Tag Archives: owning sexuality

What Gay Men Say And Feel When The Thirst Is Real

Half-empty glass“Thirsty. Not for something that comes out from faucet, but gravity in equation. It adds and divides, multiplies and subtracts and always equaling desire. This desire yearns to be met with solution. A remedy. For fires to burn and bodies meld. All this for man. Man wishes to drink fully to stifle flames only contact makes solutions hotter and harder to come by. It is our function. Our dysfunction. Lust is the only bodily function I give credence right now. Smells and tastes from lips and tingles between thighs while the glass remains empty. It mocks as we mock ourselves. Mouth is dry and muscles ache, for physical connection. This remedy brief, but satisfying.”

 

Sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Or romantic. Or both or not at all. The inner monologue can come up with some really embarrassing commentary on desire as evident from the above entry of my journal over seven years ago. Suffice it to say that as eloquent as I was trying to be in that passage it shows that we are not always coherent when under the influence of our desires.  As gay men, well really all men, we always have those moments when all we can think about is satisfying our thirst. And when we’re single it feels like that drive is magnified by just about everything because it seems to occupy so much of our thoughts.

Some may be asking what thirst is well honestly it’s a lot of things. But mostly, thirst is merely the expression of one’s desires for another. Sometimes romantic, almost always sexual, and hardly ever platonic, it is the nature of wanting to be close to someone. A feeling of wanting to show this person of interest every single time you have a chance how much you like them. Always greeting him with an enthusiastic smile. Laughing at all of his jokes. Then we may start to be a bit craftier in expressing our desire.

Showing support for every cause he stands for. Reciting every literary work you learned in high school thinking he may notice. Being irrationally vitriol towards another when he’s angry at someone. Telling him about music you oh so quietly noticed he was into. Instantly disliking anyone he flirts with but still making conversation with them to show that you’re cool and laid back. Being the first to answer any inquiry he asks on social media. Favoriting every tweet he writes and liking every Instagram picture. Waiting until a really good moment you two share before direct messaging him your number. Has to be at the right time or else you’ll seem too needy or reckless or eager. The whole thing becomes meticulous after a while.

Then if he positively responds to any of our previous attempts we escalate our efforts because our thirst has not been quenched. This positive reinforcement means we have to ramp up whatever initiative we have available to attract this man to us. In fact the attention that we received only made the thirst worse so now we want more. As a result we may find ourselves saying or doing things we swore we would never ever do. The thirst is not about being rational or logical; it’s about having our desires satiated. Even if that awkwardly showing off your own physical features of your body you think he may like. Eventually this may mean finding unique ways to bring up how talented you are in sexual exploits.

“Accidentally” posting a pic of you casually getting out of the shower that your bestie took while you were both wasted or the one where you were only taking a pic of your thighs to measure how much gym progress you’ve made when really it’s about showing off the goods. Eventually you become hell-bent on showing this guy that you are the total package that he may or may not have known he always wanted. You want to be noticed. It’s a balancing act because you are constantly micromanaging what you should and should not say or do. Keep in mind that this all happens fast as we keep displaying how we feel until our thirst is satiated and he is the only thing that can squelch that sensation. Or how agile and flexible you are. As men it is natural for us to notice what we see before anything else, in fact we are hard wired to do so.

Then there’s the waiting. Waiting to see if you’ve made some progress on your goal of obtaining this man, agonizing over those first few moments (or seconds) that you’re eagerly awaiting some kind of reply of all your efforts. The great moments when he shows enthusiasm for your latest attempt or slight depression when he either doesn’t show enough enthusiasm or doesn’t reply at all. Eventually we are so into making progress that we don’t notice how some are witnessing how much we are falling all over ourselves to win favor with this guy.

It’s all subtle and direct and blatant and covert. It is the modern way of showing a crush that you’re interested in him. Not at all to confuse this with obsession as that is about completely losing yourself. This is all about expression. Our focus is a little off and we come off as awkward. Meaning literally everything and everyone diverts our attention back to quenching the sexual thirst we have. But we still have our own lives; we still go to work and socialize with our friends. We still pay our bills and plan for our future regardless of relationship status. And eventually we let go if it doesn’t work out. Whether this desire was rooted in wanting a long term relationship where you build lives together or a one night stand you eventually move on.

