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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SL Letters of the Day: Two Satisfied Customers

Posted by on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM

I have read your column on and off for most of my teenage and adult life; so long, in fact, that I cannot remember when I began to read it. In addition to being a deeply informed source of information about sexuality and how to be safe, informed, and GGG, your column has helped me be better prepared for unexpected situations that I have encountered in my life. Thank you.

What prompted me to write this was a topic that I came across in your column time and again. In brief: "Everything is great—except for the sex". When I realized that I was in a loving, long-term, committed relationship where I also was saying this phrase in my head, Dan, it was like ice water was suddenly pumped through my veins. So powerful was my rejection of this truth that I remained in the relationship for three more years, during which the relationship grew stronger, more loving, and more committed.

But the subsequent relationship milestones, commitments, personal and professional accomplishments, and shared experiences didn't produce the change I hoped, nor did the ice water in the veins go away when I would privately confront the truth. We talked about our issue, promises were made, effort invested, coping strategies tried, but nothing changed for the better and it only got worse. For the last year of our relationship we didn't once make love, nor were we sexuality intimate in any manner more than a handful of times.

My flawed instincts were to keep going, hoping for some miraculous change to come along and make that one part of our relationship work as well as all the rest. I wanted to get married, to have kids, to buy a home, but I also recalled time and again the "Savage Love" columns I read about people in situations just like mine, and those who found themselves in far more complicated circumstances precisely because they got married, had kids, and bought a home while in an sexually unsatisfying relationship.

In the last number of months I realized that the pain of years of sexual rejection—always done in a loving, and often apologetic manner—within an otherwise fantastic relationship was beginning to metastasize in ways that I could not easily control. I was finding myself feeling bitter, I began to withdraw into work and personal hobbies, and my appetite to try and initiate sex evaporated since I didn't want any more rejection. All the while, I had this cognitive dissonance of being in love and having an otherwise-great relationship but being miserable with unfailing regularity about something so basic as sexual needs.

So what happened? She ended the relationship. Out of the blue. With love. And for a several reasons, the most important of which was her acceptance that she didn't want to have sex and had virtually no sex drive and she didn't see how that would change. She couldn't continue our relationship after having come to this conclusion and she knew that I shared serious doubt about how we would resolve the issue in the long run.

I was shocked, hurt, and very sad that our relationship of 6.5 years had ended, and I felt rather ashamed that it was sex that was the underlying factor behind the breakup. But your columns on the subject, and the advice that one should leave a sexless relationship—and certainly not get married hoping that will fix it—ran through my head. It helped. She made the decision—not me—but the outcome is the same and despite being sad I already feel like a weight has been lifted. As part of the process of working my way through the breakup, I took strength in the knowledge that I was not being unreasonable in my need for, and expectation of, sex in a committed, loving, long-term relationship.

So thank you, Dan. I really appreciate the part you indirectly played in helping me get through this time in my life. Sign me...


You're welcome, V, and I'm sorry you're hurting. Here's hoping your letter inspires others trapped in EGETS relationships—"everything great except the sex"—to pull the plug sooner rather than later. A letter from another satisfied customer... after the jump.

My boyfriend of two months told me last night that he has a foot fetish. Because of reading your column, listening to your podcast, reading your new book, etc., I knew to smile at my boyfriend and say, "Oh really? Lets explore this together, shall we?"

Turns out listening to you for years made his fetish exciting and very normal for me. Turns out that's not the response he's gotten in the past and he was ashamed of his fetish. We had a great convo and then great sex. I'm excited to explore this and I've already googled your advice to foot lovers. So...

THANK YOU!! Seriously thank you for allowing me to know exactly what to say and do in that situation. Without your advice, I might have fucked this up and thus made this amazing human (who I love) feel undesirable or ashamed. Thank you so much!

Off On The Right Foot

Thanks for the nice note, OOTRF, and please share this column with your boyfriend—not because he's an ingrate and/or a dick, like the adult baby I slapped around in that column. But he needs to keep in mind that being GGG and cheerfully meeting a partner's needs isn't just something that vanilla folks do for their kinky partners. You have a right to expect the same loving, indulgent treatment from him. A foot fetishist who takes his indulgent vanilla girlfriend for granted—a foot fetishist who fails to come through with the foot-free vanilla sex on a regular basis—isn't going to have a girlfriend for very long.


