I'm a 22-year-old man from Canada and in a long-term relationship. The sex is fantastic, we've always been GGG, and our bedroom habits include talking dirty and light bondage, which she loves. However, my girlfriend sometimes complains that I "degrade" her in the bedroom and she thinks that this is representative of a larger lack of respect for her. I'm very respectful outside the bedroom: I buy her flowers, I write to her when she's away, and I make sure to treat her friends well. How do I prove to my girlfriend that she's important to me and get her to chill out?

Constantly Being Evaluated

You don't, CBE, because your girlfriend isn't interested in proof of your fidelity or of her importance to you. Jesus Christ himself could appear floating in a cloud of aborted fetuses at the foot of the bed and tell your girlfriend Himself that you're good and true and faithful. But it sounds like your girlfriend prefers things the way they are now: You indulge her kinks during sex; she feels guilty after sex and shifts all responsibility to you through accusations of disrespect; and she makes you feel miserable and insecure by pretending that she's miserable and insecure.

You really only have two options. You can dump her now or you can call her on her bullshit by saying something like this: "Look, if the kinky sex makes you doubt my feelings for you, let's not have kinky sex anymore. And if the flowers and notes lead you to believe that I'm cheating on you, honey, then I'm prepared to stop buying you flowers, stop writing you notes, start sleeping with other people and generally treat you like shit. Is it a deal?"

Women's rape fantasies come up pretty frequently in the column, but men's rape fantasies don't come up so much. I am a mid-20s straight woman who dates a lot. Even though I occasionally fantasize about being raped and I make it perfectly clear to the men I date that this is just a fantasy, I am creeped out by the fact that some of the men I've dated have fantasies of raping women. Do you think that's unfair?

Double Standard

Yes, I do, DS. Women who open up about rape fantasies — with their partners, in letters to skeezy sex-advice columnists — are always quick to include a qualifier along the lines of "this is just a fantasy," making it clear to all that they are not interested in actually being raped. Well, just as a woman can have rape fantasies without wanting to be the victim of an actual rape, a man can have rapist fantasies without wanting to commit an actual rape. And really, where would ladies with rape-victim fantasies be without men with rape-perp fantasies?

What do you say on the "morning after" to friends you've slept with drunk that you would not sleep with sober? Say you pretty much blacked out and have little recollection of the sex, but they are joyful and thinking this is the beginning of something special. You, on the other hand, want to crawl out of your skin, shower until they are gone, and forget what you do remember. What do you say to them without hurting their feelings?

One Too Many

Them? What do you say to them? How about, "I have a drinking problem." Because if you're having blackout sex with friends you're not attracted to frequently enough to toss a plural pronoun around so casually, OTM, booze is your problem, not sex.

I'm a young gay man, not messed up, and I ignore people who think there's something wrong with being gay. Why don't more gay men do this? I can't go on a date without hearing the coming-out story or dealing with EPDM ("Effeminate Personality Defense Mechanisms"). Where are the gay men living as they want to live rather than living in reaction to people who have a problem with their sexuality?

Optimistic Gay Guy In Ohio

As first-date conversation topics go, OGGIO, it's hard to beat coming-out stories. You get to swap a little info about your families, your first sexual experiences, your first boyfriends. Basically you get to learn how your date came to be the healthy, out homo sitting in front of you, and he gets to learn the same about you. And the next time you're listening to someone's coming-out story, remember this: Truly messed-up fags can't tell you their coming-out stories because they don't have coming-out stories to tell. They're still closeted.

As for effeminacy, it's not always an act; it's not something insecure gay men do to piss off homophobes, straight or gay. Even if you're not attracted to the honest swishes, which is fine, don't assume they're not "living as they want." And the next time you see someone with what you think is a bad case of EPDM, try to remember this: It takes more guts to be an out swish in our society than it takes to be a str8-acting, A&F-wearing, frat-boy clone.

Hey, Everybody: Every week my readers can download a Savage Love podcast at www.the; I wanted to thank everyone for doing just that. My podcast is in the top 10 in the Health category at iTunes, and bounces between first and second place in the Sexuality category. I was dubious, to say the least, when some tech-savvy, at-risk youths approached me about doing a podcast. They were right, I was wrong, and we're going to keep those podcasts coming.


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