And people will notice. Family, coworkers, and most certainly those friends that are a part of your inner circle. As a result some will choose to point it out. Or call you out on it, whether it’s appropriate or their place to do so is moot. We have a tendency to rib each other when we notice someone being a bit more exuberant with someone that they like for whatever reasons. That can come from the shame we feel about our own thirst and project that on to other men. Sometimes it’s just jealously because the two people lusting after each other at one point was someone you were once (or possibly still) have some interest or desire in. Or maybe you just feel uncomfortable about it because it’s not the heteronormative way of romantically socializing that were taught was appropriate by society or our parents. Or the worst which is there is no reason.

Sadly some choose to take advantage of the thirst. Some feel that it warrants them to ask for favors knowing full well that being the object of affection gives them power over another. Whether that involves something as simple as asking them to promote something they’re invested in or as out there as having them buy things for them off an Amazon Wish List they know that they are using the real feelings of another to forward their own objective and that’s an awful thing to do to another person.

With all this, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful in moments like this? Owning it. Admit to yourself that you are a human being that has a sexual appetite just like everyone else, regardless of how willing they are to admit it. Taking ownership of your feelings always gives you power and control. Maybe not over this situation and definitely not over the guy you’re interested in but power over yourself. To accept the state of the situation no matter what. To know that while it is okay for you to feel this way it is never okay for someone to take advantage of that. And enough insight and confidence to be able to tell any hecklers to mind their own damn business.

But mostly, guys don’t beat yourself up for being human. Don’t feel like it’s something that you have to have to hide in shame from your buddies. You may well be an awkward, embarrassing mess since we are not always able to express how we feel in a more sophisticated way. But until then you will most likely say something that upon reflection is completely cringe worthy and all out embarrassing but again, you are human. So let your friends laugh, or judge, or mock because they don’t have the jewels to admit that under the same circumstances they have said and done much worse. And you know what else? That guy you have your eye on will probably show more interest when it comes from a real, honest place.

 

So drink up.

 

Are We As A Community Trying To Become “Too Straight”?

gay art

If you follow me on twitter, then you may have noticed that lately more of my tweets are filled with vinegar than with sugar. I won’t pretend that there hasn’t been something that’s been bothering me lately about the LGBT community. And if you’ve ever read my articles, one of my biggest talking points is about how important it is to communicate our feelings in order to bring forth discussion about the issue. So I need to rant about how I feel these issues are problematic to me.

At first I thought maybe I was making all this up in my overactive imagination because by nature I resist many notions of conformity. I don’t go out of my way to avoid it but it’s definitely not a concept that I subscribe to very often. But lately I’ve noticed this trend about our community that gives off a unified front when in honestly it feels anything but together. It feels cool, detached and rigid.

It feels like more and more that LGBT only shows this one facet of our diverse community that echoes how the straight politicians and businessmen that openly oppose us. We’ve gone from picketing in streets to this homogeneous corporate feel that recognizes people that have made small strides instead of those that have been in this fight all of their lives fighting for our rights. It looks too much like we’re trying to be straight when we aren’t.

One thing that has been bothering me lately is about sex. Lately there’s this insinuation by some to assimilate in relation to our sexual nature that seems to be taking place with this community. References made about how we can’t show our sexual nature and must be like that of our straight counterparts and not openly display our love for sex. More and more it feels like the things that should be recognized like advocating for understanding our complex and differing sexual nature aren’t and the things we shouldn’t give too much credence are the things that are overly praised, lacking in substance and importance.

I know that to some of the outside observers it seems that we are nothing more than a bunch  of materialistic, selfish, superficial sex crazed fiends. And to a degree I could not care less what those outsiders believe so long as they do not impede on our freedoms or our customs or our rights. But it bothers me when we have members within our community insisting that we do all we can to resemble all heteronormative actions and behaviors   Like how we should be advocating for monogamous relationships that want to get married and nine to five jobs with the picket fence two dogs and kids.

