fully support gay rights and wrote a letter to the prime minister—I’m
up in Canada—supporting gay marriage. But whenever I get into
debates about the issue with right-wing acquaintances, they
bring up “the thin edge of the wedge” and insist that gay
marriage will lead to polygamy. This leaves me stymied.
I have no argument with adults who freely choose to enter
into open relationships. My problem is with fundamentalist
cults that indoctrinate their followers from birth and are
building armies through the practice of one man having multiple
young wives and many children. My feminist backbone shudders
at the thought of these young women being bred and raised
for the sole purpose of personal fiefdom building.
The argument goes: “If gays should be ‘free’ to marry, then
why not ‘religious freedom’ for those who choose a polygamous
lifestyle?” I’m curious to hear your opinion on this and am
hoping you will supply me with an intelligent retort!
interlocutors are wrong, wrong, wrong,” says E. J. Graff,
author of What Is Marriage For?, a terrific, informative,
and entertaining book about gay marriage. “They’re assuming
that we homos are making a claim to marriage under the libertarian
argument that everyone should be free to do as s/he wishes.
Wrong. We are arguing that we already belong to the West’s
contemporary marriage philosophy—for capitalist and for feminist
Put your feet in the stirrups, lie back, and relax, SIC, because
Graff is going to jam some steel into your shuddering feminist
spine: “Once upon a time, the West had a ‘traditional’ marriage
philosophy.” The husband owned his wife, whatever children
she bore him—you know the drill. But capitalism eventually
came along—thank God!—and freed us from those confining sex
roles. “Each of us now has to make a living independently,
based on individual talents and efforts rather than traditional
roles. Over time this led to gender equality in both the job
market and the marriage market. Between 1850 and 1970, every
developed country struck down its sex-based rules, both in
labor (i.e., women can be plumbers and legislators) and in
marriage (i.e., married women can own property, hold jobs
without hubby’s permission, have custody of children, and
even—gasp!—say no in bed). The result: Gender equality
is today’s governing public philosophy, in marriage and in
much else. For 150 years, courts and legislatures have changed
marriage law to fit this philosophy, under which same-sex
couples fit just fine.” In other words, heterosexual
marriage is not one man taking ownership over one woman, but
two individuals, as equals, committing to each other. “The
only sex-based restriction left in marriage law,” Graff says,
“lies in the entrance rules, where it no longer belongs.”
Letting same-sex couples make the same gender -neutral commitment
that opposite-sex couples make doesn’t open the doors to polygamy.
“Traditional polygamy grows from exactly the opposite [of
gender equality],” says Graff. “One man owns many wombs and
grows lots of household labor. That is precisely the opposite
of gender equality and of individual-based capitalism. It
violates all our contemporary notions of fairness and democracy.
Polygamy would mean heading backward into marriage’s feudal
history; same-sex marriage moves us forward into its equal
and democratic future.” Now get off the table, SIC, and go
argue with your right-wing acquaintances.
(E. J. Graff, currently the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research
Center resident scholar, has a new book coming out this month.
Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men—and What
to Do About It, by Evelyn Murphy with E. J. Graff.)
Before I went to Iraq my wife used to love it when I would
eat her pussy. Since my return she has stopped letting me
do it, saying that it now feels uncomfortable—even gross.
This is often the only way to get her to come. Why would she
stop wanting to be satisfied? And no, she’s not getting it
somewhere else; we’ve already been through that. I’m going
nuts because I want it to be mutual and wild like it was before.
it time, WET. While your time in Iraq was no doubt stressful
for you, I can’t believe it was a cakewalk for your wife either.
While you were gone you were less her husband (and her considerate,
giving lover) and more this abstract source of nearly constant
worry and stress. It may take a few months before whatever
subconscious anger or resentment she feels—toward you for
going, toward W for prosecuting this war ineptly—melts away.
Let her know that you’re looking forward to your sex life
returning to normal, WET, and then give her the time she needs
I’m a straight male in my early 20s who has so far chosen
to remain a virgin. I’m attractive enough and never had a
problem getting offers, but I’ve always held out because I
was obsessed with the idea of not fucking until I was in love
or until the “perfect” girl came along—a mistake that has
cost me a lot of great opportunities, not just for sex but
for love. I’ve made up my mind to take up the next offer of
sex from the next imperfect girl, but I’m afraid I’ll embarrass
myself when I actually lose my virginity. Any advice?
22 and a virgin. Once upon a time I weighed over 320 pounds,
but now—two years, 180 pounds, and a bit of intestine removal
later—I’m considered quite attractive. When I was a Fatty
McFatso I had some sort of excuse for being a progressive
atheist virgin (“Men are shallow!”), but now I’m just not
sure what my issue is. I’m still not happy with myself naked—rapid
weight loss due to health problems does not a Britney body
make. But my bigger worry is that I don’t know anyone else
in my situation.
How do you tell a guy you’re getting to know that “sure, I’d
love to make out but I’m sorry if I suck at it—I’ve just never
done it before!” My sex drive seems normal—my right hand is
asking for a pay increase. So what the fuck am I supposed
Feel free to forward all the e-mail offers to deflower me!
First, WTL: Each and every one of us embarrasses himself in
some way when he loses his virginity. Mortification can’t
be avoided. Sorry.
On to you, PUV: Now you know someone else in your situation—PUV
meet WTL, WTL meet PUV. Plenty of people make it into their
20s without losing their virginities. Adult virgins today,
however, have an advantage that adult virgins never had before:
the perfect date movie. After watching The 40-Year-Old
Virgin I left the theater and immediately started looking
for charming, self-effacing virgins to deflower/mortify. This
film has that effect on nonvirgins—an effect you can exploit
to your advantage! Thanks to Steve Carell, you two could wind
up getting deflowered dozens of times in the next six months.
Finally, PUV, about your P.S.: My lawyers—virgins, each and
every one—tell me that I can’t/musn’t/shouldn’t hook up my
readers. Sorry about that.
Savage’s new book—The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage,
and My Family—is on sale now.