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I’m a 36-year-old straight guy, happily married for more than 10 years, and a longtime reader. My wife and I are monogamous. We’re good communicators, well matched in terms of libido, and slightly kinky (light bondage, Dom/sub play in the bedroom). For the last few months, I’ve been thinking about trying prostate play, and I have a couple of questions. A lot of bloggers and other writers in the sex-advice complex tout the health benefits of regular prostate massage, but I haven’t found any academic research to back up some of the lofty claims that are being made. Does prostate massage reduce the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis? Now the relationship question: I’ve brought partnered prostate play up with my wife, and it’s a hard pass for her. Hygiene is an issue, but that’s easy to take care of (shower, enema, gloves, towels on the bed, etc.). The other part deals with our power dynamics. Typically, I’m the Dom, and, based on the limited conversations we’ve had about this, there is something about penetrating me that she finds deeply uncomfortable. What should I do? How do I frame this conversation in a way that may make her more comfortable and gets her finger(s) in my ass? We’ve shared so much—she’s an incredible partner who has helped me realize so many of my fantasies, and I’d like her to be a part of this one, too. —Partner Protests Prostate Play

If there were any legit studies out there that documented the health benefits of regular prostate massage, PPPP, Richard Wassersug, Ph.D., would know about them. Wassersug is a research scientist at the University of British Columbia, where he studies ways to help prostate cancer patients manage the side effects of their treatments.

“I’d like to believe that I’m knowledgeable on this topic,” Wassersug said, “[but] I checked PubMed to see if I’d missed anything in the relevant and recent peer-reviewed medical literature. As I expected, there are no objective data supporting the claim that ‘regular prostate massage’ reduces the risk of prostate cancer and prostatitis. [And while] prostate massage can be used to express prostatic fluid for diagnostic purposes, that’s not the same as using it for the treatment of any prostatic diseases.”

But that doesn’t mean that prostate massage isn’t beneficial; absence of evidence, as they say, isn’t evidence of absence.

“We [just] don’t know,” said Wassersug, and finding out “would, in fact, take a very large sample and many years to collect enough data to provide a definitive answer.”

But there definitely is something you can do right now to decrease your risk of prostate cancer, PPPP: Two large studies found that men who ejaculate frequently—more than 21 times per month—are roughly 35 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who blow fewer loads. So if sticking things up your butt makes you come more often, then science says sticking things up your butt will reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Researchers don’t know exactly why coming a lot may reduce a man’s risk for prostate cancer. There’s no data to support one frequently mentioned theory—that ejaculation may flush out “irritating or harmful substances” that could be gathering in the prostate along with the fluids that make up roughly 30 percent of a man’s seminal fluids—so, again, more research is needed. And until those studies are done, men and other prostate-having people should err on the side of ejaculating as often as (safely and consensually) possible.

As for convincing your otherwise submissive wife to finger your ass, PPPP, you could search for “power bottoms” on the gay section of Pornhub—assuming your wife enjoys gay porn—and familiarize her with the concept of dominant penetratees. You could also add female condoms to your list of hygiene hacks—put one of these trash-can liners in your ass, and the only thing your wife will get on her fingers is lube. But if anal play is a hard no for the wife, you’ll have to enjoy anal play solo.

Richard Wassersug co-leads Life on ADT (lifeonadt.com), a national educational program in Canada for prostate cancer patients dealing with the side effects of androgen deprivation therapy. —Dan Savage

I am a poly nonbinary person, and I’ve been seeing this guy in a BDSM context for about six months. About two times a month, he canes me and destroys my ass, I get to call him “daddy,” and I get fucked in mind-blowing ways. In the beginning, I expressed interest in dating (with more emotional investment), and he said he didn’t have the mental space for it but he’d be interested in trying to develop something eventually. So we’ve played and had fun, and I’m starting to get feels for this guy… buuuuut… he’s given me no indication he’s interested in anything beyond our current arrangement. I’ve said, “Hey, let’s schedule a date,” something like dinner, coffee, a walk around the fucking block, but he just wants to fuck, no talking. What he wants isn’t what I’m looking for, so I decided to take my business elsewhere and focus my energy on my other relationships. Well, his mom just got diagnosed with cancer and has a couple months to live. He’s devastated. What are the ethics of breaking up here? I dislike just ghosting, but he’s got other friends and lovers to support him. He doesn’t really need me. But he does on occasion send little “thinking of you” texts. So am I able to ghost him? Do I owe him a conversation about wants and needs? I’d like to be friends—I am part of a small kinky community, I’m friends with some of his fuck buddies, and I’m going to run into him again—but this isn’t a time in his life when he should be worrying about the feelings of a now-and-then spanking partner. —Ghosting Has Obvious Shortcomings That Suck

You’ve constructed a false choice for yourself, GHOSTS: either initiate a conversation about your wants and needs or ghost him. But there’s no need for a wants-and-needs convo, as you’ve already had that conversation (more than once) and his don’t align with yours. So instead of disappearing on him, you can simply respond to his “thinking of you” texts with short, thoughtful, compassionate texts of your own. (“Thinking of you, too, especially at this difficult time.”) The odds that he’ll want to meet up in the next few months seem slim, and you can always claim a scheduling conflict if he should ask to get together.

Being friendly is the trick to remaining friends after a casual sexual arrangement ends. Kindly acknowledging someone’s texts—or greeting someone in public—doesn’t obligate you to sleep with (or submit to) them again. And while in most cases I would advise a person to be direct … in this case, I think you should simply step back. Calling him to say, “Hey, I know your mom has cancer and is dying, but I needed to tell you I’m not interested in fucking around anymore, okay?” will make you seem self-involved, thoughtless, and uncaring—you know, not the kind of person someone wants to remain friends with after a casual sexual arrangement ends.

Now, if you were this man’s primary partner, GHOSTS, and you’d been thinking about ending the relationship before he got the news about his mother, I would encourage you to wait a few months and love and support him through this process. (Unless the relationship was abusive, of course, which this one wasn’t.) But you’re just a FWB—a “friend with bruises,” in your case—and this man has other friends and lovers around him, people whose support he can rely on during this difficult time. —DS

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