Anything that deviates from that is not only rejected as a normal concept but actually looked down on. Some go as far as to condemn other gay men saying that they are the reason that the rest of society has an issue with us. Blaming our sexual nature, that is no different in any aspect from our straight counterparts other than how we express it. And I do not like it at all. It enrages me in fact. Look. if nuclear style family is for you then that is perfectly fine. I hope you are able to fulfill that wish and prosper for all your days.

But if someone is inclined to work hard as a bar owner that enjoys polyamorous relationships then he/she should be able to do so without disdain and criticism from members of this community  Especially with the fact that you know damn well what it feels like to be discriminated against for being who you are. Stop trying to put your perfect image of what people are supposed to be like and be concerned with making your own utopia for yourself.

We are sexual beings with varying levels of desires and characteristics that are unique (as it is for everyone). Let two (or more) consenting  adults that have sound reasoning, are protecting themselves and their partners by engaging in safe sexual practices they should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies. They should be able to participate in whatever sexual activity they see fit without this slut shaming.

Another thing that bothered me recently  is when I read about Bret Ratner being recognized by GLAAD with an Ally Award. You may remember that Ratner last  year went on an anti-gay rant before he was slated to produce the Oscars. After being confronted by LGBT advocates and activists for his bigoted tantrum he made a vow to rectify his ways. And he has taken steps by producing videos of other straight celebrities advocating for equality. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and welcome any form of advocacy for equal rights.

But it has only been a year.  Even when you take time out of the equation we have to also consider that there are a plethora of LGBT activists that hardly ever get recognized for all the hard work and dedication they put into this movement every day. People that risk their lives are not even noticed unless it makes the news. It’s funny (not really) how the people that are condemning gay men and the rest of the community into this ideal of conformity are the very ones that are conforming to the heteronormative “acceptable” behaviors that are even more vain, superficial and lacking in substance than anyone else is doing.

This trend of assimilation was confirmed even more for me when a friend pointed out an article by Joshua Gamson that questions the identity we develop when we are a part of a movement. In The Dilemmas of Identity Politics,  Gamson points out that even though having parts of our identity that resemble the rest of society that we have to ensure that we don’t lose the rest of our identity in the process. We need to be careful that in our efforts to show how alike we are with the rest of society that we don’t become the very things we advocated against.

To me that’s what it feels like some within the community are doing. All this suggests that in order for us to make advances that we have to modify our behavior and our culture. It’s too dangerously close to internalized homophobia or mocking and discrimination of other LGBT that don’t fit into this model that can be displayed as normal.  Instead of displaying the true diversity of our community, we show the same representation in our movement.

The majority of our leaders are gay Caucasian men that the rest of society deems acceptable and appropriate with no consideration or discernible effort to the rest of this community. There’s hardly any recognition to lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered. Even less with minority LGBT members. Let me once again make it clear that I’m not saying that mediation and finding common ground isn’t a good thing.

It has always proven to be an effective means to enact change that I support. But I can’t abide that we have to do all we can to fit in to mainstream society. I still wonder all these years later if that was the reason I was told not to be in front of a gay pride rally because they didn’t want to “incite more tensions” as I was told because it didn’t fit the model of what LGBT are supposed to look like. And it needs to stop. We shouldn’t have to fit in just to be accepted.

I understand the need to distance ourselves from the stereotypes that are created out of hate, ignorance, bigotry and sometimes our own behavior as a community. But at the same time that doesn’t mean we should whitewash every aspect of our diverse and unique nature. We shouldn’t disregard the customs we have developed or the culture that we have nurtured to fit the status quo. We need to be unafraid to show those that are most geeky, or feminine, gothic, of different ethnic minorities/races, ages instead of this plastic, uniformed representation now.

We have a rainbow that represents us so let’s show that and respect how different we really are. We are not straight so we shouldn’t have to amend characteristics of ourselves for the movement. The movement exists to show that even though our sexuality is different that we should not be treated differently. And we need to actively make sure that we are not adopting those same conformist attitudes of others in this or any community.