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Savage Love is a syndicated sex-advice column by Dan Savage. The column appears weekly in several dozen newspapers, mainly free newspapers 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 reject conservative views on 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, child molestation, 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. Savage has also been criticized by bisexual activists for what they perceive as biphobia. Since 2002, he has written the column at Ann Landers' desk, which he, a "lifelong fan", bought at auction after the noted advice columnist died.
During the run of Savage Love, Savage has popularized several neologisms.
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".
Dan Savage and his readers often use the abbreviation GGG. 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.'"
With regard to readers who 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". This includes no diseases, no fertilized eggs, no undue emotional trauma, and whatever sexual education can be provided.
Shortly after a 2009 scandal in Portland, Oregon involving openly gay mayor Sam Adams and Beau Breedlove, who had allegedly turned 18 almost immediately before the two began a sexual relationship, Savage created a companion rule to the "campsite rule", now known as the Tea and Sympathy rule. The rule is a reference to a line in the play of the same name, in which a much older woman states to a high-school-age boy, right before having sex with him: "When you speak of this in future years... and you will... be kind." Savage claimed in an article in The Portland Mercury that, while Adams followed the "campsite rule" – Breedlove did not claim that Adams had given him any diseases or caused him emotional trauma, and in fact still refers to Adams as a friend – Breedlove violated the Tea and Sympathy rule by making public statements that he knew could ruin Adams' career.
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 further 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 September 2009[update], the site remains the top Google result for the search term "santorum" — although this could be a case of googlebombing.
DTMFA and ITMFA
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 Already" (a reference to the movement to impeach George W. Bush), 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 term to homemade t-shirts, signs, buttons, and license plates. As of July 2009[update], the domain ITMFA.com is registered with no website, but impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com is still valid (albeit not having been updated since August 2006).
In 2008–2009, as a response to then President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration – and in response to Stephen Colbert's comment that saddleback sounded like a sex act – Savage Love readers were encouraged to vote to define the neologism saddlebacking in reference to Warren's role as pastor of Saddleback Church. Warren and the church supported the 2008 California constitutional amendment Proposition 8, which required the state to recognize only marriage between a man and a woman. The winning definition for saddlebacking was "the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities".
In the April 30, 2009 column, a reader urged Savage to stop using the word retarded and its variants. In response, Savage agreed to stop using the words retard and retarded and to use in their place leotard and leotarded, respectively, stating that he would then be insulting the physically fit rather than those with disabilities.
- ^ 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
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- ^ Savage, Dan (2002-12-05). "Ann Advises On". The Stranger. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=12738. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- ^ http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=526609
- ^ http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/the-tea-and-sympathy-rule/Content?oid=1089470
- ^ Excerpt from Santorum in an interview: "...if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, ... [y]ou have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.", USA Today, 23 April 2003
- ^ See letter by "Stick It To Him" to Dan Savage, in the letters column of santorum.com
- ^ "Blogger Tim Tagaris used the Web site GooglebombCT to launch a Google-bomb campaign against Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut ... And other bloggers tied the surname of then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., to a scurrilous definition that gained the top spot on Google searches on "Santorum" weeks before the November election." See "National Journal -- Tech Daily Dose -- Google's role as a grassroots tool". National Journal Group. http://techdailydose.nationaljournal.com/2007/02/googles-role-as-a-grassroots-t.php. Retrieved January 28 2009.
- ^ Savage Love - Columns - Savage Love - Savage Love | Dan Savage - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
- ^ http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=1031968
- ^ http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=1487886