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You were recommended to me by an acquaintance familiar with your column and podcast. Lacking other resources at this particular moment, I have decided to write to you. I am a 20-year-old male, and as such have certain desires that almost all 20-year-old males have (desires of a sexual nature). However, I am deeply religious. Religion has been for me a source of strength in my times of weakness, a rock in the times of storm, and above all a home to return to when I have lost my path. In the teachings of my particular religion, to indulge the particular desires I am experiencing will condemn me to fates too grotesque to mention. I am rational enough to realize that there is no way that I can “pray away” these desires. My question is this: How does one prepare for a life of celibacy and solitude (as that is what is required of me to remain a member of this particular faith)? Based off of what my friend has told me, I know you have little respect for religious practices and beliefs. However, these desires are not exactly something I can talk about with other members of my spiritual community. And while I am currently seeking counseling related to other issues, I was wondering what a so-called expert on sex and sexuality would have to say.
—Clever Acronyms Escape Me
Get over yourself, faggot.
If it’s possible for you to act on your unnamed-but-easily-identified desires in an ethical manner—if you desire to do whatever it is you desire to do with consenting adults who desire to take their turn doing it to you—this so-called expert on sexuality thinks you should crawl down off that cross and find yourself a boyfriend already. (“Pray away” the gay? I’m guessing you’re Christian, probably Catholic.) And if you experience a moment’s anxiety the first time you stick your ass in the air—pull the Jesus stick out first!—just remind yourself that things have been crawling on top of each other and madly humping away for 850 million years. Sex came first, then humanity (200,000ish years ago), then religion came along tens of thousands of years after that. Which may explain why religion, when pitted against sex (really old) and human nature (pretty old), always loses. Always.
If you’re on the cross, CAEM, it’s because you put yourself up there. Which means you’re not some poor mortal trapped between a cosmic rock and an existential hard place; you’re just another closeted cocksucker with a martyr complex.
Look, kiddo, you get one life, one chance at happiness. If it gives you a spiritual semi to fantasize about a God who created you gay but forbids you to act on your emotional and sexual attraction to men, knock your damn self out. But you can have a boyfriend and Jesus, too—look at the pope—you just have to do what people have been doing since the first terrified idiot invented the first bullshit religion: improvise. Find yourself a brand-new religion or sect, or jettison the bits of your current faith that don’t work for you. If you know anything about the history of Christianity—and it sounds like you don’t—then you know that the revisions began before the body was cold. No reason to stop now.
And finally, CAEM, there is no God—you do realize that, right? No hell below us, above us only sky, etc. —Dan
I’m an only child, male, born to a single mom. I’m about to turn 21, and I’ve been with a great guy for over a year. I may be in love. We both have steady jobs, and we want to move in together. He came out to his parents after we started dating, and now I think it’s my turn. Problem is, I don’t know how to break it to my mother. She’s a tiny Mexican woman who isn’t afraid of smacking me. I’m afraid to tell her. She always talks bad about the gay lifestyle because she considers herself Christian, although not the churchgoing kind. When and how do I break the news that she’s not getting grandkids from me?
—Her Only Male Offspring
Your mom is my favorite kind of “Christian.” She’s not the “churchgoing kind,” as that would require some personal sacrifice on her part (of her Sunday mornings, at least). And she certainly didn’t let her faith interfere with her sex life (I’m assuming your conception was something short of immaculate*). But when it comes to other people’s lives, when it comes to your sexuality and mine, HOMO, then her Christian values kick into high gear.
Okay, HOMO, lots of us have come out to hostile moms and dads and watched in awe as they morphed into the loving, supportive parents we didn’t know they were capable of being. For some parents the process is quick, for others it’s slow, but it can’t start until you come out.
Now here’s when you come out: The sooner the better—but don’t come out to your mother while she has the power to harm you, i.e., if you’re dependent on her for a place to live or if she’s paying for your education. And here’s how: by U.S. mail. Don’t give your mother the chance to smack you. Write her a letter, include the contact info for the PFLAG chapter in your area, and tell her you’ll discuss this with her after she attends a meeting, not before.
Finally, when I came out to my mother, the first thing out of her mouth was, “I don’t ever want to meet any boyfriends.” She said the word “boyfriend” like it had been dipped in shit. On her deathbed, my mother told me to tell my boyfriend that she loved him (“like a daughter”). My mom came around, HOMO, and so can yours.
But not until you tell her. —Dan
My husband and I got married recently. His first pick for best man was his older brother, “St. Paul,” a seminary student studying to become a priest. When my husband asked, he started crying and said he had hoped my husband would return to the church. We are both liberal ex-Catholics. For a wedding gift, Paul gave us a book called Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, 700 pages of dogma by JP2. In the five years I’ve known him, he has rarely said more than one sentence to me, yet he speaks boldly in favor of the church’s most conservative doctrines at family gatherings. How much of his bullshit do I have to deal with? I’m a huge fan of yours, and I know that you’ve had some issues reconciling your own life with loved ones within the Catholic Church. Your advice would be appreciated.
Man… so intolerant.
I’m talking about you, TS, not your brother-in-law. Don’t get me wrong: Your brother-in-law sounds like total douchedrizzle. But he has a right to his opinions and a right to express them. You have a right to your opinions, too, of course, and just as much a right to express them. When St. Paul goes off on premarital sex or the ordination of women or the gays and their Prada loafers, smile and tell him he’s full of shit. But unless you live with him—and I can’t imagine you would’ve omitted that detail—you don’t see him too often, right? Tolerate his bullshit—that’s what family does—and count your blessings.
And don’t complain about every word that comes out of his mouth and then gripe about how little he has to say to you.
* Note to Bill Donohue: Yes, I’ve confused the virgin birth with the Immaculate Conception. So sue me, motherfucker. —Dan Savage
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