Patio Pages!

Savage Love: Licensed and Bonded

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Joe Newton

Weekly deadlines being what they are, this column was written before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

We knew this was coming, thanks to the SCOTUS Leaker, but that didn’t make last week’s news any less devastating. (Who’s the leaker? My money’s on Ginni.) So, what can we do now? We can march, we can donate, and we can vote like the Right has been voting for 50 years, i.e., we can vote like judicial appointments matter. But if you want to do something right now that will piss off the people out there celebrating Dobbs, consider making a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Actually, don’t just consider making a donation, do it right now: abortionfunds.org/donate. This is going to be a long fight — and we’re not just in a fight to re-secure a woman’s right to control her own body, we’re in a fight to protect all the other rights social conservatives want to claw back, from the right of opposite-sex couples to use contraception to the right of same-sex couples to marry to everyone’s right to enjoy non-PIV sex. (When they say they want to overturn Lawrence v. Texas, which Clarence Thomas said in his concurrence, they’re not just talking about re-criminalizing gay sex but re-criminalizing a whole lot of straight sex; Lawrence overturned sodomy laws, and anything non-PIV meets the legal definition of sodomy.) If you live in a state where abortion became illegal overnight, you can find information on self-administered medication abortion—everything you need to know about M&Ms (mifepristone and misoprostol)—at plancpills.org.

— Dan



My partner and I are a heterosexual couple with a large age gap. He is the older one, and our sex life is amazing. We’ve been talking about the idea of having me fuck a new guy for about four years. However, because he is older and experienced more casual sex is his young adulthood, he felt it was only fair that I got to do that as well. (I was in my early 20s when we started our relationship and I’ve only been with two other guys.) At first, I told him I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything but over time, the more we talked about it, the more I realized I wanted to do this just for fun. And now we just got back from a vacation where I found a guy on a hookup app for a one-time meeting and (safely) fucked him while my partner watched. (He’s not a cuck and didn’t participate.) It was just plain fun for all of us! My question is about the “bonding hormone.” I’ve always heard that when a woman has sex, her body produces oxytocin, a hormone that causes her to emotionally attach to her sex partner. That has certainly been true for me in the past. But with this most recent fuck, I didn’t feel any emotional attachment at all! I’ve never had casual sex like this before, so I’m wondering if the “bonding hormone” only releases when you’re seeking an emotional attachment to a sex partner. Or did I fail to bond because my own partner was in the room? Honestly, I feel more bonded to my partner than ever now!

Curious Casual Newbie

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Savage Love: Pride and Preference

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Joe Newton

I’m taking a week off, so this week’s “Savage Love” is a reprint of a column that was originally published on January 13, 2016. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Pride. Please be careful out there. — Dan



As a queer man of color—I'm Asian—I feel wounded whenever I am exposed to gay men in New York City, Toronto, or any city where white gay men dominate. Gay men, mostly whites and Asians, reject me because of my race and no one admits to their sexual racism. I understand that sexual attraction is subconscious for many people. But it is unfair for a gay Asian like myself to be constantly marginalized and rejected. I fight for gay rights, too. I believe in equality, too. I had the same pain of being gay in high school and the same fears when coming out, too. Why is there no acceptance, no space, no welcome for me in this white-painted gay community? I'm six-foot-one, 160 pounds, fit, and very good-looking. What can I do? I might as well be a sexless monk.

Enraged Dude Details Infuriating Experience

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Savage Love: Baddy Dom

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Joe Newton

I’m a 29-year-old bisexual woman in a non-monogamous relationship. A few years ago, I wanted to explore my submissive side and met up with a Dom I connected with on a kink site. We had a few drinks and hit it off. We discussed what we were comfortable with and our limits beforehand. I set a few hard limits. In the middle of our first play session, he tried to renegotiate those limits. I said no a few times, but he kept asking and I eventually gave in. I should have ended it there, but it was my first time in a D/s situation, and I think he took advantage of that. The experience left me feeling terrible, but I didn’t communicate that to him at the time and just ended up ghosting him. I have since found a terrific and loving Dominant partner who has thankfully helped me explore my kinks in a way that makes me feel safe and cared for, and I know now that a good Dom ALWAYS respects limits, especially in the middle of play. Recently, I have seen this bad Dom on a few different dating apps and I’ve been thinking about sending him a message letting him know that what he did was wrong. I also worry that more women are going to have their boundaries violated by this guy. Will anything good come from this or should I just let it go?

