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I don't know who else to turn to right now. A little backstory before my "problem."

In April, we lost my younger brother and my parents' house in a fire. In June, my mom died from a massive heart attack. I've been trying to help my stepdad get everything put back together since then. My step-dad helped raise me since I was eight; of all the kids in the family, everyone says I'm the most responsible and level-headed. (Yay me!) It's not unusual for my stepdad to call when he needs something. The call I just received from him has me... well... I don't even know.

After getting the small talk out of the way, he asked me if he remembered hearing that my ex-husband and I were into BDSM. I told him that we met at the local goth dance/bondage club. He responded with "oh" and then nervously hemmed and hawed for a couple minutes. He finally says he wants to ask me something and no matter my answer, it won't change anything about our relationship, etc. Then he asks me to come over and "spank his ass."

Dan, I'm pretty open and sex-positive, but this hit me as fucked up on SO many levels! As soon as my brain re-engaged, I firmly said no. I know we're both embarrassed, and I honestly don't know if I should address this with him, or sweep it under the rug. He's 74, just lost his home, a son and his wife, and if this is part of his recovery through all of the grief, I get it. I'm just really squicked out that he asked me, his daughter (the "step" in our family has always been just a technicality). How do I look him in the eye after this? I'm also wondering if it would be weird for me to help him find a domme, so he can get his needs met.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Not Into Daddy/Daughter Play

You're gonna need to address this problem—no quotation marks needed around that word—because your stepfather's behavior could be a sign of dementia. Good fucking God, let's hope it's dementia. Take it away, Daily Caring...

It might seem strange that someone you once knew as proper or respectful might suddenly be showing sexually inappropriate behavior. The most important thing to understand is that this behavior is caused by damage in their brain, it’s not something they’re doing on purpose. Dementia affects parts of the brain that control a person’s ability to control their own responses. That’s why it’s important to learn how to distract and redirect them to more appropriate activities. A person with dementia could act in sexually inappropriate ways toward their spouse, their own children, professional caregivers, or strangers.

It'll be an awkward followup convo, I realize, because no one likes to be told they might be losing it. (But no one likes to be asked to spank their stepfather either, NIDDP, so he'll be in no position to bitch about it.) If your stepdad hasn't seen a doc in a while, you should push him to make an appointment—and make your forgiveness (or your forgive-and-sorta-pretend-to-forgetness) contingent upon him scheduling and showing up for that appointment.

To determine whether he's suffering from dementia, his doc will need to take his medical history, do a physical exam, and put him through a series of tests to asses his cognitive functioning. And while sexually inappropriate behavior manifests most often in people who are already diagnosed and/or clearly showing other symptoms, it's not unheard of for someone in the early stages of dementia.

Buuuuuut...

Let's say your stepdad sees his doc and it's not dementia. Let's say your stepdad was in full possession of his faculties when he asked you—HIS OWN (STEP)DAUGHTER—to spank his 74-year-old ass.

What then?

Well, then you need to have an even more awkward conversation with your stepdad. You need to ask him what the fuck he was thinking. You need to ask him why on earth he thought he could ask you to do something like that. I could sit here and speculate—perhaps the stress of his recent losses combined with a newly acute sense of his own mortality resulted in him losing his goddam mind—but only he knows what he was thinking. If he was thinking. At all.

Then you need to extract a couple of things from him before you hang up: an abject apology, first and most importantly, followed by a solemn promise that he will never, ever ask you something like that again—your fucking stepfather needs to promise that he will never, ever hit on you again.

Then, whatever his issue might be, NIDDP, you're gonna need to do two seemingly contradictory things if you want your stepfather to remain in your life: stuff what happened down the memory hole—pretend what happened didn't happen—while continuing to hold him accountable for what happened. Your relationship will never quite be the same; he can't unsay it, you can't un-hear it. But if you stepfather has been an otherwise kind and decent and loving parent to you, you can—if you so choose—give him credit for time served and the benefit of what are now and what will remain some very grave doubts about his feelings and intentions.

It feels odd to type the words, "Here's hoping it's dementia!", but here's hoping it's dementia. (And I typed those words twice!) And how's this for cold comfort: just like your stepdad himself, your relationship with him probably isn't long for this world.

And finally, NIDDP, you say he just lost a son and wife. That's true. But you just lost your mother and your brother. I'm so sorry you've had to deal with losing the person you thought your stepfather was at the same time you were grieving the loss of your mother and your brother. My heart goes out to you.

Listen to my podcast, the Savage Lovecast, at www.savagelovecast.com.

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