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Monday 08 November 2010


The Gay Blade

30th June 2010

Putting the “Sex” back into homosexuality.

Posted by: Michael Stevens

I haven’t written about sex in oh, at least an hour, so why not start again. Actually, it’s part of my job, doing my PhD, writing about sex and how gay men have sex - and I usually enjoy it - the writing I mean. Oh, and the fieldwork.

I’ve been thinking about what it was like when I was a baby-gay, back in the 70s when I was in my teens and coming out. Nearly all my initial contacts were sexual, until I was about 17 and started making gay friends, and as a teenage boy getting all that sex, I was very, very happy with that. Young, dumb and full of cum, as they say. Yes, I also wanted a boyfriend, and love, but like most teenage boys, I tended to think with my dick.

Suddenly there was a whole world of fun in front of me. And Gay Liberation actually had the message of sexual freedom at its core. We aren’t heterosexuals, so why form our social and sexual patterns on their models? If you want to go and fuck till sunrise every day, well why not? And a lot of guys did that.

That’s putting it a bit crudely, but there was a sense that we needed to move away from the judgmental and anti-pleasure aspect of so much of how the straight world saw us.There was a strong message of celebrating the body, celebrating the sexual. This didn’t mean you couldn’t fall in love and have a partner, but there was so much negativity about two (or more) men getting naked and having fun that Gay Lib thought it important to stress that there is nothing wrong with it.

Instead of the old message from society ‘You are evil sick perverts for doing that’ we took on a new “sex-positive” message instead, saying two (or more) men getting naked and having fun was a very good thing indeed - if that’s what you wanted. I remember at one of the first Gay Lib meetings I went to at uni being told how lucky we were as gay men - we could screw around as much as we liked and no-one would get pregnant, the worst that could happen was syphilis and that just needed some pills.

And then, along came AIDS.

And with it came a whole lot of finger-pointing and moralising, and an awful lot of people saw it as God’s punishment on filthy homos. Quite a lot of self-hating gay men did as well. And some still do - I’ve met them.

But there’s a mistake in  their logic. HIV can be transmitted by sex, but it’s not caused by sex.

Yet the old stupid, anti-pleasure messages keep coming through. I think NZ has quite a strong puritan streak to it - all those bloody missionaries had a bad effect. Christianity really doesn’t like anyone having a good time with their body. And I am surprised at how often I come across the attitude even today among some gay men, this idea that sex is bad, a sin, something that shouldn’t be talked about, shouldn’t be mentioned and the cause of all our woes. Then they disappear into a sauna, have sex, and feel terrible about themselves again. Sad really.

It doesn’t have to be like that! Sex is great ! Or it can be. No - It’s not the be-all and end-all of life, and sex is different from love, something a lot of gay men know very well. And when sex and love come together, well, that’s magic, that’s probably what we all want I guess. But even if I had the perfect partner, I suspect I’d still want to fuck around, and would expect it not to be a problem.

I’m still often utterly entranced by the random beauty of men I end up in bed with. Some are regular fuck-buddies, some are casual one-offs - but it’s rare that I end up naked with a guy and don’t find something beautiful and sexy in him. I hope that they feel the same way. And I know, I’m getting older, greyer, saggier, I’m not as desirable as I once was, but I don’t care too much.

It’s my body, and I like my body, and I like what I can do with it, and what can be done to it. And that’s enough for me.

Tags: General

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marco // Jun 30, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    While I agree with the sex positive message, I personally disagree with having the perfect partner but still sleeping around. Love and sex are inextricable intertwined electrochemically in the brain. I presents far to many emotional problems for me to consider it. Also, although using a condom greatly diminishes the risk, there are other health risks with oral sex, rimming etc. I would prefer not to catch ANY STI if possible, which is why I’ll stick with serial monogamy.

  • 2 fandh // Jun 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    sex is a bodily function, love is not. I had the best sex of my life with a random one-nighter and mostly boring sex with someone I truly loved. I don’t believe sex and love are intertwined except by social convention.

  • 3 Stanley // Jun 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Sex and love are completely different categories. While the first is known to be an urge (corporal impulse which tends to be satisfied) the second is a more complex psychological product of the mind best understood by the aspect of bonding (when we perceive someone valuable enough, then we tend to keep a relation with him/her/it). The concept of how and with whom varies greatly and is socially, as well as individually, defined. The preconceptions (in all of us) about what sex and love should be is what makes the turmoil or not, these two can be intertwined, but not necessarily. I prefer to blend them together !!!

  • 4 Jazza // Jul 1, 2010 at 8:50 am

    For me, personally, although I agree sex and love are completely different, the best sex I’ve ever had has been with those I am in love with (only two men ever). The feeling of being in love makes the sex all the more passionate. For me, those two different categories are best when fused together. But that’s just me though. I appreciate that we are all different.

