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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Huge Leather Bars and Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted by on Tue, May 26, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Back in February Sally Kern, Oklahoma's infamously bigoted state representative, spoke at a John Birch Society conference. (Who knew they were still meeting?) Kern called for a second "Great Awakening" to confront the growing homosexual menace. The gays, according to Sally, had a secret plan ("The Protocols of the Elders of West Hollywood") to convince the world that homosexuality is a "superior lifestyle." Sally warned the Birchers—who we came this close to flipping—not to be fooled by our nefarious themes:

"You know, I've done a lot of reading on this. I wish I could describe to you their behavior. I will not because I would be redder than this suit.... The theme of equality and freedom is the approach that the homosexuals are using today—totally perverting the true intention of what our Constitution meant. The homosexuals get it—it's a struggle between our religious freedoms and their right to do what they want to do."

The masses, Sally went on, would be "shocked and repelled" if prematurely exposed (?) to the depraved behaviors we gays get up to—behaviors that everyone will apparently be obligated to engage in once we've convinced the world of the superiority of the homosexual lifestyle.

My first impulse upon reading Sally's comments—way back in February—was to take a picture of this plate of cookies on my kitchen counter when I got home from work:


I had hoped to get a picture of a plate full of cookies, and this plate was full when I left for work. But the boyfriend and the kid and the kid's friends had been at the cookies all day and there were just two left—two the boyfriend saved for me—when I got home. I baked those cookies myself and from scratch. Baking is something I enjoy doing for my family and I guess you could call it a depraved behavior, carb-wise. (I'd go so far as to describe my baking as a depraved cycle of self-abuse: bake delicious cookies, eat delicious cookies, feel fat, hit the gym... bake delicious cookies, eat delicious cookies, feel fat, go to the gym...) But I took the picture tp refute Kern's charges of depravity. I was going to post this picture and say, "Is this the kind of depraved behavior that you meant, Sally? Baking cookies for your family?"

It's the same reaction most of us 'mos have when a right-wing bigot drops dark hints about our depraved lifestyles and all the top-secret sex stuff we get down to when no one is watching. (You can see video and photos of all this top-secret sex stuff at XTube and on various Christian websites.) It's a knee-jerk, defensive response, and when it doesn't take the form of a photo of plate of cookies it's usually expressed like this: "Hey, we're not so different! We go to work, we pay our taxes, we take care of our families, we even bake cookies—what's so depraved about all of that?"

But you know what? We are different, we gay people. If I may generalize: gay people tend to have more interesting sex lives than straight people—the kinds of sex lives that scare dumb bigots who're afraid of their own genitalia. We bake cookies (see above), we go to work, we take care of our families, we pay our taxes. We do all of that. But we go in for a little "depravity" at slightly greater rates than straight people and with a lot less angst. We have this ability to let ourselves live a little. Once you've told your momma that you wanna kiss boys giving yourself or your partner permission to indulge in this, that, or the other kink isn't anywhere near as scary. Not remotely. So long as you're safe and sane about it, and indulge in moderation, where's the harm?

When Mrs. Kern fumes about depraved sex acts I can't help but thinking that Mr. Kern is jealous. He probably doesn't want to get it on with depraved gays—probably (you never know with the 'phobes)—but odds are high that Mr. Kern, like so many straight men out there, has "depraved" sexual interests and fantasies that he absolutely, positively can't share with his wife. Because according to her, kinks that turn your face (and other things red) are for homosexuals, not heterosexuals. Kinks define homosexuality, according to Mrs. Kern.

And isn't that too bad for those heterosexuals who buy into it? Gawd, it must suck to be married to someone who views anything and everything that isn't vaginal intercourse as sinful and depraved. Don't get me wrong: I am not knocking vaginal intercourse. I'd dig it if I had a vagina or was attracted to people who do. But just one particular kind of sex with one not-very-indulgent person for ever and ever and ever? How depressing, how tedious. I'd hang myself.

Kern's comments came back to me late Saturday night while I was drinking a vodka & Red Bull in the lobby of a hotel in Chicago. The kid was spending the weekend with friends so the boyfriend and I headed to Chicago for International Mr. Leather, an annual contest/beauty pageant/dance party for the gay BDSM crowd. We're not interested in the pageant—we didn't know who won until we got home and looked at the website this morning (but congrats to Jeffrey Payne, Mr. Texas Leather and International Mr. Leather 2009)—and always assumed the event would bore us. But we have friends who go every year and they told us what a great scene it was—IML completely takes over a big downtown hotel every year and for three days turning it into the World's Biggest Leather Bar—so we went last year for the first time and such a blast that we were back again this year. This year's IML was at the Chicago Hilton and Towers on Michigan Avenue, which has a Belle Époque grandeur that provided the perfect backdrop for the decadent goings on. Forgive my bad cell phone picture of all the stunning men in the massive, ornate lobby...


