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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Putting the "Sex" back into homosexuality.

I haven't written about sex in oh, at least an hour, so why not start again. Actually, it's part of my job, doing my PhD, writing about sex and how gay men have sex - and I usually enjoy it - the writing I mean. Oh, and the fieldwork.

I've been thinking about what it was like when I was a baby-gay, back in the 70s when I was in my teens and coming out. Nearly all my initial contacts were sexual, until I was about 17 and started making gay friends, and as a teenage boy getting all that sex, I was very, very happy with that. Young, dumb and full of cum, as they say. Yes, I also wanted a boyfriend, and love, but like most teenage boys, I tended to think with my dick.

Suddenly there was a whole world of fun in front of me. And Gay Liberation actually had the message of sexual freedom at its core. We aren't heterosexuals, so why form our social and sexual patterns on their models? If you want to go and fuck till sunrise every day, well why not? And a lot of guys did that.

That's putting it a bit crudely, but there was a sense that we needed to move away from the judgmental and anti-pleasure aspect of so much of how the straight world saw us.There was a strong message of celebrating the body, celebrating the sexual. This didn't mean you couldn't fall in love and have a partner, but there was so much negativity about two (or more) men getting naked and having fun that Gay Lib thought it important to stress that there is nothing wrong with it.

Instead of the old message from society 'You are evil sick perverts for doing that' we took on a new "sex-positive" message instead, saying two (or more) men getting naked and having fun was a very good thing indeed - if that's what you wanted. I remember at one of the first Gay Lib meetings I went to at uni being told how lucky we were as gay men - we could screw around as much as we liked and no-one would get pregnant, the worst that could happen was syphilis and that just needed some pills.

And then, along came AIDS.

And with it came a whole lot of finger-pointing and moralising, and an awful lot of people saw it as God's punishment on filthy homos. Quite a lot of self-hating gay men did as well. And some still do - I've met them.

But there's a mistake in their logic. HIV can be transmitted by sex, but it's not caused by sex.

Yet that old stupid, anti-pleasure messages keep coming through. I think NZ has quite a strong puritan streak to it - all those bloody missionaries had a bad effect. Christianity really doesn't like anyone having a good time with their body. And I am surprised at how often I come across the attitude even today among some gay men, this idea that sex is bad, a sin, something that shouldn't be talked about, shouldn't be mentioned and the cause of all our woes. Then they disappear into a sauna, have sex, and feel terrible about themselves again. Sad really.

It doesn't have to be like that! Sex is great ! Or it can be. No - It's not the be-all and end-all of life, and sex is different from love, something a lot of gay men know very well. And when sex and love come together, well, that's magic, that's probably what we all want I guess. But even if I had the perfect partner, I suspect I'd still want to fuck around, and would expect it not to be a problem.

I'm still often utterly entranced by the random beauty of men I end up in bed with. Some are regular fuck-buddies, some are casual one-offs - but it's rare that I end up naked with a guy and don't find something beautiful and sexy in him. I hope that they feel the same way. And I know, I'm getting older, greyer, saggier, I'm not as desirable as I once was, but I don't care too much.

It's my body, and I like my body, and I like what I can do with it, and what can be done to it. And that's enough for me.

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