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STRUGGLE SESSION: Gay Whales, Deranged Boys, Costume Dramas, and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments from readers and listeners. These posts are for Magnum Subs exclusively — so, if you’re already a sub, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become a sub, do it now! Magnum Subs get the Magnum Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maxi Savage Love (more Q, more A), the Sex & Politics podcast (recent episodes featured Tim Miller and Kat Rosenfield), invites to Savage Love Live, Struggle Session, and bragging rights: you’re one of my subs!

Okay, let’s struggle…

I talked about those two humpback whales at the top of the show this week — those two male humpback whales — that were photographed having sex. This was the first and, so far, the only time humpback whales have been observed having sex and it was gay sex. Naturally, I declared the entire species gay until evidence emerges that humpback whales engage in straight sex. (Their rebounding numbers don’t count — for all...

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...a> this week — those two male humpback whales — that were photographed having sex. This was the first and, so far, the only time humpback whales have been observed having sex and it was gay sex. Naturally, I declared the entire species gay until evidence emerges that humpback whales engage in straight sex. (Their rebounding numbers don’t count — for all we know, cocksucking gay whales spit semen into lesbian whales that wannabe moms.) Andy Williams called me out on BlueSky… Loving the new episode @dansavage.bsky.social. But, hey… humpback whales, like most animals, are bisexual. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. All I’m saying, Andy, is that we don’t have proof. No proof of heterosexual behavior among humpback whales, no proof of bisexual behavior among humpback whales. All we got is this gay shit. And like I pointed out at the top of the show, for centuries biologists refused to admit that animals engage in homosexual sex and some have homosexual orientations (check these rams out) unless confronted with evidence they could not deny or obfuscate. I just want these whales held to the same standard of proof — which mean all humpback whales are gay. Don’t blame me: I don’t make these crazy rules or establish this standard for proof. Biologists did. Last week we learned — or last week I learned — that “cunt-struck” didn’t enter the English language after the release of The Favourite in 2018; the term’s first citation in the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang dates to 1890… which is (math class is hard!) roughly 130 years before the release of the Oscar-winning film about Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch. Well, it turns out “cunt-struck” was used in an earlier film, as J. Marshall Freeman pointed on BlueSky… On today’s “Savage Lovecast,” you mentioned the term “cunt-struck” and gave its origin as the film The Favourite. I first heard it in Alan Bennett’s play and subsequent film The History Boys, as spoken by the great Frances de La Tour to describe the derangement of the boys. Thank you, J. Marshall. I didn’t see The History Boys when it came out in 2006 — and won all those BAFTAs — but I will make a point of watching it now. And for the record: while all boys are deranged, #NotAllBoys are cunt-struck. Some of us are as cock-struck, thank you very much. And speaking of cock-struck boys: Matthew flagged the use of “cock-struck” in the trailer for Mary & George, the new STARZ series about James I, who was the first (and gayest) Stuart to rule in England… Mary & George will be released in the United States on April 5th and I can’t fucking wait. I haven’t been this excited to watch a royal costume drama since Red, White, and Royal Blue. EAP didn’t think much of my advice for SNAG in this week’s Savage Love… It’s not often I disagree with Dan, but I vehemently disagree with his advice to SNAG. She should tell the girlfriend. It’s very likely she doesn’t know, and before she ties the knot with this guy or produces offspring with him, she should have the opportunity to save herself from a lifetime of heartache. That SNAG had a relationship with a supervisor, or that she might be partially motivated by vengeance, are ancillary and irrelevant. The world is full of betrayed people who didn’t know, found out too late, and wish they had been told in time. Please do the right thing. I’m not gonna argue with EAP — my reasons for urging SNAG to stay out of it, which was SNAG’s initial impulse, are in my response — but I can see why someone in SNAG’s position might decide to run and tell. I don’t buy into the “once-a-cheater/always-a-cheater” conventional wisdom (it’s more complicated than that), but a case can definitely be made for speaking up and EAP made it well. So, after fantasizing about having an MFM threesome for years — and after being monogamously married