Hey, everybody: Here are the questions I couldn't answer, followed by the advice offered — lots and lots of it — from readers who could. —Dan Savage
Q: I'm a guy into she-male porn, and I've noticed that almost all the models in said porn have very tight scrotums. Like they're cold. So I'm wondering, what's the deal? Is it just the hormones? Or do they employ some kind of preshoot scrotal-tightening technique? A bit of both, perhaps? —Never Understood Tranny Scrotums
A: "In male-to-female transsexuals, hormone-replacement therapy will, over the long term, cause the shrinkage of the owner's testicles. Over the course of many years, they will continue to shrink — often to about a quarter of their original size. Because the testicles have shrunk, the skin of the scrotum will tighten over time to hold their newly miniaturized companions.
A: "Come on now, Dan, shrunken testes on she-males? How do you suppose they get the titties, and lose their beards and body hair? It's called estrogen, and of course it shrinks up the ball sacs.
A: "I love she-male porn too — mostly their tits and cocksucking. Hormones make the nuts atrophy so the scrotum shrinks up, that's why in the old pre-Viagra days, the she-males always had limp dicks."
Q: There's this new pastor at the church I visit. She's gorgeous, an athlete, and she can read ancient Greek. I've managed to get her to lunch twice, despite her schedule, and I spelled out my interest explicitly. She seemed receptive, posited that dating someone in her new congregation could possibly cause issues, but she may go hiking with me this weekend. So what's the protocol for dating a smokin'-hot priestess? —Not Very Good Xian
A: "In reply to Not Very Good Xian, depending on the exact denomination, there may be serious repercussions against the minister if she dates someone in her congregation. We're not talking a written reprimand. We're talking suspension of her ability to be a minister. So if he's that interested, the first step he should be taking is to find another congregation."
A: I'm assuming the smokin'-hot priestess isn't a nun and hasn't taken a vow of celibacy. In that case, she's a normal woman, and should be treated just like any other normal woman. The "priestess" may have to tread carefully, like everyone in public professions do — counselors, lawyers, doctors, etc. — but it doesn't mean she can't date, fool around and eventually get married. And it doesn't sound like NVGX has been brushed off quite yet, which you suggested in your column, Dan. I'm also a single minister. If I want to brush someone off, we sit down for coffee in the church library. Hiking is a completely different story.
A: "While I have limited experience regarding most topics in your column, which I read as a form of sex education for grown-ups, I am a church organist and can speak to NVGX. Once he or she has had a pastoral relationship with a priest or minister, he is off-limits to her, however hot either of them may be. Here in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington [D.C.], all church employees are required to attend two one-day seminars about avoiding suspicion of sexual abuse of children and adults and spotting sexual misconduct among others. Candidates for ordained ministry are put through rigorous psychological screening before they are even allowed to start seminary. Candidates are also informally advised to get into marriage or a long-term relationship, in the case of gays or lesbians, before they finish seminary. If they don't find suitable mates, they must look outside the parish or even outside the denomination. I also wondered if some of NVGX's problems might be incompatible sexual orientation. My experience has been that women priests tend to skew somewhat higher for lesbians. Hope this helps."
A: "I'm a woman clergyperson and my husband pointed out to me your 'clueless' column about the guy who wants to date his minister. (Being a minister, I never read sex columns.) There actually is a protocol for ministers who want to date. Clergy can't date people in their own congregation — it could get you both defrocked and fired. So, if that guy really wants to ask his minister out, he needs to leave that congregation. He should stop attending his current church, find a new one he likes, and officially transfer his membership (send a real snail-mail letter to both congregations to make it official). If he just stops attending the current church without joining a new one, it may look fishy to his minister's ecclesiastical superiors, so he really does need to at least go through the motions of attending worship somewhere else. What with all the clergy abuse scandals, church leaders are worried about lawsuits and can be uptight about this sort of thing. Once he is officially a member of a new congregation (give it a few months), he can ask her out and find out if 'let's go hiking' actually means 'I think you are hot too, but don't want to lose my job and my vocation' or 'I have to be nice to you because that's what I get paid the big bucks for, but I'm making sure to keep three feet away from you at all times from now on.'"
