This week, questions and quandaries about open relationships, buried penises, plus bondage and cats (unrelated issues) on the Savage Lovecast. Plus, I mailed off checks to Planned Parenthood ($33,333.34), the ACLU ($33,333.33) and the International Refugee Assistance Project ($33,333.33) from the money we raised selling ITMFA ("Impeach The Mother Fucker Already") buttons, t-shirts, hats, stickers, coffee cups, and lapel pins at www.ITMFA.org and www.impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com. (There's new merch, too! Go get some!) And, as always, my inbox was crammed full with feedback from readers. Send your cranky and/or insightful opinions—along with your sex and/or relationship questions—to email@example.com.
First, a Twitter thread on whether or not a man should apologize to a woman he only now realizes he assaulted back then:
And on CAC:
Well, you said you might not always be right, and in this instance i wonder. CAC's boyfriend wasn't sure if he was bi or straight. You suggested he might be bi. But, thinking of a conversation I had with my grandson about his partner—it occurs to me that the boyfriend might be a straight boy who likes his butt played with and filled, an option that he didn't know was possible until he started exploring and they started pegging.
You and your grandson talk about things that I never talked about with either of my grandmothers! Also, a straight boy who likes having his butt filled and has a girlfriend who likes filling his butt typically doesn't get on Craigslist, describe himself as possibly bi, and then respond to emails from guys who want fill his butt. But there are lots of straight guys out there who like having their asses played with and filled, as your grandson pointed out over brisket, but I don't think CAC's boyfriend is one of them.
Some responses regarding SHOTDOWN:
Dan, you said: "Either you're bad at everything you've attempted other than missionary, SHOTDOWN, or she has a very limited sexual repertoire and/or actual physical limitations or health issues she hasn't divulged to you."
Are these the only options? What about, she's been sexually active a long time and she knows her likes and dislikes? Unless that's what you meant by "she has a very limited sexual repertoire." If that's the case, well that's an extremely negative spin on somebody who knows their own boundaries and desires and is healthy, brave, and honest enough to communicate them. Doesn't mean he has to stay in a relationship that makes him unhappy in anyway, but I think this woman should get a big BRAVA! for communicating and not doing anything that makes her uncomfortable. I wish more women could do the same. Society certainly does not encourage that. Rather, it encourages men to think that something must be wrong with a woman for not wanting everything he does. Something wrong like being limited or having health issues. Sound familiar?
While I agree with the general thrust of your argument—people are entitled to their likes and dislikes and brava/bravo/bravnonbinary to anyone who communicates their likes and dislikes—someone who is only comfortable having sex in position... well, that someone is a pretty lousy lay, IMO, and won't be a good sex partner to anyone who doesn't have the exact same limitations and/or preferences.
Another on SHOTDOWN:
You sure aren't always right, and I think you blew this question, though I generally agree with your advice.
See I've watched you express the opinion that regardless of gender or orientation, we all should at least try to work with our lovers' kinks and fetishes, unless it's something gross like furryism or scat play. And I agreed with you when you said that. So why does that not apply to SHOTDOWN? I'm not saying that his gf absolutely has to do things she totally isn't into, but would it kill her to just try some of his fetishes? Maybe indulge him one night a week, or on special occasions? It's all a part of being GGG, after all.
And on the cat-hoarding in-laws on the Lovecast:
Where's the Dan Savage I know and love? Fuck these shitty in-laws. In times like these, especially with an appalled hubby, one needs to make a stand. Let the hubby visit as he sees fit, but don't subject your cool bi self to what is inevitably the same thing you think makes it bearable. I guarantee you'll witness side smirks and eye-rolling too. You've been with him long enough to cap the naysayers. Send a message. No tolerance for phobic (of any kind) in-laws.
Finally, some follow-up from people who took my advice and lived to tell the tale (tail?) and send a followup email:
After you linked my question in a recent letter, I took a moment to reread my own letter and I just wanted to say thank you—really, thanks. Your response stuck with me all through the remainder of that summer, straight through the fall, to January, when I finally DTMFA.
Leaving that relationship became about so much more than simply rounding a .64 up to a 1.0—in the weeks and months following the breakup I realized how manipulative and emotionally abusive he had been. Once I jumped over that fence, I realized I had been nailed down to it. And part of the reason it was so hard to leave, and took me so long to leave, was because it took a while to rip my heart and soul and autonomy from those nails.
But the grass was greener on the other side because it was healthy. I'd like your readers to know (they were all very concerned) that I finished the Ph.D., had a very successful Viva defense, have graduated and found a job in my city doing work that I love. And I found love. Healthy, encouraging, fulfilling love with someone who supported me unconditionally through the final months of my degree, and who champions the work I do now.
Not sure if you get 'where are they now' letters from past correspondences, but thanks again. Your advice was essential. And your readers are wonderful.
And on a recent book recommendation:
I'm a long-time reader of yours, despite being a boring, cis-gendered hetero male with vanilla sexual desires. Your column has opened my eyes to the length and breadth of human sexual desire, and while nearly none of the questions posed to you have applied to me, I've frequently had cause to think, "This is important."
Quick story: A little over two years ago, I met my now-wife on a dating site, where she was open from the beginning about having a spanking kink with strong undercurrents of sexual submission. Not my thing, but I took your three Gs to heart, and after a somewhat rocky start, we developed a satisfying sex life.
Still, she's always been very insecure about her kink, and knowing that I don't share it hasn't helped, no matter how positive and 'game' I am. Recently, you endorsed the book Sex with Shakespeare, and in your synopsis I recognized my one-and-only. I ordered it at once, and my partner and I took turns reading it to each other in the weeks leading up to our wedding. Jillian's voice and experiences really resonated with my wife, making her feel less 'peculiar' and alone, and I learned a bit more about her.
That's it, no question or need for any additional advice, just a hearty "Thanks!" from a vanilla guy and his "boss in the streets, sub in the sheets" wife.
I called in to your podcast few months back for your advice about my husband hiring a woman to have a threesome so I could explore my nascent erotic attraction to women. He planned an entire vacation around meeting this woman who he had carefully chosen and vetted, and was going to be spending thousands of dollars on something I wasn't really sure I wanted to try. He made it clear that at any point I could back out without recrimination, that it could be just meeting someone for a lovely dinner if I wanted. I wanted to know was it a good enough reason to go through with it to just accept his gift. You called me and pretty much said, "What are you worried about?" You talked me off the ledge, suggested scenarios which I might find comfortable, and made me feel relieved to the point I began actually anticipating the trip with guarded excitement.
Well we did it last weekend. Holy shit it was amazing! IT WAS THE HOTTEST THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED! My husband and I will be doing that again as soon as possible, hopefully with this same fun and fabulous teacher as our guide. And without your advice I could have never found the courage to try it. You helped me to stop judging myself and to allow exploration. You gave me permission to try something I always had in the very back of my consciousness. You are such gift. You change people's lives, Dan. Thanks from the bottom of my heart and everywhere else. My husband thinks you are a god!
However, as result of this experience, I now have one more question for you, the oracle of orifices: What am I now? My husband says bisexual, but I don't think that's accurate because I had sex with a woman in the context of a threesome, and I can't see doing it out of that context. At least I don't think I would at this point. I just don't know. What defines bisexual? And If I am, must I now be tasked with coming out to help normalize it? Way to harsh a good time by overthinking, right? But now I have all these new things to think about so I'd love to hear your thoughts. Again, my husband and I are in your debt.
You could go with heteroflexible or bi-curious, I suppose, but the definition of bisexual popularized by bisexual activist Robyn Ochs covers you:
I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.