Like you, my work entails providing folks with information about sexuality that is accurate and nonjudgmental. At times I have to wonder if you take that responsibility seriously. In a recent column, your advise [sic] to a young man is, "The next time you go for a visit, take him out, get him very drunk, and casually mention that you enjoy sucking dick."
Advising a reader to get someone drunk in order to seduce him is unethical and dangerous. Advising a client to get his potential sexual partner drunk before talking about his true feelings is equally unethical. Have you not read the research about the correlation between heavy drinking and unsafe or nonconsentual [sic] sex?
I can only hope that your readers are savvy enough to distinguish between your jokes and your professional advice.
--Michael Ritter, Coordinator, Prevention Programs, San Francisco State University
Like you, I've read the research about heavy drinking and bad behavior. Unlike you, however, I've also read the American Heritage Dictionary. I suggest you pick up a copy; not only will you learn the correct spelling of "consensual," but if you continue to flip through the Cs, you'll learn the difference between correlation ("a measure of the interdependence of two random variables") and causation ("the act or process of causing"). While studies have correlated booze consumption with all sorts of bad behavior, none has proven that booze causes people who are not rapists to commit rape, or that it makes people who are not idiots do idiotic things like, say, have sex without protection.
People drink. And every day the vast majority of people who drink prove that (a) it is possible to drink and remember to use a condom or put in your diaphragm, (b) it is possible to drink and refrain from raping people, and (c) it is possible to drink and share your feelings with someone--not just possible but customary! Boozephobes point to dumb and dangerous people who drink and do dumb and dangerous things as proof that the consumption of booze is the cause of dumb and dangerous behavior. Well, bullshit. The vast majority of grown-ups are capable of having a drink or two, and while we may forget the details of a specific conversation or where we parked the car, most of us can remember not to rape anyone.
If I seem defensive, it's because your simplistic statements concerning alcohol are an attack not only on myself--a long-term responsible consumer of delicious alcoholic beverages--but on some of my very closest friends. My ol' college roommate Jack Daniel's, for instance, always remembers to put in his diaphragm.
I'm an attractive but overweight woman in my early 30s. About two years ago, I became very ill and nearly died. The illness left me with a colostomy bag that I will have for the rest of my life. It was very difficult for me to find a man and I became quite lonely. Then I met Paul. He's smart, attractive, witty, and caring and treats me like a princess. He's also very romantic.
The problem is sex. The foreplay is erotic and normal, but when he comes he always withdraws his penis and tries to come on my face. I've told him several times that I don't like it, but that just seems to get him more excited. Sometimes I get the feeling he's actually aiming for my mouth when I'm telling him to stop. Sometimes he aims for my eyes. Once I turned away and he came in my ear. It's so degrading.
Everything else in our relationship is wonderful and I don't want to lose him (I was so terribly lonely before), but this sex thing really bothers me. What should I do? Should I leave him? Or should I take the bad with the good? I don't think I could find another man very easily. --Dodging Bullets
If I were a professional, I would be required to advise you thusly: "Don't let low self-esteem keep you in a relationship with a man who doesn't respect you! Bag him, sister! There's another fella out there for you!" Thankfully, as I am not a professional, I am free to offer advice you might find useful.
Don't bag him--you like him, he likes you. And like a lot of men, he likes to come on his partner's face, chest, ears, etc. This is not necessarily misogynist behavior: a lot of gay men come on their partners' faces, chests, ears, etc. However, continuing to do it after you've asked him to stop is, as those advice professionals like to say, not OK. My advice: Inform him that you will no longer tolerate this behavior--this nonconsensual behavior. Now, here's where I'm gonna get in trouble: Tell him you're willing to indulge him every once in a while, but that if he does it without your permission again, you're gonna break both his legs. Then every fourth or fifth time you have sex, give him the go. Close your eyes and keep a towel next to the bed for quick and easy cleanup. And hey, if it helps you get through those special nights, feel free to get good and drunk before bed.
I'm a faggot and a university instructor. One of my former students started to visit me lately and soon was dropping innuendos of a homosexual nature. I was surprised, since he was supposedly straight. Then one night he came over drunk, got drunker, came out to me, and asked me to go to bed with him. After he assured me that he knew what he was doing, we had sex. He did some things I can't picture a straight guy doing: kissing me, bottoming, and worrying whether it was "good for me." As soon as he came, though, he freaked. He started babbling about his parents, ran through the house gathering his clothes, and sailed out the door. When we talked later, he insisted that he was only curious and drunk, and only said the things he did because he was "playing a role." So do you think he was a straight guy doing research, or am I dealing with a closet case? --Heart of Dixie
You are not only dealing with a closet case, but with--hands down!--my favorite kind of closet case: the horny drunk. When consumed in sufficient quantities, alcohol not only makes other people look better, it also inhibits our inhibitions. The more inhibitions someone has, the more dramatic the results. Since a closet case ain't much more than a big ball of inhibitions--spackled together with chickenshit and guilt--alcohol can have a powerfully transformative effect on one. Your former student got it almost exactly right: he consumed enough alcohol to inhibit his inhibitions, not so much that he couldn't perform sexually, but sadly not enough that he could spend the night. He was swamped, as so many closet cases are, by postorgasmic regret: "My God, what have I done!" And he beat a retreat.
The good news is that he, like all drunken closet cases, will be back for more. He'll have a few beers, and you'll find him at your front door with his pants around his ankles. One day, hopefully--perhaps with your loving guidance--this young closet case will realize that resistance is futile; he'll give in to his desires, stop worrying about the parents, and come out of the closet for good. In the meantime, keep plenty of beer in your fridge.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.