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Clueless and Clitorless

September 25, 2013

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I'm a 23-year-old homo who came out one year ago. Life has done good and bad things to me. Good things include success in the intelligence lottery, a full ride to college, and now a job with a six-figure income. Sadly, I find that my place in life is different from the place occupied by most other young gay men. When meeting someone, I am often bummed to discover that they are in a state of transience (between cities, between degrees), or bummed because I detect a difference in socioeconomic upbringing/status that will make it hard for us to relate to each other, or bummed because they are not as smart as I am, or most often bummed over a combination of all these things. These thoughts sap my interest in new people, telling me that "it just wouldn't work." Am I right to think that and keep looking, or should I do some substantial "rounding up to one" and go on that second date, even though the odds of compatibility seem slim?

Lots Of First Dates

I'm tempted to tell you not to go on "that second date" with anyone you feel is beneath you intellectually, socioeconomically, or status- or upbringing-wise—not to spare you his ghastly company, LOFD, but to spare him the ghastliness of yours.

Look, Gloria Upson, if dating gay men your own age means exposing yourself to guys who are in "states of transience"—completely normal states for dudes in their early 20s—then date guys in their 30s and 40s. Not that dating older guys is a surefire recipe for romantic success: Your snobbery, classism, and elitism are so repulsive that most older guys will be blocking your number before you can call about a second date.

Andrew Sullivan wrote a beautiful post at The Dish a few weeks ago about the egalitarianism of getting laid. He recalled dancing all night in a gay club full of African American guys back when he was a "cute twinky English schoolboy." And Andrew didn't just dance with the black guys he encountered after moving to Washington, DC.

"There's nothing like dating or fucking a person of another background, race, or class to help you see the humanity in everyone," Andrew wrote. "How do you get scared of generic young black men when you've danced with them all night long?... In that sense, I've always felt that being gay was a real moral blessing. I could have been so much worse a human being if I'd been straight."

You're young, LOFD, and I'm being hard on you. I don't mean to step on your ping-pong ball. But if you don't get a grip on your classism and snobbery, you will become so much worse a human being than you need to be. So snap the fuck out of it, okay? And remember: We gay people are a tiny, tiny minority. If you reject as potential partners, friends, and fuck buddies all gay men who aren't of your exact same class, education level, social status (ugh), or salary level (barf), LOFD, you won't be left with many guys to date, hang out with, or fuck.

Which is not to say that you'll wind up alone. Refusing to date any gay man who doesn't belong to the same club that Bunny Bixler does (and isn't pulling in 100K+ a year) will complicate your search for love, LOFD, but there are other gay snobs out there. You could find a boyfriend who's just like you, i.e., same class, same education, same income bracket, same snobbery and shitty-ass attitude. But I wouldn't wish that kind of guy on anyone, LOFD.

Not even on you.

I recently started dating a 26-year-old female. I was a little surprised when she told me that she gets nothing out of oral sex, as that has been my typical method for getting my past partners off. Eventually, I was to discover that this was because she has no external glans (clitoris hood/head). It's just smooth skin where a clit would be. I was shocked when she showed me. She is probably the easiest person I've ever met to get to orgasm (thank god!), so this isn't a problem, just a mystery. I know that the clitoris is much larger than just the part you can see—the "head"—and she gets off on the feeling of pressure on and around where the glans would normally be, so I'm sure she has developed nerves and, I guess, has a clit under the skin. She assumed this was common enough, as none of her gynecologists has ever brought it to her attention. Have you ever heard of this? Is it common?

Clitorless Lad In Torment

"It's pretty rare, but yes, it happens," said Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University, a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, the author of Sex Made Easy (among other books), a frequent guest expert for Savage Love, and the only woman who has ever chased me around a room with a vulva puppet.

When a woman doesn't have an exposed clitoral glans, "there's usually other genital parts that haven't developed or have developed in atypical ways," said Herbenick. "But there have been a few case reports in which the women had other typically developed genital parts—labia, etc.—while the clitoris alone is missing or very small. Some of these women report erotic sensation in the clitoral area."

Should your girlfriend talk to a doctor about it?

"I haven't seen this woman's genitals specifically," said Herbenick, "but sometimes there is atrophy or even 'coverage' of the clitoris (for example, the hood fuses over the glans partially or completely) due to vulvar skin disorders such as lichen sclerosus. Some children have LS, and often it goes undiagnosed for years and, without treatment, her clitoral hood could have fused over the glans. A dermatologist or gynecologist knowledgeable about vulvar dermatoses could look into this possibility via a very small biopsy. (Doctors with expertise in vulvar health can be found through"

Follow Dr. Herbenick on Twitter @DebbyHerbenick.

My girlfriend and I have a vibrant relationship. Sex is great and adventurous when we have it, but I have one small issue that clouds up the sexual chemistry and turns me into a somber theologian: Since the earliest days of my childhood, I was told by my family that abortion was a horrible, horrible thing. And that thought has complicated my relationships. I simply don't know how to get past this thought and indulge my partner and myself sexually without feeling uncertain about the possible outcome of our getting funky. I feel awful that my girlfriend has to deal with this moral panic of mine, and I'm sick of putting her through it. Help!

Bummed About Bad Experiences

Some suggestions: Use a hormonal birth control method and a condom and pull out before you come. Don't have penis-in-vagina intercourse—you can stick to oral sex, mutual masturbation, and doing her in the butt (if being done in the butt is something your girlfriend enjoys). Deposit a few loads at a sperm bank, keep 'em on ice until you want kids, and get a vasectomy.

Or, hey, you could learn more about abortion while continuing to act responsibly, i.e., using birth control and condoms. Abortion is not a horrible, horrible thing. It is a medical, medical thing.

This week on the Savage Lovecast, the appalling crisis of homeless LGBT youth, at

@fakedansavage on Twitter


Comments (179) RSS

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Agreed, at least the LW didn't say how much more attractive he is than most other gay men.
Posted by arachnar on September 24, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one. Great answer on that one.

Although I do wonder how we can trust Andrew Sullivan's assertion that he's not scared of "generic black guys" when he sees them as generic black guys, and also considering his past positions on the race issue.
Posted by Ricardo on September 24, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one. Great answer on that one.

Although I do wonder how we can trust Andrew Sullivan's assertion that he's not scared of "generic black guys" when he sees them as generic black guys, and also considering his past positions on the race issue. And quite frankly, could he really have been so much worse of a human being if he'd been straight?
Posted by Ricardo on September 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
sorry about the double post, the first one wasn't meant to be sent
Posted by Ricardo on September 24, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
BABE, you need to figure out what you actually believe about abortion, something notably missing in your letter. Right now it seems to be a weird amalgam of 'some other people told me it was wrong' and 'if I want to have sex I feel I should be in favor'. Have you even talked this out with your patient girlfriend--do you know what she would want to do, at least in the abstract, if she accidentally became pregnant--or do you just feel guilty and hope nothing happens? Have you thought about the biology of it? The theology? (The fact that very few fertilizations go on to a successful 9 month pregnancy certainly informs my comfort with first trimester abortion, and knowledge about the really horrible things that can go wrong informs my comfort with later abortion if a woman and her doctor decide that way.)

God is totally cool with ectopic pregnancies (which will kill the mother in many cases if not aborted) and anencephaly (in which the child has no brain). Or biology is. One's view of rational medical options should acknowledge that.
Posted by IPJ on September 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
@2: Lofd may have won at the school-intelligence lottery, but he lost big time at the social-intelligence one.

My brother-in-law, a successful businessman with a PhD from a school you've heard of, has concluded over the years that if you want to succeed in business, and you have a choice between standing in the line for book smarts or the line for getting along well with other people, you should stand in the second line.
Posted by IPJ on September 24, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
I think LOFD is generally full of it, but definitely has a point when in comes to intelligence. You don't have to be equals, but you have to be roughly in the same neighbourhood. After a year or so (or decade in my case) you spend much more time talking than anything else. Still, opposites attract and some make it work. I couldn't. I have tried and failed spectacularly. I got lucky and scored a hyper intelligent cutie.
What the hell he sees in me is another mystery.
Posted by JJinAus on September 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
lolorhone 8

"Next one up, a contemptible snob.
He lived to put things in their place.
He did a commendable job
He put himself so low,
he could hardly even look me in the face."

-Fiona Apple, "Get Him Back"
Posted by lolorhone on September 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
I love it when Dan Savage has to talk about vags or clits and whatnot cause it's so icky to him. (which is cool, he admits it, etc... If you haven't read "Things I learned from women who dumped me," go find it this very second and read his description of first touching a lady down there:

"It felt like I'd slipped my hand into a large, lukewarm piece of lasagna that had been stood on its side. Only this lasagna had a pulse.

And hair, this lasagna was covered in hair."

Gah, hairy lasagna with a pulse--so visceral!

Posted by inbed on September 24, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
nocutename 10
I think that LOFD raises a point: how do you know when you should go on a second date with someone if some or several circumstances lead you to the "eh" conclusion about someone after a first date? Sometimes it seems that you shouldn't go out with someone unless your response was an unequivocally enthusiastic one. But we've all heard stories of people who didn't experience "love at first sight," yet who discovered more gradually and through repeated interactions that love "grew on them."

Sometimes I think I should always and only trust my gut and my original, immediate response: if I don't want to kiss someone at the end of the first date (or within the first 20 minutes), I'm never going to want to; other times, I think about the man I ended up madly in love with, the man with whom I had scorching hot sex, but whom I didn't feel attracted to the first time we met. I don't even know why I agreed to that second date.

LOFD, I think that the decision to go on a second date depends on the reasons you were "bummed" in the first place: if the guy seems like he's in a transient phase of life, but you otherwise are hitting it off, why not go on a second date (unless you're afraid you'll fall hard for him and then after a few weeks/months of bliss, he's off to new experiences or cities or graduate programs, leaving you clutching the tattered remains of your broken heart); if he doesn't seem smart enough to keep a conversation going or interesting . . . well, that depends on you, but that is the number one reason I wouldn't want to waste my time on a second date with someone. If, however, you think that the discrepancy in your backgrounds is too great to allow for a second date, I wonder why that is.

It sounds like an excuse. You are boxing yourself into a corner--there won't be many 23-year-old gay men who share your background of privilege and intelligence who aren't moving on to a new location, job, or degree program

You don't need to "round someone up" to a mate at 23. A second date is not a lifetime commitment. I'm not talking of course, of those guys who make your skin crawl, or those absolute nos; I'm talking about the ehs. Think about it less and go on more second dates. What have you got to lose?

Dan: Gloria Upson!!! my favorite snob.
Posted by nocutename on September 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM · Report this
I kind of understand LOFD, sort of. I live in a coastal community that is notorious for surfers/hippies, and a large chunk of the people here (especially in their 20's and early 30's) are between jobs or they're only working to fund their passion, not they're working AT their passion.
I can totally respect that and do enjoy talking to everyone, but I find it very difficult to relate to people on a deeper level that aren't as driven and career-oriented as myself.
That being said, upbringing, social status, and income levels are not something you should use as a rubric for friends or dating.
Posted by Dynomite on September 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
LOFD, just eww.

