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Do you really want to know?

By Dan Savage · September 22nd, 2004 · Savage Love
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I broke up with a long-term girlfriend about two years ago. Last week, while totally drunk, I thought that it would be a great idea to see whether I could still log into her e-mail account, since we told each other our usernames and passwords way back when. (Yes, I know that I'm going straight to Hell for this.) But that's not the problem. Her e-mails revealed that she's been in an emotionally abusive relationship for about a year. Her boyfriend, in his e-mails, tells her that her family is crazy, that her friends are worthless and should be cut out of her life, that she'll never do better than him. He insults and swears at her. Whenever she protests, he backs off, tells her that he'll commit suicide if she leaves him and begs her forgiveness. Then he goes back to his old ways a few days later.

She and I stayed friends at first but aren't in contact anymore, ever since she told me a few months ago that she wanted it that way. She claimed that she needed to get over me, but now I know from her boyfriend's e-mails that he made her tell me that.

What the hell do I do? She's a gentle person who's being destroyed by this asshole, but no one knows about it except him and her -- and now me. Do I speak up, thereby risking, given his temperament, my own safety? Or do I mind my own business and accept that the world is sometimes shitty?

-- Snooping Ex

"Your letter brings up a lot of different issues for me," said Trish Thibodo, executive director of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Thibodo rightly felt that you had no business invading your ex-girlfriend's privacy by reading her e-mails. "And you didn't just read a few of her e-mails," she said. "It's clear you read a lot of them. In my world, breaking into someone else's e-mail account and reading her private correspondence is stalking behavior. It borders on abusive behavior. Your actions make me wonder if you're the best person to reach out to your ex. You have to ask yourself some questions: Is this true concern you're feeling for her or do you feel like you need to get close to her again? Are you the best person to intervene?"

In other words, SE, you are going to Hell and Trish Thibodo is uncomfortable offering advice to Hell-bound snoops. But asked what her advice would be if you could honestly say that (1) your concern for your ex was genuine, (2) you didn't want to get back together with her and (3) you were at least a good person to intervene, if not the best, Thibodo came through with some suggestions:

"If he decides to go ahead and contact her, he needs to think about her safety first.

To e-mail her back would not be a safe thing to do. Calling her on her cell phone may not be safe." If her current boyfriend finds out you've been in touch with your ex -- if he's reading her e-mail too, if he's checking her cell phone bills -- you might wind up exposing her to more abuse. "If you can find a safe way to contact your ex, let her know you're concerned. Let her know that you're there to talk, that other people have gone through this, that she's not alone. Don't push her into doing anything she's not ready to do."

Thibodo gave one other good reason why you might want to contact your ex: "Part of me that thinks she has a right to know he's been snooping in her e-mail so she can change her passwords. This is something that all victims should do (change their passwords regularly)." For more information about domestic violence, go to www.ccadv.org.

Not all the kinky folks out there are men, Mr. Savage, and not all the GGGs are women. My girlfriend is a straight-A art student, I'm a dumb jock and she's the kinky one, not me. My sicko sweetheart likes to be spanked. I was nervous at first, but I wasn't going to let some other guy out-GGG me and get my girl. So I spank the shit out of her on a regular basis. And while she likes to be on the receiving end of general sexual meanness, she likes to spank me sometimes or do super-mean shit like jerk me off in the morning and make me eat my own come to "earn" the right to fuck her that night. Basically she was a freak when I met her, and now I'm a freak too. Just wanted to clue you in. Now I gotta go spank my girlfriend.

-- He Enjoys Regular, She Loves Abuse, Variety, Edginess

While I usually don't run letters from braggarts who go on and on about their awesome sex lives (roughly 10 percent of the mail), in your case I'm making an exception, HERSLAVE. Your letter illustrates an important point: My column often gives the impression that only straight boys are kinky and only straight girls have to be GGG. But that's not always the case, as this letter demonstrates.

Non-kinky girls who find themselves with kinky boys are over-represented in the column, however, because these girls tend to view their partner's kinks as problems and seek out advice. Non-kinky boys who find themselves with kinky girls, on the other hand, tend to see themselves as lucky bastards and get with the whole spanking-spunk-eating program without a lot of prompting from yours truly.

As a microbiologist, I feel compelled to inform you that you made a somewhat fallacious statement in a recent column. You said that even stinky piss is sterile and can't make you sick. You are wrong on two counts. First, "stinky piss" can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI), meaning that the piss would have bacteria in it, rendering it unsterile. I concede that a UTI is not the only cause of stinky piss, but it's a major one. Second, urine is sterile only until it leaves your body. As it leaves your urethra, it picks up some bacteria that live on your skin, called normal flora. Now, these little guys are fine hanging out on your skin, but if they were to somehow get into your eyes, mouth or abrasions on your knees from carpet burn, they could cause a nasty infection. So my advice to those who love golden showers is to make the showerer clean his/her hoo-hoo with an antiseptic wipe, akin to the kind you use at the doctor's office before you pee in the cup.

-- Miss Information

My apologies to all the folks out there who took up piss drinking after reading my column. Never again will I pop off about a medical issue without first checking in with Dr. Barak Gaster, Savage Love's resident MD and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. "Nothing that comes out of the body is truly sterile," Barak informed me via e-mail. "Most urine samples do have very small amounts of bacteria in them. Relative to most other bodily fluids, however, urine is remarkably free of organisms. And compared to stool, which is mostly composed of bacterial mass, urine is pretty close to 'sterile.' "

But before you freak out at the next piss drinker you meet, please consider closely what the doctor said: Relative to most other bodily fluids, urine is remarkably free of organisms. Saliva, for instance, is less sterile than urine, Barak tells me, which makes swapping spit a far more dangerous activity than piss drinking. But some things in life are worth the risks, no?

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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