EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to our first edition of 'Savage Love.' The love and sex advice column by author, pundit, and LGBT activist Dan Savage began in 1991 when Savage helped Tim Keck (founder of The Onion) launch Seattle's The Stranger alt-weekly. Filled with honest, irreverent, and thoughtful advice, it's been a favorite of ours ever since. So, we finally decided to do something about it. We're happy to announce that we'll be running 'Savage Love' weekly. And what better day to kick it off then Valentine's? Enjoy.
I'm a 24-year-old nonbinary person living in Florida. I have two wonderful girlfriends. One I have been with for four years (we live together). The other I have been with for a year and a half. They're both brilliant, interesting, and kind. Both relationships have their issues, but they are minor. They know each other but aren't close. Neither is interested in people besides me right now, although my longer-term girlfriend identifies as poly. They have both said that they see a future with me, but something doesn't feel right. I've been having fantasies about leaving them both. It's not about wanting to find someone I like better — if I met someone I really liked, I could pursue it. I just feel like neither relationship can progress while both exist. My other friends are getting married. I don't think I want to stay in this setup indefinitely. Even if my girlfriends liked each other, which they don't, I don't want sister wives or two families. But I also can't imagine choosing between them. I feel like a scumbag for even thinking about it. I've talked to them, and they are both having reservations about the current situation. Neither of them wants some kind of three-person family structure, either. The only thing I can think to do (besides running away) is wait and see if one of these relationships fizzles out on its own. Are my fantasies of escape normal? Is wanting to be with "the one" just straight nonsense?
Engaged Now But Yearning
"The one" is nonsense, ENBY, but it's not straight nonsense — lots of queer people believe that "the one," their perfect match, is out there somewhere. But despite the fact that there are no perfect matches, people are constantly ending loving relationships that could go the distance to run off in search of "the one" that doesn't exist. As I've pointed out again and again, there are lots of .64s out there and, if you're lucky, you might find a .73 lurking in the pile. When you find a serviceable .64 or (God willing) a spectacular .73, it's your job to round that motherfucker up to "the one." (And don't forget that they're doing the same for you—just as there's no "the one" for you, you're no one's "the one." Everyone is rounding up.)
Zooming in on your question, ENBY, you say what you have now — two girlfriends who can't stand each other — is working. Are you sure about that? While fantasies of escape are normal—we all spend time thinking about the road we didn't take, the door we didn't try, the ass we didn't eat—it's odd to hear someone with two girlfriends wish for one or both to disappear. Perhaps it's not who you're doing that's the problem, ENBY, but what you're doing. The kind of polyamory you're practicing — concurrent and equal romantic partnerships — may not be right for you. I'm not trying to YDIW you here ("You're doing it wrong!"), but if you're envious of your friends who are settling down with just one partner, perhaps you'd be more comfortable in an open-not-poly relationship (sex with others okay, romance with others not okay) or a hierarchical poly relationship (your primary partner comes first, your secondary partner[s] come, well, second).
Finally, ENBY, it could be the stress of having two partners who don't like each other that has you fantasizing about escape and/or one of your partners evaporating. Each of your girlfriends might make sense independently of each other, but if having to share you doesn't work for them… it's never going to work for you.
I'm 27 years old and I've been married to my partner for two years. I'm facing a conundrum: A relative sexually abused me when I was younger. It happened a handful of times, and I've never told anyone other than my partner. I'm now struggling to decide not whether I should tell my parents (I should), but when. The abuse fucked me up in some ways, but I have been working through it with a therapist. The problem is my siblings and cousins have started having their own children, and seeing this relative — a member of my extended family — with their kids is dredging up a lot of uncomfortable memories. I see this relative frequently, as we all live in the area and get together as a family at least once a month. I don't have children of my own yet, but my partner and I have already decided that this relative will never touch or hold the ones we do have. So do I tell my parents now? My extended family is tightly knit, and I fear the issues that sharing this secret will inevitably create. Am I starting unnecessary drama since I'm not even pregnant yet?
My Family Kinda Sucks
Your kids may not yet exist, MFKS, but your young nieces, nephews, and cousins do — and your abuser has access to them. So the drama you fear creating isn't unnecessary — it's incredibly necessary. And since you were planning to tell your parents eventually, the drama is inevitable. But let's say you wait to tell your parents until you have children of your own—how will you feel if you learn, after the curtain goes up on this drama, that this relative had sexually abused another child in your family (or multiple children in your family, or children outside your family) in the weeks, months, or years between your decision to tell your parents and the moment you told them?
My partner does phone sex work. A lot of the calls are from "straight" guys who ask to be "forced" to suck cock. (We assume the forced part is because they think there's something wrong with being gay.) We're wondering if there is a sex-positive word we should be using to describe these guys. If not, your readers should coin one, so all us straight dudes who love dick can take pride in our desires. Fill in the blank: "_______: a 100 percent straight guy who also loves sucking dick (and perhaps taking it in the ass)."
Cocksuckers Need Noun
The kink you describe already has a name — forced bi — and a forced bi scene usually goes something like this: A guy who would never, ever suck a cock because he's totally straight gets down on his knees and sucks cocks on the orders of his female dominant. Since this totally straight guy sucks cock only to please a woman, there's nothing gay and/or bi about all the cocks he puts in his mouth. It's one very particular way in which male bisexuality is expressed — think of it as male bisexual desire after hetero fragility, gay panic, denial, religion, gender norms, and football get through kicking the shit out of it. Paradoxically, CNN, by the time a guy asks a woman to force him to suck a cock, he's allowing himself to suck a cock and therefore no longer in denial. (And, yes, guys into forced bi are free to identify as straight—indeed, they have to keep identifying as straight, since identifying as bi would fatally undermine the transgression that makes their perfectly legitimate kink arousing.)
But what to call these guys?
Well, CNN, some people into BDSM call themselves "BDSMers." But "forcedbi'ers" doesn't trip quite so easily off the tongue — so maybe we go with "cocksuckers"? It's an emasculating slur, one that straight-identified men throw around to get, um, a rise out of each other. (Call an out-and-over-it gay man a cocksucker, and all you'll get in return is a "No shit.") But while "You're a cocksucker" may be fighting words for a straight guy, they're highly arousing ones for a straight-identified guy into forced bi.
On the Lovecast, a scientific study on gay cuckolding: savagelovecast.com.