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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sometimes a Sex Column Is Just a Sex Column…

posted by on September 4 at 13:18 PM

…and sometimes it’s a cry for help.

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Good thing I turned down that scholarship to Swarthmore ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 4, 2008 1:38 PM

dr. strokes, taking the sexy out of sex...leaving you with that, column pretty much.

Posted by Jiberish | September 4, 2008 1:39 PM

Stopped reading almost immediately. Other than the boring tone, mentioning the Kinsey Scale, the use of "stranger rape" and the overall woe-is-me introduction...I only need one sex columnist, and you've been it foreverz.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 4, 2008 1:40 PM

Dan- I like how she felt the need to diss you. Maybe her vulvodynia comes from a very specific envy of *your* penis.

Posted by Big Sven | September 4, 2008 1:43 PM
"Well, Dan Savage says the secret to his success is that he never writes about himself, and when he does it's a lie."

Why are you being so secretive?? I barely know the names of your family and friends and coworkers and favorite hangouts and hobbies and former jobs and airline itineraries. Let's hear about sexual traumas #1 #2 and #3!

Posted by poppy | September 4, 2008 1:45 PM

Savage Love, accept no substitutes.

Posted by PopTart | September 4, 2008 1:48 PM

there's no levity in the woman. not a bit. not even gallows humor, fercrissakes! yeesh. plus she's a mess. we would want to read her/get her advice...why?

Posted by ellarosa | September 4, 2008 1:54 PM

Wow Dan, thanks for this keen insight to the world of your google alerts. I feel like we're brothers now.

Posted by Skip | September 4, 2008 2:00 PM
Posting Rules This is a forum to facilitate discussion. Keep these guidelines in mind when posting: 1. Be nice. 2. Be constructive. 3. Keep it clean. 4. Don't threaten to hurt or to kill. We are working on implementing a community moderation system for Fall, 2008.

1. Fuck you.
2. Your column sucks dogshit in hell.
3. I'm on a toilet right now.
4. Kill yourself.

Hey, do you think they'll have registered comments before we do?

Posted by someone | September 4, 2008 2:02 PM

Wow. I couldn't finish. Suddenly, my hangups seem so insignificant right now, and will as long as Dr. Strokes* is discharging written pus.

* My guess? Not a real doctor.

Posted by Jason Josephes | September 4, 2008 2:05 PM

Someone--We already have registered comments.

Posted by Miles | September 4, 2008 2:05 PM

She offers a different view on a sex column.
I've always been a Savage Love fan, and I don't see this one being syndicated, but I'll probably still read it.

One thing that I know from going to a conservative university is that sexual assault is covered up to no end at the highest levels. To have this column and its links (hopefully, in the future there will be links) as a resource will be a benefit.

Posted by Will in STL | September 4, 2008 2:11 PM

@12 yeah i definitely agree with will in stl, there are a lot of sexual assault covereup in conservative schools and i would like to find out more about where best location for sexual assault is.

Posted by james silla | September 4, 2008 2:14 PM

@12's a different view all right! A disturbed and confused one!

And if you are reading the advice of someone who thinks that the Courage to Heal has redeeming qualities, you should get help too. Seriously.

Posted by clarity | September 4, 2008 2:15 PM

I said I never write about myself in my syndicated column, and when I do it's a lie. Didn't say anything about Slog, books, Stranger features, etc.

And, yes, this arrived via my Google alert. Rarely does something that comes in to me via Google alert rise to the level of a Slog postóI get a lot of those alertsóbut this one did. After reading "Dr. Strokes" first column... well, how could I not post it?

Posted by Dan Savage | September 4, 2008 2:15 PM

Thanks, I need a siesta.

Good column this week, btw. DTMFA isn't always the best advice, sometimes working with what ya got is the best advice.

Posted by Phenics | September 4, 2008 2:20 PM

Don't be so mean. What could be more exciting than, "I am going to tell you about how I theorize my queer identity and my survivor identity" ?

Posted by Jeph | September 4, 2008 2:22 PM

It's not a sex column. It's a [self-indulgent] therapy column. It's awful, but then, I've never had those things, so maybe it will help some people. But given it's focused at such a specific category of people, I don't see how many people will pay much attention. Hell, I wanna hear about 3ways and positions and weird sexual hang ups, or helping people come out and figure out their sexuality, not about sore vaginas and angst and woe and misery.

