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Gay Activists Obsessed With Straights’ Thoughts on Gay Sex?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:02 pm - January 30, 2006.
Filed under: Gay PC Silliness

About ten years ago, in their very smart book, Perfect Enemies: The Religious Right, the Gay Movement, and the Politics of the 1990s, Chris Bull and John Gallagher wrote, “Religious conservatives and gay activists have become perfect enemies, propelling each other’s movement and affecting the politics of the country as a whole.” As perfect enemies not only are the “remarkably alike in their tactics,” as those writers observe, but remarkably alike as well in their obsession with gay sex. Social conservatives have accused gay people of engaging in sexual behavior that I did not know existed until I read their attacks on our community. Some gay activists write openly about their sex lives (in blogs and columns) and get all worked up about perceived threats to their sexual freedom.

It thus should perhaps not have surprised me to read the last question Bruce C. Steele asked Peter Shalit about his father Gene’s review of Brokeback Mountain in an interview published in the February 14, 2006 Advocate. Recalling how the elder Shalit described Jack Gyllenhaal’s Jack Twist as a “sexual predator” in that flick, Steele wondered if it was “possible that even though your father loves you, his review reflects his deep-seated disgust with gay sex?” To this strange question, the younger Shalit delivered the perfect response, “I don’t know. What does any straight person think of gay sex?”

As this is not the first time that I have read a gay writer ascribe straight people’s prejudices (or perceived prejudice) to a disgust with gay sex, I wondered why so many gay activists are obsessed with what straight people think about our sex lives. I have many straight and lesbian friends and we very rarely talk about each other’s sex lives. Perhaps if I really thought about some of the things they do, I might be disgusted. But, so what? I’m not going to like my friends any less because of what they do — or what I perceive they do — in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

The bottom line should not be whether or not people “approve” of what we do in our bedrooms, but that they allow us the freedom to do those things. With his question, Mr. Steele seems a perfect reflection of social conservatives who delight in pointing out some of the things we do (or are alleged to do) in the privacy of our own homes. On the one hand, some gay activists are concerned that straight people might be disgusted by such actions. On the other, social conservatives want straight people to be so disgusted.

And then there are those of us, quite possibly the great majority of gay people — and hopefully of straight people as well — who don’t really concern ourselves with the sexual behavior of other people (providing of course they’re not molesting children or violating unwilling adults). If straight people accept us as we are, inviting us and our dates into their homes, just as they would invite other straight people (and their dates) into their homes and not holding our difference against us, then we needn’t concern ourselves about whether or not they’re disgusted with gay sex. Because I’m sure that most of them aren’t wondering what we think about straight sex.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

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29 Comments

  1. Really.

    Who talks about sex all the time like they’re still 14? Who in their right mind would define themselves, or let themselves be defined, based primarily on their sex life?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 30, 2006 @ 7:32 pm - January 30, 2006

  2. In between sets at gigs, I often get straight guys inqure to know who, lets see how to phrase this, is the “girl” in the relationship. Sometimes I want to ask how often they f**k their wife / girlfriend in the ars. But I understand it’s a curiosity thing, wondering about the unfamiliar.

    Comment by sonicfrog — January 30, 2006 @ 7:33 pm - January 30, 2006

  3. Good Post

    My thoughts on this subject..First, this is not a perfect analogy, don’t give me any ‘how dare you’ comments, I don’t care.

    I think the biggest problem is the liberal gays.

    Analogy; Southern Babtists for the most part frown on drinking; Catholics do drink. For the most part, Catholics don’t go into the babtist church throwing wine (condems) at the parishioners. For the most part, Catholics don’t go around to businesses and residents of Babtists and try to make them sign a petition to make the ‘dry’ county wet, to legalise alcohol, and if they refuse picket the business and boycott them for “forcing their religious views’ on them; If this did happen the Babtist may picket the catholic church and tell them they we’re going to hell because at this point they would hate each other. The babtist today know the Catholics drink and don’t agree but its no big deal. The Catholics drink and don’t give a rats ass that the Babtists think its wrong. Why? Cause a Catholic can drink in the privacy of his own home. If he stood outside the babtists home drinking wine and screaming at the Babtist, that would be different. If the Catholics have enough voters they could legalise drinking. They don’t and they know it. Maybe one day they will; but they won’t if they keep spitting on Babtists. As long as the Catholics don’t get a “Drinking is good and if you don’t accept it , thats your ass” attitude some of those Babtist may come around.

