Savage Love: What Happened

Joe Newton

I used to be a fan of your column, Dan, but something happened to you. Maybe it's stress, the current political climate, or some other issue—I don't know. I used to look forward to your columns because they were fun, smart, and helpful—but I don't enjoy what I'm seeing now. If something did happen to you, reach out for help. You're on the verge of losing a loyal reader.

Reader Enquiring About Dan's Enervating Responses

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Welcoming a New Reader to the "Savage Love" Family


Originally posted Oct 31, 2014.

While waiting for my lunch to be prepared at Shiraz, I casually opened up Leo Magazine and stumbled on to your page.

What a way to ruin my day. Your advice is the epitome of stupidity and foolishness. Your counsel to the parents concerning their kid who is putting tampons and other objects up his ass makes me want to ram a steel post right up your ass until it hits your brain—perhaps then you'll be able to think with some sense. Your complete disregard for common sense, history, traditional and sensible values, ethics, and morals is despicable. Either you are not a parent yourself, or you are a spineless, enabling jellyfish of a parent who doesn't have a clue how to raise a child right.

Let me summarize your "advice":

1. It's OK that your teenage boy likes to put objects up his butt.

2. As a parent, you have no right to ask him about it in a confrontational way. (Further added to by your smarmy, derogatory use of "POPS" throughout the article)

3. You should not force him to have to lie; instead you should buy him a sex toy/butt plug object thing (which you describe in grisly detail with your "open and enlightened," smarmy tone) for him to carry on his pleasures.

4. And a final, universal objective statement: "Buying sex toys for kids is a hurdle most parents can't clear." The implication is that this hurdle ought to be cleared and that parents ought to be able to get over this!

Here's what your advice should have been:

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New Randy Rainbow: She Was Sixteen Going On Seventeen (Roy Moore Was 32)

Randy Rainbow is going to get us through this with our sanity intact.

Savage Love Letter of the Day: The One That Got Away (But Gave Me Her Name and Enough Info That I Was Able to Track Her Down)


I am 48 years old and straight and I met this amazing woman leaving a pub after our respective work end-of-year parties. We had this great conversation. Flirted, even hugged, cuddled and took selfies, all in the street outside the pub. I felt so happy being near her, and I think at least, her smiles indicated she felt the same way too. But I was a bit drunk, very tired and failed to even offer my number or ask for hers. And it's been driving me crazy. I am so angry with myself. I fear it was one of those moments that make or break you. But she did tell me her name and she did tell me she worked for an online sex product store. So I Googled her and now know what company she works for and all the contact info for the company is right there on the site.

Here is the question: can I email the store where she works and say, "Hi, does Haley work there? I met her the other night and was wondering that if she wanted my number can you send her this email?" Is that an email I can send? Or would this be embarrassing for her or — worse yet — stalker-type behavior? Do I give it a go or take the life lesson? Is this romantic? Or is this stalking?

Potential Stalker

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Maybe Universities Shouldn't Put the Work of Student Journalists on the Internet

So this op-ed by an administrator at Williams College...

I recognize myself in [today's students]: intellectually adventurous, skeptical, newly aware of life’s injustices. They’re also different from me in many ways: less Grateful Dead and Dead Kennedys, much more technology. That’s the important bit. Because for all of the supposed liberating power of their digital devices, they might as well be wearing ankle monitors. Technological connectedness has made it much harder for them to make mistakes and learn from them. Today’s students live their lives so publicly — through the technology we provide them without training — that much simpler errors than mine earn them the wrath of the entire internet. Usually, the outrage is over things they say, for example a campus newspaper editorial that grapples with balancing free speech and appropriate behavior.... [Students] deserve the chance to try out ideas. When they do, sometimes they’re going to botch it — sometimes spectacularly. And that’s why we have learning spaces.

...was a few pages/clicks away from this piece by opinion columnist Frank Bruni:

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: One Dead Lesbian in a Bed


Lesbian Bed Death isn't a thing for me, but it is for my wife.

