Dear Steve,
An old friend told me that she dates two types of men: 1) Men who are too good for her, and 2) Men who she really loves, but somehow messes things up with. She then proceeds to say that I fall into neither category… What does that mean? I have been trying to figure out this one for a couple of weeks. If her theory is that both kinds of men are wrong for her, then shouldn’t I be the one who’s with her? And why would she tell me that if she says she only wants to be friends?

You’re making this way more complicated than it is. I don’t want to be harsh, but let me spell it out for you – she’s not interested. When a woman tells you that she only wants to be friends, what she’s really saying is, “I only want to be friends.” If you can’t accept that, you’re like a thirsty guy in the desert who thinks a palm tree is really a water fountain. For whatever reason (probably because you’re not edgy enough), you’re not on her sexual playing field. She dates two types of men, and you’re not either of them (I would take that as a very big hint). I don’t think she was sending you some kind of subliminal message that you two should be together.

You need to be very honest with yourself. Do you want to hang out with a woman to whom you are attracted, knowing she’s not attracted to you? Some guys think, “if she just spends enough time with me, I’ll win her over with my sparkly personality.” Or maybe, you just really want to be friends and you think you can let go of your desire for her. Good luck.

This is one of the great conflicts between Womanus Americanus and Dudus Americanus. Let me explain. Man and woman are hanging out. Man likes woman. The woman doesn’t like the man (in that way). The woman says, “let’s just be friends”. The man has two options.

First option, the man can say, “sorry, I don’t think I could deal with that” (the right choice). To which the woman responds, “well then, I guess you never really liked me, because if you really liked me, you would want to be my friend, even if we’re not going to have sex.” Or perhaps she’ll respond with the classic, “that’s so immature.” There’s also, “come one, we have fun together, we can still have fun together.” Worst of all is, “if we had sex, it would ruin our friendship.”

Have you ever noticed that when one of your female friends is attracted to you, she’s never worried about sex messing up your friendship?

Option two, the man can say, “sure, let’s be friends.” Thus begins the slow descent into madness. It starts with an annoying inner argument between two parts of your brain. Part one says, “sure, I can be her friend, I’ll get over this attraction thing.” Part two says, “come on, you’re a guy, you’ll never get over it… maybe you can use this friend thing as a way to get into her pants.”

Every time you hang out with her, you think about how pretty she is and about how much you have in common. You begin to have imaginary conversations with her where she says that she really likes you and that you really should be together. Pretty soon, you’re writing sonnets about her. Next thing you know, just to be with her, you’re giving her a ride to another guy’s house and picking her up in the morning.

Did you know Richard Nixon used to drive his future wife, Pat, around on dates with other men? He said he was willing to do whatever it took to win her love. It worked for tricky Dick, but do you really want to use him as a role model?


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Grow Up

Dear Steve,
A little over a year ago, I met a guy on a chat line and we started talking a lot, like everyday. We got along great and had a lot in common. We had sent pictures to one another via e-mail, so we kind of knew what we looked like. We talked to each other for months. We wanted to meet, but I kept putting it off, because I guess I’m insecure and was scared he wouldn’t like me. Not that I should be, because I believe (and am told a lot) that I am a intelligent, beautiful woman. I don’t know – just scared I guess. Anyway, I lost my chance when I no longer had access to my computer and got out of touch with him.
Okay, so now I started a new job about 3 months ago and found out that one of my co-workers is closely related to him and I was so excited that I might get to finally meet him. So, I told her to tell him I said “hi.” I waited two weeks for her to tell me what he said or what his response was, but she never said anything and I didn’t want to seem too desperate by asking. Then, one morning, she says that it was too bad that I was late one morning to work because he was here at work to see his cousin and to meet me. I was shocked, but acted normal by saying, “oh, too bad – I could have finally met him.” Then, I told her to tell him to call me. I didn’t give her a personal number, but he should know the number to where we work, because she works with me and he could ask her for it, right? So now it’s been two weeks and no phone call or visit. Is he not interested or what? What can I do to find out for sure what he wants to do with our friendship, without looking like I’m desperate or a stalker? I thought he would be so excited to find me again. I really liked him even to the point of falling in love even though we never met. I thought he felt the same, because of conversations that we had and him sometimes referring to the future in a positive way.
Please tell me what I should do!

