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Thursday, January 19, 2012

No Hookups?

I was sitting in Albert Park the other day, enjoying the sun, having some lunch, the scent of dope floating through the summer air, playing with the phone,  idly looking through Manhunt, Recon, Gaydar, Scruff, Grindr etc and noticed a few profiles saying "No hookups" and then I posted on facebook "I just don't get guys who use sites like Scruff or Grindr and say 'No hookups'".

And so many of those profiles have a headless body-shot, and locked pics sitting there too.

It was just an idle throwaway line, a little query that popped up in my head, sitting in the sun.

Boy, did it  get a response! I think there were over 70 comments on it the last time I looked, with guys from NZ, Australia, the USA, Canada all chipping in. And what a range of opinion.

Some went along the lines of "Not all homos are skanks and some of us actually like to go out for dates without ending up fucking" to others saying "These sites are designed for hooking up and anyone who says they're not there for that is deluding themselves." A few insults got tossed around as well. As one friend in Sydney said "You've opened a hornets' nest!"  The passion and strength of the differing opinions really surprised me.



Guys, guys! Please - play nicely!

It seems to me to raise that old debate that goes on in homoland - do we fuck too much? Do we define ourselves by our sex-lives? Are we so fixated on getting laid that we can't form ordinary loving relationships or even go on a date that doesn't end up with sex?

Or should we just embrace the fact that we can fuck around as much as we like and still have solid, happy relationships as well? And that is the truth for a lot of men - nearly all the guys in LTRs I can think of are not monogamous, and don't need to lie to their partners about it either. And it is just so easy for two guys to meet, whip it out and have fun, then say "Oh, I'm Jack by the way". Someone once said cumming together for gay men is like shaking hands for straights, and that can be the case, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Some guys obviously don't like the more highly sexualised parts of gay life. For them it's a scary and often sad place where they don't find what they want - love. Some of us want to settle down with one man and have a white-picket fence and kids and a poodle. Some of us would slit our wrists at the prospect. If you've been paying attention, you'll know I lean towards the latter camp. I don't think there is anything wrong with hooking up as much or as little as you like, and I don't think having a full and busy sex-life stops you from finding love either, in fact I know it doesn't. Like anything in life, you need to monitor what works for you, like anything, you can let it take over and that isn't a good thing usually.

And sure, these sites all get used for all sorts of things, not just hookups. I set up a time for coffee with a mate on Recon the other day, have swapped jokes with friends on Scruff, chatted to strangers on the other side of the world I'm never going to meet on Grindr. We don't just use these sites for hooking up, we use them for whatever we like. And sometimes if you're new in town they can be good to meet people and find out what's happening, where to go - and yes, you can make friends that way. And even lovers. I know a few guys who've met their partner off these places. I have never hooked up off fb though when I think about it - but I'm sure some of us have.

Over the centuries we have been experts in turning social spaces into cruising spaces - we had to, because we were on the outer, we were persecuted (we still are in fact) we had to hide and pretend to be something we weren't. And finding a fuck is often easier than forming a relaitonship, especially in those bad old days. So we have a cultural history of being adaptable, even if we're not all versatile.

But I'd still argue that basically these site are set up for gay men and if you give us a space we don't just decorate it and make it pretty, we tend to start fucking.





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