The Question You Can Never Ask Men on Dating Apps

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S2: warning this podcast contains explicit language and conversations of a sexual nature.

S1: Hi, I’m Stoya. I’m a writer and

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S2: pornographer, and I’m Rich Juzwiak, I’m a writer

S1: where the authors of How to Do It Slate’s sex advice column. This is our new podcast, where we answer brand new letters about all your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex or trying to have sex or not wanting to have sex. We’re here to help.

S2: So one of our questions today is about sort of online app etiquette, especially as, you know, pertains to issues about sex. I wonder if you have any pet peeves because I have one just in terms of this, or it’s kind of a pet peeve on top of a pet peeve. Oh boy. My pet peeve is like a boil on other people’s pet peeves.

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S1: I want to hear about this pet peeve boil.

S2: I’ll see in apps, people telling you how not to talk to them. They’re obviously like things like hate speech. That’s a completely reasonable expectation going into any interaction. Don’t be a racist, you know, I don’t want to see that. I think we can get to a more granular communication like on Grindr a lot. You see people saying, don’t say sup because sup as a greeting is somehow taken as synthetic masculinity, a kind of like bro cosplay that people find fake, whatever. What I think is that within the realm of, you know, non hatred. Like I said, I feel like let people say what they’re going to say and then you can filter those people out because you need some kind of filter. Yeah.

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S1: So a whole bunch of years ago, one of those glossy magazines you can find at the grocery store for women asked me to write about something. And I was like, How about the language that we use to describe genitals? Really great. What do you have to say? I’m like, Well, I argue for the right to use every word from cunt to you. Snort your

S2: greatest nazir.

S1: Miss kitty purpose because each indicates how a person thinks about their body and sex. And so I want you to call it Miss Kitty Plus Plus. So I know you’re Miss Kitty was was kind of person and then I can make my own decision, which is going to be no thank you.

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S2: Exactly, yes. If you ask people to censor themselves, then what you’re going to get down the line may surprise you. Whereas if you come to me saying stop and that turns me off,

S1: then I know

S2: then you know, great, you’ve done us both a favor. Yeah, I feel like we’ve worked that out. Maybe the issue that we’re going to talk about is quite as cut and dried. I’m glad we’re doing something here. All right. Let’s go to our first question.

S3: Dear, how to do it. I’m recently back in the dating game after being in a long term relationship, and I’m new to using Bumble. I live in a rural area, so I may be driving three hours to meet someone on the app. I asked what I thought was a reasonable question. How important is sex to you in a relationship? I’m a gynecologist, so sometimes my filter is off, but I evidently offended some guy I was chatting with. It’s not like I asked for a dick pic or asked what his favorite type of porn is. I just don’t want to drive three hours to find that there’s a major libido mismatch. Is that offensive? Should I just wait till I meet someone and there’s a spark to ask that question, is there a way to reword that request? Now I’m worried I’m going to get flagged for it signed. Just asking questions.

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S1: I want to preface everything we’re about to say with a response to. Now I am a gynecologist, so sometimes I filter is off, right? I am a career pornographer, so I’m like, Of course you ask someone, how important is sex?

S2: I mean, without a doubt, and if

S1: you’re considering driving three hours, you ask if their deck is within a certain range, right? Because if it’s too big, that’s going to cause me a problem. And if it’s really small,

S2: it might be tough. I feel like I asked with driving within a certain range, walking around the block. You know, I mean, taking the subway a few stops. And by the way, people lie about their dicks all the time. So that’s that’s another thing, too. And that’s the worst thing, too. It’s like you showed me a dick that is not the dick that I’m looking at. And now what? Now the dick is out loud for timing. And so now what am I going to do? And I’ve shut down sex in the middle of it? Plenty of times that’s been coordinated by apps, especially, but it’s like, why are you making me do that? Because it sucks every time. I don’t want to do it. No, but to your point with this question, she applied the filter seed. They they applied the filter. Yeah. I mean, they saved themselves the drive. Yeah.