I don’t know why, but I had to take an aspirin after reading your letter. It was like a foreign film, only without the pictures (which isn’t a good thing). As for your internet dude, forget him. I don’t think he’s interested. Either that, or he’s in a coma. Of course, people hate to let go of things – especially potential romantic partners. So, I’ve thought of a few things you might do.
1- Become friends with your co-worker. Slowly insinuate yourself into her life. Eventually, you’ll be invited to a party that your internet dude will also attend. Then, walk over to him at the party (a real sexy walk) and tell him that you really enjoyed chatting with him and that you would like to chat some more and possibly have sex.
2- Look for his address in the phone book. Then, hang around outside his house. Follow him around. Find out if he’s dating someone else. If he is, you can finally let go of him. Or, you could kill his pet rabbit.
3- Place a small, electronic recording device in your co-worker’s purse. When she comes into work every day, take the recording device out of her purse and listen to it in the bathroom. Before the end of the day, put the recording device back in her purse. One day, she might have a conversation about you with Mr. Internet (while carrying her purse). Then, you can hear what he thinks about you.
4- If he has a therapist, you could break into the therapist’s office, steal his file, and see if he talked about you (Richard Nixon tried that one).
5- Pass him a note in class. Draw two boxes on the note. Write “check this box if you like me” next to one of the boxes. Write “check this box if you don’t” next to the other box.
6- Grow up, call him, and ask him how he feels.

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Warren Beatty

Dear Steve,
I really enjoy spending time with my girlfriend. But as she was molested (repeatedly) when she was eight, anything past kissing and light fondling between us is a problem. I’d like to help her not have to associate her sexuality with what happened to her. Though petty in comparison, this whole thing is difficult for me too because she really turns me on.

First, and you probably know this; your girlfriend should see a therapist (if she hasn’t already). People who were abused as children often experience post-traumatic stress, depression, low self-esteem, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or some combination of these things). As suspicious as I am of psychology, it is a fact that therapy has helped many people deal with these issues. If she can’t afford a therapist, most communities have rape crisis centers that provide free of sliding scale therapy for victims of sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if she was molested three minutes ago or 30 years ago – these services would still be available to her. The best thing you can do is respect her boundaries, listen to her, and encourage her to seek counseling.

Secondly, no matter how attracted you are to her, you should give the sex thing a rest. It is important for her to feel non-sexual love. In the long run, that will lead to deeper trust between you, which will ultimately lead to better sex. Still, sex should not be your goal. You have to accept that as she begins to deal with these issues, she may experience some changes, and it is a possibility that her feelings towards you may change.

However, you sound like a decent guy, and if you do the decent thing, you will be the happier and better for it. Good luck to you both.

Dear Steve,
Do men, who are non-monogamous, even in very good relationships, ever “grow out” of their unwillingness to commit? If so, what would it take? And I don’t mean YOUNG men?

I have two words for you: Warren Beatty. Warren Beatty was a non-monogamous kind of guy who dated every hot chic in the world before he settled down. But, eventually, he did settle down. However, there are two important things to remember regarding the taming of Warren Beatty. Thing one: he really sowed his wild oats. We’re not talking about a few dozen affairs with ordinary people. We’re talking about shagging hundreds of the world’s most beautiful women. I think it’s easier to commit to mint chocolate chip if you’ve actually tried all the other flavors.

Thing two: when Warren Beatty did settle down, he settled with Annette Bening. Annette Bening is a totally hot movie star who is not only extremely talented, but she is also willing to do nude scenes in her movies. It must be somewhat easier to settle down with one woman if that one woman is a talented, gorgeous babe who likes to get naked.

I suspect that you have one particular guy in mind. It’s also my guess that he’s not Warren Beatty. But there could be a connection. Has your particular guy sowed his wild oats, and I mean really sowed his wild oats? If not, you should avoid him until you think he’s gotten all that out of his system. Also, do you believe that you could make him happy all by yourself? I know you’re going to say yes, because every woman thinks she’s “every woman” and that she can make any man happy – but you should still think about it.

So, my long-ass answer to your question is this: Yes, some men grow out of their unwillingness to commit, but only when two conditions have been met. One, they’ve done a thorough job of letting their libidos run wild. Two, they find a truly extraordinary woman. When I think about it, it sounds like a lot of pressure – pressure on him to hurry up and sow his oats, and pressure on you to be Annette Bening. In the end, I think it’s probably better to find a nice guy who never had any oats in the first place, like Ned Beatty.