My boyfriend's in that picture somewhere. And the dance party in the hotel ballroom—where Queen Elizabeth II dined on her first visit to the states as Queen—was amazing...


...but too darkly lit to make out much besides the chandeliers. To see the face of the person you were dancing with you needed to retire to the foyer...


The leather market, where vendors were selling the sex toys and bondage gear and videos that so excite religious conservatives (but please, IML, just say NO to the lone pathetic vendor peddling revolting bestiality porn), was too brightly lit...


And here's what made me think of Sally Kern: Everywhere we went at IML—an event held up by the Kerns of the world as evidence that gay people are too depraved for marriage and family life—we met gay couples, guys who had been together for five, ten years, and twenty years. Some couples were there to look, some were there to play, and some, like us, had left kids at home with sitters or friends or grandmas. Because there's nothing mutually exclusive about conspicuous displays of wholesome family values—like baking peanut butter cookies for your kids—and attending IML and indulging in the kinds of (preferably safe) sex acts that so shock and repel and redden the likes of Sally Kern.

Instead of pointing to our homemade cookies to refute Kern's charges of sexual "depravity"—my first impulse, so many months ago, when reading her comments—we 'mos should point to our cookies and our occasional wild weekends. Because we can do it all, Sally. We can have our homemade peanut butter cookies and our commitments and our family values and our sexual adventures too.

Eat your heart out, bitch.


Comments (67) RSS

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So nice.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 26, 2009 at 4:42 PM · Report this
michael strangeways 2
and the irony of it all is that the American Talibani are vehemantly opposing the effort of gay Americans to embrace "normality", ie, marriage and mortgages and driving the kids to soccer practice which would somewhat negate the depravity of the "normal" gay lifestyle, ie non-stop orgies, poppers and crotchless pants.
Posted by michael strangeways on May 26, 2009 at 4:46 PM · Report this
StillNon 3
If you can't understand why images like the last of somebody bound in a cocoon of leather outrages and emboldens the right, you are too deep into it and can't objectively rank what is and what is not terrifying for them to know about.

Sure, both hetero and homo people do it.

But, propaganda/impact-wise, it's pretty much the equivalent of pictures of aborted fetuses for the pro-life crowd, pictures of dismembered marines for the anti-war crowd, etc.

This might not be the best representation of who we are as a group or a society, but it IS what makes them hate us.
Posted by StillNon on May 26, 2009 at 4:48 PM · Report this
1. wait 'til she finds out you've been donating to stem cell research: turning foetus tissue into into gay clones!!!

2. really nice piece.

3. playing to your strengths ain't that hard now, is it?
Posted by anonnnnnn on May 26, 2009 at 4:48 PM · Report this
Sex with one person is no sacrifice when you love them, in fact monogamy is effortless and natural in the context of love.
Posted by Just Saying on May 26, 2009 at 4:53 PM · Report this
PussyDunkinHines 6
Thank you soooo much for including the kink along with the other family oriented bits. I'm so done with hearing the gays disparage drag queens, leathermen, or kink, as being a negative to 'fitting in' or contributing to straight people having a negative view of the gays.

It's like gay people have become so desperate to fit in they're almost like republican christians.

As far as I'm concerned those things are bonuses - so it was great to see your post.

Posted by PussyDunkinHines on May 26, 2009 at 4:54 PM · Report this
I saw you at IML, Dan. Your husband is hot, but he'd be hotter if he were confined to that giant rubber egg I saw you admiring.
Posted by flugger on May 26, 2009 at 5:01 PM · Report this
cedarthvader 8
Beautifully said. I wonder how many problems in this world would lessen or go away completely if people didn't connect sex and the body with shame.
Posted by cedarthvader on May 26, 2009 at 5:03 PM · Report this
leathermen and kink are not exclusive to the gay community. and, believe it or not, not every gay man is into such kink, despite what Dan may think. perhaps he's been reading too much of his savage love mail. it would skew one's perspective.

everyone, gay, straight, bi should feel free to get their kink on. but stop assuming it is something everyone is doing or wants to do. my sexlife is quite enjoyable and never a whip is involved.
Posted by hekane on May 26, 2009 at 5:06 PM · Report this
crazycatguy 10
I'll bet you swap recipes, too.
Posted by crazycatguy on May 26, 2009 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Violet_DaGrinder 11


Well, I mean, if that's true for YOU, it must be true for EVERYbody, and anybody who says otherwise has just never properly loved. Right? Something like that?

