I have been seeing this great guy for about two years now. A few months back, I stumbled upon some she-male photos on our computer. When I confronted him, he said that it was in response to a “nightmare” he had from watching HBO late at night or something. I asked him to be honest with himself and me. I told him I could be GGG or that we could just be friends if he didn’t want to be with a natural woman anymore. He said he wanted to be with me.
Today as I browsed for errant cookies clogging my computer, I found more she-male pics. Is my boyfriend gay? Is there anything I can do to help satisfy him sexually? What can I do emotionally? Is it better to try to maintain the relationship or to encourage him to explore his desires? Who can I refer him to? How can I help him?—Guess It Isn’t Really Love
I’ll get to your problem in a moment, GIIRL, but first I feel compelled to apologize to my readers for going on vacation just as all hell was breaking loose. I fly off to Europe and a high-ranking staffer in Sen. Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum’s office, Robert Traynham, gets outed; Jude Law gets caught fucking his—let’s be frank—
distressingly homely nanny (you can do—and have done—better, Jude!); and most infamously, a man dies in Washington State after having sex with a horse.
The first reports about the death-by-horse didn’t include the exact cause of death, and, like many people, I assumed the man had been fatally kicked in the head when he attempted to mount the killer horse. This was not the case. The man died, a horrified world soon learned, of a perforated colon. A perforated colon could mean only one thing: The horse was the active partner, and the dead man, a 45-year-old resident of Seattle, had literally been fucked to death.
After the news broke, hundreds of distressed Savage Love readers wrote in to ask me why anyone would want to be fucked by a horse, how that would work exactly, and how a perforated colon kills you. (A perforated colon leaks like Karl Rove on a bender, you see—which in this case led to a fatal case of acute peritonitis.) A few people wrote in to ask if the farm was still open for business. I was away when you needed me most, dear readers, drinking my way through Glasgow and Copenhagen when I should have been here, at Ann Landers’ desk, comforting and consoling you. And by the time I returned to work this week, every angle of this story—the ethics, etiquette, and mechanics of getting fucked by a horse—had already been covered by Miss Manners, Garrison Keillor, and Bob Novak, so there’s really nothing left for me to add.
Except this: The dead man made a videotape of the fatal encounter, a tape the police seized, reviewed, and, apparently, leaked, because the videotape is now on the Web. Of all the troubling aspects of this incident, it’s the existence of this videotape that has me scratching my head. One would think that getting fucked in the ass by a horse would be an experience so memorable that you wouldn’t need a videotape to recall it. (“Hey, remember that time you got fucked by a horse?” “No, I can’t say that I do. Hand me that box of Depends, would you?”) But the man made a video, and now it’s out there for all to see, which is a tragedy for the dead man, his family, and the killer horse. (Don’t write in and ask me for the link—unlike Bob Novak, I won’t put everything in my column.)
OK, GIIRL, on to your issues.
So what’s up with the she-male thing? It’s like this: Straight boys love tits. Straight boys also love cock. In most cases, straight boys are enamored of their own cocks exclusively, and there’s nothin’ queer about that. But for a tiny minority of straight guys, their love of cock extends to other cocks. This “thing” is most commonly expressed by a taste for “straight” porn that prominently displays cock. Most straight guys who enjoy cock in their porn identify with the other men’s cocks, enjoying the thrill of living vicariously through them. But a thin slice of these straight guys actually lust after cock—but just the dicks, GIIRL, not the dudes. An even thinner slice of this already thin slice of the straight-guy pie actively long for dick—a dick other than their own—but they’re straight, you see, and they don’t want to mess around with an actual dude, just a cock. And that’s where she-males come in—excuse me, cash in. They’ve got dicks, and their dicks aren’t attached to dudes. Their dicks are attached to babes, and cock-hungry straight boys will pay them good money for the pleasure of their company.
So is your boyfriend gay? No, he’s not. I don’t know any gay men who lust after she-males; that obsession is an exclusively straight-identified-male-with-a-hunger-for-cock phenomenon. His she-male obsession technically disqualifies him from the 100-percent-straight category, but it doesn’t necessarily make him bi or gay—just a touch queer. If you’re not down with that, well, then DTMFA (dump the motherfucker already).
I have a “bend-over boyfriend” whom I love very much, and we’ve been dating for almost a year. I am his first “strap-on girlfriend.” For a while, the sex was hot and explosive. Then, a few months ago, we cooled off something fierce. The BF was under a lot of stress, and he told me that sex was just the last thing on his mind. He seemed sincere, and he made an effort after that, but that wasn’t what bothered me.
I came across a business card in his house for a gay men’s bathhouse. That shook me up. He claimed that he didn’t know where the card had come from or even what a bathhouse was. He said he understood my fear, and that night he curled up to me and told me he loved me.
Well, shortly afterward, I saw that he had looked up the same bathhouse on his computer and bookmarked it. I freaked. He said that he thought originally it was a toy shop and that’s why he had looked up the Web site, and that he didn’t realize he’d bookmarked it. He claimed again that there was nothing to worry about.
I find myself completely paranoid now. I’m afraid to even look around his house, because I might see something that will tell me he’s lying. He now gets irritated when I ask him anything, and insists that everything is fine. I have no question that this man loves me, but this just won’t go away. I feel I don’t trust him. Do I have a legitimate fear, or am I possibly blowing the situation out of proportion?
—Not Wanting a Gay Ex
A guy can like getting fucked in the ass by his girlfriend, NWAGE, or be too stressed-out for sex, or innocently come into possession of info about a gay bathhouse and still be a straight guy. But all three at once? He likes getting fucked in the ass, he’s not that interested in his girlfriend anymore, and you’re finding cards for a gay bathhouse lying around his apartment and the same bathhouse’s Web site bookmarked on his computer? I’m sorry, NWAGE, but your guy can’t be straight. He might not be gay; he could be bisexual or just heteroflexible enough to be curious about what a real cock feels like. But straight, bi, or gay, he’s not being straight with you. If you’re not down with sharing his ass with some stranger in a gay bathhouse, well, then you’d better DTMFA.—Dan Savage
Dan Savage’s Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America (Dutton) is available at bookstores nationwide. Send your Savage Love questions to email@example.com.
Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Illustration by Robert Ullman.