Q: I am a gay man who has been in a relationship with my partner for nine years. My lover has always planned on undergoing a sex change, from male to female. There were money and health problems, but he's ready now. I've always told him that I love him, no matter what. Now he's gotten his breast implants and I have to admit I am completely weirded out by them. I feel like a hypocrite, but I don't know what to do! I've never been with a woman, and I don't want to be with one now. I also love my partner intensely. Any advice? I feel like a jerk! Support him for nine years and then "peace out" because of boobs? —Hating Myself And His Breasts
A: "If you are simply 'weirded out by' your partner's new breasts, and you did not previously believe that sex reassignment would affect your feelings, it may simply be that you need time to adjust. However, if the feelings of being 'weirded out' persist or get worse, you need to break it off nicely. Your boyfriend is no longer your boyfriend, but your girlfriend, and no matter how much you love her personality and companionship, it may simply be that you're gay and attracted only to males. If so, you didn't do anything wrong, just made a mistaken guess as to your ability to remain attracted to her after she began working on her sex reassignment. Just keep in mind that she didn't do anything wrong, either. No matter how much you love her, it wouldn't be fair to either of you to remain in a relationship in which there was no sexual attraction. Also, keep in mind that continuing to refer to her as your 'boyfriend' and 'he' may very well drive her away regardless of your feelings and ability to cope, since this probably is not what she wishes to be seen as now that she's working toward her goals."
A: "I'm writing in response to the gay man who's not turned on by his boyfriend's new rack. My guess is he went into this relationship prepared to deal with his partner having a sex change someday — as long as that someday never came. That doesn't make him a jerk, it makes him a supportive person who thought he could deal with something he secretly hoped would never happen. But it is happening, so there are a couple options: Take it one day at a time and see if the boobs 'grow' on him, or admit that even though he loves his partner he doesn't want him as a her and be supportive as a friend instead of a significant other."
A: "You were a jerk for saying I love you no matter what, HMAHB. What you should have said was, 'I will always love you, but I am only wiling to have a sexual relationship with another man.' And you can still say that, and still be roommates or partners, albeit the nonsexual type. This would leave you both free to seek someone else whom you are attracted to, and more important, who is attracted to you or your partner! Don't leave your partner, leave the boobs! And give your partner the opportunity to find someone who really enjoys her new boobs. She paid enough for them!"
A: "I have a pretty simple answer for HMAHB: The time to say, 'I've never been with a woman, and I don't want to be with one now' was nine years ago. He apparently knew all along that his lover was planning a sex change, and I can't imagine it was a big surprise to find out that he doesn't want to be with a woman. Either he's totally clueless about his own needs, or much more likely he's a lying fuckwad and was either taking advantage of the temporary boy parts or assuming that his partner would never actually go through with it."
A: "You feel like a hypocrite, HMAHB? He is the one getting the body you fell in love with carved up. You're gay! You like men. He is planning on no longer being a man. I do my best to be open-minded, but if my girlfriend had a pair testicles installed, I'd be out of there fast."
A: "HMAHB should introduce NUTS to his male-to-female partner. While NUTS is getting all hot and bothered, asking MTFP everything he ever wanted to know about the she-male scrotum, HMAHB can back out of the relationship. More seriously: HMAHB will never be hot for his partner's new breasts or the other new parts. Better to be honest about it now, and decide together how the relationship could evolve, if at all."
A: "The fact that HMAHB is referring to his partner (who has clearly begun her transition, considering she has breasts) with male pronouns shows that he is not ready — and probably never will be ready — to accept his partner as a woman, and love her at the same time. You've said it yourself a number of times, Dan: Gay men like men. Transsexual women are not men. This is why you don't see very many gay men partnered with transwomen (gay men partnered with transmen seem to be far more common). And there's no reason HMAHB should feel guilty for not being attracted to a transwoman any more than he should feel bad about not being attracted to other kinds of women. He's gay. He needs to do himself, and his partner, a favor and end their relationship."
