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Savage Love: Mind the Gap

Joe Newton

Thirty-year-old trans woman here, Dan, and I have a question about what is surely one of your favorite subjects: the “age gap discourse.”

About four years ago, I had a sexual experience that I go back and forth on whether to label as sexual assault. When I was 26 years old, I met a 19-year-old on a dating site and drove to a neighboring state to hook up with them. I’ll spare you the details, but when started doing things we had mutually agreed upon, one of them didn’t feel right in the moment, so I withdrew my consent. They respected my boundary for about fifteen minutes, then tried it again. I said no again, they refrained for another fifteen minutes, then tried it again. The cycle continued until I just got worn down. The night ended with me trying to fall asleep so I at least wouldn’t be conscious for what they were going to do. It didn’t work.

I’m friends with a lot of social-justice-focused millennials, and as such, discourse about age gaps in romantic and sexual relationships occasionally appear on my social media. The consensus, as I understand it, seems to be that there is a vast maturity gap between someone who is 19 and someone who is 26; therefore, someone in their mid-twenties has an affirmative duty to make sure nothing sexual happens with someone who is 19. It is also suggested that someone like me is a creep and a predator for even thinking about hooking up with a 19-year-old. It’s hard to not apply my own experience to the discourse, and boy, is it a mind fuck. Hearing people go on about how vulnerable teenagers are or how I occupied a position of power not only dredges up painful memories, but also makes me feel like a creep.

Did I do something wrong? I’m leaning towards no. I didn’t have any institutional power over the other person, it wasn’t an ongoing relationship, nor is it a pattern of behavior. (Like hell am I going to trust a 19-year-old again.) I also tried to follow your campsite rule. Instead of ghosting them, I sent them a message explaining why I wasn’t going to play with them again—the boundary violations—in the hope that they would do better in the future. I’m about 80% sure I have nothing to feel guilty about, but that other 20% just won’t shut up. Was I the bad guy here?

Am Getting Exasperated

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Savage Love: Quickies

Joe Newton

I’m a cis woman. I had a quasi-relationship with a man last year that only lasted a couple of months. The sex was great, and sexting was always a big part of our connection. Since the breakup, we've fluctuated between staying in touch and radio silence, sometimes going months without speaking. During our periods of contact, though, sexting always makes a comeback. It's hot until the frustration of not actually being able to have sex with him sets in. (We live in different countries now.) My issue is, if it weren't for the sexting (which he really pushes), I don't think he would converse with me about life in general. And there are other ways I feel this dynamic is detrimental to my post-breakup life. For example, he is really into cuckolding. He wants to hear about the dates I go on, the other men I have sex with, how they fucked me, etc. It's fun to tease him and make him jealous by texting him, especially while I'm out with other men, but I wind up feeling like my attention is divided between him and whoever I'm with, sometimes to a point where I can't come with others because of how distracted I am (by him) and how disconnected I feel (from them).

My Ex’s Sexy Sexts Are Getting Exhausting, Sorta

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Savage Love: Figuratively Pissed

Joe Newton

I’m worried this may be above your pay grade. LOL. My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly five years. When we first got together, he shared a fetish with me, which has honestly gotten out of hand. I’m not close-minded and I genuinely love pleasing people, and my approach to sex has always been, “Whatever turns you on, turns me on!” But his fetish has crossed the line from kink to obsession. Not to mention the onus of his “fetish” falls entirely on me.

So, the big reveal: my boyfriend is a urophiliac. But not just your garden variety one. If he doesn’t get to watch me pee every single time he gets angry. The first two years of our relationship were terrifying because if I peed while he was at work, he would throw a fit of epic proportions. So, I would hold it in. This caused UTIs and other problems. But he still insists that I must hold it in for as long as possible so I can give him “a strong stream” every time. I also have to let him watch me poop, which is embarrassing as hell, because I pee when I poop. If I need to pee in the middle of the night, I have to wake him up—which makes him mad—so instead of waking him up I hold it in all night. It has gotten to the point where his obsession has become mine. But it’s not sexy for me.

