Advice: Savage Love
Q: I’m a straight man at that age where the general public still considers me young. Although I’ve attended many weddings, I have no interest in marrying or even being in a relationship. I’m not asexual. I’ve had and enjoyed sex. I just don’t feel the need to be with anyone. As long as I’ve got music and friends, I’m satisfied. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one. My parents want grandkids. My friends want to set me up. My TV only shows people in or pursuing relationships. My government wants me to father and raise future dead soldiers. I try not to internalize these views, but sometimes I wonder what’s going to happen if I change my mind down the road. What the hell’s wrong with me? Or not wrong with me?
I Don’t Give A Fuck
A: Honestly, IDGAF, yours is one of those letters I have a hard time giving much of a fuck about. Don’t get me wrong: You sound like a nice guy, articulate and pithy, and I typically like people who know what they want. But cowards annoy me.
Forgive me for working my own sexuality into this, but I have to say: When I was at that age the general public unanimously considers young — still a teenager — I walked into my mother’s bedroom and informed her I was a faggot. (Begging my parents for tickets to the national tour of “A Chorus Line” for my 13th birthday somehow didn’t do the job; five years later, I had to come out to them all over again.) If I could work up the nerve to come out to my Catholic parents about putting dicks in my mouth — at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, at that — you can find the courage to come out as not asexual, not unhappy, and not planning to date, wed or reproduce.
But while I’m not sympathetic to your plight, I found someone who is.
“Few young adults say they’re not interested in sex or relationships, but IDGAF’s preference for going solo is hardly unique,” says Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at NYU and author of “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.” “Today, an unprecedented number of people are opting to live alone. One-person households represent 28 percent of all households in the U.S., and in cities the numbers are higher.”
Your coupled-up friends and grandchild-starved parents might have an easier time accepting your lifestyle choices if they knew how common they are.
And despite the negative stereotypes that slosh around about single people, Klinenberg’s research shows that those who live alone do just fine in the friends and social-life departments. So what should you tell your nagging friends and family?
“How about letting them know that going solo is what works best for him right now,” says Klinenberg, “but that he’s hardly made a vow to stay single forever. Or, if he’s feeling feisty, he can remind them that, no matter how they’ve arranged their lives, someday they might find themselves opting out of sex and relationships, too.”
What should you do if you change your mind someday? You should date, you should marry. Don’t describe your current choices as superior, and you won’t have to eat crow if you change your mind.
Q: What’s the etiquette around (nonpenetrative) sex toys after a breakup? I bought restraints, a blindfold, etc. for my ex, and she left them behind. It seems a waste to throw them away. Is it a bit squicky for a guy to bust out an arsenal of old toys when a new gal comes along?
Alone With Accessories She Had
A: Jonathan Schroder, general manager of Mr. S Leather in San Francisco (mr-s-leather.com), suggests you get rid of your bondage gear. Schroder is in the business of selling sex toys but his advice isn’t about his desire to move merchandise. It’s about your desire for gals, AWASH.
“Personally, I think some of the best gear you can get is hand-me-down gear,” says Schroder. “And there’s a great tradition in the gay leather community about passing gear from older folks to younger folks. But my gut tells me that a new girlfriend might wig out about used bondage gear. We have a lot of customers and couples that have a strong preference for cleanliness. But straight women in particular prefer that things be wiped down, well cleaned, and shiny. So a woman who opens a dresser drawer and finds restraints with signs of wear and tear is probably going to be turned off.”
So get rid of your old gear, but don’t throw it away. “Find someone who wants and can’t afford bondage gear, and give it to them,” he says.
Find the “Savage Lovecast” podcast every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.