Puppy play, and other dispatches from sex columnist Dan Savage

Q: I’m a 25-year-old gay male into puppy play. About a year ago, I joined a pack with one Sir and several puppies. I became very close to one of my “pup bros” and became his alpha — meaning between the two of us, I’m more Dom but still sub to our Sir. Fast-forward nine months, and the pack has fallen apart due to each of us going through our own relationship troubles. My pup bro, let’s call him Fido, breaks up with his vanilla-but-open-relationship boyfriend. Having such a close bond with Fido, and already being sexual, I bring up the idea of dating. He admits he’s considered it and likes the idea but is unsure. A bit later, he tells me: “I love you, but I’m not ready for a commitment.” But a couple weeks later, he tells me that a Dom on the opposite coast wants to collar him. I’ve talked with the Dom and don’t particularly get along with him, but I have tried to respect their connection. But now it seems like Fido is using this Dom the same way he used his past relationships — as a way to avoid dealing with his own stuff. Now he’s started pulling away from me, saying that certain things (sex and cuddles) with me feel too much like “boyfriends.” His Dom also doesn’t trust me because he thinks I have feelings for Fido. (I do have feelings for him and never said I didn’t.) To really make me feel like shit, I opened Fido’s Scruff profile because he updated his pic, and his profile says he’s looking “ideally for a guy to cuddle with, laugh with, spend adventures with,” i.e., everything we used to do before he pulled away. Am I deluding myself here? I thought this was a “not yet” situation.

Pensive Upset Puppy

P.S. I’ve included a pic of me in full pup gear in hopes it will bolster my chances of publication.

A: Strip away the puppy masks, the alpha/beta pack dynamics, and the various Doms — pretty much everything that makes your question interesting — and what are we left with? Just another dumped motherfucker who doesn’t know that he’s been dumped.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, PUP, but this isn’t a “not yet” situation. It’s a “not ever” situation. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, male or female, puppy or guppy — when someone you’ve fallen for says, “I’m not ready for a commitment,” what they mean is “I have no interest in committing to you — not ever.” Fido gave you a standard-issue brush-off line, PUP, one that the hopeful, naive, and deluded frequently fail to recognize. Your ex-packmate should’ve had the balls and the decency to be direct with you and gone with something unambiguous like “You’re nice, we had some good times, but I’m not interested in pursuing anything further.” But he didn’t, and as an adult person/puppy on the dating/scritching scene, PUP, it’s your job to hear “I’m not interested in you” whenever someone says “I’m not ready for a commitment” or “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m not sure what I want” or “I have to focus on my studies/work/remodel right now.”

The same goes anytime an “I love you” is followed by a “but.” When someone says, “I love you but,” it’s your job to hear, “I think you’re nice and I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t feel about you the way you do about me.”

Q: Happily married straight woman here, just post-hysterectomy. No penis-in-vagina sex allowed for a few weeks. After years of reading Savage Love, we know this is a call for us to be creative, rather than the death knell for our sex life. (Thank you!) My question: Husband is well-endowed, and sex with him has often included deep thrusting and his cock repeatedly touching my cervix. With no cervix anymore, though, I worry: Will there be enough room in my remodeled space for his whole cock? Once I’m fully healed from surgery, will the vaginal tissue, treated gently at first, stretch?

Very Agitated Generally

A: “When a person has a hysterectomy, the cervix is often removed and the end of the vagina is closed so it’s an internal pouch, essentially,” says Dr. Leah Torres, an ob-gyn practicing in Utah with a special interest in reproductive health. “The bottom line is this: Vaginas are elastic and should be able to accommodate a variety of things of all shapes and sizes, even after a hysterectomy. That said, people who are menopausal (no periods for 12 months or more) or who have had their ovaries removed (which may or may not happen during a hysterectomy) no longer have estrogen.”

Estrogen, among other wonderful things, keeps vaginas elastic and lubricated. “Without estrogen, sometimes the vagina can feel dry, and intercourse can be painful,” says Dr. Torres. “For someone without estrogen and also experiencing VAG’s concerns, I would recommend using lubrication with intercourse (when the time comes) and possibly vaginal estrogen cream while the vagina ‘readjusts.’ It’s also important for the partner to realize that the vagina may feel a bit different, and there may be some adjustments to new sensations. Patience and a steady-as-she-goes attitude to postoperative vaginal intercourse are best.” Patience and a steady-as-she-goes attitude — two things we should all bring to any sexual encounter.

Follow Dr. Torres on Twitter @LeahNTorres. Her website is LeahTorres.com.

Q: My boyfriend is turned on by CFNM — clothed female, naked male — and his “ultimate fantasy” is to be naked in a room of fully clothed women. So I asked four of my (adventurous) female friends if they would come to a small party at my apartment where my boyfriend would be naked. When I told him that his ultimate fantasy would be coming true — doesn’t he have the best girlfriend?!? — he got really angry and said I had no right to share this information and that he felt humiliated and exposed. (Humiliated and exposed — I thought that was the whole point of CFNM?!?) He was so angry, he barely spoke to me for a week, which sucked, and then today he asked me when the party is going to happen! Have a party?!? All I want to do now is slap him!

Wants to Flip

A: Tell him the party is off, WTF, absent an apology and an explanation from him. But you should open with an apology of your own: Tell him you should’ve checked with him before setting up the party (“Do you want me to make this happen? Because I have some friends who might be into it”) and apologize for freaking him out. You know now (because I’m telling you) that people who are into humiliation scenes want to be in control until the scene starts, i.e., involved in the negotiations and the setup, and actively consenting.

Q: As a hetero man, I was disappointed by your response to DOMME in last week’s column. She was the woman whose husband wouldn’t go down on her. DOMME stated — or her friend suggested to her — that cunnilingus is something that “mostly submissive men enjoy.” I have no interest in the power/control dynamics of domination/submission. Rather, sex for me is an improvisational dance, and mutual oral sex is a normal and lovely part of the choreography. The misconception that concern for women’s pleasure is “submissive” seems like part of DOMME’s problem, and you should have corrected her. Domination does not represent the only route to her gratification.

Enjoys Oral, Not Submissive

A: Thanks for writing, and you’re right: I should’ve slapped down the idea that only submissive men are into eating pussy. I rolled my eyes pretty hard when I read that line, EONS, but I really should’ve used my fingers to bang out a sentence or two refuting that notion instead. Mea culpa.

To read Savage Love in its entirety, go to metrotimes.com. On the Lovecast, sex at Burning Man: savagelovecast.com.

[email protected]

@fakedansavage on Twitter

About The Author

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is a sex-advice columnist, podcaster, and author, and has appeared on numerous television shows. His sex advice column “Savage Love” first appeared in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly, in 1991. The column is now syndicated across the United States and Canada. He has published six books...
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