Yasmin Nair

How Gay Marriage Put an End to Gay Sex

Filed By Yasmin Nair | February 25, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, gay sex

Years ago, I was at a queer political meeting on a Sunday afternoon. Some of us felt that our group lacked a broad enough representation of all demographics, particularly women. A man, at the time a dear friend of mine, let's call him X, said, condom.jpg"We usually have more women at our meetings, but look at us today! We're all men!" A puzzled silence fell upon the group, and I turned towards him with what I hoped were eyes brimming with inquiry. At which point, X turned beet red and apologised profusely: "I'm so sorry, Yasmin! It's just that I always think of you as a gay man!"

X, who knew enough about my sex life, had long seen me as one of the boys. And I've long declared myself a gay man in a woman's body. I purred in response to his words.

Everything I know about sex I learnt from gay men. By sex, I don't just mean specific acts but the whole fuck-and-be-fucked, sex-doesn't-have-to-mean-hello-or-even-goodbye attitude that I have treasured most about the culture of gay sex. And it's a culture that I see, sadly, dwindling. Or, at the very least, being made invisible as a brand new culture of homo/hetero (the two are so interchangeable these days) normativity takes its place.

As the push for gay marriage becomes more relentless, images of gay men kissing spring up everywhere. But that's where it ends, without the slightest hint of what might come after the kiss. There is nary a whisper about the reality of gay male partnerships. I realise, of course, that I'm venturing into dangerous waters here. Who am I to think I know anything about "the culture of gay sex?" How dare I assume that such a culture, if it should exist, defines gay men?

And what kind of a lesbian models her sex life on that of gay men?

I can't help it. As a child, I sneaked peeks at the grown-ups' copy of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. But while I found that intriguing and fun, I was never as enthralled with it as with the discourse of hook-ups and tricks that gay men around me would engage in, years later. I like gay porn. Gay sex defines me. I suppose my new age-y friends would say that I'm dominated by male energy. Which might explain why, after reading my craigslist ad, one respondent wrote, "So. You want to fuck like a man." A gay man, sweetie, a gay, gay man.

What do I mean by fucking like a gay man? I mean, for instance, the ability to fuck around with or without a partner in tow, or even watching. The ability to be brutally honest about what you like and don't like. gay_threesome.jpgThe ability to be able to take and/or give what you want without having to be tied into some contractual agreement to call back. I've been around gay male friends who've turned to me at parties and said, "Okay, at some point I need to start attending events where I haven't fucked every man in the room," and laughed. I've been around gay male friends who've openly discussed their previous night's paramours with their partners at the breakfast table. I think all of that, in its messy complicatedness (and, I'll admit, as embedded as it is within a US-specific paradigm of gayness) is worth holding on to.

I know all of that still exists. But it's being silenced and hushed up in the din around gay marriage, and I know - at least on an anecdotal level - that it irritates a lot of gay men, even the ones who'd like to marry. The fight for gay marriage is swaddled in a lot of self-righteous bunk about gay people being better at relationships and more loving and more caring. Somewhere along the way, someone at GMM (Gay Marriage Movement) headquarters decided that that meant denying the existence of gay sex.

I see, but am not sympathetic to, the logic behind this. Most Americans are willing to accept gay marriage if it seems harmless and cute and about "love and commitment." And completely sexless. Witness, for instance, the incredibly manipulative anti-Prop 8 advertising campaigns where little children plead with the viewer: "Don't Divorce my Parents." Gay sex represents too much of an "ick factor" for most Americans; they can tolerate gay marriage and parenting (maybe). But actual sex? Gay sex? "Ew" is the general response.

Dad and Dad don't fuck in the bedroom next door to the kids. And neither one of them would ever dream, of course, of bringing home a one-night stand to spice up the relationship. Mention the possibility of gay sex, and the most liberal "straight ally" will turn and run and withdraw support for "my best gay friend's wedding."

You might ask, at this point, what about lesbian sex? The answer to that is simple: We don't have any. Nope. Nothing goes on here, as I've written in an earlier post about "Larry Craig, Weapons of Mass Distraction, and Lesbian Public Sex." When it comes to lesbians, people either don't care or can't see lesbian sexuality (The L Word notwithstanding).

gay_promiscuity.jpgBut I digress. This is about gay sex in particular. And the fact that gay men, like it or not, are being asked - implicitly or explicitly - to shut up about sex while the GMM forges on. Even as gay sexual life, such as it is, continues on its way. I hear from a friend that several single gay men found themselves being hit on by gay couples looking for threesomes - at a gay marriage convention. I know, from the constant swinging of the doors of my neighbourhood bathhouse, and from my conversations with friends, that there's plenty of gay sex going on all around me.

I'm sad about how much of gay sexual culture is being made to go away while the adults play at respectability in order to win the marriage game. I wonder: After gay marriage is won, will we talk more openly about what married gay men actually do with and to each other? Or will we have completely forgotten how to have those conversations?

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I'm fairly conventional and a big marriage supporter, but after reading Karen's article on Radical Faeries I've been spending a lot of time thinking about this stuff (yeah, steamy, hedonistic, delicious, gay sex).

I think the AIDS crisis has zapped the Mojo of many of our sexual personae. Less sex, less AIDS, more marriage, less sex, less AIDS. That argument almost found its way out of my mouth(fingers) the other day - who knows what held me back.

Your article came at just the right time. -g

Got Paranoia?

I have yet to see gay culture de-slutified, thank you very much.

Actually, marriage is a very feminine act, one of safety. Masculinity is all about conquest of the most desirable mating partner, and a constant conquering of the unknown. Our primal and biological mating instincts were never meant to be monogamous.
So why am I married to a man ? Because of love and the political fight of self esteem as a gay man. Buying into the religious rights definition of me as not worthy and to say we do not have equal rights as any other leads to self loathing and suicide. All the rights are worth fighting for, not just marriage. A spotlight is placed on marriage because it hits a nerve with the religious majority, but it is no more important than ENDA or DADT.

