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Savage Love: Routine Maintenance 

Dear Dan,

What is your stance on maintenance sex? I'd never thought about the issue until reading Amy Poehler's new memoir. I didn't find anything she said controversial, and was surprised when this quote blew up in the feminist blogosphere: "You have to have sex with your husband occasionally, even though you're exhausted. Sorry." I have sex with my husband pretty often when I'm not in the mood. He would prefer sex every day, and I'm more of an every-other-day or twice-a-week girl. I'd say about 25 percent of the time we are having sex, I am doing it for maintenance purposes. I always enjoy it and I get off the majority of the time, but I don't always go in wanting it or needing it. Is this wrong? Am I not the feminist I thought I was? — Maintenance Sex Supporter

I'm pro maintenance sex, MSS.

Sometimes I sex my husband when I'm not feeling it; sometimes he sexes me when he's not feeling it. We take care of each other.

Being pro maintenance sex doesn't obligate a person to have sex whenever their partner wants it. Proponents and practitioners of maintenance sex still get to say no. There's a difference between indulging your partner when you're not feeling it — when you could take it or leave it — and forcing yourself to have sex (or being guilted/pressured/forced) when you're too exhausted, too sick, or too angry for sex.

And as you've discovered, MSS, and I can also attest, sometimes you go into sex "not wanting or needing it" and then you start to enjoy it, too, i.e., not in the mood when you started but definitely in the mood before you finished. Those are the times when mellow, low-impact, low-stress maintenance sex turns into mind-blowing, toe-curling, sheet-shredding sex. I would hate to think of how much great sex I would've missed if my feminist principles didn't allow for maintenance sex.

Dear Dan,

I've recently discovered that I am a panty sniffer. Though since I'm a gay man, maybe I'm a briefs breather? Whatever. The smell gets me hard and gets me off. I discovered this when a fuck buddy left his shorts behind, and for the next few days I jerked off sniffing his shorts. That brings me to the young millennial techie guys at my work. They are fucking slobs, and they're always leaving their underwear and socks on the floor of the company's gym in our office. The janitor picks them up and puts them in a lost-and-found bin. I started checking the bin, and nothing was being removed. No one ever claimed their shorts. So I started taking a pair every now and then. First question: Am I stealing? Second (and more important) question: Have I become one of those perverted panty sniffers from those old Chester the Molester comics? — Singleton Now Inhaling Funky Funk

First answer: technically, yes. But a case could be made that you're reusing and recycling. If there were a Green Building Certification program for kinks, SNIFF, yours would qualify.

Second answer: Chester the Molester was a comic strip about a guy, Chester, "who was interested in sexually molesting women and prepubescent girls," says my old friend Wikipedia. This vile comic strip, which ran in Hustler (of course), made child rape look like harmless and hilarious fun. Dwaine Tinsley, the creator of the strip, wound up going to prison for molesting his daughter — I'm guessing she would argue that child rape was neither harmless nor hilarious.

Since you are not interested in prepubescent boys, SNIFF, I don't think you're a pervert in the Chester the Molester mold. But a case could be made that your actions have a whiff of the nonconsensual about them — your coworkers would most likely object to how you're reusing and recycling their abandoned underpants — and you should probably knock it off. There are plenty of guys selling their used underwear and jocks online, from college athletes to porn stars, and if you work at a place with a private gym, SNIFF, you can presumably afford to buy a few pairs.

The Savage Lovecast was named one of iTunes' best podcasts of 2014! Listen at

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