Posted by Dean P | September 4, 2008 2:24 PM

Wow. Just wow. I can't even read through that entire article. I wouldn't want to try to read through the long-winded advice she would give anyways.

Posted by Trisha | September 4, 2008 2:25 PM

did you all (above commenters) really think that sex is always fun and sexy for everyone? and that the only conversations about sex should be about how to incorporate ever mmore bizarre kinks and fetishes, and not how to deal with it when something goes wrong?

wow, that's insulting. to normal people with questions, to those who are struggling with sex that's not enjoyable, and to yourselves.

Posted by another swattie | September 4, 2008 2:27 PM


Posted by OMFG!!! | September 4, 2008 2:31 PM

It was ok for about 5 paragraphs, but the remaining 37 were fucking mind-numbing - I couldn't finish it.

Posted by Ivan | September 4, 2008 2:35 PM

This all really belongs in a session with her therapist (she's got a therapist, right?) and not in a published column.

Posted by Greg | September 4, 2008 2:40 PM

The only one I bother to read is Dear Faggot.

But I've not seen it in a while.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 4, 2008 2:43 PM

You mean Hey Faggot!.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 4, 2008 2:47 PM

Swattie @20, there's certainly nothing wrong with a purely clinical sex column. If so, I'd hope it would be written by someone who has a more professional approach than to use the name "Dr. STROKES," and who isn't bemoaning the fact that she's not gay enough yet.

You can't have your aching vagina and eat it too.

Posted by Karla | September 4, 2008 3:00 PM

Chelsea Alvarez-Bell has a sex column now?

Posted by Dr. Savage Mudede | September 4, 2008 3:08 PM

Sounds like she LITERALLY has sand in her vagina. I'd be a little panicky and irritable too.

Posted by Fnarf | September 4, 2008 3:19 PM

Reading this was my Big Sexual Trauma #1. Neurotic is not erotic, lady. You're a pain in the vagina.

I see Mr. Poe has already introduced himself in her comments section. This is the only reason anyone should ever return to that cursed url again.

Posted by citty_kitty | September 4, 2008 3:21 PM

Um, so is she actually going to offer advice? I honestly can't tell and I read the whole thing. Wow, I'd better write to her, I just realised I'm a masochist.

Posted by banjoboy | September 4, 2008 3:22 PM

Wow. Am I glad I finished up college years ago, and decided not to apply to Swarthmore (though all schools have as many confused/scared/selfish girls, probably)!

Why would anyone allow a college student to write a sex advice column? They are the ones who are supposed to be asking the questions! She doesn't even like sex! (read between the lines for that one)
Once she realizes that item #1 in her list might be the reason for the rest of the column, she'll understand that she isn't that interesting after all.

God, rich college kids are the worst!

Posted by Sir Vic | September 4, 2008 3:27 PM

good lord, a self-identified Kensey 1.8 referring to herself as queer? that just annoys the fuck out of me... it doesnt show a really good understanding of the history of sex advice...

Posted by Womyn2me | September 4, 2008 3:34 PM

I don't see what's so horrible about what she wrote. And @32, at least she didn't include sentences like "good lord, a self-identified Kensey 1.8 referring to herself as queer?"

Posted by Captain Jack | September 4, 2008 5:03 PM


No, and no. Does Swarthmore have Reading Comprehension?

Posted by elenchos | September 4, 2008 5:17 PM

That's not a sex column, that's a sexual trauma column. It sounds brave and interesting, but not exactly something I'd get mixed up with "The Stranger."

I think a lot of it has to do with the dopey headline. Don't they even read the stories before they write those things?!

Oh, wait. I never did. Oops.

Posted by Arlette | September 4, 2008 5:33 PM

I went to school with a Vulvodynia. Vulvodynia Jones.

Nice girl, but she had some problems.

Posted by Wolf | September 4, 2008 6:29 PM

I hate to be unkind, because she sounds so sincere and well meaning.

But the column is godawful boring, and she sounds like such a mess that I can't imagine taking sex advice from her. Or any other kind of advice, for that matter.

I predict her column won't last past the end of her school year. Otherwise, I hope she gets the help she needs.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | September 4, 2008 7:01 PM

@25: Yes, that one!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 4, 2008 7:05 PM

@26: I suspect the name is a reference to the previous columnist there, whose series wasn't much of a traditional sex column, either.