Thanks for your article. I really enjoyed it and I certainly know I've seen less openness regarding sex in the past few years. That certainly doesn't mean that there is less sex there's just more denial and repression regarding sexual behavior. That worries me, denial and repression leads (in my observation) riskier behavior and increased guilt.

One of the things that I've loved about the gay community was the sex positive attitude. It's one of the things that used to make me so happy about interacting with my fellow Queer peoples. I'm having a harder and harder time finding it, and that hurts.

Lucrece please don't use the world "slut" or any of its derivatives in that way. When used in that way its a very nasty word, that I feel is used to impart guilt and fear in others. Your a better person than to do that.


Don't worry, Yasmin, gonads still rule.

I don't know who you're talking to but the guys I know follow their pointy thing around obeying it’s every command and respectability and normativity be dammed.

The only thing we have to worry about is whether or not they use condoms.

The first generation after Stonewall stormed over cultural barriers and the new generation is holding fast in spite of the bitter decades of bigotry from Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton and now Reverend "gawd's in the mix" Obama.

And god knows we love easily manipulated men!~

What would the world be without targets to scam over sexual compulsion ;D.

Easily manipulated? Slut? Scam? Sexual compulsion?

Church Lady much?

A good preacher never hurts in a while.

You could take a rest from the formatted responses you have ready everytime there's a mention of Democrats and Republicans, though. The ranting was sort of cute before; it's lost its shine now.

And what do you have against sluts?

There is no such thing as a good preacher, Church Lady.

Slut is your word, not mine. You answer your question. On second thought, please, don't answer your question.

My 'rants' will stop when the Democrats and Republicans quit causing wars, pandering to bigots and wrecking our standard of living. Don't hold your breath.

I'm content not to worry overly much about your approval rating of their cuteness quotient.

There's no such thing as a righteous bigot against religion, either.

Slut is my word, and I'm not the one taking offense to it. You are. If you're some puritan, snooty bitch, deal. There is nothing wrong with the word or the sexual promiscuity implied.

The rants are without quotation. You can stop regurgitating the same crap over and over, if you're so contemptuous toward cuteness appeals. Spare us the echo chamber.

And rememeber, church ladies are loved by some; everybody hates a spambot ;).

Please don't try to involve me or anyone else in your painful little dramas Lucrece.

Just yell at the mirror.

Boys, boys. Don't make me separate you...

That was me opting out of the drama.

beachcomberT | February 26, 2009 2:24 AM

Keep in mind the generational thing. A lot of us over-40 and over-50 types are very happy to settle down with one guy and lead more or less monogamous lives. Sorry if that sounds too boring or repressed or puritanical or faux-hetero to others; it works for us. And for those raising kids, it's a more workable, stable lifestyle than a steady succession of one-night stands, threesomes, Circuit Party all-nighters,etc. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.)

Its not just older gay men, a lot of guys my age (early 20s) aren't into the whole 'open relationship' thing either, though many of us have tried it to be sure! To think that circuit parties, bath houses, and random meaningless sex are at the heart of what it means to be gay is a misleading over-generalization. Ive never engaged in the two former, and the latter is holding less and less appeal as time goes by. I think as gay kids come out earlier and earlier, the delayed adolescence that is behind a lot (though not all) of the hyper-sex 'ive fucked every guy in the room' deal will fade a bit. Im not suggesting its wrong to sleep around or have open relationships, I just think we need to recognize it is not for everyone and has societal causes that are now very much in flux. Also, it is not exactly the same for gays everywhere, in Berlin where ive lived for some time, its not uncommon to see 15 year old male-male couples strutting about holding hands. THis sort of openness will, I am pretty sure, lead to a lot less of the furtive one night standing among this generation.

Thanks for the article and thanks to Tim, Since I was going to answer about the same way. With Het's it was the 'flower' generation, mine, that started 'Free Love' is okay' Our parents never agreed. Most of us have 'mellowed.' and find the benefits in usually monogamous relationships bring more than the free love did.
Part of the reason is just that of aging and decreased hormonal surges, and more control over them. Honestly, looking at hets, well under 40% marry now. So in a sense they live their lives ceibate/asexual or with 'free love', swinging, partying whatever your generation wants to call it. I have learned, following gay activism, about the realtionship called 'friends with privileges.' (well, the one called f**buddies, too.)
I think that is what this article is referring to. It is something the youngest adult het generation is just adding to their approved repetroire, as women gain more financial independence.
The other reason is that of the difference between testosterone and estrogen. Honestly, I am a physician, I have seen the difference in libido promoted by testosterone, in BOTH women and men. I have had to warn women taking it that they should lower their dose if they become too mean and aggressive. So again a matter of hormonal control, this time chemically manipulated.
And estrogen is usually exhibited as a more clinging, emotional hormone, again from medicaton studies. Too much and you feel weak, weepy, and eat every sweet in site. Again just chemical and you can change doses and it all goes away.
And each of us has to respond to our own individual levels of these hormones, which fluctuate during our lifetimes.
As far as the Wing Nuts go who cares. We're getting there, equal rights are coming with STONEWALL2.0, which won't stop until they do.
As far as relationships go, that is individual, and as far as I am concerned as long as it is safe and consensual with some attempt at mutually satisfying, anything goes. But everyone must stay open and take into account when jealousy and possessiveness occur...then you are at the same point hets are. Its becomes a 'cost/benefit' study of the personal kind.

Ah, I don't think the one-nightstanding is always furtive (not that there's anything wrong with it if it is!)
As for your comment that: "To think that circuit parties, bath houses, and random meaningless sex are at the heart of what it means to be gay is a misleading over-generalization." I don't think everyone engages in all of that at same time, just to be clear. I think that's your generalization, not mine. I can see your potential point - that there's a danger of oversimplifying things. But keep in mind that this is a piece that throws out questions that, to the best of my knowledge, don't get asked in this kind of a public forum.

And I have to take issue with the idea that all this is just part of delayed adolescence. I think that's a priggish way to undercut the reality that lots of people have lots of random sex that isn't just about "delayed adolescence." Calling it that is an attempt to make it go away or to trivialise it. Won't work. It's been here for a while and it's here to stay.

Sorry: that last one was meant for Tim.

My husband and I are in our thirties and married with a young son. We have been together eleven years and during that time we have only had sex with each other. Looking at our gay friends, we are much more the norm than what Yasmin is describing (and we live in liberal gay San Francisco). While I see and appreciate Yasmin's points, I think her perception is just as skewed (if she really thinks that what she describes represents the majority of gay men) as the view she is decrying.

I´m 39 years old and I agree with you. However, I add I want a relationship with commitment as option, because I believe in love.
Yes, I totally believe in love between two men with commitment and fidelity!
And I don´t see myself as repressed. I want a relationship with love and commitment because it´s my conscious option. It´s my opinion and it´s my life. Simple like that.

Gay man in a woman's body?

That can be cured, you know. Costly, painful, but it can be. Not the Gay bit, the woman's body bit, if it feels horribly wrong.

Of course you could be a gay man in a woman's body and mot uncomforatble with that. The body map isn't always affected in neural cross-gendering.

No-one has a say in it but you. But if you feel the need to change (and I'd advise against it unless it's a need), data and support is available.

I can see what Yasmin is talking about. No, there's no shortage of sex among gay men lately, or even of them talking about it. But the advertising we saw with prop 8 was pretty sterile. I'd go further and say that it didn't mention gay men or lesbians at all, and sometimes, bizarrely, not even marriage.

Do we really have to be so abstract? Gay men are going to have sex with or without marriage. The only difference in the before and after is cake.

Excuse me for that outburst, everyone. Obviously gay men can have cake with or without a marriage. I just really had cake on the mind, and that was solved in the several minutes between these two comments.

And to answer the burning questions on everyone's minds: strawberry, and, yes, it was very, very good.

Yasmin, baby, despair not for the days of yore when gay men were hot horny and hung and the dykes were envious. We're still living that glorious dream. I think what has changed is that our more settled-down folk in LGBT life have come out of their closets. As a lesbian who also learned much about the pleasures of sex from gay men at Gay Community News in Boston, I carry those important lessons with me. My girlfriend and I never refer to each other as "wife," even tho we are legally married to each other. Why? Cuz it ain't hot! We prefer to choose nomenclature that describes us as a relationship of choice, not obligation; a relationship of sex, not domestic chores; a relationship of wanting and yearning, not assumptions of diminishing desire. Yeah, let's fuck and let's talk about it. I have always believed that the greatest gift of queerdom to the world is that pleasure is as ennobling as work. I do plenty of work and I revel in my pleasure.

As a gay man in a 10 year relationship and a daughter, I can relate to this part quite well:

Dad and Dad don't fuck in the bedroom next door to the kids. And neither one of them would ever dream, of course, of bringing home a one-night stand to spice up the relationship.

Funny story: We had a 3rd that stuck around for a while and would come over as a "friend" until our daughter went to sleep. He spent the night one night and since I got up to make sure she got off to school, I was the one who had make sure she didn't know something was up. It all went well until she came in from letting the dogs out to go for their morning business. Jerame and the "friend" were still in bed with the door closed.

Rather casually (she was about 12), she asks, "Where's so-and-so?" I told her, "Probably sleeping!" (I didn't want to lie, per se.) "At his house?" she queried. I just didn't answer (again - not wanting to lie to her).

Again, rather casually, she says, "'Cuz his car is outside in front of the house and his keys are on the table, so he's obviously still here. Is he in bed with Daddy?"

And that's how she found out about the occasional guest. *sigh* Busted by a 12 year old.

I just want to say that the gorgeous 12 year old loved me tons.

She did. Still does. :)

And next time don't leave your darn keys laying about. You picked up everything else. LOL

Wow! Cheers to Yasmin for bringing out all these juicy and slutty personal details! I vote for a weekly series of contributors sharing sex stories about themselves.

I do what I can to inspire meaningful dialogue around vital issues :-)

Sex stories would be great. Mine would be the most boring, though...I much prefer Bil and Bruce's stories. More, please!

Oh, wait, that reads like an insult to all my partners... I just meant that my writing would be boring.

Backing away before I put my foot in my mouth again...

I might be up for contributing to such a series.

I almost like the comments as much as the post!

There's everything: drama, suspense, sex!

This is a great article. Too often I've seen guys who were NOT in a monogamist relationship looked upon with askance, as if they were not normal. I've watched those who promote monogamy for GLBTs label a man who liked to sleep around a "Poacher." I've seen gay men go ballistic when their partner had an affair, (but strangely it was okay when they cheated.)

My first two relationships were "monogamist" by agreement so we would be safe from HIV. However in both cheating occurred. I ended up feeling unsafe. In contrast my current relationship is open. I feel so much safer in this one. We talk about risks, we talk about our desires, we negotiate the tricky dynamics of the third party. We discuss the issues of bringing the third party into the scene. We laugh and talk about encounters after the fact in a constructive manner which brings us closer. Granted, we may split up someday, but it will be over differences in goals and dreams, not over jealousy due to some trick.

To be honest, I was far more prudish in my twenties than I am in my forties. I've said hateful things about the promiscuous back then. But my attitude has changed. But I don't desire to hop from bed to bed. Nor do I want to participate in or attend a circuit party or public orgy. However I enjoy the occasional variety and excitement derived from loving another with or though my current partner. In addition I no longer pass judgment on those who desire more or less sexual activity. I only judge those who hide their promiscuity in order to appear "respectable."

There is nothing wrong with monogamy, but don't bring into the GLBT community the moralizing attitude of the Religious Right! To leave that behind was why we came Out of the Closet in the first case.


