CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I have been with my unicorn boyfriend for four months. The sexual chemistry between us is out of this world!

I’m a woman who’s very open-minded when it comes to trying new things: I’ve had threesomes and foursomes, and have tried every toy on the market; I’ve done anal sex, BDSM and many other things.

He is sexually experienced, but he’s not open-minded. One thing he won’t do is kiss me after I’ve swallowed his load. We’ve been together only four months, so maybe I just need to wait and hope that he’ll come around. Or is there something I can do to get him to try it?

Can’t Unicorn Man Up?

If that’s the only thing he won’t do—if every toy on the market is on the table, along with threesomes, foursomes, BDSM, etc.—then he’s pretty adventurous. But if kissing after you’ve swallowed is the only mildly kinky thing you’ve attempted with him, and it was a no, he may not be adventurous enough to deserve unicorn status. But I will say this in his defense …

Kissing someone who has just swallowed your load (or snowballing with someone who wants you to swallow your own load) presents a challenge for many men. Some silly straight men worry that tasting their own come will turn them gay or make them look gay—I’ve gotten letters from girlfriends who thought their boyfriends were gay because they were too willing to kiss them after a blowjob. But there are gay men out there who don’t want to deep-kiss the guy who just blew them—and they’re obviously not worried about turning gay (already are) or seeming gay (ditto). So what gives?

Blame what’s known as the “refractory period,” CUMU. Immediately after a man ejaculates, his dick starts to go soft, and he loses all interest in sex—hormones have been released into his bloodstream that short-circuit sexual arousal. Bodily fluids and orifices a man was happily lapping up or at a minute ago are suddenly repulsive, not because the dude is necessarily inhibited or insecure, CUMU, but because he’s having his period—his refractory period.


I’ve been seeing this guy who keeps making D/s-ish jokes and moves—he smacks my butt a lot, for example. When I let him know I like it, he’s suddenly not into it. He says it’s “disturbing” that I like what he’s been doing.

Two questions: (1) Smacking my butt is OK so long as I don’t want it? (2) Enjoying what he’s doing makes me a freak?

Joking About Consensual Kinks

Two options: (1) He goes in for domineering head games and “playful” violence because he’s abusive and controlling. (2) He’s got kinks, but he hasn’t managed to incorporate his kinks into his sex life in a healthy, consensual manner—and now that he knows you enjoy the same things he does (but you’re healthier about them than he is), he’s projecting his self-loathing onto you.

Either way, JACK, you’re going to need to DTMFA.


You recently said it’s OK to fantasize about other people so long as we keep it to ourselves. Social media and dating apps have given us access to tons of spank material, from that new crush on OkCupid to the (monogamously) married neighbor you always wanted to bang. In this era, we can see actual pictures of the people we’re fantasizing about more often than not.

Facebook stalking for spank-bank purposes is fine—we all do it—but does it cross a line to actually download the pictures for later? I feel like it’s at least a little creepy to be taking screenshots of people’s photos. But as long as you’re the only one using your phone, what’s the practical difference between looking at Facebook and looking at saved screenshots?

Screenshot Porn As New Kontent

Keep whatever you want on your phone, SPANK, so long as you keep it to yourself, and your phone is password-protected.


I am a 29-year-old straight woman on the West Coast in a new relationship. My boyfriend and I have just begun exploring anal sex. Question: HOW DO I AVOID POOP LEAKAGE?!? The first time we had anal sex, my boyfriend came in my ass and then pulled out. Then we decided to go for a run. (We didn’t think it through, CLEARLY.) A few minutes in, I was leaking all over my pants. In short, GROSS.

Obviously it wasn’t a good idea to go for a run afterward (NOTED!), but what can I do in the future immediately after anal to avoid poopy come from leaking out of my butt?

Anal Newbie Avoiding Leakage

Yeah, don’t go for a run immediately after anal. Spend a few minutes on the toilet instead—bring your phone; post something to Instagram; let gravity do its thing.

And that wasn’t poop leaking out of you on that run, ANAL; it was santorum—“the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”


No one aroused by BDSM could ever truly love someone, could they?

Violence Isn’t Love, Eh?

Of course not, VILE. Only the Duggar girls and Princess Diana’s boys are capable of truly loving someone. The rest of us are just playing.