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Blue Valentine

Those of you who read this column regularly know that I hate Valentine’s Day. This past February 14 was extra special because I experienced new kinds of Valentine’s Day abuse. First, I was on a radio show that day, discussing love and romance, when I received some calls from people who think I’m completely full of shit because I suggested that men and women are different. Three or four callers were very upset about my gender stereotypes (things like women are more interested in self-improvement and men are more interested in television). There are many people in America who think men and women are basically the same (once you strip away the effects of society). These people think I’m holding back the advancement of the species by contending that men and women are different.
I was once one of those people. When I was a kindergarten teacher, I was always trying to counter the effects of society by making girls do boy things and boys do girl things (that is, “things-that-society-makes-us-think-of-as-girl-things” and “things-that-society-makes-us-think-of-us-boy-things”). Anyway, I found out that boys and girls actually are different. Those of you who disagree need to spend more time with little kids and less time reading Andrea Dworkin. Sure, society starts shaping kids early, and it’s hard to know how deeply society creates gender identity, but just look at the research that’s being done on chromosomes. Some women believe the reason there are no decent men to date is that the Y chromosome is incomplete (a pale, lame-ass shadow of the X chromosome). They believe the Y is a pretty crummy chromosome altogether, good only for creating football players and the occasional Einstein.
Most of the people who think men and women are basically the same also believe that homosexuality is biologically determined and not a choice. They believe a guy is gay because of his biology and not because his mother made him wear dresses when he was a little boy, but they think little girls play with dolls because their mothers made them wear dresses. I don’t understand people who think sexual preference is biological, but not gender characteristics. It’s kind of a nutty contradiction.
Anyway, after getting reamed by the gender fascists, I went to the Santa Fe Reporter’s annual Valentine’s Day singles’ party. I met some nice people, including a woman who said to me, “in person, you seem perfectly nice, why are you such an asshole in your column?”
Let me just say this – I’m sorry for being such an asshole, but I’m not sorry about the gender stereotypes. Many of those stereotypes are true. Also, they can be really funny, which is the point. I don’t take myself seriously, so why should you? I receieved one letter in which a woman wrote (and I swear I’m not exagerrating), “all the problems in our world relate to the fact that people don’t love and respect our mother, the Earth, and you (Duncan) are at the root of that problem.” She was upset by the following gender stereotype – ‘men don’t need to be desired, they just need to get laid.’ Well, I did an informal survey, and I found that most women would rather be desired than laid, and most men would rather be laid than desired. Honest, that’s what they said. While I’m at it, I just heard the following stereotype – ‘women fall in love with their ears, men fall in love with their eyes.’ I don’t believe it, but that would be perfect for a superficial fat guy (like me) with a decent voice. Of course, it would suck for a superficial fat girl, but, damn it, that’s not my fault, so lighten up.
The world is full of people who love diversity, who celebrate diversity, but many of those people don’t like diversity when it comes to men and women – that is, they don’t like the idea that men and women may be biologicall, naturally, different. But isn’t it better to have at least two different sexes? Sometimes, I wish there were three or four.

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Lesbians and The City Different

