Two weeks ago I responded to a letter from Fifteen and Gay, a closeted gay high school sophomore who longed to be "some dude's sex slave." FAG met a 38-year-old "really nice guy" on the Internet who offered to pick him up from school and take him back to his house. I advised FAG not to go, for all the obvious safety reasons. I also invited readers to weigh in on two issues: How can young kinky folks tell good kinky people from bad kinky people? And should FAG report the "really nice" 38-year-old to the cops?
I would need every page in this paper to print even a small chunk of the advice that poured in. Here's a sample:
How to tell the difference between a good and a bad kinky person? I would guess that a good kinky person would tell FAG, "Call me when you're 18, kiddo," and a bad kinky person would say, "Sure, I'll pick you up after school." --Highly Opinionated Pain
I am a kinky woman who is active in the BDSM community. Here's my advice to someone who is young and kinky: First and foremost, learn all you can. I recommend reading "how to" articles as opposed to looking at kinky porn. He should also go to an Internet cafe or Kinko's to do his research: if his parents find his stash of kinky information or porn, they could have him committed for psychiatric help. It does happen. Finally, FAG should report the 38-year-old to the police. The man is a predator--he needs to be stopped. If FAG really wants to be a sex slave, he'll have a lifetime to pursue that in a safe way after he's 18. My first BDSM-type thoughts came at around age eight, when I drew naked people hanging from chains. I survived the wait, FAG, and you can too. --Ms. Stressa
I am a gay leather daddy and I'm very concerned about FAG. Any BDSM player of any repute takes pride in playing it safe, sane, and consensual. A 15-year-old lacks the capacity to consent. When FAG is mature enough to obtain condoms and insist that his partners use them, he will be old enough to have sex as a bottom and old enough to consent to being dominated. FAG would also do well to think about attending a university in a metropolitan area with a large gay community. If he's not college-bound, moving to such a metropolitan area upon graduation from high school would make it easier for him to find kinky boys his own age.
--Best Daddy in Sacramento, Mike
How to tell the good kinky people from the bad? At the very least, a "good" kinky person will:
1. Talk to you, maybe, but never meet you for sex if you're a minor.
2. Never suggest a first meeting anywhere other than a public place.
3. Insist you tell a friend where you're going. The "good" kinky person will also give you pertinent and confirmable information--full name, address, telephone number--to pass on to said friend.
4. Have clear and specific discussions with you re: contemplated activities; limitations; how to effectively communicate "Stop!"; levels of experience.
5. Perhaps suggest you read any of the number of nonfiction books on the subject of kink, and...
6. Not turn up at the local IHOP dressed head to toe in leather and carrying three floggers on his/her belt. Those who can't grasp the concept of "boundaries" and "inappropriate behavior" in public won't be able to do it in private, either. Anyone immature enough to still be into "freaking the mundanes" isn't mature enough to tie you up. --Kait W.
Thanks for sharing, HOP, MS, BDSM, and KW. Since I would hate for all the other great letters I got for FAG to go to waste, I've posted them at www.thestranger.com/specials/fagadvice. The single best one--from a gay guy in his 20s who signed himself Bottom Dude Seeking Marriage--couldn't run because it was longer than my entire column. Check it out, FAG.
OK, now: Should FAG go to the cops? The overwhelming majority of E-mail I got went something like this: "Of course FAG should go to the cops! Christ almighty, Dan!" Some felt that FAG had a duty to do it before "this freak finds some other kid to brutalize and rape." Some felt I should go to the cops. Sorry, folks. All I know about this freak is that he's 38 years old, gay, and lives somewhere in the United States or Canada. The police have enough on their hands at the moment without having to round up all the 38-year-old gay men in North America for questioning.
And there are reasons why FAG himself might not want to call the cops:
Going to the cops, as numerous readers pointed out, means that FAG will be outed to his family not only as gay but also as kinky, and if the newspapers pick up on it, or if there's a trial, FAG will be outed to everyone on earth. A handful of readers wrote in to point out that 15 is legal in one U.S. state and all of Canada--and since there are also states where it's illegal for 38-year-old men to have vanilla sex with other 38-year-old men, is "legal" the best way of judging the morality of the situation? Some readers wrote in about a recent story in the New York Times about police officers who pretend to be teenagers on-line and arrest people who try to pick them up. "It has the whiff of 'precrime' about it, a la Minority Report," said one reader. "Isn't it possible that, a la American Beauty, the 38-year-old might have a change of heart, pat FAG on the head, and send him on his way?" But it's not just illegal to fuck a minor, folks. It's illegal to make a date to fuck a minor.
It's complicated--and the more I think about it, the more complicated it gets. For instance, like a lot of people, I was sexually active at 15. The guy I messed around with at 15 was 22, and technically he was raping me. I wasn't the dude's sex slave--not that I would've minded--but I was his everything else. And I would've cut out my own tongue before I said anything to the cops that would've sent him to prison.
So while I don't trust this 38-year-old (which is why I told FAG to stay the hell away from him), and while odds are he's scum--or a "predatory monster masquerading as a human being," as one reader put it--I can't quite bring myself to tell FAG to call the cops. But I'm in the minority, FAG. If you wanna call the cops, a lot of Savage Love readers are behind you. For your own safety and sanity, however, I would advise you to use a pay phone and make an anonymous tip.