Q: My father is 65 years old and has been a devoted husband to my mother who has been battling a medical condition for the past 30 years — a condition that prevents her from engaging in sexual activity of any kind. He has not had sex in all this time and is desperately frustrated. He's not Internet savvy, and has taken to calling me across the continent from Michigan to ask for my help in getting him laid. At first, I just thought it was gross. But now, a couple of years and awkward conversations later, I wish I had some good advice for him — if only so that we never have to speak of this again. Is there a way that a man (once again, not Internet savvy) can legally find someone to have sex with in Michigan? I will read your answer to him over the phone. —The Good Son
A: "It's awesome that TGS has gotten over his initial squick and is stepping up to help his dad," said Savannah Sly, a "professional fantasy fulfiller" and a sex workers' rights activist with the Sex Workers Outreach Project (swopusa.org). "His dad will have the best success by hooking up with an escort. Escorting is not technically illegal, as the money paid is for time and companionship only — and anything that happens sexually is a decision made by two consenting adults."
Sly recommends finding an independent provider whose website doesn't use sexually explicit language and specifically states that payment is for companionship only. But Dad can't look at websites, so Sly suggests that you do the looking for Dad.
"TGS could visit these sites and print out the advertisements of escorts in his dad's area who have phone numbers: eros.com/us/michigan/eros.htm and michigan.date-check.com/escorts.asp," said Sly. "Dad can look at the ads and then call a provider himself to arrange an appointment. TGS should let his dad know that some escorts will not see gentlemen who are new to the hobby. Everyone has their own methods of screening clients, and TGS's dad should comply with the safety-screening standards of whomever he chooses to call. This is for the safety of the provider and her clients."
Is there a way for your dad — or for you — to do a safety screening of your own? "Some escorts have reviews online," said Sly, "and reviews are a good way to verify that someone is a provider with a history of being professional and reliable."
A final thought from Sly: "There is nothing inherently wrong or violent about escorting, but our culture is really screwed up about sexuality and intimacy, and there is a lot of misunderstanding and stigma shrouding the adult industry. If TGS or his dad has cold feet about this, I suggest Googling the phrase 'sex worker.' Read materials written by people who actually work in the adult industry — they'll find there are many experiences and perspectives they probably did not know about, and a little reading may allay their apprehensions."
Q: Full marks to PANICKED — the mom whose son is looking at violent porn — for trying to be a good, understanding parent, but what the fuck was her 15-year-old son thinking when he shared his violent gang-rape fantasies with his parents? I was enjoying bondage porn at 15, but I certainly didn't talk to my mother about it — nor did I speak with her about the many illegal drugs I was consuming or my masturbation routines. There are some things that parents don't need to know! Transitioning to adulthood means not telling Mommy everything — and the idea of growing up into a safe, sane, sensible BDSMer under Mommy's watchful eye seems icky to me. Some things you just gotta do by yourself. —Sane Adult Consenting Kinkster
A: Thanks for sharing, SACK, but let's cut this kid some slack: PANICKED's son may have opened up to Mommy because he was freaked out by his desires and wanted help. And speaking of help, here are two more recommendations from Savage Love readers: Scarleteen (scarleteen.com), a sex-positive, kink-positive, queer-inclusive sex-ed resource/oasis-of-sanity for teenagers and young adults, and the terrific book When Someone You Love Is Kinky by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt.
Q: I'm a heterosexual, cisgender male in college. I've been in a monogamous relationship with a girl (18, cisgender, bisexual, also in college) for a little more than two months, and the sex is not frequent enough for me — we've had sex three times total. The core of the issue is that I'm a 20-year-old guy with a typically high libido, and her libido is low to nonexistent. When she's drunk, she suddenly gets very horny and craves my dick. When she's sober, she is very mellow. I suspect that she has some barriers up and alcohol disinhibits her. She has body issues, a history with a rapist, an emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, and depression. With the barriers down, I suspect she has a high sex drive. The alcohol, however, is obviously not a long-term solution, especially because if it doesn't make her horny, it can make her have a depressive episode. Do you think there is anything I can do to coax the barriers down while she's sober? I like her a lot, so I'm not willing to dump her over this.
—Libido And Alcohol Problems
A: Is your girlfriend seeing a therapist? Because if she isn't, LAAP, she should be — and I suspect she isn't, because you probably would've mentioned it.
Horny, 20-year-old boyfriends are wonderful things — I remember what those were like — but a horny, 20-year-old boyfriend (and the sexual hopes, expectations, and pressures that come bundled with one) may not be the best thing for a young woman struggling with body issues and the double head zap of having been both raped and in an emotionally abusive relationship. I don't think you should dump her because she's not putting out at the clip you'd like — don't present it that way, LAAP, because you don't want her fucking you under duress — but you should have a conversation about what she really wants from you. If she wants a fully intimate relationship, i.e., a romantic connection that's both emotional and sexual, her inhibitions (her traumas) are preventing her from having that, and you're right that booze isn't a realistic long-term fix. And as boozing is as likely to lead to a depressive episode as it is to waken her libido, it's not a great short-term fix either. But working with a therapist is a realistic fix — a good therapist can help her find the strength inside herself that she's currently finding in a pitcher of margaritas.
But if all she wants from you is your time, your attention, and your emotional support, LAAP, tell her she can have all of that without the pressure of being your "girlfriend." The last thing you should want — and the last thing she needs — is for her to be getting strategically drunk so that she can fuck you just enough to keep you by her side. Reassure her that you'll be at her side whether you're her boyfriend or not — but say that only if you mean it — and encourage her to get the professional help that she needs.
On the Lovecast, Dan and author Johann Hari discuss our silly little drug war: savagelovecast.com.