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Dan Savage: Girls and Women and Sex

Also: What is demisexuality?

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My teenage daughter just came out to us as gay. We told her we love her and support her. As a heterosexual, cisgender mother, how do I make sure she gets good advice about sex? I don't want her learning from other kids or porn. Do you know of any good, sex-positive advice books for lesbian teens?

—My Inspiring Daughter Deserves Lesbian Education

"I wish every parent felt this way about their child's sexual development, regardless of the child's gender identity or sexual orientation," said Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. "All young people—girls especially—need open, honest discussions about sexual ethics, including talking about pleasure, respect, decision-making, and reciprocity, or we are leaving them at the mercy of the messages they get from both the mainstream and 'adult' entertainment industries."

"I'm a big fan of Heather Corinna's S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties," said Orenstein. "She also produces the Scarleteen.com website, which is fabulous. Other inclusive, sex-positive, medically accurate websites include Sexetc.org and Goaskalice.columbia.edu. And MIDDLE could think about giving her daughter a subscription to OMGYes.com, an explicit (but not tawdry) site that educates about the science of female pleasure. And finally, I think everyone who is a woman—or has had sex with a woman or ever hopes to—should read Emily Nagoski's book Come As You Are. Even if you think you know it all, Nagoski's book will transform your sex life."

Follow Orenstein on Twitter @peggyorenstein.

My husband and I are currently separated on a trial basis. He took all our condoms when he moved out, and I want to ask him if he plans on having sex with other women. I don't have any intention of sleeping with other people while separated, but I think he may be interested in doing so, in part since we have been sexually active only with each other and he is trying to "find himself." If either of us were to have extramarital sex without the consent of the other, I would consider that cheating. We've also been having sex with each other throughout our separation. But my husband refuses to discuss this aspect of our separation. He will discuss only co-parenting or financial issues. I would be okay with him having casual sex but not a romantic sexual relationship.

—Wondering If Fidelity Enforceable

Taking the condoms + refusing to discuss the sexual terms of your separation = your husband is almost certainly fucking other women. If your husband refuses to have a dialogue about the sexual aspect of your separation, then you'll have to make him listen to a monologue. Tell him you assume he's having sex with other people and, if that's not the case, he'll have to use his words to persuade you otherwise. If he sits there in silence, or his words are unpersuasive, tell him you now feel free to have sex with other people, too. And while you can ask him not to enter into a romantic sexual relationship with anyone else, WIFE, you ultimately can't control how he feels about who he's fucking while he's out there finding himself. If you aren't comfortable fucking your husband while he's fucking other women, let him know that and cut him off.

I'm a 32-year-old straight male. Back in April, I met this girl. She seemed interested, but before we went out, she told me that she is a demisexual. (I had to google it.) After a few dates, she had me over to her place, we watched a movie and started making out. But when I started to put my hand between her legs, she calmly said, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves." No problem, I told her, I wasn't trying to rush her. Fast-forward a couple months. We're still going on dates, we hug and kiss, we hold hands, we cuddle on the couch and watch movies—but still no sex. Is demisexuality real? Should I keep pursuing her?

—Is She Interested Totally Or Not?

Demisexuals are real people who "do not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional bond," according to the definition at Asexuality.org. We used to call people who needed to feel a strong emotional bond before wanting to fuck someone people who, you know, needed to feel a strong emotional bond before wanting to fuck someone. But a seven-syllable, clinical-sounding term that prospective partners need to google—demisexuality—is obviously far superior to a short, explanatory sentence that doesn't require internet access to understand.

You've shown respect for this woman's sexual orientation, ISITON, now it's her turn to show some respect for yours. I don't mean by putting out if she's not ready or not interested, but by offering you some clarity about when or whether she'll ever be interested. If this relationship isn't on track to become sexual, tell her you're open to being friends—truly intimate friends—but you'll have to direct your romantic attentions (and more of your time) elsewhere. 


On the Lovecast, comedian Amy Miller. Listen up at savagelovecast.com.

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