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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Haters Gonna Hate

Posted by on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Some background before we get to today's SLLOTD...

On Friday last week two notorious anti-gay bigots held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. John Becker from Bilerico took one for the LGBT team and sat through the whole fucking thing and took notes:

The purpose of the organization, called the Coalition for Family Values, is "to unify and coordinate" anti-equality organizations around the world in order to most effectively obstruct the global push for LGBT human rights. It was unveiled by Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; both organizations are SPLC-certified anti-LGBT hate groups. Other notable members of the still-growing coalition include Linda Harvey of Mission: America, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, and Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern. LaBarbera—who has traveled to Jamaica to spread his extremist anti-LGBT views—and Lively—who has spread homophobic propaganda in Russia, Uganda, Latvia, and Moldova—were joined at the press conference by self-proclaimed "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan and Diane Gramley, head of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Family Association (another SPLC-certified hate group).

LaBabera and Lively heaped praise on Russia—where it is now illegal to be out and a vicious anti-gay pogrom is underway—while heaping scorn on equality, LGBT activists, and Matthew Shepard. Both men stated that kids are better off in orphanages than they are in families headed by gay couples. Families headed by same-sex couples are not even families, Lively insisted. Then Peter LaBabera chimed in with this:

"I think a good example [of a non-family] is Dan Savage. Dan Savage has raised a son with his supposed husband. He's already admitted publicly to engaging in sexual three-ways—his husband, him, and another man they both know; he advocates now for... straight couples with sexual problems, he advocates having secret adulterous affairs. And Dan Savage is now in the forefront of advancing these radical promiscuous values to non-homosexuals. And so I think that is what's happening with this agenda. It's not that homosexuals are being made more monogamous, it's that homosexual values—these reckless values—are being imported into straight society."

My family being attacked from a podium at the National Press Club—that was a new experience. But I will grant Peter this: I do think there are things straight people can learn from gay people. (I also think gay people can learn from straight people.) Gay relationships tend to be more egalitarian and happier than straight relationships—and our relationships are also less sexually restrictive, which might have something to do with that egalitarian happy shit we seem to have cornered the market on.

Anyway, this letter from a straight reader—a straight reader who has carefully and thoughtfully embraced my "radical promiscuous values" and is now happier in her marriage as a result—arrived on Friday during Peter and Scott's little press conference. Enjoy.


I've been married for 12 years and with my husband for 17 total, with two elementary-age kids. We try to get away alone at least once a year, and due to many weather-related flight cancellations and thwarted plans, my husband booked an all-inclusive, cheesy resort at the last minute. Being a snob, I only went very grudgingly, and of course everything he did in the next 24 hours irritated the hell out of me.

Then he suggested we meet up with another couple and fool around.

I'd never been with a woman before, but I'm kind of androgynous in my thinking, and have always been open to it—even turned on. I understand how sex without novelty is like a little death. And while, for women especially, we can usually keep ourselves busy enough/ plugged-in enough/ tired enough that we are content with a low-level strum of sexual happiness. But I thinl that men's bodies drive them (for decades) to reproduce—thus the physical drive for sex. Why else would sperm keep being produced? Or eggs? Why would a sexy (especially young & "fertile") stranger turn us on?

I considered my husband's idea, and agreed. Already last year we put up a profile for such activities. I've even surprised him with reservations to a sex party, where we did some soft swapping. We've also visited a tantric sex "therapist" who facilitated mind-blowing sex. All within the arc of our covenant.

After days of communication with the other couple, and then several hours of pleasantries and uncertainties (I understand now why you suggest a sexless meeting first!), we went back to the couples' room, jumped in their cheesy "lovers pool," and took part in a lopsided full swap.

