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Love & sex > Savage Love

Comfortably numb

MT Illustration: Robert Ullman
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More from Dan Savage

Getting cuckold feet (10/6/2010)
Jealous lovers, screaming partners and a noble online project

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Hope for the future (9/22/2010)
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Published 2/4/2009

Q: My girlfriend and I are into male-orgasm denial. We've recently tried putting Orajel on my cock and then covering it with two condoms so she can use me as a dildo without me getting off or even feeling anything. It works great. Is there any chance of long-term health issues if we do this once a week or so? —Numb-Dicked Dude

A: You didn't say which kind of Orajel you are using, but I hope it's not Orajel Advanced Tooth Desensitizer. Its active ingredient — created to treat sensitive teeth, not desensitize cock — is something called "2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate," which sounds like something you might find in baby formula that was made in China. The stuff works, according to Orajel's website, "by blocking dentinal tubules, preventing excitation of the tooth nerve." And, hey, if it's safe enough for your mouth, it's probably safe enough for your cock and for newborns, right? Well, maybe not. A very quick search of the Internet turns up a paper in the Journal of Dental Research with this rather alarming title: "2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate (HEMA) Is a Potent Inducer of Apoptotic Cell Death in Human and Mouse Cells."

Any responsible sex-advice professional would read the paper in its entirety and inform you about the likelihood that you're killing off cock cells when you smear them with Orajel Advanced Tooth Desensitizer. But I'm an alarmist sex-advice professional, not a responsible one, so I'm just going to lay that title on you one more time: "2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate (HEMA) Is a Potent Inducer of Apoptotic Cell Death in Human and Mouse Cells." I don't know about you, NDD, but I've always erred on the side of not smearing my dick with shit that kills mice. (Not all brands of Orajel contain this ingredient, but a boy can't be too careful.)

It seems particularly foolish to smear any kind of Orajel on your cock when there are products on the market specifically designed for desensitizing cocks, things like Mandelay gel and Proloonging's "penis desensitizing aid delay spray." These products are marketed to men who suffer from premature ejaculation, even though numbing the dick doesn't really cure premature ejaculation. They sound perfect for you and your orgasm-denying girlfriend, though, and I'd recommend 'em over that potential rat poison you're using now.


Q: I'm a gay guy, 25, in great shape, no STDs. To make me happy, any long-term relationship will need to have a strong BDSM element to it. And I'm having a lot of trouble finding a BDSM relationship that makes me happy. If I mention my BDSM needs up front when I meet a guy, I get the "never done it, never will" response or the "ew, gross" response. When I date a guy before I mention it, the guy is usually willing to try it (even difficult stuff like CBT and e-stim), but it's always because he likes me and wants to get me off. So while I'm feeling the pain, I'm not feeling dominated. And when I try to find guys specifically into BDSM (leather bars, fetish websites), I only find physically unattractive guys.

I know I'm not the only young, attractive gay guy in Chicago into restraints and pain. But how do I find the others? —Finding Extremely Deficient Erotic Xcitement

A: Go to dudesnude.com, FEDEX, and search for profiles featuring guys who included "S&M" among their interests. You'll find tons of guys under 30, many of them very good-looking, and lots in Chicago. So keep looking, FEDEX. Very few gay guys your age, kinky or not, have managed to find a person they can see entering an LTR with ... so no more whining, mm-kay? Continue to search online and in leather bars, continue to be honest with the guys you date, and sooner or later you'll meet someone who's as anxious to introduce you to his parents as he is to torture your cock and balls.


Q: I'm a 27-year-old bi girl, with a lovely fiancee. I'm a top; she's a sub. I'm trying to be responsible, so this weekend I sat down and wrote my will. I hope I won't need it anytime soon, but it makes me feel better to know friends and family will get what I want them to have before the IRS can take the rest. You have to specify each item and its recipient, and that's where I ran into trouble. I want to leave my fiancee's collar to her, rather than Uncle Sam, but wasn't sure how specific I could be without either of us being prosecuted for practicing S&M, which is illegal under current laws in the state where I live. So I can't say, "I'm leaving the S&M collar to my fiancee." We don't have a dog and aren't going to get one, so writing "leather collar" looks strange and makes me nervous. Do you have any advice? —Needs A Good Lawyer

A: Most people into S&M have a touch of the drama queen about them, I realize, but let's not be ridiculous. If you should precede your sub in death, NAGL, I promise you that Uncle Sam is not going to take possession of your widow's dog collar. But to set your mind at ease, I called a very good lawyer and annoyed him with your very stupid question:

"No, no, no, no. A gift from one person to another is not illegal — that's the bottom-line answer," said D. J. Rausa, a very good lawyer in private practice in California who I found via the "Kink-Aware Professionals" listings at the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. "The government is not going to be interested in a gift, in any gift, unless they can tax it." And unless that dog collar is solid gold and the word "slave" is spelled out on it with big fat diamonds, NAGL, the IRS doesn't give a shit.

And since you don't file a will with the state, but with your lawyer, the odds of being prosecuted for engaging in S&M — already infinitesimal — are nil. Worry about the fact that you can't legally marry your fiancee, NAGL, and not about Uncle Sam swooping in and stealing your sex toys.


Q: Realtouch, the new sex toy for men that you wrote about recently, is a porn-marketing device, not a sex toy. Note that it says on their website that the first "30 minutes [are] free" (translation: You'll have to pay the rest of the time) and that the FAQ says explicitly that it cannot be used by itself.

It's a scam, IMO. —Not Buying One

A: "Realtouch is only activated by the ... movies in our video-on-demand library," says Jim McAnally (a pseudonym, I'm thinkin') at RealTouch HQ. A per-minute price has not been established, as the toy is not yet being sold — a detail I would've included last week, had I known — but "the device [will be] activated with 30 minutes when it is purchased."

So you're right, NBO: RealTouch could be considered a porn-marketing device. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a scam, and neither would Mr. McAnally: "The device is driven by a haptic data stream that we have to encode with a lot of detail," he added. "To give you an idea, it takes eight hours to encode 15 minutes worth of content. And that data stream doesn't exist outside of the video that has been encoded.

Good to know. But many men will be disappointed to learn that they can only use this toy when they're watching porn. Here's hoping that RealTouch 2.0 has more functions.

Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.

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