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Safe words 

If you and your partner want to enact rape fantasies, make sure to lay down ground rules: safe words, written consent; even better, record the agreement, just so everyone knows the boundaries.

Q:I met this girl on an "adult" website and we're supposed to meet. We exchanged a few emails on the service and then got each other's screen names. Then we chatted over IM twice, just basic small talk, before exchanging numbers. On the phone she told me about her rape fantasy: She has always fantasized about being kidnapped by a stranger from a public place like the grocery store, held in a dark room over the weekend and forced to do whatever her captor wants.

Even though that sounds hot as hell, I wouldn't do that to someone without at least meeting first. Safety first. So the idea now is to meet at a bar, have a drink, then go back to my place and enact a date-rape scene. Not quite her ultimate fantasy, but it just so happens to be one of my all-time fantasies. We will be near-strangers.

But what if she is some wacko who calls the cops on me/blackmails me and says it was actual rape? Can I protect myself from this? We didn't talk about it over IM, just on the phone. This is a box I'd like to check before I die, but I want to be safe about it. Help! To Rape Or Not To Rape

A:I'm tempted to advise you---and others with similar fantasies (not all of them men, not all of them straight)---to Google "Oliver Jovanovic" and then move on to the next question. But there's the digital divide to consider: Not all the aspiring date-rape fetishists out there have access to the interwebs. So a brief recap for you Luddites:

Oliver Jovanovic was a grad student at Columbia when he met a woman named Jamie Rzucek on the interwebs in 1996. The two bonded over a shared interest in bondage and torture and they met up for an evening of consensual sex that included bondage and torture. After it was all over, Rzucek went to the police and Jovanovic was arrested, prosecuted, found guilty and given 15 years to life. He spent almost two years in prison---during which time he was brutally assaulted and nearly killed---before he was released on appeal and kinda, sorta exonerated.

Guess what got Jovanovic out of prison? Emails that had been improperly excluded by the judge during the first trial. The emails showed that Rzucek had not only consented to engage in bondage and S&M, but that she'd touched base with him afterwards to tell him how exhilarated and freaked she was.

The lesson for you, TRONTR, is to get it in goddamn writing. Negotiate this scene via email, keep copies of those emails, then agree in advance---via email---on a safe word that, if uttered, brings the action to a screeching halt. I'd also suggest that you---with her consent---make a digital audio recording of the encounter. Then you wouldn't just have emails proving she consented going in, TRONTR, but a digital recording that proved you stopped whatever it was you were doing if she used her safe word and retracted her consent during the encounter.

Making a digital audio recording of the encounter means you won't have photos or video to share over the interwebs, which should appeal to her if she is concerned about privacy. And using the magic of the worldwide interwebs, you can simultaneously record this encounter on your computer and remotely on hers. That should give her some assurance that you won't take advantage of her written consent to a consensual rape-role-play scenario as a cover to actually rape her, i.e., to do things she hasn't consented to or to ignore her if she removes her consent during the act, because then she'd have proof that you ignored her safe word and kept going after she withdrew her consent.

Q:I've been seeing "Radioman" for a few weeks---the physical chemistry between us is amazing and we have a lot of fun. He had a vasectomy a year ago (he's only 26) and, for me, this is a deal breaker for any serious commitment, since I want to have a family. The other surprise is that he's also in relationships with two other women. They know about each other and about me and the three get together once a month and have threesomes. I am a bisexual woman recently out of a long-term relationship and I am interested in joining this little playgroup. However, I met one of the other women recently and she seemed jealous and upset. Radioman insists that she was just tired and that she actually likes me. I'm not so sure. Am I asking for drama by getting involved in this foursome? Thinking Of Joining A Harem


Speaking of drama: Teen mom Bristol Palin and her fiance, Levi Johnston, called it quits last week. So we've been cheated out of the royal rube wedding promised during last summer's Republican National Convention---and another child will grow up without a father in the home, which is a tragedy for the child, according to Talibangelists.

That's what they said when Mary Cheney---remember that dyke?---had a baby with a woman she'd marry if she could marry. Why aren't the Talibangelists making the same point now?

Q:I hate to disagree, Dan, but you missed the mark when you wrote this: "When we marry, we're signing up to fuck someone at least semiregularly for decades. Not interested in fucking? Don't marry."

Dan, people marry for many reasons. Sex is only one and sometimes isn't even on the list. Family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with and on and on. Your narrow description of marriage needs rethinking. Cacilda Jethá, MD

A:I'm willing to concede that I left an important subordinate clause out of the sentence that riled you, Cacilda: "When we marry, we're signing up to fuck someone at least semiregularly for decades, among other things..."

Marriage can be about all the things you list, Cacilda, but so long as sexual exclusivity is presumed to be a part of marriage---a defining part, according to the right-wingers---spouses have a right to expect sexual activity within their marriages. People interested in marriage but not sex---people whose lists only include family, friendship, stability, love, someone to grow old with and on and on, but not sex---need to inform their prospective spouses of their disinterest in sex before marrying.

As I've said before: If sex isn't what marriage is all about or even partly about---if sex is something you can live without, that's grand. But you need to marry someone who feels the same way or inform your betrothed of your disinterest well in advance. And if you lose interest in sex after you marry but want your partner to stick around for the family and stability and friendship and the rest of it, I'll let you in on a little secret: The spouse is more likely to stick around for that crap if you give them permission to get their sexual needs met elsewhere.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people who aren't interested in sex---who consider sex to be trivial and unimportant---nevertheless deny their frustrated partners permission to do this trivial, unimportant thing with others.

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