WATCH: Dan Savage Explains The Pros And Cons Of A “Monogamish” Relationship

Thanks to Dan Savage, we’ve learned a new term for homosexual people devoted to one another (and several other people at the same time). Open relationships are so 2010. That’s why Dan Savage and his hot husband Terry Miller are “monogamish,” which is fancy gay lingo for “we sleep with other people.”

The media pundit appears on The Dish this week to explain the benefits and drawbacks of having a seriously hot husband sex with a third party, and like a lot of things, it doesn’t make a lot of sense until Dan Savage explains it.

The perks of monogamy, according to Dan, are obvious. “Paternity,” “less risk of disease,” and “less risk of emotional attachment” are among his top reasons to choose a monogamous relationship, but for those seeking more “monogamish” activities, that emotional attachment would be a top concern.

“It’s one thing to mess around and have a low stakes sexual encounter with someone else,” he says, “but to go on a date with someone else, to develop feelings for that person, that get’s tough, and that’s a risk.”

There you have it boys. Pretty much a guidebook for what you can and cannot do when trying to bed Terry Miller. Now go out there and have at it!

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  • Homophile

    You know you are trolling by posting this story.

  • Niall

    @Homophile: Why shouldn’t Queerty post a topic just because of the potential that the comments section will be trollish as usual?

    Anyways on Dan Savage’s type of “monogamy”, can’t say I understand why anyone would want that, but it seems to work for him and other people, so good for them.

  • TinoTurner

    Ive never been in an open relationship but I know two gay couples and one straight that have tried it. From what I saw with those three couple, it was always ONE of the couples who were for the idea, the other half of the couple just went along with it to keep the other happy. Always seemed to cause too much misery. If I ever am faced with a partner who wants to open the door, I strongly think I’d ditch him and get a puppy.

  • miagoodguy

    When will he just go away?

  • SebX

    @TinoTurner: I completely agree. I can’t function properly in an open relationship. Can’t even try it, the thought is already too much for me.
    I’d rather be miserable and single than pretending I don’t care about my partner sleeping around with other guys when I don’t ant to.
    I’m not a 1950’s wife who has to think “At the end of the day, he always comes back to me”.

  • Mr. E. Jones

    How does his teenage son feel, knowing his parents are sleeping with other people?

  • ncman

    How can there be less risk of an emotional attachment in a monogamous relationship? Isn’t the whole point of a monogamous relationship to build an emotional attachment with your partner?

    Does he mean there is less risk of developing an attachment to an outside person when you aren’t having sex with other people????? Well, DUH!!!!

  • tookietookie

    Blah blah blah, why does he keep talking?

  • Wilberforce

    Of course it works for them because there are a ton of celebrity worshiping queens to feed their egos. And Savage is great at making his personal life sound like Universal truth.

  • Dixie Rect

    Another bloated boring ego trip from this guy? Why won’t he just shut up? He is not going to be famous, interesting or even controversial. His thoughts are irrelevant.

  • dkmagby

    @TinoTurner: No kidding. People are welcome to have whatever type of relationship they want, but I just don’t understand what makes people want to go outside their monogamous relationship. Why not pick a partner who is the best at EVERYTHING you want? I guess it’s unrealistic to think that your partner can’t fulfill all your needs. IMO if that’s the case, then you need to seriously discuss why you’re in a relationship when certain needs aren’t being met.

    And yeah…considering Dan’s very transphobic past…I tend to roll my eyes at a lot of his “truths.” I feel Dan is the guy “going along with it” because he’s the cool sex guy and is open to all things sexually adventurous. His husband knows he’s too hot for Dan, but likes having a stable man to come home too after his party romps.

  • jwrappaport

    I never cared much for Dan Savage. An occasional witticism here and an edgy sex tip there, but otherwise an intellectual lightweight who seems to say little of substance. If that’s what it takes to score a Terry Miller at age 50, I think I’d better reevaluate things.

  • Ethan

    Why do people get so uppity and emotionally defensive whenever anyone suggests the possibility of other types of romantic relationships other than monogamy? You don’t have to live according to anything he’s saying.

