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Perverted play is OK if legal and consensual 

I am in my 20s, and my boyfriend and I recently discovered that we are into BDSM. We started with light bondage and spanking, added some role-play, and are moving toward heavier stuff. I've spent some time reading online BDSM erotica, and here's what's stressing me out: I tend to gravitate toward stories that include age play (underage girls with older men). I think pedophilia is wrong and disgusting, yet I get off on the stories. I can't stop feeling like I'm a huge pervert. Also, what is a good way to introduce the idea of age play to my boyfriend without sounding perverted? Is age play perverted?

Feeling Like A Pervert

You're already doing BDSM, FLAP, so it's a little late to start concerning yourself with what is and isn't perverted. I'm not saying that BDSM is perverted -- it isn't in my opinion -- but the kind of people who obsess about the supposed perversity of other people's sex lives regard BDSM as hella perverted, as the kids were only too recently saying.

All you need to concern yourself with, FLAP, is consent -- obtaining consent before anything goes down, maintaining a state of consent once things get going. So are you a consenting adult, FLAP? Is your partner a consenting adult? Yes and yes? Then you're free to do whatever the hell you want in the sack -- and that includes pretending that one of you isn't a consenting adult.

Adults can safely and ethically explore through fantasy and role-play things that we wouldn't (because they're wrong) or couldn't (because they're impossible) do in reality. A nice girl who would never dream of ever actually owning a human being can pretend to own a sex slave without having to forfeit her "nice girl" status; a decent guy who would never commit the crime of rape can pretend to rape a partner with rape fantasies without having to forfeit his "decent guy" status. The same goes for age play, FLAP.

As for telling the boyfriend about it without sounding perverted: Sorry, FLAP, can't help you there. It's going to sound perverted -- and sick and wrong -- because the scenario you want to explore is all kinds of sick and wrong. Just own it when you tell him about it: "I know this is crazy and fucked up, but these stories really turn me on." You don't want to fuck kids; you want to pretend to be the kid your boyfriend fucks. He doesn't want to fuck kids; he wants to fuck you while you're pretending to be a kid.

A new euphemism: When someone cheats on a spouse, that should be known as "hiking the Appalachian Trail" in honor of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

But I have to say that this Adultery Confessional Theater is getting tired. Can our culture start to deflate the drama on extramarital affairs a little? Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Jon and Kate, John Ensign, Mark Sanford: Yes, it sucks if kids are involved and it often leads to divorce. But I wonder if setting the panic bar a bit lower wouldn't save more marriages. Maybe we should embrace the fact that few of us will remain monogamous over the long life of a marriage and remove sex from the pressured center of domestic life.

Anne In NJ

I'm with you, AINJ, and I have hammered away at those points for years: At the bottom of all these sex scandals is our unnatural fixation on monogamy. Human beings -- male or female -- aren't wired to be sexually monogamous, and the feigned shock with which we're required to greet each new revelation of infidelity on the part of an elected official, a reality-show star, or a sports figure would be comical if the costs weren't so great. Elevating monogamy over all else -- insisting that it, and it alone, is the sole measure of love and devotion -- destroys countless marriages, families, and careers.

Which is not to say that people shouldn't honor their commitments or that there aren't folks out there capable of remaining monogamous over the five-decade course of a marriage or that the hypocrisy of assholes like Sanford -- who called on President Clinton to resign during Monicagate -- isn't worthy of censure. But our idealized notions about sex -- within marriage and without -- are at war with who and what we are. Sex is powerful; relationships are fragile. Why on earth do we insist on pitting them against each other?

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