JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

What are you into?

Date

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Dan Savage.

Dan Savage. Photo: LaRae Lobdell.

American advice columnist Dan Savage certainly lived up to expectations with his talk last weekend at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas held at the Sydney Opera House.

Savage is somewhat the star in his home country but is still largely unknown here despite a dedicated fan base amongst the gay community and more politically liberal types.

His attraction (at least for me) is he's impossible to shock, has a massive heart (he founded the It Get's Better Project) and he'll take almost any consenting sexual act or kink at face value and try to understand what's going on from the other person's perspective.

He's famous for giving readers in sexless marriages "permission" to cheat and has told so many people to dump partners that his acronym "DTMFA" (dump the mother f---er, already) has entered the lexicon is some circles.

He also gives solid moral advice, such as his "campsite rule" for relationships with younger partners: "Leave them emotionally and physically at least as healthy as when you started seeing them. Do not risk giving them diseases, getting them pregnant, or emotionally abusing them".

There's also his famous GGG rule for relationships, that one must be "Good, Giving, and Game" in that you strive to "be good in bed, giving equal time and equal pleasure to your partner, and be game for anything - within reason".

Having read Savage since 1992 or '93, when I first came across him in the now-defunct New York Press, it's impossible to single out a favourite from the thousands of hilarious, bizarre and mouth-dropping letters he seems to receive - but he gives a good summation here if you're interested (graphic content).

However, I do recommend you Google his Savage Love column - it makes you feel so much more normal and for those of us who aren't so normal, it makes you feel a little less weird.

Aaaanyhow, Savage made headlines in the lead up to his Saturday talk because of his thoughts on monogamy, which are well covered in Neil McMahon's article here. He certainly didn't disappoint on that subject, arguing persuasively we could save many long-term relationships and marriages if people stopped viewing the odd sexual slip-up as disastrous and divorce-worthy.

Nevertheless, it was Savage's musings on the very beginnings of a sexual relationship I found really refreshing. He argues the reason gay men tend to be so open about sex is most of them have already climbed the cringe-worthy mountain of telling their parents they're gay.

Savage said when he spoke those words to his mother, he's pretty sure all she heard was "Mum, I suck cock". He argues once you've admitted to your mother you suck penis, pretty much any other sexual conversation is a piece of cake and gave the example: "It's easy to then say piss on me" to a partner.

He says when two men get into bed with each other, there's a lot of questions to be answered, as in who's the top or bottom, is it just going to be oral sex, or will they just roll around like choir boys in their underpants.

Gay couples just can't go at it like hetero couples, who have vaginal intercourse as their default option, so a negotiation begins between men as to what's going to happen next, along the lines of "what are you into?" 

The curse of most heterosexual couples is as soon as the majority of us get into bed for the first time, the conversation stops. And because your average heterosexual has never had to die of embarrassment admitting they suck penis to their mum, we've also not had the chance to experience the catharsis of talking about what we love done to us in bed.

This is why so many kinks and peccadilloes are repressed in straight relationships, whereas when two gay guys start up, someone asks those four magic words ... "what are you into?"

As Savage explains in this video here (profanity warning), aside from brunch and push-ups, asking "what are you into" is one of the major things straight couples can learn from gays to vastly improve their sexual relationships.

If in any doubt, watch this quick, safe for work video of Savage on Bill Maher's show and ask yourself which of the panellists is enjoying the better sex life?

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

10 comments

  • To be perfectly honest, I find myself jealous of the fact that Savage's homosexuality gives him more of license to say what he likes than the average dude.

    I actually believe that many straight guys want to be more open about sex, but feel like the world doesn't actually want to hear what we have to say. This is exemplified by the vibe given off by the Daily Life section of the SMH - a thought leader on gender and sexuality - that basically says to guys "we're talking about you, not too you".

    But in saying all this, I'm bloody glad there's a Dan Savage. Yes, he is a gay advocate, as you would expect, but he's also just an advocate for sexual openness, no matter who you are. This is awesome.

    Sam is dead on. We need more of this. OPENNESS. Be open to listen and ask questions even if you might not like the answer.

    The only thing is, some people -- not mentioning anyone in particular -- will have to accept that, yes, despite the fact some groups have been relatively MORE repressed than men, we straight men also feel somewhat repressed, and would like to be a part of the conversation too! :-). I say all this with love. Truly.