I made no promises for contact with the other wife's husband (though he made it clear this would have been a celebrated bonus to the night), the sheer illicit joy of it all was more fun than I could have expected. I was passionately desired/cared for, felt in control and connected to my husband, and got horny as hell (with the help of cocktail or three). We won't meet up with them again—the guy was a little emotionally intense in person—but we still had a blast. Our next step will likely be fostering a longer-term relationship with a hot, artsy couple closer to home.

I'm intrigued that men thrill at the idea of monogamish behavior, but in the heat of a healthy, supportive encounter the women seem to be in control—whether from negotiation, comfort level, whatever. It forces women (acculturated to be mostly ambivalent about sex) to make decisions about what they want.

All of this was last week. Each day since, my husband has looked at me like I'm a goddess, massaged my feet every night, has been turned on every night, and after years of stalling on getting a vasectomy, is making plans to do so.

So I'm writing you to say thanks. You helped us get to this place. Granted, we took it a little fast, but within the supportive environment I treasured the experience.

But, finally, my main point: the husband's so grateful and overwhelmed, I'm feeling a tsunami of love from him. It's a beautiful thing to see. After such an infusion of sexuality, vitality and pleasure, I see how ordinary monogamy in a long marriage can potentially dull the spirit. Without becoming monogamish, we would have also been fine. But my husband also probably would've understood those "Take my wife, please!" jokes, and I probably would continue his view his desire as another thing I had to find time for in the day. If we move forward in a safe, informed manner, I'm excited for a life of enthusiasm, fully committed parenting, and self-confidence.

I appreciate the work you do and especially the way you stand up for children when parents are trying to make long-term relationships work.

Sexy Woman Into Novel Games

You're welcome, SWING—and go fuck yourself, Peter.


Comments (43) RSS

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Ophian 1
While I am pleased that the LW has kept her marriage whole, I am distressed that she has had to find sexual agency and is now, "mak[ing] decisions about what [she] want[s]," in order to do so.

Also, as a Bisexual man, I am distressed that Dan Savage has imported his Homosexual values into my head.

There ought to be a law.
Posted by Ophian on February 25, 2014 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Jerry M. Ander 2
Wow, just wow. When will LaBarbera and his ilk realize that gay liberation and straight liberation work hand in hand? I can't imagine how public acceptance of gays would have moved forward without the wife-swapping, swinging nudists of the 60's & 70's. Likewise, how would adventitious straights have progressed so far without the brave ladies and laddies of Stonewall?
Posted by Jerry M. Ander on February 25, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
eastcoastreader 3
I have to comment on a very small detail of this letter, I will forever wonder about straight men who don't run out and get a vasectomy has soon as they are sure that they are done having children. I get it if you or your partner aren't sure, but after everyone is sure, it is so great! my husband got one when we were done with the baby making, and this whole big worry/thing to be dealt with was just gone.
Posted by eastcoastreader on February 25, 2014 at 7:17 PM · Report this
Julius Streicher, who published the hideously antisemitic Nazi propaganda rag Der Sturmer, was condemned and executed for crimes against humanity by the Nuremberg court. Lively and LaBarbera would do well to remember that, and so would the rest of us. Instigation is a form of culpability. The blood of Uganda's gays is on their hands and we should do justice.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on February 25, 2014 at 7:31 PM · Report this
nocutename 5
Dan, I don't normally like the saying "haters gonna hate," but in this case, it's accurate. You do far more good than harm (witness this letter), but there are some people you're just never going to reach. While it's sickening that they have such reach and influence, try to tune them out. Unless you think you have grounds to sue for libel. I realize that you're a public figure, but your husband and your son are not. So maybe Terry has grounds. Slap those bastards with a lawsuit, if you can, then just focus on the positive things you can do for others.
Posted by nocutename on February 25, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
@3: Agreed. I won't get one as soon as we're done just because I won't know that we're done, but once we've AGREED that we're done? Snip snip already!
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 25, 2014 at 7:58 PM · Report this
nocutename 10
It has been my experience as a woman who has had more than one partner who's had a vasectomy (some of whom had the procedure while we were together, which gave me a "before and after" data point), and that of my friends who've had vasectomies or whose husbands have had vasectomies, that post-v, the man can last a lot longer. I don't know why and I don't think there's anything in the medical literature that supports or accounts for this, but I have a bunch of anecdotal evidence.