  • 5 Matt // Jul 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    To be honest, i find this article both offensive and degrading. Why is it that you feel just because we are gay that we must distinguish ourselves from the norms of society. Yes, sex is fantastic, we all know it, but that doesnt mean you need to tramp yourself about constantly to different men. Its idiotic people like this who lead to having to deal with dirty old people, and ignorant twats discussing how horny they are all the time. To be honest, theres nothing more humiliating than the ‘gay scene’ that seems to have been designed as nothing more than a way of furthering ourselves from the real world. Im gay, but i dont see any sense in the way people like this act. Overall, nz is quite accepting of the people of a homosexual nature, so get off your high horse. And to be honest, you obviously dont understand the idea of love. If you loved someone, how could you sleep about on them. This seems to be a prolific issue with gay men, as though the idea of being faithful is to be avoided as it is ‘to christian’ for you. I think its about time gay people re-analysed there agenda if the general consensus is anything like how you put it. Its really nothing but humiliating

  • 6 John // Jul 2, 2010 at 12:16 am

    I also found your blog highly offensive. Sorry I think you are very misguided with your views, and it’s people like you that give ‘normal’ regular gay guys a bad name. It’s ironic you have ended up the way you have, and your casual approach to sex is evidence of this.

  • 7 Frankie // Jul 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I think the judgemental tone of both Matt#5 and John#6
    illustrates perfectly what Michael is talking about…..if you don’t like it don’t do it, but don’t get all self righteous if other people choose differently…. ‘normal’???? What’s that? Who gets to define it? Nobody else gets to define it for me, only for themselves.

  • 8 sappho // Jul 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    …i promise to refrain from vitriol… or at least try….
    and i’ll qualify my statements up-front by saying that i’m not a ‘gay man’…
    honestly some of you people should read your social history. listening to you, i think(again) we have achieved nothing since the ’60’s, despite all the blood, sweat, and tears of brave people.

    matt: “to be honest, you obviously dont understand the idea of love. If you loved someone, how could you sleep about on them.”

    how can you confuse the idea of ‘love’ with such dependency and possessiveness?? this is emotionally adolescent, the antithesis of adult mature love. i think you have issues. please get a therapist.

    surely if you actually love someone, you love them purely for who they are, and have no need to tie yourself in knots over what they do with other people, what you do with other people, whether they ‘make’ you happy/ ’satisfy’ you/ whatever (eek!).
    if you want to be part of the ‘normal’ (recently contrived, highly dysfunctional) relationship paradigms of the heterosexual mainstream world, go ahead. but please don’t insult the intelligence of your fellow queers by thinking we are all so emotionally crippled and ethically challenged. some of us are still trying to build a better world, by being honest in our relationships; valuing and loving our partners for themselves rather than the ‘role’ they fill; taking responsibility for our own sexual well-being rather than demanding someone else do it for us….
    if you find this challenging, fine. if you feel this is beyond you, and you only want a simple and safe suburban love-life, fine. that’s your choice. but don’t shoot down the people who want more out of life, and a better world for the next generation.

    …and matt, if you leave the rainbow bubble of central city, you’ll realise that nz hasn’t really changed that much since we were kids. it’s still pretty hostile out there.

    …and john, valuing sex too highly to subvert it to ‘normal’ relationship conventions is not a casual approach… it’s actually taking sex much more seriously than most ‘monogamous’ people.

    ok…. i think that’s enough from me…

  • 9 Matt // Jul 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Im sorry, but i dont see how you qualify that as emotionally adolescent. What is possesive about being faithful to a person of whom you care enough about to love tell them you love them. You are obviously deficient in your abilities to make certain connections with people that would prevent other from cheating on there partner. Maybe you live in some whimsical little world where you dont need such basic understandings, but others of us live in the real world bud. and to be quite honest, are you that insecure in what you have said that you needed to demean me by suggesting i seek a therapist? I suggest you keep your cock in your pants and stop justifying loose ways.

    Furthermore, you have displayed quite a lack of intelligence in what you have said. How is it a better world when you tell one person you love them, yet sleep with another. Im sorry, but in most peoples books that is a sorry state of ethical affairs. And dont go making your argument under the quise of ’sexual well being’, just be honest and say you have a high sex drive that can’t be contained to any one particular person. This in no way helps the next generation, but rather enforces an idea of unfaithfulness, and is nothing but embarising with ideas of gay men being loose or fickle becoming ever more prevalent.

