Sex questions were answered and relationship advice was given Monday evening as syndicated columnist and activist Dan Savage joined students and community members on campus to address one of society’s more taboo subjects: sexuality.
Savage, who is the author of sex advice column Savage Love as well as the co-founder of the It Gets Better Project, a multimedia project aiming to inspire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth facing harassment, was hosted by the Wisconsin Union Directorate as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series.
Introduced by UW gender and women’s studies professor A. Finn Enke, Savage came with “no agenda” and no prepared speech, but rather structured his time to be fully in the question and answer format.
By only taking audience members questions, Savage said the direction of the discussion is up to the viewers’ discretion.
“I arrived with no agenda. However disgusting or inappropriate discussion may get, you have no one to blame but yourself,” Savage said.
According to Enke, Savage’s work represents a venue to normalize kindness and the presence of sexual desire regardless of people choices, sexual orientation and religious and political beliefs, adding that it “gets people talking.”
Savage, who addressed topics ranging from “cured” ex-gays and monogamy to defining success in relationships and differences in sexuality between genders, emphasized the idea that there is no set prescription for all people. He stressed that he is a “high profile advocate of multiple forms of relationships.”
According to Savage, the most important concept when addressing sexual desires is understanding one’s own mind and communicating those thoughts and wants. Figure out what turns you on, Savage said.
He also emphasized the idea of communication in sexual relationships in multiple avenues, adding that the two are highly intertwined.
“Just be good to each other and keep fucking and talking,” Savage said. “Talk, talk, talk and fuck, fuck, fuck. If you stop talking, you will probably stop fucking, and if you stop fucking, you will probably stop talking.”
In addition to answering sexual questions, Savage also responded to audience members as an activist for LGBT rights in line with Enke’s notion of America’s “[epidemic] of homophobia and sexism.”
Savage, who Enke said has been “glitter-bombed” with criticism regarding certain issues, noted there are many issues the LGBT community has left to fight for, as only 15 percent of the nation has allowed same-sex marriage.
According to Savage, even when full marriage equality is reached, the fight against homophobia will continue, just as racism continues to be a topic discussion currently, after the abolition of slavery.
To conclude his time, Savage connected his points on communication with his role as a gay rights activist in addressing what straight people can learn from gay people.
Savage said the last idea he would leave with straight people to better their sex lives is the use of the question, “What are you into?”
“Gay people are better at sex, know more about sex and have more sex than straight people,” Savage said. “Not because we are magic, although we are that, too. We are better at sex because we communicate, because we are forced to communicate in a way that straight people aren’t forced to.”
According to Savage, when consent is reached in a gay or lesbian relationship, those “four magic words” — “what are you into?” — make the difference in a sexual experience because “nothing makes sex better than communication.”