Q: Please stop using the word "retarded" as an insult, Dan. I know it can be hard to break a verbal habit, but please make an effort. Perhaps you should have a "retard jar" on your desk that you put a dollar in every time you use the word. When the jar is full, send the money to the Special Olympics.
Whatever you do, though, try to remember that you have lots of listeners and readers who have loved ones with mental disabilities, and we don't want to hear you misuse the word "retarded." Please don't tell me to read or listen to other people if I don't like what I hear. I want to read your column and listen to your podcast, but without the put-downs directed at people with mental disabilities. The Real Other Sister
A: I'm going to turn over a new leaf, TROS, and make a conscious, conscientious effort to break myself of the bad habit of using the word "retard." But I don't think the "retard jar" is for me. Instead, I'm going to use a substitution for the word.
From now on, instead of saying "retard" or "that's so retarded," I'm going to say "leotard" and "that's so leotarded." I won't be mocking the mentally challenged, just the physically gifted. I will pick on the strong---and the limber---and not the weak.
Q: I've lived with my boyfriend for a little less than a year, and we have awesome, frequent sex and a loving relationship. I'm not naive, and I don't expect my boyfriend not to look at porn. However, I took the opportunity to make it as clear as possible that porn makes me uncomfortable (I have a weird, visceral distaste), and it makes me feel insecure (am I not enough for him?). All I ask is that he clear his browser history if we're going to continue sharing computers and that he keep his porno-viewing habits private.
We had a huge fight about this. He was raised in an oppressive, religious household and feels my attitude is oppressively prudish. But I don't think he should feel ashamed for looking at pornography, I just don't want to see it. Why can't he see my point of view? Is it unreasonable to expect him to keep this part of his sexual private life private?
On The Outs
A: It's not at all unreasonable to ask him to be discreet about his porn-viewing habits, OTO, out of consideration for your feelings. And if he can't see that, well, then he's just being willfully leotarded.
But there are other solutions: Get your own personal laptops, change his settings so his browser history clears automatically, and if he makes an effort and slips up now and then---if you come across a porn-clogged browser history---clear it yourself and resist the urge to bring it up.
And for the record: It never even occurs to me to look at the browser history on the computer my boyfriend and I share. It wouldn't bother me if he was looking at porn---I'd be concerned if he wasn't looking at porn---but there's no law that requires you to check out his browser history. Scrutinizing browser histories is fourth-degree snooping, and only a leotard scrolls through her boyfriend's browser history knowing that what's she likely to find there is going to upset her.
Q: I'm a 29-year-old hetero male considering breaking up with my sweet GGG girlfriend of five years. I can't find a reason to do it, though. We never fight; she loves to do all the chores I hate and vice versa; she's accepting of all my kinks, from anal to public sex; and we love each other. We've been talking marriage and family all year.
But I miss falling in love, sex is becoming boring, and my heart aches every time I hear about a girl who wishes I were single. I told my girlfriend about these things, and she (while crying) gave me permission to sleep around so long as it's on her terms, though her terms are pretty strict. I'm not happy with the restrictions, but I can't ask for more because she gets so depressed talking about it.
Am I being self-destructive in wanting to throw away the love of my life? Let Me Have It
A: You're being a self-destructive leotard, LMHI, and your cliche male fear-of-intimacy issues are totally leotarded. Perhaps the marriage conversation is making you jittery---as marriage, in theory at least, means that you'll never again experience the heady rush of new love. But your odds of ever finding another girl---for a long- or short-term relationship---who loves you, you enjoy living with, and is willing to give you permission to sleep around, even with conditions, are infinitesimally small. If you weren't such a leotard, you would be able to see that you're not going to do better than this girl.
And make an effort to kick your sex life with the girlfriend into gear before you sleep with someone else. If she was sobbing her eyes out when she gave you permission to sleep with other people, LMHI, that's not a good sign. Successful and healthy open relationships rarely get their start when one partner has consented under duress. Boring can be fixed, and fixing it may involve opening this relationship up, but she's not really ready to go there.
Q: I'm a big fan of something called the Instead cup, which might help AFTER and her hemo-phobic boyfriend who doesn't want to have sex with her at any time during her period. You can buy them at the big drugstores like CVS here in California. When I have my period, the Instead cup sits up against my cervix. It captures all the menstrual blood and keeps it away from my loving boyfriend's enormous yet fastidious cock. He often doesn't even realize I have it in. It's a little messy to take out and dispose of, but it's totally worth it. Here's the website: www.softcup.com.
And if AFTER's boyfriend still won't fuck her with one of these handy numbers in, then she should definitely DTMFA. Cup Up Pussy
A: I'm familiar---not intimately so---with the Instead cup. But, like a total leotard, I spaced it. Thanks for writing, CUP.
Q: Longtime fan, Dan, but I don't see you on Twitter. It would be a blast! Thanks in advance. Need More Savage Love
A: Writing a column and doing a weekly podcast and blogging aren't enough? Now I have to Twitter? Sorry, NMSL, but no. The tech-savvy, at-risk youth who pull the Savage Lovecast together every week may have dragged my skinny gay ass into the early years of the 21st century---they created a YouTube site for me (youtube.com/user/dansavage) and a Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Dan-Savage/50670281251?ref=ts)---but I'm going to draw the line at Twittering, at least for the time being, as it would cut into my drinking time.
Download Dan's Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.
Email Dan at email@example.com.