Striking out

All I want is a good flogging, but my boyfriend says no.

My boyfriend and I are in college and doing the long-distance thing until June 2013. Over the years, he's granted me increasing amounts of freedom to be intimate with women — I'm female, and date women while we're apart — but I still don't have full autonomy. It's much better than it used to be, but lately another one of my "needs" has been eating at me: my masochism. He's repeatedly refused me permission to let someone lay into me with a flogger. That's all I ask!

In order to abide by the rules of his jealousy, am I missing out on a huge facet of the best years of my life? I don't even want to have anything sexual with the person who flogs me! I just want them to beat me! And this might be relevant: He has the freedom to do whatever he wishes but — God only knows why — he never indulges in anything more than the odd vanilla woman here and there. Also, I'm not allowed to attend fetish clubs because he knows I'll make bad choices if I do (I'll play!), but the burner and fetish scenes are converging here in Los Angeles and I'm going to get in trouble soon!

University Pain Slut

You've given your boyfriend permission to do who he wants, what he wants, when he wants. But you're not allowed to do half of humanity — the male half — or get your ass beat at a BDSM club?

That hardly seems fair, UPS.

But my knees don't automatically jerk when I hear about a couple with an arrangement that appears to be "unfair" on its face. If Person A enjoys more "freedom" than Person B, it doesn't necessarily follow that Person B is being wronged. Some people get off on the tension that an erotic power imbalance creates, and nothing says "you're in charge" quite like your partner having the freedom to do people and things that you're not allowed to do. Or maybe the idea of you being with other men makes the boyfriend feel threatened and insecure, while the idea of him being with other women turns you on. If that's the case, UPS, then you're not doing something that makes him unhappy (sleeping with other men) while he's doing something that makes you happy (sleeping with other women).

For me, UPS, it comes down to this: If you're happy — if you're getting off on your unfair deal — then I'm happy.

But are you happy? Or are you still happy? If this deal isn't working anymore, UPS, then it's time to negotiate a new, perhaps slightly fairer deal. His insistence that you mess around only with other girls while you're apart is understandable — I don't think it's fair, UPS, but I can understand it — but the "no flogging" rule seems ridiculously arbitrary. Battle your sexual submissiveness and negotiate from a position of strength: Tell your boyfriend that you'll continue to stick to his no-other-dudes rule on the condition that he lift his silly flogging ban.

I'm a 21-year-old college student living in San Diego. I have some sex-related issues/questions that I'd like to talk with a counselor about. These issues are complicated — porn consumption, sex work, ability to orgasm, etc. — but I hesitate to go through my insurance; since I'm still on my parents' plan, that would involve me talking to my parents about this. They are very nosy and also very traditional, so I can only imagine the shitstorm. What are my other options? Is my university health care something that would cover this? Would my university report back to my parents about what I was seeking counseling about? I'm getting along fine, but this is negatively affecting my sex life and I'm tired of it.

Uneasy Collegian Seeks Discretion

Rules about patient confidentiality apply even to college students, UCSD, so your student health center is not going to rat you out to mom and dad. But you don't have to take my word for it.

"I want your reader to know that care provided at UCSD Student Health Services and the Counseling and Psychological Services is confidential," writes Regina Fleming, director of Student Health Services at the University of California, San Diego. "We don't bill insurance for visits to Student Health, though sometimes the cost of lab tests are put on the student's account; these charges do not specify what type of tests were done. [And] all services at our Counseling and Psychological Services are free."

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