    Babtists and Catholics don’t agree on many things; Babtists would never call the Minister Father; But they both don’t force the issue.

    The whole liberal mindset is We are right and you WILL accept or we will assasinate your character. MLK brought civil rights to blacks using peace. burning cities down only gave fuel his detractors.

    Anyway not a perfect analogy, but in your face never works..I don’t care what happens in the bedroom, gay or straight, most people don’t..

    Comment by greenmiler — January 30, 2006 @ 7:45 pm - January 30, 2006

  4. #2 If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve heard that question….

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 30, 2006 @ 7:50 pm - January 30, 2006

  5. I think it’s more like ugly-Americans who go to Canada and ask them “What do you think of us up here?”

    Invariably the answer is “We don’t.”

    The gay Left in America today is so obsessed with themselves they can’t fathom a world in which they’re ignored. The Religious Right gives them purpose. Without them, they in many instances have to fabricate opposition or otherwise make themselves so outrageous as to elicit some sort of reaction.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 30, 2006 @ 7:54 pm - January 30, 2006

  6. Does it really matter what straights think of gay sex? There are sexually acts that give me the ick factor, done by straights or gays, that is why I don’t do them. If figure as long as both parties are in agreement, and they are of legal age, they can do whatever the heck they want in the privacy of their home, but I am not sure why it is important that straight people have no ick factor on this one.

    Comment by Just Me — January 30, 2006 @ 8:46 pm - January 30, 2006

  7. GPW, sometimes your just such a…young gay man. Gather round Grandpa’s fireplace for some storytelling.

    A few things to remember:

    Prior to the 70’s there wasn’t really a sexual identity or orientation ascribed to gay men. So the only way it could be discussed was in terms of sexual behavior. “Gay” as a noun, didn’t exist. There was also a great deal of disagreement over whether being gay was a mental illness rather than orientation. So this once again refers to behavior. Some of the very first gay rights rallies or protests had a theme of “Don’t look down on us because we are gay, we are just sick” mentality rather than one of pride in being who you are.

    Most liberal activists of today, including those at the major gay rights organizations are trapped, stuck, cemented even, in the 60’s-70’s style of public activism. So they are very influenced by the ideas of the Sexual Revolution in terms of things like choice and sexual behavior. If it feels good do it was the motto of the times.

    One last point: Probably the reason your straight friends are your friends is that they don’t obsess about gay sex. Other than the usual curiosity. So your sample population may be biased in your favor. lol.

    But if you go out and talk to people who are not your friends and even dislike you because of your orientation, such as the anti-gay activists, the ex-gay movement, or just evangelical church-goer’s, you will see that they often seem surprised that you are a person. They don’t see you as a gay man, they see you as a straight man acting with deviant behavior. The idea that you are gay whether or not you are having “gay sex” at the time doesn’t show up on their radar. So they are not as much obsessed about gay sex, as that they simply don’t grasp the concept of a homosexual sexual orientation. They can’t (and usually refuse to,) see it on any other terms than as sexual behavior.

    So they only thing they can reference us by is what we do in bed. Who we are as a person doesn’t matter, for practical purposes, we don’t exist.

    So put these two people, both a liberal and an anti-gay activist, into a room together. In five minutes what are they talking about ? -Sex. And for the most part, it’s that discussion that America sees every night on it’s TV.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 30, 2006 @ 9:09 pm - January 30, 2006

  8. Gryph, sometimes your [sic] just such a… person who thinks he knows way more than he does know.

    “Prior to the 70’s there wasn’t really a sexual identity or orientation ascribed to gay men.”

    False. The word “homosexual” was coined in the 1800s. As a 20th-century artifact, “gay” is merely slang for that term. Actually, the word “gay” was coined in France in the Middle Ages. Most cultures have historically known about gay people (implicitly, the orientation) and had a word for them.

    “There was also a great deal of disagreement over whether being gay was a mental illness rather than orientation.”

    Not qualitatively different from today. Freud knew about homosexual orientation, yes ORIENTATION. While he did try to advance psychoanalytic theories about the distant father and over-involved mother, he always conceded – even emphasized – that many straight people also had distant fathers and over-involved mothers, and that homosexuality could not develop without the aid of something intrinsic or constitutional in the person. This is little-remembered today (as people like you pride themselves on how far we’ve come), but is true nonetheless.

    “Most liberal activists of today, including those at the major gay rights organizations are trapped, stuck, cemented even, in the 60’s-70’s style of public activism.”