Plus, no hormonal bc to mess with women's libidos, no pain-in-the-neck condoms, and no worries or fears about accidental pregnancy. Sex becomes much better. MUCH.
Posted by nocutename on February 25, 2014 at 8:15 PM · Report this
Knat 11
I was already eagerly engaging in these "radical promiscuous values" in a heterosexual way before I'd ever heard of Dan. After I started following Dan and The Stranger, I did find more support (and another venue or two) to engage in them, though.
Posted by Knat on February 25, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
It's fine for people to sleep around. It's great, even. Just be mindful of STDs. Some of them, like gonorrhea, are not as easy to treat as before, and it's always a hassle. Prevention is always the best medicine.
Posted by floater on February 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
long-time reader 18
@2, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what he's realized and is so worried about.
Posted by long-time reader on February 25, 2014 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Catherwood 19
@2, you hit the nail on the head: gay and straight liberation go hand in hand and they don't want straight liberation, thank yew very much. They want it like it was in their imaginary, what, 1950's or so, when the man was the unquestioned lord of his manor, and get in the kitchen, woman, and make my goddam dinner!

That's what they want. The idea that men and women, men and men, women and women, four men and three women, WHATEVER, could be happy and authentic and confident and empowered, well, that just scares the shit out of them. It's not so much the haters hating, it's the fearers fearing - and that's expressed as hate.

At least that's this 50-something straight white guy's take on it.
Posted by Catherwood on February 25, 2014 at 8:42 PM · Report this
While everyone else is sniping along about monogamish-ness (monogamish-ity?) and STDs may I just say that I found it puzzling but borderline amusing that she used the phrase "arc of our covenant" the way she did. Being a nice semi-Jewish boy, I can't decide whether she did it on purpose or not, but the play on words was striking.
Posted by Calpete on February 25, 2014 at 9:29 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 23
I'm shocked SHOCKED I tell you to find out Mr Savage is in a Non-family. A family just of the 'Non' sort. It must be like the Orthodox vs the Catholic family thing.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 25, 2014 at 9:39 PM · Report this
"arc of our covenant" ftw!
Posted by stu ungar on February 25, 2014 at 10:30 PM · Report this
I am a proud member of the V-club. It was an easy decision although we both thought we missed an opportunity for her when she was on the table after giving birth to our twins (they were/are kids 3 and 4 and when we found out we were having twins - which remains a shocker many years later - my wife said, "about that operation").

It is such an easy operation (though I will say my doc said I had a really large vas deferens that required a double clip before cauterization. So I had that going for me. Which was nice (I guess. Never really was able to capitalize on such a gift)) and I had zero side effects. And it has worked - still no kid #5.

I canNOT understand guys who whine about messing with their junk or that they would be less a man. It is as though they think that they are cutting out your balls. I look at it this way: if your partner has had children with you and, in many cases, was on the pill for many years when you were trying NOT to have children, why not ante up and get the ol' vas tied off. Way easier than continuing medication and certainly way easier than a tubal.
Posted by From the South (as in CA) on February 25, 2014 at 11:11 PM · Report this
That the LW seems a bit of a pill only makes the case stronger.
Mr O, in the spirit of your post, you ought to be claiming that "your" Bi Ideas took root in Mr Savage and trying to sue him for plagiarism. Opportunity missed.
And parallel tracks, perhaps, but not hand in hand. Pushing hand in hand buys into binormativity, and leaves same-sexers at risk if the birth rate gets unacceptably low (see: Russia).
Posted by vennominon on February 26, 2014 at 12:04 AM · Report this
Oh, and I must cross-examine Mr Savage on what things "gay people can learn from straight people" with which we aren't all entirely familiar by age twelve, if not earlier. If that were really An Equal Truth, then surely there would be a manifest shortcoming in SS parenting that hasn't been unearthed yet, but I can live with it being the sort of thing one says to be nice.
Posted by vennominon on February 26, 2014 at 12:16 AM · Report this

