EDITOR'S NOTE: If there's one column that sets a lot of alternative weeklies apart from their tamer counterparts, it's Savage Love, the sex advice column written by Dan Savage, editor of The Stranger in Seattle. It's plain talk and common sense written in a way that's funny, smart and (often) disgusting. In one of his most celebrated recent columns, he started a campaign to have "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex" called "santorum" to memorialize U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's views on gay sex and privacy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorum_controversy). Savage is also a contributor to Ira Glass' radio documentary program This American Life and is a playwright and theater director, both under his real name and under the name Keenan Hollahan. To read more, go to www.thestranger.com. We hope this helps you through any problems that arise this summer.
I am a 25-year-old, bisexual female grad student in NYC. This summer I had sex with a man for the first time. It was casual sex, but we were together for a few days. I was spending the summer in California, and met him there; he now lives in Philadelphia.
Today I called him up for the first time since we met. He gave one-word answers to my questions. When I asked if he wanted to get together since we were in the same area again, all he said was, "Not really." He was so cold. I know you'll give me a lecture on casual sex: He has a right not to want to see me again; a few one-night stands does not create intimacy. But I was looking for none of this. I simply enjoyed the sex and enjoyed the company, and he seemed to as well. So it didn't seem out of line to call.
The thing I really can't understand is why he was so nasty. As a person who reads your column regularly, I suddenly feel remarkably unsophisticated. My question is, did I breach etiquette by contacting him? Did I break some unspoken rule about casual sex? If you answer this letter, please be nice. I feel awful. —Made A Fool Of Myself In New York
I'll be nice, MAFOMINY. First of all, you didn't make a fool of yourself, you made a phone call, and that call didn't break any of the 300,000 unspoken rules of casual sex. Unless a casual-sex partner specifically asks us not to call, we have every right to ring her or him up. One person making a call is the only way a casual sex partner is ever transformed into plain ol' partner.
So why was this guy so nasty? Based on your account of the conversation, I would guess that he wasn't alone when you called. If he was sitting next to his new girlfriend (or his old one, if he was cheating with you), he wouldn't be able to speak with an affectionate tone for fear of arousing his girlfriend's suspicions. And if he was sitting next to his girlfriend when you asked if he wanted to get together, he wouldn't be able to say much more than "not really." He was probably trying to sound like he was turning down an invite from a friend to see a movie, which he can hardly be blamed for if your call came at a bad time.
Or, hey, maybe he's an asshole who shot you down for sport. While that's painful, and while I empathize (and while I'm still being nice), you're a grown-up. Apply a little skin-thickener, okay? Getting shot down happens to all of us once or twice in our adult lives; I promise it will happen to you again—and you're gonna shoot a few men and women down in your lifetime too, assuming you haven't done so already. Each of us in turn, on purpose or by accident, gets to play the asshole.
Sex in the city park
This may seem like a naive question, but where in New York can one take a friend for a discreet lay? Central Park? It appears to be designed so that you can't have any privacy (most frustrating: the Ramble). My place or hers? We are each involved with significant others we both care about. A friend's place? Nobody knows about us, and we want to keep it that way. A hotel? The ones that don't ask for identification are too sleazy. Surely, we're not the only people in Manhattan who have this problem. Any suggestions? —Frustrated Fans
Let me get this straight, FF: You're so desperate you contemplated having sex in Central Park—you even checked out the notorious Ramble—but your ass is too good for the sheets at a sleazy hotel? Listen, sleaze bag, sex in Central Park is a lot sleazier than sex in even the sleaziest hotel in Manhattan. I suggest you check into the sleaze-o-rama Howard Johnson Hotel across the street from Madison Square Garden.
I am a straight male who just got back from Carnival in Rio. I went with a few friends from work. We had a blast. Actually, it may have been too much fun. One night I drank too much and ended up getting into a conversation with one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen ... or so I thought. She/he/it (whatever I'm supposed to use) was actually a transvestite. At the time, this didn't bother me. I loved the double-D tits in my face. She/he was wearing a thong and had a beautiful ass, and her/his face was stunning—so stunning that, in addition to participating in a lap dance, I ended up meeting her/him later. I don't know why I did this. I think it was to fulfill my curiosity and find out if I was at all interested in men. And it made it easier because she was mostly woman. Ultimately, I couldn't perform; there was something about her NINE-INCH COCK that put me off. It was kind of in the way... so I just received a blowjob.
Now my questions come in. I feel a little jilted; will this pass? Also, is there a strong possibility of contracting an STD? I would imagine that a transvestite in Brazil who gives random American guys blowjobs for free is, uh, highly active, sexually speaking. I've been reading your column for about four years and I love it. Now I need your input. —What a Dummy
Let's get the STD issue out of the way first: The odds of contracting an STD from a lap-dance-givin', tourist-blowin' tranny in Rio are probably pretty high—they're probably sky-fucking-high, so here's hoping the head was good. I would advise you to set your personal STD terror alert status at code orange, WAD, and act accordingly. Like Tom Ridge is always telling us, "Don't panic, but remain alert." Keep an eye on your dick—sores? burning sensations? falling off?—and even if no symptoms appear, go get tested for absolutely everything sometime soon.
As for your other issues...
You claim to feel "jilted." I'm not sure what you mean by that. Did the nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK leave you for another tourist? Or did you want the nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK to come back with you and be your wife? Or by "jilted" do you mean, "I GOT HEAD FROM A DUDE AND I'M FREAKING OUT!"? If you're freaked out, rest assured that it will pass. You took a walk on the wild side and got yourself some head under a unique set of circumstances. Luckily for you, WAD, the nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK was not your next-door neighbor, a coworker, or your girlfriend's younger brother. Since the nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK is on one continent and you're on another, it's extremely unlikely that you will ever see the nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK again. That should make putting the whole pleasurable business behind you that much easier.
Now unless you have a burning desire to do this again—and some "straight" guys do this sort of thing again and again, and most pay dearly for the privilege—you're not queer. The nice lady with the NINE-INCH COCK turned your crank, it's true, but she turned it with the fake tits, the girlish ass, the beautiful face, and not—not, not, not—the cock. She presented herself as a woman, and you responded to that. Which means you're still the man.