Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: America's most notorious biphobe (according to the anime avatar brigades) talks another guy into identifying as bisexual, a girlfriend with a boyfriend who won't cut off his toxic, violent, vodka-bottle-swinging ex, another girlfriend who is lovely and kind and smart and jealous and irrational, and where are all the peggers? And, as always, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
First, something I left out of my response to DAMN:
Dan, you dropped the ball on your recent column to DAMN on Facebook about addressing herpes stigma. Please point out to people that herpes and cold sores are practically the same virus which just presents in different locations of the body. @fakedansavage #savagelove
— Ro Nicolaides (@RoNicolaides) February 21, 2019
More on DAMN:
Regarding your letter with DAMN regarding her jealous boyfriend, I feel an opportunity was missed in regards to herpes and herpes stigma. First off, she says she has had cold sores her whole life and gave one to him that “turned out to be herpes.” ALL COLD SORES ARE HERPES! Then he shamed her for it. Herpes are a normal problem that the John Hopkins Medical center says affects 50-80 percent of the population in the USA. I feel this needs to be screamed from the mountain tops every chance you get because people don’t know that. It’s like 50-80% of everyone has this secret and everyone is ashamed! Please help!
I've addressed herpes stigma again and again in the column and, at much greater length, on the podcast—but that's not an excuse. I should've discussed it in my response to DAMN. And speaking of herpes stigma and creative ways to address it: My Boyfriend Has Herpes, a comic "based on real stories about a couple dating with #hsv," lives on Instagram and it is awesome...
Some additional thoughts on "with extra lobster":
Longtime fan. I love what you did with “santorum” and I think “extra lobster” can be used to take down another right wing asshole. You may have read about Jordan Peterson’s claim that because lobsters use dominance rituals it is natural for humans to do as well. I propose “extra lobster” is a straight male dealbreaker especially being entitled.
If you're going to coin the neologism "with extra lobster", would it be possible to refrain from using it to refer to women's genitals, as several of your readers did in their suggestions in this week's column? Equating women's genitals with fish is an old misogynist trope that refuses to die even today, e.g., the term "fishy" used to refer to looking very feminine or womanly. One disturbing urban legend that was forwarded to me by several of my gay friends in the early 2000s was about a woman who masturbated with a lobster and ended up with a vagina infested with shrimp. (You actually directly fact-checked the story itself in one of your columns at the time, and pointed people toward an early Snopes). I remember feeling disgusted at the time that any of my gay friends actually thought this was true and/or funny. While thoroughly debunking it, both you and snopes failed to really get at the meaning behind the tale—it's purpose was to shame women for masturbating, to depict lesbians as unnatural monsters who (since they experience sexual pleasure without a dick) will stick anything into their vaginas, and to reinforce the inherent "gross fishiness" and fear of a woman's genitals among both gay and straight men (with that being internalized by the latter as a reason to not perform oral sex on a woman). Coincidentally (or not so much), both masturbation and oral sex are two sexual activities in which most women are able to actually orgasm (a majority of whom need clitoral stimulation to do so). Nearly 20 years later, so much has changed for the better in regards to attitudes towards women masturbating and receiving oral sex, as well as a shift among a greater number of (especially younger) men that a vagina isn't inherently gross and scary to do things with other than shove their dicks in it. So with this in mind, can we please, please, please, not return (inadvertently or not) to using lobster in reference to anything regarding women's genitals? Reading your column this week brought back all those vivid feelings of disgust I felt back then when it was a terrible joke/urban legend—I really don't want to go back there.
A lobster... isn't a fish. And since lobster was framed in the call for proposals as something awesome—something delicious, something everyone wants more of, something luxurious—the proposed definitions that referred to women's genitals didn't strike me as problematic, even if they were, you know, seafood adjacent. And the one that invoked smell—which wasn't my favorite—was about smelly genitals generally, not about women's genitals in particular. There were, in fact, more proposed definitions invoking penises, pro and con, than there were definitions that invoked vulvas or vaginas.
That said, your point is a valid one, and I'm sorry if the column drudged up unpleasant memories and associations. And, hey, the definition I decided on—"When someone really comes through for you, when they knock your socks off, when they make you see stars—when they really WOW you!"—wound up being both gender- and genital-neutral!
On fucking first:
Longtime fan, originally suggested to me 9 years ago by my therapist of all people. You’ve really helped me, and thanks for all you’ve done to help others. Speaking of helping others, I came across this post on Reddit and immediately thought of your Valentines Day rule to fuck first. Looks like you can cute another reason to eat and drink *after* having fun in bed.
Regarding this week's Lovecast:
Dan Savage, I LOVE you. But this morning listening to episode 643 you mention Muslim women wearing "hajib." Close! But women wear "hijab." Your confusion might be related to the word "muhajiba" which you would use to refer to a woman who wears a hijab. This was all during an important discussion of hate crimes, as I recall, so thank you so much for talking about how a fake hate crime is still a hate crime! Again, I love you.
I honestly think my dyslexia is getting age with worse. (Sorry.) And speaking of the Lovecast:
Just responding to the guy in Episode 642 who was wondering if he should hit on his doctor. the answer is NO! For the love of god! NO! Here are a couple of resources on the rates of sexual harassment by patients, it is way too common. Medical professionals are coming to work to help people get/stay healthy, not to get laid. The odds of finding a doctor who wants that sort of attention at work are 1/1,000,000. There are only 1,000,000 practicing doctors in the US...
Have a great weekend, everybody!