    Commenter
    RoryB
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    November 06, 2013, 10:29PM
    • Daily Life is not the whole world. It's a small feminist website for women to discuss women's issues. That's the reason the women on there get a little annoyed when all the blokes come pouring into the comments sections saying "what about us blokes?". We are just generally not there to discuss men's issues, doesn't mean we don't care about them too.

      There really needs to be a male version of Daily Life to make all the guys happy I think!

      Commenter
      Mellah
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 12:18AM
    • Am I reading this right at breakfast? This article is asking what can be learned from Gays? Isn't it a bit discriminating ask this question "what can be learned form gays?" We don't use other words in those statements "what can be learned from..... " because we just wouldn't say certain words now. I think the article can change it's title to be a bit more on the even playing field because it's really separating people again. I don't really comment on article titles but in this sense it's not nice to write "what can be learned from gays" not only that reading the article it's bit? This article is fine for America in which 15 states have legalized gay marriage but Australia is not ready for this type of article on such a touchy subject. I support gay marriage and equality but I don't think society is ready to read things like this.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy1
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 6:31AM
    • You mean, what am I into in terms of sex, rather than what am I into in terms of lifestyle and beliefs etc.

      The thing about gay sex is that it's more anonymous and promiscuous than hetro sex, you have to factor that into the equasion.

      They just happily go into a steamy dark room full of other men and poke it into anything.

      Girls aren't into that.

      But can we please comment on the Melbourne Uni tool for selecting teachers, because that's just insane. Please ......

      Commenter
      sarajane
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 7:16AM
    • @sarahjane - I'm not sure I agree with you. I know plenty of girls who love the thought of and are turned on by the idea of anonymous sex and lots of it.

      they are just worried about what society, their friends and other women will say about them if they ever found out about it.

      It's a complete fallacy that women are less sexual than men. Women are just as sexual as men, however, we have created a society in which it is OK for men to be more open about their sexual desires than for a woman. If a dude scores he gets another notch on his belt. If a woman scores she's labelled a sl*t and ostracised from society.

      Commenter
      Adrian
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 7:56AM
    • @Mellah, the fact that Daily Life content appears on the SMH homepage and is so tightly integrated with the SMH and is so innocuously named Daily Life gives the impression that it is mainstream content, that mainstream society supports and agrees with the opinions on the site. Until A Voice for Men or The Spearhead is bought and integrated into the Fairfax stable, you can expect to continue to see "What about blokes?" comments appear in the Daily Life comments section.

      Commenter
      Direct
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 8:17AM
    • @sarajane: "They just happily go into a steamy dark room full of other men and poke it into anything.
      Girls aren't into that"

      Some girls aren't. Some girls are. Just like some gay men aren't into "that." while other may well be. I doubt that you really know what you're talking about here but just making assumptions based on your own values and desires.

      I wish that you would stop making blanket statements for...well...anyone. Speak about your own wishes/desires/preferences and leave it at that.

      Commenter
      TK
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 8:34AM
    • @the other guy1, what discrimination and against who? A term that is so often misused by the easily offended. Look up the definition.
      The article explains clearly why something can be learnt from gays - they have different experiences. Equally, I can learn from my straight neighbour based on his different experiences.

      Commenter
      James
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 8:40AM
    • I'm not saying gay men should be judged for that, if they're consenting adults they should have sex however they want.

      But it really isn't something the majority of women are into, I mean, women are more into "the man", the sex is secondary.

      They're into "him". "He's" the turn on, not just the "sex act".

      It makes sense, women are the ones carrying the babies. That they're more inclined to keep their knees together.

      And Adrian, at least I'm a woman speaking for women, you're a man speaking for women.

      Commenter
      sarajane
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 9:10AM
    • @Direct There is a daily section for blokes integrated with the SMH - it's innoculously named Executive Style, which gives the impression that it is mainstream content. However, read any articles and you will find that it is exclusively for men. Apparently, according to the SMH, there are no female executives.

      In any case, I wish more men would read Daily Life because women's issues are men's issues too - and the sooner men realise that and start caring, the sooner we'll all be better off. We're all in this together.

      Commenter
      Kelly
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      November 07, 2013, 9:38AM
Comments are now closed
Advertisement
Featured advertisers
Executive Style newsletter signup

Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

Sign up now

Advertisement