Thursdays I respond to comments from my readers and listeners. These posts are for Magnum Subs exclusively. If you’re already my sub, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become a sub, head over here! Magnum Savage Love Subs get the Magnum Savage Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maximum Savage Love column (more Q, more A), the Sex & Politics podcast (new one coming soon!), Struggle Session, Savage Love Live, and bragging rights: you’ll be one of my subs!
Really enjoyed the conversation with 2D&aM. The discussion of whether having sexual preferences that include or exclude trans people counts as “bigoted” made me wonder why we can’t just have a sensible middle ground. On one hand, trans folks (or short men, or fat people, or those with chronic illnesses, or whatever) might have had a long history of negative experiences and feeling undateable...
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...e can’t just have a sensible middle ground. On one hand, trans folks (or short men, or fat people, or those with chronic illnesses, or whatever) might have had a long history of negative experiences and feeling undateable because of aspects of their body they didn’t choose. And on the other hand, it’s hardly reasonable to expect someone to date, fuck, or marry someone they aren’t attracted to, just to prove they aren’t a bigot.
So why not… just keep preferences like that to yourself? If you don’t find a particular body type attractive, that’s fine. But if it seems like people with that body type might have struggled with people not dating them, maybe just… don’t mention that particular preference aloud?
I’m all for that approach — advocated for it many times — but it only works if people agree to take “no” for an answer. But some some people respond to “no” with variations on, “It’s because I’m [blank], isn’t it?” So, in addition to everyone being sensitive and considerate about how they express their precious personal preferences and/or act on their sexual orientations and how they reject people, people who’ve been rejected need to refrain from asking followup questions and/or making accusations in the form of followup questions. Take the “no,” find a “go.”
This comment came in via email…
Some feedback for your next Struggle Session: In the interview in Episode 898, the guest talks with Dan about women lowering their expectations for men when dating. While well-intentioned, I believe this advice is part of a long history of sexism. I understand the thinking of, “Well, if we can’t change the men, women have to be realistic,” but I think the eagerness from so many advice sources all over the web to claim that women’s expectations are the problem is an old, old story that’s just being re-written for a new age without questioning the underlying assumptions. Honestly, the conversation made me feel sort of sick because I was so upset to hear this line trotted out again on one of my favorite podcasts. The truth is, soooo many women are in shitty, even abusive, relationships that they don’t leave because they’ve been told that women are too picky and should accept more flaws.
Whoa! I tell women to leave shitty men all the time! I tell women — and men — to get out of shitty relationships all the time. I give that advice so frequently I created an acronym so I could give it quickly: DTMFA. Damona Hoffman, my guest on that episode, doesn’t think women should settle for shitty or abusive men either. I don’t think either of us made that argument. We both think, however, that people — people in general, not just women — need to have realistic expectations. There’s no perfect partner, no perfect relationship, just different points along the “good enough/close enough” spectrum. There’s no settling down without some settling for, as I’ve long said, but no one should settle for a shitty and/or abusive relationship — or remain in a relationship that has become shitty and/or abusive.
“I’m a gay man, gay men love dick, some gay men binge dick.”
I hope Mr Savage does not encounter half the blowback Mr Nas X did when he made a similar statement and said that the fussy theories about the homoeroticism in his videos were overly elaborate; he liked d***. That did not go over well.
Being far less famous than Lil Nas X (who has a new single out), I don’t expect to encounter much (or any) blowback for saying something gay men have been saying for as long as gay men have existed: we love dick. While Lil Nas X did apologize to the trans community for a different joke he made on Twitter, he never apologized for his “I just like dick” tweet and it’s still up. For the record: trans men are men, some men are gay, some trans men are gay, and gay trans men like dick too. It doesn’t erase the existence or desirability of gay trans men — who may or may not have dicks — for an individual gay man to say he’s gay because he likes dick.