for more than a decade — THIRD and her husband met a man who was up for it but wanted to get to know them first. THIRD and her husband caught feelings for their potential third and weren’t sure what to do. (My advice for THIRD was the same as my advice to SNAG: say nothing.) In response to THIRD’s question, Lucky Dipper shared a few thoughts about the difference between MFM threesomes and MMF threesomes. I have nothing much to add but I wanted to draw attention to the great convo that Lucky Dipper’s comment inspired. I replied to a gay man in my last Quickies column who had just come out of the closet and had already given up — before dating a single, solitary, cock-struck soul — on finding a boyfriend who wanted monogamy. Which is what he wanted… or so he claimed. We discussed his question in last week’s Struggle Session, a discussion which prompted Andrew to observe… I do think, for another follow up on LW#5, that we should consider that he’s young — or at least, he’s a baby gay with little experience dating. When you’re new to the gay world and navigating something strange, you are also unpacking the things the world has told you, and clinging to ideas about relationships. So sometimes baby gays are like, “Everyone thinks we’re promiscuous, but no, not me, I’m not like that, I am 100% about monogamy!” At that point, your attitudes often come more from your assumptions and internal worlds, because they don’t come at all from actual experience with actual relationships. With apologies to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a lot of gay men go through a “bargaining” stage when we come out. We give ourselves permission to be gay… but we figure if we’re not the kind of gay who make straight parents, preachers, teachers, and peers uncomfortable… the straight people in our lives who hate gay people will somehow like us. So, we’re gonna be a different kind of gay, a better kind of gay, not the kind of gay that freaks out straight people — we’re gonna be monogamous gays, vanilla gays, masc gays, etc., etc., etc. For me, it was butt sex. I bargained it away. I knew straight people didn’t like thinking about butt sex — which is why no straight person ever had butt sex — and I wanted straight people to be able to look at me without thinking about butt sex… particularly my parents… so I wasn’t gonna be the kind of gay who had butt sex. And if I did have butt sex, well, it wouldn’t be because I wanted to have butt sex it would be because my boyfriend wanted to have butt sex. I would have butt sex if my boyfriend insisted — I really wanted a boyfriend — but I would have the decency to feel terrible about it afterwards and I would deny having it to any straight person who accused me of being a butt fucker/fuckee. Basically, I talked about butt sex when I was in the bargaining stage the same way LW#5 talks about non-monogamy now: “It’s not what I want, but if my boyfriend insists — and he surely will — then what choice do I have?” But it’s not like I wanna have butt sex, so… straight people will still like me, right? I quickly learned that straight people — homophobic straight people (#NotAllStraightPeople) — didn’t make distinctions between monogamous and non-monogamous gays, vanilla and kinky gays, masc and femme gays, butt fucking and non-butt-fucking gays, activist and normie gays, etc., etc., etc. The haters hated us whatever we did and bargaining was a waste of time — especially if it meant not being my authentic gay-ass self. For me, exiting the bargaining stage meant embracing non-monogamy and kinky sex and drag and butt sex and activism. But, hey, there are gays out there who want monogamy and/or vanilla sex and/or butt stuff and LW#5 might be one of them. But when I meet a gay person who tells me they want monogamy — they want something we were told we should want — and that person seems anxious to compromise on monogamy because they have no choice because all other gay people are sluts… yeah. That kind of shit reminds me of myself at 18 — deep in the bargaining stage — when I told my first boyfriend I didn’t want anal sex or enjoy anal sex but if he wanted anal sex and enjoyed anal sex… I would do it for him because what other choice did I have? (Getting over myself was the other choice and I eventually chose it.) Molly Roden Winter came on the Lovecast this week talk about her new book, MORE: A Memoir of Open Marriage. In addition to talking about the kind of open/poly relationships we love — including the ones we’re both in — we also discussed the ones that make us both a little uncomfortable. Namely, supposedly “poly” relationships that look a lot more like shitty straight men assembling harems (polygyny) and a lot less like consenting adults exploring sex and intimacy with multiple partners (polyamory). Says Mesma… Dan, can you address the polygyny elephant more? Open relationships can be a fun, positive, liberating experience for some, but also opens the door to the abusive side. When you consider how many more couples