That's some epic stupid. Just sayin'.
Posted by Violet_DaGrinder on May 26, 2009 at 5:11 PM · Report this
9... I tried to make that clear in my post -- about straight people being kinky too, or adventurous. But I do believe that the experience of coming out as gay leaves us less terrified of our *other* outside-the-mainstream desires. I think kinky gays are likelier to be open with their partners, and more expressive, than kinky straights. A generalization, but one based on 18 years of reading Savage Love mail and 25 years of being an out 'mo.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 26, 2009 at 5:12 PM · Report this
And I don't think that all gay men are into BDSM or other hardcore kinks. I said, at the end, when I was really generalizing for us all, that we can have our families, family values, and *sexual adventures* too. Not all sexual adventures are the same, and they're not all to be found at IML.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 26, 2009 at 5:14 PM · Report this
And I don't think that all gay men are into BDSM or other hardcore kinks. I said, at the end, when I was really generalizing for us all, that we can have our families, family values, and *sexual adventures* too. Not all sexual adventures are the same, and they're not all to be found at IML.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 26, 2009 at 5:14 PM · Report this
Nice stuff, Dan. Do you have a particular recipe for those cookies? My oven's working again, and I totally want to bake.
Posted by Gloria on May 26, 2009 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 16
What's so shocking about a leather papoose? My mother and aunts used to carry their kids around in those when they were babies. (It was the 70's, that's all I can say.) Big whoop.

Also, Dan, don't be guilty about your cookies. They're health cookies. The cycle of "bake delicious cookies, eat delicious cookies, feel fat, hit the gym" is a positive cycle. After all, if you weren't eating cookies, you wouldn't be at the gym as often, would you? That means you should eat cookies as often as possible so as to inspire you to work out as often as possible.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on May 26, 2009 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Gays are not the only ones who are tired of the religious right defining family, defining good, defining healthy. I really appreciate this particular column a lot. You spoke for many people, gay and straight. Thank you.
Posted by catherine_si on May 26, 2009 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 18
Maybe it's just me, but I've always been a whole lot kinkier than any gay person I've ever met. I don't think kinky is a gay/straight thing.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on May 26, 2009 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Dan, you don't believe in monogamy so why don't you shut the fuck up about marriage and keep to splitting hairs of kink and coming up with new words for new sex acts.

You don't deserve the benefits of marriage, and your opinion and word-vomit only compromises the work of countless men and women working to gain equality.

Posted by Why are you even complaining on May 26, 2009 at 5:22 PM · Report this
kim in portland 20
Well said, Dan. If the people involved are happy and all is consensual than there is no depravity. It only becomes depraved when a particpant is not willing (that includes minors and animals). Well, thats my 2 cents.

PS Are you going to share the cookie recipe?
Posted by kim in portland on May 26, 2009 at 5:24 PM · Report this
emma's bee 21
Just listened to the podcast where you made the exact same (and great) point. Lovely consistency! (I'll bet that goes for the cookies, too).
Posted by emma's bee on May 26, 2009 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Here's what I find so confounding about the right's objections to gay rights: used to be the conservative philosophy was based on the premise of getting the "government out of my private business." So intruding into others' private lives seems, well, vexing. Hypocritical? I don't care WHY you're gay, Dan. I don't care HOW gay you are or HOW you behave gay-wise (except for that part about not hurting people and the whole consenting adults thing.) I love that you bake cookies, but even if you didn't, you have a constitutional right to the privacy of your bedroom. How can those alleged "small government" hypos not get it? I don't personally want to flog my hypothetical partner, but if you want to and yours wants you to, why should it bother me? The fact is that anything overtly sexual will titillate these people, and that scares them. I would feel sorry for them if they weren't trying so hard to interfere with other people's civil rights. But I have to say, the tide is turning. The day will come soon when light will shine on their prejudice and the law will change in the other 45 states.
Posted by fc on May 26, 2009 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Fantastic post, Dan.

My spouse and I got married 8 years ago. We hated the very thought of conventional marriage, but our state doesn't provide domestic partnership benefits--for anybody. So . . . marriage.

We honeymooned in New Orleans. We went to a voodoo ritual; we got shitfaced; we visited Marie Laveau's tomb; walked up and down Bourbon Street; we fucked like animals, and we frequented strip bars. He bought me a lap dance. The girl let me touch her anywhere I wanted, and I did. He bought me another one. This wasn't the first time we've done this and it won't be the last (it hasn't been the last). We sin and sin and sin and we love every second of it.

