Father Tony

The Slut Who Won't Shut Up

Filed By Father Tony | May 28, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay sex, sex bragging

Dear Father T,

Our friend "The Slut" has an annoying habit that we don't like. At. All. He reads you so we hope he will see the mirror when he reads this.

We are a group of gay men friends in our 30s and 40s. Some of us have boyfriends or partners and some not. "The Slut", who is single, gets around. A lot. But that is not the problem. The problem is that he has to talk about all the sex he has. In. Detail. He really can't let it alone. It's not like we are asking for all this graphic "blow by blow". Even when we shout "TMI!" and block our ears, he always comes back with more. We don't know why he does this. We want it to stop. How do we break him of this bad habit?

Friends of "The Slut"

Dear FoTS,

Is this a joke? Have you read some of what I myself have spun out? Let me first address you directly, you starchy little clot of nuns, and then I'll speak directly to "The Slut".

Why is it that concurrent with our begging for equality and rights and proclaiming our sexuality from the rooftops, some of us become absolutely Victorian about denying the actual sexual activities that mark who and what we are? I have always found this mystifying. If your phone gathers dust while you're gagging on dick, if your bedroom ceiling is black with your foot prints, if your nipples are pierced and hung to the knees with hula hoops but you won't talk sex for fear of offending people by the way you push the envelope, and if you don't allow your friends to be the openly healthy sex-positive animals we were all meant to be, well you are just not really free, and not really gay and you are not helping the human race evolve to where it should be. The Slut may have problem with social sensitivity tone-deafness, but you guys seem to have a problem with sex. Are you gettin' any?

The era of guilty dirty little secrets is coming to an end. Most kids have "seen it all" long before puberty, and that is drastically different from the way you and I were raised. The day will come when clothing will be seen only in museums or during intemperate seasons. Erections and orgasms will be as inconsequential and unremarkable as a sneeze at the office or in a subway car. Sex will be demythologized, and taboo and fetishes of all sorts will evaporate in sunlight. Surprisingly, sex will become more affectionate. Men and women will share bathrooms and showers without frenzy and anxiety. Meanwhile, folks with hang-ups, will miss the boat of good and playful sex because they will feel the need to close their eyes and cover their ears when men like "The Slut" start talking truth about human nature.

If it were not for the fact that I have some "friends" who, like you, do not want to hear my stories about casual sex and sex clubs and sex parties and threeways etc, I would not believe that you exist, but you do, and you are (unfortunately) legion. I think the people who need to get over their bad behavior are you guys.

Of course, there are times when sex should not be described in all its delicious and livid detail. I think our elders and children deserve our circumspection and discretion, but honeys, when it's just you chickens, what's the point of mincing words? Do you think you are being "grown up" by not talking about what you all did last night - or wish you had done? And is that the real problem? Are you jealous of "The Slut"?

Sorry, but if I ever have the opportunity to dine with all of you, I hope to be seated next to The Slut, and I hope you won't all have "lobotomized" him into submission with your judgmental nonsense.

And, dear Slut, although I am cut from your cloth, I have learned that it is better to write my histories than to deliver them as party chatter. Men who want to read about your ribald adventuring can find your words, and those that tut tut you will also find your words when nobody is watching. You need to ask yourself why you feel compelled to talk about your sexual activities. I do it because I think it is an integral part of who I am, and I don't feel that my sex life is "dirty" or needs to be "covered up". And, I think it is important that straight people know the full and glorious bandwidth of the active gay American male. Maybe you do it for your own benefit, simply because what you did was fun and exciting and you want to share it. That is a good motivation. If you are bragging about conquests, that is a bad motivation. In either case, you do not have an appreciative audience, so rethink the script a bit, unless your real purpose is to educate your friends and force them to be sexually affirming.

You must expect, Slut, that some guys will be envious of your freedom. There are many reasons why they are not getting the kind of sex you are getting, but the point is that if your friends are on a diet to lose weight, you probably wouldn't rhapsodize about the pizza you ate last night, right? If they are anorectic, that is a horse of a different color, and your friends rather sound like sexual anorectics, but I don't know them so I really can't pass judgment. The point is that you should examine why you tell your stories and decide what the value is in doing so. If you really value your friends, you can bend your behavior for them, just as they should for you. Make a deal with them. Give a little, get a little. If you want to shock people, do it among strangers in the course of a short bus ride.

Whatever you do, keep a sex diary. I am now reading mine from twenty years ago. I am absolutely amazed at myself, and not a bit disgusted. I expect to read even more (that is not yet written) while in the proverbial rest home with those friends who will have nothing more than bingo to make their pulses race.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 28, 2009 10:49 AM

Fr Tony, you are wonderful, but I have to chime in here because discussion of sex wherein you are not a participant is boring. One of the greatest sluts I have ever known was a concert pianist in New York who insisted "The bedroom is a place for absolute silence and complete mystery."

The only time Raymond ever spoke to me about sex was when he discovered that one of his tricks had been with a woman and he found out about it. He was angry and told me what he said: "If you think you are ever going to stick that thing in me again you are woefully mistaken." :)

Raymond kept his own "Asbestos Diary" and had finally taken to abbreviating everything so much only he could interpret what had happened. His tastes always ranged from one exoticism to another, but he virtually never had to describe them and by keeping his mystery...he got laid more often.

Do you know where those diaries are? That is exactly the sort of thing that is kept by the Stonewall Library and Archive. That is where mine will repose. Someday.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 29, 2009 5:46 AM

I am afraid it is in the dustbin of history. Give you an example of the cryptic style.

L.C. BJ metro

diddlygrl | May 28, 2009 11:27 AM

Yeah, I am not now,though I kind of was when I was pretending to be a guy, any sort of prude. I now love my body, battered though I am by things, and if I could I would go 'skyclad' as us Wiccans call it most evwerywhere.

I do not think it is prudishness on this guys part though that forced him to write to you.I think it is the same reason that we don't discuss a particularly good bowel movement with our friends, or at least I don't.

There is a matter of decorum and for want of a better phrase, 'social graces' to consider. IF they are at the bar and kicking back a few, well it is perfectly acceptable to discuss your latest sex capade with your friends if they want to hear it. If it is over a fine dinner at a swank resturaunt, well that is not really considered proper table discussion for a formal evening social event.

No for some reason I think the slut is goading his friends,out of jealousy or perversity I don't know. There is some kind of friction here in this group that needs to be addressed.

I understand why you wanted write your little screed on gay prudishness, I have seen it among the lesbian friends I have made and it is downright embarressing to see otherwise liberated women go victorian at times, really, i am just mortified by their antics.

Good advice, Tony.

To add: I wonder how much is "TMI" for this bunch?

And: I think the darling slut should get a new pack of friends.

I have a friend who is almost exactly like "The Slut". I don't know why I'm a prude (according to Father Tony) just because I don't want to hear about him fisting his latest trick over dinner or while riding somewhere in the car--especially if there are people around who don't know him that well and, are quite frankly, new to having gay friends and are put off by it.

My "The Slut" doesn't ever self-censor and it's embarrassing.

Dear Jeff,
He fisted his latest trick over dinner? Impressive.

I'm sure that if he did, I'd hear about it, unfortunately.

Wow...did the letter-writer not watch Sex and the City? If you're friends with Samantha, you have to be ready to talk to talk about sex, all the time, in ways you never thought possible. If you can't take it, don't be friends with Samantha, but it'll be your loss.

Or, if some more substantial cultural reference is needed, I have always admired the mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which is to "promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt."

I refuse to live ashamed of who I am and what I do. Cheer up and live free!

Sister Mary FP | May 28, 2009 3:39 PM

So I read the first line of Father Tony's response, and leap to my keyboard in defense of starched Victorian nuns, and find that someone has already done so! Thank you indeed, Christian. Though I am actually an Edwardian. Still. Nun. Starch. And guilt-removal. On to my proper comment below.

I heard the friends of "the slut" complaining about the detailing of his escapades. Father Tony- Did you come out late in life? I totally disagree with your live and let live proposal in the faces of his friends and then turning it around by implying they are hung up on the joys of gay sex. No one verbally masturbates on me unless i get something out of it too. Since when are the nonstop details of a friends sex life my burden to listen to or interest for that matter? The Slut can share his feelings with his partners, not endlessly with his platonic friends. Its annoying. They said it was annoying. They need to tell "the slut" to shut up if it bothers them.
Other than this, i do adore your Father Tony. I hope you don't take my response the wrong way.

Dear Ewe, you never need to use a disclaimer with me. Feel free to slash and burn at will (as long as you don't harm the little children or other commenters).

Think about this: what if the Slut got cancer and burdened you with his constant talk about pain and treatment and sadness. Would you not feel inclined to shoulder that burden? As Dionne Warwick tells us, that's what friends are for. Say the Slut fell in love. Would you insist he not babble about his romance and the happiness it brought him? Why is sex different? Why should it have its own rules and repressions? Why is it any more icky than cancer or love?

PS: I don't think I came out late in life. Early thirties isn't really late, is it? But I was having gay sex long before that.

