Male Sexuality and Its Enemies (Part One)

SEX

(The title of this posting is a rhyme to Sir Karl Popper’s seminal ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies‘, one of those major books that changed everything, and should belong to The Great Books List of the 20th century.  The college kids in Vienna, and many other places, who once had the rare privilege of meeting the author in person mostly called the book ‘The Open Society by One of Its Enemies‘, alluding to Popper’s incontrovertible attitudes. The story also had it that he loved it when this was mentioned before him, and would laugh heartily at the pun.) 

I have enjoyed reading GaySocrates Blog and wanted to expand on the subject of Male Sexuality and Narcissistic Defense as both outlined and commented here.

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Being a male gay man in all open, free and liberal modern, largely urban(e) societies across the globe has lost much of the traditional stigma associated with both male-to-male sexuality and a distinctively gay lifestyle. The ugly sentiments of the past are nonetheless, well and alive, too. Hate crimes do happen; a major democracy is still debating the issue of being openly gay in the services, etc. Generations of gay activists have their work cut out for them, for years to come. Social progress has never been a matter of simple progression void of any setbacks.

Yet, on overall, homosexual men, within the confines of the Western world have not had it any better in centuries.

There is little doubt that the concept of popular culture has played a major role in educating the public and helping change the pervading attitudes of the past. There is an argument to be made for the case of building a Gay Lib monument called “Will and Grace” (1998-2006). A gay friend has recently reported that he had his apartment painted by a straight friend, who would not take any payment but wanted instead the whole set of “Queer As Folk” (2000-2005) to watch with his wife, ‘when, you know, the kids go to bed’. The popularity of ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘(2003-2007) and its massive media presence had a number of offspring, too. Close-to-a-Cult MTV has been regularly featuring gay characters, emphasizing the tolerance, acceptability and generally projecting a positive image of being gay. 

will and grace

I am happy to report that a number of my gay friends, who used to be adamant about befriending other gay men (and possibly fag hags or lesbians) only, but never a straight men or a straight family have changed their attitude, too. The confrontational and divisive has ceded ground (not lost the war, though), to more inclusive and accepting.

Besides the still almighty Pink Dollar or the Pink Pound (with possibly the Pink Euro just around the corner), a major force in gaining general social acceptance for the gay men has been a strong internal focus shift among the gay men themselves, who increasingly so, have been attempting to portray themselves as just ‘the next-door guys’ living in very stable, committed and long lasting relationships, similar to those of their neighboring heterosexual couples, while actively supporting the legalization of gay marriage on the side, and taking care of their white picket fences, and well-manicured lawns, just like everyone else in the neighborhood.  The films ranging from the very first AIDS-related gay epic ‘Longtime Companion‘ (1990) to the latest iconic saga on male-to-male love, ‘Brokeback Mountain‘ (2005) were both created to address that image shift and further its cause.

longtime_companion_dvd_cover

In other words, the crude, crime and sex-obsessed, heavily kinked, threatening and deeply disturbing homosexual world of the Meatpacking District  in the grips of a serial killer as depicted in William Friedkin’s ‘Cruising‘ (1980) gave way, in the popular culture, to an essentially family drama in a multi-ethnic environment of Stephen Frears’s  ‘My Beautiful Launderette‘ (1985) to culminate with the two lonely men in deep love surrounded by breathtaking vistas of the Brokebacks, and Kareen’s infectious giggling over her very male-like maid Rosario in the previously mentioned “Will and Grace” or “the will to (dis)grace”, if you will?

 cruisingposter

Eventually, ‘The World Is Flat‘, gay guys are just your friendly & tame, very upper-middle class neighbors, always superbly dressed, sporting the best labels they were able to afford due to their DINK(Y) cohabitation arrangements, and happy to help you with free expert interior decorating advice; share the names of the best hairstylists and restaurants in town, and enjoy your blissful suburbanite existence just like you do.

I have no doubt that millions of gay men worldwide feel very comfortable with this picture. They share the values (possibly, uncritically so) with the heterosexual mainstay, and are happy to be accepted, not discriminated against, and possibly even perceive themselves as NOT being viewed as the second class citizens. There is decidedly something both very appealing and comforting about being accepted by those around you.