When I read comments like Sally Kern's or Senator Brownback's, etc., I think the same thing Dan does: what shitty sex lives they (and their spouses) must have. But I don't pity the spouses. They made their own cheerless, sexless beds. Let them shrivel up in them.
Posted by jade on May 26, 2009 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Ahhh, you bring back such wonderful memories. After a wonderful weekend at a piercing / tattoo event, I ran across someone I'd met there - at the dog park!

Both of us happily enjoying our dogs' romp out in the open. We sat for a while discussing how weird we were. To enjoy being 'decorated' on Saturday night AND to enjoy playing with our dogs on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the only recipes we shared were for dog cookies...
Posted by Ayden on May 26, 2009 at 5:43 PM · Report this
A side point, but an important one nonetheless - American evangelicals calling for a "second Great Awakening" are stupid. There have already been three "Great Awakenings" - the first leading to the American War of Independence, the second to Abolition in the British Empire, the third to the Social Gospel and Progressivism in the US. (notice the trend that these are all generally about addressing inequality, rather than enforcing it...) It always shocks me how little fervent evangelicals know about their own religion.
Posted by historygirl on May 26, 2009 at 5:58 PM · Report this
Fnarf 26
Good god, Dan -- the cookies -- NSFW. Put 'em behind a cut. Jesus. I ask you, peanut butter? Think of the children.
Posted by Fnarf on May 26, 2009 at 6:09 PM · Report this
Fab post, Dan. I wish every straight person in the world had to read this- and your books- you convey the message so clear and after reading about your life and family no one with a heart could possibly hold Kearn's opinion. Thanks for putting yourself out there. Watching you give fabulous open minded sex advice while still valuing family serves a model for a well rounded and satisfying life.

P.S. Your son is lucky to have a Dad who makes such delicious looking PB cookies. Yum Yum.
Posted by Bethrs on May 26, 2009 at 6:31 PM · Report this
I like this post alot. You pre-empt the simplicity of their arguments by refusing to paint the one dimentional picture. In the end this allows us to have freedom in our normalcy. Or whatever. It's good to place what looks like contradictions in front of people who have very conventional views of things. A lot of people out there are undecided or unexposed to a lot of things outside of their experience, but want to be thoughtful. They can decide that two things they didn't think could co-exist certainly can. But they can't if the only thing we present to them are one dimentional pictures. You are definitely ahead of the masses on this one--and it's good. You consistently refuse to duck this --people who are responsible adults can also be exploring and adventurous and have beliefs outside mainstream. So important.

But I'm on my second G and T. So if my comment doesn't make sense...just figure I must mean something good.
Posted by alion on May 26, 2009 at 6:33 PM · Report this
What the fuck, Dan? No recipe to share?

*That* is what makes you depraved!
Posted by Geovincent on May 26, 2009 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 30
Well sure, the front 20' of the lobby and the Ballroom are fabulous. But the rest of the place is as dreary as Naperville.

And do you have any idea how many children are allergic to peanuts?
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on May 26, 2009 at 7:22 PM · Report this
You're right, Catalina. But the ballroom and Normandy (sp?) room with the paneling and that first entrance... we spent all our time at the hotel in those spaces, and it was... great. Really, really great. The world's biggest, best, and most beautiful gay bar. Sooooo much nicer and cooler than the Hyatt. Ugh.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 26, 2009 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 32
I wonder if the picture showing a couple of black men at this event - presumably GAY black men - made LC's head explode?
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 26, 2009 at 8:21 PM · Report this
RainMan 33
I wonder if straight men are just jealous. I certainly am. My guess is that after sex with another guy there's no need for talking afterwards; just say "Good night, dude", roll over and get some sleep. And later if you leave the seat up in the bathroom, so what?

Since I have issues with peanuts I'm not bothered by the lack of a recipe. But please share if you bake anything involving chocolate.
Posted by RainMan on May 26, 2009 at 8:31 PM · Report this
Nofo 34

Dan doesn't deserve the benefits of marriage because he doesn't believe in monogamy? By your "logic," neither does Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Clinton or anyone else who's ever cheated on a spouse. So why does Dan bear the full brunt of your cowardly, anonymous pissy fit?

YOU shut the fuck up.

Posted by Nofo on May 26, 2009 at 8:43 PM · Report this
Ah, dear Nofo, I can always count on you for the best monikers....Douchenozzle is art.