    Last of all i would just like to say, no wrong again. Where is it so hostile out there? Perhaps if you go to some far off hick settlement maybe some people are still hostile. But from my experience of living in a small town, i have found people are largely accepting as time passes. I think the world has become a more accepting and open place, yes there is obviously further progress to be made, but hey, rome wasnt built in a day. And to be honest, if there are people like you spreading around your ideas of relationships and love, then i can see that progress being somewhat stinted.

    Cheers, thats my little rant… And by the way, opinions are opinions, some just better than others, if you know what i mean

  • 10 sappho // Jul 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    i apologise for the therapy comment, it was uncalled for. however the adolescent statement stands. not as a personal comment, but concerning the take on love and relationships.
    i’m not speaking out of insecurity, but possibly i’m somewhat passionate about the subject.
    i actually do have deep, meaningful, connected relationships. some of them are long-term (10-15 years), there is commitment and loyalty, and it’s not BASED on sex. what i am trying to say is that it is demeaning and diminishing to both love and sex to confuse them. each is far too valuable and far too important to be tied up in the other. it is also a terrible limitation of the human capacity for love, to think it can only extend to one person at a time! how ridiculous! would you say that a parent can only love one child?!? and that they cannot love their partner at the same time? or their sister? of course each of these is different, but not because the ‘relationship’ is different, but because the PERSON is different. i love each friend or lover as a PERSON. as an INDIVIDUAL. whether or not there is sex depends… but it does not define the relationship, nor does it limit any other relationship. anything less would be disrespectful to them, and to myself.

  • 11 Frankie // Jul 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Sleeping with someone other than your primary partner is only ‘cheating’ if you have agreed to be monogamously coupled. I believe there are many ways to be happy, if monogamy blows your skirt up then fine. That doesn’t give you the right to denigrate the choices other people make.

  • 12 Matt // Jul 5, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Im sorry, but sleeping with someone other than your primary partner is plain trashy. It shows a lack of character and commitment, saying otherwise is just an attempt at justifying the lewd act that you obviously feel comfortable with carrying out

  • 13 John // Jul 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I completely agree Matt! Those who agree with this blog are just trying to defend the indefensible.
    I get sick and tired of gay issues always revolving around sex. And Sappho, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re in the same ‘Boat’ as the blogger.. you really do sound ethically challenged..The fact of the matter is, you don’t get HIV by being in a loving relationship …. so go figure.

  • 14 Frankie // Jul 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Matt…you know nothing about me or the lifestyle choices I make, simply that I have defended the right of individuals to make their own choices without fear of denigration from those who might choose otherwise…the judgemental, attacking tone of your reply shows me that you are not interested in entertaining ideas different from your own and further, that you seem to believe there is only one right way to be. Celebrating diversity? Only if it’s just like yours huh?

  • 15 Ethan // Jul 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    This article makes me feel stronger than ever that the ‘gay community’ is something I don’t want to be a part of.

    Sorry, I wholly disagree with sleeping around while you are seeing someone.

  • 16 John // Jul 6, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I know what you mean Ethan ..

  • 17 Matt // Jul 7, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Finally, some people with sense 8)

  • 18 Frankie // Jul 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    *sigh* The point here is that your agreement or disagreement is irrelevant. You are (or should be) entirely free to live as you choose, without interference from others who may disagree with those choices i.e. fundamentalist christians. The responsibility that goes along with that right is to give other people the same courtesy. It’s a shame you can’t seem to grasp such a basic concept.

  • 19 Jason // Jul 7, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I enjoyed this Michael! Thank you! I also enjoyed reading through the conversation which follows. Frankie and Sappho… you have FAR more patience than me when it comes to dealing with the blind ignorance and arrogance you ave tried to reply to hear. On a day with more energy I would join your battle… but I sense you might be fighting a losing war. A quick summation though: Is it a truly beautiful thing that gay men can exist outside of the social and moral constructions of a (constrained) normative heterosexuality while making their own rules as to how their loving and sexual relationships operate? YES! Is it a sad and ugly thing that people (especially fellow gay men) cannot value and appreacite the decisions of their peers as intelligent and free choices without judgement? YES! Hugs to all who love! Hugs to all who have sex! xx

  • 20 Makinson // Sep 6, 2010 at 5:35 am

  • 21 Asher // Sep 16, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I don’t want to get into this argument about the gay community or peoples choices. But I believe that love and sex exist separately and that neither requires the other. Yes, sex with someone you love is generally more intimate and emotionally fulfilling. I also don’t believe myself in monogamous relationships, whether its be gay or straight, as long as everything is kept honest. Lying and betrayal is what hurts about cheating. Although, if I were in a happy, fulfilling relationship I wouldn’t find the need to sleep with other people but would not want to restrict myself or my partner. But since I don’t usually give out I use it as an excuse to prolong the time before I do lol. Just go sleep with someone else xP

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