More than a thousand people showed up for a recent Savage Love Live event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It goes without saying that the students at UW submitted more questions than I could answer in 90 minutes. As promised, Madison, here are some bonus answers to questions that I didn't get to during our time together ...
I know you lived in Madison for a while. Got any great Mad Town stories?
Savage Love got its start in Madison: I wrote my first columns on a computer in the back office of Four Star Fiction and Video, where I worked as a night manager/VHS-tape-slingin' clerk. I did other things — after-hours things — in the storeroom of Four Star. Those things are known only to me, an insanely sexy guy named Roger, and one of the bartenders at the Plaza who one night overheard us talking about the things we'd just done to each other in that storeroom.
Can an open relationship work if it's this type: dating two people, separately, both serious, neither relationship is the "primary" one?
Most people define "work" — in the context of a relationship — as "a loving, lasting, long-term relationship that ends only with the death of one or both parties." But I define "work" as "a loving relationship that makes the people in it happy, whether that relationship lasts for the rest of their lives or whether both parties — or all parties, if we're talking about a poly or open scenario — decide at some point to end the relationship amicably." So, yes, I do think the relationship you've described can work. Whether you'll be in this relationship — or these relationships — for the rest of your life remains to be seen. You may wind up getting more serious about one person, or you may move on from both and find someone else — or a couple of someone elses — but if you're happy right now, and if they're happy right now, then your relationship is working.
How and when is it good/best to use whipped cream?
We've covered this before: Whipped cream is NOT A SEX TOY. Two minutes after you put it on your nipples — or two minutes after you fill your belly button or ass crack or armpits with it — you begin to smell like baby puke. It's not sexy. And it's not like you're not getting enough dairy in your diets, Wisconsinites. Save the whipped cream for your ice cream, and if you want to lick something off your partner, work up a sweat and lick that off 'em.
Facials: degrading or sexy?
What would you say to Ann Coulter, who said that if her son told her he was gay, she'd "tell him he was adopted"?
Parental rejection of a gay child (which doubles a gay kid's already quadrupled risk for suicide), the implication that adopted parents are less emotionally invested in their children and that adopted children are loved conditionally — only Ann Coulter could pack so much hatred, malice and emotional violence into a single "quip." I'm not sure what I would say to Coulter — I've never had the pleasure of meeting her — but I can't imagine that any child of Coulter's, gay or straight, would be on speaking terms with her anyway, so I'd probably tell her that her feelings about her hypothetical children are irrelevant.
Can a successful long-term relationship form if the other person can never admit that they're wrong?
Anyone who's ever been in a successful long-term relationship knows that both parties have to be able to admit that they're wrong — sometimes you have to admit you're wrong even when you know you're not. So the answer is "no."
My friends and I have a weekly tradition where we read your column aloud, wear bathrobes and drink whiskey. What would you add to this already awesome ritual?
Remote-control vibrating butt plugs, of course, each one set to go off at a different time.
My partner lives far away, and we can't live together for at least two years. He says I can sleep with whomever I like. I want to tell him the same thing, but I am kinda jealous and insecure. I told him to just not tell me, but he doesn't want to lie. What do we do?
Withholding information at your request — holding that info back until you're ready for it — doesn't make your partner a liar. It makes him a considerate partner. Tell him to do what he needs to do, but to spare you the details.
OK! Thanks for a great event, Madison, and I hope to come back soon.
*Sometimes both at once!