My boyfriend complains that our sex life is too vanilla. I want him to be satisfied, but he won’t tell me what else he wants to do.

Recently, he suggested an open relationship. I don’t want to be in an open relationship, and I told him as much. But I’m fully open to being more kinky or whatever else he needs. I’ve tried mixing it up, but he just looks at me strangely and asks me to stop whatever I’m doing.

Can I do anything to fix this? Any insight would be appreciated.

I’m Not Good At Acronyms

He knows what he wants, and he can’t or won’t tell you. Either he can’t because he’s so sexually repressed that he’s incapable of pushing the words out of his mouth, or he won’t because his non-vanilla desires are so extreme as to be deal-breaker-level repulsive to anyone who doesn’t share them. But complaining about your sex life without elaborating or giving you any constructive feedback at all is disqualifying assholery, INGAA. You’ll also have to DTMFA.


I just read your reply to a woman who wrote to you regarding her partner’s lack of libido. Although I found the article somewhat interesting, I would have preferred that a woman who was an actual lesbian was rendering advice to other lesbians. As a man, you are not qualified to deal out sex advice to women—especially to lesbians.

Stating This Obvious Point

Take it away, Free Dictionary: “ad•vice: opinion about what could or should be done about a situation or problem.” The only qualification you need to give someone your opinion? Someone asked you for it. Full stop, STOP. So I’m going to continue giving advice to straight people despite not being straight, to lesbians despite not being a lesbian, to bisexuals despite not being bi, to trans people despite not being trans, and to monogamous people despite not being monogamous. Hell, I sometimes give advice to Republicans despite not being a heartless idiot.

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Published in Savage Love

I am a 22-year-old Italian man—100 percent straight, sensitive and sporty. I have been reading Savage Love for years in Internazionale. I have one question for you: Why do I always fall in love with lesbians? Why do I instantly fall in love with girls who have that something more in their eyes? Something melancholy and perhaps insecure? Girls whom I’d rather protect and embrace than take to bed?

The last three girls who fit this description all turned out to be lesbians. The last girl with whom this happened told me it was my “Red Cross” mindset that made me fall in love with girls who are insecure/sad/melancholy, so I have a sort of selection bias that excludes most straight girls I meet. I do not believe this, because the world is full of straight girls who need saving. So why then, Dan? WHY?

I have a girlfriend. I truly love her. Since September, we have been living in two different cities, because she went away to study. I am afraid that one day, she is going to tell me she’s gay, too. She always talks with me about a new super-cute female friend. Is she a lesbian? I have recently met another girl, super empathetic. She is gay, and I knew it after an all-night conversation in my car listening to (the band) Cigarettes After Sex. Why do I always fall in love with gay girls? Can I love two people at the same time? This is the fourth time that this has happened. Is my girlfriend gay? Why do I find lesbians so attractive? I’m freaking.

Increasingly Tormented About Lesbian Yearnings

There’s a lot going on in your letter, ITALY, so I’m going to take your questions one at a time …

1. Maybe you always fall in love with lesbians, or maybe this was a series of coincidences—by pure chance, you fell for more than one woman who turned out to be a lesbian—and, hey, since you’re probably going to love a few more women over the course of your life, ITALY, that “always” seems a bit premature.

It’s also possible you find women with a certain degree of masculine energy and/or swagger attractive, and women with that swagger are somewhat likelier to be lesbians, slightly upping your chances of falling in love with four girls-who-turned-out-to-be-lesbians in a row.

Personally, ITALY, I’m attracted to guys with a certain degree of feminine swagger, and needless to say, these guys are likelier to be gay. While almost all effeminate guys are gay—so stigmatized is femininity in males (even in the gay community)—masculine swagger in women is less stigmatized and therefore somewhat less likely to correlate as strongly with lesbianism. Women with masculine swagger and men with feminine swagger are also likely to be self-conscious about their gender-nonconforming traits, particularly when they’re young and/or not yet out, and that can read as melancholy and/or insecurity.

2. Women—straight or bi or lesbian—don’t need “saving.” They need respect; they need to be taken seriously; they need bodily autonomy; and they need loving partners and political allies.

