I am a 25-year-old bisexual female grad student in NYC. This summer I had sex with a man for the first time. It was casual sex, but we were together for a few days. I was spending the summer in California and met him there; he now lives in Philadelphia.

Today I called him up for the first time since we met. He gave one-word answers to my questions. When I asked if he wanted to get together since we were in the same area again, all he said was “not really.” He was so cold. I know you’ll give me a lecture on casual sex: he has a right not to want to see me again; a few one-night stands do not create intimacy. But I was looking for none of this. I simply enjoyed the sex and enjoyed the company and he seemed to as well. So it didn’t seem out of line to call.

The thing I really can’t understand is why he was so nasty. As a person who reads your column regularly, I suddenly feel remarkably unsophisticated. My question is, did I breach etiquette by contacting him? Did I break some unspoken rule about casual sex? If you answer this letter please be nice. I feel awful. –Made a Fool of Myself in New York

I’ll be nice, MAFOMINY.

First of all, you didn’t make a fool of yourself, you made a phone call, and that call didn’t break any of the 300,000 unspoken rules of casual sex. Unless casual sex partners specifically ask us not to call, we have every right to ring them up. One person making a call is the only way a casual sex partner is ever transformed into a plain ol’ partner.

So why was this guy so nasty? Based on your account of the conversation, I would guess that he wasn’t alone when you called. If he was sitting next to his new girlfriend (or his old one, if he was cheating with you), he wouldn’t be able to speak with an affectionate tone for fear of arousing her suspicions. And if he was sitting next to her when you asked if he wanted to get together, he wouldn’t be able to say much more than “not really.” He was probably trying to sound like he was turning down an invite from a friend to see a movie, for which he can hardly be blamed if your call came at a bad time.

Or hey, maybe he’s an asshole who shot you down for sport. While that’s painful, and while I empathize (and while I’m still being nice), you’re a grown-up. Apply a little skin thickener, OK? Getting shot down happens to all of us once or twice in our adult lives; I promise it will happen to you again–and you’re gonna shoot a few men and women down in your lifetime, too, assuming you haven’t done so already. Each of us in turn, on purpose or by accident, gets to play the asshole.

At my father’s funeral a week ago I met up with a cousin I used to hit on when we were teenagers ten years ago. I was in the throes of coming out, and I asked him at every possible opportunity if I could suck his dick. It never happened, but he never seemed to get pissed about me asking. We exchanged E-mail addresses at my father’s funeral, and now that I have a way to contact him I’d like to apologize. I’ve pissed off a lot of guys by coming on to them too often. I’ve drafted an E-mail, which I haven’t sent yet, telling him I’d like to make, um, amends. I’m still debating whether to send it or not for fear that the whole family might find out. –Might Owe My Cousin an Apology

You transparent cocksuck–oh, wait a minute, I’m being nice this week. And shit, man, your father just died. Let me start over: I’m so very sorry about your father passing away, MOMCAA. My condolences, you transparent cocksucker.

Don’t tell me you want to apologize. That’s bullshit. An apology is verbal; you could make one on the phone. What you’re interested in is your cousin’s dick. If you wanna hit on him again, at least have the courage to do it honestly. Send an E-mail that reads, “Remember those blow jobs I offered when we were kids? The offer stands,” and you might get to make “amends.” Or your whole family might find out that you’re the kind of skanky faggot who offers blow jobs to his relatives. If it comes to that, well, you can take some comfort in the fact that at least your father isn’t alive to hear about it.

Recently, I found a condom wrapper by the computer I share with my husband. Since my husband and I have not had sex in several months, and definitely not at the computer, I asked him about it. He told me that it was from long ago, and that he found it going through his backpack. I have my doubts. The frequency of our lovemaking has dropped off a cliff. I don’t feel that he is communicating with me, and this makes me uninterested in sex. I’m certain that he hasn’t been unfaithful, but I suspect he’s been doing a fair amount of self-stimulation lately. Why is he more interested in masturbating than sex? –Chilled in Chicago

Your husband was probably jerking off at the computer and put a condom on his dick so that his come wouldn’t get all over his lap or your keyboard. He was trying to be considerate–which is more than you’re doing.

You say you’re not interested in sex, and you have your reasons. Fine. But you can’t fault your husband for self-stimulation if he’s not getting any from you. He may be more interested in sex than masturbation, but sex isn’t an option right now; it’s not as if he’s choosing masturbation over sex. Until you work out this communication crap, he’s gonna go on jerking off. And while you’re on strike, wouldn’t you prefer that your husband jerk off into something designed to hold spunk? I mean, it’s that or a lot of crusty socks, lady. Take your pick.

Your MHS contest reminded me of a heartwarming masturbation story: I went to a tiny boarding school on the east coast filled with sadistic rich kids. Like any high school, we had a clique of good-looking jocks. The story is interesting because by far the most popular guy in the school–best-looking, quarterback, goddess girlfriend–also happened to be a really nice guy. Years after we graduated he told me that one day he was stoned and going from room to room in the dormitory looking for food when he burst into the room of a freshman in midjerk with a lacrosse stick jammed up his butt. The kid was terrified, but the QB said not to worry, that he jerked off all the time and wouldn’t tell anyone. Most amazingly, he kept his word. –Will Write Script for After-School Special

That is a heartwarming story, WWSFASS. The sweet QB kept his word and didn’t tell anyone–until he told you, and you told me, and I told everyone. Thanks for sharing.