After I had our child, I literally wasn’t allowed to have thirty seconds alone in the bathroom after shoving a human out of my vagina in full view of ten adults I did not know. Even then—in the hospital—he had to watch me pee. I can’t use the bathroom in public unless I videotape it for him. I’m in hell. I haven’t had a private piss nobody has watched or made me feel guilty about for FIVE YEARS. I feel like my humanity is being leached away. I’ve said all these things to him, and He. Does. Not. Care. This has taken over my entire life. Sorry if it’s weird. I’ve read your columns for years and you’re the only person I can ask about this. LOL. I don’t want to break up my family over this. Help me!

Unrelenting Requirements Inducing Nervous Exhaustion

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Savage Love: Power Tripping

Joe Newton

I’m a 26-year-old masculine straight guy who loves exploiting the fantasies so many gay men have about straight men. When a gay guy is into me because I look like his straight-masculine-jock dream, it’s a power trip like no other. It’s always a specific type of bottom gay dude I seek out when I get on Grindr: a very feminine “thicc” guy with a pretty face and physical features begging for a dick. The kind of guy where from the right angles you can’t tell the difference between his big ass and a thicc chick’s big ass. And I always follow the same script: I send my dick pics, I make one of these thicc bottom boys want me, and I tell him to send me a video of him twerking like a stripper for me. But I don’t go through with the meetup. I’ve experimented a few times and have gotten head from a few guys, but I have no interest in dick or fucking one of these dudes. I don’t want to harm anyone or live a lie, but I don’t feel queer or bisexual at all. I actually feel like I’m “earning my heterosexuality” when I do this. It’s like I’m proving to myself just how straight I am by teasing these gay guys. And in all honestly, I feel like I’m doing them a service because a lot of gay guys are looking for that rare, mythical thing—the straight and strict Dom top—and I can play that role. But on some level, this all seems pretty fucked up and I don’t know why I do this and sometimes I’m confused by it. I also worry this comes from a homophobic place. (“Look at this dumb twink, he’s so stupid and obsessed with dick he’ll do whatever I tell him to, I’m the alpha.”) And I guess it is homophobic because when you remove the intensity and power trip of being the straight male in this scenario, I just have no interest in guys at all. I know this was heavy. Sorry. But please answer my question.

Ally Loves Personifying Homophobic Assholes

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Hey Portland! I’m Heading Your Way for HUMP! and the Savage Love from A to Z Book Launch!



Lucky me, I’m going to be in Portland the first weekend of October. On Friday night October 1, I’ll be hosting the 2021 HUMP! Film Festival at Revolution Hall (tickets are still available here!) where we’ll be vaxxed and masked and back in theaters—the way porn was meant to be seen! And then on Saturday, October 2, I’ll be reading from my new book Savage Love from A to Z at Mississippi Studios. This new book celebrates 30 YEARS (!!!) of Savage Love columns featuring new essays from me on some of the classic bits of advice you've enjoyed over the last three decades. The new book is also jammed with beautiful new illustrations from long-time Savage Love illustrator Joe Newton. Admission comes with a copy of the book, and I’ll be signing them after the talk—so don't miss it!

Click here your tickets to the book launch!

And read more about Savage Love from A to Z here!

Savage Love: Hands On

Joe Newton

I’m a 35-year-old straight woman living in the Midwest. I was seeing a massage therapist for three years and we became very close friends. I referred my friends to him and helped him grow his business. He eventually disclosed to me that he had developed feelings for me. I went into instant shock and said that I had no idea and I thought we were only growing in our friendship. He told me that he had to tell me and wanted to leave it up to me if I felt comfortable continuing to see him. I was really numb from my shock and thought I was okay at first, only later realizing how upset and violated I felt. I never went back to him. I found out that he closed his practice during COVID. My question is, should I report him to his ethics board?