3. Your girlfriend may be a lesbian—anyone could in these highly fluid days, even me. But if your girlfriend isn’t straight, ITALY, she’s likelier to be bisexual, seeing as there are roughly three times as many bi women as there are lesbian women. And if she seems gayer now than when you met, that could be because you landed a straight girl who had been suppressing her masculine swagger—which many men don’t find attractive—and she’s consciously or subconsciously come to the realization that she doesn’t have to play the girly girl around you to hold your attention. Quite the opposite, in fact.

4. It’s entirely possible to love more than one person at a time. Just as we are capable of loving more than one parent, child, sibling, friend and television show at a time (you know I love you both equally, Lady Dynamite and The Crown), we can love more than one romantic partner at a time. But we’re told that romantic love is a zero-sum game so often—if someone wins, someone else loses—that it has become a self-fulfilling/relationship-destroying prophecy. It’s a myth that harms not just people who might want to be with two people, but partnered monogamous people as well. A person who is convinced he can feel romantic love for only one person at a time will doubt his love for a long-term partner if he develops a crush on someone new. He’ll say to himself, “I couldn’t possibly feel this way about this barista if I was still in love with my partner of 10 years.” But those feelings can exist side by side—stable, secure, lasting love for a long-term partner, and an intense infatuation (most likely fleeting) for a new person.

5. Cigarettes After Sex were on a boat in the Arabian Sea—they sent the pics to prove it—when I reached them about your dilemma. Drummer Jacob Tomsky said: “About loving more than one person at the same time, a Gabriel García Márquez quote from Love in the Time of Cholera comes to mind: ‘My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.’ Your heart will surprise you with its duplicity.” Or its capacity. Keyboardist Phillip Tubbs wanted to share a Morrissey line with you: “’Cause I want the one I can’t have and it’s driving me mad.” Lead singer Greg Gonzalez declined to comment.

6. Maybe it’s not an accident that you keep falling for lesbians. There are lots of straight men out there who have a thing for dykes. It’s entirely possible that you aren’t worried your girlfriend is a lesbian, ITALY, but secretly hoping she is.

Good luck!


My boyfriend and I have been together for five years. We have had an open relationship from fairly early on, but it’s only in the last six months that he’s started using various gentlemen’s apps for meeting new guys. We don’t share apps or have threesomes; our dalliances are solo affairs, and that works for us.

I snuck a look at his phone and I was horrified—the dick pics he’s sharing are terrible: Poorly lit and with bad angles, they completely do not do justice to his cock. His face pics are great, but I really feel like he’s underselling what else he has to offer. How can I help him take better junk shots without revealing that I’ve been looking at his phone?

Doesn’t Instinctively Capture Photographic Instant Classics, Sadly

You could tell your boyfriend you made a joint appointment with a photographer—perhaps as a Hanukkah/Solstice/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Ramadan present—because you thought you should both have Sears-Portrait-Studio-quality-or-better dick pics to share with your prospective hookups, DICPICS … or you could let your boyfriend’s hookups be pleasantly surprised when your boyfriend drops his drawers.


Are you really whining about having a president you don’t like in office? Is that so terrible that you have to get little digs in every week? That’s the problem with you liberals—you’re a bunch of wimps. Man up, dude.

Make America Strong Again

Gee, I don’t recall any whining from you right-wing he-men back when a black guy who didn’t collude with a hostile foreign power and wasn’t poisoning our air and water and didn’t undermine our Democratic norms and wasn’t surrounded by a cadre of deeply corrupt sycophants was president—you guys were so stoic during the Obama years, so he-manly. You ova’d up; you didn’t whine or moan; you didn’t spread wild conspiracy theories or march on Washington waving signs that proved you were every bit as misinformed as you are illiterate.

(Wake up, dude.)

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Published in Savage Love

I’m a 36-year-old straight woman with autism, and I am often misidentified as lesbian, because my social signaling must read as masculine. I am not bothered by this. However, it is annoying when someone who should know better thinks I would hide it if I were LGBTQ.

I’m very direct and honest—sometimes to my detriment—and the idea that I would hide something so fundamental about myself is abhorrent to me. I don’t consider myself disabled; I am different than most people but not broken. But as a person with a diagnosed “disability” that includes an inability to accurately read and display social cues, I know that a person’s perception of your sexual orientation is definitely affected by social signaling.

