Dan Savage is neither his generation’s Dr. Ruth nor his generation’s Ann Landers. Though he famously works from the latter columnist’s old desk, Savage is fully and completely his own man — a maverick who’s taught entire generations how to talk about sex. Since his first days as an advice-giver, back in 1991, he’s helped straight, gay, poly, bi, queer, and transgender people find new levels of acceptance for themselves (and from others). He’s dubbed widely used terms like “monogamish” (the idea of being committed with some exceptions) and developed a massive platform to empower LGBTQI youth. He’s also gone to great lengths to destigmatize kink, and with it the shame-connection prevalent in America’s sexual consciousness for so long.
Over the summer, Savage launched a new podcast titled Hot Mic. The format allows him to riff on stories told by a wide range of comedians and yarn spinners, without having to be in fully empathetic columnist mode. It’s a nice compliment to the author/speaker/activist’s nationally syndicated column Savage Love and the Savage Lovecast. Through it all, Savage does what he’s always done best: Destigmatize sexuality, throw out judgement, and remind us that as long as sex is consensual and legal, it doesn’t have to be so goddamn serious.
This week, we sat down with Savage to talk about the new podcast, the evolution of sex, and how conversations about sex are shifting.
Tell me about the podcast and what the background of it is.
Well, they approached me, the folks at Audible, looking at all of these storytelling shows, sex and relationship storytelling shows, across the country, drawing the best stories from them, and patching them together with my commentaries on the stories, which is the, I guess, the added element, and doing this show that draws attention to all these great shows like “RISK,” and and “Bawdy Storytelling.”
Ultimately, it allows me to, instead of giving advice on the questions of listeners, driving the show, like with the “Lovecast,” it allows these storytellers and their experiences to drive the shows without giving advice and just thinking thoughts.
At this point, is it almost like your brand is “Sexual Philosopher” in some ways?
Oh, I don’t know. That’s a little grand. Sex is a subject that everybody feels like they’re an expert on. In a way, each of us is an expert on their own sexuality. I don’t think that I’m any more of a sexual philosopher than anyone else who’s burdened with a sexuality.