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Savage Love 

Hey, Faggot:

I have a question concerning a certain sexual proclivity of mine. I am a healthy, hot professional babe in my 20s. The thing is, I love when a guy talks dirty in bed; when he uses nasty language and is slightly physically abusive. I've really only dated one man who was into it, and he turned out to be a bit of a headcase.

Socially and professionally I'm pretty aggressive and opinionated. I only enjoy mistreatment in bed. Is this a problem worthy of therapy? My parents were pretty abusive and very neglectful. I trust your advice.

--Chicago

Hey, C:

"It's going to be a lot easier for her if she just calls what she's interested in SM," said Dossie Easton, author of two books on SM, The Bottoming Book: How to Get Terrible Things Done to You by Wonderful People, and The Topping Book: Or Getting Good at Being Bad. "If she doesn't like thinking of it that way, if she avoids the SM community, she just isolates herself from the books, the groups, the ads, and all the other ways that people meet so they can share their sexual fantasies in safe, sane, and consensual ways."

Easton, a licensed marriage, family, and child counselor with a private practice in--where else?--San Francisco, has been into SM for almost 25 years. Before she "came out" about her desires she found herself in a similar situation to the one you describe. "I spent my idle youth hunting down rough trade in the streets of New York, and I finally wound up with a first-class batterer. So I'm not surprised she found somebody who was really exciting who turned out to be a 'headcase.'" It's like this, Chicago: if you bop through life hoping to meet men who by chance happen to share your desires, or if you encourage the men you're involved with to be "slightly physically abusive," you may well find yourself with men who will use your desires as a pretext to abuse you. A man who is openly into SM--who has thought about it and read about it and is involved to some extent in the SM community--is a much safer bet. He's likelier to know what the boundaries and limits are, to possess a vocabulary that allows him to articulate his desires and help you articulate yours, and to understand where fantasy ends and reality begins.

As for your abusive parents, Easton says, "There are many people into SM who experienced abuse, and many who have not. I am an abuse survivor myself, and SM has not made me sicker than my parents did. If anything, it's made me healthier. I've been bottoming since 1974, and I just get stronger all the time and more assertive." If the abuse and neglect you suffered as a child trouble you, Easton strongly suggests you find a therapist, one who is "trained in working with child abuse but is not prejudiced against SM." Your local SM group will know who those people are. "Too many therapists will say your desires are sick and you should just get rid of them. Not only is that not possible, but what I found in my 25 years of SM is that the experience is very empowering for me. I'm in control of it, making conscious decisions. My friend who plays the dominant has my safety as her chief concern. I can ride this roller coaster knowing it has been safety tested. SM has made a major contribution to my healing from child abuse, and I have seen it in other clients I've worked with."

Dossie Easton's books can be found in finer bookstores everywhere, or ordered from Greenery Press, 3739 Balboa, #195, San Francisco, CA 94121.

Hey, Faggot:

Sometimes I feel all alone in the world. I am an androgynous spirit. Sex to me means spirituality, tenderness, kindness, loving another human being as myself, passionate kisses, emotional merging, having the self-respect to look another human being in the eyes when you fuck them. Enjoying another person's thoughts and memories. Love is blind. Call me a freak, but that's my libido. --LM

Hey, LM:

Well, ducky for you. Your "libido" sounds really evolved, very higher plane. You, on the other hand, come across as a drip--which might have more to do with your loneliness than your androgyny. Sex can be all the wonderful things you claim it always is for you (never fuck for fuck's sake?), but if there's one thing I know for sure about sex it's this: having sex--even tender, loving, passionate, look-'em-in-the-eyes (never been blindfolded?), merge-with-me sex--with someone who won't shut up about how he or she is feeling so tender, so passionate, so completely merged, so blah, blah, blah destroys whatever spiritual vibe you get going. It's hard to feel tender and passionate about someone you're seriously considering choking to death.

You're probably one of those people who can't watch a beautiful sunset without repeating, "Wow, what a beautiful sunset!" over and over again. It's beautiful already. Have the courage to shut yer god-awful trap and experience the beauty without drawing attention to yourself, and away from the sex/sunset, by commenting on it. When you say, "Wow, what a beautiful sunset," you're really saying, "I am a feeling person, capable of finding beauty in this moment. Really I am. I'm neato! I'm sensitive! Me, me, me! Pay attention to me!"

And lastly, why on earth did you send me this letter? Did you have a question? Was this some sort of mission statement? What gives?

Hey, Faggot:

Permit me to respond to the question you recently posed to Fearing Ecstasy: "What exactly is so excruciatingly painful about wearing condoms?" For most folks, there's no pain at all involved in using regular condoms, but in this instance, I would hazard a guess that FE's gal pal is one of us lucky fems who happen to be allergic "down there" to the rubber used to make the damn things. My hubby and I are unable to use rubber rubbers, lubricated or not, extra lubrication or no, for the simple reason that within a minute or so of having a Trojan-covered jimmy whipping in and out of me, I'm in utter agony.

However, FE could try using the option that cleared up the problem completely for me: natural lambskin condoms. No pain, no irritation, and I'm willing to bet they're the answer to his prayers. --LR

Hey, LR:

Right you are. In jumping all over FE's beans, I neglected to take into consideration the very real possibility that he or his girlfriend might be allergic to latex. All I heard was yet another straight boy claiming that condoms "didn't work" for him. And I overreacted. And I'm so very sorry. But, FE, and other latex-intolerant folks, please note: while effective birth control, lambskin condoms do not provide the protection against STDs that latex does--bugs that can't pass through latex can pass through sheep gut. Butt fuckers beware! Lambskin will not protect you against HIV infection! Another option for the latex intolerant is the relatively new polyurethane condom, sold under the brand name Avanti. They keep both sperms and bugs at bay, and as they're not latex, you can use any ol' kind of grease you want to for lube, including, for you retro butt fuckers, Crisco.

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