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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

O They Will Know We Are Conservative Christians By Our…

posted by on October 9 at 12:55 PM

“autoerotic undertakings.”

An Alabama minister who died in June of “accidental mechanical asphyxia” was found hogtied and wearing two complete wet suits, including a face mask, diving gloves and slippers, rubberized underwear, and a head mask, according to an autopsy report. Investigators determined that Rev. Gary Aldridge’s death was not caused by foul play and that the 51-year-old pastor of Montgomery’s Thorington Road Baptist Church was alone in his home at the time he died (while apparently in the midst of some autoerotic undertaking). While the Montgomery Advertiser, which first obtained the autopsy records, reported on Aldridge’s two wet suits, the family newspaper chose not to mention what police discovered inside the minister’s rubber briefs.

They apparently discovered a big, black dildo embedded in the late pastor’s ass.

Thorington Road Baptist Church issued a press release asking people to “refrain from speculation” about Aldridge’s death. So let’s all try not to speculate about the hogtied Baptist minister in two wet suits with a dildo stuffed up his ass, okay? But I can’t resist pointing out that Thorington Road’s pastor would be alive and well today if he’d indulged his passion for bondage, wet suits, diving gloves, rubberized underwear, etc., etc., on the streets of San Francisco, California, and not home alone in Montgomery, Alabama.

Remember this picture?


It’s one of the pictures went up on the Catholic League’s website during the fracas over the poster for San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. (And, yeah, I’ll seize on any excuse to post it again.) The poster featured a cheeky homage to the “Last Supper,” all hell broke loose, blah blah blah. Conservative commentators went ape shit—and not just about the poster, but about all those “shameless” perverts cavorting openly on the streets of San Francisco during Folsom. But the hooded guy in background of the photo above—a bondage fetishist lucky enough to get tied up by this guy—survived his shameless cavorting. And I’m sure there were wet suit fetishists at Folsom this year, as there are every year, as well as guys with dildos buried in their asses, guys in gas masks, and a few people experimenting with breath control (always dangerous). And somehow they all survived—there were no deaths at Folsom this year. So far as I’m aware there has never been a death at Folsom.

The gay and straight pervs at Folsom, unlike pervy Pastor Aldridge, are unashamed of their kinks and they don’t care who knows what turns ‘em on. San Francisco’s shameless pervs, unlike Montgomery’s shameful pervs, indulge their kinks with lovers, buddies, and friends—and, yes, once a year they indulge ‘em on the streets of San Francisco in front of God and everybody. (Aren’t conservatives always using the “community standards” rationale to ban porn and sex toys in places like Montgomery, Alabama? Well, “community standards” cuts both ways, folks, and citizens of San Francisco don’t have a problem with the Folsom Street Fair.)

The moral of this sad story: If you have complicated, crazy, potentially dangerous kinks, it’s better—it’s safer—to be completely shameless about them than it is to be completely ashamed. Because the shameless are likelier to survive their kinks—and keep their obits off the Smoking Gun.

RSS icon Comments


This is off the topic Dan, but I just listened to your new Savage Lovecast and you were so endearingly tender with that 19 year old depressed girl. So sweet.

Posted by Carollani | October 9, 2007 1:02 PM

"The poster featured a cheeky homage to the “Last Supper,” all hell broke loose, blah blah blah."

Most of the hell was witnessed here on Slog. Unless I missed something. Forgot to 'check back'.

Moral of this 'sad' story duly noted.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 9, 2007 1:11 PM

Hey Dan, Does Seattle have yearly event like Folsom? If not the Stranger sould think of putting something together... You have to have some kink'sters on that staff of yours :)

Posted by Brandon Dismuke | October 9, 2007 1:11 PM

A long time ago the two guys that owned Sin, a fetish shop during the two years when fetish and BDSM were a hipster pursuit in Seattle (they were good year), talked about doing a Folsom in Seattle--on 11th, between Pike and Pine. It didn't come to pass, sadly.

Maybe someone would like to run with the idea? Why should SF get all the moral outrage to itself?

