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I tried to ask this question of Van, the porn star who sells his dirty underwear via his website, www.vanhotman.com. I wrote to him via his website and asked him to call me, but I never heard back. Perhaps you could have him contact me? You see, I’m a 40-year-old gay man living in Manhattan having a fling with an underwear “pig,” as he styles himself. He’s into spanking and stuffing my mouth with his dirty underwear. His skivvies look grungy and stained (piss and cum, he says), but there’s no fragrance and never any skid marks. I find this strange because skid marks are very hard for men to avoid no matter how careful a guy is. I hate to bring up the desire to sniff his skid marks because I don’t want to gross him out. How would Van suggest I tell my sex partner about this desire?

–Shy About These Things

“I sense a time waster here,” said Van when I shared your letter with him. Porn stars and escorts get a lot of calls and E-mails from time wasters, men who have no real interest in purchasing their time (or dirty undies) but get off on chatting them up. Some even beat off while they’ve got a porn star/escort on the phone, which is annoying to the porn stars/escorts, as there’s nothing in it for them. You struck Van as a time waster, SATT, and that’s why he didn’t call you back. “Anyway, why can’t this man just ask his friend about this?” said Van. “If he’s having sex with a ‘pig,’ a guy who’s spanking him and shoving dirty undies in his mouth, he should be able to ask a guy like that to take a dump before he comes over and not take a shower.”

Van also said that skid marks are something a pervert has to specifically request. “I was brought up in a Catholic boarding school and have horrible memories of my skid-marked underwear being posted on my dorm’s bulletin board next to my name,” Van said. “I learned at an early age to clean myself very well. Even as an adult, I am religious about being ‘skid free.’ Most people are taught the same thing and look on skid marks as terrible things.” That means your friend will probably never give you what you need until you ask for it. And, hey, not all men have a hard time avoiding skid marks. “I manage to keep very, very clean,” said Van.

Your readers should be careful about sending used garments through the mail. Yahoo auction sites once hosted a lot of “worn panties” auctions. These auctions did very well, but Yahoo got into trouble because cum-filled underwear, period panties, and feces-stained briefs can carry disease, sexual and otherwise. It’s also illegal to send dirty underwear through the mail; I have friends who were fined for mailing these materials. Granted, most people probably won’t get caught, but I wouldn’t want to get fined 5K for sending a biohazard through the mail. Explain that one to your mother!

–Mail Order Blues

“I’m not aware of any restriction on mailing underwear, clean or otherwise,” said Ernie Swanson, Communications Specialist for the U.S. Postal Service. “There are relatively few restrictions on what you can send through the mail. You can’t send alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, firearms, and things that might be explosive. But there are no restrictions on mailing clothing items, clean or not.” So, MOB, these friends of yours who were fined for mailing their dirty undies: Were they friends? Or friends of friends? I suspect the latter–i.e., “friends of friends” in the urban-legend sense, because Ernie’s only request for people mailing their dirty undies is that “the items be properly wrapped.” Amen to that, Ernie.

But you’re right, dirty undies did disappear from Yahoo Auctions after a successful run. Why? I called Yahoo, but everyone who hadn’t been laid off was too busy issuing earnings reports and, you know, managing the collapse of E-commerce to answer my dumb question about dirty undies. When a Yahoo spokesperson did call me back, it was only to read this short statement: “The ban on used underwear was consistent with Yahoo’s existing health and safety policies,” said the flack. “When we were updating our terms of service, we decided to clearly indicate that used underwear is a banned item.”

What can you bid on at Yahoo Auctions? Well, I managed to find a Family Ties cast photo signed by Meredith Baxter Birney that was infinitely more disgusting than, say, a pair of John Ashcroft’s soiled panties. Which only goes to show that one man’s auction-house treasure is another’s health and safety violation.

I followed that porn star’s advice about mailing my dirty panties to my boyfriend. Unfortunately, he told me that my panties arrived smelling not much different than his Weekly Standard, which came in the same day’s mail. What gives?

–Dave’s Devoted Long-Distance Girlfriend

“The truth about mail-order undies is this,” said Van: “Ultimately, it’s not about the stench. It’s about this person you can’t be with for some reason sending you a little piece of themselves.” Some of the guys obsessed with Van live thousands of miles away. “Since they can’t be with me, the next best thing is having my soiled or unsoiled underwear. It’s about lust and worship from afar.” In that spirit, DDLDG, your boyfriend should be able to enjoy your dirty, if stank-free, undies.

Thanks for your recent column on chlamydia, HPV, and cervical cancer. However, I must correct one misstatement: Chlamydia does not show up on Pap smears! A Pap smear is a screening test that will detect abnormal cellular changes that may or may not be precancerous or cancerous. Those changes are nearly always the result of HPV (genital wart virus) infection. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and must be tested for separately, either with a urine test or a cervical swab. Many clinicians will not do this test unless it is requested, so women should not assume that they are STD-free just because they had a Pap smear. Other than that, your advice to women was right on. Chlamydia can be carried for years without symptoms, and can cause infertility as well as the other problems you mentioned. Sexually active women should have yearly STD screenings and Pap smears.

–Ingrid Nelson, Nurse Practitioner

Thanks for sharing, Nurse Ingrid. I stand corrected: Pap smears and STD screenings, ladies, at least once a year. Go get ’em, girls.

What do guys think of horrible pussy farts? I like fucking in all kinds of odd positions, and inevitably my vagina will make some unpleasant noises when he pulls out. There’s no way to control it. I’m hoping that guys, in general, don’t give a damn if the sex was good. It’s certainly not what I want them to walk away remembering.

–Blushing Pussy Farter

I haven’t the faintest idea what straight guys think about horrible pussy farts. So let’s ask: Hey, straight guys! Horrible pussy farts: Disgusting postcoital faux pas? Or cunt-trumpeting music to your ears?

Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to letters@savagelove.net.