  • Scribe38

    Wow a room full of haters… I can comment on closed relationships because I have taken part in them, but this room seems totally ok with commenting on something that they have never experienced. Dan is speaking on what works for him, not what will work for u. Like I tell str8 people all the time, if u dont like it then don’t do it. Finally of the people hating on it, I wonder how many of you have cheated on a partner. I find going behind a partner’s back the cowards way of doing things. Dan and his partner are at least living honestly.

  • Scribe38

    I wonder how many of the room’s haters also hang out on adam4adam. Lol

  • miagoodguy

    the only reason to be in a “monogamish” relationship is because you don’t truly love the person you claim to love. it is sad peoplesettle for less by being in an open relationship.

  • imperator

    Jesus, the crowd that turns out reflexively to snipe at Savage whenever an opportunity presents itself are a boorish fuckin’ lot with *nothing of substance* to say, it’s just “when will she shut up?” What a gaggle of catty fucking assholes.

    I’m glad Savage is using his platform to advocate for the freedom for people to define their relationships less conventionally. He isn’t saying “monogamous people have it all wrong,” he isn’t saying “everyone ought to do it this way;” he’s saying that in light of the difficulties inherent to expecting just one other person to fully satisfy all of your emotional and physical needs in a romantic relationship (which is a *huge* burden for one person to bear), some people might find it rewarding to face honestly their whole spectrum of their needs, and consider recruiting help.

    I’ve been with my bf for 10 years and I love him. But he doesn’t seem to match my sex drive; some of my biggest turn-ons do nothing for him; he isn’t very affectionate the way that I like to have affection; we don’t have a lot of beliefs in common so we don’t converse about a lot of things. And I’m not as ‘playful’ or goofy as he is- I’m usually more serious; I’m not as spontaneous as he might like. There *are* ‘gaps’ in our relationship that weren’t about to be bridged without one of us overhauling our whole personality. But about a year ago we made a friend who seems to ‘get’ both of us, and can give both of us some of what we were missing with just each other. He brings out different good qualities in each of us and it’s made our relationship better, and we’ve both grown to love him too. We genuinely seem to ‘fit’ better as a triad.

    We don’t need a bunch of outside ‘support’ or validation or approval from anyone else, but it IS agreeable to hear an endorsement for the idea from someone in the public sphere whose experience and opinions (not all, but many of them) we respect– and who’s respected by a lot of other people out there, never mind the haters. It helps to hear a sex columnist saying that loving a bit more freely is not somehow pathological, and promulgating that view in our culture. It encourages people to be less puritanical and less judgmental, and our little family appreciates that.

  • ncman

    @imperator: Calm down Imperator. I did not read one comment where anyone referred to Dan Savage as “she” as you allege. They were all more respectful with their pronoun usage than you were.

  • Badger88

    @imperator: May I ask why you’re still with your boyfriend of 10 years? Are there any positive things that your current boyfriend offers you that another man wouldn’t? Instead of being monogamish, wouldn’t it simply be better to find a boyfriend who does meet more of your needs?

  • Scribe38

    @Badger88: May I ask why is your life so sad that you find the need to question his life choices? Does him being in a triad effect you in any way? If it isn’t your thing don’t do it. I am not into cross dressing/ drag so I don’t do it. I don’t log onto blogs and try and make people believe that they should not like it either. NO ONE is forcing you to open up your bedroom or relationship. If he didn’t love his partner he wouldn’t be in the relationship.

  • tookietookie

    @Imperator: But he’s not qualified to tell you one way or the other. Isn’t it just about what you want to hear?

  • Scribe38

    @ncman: I have read way worst said about Savage on this site, than calling him, “she”. His is a OUT GAY man that tries to do right by the gay community and helps bullied kids. I really can’t wrap my head around the fact that str8 people treat Savage better than gay people. SMH

  • tookietookie

    @Scribe38: Because some gay people don’t want this spokesman shtick. Why is that hard to understand? Do not want. Been a meme for a while now.

  • tookietookie

    He doesn’t represent us in the “ideal” way he purports to. But because he’s a loudmouthed, wet blanket, self-appointed spokesperson, he likes to tell us how it is…because he knows everything whyyyy huh…?? Apart from his unquestioned lack of credentials (the squeaky wheel…)

    Seriously, I get way much more from mother Ru. Dan Savage is a symptom of minority group has to draw a line-itis, like we can’t speak for ourselves. We don’t need his mother hen b-llsh-t. Thanks Dan, take your soapbox and go home pls.