Dan, a bit disappointed by your tepid response to LaBarbera here, especially if you feel your family has been attacked, and on a national stage. Other than the astonishingly disrespectful and dismissive 'supposed husband' and 'non-family' comments, which shows how bigoted, narrow and repressed an idea Labarbera has of what constitutes a family, everything he said is factually true - you DO advocate for straights being more like gays. You invented the term monogomish, for god's sake.

Every day The National Press Club airs on public radio stations all across the country + CSPAN. You maybe have a lot of extra/new people checking you out at the moment who have only known you as the It Gets Better guy, who have just learned that you have a kid and are in an open relationship. You have yet another opportunity to frame and educate about this, to a new crowd. Monogamish doesn't necessarily equate with being 'promiscuous' or 'reckless'. It can save and strengthen relationships, especially the long term married types Pete advocates for.

The woman's letter is great, but posting a fan letter is a bit lame in response to being attacked. Why not re-state your case and come out with guns blazing, as you do over so many issues?

Posted by Velvetbabe on February 26, 2014 at 4:03 AM · Report this
seatackled 30

Why would Dan bother expending more energy than he needs to on these assholes? It would just be a pissing contest.
Posted by seatackled on February 26, 2014 at 4:52 AM · Report this
AFinch 32
Good Living is the best revenge. LaBarbera and Lively will only screetch louder as they are gripped with what Dead-eye-Dick called "the death throes of dead-enders". They are losing and will be forgotten. Take your satisfaction in

Also: vasectomies. While it does show a willingness on the man's part to take responsibility for BC, given that pregnancy is only one form of STI, it's probably not enough to really address what you have to worry about in a multi-partner scenario. Honestly, pregnancy is pretty far down on the list for me - so why get a vasectomy if I'm likely to wear a condom anyway? When we are done having children, I might consider this to relieve my wife of hormonal BC (though she professes to prefer it for cycle regularity).
Posted by AFinch on February 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM · Report this
gttim 33
I joined the V club a few years ago. My buddy is a lawyer and I used to hear all these custody and child support horror stories. Women were getting pregnant after a few dates, and lawyers and support payments were going on for a long time! I was getting scared to have sex with any girl I dated, because I had been pushing the odds for a while. I ran out and got one. So much less to worry about now! Girls love it! When my current GF and I had the talk, when she heard the V word, she said "right answer!"
Posted by gttim on February 26, 2014 at 8:08 AM · Report this
The Beatles 34
Wow, Dan. I want to officially rescind, and apologize for, my comment the other where I said you spending too much time emphasizing youth pastor sex-offenders. These "family values" fuckers are making this personal for you. Attack back with Savage viciousness, we're on your side.
Posted by The Beatles on February 26, 2014 at 8:32 AM · Report this
Why are all the sex-positive people in this thread calling vasectomies "the v word?"
Posted by treehugger on February 26, 2014 at 8:54 AM · Report this
women can get a procedure called Essure done. it's done in the gyno's office, no recovery needed, no stitches. It is permanent so be sure you are done or never want kids. I had it done (no kids, never want kids) and it was the best decision i ever made. I get some idiot guys who respond with "so we don't have to use condoms then!". I just respond with "it doesn't prevent me from getting herpes, here are some statistics on it....." which makes their dick crawl back into their body and they leave me alone.
Posted by spark99 on February 26, 2014 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Lissa 38
I've never wanted kids and selected for that in my dating life. Both my first and current husband are members of the V club, and I took the boyfriend for his membership visit last year. It was very interesting, and such a simple procedure!
We joked all the way home that he was a whore trying to avoid the consequences of his dirty, dirty actions. :)
Posted by Lissa on February 26, 2014 at 9:08 AM · Report this
AFinch @32 As a woman who loves my BC pills (lighter, more regular periods), I find it weird that you would not trust your wife's judgment on this matter. Why talk of relieving her of something she likes?

