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Wednesday 14 April 2010

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The Gay Blade

1st May 2008

The Sexual Revolution & My Part In It

Posted by: Michael Stevens

mineshaft.jpg When I started fucking around in my teens, it was all about fun. Sex and fun. Fun and sex. I remember when I was about 18 (1979) , being told by a guy at a Gay Liberation at Auckland Uni that as no one could pregnant or hurt, I should go out and fuck my brains out, or words to that effect. After all, I was told, the worst that could happen was syphillis, and you could get that treated, or if you were really unlucky, herpes, and that could be managed. Looking back, he may have had ulterior motives…

Tell a horny 18 year old to go and have sex! Doh! Of course I took his advice.

Fuck for freedom! We were political sexual guerrillas, or so we thought. We really believed that by overturning the opressive norms of heterosexual monogamy and creating our own new way of sexually ‘being’ we were going to shake the bourgoise patriarchal edifice. Right, that worked…

So for me, and I think for a lot of men at that time, sexual freedom was a central part of who we were as out proud gay men. No more hiding in the shadows. No more “being discreet” about it. We wanted to fuck - and we did. Of course, Auckland always seemed a pretty limited arena. So, as so many others did, as soon as possible I headed off for Australia - I made it to the opening night of Steamworks in Melbourne. Later I was in the USA, at the tender age of 24, being as friendly as I could, wherever I could.

San Francisco seemed sort of the home to being gay in one way, sexy, fun, but still a bit hippyish, people talked astrology, but New York loomed large as a fuck-fest: sex, drugs, hard, fast.
stmarks-postcard.jpg

By the time I got there, of course, things had quietened down a bit from the excesses (revolutionary excesses though) of the 70s. AIDS was being felt, though, as I discovered, not really being talked about.

I remember one night in The Anvil, a leather bar on the West Side, this guy taking me out into the lobby and giving me a hit of cocaine, from a little silver spoon around his neck (and wearing a spoon round your neck that must have been dated even then - so 70s!) and he told me “Before you go home with anyone, just give em a hug, and try and get your hands into their armpits, and , ya know, if their glands are swollen, don’t go home with him.” That was the first safe sex ed I can remember.

But the Mineshaft was still going, a legendary place. The spiritual home of all subsequent fuckclubs. It’s not that it was the first, I think the Caldron in SF was open before it, but it was somehow something special. There was no sign marking it - you had to know where to go to find it. Just a door with a light over it in the meat-packing district. Up a staircase, check whatever clothes you wanted, or the guy on the door thought were not in keeping, (and they had a pretty strict dress code) and in you went.

It was dark, of course, a bar upstairs and another down. A pool table by the upstairs bar. Once I saw a guy stretched out there, naked, pinned down to the felt with surgical needles. He seemed to be happy. I heard that when they first opened, the barman actually had a real mechanics greasegun filled with engine grease that he’d lube guys up with, until a couple of medical patrons pointed out this wasn’t the best idea.

It was a space that was, on its best nights, utterly wild, Dionysian, no barriers, full of everything you could imagine and more. Quite a sight for a 24 year-old Auckland boy I can tell you. Coke, speed, acid, amyl, random pills people gave you. Cocks, arses, fingers, fists, a guy with crisco on his feet which could only mean one thing - foot fucking.

But with my new leather jeans, a white t I fitted in fine, and was fairly popular. Well, as popular as I wanted to be, which depended on the night. The image, more than just image, the ethos, the entire idea behind this sort of sex and sexual performance, was masculine, exaggerated, hyper-masculinity. It was a spcae to ‘be’ a man in a different way - a place for men. A place for men to be with other men in particular ways.

It never really got going before midnight as I recall, and went on till 6 at least. But the windows were all blacked out so you never knew if the sun had come up.

Slings, chains, mazes, bathtubs, all the stuff that now is ordinary and part of any fuck-club, then it had a real edge. Once I was sitting down at the downstairs bar, having a beer and a breath, and there was a guy on the stool next to me. I sort of looked at him again, through my haze, and saw he had a tube running from his dick. At his feet he had a guy, tied and bound, blindfolded, with the tube from his dick ending in this guy’s mouth - taped of course, so he couldn’t get away. he just sat there and drank beer and recycled it.

There were some moments of real tenderness too, real meeting, that sense of intimacy that only comes after you’ve been deep inside each other, pushed each other’s nerves quite a way, that requires trust, and care, loving a stranger that you know you’ll most likely never see again.

And after it had closed, the St Marks baths were open. A cab ride over to the Village, and you could keep going.
So this was the gay culture we’d created, born out of the political dreams of the 60s, into the hedonistic 70s, and dragging itself through into the 80s.

And you know, I have to say, it was a lot of fun.

Just a shame about that little virus that had made its way into our world.

Tags: General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Nickypoo // May 9, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Them were the days, I often wonder how I came through unscathed {with aids} I was A right slut, in the 70’s 80’s in St.Kilda Melbourne. being a Hastings NZ boy. OH god those were the days my friend. Nicky.
    PS love your artical!

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