And judging someone's intelligence in a single date isn't just rude, distasteful and callous- it's stupid. Someone can be incredibly intelligent in a specific subject or subjects, or just never gave a damn enough about anything in particular enough to do anything more than meet the standards required of them. My brother was one of the didn't give a fuck, but he's doing awesome in the service in a very mentally challenging career.

Personally I'm so dumbstruck by my own ignorance that I'm not even sure where to begin correcting it. I just figure time, patience and effort will sort things out. So to have someone in my age bracket just off offhandedly assert their knowledge is so astoundingly out of this world as to have people quaking in horror of their own inferiority seems beyond laughable. Obviously, he hasn't heard about this yet;…
Posted by Really Now... on September 24, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
CLIT should ask his gf if she's on any medication that would shrink the clit. Anti-depressants are notorious for this.
Posted by anita772 on September 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 14
what? am i the first one to get the 'auntie mame' references?
Posted by scary tyler moore on September 24, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
nocutename 15
@14: No; I made a comment about it @10.
Posted by nocutename on September 24, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! 16
Andrew is wrong. I say this as a descendant of Black women who had no choice.

Fucking =/= humanity. See, sex toys.
Posted by ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! on September 24, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
Meh, LOFD doesn't strike me as so bad. Sure, he's full-of-himself and more than a little snobbish, but let's not conflate that with violent crime or emotional abuse.

Plus he's only 23.

He could either attempt to force a transformation of his world-view and self-conception, or he could just date older, snobby, well-off guys.

I think the latter option is more likely to be successful. He may grow up and out of his snobbery naturally, but trying to force that sort of rapid maturation isn't all that likely to succeed.

In any event, one more snobbish dude, gay or straight, is hardly the sort of thing to wring one's hands about. His current strategy of self-selecting the undesirable (to him) from his dating pool minimizes the actual harm he's likely to do to others (so long as he doesn't extend his dating snobbery to, say, hiring or promotion decisions at his workplace).
Posted by Functional Atheist on September 24, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
I like that Mr. Savage leads with the birth control methods (including non-vaginal intercourse and vasectomy) and follows with the "just get over it." Even when he does, he provides some actions that this guy could perform to facilitate said getting over of it—which is said guy's expressed goal.

I'd like to add that the beliefs that the guy absorbed during childhood aren't necessarily wrong in the sense that science cannot prove that fetuses are not people. We can weigh the pros and cons and determine that society is better off with legal abortion, but writing off people's beliefs tends to make it harder to deal with them.
Posted by DRF on September 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM · Report this

And yet there are so many people that crave hairy pulsing lasagna...

Posted by Married in MA on September 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM · Report this
I can sympathize with part of LOFD's issues. My last partner was not as intellectual as I am, and it caused problems in our relationship. He was a sweet, kind, and caring man, but it could not be ignored that we had different interests based on our intellectual levels. I would advise making intellectual compatibility a priority, since it seems to affect LOFD's ability to connect with potential partners, but don't worry about the rest. Socioeconomic status in the past or present are not reliable indicators of a person's intellect or interests. As for wanting to settle down? Dan is spot on; older men are going to be more settled than 20 year olds.
Posted by argentinagal on September 24, 2013 at 7:45 PM · Report this
@11 -- I actually maybe have too much sympathy for LOFD. I lived in a town for too many years where no one was going anywhere. I had dreams of a nice home, a stable place to create memories and I had ideas of what I needed to do int the next five-ten years to get there, and I had big plans for myself. I was briefly amused by my peer's easy-come, easy-go lifestyles, but when you want to build a home with roots and be industrious and stuff it quickly loses charm, IMO. At that time in my life I could have written that letter. I was dismayed by the attitude I saw on dates. It was completely disheartening.

My advice to LOFD is to try or OkCupid! and look far afield.
Posted by MameSnidely on September 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM · Report this
I don't understand why Dan sometimes chooses a letter just to berate the writer and show off his talent for scorn and contempt. Wouldn't it be better to run a letter from someone he actually wants to help?

I do agree with LOFD about the importance of intellectual compatibility; a guy I can't get excited about talking politics or books with is not a guy I'll be successful dating. That doesn't mean I look down on such a guy (which is just rude), but I know what kind of common ground is necessary for things to click.

And dating between two guys can be very tricky if there's serious income disparity, because dates usually entail bills that need to be paid at the end of the evening, weekend, vacation, etc. The less financially flush guy shouldn't have to charge up his credit cards to pay his half, but it's also awkward for the substantially better-paid guy to be constantly conscious and considerate of the other guy's budget without embarrassing him. Income disparity can be complicated enough when a couple is committed to a life together, but during the dating phase it can be even worse.
Posted by Sancho on September 24, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
LOFD is certainly full of himself, but I get where he's coming from. Some people mature faster than others. Personally, I couldn't care less if someone has a fancy job/car/house, or is 'settled', but there was a time in my life when I despaired of meeting women with intellectual interests who weren't too busy to date or too sheltered to be of any interest to me. (Yeah, I know, I'm picky. I like old dead white man literature AND biker warehouse parties)

The answer? Suck it up, find the other rebellious intellectual types, and most of all, wait a few years/date older people. Most 23-year olds are too insecure and scared to be forthright about their own intellects and personalities, so they dumb themselves down to find a date/mate. LOFD may have the *opposite* problem...
Posted by LuisRosado on September 24, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this

First off, you are very, very young as an adult. According to some of the brain studies I've seen, your brain is just finished/finishing your adolescent rewiring growth; you are just becoming you. In my case I experienced a profound sense of becoming comfortable in my own skin (at that age). So, don't panic if your world isn't complete already.

Secondly, if academic standards are where you find yourself best measured, stay in academia. After I left college, I had one intense relationship that, in the middle of my burnout phase, encapsulated a lot of your concerns. The answer to a lot of those problems ended up being back with the people most like me: working in academic research labs. Nothing cures one of delusions of genius like working with/for the real thing, or at least you can be unguardedly yourself. Academia is also somewhat sexual orientation blind (though depressingly not as much gender neutral), so even if you can't find dates, you can be yourself.

Try to find the kind of place you fit as yourself, grow to love yourself, and then you'll see what is and is not truly crucial in the one's you love.

Posted by Married in MA on September 24, 2013 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Who is offering LOFD all these second dates?

People in one of the top intellectual drawers rarely make such a meal of requiring a partner from the same drawer.

Between degrees? How many does he have at age 23 that he can be contemptuous of those still acquiring them?

I so wish he were bi, because I suspect that what he really needs is exposure to one of those feminists who collects degrees as if they were Pokemon cards (to use the description of an actual feminist) while coping with multiple invisible disabilities.
Posted by vennominon on September 24, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
seandr 26
LOFD: Intelligence beyond a certain point is a statistical liability in just about any area of life. That's because a lot of high-IQ types are fucking weird, and to be honest, I find nothing in your letter to suggest you are bucking that trend.

I recommend drinking and drugs (pot, mdma, psychedelics). It just might make you and the world more appealing to each other.
Posted by seandr on September 24, 2013 at 9:47 PM · Report this
Dan, a couple of things about the last letter:

1. Abortion is a terrible, terrible thing - to some people. It's worth accepting that, even if you disagree, and the advice was sound in any case. If you can't bear certain consequences, avoid them.

2. Using "I was brought up to believe" as your argument is a total cop out. I hope the LW is very young (despite all those complicated relationships) and at some point will learn to think for himself.
Posted by Kristen on September 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM · Report this
seandr 28
@Married in MA: The answer to a lot of those problems ended up being back with the people most like me

I'll add that if LW hasn't been humbled by the intelligence of some of his college classmates and coworkers, then he's swimming in some very small ponds.
Posted by seandr on September 24, 2013 at 10:06 PM · Report this
nocutename 29
@22: One of the reasons for an advice column is for entertainment. Most likely Dan chooses the letters that he runs based on their potential to be entertaining in themselves and/or to provide him the opportunity to take the lw down in a wag that showcases his virtuosity.

I'm sure he wants to be helpful, too, but that may not be his primary concern as the publisher of the paper and columnist.
Posted by nocutename on September 24, 2013 at 10:53 PM · Report this

I would recommend your girlfriend get an IUD.…|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=planned%20parenthood&__utmv=-&__utmk=61242284

An IUD is 99.9% effective after 120 hours after insertion (5 days). They are good for 10 years. I pay $400 out of pocket ( even though I have REALLY good insurance that doesn't cover it, but I am be happy to pay), So bottom line: it's 9 pennies a day. You can't beat that.

I have never had a 'scare'. I have never missed a period. I have never bought a pregnancy test. Ever. I have never had a problem with insertion. Or removal. Which I have had several. My lovers have never felt the 'string'. I have never felt the need to check the 'string'.

I have read many discussions over at Jezebel where women have had less that positive reactions with IUDs. This is due to poor/painful insertions (I never used pain medications) and hormonal IUDs (mine is non-hormonal due to my horrible reactions to birth control pills).

YMMV, but friends I have recommended IUDs have been very pleased.

Posted by albeit on September 24, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
i would like to know just out of curiosity who can make a 6 figure annual income at 23 .....
Posted by chaya760 on September 25, 2013 at 12:31 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 32
@9, not to be rude, but, I'm curious: do you come to Slog mainly to promote your own blog? I'm a writer as well, & I'll sometimes link to my FB is a topic is being discussed here & there or if I want my fellow Sloggers to get my back about something.

But you sign consistently w/ your site, every week, & I was just wondering if your Slogging was a promotional thing, or what.

Yes, Dan sometimes gets over his "ewww" feelings & talk about lady parts. Which is damn good of him since he's a sex columnist, & not just for dudes or gay dudes. ;) I haven't read that piece by him. I will check that out.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on September 25, 2013 at 12:43 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 33
Shoot! Above, @32, 2nd line should read: "sometimes link to my FB *IF* a topic is being discussed here & there *at the same time*.

I'm too quick to hit "save". :(

LOFD/LW #1 sure sounds like he knows he's such a great catch. But few of us remain the people that we are at 23. Be curious to see if he winds up with someone he feels matches his pedigree.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on September 25, 2013 at 12:46 AM · Report this
Dan is way too harsh on LOFD. It's good that he realizes what he wants from a partner. If he's carrier-oriented and wants his partner to be the same way, it just won't work otherwise. I've seen relationships crumble over that. Would you also berate someone for only dating people of a certain age range and appearance? I thought it was generally agreed that you get to choose who you date based on whatever criteria that you find important, and, sorry, but background and intelligence level can be pretty damn important. I, for instance, would never be comfortable in a relationship with someone coming from a very privileged background and unlimited finances. There's of course nothing wrong with them (most of my friends are like that) but I know that relating to each other on a level required for a relationship would be very hard. Likewise, dating someone with vastly different levels of intelligence can be trying. From both sides. You either have to dumb yourself down or constantly feel like you are missing something.
Posted by puddles on September 25, 2013 at 12:55 AM · Report this
Am I the only one who finds it super-creepy that a guy writes to a syndicated newspaper column about his girlfriend's genitalia? Not only does she not seem bothered by her body, he doesn't seem concerned about possible medical complications. It just comes across like he wants to talk about how weird her body is.
Posted by sfortunata on September 25, 2013 at 2:13 AM · Report this
@35 He just comes off as curious to me, not creepy at all.
Posted by puddles on September 25, 2013 at 2:47 AM · Report this
I was wondering about his reason to write in. She is orgamic, doesn't seem to have any pain: why fix something that doesn't need fixing?
Posted by migrationist on September 25, 2013 at 3:35 AM · Report this
@35 Just in case you're irritated because you share this trait and don't want it widely discussed I'll put this here:

I was surprised myself the first time I ran into this IRL, but columns like this can make men and women aware that different body types are common enough and clearly don't interfere with sexual function. Or funktion.
Or conjunction-junction . . .

tl/dr: sex ed is good
Posted by SifuMark on September 25, 2013 at 3:51 AM · Report this
@31: some engineering students right out of college are hired w 6 figure saleries. Not sure I know any other job that pays $$ w/o an advanced degree.
Posted by bookaday on September 25, 2013 at 4:32 AM · Report this
I think LOFD's issue is very different than the snobbishness - this snobbishness is just an excuse not to go on a second date and expose yourself to a different person.
Even if he meets the love of his life, he's gonna be so scared of it that he will use the excuse that the hair color is not right.