Comments (42) RSS

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Fishing for compliments? Reading Dan has made my marriage stronger, too, by giving us a language to discuss kinks, fantasy, sexual preferences, and monogamy*. Thank you.
Posted by wxPDX on January 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
brevity is the soul of wit.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 7, 2014 at 7:37 PM · Report this
ThomZ0rz 3
Jeez Louise, for a minute there I thought that the first letter was from my ex, he dumped me in a very Dan Savage way, and in the end it turned out to be for the best.

For a while I thought about thanking Dan for helping me with a great relationship and now I'm thanking him for a good breakup; life is weird as heck.
Posted by ThomZ0rz on January 7, 2014 at 8:06 PM · Report this
I am concerned that at times the cavalier advice of DTMF or similar, snares the occasional person who really doesn't know what they might want. I know that I've dumped someone (once after 3 years) because of such advice and man did I regret it. However, I suppose it's a bit like ladders: do you really need to be told that when you put the ladder on unstable ground it may tip over? (Not saying I'm unstable or anything....) In other words, I guess one should use the advice carefully.
Posted by Get friggin real on January 7, 2014 at 8:14 PM · Report this
mmmm makes me wonder why Auntie Seattleblues thinks Dan is depraved and immoral.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on January 7, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Anyone care to lay odds that Vancouver's partner found someone new and suddenly discovered that her libido wasn't dead after all?
Posted by avast2006 on January 7, 2014 at 9:37 PM · Report this
"REALLY, everything's great except the sex."

- regrets
Posted by drivel on January 7, 2014 at 9:51 PM · Report this
avast2006 is right. I bet her libido kicked in long enough for her to hook a guy who has more money.
Posted by Catonaleash on January 7, 2014 at 10:11 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 9
@6: In a sense, but not how you're stating. Some people enjoy the initial rush of a new relationship and then their libido drops off a cliff after being with their partner for a relatively short period of time. A previous ex stated that they had stopped being interested in sex (after a year or two) with a number of their relationships.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM · Report this
Seeing as how a large percentage of Dan's letters are from the EGETS-set, should Savage Love be renamed the EGETS Better Project?
Posted by vinegrrl on January 7, 2014 at 10:50 PM · Report this
@9: Oh, I'm completely willing to go with your implied prediction that her libido drops off a cliff again with the next guy. I was just struck by how she was apparently willing to live with a sexless relationship for years, and then all of a sudden it was intolerably cruel of her to continue to inflict that on poor, dear, Letter Writer. I smell a sudden, selfish dump by her because he was now in the way, with a clumsy attempt at prevarication to mask it.
Posted by avast2006 on January 7, 2014 at 10:52 PM · Report this
@9 lol oh I think Dan is spot on.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on January 7, 2014 at 10:55 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 13
Oops, I meant @8. What you said wasn't at odds with my belief.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 7, 2014 at 10:57 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 14
@11 It depends on how old the LW and partner were when they started dating. Dan's been writing for so long that a teenager could ostensibly be 35 now (if he was 13 and started reading in 1991). But, I suspect that this was a relationship that started when they were in their early 20s. And the partner was just discovering herself. She might have figured out she wasn't going to want to be sexually active and it was time to come to terms with that.

Coming out as asexual is probably just as hard as coming out as homosexual.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 7, 2014 at 11:23 PM · Report this
I assumed Vancouver's ex now has a girlfriend (her name is Alberta, she lives in Vancouver) .
Posted by EricaP on January 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM · Report this
@ 13, She cooks like my mother and sucks like a hoover?
Posted by kellarules on January 8, 2014 at 12:10 AM · Report this
oops, that was supposed to be @15
Posted by kellarules on January 8, 2014 at 12:10 AM · Report this
@4: You realized after the dump that you really did want to date a motherfucker after all? Because DTMFA only applies to MFs. Motherfucker detection is a useful skill - as is knowing yourself and what you want, and sometimes you have to make mistakes in order to learn useful skills.