Bitterly Debating Sending Message

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Savage Love: Judgment Day

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Joe Newton

I’m trying to date again after back-to-back negative relationship experiences. Experiences that have made me question my own judgment and ability to set good boundaries. My friends and therapist all pointed out the red flags, but I was apparently blind to them. I love what you’ve said about how there is no “The One” out there for us, only .72s and .83s, and that we have to “round someone up to The One.” But it seems like I’ve been “rounding up” some numbers that were too low. As things stand now, I’ve never felt so mistrustful of people, and I’ve never doubted by own choices so strongly. Basically, my walls have gone up. But I love being in a relationship and I want to be in one again. What things should I be mindful of as I venture back into that world? What’s a good way to be deliberate without moving at a glacial pace? What should I be asking myself as I begin to form new attachments, especially after showing such bad judgment in the recent past?

Understandably Nervous Since Upsetting Relationships Expired

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Savage Love: Expensed With

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Joe Newton

I’m a 31-year-old queer person living in Europe. I recently met a 46-year-old man. We were visiting the same city for work and met on an app and went on a series of amazing dates. We have a lot of similar interests and work in parallel fields. Now we’re planning a trip to see each other. It’s partly a work trip for him, but we will take a vacation together after the work part of the trip for him is over. To get to the point… he makes a lot more money than I do. He has offered to cover as much of the costs as he needs to. I feel like I’m out of my league here! I really like him and he seems to really like me but I’m struggling to fight feeling like this is a “Daddy and His Boy” situation. Do I need to fight that feeling or lean into it? It’s not a dynamic he said he wants. I don’t mind if we agree that’s what we are doing. But I don’t want to fall into a Daddy/Boy dynamic accidentally because of money and “status.” How do I date him like I would someone closer to my age and income?
Knowing Economic Position Tenuous

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Savage Love: Emergency Quickies

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Joe Newton


My laptop died last week. My laptop couldn’t die when I was in the office, with capable tech support people close by. Oh, no. My laptop lost its will to live when I was thousands of miles away, in a country where I don’t speak the language. So, I wasn’t able to access my Savage Love email – which is a problem, since no questions means no column. So, I put out an SOS on Instagram, asking my followers there to send me their quick-and-dirty questions. I wrote my responses on my phone… which I dropped at one point, shattering the screen, BECAUSE OF COURSE I DID. So, my laptop is dead, my phone is broken, and my thumbs are bloodied. But I got this week’s column done with the help of my followers on Instagram. Thanks, gang.


-Dan


In the mountain climbing community there is a backlash against a route at a particular climbing site that’s named Gangbang. Critics say it refers to a non-consensual sex act. Your thoughts?

Missionary position in the absence of consent is not sex, it’s rape; a gangbang with consent is not rape, it’s sex. That said, most representations of gangbangs in film, porn, literature, etc., portray non-consensual scenarios with women as the victims, and it’s understandable why some would want the name of that route changed. So, change it.

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Savage Love: Freyed Nerves

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Joe Newton

I am a 37-year-old heterosexual woman in a monogamous relationship with a het cis male. Let’s call him “Rick.” We’ve been together for five years and engaged for two. Our sex went from passionate, fun, and frequent early in the relationship to nearly nonexistent now. I have gently initiated conversations about how to spice it up—sexy dates, sex toys, new positions, even non-monogamy—but Rick never took me up on any of my suggestions. I encouraged him to get bloodwork done, thinking maybe it was a decline in testosterone or something. I loved him and was legitimately concerned. I also made the pact with myself that I could live with only having sex 4-5 times a year because Rick brought so much “good” to the table. Outside of sex, our relationship is supportive, positive, and fun.


Fast forward: I recently learned that Rick has a profile on an online dating app. We are not in an open relationship, even though I’d offered that as a possible solution to our sex woes. After some mild questioning, his story unraveled. He admitted to exchanging sexy pics and videos with more than 20 women on the internet over the last few years. He was apparently going into our spare bedroom or bathroom to make and send these videos—sometimes when I was home, sometimes when I was waiting in bed for him. After talking with a friend, she confided in me that Rick’s ex had discovered dozens of sexting convos on Rick’s phone with strangers when they were together.


My questions are both general and specific to me. First, is it possible for someone to be incapable of physical intimacy when there is love involved? I’m no expert, but it strikes me as troubling that Rick can’t make love with me—going so far as to blame it on hormonal shifts—when it’s not biological at all; he just prefers to jerk off with strangers. Is this actually a thing? Only being physically attracted to an anonymous, impersonal, meaningless stranger? My next question is: Is there hope for a future with Rick when he is lying to me—a GGG partner who wanted to work through this—and also lying to himself? I think I know the answer, but: am I better off alone?