I'm happily married to my wife. We've been together for almost eight years and have a ten-month-old baby together. We get along great and have an easy ying/yang partnership. Sex has been an issue — it's been our only issue — from the get go though (four months into our relationship), and it's actually better now than it ever has been, even despite the addition to the family. However, I'm super sexual and she is not. I love to fantasize, incorporate games, try new things in the bedroom, watch porn, etc. She could have sex three times a year and be happy. She tells me she doesn't really fantasize and sex is not really that important to her. She also doesn't like to add new stuff to the bedroom activities, prefers to always do it in bed because anywhere else is too dirty or cold or takes too much energy, etc...

We've had a lot of discussions (and fights) on it and have found that scheduling sex once a week on the weekends down to the time is the only compromise that works for us both. The problem is that six out of the seven days in the week I am left to contend with my own sex drive, imagination, and desires. I try to talk to her about my fantasies but she rarely finds them sexy and is quick to tell me that she is turned off by the things I find sexy. I feel like I have all of this sexual energy and no where for it to go. I miss flirting, I miss feeling sexual energy between two people that intensifies with certain talk or activities or play. I miss feeling like someone craves my body. I'm super attracted to my wife. I don't want to sleep with anyone else but I'm just not sure how to manage my own sexual energy without her being part of it. I touch myself regularly but, although that fills a sexual physical need, it does little to quell the need I have to exchange sexual energy with someone. I usually fantasize about the chemistry I had with all of my exes.

I've read a bunch about this and all of the article say to use that energy in other ways like exercising and art. But I feel like that's just putting a band aid on something that I have a deep need for in my core. And unless that art is writing erotic fiction or drawing naked women fucking, I'm just out of ideas! I would appreciate any advice you have on this.

Basic Erotic Desires

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Sometimes a Stupid Joke is Just a Stupid Joke

I've read this story twice... and I don't see it. So as much as I hate coming to the defense of a conservative politician (albeit a Canadian one), I find myself siding with the chief human resources officer in Canada's House of Commons: this wasn't a case of sexual harassment. It was inappropriate, it was crude, it was stupid. But it wasn't sexual harassment. It certainly doesn't seem like something that should bring a person to tears six months later.

Backing up: Tory MP James Bezan was getting his photo taken with Liberal MP Sherry Romanado during a public event with an unnamed third person. They weren't alone in a room, Bezan wasn't blocking the door, no one was trapped. They were at a public event with other people around, including a photographer. Take it away, Globe & Mail...

"While standing for the picture, I made an inappropriate and flippant comment by saying, 'This isn't my idea of a threesome,' which was intended as a partisan comment about being in a photo with a Liberal member of caucus," Mr. Bezan said. "I realized that this comment was inappropriate and attempted to apologize the following day, but was not afforded that opportunity."

It happened in May. Bezan apologized the next day, according to numerous reports, he apologized again two times after that (including once in writing), and voluntarily took a sensitivity training course after an investigation by the chief human resources officer found no evidence of wrongdoing, recommended no sanctions, and closed the case. Romanado went public about the remark this week — six months after it was made — and called it "inappropriate, humiliating and unwanted." Back to you, G&M:

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up


Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: A toddler doesn't come out, a Tinder date slaps, a teen clicks on sexy vacation pics, and an implausibly complicated situation ends with a completely bogus question. Also, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.

Regarding OOOPS:

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Al Franken To Speak From the Floor of the Senate at 8:45 AM Seattle Time

UPDATE: Al Franken has resigned from the U.S. Senate.

You could pass the time until Franken's speech starts by reading this morning's hottest/viraliest news story — it's about a morgue employee accidentally cremated by coworkers in Texas (and totally not true) — or you could better spend your time by reading this piece by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight. He argues that Democrats are right to push Franken out and should've acted sooner:

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Are Democrats In Washington To Set a Good Example?

Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Sen. Al Franken to Set An Example
Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Sen. Al Franken to "Set An Example"

Originally posted at the ungodly hour of 5 AM.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI) reiterated her call for fellow Democrat Sen. Al Franken (MN) to resign from the U.S. Senate last night on the Rachel Maddow Show last night.

Three things...