I enjoy your podcast and I feel like I am educating myself about how neurotypical people think. But I wish there was as good a source of advice for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have been searching, but a lot of the advice for people with ASD is written by people who are not on the spectrum and focuses on passing for neurotypical.

Not Disabled, Not Lesbian, Not Typical

I shared your letter with Steve Silberman, the award-winning author of The New York Times best seller NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, NDNLNT. I really have nothing to add to his response—your question is outside my supposed areas of quasi-expertise—so I’m going to let Steve take it from here.

“I’m not surprised to hear that NDNLNT is more annoyed by people thinking she’s in the closet than by them misidentifying her as gay. In my experience, a passionate concern for social justice—and compassion for other stigmatized and marginalized people—is so common among folks on the spectrum that it’s practically diagnostic. Furthermore, there seems to be an interesting overlap between being autistic and having a nonstandard gender identity—whether you define yourself as gay, bi, trans, straight but not cis, or nonbinary.

“My autistic friends share NDNLNT’s concern about the lack of good resources for autistic people who want to learn more about the nuances of sex, dating and gender identity. As she points out, many of the advice books written specifically for people on the spectrum take the approach that the route to success in this arena involves acting as much like a neurotypical as possible, which just adds stress to an already stressful situation. They also tend to be tediously heteronormative and drearily vanilla-centric.

“But there are exceptions. My autistic friends recommend Life and Love: Positive Strategies for Autistic Adults by Zosia Zaks; The Aspie Girl’s Guide to Being Safe With Men by Debi Brown; and the anthology What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew, edited by Emily Paige Ballou, Kristina Thomas and Sharon daVanport. While not autism-specific, The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability also comes highly recommended. My favorite autism blog, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, runs frank and fascinating pieces like ‘Autism and Orgasm.’ Another place to look for useful advice is in presentations by autistic self-advocates like Lindsey Nebeker, Stephen Mark Shore, and Amy Gravino (whose TEDx talk ‘Why Autism Is Sexier Than You Think It Is’ is on YouTube).”

Dan here: Thank you so much, Steve. And to everyone else: There’s more about Steve and his work at his website (stevesilberman.com), and I strongly recommend following him on Twitter (@stevesilberman), where he daily battles Republicanism, ignorance and hatred. (I’m sorry; was that redundant?)


My fiancé and I are getting straight-married this summer. My fiancé’s best man is in a polyamorous relationship—which is not the problem. The issue is that we like only one of his boyfriends. Our best man moved in with the boyfriend we like two years ago. The other boyfriend is new (six months), younger and immature. Whenever we’ve seen the three of them, his new boyfriend was fighting with one of them.

I don’t want our best man to feel like we are being rude in excluding his new partner, but I don’t want there to be drama for our best man at our wedding.

Being Rude Isn’t Dat Easy

Hmm. A new addition to a poly relationship who creates drama and makes close friends of the original pair uncomfortable? I’d put the odds of their third being in the picture six months from now at zero. So this is a problem that will most likely solve itself.

But you could always ask your friend what he would like you to do. You’re not worried about the new boyfriend ruining your wedding, BRIDE; you’re worried about him ruining the day for your best man. So ask your best man what would be worse—the new boyfriend being excluded (and your best man incurring his wrath at home), or the new boyfriend being included (and your best man having to put up with his bullshit at the wedding). Then +1 or +2 accordingly.


I’m an attractive 30-year-old woman. Recently, I was stuck in a packed subway car. I squeezed in next to the best-looking straphanger I could find, faced him like we were slow-dancing, pressed my tits into him and straddled his leg. We were so close, my head was over his shoulder—I could feel an electrical charge running through his body—and we stayed that way until I got to my stop. Upon parting, I whispered, “You’re very attractive.” And he whispered back, “So are you.”

I’ve pulled this on crowded trains a few other times. They’re my favorite erotic memories, and it sure seemed like the guys enjoyed these experiences. But Charlie Rose thought he was “exploring shared feelings.” So I wanted to ask: Am I a groper?

Tiresome Reality Arrogates Intimate Nearness

Yup.

