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Honest nerves are manlier than false bravado.

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Could you tell my boy to calm the heck down? Can't seem to get him to get the difference between bestiality, necrophilia  and screwin' a bearskin rug. Emphasizing my usual sexual interests — which involve rope bondage, floggin' and an e-stim unit — hasn't worked. Logic isn't helpin' at all.

I'm a gay man and a hunter; he's a gay boy and a vegan. But he likes how I look in my camo, holding a rifle, so it works. Last fall, I shot a bear; a taxidermist made the bear into a rug. Most people don't know this, but the head on a bearskin rug is fake except for the fur. The skull, teeth and tongue are plastic, and the eyes are glass. That bear is hardly a bear, if you catch me.

So we got the rug, and he liked it. Even wanted me to screw him spread-eagle on that rug — until he walked in while I was doing it with the bear. I rigged up the mouth with one of those Fleshlight things, pretty much as a joke, but my boy freaked out when he saw the bear giving me a blowjob of sorts. Ever since, he won't let me tie him up or beat him or anything. He says he's afraid I will kill him and then screw him. I keep telling him it was just a game, but he won't believe it. What can I do?

Bear Grinned Anyway

What can you do? You mean besides send video of you and your bear in action to prove this isn't the most entertaining fake letter I've received since Michelle Obama invited me to dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker's apartment? 

You can do this: You can draw a distinction between what was going on in that bear's mouth when your boyfriend walked in and what was going on in your head. When a man beats off, two things are kindasorta happening simultaneously: what the man is doing with his dick, and what the man is imagining he's doing with his dick. Guys who beat off using a clenched fist, for example, generally aren't clenched-fist fetishists; they're just horny and their fists are there and, say, Sarah Jessica Parker isn't.

So your boyfriend walked in and saw you fucking the face of a dead bear. That's gonna look bad, even to a boyfriend who isn't vegan. How do you fix it? By explaining that while, yes, you were face-fucking a bear, you weren't thinking about face-fucking a bear. Tell your boyfriend you were thinking about him, and the bear's mouth was just a convenient place to wedge your Fleshlight. Tell him you don't entertain murderous fantasies, you only long to fuck living things, and Homo sapiens are the only animals you find attractive.

Tell him all of that, even if not all of that is entirely true.

I'm a 17-year-old male in a relationship with a girl who was sexually active before we got together. Me being a virgin, I think you can understand why I might be nervous when things get heated. I don't know if she wants a virgin fumbling around in bed with her. And it's not particularly manly to say, "I'm not going to be good at this for a while." Not exactly a turn-on. What advice could you give me?

Nerves Entirely Wrecking Boy

If your girlfriend is close to you in age, NEWB, the odds that she's good at sex are slim, her prior sexual activity notwithstanding. Almost all teen-agers are lousy at sex. Trust me: I was once a teen-ager who slept with other teen-agers, and I was lousy at sex and so were they.

Now here's my advice: Chill the fuck out. Presumably, your girlfriend likes you, and knows you're a virgin. Which means she knows you'll be a little nervous the first time you have sex, and there's going to be some fumbling. But even sexually experienced adults who are really good at sex get nervous. There's no such thing as sex without some fumbling.

If you're worried about displaying manly confidence, go into your first sexual experience confident that your girlfriend is into you, and be honestly and unapologetically who you are. Being yourself is far more manly than pretending to be someone you're not, and there's nothing less manly than pussing out on a new experience for fear of appearing unmanly. Honest nerves are manlier than false bravado.

One last thing to do before you lose your virginity: Watch a weekend marathon of 16 and Pregnant on MTV. That show will inspire you to use condoms religiously and correctly. Even if your girlfriend is using hormonal birth control, wrap your manly ol' dick up before you slide it inside.

Following up on the letter about masturbating in the privacy of a toilet stall: Guys are being banned from libraries in Portland, Ore., for wanking in the supposed privacy of locked bathroom stalls. Security officers peep through spaces between stall doors and write up reports that go into detail about "shiny liquids" spotted on offenders' hands. Those who are caught are excluded from the libraries for a year. Victorian prudery lives.

Wanking In Private Environs

The letter writer who got caught wanking in a public toilet had taken pains to find an empty restroom on a deserted floor of an office building. He wanted to have his midday wank without disturbing or unnerving others. I don't think the same could be said for the men rubbing 'em out in Portland's Central Library.

I'm familiar with Portland's Central Library. The toilets are crowded, and there's no way you can beat off in one without disturbing others. I don't have a problem with people rubbing 'em out — hello — but guys who get off in public toilets because they get off on public toilets are forcing other people to serve as props in their masturbatory fantasies. That ain't cool.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

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