Maybe you're tired of giving the same good advice to people who keep asking the same old questions, but we doubt you'd like to be fucked up the ass for the first time without any prior butt penetration and no lube, just some poppers. Yet that's just what you recommended to Frustrated and JB.
Here's some standard butt-sex advice that you can pass on: the first rule of thumb is start small and gradually move up in size. A dick is the worst place to start. Start with fingers, butt plugs, small dills, and then a dick, as your butt gets used to and wants larger penetration. Vibration feels good and also helps your butt to relax. Never push ahead if it hurts--the risk of a tear is too serious. Second, use as much lube as you think you need, and then use more. Thick, water-based lubes are best. Third, clean up afterward. Anal Pleasure and Health is the butt bible. Read it.
--Janna and Otter
Being an out gay sex-advice columnist, I get more than my fair share of butt-sex questions and have written more than my fair share of butt-sex columns. I've walked my readers through anal sex a gazillion times: lots of lube, check; stop if it hurts, check; experiment with butt toys, check; read Anal Pleasure and Health by Dr. Jack Morin (a regular butt-sex guest expert in this column), check. I was merely introducing poppers into an ongoing, informed discussion about anal sex.
You see, I have to assume that anyone who sends me a question has been reading the column on a somewhat regular basis. People who haven't been reading wouldn't know of my existence, let alone my address, right? As question-senders, Frustrated and JB can be assumed to be regular readers, and therefore must have caught at least one of my many lube/toys/TLC butt-sex columns. As I've written before, we can't go back to square friggin' one every time some well-covered subject rears its pimply ass.
Of course, the popper pointer may have been read by people who are unfamiliar with the column. "Gee," new readers may have said to themselves, "I've never heard of this anal sex stuff, but those popper things sure sound like fun. Guess I'll give it a whirl!" If any first-time readers attempted anal sex using only poppers, well, my condolences to their bereaved relatives. But you know what? The rules of natural selection and survival of the fittest apply in sex-advice columns--like anywhere else. Readers stoopid enough to attempt anal sex using only poppers after reading a two-paragraph toss-off at the bottom of a sex advice column they'd never seen before, well, they were begging to be brought down. In helping to thin the herd, I was only doing my Darwinian duty.
To the editor:
It's not the "Hey, Faggot" I object to. It's not the "fuck-this-and-fuck-that." What bothers me most about Savage Love is the fact that Dan Savage gives really bad advice. The letter from the woman who kicked drugs with her partner, then lost the sexual spark, was a cry for understanding of a complex psychosexual problem. So why did Savage only give her two options: "start abusing drugs again and see if that doesn't bring the ol' spark back" (!) or dump him?
Addiction is a far more complicated emotional pattern than Savage realizes, and real recovery can take years and a lot of compassionate understanding. Savage's "fast food" advice to this troubled woman was offensive.
You didn't send this letter to me, you sent it to the editor, but the paper you sent it to forwarded it to me by mistake. So here it is in the column--surprise!
Let's get something straight: It's an advice column, not binding arbitration. No one has to do anything I tell them. If the junkie doesn't like my advice, the junkie doesn't have to take it. OK? And the junkie didn't come to me for compassionate understanding of her "complex psychosexual problem" or her "complicated emotional pattern." If that's what she needs, she can find a therapist to hold her hand. She came to me for advice, and I gave her some--which is more than you risked doing. So, Miss Compassionate Understanding '96, if it looks so easy from where you're sitting on your big fat duff, what do you think she should do--besides, of course, serve as a receptacle for your useless compassion? To paraphrase Noel Coward, compassion is easy, advice is hard.
I wanted to comment on the advice you gave the person who was having trouble getting penetrated anally. Poppers are not the only answer. Medically, poppers are OK, but better is nitroglycerine ointment. This is used to treat chest pain in patients with heart disease, but when applied to the anus it causes it to relax. Proctologists are now prescribing it to people with anal fissures, which heal better if the sphincter stays in a somewhat relaxed state. This ointment, unfortunately, is greasy, so it can not be used with latex condoms, and so is not recommended during sex. But in those in-between times, the tight-assed person could use it to help their sphincter develop a more relaxed attitude. This ointment can cause the same headache, or "rush," feeling that poppers do, but unlike poppers, it is legal, and FDA-approved, and you know what you're getting.
--Peter Shallit, MD
As I am unwilling to endorse anything I haven't safety-tested right here at Savage Labs, it didn't look like I'd be able to include Doc Shallit's letter in the column. But an acquaintance whose father recently died of heart disease found half a tube in his parents' medicine chest, and passed it along to me. Talk about luck!
My boyfriend wasn't too thrilled with the idea, however: "Nitroglycerine? Isn't that for blowing stuff up? You're not putting that on my ass." After assuring him that a medical professional had recommended the creme, he relented. Well, not exactly: he relented after I agreed to go first. When my nitro-schmutzed butt didn't explode after a few hard slaps, the boyfriend agreed to give the stuff a whirl as well.
Our verdict? The shit burns! And not that nice, warm hot-lube kinda burn--I mean ow, ow, ow dance-around-the-room-clutching-your-rectum burn! We wanted our butts to explode, if only to put us out of our misery. When the burning stopped, our sphincters took on the desired "relaxed attitude," which was great--until the massive headache-inducing head rush kicked in less than a second and a half later. As I sit here typing this, four hours later, my head is still pounding.
Our verdict: If it's nitrates you want, and you can find honest-to-goodness poppers (amyl or butyl nitrates), use them. If you can only get a tube of nitro ointment, use only a tiny amount. We used only a dab of the stuff between us, and we're still reeling (pound, pound, pound). The 12-ounce tube I have, roughly a lifetime supply for a midsize men's chorus, cost about $15. Do not use nitro ointment with condoms or as lube. Put enough of this shit on a sex toy or finger to "lube it up" and your head will explode.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.