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S1: They’re like, Hey, I like to ask not even that deep questions that are direct about sex before I have sex with someone. I think that’s totally wonderful. I think that’s great. I think the world would be a better place if more of us conducted ourselves that way. You’re nodding up and down like affirmatively.

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S2: So I I really believe this. Yes.

S1: So I think this consensus of league? Yeah, you’re fine. The person who shut down communication is not a good fit for you. They saved you a drive. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll eventually find people who are appropriate matches.

S2: Yeah. And you know, the emotional tone and intensity of an answer can really spin your head and make you question yourself. But if you take a step back, what this guy gave you was data. He answered your question. Essentially, he may have done it with a big kind of pyrotechnic display. He may have done it in a way that, like somehow was jarring to you. But he told you how important sex is to the relationship. So go into this experience on apps knowing that people are going to tell on themselves, even if they don’t articulate exactly what that is. You kind of have to piece it together sometimes.

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S1: And as far as getting flagged for asking how important sex is to you in a relationship, I don’t think Bumble is going to flag you for asking that question.

S2: No, that would cut into their business model at a certain point.

S1: Yeah, that seems like deeply at odds with the reason they exist. Yeah, maybe. Yeah. Don’t ask what their favorite type of porn is like. Bumble might take issue. I don’t know.

S2: I don’t know, either. Anyway, we’re both on the same page with our letter writer. They did the right thing. They asked the right question. You got to grow a little bit of a thicker skin. If you’re going to be conversing with people in these arenas and just know that people are going to give you answers and it may come out shitty, and that tells you even more than you needed to know about the person.

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S1: Yeah, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this.

S2: Can’t wait.

S1: Try to think of it like a pickup artist. Uh huh.. It’s a numbers

S2: game. It’s a numbers game. That’s right.

S1: It’s efficiency and clear communication and volume. Boom. Yeah. So on to our next question.

S3: Dear, how to do it, my husband has been engaging in online sex chats with other women. I happened to see a charge on our bank account. He had spent $100 on a private session with a cam girl. I confronted him immediately and he apologized profusely. He said that he had been drunk and didn’t remember paying that amount of money or the interaction they had together. He is well aware that I am not OK with him interacting sexually with other women. After discussing this and my limits, he said that he had never done this before and wouldn’t do it again. He gave me access to all of his accounts, emails, credit cards, et cetera, and said I could check them anytime. Cut to a year later, and I find more charges this time a phone sex line. I confronted him again. I threw all my clothes in the living room and said I was leaving. He flew into a rage, said he was going to have hella young girls in her house after I left. All of this was incredibly confusing to me. We have a very active sex life three to four times a week. He says that he is satisfied with our sex life and couldn’t imagine how it could be better. Predictably, I have found so much more evidence that he is continuing to cheat with online dating apps. More Cam Girl websites, links to reviews of online sex workers and so on. He insists that he is never physically been with another woman. I’ve been tested for STIs and everything has been negative. I have asked him to be honest with me and to go to counseling. His response was to quit speaking to me for four days. Am I wrong or being unreasonable? Prior to these revelations about his online cheating, I thought we were incredibly happy. I don’t want to throw our life away. I would like to try counselling in the hope that he would be honest with me. Is there any hope signed betrayed?

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S2: This is sad.

S1: This is tragic.

S2: It’s really palpably emotional to me that last few lines.

S1: So our writer is not being unreasonable at all. No link at all whatsoever. And I’ve run porn domains that I own part of. Mm-Hmm. And I interact on fan sites. Sometimes you do get people who do strange things because they’re deeply under the influence of substances or having a mental health crisis. Hmm. And that’s very much the sense that I get with the husband. Hmm. This doesn’t seem like a case of sex positivity behind the partner’s back.

S2: Right?