The price of acceptance, no matter how low, is always far too high. ‘Acceptance’ at its very best, is an ideal, very immaterial grant, always definable only by those who had usurped the right of granting it, to the point that it can be withdrawn by them at their pleasure. Therefore, the saying, ‘Poor is the man, whose pleasures depend on the permission of another‘ has its greatest merit within this concept.

For my part, the notion of nominal societal acceptance, desirable as it may be, is largely a mirage. By and large, people generally tend to be superficially well-meaning, and would love to appear to be politically correct and charitable, for as long as such an attitude does not stand in the way of their own, personal interests. I cannot think of one single gay man, who would not have stories to tell, on the subject at hand.

And yet, there is another side to being a gay male. An aspect acutely disliked by the well-meaning activists, traditional conservatives, neo-cons and their televangelists alike, to mention only the few of the otherwise highly diversified lot. The LGBT activists, at times, call it ‘the negative stereotyping of  gay men‘, and correspondingly, their fundamentalist detractors call it ‘vile and satanic‘ or even worse. I am referring to the highly promiscuous urban gay lifestyle in all the major metropolitan areas, massive use of internet for the casual hookups via global web portals like gaydar, gayromeo, manhunt , etc., having tens of thousands of gay men online each, mostly cruising for casual sex; a whole network of local and regional  general sites like the Craigslist  and its numerous offspring. Furthermore, I am referring to all the usual cruising for sex, White Parties, Folsom Street Fairs, gay spas and  bathhouses, bars with backrooms and numerous other venues, where men meet other men for casual, mostly anonymous sex on a daily (or nightly) basis.

folsom_street_fair

Being a very average urban gay male these days does mean that you can have as much sex as you want to. It also means that you can have as many partners as you want to, and last but not least, you can have it all without ever bothering to get to know anyone by the means of traditional flirting that would usually involve buying someone a dinner or even a single drink, unless you want to.

Men tend to be astonishingly promiscuous.

Several years ago, I came across an interesting personal statement. A young, bisexual male was describing his personal experience. He said that if there were such places, where straight or bi-men could go to have free and quick sex with women, akin to gay men having uncomplicated man-to-man sex at some of the parks, ABSs, gay spas and other exclusively male cruising areas, the interest would be so great that they would have to build a highway exit at that place. I fully concur with him. Straight men would do it, too, if they only had that much of a chance with that much of a selection at hand.

For my part, I do champion the notion of gay male promiscuity.

the_prophecy__high_resolution

~ by silverrrcloud on March 8, 2009.

7 Responses to “Male Sexuality and Its Enemies (Part One)”

  1. Hey SilverrrCloud
    Thanks for the mention!
    I’d hate to be painted as a cozy assimilationist just because I thought my mate’s healthy sex life had a whiff of sex-addiction to it.
    I agree wholly that guys should be free to have lots of sex. And if they’re happy that’s great. I’ve just known guys who get hooked on obligatory sex and it squeezes out the full range of stuff people often need in their lives to give them an authentic sense of being alive-like making sure they are looking after themselves physically, spiritually, creatively, emotionally and socially. Those who can have limitless sex and stay well balanced in other respects are truly blessed. I agree with you that to lead a momogamous married existence just to fit in with the Jones’ in suberbia is a recepie for a fairly empty life. Check out my entry below. You’ll see I’m no angel 🙂

  2. Straight folks do this too: they’re called Swingers Clubs. It’s just frowned on. Likewise they have adultfriendfinder.com which is quite sex focused (or so my gorgeous Latin Personal Trainer tells me) It’s out there but most straights are still prudish even of straight promiscuous sex.

    Roman society used to be very permissive of quick sex. An ordinary session with a sex worker is documented to have cost as much in Rome as a glass of wine and the sex workers usually worked under the arches of various buildings. Latin word for an arches: fornices. Which is where one would go to fornicate. That’s the genesis of that word.