A: "I am a 65-year-old gay man and have stayed with my lover for 36 years, although he changed to a woman 20 years ago. I said I would always love him, but when I first saw her naked after the surgery I was traumatized. I tried to make love with her for a year, but it was making me impotent — not only with her, but even with men, so I gave up. I have had to manage my strong but exclusively gay sex drive with part-time affairs with married men and at the baths, always struggling to stay uninfected during a life of obligatory, though not unpleasant, promiscuity. She has had to accept my activity and chose herself to go without sex. It's not a perfect solution, but there is none. People try to understand and accept her choice, but not mine. Gays cannot understand why I didn't just leave, while heteros think I should have somehow learned to have sex with her. When people ask how I could stay with her, I ask what they would do if their lover lost his ability to have sex in a disabling accident. For us, our companionship was worth the sacrifice."
Q: I'm 23, straight and female. I have a fairly ravenous sexual appetite, and particularly enjoy administering oral sex to my lucky lovers. Unfortunately, I've happened upon (what seems to be) a unique dilemma. An hour or so after swallowing particular loads, I get intense stomachaches, quickly transitioning into intense diarrhea. This only occurs with maybe one in five men, and seems to be particular to the individual (i.e., if a man's loads give me the shits, they always give me the shits; if a man's loads don't give me the shits, they never give me the shits).
This has never really been too much of a problem for me in the past—I just didn't call guys back when it occurred—but I have started dating a one-in-fiver who is witty, great in the sack, and gorgeous, and I want to keep seeing him. So I have a few questions for you: 1) Does this happen to anyone else? 2) Is it me or is there something wrong with some guys' semen? 3) Is there any remedy, besides spitting? —Blowing Judiciously
A: "As a board-certified OB-GYN, I can say that I have had a fair amount of experience with a class of chemicals known as 'prostaglandins.' This group of molecules is associated with inflammation throughout the body, and they receive a fair amount of attention in our specialty. Why? The prostaglandins are associated with smooth muscle contraction. To wit, a medicine named 'prostin' (Prostaglandin E2) is commonly used for labor induction through cervical softening and uterine contraction. Another prostaglandin, F2-alpha, is a potent uterine contractor, and finds its use as a third-line agent for postpartum hemorrhage in those women with poor uterine 'tone.' Almost essential to the administration of this latter medicine, lest a physician incur the wrath of the labor nurses, is the inclusion of a potent antinausea and antidiarrheal medicine — Phenergan and Lomotil respectively. Sure, you saved her life from hemorrhage, but omit these medicines and rest assured once the dust has settled all she'll recall is the projectile vomiting and incessant diarrhea following the birth.
"Lest I bore you further with these semantics, the take-home point is that semen contains fairly high levels of prostaglandins. And I do not imagine that these molecules are gender-sensitive; anybody who swallows, be they heterosexual female, gay male or the (I swear I'm not gay, I was just experimenting!) 'straight' male could be subject to these effects.
"So what to do? Short of taking a preswallow dose of Lomotil, which would likely reflexively constipate the swallowee for several days afterward, I would recommend simply taking a dose of ibuprofen, which has antiporstaglandin effects, before the blow. Hope this helps!"
A: "I'm in my early 50s and went to college in the mid-'70s, before we had to worry about things like herpes and HIV — sigh — and I always had a very strong physical reaction to every guy I had sex with when fluids were exchanged. If I gave him a blow job, the reaction was stronger, but it happened with vaginal sex too. Diarrhea, aching in my joints, and a few other fun things. Well it turns out I have rheumatoid arthritis and my overactive immune system would jump all over any foreign material, then continue jumping all over my soft tissues for another day or so.
"I wasn't diagnosed until my mid-30s, by which time I'd 'settled down' and had two kids. I was monogamous and childless for about 10 years, during which time I had very few flare-ups. Once I had kids, who brought home all kinds of fun bugs from their pals, and then also started having affairs, the flare-ups began again and I found out I have RA. By my late 30s, I was being very careful about fluid exchange, so it was rare that I'd have an 'explosive' reaction to any new partner, but I finally tracked some of them back to new guys after the wrappers came off. It would take me a couple of months for my body to get used to the various proteins and germs and whatever else I was receiving from my new partner.
