Sex Negativity on MeFi June 18, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I feel like a lot of AskMe comments about sexuality are conservative and prescriptive. Between giving shit to the guy who is masturbating a completely normal ten times a week, and calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being, the level of prescriptive, normative, and negative attitudes towards sexuality on MeFi this week seems high and troubling. I feel that much of the conservative and prescriptive nature of it eludes the MeFi goal of a wide variety of opinions/discussion/discourse and can be intimidating to people who might have non-normative information to share which is the sort of information we should be specifically encouraging. Can we have a chat like this--because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say. I'm finding this frustrating.
posted by PinkMoose to Etiquette/Policy at 9:49 AM (302 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Previously.
posted by endless_forms at 9:51 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Between giving shit to the guy who is masturbating a completely normal ten times a week

I don't think that's a fair characterization of the advice presented in that thread. He has a sexual problem that (in the opinion of some posters) could be directly related to how and how often he masturbates.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


I consider myself fairly liberal on sexuality, and have noticed some conservative attitudes on sexuality on Metafilter.

That said, the instances you've cited aren't them. A man masturbating ten times a week /while with a partner/ may in fact be problematic for his attempts in orgasming with a sex partner (as, on preview, ThePinkSuperhero noted). Saying this to him isn't an instance of conservative sexuality - it's helpful. Calling a guy who gets a hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being has nothing to do with sexuality. (Also, if memory serves, that AskMe was about a married dude getting a handjob from sex workers, so most of the criticism was about his cheating and lying to his wife.)

Hating on crazy kinky sex? Conservative sexuality.
Hating on lying and cheating? Not conservative sexuality, just conservative on /honesty/.
posted by corb at 10:00 AM on June 18, 2012 [25 favorites]


Between giving shit to the guy who is masturbating a completely normal ten times a week, and calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being,

Could you link these? I'd like to see what comments you see as "giving shit to" the masturbating guy, since I don't think I saw either of those threads.

I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say

I think it's unfortunate you feel this way, but I very often find myself in that position (where what I have to say contravenes a dozen or more other opinions) and I think this is your own issue to work on.

I don't think it's cool to imply that if too many people are disagreeing with you, then some of them shouldn't post. I think it's better to work on not relying on the agreement or approval of a crowd to feel comfortable stating your opinion.
posted by cairdeas at 10:01 AM on June 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I also didn't see the stop-with-the-10-times-a-week-already advice as sex-negative. The OP has a problem that can (perhaps) be solved by changing the way he's sensitized himself to certain kinds of stimulation; stopping that may help.

Which isn't to say that other sex-related or relationship-and-sex kinds of questions don't bring out the negativity in people who answer, because it can and does.
posted by rtha at 10:01 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say. I'm finding this frustrating.

I can sympathize, but you can't expect other people to know in advance that you're going to feel cowed by their opinions.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:02 AM on June 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, for heaven's sake, giving Dan Savage's advice (which I've seen in a zillion other very pro-sex books) about how to retrain your penile response isn't anti-sex. I didn't see one person saying "You masturbate too often; you're bad!" in that thread. Instead, people said "One way to redirect your orgasmic response is to cut back on the masturbation and see if that helps." How is that anti-sex? Isn't it pro-sex to suggest sexual techniques that might help the person enjoy sex with others more, in the ways he was looking to do?

I did think that the one poster who suggested that orgasm might be easier if the OP felt a love connection with his partners was a bit orthogonal to the problem, but it also seemed that that poster was talking about what had worked for them, not condemning the OP's previous experience.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:06 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say. I'm finding this frustrating.

You can't reasonably expect people on metafilter -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- to refrain from calling it like they see it just because it might make you feel bad that you see it differently.* Please feel free to speak up and respectfully disagree with the crowd.

Your feeling uncomfortable speaking up against the crowd is totally normal and natural and okay, but it's also something that is 100% your own problem to overcome.

* Note: you can, and should, expect people on Metafilter to be respectful -- if a bit snarky -- even when they disagree. It would be nice if you could expect the same thing in real life.
posted by gauche at 10:07 AM on June 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being

He was a terrible human being for lying to his wife on numerous occasions. As for handjobs from sex workers, that would have been something for him and his wife to negotiate in terms of his relationship agreements if he hadn't been a terrible human being.

You know, if you want to post an opinion in an AskMe thread and remain anonymous, you can email your post to a mod (or invest $5 in a sockpuppet account).
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:08 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


and calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being

Oh wait, I thought I hadn't seen either of those threads, but were you talking about this one? The one where a man was having sex with sex workers with fresh black eyes from their pimps, the ones who he knew were addicted to drugs and were forced to do sex work by threat of violence?
posted by cairdeas at 10:08 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


cairdeas: " Could you link these? I'd like to see what comments you see as "giving shit to" the masturbating guy, since I don't think I saw either of those threads. "

Yeah, seconding this. Please link to threads when you're using them as examples of problematic behaviour. As we're seeing, your characterization of events may not agree with other people's.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, cairdeas, it was this thread that the OP is referring to.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the other thread is this one.

PinkMoose, I think you're way off in your characterizations of the answers unless there were a bunch of answers deleted that I never saw.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:13 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can't reasonably expect people on metafilter -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- to refrain from calling it like they see it just because it might make you feel bad that you see it differently.*
...
* Note: you can, and should, expect people on Metafilter to be respectful -- if a bit snarky -- even when they disagree.


I completely agree with gauche here. I would just also note that "being respectful when disagreeing" means not namecalling other MeFites, not making ad-hominem attacks towards them, etc. It doesn't mean people can't disagree strongly, it doesn't mean that people can't react negatively to the subject of the FPP post or have strongly negative opinions about that. That is not disrespectful at all.
posted by cairdeas at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Sidhedevil. :)
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2012


I definitely agree with your hypothesis and understand your feelings, as I've felt the same way, but like corb, I think the proof given as an example isn't necessarily the best argument.

It would be nice if people could, like we're always supposed to do on Ask, refrain from judgment. So I hope people will consider this next time a question like those comes up when this could be a consideration.

And within those examples, it'd be nice if people could give advice without the moralizing, even if that same moralizing advice might be the "correct" answer. For example, pile-ons aren't helpful.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter may be easy, but it ain't cheap.
posted by spitbull at 10:15 AM on June 18, 2012


my chicken died.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think here you are going to find a lot of different opinions on what is good and what is not for human persons. Would you rather people not say anything?

because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say.

I think this might be the problem, and also the answer to your question. Feel free to throw your opinion into the discussion. I think civility ought to be the main criteria for differing oppinions, not whether or not someone is too conservative in their thinking.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


You were the only person in that thread to tell the OP that his question/feeling was invalid.
posted by acidic at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being

Okay, so repeatedly lying to your SO and cheating on them for years and years is a good thing now because otherwise we are sex negative. Okie dokie.
posted by elizardbits at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2012 [30 favorites]


Yeah, people weren't giving shit to the masturbating guy. They were trying to help him with his problem that he asked about -- being able to get off only from masturbation and not other sexual activity.

I don't really understand the point of this thread. You're upset that people post too many normative answers, and that discourages you from posting non-normative answers? Even though it would mix up the ratio if you posted your non-normative answers in a way that you would seem to favor?

You know your opinions aren't majority opinions. Get over it. If you think they're helpful, post them anyway, even though they may be conspicuous. Otherwise... what do you want to have happen?
posted by J. Wilson at 10:18 AM on June 18, 2012


er.... you don't feel comfortable bringing up your advice in the AskMes, but feel free in opening a MeTa? Seriously, I am much more intimidated in opening a MeTa then offering optional advice in AskMe.
AskMe is pretty heavily moderated so it is very unlikely people are going to give you shit for good faith advice, they may disagree, but so what. Anything off topic gets axed pretty heavily (and rightfully)
MeTa is much more back ally knife fighty (at times).


And X-thing what people have already said about those threads, they where hardly bastions of conservative repression.
posted by edgeways at 10:19 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


You were the only person in that thread to tell the OP that his question/feeling was invalid.
!

I favorited your comment, because I thought that was an accurate point, but ultimately you were orthogonal to the OP's question. "X doesn't matter" really isn't a particularly responsive answer to "How do I do X?"
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being

You've got to be the only person that read that thread and thought people were saying that he was a terrible human being because of getting handjobs rather than because of the sustained history of cheating and lying to a girlfriend, then wife, then mother of their children.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:21 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think civility ought to be the main criteria for differing oppinions, not whether or not someone is too conservative in their thinking.

I mean, I do stand by the old, "If you think you can't be sympathetic to the OP because of something they are, you probably shouldn't post an answer." People who believe that anything but the missionary position is wrong probably shouldn't be commenting on BDSM threads, for example.

But I think it's kind of crummy that a possibly legit point is getting sidelined by your characterization of anyone who hates lying scumbags as sex negative.
posted by corb at 10:21 AM on June 18, 2012


If Sidhedevil is linking to the askme that you're referring to, PinkMoose, then again, I'm not seeing evidence of sex-negativity there. I see lots of people being negative about the spouse's cheating, lying, minimizing, and deflecting.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


My experience here is just the opposite of yours. Evidently, I'm much more conservative in this area than many of us, and I'm always amazed at the depth of experience and compassion shown in sex-related questions. I've learned a lot here. And while I've seen some mean-spirited answers, they've been shot down pretty quickly and deleted if they didn't give an honest and sincere answer.

I think you need to read these answers with the same kind of open mind. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean they're wrong, you know?
posted by raisingsand at 10:23 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


As acidic points out, masturbation guy's question was "How can I learn to orgasm from sexual penetration?" You responded that he was already having sex, which explicitly did not answer his question. Now I'm even more confused about what your point is here, as you did chime in in the thread in question.

Do you want to make some broader point about how porn and masturbation are good? That's not really the focus of that Ask, and it's not a sentiment that the hive mind is likely to disagree with in the abstract, IMO.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:23 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, seriously, I think it takes a bit of willful ignorance to look at the way metafilter approaches sex questions and see a repressive place full of conservative sex-shaming people. IME most mefites seem to agree that as long as your sex life isn't hurting anyone who is not consenting to be hurt (or who is incapable of communicating that consent) then FULL STEAM AHEAD TO KINKLAND.
posted by elizardbits at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2012 [21 favorites]


... eludes the MeFi goal of a wide variety of opinions/discussion/discourse

Having a wide variety of opinions of MetaFilter means that there will be opinions expressed here that you disagree with, as well as opinions other people disagree with.

... and can be intimidating to people who might have non-normative information to share

This a problem if it's happening. The question is, is it? I think the policy of just giving your own answer and not getting into arguments with other answerers on the Green helps with this. Are people intimidated from answering questions just because they see other people giving a different answer than the one they would give (and that they consider wrong or misguided)? How can we have diverse community, with diverse answers and opinions, if people are intimidated just by the presence of different opinions?
posted by nangar at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


PinkMoose: "calling the guy who gets the occasional hand-job from sex workers a terrible human being,"

As others have said, his getting "the occasional hand-job from sex workers" isn't what makes him a terrible human being. It's that he's:

1) cheating on and then

2) lying to his wife about it and then

3) dismissing her anger and concern even when both have been pointed out to him by an outside party, a therapist

and

4) potentially exposing her to a variety of STD's

Is there a specific comment you had a problem with in that thread? Perhaps one that was deleted? Because from what I can see, people have been incredibly clear in that thread about why they think he's wrong.
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


...because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say.

If you have something to say, then say it. A consensus of opinion doesn't tie your hands behind your back. Not that it applies to either of your examples, but there's a Grand Tradition both on the blue and the green, for a bunch of presumptive bullshit for the first few comments and then someone actually coming in and saying "hey, did any of you actually read this?" And then hopefully a reasonable conversation starts.

If you don't agree with someone answers, explain why it's a bad answer, and give a good answer. If you missed something -- like, for instance, that the issue isn't handjobs at all, but honesty -- someone will point it out and you'll go "Oh! I misunderstood!" and that saves us all yet another MeTa about sex-positivity and the perceived lack thereof.
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Look, even if AskMe is, overall, sex-negative (an assertion I strongly disagree with, by the way), the only way to change that is to provide more and more helpful, sex-positive answers -- whether or not it makes you feel conspicuous.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:27 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was a bad idea, i'm sorry i started the thread.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


elizardbits: "FULL STEAM AHEAD TO KINKLAND."

Metafilter slashfic with whips and trains?
posted by zarq at 10:29 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am totally not being snarky here: Do you feel you can't say what you want to say in this thread because most people so far are disagreeing with you? What is it specifically that makes it a bad idea?
posted by rtha at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


This was a bad idea, i'm sorry i started the thread.

Because you were mistaken? Or because we're all meanies who are dogpiling on you?

I got no beef with you for being mistaken. Or for having completely different opinions than I do. (Hell, I'm a devout Christian married to an anti-religion atheist!)

I do got beef for passive-aggressive behavior.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


This was a bad idea, i'm sorry i started the thread.

Please don't feel sorry. I think the moral of the story is that it's okay to share what you are feeling here, and hopefully through a process of honest discussion and interaction with the community, be able to land in a good place. I don't think anyone here sees this as an issue of whether or not sex-positivity is a good thing, or if you should be concerned about that. The underlying question seems to be how we balance the diverse voices on a community website such that everyone is (appropriately) heard. Because it seems to me that you wanted to be heard, and felt like it was difficult. If you go away from this thread feeling the same way, I'm not sure that's what anyone wants.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Where's the beef?
posted by Jestocost at 10:33 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: This was a bad idea, i'm sorry i started the thread.

PinkMoose, I imagine from your post that you're feeling very picked on because the thread has pretty much all been people disagreeing with you. For the record, I think they've mostly been pretty civil about that disagreement, and if it helps, nobody's going to hold it against you that you posted this or that you hold the opinion you do. I do think some persuasive arguments have been made in the thread for reconsidering that opinion.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am being dog piled, but that's not why it was a bad idea. It was a bad idea because I knew what was going to happen, and it did. I should have just responded in the comment threads and I just did.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2012


Hey, PinkMoose, it's really no problem. You expressed your position, and a bunch of people see it differently and are curious to know why you see it the way you do. From my perspective you really, really shouldn't feel bad about it.

Kind of like what you were talking about above, about feeling self-conscious for speaking up. It's okay. Speak up if you want to. You might swear up and down that something is white when I am absolutely certain it's black: we can still be friends or at least be decent to each other.

So speak up! You've got a feeling and an opinion and you felt them strongly enough to start this thread, so surely there are reasons behind them.
posted by gauche at 10:35 AM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


It was a bad idea because I knew what was going to happen, and it did.

It would help us all -- I mean that 100% sincerely -- to know what your interpretation of what just happened/is happening.
posted by griphus at 10:38 AM on June 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


griphus: "A consensus of opinion doesn't tie your hands behind your back."

No, but it can be seriously intimidating. Being the lone voice of dissent can well and truly suck, especially if you're engaging folks on a topic they hold dear. The resulting dogpile usually doesn't feature a bunch of good-natured puppies licking and slobbering all over you while they pleasantly disagree. :)
posted by zarq at 10:44 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mods? Was a comment just deleted from this post? The notification just went from "1 new comment" to "0 new comments." Have never seen that happen before.
posted by zarq at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2012


you have become unstuck in time
posted by elizardbits at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, that's a rare sight if you happen to be in a thread at just the right set of moments when something gets posted and then deleted and then the new comments notification picks up on it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:48 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was a bad idea, i'm sorry i started the thread.

Don't feel bad, someone who is not me will be along in a minute to give you a handjob.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


pretty sure there was zarq. And I think it was from the PM as well
posted by edgeways at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cue Brandon doing that going-down-the-elevator mime, and coming back up with fake moustache/accent
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


someone who is not me will be along in a minute to give you a handjob.