S1: This seems like acting out because of something serious happening to them. Yeah. And as this guy’s partner, it kind of is our writer’s job up to the point where it becomes unsustainable or dangerous for them to push for them to get help. Right?

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S2: Yeah, there could be some kind of sexual compulsion going on. Yeah. To me, what’s so jarring about this letter is like after the initial discovery was made, it would have been his opportunity to say, Look for whatever reason, I need this. This is something that I need our relationship. If you can’t take it, then maybe we should look into other options, i.e. breaking up.

S1: But instead, he said, Here is access to everything. You stop me. Right? You hold the responsibility.

S2: Right? And then didn’t even follow that through. Yeah. Was not able to do what he had offered to do. So. Yes. So there is something deeply wrong or there’s some level of intense manipulation. I don’t care how you feel a total disregard for her feelings. That seems pathological in itself

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S1: and shutting down communication, refusing to speak to the partner for days

S2: after the suggestion of counseling. I mean,

S1: yeah, the angry outbursts,

S2: right? I mean, that’s the kind of thing that people do when you get between them in their drugs. You ever like, yeah, someone who has a substance abuse issue and they fly into a rage when you obstruct them? That’s what that sounds like to me. You know, not to armchair psychologist, although I guess that’s kind of what we do.

S1: We do. It’s it’s an alarming behavior pattern in a few different ways. And, you know, even a licensed therapist wouldn’t be able to like diagnose based on a few paragraphs. But we can all agree that the husband needs to see someone.

S2: Yeah. So the writer is not being wrong or unreasonable. It’s a completely reasonable hard boundary to have. It’s a completely reasonable thing to ask of your partner and when your partner fails to give you what you need there, it’s completely reasonable to look for another way through this. Yeah, whatever that is, taking yourself out of the situation or really emphasizing counseling. And you know, in this case, the unfortunate thing is that I feel like couples counseling can be useful not just for the couple, but for individuals who are resistant. Mm hmm. You know, if you have somebody with sort of issues with themselves and they have no interest in therapy, at the very least, you’re going to a therapist together and you could start to poke at those things. Inevitably, somebody with really deep issues does need their own therapist. But couples counseling is better than nothing.

S1: Yeah, and it can kind of like be like the first step to get them kind of accustomed to the idea.

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S2: Training wheels taking their hand, you know, and guiding them through it. That complete shutting down at that point is really a red flag for me.

S1: Yeah, it’s very concerning. And I think our writer should have their escape plan like they don’t necessarily need to keep a bag with their passport and their paperwork, all of that by the door, but they should know exactly where the things that they have to take with them are. Yeah. And like, no where their bag is and know where they’re going. Who are they going to stay with if they need to? Because this does seem pretty dangerous.

S2: It does. And I think the best way to avoid chaos is order. Yeah. So everything that you say makes a lot of sense and will at the very least, make their life easier when push comes to shove, and it seems like that’s imminent. Yeah. OK, that’s all for now, but we’re not done this week on the second episode this week, only for Slate Plus members. A woman writes that her husband just divulged a long-held sexual secret to her, and she really doesn’t know what to do with this revelation. Just kind of hard for me to wrap my head around because I have a penis fetish. You know what I mean? Like, that’s part of like the point of having sex with cis men that I do, which is that I get to play with the penis and get to have that fetish. It’s more than that. Join us to sort through it together on Monday. Sign up for Slate Plus at Slate.com. Slash HDI.

S1: IPL US If you’re in need of sex advice from Rich in me, you can write to how to do it at Slate.com. How to do it. Or you can leave us a voicemail at three four seven six four zero four zero two five and we may use it on the show. That’s three four seven six four zero four zero two five and Slate.com slash how to do it. Remember, this is anonymous and nothing is too small or embarrassing.

S2: Our show is produced by Child two. How did you? Its editor is Jeffrey Bloomer. Our letter readers are Shasha Leonard and Benjamin Frisch. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.