Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Good Men Project - The Dan Savage Interview

Dan (on the right) with his husband Terry

I've been reading Dan Savage's Savage Love sex advice column since the mid-1990s (originally in Seattle's best weekly, The Stranger) - and I have to admit that I often found him annoying back in those days. So I'm not sure if he has changed or if I have changed - or both - but he is one of my favorite people now. My admiration for him has grown as his politicism and social engagement have grown - especially his founding of the It Gets Better Project. [OK, his creation of and support for the Santorum campaign didn't hurt, either.]

So with that background, I was pleased to see him interviewed by The Good Men Project.

The Dan Savage Interview

Sex-advice guru Dan Savage on being a gay dad, crying during sex, bad advice, Ashton Kutcher, why he dislikes Dr. Drew, the mistake he regrets the most, and whether he’s good in bed.

You’re married, with a kid. Should you really be doling out sex advice?

I’m gay married with a kid.

So being gay married with a kid is different?

Yes, in some ways, and I’m also me. And I only have one kid. And this kid isn’t quite the sex- and relationship-destroying atom bomb that three or four kids might be. The key to keeping sex alive, particularly when a kid is around, is giving a shit about sex and prioritizing it. And I do that.

Where do you turn when you need sex or marriage advice?

I used to go my mother, but she died in 2008. Thankfully I was with her long enough to get most of the advice I needed to not totally fuck up my life.

What’s the weirdest letter you’ve ever received?

I get letters from people who eat shit and get turned on by that. I get letters from people who have sex with dogs and want to start a kind of dog-fuckers pride movement similar to a gay pride movement—because those are, of course, totally the same thing.

There’s really no end to the crazy circumstances people get themselves into. I got a letter today from a woman who’s dating a guy who has five children from five different women, and this guy is encouraging her not to use birth control because he’s sure he wants to start a family with her.

He sounds like a winner.

Oh, and he’s pressuring her to have a threesome with him and one of his other baby mamas who happens to be living with him. And she wonders if getting involved with this guy is a good idea? Those are the kinds of letters that really make me bang my head on the desk, especially when the letter ends with, “I’ve been reading you for years.” Apparently, to no benefit.

If you could take back one piece of advice you’ve ever given a reader, what would it be?

I once told a woman who didn’t like her husband, or wouldn’t leave him, to encourage her husband to take up drinking and driving. You really don’t want to suggest that someone take up drinking and driving in print. It’s a sure way to get several million angry letters.

You started out as a sex-advice columnist, and now you’re one of the leading gay voices in America. Are you at all surprised by how your career turned out?

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I would say I’m appalled. There are gay organizations with multi-million-dollar budgets, and none of them can seem to scrounge up an executive director who can string a few persuasive lines together and win an argument on basic cable. Why is that every time someone from the Human Rights Campaign is on TV, you just know that we already lost the fight. Whatever the argument is, whatever the question is, it’s over. Some people will say to me, “Who made you spokesperson?” You know what? Nobody. I’m a spokesperson by default.

Read the rest of the interview to find out he no longer wants to get busy with Ashton Kutcher and why we should not take sex advice from Dr. Drew - oh, and whether or not he's good in bed.

I did want to quote one more passage because I think it's relevant in terms of how people define sexual identity.

A recent study found that about 3.5 percent of the population is LGBT. Discounting how people “identify” themselves, what percentage of the population do you think is actually LGBT?

The B is the wildcard. If you look at that study, there are more bisexually identified people than LGT combined. There are a lot of people out there who are hetero-flexible. But how do you define it with something as amorphous as being able to sexually respond to both genders? There’s a lot of people who are straight-identified, and are comfortable being perceived as straight, but when you pin them down …

So to speak …

Ha. Yes, when you pin them down, they’ll say, “I’m a little bit bi.” And what does that even mean when it comes to trying to come up with a number of people who are actually LGBT? The actual percentage is probably much higher. In the end, maybe the figure we should settle on is plenty. There are plenty of us running around this earth. There are more LGBT people in America than there are Jews and Miami Cubans. And the Jews and the Miami Cubans get everything they want from both political parties. We should, too. If there’s a Jewish Miami Cuban homo out there, then that person should rule the world.

Now go read the whole interview.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I think you may have found him annoying because he doesn't know anything about psychology? I dunno. (Don't have a mind-reading hat handy) I do think there is such a thing as sex addiction (duh) and that people into kinky stuff are probably acting out painful childhood stuff.