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My boyfriend and I have been together over eight months. We really love each other, and I see us spending our lives together. At least I did, until something he said a few days ago.

Long story short, for the last five months or so, he's brought up marriage. Then a few days ago he informed me that he actually doesn't want a wedding. When I offered a small ceremony with just immediate family and friends, he balked and said he's not even interested in a courthouse wedding. I asked if everything he'd said before was empty pillow talk, and he said yes. He won't give me any better explanation than that. Oh, and this was two days after we decided I'd be moving in with him, and he still wants me to live with him even after dropping this bomb! Everyone I've talked to, including my therapist, said the equivalent of WTF?!?

Dan, can you decipher this male-ese for me? — Lady in a Relationship

You were discussing marriage at three months?

The fact that he would bring up marriage so early, and the fact that you didn't laugh in his face, disqualifies you both from obtaining a marriage license. (Okay, it doesn't — but it should.) Three months — eight months, sixteen months — is way too soon to be discussing marriage. Sure, you can allow yourself to be swept away by new love, you can crush out on each other, you can sheepishly admit that you've allowed yourself to daydream about marriage — so long as that admission is immediately followed by this statement: "But I realize it's way too soon to even think about it seriously..." But you absolutely, positively should NOT be making plans to marry, small ceremonies or large, courthouse or St. Paul's Cathedral, at eight fucking months; nor should you attempt to hold him — or anyone else — to a premature "commitment" to wed.

Your boyfriend doesn't have a bad case of "male-ese," LIAR, he has a good case of came-to-his-senses-ese. If you're lucky, the strain is contagious, perhaps sexually transmitted, and you'll soon be showing symptoms yourself.

And a bit of bonus advice: get a therapist who doesn't believe that cashing your checks obligates him to tell you whatever idiot thing you want to hear.

In a recent column you wrote, "If you're not having sex with your boyfriend, or anyone else, and there's no sex in your foreseeable future, ANB, that's not monogamy — that's celibacy." I have been with my girlfriend for almost nine years, living together for seven. We have never had sex. At the beginning we fooled around a lot, but for various reasons never went too far. Now, like many couples who have been together for a while, the frequency has decreased.

But for us this means we go beyond kissing a few times a year, and never all that far. I am mostly okay with this: I take care of myself as necessary. We never talk about sex at all. We've moved back and forth across the country together and are otherwise very committed. Is it ridiculous to leave sex out of the relationship? — Sexless And Seemingly Content

If you're happy and your girlfriend's happy, SASC, then I'm happy. Two people in a bad relationship can have plenty of great sex; two people in a great relationship can have little sex or no sex. Sex is a metric for assessing the health of a relationship, but it's not the only one. When two people come together who love each other and are compatible sexually — which can mean a shared interest in sex or a shared disinterest in sex — the angels sing, SASC. All that matters, again, is that you're both happy.

But are you happy, SASC? You say that you are, and I'll take your word for it, but there's a lot of wiggle room in the "mostly" in this sentence: "I am mostly okay with this." You owe it to yourself to determine if you are really and truly okay with living without sex — and if the girlfriend is too.

I'll add this to the debate over the threat that gay people pose to marriage: A fag saved my "opposite marriage."

My wife and I had a huge argument about sex after she rebuffed me one night. She was shouting that she couldn't stand the idea of me inside her because she felt like I was just masturbating in her. I shouted that we could stop having vaginal intercourse altogether for all I care because it was boring me, too, and besides, there was lots of other stuff we could do. She screamed, "Like what?!?" And I screamed, "Like oral! Masturbation! Role-playing! Whatever kinky shit you want!" There was a pause, and we both started laughing.

We took vaginal intercourse "off the menu" that night. After three weeks of amazing, mind-blowing sex, she called me at work and asked if I missed vaginal intercourse. I told her that I did but that putting it back on the menu was entirely her call. She got in the car and drove to my office, and we fucked in the stairwell. Sometimes you help people you don't even realize you've helped. Wanted to say thanks. Married O And Newly Surging

You're welcome, MOANS, and thanks for sharing.

And speaking of marriage: Last week's decision by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8 was expected but, in the wake of so many recent victories, still saddening, and I'm getting mail from lots of unhappy people. I'm unhappy about it, too. But we have to remember that this is a long game, folks, and despite this setback, we are winning. We've heard a lot about Prop 8 over the last week, and we're going to hear a lot about the fight to overturn it over the coming months, but let's not forget about Proposition 22.