Sick Of Rick’s Dick Image Doings

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Savage Love: Real Worries

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Joe Newton

I'm a straight guy, married to a straight woman for 15 years. Several years back, I opened up to my wife about my fantasies of her sleeping with other men. I was nervous about bringing it up. Her views on sex had always been traditional, and she had always expressed a very strict idea of monogamy and commitment. So, I was extremely relieved when her reaction was intrigue rather than disgust. She was curious about it and wondered if I really wanted it to happen or if it was just something I wanted to keep in our rotation of dirty talk. Fast-forward to this week, and my wife tells me she is interested in exploring this. (Note to other guys who want this from their wives: be respectful, don't pressure, and give her time to think about it. Your patience might be rewarded!) Here is the problem: We both have careers that could be complicated or damaged by the stigma around “cheating.” I know about all the apps out there, but we live a large city, and there is a non-zero chance that we might run into someone on the apps we are connected to professionally or socially. Are any of the apps out there geared toward folks who want to go about this carefully? Is it possible to minimize the risk of professional or social embarrassment here, or is this just something we must accept to pursue this lifestyle?
Hooking Up, Seeking Help

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Savage Love: Open and Shut

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Joe Newton

Straight guy here in a one-sided open relationship. My wife and I opened our relationship just for her and to females only, so she could explore her bisexual side. I’m super proud of her for coming out and wanted her to feel fulfilled. When we agreed to this, I was naive and figured anything she experienced would be purely sexual and nothing more. She recently caught feelings and now has a girlfriend. She stays at her girlfriend’s place one to two nights a week. I get jealous and sick to my stomach when she is over there. She has that “new relationship energy” going and talks about her girlfriend all the time. Aside from the jealousy, I feel like I am not a priority. I'm hoping my feelings get better with time. Besides this, our marriage is great. I love my wife very much and want to support her in this. Are one-sided open relationships something that can work? Are my feelings unjustified and what can I do to better deal with them? The logic used when we talked about a one-sided open relationship was that I can't satisfy the female side she desires. But since I’m hetero, I don't have an “unfulfilled” side.


Home Alone

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Savage Love: Quickies

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Joe Newton

I'm a heavy sleeper, and my wife knows that, but not so heavy that I don't wake up when she periodically masturbates next to me and has the bed shaking pretty hard. She doesn't know this wakes me. How do I handle this? Do I offer a hand (or a dick) the next time? Talk to her when she's not having her moment and ask if she feels like our sex life is lacking? Or just let it go and continue to pretend that I'm still asleep when this happens? Our sex life seems healthy to me otherwise.

Nocturnal Incidents That Erupt Necessitate Inquiries To Elucidate

The wife masturbating in the middle isn’t by itself evidence your sex life is lacking, NITENITE. She’s most likely waking up horny at 3 AM and rubbing one out to get back to sleep. You can and should tell her over breakfast—with a loving and supportive smile on your face—that you sometimes wake up when she’s masturbating, and that you’re happy to help her out. But if all your wife wants and/or needs at 3 AM is a quick orgasm, she may not be interested in a full-blown sex session. And if “helping her out” means she’s obligated to get you off before she can go back to sleep, NITENITE, don’t be surprised if she passes (and slips out of bed the next time she needs to have a wank).

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Savage Love: Love & Leashes

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Joe Newton

I’m a married gay man. I’m nervous about sending this question and my husband is afraid you might answer it. I’m a fairly vanilla guy, while my husband is into bondage. We’ve been able to make it work because he’s into a kind of bondage he calls “storage.” On “storage nights,” I put him in bondage and play video games while he “suffers.” So far, so good. But I worry about accidentally killing him. Most often I put him in his sleepsack—picture a leather sleeping bag you can’t get out of—which is strapped to a bondage board on the floor by our couch. I play video games for a few hours with my feet up on him. Every half hour, I tighten the straps. Toward the end of the night, the straps are so tight he can’t move or even take a deep breath. If he doesn’t complain or ask to get out, he’s rewarded with a hand-job when I’m done. We do this about twice a week. (We also have a leather straitjacket, but we use it a lot less often.)

I’m worried that he’s going to have an embolism or something because of the straps. Some go over him and around the board, pressing him down to the board, others go around his body and cinch in. The straps aren’t tight at first. But for the last hour they’re fairly tight, and for the last 20 or 30 minutes they’re almost unbearably tight. I never leave him alone. If it matters, he’s in his 40s, in great shape, normal blood pressure, etc. He didn't want me to write, because he doesn’t want to find out it’s dangerous and have to stop. For the same reason, he doesn’t want to ask his doctor. We’ve been doing this for 10 years and I haven’t killed him yet. Is there a chance I might? Can you ask a doc for me?

