Dear Prudence

Schoolgirl Fantasy

My boyfriend wants me to call him “Daddy” during sex. Gross!

Emily Yoffe.

Emily Yoffe

Photograph by Teresa Castracane.

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Dear Prudence,
I’ve been dating a guy for a couple of months and things were going great. I felt an emotional, physical, and mental connection with him that I had never felt before. Then I told him I wanted to make all his sexual fantasies come true and what happened next made me second-guess everything. The fantasy he described was to see me dressed up like a young girl wearing a short skirt and pigtails, sucking on a lollipop, and oozing innocence. I don’t understand that fantasy, but I’ve seen enough porn to know it’s common. We started acting it out, and he wanted me to call him “Daddy.” He said things like, “You make Daddy feel so good” and “Don’t tell Mommy.” I am thoroughly freaked! He assured me that he does not want to have sex with young girls—that this is about role-playing dominance and innocence. Is this a normal fantasy, or is this a sign of pedophilia? Should I run away as fast as possible?

—Not Daddy’s Little Girl

Dear Not,
When one person offers to fulfill a romantic partner’s sexual fantasy, it has to be said with the knowledge that the next thing you know you could be dressing up as Alvin the Chipmunk or attaching electrodes to your nipples. Of course, some couples are lucky to have (or they seek out someone with) meshing fantasies; that’s why S goes so well with M. For other couples, one person is willing to get into the plushies, or have fun with the car battery cables, as an occasional indulgence of their partner’s proclivities. However, I think your letter is an excellent reason why the urge to utter the phrase “I want to make all your sexual fantasies come true” is one that should be vigorously suppressed. Many, maybe most, people have erotic streaming videos running in their heads (they’re free and unlimited!). This doesn’t mean it would be more exciting to make them flesh and act them out. I don’t know if your boyfriend is a closet pedophile. But someone whose sexuality really was oriented toward children probably wouldn’t find it terribly exciting to be with a grown woman dressing up as a school girl. Lots of women have rape fantasies but would be horrified to find themselves actually being attacked. You’re being somewhat unfair to your boyfriend. You offered to act out his deepest secrets, and when he laid out the Good Ship Lollipop scenario on you, you freaked. You need to get out of the pigtails and schoolgirl uniform and have a calm talk with your boyfriend. Say you know you’ve already gotten a denial from him about being interested in little girls, but you want to discuss some more what you’ve discovered about each other. When he explains what part this fantasy has in his erotic life, you may have to tell him that despite your earlier offer, you’re just not comfortable participating in it. A sense of humor about this would be helpful. He still may end up being the man for you, as long as he accepts you can’t be daddy’s little girl.


Dear Prudence: Deep Sleep Sex

Dear Prudence,
My intelligent and thoughtful 17-year-old stepdaughter has just told me she’s pregnant after a one-night stand. I’ve been married to her father since she was a little girl, and she and her siblings have always lived with us, although they visit their mother often. We had a tear-filled conversation, and she told me she wants an abortion. I understand why she came to me. Her biological mother is anti-contraceptives and has been arrested for picketing an abortion clinic. My husband will go on a rampage when he finds out she is pregnant, and would be very against an abortion. She’s doing great in school and has a firm desire to go to college. I don’t know if I fully support the abortion myself, as we have the resources to comfortably raise the baby. But I know she has dreams and goals that don’t include being a mother yet. I could hide the cost of the abortion from my husband, but I don’t want to keep such a big secret. If her mother finds out, it would mean all-out war between our homes. I’ve scheduled her an appointment with my gynecologist as a check-up. When she was little, I used to dream that she would come to me as a teenager with her problems, but I never ever expected this. What should I do that is best for her?