  • Scribe38

    @tookietookie: And you’re doing what for gays? How many readers do you have motorize to support gay causes? I am sorry maybe you run a foundation I can write a check to? send a link… Wait, so you don’t have that either? Let the man do the good work he is doing and sit down.

  • tookietookie

    @Scribe38: I live my own life and am not some mindless lemming like you. Write your checks and feel good about yourself.

  • Scribe38

    @tookietookie: tell the truth dude, you don’t have checking account do you? lol. There is no shame being over 30 and still living in your mom’s house.

  • tookietookie

    @Scribe38: That’s never been used as a response before. Lemming.

  • Allen D.

    @imperator: A couple friends of mine are a ‘triad’. It’s hilarious! When I’m at their house, we’ll be having a perfectly fine time until the ‘third’ shows up — and BOOM! Suddenly one of them might as well not exist. It’s really sad. So I have to wholeheartedly agree with the whole “one person just goes along with it” thing. I’ve seen it, I’ve laughed at it, and it will continue to amuse – while my friend Dave hates himself a little bit more every day.

  • Charlie in Charge

    So many people in these comments seem to be under the illusion that their partner is automatically going to fulfill all of their sexual desires… that’s just not a very realistic view of life.

    And neither is Dan saying that open relationships are the cure for all woes of someone who is sexually frustrated, he quite succinctly points out the pitfalls of going the open route from disease to emotional turmoil. Make the informed choice that is right for your relationship.

  • danonce

    Can this guy just shut up and stop promoting his “monogamish”? I’m tired of seeing this guy on every gay sites. He talks about how happy he is and how good his sex life is, blah blah… If it works for him, ok fine. SHUT UP AND GO AWAY!

  • Tackle

    @imperator: your relationship with your BF is the classic example of “love is NOT enough. ” And Dan did not say anything about going out and finding love outside of the relationship. The outside of the relationship from his end is about sex. And a few mentioned here if it works for Dan. We really don’t know if it is working for Dan. He seems to put up a front, and people who have so much advice to give, many time’s have so much they’re covering up. I don’t think I ever heard Dan speak about how happy & in love he and his partner is.? And I have seen couples who happy and glowing from being in love.It shows in the eyes and face. I just don’t see that with Dan.

  • B Damion

    This is another reason the gay community gets a back wrap. Promiscuity will always be a label linked to our community because of issh like this.

    This just gives me no hope of finding true love. What kind of example is this setting for their kid. Dan maybe you need to shut the hell up sometimes and keep ya sex life out of the media. This is not ok. But then again this is their business.

    They grown y’all! grown!

  • the other Greg

    @B Damion: “This is another reason the gay community gets a back wrap.”

    A “back wrap” sounds like fun, maybe even kinky, but I think you mean “bad rap”?

  • the other Greg

    @B Damion: “This just gives me no hope of finding true love.”

    Take a look at how many gay prudes are posting here, disapproving of this subject. Looks like you have plenty of prudes to choose from so you’ll find one pretty easily.

  • tookietookie

    @the other Greg: People are good at intellectualizing their emotions. Whether that’s about being cuckolded so publicly and how it would actually hurt, or being defensive about monogamy or couplehood as the better way is beside the point. By arguing for one extreme position, you invite cynical nyah-nyah-nyah backlash from the other. This whole argument is sophistic because no one has a handle on some ultimate truth. Savage’s column is entertainment for the terminally bored.

  • Niall

    @Scribe38: Not sure why you got so uppity and rude? It was a politely asked question? I was actually about to ask the same thing. I’m not judging or telling anyone how to live their life, but from @imperator: story, it doesn’t seem like besides being lovey dovey, he and his bf have that much in common, so I don’t think asking if it won’t be easier just to find someone who fits him more than his current bf is rude.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    So, let me get this right (and this is directed to all those lashing out at what Dan posted in this video), monogamy is the ONLY normal, moral and acceptable form of relationship available to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans couples? Right? And this is because being in ANYTHING OTHER than a 100% monogamous LTR represents ALL that is bad about being gay – sex-obsessed narcissists who are incapable of a life-long commitment?

