Courtesy of MTV
Dan Savage, famous for his sex and relationship advice column, “Savage Love,” is known for his frankness and honesty. He has a simple answer for why he’s so comfortable talking to students openly about sex and relationships.
“Because I’m gay,” Savage told The Lantern. “I told my mother I suck d—, I think you can tell your boyfriend or girlfriend what you really want.”
For the past dozen years, Savage has been traveling to colleges around the country, listening to student’s questions and answering honestly. This week’s stop was at Ohio State’s campus where MTV is filming a new show, also called “Savage Love.”
On Thursday, Savage will lead a campus-wide Q&A where students can anonymously submit note cards with questions that will be answered at the event.
“Students are much more honest this way,” Savage said. “They can ask whatever they want and no one will judge them.”
Savage said questions range in variety but the most popular ones pertain to threesomes, porn and oral sex. Being in the business for a long time now, there aren’t many questions that will surprise him, he said.
“I’m hard to shock,” he said.
Savage said the best way to go about talking about these sometimes taboo topics is “openly and bluntly.”
“I use the language people use when they talk about sex with their friends,” he said. “You have to have a sense of humor. It releases tension, eases people and generates laughter. And people are more receptive to that.”
Savage said he found the most success with that honesty.
“I was the first person to say c—sucker,” he said. “People liked that.”
Communication is the message that the show is trying to broadcast, Savage said.
“People get in trouble when they don’t communicate and this show helps them talk,” he said. “They think ‘Oh, sex is natural and should come without communication,’ and that’s not how it works. You have to talk about your wants, needs and desires.”
Savage said feeling awkward and shying away is what causes the problems.
“Use your words,” he said. “It’s what you have to say.”
Savage has followed his own advice from a young age.
“I came out at 15 and that was a different time compared to now,” he said. “You have to achieve a certain degree of confidence to tell your Catholic parents you’re gay.”
Now, Savage says being gay helps him hold the hand of others.
“The issue of being gay is enormous,” he said. “So everything else seems small to talk about. I think I’m in a good position to tell people that aren’t gay, ‘It’s OK to have this certain feeling, just man up to it.'”
Savage said the decision to come to OSU was the producers’ but they all wanted to come to a big state school.
“I’m from the Midwest and I like it here,” he said. “It’s a good way to show future students what college is like.”
At least one student won’t be attending Thursday’s event, though she’s heard a lot about it.
“I’ve heard people talking about it in the Union and seen flyers,” said Katie Anousheh, a second-year in social work and Spanish. “I do think it’s a good idea though.”
She said she thinks anonymous questions will ease students’ embarrassment.
“I think more people will have questions if no one is going to judge them for it,” she said.
For students that do attend, Savage said they can expect a funny show and to get their questions answered.
“Absolutely nothing is off limits,” he said.