Posted by ab biloxi conditum | September 4, 2008 7:09 PM

Oh. my. god. I got a great education at Swarthmore, but this is exactly what drove me nuts: angst, combined with this sense that you had to be a an outcast/victim in some arcanely manufactured way to be taken seriously, tossed with a gelatinous wallop of self-absorption. Oh, please! I guarantee that in ten years she'll be a hockey mom home-schooling a family of five (including the Down's caboose baby) in Ardmore. Things like this make we hate the Web.

Posted by Yet another Swattie | September 4, 2008 7:13 PM

Holy shit, some editor-in-chief actually greenlit that mess?

Trauma or no trauma, that was one of the most self-indulgent, narcissistic things I've ever read.

Jesus--I'm going to go out on a limb and say I know this kind of person all too well. The type who latches on to any negative experience or personal injustice and makes that the central focus of their whole goddamned life because they derive a sense of self-importance and entitlement from it.

If she suddenly learned that she had one drop of non-white blood in her, she'd join a club and become a vocal activist for her newfound minority group. If she had a little problem with the booze, she'd go on and on and on about her struggles as a fully-fledged alcoholic. Anything to be the center of attention.

Additionally disturbing is the incongruity of the "sexy" column title and logo (which looks exactly like signage for an adult bookstore), and the profoundly un-sexy content of that column and all promised future columns.

I predict the whole project peters out after three weeks.

Posted by Hoyt Clagwell | September 4, 2008 8:45 PM

BORING. BEYOND. BELIEF. And that's coming from a 'survivor of sexual violence'. Blech.

Posted by Kerri | September 4, 2008 9:42 PM

"And besides the wonderful Staci Haines, who is talking about sexual healing for survivors and how painful and difficult and weird it can be? Certainly nobody in the mass media. And honestly, not that many people in the public spaces of the Internet, the place where you can find porn of anything and good sex advice on virtually nothing."

With the number of comments here, trashing "Dr. Stokes" as selfish and angsty, you'd think she hadn't already explicitly and compellingly underlined the need for such a column. Sexual assault isn't discussed exactly because it isn't easy to hear. But it's a reality that needs public, transparent, honest dialogue. And that's part of the appeal and novelty of a sex advice column, to say in a public forum, what no one else has the guts to say. What we're getting here probably some of the same kind of reaction Dan Savage got upon the inception of his own column.

Yes, she is using herself as her main subject. But it must also take a hell of a lot of guts to put yourself out there. In my opinion, she's accomplishing what a good sex advice column should, helping us become better, more understanding sexual beings. To suggest that her healing needs to be confined to therapy sessions where she may or may not be getting the helpful, constructive support she needs, as some of the comments here suggest, just reeks of "he said/she said" oppression.

Posted by AJ | September 4, 2008 10:07 PM

Holy Fucking Boring.

Blah blah here's my entirely depressing yet uninteresting life, now you share yours!

Stick with the poo-eaters en masse and run an occasional deep-thought column and you'll be much better off.

Posted by GS | September 4, 2008 11:28 PM

I don't get the "survivor" tag that gets added to everything. Cancer survivor, yes, rape survivor, no.

People can add survivor to themselves when a relative has survived cancer? No.

Yes, things are hard, but if death wasn't one of the outcomes, you aren't a survivor.

Posted by PdxRitchie | September 5, 2008 12:44 AM

@20: Have you ever even READ Savage Love?

Posted by Gloria | September 5, 2008 6:43 AM

I don't really have a problem with the content so much as the writing style- BORING REPETITIVE and soooo UNSEXY!!

Posted by krazycool | September 5, 2008 7:01 AM

I know you all think your opinions are supremely important and all, so much so that you have to come onto the website of a small liberal art school's daily online paper just to bash someone with your inane sentiments, but step back and shut up ya'll. Unless you are a swattie or were at some point or are otherwise intimately involved with the campus you don't know what goes on here and what sort of resources we need. Seriously. You may think Dr. Strokes is boring as fuck or overly self involved or whatever, but you don't know the context in which she writes and the community for which she writes. You (apparently) don't realize the ways in which she really is a great resource for our tiny campus and the importance we place on stating where you're coming from.

To Dan Savage: I used to love you now but now you just piss me off.

