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Fin-tastic fetish 

The two things that I dig most on a woman are a nice big pair of ... swim fins. Some of my earliest sexual fantasies revolve around Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep. It's frustrating to have such a bizarre fetish. There is a small subculture devoted to scuba fetishism on the Internet, but it's a total sausage/snorkel fest. One day, I'm heading somewhere tropical like Hawaii, where I hope to meet scuba divas. Until then, what do you suggest? Give up my fetish and embrace vanilla? Or redouble my efforts to find one of the maybe half-dozen women in the world into this?

Fin Fun Fan

It's amazing how the sight of something as innocuous-yet-titillating as the poster for The Deep can, if a young man lays eyes on it at just the right moment, endow that boy with a lifelong/love-life-complicating fetish. I ponder this phenomenon every time I see that ad for Old Spice's new Live Wire body wash featuring an impossibly hot centaur soaping up in the shower. (While you regard your fetish as a burden, FFF, at least you can find scuba gear. Where are all the fetishists being created by Old Spice supposed to find centaurs?)

The odds that you will one day meet one of the very few women out there who share your fetish are slim, FFF. But let's say you manage to track one down. What are the odds that you'll be attracted to her physically? And emotionally? Slim and slimmer. Your best bet is to date women you find attractive, demonstrate that you're a decent and loving guy who can enjoy vanilla sex, and then roll out your fetish.

Some would argue that withholding info about your fetish is dishonest. I would argue, however, that "withholding" info about a harmless fetish -- FF just wants to play dress-up, he's not into shit or shunts or shin splints -- demonstrates a certain degree of emotional intelligence. Waiting until about three months in says to prospective scuba babes, "Hey, I wanted you to get to know me before I told you this, because I realize that it might strike you as odd. And while I'm kinky, I'm not obtuse or insensitive."

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." (CL, "Dude, where's my libido?" March 25.)

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

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, mostly about, or even partly 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.

I am a straight 22-year-old male who identifies as a crossdresser. I enjoy it, and I'm OK with myself. But my ex-girlfriend revealed to me that it made her feel like less of a woman and that I was doing the female version of emasculation to her. (Ask.com says the word is "femasculation.") How can I work through this with my ex so we can get back together?

Bashfully Oblivious Ovary Buster

Either your ex was honestly threatened by your crossdressing, BOOB, or she's doing what a lot of us do when a seemingly decent relationship comes to shit for no good reason: She's looking for an explanation, and your crossdressing is the low-hanging fruit. Blaming the crossdressing allows her to rationalize the breakup in a way that leaves you both blameless, i.e., the relationship was done in by your panties and not by something that she did or by something that you had any real control over.

Can you help her work through this? Probably not, BOOB, particularly if she was actually feeling "femasculated." You could agree to stop crossdressing, but you'll only wind up doing it on the sly. You'll get caught in panties and end up dumped all over again. And if pointing to your crossdressing was just a rationalization, BOOB, then there's nothing to solve here, no way of working through this. Find a new girlfriend.

Download the Savage Lovecast (Dan's weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage. To ask Dan Savage a question, write to mail@savagelove.net.

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