The false dichotomy of gay life.

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Misty Irons reposted the “gay lifestyle” of the (In)Famous SMT.  After reading both her post and his original, I decided I wanted to make a similar post and offer some commentary on the underlying topic.

So an average weekday looks like this for me:

7:00am:  The first alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
7:30am:  The second alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
8:00am:  The third alarm goes off.  I hit the snooze button.  I keep hitting it each time it goes off.
8:30am:  The third alarm won’t let me hit the snooze button any more.  I turn it off and get up.
8:35am:  I wash up and get dressed.
8:45am:  I check email, visit my social networking sites, and read my favorite blogs.
9:20am:  I hop in the car and head to work, stopping at the 7-Eleven to grab something to eat and something for lunch.
10:00am:  I arrive at work.  I spend the next eight hours attending meetings, writing code, answering emails, and fielding the occasional technical question for the sales team.
6:30pm:  I leave work.  If it’s open, I run to Psychic’s Thyme and hang out with friends for a bit.
7:00pm:  Dinner time.
8:00pm:  If I’m curently dating someone, I ask my boyfriend if he’s free.  If so, we get together, watch a movie, talk, make love, and cuddle.  If I’m very lucky, we spend the night sleeping in each others arms.
8:00pm:  If I’m single or my boyfriend is busy, I check email, respond to any outstanding ones, read blogs, do some blogging of my own, and/or or work on my writing.

In my life, there’s no such thing as a typical weekend.  I may go see my parents for the weekend.  Or I might head up to Toronto for a dance class and a show with Marina for Saturday.  Or I might go back to Psychic’s Thyme to hang out with friends.  I may go to dinner with friends.  I may go dancing Saturday night.  If I’m dating someone, I may spend time with my boyfriend (going to a movie, staying home and cuddling, making love, talking, going to a party together, whatever).  Trying to fit that into a single “daily schedule” would be impossible.  There’s just too many possibilities.

What inspired me to write this, however, is that I’ve notice something about many “gay lifestyle” posts:  most of them say absolutely nothing about sex.  In many cases, that’s perfectly understandable.  There are a lot of gay people out there who are not sexually active for one reason or another.  They may simply be too busy right now for a sexual relationship.  Or they may be waiting for that one special someone they want to spend their lives with.  I totally get that and respect that.

What I don’t get or respect, however, is the underlying message (or so it seems to me) that the only way to prove that all gay men spend their weekends at the bathhouse or bring home a different guy every night is to show that we’re not having sex at all, or at least hiding the fact that we’re having it.  I’m sorry, but “total celibacy” and “having 100 sex partners every year” are not the only two possibilities.

In many ways, I’m reminded of the first American Pie movie.  I loved that movie because it was a great commentary on the pressure (heterosexual) guys feel about having sex in their teen years and how it can become an obsession.  The other thing I like about that movie is that the way the “quest to lose their virginity” ends differently for the various main characters.  Two of them end up having what basically amount to random hookups (though the one ends up falling in love with his partner and marrying her in future movies).  One ends up having sex with his long-term girlfriend (who breaks up with him in the next movie).  And the fourth ends up in a relationship and he and his new girlfriend decide to put off having sex for a while longer.  The movie ends up demonstrating a diversity of responses to human sexuality.

I think we need more of that in the gay community and how we present ourselves to the outside world.  We need to get rid of the “celibacy/promiscuity” dichotomy altogether.  There’s a far more complex range of choices when it comes to human sexuality and human sexual behavior, and I think we need to start demanding that our detractors acknowledge that in our own communities.

I won’t pretend I’m a sexual prude in order to get acceptance.  But that doesn’t mean I’m totally devoid of a sexual ethic or standards, either.

5 thoughts on “The false dichotomy of gay life.”

  1. By the way, I should note that I have nothing against Misty or the (In)Famous SMT. This post isn’t meant as an attack against or criticism of them. This is a much bigger trend that I’ve noticed, and it bugs me. They just happened to remind me of that trend, causing me to write about it.

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