I started reading sex advice columns before you did. And not the Carrie Bradshaw kind – the out of the closet/angry at heterosexuals column written by Dan Savage (of Savage Love infamy). His column was in the back of The Onion when it was still a tiny hard copy newspaper published in
. I started reading every column he ever wrote at the age of 13. (This was mid-1990s when HBO’s Real Sex was the main source of pornography for teenagers.) Madison, WI
In my early teenage years Dan was my window of choice into adult sexuality. And what a weird effing window it was! His appeal is his ability to simultaneously criticize readers if he feels their concerns are bullshit but also give sound advice if you ever discover an elderly parent touching a pet parrot in an extra curricular way. Every week there was a different, off the wall concern from a different gay or straight couple living a very modest life publically and inwardly getting their jollies off wearing animal costumes.
Now, truthfully Dan has helped the world over discover that they’re not alone in their love of latex and balloon animals. However, for a young Midwestern girl I perhaps took the message too literally. Cue my first boyfriend. After months of sucking face in public and declaring our undying love to one another I felt it was only appropriate to share our inner secrets. When two teenagers fall in love it seems only right that you would share EVERYTHING, no matter how repulsive. And I was determined to be the open, non judging girlfriend, ready to share and partake in whatever that boyfriend was “into.” (Dan Savage had taught me so).
So throughout the course of my first relationship I’d lie in bed, next to boyfriend and try to ferret out his darkest sexual yearnings.
Me: So do you want to pee on me?
Me: Maybe you are bisexual?
Me: Tie me up?
I’d stay up all night worrying he was withholding. What could it possibly be? Water sports? Massage parlors? Then I thought, maybe he’s into something Dan Savage hasn’t even DISCOVERED YET. A humiliating attraction to phone booths?
Over the course our entire relationship I kept searching, convinced that with enough prodding and unconditional love, he would reveal all. There would be Valentine’s Day, tears and my constant plea “just admit it you love ball gags!” The less he had to reveal, the more I was convinced that he didn’t love me enough to speak the truth.
Tragically, the relationship ended. But my quest to determine his sexual deviance is unwavering. Because after all, strap ons aren’t just for breakfast.