Dan, excellent post, and though I missed out this year (too much work this weekend), my favorite part of IML is watching the folks in the restaurants around the hotel react to our boys when they show up at Panera in chaps, jeans, a vest and collar.
Posted by Not Shy in Chi on May 26, 2009 at 9:16 PM · Report this
Hyzenthlayk9 36
An excellent, heartwarming, and well thought-out post.

It looks like a good time was had by all.

Anyways, what's the point of being a grown-up if you can't do grown-up things?
*(standard caveats regarding consent and responsibility apply).
Posted by Hyzenthlayk9 on May 26, 2009 at 9:17 PM · Report this
NoFo, no, people who have cheated on their spouses don't deserve the benefit of their said marriage!!! Am I insane? Doesn't that seem logical? SHEESH @34
Posted by Why are you even compIaining on May 26, 2009 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Is she for real?
Does this kind of people really exist...
She will find solace in Ahmedinejab arms... they share so much...
Posted by chaya760 on May 27, 2009 at 1:29 AM · Report this
evalee70 39
peanut butter cookies
preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
blend well
beat 1egg, add with 1 teaspoon baking soda
bake for 10 minutes until light golden color
Posted by evalee70 on May 27, 2009 at 3:50 AM · Report this
Get on with your kinky gay self, Dan, but this post makes you look like a sullen "goth" 14-year-old trying to look so edgy with his PIERCINGS! And BLACK CLOTHES! And TATS!

Frankly, Dan, I find the leather scene and its adherents to be the boring ones. I've been around far too many Wet Spot types with their kinks and elaborate verbiage for them, and I find myself yawning. A high number of the BDSM enthusiasts are physically unattractive, self-absorbed, provincial conformists who think they escape that identity by getting flogged and reciting all the lingo for it. No moral or religious problems here with those who enjoy that action, but it doesn't make you fascinating. I'd much rather speak to someone who's just returned from a hiking trip in Bhutan than someone whose big thrill of the year was getting wrapped in Saran Wrap at the Spot.

Further, I don't agree with your claim that because gay people are more likely to seek out BDSM, they have better sex lives than straights. One could easily turn that around and opine that gays have to seek out kinks because gay sex by itself isn't enjoyable.

Enjoy the fetish scene, but realize it doesn't make you more interesting than those who've checked it out and decided to seek their kicks elsewhere.
Posted by Daily on May 27, 2009 at 4:13 AM · Report this
This kind of shit is just more proof that most "religious conservatives" aren't even all too concerned with "family values" or their religious beliefs. It's not as if any portion of the Sermon on the Mount is about leathermen.

Really, these fundies make judgements from their "guts" by which they mean "stomachs." "Ew, that's gross" becomes translated in feeble minds as "it must be wrong."

"Gross" of course, is subjective. I find the idea of sex with Rush Limbaugh impossibly disgusting. Doesn't mean that it's really morally terrible (though I wouldn't promote the behavior).
Posted by JudT on May 27, 2009 at 5:07 AM · Report this
wow- dueling pastries

“I bake cookies, so, despite anything else going on in my life that makes me a ‘normal’ housewife and so why doesn’t the Religious Right love me?”
line of reasoning is the saddest shallowest excuse for a thought we have ever stumbled upon.

Or so one would have thought until the
“I have a kid and bake cookies but also do the Leather and Bondage weekend- don’t I have a rich and full existence!”
thesis spread before us like an unsightly awkward sticky pungent stain.

It thus becomes embarrassingly evident (no- painfully obvious) that one needs a passing acquaintance with ‘normal’ in order to try to do an imitation thereof.

Lipstick on pigs and all...

Dan’s magical ‘normalizing’ peanut butter cookies are the ideological counter point to Rev Warren's homophilic donuts:

“I’m not a pervert- I bake cookies!”

of course not...…
Posted by How Could We Have Been So Blind? on May 27, 2009 at 5:27 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 43
@ 42, I am a pervert AND I bake cookies.

That's the whole point. THAT - the leather! The buttsex! - is what some people are really scared of, when they say they're against gay marriage. The different, the other. Although my first reaction was a slight gut cringe - is showing the leather-clad body bag really a good idea? Really wholesome? - then I thought, fuck that. That's the point! It's part of the SAME person, & Dan (to me) reads as being tired of the idea that the two are mutually exclusive. EITHER you're a cookie-bakin' responsible dad or you're a great big sex fiend. They can BE the SAME PERSON.

