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Between the ages of 13 and 16 I engaged in bestiality with our household pets. I was a horny kid, and I guess kind of a freak. It never went beyond oral copulation, and I eventually curtailed the whole thing due to guilt and shame. I am now a 21-year-old woman who is moving toward a healthy human sex life and trying to get over what a sick kid I used to be. But I still feel horrible about my dog-cocksucking past. My questions are: Is there ever a right time to tell a partner or significant other about bestiality in your past? Will I ever be able to have a healthy relationship with a human without being able to be fully honest with them? I'm in counseling right now and it's helping a lot, but if I enter a long-term relationship I don't think I'll ever be able to tell my partner about this.

--Mortified, Unhappy, Tortured, Tormented Soul

I'm all for people being honest with their significant others about their pasts, their sexual interests, and their formative sexual experiences. But there are limits. While honesty and openness get all of the good press--too much good press, in my opinion--the crucial role that deceit plays in the health and survival of long-term relationships is all too often overlooked. Fact is, without gentle spinning, the omission of damning details, and the occasional bald-faced lie, no relationship would last more than a week.

I've always looked at it this way, MUTTS: a relationship is a myth that two people create together, and myths tend to play fast and loose with the facts. When two people create a nice, lasting myth, they don't share every last indiscretion, bad move, and blown dog. Instead they present slightly improved versions of themselves, selling themselves not as they actually are but as the people they would like to be. No man wants to be in a relationship with someone who tells him nothing but lies, of course, and you shouldn't present a completely fictionalized version of yourself to your lover. But little omissions here and there, little edits and exaggerations, and, again, the occasional bald-faced lie are not only permissible, MUTTS, they're advisable.

There are benefits to this approach beyond not hearing "You fucked dogs!" over and over again. Once someone falls in love with the idealized/edited version of you, you'll be in the position of having to be the person you led your partner to believe you are. We all wind up having to live up to the lies we tell about ourselves, and it's this living up to the lies that often makes us better people. With some effort, and provided the lies weren't huge, we can make them come true.

Regarding the specifics of your case, MUTTS: Experimenting when you're young and horny with whatever's handy--produce, siblings, action figures, household pets--is quite common. Various studies have shown that somewhere between 2 and 4 percent of women have had sex with animals (the numbers are higher for men), and most, like you, had it messing around with family pets during their formative years. While that percentage may sound small, it actually represents a huge number of women--somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 million in the United States and Canada. Believe me, the overwhelming majority of those 4.5 million aren't telling their significant others about their dog days. They keep that info to themselves, chalking it up to youthful horniness and/or idiocy, instead of burdening their significant others with disturbing mental images that might make it impossible for the relationship to survive. Since they don't tell their lovers they fucked dogs, their lovers don't look on them as dog fuckers. And knowing that in the eyes of their lovers they're not dog fuckers, MUTTS, these women are better able to stop thinking of themselves as dog fuckers. The same can happen for you.

Finally, I've been with the same guy for almost nine years now. I could probably tell my boyfriend anything, but you know what? There are things about my past that he doesn't know, doesn't want to know, and doesn't need to know, just as I assume there are things about his past that I don't know, don't want to know, and don't need to know. You can be in a loving, long-term relationship and still hold some things back.

I've received several e-mails recently from various companies marketing penis-enlargement pills. These companies say taking these pills will increase penis width and length considerably. Have you had (or do you know of anyone who has had) experience with these products? I am most likely very naive, but the Web site for one company (Natural Measures) looks quite professional. Please advise. --Lusting After Longer Dong

I've always assumed that everyone who reads this publication also reads the Wall Street Journal, so it didn't occur to me to bring Julia Angwin's recent story on penis-enlargement pills ("Some 'Enlargement' Pills Pack Impurities," August 13, 2003) to the attention of my readers. But just in case some of you missed it, here are the dirty bits: In a lab analysis commissioned by the Journal, various "enlargement" pills were found to contain "significant levels of E. coli, yeast, mold, lead and pesticide residues." E. coli is a bacterium found in shit, LALD, so the high levels of it in the pills studied indicated "heavy fecal contamination," according to Michael Donnenberg, MD, head of the infectious-diseases department at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Oh, and the amount of lead in the pills "surpassed the limit set by California's strict labeling laws for 'chemicals causing reproductive toxicity.'"

So taking "penis-enlargement" pills won't make your dick longer, LALD, just your bathroom breaks. I can only speculate as to why the editors of the Wall Street Journal commissioned this study--perhaps some were dissatisfied with the results they were getting?--but I'm grateful to them regardless. I fail to see how anyone could fall for an e-mail pitch selling a bigger dick in a bottle--particularly anyone as bright as the editors at the Journal. Still, it seems clear that those who do will swallow anything.

Recently I went to a massage parlor in the city where I live. I thought it would be a fun experience. So everything looked OK, and the girl was not that bad, but her "hands-on" treatment was not as satisfying as the ad promised. In fact it was painful. Since then I have been feeling pretty traumatized, and I am afraid I might have been molested by this girl. I currently have a girl, but she doesn't know about this. What do you think I should do? --Traumatized in O-Dot!

I think you should shut the fuck up and stop whining. You were not molested, you big baby. Unless you were strapped to the massage table, you were free to call a halt to the action at any time and leave--and if this woman's technique was painful or distressing, that's exactly what you should've done. If you put your cock into someone else's hands and you don't like the way he or she manipulates it, you should pull it back.

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