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STRUGGLE SESSION: Shitty Rationalizations, Chemically-Peeled Peaches, Joe Newton Speaks and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments, emails, DMs, and tweets from readers and listeners. Struggle Session posts are exclusively for Magnum Subs. So, if you’re already one of my subs, THANK YOU and read on! If you’d like to become one of my subs — which gets you access to the Magnum Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maxi Savage Love column, the Sex & Politics podcast, Struggle Session, and Savage Love Live — subscribe here! (You also get bragging rights: You’re one of my subs!)

This week’s Struggle Session may be a little shorter than usual, as we’re doing Savage Love Live later today and I always like to get a blowout and a facial before the show. Check your email later today for the Zoom link and join us!

Alright, let’s get this party sharted! First up, a comment about public BMs that landed in my private...

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...is party sharted! First up, a comment about public BMs that landed in my private DMs: Based on your answer to question #10 in this week’s Quickies column, it appears like kink-shaming is just fine so long as the almighty Dan Savage doesn’t approve of your kink. (It was a commentary about consent, Dan, a concept I thought you supported.) Hm… kink-shaming someone whose kink was most likely created during children by intense feelings of shame and disgust and whose kink in adulthood is all about the enjoyment of those feelings… is doing that person a favor. Heck, I was practically playing with that guy’s tits (link NSFW/lunch) — figuratively playing with them, not literally. I don’t play with poopy tits. Also, the claim that “this was a commentary about consent” smells like an after-the-fact/after-the-controversy rationalization to me. If it was a commentary about consent, that porn performer would’ve had “CONSENT PIG” written on his back and not “SCAT PIG.” I fully agree with this Redditor: “You can’t turn your nose off in a crowded area, and you can’t ensure you won’t bump into anyone. Smelling and touching shit are something that NEEDS consent.” (For a little more on this… but much more on Kink Nazis and AI porn, listen to the new episode of Sex & Politics with Leo Herrera that just dropped!) Another DM — a better DM — from Mr. D. in Ireland… Loved your conversation about poppers from last week’s show — Episode 884 — however there’s a health implication that your medical professional failed to mention. Poppers contain a solvent that when spilt on, say, bed linens or towels at the bathhouse can leave a pretty bad chemical burn when held against your skin for a while. The kind of burn you can get is demonstrated in the photo enclosed. Poppers were spilt on the bedlinen and I fell asleep on the resulting wet spot. If the sight of my chemically-peeled [peach emoji] saves someone else from the ignominy of a similar injury, I’d be delighted. Great show and Magnum Sub here! While some people have bad reactions to poppers and wind up in emergency rooms, which I touched on during my conversation with Dr. Oliver Bacon, the risks are often exaggerated. Says Charles via email… Rare complications are NOT rare in emergency rooms. Every single doctor I know has a story about rectal foreign bodies. There’s not an epidemic of people who show up in emergency rooms after taking poppers. Via email from a listener who wishes to remain anonymous… To the caller who wanted a vanilla man who doesn’t watch porn: My guy doesn’t watch any porn and is completely vanilla. On the other hand, he’s poly. I’m one of his three partners in kitchen-table polyamory. We’ve been with him for 45, 35, and 20 years respectively. Each of us have had other partners of our own over the years. You need to decide which “partner features” are OK with you and which aren’t. Then choose accordingly. I was too dismissive of the terms “gynosexual” and “androsexual” in my response to question #17 in my monthly Quickies column, as Volein pointed out in the comments thread… I have some non-binary friends that use “androsexual” and “gynesexual.” Seems like a useful linguistic alternative to gay/lesbian/straight in some cases, as you can specify what gender or sex you’re attracted to, without also having to specify your own gender or sex. So, what is the most common cause of bickering in long-term relationships? Andrew flags something I missed in my response to Question #3… I feel like we also need to mention: You’ll fight about the unbelievably stupid shit your partner spends money on, and about your partner judging you for the amazing shit you spend your money on. Alex adds… Also: You’ll fight about your partner not wanting to have sex often enough and about your partner wanting sex too often. I also left off the unbelievably stupid shit your partner repeats to you over and over again and the amazing shit you have to repeat to your partner over and over again. Asks Alec… What’s with all the celebrity gossip on the Lovecast these days? Are real people not providing enough content, or do Taylor Swift, Russell Brand, and Leo DiCaprio really increase downloads that much? Are Swift, Brand, and DiCaprio not real people? Also, for those keeping score at home, Swift and DiCaprio got intros… but I wasn’t gossiping. I was sharing my extremely thoughtful takes on age-gap relationships (DiCaprio) and rightwing lunacy (Swift). As for Brand, all he got was an aside — a glancing mention, not a whole intro. As for whether celebrity gossip boosts downloads… I literally have no idea. But I hope so! A recent caller was frustrated that her Hinge match attempted to downgrade their meeting from date-in-a-fancy-restaurant to quick-hookup-at-his-place — and at the last minute (after she got a blowout) — and the caller was wondering if men are pulling this shit on other women. My followers on Facebook had some thoughts. Says Rick… Never meet at someone’s house or a hotel on a first date particularly one set up on the internet, safety