"I found the whole thing really bewildering until I was diagnosed with RA. I think BJ should avoid fluid exchanges until she finds someone worth getting diarrhea for."
A: "Blowing Judiciously is clearly allergic to some guys' come. I'm not an MD, but I do know that allergies are triggered by proteins, and come is loaded with protein. And I can testify that come does vary from one guy to another in this regard. I had at least one lover who got a skin rash if I came on her face. Our (my) solution to this problem was to come in her mouth and let her swallow it. She never told me it made her sick to her stomach, so I guess it was just a skin allergy. BJ seems to have the reverse problem. The solution? Spit!"
A: "Usually differences in men's sperm directly relate to what they eat. Does your new guy eat a lot of meat and fiber? Does he eat something that you're allergic to? If you're comfortable with it, you might want to try talking to him about changing his diet around on days when you want to go down. If you've only been dating him a short time and don't really feel comfortable discussing his dietary habits, try taking him to a healthy restaurant first. There should be lists online that point out how different foods affect a man's load. Do some research."
A: "Is there any remedy besides spitting? Of course there is. What I'll do is just let the come drizzle out of my mouth while continuing to finish the blow job. You're not swallowing, you're not spitting. It gets all over the guy, but if you're good enough at giving head, rest assured, they won't notice or care and it will minimize the stomach problems."
A: "I have had the same problem with feeling sick to my stomach after swallowing. I noticed the following: It happens when a guy eats a lot of meat (such as on the Atkins diet — eeew); it happens if the guy is a smoker (tobacco); it happens if the guy drinks a lot of high-gravity beers (like Duvel, Trappist beers etc.); it happens even worse with all of the above when I have an empty stomach (such as in the morning).
"I am now dating a nonsmoking, nondrinking, infrequent meat eater, and have no problems at all. Yay!"
Q: My wife and I enjoy a vigorous BDSM lifestyle and take part in some pretty heavy activities. One we haven't tried but are anxious to is Tabasco sauce on mucous membranes, e.g., nostrils, clit, and anal tissues. Our question: What would we use to cool the burn should the application of Tabasco sauce to her anus or clit prove to be too much for her to endure? —Master & Servant
A: "The ingredient that makes hot peppers hot — capsaicin — is a base, so an acid will neutralize it. Best bets are probably lactic acid in milk and milk products (yogurt, ice cream) or citric acid (orange juice, tangerine slices). This is why spicy Indian food is often served with yogurt. I'd recommend trying a variety of foodstuffs to see which one you like best. I'm guessing Cool Whip, being nondairy, won't work. Don't use water — that'll only spread the hot around. And before you try this, I recommend viewing one of the many YouTube videos of teenage boys who think it'd be fun to put Bengay on their genitals."
A: "Master & Servant may have been better off directing their question to a cooking columnist than to a sex columnist — lucky for them, some people read about both! Chili-handling cooks who have ended up in agony after carelessly touching their eyes or going to the bathroom have learned that there is a common, everyday substance that removes the sting: milk. A washcloth soaked in plain old cow's milk, I swear, works better than anything else for cooling the burn. Whole milk or cream is best, as it's partially the fat content in the milk that pulls the capsaicin oil away from the skin. Skim milk is less effective but will work too, in a pinch, but don't try this with soy or rice milk since they lack casein, which is also crucial in easing that chili pain."
A: "When my husband and I first started dating, he cooked me this special dinner that called for habañero peppers. He cut some up and thoroughly cleaned his hands. Then he went to the bathroom. Shortly thereafter he started dancing about in a pained way. He was afraid to tell me that his dick was on fire, in case I would've thought that he had an STI. Anyway, after coaxing him to tell me what the problem was, I called the nurse line that my health insurer provided and was told to use vinegar. So he soaked his dick in a bowl of vinegar for a bit and the pain was gone."
A: "Milk works best to cool Tabasco burn. Do not use water! It will cool for a second, and then make the burning worse in a few minutes. Please don't ask how I know these things."
