Two weeks ago, we noted gay activist/sex columnist Dan Savage (pictured) lectured a reader, “You are not ‘a poly.’ Poly is not a sexual identity…it’s not a sexual orientation. It’s not something you are, it’s something you do.”
Oopsy. Savage was inundated by criticism, and while he didn’t actually apologize or retract his view, he did confess surprise in the latest column: “sometimes I kick the proverbial hornet’s nest intentionally—”bulls–t in the Bible,” for instance—and sometimes I kick the hornet’s nest accidentally. I honestly didn’t expect the outraged response I got after I wrote that poly wasn’t a sexual identity in the “sexual orientation” sense of the term.” He didn’t mean to upset the perverted, just the traditionalists.
He reported “Many poly people disagree. I’ve received a ton of impassioned e-mails from polyamorous readers, most of whom see themselves as poly-oriented, not just poly-identified. And while some seem confused—I’ve never denied the existence of polyamorous people, I never said that people couldn’t or shouldn’t identify as polyamorous—I’m turning the rest of this week’s column over to the polyoutraged.”
Actually, not everyone was bashing Savage. This reader thanked him, which no doubt caused Savage to excerpt it:
I feel that I’m polyamorous innately. I feel I am wired to be like this. I didn’t choose it. Likewise, my husband couldn’t choose to be polyamorous. He can practice polyamory, and he has for my sake, but naturally he’s a monogamous person. I appreciate that you advocate nonmonogamy. I credit you with helping to save my marriage. We married as virgins and were clueless about sex. But my husband and I have a great sex life—and I’m free to pursue people on the side—because we read your column.
You have to be amused by the lettering at the end of this one:
I’m part of a live-in quad, and we all raise our kids together, so I’m pretty far down the polyamory rabbit hole. Figured I’d add my two cents to the discussion. I don’t think that polyamory can really be defined as an “orientation,” because that’s an improper way to describe what polyamory is. I can still be attracted to monogamous people, and being poly doesn’t change or alter that fact. I do, however, think that polyamory—or, by contrast, monogamy—can be defined as a sexual identity, and that’s where I think your advice to PP went astray…
Poly is very much an identity, Dan, and poly people form communities around that identity. We face some unique challenges (how do you raise kids in this environment? How do you balance time between partners?), while some other life challenges are made easier (four parents makes getting kids to soccer easier). I’m not saying that we need to add a “P” to LGBTQQIA, but I don’t think we can just be written off, either.
Apparently, it’s reported Oregon State University’s campus resources group uses “LGBTQQIA” to represent “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and allies.” Some actually use “LGBTQQIAP.”
This letter was placed first in the new Savage column:
I can’t imagine a life where I’m limited to one man, even though I love my husband deeply. When I was with someone before I knew about polyamory, I’d cheat. I wouldn’t want to, but sooner or later I’d meet someone else and fall in love so hard that I had to be with the other person, too. I hated cheating. I hated dishonesty. I hated myself. Reading Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy’s book The Ethical Slut changed my life. I finally understood the person I had been my whole life. I’m poly. I’m not monogamous and I can’t choose to be monogamous.