Can an introvert and extrovert make it work over the long haul?

by Dan Savage

Gay male in my late 20s. I recently ended things with a guy. Our relationship started as a strictly sexual one. We’re both involved in the kink scene in our city and have interests that align in a particularly great way. Quickly it became clear there was a real connection. The next two months were great! I had a toothbrush at his place within three weeks. But early on, I noticed that he was a much more extroverted person than I was. He would laugh loudly at movies, work the room at parties, say things about kink in the middle of crowded restaurants. I prefer to blend in. Initially, I thought of this as “the price of admission,” one I was willing to pay, but it soon became tiresome. I ended things, telling him that there were conflicts with our personalities that made a relationship difficult, not specifying what. He fell for me but I don’t want him to think he has to change who he is to be with me. I’m confused, Dan. I loved being in a relationship again, the sex is great and finding someone who shares your kinks and you’re attracted to emotionally is rare. We have a ton in common when he’s being down-to-earth. He’s asking me to reconsider. Was I right to end this?

Tired Of Being Single

He shouldn’t have to change who he is to be with you, but what if he wants to?

It’s unlikely he’ll morph into an always-quietly-tittering, always-discreetly-kinking introvert, just as you’re unlikely to morph into a braying, oversharing extrovert. But if making an effort to dial it back is the price he has to pay to be with you, why not let him decide if he’s willing to pay?

Gays represent a tiny percentage of the general population, TOBS, and kinky gays represent a not-so-tiny-but-still-smallish percentage of the gay population. I don’t think you have to marry this man, regardless of his flaws, just because you’re gay and your kinks align. But you should think twice about discarding a guy who’s gay and kinky and whose company you enjoy most of the time just because he gets on your nerves now and then.

At the very least, you owe it to yourself, just as you owe it to him, to be specific about the reasons you pulled the plug – because he might want to make an effort to win you back.

There’s a lot that’s good here and there are always work-arounds for the bad. An example from my own life: My husband is way more extroverted than I am. So sometimes he goes to movies, restaurants, clubs and concerts without me. I stay home and read or sleep or clean. And then, when he gets home, we have something to talk about – how the movie was, whether the restaurant was any good, who was out at the clubs and if there were any cute boys in the band. He doesn’t make me go out; I don’t make him stay home. It’s a work-around that works for us.

With some effort, TOBS, you could find the work-arounds that work for you two: He makes an effort, when you nudge him, to dial it back; he goes to comedies with his friends, dramas with you; if he’s working a room, he won’t take offense if you slip into another room.

Give it – give him – a chance.

I’m a gay male college student in a healthy D/s relationship with a bisexual guy. My boyfriend posts pictures of our kink sessions to his Tumblr. (No faces.) A trans woman active in campus queer politics confronted me today. Ze had seen my boyfriend’s Tumblr (!) and recognized me (!!!). Ze demanded I stop engaging in BDSM because ze has to see me on campus and knowing my boyfriend “controls and abuses” me is triggering for zir. Ze said images of me in medical restraints were particularly traumatizing. Ze was shaking and crying, and I wound up comforting zir. I stupidly let zir think I would stop. Now what?

Scenario Utterly BananasP.S. Ze also threatened to out my boyfriend if ze saw new pictures go up on his Tumblr. My boyfriend is already out – about being bi and being kinky – so he laughed it off. But how [bleeped] up is that?

You tell this woman you take orders from your boyfriend, SUB, not from random campus nutcases. You advise zir to stay away from Tumblr porn ze finds traumatizing. And if ze pushes back, you explain to zir that if anyone’s being controlling and abusive here, it’s zir. And if ze starts shaking and crying, SUB, direct zir to the student health center.

And for your own protection, tell zir all of this with at least one witness present. Document everything, and if ze keeps getting in your face about your consensual, nonabusive relationship, take the ironic step of filing a restraining order against zir.

I’m a 24-year-old gay male. My boyfriend and I have been together for just over a year. I have a hang-up when it comes to anal sex. I like bottoming, and I’ve had my share of great experiences, but I’ve bottomed only once with my boyfriend. I think I know why: The ceremonies around anal sex (the lube and condoms part) turn me off because of the smell of the lube and the sound of the condom wrapper. It brings up memories of times when I didn’t have a great time bottoming. Also, he is a little bigger than most, so there’s that. What do you suggest? Would it be as simple as finding a lube that doesn’t smell so much? When I top him, which is something we both enjoy, there isn’t a problem.

Wants Anal Now, Goddamnit!

Usually when someone complains about an unpleasant smell associated with anal sex … lube isn’t the issue. But that’s an easily solved problem, WANG, so easily solved that you bundled the answer up with your question: There are 10 million brands of lube on the market. Shop around until you find one that doesn’t offend your nostrils.

As for the wrapper issue, try opening condoms 10 or 20 minutes in advance. Open condom packets early, and put the condom on the BF during foreplay. That way, if the fumbling deflates your bottom-boner (which is a state of mind), you’ll have time to make out, roll around, rim each other, stroke yourself – whatever it takes to get your bottom-boner back.

To get a handle on your performance anxiety and those negative associations get some butt toys of varying sizes, and use ’em when you’re alone. In a month or two, with a little effort and non-stinky lube, you’ll have built up a store of positive associations and gained some confidence.

Dan Savage is a nationally syndicated sex advice columnist writing for The Stranger in Seattle. Contact him at [email protected] or @fakedansavage on Twitter and listen to his podcast at


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