Dear Dan: I have a question about porn, and I can’t think who else I can ask that will give me an intelligent, educated answer. In modern porn, anal on women is gaining popularity. I’m a fan of anal with my boyfriend. However, in porn, it seems like the gaping asshole is a thing, a sought-after thing, a desired thing. And I guess my boyfriend and I don’t get it. We can get quite vigorous when we have anal sex, but MY butthole never gapes open like that — my boyfriend assures me that when he pulls out, it goes back to its cute little flower-like effect. Why is the gaping asshole so popular? I promise this is not a frivolous question or just for titillation. We really do wonder: What gives?
—Gaining Anal Perspective Entails Serious Question
Dear GAPESQ: It’s funny how a chief fear about anal sex — that your asshole would gape open afterward and poop would fall out while you walked down the street — became eroticized. (The asshole gaping open part, not the poop falling out part.) Did I say funny, GAPESQ? I meant predictable. Because a big part of the collective human subconscious is always at work eroticizing our fears, and the gaping-open, just-been-fucked, completely “wrecked” asshole many people feared inevitably became something some people found hot. And as more people began experimenting with anal sex — as anal went mainstream over the last two decades — people realized that the anal sphincter is a muscle and the secret to successful anal intercourse is learning to relax that muscle. Situationally, not permanently. You could relax, get loose, gape after, post the video to a porn tube, and then tighten back up. Now, not everyone thinks a wide-open, gaping asshole is desirable. And not everyone, in the immortal words of Valerie Cherish, needs (or wants) to see that.
Dear Dan: My significant other wants me to delete any NSFW pictures of my exes, but I don’t feel comfortable with that. I don’t have an emotional attachment to my exes or really look at these photos anymore, but I feel that old pictures saved on old computers aren’t doing any harm and deleting them won’t fix my partner’s insecurity.
—Personal Images Causing Strife
Dear PICS: Accommodating a partner’s irrational insecurity is sometimes the price we pay to make an otherwise healthy and functional relationship work, PICS, as I recently told another reader. But one possible workaround — one possible accommodation — is telling your insecure partner what they want to hear even if it isn’t true. Telling a partner who is concerned about safety that you’re using condoms with others when you’re not isn’t OK, of course, just as telling a potential partner you’re single when you’re not isn’t OK. But telling a partner that you deleted photos you never look at on a password-protected computer they can’t look at… yeah, that’s a lie you don’t have to feel too awful about telling.
Dear Dan: I’m a straight guy who loves the female body — the look, touch and smell. I’m in my mid-30s, I’ve never had a serious relationship, and I don’t know if I’m capable of falling in love. I’m exclusively into trans women, and I’ve kept it a secret because it’s nobody’s business. If I were in love, I’d make it public, but that hasn’t happened. I can’t help but feel like this is an addiction, and I’m ashamed of it. I’m sure I’m not the first straight guy who’s into trans women who’s written to you. Where do I go from here?
—Straight And Struggling
Dear SAS: While dating someone in secret isn’t impossible, SAS, it rarely leads to long-term love. Being kept hidden because you’re trans (or you’re gay or you’re bi) and the person you’re dating hasn’t gotten over their shame about being attracted to trans people (or members of their own sex or bigger people)… well, it sucks to be someone’s dirty secret. And a healthy trans (or gay or bi) person — the kind of person you might be able to fall in love with — isn’t going to put up with that shit. So it’s a catch-22: So long as you keep the women you date a secret, none of them are going to stay in your life for long. They’ll be either so damaged you want them out of your life or not damaged enough to want you in theirs.
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