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August 21, 2008
You usually get mail about sex, being a "sex advice columnist" and all, but I have a parenting problem. Given that you are a fellow parent, I'm hoping you have some insight.
My brother is a conservative; I'm a politically engaged liberal. I can't change him, but I'm disturbed because his son, who we'll call "George," is 13 years old and has taken on many of his dad's intolerant views. For instance, whenever I suggest that my toddler-age son could have a girlfriend or a boyfriend when he grows up, George says, "Being gay is just wrong." He also uses the word "gay" as a pejorative, as in "that's so gay." George takes every possible opportunity to let us know that he thinks homosexuality is wrong. George loves my son, and my son thinks the world of George. So two questions:
1. Do you have any suggestions as to how to convince a 13-year-old boy that homosexuality is okay? I have no parental authority here.
2. Is there an ethical problem with me trying to convince George to adopt my values, in spite of my brother's intention to raise his son with "his values"? Or, put another way, does my trying to sway George without my brother's permission give my brother license to use words like "fag" in front of my son without my permission?
Advancing Liberalism In Youth
Don't be such a liberal pussy, ALIY. You're letting a 13-year-old boy-bigot smack you around! It's time to stop wringing your hands and start wringing the little bastard's neck.
Your nephew feels free to share his opinions with you—and that's great. Kids have a right to express themselves. But you are an adult—HELLO!—and you have a right to express yourself right back. And you can express yourself every bit as bluntly. "Being gay is just wrong," says the nephew. "You're just wrong, you little shit," says the uncle. (That's how my uncles addressed me.) Then you advise your punk-ass nephew to read a book, learn something about the subject, and maybe talk to a real live gay person before he opens his fool mouth to you again on the subject.
Fathers are free—sadly—to teach their sons whatever ridiculous bullshit they care to. I'm teaching my son, for instance, that the theory of gravity is just a theory and that invisible wads of magic chewing gum hold everything down. Your brother, however, can't ask you to censor yourself to protect his kid from the realization that, hey, maybe—just maybe—other opinions are out there and maybe his dad is wrong about homosexuality. So put your brother on notice: If his son is going to share his opinions—your brother's opinions, but whatever—with adults who disagree, then your nephew is going to get into arguments with adults, arguments that—with you, at least—your nephew is going to lose.
And if your brother insists that you STFU about your pro-gay views around his kid, you have a right to insist that he and his son STFU about their anti-gay views around YOUR kid, who might—the chance is small, but there's a chance—grow up to be gay.
Your nephew, of course, could be gay himself. Lots of closeted gay teens seize "every possible opportunity" to let their relatives "know [they] think homosexuality is wrong." I'm tempted to add, "And here's hoping your piece-of-shit nephew is a fag—it would serve your brother right." But odds are good that your nephew, if he is gay, would grow up to be one very messy gay adult, thanks to the zap his dad put on his head, and we've got enough messy gay men lurking in the shrubbery already, so here's hoping the nephew is straight.
Finally, ALIY, no one is going to take away your liberal card if you stop working your toddler son's potential future gay boyfriends into conversation. It's not a crime against progressive values for a parent to assume that his son will most likely be straight when he grows up because—and you might want to sit down for this, you liberal pussy—most of our sons will be straight when they grow up. It's hardly child abuse, ALIY, to refrain from asking others to entertain the possibility that your toddler son will one day enjoy taking it up the ass.
And if you are going to speculate, ALIY, how dare you stop at gay? A boyfriend or a girlfriend? What if he's bisexual and goes from boyfriends to girlfriends? Or what if he's poly and wants scads of boyfriends and girlfriends at the same time? Or what if he's asexual and doesn't want anyone? Or, hell, what if he's into inanimate objects like that British guy who got arrested for fucking a bicycle? Or into dead animals like the nut in Wisconsin who got arrested for fucking a dead deer? Or what if he's a cuckold fetishist and wants a girlfriend who has other boyfriends who blow loads in her that your son gets to slurp out of her pussy when she gets home while talking about how much he loves "cream pie" and shall I go on?
I shan't, ALIY, because there's no need. Contemplating—to say nothing of forcing others to contemplate—our children's future sex partners and interests is unnecessary. We parents shouldn't be in denial about children's sexuality, of course, and we should make sure our children receive excellent sex education. But beyond that, we should demonstrate a quiet reserve, a respect for our children's privacy, and refuse to indulge in gratuitous speculation. We can also demonstrate acceptance by being accepting, and let our kids know that it's okay with us if they're gay or bisexual—or straight—through our actions and, at carefully chosen moments, through our words.
Otherwise, ALIY, our primary responsibility as parents is to STFU, as the kids say, launder those crusty come socks without comment, and let them be who and what they are.
I'm a female college student and a feminist. I expect equal treatment at home and at work. But I have fantasies of domestic discipline. Some days I'd like to rush home to clean and make dinner for my boyfriend in only an apron. Then I'd appreciate it if he'd find some excuse, something I did wrong, and spank me until I cry before he has wild sex with me.
My open-minded guy would be up for this. But how on earth do I set effective boundaries? How can you be taken seriously as an equal when you tell your boyfriend that you'd like him to dominate you outside the bedroom (the cooking and cleaning aspect) on occasion? It's totally unrealistic to pretend to be BETTY CROCKER all the time.
No Clever Acronym
Get a necklace, NCA, that you wear only when you want the boyfriend to take charge. You decide when that necklace goes on, you decide when it comes off, which puts you in control, paradoxically, of your own submission.
When you're wearing it, you're BETTY CROCKER (whoever she is) and the boyfriend has your consent to order you about, spank your ass, and fuck you senseless. When it's off, you're equals. Easy!