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Dan Savage On The Risks Of Being Monogamish: VIDEO


In the latest installment of his "Ask Anything" videos for Andrew Sullivan's The Dish, Dan Savage divulges what he thinks is the most dangerous part about being in a "monogamish" relationship, that is, a relationship in which, "you're mostly monogamous, with a little squish around the edges."

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Throwslikeagirl and dback have it right. Each of us has the right to define our relationships as we desire.

    Posted by: Scott | Jul 2, 2013 4:20:34 AM

  2. I think Savage is right on. He is articulate and smart and has the courage to stand up to American Puritanical tyranny. I think he handles his spot in the eye of the cultural storm with grace and aplomb.

    By having the possibility of some warmth with a black man or a European twink or a musclebear I have a lot, and the number one cause of painful breakups is averted. I am programmed for it, like I am programmed for men in the first place. And denying either thing can cause a lot of pain and frustration.

    And his It Gets Better Project is an awesome legacy that has helped my family directly.

    Go Dan!

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 2, 2013 7:21:21 AM

  3. Yes. Some men don't want to be in monogamous relationships. It's neither reprehensible or brave. This has nothing to do with "need" as some people are claiming, but "want".

    I and my partner believe in monogamy, and want to have that kind of relationship. We are not stifled, or repressed, or possessive or jealous. We care enough about each other to respect what we both want, and our relationship. Other people might have different common ground.

    What is the most annoying about this issue is how everyone pretends that their way must be the best because it is their way.

    Just be honest, and stfu otherwise about it.

    Posted by: SPOT | Jul 2, 2013 8:51:48 AM

  4. To me what Dan is promoting is honesty and realism in relationships, not "monogamishy" or "cheating." The truth of the matter is that people in long term relationships, both men AND women, sometimes stray. The unspoken expectation underlying the wedding vows, "You're that LAST person I will have sex with for the rest of my life," is for some people too restrictive and unrealistic. So it's better to deal with those expectations upfront rather than wait until it happens and someone ends up playing the Norma Shearer role in some weepy 1930s melodrama, the [person] WRONGED!

    Personally I'm more concerned with emotional fidelity rather than strict physical fidelity, but that's me. And if it DOES happen, is it better to be the Clintons and get past it or to tear the whole thing apart?

    My only real problem with Dan on this matter is that he's both a sex-advice columnist AND a gay marriage advocate and when you mix the two things it muddies the waters a bit. Advocating marriage equality while also talking about open-ish marriages makes it *sound* as if he (and thus we) don't take the vows as seriously as straight couples, which isn't the case. It isn't just gay couples who deal with the stresses of monogamy and Dan isn't just talking to/about gays. In fact a large DNA study several years ago discovered a surprisingly large percentage of children were NOT the biological offspring of their male parental figure and neither the father nor child knew it.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 2, 2013 9:57:31 AM

  5. I always enjoy Dan's little snippets of advice, though I have to admit their frankness often make me a tad uncomfortable. We as gay people, especially as men, have been reinventing relationships now for decades. And any relationship that does not reinvent itself over & over again is doomed. My partner (now fiancé in CA - yea!) have been reinventing ourselves together for over 34 years. Definitely never completely monogamous all the time, but emotionally, as I look back, I guess we were always soulmates - as corny as that term has become. If you wait for Prince Charming to sweep you up onto his white horse, do wear chaps. And don't think there won't be some work along the way. Think second act of Sondheim's 'Into The Woods'.

    Posted by: DrMikey | Jul 2, 2013 10:11:33 AM

  6. Monogamish? Oh, come on. Get real (truthful) when using the English language. At the dinner table with your family it's either: I'm having sexual relationships outside OUR family ... or I'm not having sexual relationships outside OUR family. This lame attempt using words to tell the truth or to lie to OUR families is pathetic.

    Posted by: newz4i | Jul 2, 2013 10:44:51 AM

  7. @Rob I hope the European, the musclebear and the black men know of your slutty ways.

    Posted by: Gast | Jul 2, 2013 10:46:21 AM

  8. Dan has done great things for our community, but he's obviously moved from the idealist to the commercialist - from righting wrongs to paying the mortgage on the mansion his fame has bought for him. It happens every time someone who does something from the heart becomes media-famous; they can't give up the applause, so they move on to a constant stream of irrelevant but controversial topics just to sell books and increase speaking fees. He's Paris Hilton, in drag. The final step is a sad cameo in the next big gay comedy movie flop, coming to a theatre near you.

    Posted by: echoes | Jul 2, 2013 10:46:24 AM

  9. Hey Dan, you can go away now...no one cares anymore about what you think!

    Posted by: Johnny | Jul 2, 2013 10:55:26 AM

  10. Bottom line, no person can or should judge another person's relationship.

    If you don't want an open relationship don't get into one. If you want a monogamous relationship, then go for it but to judge or belittle others based on your beliefs is wrong and exactly what people have been doing to the gay community.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 2, 2013 11:06:11 AM

  11. My guess is that those who are critical of "monogamish" are single with an idealized, fairytale vision of their relationship with a future knight in shining armor.

    It doesn't exactly work like that.

    And, in the off chance that a few of the critics are in relationships, then Dan and his partner's arrangement must've struck a chord--you obviously feel the need to wander a bit from the relationship but don't have the cajones to talk to your partner like Dan and Terry have done.

    Some couples are monogamish. Get over it. It's actually human nature, if you study anthropology.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jul 2, 2013 11:56:36 AM

  12. Way too many people pay attention to this guy. Figure out your own life.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 2, 2013 11:57:06 AM

  13. Dan always reminds me of the Pope with his Gay God's Law attitude. Who cares what he has to say and why should he be a spokesman for anyone gay or straight.