Really Upset By Bewildering Erotic Disclosure

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Savage Love: On the Down Blow

Joe Newton

I’m a gay man. After a decade together and five years of marriage, my husband informed me he wasn’t really interested in sex anymore. That was a year ago and we haven’t had sex since. He told me I should leave him, if regular sex was “really that important” to me, but if I chose to stay, I had to remain “faithful.” To him that means me not having sex with anyone else. I’m 35, he’s 38, and he doesn’t see his unilateral decision to end our sex life as him breaking faith with me. There’s also the issue of financial dependance. I am NOT dependent on him, he is dependent on ME. I didn’t want to abandon him during a pandemic while he’s unemployed, so I stayed. Now he tells me he’s asexual and accuses me of being unsupportive of his sexual identity if I so much as mention missing sex. To make a long story short, three months ago I met a guy at work. We’re the only people on our floor currently coming into the office and we got to talking and it turned out he’s bisexual and married but open. I’ve been blowing him a couple of times a week for the last two months. He’s close to my age, and I really need this. We aren’t in the same department, so I don’t report to him, and he doesn’t report to me. He doesn’t reciprocate, but I don’t care. I wasn’t on Grindr and didn’t go looking for this. Do I need to feel bad about it?

Cheating Homo On Knees Eating Dick

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Savage Love: Counseled Culture

Joe Newton

Hello! I am a heterosexual man! My wife came out as a lesbian after thirty years of marriage. We have children together and we love each other. Therefore, we’ve decided not to divorce. We visited some therapists, and they all coerced us to divorce even though we really do not want that. We believe that an open relationship would satisfy both of us. I’ve always wanted a threesome anyway! We read some books about opening up a relationship and we feel like we could make an open marriage work. And we know there are others out there, so we know it’s possible! Divorce is not in our plan.

My questions are…

1. Is it normal for therapists to force a couple to divorce when the couple does not want that?

2. Can open relationships be awesome relationships?

Shrinks Hereabouts Revel In Not Knowing Shit

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Savage Love: Quickies

Joe Newton

I’m a woman who recently went out on a third date with a man. I invited him back to my place and we started making out, which led to him going down on me. Moments later he took off his pants and to my surprise he had a micro penis. I was shocked and turned off. I did not want to continue, but knowing how sensitive men can be, I maintained a poker face, did my best to not let on that I was turned off, and he was able to orgasm. Is there a nice way to let someone know you do not want to continue to have sex because of their penis size? And is there a responsibility on the part of a person with a micro penis to disclose that fact before sex? I think I would've been less turned off if I wasn't so shocked.

Smaller Men And Lessons Learned

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Savage Love: Game Over

Joe Newton

Is it ever ok to stop being GGG?

I’ve been with my husband for 26 years. Shortly after we got together, my husband disclosed a major kink: MFM threesomes. I was young and a virgin and up for anything then, but we didn’t start hooking up with other men until around year six of our relationship. Over the last twenty years we’ve been on-and-off with this. We had children, we took a break, and we found the time to go wild now and then. My husband's interests expanded into dominance play—owning me and sharing me—but I’m in my late forties now and my husband is in his fifties. I’m approaching menopause and my sex drive has decreased. There were also instances where I was basically sexually assaulted—or at the very least, my boundaries were not respected on more than one occasion. Long story short, I want to be done being kinky. I want my body to be mine. My husband and I have been having other marital problems, and he thinks my rejection of his kinkiness is a rejection of him. I’ve told him I’m still interested in sex, I’m just tired of being GGG. He says he isn't interested in vanilla sex with me because he is “disappointed.” When I told him to outsource his kink, he said, “Good luck finding that as a married man.” Am I ever allowed to retire from his kink? Am I the asshole here?

My Years Being Obedient Done

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Savage Love: Reunion Blues

Joe Newton

I fell in love with my second cousin about four years ago at a family reunion. (I hadn't laid eyes on him since I was a kid!) I was fifteen when we met, he was two years older, and we were in a long-distance relationship for three years. We ended things a year ago, and I'm going to be seeing him for the first time since our breakup at another family reunion this fall. He's bringing his new girlfriend. Do I have a responsibility to make her feel comfortable? Do I avoid him and risk family drama? I've done so much to work through this, Dan, and I'd love to see this as a healthy exercise in staying true to myself.

Cancel On Upcoming Shindig? I'm Not Sure!

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Savage Love: Mum and Dad

Joe Newton

I'm a 24-year-old gay man with a 31-year-old bi boyfriend. I've known since we got together that he's a lot more sexually experienced than I am, but it's never been a big deal before now. This weekend, he met my parents for what we thought would be the first time. But it turns out that ten years ago, during his "big bi slut phase" (his words), they had a threesome. I recognize that no one did anything wrong—they were three consenting adults—and it's not like anyone could’ve known that he and I would get together in the future. But also, my boyfriend fucked my parents! I'm mortified, he's mortified, they're mortified, and I may never be able to look at my parents again. Please help us find a way to move past this!

