Refreshingly racy: Why I chose to run ‘Savage Love’ in DGO

by DGO Web Administrator

I’ll admit, there have been some “Savage Love” columns that have made me uncomfortable. There was one, two weeks ago about a practice known as “sounding” (Google it … but not at work) that I physically had to stop reading, lest I squirm out of my chair onto the floor. And sometimes I just don’t feel like reading such frank talk about genitalia belonging to either gender. I get it: Dan Savage can be rather eye-opening at times, racy, blue, shocking or offensive to some.

Of all the content we’ve run in DGO, Savage has been the only thing I have received specific complaints about. Though certainly many more harbor silent condemnation, the number of complaints or concerns can be counted on one hand (or foot, if you’re into that). And while you’d need more than two hands to count the number of people who’ve gone out of their way to praise “Savage Love,” I felt it was time to address it all, this lightning rod of a column.

If you haven’t noticed, Dan Savage will talk about anything. His column raises issues and addresses concerns about topics that are taboo, issues many people are curious about but are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about openly. Being gay himself and an outspoken gay-rights advocate, Savage also gives a voice to and uniquely addresses the questions of the LGBT community, an underrepresented group in mainstream media and a virtually nonexistent one in the world of advice columns.

Even if you’re a negative-three on the Kinsey scale, we often feel like we’re the only ones with certain questions or dilemmas, especially when it comes to sex. Savage creates a safe and entertaining space for those questions. And if you think the subjects Savage brings up in his column are way over the top, hardly apply to anyone and are not relevant to people who live in Durango, think again. You’d be surprised.

On that note, the value of “Savage Love” isn’t always about the particulars or subject matter in the question but in Savage’s approach in answering questions. His guiding principles and criteria in giving advice are where we can find his wisdom. There are a number of themes inherent in Savage’s answers: He always encourages clear communication with your partner, safe practices, honesty and often sees through letter writers’ excuses or justifications for acting or not acting with his trademark frankness. Even if you’re not into male chastity and don’t know what a dom is, we can all benefit from communication, safety and tough love in our endeavors.

It’s important to know that “Savage Love” is a nationally syndicated column. Dan Savage does not work for DGO, and he doesn’t live in Durango. His column, written for the alternative newspaper The Stranger based in Seattle, is carried in dozens of alt-weekly publications across the country, and his “Savage Lovecast” podcast is heard by tens of thousands each week around the world. Point being, he’s kind of a big deal, one of the most regarded, read and heard love/sex advice columnists this side of Abigail Van Buren. Also, it being a syndicated column bars us at DGO from major editing or omitting questions we might feel are too racy. But then again, what I might find to be too racy might be tame to someone else and vice versa.

One of our goals with DGO is to highlight events, viewpoints, voices and personalities that aren’t seen or heard much around here. That’s our approach to arts, nightlife, marijuana, food and drink, and, yes, love and sex. We also want to continue to try to reach an audience that is not being served, seen or heard. Sometimes that means offending or disrupting the sensibilities and tastes of others.

At the same time, we understand that we are a part of this community and that DGO exists in a specific place, with its own collective traditions, standards and values, however they differ from one person to the next. We want to continue to try to understand where the lines, boundaries and limits are and push them when necessary and pull back when we’ve gone too far.


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