Cops n’ robbers

On episode 527 of the Savage Lovecast, Dan related a story in the context of a caller asking if a 24/7 master-slave relationship was possible about how he was once taken to task for describing BDSM as “cops and robbers for adults with your pants off.” He was at a conference and someone came up to him and said it was much more than that and, oh by the way, not being able to literally own another human being was a form of sexual repression. Or something like that.

Not that I would know anything about 24/7 master-slave things (though I do know something of the end of slavery in this country), but the more I’ve experienced and lived the less comfortable I’ve become with the “cops and robbers” analogy. It seems too flippant to me now.

Sure, for some, BDSM is something that’s simply scene-based. They buy their 50 Shades “My First Bondage Set” they found on the endcap at Target, feel very naughty indeed, and then get along with their lives. Maybe they never do it again because they feel incredibly stupid and self-conscious or maybe it spirals into a full-fledged Thing for them, but for most, it’s just a playful aside. In these cases, I totally buy Dan’s analogy. But it can be (and is) so much more for some.

My theme around here lately is “it’s what I am, not what I do” and the cops and robbers thing is all about the opposite. Belle and I don’t live in a scene. When I’m really submitting, I’m not pretending or acting. Bottoming, being hurt by a sadist, really giving of myself and being denied create a deep emotional resonance inside me. Drew and I were talking about this when he visited recently. Knowing what I know about myself now and if I were in a position where I wasn’t married to Belle, finding someone who was capable of accepting my need for domination would be a high priority. Perhaps higher than any other single attribute. That’s not playing.

I suspect Dan knows these things. That an inclination to some aspect of BDSM, like all things, exists on a spectrum. But for those of us on one of the far ends of that spectrum, his description is severely lacking.

Fuck it

This Dan Savage thing has been quite the adventure. And, funny thing is, it’s not really a thing. It’s just the prospect of a thing. Of maybe someday getting a call because some topic comes up Dan thinks I’d be helpful with.

Belle has been consistently supportive of the idea. Even after I reiterated to her that Dan has a huge listenership and I know for a fact people will recognize my voice, both people we know and don’t, and that some of these people will be work friends and could even be family. And, of course, that our kid might be listening. But she doesn’t seem to care. Either that or she thinks I’m totally blowing it out of proportion. But I think it’s the former mostly and I think that’s cool and it makes me very happy to see her confidence.

So I’ve really been thinking through the root of my issue with being on the show. The big one is the kid. I’ve decided to do what Dan recently advised someone who called in do, but with the reverse situation (she was going to defend her thesis which involved personal sexual details and her parents wanted to come to the defense). Basically, if it ever came to be, I’d preemptively warn the boy away from the show by telling him exactly what was going to happen. Not specifically (like, details) but that I’d be on it and talking about things he’d never be able to unhear. That if he wanted to maintain the firewall of parent/offspring non-disclosure of sexual details, he should just delete that one and move on. Then it would be up to him. I reject the argument that me being on the show would create some kind of stigma he’d carry through his life. Totally.

Once I got past that, I realized all the remaining angst was fear of embarrassment. And that kind of pissed me off. I hate secrets and hate hiding things. I far prefer living and talking and acting with freedom and unnecessary wariness. Of course, the right of others not to know is also very important to me, but as I said yesterday, talking about my life in a venue like Dan’s show is not the same as abruptly volunteering unnecessary and irrelevant personal details or even like having sex in a car or other public place (which, yeah, I’ve done). Getting over the hump of putting something personal like that out there is not inconsequential to me, but it’s surmountable.

Bottom line, I am not ashamed of who I am and how I live. And if anyone has a problem with it, fuck them.

In reality, the people listening to Dan who I know and would recognize me are probably not unlike me in that they’re generally sex-positive. Sure, there’s the prurient juiciness of getting a surreptitious look into someone’s sex life with whom you’re familiar, but I doubt anyone I really care about will judge me negatively or change how they deal with me. Maybe it’ll even spark a really interesting conversation. And for those who would think less of me…like I said, Fuck them.

So, that’s that. I DMed Dan back and told him I’d be happy to participate if he thought I could add some value.