BTW, a recipe for whole-wheat peanut butter cookies that I made last week, they turned out fabulous:…

I know some straights who are just as kinky as the gay people I know - I would tend to agree w/ Dan that the gays seem more open about discussing their kink at least - & for them too: it's a separate part of the same person. Send their kids off to school, take care of their parents, go to work, & on the weekends have a little fun. SAME people, & that part of their life has nothing to do w/ them as parents. Nor should it affect the right of them to get or stay married or be parents.

This whole issue isn't just straight marriage "vs" gay marriage: 'it's missionary, we do our cheating on the side, don't talk about anything', sex, versus, 'we know we're gay/bi/kinky, etc, we're no longer ashamed, post-sexual-revolution, sex'. Of the former, there are people who are genuinely squicked/grossed out & there are no doubt others who are jealous. That's part of why there's such a generational shift on the issue. Younger folks have less problem with the cookie-baker & leather daddy being the same guy.

Dan, I know as a famous person you can't eat cookies a stranger (pun check) makes you, but someday I will send your staff cookies. I bake excellent cookies, am known for it 'mongst my pals actually, & am one of the only posters here w/ a non-fake name. ;) Speaking of, I like the "Stranger staff" dealie in the response boxes. Legiti-Dan!

Wow..much typing! That's what happens post-coffee.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on May 27, 2009 at 6:22 AM · Report this
"I don't agree with your claim that because gay people are more likely to seek out BDSM, they have better sex lives than straights..."

I don't believe that either... which may be why I didn't say it.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 27, 2009 at 6:22 AM · Report this
kim in portland 45
Wow, catching up on these posts has resulted in Natalie Merchant's, "Jealousy", playing in my head. Not, a bad song first thing in the morning. But, I'm going to try and replace it with (Eric Clapton) Derek & The Dominos', "Roll it Over".
Posted by kim in portland on May 27, 2009 at 7:17 AM · Report this
Who says I don't believe in monogamy? I do. I don't believe it's right for me, though, and based on the success -- so far, knock wood -- of my relationship, I'd say that was a good call on my part.
Posted by Dan Savage on May 27, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Uriel-238 47
I was socialized in the BDSM community during my early adulthood. I started in Codependents anonymous learning about limits and boundaries (the definition, expression and respect thereof) and found the BDSM community was practicing expertly what CoDA was struggling to master.

Is it part of the Great Gay Conspiracy to normalize all erotic fetishes that are safe and consensual? Probably not, but it is part of the Great Human Rights Conspiracy, or would be if I had someone with whom I was conspiring. For now it's just a common goal amongst some to normalize the full range of fetishistic practices in which consenting adults can safely engage.

Like transgenders, there are some sexual interests that are less loved than gays in this nation. Bondage paraphernalia in your house can be grounds enough for the state to seize your kids, or to sway a custody ruling against you. Age players are becoming dangerously close to being equated to child predators in this era, and victims of the ongoing witchhunt. Some states consider physical battery (like, say, spanking) to be criminal whether or not the recipient was an adult, willing participant. (And yet, in some places it's still acceptable, encouraged even, to hit your kids in the name of discipline. Go bible!)

In a sense, Sally Kern is right about this growing menace; we believe that tolerance of the kinks of others, whether or not we're participants is, in fact, part of the superior live and let live lifestyle we enjoy, ourselves, and seek to spread throughout the nation, if not the world. And it is a threat to her mores, to which she feels all others should adhere.

So, to where do I go to join the Elders of West Hollywood? I want my fez, my pin and my secret handshake!
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
BombasticMO 48
Glad you own up to the kink too. It makes me sad when gays try to upsell their vanilla lifestyles and demonize everyone else in their attempt to fit in.

People shouldn't need to fit in, they should have the right to do whatever the hell they want.

And I hate cookies.
Posted by BombasticMO on May 27, 2009 at 11:11 AM · Report this
NumberOne 49
Hot cookies, hot leather.
Posted by NumberOne on May 27, 2009 at 1:35 PM · Report this
@47: Do you have any recent news regarding pedophilia convictions of "age players"-- I love the intellectual names for their kinks--or is this another whine about how everyone's so meeeeeeeeeeean to the kinksters? News flash: a fair number of "alternative sexual expression" types whose kids were pulled from the home neglect to tell you about the multitude of nonsexual problems in the household that caused the CPS to take action.

The BDSM not a consensual utopia as you and the other advocates claim. The Wet Spot is notorious for a certain skinny old white guy who joins scenes without permission and, as recently as last year, none of the leadership or room monitors were doing anything about him.