Posted by A Swattie | September 5, 2008 8:02 AM

Okay, I get the whole different "columns for different needs" argument here, but did she have to immaturely bash other established advisers to do it (Dan Savage tells lies in his column!)??? I wish she had just been clear and said "Other advice columns are about your problems, which is why the advisers don't talk about themselves much, because it devalues you. This column is about me relating your problems through my experience. I will talk about how your problems are actually mine."
This young woman has a long career of exasperating people ahead of her.

Posted by blondesnotbombs | September 5, 2008 8:40 AM

@48 - I'm not a swattie, but I am a woman and a "survivor" or more than my fair share of "sexual traumas". I don't know what goes on in your community, and I don't know what resources you have, but I know what resource you do not need. You don't need Dr. Strokes. What training does she have? What are her qualifications? She's been through it? Yes, but she hasn't gotten over it. She's bitter and angry, and not capable of talking anyone down from a bad sexual experience. She is not the main subject of that column, as someone suggested, she is the only topic.

I respect that while Dan can be flippant, and sometimes a little harsh, if he came across someone who really needed healing, he ALWAYS recommends that they get professional help. I hope that he recommends that Dr. Strokes gets professional help.

And aside from that, she's a really boring writer. Just catagrically dull, witless, totally lacking in insight. I suspect we will see her demise before the semester is up.

Posted by Charm | September 5, 2008 8:41 AM

This is not someone who should be dispensing life advice of any kind to anyone.

Posted by Gomez | September 5, 2008 10:15 AM

This is not someone who should be dispensing life advice of any kind to anyone.

Posted by Gomez | September 5, 2008 10:17 AM

This is not someone who should be dispensing life advice of any kind to anyone.

Posted by Gomez | September 5, 2008 10:20 AM

This is not someone who should be dispensing life advice of any kind to anyone.

Posted by Gomez | September 5, 2008 10:20 AM

Just to be clear, everyone from Swarthmore: nobody's making fun of sexual traumas or female queerness or whatever. We're just making fun of college paper writing and personal metrics about sex and the shelteredness of young rich kids.

Dan knows he can't write personally about sexual trauma or vulva pain and directs people to female sex writers and talkers all the time.

Posted by poppy | September 5, 2008 10:22 AM

@45: You are a survivor of anything in which a likely outcome is death. A person who survives a horrible car crash is a crash survivor; a person who survives being shot is a gunshot survivor; a person raped in a violent, assaultive manner by a stranger capable of doing anything is a rape survivor. No, relatives of people who died of cancer aren't cancer survivors - They were never in any danger of dying. My relative wasn't raped at knife point, I was. If my auntie called herself a rape survivor because I was raped, yes, it would be silly.

But all lessons from Ask Mr. Language Person aside, the column is boring as crap, and I can hardly see someone who hasn't come to terms with her own issues help others come to terms with theirs.

Posted by Kerri | September 5, 2008 9:33 PM

this is why god created livejournal.

Posted by tobes | September 6, 2008 3:20 PM

Really? "Yes, things are hard, but if death wasn't one of the outcomes, you aren't a survivor." Wow, there's being an insensitive prick, and there's being an ignorant insensitive prick. It's the offensive morons that really this Dan "I'm so insecure that I troll college online newspapers" Savage that make this column necessary. If you'd bothered to pay any attention, it was the first column. Maybe cut some slack? She's already said more interesting things that this Savage jackass will ever tell you.

Posted by What is wrong with you people! | September 8, 2008 6:58 AM

for the love of christ it is not an advice column, you fucking douchebags. It is one person's attempt to document her life. She doesn't have to do shit for any of you, she doesn't have to entertain you with outlandish anecdotes or give advice. All she has to do is write, and clearly a lot of people value it, as you can see from the comments at the Gazette. Fuck yourselves.

Posted by another swattie | September 8, 2008 2:13 PM


it is not an advice column

Is your school full of people such as yourself? Christ, what a depressing place it must be.

Posted by Big Sven | September 9, 2008 8:53 AM

@58: I didn't say that people who have been through difficult situations weren't victims, or that they weren't worthy of compassion. I said that people who were in no danger of dying aren't survivors. The term 'survivor' implies that there was something to survive, i.e. a significant risk of death.

Posted by Kerri | September 9, 2008 5:56 PM

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