    Hmmm….let me google a few words here….”swing clubs in north America ” – seems there are more than 3,000! Ok, let me try this, “What is the #1 reason for heterosexual divorce” – answer: Infidelity.

    Look, if you think that gays have the exclusive lock on monogamish relationships, you must be living under a rock. “Open” relationships of all shapes and sizes have been around since the beginning of recorded time. So, to bash Dan for simply DISCUSSING the topic makes you sound JUST like those idiots in the Westboro Baptist Church.

    That’s right. Judging or imposing YOUR morals and/or beliefs is exactly what they do. How do you like being thought of as a moralist bigot? So, if you had your way, you’d want to limit gays from entering into ANY other form of LTR (including marriage) unless it’s 100% monogamous? See how stupid that sounds?

    Oh, and let’s take a page from the recent legal proceedings at the SCOTUS. The anti-gay marriage folks FAILED EVERY TIME to prove to the court how allowing gays to marry IMPACTED or CHANGED straight marriage. So i’ll pose that question to those of you who are on here lashing out and judging Dan (and those of us who support his right to share such information) – how does a couple living in a NON-MONOGAMOUS LTR impact YOU directly, your current LTR or your ability to find and secure a partner? ANSWER? IT DOESN’T!

    OH, and before i close, i want to clarify (on Dan’s behalf and in his defense) what he ACTUALLY SAID in this video when he used the words “my partner.” He, IN FACT was NOT referring to HIS ACTUAL HUSBAND (they are married), the exact quote was, “For some people it’s one thing IF MY PARTNER wants to…” Note, he qualifies that statement with FOR SOME PEOPLE. He didn’t say, “In OUR RELATIONSHIP.” So, PLEASE, i beg you, don’t take words and statements out of context in some feeble attempt at justifying your weak and not-well-thought-out argument. The bigoted bible-thumping-gay-bigots do that enough when talking about sexuality and gay rights-related issues. And you DON’T want to be lumped in with THAT CROWD…or do you?

    Regarding Dan’s “role” in the LGBT community, let me say this about those of you ASSUMING (and you all remember what happens when you ASSUME something, right?) that Dan Savage has positioned himself as the defacto “voice of” or in any way the “leader of” the LGBT community. I’ve been reading and following Dan for years and I don’t recall him EVER placing those labels (and I KNOW how much we LOVE labels in our community, right?) on himself. He’s an author, blogger, public speaker and ADVOCATE for LGBT rights. Yes, he does dispense sex/relationship advice, but so does Dr. Drew, Dr. Laura (and don’t we LOVE her advice about the LGBT community) and many others. So, you don’t agree with some of Dan’s positions or beliefs or advice? THEN DON’T READ HIS COLUMNS or click on articles you see on sites like this.

    Finally, I wanted to address the issue of MONOGAMY – and i’m going to limit this discussion to gay males (but it applies to really anyone). If you’re single, and you ONLY want to have a 100% monogamous relationship – then you darn well better have that at the TOP of your “checklist” of things you’re looking for in a potential partner. And it better be the FIRST thing you post in online profiles and the first issue discussed with a guy you’re interested in. Assuming he meets the other criteria (age rage, body type, job/career status, HIV/STD status, drug use, hair style, clothing style, butch/femme/masculine, etc.) if you DON’T have that discussion at the outset of a relationship there’s a darn good chance you’ll find yourself moving on really quickly.

    I can’t tell you how many stories i’ve read (or heard 1st person from a friend or acquaintance) about a breakup due to infidelity. I’d read (or hear) the hurting guy bemoan how he found out the guy he was dating had sex with (or wanted to have sex with) another person. Ironically, every time, and i mean EVERY TIME I confront that person and ask, “Did you and your partner/boyfriend have a calm, quiet and direct discussion about monogamy?” the answer has always been, “yes, i think we did.”

    THINK? THINK? I THINK we’re back to the ASSUME thing again here! Just recently, a good buddy of mine was contemplating ending his 6-month relationship because he caught his boyfriend masturbating on webcam. He threw a hissy-fit and accused his BF of cheating. I asked him, “Um, did you ever actually discuss how YOU defined monogamy and how HE defined monogamy?” He said, “Yes, i told him if i ever caught him cheating on me i would leave him.” I said, “well, did you define cheating?” His reply, “I shouldn’t have to explain that to him…he should know?”