@7: Nicely done.
Posted by Chase on January 8, 2014 at 1:37 AM · Report this
@14 But you have to understand that any time a woman dumps a man it's because she's a being a manipulative bitch who has Something Better on the side. That she might have been just as unhappy and frustrated as he was, or that she had time to come terms with sexuality never enters the picture.
Posted by msanonymous on January 8, 2014 at 1:54 AM · Report this
Posted by CobaltBlue on January 8, 2014 at 2:58 AM · Report this
What an excellent and positive way to start the year. Thanks Dan!
Posted by MaestroMatt on January 8, 2014 at 4:53 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 22
@ 11: I was with you up until #11. You might be right, and the LW definitely should avoid any chance of finding out any details about her sex life and drive post-relationship, but there's no indication--even if her libido makes a spontaneous, mysterious reappearance as soon as she gets a new partner--that she'd already gotten the hots for New Partner before breaking up with LW. Some people just don't work out well together.

It's just like when a man breaks up with a long-term partner over the issue of marriage and/or kids, and is engaged/expecting with someone else three months later--it doesn't mean he planned it that way, it just means he wasn't all that into her. The same is probably true for the LW's girlfriend, if she experiences a mysterious libidinal resurgence with her next partner--she just wasn't all that into him.
Posted by Eudaemonic on January 8, 2014 at 5:45 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 23
@18: It's so much easier to romanticize a partner that you're not with, isn't it?
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 8, 2014 at 7:08 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 24
@19: Definitely. He was totally happy but for the sex, but that doesn't mean that she was.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 8, 2014 at 7:18 AM · Report this
Never underestimate the libido-crushing power of birth control pills. Lack of ovulation often means no sex drive. Try an alternate method of birth control before writing off a good relationship.
Posted by Aflyoverperson on January 8, 2014 at 7:35 AM · Report this
AFinch 26
@24 - there is a very good chance there was no desire because she was otherwise unhappy. Still, I'm with Avast - she suddenly found her libido again, with someone else, for whatever reason. This does not make her a manipulative bitch, or him a whinger. Man, the bad sex/intimacy is a SIGNAL folks...a big indicator of other things.
Posted by AFinch on January 8, 2014 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 27
@ 26: Yeah. If she suddenly found her libido again, it doesn't even mean she knew something was really off with LW; we often aren't able to accurately assess how into our partners we really are.
Posted by Eudaemonic on January 8, 2014 at 7:51 AM · Report this
@14 if watching what my friend has gone through vs what I've gone through is any indication, it's harder.

People at least understood me, even if they thought it unnatural. People don't understand someone who has no drive whatsoever, they can imagine I feel for someone of the same sex what they feel for someone of the opposite sex but they have trouble imagining feeling nothing
Posted by tal on January 8, 2014 at 8:48 AM · Report this
"I have read your column on and off for most of my teenage and adult life; so long, in fact, that I cannot remember when I began to read it. In addition to being a deeply informed source of information about sexuality and how to be safe, informed, and dumb as a stump....."

It is interesting.

Danny's career dispensing "advice"
coincides with the period when
America's family structure disintegrated,
out of wed birthrates skyrocketed,
STDs became ubiquitous and far more lethal,
and the social fabric of this civilization frayed, tore, then ripped apart.

Substituting humanist Gommorahan social mores for Traditional Heterosexual Marriage has been a disaster.

It is amusing to watch Danny;
on the one hand,
chortle that he is "Winning!"
on the other,
he feigns concern for the social chaos and mayhem that has become America.

Does Danny connect the dots yet?

We notice he finally dropped "Every child deserves..."
Did he finally realize that the lifestyle he advocated created the abuse and suffering and neglect he pretended to be saddened by?

Doe Danny (or any other HomoLiberal) get that increasing income inequality is not a function of Rich Vice but of Incompetence among the Degenerate Gommorahan Masses?
Does Danny get (or care) that the lifestyle he advocates creates "adults" without the life skills required to succeed

The Rich are not taking your stuff; Danny, Goldy, Chuck; the "poor" are just too fucking inept, dysfunctional and unprepared to survive on their own.

Compare the circumstance of people raised by their two married biological parents (a percentage of the demographic that is shrinking to nothing...) to ALL OTHER "family" modes.

Your head will explode.

Traditional Heterosexual Marriage was the institution that created American Prosperity.

The current generations are Trust Fund Brats who have squandered that social heritage and the prosperity it created.


The End is nigh.

The limits of what you can steal from the next generation are being reached.

Gommorah will consume itself.

