A large crowd braved a snowstorm to come out to Savage Love Live at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre last week. Questions were submitted on index cards, which allowed questioners to remain anonymous and forced them to be succinct. I got to as many of them as I could over two long, raucous, boozy hours. Here are some of the questions I didn’t have time for.
Q: What do you think of poop play?
A: I don’t except when forced to.
Q: What exactly causes relationships to end?
A: Relationships end for all sorts of different reasons—boredom, neglect, contempt, betrayal, abuse—but all relationships that don’t end survive for the same reason: the people in them just keep not breaking up. Sometimes people in relationships that need to end never get around to breaking up.
Q: I was in an open relationship once and was heartbroken in the end because my partner broke the rules we made. My current partner wants to make our monogamous relationship open, but I am hesitant because of my previous burn. How do I get over this and become comfortable with an open relationship again?
A: Rejecting nonmonogamy because your last nonmonogamous relationship failed makes about as much sense as rejecting monogamy because your last monogamous relationship failed. If people applied the same standard to closed relationships that they apply to open ones (“I was in one that failed so I can never enter into another one!”), most of us would’ve had two relationships in our lives—one open, one closed—and then either taken a vow of celibacy or pledged to stick to NSA sex for the rest of our lives.
Our choices are informed by our experience, of course, and you had a bad experience with an open relationship. Open relationships might not be for you. But it’s also possible that the problem with your last relationship wasn’t the openness but the partner.
Q: Advice for happily child-free people in a baby- and parent-worshipping world?
A: You could take comfort in your free time, your disposable income, and your vomit-free wardrobe. You could also see baby and parent worship for what it is: a desperate attempt on the part of the busy, broke, and vomit-spackled (and the people trying to sell stuff to us) to make ourselves feel better about the consequential and irrevocable choice we made to have kids.
Q: Magnum condoms are just marketing, right?
A: Wrong—but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just spend ten minutes on Tumblr and you’ll see for yourself.
Q: I accidentally told my dad about your podcast when teaching him how to use iTunes. I called home a couple of weeks later, and Dad told me he’s been listening and Mom yells, “I’m not gonna pee on you!”
A: It could’ve been worse. Mom could’ve yelled: “We can’t talk right now! I’m peeing on your father!”
Q: My husband and I (30s, M/F, two kids) found out our best friends of 20 years were secretly poly. And we didn’t know! Well, we all fucked. Now our relationship/friendship is fucked too. How do we move on from this mess?
A: People who are poly say they want more love, sex, and joy in their lives—but some poly people seem to want more chaos, drama, and hurt in their lives. Unless you know a couple well, or unless you’ve noticed the trail of destruction they’ve left in their wake, there’s just no way to tell what they’re really after until after you’ve slept with them. Anyway, how do you move on? You send a note apologizing for your part in the chaos, drama, and hurt and express a desire to mend the friendship. Hopefully you’ll hear from them.
Q: What is the deal with a “blumkin”? Like, honestly, why? Why? WHY? They freak me out and confuse me.
A: Take it away, Urban Dictionary, which defines “blumkin” thus: “When a man is sitting on the toilet taking a shit and has his woman come in and give him head during the act of shitting.”
I’ve been writing this dumb sex-advice column for a long time, and while I’ve received a few questions like yours over the years (“What’s the deal with blumkins?!?”), I’ve never once received a question about an IRL blumkin session gone wrong. So blumkins aren’t for real, and they’re not really about sex. As you can see from the UD definition, they’re not about sex or kink, but about misogyny and implied violence, i.e., the man takes a shit and orders “his woman” to come in and give him head. Consensual degradation and power play can be hot, of course, but blumkins and donkey punching and dirty Sanchezes—and the scared little boys who talk about them—are bullshit. Sexist bullshit.
Q: Like most gay men in their early 30s, I enjoy chatting and sending pics of my nether regions via dating apps. My conflict is that I am a public school teacher. While I believe I have a right to a sex life, what if someone I send a pic to disagrees? Do you think I should stop?
A: We need to pick a day for everyone on earth to intentionally release a pic of their nether regions online. It should be an annual holiday—just to get it over with and to prevent moralizing scolds from going after people whose pics go unintentionally astray. But schoolteachers have been fired for sexting. So . . . whether you stop or not depends on the degree of risk you’re comfortable with and the faith you have in the discretion of the folks you’re meeting on apps.
Q: Why is the term “monogamy” and not “monoamory”?
A: “Monogamy” comes from the Greek monos for “single” and gamos for “marriage.” So the term literally means “one marriage” not “one love.” Since you can be monogamous without being married, and married without being monogamous, perhaps the term really should be “monoamory,” meaning “one love at a time, married or not.” But meaning follows usage, and an effort to get people to use “monoamory” would be just as futile as efforts to stop people from using “polyamory” because it mixes Greek (poly) and Latin (amory).
Q: We’re both over 40, married ten years. He wants a threesome, and I’m ambivalent. He says +1 girl, I say +1 boy. What do we do?
A: Upgrade to a foursome with +1 opposite-sex couple.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Wilbur! I had a blast! v
Download the Savage Lovecast every Tuesday at thestranger.com.