Q: Here's your chance to deal with the problems of a couple of senior citizens: I am a woman in my late 60s, and my "boyfriend" is five years older. We were lovers long ago. He came looking for me a few years ago and we reunited. We live on opposite sides of the country, so we only see each other for a few weeks every year. For various reasons, that is unlikely to change.
I love this man very much. Our sex life is great, and the rest is pretty good too. All of the things I loved about him fortysome years ago still apply. He is kind, generous, smart and funny.
I have known for a couple of years that he was interested in BDSM. He sees himself as a sub. I found out when he accidentally (?) left something on my computer. But he claims that all he does is "chat" online with a number of doms. He has never asked me to role-play with him, and I'm not sure I could do it. It doesn't disgust me; it might be rather fun, but I think I might just get the giggles!
Here is the dilemma: I recently found out that in fact he has seen a dom in person. At this point, he does not know that I know. I can live with his wanting that as part of his life and that he apparently doesn't see me in that role. What does concern me is that he has not been truthful and open with me about this and that perhaps he has exposed himself (and thus me) to health risks.
Assuming that you don't tell me to dump him, can you give me any advice about how to broach this subject with him? At the very least, he needs to know that I require honesty in our relationship. —Subless In Seattl
A: Very few professional dominants have sex with their clients, SIS, which is what attracts some women to this particular field of sex work. Doing domination allows women to reap the financial rewards of sex work without running the usual risks, e.g., sexually transmitted infections and arrest. (Pay the "nice" lady to beat you off? Totally illegal. Pay the "mean" lady to beat you? Totally legal.) Doing professional domination does, however, require more of an investment up front — the gear is expensive, expertise takes time to acquire (fucking is easy, flogging is hard), and a sub paying $500 an hour is going to want to be dominated in a tricked-out dungeon, not a studio apartment with a futon on the floor.
So what should you do, SIS? Seeing as you're not married to this man, and seeing as you only get together a few weeks a year, it's highly unlikely that he'll stop seeing pro doms even if you extract that promise from him. So why not be the hero, SIS? Give him permission to do what he's going to do anyway, and you'll become the focus of his gratitude and not his guilt.
Broach the subject by telling him that you know he's been seeing a professional dominant and that's fine. Tell him that he can go on seeing a pro dom with your blessing — so long as there's no sexual contact and so long as he's honest with you about it. If he can do the sub thing with a professional without sneaking around and the sex-and-intimacy-and-companionship thing with you without being dishonest, then everybody wins — him, you, and a hard-working professional dominant with her own bills to pay.
Impress upon him that all of this is conditional on his being honest with you — about everything — and that these domination sessions, which you recognize are sexually arousing, don't include any actual sex.
Q: What do you do when you meet the human equivalent of heroin?
I've been messing around with a dominant guy for about a year now. It is by far the most unhealthy "relationship" I've ever been in. First, I have no desire to be with this guy in any way besides fucking around with him. I do not respect him or like him. Our fucking around consists of me giving him head and him slapping me around. Pathetic, huh? I've tried to quit seeing him many times. I changed my phone number, but he just started showing up at my house. When I started dating someone, he refused to quit seeing me. Prior to the relationship, I let him use my house keys one night. He made copies of them without my knowing, and while I was in a relationship, he came to my house one day and pretty much forced me to give him head. I was terrified after that. I changed my locks. I told him that if he ever came over again I would call the cops. Still, despite my having a boyfriend and me ignoring him for months, he still called, e-mailed and stopped by. Since then, my boyfriend and I broke up, and his stalking has escalated. The few people who know the details about our "relationship" have begged me to get a restraining order. The problem? What he does (the dominating, not the stalking) still turns me on. Even after the "attack," even during my relationship, when I masturbate, I think of him. I'm scared of him and turned on by him. I would go to a psychiatrist, but I'm very embarrassed by it. I'm a very normal person, healthy in many ways. So what gives? He's a very attractive guy and he can get many girls — why won't he leave me alone? Why can't I stop myself from seeing him?
I'm a female in my mid-20s. Completely normal, except for this dark secret. —Anonymous
A: It's fun to have a dark secret — lots of "completely normal" people do. But you can have your dark secrets, A, and all the kinky sex you like, with someone else. There are other guys out there who can do for you exactly what this guy does for you now — and it can be a guy you like, a guy you respect, a guy who respects you enough not to take advantage of your submissive streak.
You have to put a stop to this. Move, change those locks again, get that restraining order, and stop seeing this guy once and for all. He may be hot, what he does to you may be hot, but the stalker stuff — to say nothing of the rapist stuff — is shit frosting on an otherwise hot piece of cake. Stop swallowing it before you get seriously hurt.
And you know what, A? You can go right on masturbating about your experiences with this guy without interpreting that as evidence that you're somehow obligated to continue servicing him. Lots of people have fond memories of sexual experiences with sociopaths, and masturbate to (or is it about?) those memories, but only an idiot keeps fucking around with a sociopath. And this guy won't loom quite so largely in your erotic imagination, A, once you've found someone else to do this stuff with.
Q: Is "saddleback" a sex act? If not, can you define it as one? Or if it is, can you popularize it? I'm wondering because each time I hear about Rick Warren, I can't get past the name of his church. —Jeffy Lube
A: Stephen Colbert joked that "saddleback" was a sex act on his show, but he didn't define it. So I guess we'll have to. Suggested definitions for saddlebacking can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage