Gay Patriot Header Image

Lesbians more likely to wed than gay men

“Men,” writes David K. Li in the New York Post, “have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar – whether they’re straight or gay.

While several studies have suggested that there are more gay men than lesbians, there have been more lesbian marriages than gay (male) ones by a margin of 3-to-2.  Since the Nutmeg State, for example, recognized same-sex marriages, “3,252 lesbian couples have wed . . . compared with just 2,053 gay guys.”

It does seem women seek to “nest” more than do men.  Guess some of our male fellows just prefer being the lone wolf.

(This is not the first time I’ve noted this phenomenon, but as I came across the (relatively recent) article while surfing the web, thought I would share it with y’all.)

Discovering Cheetahs

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:12 pm - May 7, 2011.
Filed under: Dating,LA Stories,Lesbians Trapped in Men's Bodies

Earlier this week, I was chatting with a friend of mine, a spirited and savvy lesbian north of 50.  She was a little giddy after having just met a fetching young woman who appeared to be very much her type.  Those in our group expressed optimism that things might work out between our single friend and the young lady whose acquaintance she had just made.  But, she worried about the age difference — greater than a quarter century.

Fumbling for words, I tried to recall that term for older woman who like younger women.  Knowing it was a wild and fierce cat, I said, “Maybe she likes cheetahs.”

“Cheetahs?”  She said.

“You know older women who like younger women.”

She corrected me and said the term I was looking for was “cougars” — older women who date younger men.

A cheetah ready to pounce

So, we decided to adopt a new term, a cheetah for an older lesbian who dates younger women. And a kitten is a young lesbian who likes cheetahs.

On lesbian bed death and ex-gays

Several years ago when volunteering at Outfest, I ended up the sole male in a conclave of lesbians.  When the conversation turned to sex, I learned a new term, “lesbian bed death.”  A young woman in the group who quite enjoyed, shall we say, intimate encounters with members of her own sex, denounced those older ladies who don’t have such encounters as regularly as did she.

When she became older, she vowed, she would continue to be as active as she then was.  She seemed almost angry at her older counterparts for not partaking as much as she did.  I interjected that maybe, as she aged, she would come to value other things more.  But, she was adamant. She would remain sexually active throughout her life.  As should all women.

Now, I had never previously heard the term — and would later learn the notion has often been discussed, its conclusion has also been disputed:

But where did this idea of “lesbian bed death” come from? Thank sociologist Pepper Schwartz, who, in her 1983 book American Couples, asserted that lesbians have less sex and intimacy than other couples. Although her methodology and results were later challenged, the idea of lesbian bed death has taken on a life of its own, with damaging results.

Despite the shibboleth that women’s sexuality is something wild that has to be controlled, and the stereotype of lesbians as the asexual mirror-image of horndog gay men, the truth lies somewhere in between: Lesbians who have been sleeping together for decades manage to keep their love lives spicy. Besides, the lesbians who are in long-term relationships would argue that all couples get tired of marathon sex.

As I pondered this notion that summer when it seemed I was exclusively managing theaters screening women’s films with overwhelmingly female patrons, I noted that most of the older lesbian couples seemed perfectly happy.  If a healthy sex life is conducive to human happiness, then clearly these women had such a life.

Perhaps, some of those (apparently) happy couples did indeed suffer from bed death.  Could it be that at a certain stage in the relationship, physical intimacy is no longer necessary to maintain emotional intimacy, that is, they didn’t need sex to remain connected?

Or, simply put, I was asking if a committed couple could indeed find happiness without having an active sex life? (more…)

On gender difference & political correctness

I’m ambivalent about gay marriage in part because, in studying the history of the institution, we learn it is defined by gender difference.  Up until the 1990s, those cultures which have recognized same-sex unions either called  them something different than marriage or, if they did call them marriage, required one partner to live in the guise of the opposite sex.

And while today, we do not define gender roles as strictly as did most societies until the second half of the century just concluded — and as do many nations around the world, particularly the Islamic world, we can still see differences between the genders, particularly in the gay community.  Just contrast how gay men and lesbians relate to one another.

Despite these noticeable differences, the politically correct voices in academia and the gay movement, balk at acknowledging the reality of this experience.  In one breath, they tell us gender is a social construct, but in the next, they tell us sexual orientation is predetermined, it is, so speak, encoded in our DNA, leading blogger Gregory of Yardale to ask:

How is it the left can simultaneously claim that gender is a purely social construct, but homosexuality is determined by genetics?

Gender differences are more than just physiological, and our sexual orientation may well develop from a great variety of factors, some nature, some nurture.

Men Aren’t Pigs

Among the many troubling things the non-monogamous “married” man Eric Erbelding said to the New York Times was his repetition of the refrain we hear all too often, particularly from gay men, that “Men are pigs.