Why do you have to be so sex-negative?
posted by gauche at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Totally okay to not immediately begin lulzing it up, guys.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:51 AM on June 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


This is a place where people will go to the mattresses to defend the rights of differently gendered people to cook and serve their own severed genitals to paying customers, for fuck's sake. Metafilter is almost aggressively sex-positive.
posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on June 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'm not sure I'd call that sex positive.
posted by Jestocost at 10:55 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we give elizardbits some sort of deadpan-ness award for managing to include the completely not-sex-related idiom "go to the mattresses" in there?
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


Ok, then seriously, is there any to keeping this thread open at this point. The OP regrets starting it, there consigns so far seems to be against what he thinks so everything seems moot at this point.

Perhaps if the OP wanted to give other examples of what he thinks are problematic sex answers that show a trend of commenters being sex negative?

I'm not sure I'd call that sex positive.

Depends on what side of the table you're sitting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2012


cortex: "Yeah, that's a rare sight if you happen to be in a thread at just the right set of moments when something gets posted and then deleted and then the new comments notification picks up on it."

Thanks for letting me know. Surprised me to see that!

Achievement Unlocked!

edgeways: "And I think it was from the PM as well"

Can't imagine getting a comment deleted is going to make PM feel better about speaking out. :(
posted by zarq at 10:58 AM on June 18, 2012


I would say that, as a general thing, people are going to respond to questions that begin "What do I do to..." or "How do I..." with prescriptive answers. Just as they are going to do that with questions that begin "Is this normal..." or "What should I think about..."
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012


I just spend a good 5 minutes wondering who the Prime Minster of mefi is, thanks.
posted by elizardbits at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I saw PinkMoose's comment and I am utterly unsurprised that it got deleted.
posted by KathrynT at 10:59 AM on June 18, 2012


Terrible examples for the point being made, which I think does have some validity.
posted by batmonkey at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, but it can be seriously intimidating. Being the lone voice of dissent can well and truly suck, especially if you're engaging folks on a topic they hold dear. The resulting dogpile usually doesn't feature a bunch of good-natured puppies licking and slobbering all over you while they pleasantly disagree.

I've had the lone (or close to) opinion in threads, here and elsewhere online, where people weren't even in the galaxy of civility to me as people have been in the threads PinkMoose linked, and to PinkMoose here. Threads that involved contradicting people with a rep for going off the rails on a crazy train when contradicted on those topics, saying vicious and personal things, getting comments deleted. I still think anyone who is feeling intimidated by civil, if strong, difference of opinion needs to get over it.
posted by cairdeas at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a place where people will go to the mattresses to defend the rights of differently gendered people to cook and serve their own severed genitals to paying customers, for fuck's sake. Metafilter is almost aggressively sex-positive.

This is the first thing that came to mind for me, and I had a hard time understanding the complaint.

What this openness equates to for some people, though, is that any time, then, that a particular sexual situation is described as not being healthy, it becomes sex-negative by definition, because sex-positivity, for some people, is simply letting people do what they do. Talking in terms of right/wrong, or perhaps proper functioning of the human person, does not fit into this understanding very well.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2012


Ok, then seriously, is there any to keeping this thread open at this point.

I think generally the best response to feeling like a metatalk thread doesn't have a reason to be open is to go ahead and close the tab and let it be. There's certainly a lot more potential for useful conversation to come out of people talking about the topic than there is from complaining that it is still open or insisting on making random sort of personal-button-pushing handjob jokes toward the poster.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think any reasonable interpretation of my advice to the OP in the ten times a week thread must be that I told him not to masturbate 10 times a week if he wanted a better chance of reaching orgasm from penetrative sex. I don't care one bit how often he flagellates the bishop. Hell, I encourage it. But if you're masturbating multiple times per day you're going to have a tougher time reaching orgasm!

I wish the OP of this thread would have given actual examples and such rather than simply taking their ball and going home.
posted by Justinian at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's certainly a lot more potential for useful conversation to come out of people talking about the topic than there is from complaining that it is still open or insisting on making random sort of personal-button-pushing handjob jokes toward the poster.

Who's complaining, I simply asked a question. You answered it snidely when there was no need, so...yeah, thanks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talking in terms of right/wrong, or perhaps proper functioning of the human person, does not fit into this understanding very well.

Yeah, I just. If thinking that sex-related things that directly harm others who did not consent to that harm are Bad Things is somehow sex-negative, then I am okay with that. I have also been called racist for declining to eat the black half of a black and white cookie because I wasn't in the mood for fake chocolate, so whatevs.
posted by elizardbits at 11:12 AM on June 18, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: "Who's complaining, I simply asked a question. You answered it snidely when there was no need, so...yeah, thanks."

Errr.... the only snide-ness I see here is from you. How was cortex being snide??
posted by Grither at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


You answered it snidely when there was no need

You made an of out of line comment in this thread towards the OP. Those sorts of things make it difficult to have complicated conversations here. I'm pretty sure cortex was being serious and not at all snide.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


cairdeas: " Threads that involved contradicting people with a rep for going off the rails on a crazy train when contradicted on those topics, saying vicious and personal things, getting comments deleted.

I've been the lone voice of dissent in threads here and on the Blue a couple of times, and one of the minority voices in a few others. Usually on religion, feminism or sexual abuse issues. Responses have truly run the gamut -- from people being incredibly nice, kind and civil (even if *I* was not!) to a few folks being pretty vicious for no damned reason. Two or three times in the past I've had people "shout" at me over memail. That sucked. But it hasn't happened for more than a year which is great.

Couldn't have predicted with any accuracy which experience was going to happen beforehand. I can't fault someone for wanting to avoid a pile-on.

I still think anyone who is feeling intimidated by civil, if strong, difference of opinion needs to get over it."

Hrm. Maybe? I would think it depends on the situation. There are posters here I don't like debating with for a variety of reasons. (Not the least of which is, 'their minds intimidate the hell out of me.')
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on June 18, 2012


Pink Moose,

Advice that at some times corresponds with sex-negativity does not necessarily always occur with it. To tell someone who's masturbating in a particular style that they are a bad person is certainly sex-negative. But to tell a person whose masturbation style is a possibly problematic component in their overall sex life that they need to re-evaluate that component in the mix is not to tell them they are a bad person, and is not sex-negative.

Essentially, I think you're hearing things that aren't actually there, which is totally normal when you are really sensitized to an issue. But you can only hold people accountable for what THEY say, not what your worries add to it. Metafilter is not run on a platform of between-the-lines guilt-tripping. Even when people echo each other and seem to underline a single point to an unnecessary degree, which can really make you feel "alright already, jeez, the norm has SPOKEN, I get it." It's the answers to the questions that matter, not the weight of the consensus.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:18 AM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


People disagreeing with you doesn't mean you're being picked on.

If there's one thing I think this thread makes clear, it's that if you have a point, you should put some effort into articulating it clearly.

For example:

I am being dog piled, but that's not why it was a bad idea. It was a bad idea because I knew what was going to happen, and it did. I should have just responded in the comment threads and I just did.

What on earth does that mean? Or:

Can we have a chat like this--because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say.

What does that mean? What did you know was going to happen? What do you perceive happening here? Is your problem with Ask sex-related threads that you are uncomfortable voicing your opinion and trying to answer a question if people disagree with you? How do you think that should work? I genuinely, 100%, do not get what it is you're trying to say -- and I'm trying.
posted by J. Wilson at 11:23 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pink Moose,

I still don't understand what this callout is about. Can you link to specific examples of contextual sex negativity?
posted by OmieWise at 11:28 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Snarky comment: *masturbates furiously while making awkward eye contact*

Serious comment: MetaFilter isn't sex negative, but there's nothing sex positive about cheating on one's spouse and going to rub-and-tug joints without permission.

PinkMoose, you're reading way too much into this from a weird defensive position.

MetaFilter is the same site where jessamyn once posted a gif of someone's penis fucking a plucked/dead chicken. This same mod also participated in the epic dirty talk AskMe that resulted in the meme/injoke of "Yes! I like sexy sex as if it were my profession!"

AskMe also hosts hundreds or thousands of other sex-positive questions, like how to have more of it, have better sex, how to indulge in kinks and even how to handle complicated open or polyamorous relationships.
posted by loquacious at 11:35 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're in an Ask thread and you care more what the other askers think of you, or what they will say about you, than you care about whether your reply will be useful to the OP, you're making some kind of mistake. Sometimes when people are being all moron-y in Ask and everyone's saying things that are stupid and false and out of line* and what have you (my own opinion), I just take a breath and IGNORE all the other commenters, and answer the question. I answer it as best I can, based on what I know. I may strike portions of an answer if I realize it's been beaten into the ground already, but, fundamentally, AskMe is not a conversation between commenters. It's a set of replies to a question. Yes, previous replies to a question shape later ones, but it's not a forum.

PinkMoose, you seem to have a different understanding of what it means to be "sex-positive" than most of us on Metafilter (and especially AskMe) who identify as sex-positive. There's been a previous thread, linked above, also talking about sex-negativity on Metafilter.

If this is true, then we need your contributions. Especially if they're contrary to what everyone else in the thread is saying.

And y'know. . . sometimes it's my stuff that's coming from a totally different place, written to answer the question directly when I thought everyone else was Wrongy McWrongpants, that gets the pile-up of favorites and the Best Answer tag. But it doesn't come from fighting with the other commenters, or caring about what they have to say. It comes from staying on target and answering the question.

*obviously if I think they're objectively out of line, I either FIAMO or contact the mods (and move on.)
posted by endless_forms at 11:38 AM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


i can't think of a time where i felt shamed or shouted down because i've expressed a sex positive statement on metafilter, and that includes the time i encouraged a virgin to seek out a prostitute.
posted by nadawi at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This same mod also participated in the epic dirty talk AskMe that resulted in the meme/injoke of "Yes! I like sexy sex as if it were my profession!"

Link please!
posted by jgirl at 11:45 AM on June 18, 2012


MetaFilter is the same site where jessamyn once posted a gif of someone's penis fucking a plucked/dead chicken.

I've always sort of idly wondered if that dude was a breast or a leg man.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so glad the queue ended. Better than the soaps!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2012


I think people are generally very open-minded here. However I also had a negative reaction to that recent thread about masturbation. I knew the gospel of Dan Savage was coming and sure enough, there it was, repeatedly.

There may or may not be something to the "death grip" thing. However I see this "stop watching porn/jerking off" advice all the time and it's just total nonsense. Jerking it 10 times per week is *not* going to decrease your sexual desire/ability to get a boner. The male body just DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY, as a point of scientific fact. OK, maybe if you did it immediately before trying to have sex, but what you did earlier in the week has just zero effect. It's ridiculous superstition that people keep repeating as if there was some truth in it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jerking it 10 times per week is *not* going to decrease your sexual desire/ability to get a boner.

That is not what the argument asserts, though - people are saying it makes it more difficult to have an orgasm during penetrative sex.
posted by elizardbits at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


The OP in that thread didn't have trouble getting a boner. They had trouble ejaculating and perceiving pleasure through intercourse. I don't know if the "death grip" thing is real, but if you have "scientific fact" about how the body works that shows that it's "superstition," that could be pretty helpful to the asker in that thread.
posted by J. Wilson at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jerking it 10 times per week is *not* going to decrease your sexual desire/ability to get a boner.

But you may condition yourself to respond to only certain kinds of stimuli, which would be unhelpful when you're in a situation where you don't have/can't ask for that particular set of stimuli. Conditioning is not superstition - it's a real thing that brains and bodies respond to.
posted by rtha at 11:53 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Link please!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


i hate how often the death grip advice is trotted out because i think it's applied far too often and broadly - but are you saying there's zero difference in how long a man can last if he had an orgasm last night and if he had an orgasm a week ago? because, uh, i have repeated anecdotal evidence to the opposite with multiple partners. sure, it's not affecting desire/boner-ness, but it absolutely can affect speed to ejaculation. for someone who wants to get off during sex and is finding it difficult, denying release for a few days is a great trouble shooting step and should probably be tried before doctors/therapists/sex swings.
posted by nadawi at 11:56 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where's the beef?

Apparently it's either in our own or some professional's hands.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I honestly have to say I'm glad death grip advice is trotted out so damn often. I've certainly had at least one partner who had trouble orgasming during sex and had a death grip, and I wish someone had told me about it sooner.
posted by corb at 12:00 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The solution to this problem is obviously kegels with the strength of an industrial car compactor.
posted by elizardbits at 12:06 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pink Moose, the people who are the loudest don't always reflect the majority opinion on Metafilter. You are hearing from the group of people who happen to a) have a strong enough opinion to post an answer and b) are awake and at their keyboards at the time the question was posted. Keep in mind that people use favorites for all kinds of reasons, not just to agree with an answer. There are a lot of people who wait to post a response because they don't know how to say it properly. If you have a good answer, be a voice for those people. Being willing to take the brunt of passionate critiques in order to post your opinions is something you can do to make the community better. Just remember that in an online community where few have met you in real life, tone can distract from the message. I think your contributions, however far afield, would be welcome as long as you phrase them respectfully and back up your reasoning. It is frustrating that you have to do extra work, but dissenting opinions are new ideas and you need to explain them clearly if you want a receptive audience.
posted by rhythm and booze at 12:08 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


i just don't think that masturbation + inability to orgasm from penetrative sex = death grip and i feel like some people do think that. but i also think if you want to get off from penetrative sex and are having issues with it than stopping all other sex for a week or four might allow nature to take over.
posted by nadawi at 12:08 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't think it automatically equals, i should say. of course that's the problem sometimes.
posted by nadawi at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2012


PinkMoose, thanks for starting this thread. Don't be afraid to be the lone voice against a wall of commenters, particularly when those commenters are keeping it civil, as they have for the most part on this thread. This is the internet. Your job and personal reputation are not on the line here. If you're nervous (like me) you've even got the option of posting anonymously.

One lone voice that's right trumps a mob that's wrong. It's even fun to be one lone voice that's wrong in an interesting way. I write great retractions.

Follow the example of Milton's Satan:
If I must contend, then best with best, the sender not the sent or all at once. Twill be more honour gained or less lost.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:22 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think your contributions, however far afield, would be welcome as long as you phrase them respectfully and back up your reasoning. It is frustrating that you have to do extra work, but dissenting opinions are new ideas and you need to explain them clearly if you want a receptive audience.

Unfortunately, that's not what happened in this thread. If the OP thought their view was being portrayed unfairly, they should have elaborated on that as the other respondents did for their views. Otherwise, it feels as if it was just a post asking for some kind of validation that didn't happen, and they didn't like us disagreeing and/or knew they were wrong but didn't want to admit it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do OP's in sex threads tend to signal what kind of answer they want simply by how they phrase their question? I've kinda learned which ones to avoid by paying attention to what kind of answer the poster seems to be fishing for. Foir me, that means no reading any threads containing the word "cheating" anywhere.
posted by telstar at 12:47 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The male body just DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY, as a point of scientific fact.

You're talking very confidently about something but I think you're wrong. Or at least missing the point. People tend to ejaculate faster and/or more easily if they haven't recently ejaculated. If you masturbated 6 hours before you're more likely to have difficulty achieving orgasm from penetrative sex than if it's been two weeks. I mean it's almost a cliche.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes, yeah. When it's particularly egregious they get called out like whoa in the comments, though.
posted by elizardbits at 12:52 PM on June 18, 2012


Welp, I'm going to pretend elizardbits' comment is in response to Justinian's and call it a day.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on June 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


MAYBE IT WAS
posted by elizardbits at 12:55 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Agreed. That sequence right there is why we should never have threaded comments. But which part is particularly egregious? How quickly orgasm can be achieved after two weeks? Why does that result in getting called out like whoa? The mind boggles.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:57 PM on June 18, 2012




What's up with the title of this thread? It's "Fucking" in the URL, but "Sex Negativity on MeFi" on the page. Did it get changed by the mods?
posted by Greg Nog at 12:59 PM on June 18, 2012


Fuckin' in the URL
Fuckin' in the URL
Now, mod, don't you write me no letter
But everybody knows that fuckin' ain't allowed in MeTa
All right!
posted by griphus at 1:01 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I fixed the URL. Yes, the question was queued over the weekend and the title was edited before posting.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:03 PM on June 18, 2012


Ah, thank you for the explanation! pb, you are tops.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:05 PM on June 18, 2012


my chicken died.

perhaps you shouldn't have choked it 10 times a week
posted by nathancaswell at 1:08 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> perhaps you shouldn't have choked it 10 times a week

"Eef you touch your theeng as often as you touch your tie, eet ees no wonder eet fell off." -- Charles de Gaulle to Johnny Carson. (possibly apocryphal)
posted by jfuller at 1:16 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Asphyxiated Cocks. Now there's a hell of a band name.
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ten times a week? I need two before breakfast every day just to get my heart started.
posted by Decani at 1:44 PM on June 18, 2012


I feel ... kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say.