    To be precise: in LEFT activism. The early modern gay movement (early 1970s; begun from Stonewall in 1969) called itself the Gay LIBERATION movement, modelling itself consciously on Black Liberation, Women’s Lib, Vietnamese (Northern) Liberation, Che Guevara and the American Communist Party.

    That today’s big public activists are stuck in the Left mindset, you are 100% right about.

    “…if you go out and talk to people who are not your friends… evangelical church-goer’s, you will see that they often seem surprised that you are a person. They don’t see you as a gay man…they simply don’t grasp the concept of a homosexual sexual orientation.”

    False, in my experience. Gryph, you desperately need to get out and talk to a LOT more of those people.

    “So put these two people, both a liberal and an anti-gay activist, into a room together. In five minutes what are they talking about ? -Sex. ”

    And it only takes one of them – the liberal – to start that conversation.

    Overall: Gryph, what was your point? GPW’s was that gay Left activists seem to like to talk about themselves an awful lot, including their sex lives, and are somewhat obsessed with what they imagine straights are thinking about them (the gay activists). Nothing you’ve said disproves that. In fact, the reverse. You’ve given a good demonstration of it. You gave your explanation, filled with fallacies, about why you imagine some straights are indeed obsessed with your sex life.

    Comment by Calarato — January 30, 2006 @ 9:31 pm - January 30, 2006

  9. Whenever a person — of any ideology or orientation — asks me about my sex life (“what I do” in bed), I think pretty much the same thing a straight woman would likely think in the same situation: that my answer to the question will certainly reveal less about me than this poor fool’s question has about him or her. And my standard reply is (A) “none of your damned business” and (B) “get your brain out of your shorts.”

    Liberal gay zealots and Right-Wing religious zealots do, indeed give each other a reason to keep on living. If the rest of us all just gave them what they deserve and laughed at them, eventually they would shut up and go away.

    Comment by Lori Heine — January 30, 2006 @ 10:14 pm - January 30, 2006

  10. When I get that question, I make them pay for it. I ask them how much they want to know, or if they wnat to find out right now, or if they want to know if they are (already) doing it right, or whatever. The last question works on a basis of homphobia, which is the point really in that particualr situation. But that’s as cruel as it ever gets. I don’t ask them if they are strangely drawn to the smell of nuoc mam or things llike that.

    Comment by Jim — January 30, 2006 @ 11:46 pm - January 30, 2006

  11. The questions are, for the most part, not meant to be demeaning. Straights just relate to sex in the male / female paradigm. The question is annoying, but I understand (I’m tolerant) it is not often that they can approach a gay person and feel comfortable enough to even ask. They’re just curious about something different, and who’s on top is only way they know to relate. It’s a sex stereotype. Plus, when young(ish) guys are together, they often talk about something sex-oriented. And when gay guys are poking jabs at one another, the usual insult is “You’re such a Bottom / Top / Middle / Rice Queen… etc. So I guess we do it too.

    PS. I don’t step up to the mike at gigs and go “Hey Everyone, We’re Chris Plays Guitar and I’m Gay”. No, it’s the rhythm guitarist who outs me on stage. I guess now it’s part of our gimmick.

    Comment by sonicfrog — January 31, 2006 @ 1:19 am - January 31, 2006

  12. #7

    Is that why the pride parades which, as I understand it, are supposed to commemorate Stonewall, don’t have anything to do with it anymore?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 31, 2006 @ 2:11 am - January 31, 2006

  13. TGC, no, Pride parades are not meant to “commemorate Stonewall”. They are meant to be parties. It is highly unlikely that many of the participants or the observers have any recollection of Stonewall.

    There are even gay pride parades in West Europe and in some parts of Europe. In Germany (with which I am most familiar) they call them “Christopher Street Parades” with due reference to Christopher Street in the West Village.

    Comment by raj — January 31, 2006 @ 8:50 am - January 31, 2006

  14. I was in Sheridan Square the night of the Stonewall “riots”, and can tell you first hand what it was like. In thoses days bar busts were not uncommon. Particularly THAT bar, which was popular with drag queens. The unusual thing about that night was , they fought back. A first! Other than that , it wasn’t a big deal. More of a scuffle. The more popular bar, right down the street was Julius’. A street level place with windows! Popular with the “Kennedy haircut, sweater crowd.” Bill Frist would have fit right in;). It was busted from time to time. But not often, because it was a closeted place.

