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Thursday, November 23, 2017
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The Politics of Love and Sex
The Politics of Love and Sex
We live in an age where there seem to be rules for everything. The post 9-11 police state mentality of the country right now hasn't helped nor completely taken over everything, but metal detectors in the bedroom may be next (lol). Everyone has varying perspectives on the subject. In terms of Man-2-Man dating, your outlook always depends on your age, geographical location, race, class, HIV status and a whole bunch of other demographics more suited for an urban anthropologist.

Regardless of what identity box you check, if you fall into the group of men who see little or no hope in terms of dating, the whole scene is so political and at times foreign. Are there politics of Love & Sex? If so, what can you do to raise your standing in the poles and have the right man win the election for your heart. Well, hell if I know.

So based on that I looked at my bookshelf in my home and saw Michael Signorile's QUEER IN AMERICA. I figured if there was a Margaret Mead or Diane Fossey of gay culture, Michael is surely it and maybe he would be able to help explain why it's so hard to find the guy of your dreams in the mist of contemporary gay life. So take notes, this may be on the final exam and field trips may be required. (And I bet Michael doesn't grade on a curve - lol)

1. If you're single, and fairly attractive, where can you go to find men outside of the bars?
A: Community centers. Activist groups. Volunteer work. Book clubs. Film clubs. Theater clubs. Sex clubs. The Internet. I tell people to get involved in politics and charity work - there are a lot of hot, plugged-in, smart caring guys contributing their time to causes. Go and find them and join them.

2. Do you think bar culture is good for men to find meaningful relationships?

A: I think every place men meet is one that can lead to a meaningful relationship. I'm not of the opinion that bars are always more "shallow" than other places, although a lot of people in bars are just looking to get laid (which is fine). I met my boyfriend in a gay restaurant, while I was standing at the bar having a drink and he was eating with his friend. I asked the host who he was, and he said, I don't know but you better move fast, as somebody else just sent his number over there. I did, and we've been together now over 7 years.

3. Once in a Details magazine interview about Gays in the Military, you talked about having sex with a closeted guy in the military. Many gay men have attractions to the masculine, straight-acting or even straight (living) men. Do you think it's healthy to think anything long term will come out of this, even if the sex is hot?

A: Well, it can become a long-term sex-only thing, which isn't that bad if that's what you want. Doesn't have to always be that Mr. Right, picket-fence relationship. Could be a once a month session of yard-dog sex that goes on for years. Or it could very well become a meaningful, committed, live-in relationship. I don't think it's unrealistic at all to think that way - there are all kinds of guys out there, including masculine guys who want a deep, monogamous relationship.

4. When the guy you've been with for a while, feels the sex isn't what it use to be; what can couples do to put some sparks back into it?

A: Oh, I know it sounds like a cliché, but really you need to give the relationship some face time, take a trip together, go out to dinner, and/or do romantic things. Truth is, for a lot of people, sex is never going to be like it was in that first few weeks, months or years of a relationship. The relationship often grows deeper, even as the sex wanes a bit. There's nothing wrong with that. Still, freshening things up - and having some tension between you, including a heated discussion now and then - always goes a long way.

5. Why do so many gay men leverage their body or physical appearance in finding a mate? For example, the attitude being: "I'm this age (young of course), muscles for days, and handsome - I should get a boyfriend that looks that good or better."

A: Because we grow up in a culture that values those things, and deems them the height of masculinity and beauty. Gay men are only responding to those cultural cues. A lot of gay men too are dealing with internalized homophobia, putting more value in how they (and others) look than in how they've healed from the trauma society unleashes on us. Believe it or not, for a lot of gay men it's easier to build up their bodies and feel highly valued and legitimized that way than to actually work on their issues and reach a place of emotional well being.

6. Why does the gay single scene seem so dismal sometimes and what can single men do?

A: Well, it only seems dismal if you're completely over it. For young people it's always exciting and new; it's only when you've been around the track a while that it becomes dismal - and that can happen fast.  I say, again, go to other things - events, shows, social clubs, political work. Get involved, do things in the community, and you'll meet lots of guys.

7. What if I've been with a guy for a while and he wants to lower barriers and perform barebacking sex?

A: Educate him about the realities and break some of his myths down that allow him to take those risks. Having unprotected sex is still as dangerous as it was before, in terms of contracting HIV - and going on the drug cocktail is no picnic and doesn't work for everyone, and people still get infections and die. The famed photographer Herb Ritts just died of complications from AIDS. There are some couples who practice "negotiated safety" (having unprotected sex with one another, and only one another) but we're talking about those who are in long-term, committed and totally honest relationships, who are able to trust one another and tell one another when there has been sex outside the relationship. Many if not most couples probably aren't able to do that, and there's nothing wrong with that - just use condoms. Also, negotiated safety is not for people you meet and just start dating, however serious it seems. It's for people who can handle it and who have spent, in my view over a year or two together, getting tested with one another and talking openly about their sex lives. Everybody else - which is probably 90 percent of gay men, single and in relationships - is taking foolish, deadly risks by having sex without condoms.

8. Do you think gay marriage is right for everyone? Is this a realistic goal, or has the community got caught up in "Jonesing" with the straights?

A: No, it's not right for everyone and nobody should promote it that way. Some in the community may have gotten caught in that, but the great thing about this movement is that there's always someone marching to a different drummer, creating more choices for people. Marriage isn't the last word or the be-all and end-all.

9. What's the most romantic (non-X-rated) thing you and your hubbie have done lately?

A: Cuddled in a movie theater.

10. Any last thoughts on how gay men can find long lasting significant others?

A: Well, I guess I didn't mentioned personal ads, either online or in the paper. From what a slew of people have told me, it works!

Well, that's all for now folks. You can find his website at www.Signorile.com. Come back next month to here the lion roar and get the dish on what really matters. (Yes…silly, there's more to gay life than just sex and porno.)

NOTE: Oh, by the way - Margaret Mead was a renowned U.S. anthropologist. Born in Philadelphia, she studied under F. Boas and R. Benedict at Columbia Univ., and did fieldwork in Samoa before completing her PhD (1929). The first and most famous of her 23 books, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), presents evidence in support of cultural determinism with respect to the formation of personality or temperament. Her other books include Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), Male and Female (1949), and Culture and Commitment (1970). Her theories were based on observational methods and conclusions that were subsequently questioned by other anthropologists. In her later years, she became a prominent voice on such wide-ranging issues as women's rights and nuclear proliferation, and her great fame owed as much to the force of her personality and her outspokenness as to the quality of her scientific work. She served in curatorial positions at the Amer. Museum of Natural History for over 50 years.

Dian Fossey was the American naturalist who lived amongst the mountain gorillas of Central Africa, and whose unflagging crusade for their preservation may have cost her life.  Sigourney Weaver played her in the movie Gorillas in the Mist.

By Clark David - www.blulife.com

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