BABE, you afraid of leaving a project unfinished? Is there any chaos or something that you don't control in your life? I believe the answer is no, and abortion fear is just the very specific symbolic way this manifests in your life.
Posted by Fluffff on September 25, 2013 at 5:30 AM · Report this
"None of her gynecologists has ever brought it to her attention."

I don't recall a gynecologist ever examining my clitoris in either an overt way or even in passing. They just insert the speculum, and begin the internal exam. I'm asking myself how I'd feel if a doctor took a careful look at my clitoris, and I don't think I'd like it-- though I find everything about pelvic exams to be uncomfortable so it's possible that if a doctor did make that part of the exam, it wouldn't be extra-icky.

I can understand the girlfriend assuming she was normal enough. I'm a straight woman and assume that other straight women, like me, don't spend a lot of time thinking about other women's clitorises.
Posted by Crinoline on September 25, 2013 at 5:37 AM · Report this
"or bummed because they are not as smart as I am"…
Posted by Tessiee on September 25, 2013 at 6:02 AM · Report this
Does anybody else get the feeling that LOFD is actually Pretty Little Hippie, now officially out of the closet? Just sayin'...
Posted by Blackwood on September 25, 2013 at 6:25 AM · Report this
I'm surprised that no one has suggested the more direct route for BABE. If you feel strongly about something, seek to date people who feel the same way. Be clear with your girlfriend that you'd never want a fetus you'd fathered to be aborted and that you'd gladly step up to take full responsibly for the child in the case of an unplanned pregnancy. Ask her to marry you. If she balks and says she's not ready, look to date women you meet at fundamentalist churches.

It's hard for me to put myself in his shoes, and I'm tempted to tell him that his thoughts on this matter are wrong, but as long as this is a personal opinion for BABE and not a political campaign for him, it's not my place to try to change his mind. As someone who thinks abortion should be choice, it's not up to me to tell a woman that she should have an abortion if she doesn't want one. All BABE is saying is that he's a man who feels the same way.
Posted by Crinoline on September 25, 2013 at 6:45 AM · Report this
@26, 28 sean,

I tend to put it as the professors/researchers @ MIT/Harvard/unfuckingbelievably-competitive academic institutions are NOT NORMAL (and you can take that in a smarmy statistical way too). And I mean that in a good, OMFG kind of way. They may not be the kind of people you want to work for/ be in competition with, but they sure can make life interesting...

Posted by Married in MA on September 25, 2013 at 6:46 AM · Report this
Thank you for that last one Dan
Posted by PattyCake on September 25, 2013 at 6:54 AM · Report this
@31 "who can make a 6 figure annual income at 23" -- probably LOFD's from a wealthy family, a born-on-3rd-base republican type who doesn't realize his achievement comes in large part from the privilege of being born to the lucky sperm club, as warren buffet says

didn't get the Gloria Upson reference -- is this the right clip? any better ones?…
Posted by delta35 on September 25, 2013 at 6:54 AM · Report this
love the Auntie Mame references!
Posted by Laura23 on September 25, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
LOFD, heaven forbid that you should meet one of your superior beings and fall in love with him only to have either him or you suffer a brain injury, or perhaps lose a six-figure job, or perhaps fall off the social register, or something that alters the circumstances in a substantial way. You will have fallen in love with something other than the guy inside, and once those externals go away, so will the love. I am permanently mated to a brilliant man who has suffered a brain injury, and frankly, I love him for who he is, not because of his ability to engage in deep intellectual conversations (which he can't) or because he still makes my A-list, which in many ways he doesn't. I love him because he is a great guy who deserves to be loved, and I am grateful everyday that he allows me to be one of the people who loves him, and who generously gives me love in return. What he lost in his injury from a brain tumor is tragic and also minor compared to what we have gained as a couple. Please, LOFD, don't partner with anyone. People change over time, and you are bound to be sorely disappointed if your checklist for who they are supposed to be ends up being incomplete.
Posted by In love in the midwest on September 25, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
@44: I don't think BABE does feel strongly either way, so much as he feels whatever the people he's with feel. As 27 suggests, he needs to think for himself and work out what he believes, and what actions logically flow from that. (Not only a good idea regarding his position on abortion.)

He's writing about a serious long-term girlfriend, not one-night-stands: 'what if' is a conversation they should have had, since the topic is important to him. (Probably to her.) Part of "pro-choice" encompasses being opposed to abortion for oneself personally in certain circumstances--the choice part means we don't climb into other people's OBGYN offices and insist on inserting our very special feelings into a situation which is conveniently abstract for us.
Posted by IPJ on September 25, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
@47: Yep, that's the one! If you haven't seen the movie 'Auntie Mame', give it whirl. The book is fun, too, but different, of course.
Posted by clashfan on September 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
Send pictures or it didn't happen! Best to send the photos directly to Dan's inbox, subject line: "Lasagna (no onions)"
Posted by ctmcmull on September 25, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Is CLIT just reaching for the acronym, or is he actually "in torment" because his girlfriend doesn't have a clit? In any case, I don't think anyone has pointed out yet that lots of women (and quite a few men) don't like receiving oral, regardless of the state of their clit.
Posted by EricaP on September 25, 2013 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Messasge to LOFD:

When I met my hubby, I had a Ph.D. and he had a B.A. (he now has a master's).
I'm from a wealthier family.
I was making more money(still do).
We're very happy.
Get over yourself.

Posted by Clayton on September 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Wow. Could not agree more with Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan. If - especially if you're a gay guy - you feel you "can't date" people who aren't of the same socio-economic class, job status, background, and educational qualification as you, because "they just won't understand" you... You should be hung from a gibbet and fed to the poor.

Look, I can understand being wary of people using you for your money... But have you considered maybe not flaunting it so such a degree that everyone you meet is instantly aware of how well-off you are? I can understand not wanting to date someone you can't have a conversation with... But have you ever considered that real intelligence isn't measured by degrees and test scores, but by curiosity, diversity of interest, and a love of learning? And if you're worried that you can only date people who share in the same absolute disconnect from the reality of 99.9% of the human race, that's YOUR goddamn fault, not everyone else's.

No one's holding a gun to your head, forcing you to go to Soho House New York or little soirees at Hamptons estates or Fire Island vacation palaces with infinity pools. Believe it or not, those of us down here amongst the hoi-polloi won't be upset and offended if you join us at a bar, or at a party in a cramped studio apartment, or take the Staten Island Ferry to enjoy some time on the water rather than a yacht. No, that's YOUR choice to separate yourself from the rest of us. And no one's going to fault you for enjoying what luxuries you can have, but it's your own damn fault if wallowing in those luxuries is such a central part of your being that you can't imagine relating to someone who doesn't do the same.
Posted by NYCDave on September 25, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this
unknown_entity 56
No one seems to be giving BABE much attention, so I'll point out that men still have relatively few options for birth control. We can pull out (such fun), use condoms (not as bad as everyone thinks, but still frustrating), or get a vasectomy (sucks if you want kids later but not now). We have no options like the pill, IUD, diaphragm, or other birth-control that can be easily stopped and started. That puts an unreasonable burden on women to prevent pregnancy.
Posted by unknown_entity on September 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM · Report this
I had a long-time relationship with a woman who got nothing out of getting oral. She nearly always had an orgasm or more from intercourse. She said she had never had an orgasm any other way.
Posted by namewithheld on September 25, 2013 at 9:13 AM · Report this
A fun idea:

Sitting here wondering when Mr Savage will add "MUST have slept with people of at least three different races" to his list of qualifiers that make someone fit to hold public office (it will fit in nicely with "MUST have experimented with pot", won't it?), it has occurred to me to up the ante - how about "MUST have had at least one abortion"? I'm torn between trying to select some male-specific procedure or combination of multiple such that could count as an equivalent, or just to leave it as is and consign government to women and trans men in perpetuity.
Posted by vennominon on September 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM · Report this
seandr 59
@Married in MA: I meant "fucking weird" as a saltier, home-cooked substitute for "eccentric" that suggests why, for example, those with IQs above 140 tend to earn less than those in the 120-130 range.

Wasn't meant as a pejorative. Might help to know that this statistic pretty much sums up the 9 mostly horrible years I spent working at a giant corporation.
Posted by seandr on September 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM · Report this
rob! 60
Sully is apparently still in need of a right good rogering :-ϸ
Posted by rob! on September 25, 2013 at 9:34 AM · Report this
There is more than one kind of intelligence, and one can always learn more about others. On the other hand, if your date doesn't excite you, please don't subject the poor fellow to another date.

Lawyers in big firms can start at six figures.
Posted by marilynsue on September 25, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
@CLIT: Have you checked the back of her throat?

RE LOFD: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the possibility that this guy is on the spectrum. His obvious lack of empathy and the detached manner in which he describes his predicament reminds me of a guy I knew--young, thin, relatively good looking finance major who, though intelligent, always seemed off-putting and unintentionally confrontational.
Posted by repete on September 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM · Report this
This will sound like a whine -- honestly, I am not trying to say that anyone in the world owes me a fuck.

However. The idea of an "egalitarianism of getting laid" among gay men is a load of crap.

It is a perception born of life inside a small, exclusive bubble - the bubble of those who are or have been "cute, twinky English schoolboys" or cute-something-else.

Having been a less-than-cute young lad at those same gay clubs that Andrew Sullivan experienced as boundary-busting celebrations of blowjob-brotherhood, I am able to report that from outside the cuteness bubble, they are experienced as enforcing a fixed and impermeable boundary.

Which -- Really! No, really! -- is perfectly fine with me. Like the letter-writer Dan bitched out, I select and reject sex partners according to certain criteria, including their intelligence, professionalism and social circle. And yes, I also -- to the best of my limited ability -- select and reject them according to how physically hot they are, although this process necessarily involves a degree of realism.