    Posted by: JimH | Jul 2, 2013 12:12:33 PM

  14. I love how people react to Dan Savage. He pointed out the up and down sides to open relationships and basically says it should be up to the people involved and people react as though he tried to pass laws against (or for) monogamy. He seems to bring out the prude or the libertine in everyone when, in reality, what he said here isn't really controversial.

    Posted by: db | Jul 2, 2013 12:44:29 PM

  15. LOL! What's with all the commenters with sticks up their asses?

    Posted by: Skeptical Cicada | Jul 2, 2013 1:01:30 PM

  16. Funny...reading through these comments it's easy to spot who has had a long term relationship, and who has not.

    Posted by: Leman | Jul 2, 2013 1:02:10 PM

  17. What really irritates me about this guy is that he seems to think he speaks for the gay community. He doesn't. I had never heard of him before coming to towleroad but have since seen him on Bill Maher.

    I checked to see what credentials he has to make him a gay authority. After reading about his qualifications or lack thereof, I had to laugh.

    He never finished college and worked at a video store where he befriended one of the founders of The Onion. He was given an advice column with no experience or credentials from this man and has parlayed that exposure into trying to make a name for himself by speaking for the gay community.

    Here's the thing, Dan doesn't speak for most of us and I think he does more harm than good. The only one benefiting is him.

    This man is a joke and I for one don't want him speaking for me and I wish towleroad would stop giving him any coverage.

    Posted by: Steven | Jul 2, 2013 1:14:59 PM

  18. Is there anyway one can use the word 'monogamish' to mean anything other than 'non-monogamous'? I'm not being judgmental in asking the question - I'm just asking the question.

    If you have sex with somone other than your spouse/partner, it's not monogamous, no matter what you call it.

    Such a gamish is this 'monogamish'!

    Posted by: bravo | Jul 2, 2013 3:06:06 PM

  19. So many people fighting for the right to have the kind of relationships they want, openly ridiculing people for being in the kind of relationships they want. It really takes a special kind of stupid not to see the irony there. Don't like open relationships? Don't get in one. (Sound familiar?)

    Those of you who are disgusted by the though of strangers you'll never meet having open relationships that have nothing to do with you would've been completely against gay marriage if you were straight.

    Non-monogamy absolutely will not work for certain people; monogamy will not work for others. And every shade of monogamish in between is a perfect fit for someone out there. I really, really don't get the mindset that whatever happens to work for me must be the only correct thing for everyone else.

    If my fiance and I want to make our relationship more or less monogamous, we'll be talking about it with each other, having discussions about our wants and fears, and seeking advice from people with experience. What we won't do, because we're not crazy idiots, is listen to anyone who's only tried one thing and demands that's the right way for everyone.

    Posted by: arti | Jul 2, 2013 3:20:15 PM

  20. Dan is in a non-monogamous relationship, and I'm not sure why he can't embrace that fact. Being married doesn't make you monogamous. Only having sex with someone else once in a while does not make you monogamous.

    Those who think being "monogamish" is what you need when one partner "needs more frequent orgasms" clearly have not been in a real long term relationship. If it was an orgasm issue, you would just jerk off. Being monogamish is what results when one partner is too lazy to make things good/hot again, or too wimpy to end it. It might work in the sense of maintaining a relationship's longevity, but at that point you're gunning for quantity over quality. Seems a pretty poor option.

    Posted by: Edward | Jul 2, 2013 3:28:52 PM

  21. There's three things that light up a sh*t storm on Towleroad:

    1. Public sex/cruising
    2. Tattoos
    3. Dan Savage

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Jul 2, 2013 3:38:39 PM

  22. while one couple may say "We're so in love that we don't want to be with anyone else" another couple may say "We're so in love that we can share sexuality with others, and each other, with such trust and understanding that there's no fear or feelings of jealousy"

    it's just so odd that so many guys seem brutally-butthurt that other couples have their own different arrangements that work for them.

    if your monogamous relationship is so great then you really shouldn't be so critical of other couples who are enjoying their non-monogamous or monogamish relationship.

    being "monogamish" is what happens when two intelligent, secure people who know how to communicate with each other communicate about their sexuality, their sex drives, their lusts and understand each other.

    although if some of you need to tell yourselves that monogamish gay couples aren't as happy as you are, then go right ahead. won't make "their" relationship any worse, but also won't make yours any better.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 2, 2013 3:45:01 PM

  23. I detect more than a tad of jealousy and judgement on the part of those whose comments condemn long-term couples that prefer to keep the monogam(ish)part of monogamy to define their relationships. One can surely be emotionally monogamous without being 100% sexually monogamous for 3-1/2 decades. And that was the main point Dan was making - that outside sexual encounters can present a danger to your relationships emotional monogamy if you're not careful. And challenging Dan's 'credentials' does not make what he says any less valid or true. Get over what other people do. It's just freakin' sex. What seems so important when you're 25, seldom does when you're 55. I had no idea that there were so many gay male prudes...

    Posted by: DrMikey | Jul 2, 2013 4:39:32 PM

  24. I don't care what people do in their relationships. I do care that a new word, monogamish, has been coined to sound like the word monogamous while meaning its opposite.

    Posted by: bravo | Jul 2, 2013 4:42:31 PM

  25. @DRH - LOL - you are so right with Towleroad sh!tstorm topics! Tattoos. Just hearing the word makes me angry!

    Posted by: bravo | Jul 2, 2013 4:48:40 PM

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