A: "I'm not into, ahem, sexual use of hot sauce, Dan, but I am a cookbook author and a big fan of hot food. I know of no reason why the same things that cool pepper-singed oral mucosa wouldn't work on vaginal mucosa as well. Water won't help, because the hot principle in the peppers is oily. Beer works well, though it would run off the crotch, it seems. Dairy works too, especially full-fat dairy. So milk or — less messy — a full-fat yogurt poultice should cool the burn … and it'll have the additional benefit of preventing yeast infections."
A: "At a wedding I attended, some friends and a friend's girlfriend decided it would be funny to put Tabasco on her boyfriend's anus while he was passed out drunk. Needless to say he woke up in agony. Luckily one of the girl's friends was a nurse. The solution to the pain was condensed milk poured on the inflamed area. It worked. The girlfriend felt guilty."
A: "I thought you might get some answers that suggested milk as relief for too much Tabasco sauce on the clit, and I just wanted to let you and everyone else know, it doesn't work. My wife and I are big fans of spicy foods, and after one night of some spicy chili with added hot sauce, followed by her going down on me, the burning on my penis was horrible. I dunked my junk in milk, and the coolness temporarily relieved the burn, but it started burning again when we were having sex. Then her vagina started to burn. It seems we had managed to transfer the hot sauce from the food to her mouth to my dick to her vajayjay. Bad news. We later learned that all the 'burn' is contained in the extracted oil of whatever peppers go into the hot sauce. Soap and water will get it mostly off, and milk doesn't really do anything. Tea, however, works like a charm. For some reason tea does a better job of lifting the oils off the body and relieving the burn."
Q: I'm a gay man living in San Francisco. There are a couple of guys I'm into. Like an actual couple. I've messed around with each of them separately, and in both cases I was told to keep it hush-hush because the other didn't know that he was being messed around on. My problem is not about their dishonesty or any of that bullshit. It's none of my business. What I really want to know is this: How can I get them both in the sack at the same time? —Trying To Double Down
A: "I'm a straight dude with no threesome experience, so my advice here is purely theoretical. Maybe try mentioning a three-way with the couple to each member of it separately, and see if they're into it? It's pretty clear they each individually think this guy is pretty hot stuff if they've messed around with him before. Mention it to one or each of them separately, get them talking about it to each other, then hope for the best."
A: "Why do you think this is so complicated? You know they both want you — they've both had you. You ask them individually in private if they'd go for a threesome, but you don't tell them that you slept with their partner already. If they agree, then when the three of you are together for brunch, you casually blurt out that you find yourself fantasizing about being in a threesome with them, because they are such a hot couple. They each feign surprise. You sincerely ask them to discuss it between the two of them — whether or not they would include you for a romp. You can propose it as an experiment, and if it feels too weird anyone can opt out and close the whole experiment down. Now who wouldn't be reasonable enough to want to fuck with that?"
A: "Quietly 'arrange' to 'accidentally' meet up with them both for romantic trysts at the same time. Be naked. Profit from the blazing row and the makeup sex. I take no responsibility for any face-punching that may occur."
A: "Invite them out to (or over for) dinner as a couple. Lay it on the line: You want to do them both. Don't mention the prior dalliances at all. They'll stay totally silent about the affairs, both will think the other one doesn't know, while you bang their brains out. Will they confess to each other afterward? Don't know. As you say, not your problem."
A: "Find a hotel with rooms that have an adjoining door. Reserve them both. Call up man A and tell him to meet you in one of the rooms at, say, 8:30 p.m. for some hot lovin'. Call up man B and tell him to meet you in the next room at, say, 9 p.m. for some equally hot lovin'. Meet man A, strip him naked, gag him, and tie him to a chair. Tell him you're going to the front desk for a bucket of ice. Meet man B, strip him naked, gag him, and tie him to a chair. Get yourself naked, open the adjoining door, drag man B's sexy ass into the next room and plop him next to his equally sexy boyfriend. While they're staring daggers at each other, suck them both off. Feel free to use the ice. By the time you're through, maybe they'll be into it. And you can sign me … 'It Worked in My Imagination.'"