Posted by Dan Savage | October 9, 2007 1:14 PM

I read the description in the autopsy and my first thought was, how the hell did he do that to himself? It seemed like a very elaborate set-up ("The feet are tied to the hands", etc). That guy was dedicated to his kink...

Posted by Julie | October 9, 2007 1:17 PM


Posted by chauncey | October 9, 2007 1:20 PM

Clearly he had divine assistance; it's really the only explanation that makes any sense.

Someone should start selling bumper stickers to these folks:

"Jesus is my Dom".

Posted by COMTE | October 9, 2007 1:22 PM


Knowing Seattle, it would eventually break into two street fairs, one on the Hill, one in downtown, causing loads of frustration.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 9, 2007 1:22 PM

Well, that would certainly work for the Masochists, Mr. Poe.

Posted by COMTE | October 9, 2007 1:23 PM

Seattle doesn't have a Folsom-type kink fest because anyone who would be tempted to organize it quickly realizes that it would be *lame* compared to Folsom. It would just be a smaller-scale Folsom with more fog and rain.

The only way to match or even beat Folsom would be to do it someplace where people would get really pissed about it - say Oklahoma City or Nashville or someplace like that. Not only would that make for fun kinkster vs. fundie interactions, it would also be more convenient for the Rev. Aldridges of the world.

Posted by Providence | October 9, 2007 1:25 PM


You win.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 9, 2007 1:27 PM

If what you do is fully accepted and respected by your community, then what's so kinky about it? If dressing up and play acting were in itself kinky, then Civil War reenactors and the Epcot Center would be the height of kink. Seems like you need the Catholic League and the other fundamentalists to define some boundaries before you have anywhere kinky to go.

Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2007 1:40 PM

Must've been a really difficult autopsy. "Hm... might have asphyxiated." Love the report, though - the clothing/personal effects section is priceless.

"Clothing: The decedent was received wearing two (2) wet suits, one scuba diving mask, one pair of diving gloves, one pair of slippers, one pair of rubber underwear, two (2) ties, five (5) belts, eleven (11) straps.

Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left ring finger, one dildo."

Just remember, kinky is one thing. Being stupid enough to tie yourself up in two (2) wet suits without someone to keep an eye on you or any provision made for getting out of what is on one hand a really embarrasing situation and on the other hand a really deadly one is entirely something else.

But then again, we should probably refrain from "speculating" on what on earth he was up to there. I mean, he could have been doing something really... um... oh, come on. No speculation needed, although I would _love_ to see the church try to explain this one.

Posted by wench | October 9, 2007 1:53 PM

I think unfortunately, for a lot of these so called Christians, people in to kinky sex deserve death. They're much happier with a dead Rev. Aldridge in private than live, healthy and happy kinky folks in public. Right now fundy blogs are trying to paint this as a murder, because they can't get their heads around the idea that he did this to himself - and died because he was doing it alone and in private.

Posted by Allie | October 9, 2007 1:57 PM

I thought every day was a healthy parade of fetishes in Seattle. I would be very disappointed to hear that this is actually not the case.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | October 9, 2007 1:58 PM

Dan, it's so sad you're using the death of a pastor/husband/father/friend as a vehicle to justify your own position on the Folsum Street Fair. What allows you to depersonalize his death? Is it that he's a conservative Christian? If so, you're guilty of precisely the same bigotry you're accusing him of.

It also troubles me that you're clearly trying to shame him for his kink. If you really believed in freedom to explore one's own sexuality, why wouldn't you be grieving his death rather than decrying his assumed hypocrisy? Was he against the Folsum Street Fair? If not, or if he was silent about it, why not let his family and church grieve in peace, away from your latest hobby-horse?

Sounds like if you had your way butt plugs would be off limits to conservative Christians. I've never heard conservative Christians preach diatribes against butt plugs. Everyone knows the anus is an erogenous zone for gay and straight men alike.

I don't get it. Why shouldn't conservative Christians be free to explore their own kinks? And when they do and it goes bad for them, why shouldn't a nationally-syndicated sex columnist at least offer an ounce of sympathy?

