Q 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 pull 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
A 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, 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.
—Personal Images Causing Strife
A 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 okay, of course, just as telling a potential partner you're single when you're not isn't okay. 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.
Q How long after using an oil-based lubricant do I have to wait before I can safely use latex condoms? Not right after, presumably. Next day? Next week? Next century? I've been experimenting with oil-based CBD lube for hand/toy stuff, but I'm worried about the timing relative to penetrative sex.
A "Oil and latex condoms do NOT mix, period," said Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, an online condom shop, and a condom expert. "Using an oil-based lubricant with a condom can cause the condom to leak or break. And unlike water-based lubes, oils do not evaporate readily. While oil is absorbed over time, that absorption rate likely varies based on many factors, including age. Oiling up internally? Now we're talking vaginal versus anal absorption rates! The bottom line: We have not found sufficient studies to issue a reliable recommendation on what an overall safe time frame might be. So here's the deal: Oil or condoms—choose one."
Q Honest question: If you, being a homosexual, don't die from HIV, will you have to wear a diaper before the age of 42? Optional question: What does a prolapsed rectum look like? I bet you can describe it without doing an image search.
—Sickening Homosexuals Are Malignant Errors
A Honest answers: I know you meant this to be hate mail, SHAME, but I'm just thrilled someone out there thinks I'm not 42 yet. Also, I'm HIV-negative—last time I checked—but even if I were to seroconvert (go from HIV-negative to HIV-positive), a person with HIV who has access to meds can expect to live as long as a person without HIV. Also, a person with HIV who is on meds and has a zero viral load (no trace of the virus can be detected in their blood) cannot infect another person. So even if I were to contract HIV after all these years, SHAME, I would likely live long enough to die of something else and, once I got on meds, I couldn't pass HIV on to anyone else. And quickly: I'm way past 42 and not in a diaper yet, thank you very much. And while some people think a prolapsed rectum looks like a rosebud, I happen to think a prolapsed rectum looks like a ball of lean hamburger. And the first one I ever saw—and, no, I didn't need to do an image search because it makes a real impression—was in straight porn, not gay porn.
P.S. If you can't think about gay men without thinking about our poops and the diapers you hope we're wearing and our meaty prolapsed rectums, SHAME, that says a lot more about you than it does about gay people.
QI’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
AWhile 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 big) 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 big) 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.
Have a question about sex, sexuality or relationships? Email it to Dan Savage, it could get answered in the column some week soon.