Q: I'm a 19-year-old lesbian with the dyke equivalent of the "does size matter" problem: I have a really short tongue. Is there anything I can do? Or does "size" really not matter? —Tongue Tied Teen
A: "Someone asked Abe Lincoln, legend has it, how long a man's legs should be. He is supposed to have replied: 'Long enough to reach from his body to the ground.' If your tongue can reach from your mouth to her clit, that's probably long enough. Barring that, you have the same three options any other, er, 'handicapped' person has — accept reality, compensate by getting really good at using other body parts to do the same thing, and don't be afraid to use the technology of prostheses. In this case, dildos. There are even some that are fake tongues; go online and search the keywords 'tongue' and 'dildo' or 'vibrator.' But I would never recommend surgery to lengthen a tongue. You use your tongue for sex relatively infrequently; if surgery messed it up, you could have a hard time eating and talking — which I'm guessing you do much more often — for the rest of your life."
A: "My advice to Tongue Tied Teen? Don't worry about it. My husband can hardly stick his tongue out at all — maybe three-quarters of an inch past his lips. Of all the guys I've been with, he gives by leaps and bounds the best head I've ever had. It seems like the short tongue means he mostly uses just the tip of his tongue on my clit, using fine brush stokes as it were, which produces the most mind-blowing orgasms ever. Trust me TTT, you're in for a fine sex life."
A: "In response to Tongue Tied Teen's question about if the size of her tongue matters, I would definitely say that no, it does not (assuming, of course, that her tongue is not so extremely short as to give her problems speaking or eating or the like). I myself am a dyke and, as such, have experienced many a tongue (short, long, narrow, wide) and neither have a preference nor the ability to tell the difference while receiving oral sex. As long as it is long enough to reach the clit, etc., it is long enough. The size of your dildo mattering, though, is a different story entirely."
A: "I have an answer to the young lesbian who wrote in concerned about the size of her tongue. Unfortunately, size does matter if you can't reach your tongue far enough out of your mouth to comfortably get to your girlfriend's bits. However, she might have a condition called tongue tie. If so, it isn't that her tongue is too small, but that the bit of skin underneath that attaches her tongue to the bottom of her mouth (called the frenulum) is too short. This is fortunate because it is easily fixable with a procedure that can be done in a doctor's office. (More information at tonguetie.net.)"
A: "I work for a large group of ear, nose, and throat doctors, and I may have a simple answer for TTT. There is a pretty common congenital condition known as ankyloglossia, in which that little strip of tissue that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth is really thick and short. This prevents you from sticking your tongue out very far at all. The doctors I work for clip a lot of these things on babies and little kids, but every once in a while I notice them doing it on a teenager who has probably figured out that life would be a lot more interesting if they could get their tongue out past their teeth! Send TTT to an otolaryngologist; it's a very minor procedure."
Dan here: I don't have many senior readers — except for Mom, of course (hi, Mom!) — so I'm going to let our next correspondent have the final word, and allow her to offer responses, in order, to all of the above.
"Dear Dan: I am nearly 70 years old, and have read your column for years. I don't understand why it's so hard to find answers to the letters in your column of Jan. 10. Here goes:
"To NUTS: Maybe they are airbrushed to look that way (or whatever computer technique can be used now). Maybe it's cold in the studio. And why should it matter anyway?
"To NVGX: There is no protocol. Ask her straightforwardly. But my take on this is it won't work because she's focused on the community she's serving.
"To HMAHB: Among the people I know who've undergone sex change, they've had extensive psychological counseling along with the physiological work. Surely there is some sort of concurrent counseling work offered for life partners as well?
"To BJ: Oh for heaven's sake. Can't you just take an Imodium ahead of time?
"To Master & Servant: Good grief! Have you ever cut a jalapeño pepper and got spritzed in the nose or eyes? At least in that case you can sneeze and cry. Tabasco on one's clit? Try it on your penis and see how you might like it first. Make sure it gets in the little slot, too.
"To TTDD: You want to get in the middle of two people who are being dishonest with each other? Stop it right now and go find some grownups to play with.
"To TTT: No, it doesn't matter. One's clit is right there, not a long distance away.
"See how easy that was, Dan?
"And here's some basic advice to all from a crone as a bonus: Don't make life more complicated than it already is. And sex is meant to be fun; it's not supposed to hurt."
Thanks for sharing, SG.Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org