Speaking of the trans: Football Jock Bottom, our guest expert in the column about gay men who take anon loads in marathon breeding sessions, had this to say about his experience: “I’ve taken loads from all types of men: single and married, young and old, big and small, fem and masc, cis and trans, out and on the DL. That moment when a man is thrown over the edge and can’t hold back anymore is the hottest thing in the world.”
Do trans men produce loads? If not, then FJB needed to work on that sentence a bit more to avoid misgendering trans women.
I emailed Football Jock Bottom to ask what he meant. He responded…
I misspoke re: the trans comment. It was a trans female who fucked me — and this has happened more than once. I was getting fucked sooooo good a few times and I turned around for a glimpse and it was a full blown woman. With a biological dick. Added it to my list of interesting life experiences and we both went on our ways, business as usual. I enjoyed it! Also, I consider myself an ally of the trans community and apologize for misspeaking in my original explanation.
I wonder why Mr. Savage seems almost happy that the B is a supposed majority — I suppose it’s his assimilationism rising. Or perhaps he is following my practice of thinking of the G as already subdivided.
The Bs aren’t the supposed majority of LGBT people. They are the majority of LGBT people. According to Gallup‘s most recent surveys, more than 57% of LGBT people identify as bisexual. (More than 20% of Gen Z identifies as queer, which makes them the queerest generation since Sparta was a world power.) Despite the impression created by headlines like “Percentage of LGBTQ Adults in U.S. Has Doubled Over Past Decade,” the percentage of adult men and women who identify as gay or lesbian has remained flat. That doesn’t stop Americans from vastly overestimate the number of gay men and lesbians; but if you want to explain the doubling of adults who identify as LGBT, it’s the bisexuals who did it (with a little help from queer-identified aces, cis het poly folks, those adorable demis, etc.).
Am I sad about this? Absolutely not. I predicted this! I have been encouraging bisexuals to come the fuck out for a long time! “I‘m not biphobic,” I wrote back in 2011. “In fact, I love bisexual people so much, I wish there were more of them.” I couldn’t be more delighted by the huge numbers of bisexual people who’ve come out in the last decade and change. And I fail to see what wanting more sexual minorities to be out — on the their own terms — has to do with assimilationism (which is not a word), but maybe Vennominon will explain in the comments.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes being grossed out by someone licking a dirty bathtub drain is just being grossed out by someone licking a dirty bathtub drain. I don’t think it takes an elaborate reverse psychology to explain why people think of ingesting something dirty as grosser than something dirty touching your skin. I have not seen Saltburn but I had heard about the scene in question and I nearly retched to hear Dan describe it even though I knew what was coming.
It wasn’t so much that people thought that scene was gross — I thought it was gross — it’s that so many people felt compelled to go on and on about how gross they thought that one particular gross scene in a movie packed with gross scenes was. Not everyone went out of their way to make sure everyone around them knew they thought that one scene was super-duper-extra-awful gross, but so many people did and… I’m sorry… but it was massive tell. People were telling on themselves.
Like I said at the top of Episode 898, people rushed to BLECH that particular scene because they felt implicated by it in a way that they didn’t feel implicated by… well, I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen Saltburn yet (see Saltburn already, you fucking laggards). But people didn’t feel compelled to condemn the scene that involved “something dirty touching your skin” because no watched that scene and thought, “Oh, I could see myself doing that, totally, under the right circumstances, that would be there on that pile of dirt.” But people saw themselves — under the right circumstances, for the right person — drinking bathwater and rimming a drain. (I mean, there were influences selling their bathwater on the Internet before Saltburn came along!)
Says Peter Sagal on BlueSky…
Hey, @dansavage.bsky.social, finally watched Saltburn and then went back to listen to your riff on The Scene(s) on the Lovecast. Agree with all, but have you written/said what you think about the movie as a whole?
