Hate is Greeaaaaaat! of yourself.
Count me among those who like Dan's pronouncements on what comes "standard" in a sexual relationship -- sustained attention to each person's genitals leading to orgasms. It's a big improvement over the old standard, which was PIV for straight couples and never mind anyone who felt left out or neglected by that standard.

It's true Dan has said "oral comes standard," but I have taken that as a shorthand to refer to sustained attention to the woman's genitals in the way that she likes. For many women, that's oral. For those of us (like me and this LW) who don't love receiving oral, we can have our sustained attention in other ways, through negotiation. (And of course people who don't like orgasms or prefer non-genital touching can negotiate for those non-standard options.)

But by Dan's standard, a guy can't just deliver PIV and figure he's satisfying his straight partner. And I think that's great.
Damned if you do...
As a Lesbian, I found this whole article...I'm not sure. I have a strong and loving relationship with my lady garden and I would hope that all women would...well not with my lady garden, but their own...of course I am willing to share my lady garden with select master gardeners. I am going to have to do an independent study and look at more vaginas to see if I am missing something...but I am pretty sure I have done thorough research on the subject matter, but I am willing to do more in the name of women's studies.
Treasure the labia and it shall always spring forth a fountain of love.
This woman sounds like she has some serious issues and feels really uncomfortable with anything that might suggest to her that self hatred isn't normal. Dan, PLEASE do not start going to women like this for advice on female sexuality (I know you wouldn't, but I had to say it anyway).
I'm kind of hoping her labia looks like dan savage. It would explain the hostility.
I now want a reality show of Dan knocking down people's bedroom doors and shouting "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!" at them while they're in bed, then proceeding to give them advice in person.
I agree with her that she has the right to feel however she wants to about her own genitals, but surgery was an option covered in the article, so the LW is redundant a best.

And oral comes standard! Receiving doesn't do that much for me, but if a partner if mine didn't let me put their genitals in my mouth, that would be a deal breaker.
The longer this letter went on, the more sorry I felt for her.
Seriously though, you can't just categorically claim all female genitalia in the animal kingdom to be objectively "odd-looking." They're normal-looking to humans. Because, y'know, they're *normal* and necessary for mammalian reproduction. Have you considered the possibility that you're a protozoan born in a woman's body?
And stop trying to start a body-negative movement, for Christ's sake. Nobody's oppressing you from oppressing yourself--but don't act like it's a perfectly healthy behavior.
@7 oh yes!
Male genitalia aren't odd looking? I mean, if it were a contest, I'm pretty sure labia would win on looks. Plus, and this is just my personal reaction, this letter writer's comments would have a lot more weight if she herself loved her labia but hated oral. I honestly don't understand how it's considered healthy to hate on any of your body parts, but maybe that's a thing that everyone does? I don't. My friend's don't. But maybe that's because they're mostly guys and lesbians? I do have parts I especially like, but disliking parts of your own body - I mean, why? Have other people mocked you for them in the past? I could see hating them if that were the case.
@6 Beautiful.
@5, @9, @12: Yes. This seems at base a weak justification of self-loathing. Is it easier to remain in that place than to address the underlying issues? Of course. Not necessarily the healthiest course of action, though.
Wow, coming down hard on the LW. I didn't think she was being hostile at all. I thought her comparison of not loving the labia to dissatisfaction with feet or height or any other body part was right-on. And this bit was just lovely:

"It is always odd when someone likes about us what we ourselves don't, but it happens. So what you need to do is separate your feelings about your labia from your boyfriend's feelings about your labia, understanding that they may be different. Enjoy what THEIR feelings may bring you."

Also, please god, never let me hear the term "lady garden" again.
What a skanktimonious letter.
"I can't believe you and your vagina expert got so deeply into the campaign to force this poor woman to love her labia"

@2: exactly, it's about changing expectations from the old "woman sucks cock then gets ducked" to an expectation of reciprocity. Dan always says that anyone can refuse things.
@5: Right? The solution to having hangups is to get mad at the very possibility of someone getting past them and moving towards self-love.

If you're going to be proud of your brokenness, don't try to tie your self worth on other people also being a pit of misery. Maybe Dan alone can't get the prior LW to love herself, but fucking hell, at least he tried, gently and with concern, something much greater than this individual can say.
What, and male genitals don't look weird? maximumtrolling.jfif
Whether a woman learns to love or merely tolerate her vagina, we can all agree the move away from shame still counts as a W, right? Talk about nitpicking.

Ophian @8: +1 on the, ahem, oral assertions. For me, giving trumps getting in that arena (almost) every time. And thank you for the food for impure thoughts. :)
Yeah... grow the fuck up. I assume you're an adult. That's when you get over the fact you aren't perfect by whatever standard. I didn't like my big nose for ages. I got over it, deemed it "perfectly Grecian", and when I'm feeling down about it note that it makes my face more memorable. Same with any part of the body you don't like.