attempt monogamy… and when you consider how jealousy is normalized and even valorized… and when you consider how easily jealousy can be used to justify and excuse physical and emotional abuse… yeah, I think monogamy opens way more total doors to “the abusive side” than polyamory does. By far. And while there are certainly shitty open/poly relationships out there… and while there are certainly bad actors who claim to be practicing ethical non-monogamy and are fucking not… more people weaponize monogamy than weaponize polyamory. It’s not even close — and I would hypothesize that’s not just in real numbers that it’s not close, but as proportional percentages as well. At the very least, people who claim to be practicing ethical non-monogamy will be experience some cognitive dissonance if they’re being unethical and/or get called out on it by their others partners… ideally. Says Lara via email… I really enjoy your show and am a subscriber. What I most appreciate about you is you are nonjudgmental of all relationships. Most of your guests seem the same way, but for the first time ever I can not say all. Your latest guest — the woman who apparently made poly the pop culture craze it is — was super unfair to the caller who realized poly was not for them. The caller has obviously tried. She’s not confused about whether it is for her. She knows. She needed respect and empathy for the awful decision she now has to make, not to be told she has to live with herself. I was so disappointed and saddened by this “expert.” Mathis and Lea objected to my advice for LOAD… LOAD: Why don’t you just sit down with her and tell her the truth? In the course of that conversion you can explain to her that you want to clear her debts. That you want to help in her son’s move to independent living. You can tell her you want to open up the relationship so you can explore your kink and she will have the option to meet others on her own. That way she does not have to have sex with others in front of you unless she chooses too. Should she choose to explore your kink it should be of her own free will. What you are proposing is not sex positive. It is manipulation. If she balks and says goodby you can still help. You can take over her credit card debts via the credit card company. You can still help her son’s needs financially. BiDanFan agrees: Absolutely. Whatever happened to “talk to your partner”? She knows something is wrong. She may be happy to have a discussion and a six-month plan to move on and remain friends. The things LOAD has to say to his girlfriend fall under the heading of “things that cannot be unsaid,” e.g., “I’m not longer attracted to you,” “I don’t want to have sex with you anymore,” “I want to end this relationship and have been making plans to do so.” But I detected a note of hope, however remote, in LOAD’s letter: “I’m honestly turned on by the idea of watching her with someone else and I’ve told her this.” I know, I know: it’s a Hail Mary (hall) pass, but if LOAD can convince his girlfriend to go to the sex club with him… and he’s suddenly turned on by her again… well, I’ve seen other couples revive their own sexual connection revive after going on an adventure together like that. And being the conservative type (I am for stable relationships and the sometimes unconventional things that stabilize them), and since LOAD’s loss of attraction to/for his partner was literally the only problem with the relationship he mentioned, it seemed worth a shot. And it seemed to me like something that should be tried before LOAD starts saying things that can’t be walked back or come back from. A listener, who reached out via email, is having a hard time finding a very particular episode of the Lovecast… This is a question to the tech-savvy, at-risk youth on the podcast. To avoid making Dan, waste more energy repeating himself. I have been trying SO hard to find an old episode where Dan shed light on his own relationship with Terry and how they ended up opening up their marriage and the pros and cons of monogamous relationship in his opinion. When I first listened to it, it resonated a lot with me and my partner’s situation and now, years later. Talking to my partner more openly about open relationships. I would love for him to listen to it too. I tried going through some of the open relationship tagged episodes but I haven’t been able to find it despite spending HOURS listening to joyful Dan advice. But not the specific episode I listened to. It would have definitely been before 2019. Would anyone from the team working on the podcast be able to help PLEASE??? I would really appreciate it. This didn’t ring any bells for me — and the tech-savvy, at-risk youth were just as stumped. Does it ring a bell for anyone out there? Okay! One last item of business… Our Muppet-Faced Man of the Week: Charles Malphettes, Instagram’s favorite French teacher, as nominated by self-confessed “Francophile and Malphettophile” Susan F.

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