Dan Savage is an outspoken, irreverent, gay sex columnist who gives sex advice to all genders and orientations at Savage Love and on his podcast. With his husband Terry*, he started the "It Gets Better" video project, designed to help kids who are bullied realize that it does get better.
So I was prepared to like Dan's new book. I had no idea that I would love it, highlight it, bookmark it, rave about it. I had no idea that Dan could write so eloquently, and from the heart. For example:
- "Sex education in America is a lot like a driver's-ed course that covers the internal combustion but not steering or brakes...so long as we skip past pleasure, desire, and negotiating a romantic or sexual relationship ... we aren't really teaching young adults about sex."
- "Fighting your sexuality is like holding your breath: It can be done, yes, but not for long (when it comes to your breath) and not forever (when it comes to your sexuality)."
Politically, Dan is razor-sharp. His one-hour, dinner table debate with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, about gay marriage is worth watching on YouTube -- but what you don't know about what happened before and after the debate is here in American Savage, such as the one question Terry asked after the debate was over:
"Do you think our son should be taken away from us?"
"You shouldn't ask me a question when you know you won't like the answer," Brown said.
"Get the fuck out of my house," Terry said.
Dan's personal stories are moving, especially when he writes about his mother's death, his husband, or his son. Each time he speaks from his heart with a story from his own life, it is to illustrate or lead us to an important point.
Dan Savage makes you think about things you thought you knew. For example, when is/isn't it okay to cheat?
"We are socially monogamous -- we pair bond; we couple up... but we are not sexually monogamous... The fact that your partner is willing to 'forsake all others' only means something is your partner doesn't, on some level, want to forsake all others. and your partner doesn't."
How can you help laughing when he writes about Rick Santorum ("then the third most powerful person in the United States Senate [who] equated gay people to child rapists and dogfuckers") and Dan's campaign to launch a new meaning for the word "santorum": "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex" in our culture and in Google searches.
I could go on for another hour, but here's the bottom line: I recommend American Savage to everyone, straight or gay, who cares about how confused our culture is about sexuality and religion and politics. Please read this book and share it with people in your life who agree with you -- and those who don't.
*Okay, since I'm being honest here -- I drool over the photo of Dan's husband Terry posing in underwear, which I'll share here with you, at the risk of undermining the intellectual nature of this book review.
|Terry posing in underwear|