Savage Love is a syndicated sex-advice column by Dan Savage. The column appears weekly in several dozen newspapers, mainly free city papers in the U.S. and Canada, but also newspapers in Europe and Asia. It started in 1991 with the first issue of the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger.
The openly gay author uses the column as a forum for his strong opinions that disregard conservative models of love, sex, and family. He generally encourages advice-seekers to pursue their fetishes, so long as activities are legal, consensual, safe, and respectful. The tone of the column is humorous, and Savage does not shy away from using profanity. The cornerstone of his sexual ethics is consent; he is thus strongly opposed to bestiality, pedophilia, and rape. He speaks out against incest and social inequality, too. Though Savage encourages sexual experimentation, he does not encourage carelessness. He frequently uses his position to promote safer sex and awareness of AIDS. In political matters, Savage occasionally shows a libertarian bent. He does however vote Democratic because he believes that voting for minority parties gives votes to the Republicans.
For the first six years of the column, Savage had his readers address him with "Hey faggot", as a comment on previous efforts to recapture offensive words. He was criticized for this by some gay activists.
Neologisms[edit | edit source]
During the run of Savage Love, Savage has popularized several neologisms.
Pegging[edit | edit source]
In 2001 Savage challenged readers of his column to coin a name for the sex act in which a woman uses a strap-on dildo to perform anal sex on her male partner. After multiple nominations and a reader vote, the verb "peg" was chosen (despite Savage's aunt bearing the name Peg) with a 43% plurality over runners up "bob" and "punt". Some say that the introduction of this neologism was successful in the community of non-vanilla sex, perhaps due to the fact that the practice of pegging existed before the neologism but was unnamed.
GGG[edit | edit source]
Dan Savage and his readers often use the abbreviation GGG. This stands for "good, giving and game", and generally refers to Savage's ideal for healthy human sexuality: that a partner should be "good, giving and game" (within reasonable limits) when presented with a person's fantasy, however kinky or unusual. In his March 1 2007 column, Savage summarized "GGG stands for 'good, giving, and game,' which is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think 'good in bed,' 'giving equal time and equal pleasure,' and 'game for anything—within reason.'"
Campsite rule[edit | edit source]
With regard to readers that are in relationships with a large age disparity, Savage promotes his "campsite rule": at the end of the relationship, the elder partner should leave the younger in "better shape than they found them".
Santorum[edit | edit source]
Savage reacted strongly to former United States Senator Rick Santorum's statements about homosexuality in an interview with the Associated Press published April 20, 2003. (See Santorum controversy for the details.) In the interview, Santorum describes gay sex as part of a class of deviant sexual behavior, including incest, polygamy, and bestiality, which he said threaten society and the family. Furthermore Santorum stated that he believed consenting adults do not have a Constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts.
Savage was outraged by these statements. At the suggestion of a reader, Savage challenged his audience to come up with a sex-related definition for the word santorum as a satirical form of political protest for the express purpose of "memorializ[ing] the Santorum scandal […] by attaching his name to a sex act that would make his big, white teeth fall out of his big, empty head".
After Savage published several definitions suggested by readers, a vote was taken among the readers of his column. The winning definition: "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex" was announced in the June 12, 2003 column.
Savage set up a website, santorum.com. The site, also known as Spreading Santorum, gives the official definition of the term "santorum," under which a brown, splattered stain appears on the otherwise-white page. As of June 2008, the site remains the top Google result for the search term "santorum" -- although this could be  a case of googlebombing.
DTMFA/ITMFA[edit | edit source]
For years, Savage has told his readers in bad relationships to "DTMFA", or "Dump the Motherfucker Already". In March 2006, Savage launched a new website to popularize "ITMFA", or "Impeach the Motherfucker [Bush] Already", which one of his readers suggested that he popularize. The ITMFA site is set up as a blog, with Savage as the main writer, showcasing how people have applied the ITMFA term to homemade tee shirts, signs, buttons and even license plates. As of April 2008, the domain is unregistered.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Episode Archives | Savage Love Podcast | Dan Savage, America's only advice columnist, answers your sex questions on the Internets. To record a question for Dan to be answered in a later podcast, call 206-201-2720. The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper
- See letter by "Stick It To Him" to Dan Savage, in the letters column of santorum.com
[edit | edit source]
Links related to "pegging":
- Let's Vote, Savage calls for names for what is to be called pegging
- We Have a Winner, "pegging" wins
Links related to "good, giving, and game":
Links related to "santorum":
- Santorum interview, unedited
- Dan Savage opens the "Santorum Challenge", "Savage Love", May 15, 2003
- "Santorum Challenge" nominated emails (including eventual winner), "Savage Love", May 29, 2003
- "Santorum Challenge" winner announced, "Savage Love", June 12, 2003
- Genesis of the "santorum" Google bomb idea, "Savage Love", November 20, 2003
- Spreading Santorum, Savage's "santorum" campaign website
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