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Friday, November 23, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Masturbating to Dead People

Posted by on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published March 1, 2007:

Serious question: I have always had a thing for Anna Nicole Smith and frequently masturbated to her Playboy photos. I've always felt some guilt about masturbation to begin with, but since her death, I now feel a little creepy doing it. Do you think it's okay to continue now that she has passed away?

Missing Anna Nicole

My response after the jump...

But not because it's disrespectful—there's nothing you can do to Anna Nicole Smith in death that could possibly outdo the shit Anna Nicole Smith subjected herself to in life. No, the reason you feel creepy about beating off to Anna Nicole's photos now, MAN, and the reason you must stop, is this: Whacking off to the dead violates the hope that masturbation represents. When Anna Nicole was alive and young and beautiful, MAN, a tiny part of your brain somehow managed to convince your dick that your fantasies existed within the realm of possibility. If the right set of circumstances, however improbable, were to occur, you might actually find yourself in bed with Anna Nicole Smith. So long as she lived, MAN, you lived—and whacked off—in hope.

But masturbating to the dead inspires only feelings of hopelessness and despair. Which is why no one beats off to James Dean or River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe or Mary Todd Lincoln without feeling a little creepy, a little hopeless, and a little closer to the grave himself. Knock it off.

 

Comments (25) RSS

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25
This is an odd one to run right now--the next week he ran letters from people telling him that he was wrong and he conceded the point (although I think he said he personally felt it was still weird).
Posted by Harimad on November 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
24
Um, what? Masturbating to a real person of any sort is a little creepy, but why is a dead celebrity whom the masturbater is not likely to ever meet any creepier than a live one?

Not all mast. is about hope. But I guess a fictional character or a dead celeb can still count as hope for whatever that celeb or ficchar represented: A hot partner who doesn't care about my [insert physical flaw here], a chance to impress someone important, true love, perfect pitch... (Okay, some of these aren't specifically sex fantasies, but the same principle applies.)

And was there something missing with this response? It starts with "But."
Posted by DRF on November 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM · Report this
23
interesting. i literally can't masturbate to fantasies of people i know, but who would not be willing/likely to go there/do that with me. even if i find them breathlessly hot. it's just too unethical to be sexy. believe me, i've tried. but actors i don't know? fictional characters? dead people?? no issue.
i guess everyone is different.
Posted by sappho on November 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM · Report this
very bad homo 22
There's no way I'm getting rid of my 70s porn. :(
Posted by very bad homo on November 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
21
This is why I don't watch recordings of dead singers/orators/actors/musicians/dancers/comedians. After all, I'll never get to see a live performance, so what's the point? Better to live in hope of one day meeting the cast of "Step Up" than subject myself to the crushing despair of Gene Kelly's pirouettes!
Posted by Limbo on November 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
20
Fantasies inherently involve a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. Personally I find suspending disbelief in terms of 'forgetting x is dead/doesn't actually exist' not one bit harder than suspending disbelief in terms of 'there might actually be a circumstance in which x wants to sleep with me'.

So my nerd self will happily keep masturbating to fantasies of hot young Harrison Ford, rugged old Harrison Ford, AND Han Solo, thanks.
Posted by etoile_sombre on November 24, 2012 at 5:26 AM · Report this
19
According to C. Mudede, this is precisely the reason one should ONLY masturbate to dead people.
Posted by Slon on November 24, 2012 at 3:49 AM · Report this
18
This is one of those answers that reveals more about the way Dan's brain handles fantasy than anything else. For Dan it is important that there be some hope of a masturbation scenario actually happening. Lots of people (dare I say most?) don't find this as important as Dan does.

@11 has a good point along those lines. I continue to think about the hot versions of my fantasy women. Tellingly, Dan does in fact continuously update his fantasy cast as time goes by.

You would think that it would be ridiculous for anyone to hold themselves to the standard 11 proposes. However, Dan actually does do this. You can tell if you pay attention to his crush objects as he mentions them. The type remains the same, but as those boys start to get long in the tooth, the cast changes.

What I am trying to say is that Dan's fantasy life operates under the same rules as Menudo.
Posted by Learned Hand on November 24, 2012 at 1:56 AM · Report this
nocutename 17
Wait a minute--are you telling me I should stop jerking it to thoughts of Mary Todd Lincoln? Sorry, no can do.
Posted by nocutename on November 23, 2012 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Philly 16
This kinda sounds like mudede.
Posted by Philly on November 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 15
I think Dan's advice might make more sense in if the object of your fantasy was a person you actually knew.

MAN wasn't really masturbating to Anna Nicole Smith (the person), but rather to a fantasy that physically resembled that person.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on November 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
14
Masturbating to the dead....hmmmm

sounds like sex with my first wife.
Posted by Just Joking Honey! Waka Waka Waka on November 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM · Report this
13
You know, when we suggested that Dan get guest columnists I don't think we wanted Cary Tennis, but that seems to be who we got for this one.
Posted by seeker6079 on November 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Gus 12
If they were pictures of a dead Anna Nicole Smith, it would be creepier, but still fall into the realm of "not hurting anyone else, but please don't mention it at Thanksgiving dinner because leaving that image seared into everyone's heads for all time would be harm."

Posted by Gus on November 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
11
This means one should only masturbate to the reasonably hot middle-aged Brad Pitt, rather than the smokin' hot 25 year old Brad Pitt circa Meet Joe Black?
Posted by delta35 on November 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Puty 10
Pffft. Wankever works, works. Do whatcha wanka.
Posted by Puty on November 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
9
This is the most non-Dan Savage advice I've read on Dan Savage. What could be more harmless?
Posted by cracked on November 23, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
8
star trek characters, particularly Worf.
Posted by Lady of Eagle Lake on November 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM · Report this
merry 7
@ 1 FTW.

And also: Bettie Page.

Although I do take your point, Dan. I personally prefer my fantasies to have at least a toe-hold in reality. Yesterday I spent some happy moments just visualizing the three quarterbacks playing in the NE/NY game... Brady and Sanchez and Tebow, oh my! :-)
Posted by merry on November 23, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 6
Methinks Dan was stoned or in some astral trance when he gave this advice. It's strange and nonsensical.

But whatever, advice is advice, so take it or leave it. In my opinion, I hope MAN is still jerkin' off to Anna.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on November 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
5
Um, Vintage Porn???
Posted by dbannon on November 23, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 4
March 2007? Wow, she's been dead for a long time now.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 23, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 3
I'm masturbating to James Dean right now.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on November 23, 2012 at 9:43 AM · Report this
2
Dan, you know I love you. But with all due respect - bullshit.

People masturbate over fictional characters, for God's sake. People fantasize about sex with relatives, with their best friends' spouses, with animals (both real and mythical), with children, with ALL kinds of people and things they'd never ever touch (or ever be able to touch) in real life. Gay men fantasize about straight guys who would never actually touch them; confident feminists have rape fantasies; people dream of being humiliated and abused in ways they would NEVER submit to in "real life." You know better than to say that masturbatory fantasies HAVE to have ANY basis in reality.

To bring it back to poor Anna Nicole: What if the lonely dreams of masturbators are the best way to keep her memory alive? What else does her poor shade have? What better legacy could she leave for herself? (And if you think there aren't people out there still turned on by Marilyn Monroe, you're a lot more naive than I ever gave you credit for.)
Posted by Pope Buck I on November 23, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
tainte 1
pictures of lily
Posted by tainte on November 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this

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