Posted by parsonbrown | October 9, 2007 1:58 PM

Does everyone believe he hog tied himself? How do you hog tie yourself anyway? I'm afraid there is a criminally reckless pro domme running around out there, and no one is going to go after her because they want to sweep this whole embarrassing situation under the rug.

Posted by Sandy | October 9, 2007 2:05 PM

Dan, if you're looking for more hot pix of the Folsom Street Asian dude (and he is hot), then go to his website:

Posted by glendaleted | October 9, 2007 2:10 PM

"Is it that he's a conservative Christian?"

No, it's that he was a hypocrite who was perfectly fine with persecuting people who did the same sort of things he did.

Posted by wench | October 9, 2007 2:10 PM

parsonbrown @ 16,

"I've never heard conservative Christians preach diatribes against butt plugs."

Are you for realz?? Was your comment some kind of meta-joke? Did you know that it's illegal to even sell sex toys in Alabama? Who do you suppose is responsible for that, atheistic sex columnists who encourage people to accept and safely enjoy their kinks?
You must have missed “Butt Plugs Are for Dirty Satanists Super Sunday” at your church.

Posted by Original Andrew | October 9, 2007 2:13 PM


I wonder what their safeword would be.

Posted by Bont | October 9, 2007 2:27 PM

I don't get it. Why shouldn't conservative Christians be free to explore their own kinks? And when they do and it goes bad for them, why shouldn't a nationally-syndicated sex columnist at least offer an ounce of sympathy?

It's because conservative Christians typically act as if kinks are dirty, of satan, pathway to hell, etc etc etc. They're willing to judge and persecute others that do those things openly, and act as if they don't. Dan isn't condemning them for their kinks; he's saying they should do them openly.

Posted by Joey the Girl | October 9, 2007 2:29 PM

2 wet suits? You just blew my mind.

Posted by DJSauvage | October 9, 2007 2:32 PM

So it's just like swimming, scuba diving, kayaking and climbing: Always do it with a buddy.

Posted by isabelita | October 9, 2007 2:50 PM

People do hogtie themselves alone -- they even make sex toys for self-bondage:

And I'm not trying to shame the dead pastor for his kink. I'm mourning the fact that he wasn't less ashamed of his kink. If he could at least have indulged with a buddy, he'd be alive today.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 9, 2007 2:57 PM

I think people oughta be looking in to where he learned all this stuff. My guess would be there's plenty more kinksters in their ranks.

Posted by Ferin | October 9, 2007 3:01 PM

Seattlites can meet like-minded folks to indulge their fetishes with a couple times a week at the wet spot, aka Center for Sex-Positive Culture. Play safe!

Posted by JenK | October 9, 2007 3:15 PM

@ 25, Thanks Dan, now I can stop fretting.

Posted by Sandy | October 9, 2007 3:16 PM

We probably also shouldn't speculate on exactly how far the dildo was shoved up his ass. I mean, it could have just been the tip. That's not gay, right?

Posted by ls | October 9, 2007 4:51 PM

In the past week the deaths of Spc. Vincent G. Kamka, 23, and Lance Cpl. Jeremy Burris, 22, marked the 100th and 101rst Washington state related deaths in the Bush/Savage war on Iraq.

Excerpt from "Say Yes To War" by Dan Savage October 2002:

In the meantime, invading and rebuilding Iraq will not only free the Iraqi people, it will also make the Saudis aware of the consequences they face if they continue to oppress their own people while exporting terrorism and terrorists. The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves.

Posted by ... | October 9, 2007 5:42 PM

Mourning, Dan? Yeah, right. Please don't mourn for me if it means a) assuming I'm ashamed of kinky sex because I'm a Christian, b) assuming I'm a right wing bigot because I'm a pastor, c) using my death to justify your particular pet peeve of the day.

Your comment that you wish the pastor had been "less ashamed of his kink" is worth some reflection. I guess I can't name any public person in all America who has come out of the closet as being into butt-plug/scuba suit/hog-tied sex. Even your guy in the Folsum street fair is doing it anonymously. Are you saying you'd like city council members, legislators, presidents, movie stars all to share their hidden kinks? Sounds like you're ignoring the primary reason these are turn-ons, Dan (and you should know this) it's because they're secret, hidden, and private. If they weren't, it wouldn't be half the fun.

