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I’m a 20-year-old submissive woman. I’m currently in a confusing affair with a 50-year-old dominant married man. He lives in Europe and has two kids close to my age. We met online when I was 17 and starting to explore my BDSM desires—out of the reach of my overbearing, sex-shaming, disastrously religious parents—and we’ve been texting daily ever since. We’ve since met in different countries and spent a total of three weeks together. Those weeks were amazing, both sexually and emotionally, and he says he loves me. (Some will assume, because of the age difference, that he “groomed” me. He did not.) I date vanilla boys my age, with his full support, while we continue to text daily. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to blow up his family if (or when) our affair is discovered. But at the same time, our relationship has really helped me navigate my kinks and my sexuality. Expecting him to leave his wife for me is a highly unrealistic cliché, I am aware. Yet I fear I’ve become dependent on his conversation and advice. I’m graduating soon and have a big job lined up in a big city. I’ll finally be financially independent, and I’d like to start making the right choices. Any perspective you have would be much appreciated. —Things Must Improve
He is not going to leave his wife for you, and you shouldn’t assume his wife is going to leave him if (or when) this affair is discovered (or exposed). Divorce may be the default setting in the United States in the wake of an affair, TMI, but Europeans take a much more, well, European attitude toward infidelity. Definitely not cricket, not necessarily fatal.
And you don’t need him to leave his wife for you, TMI. OK, OK—you’re in love, and the three weeks you’ve managed to spend together were amazing. But don’t fall into the trap of believing a romantic relationship requires a tidy ending; film, television, and literature beat it into our heads that romantic relationships end either happily at the altar (à la Pride and Prejudice) or tragically at the morgue (à la Forensic Files). But romantic relationships take many forms, TMI, as does romantic success. And this relationship, such as it is, this relationship as-is, sounds like an ongoing success.
In other words, TMI, I think you’re confused about this relationship because there won’t be a resolution that fits into a familiar mold. But you don’t need a resolution: You can continue to text with him, and he can continue to provide you with his advice and support while you continue to date single, available, and kinky men (no more vanilla boys!) closer to your own age and/or on your own continent. Eventually you’ll meet a new guy you’re crazy about—someone you can see for more than one week a year—and you’ll feel less dependent on and connected to your old flame. —Dan Savage
While on vacation, I went for a full body massage. The first half of the massage—me on my stomach—was great. When the masseuse asked me to flip on my back, things took a turn. She uncovered one of my legs and began massaging my thigh. As she worked on my inner thigh, her finger grazed my scrotum. Then it happened again. And again. She was working on my thigh, but it felt like I was getting my balls caressed. I began to worry I was getting a visible erection. Then I started to panic when I felt like I might actually come. (I have always had issues with premature ejaculation.) I tried hard to clamp down and think about baseball and senior citizens, but I wound up having an orgasm. She eventually moved to my arms, shoulders, etc., but meanwhile I’m lying there with jizz cooling on myself. Am I guilty of #metoo bad behavior? Should I have said something or asked her to stop? Is it possible she didn’t have any clue? (My penis was never uncovered and I didn’t create an obvious wet spot on the sheet.) I tipped her extra, just in case she was mortified, though I didn’t get the sense she was because nothing changed after I came in terms of her massaging me. (She didn’t hurry away from my legs or rush to finish my massage.) I still feel really weird about the whole thing. I get massages frequently, this has never happened before, and I certainly didn’t go into it looking for this result. —Lost Opportunity At De-escalation
If it all went down as you described, LOAD, you aren’t guilty of “#metoo bad behavior.” It’s not uncommon for people to become unintentionally aroused during a nonerotic massage; it’s more noticeable when it happens to men, of course, but it happens to women, too. “Erections do happen,” a masseuse told me when I ran your letter past her. “So long as guys don’t suddenly ask for a ‘happy ending,’ expose themselves, or—God help me—attempt to take my hand and place it on their erection, they haven’t done anything wrong.”
Since this hasn’t happened to you before, LOAD, I don’t think you should waste too much time worrying about it happening again. But if you’re concerned this one massage created a powerful erotic association and you’re likely to blow a load the next time a masseuse so much as looks at one of your thighs, go ahead and have a quick wank before your appointment. —DS
Living my truth permits others in my fairly conservative circles—Christian family struggling to accept a gay son, colleagues in a traditionally masculine field—to accept gay/other/different folks. I identify as a bottom, and until recently I thought I had erectile dysfunction because I would literally go soft at the thought of topping another man. I should mention that I’m black in the Pacific Northwest, so there is this odd “BBC” fixation and an expectation from many guys that I will top. However, I am usually very submissive and drawn to hypermasculine, dominant guys. But I recently noticed an attraction to married guys—specifically, submissive bottom masculine/muscular married guys who like to wear lingerie. I met a few and became this dominant guy who fit the stereotype most guys expect when they see me online or in person. Now I’m very confused. I tried topping recently, because a married guy begged me to. He said, “You’ll never know if you like it until you try it!” Which is the same thing my traditional uncles have said to me about women. My life would be so much easier if I just married a woman! So this sudden turn from bottom to top is troubling me. I don’t think it is possible to turn straight, but I didn’t think I was a top until a few weeks ago. So am I capable of turning straight? That would validate everything my homophobic family members have said. I’m repulsed by vaginas but fascinated by boobs. Have you seen/heard of things like this? —Praying The Straight Away
If you’re a regular reader, PTSA, you’ve seen letters in this space from straight-identified guys into cock. Many of these guys have described themselves as being fascinated by cock but repulsed by men; some of these guys seek out sex with trans women who’ve kept their dicks. Your thing for hot guys in lingerie and your thing for boobs might be the gay flip of this erotic script—boobs fascinate you, but you’re not into the genitalia most women have. Muscular guys in lingerie turn you on—big pecs can fill out a lacy bra just as alluringly as big boobs—and it’s possible you might enjoy being with a trans woman who got boobs but kept her dick.
All that said, PTSA, discovering after years of bottoming that you enjoy topping certain types of men—masculine/muscular married guys who beg for your dick while wearing lingerie—doesn’t mean you’re “capable” of turning straight. Going from bottom to versatile isn’t the same thing as going from men to women. And being fascinated by a body part that typically comes attached to people, i.e., women, who fall outside your usual “erotic target interest,” as the sex researchers say, isn’t a sign that your uncles were right all along.
In short, PTSA, you aren’t potentially straight—you’re gay and a little more complicated, interesting, and expansive than you realized at first. —DS
P.S. On behalf of all the dudes who have objectified you with this “BBC” stuff and made you feel anything other than proud to be primarily a bottom, please accept my apology.