Dan Savage on STI’s

by Jason Stotts

I’m a big fan of Dan Savage’s podcast “Savage Love.”  While there are some things I find distasteful, he is a staunch democrat and very socialist leaning, on sexual issues we largely agree.  Even though we have differences, I think there is great value in his podcast and I recommend that people interested in good practical advice about love and sex check him out.

Recently he did a podcast (#256) about STD/STI’s with Dr. Anna Kaminski, one of the medical directors from Planned Parenthood. They took an objective look at the risk and dangers of many STI’s and they did it without the sort of moral hysteria that is all too common when people talk about these issues.  Indeed, I think that all too many people think of STI’s as a punishment for a moral failing instead of thinking of them as simply a medical issue.  Consider that we think of oral herpes as just “cold sores” and really no big deal, but we think of genital herpes as a disaster, the end of one’s sex life, and a recurring reminder of one’s shameful and base nature.  That’s a pretty strange position to hold for the same virus, depending on where you get it.  The strangeness of the position is further complicated by the fact that you can get “oral herpes” on your genitals and “genital herpes” on your mouth.  So, there really is no difference.

I heartily recommend that we open up discussions of STI’s and do so in a way that treats them as simply a medical issue and not as a moral failing.  I think we need to get more objective information out there on these issues and change the way they are talked about today.  One way to begin that process for yourself is to listen to episode #256 of Savage Love. Afterwards, consider how your own views on sexually transmitted infections is influenced by ideas from our culture on the shamefulness of sex and the disgustingness of the human body that has come to us from the christian hatred of this world.  This is the first step to freeing yourself from these misconceptions and beginning to think about these issues objectively.

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