Savage Love: Cutting off your Trump-loving family members isn't the answer

Savage Love: Cutting off your Trump-loving family members isn't the answer
illustration by Joe Newton

Where do I go from here? My parents voted for Trump in 2016 and again in 2020. I'm a lesbian. My partner and I have been together for nearly 20 years. My parents have always been supportive; we have a great relationship. But I can't reconcile their vote for this piece of trash. They're not even pro-life or religious. I genuinely don't understand.
— What The Fuck Do I Do Now?

My dad voted for George W. Bush in 2004. Bush's campaign was pushing anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives across the country in the hopes that bigots would turn out in huge numbers and put his incompetent ass back in the White House. The fact that the then-president of the United States – the worst one we thought we'd see in our lifetimes – was waging a demagogic campaign against one of his own children didn't stop my dad from voting for him. For a second time.

I didn't stop talking to my father.

While I believe we have to confront family members about their bigotries and that there have to be social consequences when people vote for racism and fascism and oligarchy and corruption and disease and death, WTFDIDN, I don't think cutting off contact with non-toxic/non-QAnon parents or family members is the answer. Where there's evidence of cognitive dissonance – and a family member voting for someone seeking to harm people they love is certainly evidence of cognitive dissonance – there's also an opportunity. So I would urge you to express your displeasure to your parents and demand better from them and to keep bringing it up. While text messages from strangers and robocalls often fail to move people, appeals to conscience – sometimes angry ones – from family members often work. I've heard from a lot of people over the last few months whose parents voted for Trump in 2016 but voted for Biden this year. I wish I could say my dad was one of them. Maybe next time.

There are elections coming up in 2022 and there's a high likelihood we will see a Trump on the ballot in 2024. (There are two special elections in Georgia in January that will determine who controls the U.S. Senate!) The parents who disappointed you and endangered our democracy in this election are likelier to come around before the next election if you demand answers from them now.

Why are threesomes so much more accepted in the popular imagination than foursomes? I was just googling "finding foursomes" and the first result is an article about threesomes that takes for granted that people are looking for MFF. That is a form of heteronormativity, right? I am not judging threesomes, of course, but asking why foursomes are perceived as more taboo. Would be interested in knowing more about what you think about this or if you have any resource to recommend as I am approaching this now with my partner for the first time.
— Willing To Foursome

I don't think the popular imagination has conspired against foursomes or that foursomes are really that much more taboo than threesomes, WTF. Rather, I think threesomes are easier to arrange than foursomes and the popular imagination reflects that fact. Think about it: Finding two people who wanna fuck each other is hard. Finding three people who all wanna fuck each other is harder still. Adding a fourth person to the mix makes the math infinitely more complicated. Which is not to say everybody fucks everybody during a threesome, of course, but at the very least everyone involved has to at least be OK with fucking in very close proximity to everyone else involved.

And while complicated to arrange and often emotionally tricky, WTF, threesomes aren't really that taboo. According to research into sexual fantasies done by Dr. Justin Lehmiller, it's the single most common sexual fantasy. More than 90 percent of men and nearly 90 percent of women fantasize about having a threesome, according to Lehmiller's research; according to other research, roughly one in five people have actually participated in at least one threesome. (Full discloser/cumblebrag: I lost my virginity in an MMF threesome.)

MFF threesomes are heteronormative by design, e.g. they were arranged to fulfill a straight man's standard-issue fantasy, but judging from my mail just as many MFF threesomes are arranged to fulfill the same-sex desires of often-but-not-always-newly-out bisexual women who already have husbands or boyfriends – less heteronormative and more bi-supportive/bi-explorative. (My mail isn't scientific evidence, I realize, but it's what I've got.)

And for the record I don't think there's anything wrong with a heteronormative threesome. Straight guys should be allowed to have and realize their sexual fantasies without being shamed, just like everyone else, so long as they're realizing them with consenting adult partners. And while straight guys have historically done most of the judging and shaming of non-straight/non-guys over the entire course of human history, the corrective isn't to heap shame on them. It's to demand that no one should be shamed for their sexual fantasies, and we demonstrate our commitment to that principle by not shaming anyone – not even a straight guy – who seeks to realize their sexual fantasies with other consenting adults.

And finally, WTF, there is one place where foursomes are far less taboo and could even described as standard: the organized, mostly straight and often supremely heteronormative swingers' scene. If you and your partner are of the opposite sex and are interested in or willing to settle for strictly heterosexual sex where men are concerned, you might find more luck arranging foursomes at swingers' parties – once those parties are possible again – than on dating apps.

I'd like to think I am pretty open and understanding to a lot of things. I met a hot guy at my job who says he has a fetish for ass. In a sexting session, I learned he was not only obsessed with my ass, but me playing with his too. He later revealed there was only one other woman he felt comfortable sharing his gay fantasies with. Everything involved ass play, sucking dildos or DP. I asked him if he was curious about gay sex and he said no. In no way does he want a man, he said, and everything he wanted done to him he wanted a woman to do. We've had several sexting sessions and it always shifts to me dominating him or a gay sex fantasy. I really want to be open but he is making this hard.
— Questioning Unusual Exceptionally Erotic Relationship

This would be easier if you were clear with yourself about what you want and what's possible. If you want a long-term relationship that doesn't revolve around ass play and you couldn't possibly enjoy a casual sexual adventure with a hot guy who isn't a good potential long-term partner ... then you should stop sexting with him. But if you're up for a crazy, ass-centered sexual adventure with a hot guy that won't lead to anything serious or long-term ... then get yourself a strap-on dildo and order this not-gay guy to get on his not-gay knees and suck your not-gay dick.

I suspect you feel tense after sexting with this guy because you're left thinking, "My God, what am I signing up for here?" The animating assumption being that "going there" means getting stuck there. But if you told yourself you were only signing up for a crazy night or a crazy weekend instead with this ass-obsessed dude and not a lifetime with him, you would most likely feel a lot less nervous about this connection. Being open to playing with this guy doesn't mean you have to be open to dating him, much less marrying him.

On the Lovecast, Dan consults a rabbi:

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