And thanks also for the bit about how you negotiate the "dynamics of the third party," especially in the context of HIV. I feel that most queers have adopted something close to the rel.right abstinence/monogamy model and worry that we might not see other alternatives. And maybe I'm just being paranoid about that...

christophe | April 11, 2009 2:36 PM

As a gay man I find your comments totally offensive. I myself think the way you think of Gay Sex is one of the reasons gay people get such a bad rap, we are thought of as only being interested in sex and the next person we will have sex with. WELL some of us have morals, some of us don't use sex enhancing drugs to pump up our sexual drives to the point of being like an animal. Some of us don't go to Pride Parades dressed in S & M gear with our whips and chains showing the public the UGLY side of the Gay world. IMO these things should be kept personal as they are a personal choice that only a select very FEW gay people engage in as a whole. These things also are in the Straight Community as well, but they don't go out publicly having PRIDE in their disgusting lifestyle CHOICE. And while I DO NOT believe and find it OFFENSIVE when people say that being GAY is a lifestyle Choice, I do believe that certain people within our Gay Community ARE making lifestyle Choices and by publicly putting them on display, they hurt all of the level minded moral sense most of us have. I think you must hang around with too many guys who are and have been only interested in SEX and SEX and the next place they can get SEX. I don't feel that marriage would put an end to gay sex. Maybe it will simply make Gay sex more respectable. I don't find anything respectful in a guy going from one to the next in search to fill that empty feeling he has within himself. I feel that the type of Gay SEX YOU are referring to is a result of an inner hate within that person. You can not truly love another person, be committed to that person unless you FIRST can love yourself. I advocate when there is a time when Gay people and Gay Marriage are considered EQUAL with Straight peoples, but its people like YOU who promote and romanticize the anomoynous gay sex you talk about that will ultimately hurt the GLBT Cause as a whole.

"PRIDE in their disgusting lifestyle CHOICE."
"WELL some of us have morals."
"IMO these things should be kept personal as they are a personal choice."
"the type of Gay SEX YOU are referring to is a result of an inner hate within that person. You can not truly love another person unless you FIRST can love yourself."

You're adopting some of the most homophobic language out their and using it against, well, I'll speak personally here, me. I'm a sex positive dyke involved in BDSM who loves herself. Have your rant if you must, but please be aware that the people you rail against are actual people who have actual feelings (and hopefully actual rights).

You might be disgusted by the "lifestyle choice" I make and wish that I would stop flaunting it and stay home from the pride parades. But considering that there are people disgusted by your "lifestyle choice" and who wish you would stop flaunting it and stay home from the pride parades, I'd hope you'd have a little more empathy.

(P.S. Focus on the Family still won't be able to tell the difference between us. Even if I'm not visibly kinky at pride, which is often the case, FotF will still blame disgusting gay sex for their anti-LGBT activism. They can simply quote your comment here and say, "See, even gay people are disgusted with disgusting gay sex." Well, they could, but I'm not sure if people would believe FotF that you're gay. You just sound too similar to something they would write.)

First - yeah, everything Tobi said (see below for the comment). Second: um, I usually don't bother with psychoanalysing commenters, but in your case: it might be worth pondering the fact that you're not entirely comfortable with sex and that your words bear a strong resemblance to internalised homophobia. And by sex, I mean all erotic encounters, in their boundless multiplicity. As for making "gay sex more respectable": why bother? Do I strike you as the type who'd care for respectability? And I'd remind you that, for a lot of people, sex itself is to be deplored and hidden and made shameful - whether it's straight or gay sex really doesn't matter. So you're not going to win any of them over by making "gay sex" (or sexual practices) seem more like straight sex.

And, really, Tobi's comment sums anything else I might have had to write in response.

christophe | April 13, 2009 8:41 AM

I was too critical, and you are both right, the right wing would no more distinguish myself between either or you because they hate us all and just because we are who we are. I apologize.

Just my 2 cents...

Coming out as a young gay man in the 60s and moving from a small midwestern town to Hollywood Calif in 1968. And then NYC in the 70s-80s. I feel I fully experienced the type of sex you describe in your post.

Looking back I know I was always looking for love. I always hoped I'd find the man that would care for me and let me care for him.

I never felt comfortable or very adept at picking up the cruising signals in bars or even on the streets of LA or SF. So I preferred the directness of the bath house or porn palaces.

Was it exciting, yes. Was it fun, yes, most of the time. But it could also be lonely and degrading...thank gawd for the drugs to numb that part.

I did meet the man of my dreams once. I was 20, he was 32, tall, dark and handsome. He had fallen in lust with me (I didn't know he was coming into the bar where I was a'go go boy for months)before we finally met at an after-hours dance club.

He wanted me to move into his hill top home. I was in heaven. Then he let me know he was a sex addict (he didn't use that term but that's what it was) and wanted me to attend orgys around town with him (he had quite a rep as a cocksman, I found out).

I never did care for more then one guy at a time but for this guy I tried. The first time I just couldn't get into it and watched as he played around. He was upset with me afterwards.

The next party/orgy we went to I'd made up my mind, I'd just start blowing the first guy that came near us. In the dark I didn't know it was one of his friends/rivals. He yelled at me in the car the whole way home, until I had had enough and yelled back even louder.

Then he gave me the silent treatment for the next 3 days. Which made me decide it was time for me to leave. After all one of the things a younger man hopes to find in an more mature man is ...maturity.

We kept in touch over the years and even ran into each other a couple times. In fact he was the first person I knew to die of AIDS in the early 80s.

I had a couple more lovers after him but no one I was totality crazy about. And after a while I gave up on ever having the kind of relationship I hoped for and decided to just have as much fun as I could, safely, for as long as I could.

I'm 60 now, been HIV+ for many years. Realized a lot about myself and life, and have felt truly ready to share the rest of my life with another man. But it's not that easy to meet people.

I'm in the fight for marriage equality, if not for me, for the younger guys. Volunteer when I can for the Trevor Project, and am slowly writing my memoirs.

Enjoy my own company, and that of my dog, and the freedom of being single. But still wonder if my dream of being married will ever happen. Who knows?

Looking back I had a lot of crazy adventures and was successful and creative in my career. Wouldn't change too much even if I could.

But I can't help but think sometimes that much of my energy was wasted on the pursuit of sex...or "looking for love in all the wrong places" as the old song goes.


I'm sympathetic to your story, although I'm uneasy, to put it mildly, with the rhetoric of "sex addiction" (which is mostly something trumped up by the Dr. Phils of the world, and the media - which needs to construct yet another sex-as-crisis story) and the too-familiar tropes of anonymous and promiscuous sex as deadening and symptomatic of loneliness. Feeling alone on occasion is hardly a bad thing - I've never understood our national obsession with surrounding ourselves with people all. the. time.