    Well “you know what?” I told him, “perhaps you should.”

    I use this story to illustrate the point that how each of us defines words like MONOGAMY and CHEATING. Heck, i’ll bet EVERY PERSON reading my post has been in a situation where a male friend is “caught” watching a hot guy (or gal if he’s str8) walk by, only to watch his partner/wife/spouse EXPLODE with jealousy about checking that guy out. And if you’re like MOST average folks, you’d think to yourself, “My God, he was just looking!” Yet, to that spouse, THAT was breaking a rule.

    So, don’t ASSUME anything when it comes to being CLEAR about how you define monogamy, cheaking, etc. If you find a person who’s in 100% agreement with you on those definitions- COOL! Continue on with dating and building the relationship. BUT, if you have differing definitions/expectations and beliefs about those words – then YOU have a decision. Do you drop him like a hot potato, or find a middle ground that is agreeable to you both, OR keep your mouth shut and ASSUME that since you made YOUR feelings clear – that THAT is all that matters.

    YOU do the math on the latter! I think I’ll probably be reading THAT post in another blog/forum or overhear the bitching at a local gay bar.

    But, if you DO agree to compromise on what IS and ISN’T monogamy, cheating, etc (and it’s NOT exactly how you WISH it was) YOU are NO different than those who have different philosophies on monogamy. It’s not a black/white issue. It’s different for each relationship and none of us can, or should, sit in judgement on what works for others.

  • tookietookie

    @GayTampaCowboy: It’s interesting that for such a champion of personal freedoms, you mischaracterize those who disagree with you, demonize them by association, threaten them with social disapproval, and use positive developments as weapons against them. People won’t be strong-armed into your views because of your indiscriminate use of keyboard caps. Dan Savage is your religion, but he doesn’t have to be everyone’s.

  • the other Greg

    @tookietookie: Damn – like most of the monogamists who post here on Queerty, you sound like quite a catch. I can believe you’ll never be “cuckolded” (!) by your bf (cuckolded, really? – where do you guys live, the early 19th century?)… but if you ever are, the image of you with frying pan in hand comes easily to mind. He must be terrified.

    I suggest a three-way and a relaxing “back wrap” with B Damion.

  • the other Greg

    @GayTampaCowboy: Thanks for your great post! And since, apparently, monogamy impairs reading comprehension (heh), I’d like to stress this sentence of yours:

    “If you’re single, and you ONLY want to have a 100% monogamous relationship – then you darn well better have that at the TOP of your “checklist” of things you’re looking for in a potential partner.”

    Like you, I’ve known a lot of guys who simply wandered into relationships they *thought* were going to monogamous, as they defined monogamous –

    (since you’re a self-described “cowboy,” I guess I should say they *moseyed* into the relationships)

    – and later complained that they *thought* they’d had that Conversation, going in, when they hadn’t.

  • tookietookie

    @the other Greg: Yeah, it’s the word for it. Happy to oblige. I don’t dumb it down for Savage Love readership. You sound like a catch too. Wipe the coke off your nose, stay home from the club one night, and try reintroducing yourself to books.

  • the other Greg

    @tookietookie: “stay home from the club one night”… Well I’m here at 11 pm. Sheesh, talk about “mischaracterize those who disagree with you, demonize them by association,” etc.

    In four or so years reading these amusing comments, no matter what the subject, I’ve noticed how often the commenters fit the proverb from India about the Six Blind Men trying to figure out what an elephant is.

    Yes. Those who are monogamous by temperament and personal experience tend to think that’s the best way. Those who are “monogamish” by temperament and personal experience tend to think that’s the best way.

    Both terms would need to be defined by the participants in a relationship. You and I would agree on that much (right?), and so would Savage.

    “Monogamish” obviously requires definition in each situation. Some turn up their noses at this, thinking they prefer the certainty of old-fashioned hetero-normative monogamy.

    But for instance, as Cowboy points out, will “watching a hot guy” passing by break the monogamy rule? Will the aggrieved party be justified to “EXPLODE” in jealousy if that happens? (It’s not clear from your cryptic comments if you would clobber your bf with the frying pan for that.) There’s an example of something that any self-defined monogamous couple could profitably discuss near the beginning of the relationship.

    For either type of couple, it helps to define the terms at the beginning.

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