1. When Sen. Hirono said, "When the third, fourth, fifth, sixth woman steps forward, you come to what I would describe as a tipping point and the need to take a position," I couldn't help but recall the long list of Seattle pols who waited until after a fifth accuser had stepped forward before calling on Mayor Ed Murray to resign. The accusations against Murray were far more serious than those against Franken, of course, but there are echoes of the Murray scandal here. Locals politicians — like our new mayor — who waited until the fifth accusation to call on Murray to resign came in for heavy criticism. Yesterday Democratic senators were being praised for calling on Franken to resign after his eighth accuser stepped forward. So what's the math here? Do we divide the number of accusers by the seriousness of the accusations before determining how many accusers it takes to reach the tipping point?

2. When asked if she expects Franken to resign today (Franken is making a statement this morning and may have already resigned by the time you read this), Sen. Hirono said, "I hope he'll do the right thing and step aside. We can't force him to resign, but I think so many of us have called upon him to set an example. I think we should be held to a standard."

Ezra Klein also called on Democrats to hold themselves to a higher standard and set a good example...

Unlike the Democratic senators who called on Franken to resign yesterday, at least Klein paired his call for Franken to resign with a demand for Trump to resign as well. Good on him. But I'm suspicious of the utility — not the morality — of Democrats holding themselves to higher standards than Republicans hold themselves to or are held to by the media. As I attempted to articulate during my convo with Sydney Brownstone and Eli Sanders on this week's Blabbermouth, I'm totally with Sydney (and Mazie and Ezra) on the morality — politicians who abuse or assault women and girls (or men and boys) should have to resign — but I worry about the consequences if only Democrats are held to this standard. Republicans are in Washington for the raw exercise of power — Merrick Garland, the tax bill, this insane and insanely hypocritical gun bill, etc., etc. — but Democrats are there to set a good example and shame Republicans into being better people. Not now, while the world is burning, not right away. Because it won't happen all at once, like Klein says, but, you know, someday. Hopefully before the GOP, which currently controls everything, gets around to destroying everything. Fingers crossed. [shamrock emoji]

Dahlia Lithwick has the same qualms I do and she unpacked them much more eloquently on Slate than I was able to do on Blabbermouth:

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: My Wife Cheated On Me So I'm Sleeping With My Mother-In-Law Now — How Do I Break It To My Wife?


I'm a straight married guy who spends the vast majority of every year working on site overseas supervising a large scientific experiment my business partner and I set up. The location is extremely remote and my wife of five years prefers to live at our house in England. Like me, she is 36 and extremely attractive and I was always very suspicious about what she got up to in my absence. We do not have an open relationship and, until recently, I have been faithful to her. But four weeks ago my wife’s mother showed up unannounced at my work site and, over the course of two days, she told me in lurid detail about my wife’s infidelities. It included some pretty shocking behaviour, from group sex to gangbangs to escort work. I felt stunned and betrayed. My wife has lived a life of luxury thanks to my work and she chose to be the local slut in the community where we live. The stories my mother-in-law told me were confirmed by my business partner’s wife.

This is where the story gets complicated. My mother-in-law is 20 years my senior and one of the most beautiful women I have ever been around and I have always had a strong attraction to her as she has had for me. On the third night she was with me we spent the night in bed together and had the most amazing sex and we have been together ever since and we have both fallen completely in love with each other. I can’t imagine being without her now but I am obviously still married to her daughter. I am not totally naive and I know my mother-in-law used my wife's confession to break up my marriage but that is something I can easily forgive her for.

We want to go home together around Christmas and spend a few weeks in the UK as a couple. How do I tell my wife that this is the new reality?

Mother-In-Law Fucker

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White House: We'd Be Fine With Bakers Hanging "No Gays" Signs In Their Windows

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court yesterday about a homophobic baker in Colorado and the wedding cake he refused to sell to a gay couple there—a case that could gut civil rights protections for LGBT people (things don't look good, says Mark Joseph Stern at
Slate)—a Trump administration lawyer argued that bakers should be legally allowed put signs in their windows saying that they don't make cakes for gay weddings. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Trump supported that:

President Trump's press secretary said her boss would have no problem with businesses hanging antigay signs that explicitly state they don't serve LGBT customers.... "The president certainly supports religious liberty and that's something he talked about during the campaign and has upheld since taking office," Sanders replied. When pressed on whether that included support for signs that deny service to gay people, Sanders responded: "I believe that would include that."