I also don't think it's necessary to separate "love" (however we imagine it) from random hookups. The fact that the lover you remember the most (or, at any rate, write about the most in your post) was also promiscuous is revealing (that's not to deny his shabby behaviour). It says a lot about the fact that we're all trained to expect that excitement can only come from monogamous relationships. Perhaps we ought to ask ourselves why we're so hung up on traditional relationships like marriage and one-love-for-life models, and ponder the fact that we might actually be quite happy with multiple kinds of relationships -- at the same time.

Not everyone needs to be promiscuous/polyamorous/multi-loving, but perhaps too many of us have wrongly convinced ourselves that there's only one way to stay in relationships. Isn't it possible to be with someone for many years *and* be seeing other people?

My 2 cents.

Hi Yasmin
You seem defensive...did my post feel like an attack? (and seeing how you wrote the article to begin with I think you're way beyond adding just your 2 cents, you're up to a dollar at least. ha!)

First, I wasn't looking for sympathy i was just sharing my story.

Whatever works for someone is what they should feel free to enjoy.

I'm sure there are people that are not interested in ever pairing up with another.

And I know there are many other people in long term relationships that see other people on the side (alone or together). I just don't care to be one of them.

So for myself and others like me, I fight for the right to marry.

so, let's see, you resent the fact that we have to be responsible adults and not revolve our whole lives around sex, isn't that it?

Well, you need to get over it.

Jesus, think with something between your ears for a change. I'm sick of gays who just wanna wham-bam and be done with it. It couldn't be more empty or shallow. If they think like that, they deserve to be alone.


There's nothing incompatible about being a responsible adult and having your whole life revolve around sex. In fact, it can be much more difficult if not impossible to have your life revolve around sex if you aren't both responsible and an adult.

Similarly, thinking "with what's between your ears" is required for any kind of a successful sex life. A sex positive viewpoint is hardly a sign of someone who is not thinking.

And where do you get the indication that it's "just" "wham-bam and be done with it"? Valuing gay sex, even valuing anonymous gay sex does not need to be so reductionist.

The truth is that marriage and sex positivity are not incompatible, but there's a growing appearance that sex positige and the gay marriage movement are.

I am amazed at the wide range of responses to what you wrote. I enjoyed reading it, so please consider writing a book!

Thanks, Tobi, for an incisive response - as always.
Mr. pinky - thanks for the encouragement! One is in the works - and the reason why I haven't been around as much :-)

Deusabscondidum | August 13, 2009 8:04 PM

I think that what you're talking about has more to do with the sex positive movement, and probably everyone who lives and fucks this way will eventually head towards that movement.

I personally would like to see more of a choice, and for people not to be called traitors for either not fucking around enough, or for settling into a quiet life at home.

What's the choice here? "Not fucking around enough" and "settling into a quiet life at home" - not a lot of difference here. Besides, I don't know who's been called a traitor - that's your word, not mine, and no one else here has used that term.

>>Its not just older gay men, a lot of guys my age (early 20s) aren't into the whole 'open relationship' thing either, though many of us have tried it to be sure! To think that circuit parties, bath houses, and random meaningless sex are at the heart of what it means to be gay is a misleading over-generalization. Ive never engaged in the two former, and the latter is holding less and less appeal as time goes by. I think as gay kids come out earlier and earlier, the delayed adolescence that is behind a lot (though not all) of the hyper-sex 'ive fucked every guy in the room' deal will fade a bit. Im not suggesting its wrong to sleep around or have open relationships, I just think we need to recognize it is not for everyone and has societal causes that are now very much in flux. Also, it is not exactly the same for gays everywhere, in Berlin where ive lived for some time, its not uncommon to see 15 year old male-male couples strutting about holding hands. THis sort of openness will, I am pretty sure, lead to a lot less of the furtive one night standing among this generation.

Well said Tim. I'm gay and I personally never got into sleeping with every man who I could just because he was hot or because we met and both wanted each other then and there.

I've never been to a sex party or bath house and I wouldn't enjoy having sex with anyone there since I have had some one night stands and I don't enjoy them or sex with strangers.

I tried having an open relationship with my last BF but it didn't work out and when I dated a gay male couple that did not work out either.

Yasmin-You seem to be having a pre HIV/AIDS notion of what it means to be a "gay man".

Not all of us have zero morals or want to sleep with every single man who we meet. Being a gay male is not about promiscuity at all and there's nothing radical about it.

I firmly believe that all the mores are different in gay life. If we marry, we do it on our terms and define the resulting relationship in line with our needs, our desires. The purpose of any liberation movement is to allow the liberated to live as they choose, not to have them live by somebody else's rules--even if that somebody else is a fellow member of the liberated.

Larry Kramer recently reamed the theorists in the Gay & Lesbian Review--and good for him. Gay men have been forming committed relationships for centuries--millenia. The fact that there was no word GAY or word HOMOSEXUAL then didn't mean that gay sex didn't exist. It did, and does--and will.

Among our circle there is a couple together for three decades, married for several years, through whose king-sized bed literally hundreds of men have passed, entertained by one, the other or both of them. They play by their own rules because they know that gay men make their own and will continue to do so.

Anguished cries that marriage is the end of gay come from those with no imagination, no insatiable desire or thrill for the chase, and also a naive belief that all the publicity about the sacredness and fidelity of hetero marriage is true. Hetero marriage is a maelstrom of extra-marital activity and if it collapses any time soon--which I sincerely doubt--it won't be on account of gays getting marriage for themselves. Just so, gay marriage needn't--and doesn't--crimp anyone's style. We're gay and we make our own reality.

I love the vision you've conjured of the two men in their king-sized bed "through whose king-sized bed literally hundreds of men have passed, entertained by one, the other or both of them."

But, sadly, I have to inform you that that kind of delicious lifestyle will be and is being crimped by the gay marriage fundies. Hetero marriage is rife with infidelity yes, but anyone who thinks that gay men will be allowed to get away with even a bit of that as they also seek to enter and make marriage "better" (their words) is being ridiculously blinkered and naive. Look around and let me know if any of the orgs actually even want you to breathe a word about such behaviour.

