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Everything I Needed to Know About Sex I Learned from Dan Savage

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Dan tackles real-life issues you’re never going to hear discussed in a public school — especially not in today’s political climate. Even in AYS, there were questions too embarrassing to ask in front of a group of other teens. And there were things about my personal life and sexuality I just didn’t want a room full of kids from my youth group to know. (After all, outside of church, most of us weren’t even friends!)

While Dan’s had his share of controversy over the years (and, certainly, I’ve had issues with his column at times), it’s clear that he’s genuinely committed to helping people. And while maybe it’s not accurate to say that Dan’s column is always “safe” or completely nonjudgmental, there is one thing Dan always is: honest. He tries his hardest to give accurate information about sexual risks, even when writers ask about sexual practices he’s never heard about before. He will regularly bring in guest experts to answer questions related to trans issues, medical dilemmas, and even more exotic problems.

Along with It Gets Better, Dan’s been providing a sorely-needed service for queer teens for years: providing an accurate source of information about gay sexual acts and relationships, which teachers in most sex ed programs aren’t even allowed to talk about. Savage U is just the newest incarnation of this effort, and it’s one I think is poised to be wildly successful and reach millions of teens and young adults — queer and straight — who desperately need answers.

The first episode of Savage U is now available to view online for free. In it, Dan answers anonymously-submitted questions from his audience, reassures one young woman that her high sex drive is normal, helps one insecure bisexual boy learn how to get out of the “friend zone,” and delivers a reality check to one young couple who admit they don’t use birth control or condoms:

What do Care2 readers think of Savage U? Is this program helping fill the gaps for college students who didn’t get adequate sex education in public school? Would you want your college-aged child to attend one of Dan’s question and answer sessions?


Related Stories:

Why Abstinence-Only Sex Education Still Doesn’t Work

Abstinence-Only Education Lesson 1: Drink the Spit

Abstinence-only Education Lesson 2: “Girls Shouldn’t Have Ideas”

Abstinence-only Education Lesson 3: “We had a wedding at school today”

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5:39AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012


12:27AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Thanks for the article.

5:46AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

@coleen p.: A LOT (if not most) bisexual ppl are actually atracted to ppl of all genders, not only to cis men and women. They just (like me) prefer the label "bisexual" for one reason or another (the reason I identify as bi is cause there's a lot of ignorance out there, specially where I live, and if you say you're pan, some ppl think you have sex with trees or whatever. I'd rather use a word that makes most ppl understand that I'm atracted to more than one gender)

"a bisexual guy won't want to be with a female-to male person who identify as straight."

Says who?! Most bisexual organizations use the term "bi/pan/fluid", because most ppl who use those labels to identify themselves are all atracted to ppl regardless of gender. Organizations like Bisexual Index and many bi groups and activists define bisexuality as "atraction to more than one gender" and not only to cis men and women.

"they love all, they are attracted to people, not genders or sexuality" "it makes it look like they are better than anyone"

What?! Just...what?! You're offended by pansexual people's sexuality because you think the fact they can love ppl regardless of gender makes it look like "they are better than anyone"?!

3:58PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Bridget: I don't know, Bridget, it could be that you DON'T know that bi men don't have to "figure out what they want", since they already know they're atracted to more than one gender (hence the "bi"). It also could be that I know "a significant amount" doesn't equal "all" (where do you take that information from anyway?) And romance doesn't always leads to sex...there are a lot of asexual ppl in romances out there that can atest to that.

2:34PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Natasha, I read Graces post. She was not insulting, just commenting that she reads it. Geeze. There have been news shows dedicated to talking about the different lifestyles and a significant amount of asexuals do not want romance. Yes, they want companionship but not romance. Romance leads to sex and asexuals have no desire for sex. And as a women who hangs with all walks of life a bi-sexual man can be destructive when young and not quite ready to figure out what they want. I don't know why you are so riled up. Do you know something a bunch of us don't?

11:01AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Grace A.: Yeah, he "covers the field" by saying asexuals "are not interested in love, romance or anything like that" (WTF?! At least know the basics abt the subject before trying to talk abt it!) and that they shouldn't "inflict themselves upon normal people". He also covers bisexuality by talking abt how bi men aren't interested in long-term relationships, how they should be avoided by gay men and how bi teens are actually confused individuals who don't know the truth abt their own feelings, desires and identity.

10:01AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

There are four conceivable sexual orientations--hetero-, homo-,bi-, and a-. I read Dan Savage's column fairly often. He at least tries to cover the field.

8:42AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Lilith M.: People who are honestly commited to helping actually listen to criticism and try to change their ways, instead of meeting criticism with mocking. The Savage way is, after being criticized for his transphobia (doing things such as calling a transwoman who went trough sex-reassignment surgery when her son was in highschool a "stupid, selfish tranny who couldn't wait measly 36 months to cut off his dick" - yes, HIS dick) and calling transwomen "shemales", responding by saying trans ppl wanna be "the victimies victims" and that, if he stops supporting transgender rights (who needs attacks when you have "supporters" like that?) then the fight for trans rights "it's over, it's done" (what, oh what, would trans folks do without such wonderful help?)

Dan has repeatdly been called on his transphobia, biphobia and acephobia (among other "helpful" things, he has told asexual ppl to "stop inflicing themselves on normal people" and told an asexual woman whose bf agreed to a non-sexual relationship that her partner was either "a fool or a fag") Does this sound like smn who's "commited to helping people"?!

5:50AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Sex education isa huge leap of faith for parents - honesty , support and continued dialogue is the ONLY way to go.
Are you perfect ? why then expect your kids to be so ?

1:22AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Julie, I love your statement:

"While Dan’s had his share of controversy over the years (and, certainly, I’ve had issues with his column at times), it’s clear that he’s genuinely committed to helping people."

Spot on. Sometimes the man pisses me off, but I adore him! Love that he is doing this!

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