In 2000, California voters approved a law banning same-sex marriage. It was a ballot initiative, like Prop 8, but just a law, not a constitutional amendment. And it was that law, Prop 22, that the California Supremes struck down in 2008, in their historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. And voters in 2000 approved Prop 22 by a twenty-two-point margin. Eight years later the same voters approved Prop 8 by just four points. That's an eighteen-point shift in favor of marriage equality in just eight years. That's extraordinary progress. A loss is still a loss, and a loss sucks, but the trend is so strongly in our favor that we cannot lose hope. The anti-gay bigots know that they're losing this debate, and it's why they're so hot to amend state constitutions now, while they still can, while they can still count on the votes of the old, the bigoted, and the easily manipulated.

But they are losing and they know it.

Gay marriage will be back to the ballot box in California in 2010 or 2012, and voters are going to repeal Prop 8. Fundamental civil rights should not be subject to a popular vote, of course, and the California Supremes had an opportunity to reaffirm that ideal. They chose not to, they buckled, and so gays and lesbians, unlike other minority groups, face the challenge of securing our rights at the ballot box. That seems like a daunting prospect until you recall Prop 22 and compare its margin of victory to that of Prop 8. Again, we witnessed an eighteen-point shift in favor of gay marriage in California in just eight years. We can gain another two points in two. We just have to stay in the fight and constantly remind ourselves and each other — and Maggie Gallagher — that we are winning.

Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

Commentarium (13 Comments)

Jun 03 09 - 2:20pm

Yay Savage Love on Nerve!

Jun 03 09 - 2:35pm

Huzzah! Bring on the savage!

Jun 03 09 - 11:02pm

Hey, great to see your column on nerve! I haven't been reading it for a while but just heard you on the This American Life live show and realized I miss your excellent advice.

Jun 04 09 - 2:16am

Another great reason to love Nerve - Savage! Woo hoo!

Jun 04 09 - 6:57pm

savage on nerve makes my life that much better.

Jun 04 09 - 8:16pm

Welcome to Nerve Dan.
Actually, Mrs Bee and I talked marriage after just a few months. After thirty years we still think it was a good idea.

Jun 08 09 - 7:52am

Captio, nobody's forcing a gun to your head...

Jun 10 09 - 1:03am

Captio - do as I did when the chance arises (as I'm sure you will), and not renew. Spend the money of some wine or something.

As for the Sexless and Seemingly post - what the fuck? Uh, they've never had sex and yet the frequency has decreased?

I'm sorry, but what frequency is this?

This makes no fucking sense and turned me off this bullshit column straight away. At least Erin seems to weed out the evidently fake (or fucked up) questions.

Jun 12 09 - 9:19am
Getting Engaged – Is there such a thing a perfect timi

[...] of the best sex and relationship columnists going, Dan Savage at Nerve responded to a gal the other day who was asking about engagement – talking engagement [...]

Jun 12 09 - 11:10am
How long did you date before you were engaged? | Committed:

[...] her post she referenced a post by Dan Savage over at Nerve where he said, “Three months — eight months, sixteen months — is way too soon to be [...]

Jun 13 09 - 10:25am
KC Love

If one of my children came home and said this to me: Mom, I've met the girl of my dreams, and though I've only known her five days, we're getting married in eight months" I'd flip. But, 17 years ago that's what my husband told his parents. I know there's an exception to every rule, but this one worked. But, I think that's just it - one night I asked a boyfriend of over four years if he was every going to marry me, and he said no. Not sure what the moral of the story is.

Jun 21 09 - 2:03am

I just found out my best friend and her ex-hub never had sexual intercourse, though they were married for years. Turns out, he always went soft when trying to penetrate her in spite of desire. Turns out he was sexually abused by his father years before they met. If this is your problem, or anything remotely similar, do yourself and your partner a favor and get some therapy before making a commitment.

Dec 23 10 - 1:10pm

seven years ago i met my sweet heart we went out and held hands as we ate i still have this BIG love for her in six months we got married so no go with what your heart is saying to you this is year #8 still going strong the best of love and luck to you both