Look, I know from my own gay male friends that most of them engage in unconventional forms of coupling - I also know that they're constantly feeling the pressure to change said coupling. Older gay male couples won't be feeling the pressure so much because they'll just be tolerated. But that's not the case for younger couples, trust me.

I came upon this discussion long after the fact, but wanted to comment anyway. I'm a bisexual woman who writes both gay and lesbian romance and erotica. I've found that most readers DEMAND that my characters remain monogamous. My readers are sometimes straight women, but often gay men and women as well. They have told me that even if the affections of one of my characters are most definitely engaged only by the other, readers don't want either partner to lust after another person.

I don't understand. I really don't. The only possible reason for monogamy that I've ever understood was either for health and safety or when one is trying to procreate. The beauty of gay and lesbian sex is that we can create a new relationship model.

This article makes me sad. I'm new to the gay scene and all the guys (generally older men) around me are pressuring me to have sex, sex, sex. I thought it wasn't normal, and I thought that maybe that's how those particular gays think on a Saturday night in the club. But your article seems like that's how gay men are suppose to act, it's suggesting I go out there and experience my sexuality with many men.
So I guess those guys who pressure me into having sex are right and have the right intentions, and I who don't want to rush into things am wrong.

""'Okay, at some point I need to start attending events where I haven't fucked every man in the room," and laughed.'"

I guess as an eighteen year old I should quickly rush into sex like your man friend that said the quote above. Gay Rochester, here I come!
Oh and after I'm done fucking the whole town, I'm going to invite my gay friends to Friendly's for bacon and eggs while we discuss my sexual adventures.
That sounds like a respectable life style. I mean... That is what straight folks and apparently Yasmin believe I should do.

Sex positivity is not about pressuring folks to have sex. Nor is it about having sex that you don't want to.

Like Yasmin, I have an appreciation for those who feel comfortable within a vibrant empowered sexuality. The way gay marriage is getting presented seems to dismiss and even denounce a those who embrace such a sexuality.

No one should be coerced in their sexual choices or shamed about the choices they make. That should be the case regardless of whether we are talking about folks who don't want to have a lot of sex (or none at all) as well as for those who do.

I guess I must of missed the point then.
I re-read tidbits of the article and I'm now curious about 'fucking like a gay man'.
Isn't that how a lot of straight men are? Or men in general? I don't think it's just gay men that have that mentality.


Like Tobi said.

In response to your second query:

Not really. Gay male/queer culture has a different way of being fairly open and explicit about sex that straight men and women (for the most part) don't know how to deal with. Which, in my opinion, is one reason why straight sexual culture tends to be more repressed and repressive. Plus, queer relationships like the one I describe are more elastic, and more capable of admitting to multiple desires even while in a relationship that might look like a conventional monogamous one.

Lots of differences, and not ones that I want to give up any time soon.

hello Yasmin,

I really enjoy your critical analysis and insights. I just had a question for you though. I was wondering if you think that your definition of "gay male culture" would more accurately be defined as "white gay male culture"... I do think that race and racialization have a significant impact on how queer communities are structured. The line between sex-positive versus sexual exploitation can be a fine one, for any gay male who enters into the gay male culture, but I do believe that gay men of colour are much more as risk of sexual exploitation than gay white men, over all.

Statistics show that there is an over-representation of gay men of colour that do sex work, and are homeless, have lower socio-economic status, for example. Combine this with the over abundance of older gay white male predators that are out there, who don't care if they sexually exploit a younger, more vulnerable gay man of colour (sometimes because they know that they don't have access to attractive gay white mens bodies).

This is not to say that gay men of colour can't enjoy promiscuity, open relationships and be sex positive. I'm just saying that there are a lot more barriers for them to do so, and that sometimes, the barriers are constructed and re-produced by the dominant "gay male culture" that you are speaking about in such glowing terms.

This just makes me question what "gay male culture" you are referring to and who is included in it.


Hi Ed,

I agree that there needs to be more differentiation of gay male sex culture in terms of race and ethnicity. I think there's a great deal of fetishisation and exoticisation that goes on in the gay male community, to a degree that's often blatantly racist and deeply problematic. That being said, putting aside the socio-economics you rightly bring up, I think there's some degree of that on both sides as well.

But I'm glad you raised the issue, and it helps to complicate my own understanding and analysis - the kind of easy sexual fluidity I've been praising is not necessarily easily available to everyone who might want it, and the reasons do often have to with the socio-economic dominance of white gay male culture.

I hope that gets at some of the issues you raised.

I agree with the comments that indicate it's mainly about the fact that youngsters are coming out earlier and as repression isn't slowing the natural development of their sexuality as much, they tend to get through the adolescent sex phases quicker.

Now don't get me wrong, there will always be a fraction of people who f**k like teenagers all their life god bless them, but by in large people tend to move away from having "sex just for sex sake" as they mature and I sincerely believe it's just that the distribution (across agegroups) of male sluts in the gay community will converge to that of the male straight community if all else is equal (i.e. repression in early years goes away).

Thus even though there will always be plenty of sluts in both categories... one can naturally expect the percentage of permasluts in the gay community to be lower than it used to be and to converge to that in the straight community...

There are pros and cons to remaining young forever or to being slutty ... if people want to always be a boi so be it, if they want to be a prude so be it, but of course there will be some who will look down on sluts and say "grow up".

The writer has it all wrong. He is whining that respectable gay lifestyles exist and are cramping his freedom to satisfy his sexual hungers without being compared to us. Well for decades the only gay image society has was of his type of pleasure seeking queer. The more quiet and moderated types had to always be typecast as sick-o perverts because of those like him. It is only as society sees us as safe sane people does society grant us equal rights. It is pure delight to see those that squeel unfair now belong to those that only want to play around. We are winning you the right to marry and you can't even appreciate it because it cramps your self gratification lifestyle.