Seeking Advice Concerning Kinky Dangers

P.S. It feels crazy to say this, but “storage nights” are special couple time for us and an important part of our intimacy. I don’t want to give them up any more than he does.

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Savage Love: Clap Back

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Joe Newton

Bisexual female in an open/monogamish relationship with a heterosexual male. My partner and I have some friends in the swinging lifestyle that invite us to parties and group sex events. They recently picked up gonorrhea at a hotel takeover and did not find out until after hosting 20 people at a sex party. So, the group is now dealing with a gonorrhea outbreak—mostly oral infections, as we are all very diligent about condom usage for PIV. We are being treated, but I am pretty upset. The thing that bothers me most is how nonchalant they are being about the situation! One person even called this an “inconvenience” and compared it to “the common cold.” (WTF?) While some STIs are easily treated, gonorrhea is treatment-resistant and something like herpes, HPV, or HIV would obviously be a very big deal and permanent. They don’t plan to retest after getting their shots and are already planning group sex events in the next few weeks, which I find concerning. I don’t think I’m comfortable engaging with their group if they are not going to take things like an STI outbreak more seriously. So, my questions are:

1. My test came back negative (my partner was positive) but shouldn’t they ALL retest after treatment? Especially if it is an STI known to be antibiotic resistant?

2. Am I overreacting or being unfair to our friends? Is this just part of the swinging lifestyle territory that we all have to accept?

3. If we decide to not engage with the group because of their attitude towards STIs, how do we get back into the lifestyle? We are afraid we will lose access to events and people in the scene, as these friends have introduced us to everyone we know in the scene and have gotten us access to all the events we’ve been to before.

Completely Lost About Panicking

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Savage Love: Entrance Exam

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Joe Newton

I am a 29-year-old woman and I have a problem when I have sex or masturbate. I always feel an annoying pain, a stinging sensation in my vulva, at the entrance of the vagina, that does not allow me to enjoy it, as the pain is too overwhelming. Unfortunately, this situation has led me to avoid having sex or masturbating in order not to feel that pain. I have consulted several gynecologists, but no anomaly or infection of any kind has been found. With the last doctor we also talked about a possible psychological component but, apparently, even on this level everything seems normal. Do you or an expert have advice for someone with a problem like mine?

Lost And Baffled Inside America

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Savage Love: Only For Now

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Joe Newton

I'm a 28-year-old queer woman. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a relationship, as it was impossible for me to make a physical or emotional connection with anyone after I was raped four years ago. I finally found a very, very, very nice fella. He’s 36 years old, and pretty basic. He’s a cis white man who isn’t into anal, which is good, not too good at oral, which is bad, with a medium-to-low sex drive and an average-to-good cock. Here’s the problem: I like the warm feelings of love and lust I’m finally experiencing after a long time, but I am nevertheless unsatisfied with him. There are so many things that I feel he is lacking. We don’t share fantasies, he doesn’t take the initiative, there’s no sense of seductiveness, and the cunnilingus is underwhelming. I’ve talked to him about it and he listens, he says he hears me, but he does not implement any of my suggestions. Instead, he tells me to focus on the things that are wonderful about our relationship rather than what’s lacking. Maybe I'm being too critical and should try to focus on the positive. Or should I leave him and go find an idealized sex God who may or may not be out there?

Idealized Dick Katharsis

P.S. My question requires a thoughtful response, not a savage answer. So, maybe I should talk to my psychologist and not to you?

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Savage Love: Quickies

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Joe Newton

My boyfriend and I have not had sex for more than two years. When I first asked him about it, he hemmed and hawed. When I pressed him, he said he doesn’t have any interest. I felt like he was not telling me the whole truth. When I suggested he tell his doctor, my boyfriend said he could not do that because his doctor is an old family friend. He won’t go to another doctor. I don’t know what to do. Staying in a long-term relationship without sex does not appeal to me. But I love him, so leaving him is not an option. On all other levels we have a great relationship. But I miss his cock and I miss intimacy. I have tried many things, but I am sick and tired of being refused. He will remove my hand from his cock if I touch it, and he does not seem to ever get hard anymore. I used to think that it was my fault but no longer accept the blame. What can I do?

Unhappy Not Having Any Penetration Play In Literally Years

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