So, you don't want them to be able to say anything at all?
posted by John Cohen at 1:45 PM on June 18, 2012


Correction: I'm misremembering jessamyn as the original source of the "Yes! I like sexy sexy as if it were my profession!" comment. I believe she did quote it in a related MeTa, though.
posted by loquacious at 2:20 PM on June 18, 2012


Sexy sexy? Nice typo, fingers.
posted by loquacious at 2:21 PM on June 18, 2012


it's not a sentiment that the hive mind is likely to disagree with in the abstract, IMO

A million comments too late, but I think this is the divide, yeah-- a vocal majority(?) of commenters on MeFi is likely to agree that there's nothing wrong with (e.g.) porn in the abstract. But when an OP asks a question along the lines of "watching porn and masturbating is affecting my ability to feel intimate with a partner," people are going to confront the reality that these perfectly morally neutral things can have tangible effects on one's sex life if done too much or a certain way by a certain person. There's nothing sex-negative about leaving the world of theory to dabble in reality for a moment.

It's always difficult, like in threads (here and elsewhere) where a woman has never orgasmed and wants advice on how to orgasm. A lot of people give good practical advice, a lot of people say "orgasm isn't the most important thing," and some people do both. It would be difficult for me to say which is the more helpful advice, because it really depends on the person and their developing feelings and experiences. So, yeah, orgasming during (vaginal) sex isn't the end-all, be-all, but like fisting and pain play, it's a sexual experience that some people would like guidance to experience. There's additional baggage there but that doesn't make the desired experience less legitimate.

And yeah, cheating = lying and putting someone in danger of STDs, and going to a prostitute who's been trafficked or abused by a pimp = reprehensibly shitty behavior, I don't care how sex-positive it makes anyone's penis feel. I really wish the OP of this MeTa would have clarified their position instead of saying that they knew we'd all [re-state our positions relatively calmly], ergo the thread was a bad idea.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:21 PM on June 18, 2012


Brandon linked to thread, so here is the sexy sex answer.
posted by mlis at 2:23 PM on June 18, 2012


the best part about the sexy sex answer is the way it switches into caps at exactly the right time, so good
posted by nathancaswell at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2012


Oh and also the implied "I knew it!" of the "You like sex!" in the second Q in contrast to the "You like sex?" in the first Q.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:27 PM on June 18, 2012


ok, so there is no sex negativity, at all on mefi, and i am wrong here, looking at it from a defensive position, i will stay out of the ask mefi threads about this sort of thing, because i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:36 PM on June 18, 2012


i will stay out of the ask mefi threads about this sort of thing, because i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards.

If your contribution to those AskMeFi threads would be, "the rest of you answerers are a bunch of sex-negative nabobs!", then, yes, it might be a good idea to hold back. If, on the other hand, your contribution would be, "Unlike the other commenters, I think the best solution to your problem is to take a new perspective of X and respond by doing Y," then this would probably be worthwhile even if most of the other commenters disagree.
posted by deanc at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [30 favorites]


Having gotten advice on both strap-ons and dental dams from Mefites, I struggle to see the community as sex-negative.

I do think we're really all about disclosure and consideration toward one's partner(s) in both sex and relationship questions and I think that makes people who don't believe in being so forthright feel judged sometimes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:43 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


i'm pretty sure i've repeated this all over the site multiple times - but the answer for strap-ons is a [nsfw]feeldoe. if you really want extra security, add a harness you find comfortable (i prefer the jock strap to the thong style).
posted by nadawi at 2:48 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, PinkMoose? That's the take-home you're getting? Then maybe yeah, you are coming at it from an overly-defensive position, because you appear to have missed the many comments urging you to make your viewpoint known in ask threads.
posted by gaspode at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't want to be all, nadawi totally told me to get a feeldoe, but there you go!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:51 PM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


ha!! i wasn't purposefully outing you! it's just, they're awesome!
posted by nadawi at 2:53 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


ok, so there is no sex negativity, at all on mefi, and i am wrong here, looking at it from a defensive position, i will stay out of the ask mefi threads about this sort of thing, because i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards.

Do you truly believe that is the take away from this thread? You are the only person, I'd wager, who thinks that is what you (or anyone) should think after reading the responses in this thread. People have asked for clarification on what you see as sex negative, as the two examples you gave did not strike the majority (or, really, the entirity) of commenters as being sex negative. Besides some mild snarking, commenters have been respectful and generous towards you and have sincerely asked for more explanation. If you are unwilling to engage in any meaningul way with the sincere and thoughtful people in this thread trying to dialogue with you, then how are we to understand and address your issue?
posted by Falconetti at 2:58 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


ok, so there is no sex negativity, at all on mefi, and i am wrong here, looking at it from a defensive position, i will stay out of the ask mefi threads about this sort of thing, because i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards.

I think that one of the reasons why you're feeling piled-on here is that people seem to want to have a conversation with you about this, but you're not giving them much to talk about. You posted a MetaTalk saying that you're finding Metafilter to be sex-negative, and citing two specific threads as an example. A bunch of people explained why they disagree with your reading of those threads. Then, instead of either presenting additional evidence or explaining why you disagree with other people about those two threads, you posted a bunch of comments like the one I quoted above, which, c'mon, is pretty textbook passive-aggressive. So now people still don't really have anything to do in this thread except to continue to disagree with your initial analysis. But count me as someone who disagrees with you but would be perfectly happy to have a civil conversation about it. If you're interested in that conversation as well, I have three suggestions for moving it forward:

1) You say you found the responses to this post sex-negative. Other people have responded that they do not find visiting a massage parlor itself to be a problem, but that doing so without the knowledge or consent of one's partner is a problem (and I'll say the same, since my answer basically boils down to "a handjob is a survivable infidelity but it's a big problem that he seems to be acting like a dick about you being upset about it"). So why do you disagree? Why do you find the typical response in that thread to be sex=-negative?

2) You also cited this thread as sex-negative. Other people have responded that the OP of that question is asking for help to have better sex, and that they responded with a suggestion that he try masturbating less as a strategy to help him have that better sex (and not because there's anything wrong with masturbating). Again, can you explain why you disagree? We can talk about whether or not this is sex-negative, but only is someone is willing to argue your side.

3) Maybe those were bad examples. Are there others? There are tons of questions about sex in Human Relations, so if Metafilter is sex-negative, there should be other problematic threads in there.

Finally, I know reading tone can be a problem on the internet, so let me say that I am 100% serious about wanting to have this conversation, and about thinking these are the three best avenues to pursue. But we can only have a conversation if someone is willing to argue the "MetaFilter is sex-negative" side. In the absence of that, it can't be anything other than a dog-pile.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:03 PM on June 18, 2012 [13 favorites]


ok, so there is no sex negativity, at all on mefi, and i am wrong here, looking at it from a defensive position, i will stay out of the ask mefi threads about this sort of thing, because i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards.

This is pretty much the definition of passive-aggressive. I've really got to agree with Ragged Richard. People in this thread, myself included, want to have a dialogue with you but you seem unwilling to engage. As a result, this MeTa is becoming an echo chamber of people disagreeing with you (which, understandably, can feel like a pile-on).
posted by asnider at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


i cannot contribute in a way that is determined to meet community standards

╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by elizardbits at 3:20 PM on June 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


Can we have a chat like this

I quoted this to reinforce what the last two comments have said. We can have a chat about this but only if you actually engage. A discussion needs two sides. Otherwise this thread is just going to be a bunch of people agreeing with one another. So, please, say what you have to say. So far you haven't actually done so, only said that you have something to say without saying it.
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on June 18, 2012


I don't know what this is, elizardbits, but it creeps me out.
posted by Justinian at 3:21 PM on June 18, 2012


It's a little dude tossing a table upside down!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


I need an ascii to adequately represent la tendre indifference du monde.

altho the I DUNNO LOL is pretty close
posted by elizardbits at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metaphorically, it symbolizes frustration to the point of table-flipping.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2012


Or, perhaps, literally.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2012


I haven't entirely broken out of lurker mode but I actually find myself encouraged to post when I disagree with and/or have a different take than previous posters. Why should I post if what I want to say has already been said over and over?

I find the variety of responses to be the best part of AskMeFi and would find it unnerving and uncomfortable if I agreed with every response.
posted by mountmccabe at 3:27 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


The answers to any given Human Relations question usually break down like this :

40% : judgmental people being judgmental; people inserting details of their own lives into the OP's narrative; people assuming the worst of the OP, especially (sorry) if the OP is a man; various forms of "tough love" dickery
10% : completely irrelevant space-wasting filler
50% : genuinely useful advice that will change your life for the better

If you can ignore the 50% that's not useful, the other 50% is really really worthwhile.

I think we should just spin off Human Relations questions to a different subsite. I know the mods and users here loathe change, but I think this would actually make that part of AskMe more useful. You can't deny the Human Relations questions are the ones that most often end up in MetaTalk. Creating a separate subsite for Human Relations questions would send a clear message, "things are different here, you need to conduct yourself according to a slightly different code". Also, I just generally don't like seeing these really, really personal and difficult questions mixed in with "What to do in NYC this weekend" and "How to fix my Mac?" I feel like browsing Human Relations questions should require going to a different screen. I think it would encourage people to put on a different mindset.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:33 PM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't want to be all, nadawi totally told me to get a feeldoe, but there you go!

She also helped me buy socks last week. Very nice socks.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:36 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thinking about it some more, I don't think 'sex negative' is necessarily the right term (and as I said earlier in this thread, I definitely don't think those threads are good examples whichever term is used), though obviously I'm speaking only for myself and not for PM or anyone else.

There is, on Ask, and especially in human relations questions, a non-zero contingent of dominant voices who treat the 'sex positivity' argued to be the site-norm in this thread, as, at best, a gift to be given by them by their rules, and at worst, something that's tolerated by them even though they aren't "that way."

It's not something I've ever really wanted to go balls to the wall about, because, it isn't the site norm my issues are rarely about the content of an answer as much as it's an off-hand dismissal, snarky rejoinder or the tone, but it's something that has bothered me on multiple occasions, even if I haven't quite found the words to declare it --especially since the Green isn't the place to do that, unless you've got contradicting advice, which I try to give when I can.* But I can see how it would make somebody gun-shy, if not an entirely wrong impression of the type of people who are answering the questions. (Again, I come back to pile-ons that seem to make moral judgments without actually explaining why the person is making the point.)

It's far from ever being the most common type of answer, but that type of attitude is still prevalent - even in this thread. It doesn't mean it's a huge problem or even one I expect to change. And it's not like it's something as obvious to point out (and label 'out of bounds') as the boyzone issue, for example.

But like policy/etiquette discussions around formatting their quotes or how to link to their videos, we know won't ever get 100% approval, but it still makes them topics worth discussing.

* I can NOW -- because it is either a place in which I feel comfortable to disagree with the loudest posters or I don't care what people think. This has not always been the case.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:38 PM on June 18, 2012


I haven't entirely broken out of lurker mode but I actually find myself encouraged to post when I disagree with and/or have a different take than previous posters. Why should I post if what I want to say has already been said over and over?

I find the variety of responses to be the best part of AskMeFi and would find it unnerving and uncomfortable if I agreed with every response.


I have to say that there was a post recently where I decided to skip answering because there were 100+ answers that were nearly unanimous and I felt differently, but the one or two people who had dissented were told they were wrong, wrong, wrong. And I didn't want to deal with that.

The 100+ nearly unanimous answer thing as a regular occurrence feels relatively new, and I've been answering human relations questions for awhile. It's intimidating--we've had a few MeTas about these questions that indicate other people find it that way, too. But I should probably just get over it and go ahead and say when I disagree.

Also, I just generally don't like seeing these really, really personal and difficult questions mixed in with "What to do in NYC this weekend" and "How to fix my Mac?" I feel like browsing Human Relations questions should require going to a different screen.

Some of us like the question soup. For others, there's my ask.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:40 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think we should just spin off Human Relations questions to a different subsite. I know the mods and users here loathe change, but I think this would actually make that part of AskMe more useful.

Wouldn't spinning off questions to their own site guarantee fewer eyeballs/answerers? I would suspect such a site would only draw those with the biggest axes to grind. Keeping Human Relations questions out in "the open" helps keep everybody accountable to the community at large.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is, on Ask, and especially in human relations questions, a non-zero contingent of dominant voices who treat the 'sex positivity' argued to be the site-norm in this thread, as, at best, a gift to be given by them by their rules, and at worst, something that's tolerated by them even though they aren't "that way."

Can I take a guess at what you mean? It seems that metafilter advice often comes from a place that's subtly pro-monogamy or, alternatively, pro-committed relationship. Mefites seem to favor full disclosure in romantic relationships, as well as a sort of . . . contractual? approach to those relationships ("these are the relationship terms. Being with me means abiding by them") especially around certain things, like, say, snooping. And when posters don't clearly voice their relationship terms, they're given a hard time about it. When partners violate those terms, the advice is often DTMFA.

Grey areas, including in sexuality questions, seem kind of disdained. I've had friends ask relationship questions here and they said they found the responses very judgey and of a black and white morality.

(I'm working on all these things here, too, so, you know, I'm not trying to throw stones from glass houses or anything.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:52 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


the question about jerking off, is a question about practices. if he wants to have vaginal pentrative sex, and masturbation is making that difficult, then it makes sense for him to curtail masturbation. i don't understand how the two are related, and don't know how to ask that question without a situation similar to this one.

this might be a queer aspie who has no problem with sex work, but i am genuinely curious about how a woman whose husband had sex with professionals before the marriage, and has sex with professionals after the marriage is suprised at all. i also think that the discussion of sex work as enslaving and disased, and how the woman should divorice her husband, and how the husband should feel bad about seeing sex workers, is problematic. i don't understand why the comment was cut, and i think that pointing out that it was problematic i did in a way that was seen as difficult. i don't know how to phrase those questions, without sounding like an asshole, apparently. this isn't sarcasm. i don't agree with marriage, i don't understand monogamy, and so questions of marriage and monogomy are really confusing for me, and that might influence my feelings that the gentleman was treated badly.

i also really didn't want to provide more evidence, because its already been 200-1, and increasing that ratio is not helpful to anyone.

im sorry
posted by PinkMoose at 3:59 PM on June 18, 2012


I agree. DTMFA is perscriptive and negative.
posted by Metro Gnome at 4:00 PM on June 18, 2012


i also understand that sometimes when i think i am being clear, i am misread as being passive aggressive, and for that i am also sorry.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:06 PM on June 18, 2012


i don't agree with marriage, i don't understand monogamy, and so questions of marriage and monogomy are really confusing for me, and that might influence my feelings that the gentleman was treated badly.

I think this is the key thing here.

There are lots of things that people look for advice about on AskMe that I would never do, don't understand or don't care about. Sometimes I read those questions out of curiosity, but usually I don't, and I would never respond to them.