Cancer and love? Your logic would mean i should carry it further and feel that i must sit around and listen to tales of robbery, rape and murder too. I wouldn't. The only thing that bothers me about the sluts friends is that they have chosen to talk about their so called friend behind his back instead of addressing him directly. The slut obviously is not astute enough or simply does not care if he cannot observe the energy of his friends reactions.

bigolpoofter | May 28, 2009 1:16 PM

Hit it, Tony!

The writer is typical of Queer folks who have so internalized the sex phobia of their families and societies that they are unable to honor the joy and connectedness experienced through sex. Calling the friend "Slut" speaks volume about how the writer feels--why not something more accurate like "my dear friend who had more sex last week than I've had all my life"? Bottling up or editing our conversations about sex is part of what is continuing to kill us; and it's only by honest talk that we can gain insight about what's healthful and fulfilling.

I've been sexually generous since I first started messing around with a friend in elementary school. I'll agree that there's a time and place to talk about sex, just as there are ways in which sex can be counter-productive, regardless of how good it feels. That time and place may not be in a meeting with 25 hetero co-workers; but Queermen damned sure best be giving their friends to latitude to speak freely! Any other message to our friends about sexual candor only serves to reinforce the shame we've had put on us for being who we are....and that's not what friends are for!

Dear Father Tony,
Thank you for allowing us to come out of the slut closet! I wish there was a better word but perhaps we can alter the meaning if enough of us use it. I'm a middle-aged HIV+ man who has recently come out of a particularly dark period of my life, much of that having to do with the fallout from my diagnosis almost seven years ago. I was guilty, ashamed, afraid and completely repressed, thinking of myself pretty much as toxic waste. After a lot of time, talk therapy and good friends I'm now in a much better place, and I'm beginning to re-discover my sexuality, both as an older man, and as a healthy, HIV+ man. I can only say this - most of the greatest sex I've had recently, has not even involved ejaculation. Something to consider, when 'coming' was the goal for most of my life. Sex is now a new and joyous activity for me. Here's to all the sluts in the world - we make it a better place for everyone we touch.

Dear Joeq,
That is a fascinating comment. Not many men come through the "toxic waste" experience and are able to get where you are. You must have had excellent therapists and doctors, or, you're simply very perceptive and self-directed.

I have not yet written about having sex without coming but it is something that more and more men are learning to do, and they are surprised how practical and enjoyable it is. In some ways, the orgasm is really the curtain after the show. We buy a ticket to the show more than to the curtain. I've gotten rather good at lowering the curtain only half way after each of several "acts" of a mid summer night's romp. It's a delicious way to drive yourself and your partner(s) crazy in a good way, and it keeps them coming back for more. It becomes a contest of will and control with the winner coming alone and unobserved, and his partners wondering if next time, they will prevail. It is a very boyish and childlike game and much more fun than just groaning and spraying and getting home before Letterman.

Bravo. I have always thought that one of the joys of being a gay man is (or at least should be) our ability to speak openly and explicitly about our sex lives. I can't imagine not wanting to hear my friends tell their stories, unless they tell them badly.

That said, I do think that this sort of talk works best in relatively small groups of people. I am more likely to get into details when I'm having dinner with a friend or two than when I'm at a dinner party.

But that writing down your sex life thing? That's crazy. Nobody would do that.

TED, it's not crazy. I have two volumes that I wrote exclusively in Montreal during the years we had a condo there. I found that if I did not write before I went to sleep, I'd very often forget what I had done within 48 hours. It got to the point where I'd take pen and ample paper with me to the baths.

Sister Mary FP | May 28, 2009 4:03 PM

There, there, everyone. Speaking on behalf of the starched nuns, I do suspect the issue is being misread: It does appear to me that the problem that the Friends are having is not distaste for subject of sex but the relentless habit of one of their company of dominating the conversation. That makes the problem less about propriety (bad taste or sex negativity) but merely of poor manners (monopolizing every conversation with one's own favorite subject).

As Father Tony points out, there are circumstances where it is not polite to discuss that we should be free to discuss amongst ourselves. Rule of thumb amongst the Sisters: If there are cloth napkins, hold the discussion of anal warts till dessert.

But the writer doesn't mention particulars. I expect the writers would be just as unhappy if the topic was the latest antics of The Slut's adorable puppy, or the politicical situation in France, or his current diet, or why it's important to not shop at Walmart. All are nice things to discuss, but is that all you have to talk about?

That being said, I also concur with BigOlPoofter above in that the word 'slut' needs to be retired. It's sex-negative, judgemental, and I don't like it even when it is self-applied (Sister Erotica Psychotica has it tattooed on her backside. Right next to the pigs. I ask you.) I much prefer the term 'sexually generous.'