Not saying I'm framing pictures of my junk as high art, but I'm far from the 12 year old me thinking masturbating had somehow damaged my labia, since one side is frilled and purple and the other isn't. Turns out, holy crap, that's normal. Nowadays, I don't give them any more thought than I do my fingers. They're just a part of my body that feel nice when handled the right way, same as ANY part of my body.

If you're still fixating on a perceived physical imperfection by the time you're closer to menopause than college, you'd be better getting therapy or getting it sculpted, cause you're in for a miserable life of unnecessary angst, you immature twit.
What a long-winded bitchy rant. The original letter writer asked Dan for advice, so I assume she was troubled by her own labia-loathing. I guess this woman wants to tell her "No, go ahead and keep hating your labia, because I hate mine too!" What, misery loves company? Go ahead and hate your labia, hate oral sex, I don't give a shit--but don't jump all over Dan and his guest expert for dispensing the advice they were asked for.
I like this brassy bitch.

Can we hear back from her every once in a while?
We need some good ol' fashioned Sex Negativity to fairly balance out Dan's Sex Positive advice.
Hang on, how is disability in the same category as all that cosmetic shit.
Wow, ease up, folks. If she says her pussy is ugly, let's give her the benefit of the doubt.
SLAM's letter was very thoughtful and well written and contained many valid points. I've always disliked many things about my body and cursed whatever force gave me this nose, these non-existent eyebrows. My feet? I could go on and on. The only people I care about seem to love other things about me and, in many cases, the very things I still hate at the age of 173.

It's okay to love yourself and to hate yourself. Mr. Savage was right, as he so often is. I, for one, love your labia, whoever you are and your penis is just alright with me. If YOU don't, DON'T. Just avoid plastic surgery or psychoanalysis unless it is absolutely necessary and accept that god owes you an apology on general principle.

The one aspect of these copious comments that really sticks with me, though... Savage Love breaking into people's bedrooms and making pronouncements is a billion dollar idea. The other one is the term "lady-garden." Poetic.

I'm not in the business of kicking down bedroom doors and screaming "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!" at couples...

I would like to say that I would totally watch a show where you did, but I have never found the time to check out Savage U, so it would be very hypocritical of me. I still think it would be great though.
How can anyone not love having their fanny gobbled?
God, one of the greatest pleasures.. For me.
Each To His / Her Own.
Oh man she's got issues
And I'm gonna pay
She says she's the victim
But she takes it all out on me
This would have been a good letter if she'd only stopped after the first two paragraphs.
So, LW writes in for advice on how to learn to love her labia, Dan and a labia-possessing expert give her advice on how to love her labia, and SLAM is upset because LW was advised to love her labia?
Having the right to freedom of religion doesn't force you to adopt a religion. Having the right to receive oral sex doesn't force anyone to receive oral sex. SLAM, you just keep those hang-ups you're so obviously attached to. The rest of us will continue to thank Dan for reminding lovers of all genders that being GGG includes, at minimum, some oral lovin' for partners who want it.
Yeah, I agree with @22. Learning to accept and love yourself -- or at least not hate yourself -- is an important part of self-actualization and plain old growing up. I have oily skin that's still prone to breakouts even as I approach my thirties, but fuck it, my skin still serves the very important function of holding my body together, and for that I'm extremely grateful.

It seems childish and shallow not to have gratitude and love for the working body parts we've been given, however short they may fall of arbitrary aesthetic standards.

Mr Rhone - Well, at least there are plenty of other things to do.
My experience is that the only oral sex I've not enjoyed receiving was with men who were terrible at it.
I don't think anything should come standard. I do think that it should be okay to not want to do oral, and people shouldn't be shamed or pressured if they don't like doing it, giving or receiving. It should also be okay to have "no oral" as a dealbreaker. For any gender, but especially for women.
"I hate my body and have deep seated issues about it, and it makes me mad and defensive that other people are not as unhappy as me."
"Fanny gobbled"..."lady garden"...a lifetime of shudders. *_*
@37: I do think that it should be okay to not want to do oral


And it should also be OK for the rest of us to consider such a person to be a substandard lover.
I was with her until "Female genitalia are extremely odd looking in humans and most other animals."

Genitalia are peculiar-looking, certainly, but there is nothing about female genitalia that is objectively weirder or more off-putting than male genitalia, and a suggestion that there is, is -- well, it's misogynist. So now I'm re-evaluating all her other statements as being the result of internalized misogyny rather than an honest relationship with herself and her body.
I kind of agree with @32 - not all of the letter was bad...and Dan was right to run it. The binary thinking around here gets a little extreme at times. While I am truly a lover of roast beef, I can understand why a straight woman isn't so keen on it. The LW does go overboard about the oral thing...Dan isn't saying anybody has to do anything they don't want to.