I am simply saying that the utopian view of gay sex as bringing us all together as one is a foolish fantasy. And unfortunately this fantasy has led Dan to adopt a weirdly moralistic stance toward the young man in the letter for selecting his sex partners on any criteria other than hotness. This is a layer of bullshit layered on top of other bullshit.
Posted by DistingueTraces on September 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Albeit @30...I am also a huge fan of intrauterine contraception but please don't oversell the effectiveness of the copper IUD (Paraguard in the US). The statistic you quoted (99.9% effective) was for the rather uncommon situation in which an IUD is used as emergency contraception. For ongoing contraception the failure rate is 0.8% (not 0.1%) in the first year. I think Dan had it right that BABE and his GF either need to avoid PIV or use multiple methods of contraception (potentially including the IUD).
Posted by KN on September 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM · Report this
With regards to LOFD:

While it's certainly true that the average coming out age of gay men and women decreases every year, it remains a difficult process for many and can often prevent the exploratory dating phase most straight individuals experience in high school. At 23, LOFD is young by any standard, but in "gay years" he's practically a newborn. As a fellow gay man (who grew up with similar blessings), I can very much attest that ideas I had about what mattered to me most in a guy greatly shifted once I actually got out there and started dating people seriously, beyond a first date. Until you collect empirical evidence, it's hard to know for certain both how you best function in the context of a relationship, and the difference between traits that can be written off as quirks and those that constitute personal deal-breakers.

I'd agree with many other commenters that, of LOFD's listed standards, intelligence should be the most highly emphasized. Given LOFD's remark about status, though, I worry he may be evaluating this solely on the basis of academic pedigree. As a former offender, it's best to realize early on that intelligence is often best evaluated by an individual's curiosity and willingness to learn, rather than by the names of colleges and universities they've attended. It's certainly something to consider, but I can say with authority that I have met some very dull individuals at some very good schools, and a few of the smartest people I've met did not attend college in the first place.

With regards to the income issue, I'd stress that it is far more important that a potential partner is financially independent and able to live within his means than the magnitude of income disparity. So long as basic living and social expenses aren't causing undue strain, LOFD can recognize his fortunate position and spring for the check when he wants to do something more upscale.

Given LOFD's age and income, I can only assume he works in some division of the finance industry, and accordingly knows something about portfolio theory and age adjusted risk profiles. While it is certainly true that there is always some degree of rounding required, I'd advise him to take a similar approach to dating and calibrate his ceiling function accordingly. At 23, it's okay to pass over a .75 to wait for a .91, so long as it's with the understanding that opportunities skipped now may not be available later, and that he may have to round more later if his bets don't pay off now.
Posted by Quantrepreneur on September 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM · Report this
@63: Well said and thanks for sharing. I too read the letter with a bit of disgust but it takes only a very short period of self-reflection and honesty to admit that, to a degree, we're all snobs when it comes to choosing whom we are willing to date.

Age tempers this snobbishness, but we all draw a line. I've known many a woman whose line involved financial security and quite a few guys who would dismiss a potential partner on not just appearance, but very specific traits.

I imagine Dan wouldn't have any difficulty agreeing with a guy who said he wouldn't date fatties, after he extended the usual disclaimer (at arm's length, holding his nose).
Posted by repete on September 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
I'm with @16 and @63. I found that post by Andrew Sullivan highly annoying. Having sex with someone of another race does not automatically make you racially tolerant. Men who have sex with women don't magically become feminists after all.
Posted by KN on September 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
If LOFD's a snob (*boggle*) then the large majority of straight women I know are snobs. Using the criteria for selecting LTR partners that most straight women use for selecting LTR partners, which is what his behavior is, does not make you a snob.
Posted by Old Crow on September 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this

It's after noon on a work day, and all I can think about is eating lasagna!!!

Posted by Married in MA on September 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
sb53 70
LOFD reminded me of meeting my wife. She was class president, straight A's could play 6 musical instruments, and did all this with a part - time job. I was a C - student but happen to love words. She THOUGHT I was smart because of my vocabulary, and so she married me.
Years later we are living on my tiny salary trying to pay for life & raise kids, and we both realize SHE is the one who should have had the career.
Still together ater all these years.
Posted by sb53 on September 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
lolorhone 71
@16, 63, 67:

Gay black man here. Sullivan's assertion is total bullshit and actually quite offensive. Gay black men will not take you on a boundary-melting, taboo-busting, bigotry-healing, class-leveling Rainbow Coalition-approved sexual journey of self-discovery soundtracked alternately with Miles Davis' On The Corner and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange (well, it is with me, but I can only account for a very limited number of experiences). You will simply have had sex with a gay black man. If you're a bigoted dick, you'll still be a bigoted dick after sex with the object of your ignorance. Ask Strom Thurmond.

Posted by lolorhone on September 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Oh, LOFD. I feel a touch sorry for you and am a touch irritated by you. I'm going to try to give you advice within your value set: you're ahead of your peers in terms of getting your life settled. If you'd looked around you at school, you would have seen that. Lots of 23-year-olds haven't even finished their college degrees, many of the bright ones are planning on graduate school, and lots of new graduates are struggling to break into the job market.

If you want someone at the same stage of life as you are, you will have to date a bit older. There are a lot more men who are 33 who fit your requirements than ones who are 23.

If you want to find someone very young who you can be very young with, drop the expectation that you'll find someone else who has everything completely together and find a nice, bright student to date. He'll catch up to you eventually, and given how life tends to go, there will probably be a period when you have some bumps and are the less together one.
Posted by lunchcoma on September 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
@68: Most straight women find fuckbuddies and boyfriends and husbands. Most straight men are far from geniuses with 6 figure incomes. Somehow, your statement doesn't seem to compute.

That being said, if a 23-year-old woman wrote the same letter, I think her options would be similar. She'd be ridiculous to expect a 23-year-old man to be both wealthy and settled, and if she wanted those traits, she'd be wise to look for someone older.
Posted by lunchcoma on September 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
remny 74
This is the more relevant Auntie Mame clip.
Posted by remny on September 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 75
"I could have been so much worse a human being if I'd been straight."

On this, I have no problem in believing Sullivan absolutely. I've often gotten the same impression from him, and hadn't assumed him capable of such self-awareness.

There are many people exactly like him who don't find themselves in any respect on the receiving end of the conservative engines of hate, and so are never forced to realize that the hate is unfounded.

Some people are able to perceive that injustice targeted at people different from themselves is still injustice; some people are not. The evidence so far is that Sullivan (like all conservatives and many liberals) is one of the latter, and his current dissatisfaction with the Republican party is purely a matter of happenstance, not principle.
Posted by Eudaemonic on September 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
nocutename 76
@74: It might contain the stepping on a ping pong ball, but the earlier clip was closer to the tone LOFD struck.
Posted by nocutename on September 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM · Report this
@71 ....but some of my best fucks are black!
Posted by DistingueTraces on September 25, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
@8 lolorhone: Spot on, as usual!! I love it!
@9 inbed: Although I fully understand your metaphor, the idea of hairy lasagna with a pulse--and the existing glycemic content of the dish itself--just killed any cravings I might have had for lasagna.
Chicken fettuccine, anyone? Which leads me to....
@69 Married in MA: Yeah--I know, huh? Right now I can't get enough gluten-and-sugarfree chicken fettuccine alfredo, and it's driving me nuts!

Griz watch update: Now my amazing ND will be evaluating the estrogen levels of this crazy lady. So far, the blood tests are encouraging overall. More later.

Thanks, Dan, and everyone, for putting up with this nutty het chick!

Posted by auntie grizelda on September 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
I liked it until the Andrew Sullivan reference. That guy is a fucking tool
Posted by Pakuni on September 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
@ 53 - You're totally right: as a man, my appreciation of oral sex has absolutely nothing to do with the state of my clit.
Posted by Ricardo on September 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
@ 71 - "If you're a bigoted dick, you'll still be a bigoted dick after sex with the object of your ignorance"

Case in point: Andrew Sullivan. But I guess he'd defend his racist views arguing that they're based on the "scientific evidence" given in The Bell Curve... And now he's written this opinion piece to show that he's not at all bigoted, since he fucked with black guys back in the day. What a pathetic turd.
Posted by Ricardo on September 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM · Report this
After reading LOFD's letter (and Dan's answer) here's my fantasy. Remember the almost 18 year old who tooled around in the BMW that the 25 year old brother (and guardian) of the 15 year old he was dating didn't approve of? Why not fix him up with LOFD for his 18th birthday? They seem meant for each other.
Posted by mjesf on September 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
@80 lol, whoops!
Posted by EricaP on September 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this

Wow, that thread was interesting. Somehow, PLH/DARE coming out would still leave him too feral to sound like detached LOFD (but, what do I know?).

Posted by Married in MA on September 25, 2013 at 6:39 PM · Report this
BRILL-iant responce to LOFD. Especially the references to Gloria Upson and Bunny Bixler. Extra points for throwing in the ping pong comment. "We were in the finals, the verrry finals, of the ping pong tournament at the club...and she stepped on the ball! Well, it was just squashed to bits!"

Posted by Pfranckly on September 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM · Report this
lolorhone 86
@77: Laughed like a lunatic. Scared the neighbors.
@78: Thanks, Auntie Griz. Good luck with your estrogen levels and best wishes for your continuing good health!
@81: Every time I'm confronted with Sullivan's overall politics, I'm nauseous. But this is the first time I've seen his solid stance on LGBT identity issues get mixed up with his muddled and not-a-little-ignorant perspective on race. Orgasms are powerful but they do not bear the weight of history.
Posted by lolorhone on September 25, 2013 at 8:16 PM · Report this
@ 86 - The weird thing is that I kinda agree with his general idea. Getting to know people that are not part of your social group is a good way to lose your prejudices against them, whether it's through sex or any other sort of social interaction. BUT you have to be willing to at least question your prejudices, and Sullivan never was. His experiences were never anything more to him than a chance to check another box on his checklist in order to gain non-racist credentials which he has repeatedly proven he doesn't deserve.

Basically, it was merely something to write the folks back home about (and now, to brag about to the world). As if there weren't any Black men in England that he could have gotten to know... but that wouldn't have been exotic enough, so he didn't bother until he went to the US. His whole attitude reeks of the worst kind of racism, that perfectly encapsulated @ 77. On the one hand, he denies their intelligence and reduces them to sexual objects, but on the other, he claims he's not racist because hey, he did let a few of them actually touch him, you know? As if that was such a big deal and we should all applaud him for that.
Posted by Ricardo on September 25, 2013 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 88
Lolo - thanks for some good laughs!
Really Now - thanks for registering!

I wonder how LOFD makes friends. Or does he merely have a lot of acquaintances? Because he can't be bothered to spend time with anyone not his mirror image?

LOFD - you are TWENTY-THREE. You have Plenty of Time to go on second dates, and even third dates. Unless you are at risk through some antiquated custom of losing your inheritance if you don't (gay) marry by 25? If not, you could also choose to go on dates only with candidates pre-screened to match your Specifications.

Oy vey!
Posted by Still Thinking on September 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM · Report this
lolorhone 89
@86: Agreed. It's not a willingness to fuck outside your race or class, it's a willingness to drop contempt, presumption, and preconception w/r/t the person you just fucked- a willingness to be open (try not to giggle, I'm serious). The fucking alone isn't magically restorative to society- many people are well-versed in remaining impermeable and distant, especially during sex.
Posted by lolorhone on September 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM · Report this
Still Thinking @ 88:
I have been wondering about LOFD's ability to make friends. If he is able to make and maintain friendships, then I don't think he is necessarily as big of a tool as he sounds he is.

