by Dan Savage
on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:29 PM
It seems like a lot of the questions lately have been from straight women saying things like, "I want to be GGG, so I agreed to do this fantasy for my husband/boyfriend..."
Is "wanting to be GGG" the only reason they're agreeing to these fantasies? It doesn't sound like any of them particularly WANT to be a part of the action, they're just agreeing to make the male partner happy, and because they want to seem cool and fun and agreeable, and they also probably want to keep the guy from straying and seeking fulfillment elsewhere. Which I guess is fine, but I'm not getting the sense that the dudes in these relationships are doing anything similar for their ladies—they're not going outside their comfort zones to accommodate their female partners desires. It doesn't really seem like a super great deal for these women.
Maybe you should clarify that GGG doesn't have to mean "pretending one's own reservations don't exist." It just seems like a lot of women are falling into this "must be cool and not nag and go along with what he wants" trap and your GGG concept is playing into that. I just really feel like there are not a similar amount of guys almost desperate to prove how GGG they are by going along with their female partners' desires and fantasies.
Troubling To Me
My response after the jump...
People should be "good, giving, and game" for their partners. But GGG doesn't mean a person has to do any damn thing their partner wants. I've been hammering away at that point for as long as I've been promoting the GGG concept. Here, for example, is some recent advice I gave to a woman who was wondering if her "GGG Card" would be revoked if she refused to vomit on her partner:
Let's revisit my original definition of GGG: "GGG stands for good, giving, and game, which is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think good in bed, giving equal time and equal pleasure, and game for anything—within reason."
Some kinksters skip past the "within reason" part of the definition when they're discussing kinks with vanilla partners. They shouldn't. Extreme bondage or SM, shit and puke, emotionally tricky humiliation play, demanding that your partner have sex with other people because it turns you on (asking your partner to assume all of the physical risks that go along with that, to say nothing of the emotional risks for a partner who isn't interested in having sex with other people), etc.—all of that falls under the FTF exclusion, or a "fetish too far," which you'll find in the fine print on the back of your GGG card, PUKE.
There are definite risks when someone heads out of his or her sexual comfort zone to please a partner. But anyone who learned about being GGG by reading my column will also have learned about the importance of good communication, mutual respect, and honoring a partner's boundaries. And sometimes respect for a partner's boundaries—respect for a partner's limits—means a particular fantasy/kink/desire is forever off the table. From a recent column:
The possibility of taming one's sexual desire for the sake of another most definitely exists within the Savage moral imagination. I frequently discuss the "price of admission," that is, the personal sacrifices, large and small, that make long-term relationships possible. For some, the price of admission—what it costs to ride a particular ride—includes "taming one's sexual desire for the sake of another." If anal sex is something you enjoy, but you're in love with someone who doesn't do anal, going without anal is the price of admission. If you're not into monogamy, but you're in love with someone who insists on it, then monogamy is the price of admission. Yes, libido will have out—but "libido will have out" doesn't translate into "Dan 'Doesn't Fuck Women' Savage says anything and everything goes."
But you're right, TTM: letters from people who were trying to be GGG and who weren't happy about the outcome—most from women—frequently appear in "Savage Love." I believe there are three things at work:
Thing 1: Women are likelier to write to advice columnists, which means letters from women are overrepresented in advice columns generally.
Thing 2: Men are likelier—far likelier—to be kinky. So kinky requests tend to be made by men. And most men have female partners.
Thing 3: I get a lot of letters from folks—men and women, queer and straight—who have been GGG for their partners and everything went great. I don't print those letters because... the LWs don't need my advice and weren't asking for it. They're just writing to say thanks. Letters like this one...
I was raised a raging fundamentalist, an Amish/Mennonite from the cozy womb of Lancaster, PA. Close to the beginning of my journey of extricating myself from all the weirdness involved in that belief system, I discovered you. In spite of all of the crazy and incorrect stuff I was taught about sex growing up, I am now enjoying amazing, guiltless sex, I am happy, I am in an honest GGG relationship. This is something that younger me would not have even been able to dream of.
And this one...
When my girlfriend said she was curious about pegging I told her that to go on CL and find some other guy. She said that her fantasy was about doing this to me. She wanted to fuck the man she loved, the man who fucked her. I let her do it because I'm down with the GGG concept. I'm not going to lie: I didn't love it. It's definitely not my favorite thing. But we've done it a handful of times over the last three years and I enjoy getting pegged the way she enjoys deep throating: I get off on the pleasure I'm giving. No question. Just wanted to say thanks.
Once more, with feeling: being GGG doesn't mean pretending one's own reservations don't exist. I completely agree with you, TTM. People have a right to their tastes, their preferences, their limits, and their boundaries. That's a point I've emphasized for years. Thanks giving me the opportunity to emphasize it once again.