spark99@37 condoms don't do much to prevent the spread of herpes, sadly. Or gonorrhea or HPV. Mostly they're good against HIV, chlamydia, hep B and hep C, I gather. Regular testing is important as well, and open, non-judgmental conversations about test results, and having some tolerance for risk.

Posted by EricaP on February 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM · Report this
gttim 42
@36 Spelling the V club or V word is much easier!
Posted by gttim on February 26, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
very bad homo 43
It drives Peter crazy that you & thousands of other gay couples are legally married, and that makes me happy.
Posted by very bad homo on February 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
AFinch 44
@41 - I would consider it if she wanted it. Otherwise I have no intention of joining the club, at least not now. I'm quite happy with the status quo and if she is happier on BC than not, I'm totally down with that. I know a great many sloggers are very strongly negative on hormonal BC, but for many women it's da bomb.
Posted by AFinch on February 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@41 Erica P...I am not sure where you got the idea that condoms weren't effective at preventing gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is transmitted the same way as chlamydia (i.e. by secretions rather than skin to skin contact). You are correct that condoms are less effective at preventing transmission of herpes and HPV.
Posted by KN on February 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
"All within the arc of our covenant" is my favorite sentence this month.

And I love the analytical jump from Dan's son to Dan's sex life with his faux husband. This leap always gives me pause: since when do any children of any parents know what are the typical, er, ins and outs, of their parents' sex lives?

Our side immediately replies with, quite rightly, the data documenting that the children of gay parents do just fine, and in some studies better than straight parents, in no small part because the children are wanted and planned for.

But why don't folks point out that it's inappropriate and damaging for any child to know whether or not mom likes bondage, or dad likes being pegged, or mommy and daddy have "man-on-top-get-it-overwith-quick" sex, or whatever? Whether it's the most vanilla sex ever of the permanently and righteously monogamous or group BDSM in dungeons, it's NOT the children's business.

I've always thought that this argumentative slip implies, ffs, that monogamish couples, whether gay or straight, fuck before their children! It's just another reason why these arguments are hateful and dishonest bullshit.

And I really wish someone would publicly call them on it. "So, Senator Vitter, how do you discuss your diaper fetish with your 4 children? Your diaper stash is a threat to your children! You cannot be a parent!"
Posted by maddy811 on February 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM · Report this
nocutename 47
@32L AFinch, I'm happy that hormonal bc is working for you and your wife, and don't want to suggest that vasectomies are superior (though I will point out that antibiotics can sometimes interfere with the pill's effectiveness, and if you are the kind of person who's bad at remembering to take a pill every single day at roughly the same-ish time, there may be reasons that a vasectomy is preferable).

But I take issue with you calling pregnancy an STI.
Posted by nocutename on February 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM · Report this
The attacks on Dan Savage have a lot to do with an early definition of Victorian "morality": the unending fear that somebody, somewhere, might be happy.

This is of course a great coping mechanism for people who are miserable but can't bring themselves to make the changes they'd need to make to be happy.
Posted by Thexalon on February 26, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
@45: I got that idea because I tested positive for gonorrhea a few years ago despite appropriate use of condoms. I've now also heard of that happening to other people I know, and my doctor wasn't dubious about my story. Mine was quickly cured with antibiotics but since antibiotic resistant gonorrhea is on the rise , it seems worth noting that condoms aren't so great at preventing its spread.…
"Among 429 participants with known Gc/Ct exposure, consistent condom use was associated with a significant reduction in prevalent gonorrhea and chlamydia (30% vs. 43%)."

