I'm unemployed in Oregon and trying to come up with ways to make rent. My wife and I would like your opinion on the legality of selling my teenage son's sweaty gym clothes online. It sounds skeezy, I realize, and I'm half-joking here. If we had a nonsexual website with pictures that weren't necessarily of my son, would that be buffer enough? Would this be seen as whoring out the boy? He's up for it -- as long as he gets his cut -- but could I go to jail for this? He is 14.
Pimpin' Out Real Teen's Leftover, Acrid, Nasty Duds
Speaking parent-to-parent, PORTLAND, informing your 14-year-old son that there are perverts all over the Internet who would pay for his sweaty gym clothes wasn't the best idea. Whatever you do with his sweaty clothes -- and I vote for tossing them in the wash -- dangling the money your son could make catering to online pervs might inspire him to go into business for himself. Keep an eye on his Internet usage. As for the legal issues …
"Selling a physical property -- sweat -- might be an issue," said Chris O'Connor, a public defender in Portland, Ore. "Also, he could be [charged with] fraud and misrepresentation for selling clothing he says is his 14-year-old son's but isn't."
And as your son's gym clothes make their way into the hands of underpants-huffing pervs all over the world, some items would travel through different jurisdictions. While there may not be a statute in Oregon that you could be prosecuted under, Mississippi or Illinois or Vatican City "may have specific laws," says O'Connor -- laws you could be violating.
The biggest potential problem: Underpants-huffers wanna know whose underpants they're huffing. You'll have to include pictures and biographical info on your website. Involving a minor -- even a fake/buffer one -- in what many police officers, district attorneys and some sex-advice columnists see as gateway sex work will add arrest, incarceration, crushing legal bills and a lifetime on a sex-offender registry to your troubles.
I'm sorry you're hurting, but you should come up with another way to make rent.
Six months ago, my 17-year-old son told me that he was seeing [insert male name]. What troubles me: My son and his boyfriend are "furries" and open about it. The boyfriend is sweet, but he's clearly the dominant one. I'm worried that my son may not know how to say no to him. I found a dog collar in the kitchen with an engraved tag with my son's name on it. And today I noticed a bruise on his throat that's the size of a collar buckle. How do I ensure he is exploring safely without freaking him out?
Why This Fetish?
Go ahead and freak him out, WTF.
Your son is being open with you about his sexuality, and you should be open about your concerns. You won't be able to talk him out of his kinks, if they're his kinks (and not, say, a teenage affectation), so focus on the issues: power dynamics and sexual safety. Tell him it's important that he be able to say no to his boyfriend, and let him know that you're there for him if he has concerns or needs a sounding board. Then ask about the bruise on his neck. Dog collars are harmless -- lots of kids and kinksters wear 'em -- but if he and his boyfriend are playing choking games with that collar, and that's where the bruise came from, that's a very dangerous activity.
I would bark at the boyfriend about that bruise, too. Furry, schmurry: It's erotic asphyxiation you should be worried about.
A friend of mine came out as asexual on his blog. A couple of questions:
1. Is this a "real" orientation. Is this the result of some sort of trauma or psychological stuff that could be dealt with through a therapist? I realize that sounds close to the "ex-gay therapy" thing, but it's hard to understand how someone can't form a sexual connection with another person and still be 100 percent OK psychologically.
2. How do I react the next time I see this friend?
Does LGBT Need An "A"?
1. Asexuality is a real sexual orientation … or lack thereof. Usually. You see, some asexuals do "experience attraction," according to Asexuality Visibility Network (www.asexuality.org), "[but] feel no need to act out that attraction sexually." So it's an orientation. Or a disorientation. Or something. But whatever it is, it's for real.
"I've been where your friend is," says David Jay, the Visibility Network's founder. "He wouldn't have come out without spending a lot of time mulling it over, so he's done a lot more thinking about this than you have. If he identifies as asexual, you should respect that."
I agree 100 percent. It's possible that your friend isn't really asexual, just as it's possible that I'm not really gay and Marcus Bachmann isn't really straight. Your friend may identify as asexual because he can't deal with his sexuality, or because he finds the games required exhausting. Or he may actually be asexual. Whichever it is, you're not the sexual-identity police. So long as your friend isn't externalizing an internal conflict and making other people miserable -- à la Marcus Bachmann -- he doesn't need to be confronted. (And for the record: No one is "100 percent OK psychologically," and not everyone needs sex to enjoy life.)
2. "Hey, how's it going?"
"Good, man, you?"
"Good. Did you see Rise of the Planet of the Apes?"
"Yeah -- terrible."
"And James Franco was never shirtless -- what's up with that?"
"If you need tits with your science fiction, you should check out Misfits on Hulu. It's like Lost before it went to shit."
"I'll check it out -- and, hey, I saw that blog post about you IDing as asexual. If that's something you want to talk about, I'd love to learn more. But if it's not something you want to talk about, we can talk about other shit."
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.