Granted, given our natural inclination to (for lack of better term) to “spread our seed,” we men do seem to find it more difficult to control our sexual inclination. But, control it we can. The pig of this metaphor cannot.

Yes, monogamy is a greater challenge for men than it is for women. There just seems to be something in the makeup of our gender which we see readily when comparing gay men to lesbians, the former more eager to hook up, the latter to nest. I guess one reason I relate well to lesbians is that I just don’t get those who want a sexual encounter to end with the orgasm. But, many men do.

The point is that we men do have this instinct, but we also have the ability to control it, to see the body with whom we seek pleasure as human being with whom we can relate on more than just a physical level.

Marriage has long existed as an institution which channels our sexual instinct into a fulfilling emotional relationships. The fact that so many married men have remained faithful to their wives proves that men, unlike that metaphorical pig, can indeed be tamed and can commit to a monogamous relationship.

Indeed, many men elect monogamy even without the benefit of matrimony.

The expression, “men are pigs,” becomes an excuse to prevent men from the challenging and often embarrassing work of intimacy. That intimacy, getting to know each other often, as Rabbi Meier observed, causes us to reveal our weaknesses and vulnerabilities to our partner. And some men want to use our gender to dodge these challenges and avoid this exposure. And as an excuse for our sexual exploits.

If that’s how some men want to exercise their natural instinct, that’s their choice. But, recall that marriage is an institution which, for as long as we have recorded knowledge of it, has served to tame that instinct.

If men are pigs, we are not worthy of marriage. But, I’m not one who subscribes to that narrow notion of our gender. To be sure, we do have piggish qualities, but we also have more noble ones. And marriage helps bring the latter out. At least it should.

Related: Gay Men, Vulnerability & Relationship

Norah Speaks; GPW in His Element

I just got back from a discussion and signing of Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back, the wonderful book by Norah Vincent, a graduate, like yours truly of America’s finest small college. I had reviewed the book last February and still ***highly recommend*** it. In the book, Norah recounts her experiences living for eighteen months as a man and offers observations on what she learned in that guise.

Perhaps due to her excellent college education, Norah did not do a traditional reading where an author reads a select passage from her (or his) book to whet book-buyers’ appetite for the rest of her work. Instead, she led a discussion, more like a college seminar than anything else. And yours truly was truly, truly in his element, frequently chiming in, noting how lesbians seemed to get relationships right and defending the book’s fifth chapter — about her experiences in a monastery — as one of the best. Two men (one gay, the other straight) who otherwise enjoyed the book did not particularly like that section of the book.

I liked that chapter because it was there that she realized how women serve “communicators, the interlocutors between men and themselves, men and their children and even men and each other.” She became aware of the absence of intimacy in the all-male environment of the monastery.

What was interesting about the conversation tonight was that we (that is, those who came to hear Norah) basically agreed with those who commented to my recent post on Vulnerabilty that our difficulty relating to one another has more to do with our gender than our orientation. Women seem to “get” relationships better than men.

There was, however, disagreement on whether or not women could really “tame” (my word which I acknowledge is perhaps a bit too clunky) men and that we would always be driven to stray. I got into a heated discussion with a gay physician, disagreeing on the ability of men to settle down. I believed we are capable of that. He was dubious. And to show you how I differ from many gay men, I gave him my card not because he was my type, but because I enjoyed our exchange. It seemed one could have a great conversation with him.

The conversation tonight reminds me why I loved Norah’s book so much. That it’s one of those works which really gets at important matters — and does so in such away that invites a good discussion. And I loved that Borders Bookstore gave Norah Vincent the forum to promote her book and she used it to initiate a lively exchange. While those of there did not always agree, we did show great respect for the other fans of this wonderful book. And had the kind of civil discussion of which I wish we could see more of on this blog.

Back to Blogging

In the past few weeks, where I have found myself able to write only with much difficulty, I did a lot of thinking, about events of the day as well as some of the broader social issues I wish to address, both on this blog and in other writings. And I have been delighted to note that ideas for my Fantasy Epic which had only come to me intermittently for most of the fall started to flow freely in the past few weeks.

In short, it has been a period of introspection, but I know it is soon to come to an end, for, in the past few days, instead of vague ideas and broad notions that have crossed my mind, I have also had a great variety of ideas for posts to this blog. I expect to start writing again later this afternoon — as soon as I post the list of nominees for Grande Conservative Blogress Diva.

To those who have e-mailed me — and not yet heard back — please note that I am not neglecting your missives, only that, because of graduate school work, other obligations and my own more “quiet” period, I have allowed my e-mail to back up — on this and other accounts, primarily opening those related to the Blogress Diva competition (and other pressing obligations). As soon as I have a moment, I will get to your correspondence.