I have noticed that in gay relationships and in hetero relationships the 3rd (or more) person in the relationship is demeaned as a human being. I don't know how healthy your relationship can be if you need to control who your partner has sex with or if you need to reduce the third person to a meaningless fling. The odds of two people being attracted to a third person and the third person being attracted to the other two people is pretty low. Why "use" someone to "spice up" your relationship? If you want to have sex with other people, have sex with other people. Including someone in your physical relationship while excluding them from an emotional relationship is a sick way to keep your relationship interesting.

Hey, Reverend,

First, read the piece carefully. Secondly, um, a lot, a lot of us don't even want to get married so don't expect our gratitude. That was the point of the piece. And, winning? Have you been reading the news lately?


What are you talking about? Have you even read the piece? Seriously, Bilerico comment threads these days are just filling up with people who don't even scan the articles before they rant on and hit "submit." Good luck with that conversation - you're having it with yourself.

If I might weigh in here, I'd just like to add that some folks (religious, political, and social "leaders") need to spend a little less time thinking about what other people do in bed. Unless it turns 'em on, I suppose, and if that doesn't scare them. Then they can spend as much time thinking about it as they like.

As one of those 99.9% heterosexual liberal men who isn't afraid of gay sex--of any variety--I heartily wish the aforementioned fuckheads would just get over it.

Fact is that romance authors (female, no less) are writing books about gay heroes and sharing them with the world. Not exactly my cup of tea--I prefer my fiction without explicit sex, thank you very much, but I think it just might be a step in the right direction.

Just my two cents on the subject.


It's great that you, as a hetero man, have no problem with gay sex. But I'm not sure how your comment addresses what I wrote or the comments - perhaps you could tease it out a bit?

As for the "little less time thinking about what other people do in bed": I know that a lot of liberals, and straight liberals in particular, like to use the privacy rationale (implied by "what other people do in bed") in order to express their support of gays but it's not, ultimately, very useful and even problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, it places a burden on queers to *only* keep their sex lives/mention of sex in the bedroom/realm of the private. Part of what a rigorous queer politics does is to challenge the distinctions between public and private.

If a marriage puts an end to sex, it isn't a very good marriage.


I would read at least a little beyond the title.

I'm a 19 yr old Gay girl and I'd just like to say that promiscuity has not disappeared from my generation. I know gay guys who hook up meaninglessly, and lesbians/bi girls who hook up...it's all about preference.

But yes, I do think it goes away quicker in our generation because we're out so much younger and get all of that out of our system in sync with our hetero peers.

AIDs is also a factor, I'm sure. Would you rather have a lot of sex and possibly contract an STD, or keep your body safe and healthy?

Also, it's human nature to find the best partner, but just as important in our programming to be safe and cared for. When you have kids, it's all about providing for them...gays aren't any different than hets in that way...so it's natural for less "fucking around" would occur in that instance.

Of course they're not using sex in Pro-Equality adds-not because it isn't there, but because it isn't necessary. People know that gays have sex, but flaunting it isn't necessary (for hets or gays). Sex isn't something to be ashamed of, but not everyone wants to hear the dirty details (not just hets not wanting to hear gays, but some people just don't want to hear about other people's sex lives). Also it could be detrimental-saying that you have multiple partners when you have kids sounds unstable, and people don't want other people who they see as unstable raising children,and very often when people marry they do have kids, and some would use that to vilify the community-and at this point it's very much about the politics and getting our rights. So what if you can't print your number of sexual encounters on a billboard?

dad and dad are both nasty and they shouldnt do it by the kids bed room

DexterMorgan | July 20, 2010 1:28 PM

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Hey Yasmin,

Thanks for putting this up, I found it really interesting! I'm still pretty young (just turned 19) and I haven't really gotten into the whole "gay scene" yet. I've had only a few partners (and with them some failed relationships) and I'm currently in a (closed) relationship with someone else.

I see your point about how the fight for gay marriage is covering up the unconventional types of relationships that are pretty common in the gay community. But I do think there's a general conflation of monogamy and marriage - they're really not the same. Conventionally yes, marriage implies monogamy, but the opposite isn't really true. Personally, I have no intention of getting married because I do think it's heteronormative and I don't feel comfortable taking part in a custom that has such a strong religious aspect to it (at least, it seems this way to me). It's just confused me why people fight so hard for the term "marriage" - why can't two people just be together and do their own thing (assuming they could still get the state benefits that married couples do)?

That said, I'm also not crazy about the fast-paced, many-partners lifestyle that's been historically defined as "gay". I feel 100% happy staying with one guy and keeping it that way until we break up - the idea of sleeping with a bunch of different people never really appealed to me. I guess you could say that open relationships wouldn't really work because I feel like having other people around would get in the way of my partner and me. Granted, people should be allowed to do what they want (this goes for those who want to get married too), but I'll do things "my own way".

FurryCatHerder | July 30, 2010 12:25 PM

So ... Lesbian Bed Death doesn't exist in the Gay community?

Because if it doesn't, I'm thinking research into the X-chromosome linked cause of "No more screwing after marriage" is in order.

I'm here to tell you that Lesbian Bed Death happens in straight marriages as well. It just isn't called "Lesbian Bed Death". It's called "Sorry honey, I was up late last night putting the kids to bed, then I had to finish that report, and then get lunch ready for Skip and Buffy, and I'm just TOO TIRED. Sorry. How about in 20 years after they've moved on to college and we're both retired? If you haven't left me for a 24 year old, that is."

Elwis Dabner | August 24, 2010 6:40 PM

I do support this topic here. Gay marriage should not be banned nor ignored since this is the most convenient way in which two people who are in same gender both are in love and has a trust that is very strong must be given a chance to be one. Having this said rights would eliminate discrimination. We are a free people and has the right to be happy. We should support this.

I am deeply intrigue in this said post for it portrays certain details that is very interesting. I was browsing some sites that may help my queries to have its corresponding answers. Having found this one here, I am so thankful for it gave the result as to my search was about. It is really indeed an enlightening topic you have here. I would like to have your future posts tracked. Thanks.

