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Monday, October 13, 2008

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on October 13 at 16:04 PM

Does the term “butthurt” have an antigay connotation regardless of context? Does anyone even use this off the internet anymore? I moderate a frequently read website and there’s currently a debate as to whether the term—used in a critical but not quite inflammatory context—should be allowed.

I’ve been reading your column since eighth grade. I’m 22 now.


I don’t have a problem with “butthurt,” T. But I don’t have a problem with “that’s so gay” either, so maybe I’m not the best person to ask.

Any Sloggers got a problem with “butthurt”?

RSS icon Comments


I don't even know what it is. Rectal pain? Suggesting that someone has been penetrated there, voluntarily or otherwise? It sounds like something that should be offlimits just on stupidity grounds, not necessarily homophobic ones.

Posted by Fnarf | October 13, 2008 4:12 PM

People use it all the time. I'm with Fnarf, it is stupid.

Posted by Mikki | October 13, 2008 4:15 PM

Dan I saw you on tv for the other night. My husband pointed out that it was you. I was in shock. You are a fucking hottie. We both agree. I hope I see you on tv more often.

Posted by KK | October 13, 2008 4:18 PM

I have never heard the phrase butthurt, and I like to think I'm pretty gay (in the literal sense) and also have a fair amount of big boy sex (i.e. teh buttseks). I'm with Fnarf too.

Posted by Dean P | October 13, 2008 4:19 PM

Sounds like someone needs a stool softener!

Posted by Soupytwist | October 13, 2008 4:21 PM

Huh. Go figure. I've been reading it for years online, and this is the first time I've ever read anybody linking it to anything gay. I thought it was a more general term than that, like somebody being cranky like they had a rectal itch or 'rhoids.

Posted by --MC | October 13, 2008 4:22 PM

Please use in a sentence.

Posted by w7ngman | October 13, 2008 4:23 PM

"Butthurt" poses no problems for me... unless I'm the one butthurt. ^_~

But I do have a gay language question for you, Mr. Savage that I hope isn't too off topic:
The internet language phenomenon I wonder about is using "fag" as a suffix. I've seen it used in clearly derogatory manners (i.e. "Stupid Christfags.") but also used in an almost affectionate manner (i.e. "CAfags/Britfags/VAfags/etc, report in!" as a call to other members of a geographical region.)
What's your take on that Dan, Sloggers?

Posted by L | October 13, 2008 4:25 PM

"butthurt" has no gay connotations, or, for that matter, associations with anal sex as far as I am aware. None of the seven definitions on mention anything queer. The last one claims that the term is meant to evoke the feelings of a puppy that is being shooed out the door by being hit in the butt.

Posted by scott | October 13, 2008 4:30 PM

Dear Reader,

Did it ever occur to you that in the 9 to 10 years you've been reading my column, you had become to dependent on my advice? I find it hard to believe you couldn't have figured this out on your own, being an adult, and apparently having the ability to read. Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

Why are you an idiot in spite of reading my column? I'm not "Dan Savage; Linguistic Lawyer for the Politically Correct." I am not "Dan Savage; Final Arbiter of Anti-Gay Slurs." How do your friends even handle being around you? Do you ask them, "Is Swisher Sweet an pro gay cigar?" or perhaps "Do Toms of Finland paintings make gays seem like totalitarian fascists?"

The answer to both these questions and subsequent ones you might have are "WHO THE FUCK CARES!"

Humbly Yours,

Dan Savage

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 13, 2008 4:32 PM

I thought butthurt referred to what happens when you fall, as they say, "flat on your ass".

Takes a real sexual dev... uh, pervert to jump a conclusion of gay sex innuendo.

Or maybe it's the other way around.

Posted by K | October 13, 2008 4:32 PM

i say butthurt all the time, to let someone know they hurt my feelings.

for example: "i was a little butthurt that you didn't invite me to your bubi's syna-go-go jewish dance party"

no idea where i picked it up from though.

Posted by stainer | October 13, 2008 4:34 PM

sheesh bellevue ave, loosen your tie or something.

Posted by douglas | October 13, 2008 4:36 PM

I always read "butthurt" as "got something up in your ass about", as in: "I made an offhand comment about X to Bob, and now he's all butthurt about it. WTF?"

Nothing gay about it. It's equivalent to "what got up YOUR ass about [subject x]?"

Everyone gets something up their ass sooner or later. No big whoop. Wanna fight about it?

Posted by johan | October 13, 2008 4:37 PM

And in answer to @8 about "britfags, christfags, etc", [x]fag is used to indicate that someone is being totally gay about their chosen subject. Not homosexual gay, just pussy gay.

Posted by johan | October 13, 2008 4:39 PM

@13 I'm tired and fussy

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 13, 2008 4:39 PM

Still, douglas, doesn't the reader know how to go on the Google?

Posted by Dean P | October 13, 2008 4:39 PM

@7: "Matt's all butthurt because I keep laughing at his beard." Provided by Dana.

I say "butthurt" aloud, not just online, and have for years. I'm also a 14-year-old boy trapped in a 24-year-old woman's body.

Posted by Aislinn | October 13, 2008 4:41 PM

I'm going to start saying "butthurt" from now on.

And I'm real gay.

Posted by monkey | October 13, 2008 4:43 PM

Wow. I haven't heard that term used since high school. We always used it to mean when someone had a legitimate grievance, and were milking it a bit more than was appropriate, to the point that it was irritating to the rest of us, but not so much that you wanted them to shut the fuck up about it, like when you do something dumb to your bf/gf and they act all hurt until you do some token thing like bring them a favorite dessert or rub their feet.

