"So much has changed. We're having a conversation about gender now, and how we understand it is markedly more advanced than conversations we were having 25 years ago. We're also having conversations about monogamy and talking about monogamy differently than we did back then. I like to think I had some role in reshaping those conversations. And we're talking more about kink and difference. I get a lot fewer questions from people about whether they're normal or not these days. I still get them, but back in the day, almost every other question was, 'This is what I want. This is what I am. This is what turns me on. Is this normal?' Or they'd ask 'This is what my partner wants. Is this normal?' And I think people have gotten it through their thick heads that, when it comes to human sexuality, variance is the norm. Difference is the norm. So if you're different, you're normal."
"There's a time and a place to talk about this stuff. I'm pretty open about sex, but when I'm having lunch with my great-aunt in Chicago, I'm not talking about the awesome sex toy [my husband] Terry got me as a gift. Maybe with my friends I would. There's some people who come up to me in airports and talk to me about their sex life, and I think 'This is not the time!' I'm with my kid, or I'm off the clock.
"'Good sex' can be within a marriage, or it can be swinging from the chandeliers of a sex club with somebody in a latex gimp suit."
"Because of the sex-positive movement. Because of columns like mine. Because of TV shows like Sex and the City or Girls. Because of the internet, online pornography, the gay rights movement. Straight people looked at gay people who were giving themselves permission to be fully out and thought 'Why can't we do that?' A straight person would go to a gay pride parade and see that there were a million different ways to be a gay person or a queer person. And they would leave thinking 'Why is there just one way to be straight?' In a way, the queer rights movement didn't just liberate queers — it liberated a lot of straight people.
"Well, it's really different because it's not just me. It's not a dialogue I'm having with others about their sex and relationship issues. These are stories from storytelling shows all over the country. We're finding the best of these sex and relationship stories, sharing them, and adding a little bit of commentary. There's not a grand goal. These are just great stories that we wanted to share to entertain people, titillate them, alter people's live a little bit and educate them."
"Zooming out for a second, one of the things I talk about a lot on my podcast is that people are intuitively looking for a partner with good judgement. And so disclosing something too early can demonstrate bad judgement, which can turn people off. For instance, let's say you have some intense kink. If you you start rattling on about this on your first date, even if the person sitting across the table from you is into that, they're going to think, 'Wow, that displayed poor judgement — to just blurt that out so early. Also, why are we talking about this before we talk about anything else?'
"There's a lie we're told when we're kids, which is 'One day we will grow up and we will have sex.' The truth is sex will have you."
"I've learned a lot. The column is as much an education for me as it is for my readers. I learn from them, too. One very important thing I know now that I didn't know when I started writing Savage Love is where the clitoris is. The first time I wrote about it, I put it in the wrong place. I'd put it at the top of the vaginal canal, near the cervix. Turns out, it's not on the soft palette, which is where mine is, so I just assumed everyone else's would be there. It was a 26-year-old rookie sex columnist's mistake. In my defense, this was before the internet, before Google, and if you wanted to find out something about anatomy, you had to grab an anatomy textbook. The clit did not have a Wiki page back then.
"Well, the first thing I want etched on my tombstone is 'He Ruined Rick Santorum's Name.' [Laughs.] The takeaway I wish everyone would wrap their heads around is that sex wins. Sex always wins. Sex is more powerful than you are. Sex is 500 million years old. It built us and it will build whatever comes after us. People like to pretend that they're in charge of their desires or their sexuality, and they're not. You're in charge of how you act on them, but you can't dam it up. You can't pretend that you can stick a cork in it without it exploding in your face one day.