Likewise, if you don't believe in marriage and don't understand monogamy, then a question concerning problems in a monogamous marriage might not be a great place for you to contribute and will probably be frustrating for you to read.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


PinkMoose, I, for one, really appreciate you explaining those feelings and I'm sorry if expressing them made you uncomfortable. I agree that the negativity about sex work is, in some ways, bad mojo (but also complicated, from a feminist standpoint!). Speaking as a monogamous married person, I suspect that most people in my situation expect any extramarital stuff to end after marriage--that's pretty much what the deal is on a society-wide level, it's in the vows and all that. I agree that the poster probably shouldn't have been surprised that the behavior continued after marriage, given an earlier pattern of behavior. I think a lot of what you're interpreting as sex negativity is simply people reacting strongly to what they saw as a violation of the terms of your typical heterosexual marriage. Maybe it's unfair that this guy felt societally pressured toward monogamy; maybe that's not a reasonable expectation of him. It probably still felt hurtful to his wife, though. The deception, and all that.

(As a poly friend of mine has told me, "Monogamy sure sounds complicated.")
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:13 PM on June 18, 2012


i am genuinely curious about how a woman whose husband had sex with professionals before the marriage, and has sex with professionals after the marriage is suprised at all.

Because in between those two things, she talked to him, told him she didn't like it, and asked him to stop it -- and he said he would. When she found out that he was participating in a behavior that he had said he would cease, she felt betrayed and lied to.

I would also disagree that the discussion framed sex work as "enslaving and diseased." Any time a person has sex with another person whose sexual history is not completely known, disease transmission is a possibility. This woman has just found out that her husband's sexual history is not completely known, and therefore, disease transmission is something she needs to think about.

One of the things I found problematic about your comment in the thread is that it strongly implied to me that you felt like she had a responsibility to remain married to him even if his behavior was unacceptable to her. But she doesn't have that responsibility. She told him before they got married that it was important to her that he behave sexually in a certain way, and it is OK for that to be important enough to her to be willing to divorce him if he won't behave in that way.

I don't experience Metafilter as sex-negative, at all. I do experience Metafilter as HIGHLY dishonesty-negative, though. That happens to be a value I agree with, so I like it here. But I would and do react strongly negatively to the idea that it is OK to be dishonest with your partner in order to get sexual satisfaction.
posted by KathrynT at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


Hey PinkMoose, I think I may have assumed some bad faith on your part that wasn't warranted. Sorry about that. That said, I think Narrative Priorities is right on - if an OP starts by saying that she's in a monogamous relationship, and you don't understand monogamy, it's probably going to be hard for you to answer the question in a productive way. I know that I generally don't answer any Human Relations questions where the OP begins by declaring, say, a serious Christian faith, and it's because I don't know how to answer a question like that in a way that's going to be helpful.
posted by Ragged Richard at 4:19 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would suspect such a site would only draw those with the biggest axes to grind.

I think it would make people more empathetic. It would be clear that they're entering a zone where peoples' feelings matter.

I'm not sure that we have a specific contingent of users who get axe-grindy in Human Relations questions. It seems more like an emergent behavior.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:21 PM on June 18, 2012


Several people on the massage-parlor thread talked about the difference between what the OP was describing as her husband's actions and words, and the actions and words of someon who is participating in good faith in a mutually respectful open relationship.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:27 PM on June 18, 2012


Wait wait wait -- the first one was sex-positive, as in, 'here's a way you can get to the fucking you want' and the second one was just a holy mess of deception and assholery around the issue of handjobs at parlors.

And as I do with each one of these metatalk/askmefi nexi, good job on putting the problems of suffering people up to the sometimes cage-match atmosphere on metatalk.

On preview, I see most everybody has said this. Thus, I shall gaily skip about, bestowing favorites upon those who got there first.
posted by angrycat at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pinkmoose: this might be a queer aspie who has no problem with sex work, but i am genuinely curious about how a woman whose husband had sex with professionals before the marriage, and has sex with professionals after the marriage is suprised at all. i also think that the discussion of sex work as enslaving and disased, and how the woman should divorice her husband, and how the husband should feel bad about seeing sex workers, is problematic. i don't understand why the comment was cut, and i think that pointing out that it was problematic i did in a way that was seen as difficult. i don't know how to phrase those questions, without sounding like an asshole, apparently. this isn't sarcasm. i don't agree with marriage, i don't understand monogamy, and so questions of marriage and monogomy are really confusing for me, and that might influence my feelings that the gentleman was treated badly.

I understand how marriage and monogamy focuses might seem strange to you, if that's not the place you come from. But I think the reason that many people (including myself) were advising that OP to divorce her husband, and why he should feel bad about seeing sex workers, is because he violated the terms of their relationship.

People can cheat in poly relationships too. They can have unprotected sex, or maybe the other person is required to check in with them first. The definition of "cheating" in poly relationships, just as in monogamous relationships, is violating the stated terms of the relationship.

So it had nothing to do with the inherent morality of open relationships, or even the inherent morality of someone seeking out sex work. It had to do with the inherent morality of agreeing to specific terms, and then violating those terms.

I do understand what you mean about feeling that some people have very different, and more traditional beliefs, on human relations AskMes. Sometimes I have problems with the "Is My Partner Cheating, I Spied On Him And Found Blah" questions, where a lot of people advise that spying is totally cool and normal in the circumstances. But when that happens, I just take a deep breath, and try to give my own, hopefully helpful advice.
posted by corb at 4:31 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


But if only pro-monogamous people post in those threads, only a pro-monogomy attiude is acheived, and also the husband in the situation is not really given any option but to lie about sexually valid options...if it is the dishonesty, and there is no option but to be honest, what does that mean.

this is a geniune question.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:33 PM on June 18, 2012


but to be dishonest.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:36 PM on June 18, 2012


There IS another option. He can be honest with her and let her leave to go find someone else who can live with the conditions she is setting. The problem isn't monogamy or lack thereof, the problem is that she said "Can you do X?" and he said "Yes," and then didn't do it.

You don't have to understand monogamy in order to accept that it is very important for a lot of people. People deserve not to be lied to.
posted by KathrynT at 4:37 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


But if only pro-monogamous people post in those threads, only a pro-monogomy attiude is acheived

If the poster needs advice on her monogamous relationship, it's not the time or place to discuss open relationships. And the husband isn't on site looking for advice, so addressing what he should or should not do is beside the point. You have to answer the question being asked. Likewise, there are regularly questions about open/polyamorous relationships, and it would be totally inappropriate to jump in and try to sell the OP on monogamy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


People deserve not to be put in untennable positions, either. They don't seem genuine options.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2012


wait, I had another clause in those last two sentences -- "it is very important for a lot of people. Those people deserve to be able to expect that their partners will be truthful about their sexual activities; they deserve not to be lied to."
posted by KathrynT at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2012


What about his position is untenable? He has all the choices in the world.
posted by KathrynT at 4:39 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


His options are either to a) not have sex outside the relationship, or b) before he has sex outside of the relationship, explain his needs to have sex outside the relationship and either b.i) get permission, or b.ii) terminate the relationship. You don't get to have it both ways.

Polygamy doesn't work for me. I've tried it, it makes me unhappy. It does not make me sex negative to know that that's my boundary in a relationship, to explicitly set that boundary, and to not date someone who has a different boundary, where they need sex outside of the relationship. It does not make me sex negative to have this attitude. It DOES unquestionably make you sex negative to say that my position (I need a monogamous relationship, but I have no problem with other people having polygamous relationships if that's what makes them happy) is a wrong position.
posted by brainmouse at 4:40 PM on June 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


First of all, PinkMoose, that question was not -- at its core -- about monogamy. As folks have been saying, it was about trust.

Secondly, I don't believe anyone is saying that only pro-monogamy viewpoints should be expressed in answering the question. It's my impression that people are suggesting that only viewpoints that can address the question should be expressed. If you're saying that you don't understand where the poster (or, rather, a series of posters of questions re: violation of a monogamous relationship) is coming from, perhaps you should post your own question about that in an effort to understand better rather than answering something you can't really contribute to.
posted by cranberry_nut at 4:40 PM on June 18, 2012


PinkMoose I can't speak for anyone else but my answer in that thread was based in large part on my read of the OP's personality as it was expressed in her writing. she certainly did not sound to me like someone who was curious about exploring "non-traditional" (i don't know what the word is) sexuality. she sounded 100% like somebody who wanted a "good" traditional marriage, and she was asking whether she was overreacting by being mad that her husband cheated on her (which, within the strictures of a traditional marriage, hitting the massage parlors behind your partner's back almost certainly is). it's not that i was intending to promote monogamy and suppress polyamory - but i don't know jack shit about polyamory, so if that's where i thought she was coming from, i wouldn't have answered.
posted by facetious at 4:41 PM on June 18, 2012


People deserve not to be put in untennable positions, either. They don't seem genuine options.

This is true! If the question had been the other way around -- if the husband had asked "I really need to get handies at massage parlours but my wife doesn't like it, what do I do?" -- the consensus answer likely would have been tell your wife what you need, and if you can't agree on it you should get a divorce.

As it is, it was the wife who was in the untennable position, and she deserved a way out of it. Either by finding a way to guarantee that her husband would stop the behaviour, or by leaving the relationship.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:43 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


There seems to be (insert less incedenairy word than blackmail) here, where it becomes not only "you must give up this activity that you have enjoyed longer than you have been with me" if you truly love me, or we will be divorced, but also, in terms of MeFI, the only advice that one is allowed to give is advice that reinforces (what, in my limited experiences and complicated rship to monogamy and heterosexuality) the OP's original position. This seems less of a Q&A function and more of an echo chamber. If that's how its gonna be run, that's fine. (genuine statement)
posted by PinkMoose at 4:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sex + or - aside, I really enjoy askme's where my opinion hasn't yet been expressed. It makes me feel like I have a unique view on the world (unlikely) and usually results in the most favourites (not like I'm counting).

When I do it, though, I try to be clear as well as respectful both of the OP and the other posters.

For example, while I agree that cheating (using corb's useful definition - violating the terms of the relationship) is against my personal ethics, I find that with increasing age, I am more sympathetic to people who are doing so than I used to be. I used to be all rah-rah-rah, you are a horrible person, evil, how could you do that? And now I'm more - "this is a difficult situation you are in, and I do not know the entire situation of your life, how your family treated you, your current and past partners, what your brain chemistry is like, what you crave and cannot have, your position on being a present parent to your children. No doubt this situation is very hard (pun not intended) and it is not working for you, nor some of the most important people in your life, but you are in this situation because some other aspect was not working. Have you considered... [some extraordinarily insightful and useful advice]"

So, while I think this Metatalk was a little derailed with your labelling of the situation as Sex + or -, I do think you have a point - when people do things that affect other people, it's hard for people to accept this without commenting on the harm, but the poster still needs to know that as a human being, they are bound to make mistakes, and that they can choose different paths that suit them and their loved ones better.
posted by b33j at 4:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


But if only pro-monogamous people post in those threads, only a pro-monogomy attiude is acheived, and also the husband in the situation is not really given any option but to lie about sexually valid options...if it is the dishonesty, and there is no option but to be honest, what does that mean.

My personal morality, which has nothing to do with monogamy or non-monogamy, says it is never okay to lie to someone in order to obtain sex with them. It's not okay to lie and say you're a baseball player, or that you're about to be deployed, or that you have no STDs. Or, in this case, that you're monogamous.

In this situation, the husband has a few options:
1. Be genuinely monogamous.
2. Tell his wife he would like to have an open relationship, and let her choose whether that's what she wants.
3. Do this kind of half-assed thing, where you say you can totally have a monogamous relationship, but really can't.

It seems like you have a lot of sympathy for that OP's husband. Maybe you've even been in a similar situation. But, as others have stated, it wasn't about monogamy. In fact, there were even some pro-polygamy folks commenting in the thread.

Some really smart polygamous folk here have said on repeated occasions that while a relationship can transition from monogamous to polygamous, it absolutely cannot do so in the wake of cheating. So even if the OP might have been open to polyamory, that would not have been the right way to bring it up.
posted by corb at 4:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pink Moose, you're really losing me here, unless what you are arguing that a relationship that brings upset to another member by ways of lies and weird anger directed at that member is okie dokie.
posted by angrycat at 4:49 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


"you must give up this activity that you have enjoyed longer than you have been with me" if you truly love me, or we will be divorced"

No, it was "You lied from day 1, and willingly and knowingly acted contrary to the terms of our relationship, while claiming you were acting within those boundaries. You had the option to be honest and break it off, and you chose, instead, to take the terrible person route of lying about it, and doing something you knew I would not be OK with -- because I explicitly told you I am not OK with -- and unilaterally deciding that this would still be part of our relationship even though if I knew about it we would no longer have a relationship. Because you violated an explicitly placed boundary, now that I know about it you can either give it up, or this relationship will end, which is what would have happened if you were upfront about it in the beginning, but instead you lied for many years. Lying about it, however, has not given you permission to continue doing the thing you lied about in the future, while still getting to be with me after lying to me repeatedly about something I told you was important to me. It is hard to believe you ever loved me when you purposefully violated my explicitly placed boundaries for many years."
posted by brainmouse at 4:50 PM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


There seems to be (insert less incedenairy word than blackmail) here, where it becomes not only "you must give up this activity that you have enjoyed longer than you have been with me" if you truly love me, or we will be divorced

Well, it's more: "you must stick to the promises/vows you made when we got married, or we will be divorced". To me, thats the whole point of vows. The husband should never have agreed to a monogamous marriage if he didn't want one. It's not like it's the only option, I had a non-monogamous marriage myself.

Of course, the wife could indeed decide to change her mind as well. But it's not unreasonable to think that the main onus is on the husband who had promised to be mongamous.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:50 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


There seems to be (insert less incedenairy word than blackmail) here, where it becomes not only "you must give up this activity that you have enjoyed longer than you have been with me" if you truly love me, or we will be divorced, but also, in terms of MeFI, the only advice that one is allowed to give is advice that reinforces (what, in my limited experiences and complicated rship to monogamy and heterosexuality) the OP's original position.

I think you are genuinely misunderstanding both the question and the responses, and I would venture to say, with all due respect, that if anyone is causing problems for themselves or others by having preconceptions, it is you. I wouldn't call those preconceptions "sex positive" just because they're on the side of the husband having more sex, either.

Basically, you're turning a question about violated trust into a question about blackmail and sex negativity. It is neither. People are free to come to whatever acommodations they choose, but those need to be transparent to all involved and identifiable as such. The fact that the husband is visiting a sex worker is not bad per se, the fact that he is visiting a sex worker outside of his arrangement with his wife is. The whole point here is that the husband does not get to unilaterally set the standards for sex in their relationship, and to the extent that they have been previously agreed upon, he does not get to renegotiate them without reference to his wife. It is not sex negative to think so, it is respect positive.

Your own position here seems to me to do a disservice to polyamory, or non-monogamous sexuality however labeled, since the oft repeated canard is that people who do not believe in monogamy don't know how to be respectful and loving of their partners, nor do they understand that trust is a fundamental part of human relationships. You seem to be upholding this view when you suggest that the agreements between them are moot if they get in the way of the husband getting his rocks off.

I have to admit that I'm utterly perplexed about how your position is sex positive.
posted by OmieWise at 4:53 PM on June 18, 2012 [14 favorites]


PinkMoose, several people (self included) talked about non-monogamous relationship models in that thread. His behavior would not be OK in any non-monogamous relationship I've ever been part of (which is many), or heard about.

Again, lying not OK.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2012


the husband never lied. that's the thing. you know absorbing and prioritizing monogamy is fine--not my life, but you know, if that's yr kink, that's yr life (I write about country music for a living, i know cheating songs). But the husband is being dragged thru the mud because the wife wants to be rewarded for her naitivtee--and we seem to be doing that (and someone rewrite that so it sounds more ambigious for me).