WRT Reality TV...I can't stand the genre, and I'm a cord cutter (I only just started to try to catch the final episodes of the Colbert Report), but I wouldn't be able to watch Dan out of a weird sense of sympathetic embarrassment for the hapless fuckers. This is kind of like watching Laverne and Shirley or any other show involving people engaging in cringeworthy stupidity.
Wow, I feel bad for this LW. It's not just that she hates herself, it's that she's made this hatred part of her identity to the point where the idea of people not hating, or actually learning to like the bits that they have problems with, is seen as an attack.

LW get some therapy. This is not a good way to live. You don't have to like oral if you don't want to but hating your body has never helped anyone, ever. Really has hating your labia brought and joy, any peace? Has it made things better, easier, more fun? If the answer is 'no' maybe stop doing it?
@29: Get Willam Belli and I'm sold.
@41: "I don't need to love my body" is exactly the same as that "I don't need feminism" meme. Regressivism is nothing to champion.

@43: Fear and insecurity are incredibly powerful in tandem to never ever change yourself for the better. Obviously Dan's letter struck a nerve, hence her lashing out.
@30 when you're filled with self loathing for your vulva. Sorry but I left a man who had WAY too many Ts&Cs for giving head to me.

The LW has a point, a very small one, that after encouraging the OP to love her bits it would be perfectly okay to say that she could still be perfectly okay with just accepting her bits, and letting her man really love them. But the LW would have had SO much more of a case if she hadn't been so negative about vulvas in general and her own, and receiving oral sex, in particular.

"I'm fucked up therefore it's perfectly acceptable for you to be similarly fucked up; telling you that there is no need to be fucked up is fucked up!"
Ha, I should add that him barely giving head was far from the only reason I left him, but it was significant.
@47: Right, not so much "the issue" as symptomatic of some deep-seated ones.
@45 I agree that no one should be forced to give or get oral if they don't like it. I mean I recall the letter from a few weeks back about the woman who's clit was so sensitive that attention to it caused her pain. But Dan has said on more than one occasion that if not having it works for your relationship he has no issues with that.

And now I'm wondering how much her hatred for her vagina might tie in with her dislike of oral sex.
@9: "The longer this letter went on, the more sorry I felt for her."

Yeah, that. But more so,

The longer this letter went on, the more happiness I felt for being married to her.
@msanonymous: It seems there are different understandings of "oral comes standard".

I've always understood this to mean that in a standard relationship, each partner should be willing to give head if their partner enjoys it.

I don't think it should be standard for partners to have to endure receiving felatio/cunnilingus if they aren't into it. If someone really enjoys giving head but their partner doesn't enjoy receiving it, that's just an unfortunate mismatch.

@50: for being married to her


That makes it sound like you feel pity for
your(?) wife.
@52: I think there's a missing "not".
@37: I think "comes standard" means "If you are not into this thing you can expect a longer discussion than shrugging and saying 'nah, I don't do that.' And no grimacing that your new partner would indicate this weirdo kink, e.g. hand holding."

'Comes standard' means that it's something (like hand-holding, cuddling, foreplay, manual stimulation, exclusivity, PiV, oral, back rubs) that is a pretty standard thing to expect in an ongoing sexual relationship. So if you are starting things with a new partner, they're likely to expect those things unless otherwise negotiated. If it's hugely important to one of you and off the table for the other, you won't work. But often there's a sliding scale of how much someone enjoys X vs how objectionable their partner finds X, and if the other letters of the alphabet are great it might not matter.
What an epic grumpfest.

"It is off base for you to relentlessly bully every man on the planet to feel guilty about receiving oral sex if they don't reciprocate."

I'm getting the impression from the explosive bottled up rage-letter that maybe it's not the menfolk at large who are having too many feelings.

SLAM, the next time oral sex comes up in Savage Love, and Dan encourages various and sundry to go down on their partners: just remind yourself he's not talking to you. There, that wasn't so hard was it?
I thought it was awesome.

I hate how I'm short, deaf, myopic, semi- handicapped, etc and if someone said I NEED to learn to love it, it's awesome bring retarded or whatever- I'd tell them to go fuck themselves.
My gf likes me for how I am and. It's cool.

I didn't read anything into it as her being overly hostile and full of self- loathing...she doesn't dig her vadge, but her man does, so cool. She's fine with it, not getting surgery or anything.
Nothing wrong with not liking something about yourself!

God, some of you are uptight as fuck YOURSELVES.
This woman needs to get over herself.
@57: "I hate how I'm short, deaf, myopic, semi- handicapped, etc and if someone said I NEED to learn to love it, it's awesome bring retarded or whatever- I'd tell them to go fuck themselves."