A reader commented on my last post and posed the following questions I thought were worth answering:

  • Do you want to hang with Dan and be on a podcast?
    Fuck yes. I know he has his detractors, but I really like what I hear and read and think it’d be awesome to make his acquaintance. Not gonna lie. Sort of a fanboy.
  • Do you want to spread the word about male chastity?
    Sure. It’s a big part of why I blog. I think chastity and/or orgasm denial are practices that could help a lot of people in their relationships. They’re not just kinks. They’re useful disciplines that can be applied to help couples. I firmly believe that. I also think kinkiness in general, chastity and denial in particular, and even the subject of male submission carry too many cultural stigmas and need to be shown as not all that weird or unusual. If I’m called upon to stand up for men and couples like me and Belle, then I’ll do my best.
  • Do you want to become more known?
    Well, in as much as it helps with the previous thing, sure. But I’m not looking for fame and riches. Recognition for good work is always welcome, but if becoming better known leads more couples to successfully incorporate chastity or denial in their lives, then that’s great.
  • Do you want to become a relationship and sexuality counselor, a la Savage?
    Do we need more of those? (Also, he’s not a counselor, just and advice columnist.) I’m already doing a very specialized version of that here, to a certain extent. But ultimately, I have a day job and ample hobbies with which to fill my time.
  • What’s the need that’s causing an itch?
    Why do I blog? Why do I share my experience? Why do I take the time to answer questions (usually the same questions, over and over) about chastity I get here and via email and on Fet Life and on Twitter? I dunno. Because I do.

So, anyway. That’s where that is.


Read my blog long enough and you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Dan Savage. Not just in a sqeeing fanboy way, but because I think his column and podcast make the world a better place for humans who have sex (read: all of them, excepting perhaps asexuals). I have a great deal of respect for him.

Last night, he sent me a DM on Twitter asking if I’d be on his show if a related question ever came in. I assume he was talking about male chastity. My initial and visceral reaction was fuck yes! But…

First and foremost, you may recall I gave my son a subscription to the Savage Lovecast when he turned 16. I have no idea if he actually listens to it, but he may. Imagine hearing your dad talk about his sex life in public unexpectedly when you were a teenager. Ew.

Second, there are a ton of people I know who listen to Dan’s show and by going on it I’d be “outing” Belle and I and what we do in the bedroom (and what I do by myself and with Drew and that Drew exists, etc.). That doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the first thing, but Belle’s been very cautious in the past with regard to protecting our mild-mannered identities.

Oddly, she was all for me going on the show (if the opportunity ever came up). Enthusiastic, even. I reminded her about the kid and her attitude was something like he’d find out eventually anyway. That was a surprise. One, no, he may not. And two, I mean, ew.

This presented a real “money where your mouth is” kind of moment for me. If not for the kid, I’d absolutely do the show. Even though it’d mean friends and probably other family members learning all about what Belle and I do and what I do and what I have in my pants. I do believe in the right of other people not to know those things, but I don’t think doing something like the Lovecast is like wearing a t-shirt that says “ASK ME ABOUT MALE CHASTITY!” I won’t lie and say the prospect of being outed like that makes me a nervous, but it’s who I am and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all. As with other kinds of outings, I think living on the other side of it would actually be better and/or more fun.

I’ve told Dan that I think being on his show would be a blast but I worry about the kid. That’s where it is. I don’t see a way past that, so I don’t know what will ever come from the offer. However, I am pleased as punch that Dan put it out there and more than a little honored. Dan nearly always has really smart, really knowledgeable people on and to think he’d give me the chance to be one of them is really great.

Funnily enough, I’ve often wondered what I’d ever call-in or write to Dan about. What sexual conundrum he could help me solve. And here’s one he helped create.

Apple, radius of falling from tree, etc.

The other day, my son let me know he was bisexual. He did it as an aside in a text message as if he was relating his dislike for capers while ordering something containing them at a restaurant. Real smooth-like.

I can’t say I’m very surprised. A little over two years ago, late on the night President Obama was reelected and the Minnesota Marriage Amendment (which would have defined marriage in the state constitution in the heteronormative way even though state law already said the same thing) went down in defeat1, he told me he was gay. The amendment had been topic number one for some time as the election neared and he knew I was vehemently against it. I suppose, in the light of that apparent support and open-mindedness about alternative sexuality, he decided to tell me about his homosexuality. He did so, with some emotion and trepidation.