It is indeed indispensible to be free to discuss everything and anything with one's friends, particularly in our community, as Father Tony says. But there's more to someone than just one subject, surely. I would hope the Friends would find a positive way to draw their sexually generous friend into a broader variety of conversation. There is more to him than his sex life. At least help him see the value in asking 'so, what's new with you?' once in a while.

I agree with you Father Tony. When I was younger, I associated with an affluent bunch boys. I was always perplexed that they would egg me on to discuss my conquests then use it against me. What I came to discover is that this narcissistic bunch of morons would not simply denigrate a discussion of sex, but any topic I broached. The solution for me was new friends. Life is too short to live by the terms of another!

Dear Sister Mary,

Please clarify, as I do not wish to offend when I am in your neighborhood. Are the warts fair game before, during or after dessert?

I am hesitant to agree with your suggestion that The Slut be encouraged toward other hobbies. Dilettantes never win gold medals. It takes focus and constant practice and specialization. His friends should celebrate him, and when they tire of his tales, simply introduce him to the ball gag.

Anthony in Nashville | May 28, 2009 5:16 PM

I don't think it's a matter of people being prudish as much as knowing when it's appropriate to give up the details.

Sometimes people don't want to hear all the ins and outs of your latest hook up. Particularly if you're talking about a group of more than a couple of people.

As an example, I went to a discussion group this week for gay men and someone decided to start talking about how hot water sports were to him, complete with a breakdown on a particularly memorable experience. Why would someone want to tell a group of strangers about this?

I have friends, some of whom are quite successful at getting their groove on, but they know I don't need to hear about every conquest.

I would interpret someone who continues to bring up sex as a person who is bragging or has nothing else to talk about.

Sister Mary FP | May 28, 2009 5:37 PM

During. And 'spooge' is acceptable with appetizers, but not during the soup course. Or main courses with sauces. And may I point out that in our House, I'm the most observant of manners. I'm probably at dinner with Sister Dirrty Sanchez who throws food and Sister Unity Divine who runs around eating off other people's plates. My life is one of patience and doom.

Oh, and it wasn't that I was encouraging other hobbies, only suggesting that his friends express interest in his other interests in addition to the wonderful fun sex he's having. Perhaps he never thought his friends would be interested in his bonsai collection or his vast knowledge of bee-keeping. (And it could cause the friends to reflect on 'careful what you wish for' and ask to return to the sex tales.)

It's quite possible, as others have pointed out, that this freedom to discuss sex is new and theraputic and quite valuable, thus should be treated with the same importance as a cancer diagnosis. It is also quite possible that it could be a sign of something troubling. If he is talking about high risk sex or using negative terms (such as 'slut', friends) then attention should be paid.

And on the third hand, it could be the friends are just irritated at having to listen to someone else talk when they have a great story about origami, which makes the ball gag a perfectly good solution. One affixed with a timer. No need to be censorious, just set it on the table, next to the wine carafe. It will give everyone the same reminder about being good listeners.

Uh, Padre?

>> you are just not really free, and not really gay and you are not helping the human race evolve to where it should be

This kind of pissed me off, begging your pardon. Did I miss something? Was there a paragraph of extra background left out of the original letter?

This seems to me a case of one guy being rude and not understanding when his friends are annoyed with his conversation. I would have simply dropped the friend, if he wouldnt shut up about sex during our interactions. This isn't about being uncomfortable about sex, or at least there didnt seem to be enough evidence in the original letter to come to that conclusion.

Also, I don't think you tell people whether you think they're free, nor whether you think they're really gay, nor that you think they're not moving in the direction the human race should evolve in. Think about it. Who gets to decide if Im really gay?

Did I miss something? Was there a paragraph of extra background left out of the original letter?

I still love the blog, but I hope you will understand that I do disagree with you here.


Dear Sam,
Right you are.
There is never enough time to draft these responses with the care they often deserve. I come to some conclusions to which I hold with conviction, and then don't hve time to back fill with the justification.

I'll have to do a separate post on the evolution of gay sexuality in terms of propriety and other chafing nonsense (and that ought to tell you where that will lead).

Didn't Foucault once famously oppose sexual liberation discourse? And he was a big ol' slut....

The irony of this deployment is in having us believe that our "liberation" is in the balance.

I'm kinda there with him, after being indoctrinated for years that sexuality is a subject to be quantified and verbalized instead of enjoyed.