Posted by Gitai | October 13, 2008 4:44 PM

Prior to Aislinn's provided usage example, my first impression was "butthurt" = "pain in the ass"... Is this expression the new "sweeeeeeeeeeeet"?

Posted by E | October 13, 2008 4:47 PM

Sounds like some of the other moderators are butthurt.

Posted by Cow | October 13, 2008 4:48 PM

#18-24 year old woman's body.....or 14 year old girl's body?

Posted by try again | October 13, 2008 4:49 PM

In a celebrity roast of Bob Saget, Gilbert Godfrey did a joke using "asshurts" and the Olsen twins.....enjoy

Posted by dkl | October 13, 2008 4:51 PM

#23, 24 year old woman's body.

Posted by try again | October 13, 2008 4:55 PM

@25: I don't know...are you in close proximity to a mirror?

Posted by try again | October 13, 2008 5:00 PM

afaik, butthurt isn't gay, it's rape.

Posted by StC | October 13, 2008 5:00 PM

I only got a problem with it when it does.

Posted by Jeremy from Seattle | October 13, 2008 5:03 PM

@26: ??!

. ? ? . ?! . !


Posted by Greg | October 13, 2008 5:06 PM

Butthurt isn't gay... it's bi-curious.

(ME TOO!!!)

Posted by Smokes | October 13, 2008 5:07 PM

#26, whoever you are, I think you are confused.

Posted by w7ngman | October 13, 2008 5:08 PM

The only problem I have with "butthurt" is that it is making me feel old, since I have never heard of it before.

Kids these days and their "internet slang".

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 13, 2008 5:09 PM

@23, 25, 26: What? No, I meant 24-year-old woman. I look my age, but I like teenage boy things like comic books and dick jokes and belching.

Posted by Aislinn | October 13, 2008 5:13 PM

I think its like a hemorrhoid of righteous indignation...or similar.

Posted by yucca flower | October 13, 2008 5:35 PM

I use butthurt all the time. It's hilarious and demeaning. Much like "don't get your panties in a bunch". Which I am sure some people find sexist for some reason. Maybe because the word panty is in it, and not undergarment?

Posted by Original Monique | October 13, 2008 5:39 PM



Posted by jrrrl | October 13, 2008 5:39 PM

Can we talk about MY favorite word now?

Asshat. This butthurt of which you speak is so passé.

Posted by TVDinner | October 13, 2008 6:18 PM

Au tres gay!

Posted by Gay blade! | October 13, 2008 6:21 PM

Ugh, I've hated 'asshat' since I first saw it in a 'which circle of hell are you in' meme like four years ago.

Posted by Rachel | October 13, 2008 6:22 PM

Greg @29: Watch your language. I know what that means in Morse code...

Posted by RainMan | October 13, 2008 6:41 PM

OMG what I wouldn't do to 14 year old boy in a 24 year old woman's body. I think I just found my type.

Posted by jnonymous | October 13, 2008 6:59 PM

I'm butthurt that i never heard of butthurt before.

Posted by Deric in LA | October 13, 2008 8:03 PM

Although a tad sophomoric, it is a useful neologism to refer to excessive sensitivity or irritability due to overly minor provocation. And as noted by johan, there is nothing particularly anti-gay about it--especially if you buy his account of it as equivalent to saying someone has something up their ass about something. (Which I wouldn't buy that as being anti-gay either).

Posted by KevinE | October 13, 2008 8:55 PM

#15 - what does "not homosexual gay but pussy gay" mean?

Posted by MissyMiss | October 14, 2008 12:07 AM

Dudes, butt pain is butt pain. Like what if one of your parents/uncles calls you a "pain in the ass"? Or what if your sister/best friend/cousin just "beat your ass" at Monopoly? Then there's "what's up his/her ass?" Which I feel is more closely related to being "butthurt" than either of the former. But "what's up his/her ass" is most likely implying a boot, stick, or some sort of unpleasant foreign object, not a dong.

Posted by ian | October 14, 2008 1:42 AM

@40: It's semaphore, dummy.

Posted by Greg | October 14, 2008 7:37 AM

@44, it's standard teenage distinction.

Calling someone "gay" in a lot of cases doesn't refer to a perceived homosexuality at all, but a tendency towards being "soft" or "wimpy".

You know, "pussy" gay. As in "don't be a pussy". Sophomoric, but widespread.

Posted by Johan | October 14, 2008 8:21 AM

couldn't a "vagfag" be a gay guy who hangs out with faghags?

Posted by ellarosa | October 14, 2008 8:31 AM

Okay as long as we're getting into offensive terms, is it okay for a faghag to refer to herself as a faghag?

Posted by Charm | October 14, 2008 10:30 AM

Some of the defintions in Urban Dictionary on pages 2 and 3 use terms such as faggot and reference anal sex so it would seem that there is a negative homosexual component to this phrase.

Posted by inkweary | October 14, 2008 11:59 AM

Basically, butthurt is getting offended/upset/snotty because you're taking it all a little bit too seriously. In fandom, anyway.

Posted by mynamehere | October 15, 2008 12:28 AM

"Butthurt" definitely has anti-gay connotations. Almost anyone I've ever heard use it also uses "that's gay" to mean "that's no good." It's anti-gay by association, perhaps...

The only time straight dudes will mention male butts and NOT have it be anti-gay: when it's about farting. Lighting farts, "oh I just did a sweet one," etc... Which, in its own way, is pretty gay: "let's talk about my butt now. I want to draw attention to my butt."

Um yeah: I think "butthurt" has enough inherent anti-gay sentiment for me to avoid it (that is, phonetic aesthetics aside--it just sounds hiskoolerey to me, and I'm hella older than that bro).

Great post.

Posted by Alex | October 15, 2008 11:34 AM

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