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Savage Love: live on tour

Dan Savage travels to three universities and gives out advice live, on stage.


I dropped by four large universities last week---University of Lethbridge, State University of New York-Albany, University of Maryland and University of Alaska-Anchorage---to do "Savage Love Live," the college-speaking-gig version of my sex-advice column. I enjoyed visiting all four campuses and, as ever, learned a few things out on the road. (Brinking? Who knew?)

People submit questions---the ones they don't want to be seen to be asking---on three-by-five-inch cards at the events. Sadly, I couldn't get to everyone's questions at the Us of L, NY-A, M and A-A. Here are answers to some of the questions I missed.

Q:At what point in a relationship is it "safe" to have an open relationship?

A:There's no standard gestation period for an open relationship, no set period of time that you have to spend in the exclusivity pod. In my experience, however, the most successful open relationships I've witnessed---with "success" here defined as "long-lasting," which is kind of arbitrary (can we all get behind the idea that a relationship can be short-lived and still be a success?)---were sexually exclusive for at least a year, sometimes longer, at the outset.

Q: When asked, "How do you make anal sex more comfortable for women?" by Marie Claire magazine, Dr. Drew Pinsky said, "Don't do it. Your butt will leak when you're old." (I am paraphrasing.) My question: Is Dr. Drew homophobic?

A:Dr. Drew isn't a homophobe. He's an asshole-o-phobe---and a BDSM-o-phobe, a premarital-sex-o-phobe, a three-way-o-phobe etcetera. Basically, when it comes to human sexuality, there's not a lot of daylight between Dr. Drew and Pope Benedict XVI. And I'll let you in on a little secret: Odds are good that your ass is going to leak when you're old, anyway---I'll betcha the pope's ass is leaking all over the throne of St. Peter right now, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

Q: I'm a 24-year-old male who has been out for 11 years. I've been into this guy "Joe" for several years, but I always assumed he was out of my league. We recently started hooking up. I'm totally into him and it's amazing. But for some reason, I can't stay hard. I don't know what's wrong with me. Do I have ED? I have no health insurance and am not sure what to do.

A: If you're not having trouble keeping it up when you're alone and you didn't have trouble keeping it up with other guys, you're probably just nervous. You like this guy, he's way hot, the stakes are high and a little routine performance anxiety is chasing away your boners. If Joe is continuing to hook up with you despite your inability to keep it up for him, well, then he's not only a hot dude but a patient one as well---and a dude who's into you, too. So take a deep breath, try to relax, and enjoy.

Q: When Sue Johanson was here, she spoke against trying anal sex, due to damage etcetera. What would you tell people?

A: I would tell people to refrain from fucking Sue Johanson in the ass---and please don't fuck Dr. Drew's ass, either. They both seem as terrified of anal sex as they are ignorant about it---and tense, inept people can hurt themselves engaging in anal sex. And if their asses start to leak in old age, I don't want either of them to be able to pin the blame on anal sex.

Q: We are a couple in a long-term committed relationship and have casually considered the possibility of a three-way. It would have to be with someone neither of us knew (or saw) to reduce any chance of an emotional attachment. Good idea?

A: Three-ways with complete strangers are kind of difficult to arrange---unless you're willing to go the rent-a-third route. But if you want to have a three-way with someone trustworthy and safe, you're better off doing it with an acquaintance or an ex.

Q: When did you first realize you were LGBTQ and how did people react to that? Did you struggle to find support?

A: I didn't realize I was L, B, T and Q until I arrived in Albany. And I'm not sure how friends and family are going to react to my recently discovered lesbianism, bisexuality, impending transition and questioning status---question: Now that I'm LGB and T what outstanding Qs could there be?---but I expect they will be supportive; just as confused as I am, but nevertheless supportive.

Q: Please assign new salacious definitions to the following terms, which are near and dear to the hearts of UM students: "cornerstone," "fear the turtle" and "diamondbacking."

A: Cornerstone: when you get high in order to break through a sexual inhibition---like when pot helps you "turn a corner" sexually. "Sue wanted to peg her boyfriend Drew, but he just couldn't do it until he got cornerstoned."

Fear the turtle: what a woman experiences when she realizes halfway through vaginal intercourse that her bowels are full and her enjoyment of the sex has been superseded by her fear of crapping the bed. "Sue had to ask Drew to stop fucking her because she feared the turtle. She got on the can for a minute, then hopped back in bed and no longer feared the turtle."

Diamondbacking: consenting to anal sex in the hopes that doing so will inspire a boyfriend to propose. "Sue knew that Drew was totally into anal sex, so she let him diamondback her. Now they're engaged."

Q: I'm a lesbian, and my girlfriend is bisexual and wants to have a three-way with a man. This makes me nervous. What should I do?

A: Get yourself a refillable Xanax prescription, or get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend.

Thanks again to all four universities for bringing my skanky ass to their campuses last week. My primary mission when I do these events, of course, is to undo in an evening the damage done by abstinence educators over the course of many years. But the events are always a blast. If you want me to come to your school, get in touch with Keppler Speakers at I'm looking forward to my upcoming gigs at Liberty University, Brigham Young University and University of Notre Dame.

Download Dan's Savage Lovecast (his weekly podcast) every Tuesday at Email Dan at

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