    As far as gay “libetration” being modeled on anything (most specifically Che, or the Communists. Please.) that isn’t true at all. Everything was “liberation” in those days. It was a much more naive time than one can imagine from our perspective today. No AIDS. No internet.

    “False. The word “homosexual” was coined in the 1800s. As a 20th-century artifact, “gay” is merely slang for that term. Actually, the word “gay” was coined in France in the Middle Ages. Most cultures have historically known about gay people (implicitly, the orientation) and had a word for them.”

    This may be what you learn in school. But in actual fact, the word “gay” was very new in the 60s. It was used, but rarely. The common word was “queer”, and the code was “friend of Dorothy” for those who knew.

    The Gay Pride Parade did begin as a commemoration of that night. That’s why even today, it ends in Sheridan Square. The Stonewall and Julius’ still exist BTW.

    On topic: One of huge gains from those days, is that I don’t believe people care that much about what other people do in bed. I have one or two straight male friends who share sex stories with me. And they don’t anything I don’t do, and vice versa.
    Gay/straight, it’s just sex. No big deal.

    I’d like to say “ah the good old days”. But they weren’t all that great. Carpe Diem.

    Comment by hank — January 31, 2006 @ 9:56 am - January 31, 2006

  15. Regarding curiosity of sexual behavior….I have a dear friend who is gay, and couple of times we have talked about sexual behavior – me being a straight female and he a gay male. It was more an exchange. We were both amazed to find that the same problems exist on either side (insensitivity, demands, size counts/doesn’t count, etc.) Was I curious about what he did? Hell yes! I have never been close enough to a gay person to ask that personal question – but I wasn’t disrespectful. And he was curious about what I did as a straight woman. Yes, there are jerks out there that are just trying to be rude, but often questions might be more out of curiosity than anything else. And knowing that the same problems that straights have affect gay relationships gave us even more common ground, in addition to our common interests. (Aside: I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist, then Pentacostal – so there were NO questions allowed about sex. Period. And certainly not about homosexual sex lives.) I would like to think we are not defined by our sex lives, but rather by who we are. Perhaps one day….

    Comment by Arielle — January 31, 2006 @ 11:38 am - January 31, 2006

  16. The whole liberal mindset is We are right and you WILL accept or we will assasinate your character. MLK brought civil rights to blacks using peace. burning cities down only gave fuel his detractors.

    Anyway not a perfect analogy, but in your face never works..I don’t care what happens in the bedroom, gay or straight, most people don’t..

    Comment by greenmiler — January 30, 2006 @ 7:45 pm – January 30, 2006

    Hmm Thats funny – Everything the Religious Repugs talk abotu is Gays and Gay sex..that’s all they seem to think about…they don’t worry about Poverty, homelessness, abused children, hunger – Nah – thiey’re too busy worrying about Gay sex….Repugs and thier FAKE “Family Value” BS make me sick. …..they forget Gays and Lesbians have children/families….or they don’t forget – THEY DON’T CARE!

    Comment by moderate gay — January 31, 2006 @ 12:37 pm - January 31, 2006

  17. Dear Lord! – asking someone what goes on in their bedroom is akin to asking how much money they have in their bank account! Vulgar and crass!

    I couldn’t imagine asking (as I have a vivid and active imagination, as do most creative and exceptionally intelligent people) it would be like forcing myself to watch it. Ugh! As Vera has decidedly limited experience and no interest in other peoples sexual proclivities -and a weak stomach- a true medical emergency could result with such a question.

    As for Vera being asked, the Neanderthal asking would get a quick, chilly response of “none of you business” and a lengthy lesson on social manners and impolite questions. Similar to the time Vera was asked her “true hair color”. Additional social ostracisms would be used as necessary.

    “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” ~Emily Post

    “Or who you f*ck.” ~ Vera Charles

    Comment by Vera Charles — January 31, 2006 @ 2:58 pm - January 31, 2006

  18. #14 hank — January 31, 2006 @ 9:56 am – January 31, 2006

    The first (regarding the coining of the term “homosexual” is correct. It was an invention of late 19th century psycho-social activity.

    Regarding “gay,” I will merely point out that the Oxford English Dictionary (2d Edition) points “gay” as a British reference to “libertine” several hundreds of years ago, and a reference to homosexuals since at least the 1920s. American gays brought it into the mainstream (with such pseudo liberal publications as the NYTimes kicking and screaming–long time editor Abe Rosenthal forbad its use into the mid 1980s), much as the gays in Germany recovered the use of “Schwuel” (“gay”) from its former derogatory status.

