Dan Savage
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Dan Savage

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The best kept secret in music

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"Dan Savage at the University of Kansas"

Columnist and talk show
host discusses sex, love

DAN SAVAGE USED COMEDY TO ENTERTAIN
THE AUDIENCE AT WOODRUFF AUDITORIUM
TUESDAY IN HIS DISCUSSION FOR PRIDE WEEK.

The only question he wouldn’t answer was about his kinkiest sex hobby.

Dan Savage, a sex columnist and radio talk show host, spoke in a nearly full Woodruff Auditorium about sex, love and anal beads for Pride Week.

“I come here and talk about politics, and you want to talk about three-ways and anal beads,” Savage said. “You knew what you wanted to ask before I even got to Kansas.”

Dan Savage, syndicated sex columnist and radio host, holds cards collected from audience at Woodruff Auditorium of Kansas Union Tuesday evening. Savage answered the questions about sex issues on the cards.
Savage kept the audience rolling throughout the evening with a question-and-answer session about sex and sexuality.

He first compared sex education in U.S. schools to driver’s ed.

“They taught you all about how internal combustion works; they did not teach you how to drive,” Savage said. “If I drove after that, I think the first thing I would do is kill somebody.”

After the laughter died down, Savage approached the issue seriously. Savage said sex education wasn’t teaching people what they needed to know, like what consent really was. As a columnist, Savage said he got never-ending letters from readers asking things that they should know but don’t because sex education doesn’t talk about real sexual issues or interests.

The sex columnist came to Lawrence not only to support Pride Week as a publicly gay male for 27 years, but to advocate pride for all sexual lifestyles.

“We need a straight pride parade,” Savage said. “We problematize heterosexuality. It’s lacking in our culture.”

Savage said in any relationship there must be open communication about sex to maintain healthy bonds.

The audience laughed most of the evening as Savage answered question after question about three-ways, how to effectively use anal beads, and the Grafenburg Spot, or G-spot.

Emily Battenberg, Shawnee freshman, said she thoroughly enjoyed Savage.

“I’ve been reading Dan Savage’s column in The Pitch for three years religiously,” Battenberg said. “He’s hilarious and brilliant and intelligent.”

Hank Dawson, a freshman at Baker University, traveled from Baldwin City to see Savage. Dawson said he read the column with his mom, and that Savage was fantastic in person.

Jonathan Pryor, Columbus senior and president of Queers and Allies, said he was also pleased that Savage could come to Lawrence for Pride Week.

“He has a pretty good following here,” Pryor said. “People recognize him, both gay and straight, which I thought was important because Pride Week isn’t just about LGBT people, it’s for our allies too.”

Savage closed out the evening by quoting Queen Elizabeth II by saying, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Savage said everyone should understand and celebrate his or her sexuality instead of making it taboo.

His final advice for the night went to a 27-year-old single male, wanting to know what he should do. Savage gave him one simple answer.

“Date.” - The University Daily Kansan


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Bio

Dan Savage grew up in "a loud, argumentative, and very Catholic" family, and came out as gay as a fruit cocktail.
In 1991 he was the night manager at an independent video store in Madison, Wisconsin, when a co-worker told him he was planning to move to Seattle and start a new alternative newspaper. Savage, a self-described "pushy busybody," replied, "You have to have an advice column. Everybody hates them, but everybody reads them." And suddenly Savage, who'd never considered himself a writer before, was a snarky "Dear Abby" for the sexually active.

Savage's column, "Savage Love," first appeared in 1991, in the first issue of The Stranger. Readers of any sexual persuasion were invited to seek Savage's pithy advice with the salutation "Hey faggot," an attempt by Savage to make the word more socially acceptable. In 1999, Savage announced he'd grown weary of "Hey faggot," possibly because a lot of readers thought "Hey faggot" not "Savage Love" was the name of the column.

The once-a-week column is funny, informative, outrageous, non-judgmental (about consenting sex acts), and very judgmental (about moronic letter-writers). "Savage Love" is now syndicated to better alternative weeklies across America.

In 2000, Savage posed as a volunteer for homophobic Republican Gary Bauer's presidential campaign. Savage, who had the flu, said he'd licked doorknobs, staplers, and coffee cups in the campaign's Iowa office, and handed Bauer a Savage-slobbered pen, all in an effort to make Bauer sick. The story made a lot of people sick, and Bauer's Iowa campaign manager got the flu at around that time. Savage also said he'd registered and voted, which is vote fraud, since he lives in Seattle, not Iowa. Savage later said much of the article was fictitious, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced 50 hours of community service.

In 2003, Savage used his column to make a very special political statement about Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), a very straight politician who somehow seems at least as interested in homosexuality as Savage is. In an interview with Associated Press, Santorum had gone on a tirade about homosexuality, explaining that he doesn't hate homosexuals, as long as they don't act on their "deviant" desires; that laws against cocksucking protect the fabric of society; that there's no Constitutional right to privacy in one's own home; and that if it's somehow legal for consenting adults to have anal sex in their own homes, that would lead to "the right to bigamy ... the right to polygamy ... the right to incest ... the right to adultery." Finally, although he hadn't been asked about marriage, Santorum explained that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, "not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."

When Santorum paused to take a breath, AP's reporter was close to speechless. "I'm sorry," said the unnamed journalist, "I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States senator. It's sort of freaking me out."

It sort of freaked out Savage, too, and for several weeks he ran a contest in his column to determine what kink-related act or item should be named in Santorum's honor. In the end, Savage decided that "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex" should be called santorum.

Savage is the author of The Commitment : Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins And The Pursuit Of Happiness In America, Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist, and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. The latter book tells how Savage and his boyfriend adopted their son from his willing mother, a "spare-changing gutter punk."

"If the religious right really wanted to stop gay sex ... they should get behind gay people adopting, because nothing puts a stop to gay sex faster."

In addition to writing his column, Savage is now the editor of The Stranger. He's also active in theater, directing queer plays as Keenan Hollahan. Keenan is Savage's middle name, and Hollahan is his grandmother's maiden name.

"Dying is easy," says Savage. "Coming out is hard."