Some people would say the obvious response—the obvious way to open your eyes to what’s so wrong about your actions—would be to ask, “If a dude did this to a woman on a public conveyance, would that be OK?” But a woman seeking out the hottest guy on the subway and pressing her tits into his chest and straddling his leg exists in an entirely different context than a man doing the same to a woman. As I wrote recently on my blog in the Savage Love Letter of the Day: “Men don’t move through their lives deflecting near-constant unwanted sexual attention; we aren’t subjected to epidemic levels of sexual violence; and consequently, we don’t live with the daily fear that we could be the victims of sexual violence at any time and in any place.” So a man on the receiving end of your behavior—even a man who felt annoyed, offended or threatened—is going to experience your actions very differently than a woman subjected to the same actions by a man. A man is unlikely to feel threatened; a woman is unlikely to feel anything else.

While the men you’ve done this to seemed to enjoy it—and we only have your word to go on—that doesn’t make your subway perving OK. There are definitely men out there, TRAIN, who would be upset and/or angered by your actions. Me, for instance—and not (just) because I’m gay. (I don’t like being hugged by strangers. I would hate being humped by a random perv on the train.) There are also men out there who have been the victims of sexual violence—far, far fewer men than women, of course, but you can’t tell by looking at a guy whether he’d be traumatized by your opportunistic attentions.

Even if your hump-dar (like gaydar, but for humping) was perfect, and you never did this to a man who didn’t enjoy it, you’re normalizing sexual assault on subways and buses, TRAIN, thereby making these spaces less safe for women than they already are. Knock it the fuck off.

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Published in Savage Love

Editor’s note: Before we get on with the column here, two things:

1. I’d like to welcome Dan Savage and his well-known and much-loved column, Savage Love, to the pages of CVIndependent.com. Welcome, Dan!

2. Readers: For those of you unfamiliar with Savage Love … consider this a warning.

This is a sex- and relationship-advice column. It’s a popular column, one that’s been in papers across the continent for more than 25 years now.

However … this column is not tame. It is NSFW—not safe for work—and, at times, it is rather graphic. So … if you are offended by sexually graphic content, do not read this. Really. Don’t. I’m not kidding. Also, Dan is quite the social liberal, so if you don’t like liberal politics, you may want to read something else instead.

But if you can handle graphic sexual content and liberal politics, then by all means, read on.

The column, and Dan, have done a whole lot of good over the last 2 1/2 decades—first and foremost the It Gets Better Project, something that has unquestionably saved the lives of many bullied, confused and hurting teens.

So … the choice on whether or not to read on is yours—and whether or not you do, I thank you for reading the Coachella Valley Independent. —Jimmy Boegle


I used to be a fan of your column, Dan, but something happened to you. Maybe it’s stress, the current political climate, or some other issue—I don’t know. I used to look forward to your columns because they were fun, smart, and helpful—but I don’t enjoy what I’m seeing now. If something did happen to you, reach out for help. You’re on the verge of losing a loyal reader.

Reader Enquiring About Dan’s Enervating Responses

I’ve been getting letters like yours—What happened to you, Dan? You used to be more fun?—at this time of year, every year, for the last 25 years, READER. Maybe I get moody when the weather gets gloomy, and that spills into my column annually. And perhaps the current political climate—a rather reserved way to describe the destruction of our democracy—is making my seasonal grumping worse. Another possible factor …

I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, READER, but I’ve been writing this column for a long time. And back before the Internet came along and ruined everything for everyone, I used to get a lot of how-to/what’s-that questions about sex acts and sex toys. A column explaining butt plugs to readers who knew nothing about them—and lacked easy access to butt-plug info—was as much fun to read as it was to write. But every sex act and every sex toy has its own Wiki page now, which means I don’t get to write fun columns about butt plugs anymore, READER, and you don’t get to read them. Now the questions all revolve around someone being deeply shitty or someone deluding themselves about how deeply shitty they’re being. Columns filled with questions about and from people behaving badly are never going to be as delightsome as those butt-plug columns of yore.

But thank you for writing in to share your concern, READER, and rest assured that nothing truly terrible has happened to me—besides Trump, of course, but Trump happened to all of us, not just me. Still, I don’t want to lose you as a reader, so I’m going to make an effort to sunny things up a bit over the next few weeks.

OK! Let’s see what else came in the mail today! Hopefully something fun!


