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Dan Savage as sexual ethicist

As president?  Well, maybe not…but we could do
and have done a lot worse for that, too.

Lutheran pastor Benjamin Dueholm wrote an interesting and thorough article on this subject for Washington Monthly.  It’s definitely worth a read, though I disagree with some of his analysis.  So does Amanda Marcotte, who ripped into the article to some extent for sexist/heteoronormative bias, and Lindsay Beyerstein, who points out that Savage isn’t nearly as opposed to monogamy as he is generally portrayed.  It’s true; he isn’t– though he also doesn’t believe that everybody should be monogamous, or that people who cheat in a monogamous  relationship are necessarily the scum of the earth and should never be forgiven.

Dueholm’s careful description of Savage’s ethos points out that in relationships he emphasizes honesty, autonomy, reciprocity, and willingness to give, which I would characterize as a mature respect for one’s partner. Just as different things make different people happy, different relationships can flourish under varied conditions and one size definitely doesn’t fit all.  Savage’s willingness to acknowledge that and address individual relationships on their own terms is, I think, what has made and kept his column (and now podcast) so popular for so long.  If we as a country were going to appoint a sexual ethics czar, we could do a lot worse.


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