So, yes, condoms reduce the possibility of transmission, but a third of the participants still managed to get gonorrhea or chlamydia from their partners despite using condoms consistently.

The CDC doesn't address this directly but admits that it doesn't know how good condoms are at protecting against the spread of most STIs

"epidemiologic studies have shown that condom use reduces the risk of many other STDs. However, the exact magnitude of protection has been difficult to quantify because of numerous methodological challenges."
Posted by EricaP on February 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
46 ... While it may be culturally inappropriate for children to be aware of their parents' sexual tastes, where is your evidence that it is harmful for them to know such details? Young children don't understand what they may hear or be told about "top & bottom" or "pegging." so how are they harmed? Older kids always understand that their parents are sexual as they come to understand their own sexuality. The ICKY factor is cultural, not medical. I don't advocate the breaking of boundaries but I do recognize that boundaries change to some extent as children grow up. Understanding that your parents may have some kinks goes a long way to reassuring you that your own kinks aren't so unique or freaky as you discover them.
Posted by kwodell on February 26, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
UK_Nurse 51
@49 I certainly advise my patients that condoms will reduce but not eliminate the risk of bacterial infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Effectiveness rates usually only refer to the prevention of transmission of HIV and pregnancy.

One theory is that an individual will end up with bacteria on their hands during foreplay, before putting the condom on, effectively inoculating the outside of the condom with bacteria. Oral sex will also play its part too.
Posted by UK_Nurse on February 26, 2014 at 4:00 PM · Report this
@32 & 47: Years back some friends and I used to plan to make t-shirts the said "Babies: The Ultimate STI" and go lounge about the Baby Einstein, $2000 stroller neighborhoods.
Ah, to be young and punk.
Posted by chi_type on February 26, 2014 at 5:35 PM · Report this
@50 I was referring to age-appropriateness, proper boundaries, and personal privacy. I was not being anti-kink.
Posted by maddy811 on February 26, 2014 at 6:30 PM · Report this
sissoucat 54
"I know a great many sloggers are very strongly negative on hormonal BC, but for many women it's da bomb."

I hapen to be both a woman and a slogger and most of the women I've talked with about hormonal BC just hate it. Still, some of them like it, and all together that minority surely amounts to "many women".

Posted by sissoucat on February 27, 2014 at 2:12 AM · Report this
I'm not sure if liking BC is a minority sentiment or not, but I doubt it's particularly rare. Periods are horrible nuisances, even if they aren't clinically OTT the way they are in my case.
Posted by Green Lizard on February 27, 2014 at 3:47 AM · Report this
AFinch 56
@47 - I am, of course, just being jocose/tongue-in-cheek. However, since pregnancy is the result of a foreign DNA injection much like a viral infection, I don't think I'm actually torturing the biological definition too much.

@52 - that's just awesome.
Posted by AFinch on February 27, 2014 at 6:58 AM · Report this
aureolaborealis 57
@50: I took the broader point to be that, when asked how you could possibly explain your depraved sex life to your kids, the best possible reply is to ask how the asker explains the details of his or her sex life to his or her kids. And 99 times out of 10, the answer is going to be something about not discussing the details of those things with your kids.
Posted by aureolaborealis on February 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
How solid can "traditional values" really be if it's so damn easy to "import homosexual values"?

If the supposedly natural, universal, eternal, godly monogamous heterosexual marriage is such a bedrock thing, why are these nutjobs acting like it's so fragile? Don't they believe in it?

This is the challenge of hate propaganda -- hard to warn people about the seductiveness of something evil without making it sound really cool.

They're basically implying that gays have more fun, are more adventurous, and get to make sex a bigger part of their lives that straight people do. Must be why the "gay agenda" is so popular. : - )

It's really sad that these bigots can't just come out of the closet and embrace their true sexual selves. Talk about compensating.....
Posted by wellokaythen on February 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM · Report this

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