When I was that age, I was told many times that my standards were too high because I wasn't interested in the guys who were interested in me and vice versa. I probably also gave silly reasons, like guy A has too much body hair, guy B is blonde, etc.

In hindsight, I think that was just my mechanism to keep from getting into something that I wasn't ready for. Once I was ready, I fell in love with someone who didn't fit my imaginary "dream man" at all.
Posted by migrationist on September 26, 2013 at 3:19 AM · Report this
sissoucat 91
I don't like Andrew Sullivan as a columnist. The guy is very self-centered and so absolutely ignorant of others, he cherishes his own ignorance - although he claims to inform !

Take away his Englishness and his gayness, none of which are personal achievements, but just happened through random chance, and what are his credentials for the pedestal he puts himself on ?

He's gay, so he's different, so his white and male priviledges shouldn't be taken into account when he gives his priviledged-white-male views of politics. Riight. Who did he endorse again ? One of the Pauls ? Sure, they would have helped America - more like they would have filled the pockets of their class peers, and left other Americans out to die...

As an aside, I can't with his cartoonified videos. Don't want to show your face ? Go audio. But show/hide one's face like this, is just ridiculous.

As for his Englishness, his pretense to give an enlightened external view of America, because he's "European", are most laughable. This guy has nothing but utter contempt for continental Europe, and even that is not personal contempt, acquired from experience, but just the contempt of his class of white males for anything not strictly English.

Nobody is less European, nor has a less shallow and uninformed view of Europe than Englishmen. Englanders are only one thing : Englanders, the former masters and main beneficiaries of the Commonwealth.

For so many decades England has used its domineering place in the United Kingdom to get involved in Europe and try to make it fail all along, just because. The result of this traitor activity is mostly nil. Europe sure has its ups and downs, and its downs have a lot to do with unregulated financial wrongdoings tahing place in the City of London, (which is vehemently protected from any European cleaning-up by England) ; but overall Europe is still alive, still going on strong, and living inside it is still much better than living outside it : there is no shortage of candidates willing to join.

So much so that Scotland is now anxious to secede, just to stop being prevented by England to participate more in all things related to Europe. As for Ireland, as of late they haven't yet been seen to run away crying from Europe, back into the smothering arms of England...
Posted by sissoucat on September 26, 2013 at 4:55 AM · Report this
sissoucat 92
@16 Thanks for putting Sullivan's shallow reasonings in context - and so sorry for what your ancestress endured...

If having sex could make people more understanding and humane, more tolerant of differences, misogyny wouldn't exist. Nor racism. Nor slavery. And wars would stop the second the infantry set foot on foreign ground ! Raping the local civilians would instantly turn every raving mad warrior, dancing on hormones and fears instilled by his head butchers, into a peace protester.

Actually, the only evil that would still exist were this this theory of "sex the great equalizer" true is... homophobia. The only evil Sullivan ever experienced.
Posted by sissoucat on September 26, 2013 at 5:13 AM · Report this
Ms Sissou - We'd probably do better not to get started or Ireland. Scotland, though, has plenty of grievances against England without having to look so far as Europe. If only Mary Stewart had married a different Valois brother...
Posted by vennominon on September 26, 2013 at 5:20 AM · Report this
oops, ON Ireland, not or.

#92, which crossed mine, appears heterocentric, which may make it a little less effective for clubbing Mr Sullivan. I'm not big on the Great Equalizer theory, but am open to the idea of opposite-sex and same-sex activities possibly having different (widely generalized) effects on their practitioners.
Posted by vennominon on September 26, 2013 at 5:27 AM · Report this
lolorhone 95
sissoucat @91: "Nobody is less European, nor has a less shallow and uninformed view of Europe than Englishmen. Englanders are only one thing : Englanders, the former masters and main beneficiaries of the Commonwealth."

Have you heard PJ Harvey's "The Last Living Rose"? Being English herself, she's plainly mocking her countrymen's entitled self-regard in the first two lines- "Goddamn Europeans!/Take me back to beautiful England"- before poignantly describing a thoroughly compromised empire in decline, on the brink of destruction. A great song, and considering the sentiments you expressed earlier, I thought it might cheer you. : )

Here's a link:…
Posted by lolorhone on September 26, 2013 at 5:27 AM · Report this
@86 lolorhone,

"Orgasms are powerful but they do not bear the weight of history."

Actually, if you look around you and see a human, or a human artifact, and think about how it/they got there...

Posted by Married in MA on September 26, 2013 at 6:51 AM · Report this
LW1 is right only generically regarding the intelligence factor. In my single days, I dated some guys who were dumb as stumps but great in the sack. If you're looking for a LTR, it doesn't work. If you just want fun, it's fine.

As for the money thing, while I think LW1 is arrogant, there's A LOT of relationship issues that revolve around money and denying it is asking for trouble down the road. I make 3X what my husband makes and it has caused some friction, but not about what you'd think. More about him feeling like he's not contributing as much and me having to be reassuring.

What worked for us was me saying I'd pay the mortgage and he pays the other bills, then I just pay some of them and don't tell him.

All that said, you should NEVER exclude someone from your life because you think they're beneath you in some way. Everyone has SOMETHING to offer. If you're gay, and you find true love, you're lucky. The rest of it is just noise.
Posted by sfguy on September 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this
@97 sfguy,

Even if you're not gay, if you find true love you're lucky.

Posted by Married in MA on September 26, 2013 at 7:12 AM · Report this
I wish Dan would stop saying stupid shit like "gay people are in a tiny, tiny minority" since we've discovered over the past decade or so that that is simply not true.
Posted by wayne on September 26, 2013 at 7:17 AM · Report this
sissoucat 100
@lolorhone : I just did some catching up and I saw your comment on Ophian, in response to my curiosity.

I had not realized his icon was really him ! He had another icon before... I agree on the looks. Although, he looks more little brother-ly to me, than anything else.

As for "mon chapeau rose", it doesn't sound idiot for a French reader.

I was actually entertaining the thought of several possible meanings. One was some actual pink hat, along with a bilingual (leer) double-entendre about your own hat having risen, in a Mae West situation.

A far-fetched idea was a double-entendre with some respectful salute towards his awesome posting and being. Although, I would have expected your hat to go down in such a salute, rather than up - so that idea had me confused. In French, the phrase "chapeau bas !" was still used 40 years ago by males to convey a strong admiration, so...

Besides, the use of "mon" makes it look like you two did meet, with positive results - "mon" is a lot more intimate for a French speaker than "cher", which is a lot more impersonal, because "cher" is widely used in formal adress. One can object to being called "my", but not to "dear". I expect it's different in English.
Posted by sissoucat on September 26, 2013 at 7:22 AM · Report this
migrationist@90 - good point. I think people have no idea why they reject most potential partners, but our friends expect us to have reasons. Saying "he just smelled wrong" doesn't help our friends know how to set us up with more likely candidates, but it's probably closer to the truth than the crap reasons we provide ("too much body hair" or whatever).
Posted by EricaP on September 26, 2013 at 7:32 AM · Report this
LOFD, while stuck up, speaks from his despair, and has a point. What he doesn't see is that a. Dan is right and people stop being in transition much later in life (30s? never?) and b. that Dan is right and within a certain range of parameters, sexual attraction is a great leveller.

Dan's ignoring a few things.

1. LOFD is not dumb. LOFD probably knows all that. But he's probably looking for something longer term, not for hookups, and he's considering the real option that he'll fall for someone who will then find himself in another job/city/state/country because his whole life is in flux while LOFD is chained into place by his golden cage. To which I'd say that Dan is right and you should give it up. If you have to move because of someone you'll land another 6 figure job somewhere else.

2. The reverse snobbism of the transient/'less' intelligent (or pretend-less-intelligent). I'd bet LOFD is not so much rejecting them (because they are not 'people like us') as afraid of being rejected (because HE is not 'people like us'). He knows that most people are like that and he's afraid he won't fit in with their lives/interests/friends. Maybe he's right. But he won't know until he tries. Which means opening himself up to their lives/interests/friends. So Dan's right again.

3. Sexual attraction is a great leveller only up to a point. Granted, LOFD's point may be too close to the edge of his nose.


I'll wear my Edward Said hat and guess that Andrew Sullivan had more going into and out of those clubs than Democracy and there was probably a healthy dose of romanticizing the exotic/different. Which is awesome if you can make it work for you (Andrew of Arabia? Those English school boys) but what if you can't. In that case you're stuck in your little comfort zone and all you can do is expand it little by little.

Which means LOFD, if you've been on those first dates, those guys are pretty close to the edges of your comfort zone and it's up to YOU to push your envelope. Which you will have to do because what you've been doing so far isn't working.
Posted by PmP on September 26, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
sissoucat 103

I'll admit the misoginy part as obviously heterocentric, but not the racism part, nor the raping and pillaging part. I'm sure male children or youths are raped by soldiers or "owners" just like female children and women are. And by that I don't mean, they are raped by gay soldiers or by gay "owners" - but they are raped by rapists.

Other than that, is it heterocentric (in a bad way) to say that heteros only have sex with heteros and gays with gays, so the postulated "great equalizer" effect of sex would have no effect on heterosexuals murdering gays ?

On your other point, I've been reading Swift lately - that accounts for the "smothering arms of England". I doubt you would object to this historical use.

I have no knowledge of present-time Ireland nor of its links to England, and I would not engage anyone on it. I was merely referencing the fact that, at least for now, Ireland is not actively trying to get out of Europe, though it's known for having tried for centuries to get out of the UK.

And frankly, I'm tired of the French bashing on the BBC and on Sullivan, so sometimes I feel I'm allowed a little rant against Proud Englanders.

I want to add that I'm not ranting against all Englishmen, far from it - only about those who think that England is the best thing that ever happened to humanity. Many Frenchmen have the same obnoxious feeling of their own country's importance and I hate it with passion, too.
Posted by sissoucat on September 26, 2013 at 7:46 AM · Report this
I think all the scorn being heaped on LOFD is completely uncalled-for. He says nothing at all that is judgemental of his dates. All his says is "it won't work"...

The truth is that socializing with people who are less intelligent or less well-off can be very depressing. Even if the "higher-status" person acts as neutrally possible, often the other person takes on persona in response of jealousy, self-pity, etc. Often these people won't have much in common, which is a downer in and of itself.

How about giving him some advice instead of "you are a bad person and don't deserve companionship!" ?
Posted by jewdude on September 26, 2013 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Oh, LOFD has set off a stink bomb, and the source of the stench isn't income, intelligence or education. It's class. That's a third-rail of American life, a subject that makes everyone a little crazy, even our usually compassionate host.

We shut the door on potential love interests all the time for the most capricious of reasons and nobody takes us to task for it. Too old? Too fat? Wrong color? Not your "type"? Too bad! It's almost certain we'd have found common ground and perhaps even happiness with these rejects had we given them a chance. Sure, the pious will call us ageists or shapeists or looksists or racists, but for the most part we get a pass.

Add class to the mix, though, and it becomes a free-for-all. Not knowing that class is a radioactive topic, LOFD has been naive enough to talk about the problems he's having finding someone of his own socioeconomic background. OK, let's all take a deep breath and relax. Just think of it as LOFD's second coming out.

