Savage Love: Foreign affairs 

Q: I’m 25, I’m virgin, and I find it quite difficult to relate with girls. My main problem is I can’t accept my sexuality. I’m into fetish SM. But it seems like there are two parts of me. The first part of me wants to lick women’s feet and be humiliated. The second part of me can’t accept the first part and only wants to love and be loved by a girl. I would say there was nothing wrong if I could just lick feet to get the relationship a bit more “spicy,” but the problem is that I think I can’t excite myself the “traditional way.” I had a few girlfriends in the past, and when it was the time to penetrate, I got instantly limp. I’m going to a therapist now. In my past, there were issues with parents divorced in a horrible way and a violent father. My therapist said there is an Oedipus complex and I could be freed if we work on this. So this is why I hope going away from home will make things get better. I want to have sons with my future loved woman and, finally, to have sex. Fetishists are considered perverted and are mocked in the country where I live, so it’s really difficult to find girls interested in this stuff to try to explore. –Fetishist Exposes Erotic Troubles

A: You can accept your sexuality, FEET, but for a host of reasons — shame and fear being the likeliest culprits — you refuse to. And where has your refusal gotten you? You haven’t freed yourself from your harmless and common kinks. By choosing to view your desire for kink and your desire for love as mutually exclusive — someone can love you or they can humiliate you, but they can’t love and humiliate you — you have succeeded in creating a crippling case of performance anxiety.

And now you’re working with a Freudian therapist — they still make those? — who believes kinks can be cured with couch time and moving vans. Your therapist is wrong. Jesse Bering is a research psychologist, a science writer, the author of Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us, and one of my go-to guest experts. Here’s what he told the dad of a teenager with a far rarer kink than yours: “If it’s true that Pokémon lights this boy’s fire… there’s not much [this dad] can do about his son’s ‘pathetic’ orientation. By age 17, his son’s singular erotic profile is pretty much fixed, like it or not… Nobody knows why some people are more prone to developing unusual patterns of attraction than others. But whether it’s a penchant for Pokémon, feet, underwear, or spiders, the best available evidence suggests that some people — mostly males — have a genetic predisposition for being ‘sexually imprinted’ during development.”

So, FEET, at some point during your sexual development, you imprinted on feet and erotic humiliation. You can pathologize your kinks by viewing them as rooted in the violence you were exposed to as a child, or you can take comfort in the fact that there’s no proven link between abuse and kinks. The violence you witnessed/suffered at home as a child may be an unpleasant coincidence, not a root cause, and either way, it shouldn’t prevent you from reconciling the two parts of your adult self — the guy who wants a woman to love him and the guy who wants a woman to order him to lick her feet.

And here’s how you’re going to do that: You’re going to get online and find the kink personal ads in your country, and you’re going to post ads and respond to ads. I know kink personals exist where you live, FEET, because I managed to find some in two minutes. If the fetish scene in your country isn’t big enough, or if you’re worried about exposure and mockery, get your ass to London or Berlin and explore the booming hetero fetish scenes in those cities. Want to gain some experience and some confidence? Find a nice pro-Domme where you live (lots of those) and become a regular. A business relationship with a pro-Domme is unlikely to blossom into love, FEET, but a few sessions with a pro-Domme you like — and who likes you back — will help you see that affection and SM can go together.

Finally, FEET, I don’t know what your financial/work situation looks like, but spending a few months in a city with a large kink community — a summer in New York or Berlin or Seattle — could be a transformative experience. Throw yourself into the kink scene, go to the munches and parties, and you’ll meet kinksters who are open, unashamed, and capable of loving their partners even as they humiliate or are humiliated by them, aka “role models.”

Q: I’m a 23-year-old straight boy from Italy, and my problem is a friend and his girlfriend. They have been dating for two years, but she confided to me that she repeatedly cheated on him with a girl. She is bisexual. Also, I like her. Later, she told me she’s considering breaking up with my friend, and I told her I wished she would break up with him to date me. My questions are three. Is it wrong not to tell a friend he’s been cheated on? Is it more wrong to ask your friend’s girlfriend to dump him to get her? And how could I trust her knowing that she’s a cheater? –Italian Boy In A Mess

A: 1. If you didn’t have an ulterior motive — if you didn’t want this girl — then you should tell your friend. But you have an ulterior motive, IBIAM, so you should keep your mouth shut.

2. All’s fair in love and war, and blah blah blah. But let’s say this girl dumped your friend and started dating you. That would mean the end of the friendship, right? If you’re willing to sacrifice this friendship for a chance at your friend’s girl, IBIAM, then you don’t value the friendship. So you should end the friendship whether or not you get the girl.

3. You can’t trust her any more than your friend can trust you.

Q: I’m 16, female, and Australian, and I identify as bi (out to friends, not parents). A couple days ago, I became really sick and went to the doctor. He exhausted almost all possibilities of various ailments and then kicked my mother out of the room. I could tell a scary question was coming, and he asked me if I was sexually active. While technically I’m a virgin (in a heteronormative sense), I did get somewhere between third and home base with another girl two years ago. I didn’t mention any of this to my doctor because I wasn’t sure how he feels about non-heterosexual activity and I don’t know if lesbian fooling around even counts. My question is, should I tell him? Is it relevant? And what do I do if he reacts negatively to the fact that I’m not heterosexual? -Sick And Tired

A: Your doc may have wanted to rule out pregnancy or an STI, SAT, and kicking your mom out before asking about your sexual history is a sign that your doc believes doctor-patient confidentiality extends to minors. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t make that clearer by saying something like “I will not tell your mom anything you share with me about your sexual activities or your sexual identity.” If you see him again, SAT, ask him where he stands on minors, confidentiality, and sexual minorities. If he gives you the right answers, tell him. If he then betrays your trust — if he outs you to your parents — get in touch with the nearest LGBT rights group and make his life hell.

And, yes, non-heteronormative sexual activity counts, and it may be potentially relevant; another girl isn’t going to get you pregnant, but girls can give each other STIs.

On this week’s Savage Lovecast, Dan chats with comedian Cameron Esposito: savagelovecast.com.

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