Problem is, I didn’t believe him. Not for a second. I know gay. I am really familiar with gay kids, too, having been surrounded with them at one point in my life. I also pride myself on having a honed gaydar. None of that gave me the idea he was at all gay. But you don’t tell your kid who’s just done this emotional thing that he’s wrong. You tell him you love him as he is and always will and only want him to find happiness in the world. Then you hug him and tell him to go to bed because he has school in the morning.

After that, he demonstrated zero percent gayness. He dated a handful of girls, one seriously (and recently), and (as far as I could tell) no boys. We never discussed the gay thing again. Just left it out there, sitting. Then came the bisexual declaration.

I wanted to tell him he was doing it backward. Common practice is to identify as bi first then gay. Bisexuality is a station, not a destination. He was doing it wrong.2 But I didn’t. I didn’t say much of anything, really. Didn’t want to make too big a deal of it. He certainly wasn’t. Last night, he did it again for Belle with me sitting there. Kinda of like, “Did I mention the bisexuality thing? Or didn’t I?” Again, no big deal. No great unveiling. Just supportive recognition.

This is complicated for me. I’ve never talked to him about my sexuality, though I have blogged about it on my muggle blog (with its occasional tiny blip of readership) and he knows about that blog and may have read what I wrote there. He’s never asked. On the one hand, I feel like I need to tell him something. On the other, he’s already about 20 years ahead of where I was at his age. He’s out at school where I’m told it’s no big deal and now he’s out at home. No big deal. I recall how badly I wanted my dad to talk to me about his sex life when I was sixteen (read: NOT AT ALL), so even though he’s not going to follow the standard path and he’s apparently not going to follow my path, he is definitely on a path and is showing little sign of needing someone to show him his way.

Of course, this makes me proud of him. And a little in awe. I see a lot of me in him, but he’s got a lot of his mom, too, and the combination is formidable and more than either of us, I think. One day, he will lead people. He seems destined to do it. He will deserve to do it. I doubt he’ll ever be apologizing to anyone for who he is nor should he. Such incredible potential.

As it stands, I doubt I’ll talk to him about being bi for a while. He just doesn’t seem to need it. Of course, he doesn’t have all the answers yet, but part of being young is finding those yourself. There’s only so much listening to his dad any boy will do even when he isn’t talking about sex. Whatever Belle and I have been doing for him so far seems to be working.

I did set him up with his own subscription to Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast.  He’s just sixteen but he’s a mature sixteen (looks and acts twenty) and I could only have wished at that age to have had a resource like Dan. I think it will be important and ultimately healthy for him to be exposed to the full breadth and depth of the human sexual condition that is regularly featured on the Lovecast. I can’t say that Saturday was the exact best moment to do it, but waiting until he was an “adult” would be far too long. There are so many things he needs to know and none of his friends are going to know them any better than he does and I doubt he’ll get much from the school other than the official line (and he’ll only come to me under extreme duress, I’m sure). In any event, I deemed him ready for it. Hopefully, he gives it a listen.

Now all I have to do is start steeling myself for when his sister gets to be that age. <insert wide-eyed and terror-filled emoticon here>

1 And which led to a Democratic take-over of the statehouse and, ultimately, marriage equity in the state.
2 NO, of course I don’t really believe that.

Dan Savage interviewed by Playboy

Dan Savage sat down for a lengthy interview by Playboy.

PLAYBOY: In your view, who are the most offensive homophobes now?

SAVAGE: Vladimir Putin and the president of Uganda. We expected the backlash here in the U.S., but the backlash is abroad. What is our responsibility to queer people in Uganda who are being brutalized because of the rapid success of the gay-rights movement in the West? In countries like Uganda, leaders have this easy way to assert their moral superiority: hating gay people in the same way shitty, fucked-up Christians in America do. Putin is very blunt about this. It’s how they prove their moral superiority to the West. They don’t have to take better care of their citizens, they don’t have to have a functioning democracy, they don’t have to have a decent environment, they don’t have to have a justice system that works. They just have to hate gay people really hard and they’re better than the United States, better than Canada, better than France. It’s exactly like the Christians. They don’t have to stop masturbating, stop having premarital sex, stop drinking, stop getting divorced and remarried. All they have to do to be good Christians is hate gay people. “I don’t have to keep my dick out of anybody; I just have to hate you and where you’re putting your dick.”

It’s shit like this that make me love Dan Savage fiercely. So frank and so true. Read the interview.