I loved it — equal parts original and derivative, entertaining and infuriating. It was just so big and ambitious and weird and messy and so very, very debatable. I mean, everyone I know who’s seen Saltburn is still talking about it — they’re still debating it — weeks later. Even people I know who hated the film (COUGH COUGH TERRY COUGH) can’t stop talking about it. And, I’m sorry, but you have to respect a filmmaker who can put the zap on people’s heads like that.
I do, however, think it’s wrong to describe Saltburn as some sort of “eat the rich” revenge fantasy or a statement about income inequality. Oliver’s family is also rich — his family isn’t as rich as Felix’s family, but they are not poor. If Saltburn is about class at all, it’s about the seething (even homicidal) resentment the 1% feel for the .01%. My only big criticism: way too much smoking. After watching Saltburn, Maestro, and Fellow Travelers in the last few weeks, I’m pretty sure I have lung cancer.
Lovely comment here from Athari about what cum means to some men, from the monogamous guys who wanna take just one load the cumdumps who wanna take as many loads as possible:
For me (as a gay guy who loves bottoming), I certainly understand the eroticism of barebacking. We didn’t evolve with a condom on our dick, we evolved with a foreskin that naturally retracts, exposing the sensitive head of the dick, when fucking someone. We evolved to find the natural healthy scents of other humans to be erotic and stimulating, not colognes. The fluids exchanged via sex [are] intoxicating, cum especially, and it can help form a bond that’s far deeper than mere friendship, and it can’t simply be replaced by lube or cum substitutes.
But it can be supplemented by bathwater.
This came in via email…
Perineum: peri-NEE-um. Not like a perineal plant.
Sorry, perineum is one of those words I read hundreds times and heard in my head a certain way — PEAR-in-ee-um — over and over again before I said it out loud for the first time. I will try my best to remember the correct way to pronounce the word, dear listener, but the odds that I’m going to get it right even 10% of the time are very, very slim. (And you know what they say about making fun of someone who mispronounces a word, right? Oh, and if you want to hear the word pronounced correctly by what sounds like a serial killer, here you go.)
I got tagged into this on Twitter…
My friend and his GF decided to be poly, and I was initially excited, but it turns out they’re gonna do Disaster Poly, where he’ll sleep with other girls without forming new relationships and his GF will stay in a mono relationship with him. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
First, I lover the term Disaster Poly and I intend to use it — all credit to Liz Lovelace, the “hypersexual asexual,” who coined the term — but Disaster Poly takes many forms. And I’m not sure the example Liz gives counts. Unless Liz’s guy friend is telling the other women he’s sleeping with that he’s open to looking for another girlfriend (unless he’s misrepresenting himself), and unless his girlfriend who isn’t sleeping with anyone else is upset about what he’s doing, then this isn’t a poly relationship at all. It’s your run-of-the-mill one-sided open relationship. (Here’s hoping the girlfriend is a cuckquean who gets off on her boyfriend’s adventures just as much as he does.)
I love it — I fucking love it — when a LW or a caller jumps into the comment thread. And this week it happened twice! To find out what Longshot Longing, whose letter appeared in “Script Doctor,” thought of my advice and reader comments, go read his comment out here. And to find out what the gray ace who called into the Lovecast for dating tips jumped thought about my advice, go read his comment here!
But there’s nothing I love more than getting a message like this:
Dan, you have literally changed lives. Five years ago, I started facing my truth. In July that year, I took a tip to Rome and walked around for a full week listening to your voice. You helped me understand myself and my situation. I needed to get out of a controlling marriage. I’m free now, happy, thriving, in control of my own life, and extremely satiated. Your stories, guests, news, opinions, humor, and willingness to learn, listen and evolve have meant the world to me. Thank you. I wish you and your crew every happiness.
Aw, thank you. I can’t tell you how much getting a note like that means to me.
Okay, that’s it for this week’s Struggle Session. I leave you with this week’s Muppet-Faced Man of the Week: Robert Shields of Shields and Yarnell! Seen here performing with actual Muppets!