first before hookup! Erin says this problem is pervasive… This is a common thing for guys to try pulling on apps. I’m surprised this is the first call you have gotten about it. Also the idea that different straight dating apps have different intentions or types of dating is a myth. It’s the same guys acting the same way on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OKCupid, etc. Sarah went to a dark place… You know, if anything was going to convince me that it is easy to become a serial killer, it’s the number of dudes who have absolutely no problem inviting strangers into their homes for a hookup. Hm… wouldn’t it be the people showing up at strangers’ homes who are making life (and death) easier for serial killers? Also, the number of active serial killers in the United States has plummeted since the 1980s. If dating apps and hookup culture made life easier for wannabe serial killers — and if showing up at a stranger’s home or hotel room or dungeon put people at greater risk of being victimized by a serial killer — wouldn’t we be seeing a huge spike in serial killers? Rene Chun argues in The Atlantic that there are more serial killers out there than ever before — they’re just more likely to get away with it now. Not sure I buy her argument; also, Bundy, Gacy, Dahmer, BTK, et al, all got away with it for a very long time before getting caught. If there are a lot more serial killers out there now, as Chun argues, wouldn’t we catch one every once in a while? My followers on Facebook really felt for the caller whose closeted father was being bullied by his dementia-addled mother, who angrily called his father “Freddie Mercury” in front of the caller and his sibling. Kirk had this suggestion… Perhaps because I’m not Catholic, I thought the brothers should pull the father aside and privately tell him that they love him, that they know being a caregiver is very taxing, that their mother’s dementia is causing her to be very cruel, and if he wants to share any secrets about himself they are ready to listen with full acceptance. (And he shouldn’t correct their mother.) I agree with all of that… except inviting Dad to to share “secrets about himself.” Instead, the caller and his sister should let their father know that whenever he needs to talk or vent, they’re just a phone call away. Colin had a similar sentiment… When someone has dementia, there’s nothing you can do about it, and you can’t correct anything, or fix it. The thing to do is be loving and supportive of their father, and take some of the weight of caregiving off of the shoulders. it’s utterly ridiculous to think they can reason with or talk to their mom. That ship is sailed. The thing to do now is to love care for and protect their father. Beautifully put, Colin. And finally, the amazing illustration for this week’s column — by the always amazing Joe Newton — inspired Rachel to write in: I really love the illustrations! They are always interesting and really add to Savage Love! The “Three Gorges Dam” fortune cookie really drew me in into this week’s column. The idea of the Quickies being a bunch of fortune cookies is clever! I was wondering more about Joe Newton. I don’t know anything besides the name that appears under the illustrations. Rachel had a of questions about Joe, which I passed along to Joe. Here are Rachel’s questions (bolded) and Joe’s answers… I was wondering more about Joe Newton. I’m a font-obsessed designer, educator, and illustrator based in NYC. I cut my design teeth during Seattle’s “grunge” explosion, creating posters, videos, and album art for my band Gas Huffer. Since then I’ve led creative teams in both Seattle and New York (including The Stranger and Rolling Stone,) and partnered with Gail Anderson to form Anderson Newton Design. Does Joe Newton decide what the image for the column is or does Dan? I’ve been illustrating Dan’s column for over 20 years now, starting while I was at the Stranger. Dan grants me total artistic freedom. A real luxury for any illustrator. He sends along a few kind words now again if something particularly tickles him. It’s been a great opportunity for me to experiment with new styles and techniques and has evolved a fair amount over the years. Where can I see more of Joe Newton’s art? I post to IG as @thejoenewton. Like most designers, my website is out of date but you can get some sense of that work at www.andersonnewtondesign.com. Most of my energy is focused on design and teaching (typography at the School of Visual Arts in NYC). Some illustration work shows up in those projects. I recently had the chance to step way out of my comfort zone with this book cover for Library of America. Do Dan and Joe ever disagree with what to do for the artwork? How does that get resolved? Never once. Any interesting stories about the illustrations, or coming up with them? Every week is a new challenge, although sometimes the biggest challenge coming up with a fresh approach when themes repeat. The “quickies” columns are always a challenge since there is no clear theme. I try to keep the work spontaneous and do a lot of riffing on words in the headlines, letters, or responses. Sometimes a good ol’ dad joke is all you need. I really am grateful to Joe. I love his illustrations — they truly enhance the column — and I’m going to make a point of sending kind words along more often. Joe and I did a book together that features some beautiful illustrations Joe created for Savage Love along with dozens of new and original illustrations he created just for the book. There are also essays from me about the terms, neologisms, positions, attitudes, and activities popularized in Savage Love. You order a copy of Savage Love: From A to Z here! Just one more thing: We have a nomination for Muppet-Faced Man of the Week! French rugby Antoine Dupont! (Thank you, Matthew!) Want to nominate someone for Muppet-Faced Man of the Week? Drop their IG handle in comments! (Public figures only, please.) Okay, that’s it! See you guys at Savage Love Live later today!

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