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Race relationships 

Is dating people of a specific race, after doing it once later in life, a problematic thing? Plus: Bisexual(ish) problems.

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Q I'm a white woman in my early 30s. In theory, I've always been into men of all races—but in practice, most of my exes are Latino and white. Last fall I met a handsome Chinese American guy, and I feel like he rewired me. I've been exclusively attracted to Asian guys since. I'm not asking if this is racist, because I'm not asking these guys to speak Korean to me in bed or do any role-playing stuff. We date and have sex. But if any of these dudes saw my Tinder matches, they'd be like, "This woman has a thing for Asian guys." I do, but it's new. Is this normal? Do people just change preferences? —Asian Male/White Female

AHere's my general take on race-specific sexual preferences: So long as you can see and treat your sex partners as individuals and not just as objects—we are all also objects—and so long as you can express your preferences without coming across and/or being a racist shitbag, and so long as you've interrogated your preferences to make sure they're actually yours and not a mindless desire for what you've been told you're supposed to want (i.e., the currently prevailing beauty standard or its equally mindless rejection, the "transgressive" fetishization of the "other"), then it's OK to seek out sex and/or romantic partners of a particular race.

I ran my general take on race-specific sexual preferences past Joel Kim Booster—a writer and comedian whose work often touches on race and desire—and he approved. (Whew.) I also shared your letter with him, AMWF, and Booster has some thoughts for you.

"It doesn't sound like her newfound preference for Asian men has anything to do with the uncomfortable fetishization of culture," says Booster. "It's good that she's not asking them to speak Korean or do any sort of Asian role-playing—something that's been asked of me before—and it's a bummer, trust. Her interest in Asian men seems to be mostly an aesthetic thing, which you certainly can't fault her for: There are a lot of hot Asian dudes out there."

Booster also has some questions for you. "It's not uncommon for people later in life to discover that they're attracted to something they'd never considered sexy before—full-grown adults are out here discovering they're bi every damn day," he says. "But she went 30 years before she saw one Asian man she was attracted to? And now this guy has 'rewired' her to be attracted only to Asian men?"

He says that he would like to see a picture of this magical guy, AMWF, and I would, too. "If she was chill about it and just started adding Asian men into the mix, this wouldn't seem like an issue," Booster adds. "But from what I can gather, she has shifted to exclusively fucking Asian guys and feels the need to write a letter about it. That feels like a red flag, and yet I can't pinpoint why."

Maybe you're making up for lost time and your desires/preferences/Tinder profile will achieve a racially harmonious equilibrium at a certain point. But whether you remain exclusively attracted to Asian guys for the rest of your life or not, AMWF, make sure you don't treat Asian guys like you're doing them a favour by sitting on their gamut-running dicks.

"I'm wary of people with a specific racial preference for Asian men. And it's less out of a fear of being fetishized—though that's certainly part of it—and more because of the implicit power imbalance that exists in those relationships," says Booster. "It's all artificially constructed by The Culture, of course, but I'm acutely aware that society views Asian men as less masculine and therefore less desirable. And I've learned that guys who have a preference for Asian men sometimes bring a certain kind of 'entitlement' to our interactions—'You should feel lucky I'm paying you this kind of attention.' And that's gross! It doesn't sound like she's doing that, but something about this letter makes me feel like she wants to be congratulated for being woke enough to consider Asian guys. She'd do well to keep this stuff behind the curtain—no one wants to feel like someone was into them only because of some witch's curse a hot Chinese American guy put on them at a bar."


QI'm a guy. I've been with my wife since 2006. She's my sexy Asian babe. In the bedroom, it's great. I'm still madly in love with her two kids later, and she's as sexy as ever. But she doesn't like to give blowjobs. When we were dating, she'd say I could go get blowjobs from someone else, but I always took it as a joke. At 35, I'm hornier than I was at 25. And my sexual tastes have changed over the years—or they've expanded, maybe, since I now want to see what it's like to get head from a guy. How do I convince my wife to agree to this? She's afraid I might like it; I hope I do. There's nothing I want more than to get head on the way home and then be able to tell her about it and fuck her later that night. How can I convince her to let me do this while also being able to be truthful? —Horny Married Man

AI'm not lumping your question together with AMWF's in order to create some sort of hot-for-Asians-themed column. No, I'm including your letter because it illustrates a point Booster made in his response to AMWF: "Full-grown adults are out here discovering they're bi every damn day."

I can only assume that by "she's afraid I might like it," you've already asked the wife and she said no. You can ask again—maybe she'll change her mind—but if the answer is still no, then the answer is still no. Maybe if this were a sexual adventure you could go on together, it might be more appealing to her. And it is—just as there are dudes out there who love blowing straight married men, there are dudes who are up for blowing straight married men in front of their wives. If you haven't already proposed doing this in the context of a sexual encounter with a bi guy who'd also be into your wife, maybe you should.

As for your label, there are straight guys who can close their eyes and think about women while dudes blow them. But you're turned on not just by the idea of getting an enthusiastic blowjob, you're specifically into the idea of getting one from a dude. That does make you bi, HMM, but for marketing purposes? Yeah, you're going to want to go with straight.

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