If people have a problem with gays and lesbians thats just them showing they are closet cases or hate that were here and have no problem showing it.
You got a damn problem then shut the fuck up no one cares this is life. Hate crimes are happening all over ooo im scared that a red neck hillbilly and some christian folk wanna beat the gay out of me, too bad im here im queer get use to it. Tell me 100 things that are bad about being Gay/Lesbian and 100 good things about being Straight oh thats right were equal.
I am not into this Jesus thing but I believe that the "Lord" said "Every man is equal"
That means everyone Bitches. (That bitches is towards them ignoramus punks who hate against us and are homophobic) Thank you and you've been Served by an 18 year old.

Thank you for saying this. Sexual liberation now!

Gay or same gendered marriage is not going to end sex or sex positive education. Don't be silly. You can still be married legally to someone of the same sex or gender and have an open relationship so you do not have to be monogamous. Straight people do it all the time.

Yasmin who are you to tell gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals that they have no right to get married or that by getting legally married you're destroying sex which is asinine.

Yasmin is not even a lesbian she's a bisexual woman who is full of biphobia about her own sexuality. If Yasmin was really lesbian she would not (in her own words) love cock or have sex or sexual attraction to men like she does.

Let me know when you

a) actually read this post.
b) come into 21st century understandings of queerness/sexuality.

Dave, I think you really need to give some further explanation around a statement like this. How in the world Yasmin biphobic? Please give an example or two because I don't even know what you're intending to say.

Frankly, your accusation of biphobia seems rather shallow and hypocritical because without further context your statements seem rather biphobic.

Such as "Yasmin is not even a lesbian she's a bisexual woman..." Can you please explain how that statement does not imply that being bisexual is somehow worse than or less valid than being a lesbian.

Or using attraction to men and talk about cocks as a way to discredit her. Can you explain how that does not imply that bi folks have less of a legitimate voice in discussing queer issues?

Yasmin please I have read the entire post. I understand human sexuality and queer sexuality in the 21st Century better than a poseur like you does.

You've exposed your inability to grasp sexuality and yourself much more than you've exposed me in any way; I'm not obligated to answer to you or the sex police. And, oh, yes, now that you've exposed me as a "poseur," may Civilization itself continue to flourish.

For the rest, see above for my comment which still stands in its relevance.

Have a lovely binary life. Troll on.

Developing a sex positive attitude comes down to focusing on having what you want rather than on avoiding what you don't want. Avoiding what you don't want is based on fear, and experience has taught me that a lot of gay men's sexual fears simply don't pass the reality test upon close examination. The fears are quite understandable on the face, but there's no reason for them to become hardened into dogma. The self-limiting beliefs that a gay man experiences surrounding his sexual behavior are seldom confined there, so the desirability of developing a sex positive attitude is not a trivial matter.

The Gay Marriage Movement is in a fight to promote same sex marriage in part at least by hiding the realities of gay sexuality from a public who is less likely to support it if the truth be known about gay sexuality. This is in order to enable people to do what they want, to follow their desires without shame or conscience. The gay and lesbian community attacks Religions communities that do not support this cause. People who do not support this movement are labeled bigots categorically. Religions are attacked by saying they promote fear and hate, yet Religious leaders are openly disrespected for their differing views.

Many people have differing views as these writings illustrate. The underlying message is that if you agree with me, then you are accepted, otherwise, you and your views are rejected. Does anyone know anybody who agrees with anyone on everything? Not everyone acts on all of the sexual thoughts that come to mind. Some say that sexual liberation is acting on your sexual desires while others say freedom is found in giving up personal desires. Some say sex is love, while others say self-sacrifice is love. One thing I have noticed is that we are trending into a culture where individuals are the authority on every topic and unity under authentic leadership is becoming increasingly unpopular. If a twelve year old shouldn't know what is going on in her own household, then do you think it probably shouldn't be happening? But what if she is not there! and the argument ensues. Religious have a word for that which goes on but shouldn't. They call it evil. So one man's evil may be another man's liberation, and truth remains obscure for the sake of public acceptance. Shouldn't adult people do whatever they want indiscriminately? And I shouldn't be allowed to drive my car without putting on my seatbelt, because I am not hurting anybody?

As a gay man I see absolutely no public display of affection at all and I feel as though gays are not supported as well as we should be.

Very interesting article. I can definitely see this happening, but I'm not so sure it's a bad thing. In traditional hetero circles, the general negative connotation surrounding gay men is their promiscuity... and let's not kid ourselves... it's the traditional heteros that are in control. Whether a supporter of the institution of marriage or not, I think we all somehow hope it comes to fruition. If for no other reason, so that we (glbt, etc) actually exist in the eyes of the law. It's a level of acceptance we all want in our own way and for our own reasons.

The fact is, in order to make this happen we have to prove to the traditional heteros that some of us are just as interested in long-term relationships as they are, and are able to handle the responsibility of being a caring, loving adult instead of a sex-crazed maniac (as the stereotype would suggest).

In the beginning of TV, even hetero couples were not shown in any acts of affection, aside from a hug or a peck on the cheek, and even that was controversial among hardcore conservatives. For a very long time couples were shown sleeping in separate beds, The Lucille Ball Show is one example. The United States is historically a very closed-minded society when it comes to sex, and not much has changed.

There's no question that compared to even 10 years ago, gay-relationship/sex exposure on TV is one-hundred-thousand times more prevalent. Exposing society to the side of 'gayness' (if you will) they're apprehensive of will take time. If you stick them in boiling water right away, they'll bail... but if you put them in warm water and turn the heat up slowly... well, you get the idea.

Integration takes time.

I don´t agree with the text.
I´m a gay man, but I want love and commitment. I wish a decent life. I want a relationship and, of course, sex will happen because it´s part of the relationship BUT as an expression of love.
According to the text, it seems all gay men are sex machines. I am not and I know other gay men like me.
Sincerely, the text was a total deception for me!

Excellent article Yasmin.

What I find interesting is how most of society thinks its yucky for gay men to have anal sex, but nobody ever expresses disgust at gay women having anal sex. Maybe they think gay females have cleaner rectums than gay males LOL. I can only wonder and laugh. And what about straight people and anal sex? How come that never comes up either? Everyone has anal sex but only gay men seem to suffer the brunt of the "disgust". Not fair.