It is sad, we suppose.
But it is what this generation has chosen.
Who are we to judge?
We can only chronicle.

you will be mourned. but not missed.

Posted by The Day After Tommorow on January 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM · Report this
and yeah;
the smart money says V's ex is getting her brains screwed out every day and twice on Sunday now....
Posted by she's just not that into you, bub on January 8, 2014 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Ophian 31
After yesterday's epic and today's way-longer-than-it-needed-to-be letter, I am wondering what what the hell ever happened to editing for concision.

If I wanted to read something circuitous and interminable, I'd pick upGame of Thrones again.
Posted by Ophian on January 8, 2014 at 12:22 PM · Report this
JunieGirl 32
Re: the second letter--I think I may have helped a young couple deal with this same issue, based on my years of reading here. I am a mentor to a teenage girl through BB/BS (she's 17). She told me (in front of him) that he likes her feet, and she takes her shoes off for him whenever they're together, which she hasn't done for previous boyfriends. I told them that there's nothing wrong with that, we each like what we like, and it was no big deal. I'm hoping the positive, non-shocked response helps both of them deal with new experiences as they go forward.
Posted by JunieGirl on January 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 33
@29: While reading that letter, my cat farted. Your thoughts are made of cat shit. Confirmed, causally.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 8, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
And I have to ask why is everyone so sure the first LW ex is now channeling the characters of Sex and the City? Nothing in the letter indicates that's what happened. Hell he even says she said she doesn't want sex in her relationships.

And even if she is out doing the Denver Broncos so what? I mean if she wasn't attracted to him that seems like a good reason to end the relationship rather than spend years pretending.
Posted by msanonymous on January 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM · Report this

your cat farted because it eats your shitty cooking.

your cooking is cat fart. bon apitete.
Posted by catnip on January 8, 2014 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Of course, the LW's ex could simply have developed the 6.5 year itch. People change.

Posted by Married in MA on January 8, 2014 at 7:35 PM · Report this
What if the sex is ok( even w major ed), cooks ok, wonderful massages but everything else sucks?? Always tells me how much he wants me ( can't erect a thing) and how he wants to do this that and the other position. Over affectionate, maybe trying to make up for the other. Refuses to go to urologist. Tried different ed drugs. Didn't work. Oh well. So in the mean time- this looks like one of those in the mean time relationships. I've given him plenty of time to help himself. What to do???
Posted by crosseyed on January 8, 2014 at 10:31 PM · Report this
@37 I'm confused, the relationship you describe doesn't seem to suck? If the ED is the problem then maybe lay it on the line and say that he needs to do more then avoiding it. However you should also ask if yourself if the problem can't be or if he won't fix it can you live with it? 'No' is an applicable answer.
Posted by msanonymous on January 9, 2014 at 12:54 AM · Report this
sissoucat 39
@undead ayn rand

"A previous ex stated that they had stopped being interested in sex (after a year or two) with a number of their relationships."

I know one definite case of this (female), and maybe a male case. These people are bound to become themselves unhappy, and make their partners unhappy if they practice monogamy.

Any idea how usual this is ?
Posted by sissoucat on January 9, 2014 at 5:59 AM · Report this
@37: Yeah, what #38 said. Confused here too. You said "...but everything else sucks" and then proceeded to give examples where the only thing that demonstrably sucked was the erectile dysfunction. (Well, and his refusal to do anything about it, which admittedly could easily grow into a dealbreaker.) But you even said the sex was okay, apart from the ED.

Is there some reason a vibrator or a dildo isn't any good for making up for it? Or as Dan likes to say, "how big is his forearm?"
Posted by avast2006 on January 9, 2014 at 9:29 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 41
@37: "What if the sex is ok( even w major ed), cooks ok, wonderful massages but everything else sucks?? "

There's nothing wrong with finding someone more compatible for you. It's good,but perhaps not right?

@39: I don't think it's necessarily uncommon, from outside that scenario there's external stressors and unsureness of self involved, but I'd rather not make any real assumptions. I'd rather just hope that things work with them in the future. Either they find happiness and it's reflected in their sexual bond, or if they're just not as libidinous at their core, perhaps they'll find a happy balance with a future partner.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Re the first letter: "metastasize" is the operating word. Dissatisfaction is a plague but rejection is a cancer.
Posted by audren on January 11, 2014 at 1:09 AM · Report this

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