My significant other and I rarely have sex. A while ago, I had a sexual encounter with her daughter. We continued to have sexual encounters for some time. Now my significant other and I may be getting married. Her daughter and I broke it off, but it started up again after a week. I am attempting to break things off with my significant other’s daughter again, but I’m having a hard time. Please advise.

Restraining Urges Is Necessary

Ugh. Do you see what I mean, READER? It’s hard to come through with jokes, erudition and uplifting words when you’re responding to questions like this one.

OK, RUIN. Marrying a woman whose adult daughter you can’t keep your dick out of … yeah, that’s a bad idea. (And her daughter is an adult, right?!? You’re not Roy Moore-ing it, are you?) Sooner or later, your significant other is going to discover what’s been going on, and your relationship with both of these women will be destroyed. You’ll be able to move out and move on, RUIN, but your former significant other isn’t going to be so lucky—because while you won’t always be her SO, and hopefully won’t ever be her husband, her daughter is always going to be her child. So while you may get out from this relationship with some light scarring, your ex and her daughter will be left with open, gaping wounds for the rest of their lives.

My advice: Pull up your pants; cancel the wedding; and get as far away from your SO and her daughter as possible.


I’m a middle-aged married dude. The sex life with my wife is good, but I also masturbate because, you know, I’m a person. Sometimes, I masturbate while surfing through pictures on Facebook of attractive women I know. These aren’t stolen nudes off of someone’s phone; they’re public pictures.

I’m progressive when it comes to politics and gender issues. Face-to-face, I’m respectful and would never do anything to make these women—or any other woman—feel uncomfortable. I don’t leer, and I’m not a creeper. I know what I’m doing is pervy, but is it pervy bad? Am I crossing a line?

Peering Is Creepy, Sometimes

This one’s a little better, READER. It’s a little squicky, sure, but it’s not boil-your-eyes-after-reading squicky.

OK, PICS. Masturbating to someone is fine; masturbating at someone is not. (To be clear: Masturbating to thoughts of someone without their knowledge is fine; masturbating at someone who does not wish to be masturbated at is not.) Our erotic imaginations are free to roam—and that includes roaming through Facebook. No one needs our permission to fantasize about us or anything else, and we can’t control when, where and how the pics we share on social media will be enjoyed. Provided you aren’t doing or saying anything to make your Facebook “friends” uncomfortable (no supposedly-friendly-but-transparently-thirsty comments; no tongue-hanging-out emojis), you’re doing something no one wants to think about, PICS, but you’re not crossing a line.


A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were engaging in mutual masturbation when she squirted all over my hand—a large amount—and she was completely mortified. It was the first time it happened for her, and it’s happened several times since. She is upset.

I’ve been with a couple of other women in the past who squirted, and I am absolutely fine with it. I love it, in fact! I did my absolute best to reassure her that I think it’s great and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, but she’s really embarrassed every time. The last time, she was close to tears with fears that she’d urinated.

My question: There’s so much great writing about female ejaculation around, but rather than bombard my GF—who is the most amazing, incredible person—with links to article upon article, how can I help her feel OK about this?

Sincere Questioner Understands It’s Really Terrific

This one’s pretty good, READER. It’s an old-school, pre-internet Savage Love question, sexy and playful—charming, even.

OK, SQUIRT. You can help her feel OK about this by continuing to use your words (“I love this; it’s so hot!”), by sharing those articles with her (she needs to hear from and about other women with her superpower, not just from her boyfriend), and by lapping that shit up. Swallow, SQUIRT.

And so what if it is piss? (And many argue it isn’t.) Piss isn’t sterile, as Mike Pesca took time out of his day to explain to me on the Savage Lovecast back when alleged human being Donald Trump’s alleged pee tape was all over the news. (Goddammit. Our current political climate snuck up on me. Sorry about that, READER.) There are a lot more bacteria and whatever else in saliva, and we dump spit into each other’s mouths like it’s maple fucking syrup. If you guys are swapping other fluids regularly, why not swap a little of this one, too?

And remember: It’s only been two weeks—it may take her some time to learn to love her new superpower. Maybe watch some X-Men movies (it’s a superpower, not a mutation!), and keep being upbeat and positive about the way your girlfriend’s body works. Good luck!

