Q: You are known far and wide as an arbiter of all aspects of sex and especially definitions of sex, so we are hoping that you can give your definitive opinion on an interesting conundrum.
My wife and I were recently regaling each other with anecdotes from our past, and she easily had the most interesting story: It seems that when she was a young woman in college, a fellow student invited her over for lunch. It turns out that he thought she was lunch. He quickly had her clothes off and was kissing her, although he was still dressed. Then he brought out a vibrator. He applied the vibrator, she had an orgasm, and then she called a halt to the proceedings. They went back to school, and that was the beginning and the end of their relationship.
Did she have sex?
Now, I think anytime you have an orgasm you've had sex, and if someone else is present, even if they're clothed, you definitely had sex. My wife's view is that since he never got his clothes off and she never saw his cock, she really didn't have sex. We would like your opinion on this. —Definition Essential For Intensely Novel Experience
A: Let's say you and I met in a bar, DEFINE, while the wife was out of town, and we hit it off. And let's say I took you home, stripped you naked, made out with you, sucked your dick, ate your ass, spanked you, tossed you in a sling, fist-fucked you, and then — with my right arm buried up to my elbow in your ass — slowly stroked you with my left hand until you blew a massive load all over your stomach, chest and face.
Now let's say I taped the whole thing and e-mailed a copy to your wife. I think it's highly unlikely that your wife would turn to you after watching the video — remember: I don't get naked, you never see my dick — put a hand on your knee, and say, "Well, I'm glad you didn't have sex with Dan Savage."
Your wife clearly regrets going to that guy's room; she regretted the moment she came, just as you would probably regret going home with me. These feelings prompt her to round this experience down to Not Sex, to minimize it, to exclude it from her sexual history on a technicality: He didn't get naked; she didn't get fucked. Your wife can attempt to rationalize away the sex she had in that dorm, DEFINE, but she had sex with that guy — and that guy's vibrator — whether she wants to admit it or not.
Q: I'm writing to you to let you know that a huge fan and reader of your column has been in a coma since Saturday, Sept. 5. He had a bad motorcycle accident and has a severe brain injury. His name is Jon Broom, and he's my boyfriend, the love of my life, and my best friend. Even though he still hasn't woken up, I've been reading your columns out loud to him so that he never misses one. I know you're a busy man, but I thought I'd take a chance and ask if you could pass on his Facebook support group at "Get Well Jon" in one of your columns (tinyurl.com/m3ngc3). I think it would be awesome for him to look back and see your column when he wakes up and is able to function again.
We appreciate your writings and support for the people who ask for your advice. Here's to hope, faith, and community. —Penny Kim
A: Oh, Penny, I'm so sorry. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. If you're on Facebook — and who isn't? — please join Jon's support group.
Q: I just had to share with you my first reaction at reading this headline: "Santorum dips toes in 2012 Iowa waters." My first thought was "Ewwww," followed quickly by, "Is that even possible?" After all, santorum is something that is dipped into, not something that can dip. And then I remembered that before "santorum" meant santorum it actually designated a person, a senator. But it took me a few seconds.
Congratulations on a job well done. I expect I am not the only one who had this moment of cognitive dissonance upon reading this headline. —A Faithful Reader
A: Ben Smith at Politico reported last Tuesday that Republican former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum plans to run for president. Political Wire linked to Smith's post and added that "Santorum has a serious Google problem." Truthdig linked to Political Wire's post and spelled out Santorum's Google problem: "The former senator's rampant homophobia inspired sex columnist Dan Savage to launch a campaign to usurp the conservative's name. The result: If you type ‘Santorum' into Google, you'll find that it refers not to a former senator, but ‘that frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.'"
From uppercase Santorum making the news with the announcement that he intends to run (runs?) for president to the full definition of lowercase santorum — in just three steps.
And who deserves the credit? Not me. The credit is yours, dear readers. It's thanks to you that SpreadingSantorum.com — a blog that I haven't updated since July of 2004 — remains the No. 1 hit on Google when you search "Santorum." It was a Savage Love reader who first suggested that we usurp Rick Santorum's name, another Savage Love reader who suggested the "frothy mixture" definition, and Savage Love readers who chose the winning definition in a free and fair election. Well done, gang.
We can't take credit for Santorum losing his seat in the U.S. Senate to Bob Casey by 18 points. That was Rick's doing. But we helped to make him ridiculous — there were so many headlines during his failed re-election campaign with "froth" or "frothy" in them. And for a politician, being an object of ridicule is a problem, which is why SpreadingSantorum.com and the "frothy mixture" definition of santorum are going to be a problem as Rick runs for president.
"Maybe it's time to start updating SpreadingSantorum.com again," writes Savage Love reader P.B., "now that Rick is running for president."
I couldn't agree more, P.B., but I'm a busy guy these days. Back when I was writing for SpreadingSantorum.com, I had only the column on my plate. Now I blog every day at thestranger.com/slog, I do a weekly podcast, I've got a bad case of talking headism, and I'm working on another stupid book. So I just don't have the time to give SpreadingSantorum.com the attention it needs.
But maybe some Savage Love readers do?
If SpreadingSantorum.com is going to remain Google's top hit when you search "santorum"—and it should—then the site needs to come back to life. So I'm looking for a few folks who want to torment Rick Santorum by following every twist and turn of his sure-to-be-disastrous run for the White House on SpreadingSantorum.com. (I may dip in every once in a while and post myself.) It would be helpful if one of the people posting to SpreadingSantorum.com was in Iowa, and it couldn't hurt to have someone in New Hampshire, but you don't have to live in either of those states. It would be labor of love — read: a nonpaying gig — but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you're driving Rick Santorum and his supporters absolutely batshit (batshittier?).
If you think you're the right person for this gig — if you think you're right for SpreadingSantorum.com — write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.