Let's take your argument a step further. Why are all those amateur pornographers so ashamed of their kinky sex videos that they haven't published them on the web? How sad they're so ashamed of the sex kinks that they won't make their videos public. Too bad they're not brave enough to do their kink in public (like the, um, anonymous guy in the Folsum picture).

I guess the church isn't the only place where hypocrisy reigns. Thanks, Dan, for shining the light on yours.

Posted by parsonbrown | October 9, 2007 5:54 PM

FYI, referring above to amateur pornographers at the recent HUMP film fest.

Posted by parsonbrown | October 9, 2007 6:00 PM

Per the autopsy, it's amazing how much about this man was "unremarkable".

Posted by tqe / adam | October 9, 2007 7:55 PM

Christians are all perverts. Dan Savage is right to out them. Christianity is a toxic cult that breeds perverts like rotten meat breeds maggots.

Judaism simply never has scandals like this. Judaism is a religion of purity, cleanliness and justice. As soon as America abandons Christianity and admits Judaism is the only true religion, there will be no more perverts.

Posted by Issur | October 9, 2007 8:10 PM

Parsonbrown @31, you're completely missing the point. It's not that he should be proud enough to share his kink with everyone. He should be proud enough to share it with someone he trusts, so he can play safe, with a spotter. He didn't, and that is a tragedy.

Posted by Sandy | October 9, 2007 8:14 PM

@31. Assuming because someone's christian they're ashamed of their kink isn't well-founded. Pastor of a Baptist church in Alabama, particularly if the item in question can't even be sold legally there? It's not an outrageous assumption. And it would have probably been for the best if he'd considered the risks and have his wife there, but the fact that he didn't may well have been because he wasn't comfortable.

Posted by katherine | October 9, 2007 8:37 PM

@10: Other cities (New York, Toronto, Berlin) have organized not-at-all-lame events similar to Folsom on a smaller scale with sustained success. Why not Seattle?

Posted by Matt | October 10, 2007 11:29 AM

I am amazed at the glee being expressed by so many socially evolved people over the tragic death of this Man. Yes he was a Pastor, yes he is a Christian, yes his congragation is shocked and embarrased by this event.I had never heard of self bondage, and I'm sure most of them hadn't either. I am from Montgomery, Alabama I attend a large Baptist Church, I am also an alcoholic and drug addict. I have employed prostitutes, I have had meaningless one night stands, I have almost died alone from crack binges. By the grace of God I did not. I have also found peace, serenity acceptance and forgiveness in the rediscovery of my childhood faith. We all have secrets, we all have things we do in the dark and private that we would be mortified if it ever got out. Compassion, that is Jesus's message. I agree, too many fundamentalists, too many legalists, too many Pharasis have caused the witness to get distorted. Maybe its time for us all to quit the shouting and the name calling and accept each other as we are. Flawed, imperfect human beings. As a final note, I have lived without God in my life and I have lived with him. With is better. Give it a try, you may be suprised.

Posted by William | October 10, 2007 2:13 PM

I don't have a problem with Aldridge's kinks. It's just the hypocrisy. As a minister in a (I assume) conservative evangelical baptist church, you know he was spreading the party line that any sex outside of 'missionary-position-only-and-only-between-husband-and-wife-for-procreation' is somehow sinful, and by golly, sex and anything erotic should never ever be enjoyed (Song of Solomon be damned!). Evangelical churches are creating a whole new crop of uptight neopuritan prudes who frankly have no idea how to have fun. Seriously, does anyone know a fundamentalist Christian that anyone other than other fundies would want to hang out with?

The truth is, they're more like Rev. Gary than they want to admit. They can privately titter all they want about his rubber fetish, but why do you think nearly every cheer squad in the NFL is currently wearing white go-go boots. It wouldn't be because it turns most straight guys on, would it? Hello!!?!?!! Can you say mild boot fetish? It's just a question of degree.

Posted by help! i hogtied myself & i can't get up! | October 19, 2007 1:35 PM

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