Look, LOFD has grown up in a cultural bubble. Now that he's out of the cocoon of his privileged family and education, he's a traveler in a foreign land. He's asking himself "Who are these people?" and "Where's my tribe?" Having been surrounded all his life with people of his own socioeconomic group, LOFD's in culture shock.

It would have been great if LOFD's parents and schools had taught him to embrace diversity, but that rarely happens. Because we're human we have an acute need to be with our own kind. When we encounter someone for the first time, we perceive key differences in nanoseconds. And, as history shows, we have very hard time seeing past them. Nothing in LOFD's experience has prepared him for having to fend for himself socially in the off-leash dog park that is American life.

If LOFD were straight, the institutions of his class would probably see to it that he met the right girl, er, woman in due course. But those institutions aren't working for him just now because he's gay.

So my advice to LOFD is to remember he's a double minority (a status that gets other types of people bonus points in LGBTQ theory-land) and it will take time for him to find a kindred spirit. They're out there. You'll find your niche. Keep looking and be yourself.

Posted by ADavey on September 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
@71 Called BS on Anrew of Arabia much better than I did.
Posted by PmP on September 26, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
LOFD, if you equate rich and successful with smart and informed, you should rewatch the Republican debates.
Posted by Texans on September 26, 2013 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Ms Sissou - I can see why you'd think I was objecting to "homophobia would remain", but that wasn't it. My expectation would be that homophobia would be essentially unchanged even if there were some alteration of attitudes.

What I found heterocentric was that you seemed to assume that the effect on opposite-sexers and same-sexers would be identical. I admit on a reread that I did conflate your "having sex" with the general discussion of "having sex with people outside of one's intellectual/class/economic comfort level". If you meant yours more generally only, then I retract most of my point.

I might still ding you, though, for putting "misogyny" first in an anti-Sullivan argument. That made the post appear (to this same-sexer at least) as if you were viewing Mr Sullivan's entirely same-sex encounters through an opposite-sexer lens. To turn your question around, why would anyone expect Mr Sullivan's trysts to have any effect on misogyny? His opinion of women would be no more altered by them than your homophobe's opinion of gays would be by trysts with women of colour. No biggie, and I don't substantially disagree with you - it's just a ding.

Given your previous appreciation of Miss Austen, I didn't think you intended a very condemnation of all things English. But rant well and with style, and I shall at least appreciate your form whatever I might conclude about the substance.

As for Sullivan-bashing, my main quarrel with him is that he is king of the Assimilationists, while lacking the foresight to see that Overassimilation just creates a vicious circle.
Posted by vennominon on September 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM · Report this
M? Davey - You remind me of Rumpole when Liz Probert is terribly distressed to discover that her live-in SO, Dave Inchcape, has been hiding the terrible secret from her that he's an Honourable. Rumpole, fresh off the case of proving that Hilda's second cousin's aristocratic husband didn't kill his philandering mother by finding her and calling her as a witness, has to convince Mizz Liz that Dave had a Deprived Childhood.
Posted by vennominon on September 26, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Thanks Dan. Most especially for the "abortion is not a horrible, horrible thing. It's a medical, medical thing."
Posted by adrianneleigh on September 26, 2013 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Men who are anti-choice have no business enjoying non-procreative sex. Ladies, don't sleep with those hypocrites!
Posted by CorgiFeet on September 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Dear LOFD,

if only there were arranged gay marriages - my mother's friends have such handsome and eligible sons. But alas, gay + kind + handsome + intelligent + old European money + je ne sais quoi doesn't seem to be a very common combination, so I've settled for gay + kind + je ne sais quoi, that's already hard enough to find.

Good luck with getting over yourself, if I could so can you :)
Posted by IIIOOOIII on September 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Wow, I've been reading this column and watching your videos on youtube for some time but I finally feel compelled to say I LOVE YOU DAN SAVAGE. Your response to that snobby, elitist asshole LOFD is AWESOME, one of the best things I've ever read!

Also spot on about abortion " not a horrible, horrible thing. It is a medical, medical thing."

Posted by BerlinBabe on September 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
I think that 23 y/o homo is using terminal snobbery and uniqueness as a way of masking what's really going on. Fear. He fears himself thus he fears intimacy which is basically surrendering to allowing another person to really know you. He doesn't want to be seen because he's not fully accepted what people might see. His socio-economic drivel is just grandiosity which a way to counteract a sense of low self worth. Love doesn't know socio-economic boundaries and even if he found someone who is equal to that aspect of himself they can never truly love him based upon that, nor can he. Impressed? Maybe, but that's never to be confused with love. When he is willing to risk who he truly is instead of just a superficial mask then he will find people to date. Right now what he's offering is doing exactly what he subconsciously wants it to do and that's keep people and real intimacy at bay. Very sad.
Posted by yaletownman on September 26, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Suggesting a woman get a biopsy on her clitoral area? Why? She's not experiencing any pain or discomfort and, as her partner writes, she has an easy time orgasming! So what's the freakin' problem? Yay for biological diversity!!!What's wrong with you, Dan?!?
Posted by getaclue on September 26, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
I love all the Auntie Mame references in the reply to LW1. Haha, it seems most people have missed them though.
Posted by chart76 on September 26, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
CLIT, is it possible that your girlfriend could be exaggerating or faking some orgasms? She might need support to be able to talk openly about it.
Posted by foodpillsyes on September 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Might the woman without a clit be a circumcised woman? Female circumcision was as commonplace as male circ at some points in history.
Posted by sdfsdfsdfsdfsdf on September 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
@86 lolorhone: Thanks. I had another blood test yesterday.
We'll see how normal (ha-ha!!) I really am the next time I go back to see my amazing ND.

@107 I second that! Bingo! That's basically the overwhelming majority of the GOP, though. There they sit in their big, cozy "Members Only" station, but somebody moved the railroad an insanely long, LONNNNNNNNG time ago.
I wonder what the GOP will do when all THEIR rapidly devalued safety net funds go poof?
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Dan, I love you to bits, but your reply to LOFD made me cringe. It was rude and mean, and made you no fucking better than him.

And I for one, can relate to a degree. I don't agree with everything he said, and do agree with a lot you said, but at the same time, I have dated guys that don't make as much money as I do, or have as much spare, and it does put a cramp on the relationship when you want to go do things together, and that other person can't afford it, you feel like you have to pay and carry them a little financially, and you have to be superhuman for that not to cause some resentment.

So try seeing it from his pov, if there are incompatibilities there, it simply doesn't work. While yes, I think LOFD is a bit of an ass, I also want to applaud him for being honest about some things which do actually matter when it comes to LTRS and not just casual dating.
Posted by Chandira on September 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM · Report this
I can't help but noticed LOFD never said he came from a higher socioeconomic status, for example full ride could mean scholarship. I've always thought that I would like to end up with an educated person raised in an immigrant family, like I was, as we'd likely have the same set of values. This actually happened and we share very similar perspectives on many things. Part of the reason I thought such was taking note that my closest friends came from similar backgrounds as mine. Not that I always get along with everyone who came from an immigrant family, but it is also rare that I've bond with someone from an upper socioeconomic class. LOFD seems be getting a lot of slack from people making some assumptions about him - doesn't that seem a bit ? Read between the lines, it sounds like a young man who finds despair that he won't find his perfect match. Perhaps more applicable is advising him that he's young, many people don't find their partners till later on in life and so for now, especially since he just came out, have some fun! Explore gayhood, explore some relationships, because honestly, sometimes you won't know what you want till you know what you don't want.
Posted by northernreader on September 26, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
sirkowski 122
"I could have been so much worse a human being if I'd been straight."

Eeesh! He's awful enough already.
Posted by sirkowski on September 26, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
lolorhone 123
@96: Sure, orgasms are physically powerful- they bring forth life, or at least relax your shoulders. But the hearts and minds of bigots are not conquered by the ass of the righteous. After all, the bigot is not well versed in feeling empathy or logical thinking.
Posted by lolorhone on September 26, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
The truth is that Dan is being quite a bit the hypocrite in his response to LOFD. After reading the story of his meeting his future husband, I don't think I am off the mark in inferring that Dan selected his mate based on hotness.

The truth is that there is no stricter and more cruelly enforced social distinction in the gay world than the one based on hotness. It is also the only one that is considered okay to brag about.
Posted by cockyballsup on September 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Points for multiple Auntie Mame references!
Posted by regular lurker on September 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this

Attraction to hotness is not confined to the gay world. It's usually the first driver to fucking. It's how we got here.

Posted by Hunter78 on September 26, 2013 at 5:46 PM · Report this
The real question is, "Where is the video of Debby chasing you around with a vulva puppet, and why isn't it on YouTube?"
Posted by A. Towne on September 26, 2013 at 6:59 PM · Report this
@123 lolorhone,

"@96: Sure, orgasms are physically powerful- they bring forth life, or at least relax your shoulders. But the hearts and minds of bigots are not conquered by the ass of the righteous. After all, the bigot is not well versed in feeling empathy or logical thinking."

Yes, you're correct.

My point of view in making the 96 post had everything to do with the hypocrisy of denial.  I'm sorry if this seems breeder-centric, but every human artifact and human came about due to at least an ejaculation.  But this also creates and underscores our "togetherness of origin", and that, I think, addresses your points.  I'm not so sure that the asses of the righteous haven't done a lot more than we give credit (or at least couldn't), the way we've been so brainwashed.

Posted by Married in MA on September 26, 2013 at 7:39 PM · Report this
At the beginning of LOFD's letter, I could somehow understand his concern. I have been on dates with stupid people (I remember at least one guy who was stupid, I couldn't have sex with him afterwards and never contacted him despite the fact that he was pretty hot) but what annoyed me with LOFD's letter was more the fact that he mentioned not wanting to date someone with a different socioeconomic status. That's when I truly realized he was a bit full of himself. Many people are not from wealthy background but they end up having successful careers and life.
In any case, I love Dan's response.

As for the Andrew Sullivan's bit, I think some of you kinda missed the point. I think his general message was that "getting to know people that are not part of your social group is a good way to lose your prejudices against them, whether it's through sex or any other sort of social interaction, " as said by @87 although it doesn't mean that people who have sex with Blacks can't be racist either.
Posted by Cali-Guy on September 26, 2013 at 7:49 PM · Report this
You could almost write a whole book about what happened to me.
Posted by indigodumas on September 26, 2013 at 8:49 PM · Report this
@120, you don't have to be "superhuman" to avoid resentment in that situation. You just have to be grateful for the money you have, and generous in wanting to share your good fortune with friends and lovers who have less.
Posted by EricaP on September 26, 2013 at 9:12 PM · Report this
lolorhone 132
Married @128:

I'm sorry if this seems breeder-centric, but every human artifact and human came about due to at least an ejaculation.

It's not breeder-centric, it's true.

But this also creates and underscores our "togetherness of origin", and that, I think, addresses your points.

