Sex-advice guru Dan Savage on being a gay dad, crying during sex, bad advice, Ashton Kutcher, why he dislikes Dr. Drew, the mistake he regrets the most, and whether he’s good in bed.
You’re married, with a kid. Should you really be doling out sex advice?
I’m gay married with a kid.
So being gay married with a kid is different?
Yes, in some ways, and I’m also me. And I only have one kid. And this kid isn’t quite the sex- and relationship-destroying atom bomb that three or four kids might be. The key to keeping sex alive, particularly when a kid is around, is giving a shit about sex and prioritizing it. And I do that.
Where do you turn when you need sex or marriage advice?
I used to go my mother, but she died in 2008. Thankfully I was with her long enough to get most of the advice I needed to not totally fuck up my life.
What’s the weirdest letter you’ve ever received?
I get letters from people who eat shit and get turned on by that. I get letters from people who have sex with dogs and want to start a kind of dog-fuckers pride movement similar to a gay pride movement—because those are, of course, totally the same thing.
There’s really no end to the crazy circumstances people get themselves into. I got a letter today from a woman who’s dating a guy who has five children from five different women, and this guy is encouraging her not to use birth control because he’s sure he wants to start a family with her.
He sounds like a winner.
Oh, and he’s pressuring her to have a threesome with him and one of his other baby mamas who happens to be living with him. And she wonders if getting involved with this guy is a good idea? Those are the kinds of letters that really make me bang my head on the desk, especially when the letter ends with, “I’ve been reading you for years.” Apparently, to no benefit.
If you could take back one piece of advice you’ve ever given a reader, what would it be?
I once told a woman who didn’t like her husband, or wouldn’t leave him, to encourage her husband to take up drinking and driving. You really don’t want to suggest that someone take up drinking and driving in print. It’s a sure way to get several million angry letters.
You started out as a sex-advice columnist, and now you’re one of the leading gay voices in America. Are you at all surprised by how your career turned out?
I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I would say I’m appalled. There are gay organizations with multi-million-dollar budgets, and none of them can seem to scrounge up an executive director who can string a few persuasive lines together and win an argument on basic cable. Why is that every time someone from the Human Rights Campaign is on TV, you just know that we already lost the fight. Whatever the argument is, whatever the question is, it’s over. Some people will say to me, “Who made you spokesperson?” You know what? Nobody. I’m a spokesperson by default.
Have you been more successful in public or private life?
Can I say it’s a tie?
Sure. I want to talk about Ashton Kutcher anyway. Why are you so mean to to him?
I’m not mean to Ashton Kutcher. I said I wanted to fuck him, but as soon as he started being Punk’d and Jackass-y, the love affair was over. When I saw him on the cover of Rolling Stone looking gorgeous but with a cigarette in his hand, I was like, “Nope, never mind.”
When was the last time you cried?
Really cried, or choked up?
The day my mother died.
Have you ever cried during sex?
Only in a role-play scenario. And that’s a lie. Not even in a role-play scenario.