Q: I met this girl on an "adult" website, and we are supposed to meet. We first exchanged a few e-mails on the service, and then we got each other's screen names. Then we chatted over IM twice, just the basic small talk, before exchanging numbers. It was on the phone that she told me about her rape fantasy: She has always fantasized about being kidnapped by a stranger from a public place like the grocery store, held in a dark room over the weekend, and forced to do whatever her captor wants.
Even though that sounds hot as hell, I wouldn't do that to someone without at least meeting first. Safety first. So the idea now is to meet at a bar, have a drink, and then go back to my place and enact a date-rape scene. Not quite her ultimate fantasy, but it just so happens to be one of my all-time fantasies. We're both turned on by the idea that we won't even know each other that well. We will be near-strangers.
Now here comes the problem: What if she is some wacko who will call the cops on me or blackmail me and say it was actual rape? Can I protect myself from this somehow? We never talked about it over IM, just on the phone. This is one of the boxes I would like to check before I die, but I want to be safe about it. Help! —To Rape Or Not To Rape
A: I'm tempted to advise you — and others with similar fantasies (not all of them men, not all of them straight) — to Google "Oliver Jovanovic" and then move on to the next question. But there's the digital divide to consider: Not all the aspiring date-rape fetishists out there have Internet access. So a brief recap for you Luddites:
Oliver Jovanovic was a graduate student at Columbia University when he met a woman named Jamie Rzucek on the Internet way, way back in 1996. The two bonded over a shared interest in bondage and torture, and they met up for an evening of consensual sex that included bondage and torture. After it was all over, Rzucek went to the police and Jovanovic was arrested, prosecuted, found guilty and given 15 years to life. He spent almost two years in prison — during which time he was brutally assaulted and nearly killed — before he was released on appeal and ultimately kinda, sorta exonerated.
Guess what got Jovanovic out of prison? E-mails that had been improperly excluded by the judge during the first trial. The e-mails showed that Rzucek had not only consented to engage in bondage and S&M, but that she had touched base with him after the fact to tell him how exhilarated and freaked she was.
The lesson for you, TRONTR, is to get it in goddamn writing. Negotiate this scene via e-mail, keep copies of those e-mails, and agree in advance — via e-mail — on a safe word that, if uttered, brings the action to a screeching halt. I'd also suggest that you — with her consent — make a digital audio recording of the encounter. Then you wouldn't just have e-mails proving she consented going in, TRONTR, but a digital recording that proved you stopped whatever it was you were doing if she used her safe word and retracted her consent during the encounter.
Making a digital audio recording of the encounter means you won't have photos or video to share over the Internet, which should appeal to her if she is concerned about privacy. And you can simultaneously record this encounter online, on your computer and remotely on hers. That should give her some assurance that you won't take advantage of her written consent to a consensual rape-role-play scenario as a cover to actually rape her.
Q: I've been seeing "Radioman" for a few weeks — the physical chemistry between us is amazing, and we have a lot of fun. He had a vasectomy a year ago (he's only 26), and for me this is a deal-breaker for any serious commitment, since I want to have a family. The other surprise is that he is also in relationships with two other women. They know about each other and about me, and the three of them get together about once a month and have threesomes. I am a bisexual woman recently out of a long-term relationship, and I am interested in joining this little playgroup. However, I met one of the other women recently, and she seemed jealous and upset. Radioman insists that she was just tired and that she actually likes me. I'm not so sure. Am I asking for drama by getting involved in this foursome? —Thinking Of Joining A Harem
Speaking of drama: Teen mom Bristol Palin and her fiance, Levi Johnston, called it quits last week. So we've been cheated out of the Royal Rube Wedding we were promised during last summer's Republican National Convention — and another child will grow up without a father in the home, which is a tragedy for the child, according to America's Talibangelists.
Or that's what they said when Mary Cheney — remember that dyke? — had a baby with a woman she would marry if she could marry. It's weird that America's Talibangelists aren't making the same point now.
Q: I hate to disagree, Dan, but you missed the mark when you wrote this: "When we marry, we're signing up to fuck someone at least semiregularly for decades. Not interested in fucking? Don't marry."
Dan, people marry for many, many reasons. Sex is only one of them, and sometimes it isn't even high on the list — or on the list at all. Family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with, and on and on. Your surprisingly narrow description of what marriage means needs some rethinking.
Thanks for your work. —Cacilda Jethá, MD, blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/lust-in-paradise
A: I'm willing to concede that I left an important subordinate clause out of the sentence that riled you, Cacilda: "When we marry, we're signing up to fuck someone at least semiregularly for decades, among other things ..."
Marriage can be about all the things you list, Cacilda, but so long as sexual exclusivity is presumed to be a part of marriage — a defining part, according to the right-wingers — spouses have a right to expect sexual activity within their marriages. People who are interested in marriage but not sex — people whose lists only include family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with, and on and on, but not sex — need to inform their prospective spouses of their disinterest in sex before marrying, not after.
As I've said a million times before: If you don't think that sex is what marriage is all about, if sex is something you can live without, that's grand. But you need to marry someone who feels the same way or inform your betrothed of your disinterest well in advance. And if you lose interest in sex after you marry but want your partner to stick around for the family and stability and friendship and the rest of it, I'll let you in on a little secret: The spouse is likelier to stick around for that crap if you give the spouse permission to get his or her sexual needs met elsewhere.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people who aren't interested in sex — who consider sex to be trivial and unimportant — nevertheless deny their frustrated partners permission to do this trivial, unimportant thing with others.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org