Dan Savage
Bunching the panties of the powers that be.


Most people don’t stick with the person they're married to for 50 years without straying. Yet it's almost impossible to talk about alternatives to monogamy. Why do we have such a hard time squaring reality with the ideal?

People value love. And people have been told that being in love means you don't want to sleep with other people. In fact being in love and making a monogamous commitment means you will refrain from sleeping with other people. Most still lust in their hearts after other people. Not to have to pretend can be very liberating and make monogamy easier. People are afraid of being left, of marrying somebody and that person running off with somebody else.

Which is a real possibility.

It is. But plenty of monogamous marriages collapse. You can get cheated on either way. My partner Terry and I are non-monogamous. It’s a pressure release valve that allows for outside sexual contact under very limited circumstances. That then doesn't constitute cheating. And here we are, 17 years later, gay, still together.

Which I'm sure irks some people.

It irks them a lot. I mean Newt Gingrich is considerably less successful at marriage.

When you started the Santorum Google bomb could you imagine he'd surface as a potential presidential candidate?

No. And now they're talking about him as a 2016 presumptive frontrunner. It really freaks me out – if he becomes president I'll get audited every other day by the IRS. I had no idea back in 2003. We thought we were making a joke at the expense of this bigot senator who we wanted to go away. He did go away. Then came back like a dormant virus and it's been appalling.

He has horrifying views on gay rights, birth control and everything else. Do you see a possibility of serious backsliding on these issues?

There are states where it's almost impossible to get an abortion. Where the laws are so restricted and abortion providers have been driven out of business to the point where women don't have access to their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. In Maine we saw marriage equality passed and then rescinded at the ballot box. There is tremendous backsliding. Christopher Isherwood said that social tolerance can reach a high watermark and then recede out of sight.

Well, he saw that happen.

Yes, he would know, right? So we have to be vigilant. There's a totally batshit chunk of the American electorate who would like nothing more than to micromanage, regulate and in some cases exterminate other people’s sex lives.

What was your reaction when Obama contributed a video to the “It Gets Better Project?”

[Laughs] it wasn't instantly positive. The president of the United States can offer more than hope. We watched the video with some skepticism. But we were really moved and felt it came from a very sincere place. It was powerful that the president of the United States looked LGBT kids in the eye and told them that there's nothing wrong with them. I'm old and I remember that Ronald Reagan took seven years to say the word “AIDS,” or “gay” out loud.

Was there a turning point when you realized that you now had a much broader audience?

Whenever one of the nightly news networks asks for an interview. Then a 25-year-old producer shows up, who has been reading my column since middle school and it was their idea to have me on the show. Somehow I’ve managed to leverage the dirtiest, filthiest, most reviled sex advice column on the planet into political pundit status. That never ceases to amaze me.

©2012 Sarah Clyne Sundberg