Like most good people, I hate the Dallas Cowboys. A few years ago, Robert Altman made a film with a gay character who wanted to be a Cowboys’ cheerleader. When the Cowboys discovered the character’s sexual orientation, they refused to let her wear their uniform in the film (which is strange, considering half their players are gay). Despite the fact that, on an almost yearly basis, the Dallas Cowboys stand by some player who’s charged with sexual assault or drug possession, their organization refuses to be associated with homosexuality. Some people are just intolerant. To be honest, I would have been disappointed if the Cowboys’ hadn’t acted like the narrow-minded, hypocritical bastards we all know they are.
MTV, on the other hand, is way more open-minded. Years ago, they televised a performance by the Russian band T.A.T.U. – two hot lesbians who perform in their underwear and make out on stage (they’re really great). During their performance, a hundred teenagers wearing Catholic school-girl uniforms ran onto the stage. As T.A.T.U sang, the hundred girls ripped off their shirts and skirts and started making out with each other in their underwear (it was a really great show). Obviously, this was filmed in Manhattan, because New Yorkers are super tolerant and they embrace lesbians and stuff. As we watched, my friend Kevin said, “they would never do this with a hundred teenage boys – making out with each other in their underwear.” This is true.
Cinemax is a lot like MTV. Cinemax usually runs a soft-core porn movie each night (according to my friend Bill, not me). One thing I’ve noticed… I mean, one thing Bill noticed, is that each movie has at least one scene with two girls having sex. It’s like a requirement or something. However, Bill has never seen two dudes making out on Cinemax… unless it was an art movie. Even mainstream television commercials regularly feature a lesbian subtext – like the Miller Lite ad with two hotties fighting in a water fountain.
It’s not just modern America that’s more comfortable with gay women than gay men. Last night, I saw a program on the Nazi’s campaign against homosexuals. Evidently, they were much more concerned about gay men than gay women. Yes, the Nazis persecuted lesbians, but not with the same fervor reserved for gay men. Apparently, even the Nazis could handle a little lesbian action (which makes them slightly more tolerant than the Dallas Cowboys).
It’s seems reasonable to ask the question – “why are people more comfortable with female gay sex than male gay sex?” Some people have complicated theories about gender power structures, but I think it’s something more simple – people are freaked out by butt sex. When I wrote about that topic, it caused quite a controversy. Some people complained about the language, which seems odd, considering I’ve always had a potty mouth and its often been worse. Most people were offended by the subject matter (things in butts, things near butts, rim jobs, etc.). By most people, I mean some readers, some friends, some girls I’ve dated, and the publisher of this paper. I even offended myself. Someone told me that’s because I’m a Sagittarius with Virgo rising. Evidently, Sagittarians are outspoken and skanky, while Virgos are reserved and prudish – which means half of me is always offending the other half.
I’m not surprised that I offended myself, because I’m a pretty conservative guy. But, I was surprised that I offended so many liberals in Santa Fe. I mean, this is the City Different, right? Santa Fe is an alternative town for alternative people, and the Santa Fe Reporter is the alternative newspaper. The truth is, while Santa Fe is politically progressive, it’s as sexually repressed as Victorian England. We can celebrate alternative sexuality (witness the Gay Pride parade), but we can’t handle an open discussion about sexual alternatives (rim jobs).
Okay, I’ll stop writing about that stuff. I may be immature and sarcastic, but I’m not stupid.
Finally, while I sympathize with people concerned that children might read my column, please consider this: children need constant supervision, regardless of what I say about butt sex. There are a thousand terrible things that can happen to an unsupervised child – like watching porn on Cinemax , running into the street, using handguns, or growing up to be a Cowboys fan.

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Prime: Part 4

This week, I planned on answering a letter about rim jobs, which I mentioned to several people. I’d like to apologize to those of you who were looking forward to a column about anal sex. Such a worthy topic deserves a level of insight and energy that I’m currently unable to provide. Hopefully, I’ll have something about tongues and asses next week. In the meantime…

Dear Mr. Tao,
I’m a 54 year-old woman and I’m genuinely sorry for the bitter 40 year-old man (Estevan Yan) with the 40 year-old wife. I’m sorry he’s disappointed in how his sex life has turned out. I can see how he would blame his wife and be angry at her and at the universe for frustrating him so badly. The universe has definitely played a nasty joke on all of us, not just on men. Does he think I wouldn’t like to get off as easily as my husband? I’d love to, but I can’t. Not a single time, with all sorts of different guys, have I ever had an orgasm while screwing. The guys all did, every one of them. Is that fair? Not at all and I certainly have been resentful about it.
But getting off quickly isn’t really what I want. What I want is to have my man see that my sexual satisfaction is just as important as his own, even if it takes longer. And to stick with me and help me. Finally after many years of marriage my husband has gotten that message. Do we have sex more often? No we don’t. But when we have it, it’s so much fun that we both really look forward to it. My husband is happier with a cheerful contented wife than with a bitchy frustrated one. And of course so am I. So, poor frustrated man, I’m afraid you’re stuck with choking the chicken on a regular basis. But please don’t be angry at your wife who doubtless would prefer to be more like you. But she isn’t and she isn’t going to be. All you two can do is laugh at the hilarious joke the universe played on all of us and love each other.
Sue Wheat