You should love yourself, and a vagina is not a handicap. You can tell others to fuck off all you want, but you should love yourself above all. This "you're not my DAD!!!" Teenangst rant is not any more insightful than the OP.
I love how the people squirming in unjustified self-loathing and discomfort are calling everyone else "uptight".
Nobody's suggesting that it's easy to get past your own hangups and view of self to be an awesome, valuable, sexy being.

But kneejerk attacking people for trying to help others be the happiest they can be (as Savage and the therapist do for a living) is not at all productive for anyone.
@undead_ayn_rand: You should love yourself, and a vagina is not a handicap.

LOL, try that argument the next time a trans person writes in.
Not at all analogous. She's a woman unhappy with the vagina she has, not a man.
lolo @21 *smooch* [possibly below the belt-buckle]
Speaking of "way too much print for a soapbox issue"... Damn.
The fuck? Nobody is forcing anyone to like their own genitalia. MIM said "Any advice that might help dispel a lifetime of genital embarrassment?" So I think it's safe to say she got what she wanted.
Female genitalia is odd-looking??? COMPARED TO WHAT???
How do even know you hate how your labia look? It's not like your nose or something you catch a glimpse of almost by accident every day. Unless you spend a lot of time in the toilet with a hand mirror YOU REALLY NEVER NEED TO SEE THEM. I mean I'm sure I examined mine a time or two as a teenager but now I pretty much just swipe the TP over them and get on with my day.
@39 I have two words for you: "Meat Flower"
@57 you realize that not all of us are incredibly healthy Adonis's rights? I'm diabetic, asthmatic, near-sighted and I recently learned that my left eye has retinopathy, and I'm overweight.

Do I wish that things were different? That I had better vision or a working pancreas? Yeah. Do I spend my time hating the parts of me that don't work? No. Because I don't see the point.

I mean sure I could spend everyday angrily starting at my torso yelling 'why won't you work' but I don't see the point. Aside from being really weird, it won't change anything or fix anything, and doing so would take time away from things I need to do to manage my diabetes and asthma.
@67: The LW may also be disgusted by the sight of flowers and enraged by Georgia O'keeffe.
@68 Yeah, I never look at my vagina unless I think I have a rash or something. Otherwise I never see it. I CAN'T see it, without putting effort into it. I'm no stranger to irrational insecurities, but honestly it baffles me labia insecurity is apparently a common problem.
I'm one of the rare (so far as I can tell) men who doesn't particularly get off on receiving oral sex. I don't dislike it; but it generally just doesn't feel like much to me.
@7 - Might work better as a "Saturday Night Live" skit. Either way, I'll take it.
@73 - Not rare. For myself and quite a lot of other gay men I know report that there isn't enough of friction, I guess, to get off that way.
It's not so much a concern over preference based on what one prefers versus being unable to enjoy in the first place due to disgust with one's body and associated self-loathing. Nobody HAS to enjoy oral, but being disgusted with the very idea of someone loving the look and feel of your nethers is probably something that should be worked past.
@75, even with a hand or two helping out? Still not enough friction? Or not enough control of the speed & intensity?
"I HATE receiving it. He would do it, but I don't want it. ,,, But even if I wanted it, if he didn't like doing it I would not ask it of him."

Yes we can hope Mr SLAM loves SLAM's labia but that's not very realistic. We can also hope she learns to love her own labia but same thing. They appear to like the situation so who cares. But I wonder if the column struck a chord because she does care. I think wanting to be more sex positive is a good thing, I hope she keeps reading savage love. Although I disagree with some of the philosophy, like anything that probably won't leave you scarred is good to do if your partner wants it, and ongoing cheating can be a good long term state, and staying together for the kids. I think these more easily lead to regrets, but most is pretty reasonable.
@78: "But I wonder if the column struck a chord because she does care."

Well, obviously with the discussion of how she "dislikes it" alongside how her husband "uses it". Jeez, its a part of you, not a detached object to debase or something.
@50/52/54: Yeah, I missed inserting a "not".
I guess there is a subtle difference between shame regarding some part of one's body, and comfortably acknowledging that some part of you does't match your preferred aesthetic or socially-internalized standards. The latter isn't necessarily unhealthy, although it often can be, while the former is always unhealthy. If the LW is comfortable with her labia/vagina and can enjoy it, look at it, expose it comfortably without shame then it's ok if she thinks it's not all that pretty. If you're don't like the looks of any body part but still are not ashamed of it and it doesn't affect your overall self-esteem and enjoyment/pride for your body then continue, but please don't say that this should be the advise that we should spread in our looksist culture. We would all be better if we inculcated and encouraged more pride in our unique looks.
What an awful woman.
@73, 75, 77) One straight man's perspective: receiving oral - meh. giving oral and sending her over the top - simply the best thing ever.

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