Savage Love

Hey, Faggot: My boyfriend and I saw Amistad last night. I'm a white bi female, and my boyfriend is a black straight boy. He was very upset after the movie, angry at the injustice to his ancestors, and didn't want to talk about it with me. My problem is, while he was crying, I was getting turned on! Not at the violent scenes -- I'm not that perverted -- but during the scenes with all those black men naked and in chains. I've always been attracted to black men, and my boyfriend and I have a healthy relationship. This is the first real "fantasy" I've ever had and frankly I find it very disturbing. I know bondage is a pretty common fantasy, but my fantasy may be more than that. I think what turned me on was the slavery, since I don't think seeing white men in chains would turn me on, only black men. And not handcuffs or rope or leather, but chains.

Does this make me an awful person? I feel rotten and racist, especially because of how upset my boyfriend was. He didn't say one thing in the car on the way home, and I was sitting there imagining him locked up. So is this a racist thing or just a fantasy? I've always thought that if you had a desire and you confronted it, it would go away. I'm sure my boyfriend would be happy to oblige in a bondage fantasy, but how manipulative is that? He wouldn't know that I would really be fantasizing that it was 150 years ago and he was my slave. If he did something like that to me, I would feel betrayed and hurt. What should I do?

BB

Hey, BB: Whatever you do, wait until after the boyfriend has recovered from Amistad before you share your feelings with him. Right now, he's probably not in a place where he wants to hear his white girlfriend say, "Black men in chains turn me on." Was your turn-on a racist thing or a fantasy thing? It was both. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, as they say, and images of dominance and submission, even deeply disturbing ones, can tap into stuff that we didn't know was going on in our heads.

"If you're a sexual person, you couldn't watch that movie and not have a fantasy," said Riz, a black friend I shared your letter with. "Those guys in the movie were total Mandingos, these huge bucks -- they had to be, I guess, to survive that voyage." So don't feel awful about being aroused by what you saw. "Do I think she should tell him? No. Does she want to chain him up, call him 'nigger,' and fuck him? Well, if he can't even talk about the film, he ain't gonna get that. A movie like Amistad makes slavery real for black people, and besides Roots, there hasn't been a movie that made slavery real for black people. Even if he might have been willing to try bondage before, after seeing black men in chains, his feelings might have changed."

Here's a second opinion: I think sexual secrets are hard to keep. After some time has passed, tell him about your reaction. A person can't help being turned on by things that turn her on. Confronting our desires does not make them go away; we have a responsibility, however, to try to understand our desires, and to refrain from acting on ones that would do real and lasting harm to other human beings. He may one day be able to indulge you -- perhaps in a scenario in which he turns the tables, chains up lily-white little you, and avenges his people by fucking your brains out. Or he may not. But however un-PC they might seem, your fantasies do not make you a bad person. And you should be able to be honest with your lover about them.

Hey, Faggot: I am a married female with a high-stress job. Often, I feel that my husband does not understand the pressures that I face, but our marriage is solid and loving. Despite the fact that I was not seeking an extramarital relationship, I became attracted to a man I met through my job. The feeling seems to be mutual, although he is not relationship material. What are your thoughts regarding short-term affairs undertaken solely to explore the sexual possibilities between two people -- people who do not want to upset their relationships with others? (He has a girlfriend.) I feel terrible for even considering this, but when I put my guilt feelings aside, I have to acknowledge that I would really like to check out what this guy has to offer in bed.

Happily Married But Curious

Hey, HMBC: If you feel terrible now, when all you're guilty of is mulling over this fling, how are you going to feel when you're actually guilty of having had this fling? I say confess. Hopefully your relationship is as honest and mature as it is solid and loving, and neither of you is so insecure that you require the other to pretend he's never turned on by anyone else. Tell your husband, reassure him that it's only chemical, and that you love him and only him. Then ask if he'd be into a three-way, and check out what this guy has to offer in bed together.

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