Somehow I wonder if Dan's lauding of the BDSM community has more to do with the fact a large part of his meal ticket is talking about these kinks in his column. Or could it be that substantial amount of The Stranger's advertising revenue is derived from BDSM-related products and services?
Posted by Daily on May 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 51
@50 your impartiality to the plights of the altsex community is overwhelming. What leatherboy peed in your coffee this morning?

In fact, I didn't claim the BDSM sect was a consensual utopia. Rather they are, like you or I, or Castro street bears or SBC parishioners, just folks. The ones I've known, however, were fairly adept at negotiating a scene or a relationship. Some are assholes; most aren't. Maybe the scenesters in your corner of the Earth are less civilized and upfront, especially if due to a prevalence of intolerance, they have to keep to the closet about their kinks. You think?

I'm not saying leatherfolk are all perfect sex-positive nymphs any more than Dan is suggesting all gays are rainbow-winged angels, but statistically neither are we the monsters that the Procrustean right such as Congressperson Kern enjoy imagining us to be. I'm saying our kink shouldn't be the reason to throw us into prison or take away our kids. When some of us force our kink on others without consent, then law enforcement intervention may be appropriate.

It's not that neglected kids are pulled away from kinky parents that sucks like a singularity. What sucks its kids can be pulled from their families without history or incident of neglect or dysfunction on the sole reason that their parents are kinky, or are simply alleged to be. A legal defense fund still operates for wrongfully persecuted fetishists (the same way that one exists for wrongfully persecuted Neopagans). News Flash: There's still need for it.

Regarding Mr. Joins Scenes @ The Wet Spot, the social safeword in the groups I've attended (here in San Francisco) was "Go away and leave me [us] alone." Has anyone bothered to say something to this effect to Mr. JS@TWS when his participation is not welcome? If so, your problem may be with neglectful moderators, but if not, you've only yourself to blame for not making your desires clear.

Concerning the (inappropriate) persecution of age players in this enlightened era, your attitude (regarding my use of terminology, and my gripe) argues my case for me.
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 27, 2009 at 4:39 PM · Report this
52 Comment Pulled (Threatening) Comment Policy
Uriel-238 53
The legal funds of which I was aware were in place prior to the 1997 founding of the NCSF, which is not to say they aren't related. You clearly are more aware than I am of the goings on within the politicized scene. Before you mentioned Ms. Fleming or Mr. Ridgeway, I hadn't heard of them.

And neither my lack of knowledge of them nor that they are allegedly jerks (the source of which I don't have any reason to trust) doesn't change my point one bit:

Sexual minorities are oppressed, and they deserve the right to engage in whatever turns them on (so long as its safe and involves only consenting adults, of course). And they deserve to be able to so engage without scorn, stigma or reprisal.

And there are folks out there that can't stand the idea that we're having fun without some sort of dire consequence, there are some folks who can't stand that things turn us on that don't turn them on, and there are some folks who can't stand that we're not just like them, nor do we want to be. And these guys hate us for this.
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 27, 2009 at 10:19 PM · Report this
@53: It sounds to me that you're overly absorbed in the insular leather world if you haven't heard of Gary Ridgeway. Not surprising, as a lot of people in the "scene" consider themselves so astute because of their sexual practices, yet know little or nothing about current events. Most people, however, would consider a serial killer something a little stronger than a jerk.
Posted by Daily on May 28, 2009 at 4:06 AM · Report this
Honestly, with the lead-in from the first part of your post, as soon as I saw the cookie picture my first thought was "that cookie is mounting that other cookie"
Posted by TeaHag on May 28, 2009 at 7:42 AM · Report this
Uriel-238 56
Agreed, that was inept of me, not because I should have known Ridgway from the leather scene, but through my studies in criminology. But memory slips, and I was too lazy at the time to Wiki him.

Still, I'm just plain not in the leather world enough to be overly absorbed in it, insular or otherwise. If I'm absorbed in anything, it would be in securing the right for those in the leather world to be so, unmolested. Only civil rights come in baby steps; getting gays married and transgenders regarded would bridge our way to fetishists being left alone for their kinks.

In the meantime, your own grudges within the community seem to be pretty personal. I had first suspected you in Sally Kern's boat, but I wager she's never heard of the Wet Spot, so my original proverbial (if not rhetorical) question has risen to some pertinence: what leatherboy peed in your coffee this morning?

Unsavory characters season all walks of humanity, not just fringe minorities. Were we to judge subcultures by the serial killers that walked among them, the nation's intelligentsia, and many conservative Christian denominations would be forced to receive sentence as well.
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 28, 2009 at 10:47 AM · Report this
"In the meantime, your own grudges within the community seem to be pretty personal."