Laura Kipnis wrote this great book called against love, and she talked about all the reasons people marry, and all the reasons people stay married regardless, and how we cannot really list those reasons. I don't think anyone on that thread wrote any of the following things:

a) is there a way of negotating the handy js.
b) can you over look the handy js for social or economic stability
c) hey, you knew about these before yr marriage, and you kind of had a don't ask/don't tell, what does it mean when don't ask/don't tell is unstabilized.


it was all dtmfa this and leave him that, which is fine--but i really think that any of the other options that are on the table, should be talked about.

and i mean the guy was an asshole, and rub/tug parlours aren't fantasias of good labour practice--but you know, if he went to the strippers on a friday night, or he wrote erotic fiction to an online friend, or he masturbated to porn or you know we keep saying boundry, boundry, boundry, boundry--but boundries are to be stated clearly, negotied explcitly, and pliable.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:59 PM on June 18, 2012


You might be surprised at the number of non-monogamously inclined mefites post in askmes and give "pro-monogamy" advice, if said advice seems like the best fit for the asker and the situation they are asking about. Being non-monogamous doesn't mean that that's the best solution for everything, or even most things. And when the question is about cheating - well, as others have said above, it's perfectly possible to cheat while in an open relationship, too.
posted by rtha at 5:01 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry -- are you saying that getting a handjob that he knows his wife would disapprove of and then not telling her is not lying, just because he didn't say "I haven't gotten any handjobs from sex workers recently, have you?"
posted by brainmouse at 5:01 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


The husband did, too, lie. He also deflected in the couples therapy and blamed her.

Yes, boundaries can be renegotiated, but all the parties concerned have to be part of the negotiation.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:01 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


the husband never lied. that's the thing.

He first lied about having done it. Then he lied when he promised never to do it again. Then he lied about doing it again.

No one here is touting monogamy as the only way to go. People here are saying that when a couple agrees to a monogamous relationship, and then one partner goes outside the previously stated boundaries of that relationship without openly and honestly attempting to renegotiate those boundaries, that person is basically a jerkface.
posted by elizardbits at 5:02 PM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


the husband never lied.

Lying by omission is still lying!
posted by Specklet at 5:03 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


but boundries are to be stated clearly, negotied explcitly, and pliable.

Boundaries are only negotiable and pliable WHEN ALL PARTIES PARTICIPATE IN NEGOTIATIONS. Changing the parameters of a relationship without the consent of all involved parties is a dick move.
posted by elizardbits at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


he said from the beginning that he got them. and then she pressed and pressed, and he lied in order to save his marriage. he didn't have a choice but to be dishonest, because the stability the rested on this monogomy.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2012


Lying by omission is still lying!

It is, but in this case, he just straight-up lied:

I found out about the massage parlors by snooping- he did NOT come clean until I pressured him a great deal
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


but boundries are to be stated clearly, negotied explcitly, and pliable.

He skipped the part where you state clearly and negotiate explicitly, and went right to, um, pliable.
posted by rtha at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, I'm going to attempt really hard to try to translate Pinkmoose's contention.

Sometimes, there are AskMes, where the OP does say, "I want my partner to do X, or I'm going to break up with them. What do I do?" X is sometimes "give up this friend they have" or "hanging out with his ex" or "let me go through his phone and emails." On those AskMes, on occasion, there are people who come into the thread (I am sometimes one of them) who say, "Hey, your need for this is really not okay, and you're asking too much from your partner."

Sometimes, there are AskMes, where the OP says, "I want my partner to stop cheating on me, or I'm going to break up with him. Am I right?" And there generally aren't those people who come into the thread, arguing, "Cheating's totally fine, and you are not normal to be concerned." So there certainly is a difference between the two situations.

If this is what you're laboriously trying to say, I will agree with you that Metafilter may have a bias - but I would argue that it's a pro-honesty bias, rather than any sort of sex-negative bias. People on Metafilter tend to overwhelmingly support clear statements of needs, and honesty on all sides.
posted by corb at 5:04 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pink Moose, you're really losing me here, unless what you are arguing that a relationship that brings upset to another member by ways of lies and weird anger directed at that member is okie dokie.

I don't know. I can see that there are cultural models where men are allowed pretty much any extramarital dalliances they want and women are expected to just ignore it because that's how men are. Or whatever.

But from the OP's hurt, I doubt that's where she's coming from. I also personally think such models are predicated on outdated notions of both male and female sexuality and require an unfair compromise of a host of things on the wife's part.

I do get part of what PinkMoose is saying, though, namely the idea that maybe if your fiance sneaks off to get handjobs that sneaky handjob behavior is unlikely to just stop because he's now become your husband.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:05 PM on June 18, 2012


"I found out about the massage parlors by snooping- he did NOT come clean until I pressured him a great deal and even then I don't think he was honest about the details."
posted by brainmouse at 5:05 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


he didn't have a choice but to be dishonest, because the stability the rested on this monogomy.

Oh bullfuckingshit. He had the choice NOT TO LIE, or to end the relationship to pursue the kind of lifestyle he preferred, or to find another partner who was okay with his actions, or to discuss his needs honestly and openly with his partner.
posted by elizardbits at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, and also that people might feel societal pressures to conform to monogamy even though it's not personally a part of their nature.

However, that doesn't make it right.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2012


I should have read the preview.

he said from the beginning that he got them. and then she pressed and pressed, and he lied in order to save his marriage. he didn't have a choice but to be dishonest, because the stability the rested on this monogomy

Pinkmoose, it seems like you're reading into the question a lot. Is this situation one that is familiar to you? Have you, or has someone you know, experienced this from the other side?

The stability of the relationship may have rested on monogamy - but that stability was a lie. The relationship was actually not stable, because it wasn't resting on anything solid.
posted by corb at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


he lied in order to save his marriage. he didn't have a choice but to be dishonest, because the stability the rested on this monogomy.

And this is what I am telling you: he DID have a choice. He had the choice between stability and honesty. Nobody forced his hand; he freely chose to continue lying to his partner and mother of his children rather than accept the stated consequences of his OTHER free choice to continue to visit massage parlors.

You keep saying "he had no choice," and I don't understand where you're getting that.
posted by KathrynT at 5:08 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


i used sex negative badly. i tend to write to clarify, ask questions, and sort out how i am feeling. I rarely write to convince. I am genuinely frustrated by what is going on here.

I would say more like:

Sometimes, there are AskMes, where the OP says, "My partner had some sex I disapproved of before we married. I told him that I would leave him if he kept having that sex. I want my partner to stop having that sex., or I'm going to break up with him. I know that he is having the sex, though he is being discreet, by violating his privacy. I know I am right, but I am feeling sad about being right, can you tell me about how I am right?" And there generally aren't those people who come into the thread, arguing, "He has had a history of this behavior. You seemed to suspect this behaviour. You are punishing him because you feel bad." So there certainly is a liminal space between the two situations.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:09 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


he said from the beginning that he got them.

He did not. Where are you getting this stuff? He admitted once to cheating before their marriage (totally not the same thing as visiting a massage parlor) and agreed to stop cheating. Then he (in the present day) admitted to receiving handjobs recently and once before, after the marriage but before the child.
posted by acidic at 5:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


namely the idea that maybe if your fiance sneaks off to get handjobs that sneaky handjob behavior is unlikely to just stop because he's now become your husband

Right, and in hindsight everyone who has experienced this is like COME ON DUDE SO OBVIOUS. But, I mean, wtf, are we going to accept the POV that someone deserves to be cheated on because they put their trust in the word of someone they loved when that someone told them $_THING would never happen again? People are capable of actual behavioral change. Sometimes.
posted by elizardbits at 5:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Corb--why are you not asking Kathyrn about her biography, why are you pressing mine?
posted by PinkMoose at 5:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


he said from the beginning that he got them. and then she pressed and pressed, and he lied in order to save his marriage. he didn't have a choice but to be dishonest, because the stability the rested on this monogomy.

But he did have a choice - he could exit a relationship when he and his partner didn't want the same boundaries.

Maybe if we analogize to something less loaded than sex? I don't want to be in a relationship with a Republican. If I started dating someone, and she told me that she was a republican, and I said, "I'm sorry, but I'm a liberal and I feel very strongly about it, and I don't think I can date someone who doesn't agree with me on those very basic things," and she said, "listen, I'm a republican but politics aren't important to me - I'm going to pull the R lever every four years, but other than that it's not part of my life," I might decide to give it a whirl.

But if I then found out a few years later that she was donating huge sums of money to Focus on the Family or something like that, I'd be pissed. And I'd be pretty unsympathetic to the idea that she hid that from me to save our relationship. If she wants to donate all that money and also be in a relationship with me, she needs to let me decide if I want to be in that relationship. It would not be ok to me for her to make a unilateral decision that my dealbreakers are wrong. I would probably break up with her. Would you say that I'd be wrong to do so?
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


i had sex with a lot of people from a variety of genders before i got married. my husband has a reasonable expectation that i would stop having sex with anyone besides him unless we negotiated that openly. my actions previous to my relationship/marriage have little to do with the promises i'm expected to keep within the frame work we've agreed on.
posted by nadawi at 5:14 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


im wrong. i have been proven wrong. let's shut this fucker down.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:16 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometimes, there are AskMes, where the OP says, "My partner had some sex I disapproved of before we married. I told him that I would leave him if he kept having that sex. I want my partner to stop having that sex., or I'm going to break up with him. I know that he is having the sex, though he is being discreet, by violating his privacy. I know I am right, but I am feeling sad about being right, can you tell me about how I am right?" And there generally aren't those people who come into the thread, arguing, "He has had a history of this behavior. You seemed to suspect this behaviour. You are punishing him because you feel bad." So there certainly is a liminal space between the two situations.

Again, PinkMoose, I kinda see what you're saying. There are societal pressures to enter into monogamous situations, and, sure, partners who want monogamy can be pretty hurt by it and some people would sooner lie, be "discreet", and continue that behavior so they can continue engaging in extramarital relationships because maybe it feels like they can't do otherwise and still be considered upstanding people in our society.

Personally, I find that a bit cowardly. But from a standpoint of being an empathetic person, I see what you mean.

But--and I doubt you'd agree here, given what you've said--I really think seeking out a partner who is okay with non-monogamy from the outset is the way to go. Yes, it means a smaller dating pool and living your life in a way that's outside the mainstream, but it seems less toxic for both partners than to live a lie on both sides. And for the woman, it's not even a lie she's given the option to consent to. I think that's where most people (myself included) are all, "Whoa, that's not ethical."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:17 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are punishing him because you feel bad

Ok, I think maybe this is actually at the heart of why we're all talking past each other. It sounds to me like you're classifying a breakup as a punishment. I agree that sometimes it can be. But I'd also say that people should leave a relationship when the terms of that relationship aren't agreeable to them, and no compromise can be reached. That's not necessarily a punishment - it can just be a case of "this isn't working for me, I'd rather not stick around."
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:17 PM on June 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


I could have written exactly what nadawi said. I had lots of open relationships and lots of casual sex before my marriage, and my husband and I negotiated a monogamy agreement that works for both of us, and I would never change that unilaterally just because I miss orgies or whatever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:17 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


PinkMoose, you seem angry and upset. I promise you I am discussing this in good faith and, to my reading, other people are too.

On preview, I think Ragged Richard nails it -- a breakup is not a punishment, it's a recognition that the two of you are not well suited to be partners. Nobody is obligated to stay in a situation that is bad for them.
posted by KathrynT at 5:19 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I promise you I am discussing this in good faith and, to my reading, other people are too.

This is probably the most wholly good faith argument of my entire dubious metafilter oeuvre.
posted by elizardbits at 5:21 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am really not angry. I am mildly frustrated, but mostly confused.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:22 PM on June 18, 2012


Pinkmoose: Because you seem to identify very strongly with him, to the point where you are stating very positively what he did and didn't do, even when it counters what the actual OP said.

People do genuinely want to know where you're coming from. They really do want to help understand and to find a bridge between our differences.
posted by corb at 5:23 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


i want to find a bridge to frozen daiquiri land
posted by elizardbits at 5:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


BTW, if you're not liking the many-vs-one aspect of this discussion, I would be happy taking it to memail. This is an interesting sitaution to me; I would like to find out where the communication gap lies.
posted by KathrynT at 5:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


PinkMoose, I encourage you to voice your confusion. You've got a few people here who are ready and wiling to have a civil discussion with you; I say take advantage of that.

On preview: like KathrynT.
posted by Specklet at 5:27 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


How is leaving him because of this behaviour (and the resulting instability) not punishment?
posted by PinkMoose at 5:27 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


other things i am confused about:

a) how rock of ages got made
b) where this land of frozen daquiris is
posted by PinkMoose at 5:28 PM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think there can certainly be questions where the asker wants to know whether it's okay for their husband to get handjobs at massage parlors. And I'd bet that at least some answers would say, "Well, are you okay with it? It's okay to be okay with it; in fact, lots of relationships allow for that kind of thing, as long as everyone is on board." And then they'd recommend all the same sites, books, and resources they always do.

However, in this case, the husband's ongoing deception and manipulation have caused a lot of hurt and mistrust, and that conversation is way, way harder to recommend. While I think your points are really worthwhile about how realistic her expectations were, and that they both would have benefited from communicating more earlier, the answers did what they were supposed to: address the question being asked. And in that situation, I think it's too late to have a healthy conversation about those boundaries.

Also, I recall lots of answers saying that relationships survive infidelity all the time, and encouraging the asker to continue to explore therapy rather than just leaving him.
posted by juliplease at 5:29 PM on June 18, 2012


How is it not punishment to expect someone to remain with a partner whose behavior is actively hurting them?

a) man who even knows, musical theatre terrifies me in so many ways
b) IF YOU FIND IT LET ME KNOW
posted by elizardbits at 5:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


other things i am confused about: a) how rock of ages got made

The stage show is pretty good! Not everything that's good on stage translate well to the big screen, unfortunately... I loved RENT but the movie adaptation was ghastly.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:31 PM on June 18, 2012


Rock of Ages got made because unless Russel Brand was in a movie based around the worst fucking mixtape in all history, the universe would cease to be. It's complicated.
posted by griphus at 5:32 PM on June 18, 2012


Also, like The Producers, Boogie Nights really, really needs to be turned into a musical, and the musical turned into a film.
posted by griphus at 5:33 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Russel Brand is delightful in ways that are confusing and upsetting to describe.
posted by elizardbits at 5:33 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


First of all, if you find the frozen daquiri land, can you drop me a line? I could seriously use a daiquiri about now.

It's not punishment because she has the right to self-determination. If I go outside and it's freezing cold, and I say "Man I do not want to be out here! This is too cold for me to be comfortable!" and I go back inside, am I punishing Winter? If I get a job, and it turns out to be in a horrible work environment and my boss screams at me and my colleagues make fun of me behind my back, and I quit, am I punishing the job?

It's not about her saying "You suck and are a bad person and you should feel bad and everyone hates you for being bad." It's about her saying "These are the circumstances under which I feel comfortable and secure, and I won't stay in a relationship where they aren't met."
posted by KathrynT at 5:34 PM on June 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


i don't think it's manipulation--it's the old wasp way of working outside the marriage in the most discreet way possible, in order to make sure that the marriage continues as it should. there is a long tradition of this.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:35 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


(it is more honest, less inapproite, and calmer than fucking a neighbour for example. no?)
posted by PinkMoose at 5:35 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> denying release for a few days is a great trouble shooting step

Emphasis added.

The problem I have with the {death grip/too much} advice is that often nothing else is suggested (like up yer bum, weed or changing psych meds). It doesn't seem broadly sex-negative to me, but kind of male-masturbation-negative. It is a negative if it's causing PIV dysfunction, but answerers don't know that for sure. Harping on convincing the asker that it must must must be death grip might not be the most helpful.