  3. I fully agree with you. Str8 guys do it, too.

    Yet, there is a significant difference in the approach and quantities. For a gay guy, going out, having anonymous sex, etc., is basically, a mainstay issue. Swinger clubs are not the mainstay for the str8 dudes.

    Europe has a large number of public areas, where large number of men meet for purely anonymous sex. Sure, now and then, you’ll come across a hetero couple doing there thing, too. Yet, there are worlds of difference here in numbers of the players involved and in the very idea of gay cruising for sex.

    Men are perfectly willing to hang out at an ABS, public washrooms, parks, service stations, parking lots, etc., and go for it on the spot. Very few women will be hanging out there hoping to find a str8 male who would have sex with them under the similar circumstances. The numbers are vastly different. It is a vastly different phenomenon.

    Str8 men and women do meet at the bars, get acquainted, and go somewhere to have sex afterwards. I have yet to see a str8 bar with a backroom full of waiting men and women, who will be doing it then and there. (I am not excluding that such places may exist. Yet, the number of such places must be rather minuscule, if compared with the number of gay bars with backrooms.)

    A very Average Mr. Gay Joe has very few obstacles to overcome and get his rocks off within a very short time and possibly without any expense. His neighbor Average Mr. Str8 may get lucky now and then, yet he has far greater obstacles to overcome, both in terms of time and money before he gets his juices going…

  4. I’m sure we’ve all had that conversation with our str8 guy friends, where they say they’re ‘jealous’ of how easy it is for gay men to find sex. Which, in a way, is technically true.

    To be honest, since moving over to London from Montreal, I’ve totally noticed the difference in the gay community’s attitude towards sex and promiscuity, and how it is so much easier to find sex here. I’m also amazed at how much more relaxed I’ve become myself lately.. don’t think I’d ever been in a back-room before moving here, let alone do anything in one! LOL

    Maybe it’s just a European thing though .. cause it seems to me that gays in North America are too busy trying to get that cookie-cutter image of the ‘gay-next-door’ to enjoy their lives.

    Whereas here, there seems (again, to me) to be less of a focus on the twink culture, and more on the masculine, bear-ish one. Which definitely works for me. 😉

  5. I agree that the gay cruising for sex in public areas (parks, parking lots, public facilities, etc., happens to be more of a European phenomenon, mostly due to a liberal legislation and the relative lack of police harrassment. European societies have developed very tolerant attitude towards the matters of sexual orientation far beyond the usual paying ‘a lip service’ (no pun intended) to the notions of political correctness.

    However, when it comes to the commercial venues (bars, spas, clubs, etc.), major US metro areas still offer an amazing number of venues with hundereds if not thousands of men cruising for quick, anonymous sex.

    I very much agree that our str8 friends frequently express their ‘jealousy’, claiming that gay men face far fewer obstacles, need less time and money to get laid, etc., than their str8 peers. This is lagrely very true for the comparaisons among genuinely willing men having reasonable personal expectations on both sides of the divide.

    There is indeed, a lesser focus in Europe on the whole frat-jock-twink complex (though these are doing very well, by all means) than in the US. Living in Spain for part of the year, I soon realized that there is an unusual degree of general interest among gay men in this country for the bears, cubs, etc.. Each and every man is a story for himself but my simple gut feeling at the moment is that a degree of personal comfort makes it somewhat easier for many middle-aged men to integrate themselves into the ‘bear culture’ than adopt a ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ trying (and possibly failing) to look as young and as ‘good’ as they can.

    By that very same token, I have noticed an ever so slightly lesser obssession with the generational gap, lifestyle issues, coming-out traumas, etc., here as opposed to the corresponding issues in comparable cities on the west coast, (US).

  6. Hey Socrates:

    Thanks for commenting.

    It would be difficult or nearly impossible to have ‘limitless sex’ and still stay at the top of everything in your life. Some guys need and take more and manage well, the others do not.

    Once your sex drive, no matter how healthy it may look and feel alike, starts running your life, you are having a dangerous addiction at your hands and need help to overcome.

    If you are restraining yourself mostly for the purpose of getting a modicum of social respectability, you are losing on both fronts.

  7. […] This is a sequel to “Male Sexuality and Its Enemies (Part One)”. […]

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