Savage Love: Rings and things 

Q: I'm a twentysomething married trans guy in an openish marriage. In the online hunt for a guy to have some aboveboard, under-the-sheets fun with, I run into snags because I'm trans (I disclose on my profile) and because I'm married. I'm baby-stepping my way toward an offline search for guys, going to events hosted by the local gay pride center. I've been thinking of not wearing my wedding ring at these meet-ups, as I worry it says I'm taken and off-limits. Would it be dishonest for me to present as unmarried as long as I make it clear that I'm not looking for romance? —Totally On-Limits Dude

A: My response is likely to wind up on antigay websites, TOLD, so let me preface it with this: We only started hearing that monogamy wasn't just the cultural expectation/default setting for married couples but a crucial, essential, definitional element of marriage when same-sex couples began to press for marriage rights. Married heterosexual swingers were fucking around (and recruiting other married heterosexuals into their "lifestyle," a term swingers embrace!) decades before the marriage-equality movement got off the ground. And religious conservatives, while not fans of swinging, never argued that nonmonogamous heterosexual couples weren't really married or that they should be barred from marrying. So it seems that monogamy — like children and religion — only defines marriage when same-sex couples want to marry.

Anyway, TOLD, you don't have to be married to be monogamous or monogamous to be married — and most gay male couples, married or not, aren't monogamous. So go ahead and wear your wedding ring. While a wedding ring on a straight married man (or woman) will be assumed to mean "taken and off-limits," the same assumption doesn't apply in the case of a married gay man. If someone at one of the events you're attending is interested in you, he's likely to flirt with you first and make polite inquiries about your marriage (monogamous? Monogamish? Open? Poly?) second. Your trans disclosure is likelier to be the bigger deal — and a far bigger obstacle for most (but not all) gay men — than your wedding ring. Good luck.

Q: My husband recently admitted that he masturbates once a day, sometimes twice. My confusion stems from the fact that we have sex once a day, sometimes twice. We've had problems in the past with him staring at other women (everyone does it, but I do feel discretion in front of a spouse is required) and with him wanting more novelty in bed (watch porn, wear lingerie, use toys). I've always had the higher libido and the more positive attitude toward sex in all of my relationships, but right now, I feel overwhelmed and, honestly, a little put off. I want to feel GGG again, but am having trouble. What do you think? —Whence This Feeling?

A: The guys you were with before you met your husband — all those sex-negative/less-sex-positive guys with their lower-than-yours libidos — did you ever complain about them? Did you ever gripe to friends about always being the one who had to initiate? Did you ever think about writing me a letter asking how to get those guys to be a little more adventurous in bed? And now you're complaining about being with a guy who has a higher libido and who is just as sex-positive as you are? My advice: Stop pathologizing your husband. You probably didn't appreciate it when past partners made you feel like your libido was a problem. Your husband's libido isn't a problem either. If you're not interested in porn, lingerie, or toys, say so. But look on the bright side: You're lucky enough to be with a guy whose libido exceeds your own (for a change!), WTF, so your needs will never be neglected. Yahtzee.

Q: I recently moved to a new apartment where most tenants are retirees — I am a 25-year-old, just for reference. My SO and I enjoy loud play. She is very vocal, which happens to be one of my biggest turn-ons. But I'm worried we are being too loud. My old place had thicker walls and younger neighbors. I am concerned not only that we are waking up my neighbors, but that we may find ourselves on the receiving end of a noise complaint. Trying to stay quiet hasn't worked; it's hard for her to do, it hurts her feelings, and it makes it less fun for me. Is there a way to politely bring the topic up with my neighbors to see if we've been bothering them? —Stressing Over Unwanted Neighborly Disputes

A: If your neighbors haven't made it an issue, why would you want to make it one? Maybe thinner walls and older ears resulted in a wash, SOUND, leaving your older new neighbors just as insulated from your loud sex as your younger old ones used to be.

Q: I am an adult hetero woman, and I have a recurring fantasy that gives me pause. I was never abused as a child, and I have ABSOLUTELY NO sexual interest in children. However, in my fantasy, I am 9 years old and being seduced by a gorgeous man in his 30s. It ends with us having intercourse. I don't feel guilty — no harm done, after all — but I do feel strange. Help me out: Fight the fantasy? Or is it OK? —Kinky In Distress

A: You're not fantasizing about having sex with children — excuse me: You're not fantasizing about raping children — you're fantasizing about being a child who is "seduced" (read: raped) by a gorgeous man (read: a rapist). Your fantasy is unrealizable except through consensual "age play," a kink that has not been linked to pedophilia. So while your fantasy is very deeply squicky (VDS), KID, no one is harmed when you indulge yourself in your VDS fantasy. But be careful with whom you share it, KID, lest you wind up attracting an actual pedophile (someone who wishes you were a 9-year-old girl) or repelling someone who can't wrap his head around the essential harmlessness of your VDS fantasy. (Some recommended reading for you, KID: The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Bridgett "Lee" Harrington.)

Q: Now that fecal transplants are all the rage for correcting gut microflora imbalances, when are we going to hear about the healing benefits of sharing anal toys? —Sharing Is Caring, Kids

A: The poop being used to treat microflora imbalances is "strained, centrifuged, and frozen," according to a report in The New York Times. This medicinal-grade poop now comes in pill form, and researchers predict that these shit pills — administered orally — could save the lives of 14,000 Americans every year. (I call on President Obama to appoint a microflora imbalance czar.) Since the poop in your butt hasn't been strained, centrifuged, and frozen — you would have to be the Felix Unger of scat fetishists to go to that kind of trouble — sharing anal toys is unlikely to provide the same health benefits to your partners.

So the advice around plugs and other ass toys remains the same: no sharing during play, abort if santorum is present, wash toys with hot water and soap before reuse. However, we may need to revise the insult "eat shit and die" in light of this new lifesaving/shit-eating treatment. But telling someone to "eat shit and balance your microflora!" doesn't have the same punch.

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with sex party luminary Polly Superstar:

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