I have a weird inhibition about ejaculating in a partner even though I have a vasectomy & and mutual STD tests. It took me a while to figure that out-- I don't expect Ask would have helped, so I'm trying w/ a condom. Just an example of how "conventional wisdom" can be limiting.
posted by morganw at 5:36 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd say it's not necessarily punishment because people have a right to decide what kind of relationship they want to be in, and exiting a relationship that no longer fits that profile doesn't have to be done in a spirit of malice. If, say, a man and a woman get married with the understanding that they want children, and then one of them decides not to have children, the other can decide to get out of the relationship without it being a punishment - they're just leaving because having kids is important to them.
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:36 PM on June 18, 2012


and i understand that Kathyrn, that makes sense. But it's not winter--and there is something about him as an autonomous agent as well?

(and to make sure everyone knows, if this was two boys, two girls, or one boy and a talking unicorn, i would have the same position)
posted by PinkMoose at 5:37 PM on June 18, 2012


to understand rock of ages you need to understand adam shankman - and even though he's not listed as an executive producer, i'm guessing somewhere along the line nigel lithgoe is involved.
posted by nadawi at 5:37 PM on June 18, 2012


there is a long tradition of this.

that is some abusive patriarchal bullshit right there i tell you what
posted by elizardbits at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [27 favorites]


PinkMoose, do you think all breakups based on incompatibility are punishment for one person or another? Because if not, that may be another way to frame this and it may help you to understand what some of the folks here are saying.

On preview: making sure a marriage continues isn't as important now as it has been historically. MeFites are typically in agreement that being in a relationship that doesn't work isn't a good thing. Do you feel that way?
posted by cranberry_nut at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


How is leaving him because of this behaviour (and the resulting instability) not punishment?


Breaking up with / divorcing someone because you are not a good fit isn't punishment, it's practically the opposite. Everyone will be happier in the long run (I say this as a divorced person). If he can't stick with his vows (which don't have to include monogamy, but sounds like they did in this case), then he will continue to make her and them upset. If they can't work through the trust issues _and_ the monogamy issues in therapy, and they may well not be able to if it's a fundamental difference, then divorce is the solution, not the punishment. (not saying it definitely is in this case, but it's certainly possible)

tl;dr -- incompatible people breaking up is a good thing, not a punishment

there is a long tradition of this.

Sure, but _that_ is sex negative. The "right" way to do things, IMO, from a sex positive POV, is to be open and honest and find a relationship that works for what you want --- whether that is monogamy, polyamory, occasional swinging, celibacy, or whatever. If the only way a marriage can continue is deception, that does not seem like a great partnership.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


A long tradition of lying doesn't make it okay. Especially when the one being lied to is actually not okay with it.

Turn it around: how is he not punishing her by making her stay in a relationship where she's just expected to put up with being lied to and hurt?
posted by rtha at 5:39 PM on June 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh sorry, I should have been more clear. When I said "manipulation" I meant the way he was reacting after she confronted him, with repeated denials and hostility. I don't think he was being manipulative by being unfaithful; that was just deception.
posted by juliplease at 5:39 PM on June 18, 2012


There are long traditions of a bunch of dumb-ass shit that we'd all be better off if humanity molted.

Also, wait, what is more honest/less inappropriate/calmer than carrying on an affair with the neighbor?
posted by griphus at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2012


there is something about him as an autonomous agent as well?

Yes, but his autonomy doesn't give him the right to remain in a relationship with her if that's not agreeable to her. If getting periodic extracurricular handjobs is important to him, that's fine, but that doesn't mean that anyone who gets into a relationship with him is obligated to accept that. The burden is on him to find someone who's cool with that setup.
posted by Ragged Richard at 5:41 PM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


some advice: avery wise man once said "what other people think of you becomes far less important when you realize how rarely they do."
posted by jonmc at 5:44 PM on June 18, 2012


But it's not winter--and there is something about him as an autonomous agent as well?

Why are you saying it's not winter? I mean, OK, I'm stretching the metaphor -- but honestly, whether it's literally winter or not, if it's too cold for me, it's too cold for me, and I don't need to stay someplace where I'm too cold.

He IS an autonomous agent. Absolutely. He made his choices, freely and autonomously. But his choices do not have to compel her willingness to go along with it.

(and to make sure everyone knows, if this was two boys, two girls, or one boy and a talking unicorn, i would have the same position)

Yeah, me too.
posted by KathrynT at 5:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


i don't think it's manipulation--it's the old wasp way of working outside the marriage in the most discreet way possible, in order to make sure that the marriage continues as it should. there is a long tradition of this.
posted by PinkMoosePoster at 8:35 PM on June 18 [1 favorite +] [!] Other [19/21]: «≡»


Oh hey, didn't I just say that upthread?

But yeah, as elizardbits said, though this sort of thing might have seemed okay in the ol' days of the patriarchy (because women had no voice in government), it was actually a lot less rosy for the women involved than it might seem on the surface. Like, if you, as a wife, cheat, and try to be discreet, and are found out, you can be divorced with no spousal support or job skills because you've spent your whole life having and tending to babies because no birth control. Yay tradition?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:45 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not like the only two choices are "have affair with neighbor" and "deceive spouse about encounters with sex workers." "Be honest with spouse about how monogamy isn't working for you and talk openly and respectfully about whether or not it is possible to negotiate different agreements that work for you both" is the option you keep overlooking.

Wouldn't it be "punishing" her for him to deceive her about whether or not he was keeping the relationship agreements he'd committed to and promised to uphold?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


What kind of monster would cheat on a talking unicorn though.
posted by elizardbits at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


Hello.
posted by griphus at 5:48 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for "in order to make sure the marriage continues as it should" do you want a list of all the spouses from Olden Tymes who contracted STDs from their spouses' extramarital sex? Because even if we're just going to do syphilis, that'll be a long list.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:49 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, PinkMoose, I dig you bro, but please learn to use your shift key. Thanks.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shit, I am in breakupland now, and it is in no way a punishment. It was like misery now compared to future miseries. It is a solution, not twenty whacks on the back of a hand with a ruler.
posted by angrycat at 5:49 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


you are all right about tradition, that was a call to authority that i should have known better than using.

you are also right about negotating, but from my understanding, married couples have a variety of unstated discourses that have not been worked out, but people know.

i have close friends, profoundly close friends, who i know everything about--there are negoitated rules (call twice a week at most, call only after 8) but also unnegotiated rules (if it's feburary and you are really depressed, those rules can be suspended) and work between the two (you feel weird about money, but i make three times as much as you do, so im paying)

how do you know, in a marriage, about sexuality, which of these are which?

(i rarely practice rships and never practice monogomy)

and Kathyrn, when I am in Seattle, first daquiri is on me)
posted by PinkMoose at 5:50 PM on June 18, 2012


I'll be honest, I tend toward what people would call 'sex negative', because it seems for some values of 'sex positivity' the actual definition is 'whatever I want is to be praised with great praise, no matter how it makes other people feel'.

This is a deeply weird place to inhabit for a person who is tolerant/indifferent toward just about any sexual practice you could name. But the idea that just because you have an itch it's MORALLY OBLIGATORY to pursue it, regardless of what behavioral expectations you might have raised toward other people in your life, is really grotesque to me. If you want to have wild sex with talking unicorns in a giant polygamous house party complete with poppers and swings and twenty kinds of flavored lube, go ahead as long as you don't wake me with your screams in the night. But own it and make sure that people with whom you're having relationships know what they've signed up for.

Also, the idea that people sneaking around on the downlow is a great boon to domestic comfort is all kinds of fucked.
posted by winna at 5:50 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or you could read Eleanor Roosevelt's letters to see how painful the "unspoken agreement" could be for some spouses.

I am 100% mandatory monogamy. I am also 100% against mandatory or unilateral non-monogamy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:52 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, as a buttrock/popmetal fan, I kind of hate Rock of Ages even though I've never seen it. Mainly because the vocal approches of stage acting and rock and roll are so very different.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on June 18, 2012


i understand this, but the question of what is spoken and what is unspoken and how to work the middle is confusing to me when it comes to sex.

i still don't know what buttrock means
posted by PinkMoose at 5:54 PM on June 18, 2012


How about Kathryn's analogy of the cold changes like this

I live in a two room house with my boyfriend. He calls me from the other room and says 'come in here, it's really comfortable and we can be happy in this room forever'. I go to that room and he is running an air conditioner at freezing cold. I turn blue and say 'argh I don't like this temperature! Can you change it?'. He says 'but this is what I like'. I then go back into the other room where it is comfortably warm, so that I don't freeze to death.

I am not doing this to punish him - I'm doing it for my own comfort, which is sometimes more important than letting the other person have the benefit of my company.

how do you know, in a marriage, about sexuality, which of these are which?
If one of the two people in the marriage is surprised and upset by something, or would be surprised or upset if they knew about it, then the unnegotiated rules were not clear enough, or they were clear but are being broken.
posted by jacalata at 5:54 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


But Rock of Ages has a baboon in it jon, What more could you ask of a movie with Tom Cruise?

At least I think it is a baboon. They were calling it a monkey on E! at the gym yesterday it pained me greatly. I mean, it IS a monkey, but surely calling it a baboon would be more precise.
posted by winna at 5:55 PM on June 18, 2012


Also, the idea that people sneaking around on the downlow is a great boon to domestic comfort is all kinds of fucked.

Boy, no kidding. We attended a health fair at a church in Harlem this weekend, and hearing about how much minority communities are still dealing with booming HIV/AIDS infection rates was sobering (shoutout to Iris House for all the good work they're doing in that field). There are practical reasons you should be honest about what you're doing and who you're doing it with- not knowing that your partner is also engaging in sexual acts with other people can be dangerous for your health.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:56 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


PinkMoose, you seem to be missing that they had already negotiated this, and he had agreed not to have sex outside the marriage. And his reaction seemed to most of us who read the thread to make it clear that he himself saw this as a violation of the agreement he committed to.

Both of them have a right to want something different from a relationship. But that's no guarantee they'll be able to make their mutual wants work in the same relationship. You seem to be wholly discounting her wish for honesty and agreement-keeping as important.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:56 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


addendum: if you are in a relationship and cannot tell if your partner would be surprised or upset by something you are going to do, then your unspoken rules are not clear enough and you should talk about it.
posted by jacalata at 5:57 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter is my favourite sex-positive hangout other than my home, where I am a naked Viking blowjob god who writes porn. Only on Metafilter can I find a community diverse and vibrant enough that someone will come out swinging to defend a man who lies to his wife about paying strangers for handjobs. Hell, not only defend him but simultaneously suggest he is the victim and that other viewpoints are somehow sex-negative.

Maintaining established boundaries in a relationship, whether monogamous or otherwise, is not sex-negative even if it limits options for sexual expression.
posted by Sternmeyer at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


i still don't know what buttrock means

The grubbier, nastier, less glam side of classic hard rock: Mountain, Grand Funk Railroad, AC/DC, ZZ Top stuff like that.

As far as Rock of Ages goes...it's got that project-to-the-back-row singing style of musicals, rather than the growl/bellow of an arena rock show. Not a value judgement either way, but an acknowledgement of the difference.
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2012


In most interactions with another person, you're right that some rules are stated and others are not, some rules are firm and others are bendable, and so on and so forth. In close relationships, one theoretically develops enough of an understanding of the other person's wants and needs that there isn't much regular confusion. In my experience, rules about sex tend to be explicitly discussed and very, very clear to both parties.

In the thread you're talking about, the violation involved a stated rule rather than something that was presumed. A monogamous relationship does not allow sexual acts with outside parties, a marriage ceremony includes vows to that effect, and this couple had specifically discussed extramarital sexual acts being off the table.
posted by cranberry_nut at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


how do you know, in a marriage, about sexuality, which of these are which?

I think the important thing, in all cases, is that you want the rules to be such that both partners would say the same thing if asked. So, for example, it's possible, I guess, for a couple to have a rule that extramarital sex is not ok unless, as you say, it's February and someone's depressed, without ever negotiating that. I don't quite know how that would come about, but I'll grant that it's possible. But in this case, if you put the two of them in separate rooms, and asked, "are all bets off if it's February and someone is depressed?" they have to both say yes. If person A says, "yes, I feel comfortable going elsewhere for sex under those circumstances and it's totally fine" and person B says, "no, we should stick to our rules at all times," then person A was wrong - it wasn't ok. He or she thought an agreement was in place that was not, in fact, in place, and was instead something he or she invented.

what is spoken and what is unspoken and how to work the middle
I guess I would also say that the only things that should be unspoken are things that are so obvious that nobody needs to bother to talk about them. If something has the potential to be a real problem, or cause a big misunderstanding, what's to be gained by not talking about it?
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:00 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sidhedevil, that is really quite accurate. I am working to internalize the queer other, and their discourses--the amusing thing is that the queer other for me is a heterosexual monogmous couple, and not the polyamorous unicorn fisters.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:00 PM on June 18, 2012


Boundaries are absolutely not "supposed to be pliable." Boundaries are supposed to be respected, not "plied."
posted by cairdeas at 6:05 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


how do you know, in a marriage, about sexuality, which of these are which?

When you run into a difference of opinion, you raise it honestly and with an eye towards finding a mutually agreeable solution.

I've been with my husband for sixteen and a half years, and we run into these ALL THE TIME. Just last week, I thought that by telling him "Something smells horrifying in the kitchen sink drain trap and I have to leave right now for several hours on an unrelated mission," I was adequately communicating the ". . . and I would like you to figure out what it is and fix it." When I came home and the sink drain still smelled like Billy Idol looks, I was MAD! I have a very good sense of smell, my husband has a terrible sense of smell, shouldn't it be him who empties the sink drain? But when I raised the issue, he pointed out that I hadn't actually asked, I'd just raised the issue and left.

I could have blown it up into a big deal about how he never listens to be and can't he be more sensitive and everything, but instead I said "Oh. Um, since you can barely smell and I have a profound aversion, can you take care of that?" and he said "Sure, although I hate doing it too, so this is kind of a favor" and I said "Oh, damn, I have been hoping for more than a decade that this sort of thing could just be your job" and he said "Sorry toots but no."

I guess what I'm saying is that there are things that are talked about, and then there are things that aren't talked about yet. If your spouse wants to talk about something to make the understanding explicit, I think honesty and partnership compels you to be willing to talk about it, not try and put it back into we-don't-talk-about-this land.
posted by KathrynT at 6:08 PM on June 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a former polyamorous unicorn fister now in a monogamous marriage, I feel that, PinkMoose. And if the husband had posted that he just wasn't happy without doing his massage parlor thing, I would have suggested he talk with his wife to see if they could renegotiate, and consider whether it was a deal breaker for him if she wasn't OK with that.

But it's exactly as OK for her to want a spouse who keeps a monogamy agreement that doesn't include hjs at the massage parlor, and who doesn't lie to her. Even though the latter is (kind of, at least rhetorically) promoted as normative in society, it doesn't give her any less right to want that from a spouse. And if he can't do that, and it's a deal breaker for her, they may not be able to continue their marriage. Which isn't a punishment, just a sad outcome of mutually irreconcilable needs and wants.

Thanks for sticking with the thread to talk in more depth, PinkMoose. I appreciate your willingness to engage.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


i really appreciate peoples willingness to explain the negotiaiton, it sort of seems like room mates with sex, but less so?

can we make t-shirts that say unicorn fister, out of puff paint and sparkles?
posted by PinkMoose at 6:20 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's the old wasp way of working outside the marriage in the most discreet way possible, in order to make sure that the marriage continues as it should.

For some of us (some of whom do have Yankee and WASP ancestry), having a marriage "continue as it should" includes having both parties abiding by the rule DO NOT LIE TO ME. In this case, we don't even have to talk about how monogamy is the culturally-expected, presumed-default-unless-otherwise-discussed mode of operation, because they'd already discussed it. There was nothing presumed about it — he had agreed to be monogamous. He then broke that promise. Regardless of how one feels about monogamy and polyamory, for many people having one's partner break a promise and then lie about it is a problem.