    Comment by raj — February 1, 2006 @ 7:43 am - February 1, 2006

  19. Yes, that may be true. I’m only sharing first hand experience.

    Comment by hank — February 1, 2006 @ 8:09 am - February 1, 2006

  20. I make a point of reading commentaries on a variety of sites and blogs (e.g., LGF, FreeRepublic, Exgaywatch) and one thing I’ve noticed about the more pronounced right-wing blogs is that when the subject of gay men comes up, there’s often a chorus of “Ugh, they’re disgusting, they f**k each other in the a**!” This is often punctuated by images of wildly extreme drag queens at Pride parades.

    It does seem likely that the straight friends of moderate-to-conservative (in social style, if not politics) gay men are those with a low ‘squick factor’ when it comes to men having sex with each other. That does not equate to ‘straight people don’t think about gay sex’ – the ones who are most emphatically against gay men being left alone (by government, religion, society in general) seem to be the ones who find gay sex most emphatically disgusting.

    Comment by Robert — February 1, 2006 @ 1:42 pm - February 1, 2006

  21. Not to spend time on hank, but just to add something to #18…

    German “schwuel” literally means “humid”, I believe. In the same way as “gay” literally means “festive” or some such. The translation to “homosexual” is slang or secondary.

    Comment by Calarato — February 1, 2006 @ 2:33 pm - February 1, 2006

  22. P.S. Many Germans will use “schwul” for homosexual, rather than “schwuel”. The way German works, they are 2 distinct words. But my native-born German professor used “schwuel”, and gave the explanation I gave.

    Comment by Calarato — February 1, 2006 @ 2:36 pm - February 1, 2006

  23. I WAS THERE.

    Comment by hank — February 1, 2006 @ 5:47 pm - February 1, 2006

  24. You mean, in Germany? (didn’t read #18 – would violate my 15 minutes on you)

    I was in Germany too. I can vouch for “schwul” and “schwuel” used for “homosexual”.

    Comment by greek_chorus — February 1, 2006 @ 8:10 pm - February 1, 2006

  25. Sorry about that – it’s me. greek_chorus is a GP-reading friend who showed me the post on his laptop.

    Comment by Calarato — February 1, 2006 @ 8:15 pm - February 1, 2006

  26. Ok. I believe that you are right about this. However, I really was present at the “riot”.
    I only offer firsthand , eyewitness acounts of that time. Do you not believe me?
    I didn’t post all that to make you mad. Just to tell what it was like at the time.
    Not in academic terms. Just the was it was.

    Comment by hank — February 1, 2006 @ 8:21 pm - February 1, 2006

  27. hank, I am sorry but I am telling the truth about the new 15 minute limit and only looking into your very shortest of posts after I hit it for that day.

    We have got to set a limit on this back-and-forth – or at least I have got to do my part in setting a limit – this is my way.

    So I really wrote #21 / #22 as pure info (piled on #18), without reference to anything you wrote. If I don’t hit the limit tomorrow with you in other threads, I will come back and read what you are talking about here.

    Comment by Calarato — February 1, 2006 @ 9:50 pm - February 1, 2006

  28. hank – New day, new 15 minutes of time for you – but I already spent it here. So I’m afraid I still won’t be able to read the posts of yours I’ve ignored (i.e. never read) in this thread. Sorry.

    Comment by Calarato — February 2, 2006 @ 1:24 pm - February 2, 2006

  29. I personally don’t have a problem with straight people or even self-loathing gays being disgusted with gay sex. When I was in college, an anti-gay group was saying why they thought why homosexuality was bad (mmkay), and one of the reasons they gave was their description of a gay sexual activity. Even with my very limited scope of gay sex knowledge back then, I seriously doubted that even 1% of gay people engaged in that particular behavior, and also wondered how this anti-gay group thought they knew what gay people do for sex. Since then, I have also heard groups spewing how unnatural, unhealthy, etc. gay sex is. So the problem I have is that some anti-gay groups use it as a reason for demonizing homosexuality when it is unfair, or worse yet, inaccurate. Personally, I may find it disgusting that anyone could have sex with, say, a former senator from North Carolina. However, I have never argued that he and others in the straight community should be barred from having sex, or should have less rights than anyone else. Anyway, that’s the problem that way I see it.

    As for gay people advertising their sexual activities, all I can say is that a lot of people, gay or straight, seem to enjoy doing it. To each his/her own.

    Comment by Pat — February 2, 2006 @ 2:04 pm - February 2, 2006

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