In all fairness, Uriel, you would have derided Daily if he(?) hadn't had any experience at all with the BDSM community, and told him he had no basis for his opinions. Since he obviously does have some knowledge of the BDSM community, you accuse him of a personal grudge.

"Were we to judge subcultures by the serial killers that walked among them, the nation's intelligentsia, and many conservative Christian denominations would be forced to receive sentence as well. "

Intelligence and religion are often discussed in stories about serial killers, so why should an interest in S&M be off-limits?
Posted by Analog on May 28, 2009 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 58
Analog @57, I didn't think pointing out (what appears to be) a personal grudge was necessarily derision, nor do I regard it as illegitimate, since I'm completely unaware of the circumstances.

So far my point, as I reiterated @53 is not countered due to any of his arguments namely:
~ That I was whining (which doesn't illegitimize my grievance, if I was.)
~ That folks in the scene aren't unjustly persecuted by intolerant communities (Statistically, they are.)
~ That I was idealizing the scene (I wasn't.)
~ That an intellectualized name for a given fetish doesn't legitimize it (nor does it make it illegitimate).
~ That people of questionable character are in the scene (so it goes with any subculture, or the mainstream--that doesn't change the validity of the ideas and activities central to the scene.)

I haven't been disagreeing with him because he has a personal grudge or because he has no experience within the scene. My disagreement is to the belief that any of the opinions he's expressed has any relevance to my point.

Daily does, however, seem to disagree with me strongly on an emotional level, even if his points don't logically follow through. If I knew the circumstances behind the emotion, I'd better understand why this is.


That John Wayne Gacy was a clown doesn't make all clowns evil. (That they wear creepy makeup, inadvertently scare small children and compress themselves en mass into tiny cars is what makes them evil.)
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 28, 2009 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Hyzenthlayk9 59
@58: For what it's worth - your arguments have been sound and well-argued.

And your statements about clowns = spot on.

Best to you, from another 'only child' (who also wound up having a bit of an activist bent).
Posted by Hyzenthlayk9 on May 28, 2009 at 2:43 PM · Report this
kim in portland 60
I find clowns scary, too. My parents thought it would be great to bring us to Circus Circus casino when I was little, that place scared the daylights out of me. Poor clowns, they try to bring us joy, and yet I've met many who are/were scared of them as a child.
Posted by kim in portland on May 28, 2009 at 10:45 PM · Report this
Mrs. Norris 61
I dunno Dan,

I think Red Bull plus vodka sounds pretty depraved to me.

Anyway, Kern probably gave them statistics to back up her claims about the gay lifestyle, you know, "90% of all homasexules engage in depraved activities such as oral sex, anal sex, fisting, bestiality, or stealing kidneys from orphans."
Posted by Mrs. Norris on May 29, 2009 at 7:26 AM · Report this
Uriel-238 62
kim in portland @60 I, too was frightened silly at Circus Circus as a child. Maybe it's from there that scary clowns are spawned.

Hyzenthlayk9 @58, you think there's a correlation between only children and human rights activism?
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 29, 2009 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Hyzenthlayk9 63
Kim @60: Chalk me up as another person who visited Circus Circus as a child - but I think my wariness around clowns probably pre-dates that, but it's hard to say.

Uriel @58: I'm not drawing a correlation between sibling status and rights activism (though it would be interesting to see how many of us come out of our 'only child' backgrounds with a willingness to help others verses those who go down the more 'self-centered' route) - but based on statements in other threads I do think that only children are more open to the idea of 'adding' family (in the form of someone who isn't a blood relative, obviously, and considering or elevating them to 'sibling' status), thus making us a bit more open to the fluidity of how "family" is defined and structured.
Posted by Hyzenthlayk9 on May 29, 2009 at 10:51 PM · Report this
Uriel-238 64
Guilty as charged.
Posted by Uriel-238 on May 30, 2009 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Hi- I didn't read all the comments.

Just wanted to say...I'm a heterosexual, kinky, chicago mom who bakes my own bread and loves romping good sex with my husband.

Your essay was well put! Thanks for pointing out that it is okay to enjoy sex and be a good mom. I tend to be ashamed of my kinky side because people like Sally Kern have helped form my world view.

Thanks for reminding me that it's great to have all these characteristics!

(BTW: I was just looking for a recipe for extra large peanut butter cookies.)
Posted by Cre on June 14, 2009 at 5:47 PM · Report this
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-Look at those f*cking happy gays! (C) Wanda Sykes.
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