If A and B are poly partners and A says "you can have sex with anybody in the world except C," if B then has sex with C, many pro-sex, pro-kink, pro-polyamory people would say B is cheating on A.

It's not the sex that's the problem as much as the lying.
posted by Lexica at 6:26 PM on June 18, 2012


i really appreciate peoples willingness to explain the negotiaiton, it sort of seems like room mates with sex, but less so?

Every human interaction involves negotiation. Getting pizza involves serious negotiation, particularly if the people you're getting it with are bad and wrong and like deep dish. Just because it's not always overt negotiation doesn't make it disappear.

When you live with someone or sleep with them, it's a more fraught negotiation, because instead of arguing over ruining the pizza with sausage or sweet sauce, you're dealing with the risk of becoming a parent or getting a disease. The scale is different and the stakes, but it's sort of the same kind of thing.
posted by winna at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


wait, what is sweet sauce in this context?
posted by PinkMoose at 6:34 PM on June 18, 2012


People who add sugar to their tomato sauces.

It is the only unforgivable sin! I am completely sugar in tomato sauce negative.
posted by winna at 6:36 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Sweet sauce" on pizza is usually a tomato-rosemary sauce where the tomatoes are reduced (cooked down) to the point that people who don't like it say it tastes like ketchup, whereas people who don't like it think it tastes awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:36 PM on June 18, 2012


Oh, and obviously B "can" have sex with anybody in the world. "You can have sex with them" is shorthand for "If you have sex with somebody else it will not affect my sense of trust and solidarity in our relationship; your having sex with somebody else will not have a negative effect on my perception of your respect for me, nor will it negatively affect the stability of our relationship."

None of which is true about lying. Everybody I've known who's been lied to by their partner about something they considered important felt that their sense of trust had been violated and that the relationship was less stable and less solid as a result. In some of those relationships the trust wound up being rebuilt over time; in others the people broke up. But breaking up wasn't "punishing" the other person; it was acknowledging "I can't be in a relationship with this person and feel safe and respected; I don't feel I can rely on this person to have my wellbeing and happiness in mind because their actions have already shown they're more concerned about their own happiness than about abiding by promises they've made."

I believe strongly that anybody in a relationship deserves to feel that their partner has their happiness and wellbeing in mind and that their partner has their back. In my opinion, being able to let your guard down around your partner (and not have them stab you in the back) is essential.
posted by Lexica at 6:36 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sidhedevil's answer is also accepted in final jeopardy.
posted by winna at 6:38 PM on June 18, 2012


Can I take a guess at what you mean? It seems that metafilter advice often comes from a place that's subtly pro-monogamy or, alternatively, pro-committed relationship. Mefites seem to favor full disclosure in romantic relationships, as well as a sort of . . . contractual? approach to those relationships ("these are the relationship terms. Being with me means abiding by them") especially around certain things, like, say, snooping. And when posters don't clearly voice their relationship terms, they're given a hard time about it. When partners violate those terms, the advice is often DTMFA.

I very much agree. I don't think MeFi is particularly sex negative, but I do think it can be a very conservative place, especially on relationship issues.

For example, while I agree that cheating (using corb's useful definition - violating the terms of the relationship) is against my personal ethics, I find that with increasing age, I am more sympathetic to people who are doing so than I used to be. I used to be all rah-rah-rah, you are a horrible person, evil, how could you do that? And now I'm more - "this is a difficult situation you are in, and I do not know the entire situation of your life, how your family treated you, your current and past partners, what your brain chemistry is like, what you crave and cannot have, your position on being a present parent to your children.

This also, I very much agree with and can relate to. I used to be really hard-line about this, and now, not so much.

I do kind of get what the PinkMoose is saying, though. If someone posted a question about being angry that their spouse was hiding porn and masturbating in secret, there would be a strong contingent of answerers who would say something like, "meh, porn is normal." It's interesting that there isn't a strong contingent saying "meh, happy ending massages are normal." I'm not saying that the advice given in that thread was wrong -- just that PinkMoose isn't crazy for noticing that the sexual/relationship advice here tends to fit within some fairly tight boundaries, compared to the much more varied approaches that imperfect people in the real world take to try and muddle through.
posted by Forktine at 6:44 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jumping in to talk a little about what it looks like when there isn't explicit negotiation in a monogamous relationship. Have you ever seen one of those pictures that looks like a beautiful young woman if you look at it one way, and a wrinkled old crone from another angle? I know people who have been in monogamous relationships - and I am one of them - where the negotiation about pizza is far more explicit and prioritized in the relationship than discussion about what's wanted/permitted/not allowed in terms of romantic or sexual interaction.

For some people, doing monogamy comes with a LOT of assumptions that don't get questioned. Some of these assumptions come from the unspoken lessons we all get from our families of origin: whether/how affection is expressed, how often a couple has sex, what each person wears to bed or around the house, whether sexual topics are fair game in arguments, etc. In the AskMe we're talking about, the wife didn't just assume that her husband would not visit sex workers (often a marital assumption); she brought up the topic of monogamy and he agreed to that condition of their marriage.

As for Rock of Ages: I saw the National Theatre production of Frankenstein a couple of weeks ago. In the previews (in the "Now, That's Broadway!" section), there was a woman who claimed she'd seen Rock of Ages on Broadway 137 times. I just don't even know.
posted by catlet at 6:45 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can you write about "country music" with no understanding of monogamous marriage? I know the music intimately and it rarely *celebrates* or *honors* infidelity. It often (or used to often) explore infidelity deeply, see it as part of the human condition (it has a Christian subtext about sin), and even excuse it (for men, at least -- see Reba McEntire's "Whoever's in New England," or Randy Travis' "Reasons I Cheat," or any of a million more).

Were you serious about being a devotee of the genre? Because it is saturated with the moral framework (and an ambivalence toward sexuality) which you decry.
posted by spitbull at 6:47 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that there isn't a strong contingent saying "meh, happy ending massages are normal."

I think that didn't come up because the husband's actions and words (as reported by the OP) suggested that he, like she, believed it was not in accord with their prior agreements about sexual exclusivity.

If someone had asked "I'm thinking about creating a relationship agreement that includes a proviso that my spouse and I can have manual sex from sex workers" I, for one, would have been right there with "If that works for both of you, and you're both comfortable about the level of STI risk, you go for it!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:49 PM on June 18, 2012


Grey areas, including in sexuality questions, seem kind of disdained. I've had friends ask relationship questions here and they said they found the responses very judgey and of a black and white morality.

Actually, I kind of agree with that. I see a lot of relationship posts where people jump to the ol' DTMFA in situations that I think can be worked through. Obviously, dishonesty in a relationship is not acceptable, but I think jumping to divorce/DTMFA after a single instance of broken trust is a bit extreme. This isn't the only way that these posts play out, but I see it surprisingly often.
posted by asnider at 6:53 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


For some people, doing monogamy comes with a LOT of assumptions that don't get questioned. Some of these assumptions come from the unspoken lessons we all get from our families of origin: whether/how affection is expressed, how often a couple has sex, what each person wears to bed or around the house, whether sexual topics are fair game in arguments, etc.

This is completely true, and often these assumptions are not in fact, shared. I see this most often with, as noted, the "porn is cheating/porn is not cheating" threads, and the "emotional relationship with other person is cheating/is not cheating."

I think people do really need to clarify that in general.
posted by corb at 6:57 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I study and write about country music because i have made a personal and profound declaration to understand and apprecaite the sexual other. (also working class masculinity is something that is less abstract) (also, i also study and write about g-d, and i have never seen her, either.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:58 PM on June 18, 2012


What about the swinger couple with the nude business card?
posted by Ideefixe at 6:59 PM on June 18, 2012


b) where this land of frozen daquiris is

New Orleans. Get it.
posted by liketitanic at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2012


It wasn't a business card. It was a "pleasure card". And it was uncool because propositioning someone at their place of work, with naked pictures no less, is obnoxious at best. Possibly harassment if the recipient is in a work setting where their capacity to refuse the proposition is abrogated by the expectation of customer service or by other employment-related power hierarchies.

I assume a "unicorn fister" fists unicorns, because unicorns don't have fists. Unless there are synthetic fists that go on the ends of the horn or something?
posted by gingerest at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2012


Strap on Fists for Unicorn Horns.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:58 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


The UniDoe!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:07 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also appreciate your willingness to engage, PinkMoose, because I've been following along without being able to comment for a bit now, and I think you're right in identifying certain normative trends in response to relationship questions in Ask. I read both of those questions when they were posted, and in my opinion, they drew answers reinforcing certain norms because the questions themselves were already pretty strongly positioned within the framework of those norms, and commenters by-and-large followed their lead. I think it's important to distinguish that from "sex negativity": commenters were, essentially, trying to help the askers address their sex and relationship issues within the parameters established by the askers, probably largely on the principle that people are free, within certain broad limits, to define what they want out of sex and a relationship (which may or may not fall within expected norms).

Based on my own observation of AskMe, if the guy who wanted to orgasm as a result of genital intercourse had said something like: "I've tried a, b, and c, I still can't do it and it's causing me distress", I think more people likely would've seen an opportunity to suggest that he expand his definition of "sex". Similarly, if the premise of infidelity question had been "my husband wants to do this and I don't know what to think", you would have very probably seen advocates for exploring opening the marriage to the possibility of visiting massage parlors.

Questioning the premises is allowable, of course, but has to be done carefully to fit within the guidelines of Ask (Heh. Almost let through "fist within the guidelines of Ask"), so generally people will only do so with a compelling reason. This does not necessarily reflect conservatism on sex as much as it does an assumption (which may or may not be correct) that the people asking the questions have examined and understand what they need from sex and relationships.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


because I feel conspicuous and kind of like I cannot say anything at all when you have a dozen responses that contravene what I might have to say

People have different opinions on this stuff. It's not like we can ask one group of rope to not advise anyone.

Personally, I try to give advice on how to obtain decision criteria. Except for the absolutely crazy ones where I can't help but urge immediate flight from the situation.

I also focus on living up to promises given, not the contents of those promises. I'm not gonna judge on one's decisions--I'm gonna judge on whether those decisions broke promises. Handjobs from sex workers aren't inherentyvwrong, but if they're not discussed with the wife beforehand, then they are.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 PM on June 18, 2012


tl;dr My husband will pleasure himself and I am happy to support him in this endeavor. Soaped up or not, he doesn't care and neither do I.

He is good with me and then sometimes we meet in the middle, so to speak.


Not sure of the problem: Don't regular human beings get the chance to use AskMe to ask about their issues?

Sorry you are disturbed but as my Dad says, "get a life."

Penetration for all is my new motto.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:40 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that eventually there was some discussion in this thread that compared the happy endings thing with, for example, just masturbation or porn in what would otherwise be the same context.

Because I think while it's extremely true that mefi is very, um, dishonesty-negative, a lot about how people viewed this and other questions depends firstly upon whether a negotiated agreement is actually reasonable and fair. I agree (should anyone assert this) that mefi would likely come down against dishonesty even when a negotiated agreement wasn't actually reasonable or fair...but I think it wouldn't be so unanimous. There'd be a minority, at least, of folk saying that the condition was unreasonable and unfair and that while it's not ideal, just lying about it and continuing to do it is excusable. If this seems unlikely, just think if it had been about just masturbation at all (or perhaps porn). I've known people who view a partner's masturbation as a form of infidelity and expect their partner to refrain...I'm pretty sure if that had been what this particular question was about, there'd be a lot of people both saying that continuing masturbation and lying about it was okay and the questioner needed to reconsider what she thinks she has a right to demand in the relationship.

As it happens, although in that hypothetical I'd be very opposed to such a questioner's anti-masturbation (or anti-porn) view, I'd probably, when it came down to do, privilege honesty and negotiated agreements and boundaries above everything else and so my own answer would be that what the guy did was wrong and to DTMFA. But a lot of other people would probably disagree. So, while I think our ethos of honesty runs very deep here, I don't think it's absolute and a lot hinges upon whether we think that what is being demanded/negotiated is something a partner has a right to demand/negotiate.

I'm inclined to see handjobs from sex workers as something pretty distinct from masturbating to porn or to just masturbation. But just because that seems like an obvious distinction to me doesn't mean that I should expect everyone else to agree. Maybe that's not such an obvious distinction.

I also agree, at least partly, with what Forktine wrote. I wouldn't call it "conservatism", though, but more like a kind of idealistic naivete that is a bit rigid. Cheating is a huge deal to me, I've never done it and I can't really imagine doing it. But I've been on the other side of it. And the funny thing is, being cheated-on looked to me, after the fact, as much more ambiguous than I thought it would. My partner was deeply unhappy, as it happens. And, in general as I've gotten older and observed more long-term committed exclusive relationships, I notice that shit happens. It's not good, it's a violation of trust. But it's not necessarily the end of the world. If the relationship should end, it already should have and this is just the most visible thing. But maybe it shouldn't. Many relationships survive an infidelity. I think mefi is quick on the DTMFA partly because it skews not really young, but also less than middle-age. There's an idealism about relationships that works out to be "if this relationships is anything less than everything I want out of a relationship, then it's a waste of my time and energy". Which makes sense if you think that everything you might want out of a relationship is out there somewhere, waiting for you to find it as soon as you stop wasting time on that person you're with. And so, in that mindset, there can be no toleration for any infidelity, any lying, any violation of negotiated agreements because the existence of these things is sufficient evidence that it's a Bad Relationship and you'd better get out. However, in my opinion, while that's often quite true (I certainly don't mean to take the opposing position, because in my experience it's more true than not that people stay in bad relationships longer than they ought to), it's not always true and these sorts of violations of trust are not rare and they're not insurmountable and they don't always indicate Bad Stuff.

All in all, it's not that mefi is in any sense sex-negative, but that mefi certainly does have some collectively normative ideas about things that are not infrequently judgmental and often unforgiving of human fallibility and uncertainty.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:47 AM on June 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Unicorns are horny.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 AM on June 19, 2012


It's the primary reason why I don't participate in AskMefi anymore. Mefites are, frankly, deeply conservative and judgmental when it comes to human sexuality and relationships. There is a extraordinary lack of nuance, of empathy, and, most importantly, of simple appreciation that everybody is different. Everything is black and white: you cheated so you suck! You don't love your wife unconditionally so you deserve to lose everything! I think I've actually posted about this on Meta before, a long time ago, and I'm not at all surprised to see very little has changed. And it's not going to change. The green is an oppression game. It allows a faceless internet mob to ruthlessly stamp out any sign of deviation, any sign of difference and innovation, and then, amazingly enough, all these petit tyrants to actually feel better about themselves for ruthlessly enforcing their small-minded normative notions. There's really no good reason to participate in such a thing.
posted by nixerman at 5:26 AM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've known people who view a partner's masturbation as a form of infidelity and expect their partner to refrain...I'm pretty sure if that had been what this particular question was about, there'd be a lot of people both saying that continuing masturbation and lying about it was okay and the questioner needed to reconsider what she thinks she has a right to demand in the relationship.


I think this may be the first time I've disagreed with you on a thread we were both partaking in, Ivan Fyodorovich, but while I think your overall premise was right, I think your specific example is wrong. I think if this had been what the particular question about, I don't think anyone would have argued "It's fine for him to masturbate and continue to lie about it." I do think people would have said, "You are completely unreasonable to even expect him to do this, and I'm not surprised that he finally did it. He shouldn't have to lie about it." And no one would have been urging her to leave him, unless it was, "You should leave him so that he can have a relationship without someone like you."

I think mefi is quick on the DTMFA partly because it skews not really young, but also less than middle-age. There's an idealism about relationships that works out to be "if this relationships is anything less than everything I want out of a relationship, then it's a waste of my time and energy". Which makes sense if you think that everything you might want out of a relationship is out there somewhere, waiting for you to find it as soon as you stop wasting time on that person you're with. And so, in that mindset, there can be no toleration for any infidelity, any lying, any violation of negotiated agreements because the existence of these things is sufficient evidence that it's a Bad Relationship and you'd better get out.

