By Dan Savage
I am no longer sexually active, but I have a significant collection of sex toys from earlier years. I’m thinking of getting rid of most of them, and it seems such a waste for them to end up in the landfill. What’s an environmentally responsible way to dispose of dildos? I wish there was a place I could donate the dildos where they could be used again. Many of them are quality silicone types, they’ve never been used on a person without a condom, and they’ve been thoroughly cleaned. I’d be happy to donate them to impoverished dildo users in need, if only I knew where to send them.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Your question comes up frequently, RRR, and there really isn’t a satisfactory answer.
In Seattle, where I live, a community tool bank recently opened in my neighborhood—but they don’t collect and lend the kind of tools you’re looking to donate. I’ve heard about dildo graveyards in other cities (spots in parks where people bury their used sex toys), but burying sex toys isn’t environmentally responsible. And while high-quality dildos can be cleaned and safely reused, most people are pretty squeamish about the idea. Which is odd, considering that we routinely reuse actual cocks that have been enjoyed by others—so why not the fake ones?
But even if I can’t tell you what to do with your dildos, RRR, I can tell you what not to do with them: Do not ship your used dildos to the anti-government militia currently occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon. After militia members asked supporters to send them supplies—via the US Postal Service—their spokesperson complained bitterly about all the dildos they were getting in the mail. So if you decide to put your used dildos in a box and send them somewhere, RRR, please make sure the address on the box doesn’t read: Bundy Militia, c/o Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 36391 Sodhouse Lane, Princeton, OR, 97721.
I understand that monogamy is not something people are good at—and that’s fine. In fact, most of the people I know are in healthy poly or monogamish relationships. Here’s the thing: I’m monogamous. Not the “I’m attracted to other people but won’t act on it because it makes me uncomfortable or believe it’s wrong” kind of monogamous, but the “I genuinely have ZERO desire to fuck anyone but my partner” kind of monogamous. Fantasizing about others is fun, so is looking, so is porn and role-play. There’s a world of deliciously kinky, weird, and wonderful sex stuff I’d LOVE to explore until my sexy bits fall off. But I want to do those things with one partner and one partner only in a monogamous, intimate relationship. Here’s the kicker: I’d like my partner to feel the same way. I don’t want someone to enter into a monogamous relationship with me if in their heart/groin they’d genuinely like to fuck other people. Am I a lost cause? Surely I can’t be the only genuinely monogamous person there is? I’m 31 and still turn heads, but I worry my quest for a partner who feels as I do is impossible and a waste of my time.
One 4 One
You value monogamy, you want a monogamous commitment, and you want someone who feels the same. That great, O4O, and you have my full support. But you do acknowledge that fantasies about others can be fun, as can looking, as can porn (watching others) and role-play (pretending to be others). So while you may wanna fuck other people—hence the looking and fantasizing and role-playing—you have no desire to actually fuck other people.
If you’re having a hard time finding partners who want what you want—a monogamous commitment without the stress of maintaining the monogamous pretense/facade/fraud, i.e., pretending they don’t at least think about fucking other people—either you’re living in some sort of poly parallel universe where nonmonogamy is the default setting or you’re not giving others the same benefit of the doubt you’ve given yourself. You wanna fuck other people and you don’t seem to think that disqualifies you from making, honoring, and genuinely wanting both a monogamous commitment and a monogamous sex life. (The two don’t always go hand in hand.)
If you’re breaking up with people for admitting to the same things you’ve admitted to in your question—you might think about fucking other people, but you don’t want to actually fuck other people—then you’re the reason your quest to find a partner has been so frustrating.
I’m 33, blah blah blah, and live in a big city. I’ve been dating an age-appropriate person for a year and a half. Everything seemed fine (great sex, common interests and hobbies, similar work ethic, we even talked about raising children), but my partner is so damn angry and full of hate. Mostly it manifests itself in racism, and I really don’t like it. He says that I “don’t understand,” like he’s gone through experiences that would justify wholesale prejudice against entire groups of people. The passing of David Bowie has accentuated these differences between us. I want to live better and brighter, to love more, but my boyfriend just keeps hating. He’s unrelentingly racist. I shouldn’t have children with him—right? Better to be 33 and alone—right? This racist stuff is a deal breaker—right? DTMFA—right?
Racist Anger Gradually Ends Relationship
My best female friend is marrying her boyfriend in March and wants to go on a gay bar crawl on the night of her bachelorette party. She says it won’t be a problem because, as a bi woman, she’s part of the LGBT community too and because gay people can get married now. As a gay man, Dan, do you oppose bachelorette parties in gay bars?
Queer And Questioning
I oppose bachelorette parties in gay bars—or anywhere else, QAQ, and I feel the exact same way about bachelor parties.
A few weeks ago, you answered a letter from Seeks Discreet Call Service, a woman in an open marriage who was having Tinder hookups in hotel rooms while traveling for work. She was concerned about her safety and wanted to have someone check in on her, but she couldn’t tell her partner about her hookups (DADT arrangement) or her friends (she’s not out about her open marriage). She specifically asked if there was an app that might help, and you told her there wasn’t an app for that. You were wrong, Dan! There are actually several apps. PCWorld published a roundup of a few of them a couple of years ago (“5 Personal Safety Apps That Watch Your Back,” by Amber Bouman), and there’s an app called Kitestring (kitestring.io) that has gotten some glowing reviews. The gist is that you use the app to set a timer, and when it goes off, you have to alert the app that you are okay. Otherwise, the app automatically contacts emergency services or a predetermined contact and lets them know you are in trouble at your location. So technology does have a solution for SDCS’s problem!
Technological Enhancements Can Help
Man, I really blew that response—so thanks to TECH and everyone else who clued me in to Kitestring, StaySafe, Watch Over Me, bSafe, and all the other apps out there that are exactly what SDCS was looking for.
On the Lovecast, Dr. Robert Garofalo on parenting a trans kid: savagelovecast.com.bachelorette parties in gay bars, Dan Savage, dildos, environmentally-friendly dildo disposal, fantasy, monogamy, racism, safety, safety apps, Savage Love, sex, sex toys, Tinder