On this week’s Lovecast, comedian extraordinaire Cameron Esposito. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org

Published in Savage Love

On the bar at Lulu—one of Palm Springs’ biggest and most popular restaurants (and a personal favorite of mine)—is a sign in a silver picture frame.

“We have an excellent selection of non-Russian vodka,” the sign reads, just below an image of a rainbow-colored martini.

Lulu is one of a number of bars and restaurants that are participating in a boycott of Russian vodka that is getting bigger and bigger by the day.

It’s a boycott that is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it isn’t well-thought-out.

The roots of the boycott lie, in part, in a call by Dan Savage, a pundit, author and sex-advice columnist who is the editorial director of The Stranger, one of the Independent’s alt-media brethren, in Seattle. On Wednesday, Savage wrote a post on The Stranger’s website titled “Why I’m Boycotting Russian Vodka.” In the post, he chronicles increasing government-sanctioned anti-gay movements in Russian, including bans on gay-pride celebrations and violent attacks on LGBT groups and individuals. These horrendous actions have led many to call for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in Sochi, Russia.

Savage points out that many of us can’t really participate right now in an Olympics boycott, since the vast majority of us aren’t planning on traveling to Sochi for the games. However, many of us do drink vodka. And therefore, he argues, we can send a message by forgoing Russian booze.

“If you drink a Russian Vodka like Stoli, Russian Standard, or any of the other brands … switch to another brand from another country, or even a local brand from a local distillery,” Savage writes. “Stoli is the iconic Russian vodka and it's returning to Russian ownership in 2014. Other brands like Russian Standard should also be boycotted. Do not drink Russian vodka. Do not buy Russian vodka. Ask your bartender at your favorite bar—gay or otherwise—to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.”

There’s no doubt that the well-intentioned boycott is growing. There’s also no doubt that the boycott is gaining attention.

Attention from Stoli, that is: The company is understandably concerned, and has issued a statement to the world condemning Russia's actions and promoting LGBT rights.

Of course, anyone who has attended any large LGBT event in recent years already knows that Stoli is engaged and supportive of the LGBT community. In fact, Stoli actually employs an LGBT brand ambassador, Patrik Gallineaux. (Full disclosure: Patrik is a friend.)

You can speculate that Stoli may cares more about LGBT dollars than LGBT rights. (After all, we gays love our vodka, don’t we?) You can also criticize Stoli for its over-glorification of twinks and single-digit-body-fat-percentage younger men in its LGBT-themed promotions. (But that’s a column for another time.) But you can’t deny that Stoli has done more to engage, support and be visible in the gay community than any other liquor brand, foreign or domestic—and that is a very good thing.

A recent lesson on the consequences of boycotts can be found in the state to our east. After the state of Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer made the anti-immigrant SB 1070 into law in 2010, a group of musicians, led by Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, organized the Sound Strike, a movement that discouraged bands from performing in the state of Arizona. In time, an impressive list of musicians ranging from Maroon 5 to Steve Earle to Ozomatli signed on with the Sound Strike.

Sound Strike was undeniably well-intentioned. After all, SB 1070 was a terrible, horrendous law with racist roots.

On one hand, Sound Strike was a success—for a period of time, a number of acts indeed cancelled concerts in Arizona, and/or refused to schedule dates there.

On the other hand, Sound Strike was a failure: The right-wing Republicans in the Arizona Legislature and notorious officials such as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer didn’t care one whit about Sound Strike. They continued to fight on behalf of SB 1070 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected much of the law in 2012.

In other words, while Sound Strike had a profound effect on, say, fans of Ozomatli in Arizona, and well-meaning progressive nonprofits like the Rialto Theatre, it had no effect on the people who were responsible for SB 1070 becoming law.

Sound Strike eventually fizzled out, more or less, but only after harming at lot of people who were—like the Sound Strike organizers—opposed to SB 1070. (The boycott cost the nonprofit Rialto at least six figures.)

I see the same thing happening with this ill-advised Russian-vodka boycott. There's no doubt that this boycott could hurt the most gay-engaged liquor brand in the U.S. I also have no doubt that Vladimir Putin and other anti-gay leaders in Russia will suffer neither harm nor a crisis of conscience over this boycott.

That’s why when I head to downtown Palm Springs tonight for a cocktail, Stoli will be the liquor in my glass.

Published in Editor's Note

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