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The Death Grip 

Dan Savage advises against the "death grip"

Q I think my five-year-old nephew is probably gay. Most of the reasons are superficial (he says that Zac Efron is really cute), but I also have a hunch. If he is gay, it’s cool by me. The problem is my brother also thinks his son might be gay and he is not cool with it. He’s “nice” about it, but he has taken to prohibiting most of the things my nephew loves to do: putting on makeup, watching and dancing along to musicals with vampy women (like Chicago), playing dress-up. My nephew can tell that his dad thinks there is something shameful about him doing these things, but asks me in the most heartbreaking way if we can do those things when we’re at my house and not tell his dad.

Question 1: Is it even possible to tell the sexual preference of a child so young?

Question 2: Is it wrong for me to indulge my nephew even though my brother (his parent) has told me that he doesn’t want my nephew doing those things?

—Auntie Mame

A Answer 1: There’s a 99percent chance your nephew is gay and a 100percent chance that your brother will one day regret his actions. He’s emotionally abusing his son—and for what? Dress-up or no dress-up, if his son is gay then he’s going to be gay when he grows up. Your brother can’t destroy his son’s homosexuality, only his son’s life.

Answer 2: Your nephew needs an adult in his life who loves him unconditionally and a space where he can express himself without fear. So tell him you love him, promise to keep his secrets and tell him that his father loves him, too, and will come around one day. And yes, AM, lie to your brother—lie lots. In the grand scheme of things your lies are a misdemeanor; the emotional violence he’s inflicting on his son is a felony.

Answer 3: You didn’t ask about an extra bedroom, but I wish you had. Someday—someday soon—your nephew is going to need a safe place to go when he starts running away from home. So put together a nice guest bedroom, someplace your nephew can hide when he’s sick of his father and, with any luck, over Zac Efron.

Q Is it possible to move on with a relationship after someone cheats?

In my situation, my fiance cheated on me and lied about it.

Our phone bill proved that he had been calling this girl, but he denied it was anything important. Then the girl’s friend told me he cheated, I confronted him, and he now admits it—though he says he’s not really sure since he had been drinking far too much. He doesn’t remember it, he says, but supposes that it could have happened.

We are talking about going to counselling. But I find myself resenting him, not trusting him and scared of having sex with him.

Will I ever be able to stop hating him, ever be able to trust him and ever be able to restart a sexual relationship with him? Sign me...

—Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

Once a cheater, not always a cheater. But once a cheater, likelier to cheat than never a cheater. Duh, right?

Let’s set the cheating issue aside, OACAAC. Are you seriously going to marry this guy? You caught your fiancé cheating and the best defence he can come up with is a drinking problem? Why are you still engaged to someone you say you can’t trust, won’t fuck and feel nothing but hate for?

It’s time to end it.

Q You’ve talked about guys masturbating with too firm a grip and doing lasting damage. I’m 21, male, in good shape and have been jerking off with a death grip daily since I was 10. Lately my cock has been failing me. I have trouble staying hard, especially when wearing a condom. I’ve heard that the death grip can decrease sensitivity and make it harder to come, but can it lead to impotence? Is this physical or am I just psyching myself out?

—The Death Grip

A I suspect you’re psyching yourself out, TDG, allowing one or two failed performances to snowball into a self-fulfilling, boner-negating prophecy. And here’s how to psych yourself back in: Stop masturbating with a death grip—immediately, right now, forever. Masturbate with a lighter touch, use more lube and be strict with your dick: If you don’t get off, you don’t get off. Sooner or later your dick will, out of sheer desperation, learn to appreciate subtler sensations.

On the condom front: If you’re putting the condom on right before penetration, as so many dudes do, you’re going to experience a sudden drop in sensitivity at the worst possible moment. Roll it on your dick during foreplay, or have your girlfriend roll it on. Treat the condom like it’s part of the action, not an interruption, then continue to roll around, eat pussy, play with tits, stroke yourself, etc., while the latex comes up to body temperature. Then after you’ve checked to make sure it’s still on, proceed to fuck her senseless.

And it wouldn’t hurt to beat off wearing a condom now and then either, TDG.

Q I read the Smoking Gun story about the minister who died while hogtied and rubberized, and these details from the police report puzzle me: “The hands are bound behind the back. The feet are tied to the hands. There are nylon ligatures holding these in place with leather straps about the wrists and ankles...”

There’s self-bondage, Dan, and then there’s SELF-BONDAGE. How common is it for people to tie themselves up this thoroughly and then get loose again, without anyone else in the house?

—Suddenly My Duct Tape Seems So Vanilla

A What Rev. Gary Aldridge did to himself may sound incredible, but it’s not impossible and I’m glad you brought up Rev. Aldridge, SMDTSSV, because I want to amend something I wrote in last week’s column: “When it comes to potentially dangerous kinks, you’re better off—you’re safer—being shameless,” and indulging your kinks with lovers, buddies and friends, “ the shameless don’t just get to enjoy their kinks, they also get to survive them.”

The day my column went to print I learned of the death of Adrian Exley, a shamelessly kinky Brit. Exley travelled to Boston to play with two other men, also shameless pervs. Unfortunately for Exley, the men were shamelessly stupid pervs. They left him wrapped in plastic, bound, hooded and with only a straw to breathe through overnight. He asphyxiated. One of the men, Gary LeBlanc, a 48-year-old Gulf Oil exec, took responsibility for Exley’s death in a suicide note, then killed himself. Exley’s mother is suing the other man for wrongful death.

So I should have written, “The shameless don’t just get to enjoy their kinks, they’re likelier to survive them.” Never leave a tied-up person alone, kids. It’s dangerous and dumb.

All the queer happy endings that didn’t fit in the column can be found at

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