Savage Love

By Dan Savage
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 10, 2010

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Q: I’m a girl who sabotaged my relationship. I was angry, but my real issue was a store of repressed childhood trauma, and I was working it out on the closest person to me. We had something and I destroyed it. I am now willing to give 110 percent to fix it.

We no longer have sex. We are hardly on speaking terms. Do you have any tips on initiating sex with someone who I have traumatized or on improving communication with someone who is so resentful?

-Saboteur Addressing Dysfunctions

A: I’ll get to your problem in a second, SAD. But first, a Savage Love programming note: I don’t usually mention where I’m writing a particular column, because it doesn’t really matter whether my computer is sitting on Ann Landers’ desk or resting on Apolo Ohno’s ass.

I’m writing this column on an airplane, and I was totally in the zone when I noticed that the guy sitting next to me on this airplane was reading my laptop screen. So I wrote this: “HEY! YOU! YEAH, YOU! THE GUY SITTING NEXT TO ME ON DELTA 2360! STOP READING THIS SHIT UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO ADD!”

Sheesh. Some people.

Okay, SAD, on to your problem: Maybe you’ve been led to believe—by your counselor, by Oprah, by some other idiot with an advice column—that you can just throw up your hands and say, “Childhood issues! Childhood baggage!” and everything will be magic again. Sorry, SAD, but sometimes the damage is too great. Your boyfriend won’t speak to you? Won’t fuck you?

Game over.

Accept that you—not your issues, not your baggage, but you yourself —screwed yourself out of a decent guy. End it officially, get your ass into counseling, and make a good-faith effort to resolve your issues and unpack your bags before you inflict yourself on some other dope. You don’t have to be 100 percent healthy before you date—no one is 100 percent healthy—but you do have to be in relatively good working order, listing toward sanity, before you date again.

And what does the guy sitting next to me on this airplane think?

“I’ve dated girls like her,” says TGSNTMOTA. “Daddy issues. She should get over her shit before she dates someone else, you know, but she probably won’t. Girls like her never do. But maybe this one will, because you’re pulling her up short. And she should move to an island—Hawaii, the Big Island—because being on an island can really help you work through your shit.”



Q: I am a leather Daddy living in a big city. A young man—early 20s, living in a small town—contacted me online and asked to be my boy. I declined, due to distance, but agreed to be his confidant and adviser.

The boy has one huge problem: He is in a long-term relationship with a vanilla boyfriend who has no interest in BDSM and vehemently opposes allowing him to explore with others. Presently, the boy goes to dungeon parties and plays with men behind his boyfriend’s back.

I wouldn’t ordinarily presume to know what’s best for other people, but this boy is starving sexually, emotionally and spiritually. But my conscience will not allow me to advise him on navigating the leather scene when I know he’ll use this knowledge to cheat on his boyfriend. Do you agree with the advice I’ve given this boy?

-Wanna Be A Good Influence

A: I agree with the advice you’ve given this boy—get the boyfriend’s OK or get out—but this boy is already navigating the leather scene, WBAGI, and will continue to cheat on his boyfriend with or without your guidance.

So continue to serve as this boy’s confidant and adviser, WBAGI, all the while pressing him to do the right thing and leave his boyfriend. And we both know that he needs to leave his boyfriend, WBAGI, not just get the boyfriend’s permission to explore. If this boy’s interest in BDSM is so strong that he’s jumped into the deep end of the pool—i.e., dungeon parties—he’ll never be happy with a vanilla monogamist who grudgingly allows him to play with other guys.

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