But I'd take it further and in a different direction - the "sexually liberated" people I know don't all turn out to be all that "evolved" (if that term has any meaning), but just seem to think that their sexual liberation gets them off the hook for other sorts of oppressions and authoritative power structures they support. That makes sense to me - they have been indoctrinated with the idea that any will/desire that pops into their head is beautiful, much like that one Swedish philosopher whose work has justified some of the greatest oppression of our time....

The era of guilty dirty little secrets is coming to an end. Most kids have "seen it all" long before puberty, and that is drastically different from the way you and I were raised. The day will come when clothing will be seen only in museums or during intemperate seasons. Erections and orgasms will be as inconsequential and unremarkable as a sneeze at the office or in a subway car. Sex will be demythologized, and taboo and fetishes of all sorts will evaporate in sunlight. Surprisingly, sex will become more affectionate. Men and women will share bathrooms and showers without frenzy and anxiety. Meanwhile, folks with hang-ups, will miss the boat of good and playful sex because they will feel the need to close their eyes and cover their ears when men like "The Slut" start talking truth about human nature.

I respectfully disagree. I don't think that society is really moving in any particular direction on sexuality, as there were times in history where people were more open to having sex and talking about it and those times dissipated into others where people have lots of hang-ups.

Then again, social progress is a scam closely related to American Exceptionalism in which we think that everything we do nowadays is so much more enlightened than the way people were back then. It's then used in turn to justify how we live now as fundamentally more enlightened than say, Genghis Kahn's times, where wars were fought for land, because of course fighting wars for oil is so much better!

Dear Alex,

I do love the way you always disagree in your opening volley and then manage to convince yourself of what I am saying by arguing it better than I myself did, thank you very much!

Bon fete anniversaire! (Someday, I'll learn how to flip this keyboard to add in the correct accents)

Tony I see your point and it is a good one, but sometimes our "Slut" friends can't seem to talk about anything else than their exploits. In which case their crime is simply being an insufferable bore.

Sometimes in our coming out processes we tend to swing to extremes as some sort of compensation for our inability to talk about sex when we were closeted. I think that's how we sometimes end up with friends like "Slut" who just can't stop talking about sex adventures to the exclusion of any other topic. Sometimes the average person also wants to talk about latch-hook rugs, gardening and other pursuits in a conversation - when "Slut" dominates a conversation with sex talk, no one else can get a word in.

Dear Jimbo,
The writer didn't disclose whether or not "The Slut" had come out recently. That would have colored my response because I have had the experience of being driven nuts by a friend when he had just come out. I remember being in a car with him several times in the course of a week vacation. He held the map and gave forth with directions, but he refused to say "go straight" replacing it each time with "go gayly forward". After three days of this, I pulled over to the side of the road and exploded.

I don't think it's about prudery, it's about etiquette. Suppose the friend was a gourmet, and all he ever talked about was the meals he ate, the meals he was going to eat, the restaurants he visited, the restaurants he wanted to visit, what he thought about The Food Network personalities, ad inifinitum, ad nauseaum. I love food, I love to cook, and I love to eat. Nonetheless, there's a certain point where this just gets tiresome.

To me, it sounds more like "The Slut" is seeking to be the center of attention, and perhaps is failing to give considerate equal attention to his friends.

I too have to wonder if it is merely prudishness on the part of the writer, or if it is someone who has had to listen one time too many from Little Johnny One Note. I have had many a happy discussion about sexual adventures over dinner, often with my kinkier friends. I do however have a couple of friends who manage to turn every conversation to the topic of sex. It does get a little wearing after a while and wind up like talking with your great aunt who is obsessed with raising fancy goldfish.

While I agree with you sex is a delightful conversation topic, like anything else, a constant diet gets tiresome.

Tony, our merry band is not a shy one, but I wouldn't characterize any of our group as the type of person to which "Friend" is referring. We talk about sex but we don't talk incessantly and to endless graphic detail about it, unless we are doing so in an exploratory fashion to discover something new or to compare notes. This "Slut" person sounds like an egotist and I wouldn't have any patience with his endless sex talk either.

And considering you disliked "Spring Awakening" the musical because there was a teeny bit of implied sex on stage, I think there may be one or two walls of glass in your house. I'm just sayin'.

David Dear,
Sigh. Read my response again. Where did you get the idea that I was referring anywhere to us? I didn't.
Also, I didn't like Spring Awakening for many reasons, the very least of which was the gratuitous and jarringly explicit (non-dramatic) sex. Don't you recall me complaining that there was not a single hummable song in that thing?

Any topic depends on how interested the group is in hearing what you have to tell, and how interesting the speaker tells it.

Any topic depends on how interested the group is in hearing what you have to tell, and how interestingly the speaker tells it.