I hope in the coming days to address some of the issues that have crossed my mind during this period of introspection as many of them relate to gay culture, particularly our attitudes toward sexuality — and personal difference.

And to those who have sent me words of support, while they were not needed, they were greatly appreciated. It wasn’t personal difficulty that had prevented me from writing, but merely a need to step back and think about things, a time to ponder and not to post. I do hope that this period now concluding will serve me well in terms of personal growth as well as the ideas I express on this blog — and in other endeavors.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

GPW’s Lesbian Experience Last Night

Sometimes, I think my road to romance is paved with odd experiences. Last night, after returning from class, I went to BoiFromTroy‘s Welcome-to-LA party for GayOrbit‘s Michael Demmons. At said event, I met a fetching young man (even a conservative!) who, like me, has an interest in ancient history. Not only that he was delighted to hear me declaim Beowulf in the original. (And I learned later that he also loves Madeline Kahn.)

He invited me to go to a party at the Palms, a lesbian watering hole in central WeHo. When we arrived, we could not find his friends celebrating, but instead garnered a few glances from the gals gathering there. When he InstantMessaged (on his trusty Blackberry) the organizer of the shindig, informing him of our arrival, he learned that the party was slated for Friday. With laughter on our lips, we took our leave.

Much as I like lesbians, I’ll have to say it was an odd experience, wandering into a lesbian bar on the wrong night. For the five, maybe ten, minutes that we were there, while we did get a few looks, no one was rude to us, indeed, most of the women there were quite friendly (as far as i can tell).

Of course, the whole experience made me wonder (yet again) if maybe I really am a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

That said, all in all it was a fun night. At Boi’s party for Michael, I met another lesbian, a nice gal from Long Beach, a good conversationalist who reads this blog. (She had driven up just to meet Michael!) I had the chance to hobnob with a few other bloggers, including Boi himself, Matt Szabo and Andrew of Here In Van Nuys. The guest of honor (Michael Demmons) was himself also a good conversationalist — and a nice guy.

Who would think that at a gay bar I could meet another gay conservative who is fascinated with Roman History, who appreciates Old English and loves one of the greatest film comediennes of all time!

What Gay Men Can Learn from Lesbians

Back when I was first struggling with my feelings for men, the gay man who would have the most negative impact on my coming out told me that gay men and lesbians didn’t got along. Maybe that comment — along with the vision of growing old and becoming like him — pushed me further into the closet.

I’ve always liked lesbians — and have been accused of being one myself (on more than one occasion). My fellow Outfest Theater Managers jokingly call me “the lesbian.” A real lesbian gave me a T-shirt, “Lesbian Trapped in a Man’s Body.” (I think I’ll wear that to the gym today.)

Yesterday, as I was preparing my “Statement of Research Interest,” offering a proposed dissertation topic as part of my application to continue on for my Ph. D. in my grad program in Mythology, I quoted from Norah Vincent’s most excellent book, Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back (which I reviewed here) and realized given my strong praise for Mary Cheney’s most excellent memoir, Now It’s My Turn: A Daughter’s Chronicle of Political Life that two of my favorite new books this year were written by lesbians.

Maybe I like lesbians so much because, by and large, they “get” relationships. In his comment to my latest, one of my most thoughtful critics (who this time seems to agree with me) wrote:

The other thing that I think Andrew is acknowledging is that gay marriage does have different qualities than a heterosexual marriage. Its different even from a lesbian marriage. The gender of the participants does have an impact.

Yup, gender does have an impact. Lesbians are far more likely to be monogamous than gay men, indeed, may well even be more committed to monogamy than straight men.

Maybe I’m writing this, because despite the cynical words of my negative role model*, this gay man tends to get along with lesbians. Maybe it’s because they “get” me (on some level), less likely to explain away regrets I have expressed about my indiscretions than gay men do, more likely to sympathize with my longings for affection and intimacy. And better able to appreciate the full meaning of relationships.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. I’ve had a bit of trouble focusing on my work today and this post just came to mind. Maybe it was Patrick’s insightful comment. Or maybe it’s just that, after a hectic week with a number of obligations, I’m feeling particularly “lesbian,” longing for a tender moment with someone of my own gender. Or maybe, as the Senate prepares to debate gay marriage, I think we need to point out that many, many lesbian couples provide successful examples of monogamous same-sex unions.

And those are the types of role models we need.

My negative role model notwithstanding, I realize how much we gay men need lesbians in our lives. It’s time we start learning from them.

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

*Is there such a thing as a negative role model? If so, is that someone who gives us a bad example to follow or one who, in my case, made it more difficult for me to come to terms with my difference?