I think this is partially true, but not necessarily bad. If you are in the under-middleage set, it is really important, with people living longer and longer, that you figure out the right person to be with - the best of all possible worlds. Especially if they plan to raise children with them. And for most people, I think dating is a series of corrections as they find out what they can and can't deal with. For example, when I was younger, I thought that I would prioritize a guy with movie-star looks and chiseled abs and mad, wild, romantic gestures. As I got older, I started to prioritize the things that most affected my daily life - a kindness and consideration and honesty that impact every bit of my day. And I'm really glad that I DTFMA'd some of my previous partners that just didn't have that, because it let me get to here - where I feel I've chosen a partner who, sure, has some foibles, but overall does give me everything I need. Those needs have gotten more realistic throughout the years.

I think another reason MeFites collectively dislike (especially repeated) violations of negotiated agreements is not because of a lack of empathy for human fallibility. It's because having someone who is clearly able to state their relationship needs and to re-open negotiations when they're aware they're not able to live with their partner's needs is in fact a baseline for a much happier relationship, and also for a better life.
posted by corb at 5:27 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


My previous post, Can we drop the simplistic moralizing in AskMe?. And many other comments. So you see, PinkMoose, the green has always been like this and it likely always will be.
posted by nixerman at 5:28 AM on June 19, 2012


I'm inclined to see handjobs from sex workers as something pretty distinct from masturbating to porn or to just masturbation. But just because that seems like an obvious distinction to me doesn't mean that I should expect everyone else to agree. Maybe that's not such an obvious distinction.

It honestly is a bit arbitrary, I think. Not wrong, any more than any other arbitrary idea about right and wrong can be incorrect, but definitely it is a distinction that we have created, not one that has its own truth.

I mean, here's a spectrum where each of us is going to be able to point to our own place of comfort, without any of those places being "correct": Are you ok with your partner masturbating in private? Using porn? Masturbating on the phone with a same-sex friend? With a friend of the opposite gender? Masturbating in the same room with that friend? Doing this on a trip overseas, but not at home? Giving their friend a helping hand? Paying to watch a stripper and masturbating afterwards? And on and on and on, through handjobs and beyond, each of us has a "woah, don't go there!" point where we would feel betrayed if it happened without prior consent -- but that point is not all the same.

And like Ivan and others have noted, the extremely strong collective opinion here is that everything must be explicit and negotiated with your partner. That's ok (I mean, I'd never tell someone to not talk about this stuff) but it's not the only way that people have relationships, and I'm not even sure it's the best way to have a relationship.
posted by Forktine at 5:31 AM on June 19, 2012


So you see, PinkMoose, the green has always been like this and it likely always will be.

Especially when people who have different outlooks throw up their hands and abandon it.
posted by Etrigan at 5:34 AM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The green is an oppression game.

You might be thinking about Axis and Allies?
posted by Greg Nog at 5:46 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it odd how critiques of normative behavior have become almost normative in of themselves on MeFi.

Some normative behavior is good, yes? It's around for a reason! I like the norm that says, for example, I can go to the doctor and know he won't perform experiments on me without my consent. Or the norm where, if I ignore a stranger on a busy street, that is considered a cue for them to leave me alone. Or norms where we are honest with each other. Or norms where if someone says they will pay me X dollars for my oboe, the check will clear for X dollars.

I get it, sometimes norms about sexuality don't fit everyone. They need to be addressed so as not to marginalize. But the idea that promoting a common value is wrong is just as not-useful as saying that promoting an uncommon value is wrong.

Also, can we not call things "problematic" without explaining how they are problematic? Maybe this euphemism is clearly defined in some circles in which I do not participate, but I am starting to realize that saying something is "problematic" is a really non-specific critique that prevents people from having to take defined stances.
posted by newg at 5:54 AM on June 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


And I know I'm being normative about norms. I'm down with that though.
posted by newg at 5:58 AM on June 19, 2012


(i rarely practice rships and never practice monogomy)

Respectfully: then perhaps you should consider not trying to couch your opinions about conduct within a relationship as normative. And when other people tell you that the conduct you're prescribing would, in fact, destroy most monogamous relationships, you should consider believing them.
posted by Mayor West at 6:01 AM on June 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


Hilariously, as this thread goes on, there's another AskMe which shows that the concepts we're applying to these relationship discussions also rise up in other questions. OP asks if something is reverse racism, people come in the thread to say that reverse racism doesn't exist, rather than answering whether or not it might be. So it is a little disingenuous to say that people are always just answering the question the OP asks, I do think it is legitimate that there is some form of normative behavior in play. It's just that Metafilters' norms tend to be rather different than other norms.
posted by corb at 7:19 AM on June 19, 2012


Many people are trying to wrestle that thread into a discussion that is fairly far afield from the OP's "What do I need to do here" question and it's becoming problematic. It's a reasonable answer to say that reverse racism doesn't exist if it helps the OP address or solve their issue. It's less cool to start a heels dug in argument about it which is not answering the question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:32 AM on June 19, 2012


ugh, that question. why.

ಠ_ಠ
posted by elizardbits at 8:45 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


AskMe can be judgmental, but so is dubbing people sex-negative when they disagree with you, or saying that they lack empathy because their advice is largely pro-disclosure, or saying that "see a therapist" is smug buck-passing.

Perhaps we should begin by admitting that we can all get judgmental about some things, and then just going from there towards whatever it is we want to resolve.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:54 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think mefi is quick on the DTMFA partly because it skews not really young, but also less than middle-age

Less than middle age, but old enough that lots of people have a fair number of, "I stayed in a relationship far longer than I should have" experiences.
posted by deanc at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ten times a week? Is that it? Rookie.
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:23 AM on June 19, 2012


IMHO, Metafilter takes Honesty with a Capital H as a kind of categorical imperative.

This is, again IMHO, a rather sophomoric and naively morally superior position to adopt.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:41 PM on June 19, 2012

IMHO, Metafilter takes Honesty with a Capital H as a kind of categorical imperative.

This is, again IMHO, a rather sophomoric and naively morally superior position to adopt.
I kind of disagree. Look at this Ask where the asker is basically being advised to ignore her father's request or deflect it in as roundabout a way as possible, rather than advocating some kind of "open and honest discussion of our feelings and needs."

MeFites are against duplicitousness. "Life is complicated and no one is perfect" is one thing. "Living a double life in the face of promises to the contrary" is another. It's bad for the subject and bad for the person being lied to.

I think the perspective from MeFites is a bit biased in favor of those who regret trying to "make it work" in a relationship (either family or romantic) that just wasn't working or how they reacted to major dishonesty going on behind their backs or their own experiences where they spent a lot of time pretending to be someone they weren't and now feel a great relief that they are no longer in that position.

Granted, we have a distinct lack of voices that discuss their don't ask/don't tell arrangements with their significant others.
posted by deanc at 12:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


can be intimidating to people who might have non-normative information to share which is the sort of information we should be specifically encouraging.

One thing that sometimes frustrates me about people with non-normative sexual attitudes is that they sometimes have this attitude that they are the only people enlightened enough to "get it" - that if other people don't embrace their polyamory, open-relationships, furry, masturbation-friendly, or otherwise kinky lifestyle, that the other people somehow "haven't thought it through logically".

Of course, there are some non-normative people who are perfectly lovely folks - welcoming, non-judgemental, helpful. I've been lucky enough to meet some Mefites like this lately and I was touched by how accepting they were.

I think that ultimately the distinctive between a sex-positive "pompous preacher" and a sex-positive "helpful advicegiver" is that the helpful ones don't act dismissive of normative attitudes or assume that because somebody has reached a different and more normative conclusion towards sex that they are somehow less informed. Nor do they try to shut down open dialogue on the subject.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:19 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "I think mefi is quick on the DTMFA partly because it skews not really young, but also less than middle-age. There's an idealism about relationships that works out to be "if this relationships is anything less than everything I want out of a relationship, then it's a waste of my time and energy". "

Yeah, I see this and associated attitudes a lot here and it's probably the biggest failing of the community as a whole, in my opinion. It seems to me that, as a community, we are a little too black and white for our own good and would be well served to step back from our idealistic view of life now and again to acknowledge that many (I'd like to say most because I think it's true, but can't prove it) relationships don't have explicitly negotiated boundaries or expectations because those things are understood to develop over time and through care and consideration for a partner and are mostly not necessary to negotiate due to shared culture and ideals. It would be good for us to acknowledge a bit more that people are imperfect. We all fuck up from time to time and that doesn't mean we are bad people, just human. There's an incredibly judgemental attitude here sometimes that I really believe is rooted in a fundamental lack of understanding about how relationships actually work in the long term, as opposed to how the psychology textbooks say they are supposed to work. Like a few others here have noted, the older I get, the more shades of grey I find in relationship land.

Before people trot out the DTMFA so quickly, perhaps ponder on the question of whether you would exist at all if your parents had been as judgemental about complex relationship issues as you are about to be.

But this place? Negative towards sexuality? You must be joking.
posted by dg at 2:57 PM on June 19, 2012


"I think that ultimately the distinctive between a sex-positive "pompous preacher" and a sex-positive "helpful advicegiver" is that the helpful ones don't act dismissive of normative attitudes or assume that because somebody has reached a different and more normative conclusion towards sex that they are somehow less informed. Nor do they try to shut down open dialogue on the subject."

I've mentioned this before, but I guess I do so because it seems so important and significant to me — but I've strongly disagreed with Susie Bright on numerous occasions (on her blog, in correspondence) about her feelings/beliefs about people (primarily women) who feel themselves to be asexual and/or anorgasmic and that it's okay. Her view, and she's probably representative of the majority view (in my experience when this has come up) among sex-positive folk, is that this acceptance/identity of asexuality is pathological, that it's necessarily a product of our sex-negative and misogynist culture. And, honestly, I think it often or even usually is. But I don't think it necessarily is; and I feel pretty strongly that human sexual desire and self-identity related to sexuality exists along a continuum, where there's a huge amount of diversity in what is "normal" and certainly not pathological. To me, being sex-positive means providing the space for people to explore their sexuality as they see fit (excepting that which is harmful to others) and this, in my view, necessarily includes allowing for those to explore being asexual.

While there's a clear (though perhaps in the grand scheme of things, minor) divergence of my views and Bright's views about the assumptions underlying our sex-positivity, I think there's also a bigger conflict involved. And it's that the majority of people I've encountered who are sex-positive are, well, sex-positive in a very strong sense while I'm, in contrast, more anti-sex-negative. That is to say, most sex-positive folk I've known have very strong feelings and beliefs that their sexuality is pretty much the most important aspect of their lives and identities. People don't state things in this form, and perhaps that's not the best way to put it. Try this: working through their sexual identity in the context of our society is the single most important struggle of their lives with regard to social and personal identity and in the specific sense of making their sexual selves be a good thing. This amounts to having great sex is extremely important. In that context, obviously being asexual is seen as pathological. Being anorgasmic is seen as pathological.

And I think here is part of where the distinction you're trying to make comes from. The preachers, as you call them, have a particular idea of what they think is healthy and right for people with regard to sexuality. It truly is normative. It's not normative with regard to any particular behavior, but it's normative with regard to everyone should have great sex and anyone who gets in the way of that utopia is sex-negative. They're essentially advocating a society where everyone shares their centralized importance of sexuality and sexual expression. My sex-positive utopia is one where there is basically no sexual shame and people are sexual, or not sexual, in any way they please (again, excepting that which is harmful to others).

I do think there's some correlation between a certain kind of sex-positive person and a certain kind of poly person. I think there's the same sort of (friendly) schism among poly as I'm describing in sex-positivity. Some people are anti-monogamy and think everyone should be polyamorous. Others are anti-anti-polyamory, support polyamory, but aren't anti-monogamy. And I think that maybe this distinction can be lost on some folk — perhaps PinkMoose is among them. Some might think that allowing for sex to not be important, but just opposing the negativity, and that allowing for both monogamy and polyamory, is somehow sex-negative and/or anti-polyamorous. But you can oppose one group of people who say that "everyone should be X" without supporting another group of peopel who say that "everyone should be Y".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:01 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It seems to me that, as a community, we are a little too black and white for our own good and would be well served to step back from our idealistic view of life..."

I'm not that comfortable with the MeTa threads arguing about DTMFA because I feel sort of caught in the middle. I agree that there's a bias toward DTMFA that is unrealistic and unforgiving, but I also agree that a whole hell of a lot of relationships have essentially failed long before people realize they should have left them. In other words, DTMFA is very often the correct advice. But not always, and if everyone operated under the rules of relationships that are implicit in MeFi's AskMe answering community, 85% of good, happy, satisfying long-term relationships would have been ended by a DTMFA. Because pretty much all relationships have periods where they go bad. And pretty much everyone fucks up in their relationship, sooner or later.

What I'd like to see (naturally, because it's my view) is a greater reluctance to advise DTMFA, given that we answerers actually have so little information, and replace it with something more like "this is something that looks like a DTMFA situation, and may well be, but only you (perhaps with some help) and your partner can really get to the bottom of this and decide whether this is a problem you can work out in your relationship or evidence that your relationship is badly broken and it's time to move on". I understand that what we are nervous about is what we've all done, and that's be in that exploratory/working-on-it mode for far longer than we ought to have and essentially delaying what is necessary. But, really, you can sort of tell when someone has been dithering and should have ended the relationship already and someone who has newly encountered (or become aware of) a problem that might actually be resolved. Not always reliably, sure, but it's not as if the only practical choice is to advise them to immediately nuke it from orbit to be sure.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:12 PM on June 19, 2012


Ivan Fyodorovich: "pretty much all relationships have periods where they go bad. And pretty much everyone fucks up in their relationship, sooner or later."

Exactly. But that doesn't always mean the relationship is or should be over, obviously. I get the sense, though, that people here are incredibly unforgiving towards people that find themselves in a relationship that is going through a 'down cycle' or that have managed to fuck up in one way or another. It's possible that this is indicative of a wider issue in society that is reflected in divorce rates because of the same perception that a relationship which isn't all hugs and sweetness and perfect behaviour 24/7/365 should be discarded. But I think MeFi skews to that much harder than broader society, to be honest. One of the things I like about MeFi is a lack of tolerance for arseholes, but this can sometimes present as a lack of tolerance for human behaviour, too.
posted by dg at 4:32 PM on June 19, 2012


I think that situations in which people find it necessary to ask the internet whether they should dump their SO may skew toward being the kind of situations in which DTMFA is a good answer. I see "low point in the relationship" askmes where people are told that they should try to work things out, but these are not the askmes where the question is itself a torrent of angst over long-standing abusive behavior, fundamental incompatibility, or a deep unwillingness to work things out in the first place... and maybe that's OK.

Also, I think many of these posts are made by people who already know what their own answer is, consciously or not. They're looking for a sense of permission or a reality check, not "hey, why don't you work things out with this person you clearly do not want to work things out with".
posted by vorfeed at 3:07 PM on June 20, 2012


I think you're right in that it skews in that direction for the reasons you state. I also think that the membership skews in the direction of preferring that advice. IMO, it's the combination of both that accounts for how notably quick AskMe answerers are on the DTMFA trigger.

Without rereading what I wote before, I thought that I had said that I think that a great many of such questions are not that terribly ambiguous — that it's often fairly obvious whether it's a "long overdue" or just a "bad patch". The problem, as I see it (and I don't think it's a severe problem by any stretch of the imagination), is when answerers are so biased in one or the other direction that they give that advice even when the situation is not so unambiguous from what the asker explains, or even when it's unambiguous that it's the other direction. Some people are just far too wedded (interesting choice of words on my part) to "work at it" or "DTMFA". I don't know how many people that is, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:18 PM on June 20, 2012


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