How do you get rid of a sexual fetish? I’ve got an incest fetish and while I don’t plan on acting on it, Dan, it’s still very annoying. Second, I was raped by a sibling as a child. Repeatedly. And while at ?rst I was upset by this, 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 I’m sorry, SIB, but there’s no way to get rid of a sexual fetish. Someone with a sexual fetish can only make an informed, ethical choice about whether or not to indulge. That’s an easy call for most fetishists—most go for it, guilt-free—because most fetishes are relatively tame, and very few are so clearly tied to traumatic childhood experiences. When a person has a sexual fetish that involves a large taboo and an even larger trauma, well, she can’t just go for it. She has to proceed with extreme caution, whether or not she decides to indulge. And you can indulge, SIB. I suspect that the same hang-up that prevents you from being totally honest with your therapist (and more on that in a moment) 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 only saying that because 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….” While it may make a lot of folks uncomfortable to read this—heck, it makes me uncomfortable to write it—there is an ethical way to act on incest fantasies, SIB. Consider for a moment 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 boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/client/archbishop. 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, of course, 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? Yes, yes, and yes, SIB. It’s so common it’s a cliché. If your therapist has been practicing longer than three weeks—and here’s hoping that’s the case—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. Good luck, kiddo. I was hoping you could provide some insight as to whether my behavior is, for lack of a better word, normal. 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 ?nd 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 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 run around telling people about your strange behavior. So ?le your fetish under “No one needs to know.” Start no clubs, put up no websites, send no more letters to advice columnists. 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 wouldn’t describe your obsession as necessarily unhealthy. So you go right on enjoying yourself, you hear? While you may be grossing people out this week, SIN, you’re not hurting anyone—not even Mr. Distraction Stud. It’s not as if he’s going to miss his pubes, after all. 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 Mr. DS’s abandoned pubes. If he ever ?nds 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 pervert ass ?red. 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. Even though I am on birth control and have been with my boyfriend for over two years, he still won’t come inside of me. He insists on coming on my stomach. What is this all about? Why do men like coming all over your body instead of the natural way? Is this some primal instinct of marking his territory? What is the deal with this behavior? Sticky Mess Perhaps he’s “marking his territory”—some guys do get off on that—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.
Contact Dan Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org