Dear Agonizing,
I am pro-choice, and I believe your stepdaughter is entitled to make her own choice. You say she is an intelligent and thoughtful girl (if only she had thought about the consequences of even a one-time unprotected sexual encounter) and, having considered her situation and the possibilities, she needs the emotional and financial support she is seeking. Of course the decision to have an abortion is wrenching, but I am glad it is legal. However, because she is a minor many states require parental notification or consent. So what you do depends not only on your personal relationships with your husband and his ex-wife, but on your state’s legal requirements. I suggest you take your stepdaughter to a Planned Parenthood health center. There she will get factual advice on all her medical and legal options. Let me add that despite inflammatory political rhetoric, the mission of Planned Parenthood is not to perform abortions, but to provide the crucial services that prevent unwanted pregnancies. After you and your stepdaughter are clearer on what to do, I think you need to discuss this with your husband. I cringe at your description of him going on a “rampage.” How destructive that would be to a daughter in extremis. I hope that you will be able to get him to look on her with compassion and understand that she deserves to have her say in this most profoundly personal decision. As for her mother—I just can’t see what good would come of involving her. You once dreamed of being the one your stepdaughter would turn to. How lucky for her that you are there.


Dear Prudence,
Is it OK for an adult to suck her thumb at work? I work for a small company and the new receptionist, an attractive, bright woman of about 20, sucks her thumb almost continuously when she’s not talking. When I come out to meet my clients, there she is sucking her thumb in front of them. Her direct supervisor sits close to her and would have to be blind not to notice. I’ve almost said, “Stop sucking your thumb!” but I haven’t. I’m a go-along-to-get-along type of guy, but this embarrasses me for her, my clients, and the business. What should I do?

—Not a Sucker

Dear Sucker,
You’re right, the receptionist sets the tone for the business. A few times recently I’ve wondered whether anyone in the corner offices has noticed that the people at the front desk are wearing sequined tank tops and no bras, or look as if they’ve decided to get dressed early for their workout. To have your receptionist nursing her thumb while clients wait might thrill the boyfriend of letter writer No. 1, but I agree it will leave everyone else cringing. You shouldn’t be the one to speak to the receptionist; she’d probably just give you the finger. Instead, sit down with her supervisor, or someone in human resources, and say that you’re concerned that a thumb-sucking receptionist gives a bad impression to visitors. Since she’s young and bright, she needs to be told that if she wants to advance in this world, it’s time for her to lick this habit.


Dear Prudie,
I host a book club at my apartment. At a recent gathering one woman brought a pair of boots she was planning to return to the store. I don’t know why she brought them, since the store would have been closed by the time we finished. I did not see the boots, but she asked me for a paper bag to put them in. The day after the book club, she emailed saying she had left the boots at my house and wanted to get them. I searched my apartment and couldn’t find a grocery bag with the boots anywhere. I emailed the group to see if someone accidentally picked them up, and no one responded. I told her that they may have inadvertently been recycled since we were using the same type of grocery bags to collect bottles and cans that evening. I also suggested she may have left with them and misplaced them afterward. She is adamant that they went missing at my place and has hinted that I should pay for them. Do I owe her for the cost of the boots?

—These Boots Were Made for Walking … Out the Door

Dear These,
What a coincidence! Remember I came to the book club with a diamond ring that I was returning to Tiffany? You gave me a garbage bag to store it in for safekeeping. Then I forgot to take it with me, and I hope you’re kidding when you say you can’t find it, because now you owe me the replacement cost! Perhaps your guest did bring the boots, but it’s odd that, inspired by the refuse-filled grocery bags in the hallway, she decided to stick her boots in one. (Perhaps she was also inspired by the episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie loses her Manolos when she goes to a party where everyone’s forced to relinquish their shoes.) Whether the boots are now being worn by a delighted sorter at the recycling center or whether they existed only in your guest’s imagination is not your problem. That she forgot her precious boots at your place is her misfortune. You can ignore this woman’s hints and assure her that if the boots turn up, you’ll contact her immediately. If she suggests you write her a check, tell her that’s not going to happen. Then at your next meeting, recommend the club read The Grifters.


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