I Knew He Was Into Blonds

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Savage Love: Crabs

Joe Newton

I’m a gay male in my forties and I’ve been married to my husband for nine years. There was some mild infidelity on his part (exchanging photos and flirting via text with another guy) early in our relationship. I confronted him at the time, and he lied to me. I decided to let it go, as it was early in the relationship. Fast forward a few years and he gets crabs and gives them to me. He told me it was most likely from the volunteer work he does in a homeless shelter. I let it go again. Fast forward another couple years and I’m feeling insecure and look on his iPad, and find confirmation that he was sleeping with the guy he’d exchanged photos and flirty texts with early in our relationship. This sent me into a severe depression. All my concerns over the years were confirmed, and further sleuthing revealed there was another guy he was fucking around with as well. He admitted to all of this only after I showed him the proof.

I chose to forgive and forget. The pain was too much to deal with and I just wanted to move on and get back to our lives. At the time we talked about having an open relationship and I told him I was cool with that, but I wasn’t cool sharing my life with someone who lies to me so easily. We mutually decided that opening the relationship wasn’t a great idea and never really discussed it again. I’m happy I decided to move past this because the last four years have been great. We never fight, our sex life is good, we have a wonderful home and social life. I hadn’t felt the need to sleuth on his devices in years. I felt secure in our relationship. Then two weeks ago I discovered he has crabs (again) after he gave them to me (again). He says he has no idea how he got them. This has obviously brought his history of lying and cheating back to the forefront and I’m questioning so many things. I feel like the only way I’ll ever get the truth is if I find proof and fuck that. I’m not going back to scouring his phone and devices. If I’m staying, I’m staying. But should I stay? Are all past infidelities moot at this point because we’ve put them behind us? Can this new case of crabs be viewed in isolation? Can people get genital area crab infestations during a non-sensual massage? Or am I the idiot whose husband has been fucking around on him the whole time we’ve been together?

Scratching Head And Meat

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Savage Love: In the Straights

Joe Newton

My wife got drunk at a vacation house we rented with a bunch of friends and cheated on me with my best friend in the hot tub. They didn't have sex but they did other things. I wasn’t there but there were eight other people in the hot tub and the jets were on so no one else saw what was going on “under the water.” My wife told me about it afterward and I was hurt but also kind of excited. She proposed we “even the score” by asking my friend and his wife to have a foursome. They agreed but the experience was miserable. My wife and my friend were very into each other and my friend’s wife was willing but I was having a hard time enjoying myself with a woman I had no interest in while my wife did things for my best friend that she would never do for me. She let him come in her mouth, which is something she never she lets me do, and she did it right in front of me. Now she says she will do that for me but only if she can keep doing it for him. This seems deeply unfair. We have kids and I don't want to get divorced but I'm concerned that I'm going to keep getting hurt if I stay. What can I do? I need…

Help Overcoming Terrible Worries About This Entire Relationship

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Savage Love: Emotional Arsonists

Joe Newton

I'm a 19-year-old girl who was dumped few months ago. My partner found out he didn't like my body when we were having sex for the first time and he told me right after. We were actually still in bed naked when he told me. He kept cuddling me to make me feel a bit better but it still hurt to hear. Other than slight doubts about genitals and my face (I have Asian features and having my face and living in a western country isn't always easy), I didn’t go into that experience expecting to be rejected. We had talked about all the sexual stuff we wanted to do and he had previously told me I was attractive and thicc and paid me other compliments. Undressing for someone and then being rejected was devastating and I don't have other experiences to weigh this one against and take reassurance from. My self-esteem dropped. I know his tastes and preferences shouldn't be a problem for me now, since we are no longer together, but I can't stop thinking about them. I've known him for five years. He means a lot to me and we want to continue to be friends. I wish someone had told me that having sex with someone isn't a guarantee that everything will always work out. (Having sex with them being sexually open and generous and having nice tits too!) I started therapy but I also wanted some advice from you.

Babe Only Desires Intuitive Emotional Support

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