It addresses my points only if you've got some goddamn sense. My point was less to tear down the power of sex, and more to express my utter cynicism at sex's ability to transform bigots as claimed by Sullivan. I take as evidence of this his experience with the righteous ass of black men in his youth failing to make a heinous and fraudulent piece of race-baiting pseudo-science like The Bell Curve repugnant to him. Of course interacting with "the Other" demystifies and lays the stage for dialogue and empathy. But you have be open to that (and fundamentally- not selectively, fundamentally- decent) to begin with. And, if you'll allow me just a bit more cynicism, if one has earned the title of bigot they are almost certainly not fundamentally decent.
Posted by lolorhone on September 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM · Report this
lolorhone 133
" transform the bigoted" Not "bigots as claimed by Sullivan". He simply claimed that sex with "the Other" was across-the-board transformative.
Posted by lolorhone on September 26, 2013 at 10:16 PM · Report this
I've read this column for some time now and I've watched many of Dan Savage's videos on Youtube, and I finally feel compelled to say: I LOVE YOU DAN SAVAGE. Your response to that snobby asshole was EPIC, absolutely spot on!

Also thank you for saying that "Abortion is not a horrible, horrible thing. It is a medical, medical thing."

Posted by BerlinGal on September 27, 2013 at 1:52 AM · Report this
sissoucat 135
@vennominon 108 : I wonder whether your post tests my intelligence or my knowledge of English, because I don't entirely get it. So in trying to explain my meaning I'm going to have to throw brevity overboard (not that I'm any good at it anyway).

"What I found heterocentric was that you seemed to assume that the effect on opposite-sexers and same-sexers would be identical"

For me sex is a mutually consented-to physical activity involving genitalia, and resulting in shared agreeable feelings. I fail to see how having sex could have different psychological effects on opposite-sexers than on same-sexers.

Do you mean that two same-sexers would identify more easily with one another than different-sexers, because society has taken care to bring up females and males so that they'll never be tempted to identify with one another ?

I myself find no difficulty in having empathy and identifying with a male's social position and/or his plights, and even with his orgasmic sensations - although I admittedly don't and will never experience, in real life, the sensations of a penis hanging from my underbelly. I can easily identify with like-minded males of vastly different backgrounds, just like I can with like-minded females. With different-minded people, it takes an effort, and I usually hate the feelings I bring back from the experience ; I seldom simply can't.

"To turn your question around, why would anyone expect Mr Sullivan's trysts to have any effect on misogyny?"

I was not meaning to adress his example of same-sexer trysts, but his theme of "trysts with the Other". I felt that Sullivan was not focusing on homoeroticism and what it could bring to the understanding of Nations, but that he was taking his own sex experience (which is same-sex) as an example of the Power of all forms of Sex against Bigotry. If that feeling of generality was mistaken, then my reasoning falls, of course.

My reasoning on "Sex with the Other destroys Bigotry" went like this : take the example of a heterosexual misogynist engaging in het sex. It is a true "tryst with the Other". But we know that het misogyny is not cured by het sex, at all. Therefore "Sex with the Other destroys Bigotry" is false.

Sure, using an hetero example is not very elegant in an anti-Sullivan post, but I lacked culture to find a similarily striking same-sex situation. And for people who believe that truth comes with numbers, surely misogynists males having sex with females suffering from misogyny is the more widespread kind of sex in the human race, maybe not by frequency, but by sheer number of participants.
Posted by sissoucat on September 27, 2013 at 2:17 AM · Report this
Why aren't men pushing for approval of RISUG? We hear these complaints all of the time - "I'm anti-abortion, can't enjoy sex without worrying, I don't want to get tricked into being a father, I don't want to get stuck with the child support bills" - but there is never any action.

Push for approval of RISUG in the US, or go to a reputable doctor in another country to get it. Just quitcherbithcin and take action already.
Posted by paxad on September 27, 2013 at 3:12 AM · Report this
Ms Sissou - I'll respect it as a difference of reasonable opinion for the most part. You actually illustrate my point about the Other. The nautre of What Sort of Other is different for opposite-sexers than it is for same-sexers. Opposite-sexers are boinking an Other Gender; same-sexers are not; any other Other may or may not be shared in either sort of encounter.

I can't off the top of my head recall who here among the women (looking for a corresponding example) is an Absolute Kinsey Zero, but such a woman has ALWAYS had sex with The Other. I have never had sex with that kind of Other. While I agree with your conclusion about not destroying bigotry, I don't think you can universalize from your example, particularly because I'll agree with your numbers. My quantity of Oppressor-Oppressed boinking will be much lower than that of Ms AKZ. If we agree that all women suffer from misogyny, then ALL her sexual experience includes an oppressor-oppressed element that could be entirely lacking from mine. Is it possible that Sex with AN Other might affect me differently from the way it affects either Ms AKZ or any of her partners, given the significant difference just cited? I don't think Sex with The Other Cures Bigotry, but it could well have a different effect on same-sexers than it does on opposite-sexers, especially as we have more non-orientational based others. Trying to universalize on Ms AKZ's experience, based primarily on an aspect of Sex with the Other that I have never experienced, at least appears to be unwilling to look at whether SWTO has a different effect in our lives.

I am sure you've had conversations going about some aspect of women's lives when along came someone to redirect the conversation and centre the experiences of men. Though you were nowhere near being in the same league as the Men's Rights Advocates I see elsewhere, this felt like something of the same sort. The LW is a same-sexer. The columnist and the well-known person mentioned as an example - the same. The key point of the Sullivan anecdote was arguably the quote about being gay being for him a moral blessing.

The point, while intended as universal, was felt sufficiently grounded in same-sexer perspective that it just felt recentred when the perspective was neither examined nor acknowledged.

It might be a question of standing, too. Mr Rhone made a comment similar to yours, which struck me as a more effective debunking just because of identity. He can presumably speak with more authority on this question than either of us.

It would be interesting, don't you think, to hear from some of those with widespread experience both OS and SS? Mr Sullivan goes too far, but there might be something.
Posted by vennominon on September 27, 2013 at 6:11 AM · Report this
sissoucat 138
@137 So, if I understand well, a given of same-sex encounters is some level of Sameness, felt by both participants, and Sullivan's argument is that this Sameness spills over the Otherness of skin color or other factors - while there is no such Sameness to be experienced in heterosexual sex, because, duh, different sexes ?

I agree that we need bisexuals to solve that.

I would cynically expect all kinds of humans to be egotistical in bed, and more focused on their own pleasure than on that of their partner, be they same or different sexers (since we're talking about hook-ups, not love or actual relationships), but sometimes cynicism is wrong.

I'd very much like to know.
Posted by sissoucat on September 27, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Ophian 139
sissoucat, @138: "I agree that we need bisexuals to solve that."

At your service, ma'am. *tips pink hat*

I don't know that my anecdotal evidence has any special insight, but the short of it is that--in my opinion--Sullivan is full of shit. I think the point that plenty of misogynists have sex with women is apt.

For me everyone is an other [i.e. they aren't me], and their physical, demographic, economic traits are dwarfed by that fundamental otherness. I don't feel more "other" when having sex with an Asian woman than with a Caucasian man. To me that kind of reasoning seems ridiculous. As a white male myself, who would be more "other" to me: a white female or black male?

I think sex can be one of the most intimate acts two humans can share, but obviously two people can fuck and go their separate ways without so much as eye-contact. It's even possible that sex is one of the least equalizing endeavors as it can be inherently exploitative, unlike working/living/finding common cause with someone different than one's self.

[Aussi, lolo peut utiliser "mon" avec moi. Nous sommes internet-marié.
@ lolo: Comment va-tu, mon acajou? *faisant les bises*]

Posted by Ophian on September 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Ms Sissou/Mr Ophian - I think we're all about equally anti-Sullivan, though for different reasons.

Ms Sissou - I'm not necessarily pushing an answer; I'm more willing to consider possibilities. Same-sexers apparently go outside of the socio-economic box more often than opposite-sexers. We can look at why and we can look at what the effect might be or whether there wouldn't be any effect at all.

Mr Ophian - Thank you for your authoritative testimony. You have illustrated something, too, which was causing me a bit of disquiet. I can more or less relate to part of what you say, having never found any partner of colour to be any more or less other than anyone else, but then I never really viewed anyone of any particular colour as any more of an Other than anyone else. (I so rarely feel that I have anything in common with anyone human that everyone is Other, much more so than for most people.) How far can either of us really speak about someone who had an Other-based fear of a particular group? We are perhaps on safer ground if we just deny him the credit he seeks for getting over that problem because his having that problem was a moral failing on his part in the first place - the Big Whoop reply, more or less.
Posted by vennominon on September 27, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Ophian 141
@ vennominon:

Having not read Sullivan's piece [I don't have the time to read something that will make me grit my teeth just now], I will continue to pronounce authoritatively.

I think, perhaps, for Sullivan being gay and wanting to date/get laid broadened his horizons, but I don't really think there is a greater point there.

I do think being queer can, in general, engender or fertilize empathy, as any experience of being the minority, the disfavored, the alien can. But then I consider anyone who has not experienced exclusion to be under-privileged.

"I so rarely feel that I have anything in common with anyone..."

The egalitarianism of alienation. By Nature and/or Nurture I've never had any capacity for group identity, be it a nationality, gender, sports team, &c. Not that I don't see gender, color, tax-bracket in others--those are traits people have--but since I don't know how to feel like one of Us, the other in question is not then one of Them.

Posted by Ophian on September 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
Good grief, as a straight woman I'm very glad to hear the first letter writer's gay because at least I'm not going to encounter him in dating! Hello, you're not alone because others don't match up, you're alone because you put people off by being such an unbelievably conceited numbskull. Income is not a metric of how much fun someone is to be with!
Posted by GG1000 on September 27, 2013 at 8:43 PM · Report this
lolorhone 143
Ophian @139: I am wonderful, mon chapeau rose. And I agree with you wholeheartedly on the Sullivan thing. Sex is what you make of it, and no kind of sex with any kind of "Other" (however one might define that) is a magic ticket to a transcendent and universal humanism. The exception, of course, is between dreadlocked gay black men and yogic Caucasian bisexuals in pink hats. But everybody knows that.
Posted by lolorhone on September 27, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
nocutename 144
Yes, yes, Ophian and lolorhone, flirt all you two want. But if you two get married, you'd better invite all of us to the wedding or face our wrath.

As far as the point of otherness, raised by Mr. Vennominon and then picked up by Ophian (distinct from the Sullivan points): I think that every one is other from everyone and thus has the feeling of alienation breached momentarily and fleetingly by encounters of varying sorts with varying sorts of people. But to paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm, all animals are different. But some animals are more different than others.

There's difference of race, of age, of sex or gender, or culture or ethnicity, of nationality, of language, of religion. There's the compelling difference of exoticism and there's the off-putting of difference of discomfort. There's difference and there's alienation. I'm a white, middle-aged, Jewish straight woman, the true Zero on the Kinsey Scale Mr. Ven alluded to earlier. In my being, I provide many points of difference or dissimilarity, Yet none seem so profound to me as the relatively simple one of gender. Whether a man is gay or straight, no matter what culture or ethnicity he comes from or identifies as, no matter what shade his skin, or what religion, the most profound difference from me always seems to be in his maleness.
Posted by nocutename on September 27, 2013 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Ophian 145
@ lolo: You know, sometimes I like my men like my coffee: dreadlocked, reading DFW, listening to PJH.
Posted by Ophian on September 27, 2013 at 11:36 PM · Report this
sissoucat 146
@lolorhone : ooh, dreadlocked too ! I wanna see that.

