Q: There was a letter in your column recently that must have been painful for you to receive. I refer to the letter signed God Hates You. I'm sure you're no stranger to hate mail, being an openly gay sex-advice columnist, but I hope you get fan mail too. But just in case: I wanted you to know that your column means a lot to me, and I love your bluntness, openness and honesty. It is comforting to see a pragmatic, funny and, for the most part, compassionate voice in print nowadays, especially when it comes to something that so many are as willfully ignorant about as sex. —You Do Good Work
A: A lot of people wrote in after reading GHY's letter. Most wanted to reassure me that God does not, in fact, hate me. And most, like YDGW here, assumed that GHY's letter must have hurt my feelings. I want to thank everyone for your kind words — and I mean that sincerely — but someone telling me that God hates me is about as hurtful as someone telling me that the Blue Fairy thinks I look fat in these jeans. ("Really? She does? Thanks, I really needed to hear that — now I'm gonna go sit on the other side of the subway car and silently ask the Blue Fairy for fashion guidance, OK?")
As for fan mail, YDGW, I get my fair share. But I don't typically run fan letters because I've found better ways to pleasure myself. I am, however, going to make an exception this week and run a few letters from satisfied Savage Love customers. Not because I like having sunshine blown up my ass — I prefer to have other things blown up my ass, thanks — but because we know GHY is out there reading, and I'm thinking letters from people who've found my advice useful will annoy him way more than letters from people who wanted to let me know that God loves me. So this one's for you, GHY...
I am a 21-year-old straight girl, and I wanted to thank you. Reading your column and listening to your Podcast over the years has made my sex and love life so much better than it ever could have been without your fantastic advice. It gave me the courage to tell my partner about my interest in BDSM and to be really GGG when he shared his fantasies with me. I've recommended your column and Podcast to friends having relationship and sex troubles, and they all come back to tell me how much your advice helped them. I wanted to thank you on behalf of shy girls everywhere who secretly want to be tied up and spanked. —Eternally Grateful
I owe you a thank-you. Since I began reading your column over a year ago, I have realized my sexual desires are not perverse (and if they are, certainly nothing to be ashamed of) and began talking with my girlfriend about experimenting with them. As such, the two of us have moved on from anal-sex toys and are now about to embark on full-on pegging. She's as excited about it as I am, and we wouldn't have gotten to such a level of sexual satisfaction if not for the work you do. I'll be thinking of you while my girlfriend bangs my hot ass! —A Devoted Reader
Thanks for your advice about the "death grip" and the damage males can do when they grip themselves too tightly while masturbating. I had that problem: At age 48, a lifetime of death grip left me incapable of coming during regular intercourse. I have never had an orgasm with a partner from intercourse or oral or anal sex (my orientation is hetero). I carefully followed your advice and lightened my touch and started using my left hand (I'm right-handed) to provide the lighter stimulation that you advised. Any time I was tempted to revert to the death grip, I squeezed my thumb and index finger together, forming a ring without contracting it. This managed to fool my death-grip conditioning without increasing the pressure on my penis. It took a while, but now I'm able to come from lighter stimulation! Thank you! —Beautiful Orgasms Beat Odds
I started reading your column toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, which was about a year after I started hooking up with girls. I was immediately drawn to it because your "moral code" is based on common sense. That, and it was about sex and I was a sophomore.
I tend to be insecure, and I tend to tell the wrong joke at the wrong time. The one area in my life where I'm not insecure, however, is in the bedroom, and it's almost entirely thanks to your column. I'll kick myself repeatedly for saying the wrong thing to a girl, but if I don't perform to the best of my abilities one night, I can let it go. I've learned what my boundaries are and how to push them. I knew that not being 100 percent straight doesn't make you bi or gay, so there was no identity crisis when I questioned my sexuality. Most importantly, I know how to ask and I know how to give.
Thanks, Dan. If politicians want to get serious about reducing the amount of abortions, teenage pregnancies, and divorces in this country, they should hire you to draw up a national sex-ed curriculum. —Grateful Straight Boy
Thank you for saying some kind words about "conveniently located and economically priced sex workers" in your column. I agree that they deserve more gratitude and respect. In my case, I am a successful, decent-looking professional and a widower with three kids. I don't have any trouble getting dates. However, in my experience, dates either turn into relationships that I don't have time for or long conversations that I don't have time for about how I don't have time for a relationship. So once every couple months or so, I see a professional. I don't have to feel bad that I may not see her again, and I don't get accused of misleading anyone. I would like to tell your readers that they shouldn't feel bad if they are seeing pros. They should enjoy it for what it is, which is a great time with a pretty girl and well worth the money. —Prefers Sex Workers
I had been reading your column for years, and each time you told someone to DTMFA — dump the motherfucker already! — I wondered why the people sending those sad letters needed your advice at all. Couldn't they see that they were miserable? Then one day I had an epiphany and realized, while reading your column, that I could have authored one of those DTMFA letters.
It's now three years since I dumped the motherfucker. I got a transfer within my company and started over in a new city. It was overwhelming. But this weekend, I was lying in bed with my new boyfriend and I was thinking about my life. It is so NICE to have someone who isn't horrified that I like porn, someone who listens to my fantasies and likes to try new things. Someone who appreciates my cooking, doesn't pout when I beat him at video games and tells me I'm beautiful.
I want to thank you. I was in denial, and your column was my wake-up call. I'm happier now than I ever thought possible. —Content Lady In Toronto
Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to [email protected]
You're welcome, one and all. Next week, back to the screaming, yelling, recriminations, freaks, fetishes and fuckwits.