy? Should I stop behaving this way? —Sick In Nashville

A: Is this healthy? In a medical sense, yes. Since you’re careful to sterilize the pubes you collect off the urinal at work before you put them in your mouth and beat off, you’re certainly not going to make yourself sick. You are, however, going to make other people sick if you tell people about your strange behavior. So file your fetish under “No one needs to know.” Otherwise, SIN, if you can still have orgasms without Mr. Distraction Stud’s pubic hairs resting on your tongue, and if you’re not turning down dates with other good-looking guys with pubes of their own, then I would not describe your obsession as necessarily unhealthy. You may be grossing people out this week, SIN, but you’re not hurting anyone — not even Mr. Distraction Stud. It’s not as if he’s going to miss his pubes. In fact, his pubes, once they’ve been abandoned on the urinal, are no longer his personal property. The very same laws that allow the police to go through your trash once you put it on the curb would have to apply to his abandoned pubes. If he ever finds out what you’ve been up to, well, then he may be able to argue that you’re creating a hostile work environment, and he may get your perverted ass fired. But so long as you’re as discreet as you are hygienic, I don’t see a problem. I also don’t want to see any more mail from you.

Contact Dan Savage at mail@savagelove.net

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