@Ophian thank you so much for your input - and congratulations for your internet marriage, I wouldn't dare to pronounce on your actual personas but as far as your internet personas go, I think both of you got a winner there.

Bisexual heh ? Dommage que je n'aie pas dix ans de moins, pour pouvoir vous draguer sans mauvaise conscience. Vous êtes appétissant... Then again, I wouldn't dream to compete with your awesome relationship with lolorhone !

Alienation : I've never felt I belonged either, and I've a hard time putting myself in the shoes of people who seem to do. I default to thinking they're just pretending. But the idea of "them" does come by, when I realize I'm adressing a misogynist, a homophobe or a racist - maybe because they're oppressors, maybe because their hate is not grown out of their own experience, but has been learned by living inside a group who shared the same prejudice.
Posted by sissoucat on September 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM · Report this
lolorhone 147
@Ophian: That must be a damn fine dark roast you're sipping on is all I'm saying. I'm just as particular about my cream.


How's the PJH research going? I get a toaster oven if I make one more fan of hers. : )
Posted by lolorhone on September 28, 2013 at 12:10 AM · Report this
Thanks for addressing abortion when the anti's are raging on their "40 days for life" aka "40 days for harassment" campaign at clinics that offer private, safe and affordable abortion services.
Posted by Ms.11 on September 28, 2013 at 12:28 AM · Report this
Ophian 149
@lolo...have been listening to PJH Pandora radio all this evening. The toaster is yours. Also, you mightn't be the only one particular about your cream.

@nocutename, "as the relatively simple one of gender..." I can't put my finger on why, but that experience of "maleness" as opposed to--I suppose--"femaleness", is something I don't understand. That which is of principal obviousness to you, escapes me.

@sissoucat, vous pouvez draguer avec suis certain que mon mari ne serait pas vexé.
Posted by Ophian on September 28, 2013 at 1:17 AM · Report this
lolorhone 150
@Ophian: Awesome. I shall play To Bring You My Love while I toast everything bagels to a rich golden brown...also, the cream thing goes south in terms of metaphor fairly quickly so I'm just going have to call you mon mari chaud and be done with it. My apologies : )

@sissoucat: Je ne serais choqué si vous n'avez pas flirter avec moi aussi. C'est agréable d'être invité à la fête, même si vous ne pouvez pas aller... Tell me if I messed that up, it's been awhile since I wrote a full sentence in French.

Posted by lolorhone on September 28, 2013 at 1:50 AM · Report this
@88 Thanks! Hopefully my grammar will improve with time. I sill have a fridge with more than a few 6.9 IPAs so I can't promise anything...

I never considered he might have issues interacting with people in general. That would be a much more complicated situation.
Posted by Really Now... on September 28, 2013 at 1:58 AM · Report this
And yes, feel free to say "duh" to 151. I know I did.
Posted by Really Now... on September 28, 2013 at 2:00 AM · Report this
lolorhone 153
Still Thinking @88: You're very welcome!
Posted by lolorhone on September 28, 2013 at 2:10 AM · Report this
The Zoo 154
@127: I agree. The visual I get is plenty amusing, but oh, if only there were a video to along with it.
Posted by The Zoo on September 28, 2013 at 3:14 AM · Report this
nocutename 155
Ophian, I hope I'm not offending you and I don't mean to sound ignorant, but do you think you're bisexuality somehow makes you bi-gendered a bit? I guess people who identify as queer also don't feel that gender binary.

One of the reasons I like reading this column and its attendant comment thread is that I feel like I get a window into the male mind. And it always seems somehow fundamentally different from the way mine or most of the women I know experience sexuality. Let me add all the qualifiers. I know there's no monolithic male way of being, nor a lone female point of view (I often don't share the majority presupposed "female" point of view). Still, I often feel that the vast majority of men and women just react to sexual things in a way that's essentially different from each other, whether they're gay or straight. Even though you have represented yourself as pretty close to a Kinsey 3 if my memory is correct, you seem to me to be very male in your reactions to sexual matters, which leads me to think that what I see as essential differences has more to do with gender identification than sexual orientation.
Posted by nocutename on September 28, 2013 at 7:20 AM · Report this
Maybe Lo and Oph could give us a blow-by-blow account of their relationship?
Posted by Hunter78 on September 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Ms Cute - Perhaps Mr Ophian is an agent of the Radical Bisexuals who are out to Destroy Gender (I've seen the Agenda and that is actually there). Unfortunately, I forget what the group is called.

I think "genderqueer" might be more accurate in the last sentence of your first paragraph.
Posted by vennominon on September 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
While I similarly hold my nose at LOFD's prudishness, I'm amused at the suggestion that we modern gays are above the "isms" that plague our straighter brothers and sisters. Sullivan aside, how often have we segregated ourselves into separate clubs, separate beach retreats, and even separate "gay rights" organizations lest we rub elbows with those of another color?

And, that certainly is never enough - we cement additional ones into acceptable behavior all on our own. Where else is it acceptable to tell someone they're too fat, too femme (even if the one saying "no" is similarly endowed). God forbid anyone intentionally acting "stereotypical" should want to get laid (no one could actually ever be BORN that way).

I've even seen Cardinal Savage counsel an overweight teen on MTV about "expectations."

So - yeah - SOFD is out of line, but he isn't rowing that slightly fascist boat on his own. We're all a bit not so nice when it comes to who we want to bed. Mr. SOFD is just playing it at a much higher level.
Posted by Phantom on September 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM · Report this
lolorhone 159
@158: I don't think people are coming down on him solely for having unreasonable expectations. It's that he seems to think that his disastrous dating record is the result of some kind of 'lonely at the top' syndrome- that his intelligence, salary, and overall high perch in life makes him deeply incompatible with a large swath of the population. In reality, it's his own deeply off-putting presumptuousness and insufferable condescension that destroys any commonality between him and his potential mates- not to mention the commentators here.
Posted by lolorhone on September 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 160
Mr. Ven @ 157 - destroy gender? What do you/they mean by that?
Posted by Still Thinking on September 29, 2013 at 1:00 AM · Report this

For now you should just pay for sex. Maybe you'll find what you're looking for.
Posted by Hunter78 on September 29, 2013 at 6:45 AM · Report this
M? Thinking - Well, social constructs can be destroyed, can they not? I don't remember many of the specifics, but the point was that the way society is gendered works against bisexual people, and the radical goal extended sufficiently far that, if memory serves, in effect if not in actual policy, gender would be so de-recognized that nobody would rule out hypothetical partners or decline actual offers on those grounds.
Posted by vennominon on September 29, 2013 at 8:43 AM · Report this
@13 - Notorious clit shrinkage? I know that anti-depressants can kill your libido or inhibit orgasm, but I've never heard of SSRIs causing clitoral atrophy.
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on September 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 164
Mr. Ven - I guess I'm failing to see how the way society is gendered has more of a negative effect on bisexuals than it has on anyone else.
Posted by Still Thinking on September 29, 2013 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Speaking of genders, haven't gays created their own subgenders of tops and bottoms?
Posted by Hunter78 on September 30, 2013 at 3:08 AM · Report this
smajor82 166
@165 - that's not a gender, and it doesn't just apply to gays and most people don't identify as one or the other.

So no, they haven't.
Posted by smajor82 on September 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
smajor82 167
@157 - I like the idea of destroying a concept. When they finish destroying gender, maybe they can set about destroying ridiculousness.
Posted by smajor82 on September 30, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 168
@13 & @163: Perhaps if the anti-depressants kill libido so completely that the clitoris never becomes the slightest bit erect, it might appear to have physically atrophied. But it's hormones that cause physical changes.

Here's a laundry list of SSRI side effects. It doesn't mention any morphological changes. Though it does list vaginal numbness and clitoral priapism (continuous erection). Yikes.
Posted by Allen Gilliam on September 30, 2013 at 11:25 AM · Report this
@131 Erica, Try it for long enough, and tell me something different. I have done it myself most of my adult life, and yes, it gets old.
I have been supportive of several partners with less than me, and it gets very very old. I am not superhuman, you might be, if it doesn't bother you. Either that or you have just got very lucky in your choice of partners. That's nice, I wish you continued luck with that. I haven't been so lucky.
Posted by Chandira on September 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM · Report this
I feel a burning need to confess a long-standing internet crush on lolorhone...

Posted by LaSargenta on September 30, 2013 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Making more than your partner is an issue more keenly felt by women than men.
Posted by Hunter78 on September 30, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
seandr 172
@Chandira: you feel like you have to pay and carry them a little financially, and you have to be superhuman for that not to cause some resentment.

Wow. Replace "superhuman" with "human", and I think your statement would be more accurate. Given that even high earners can suddenly find themselves without a job, maybe you should stay out of the dating pool altogether.

FWIW, I've been the primary breadwinner in my relationship for 15 years, and it's a source of pride for me, not resentment.
Posted by seandr on September 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
173 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Is it just me, or are the people who complain most about other folks "feeling entitled to sex" also the same people who blow a gasket whenever folks don't want to fuck *them*?

Don't want to fuck a dumbass? Elitist.
Don't want to fuck a bum? Classist.
Don't want to fuck a fatass? Fat-shaming.
Don't want to fuck everyone? Repressed Prude.

But of course you're not an entitled asshole... only straight white men can be entitled. It's a privilege thing, you wouldn't get it.
Posted by Hypocrisy Rules on September 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM · Report this
It amazes me how gay guys incourage one another to let go of any sort of standards when looking for a partner. I've had to hear this over and over again, along the lines of: we're a minority, being overly selective won't get us anywhere. Great, let's just give EVERYONE a chance then, right? As long as they're hot, of course, that's the only standard you're entitled to have as a gay guy. Everyone will understand you for not dating someone ugly. Ew. But this one's cute. He works at McDonald's and has never read a book, so what? Maybe he's the one.
Most guys I know ARE giving pretty much EVERYONE a chance, and though their sex lives may be very diverse, their love lives are without exception a fucking shambles. Maybe it's time to realise that's not getting us anywhere, it only serves to satisfy some activist's ideology of a universal gay brotherhood.
Dear LOFD, you may be full of it, you may not be, in any case there's nothing wrong with knowing what's important to you in a man and selecting people accordingly. Dan Savage is full of bad faith.
Posted by norrell on October 1, 2013 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Fenrox 176
So confused, you give advice to mini-andrew sullivan to not be like andrew sullivan, then you back it up with andrew sullivan...
Posted by Fenrox on October 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM · Report this
lolorhone 177
@176: Gold star : )
Posted by lolorhone on October 1, 2013 at 8:49 PM · Report this
My Uncle Jackson got an almost new green GMC Canyon only from part-time off a computer... learn the facts here now
Posted by Marie Brandt on October 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
inquiastador 179
@1- I am sure he just thought it was implied. I have met some gals like this and I am sure it is the same with guys. serious self esteem issues or some other issue but an issue no less and a total turn off for anyone with a shred of self-esteem. Guy better get used to his own company til he grows the fuck up.
Posted by inquiastador on October 2, 2013 at 8:08 PM · Report this

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