Once again, I feel the need to defend Mr. Yan. He did not blame his wife, nor was he angry at her. He was angry at the researchers who suggested that 40 year-old women have sex drives similar to 19 year-old men. Obviously, you agree with Mr. Yan, who’s main argument is that the sexual needs of men and women are very different. Strangely, all of the lettters I’ve received about that column have criticized Mr. Yan for not recognizing that men and women have very different sex drives – which was precisely his point.
There’s a strange virus going around – it prevents people from listening and seeing clearly. People hear/read what they expect to hear/read. The experimental psychologist Titchner had a term for this – “the Stimulus Error.” Basically, it means that people’s expectations and previous experiences inhibit their ability to perceive things accurately. Many of the women who expressed anger at Mr. Yan are probably having a delayed reaction against men from their own lives – men who insisted on having their own sexual needs met, while failing to meet their partners’s sexual needs. Still, I’m not sure that explains why so many people who agree with Mr. Yan’s premise – that men and women have different sexual needs – chose to misinterpret his letter.
Anyway, I agree with those who think that men and women are different. The rest of you are a bunch of hippie whiners. There.
Finally, I’d like to elaborate on why a woman’s sex drive might differ from a man’s. As always, I look to evolutionary forces for illumination. For forty thousand years, sex could kill a woman. The sexual act itself could give her a deadly infection and childbirth could easily take her life. Furthermore, I suspect cavemen were even less concerned with the female orgasm than modern American men. Do you think a cave dude would have sex with his mate, then say, “oob, oob – was it good for you?” I seriously doubt it.
A few thousand years of deadly sex with no orgasm would probably take the woody out of male sexual desire, too.

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Prime: Part 3

Here are some letters responding to Estevan Yan, who questioned the sexual equivalence of women in their 30’s and 19 year-old men.

Dear Steve,
Love/Sex usually requires two people, regardless of their sexual persuasion and You, Mr Yan, seem to have forgotten this basic premise!
Your sex drive may be hotter than ever and you may have fantasies of your wife eagerly awaiting your gracious presence by “lying spread-legged on the sofa” when you get home, but does your wife know about this fantasy? Have you ever tried coming home and looking at your wife the way you used to back in the days when you were dating and you had to put some effort into getting into her pants? Have you tried surprising her with a flower you stole from the yard next door and telling her that the theft reminded you of how naughty she can make you feel?
Have you tried simply telling her that she is beautiful and that you think of her all day long and then confessing your couch fantasy to her? What I’m trying to express here is that women need words or actions to prime their “sexual pump” Especially after hitting age 40!!! We feel so drab and undesirable at times, especially next to your 20 something co-workers. We need to know that you still find us sexy. We need to know that you want us, and not that 20 something co-worker.
Sherry G Walker

In defense of Mr. Yan, I think he was trying to say something like this – “women in their sexual prime still don’t have the sexual desire of a 19 year-old man, who’s pants can be gotten into with very little effort.”

I was highly amused by Estevan Yan’s letter to your column. Obviously, Mr. Yan should take a good look at his technique between the sheets. My wife is soon to be 44, and I am 35. Our sex life is quite fine – just last night I got home and got the command, “You. Bedroom. Clothes off. Now.” We’ve been married 10 years this May, and it only seems to get better with practice. We know many other couples over 40 who have no problems in the sack, but they tend to also relate on several other levels. My wife’s parents were quite active until her father died, and my own parents are still quite affectionate in their mid-70’s. Perhaps Mr. Yan (and his other 40-year-old friends) should take a good look at what they may or may not be doing to help the situation. Perhaps his wife isn’t “lying spread-legged on the sofa” because the experience isn’t worth it. Given that statement, I imagine his idea of romance leaves a lot to be desired.
Great Column!
-Pete Wargo

Obviously, you are a gifted lover who rocks the bedroom. Could this be a chicken/egg type thing. If you weren’t married to a woman who says, “You, bedroom, clothes off, now,” would you still be an awesome lover? What if your wife said. “prime my sexual pump, now.” Would you still be as motivated? Just a thought.

Hello Steve,
(re: asshole prick letter)
I read your column for amusement but today’s was not amusing. I can’t listen to or read one more comment from a bullshit liar guy who says he always wants sex more than any woman he’s ever been with. In my 20’s, 30’s & 40’s, I’ve never been with a guy – including my long-term husband – who wanted sex more than me and I would’ve been okay with sex every other night tho would’ve prefered 1-3 times a day. On the contrary, I checked with other women I consider sexual and they concurred, the more you want it, the more guys run away. They only want it when you don’t. So my conclusion from that is guys like the chase and the myth of machismo cuz their dicks don’t get up nearly enough.

First, Mr. Yan never said he wanted sex more than any woman he’s ever known. Second, when a guy really wants sex, women will also run away. Do you think men and women are different that way? Nonetheless, what’s important is this – you haven’t let your experiences with men make you bitter. Have a nice day.

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