Dan Savage is my Favorite Advice Columnist


(spoiler alert – this blog post includes some sexual content including adult language! yay!)

Dan Savage writes Savage Love – a great advice column with a focus on great sex. I fondly remember reading the Savage Love column in the back pages of the L.A. Weekly. Reading the Savage Love column was, for me, a bit of a guilty pleasure. It was sandwiched in the ads for adult massage and escorts. It was all about sex, and full of explicit language, and so direct, forthright, and so so so sex-positive… As in, of course, we’re all kinky sexual beings, enjoy it! and Savage Love is funnnnny.

I don’t remember when I first came across Savage Love, but I read it pretty steadily from, I think, about 2005 to around 2009. I find that, in my opinion, the overall content of the local weekly has been declining for some time. It’ll date me as an old-timer… but I think that, since the late-1990s (roughly) departure of Kit Rachlis, Michael Ventura, and others, the Weekly has gone from must-have to ehhh. I used to enjoy it nearly cover to cover, especially for its politics, then, over time, it got to a point where Savage Love was the last thing that kept me a regular reader.

Then one day, which I still distinctly remember, I flipped through the adult ads in the back, over and over, for a couple of weeks trying to find Love… and, once I’d figured out that it was really gone – not just a temporary aberration – I resigned to not worry too much about picking up a weekly Weekly.

I was talking with a fellow bicyclist a few months ago, and she was telling me about podcasts that she enjoys… and she mentioned the Savage Love podcast. Around the same time, I also noticed Savage Love referred to in Chester Brown‘s Paying For It comic book. And another bike friend posted an article about Rick Santorum’s Google Problem which is among the cleverest most radical santorum that Savage has done!

Not sure why it took me so long, but after those three resurfacings, I tracked down Savage’s stuff… not difficult in the age of the internet. His weekly column, his letter-of-the-day blog, his podcast, and his great YouTube channel all take about 20 seconds to find.

Savage Love - awesome book of collected sex columns by Dan Savage

After immersing myself in Savage media (Do it! Turn on his youtube channel just hit play all! Also watch his This American Life reading about his mom [at bottom of post] and his Webbie award ceremony which features Savage’ great It Gets Better stuff… and more of the his great Santorum stickiness), I bought a couple Dan Savage books. I recently finished reading Savage Love: Straight Answers From America’s Most Popular Sex Columnist – published 1998 and in print in paperback.

It’s a great book! Savage is so affirming, so sweet, so smart… respectful but not unafraid to lay down the line, reverent and irreverent… and so positive about sex between consenting adults! Did I mention that he’s awesomely laugh-out-loud funny, too? He’s wonderfully out gay – and really affirming of every’s one’s sensuality: straight? cool. gay? cool. attracted to shoes? great. polyamorous? nice. monogamous? fine. Do what makes you happy.

Here’s a selection from the book:

Hey, Faggot:

I’m a single straight woman in my late 20s, and I’d like to be in a relationship. Oh, yeah: I’m also a virgin. From my teenage years through early adulthood, abstaining from sex wasn’t a big deal for me. I wasn’t ready for it, and I wanted to wait until I was in love, or at least in “deep like.”

Well, I’ve been ready for the last few years! I’m extremely cognizant of my sexual needs and desires. Masturbation isn’t enough, because I crave physical intimacy with another person. The men I find sexually attractive either (a) are not interested in me or (b) turn out to be complete boneheads.

Frankly, I’m tired of waiting for a “deep, meaningful relationship” to come along. So much so that I’m seriously considering taking the one-night-stand route (which has never been appealing to me). Furthermore, sexual/emotional/intellectual compatibility are intertwined assets which I have a difficult time separating. The result is that I find myself jealous of those people who can fuck first and ask questions later.

Should I hold out for “Mr. Right,” or go for “Mr. Right Now”?

– Last of the Red Hot Virgins


Sometimes Mr. Right Now turns out to be Mr. Right. You’d be surprised how many cheap and meaningless flings blossom, in time, into deep and meaningful relationships. A one-night stand becomes a two-nighter, then three, four, and five. Before you know it, that stranger is your boyfriend, and you’re having to tell your family the most appalling lies about how you met.

So the next time you’re attracted to some guy – and he’s attracted to you – fuck him! He might be the one! Then again he might not. He might be another of those complete boneheads – but if you fuck him right away, you won’t know that until you’ve lost your virginity.

There are a few themes that come up over and over: no double-standards (ie: oral sex is for everyone – both genders.) If you’re into it, and you’re open and consenting about it, be up front, talk it over and go for it.  But don’t take my summary… listen/read Savage.

And, as a first person blog, what about me? This being my kinda-backwater blog, which I mentioned that nobody really reads, so I reveal my foibles… sometimes… though sexuality is a bit more powerful than watching football [soccer] or reading comics or detective novels. I’ve been thinking about my sexuality and why Savage appeals to me personally.

As a 47-year-old straight male whose tastes tend to be a bit straightforward… and who definitely has my sexual tendencies (which I am too much of a coward to put in writing on the web today)… but has been majorly surprised now and then by women who didn’t match my preferences…  I do think from time to time about what kind of letter I would really want to write to Savage… … … …and I haven’t come up with anything… yet.

I think that what I really like about Savage is just how affirming he is about sex. I grew up going to church, and felt a lot of guilt for masturbation and other fantasizing. I grew up and became agnostic (more-or-less non-militantly-atheist), and I got past the days when I thought my horniness meant I might be going to hell. But, even though I am past the major hurdle, I still sometimes feel guilt over my sexual desires… so it’s great to hear/read Savage affirm that I am human and sexual and that I am ok… and frankly not that different from all the other sexual human beings that call/write to Savage Love.

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