There is no federal civil rights law that protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, or services; LGBT aren't covered by existing civil rights laws in many states. (Colorado not being one of them.) So there's nothing to stop bakers in states where business owners can legally discriminate against gay people right now from putting those signs up right fucking now. But they don't. I gamed out why they don't in a blog post about an anti-gay baker in Arizona a few years back...

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Help! My Boyfriend's Son Saw My Sexy Vacation Pics!


I have a bit of an issue on my hands. Please give me your advice. When we were on vacation, I had my boyfriend take some racy photos of me in lingerie. They are not pornographic, but they are provocative. Me in fancy lingerie posing on the bed and all that. Well, his teenage son (age 15) needed to use Dad's computer. He started acting weird around me right after that — didn't want to chat or hang out, and didn't want to be alone with me. I noticed something was wrong right away. He's usually very affectionate and we have a good relationship. Then I used the computer — and what is there but a desktop file labeled "Janet's Sexy Vacation Pics"! A hundred pics of me in lingerie! He had to have clicked on it! And how could I blame him? It was clickbait!

So now we have this awkward thing. He saw me in a sexualized manner, and he also know his Dad took the photos, which is also awkward. No teenager wants to think of their parent's sex life. Do I just pretend this never happened, and wait (and hope) that it blows over? Or do I mention it to the boy and say something like, "Hey, I think you may have seen vacation photos of me in my bikini and stuff. I'm really sorry. Those photos were supposed to be private." What do I DOOO, Dan?

Child Looked Into Carelessly Kept Erotic Decisions

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Austria's Supreme Court Declares Marriage a "Fundamental Right" For Same-Sex Couples

Congratulations, Austria!

Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Austria from 2019, the country’s supreme court ruled on Tuesday and said a law to the contrary violated the principle of non-discrimination. The move brings Austria into line with many other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.... “Today is a truly historic day,” said lawyer Helmut Graupner, who represented the two female plaintiffs in court. “Austria is the first European country to recognize marriage equality for same-gender couples as a fundamental human right. All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it (just) the political way,” he said in a Facebook post.

The rightwing asshole who won the last national election in Austria and is about to be sworn in as chancellor — and formed a governing coalition with a party literally founded by Nazis — says he will accept the ruling. His coalition partners in the far-right, founded-by-Nazis Freedom Party (FPO) aren't in an accept-the-ruling mood:

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The Morning News: Trump & Trouble, California & Flames, Cake & Court, Protesters & Durkan

Is the president above the law? Trumps lawyers think so.
Is the president above the law? Trump's lawyers think so. Alex Wong / Getty

THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG: Trump's lawyers are out there arguing that the president can't obstruct justice because he's the president. The Washington Post reports:

The brazen assertion Monday by one of President Trump’s lawyers that a president cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice signaled a controversial defense strategy in the wide-ranging Russia probe, as Trump’s political advisers are increasingly concerned about the legal advice he is receiving.

This should come as news to the members of Congress who drafted articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. Clinton was successfully impeached for obstruction of justice, Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. (Clinton was impeached by the House but the Senate didn't vote to convict, so Clinton got to serve out the rest of his second term.) It'll also come as news to Jeff Sessions, Trump's racist shit stain of an Attorney General, who argued that president can so obstruct justice when, as a member of the U.S. Senate, he voted to convict Bill Clinton. (Sessions will probably issue a clarification later today: Democratic presidents can obstruct justice, Republican presidents cannot.)

"When the president does it, that means it is not illegal," Nixon believed. That didn't work out for Nixon. Reaching further back in history, King Charles I made the same argument Nixon made then and Tump's lawyers are making now: "No learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King," Charles told the High Court of Justice, "[because] the King can do no wrong." And how'd that argument work out for Charles? Oh, right:

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