19 March 2011
A costs/benefits metaphor about homosexuality
1. You are completely colorblind and see the world in a monochromatic, grayscale continuum. (Or perhaps a "greenscale" continuum — but in any case, it's monochromatic.)
2. However, you are able to see wavelengths of infrared and ultraviolet that are invisible to most humans. Thus, some flowers that appear solid-colored to people with normal vision have dazzling zebra-stripe designs to you, as they do to many insects, because you can see ultraviolet patterning on the flower. And in a pitch-black room, you can see the warmth of another person's body, or a hot cup of coffee, or the spot on the sofa where the dog was sleeping a few minutes ago.
I consider my homosexuality as somewhat analogous to this, because I am clearly missing out on certain experiences that normal heterosexual men can take for granted in their lives. But I'm also able to experience aspects of life that normal heterosexual men cannot, or that they can only do in a limited way and with difficulty — so there's a definite trade-off!
Of course, the "things I'm experiencing" are not sense perceptions, but rather social interactions with men and with women: I don't interact with either men or with women in the same way that a heterosexual man typically would.
So an observant heterosexual man will be able to "see things" about men and women and male/female social relationships that I don't necessarily pick up on, but the converse can also be true — I may easily "see things" about men and women that a heterosexual man is likely to miss. (And I'm not even getting into the fact that homosexual sex can "feel good"; even if you're homosexual and celibate, being a man who's sexually attracted to other men but not sexually attracted to women will affect how you socialize with men and with women -- and this difference in socialization can be positive and constructive.)
P.S. Just to be pedantic and geeky about it, the hypothetical mutation I describe is quite unlikely, and particularly the "seeing infrared" part. (Retinal "cone receptors" that can detect ultraviolet as a visible color are actually found in some vertebrates, including birds. But as far as I know, there aren't any animals that literally SEE infrared in the sense that they're able to form a focused infrared image on the retina in a manner analogous to a thermal-imaging camera).
There are definitely animals that can detect infrared radiation -- such as pit-viper snakes -- but they don't see infrared via the eyes. That said, as human mutations go, being able to see infrared would be vastly less unlikely than shooting laserbeams out of your eyes -- sorry, X-men!
21 April 2010
How Brokeback Mountain lied...
It was big enough, warm enough, and in a little while they deepened their intimacy considerably. Ennis ran full throttle on all roads whether fence mending or money spending, and he wanted none of it when Jack seized his left hand and brought it to his erect cock. Ennis jerked his hand away as though he'd touched fire, got to his knees, unbuckled his belt, shoved his pants down, hauled Jack onto all fours, and, with the help of the clear slick and a little spit, entered him, nothing he'd done before but no instruction manual needed. They went at it in silence except for a few sharp intakes of breath and Jack's choked 'Gun's goin off,' then out, down, and asleep.
The first thing that should be obvious to any critical eye is that Ms. Proulx has never in her life been anally penetrated, and that she most likely "researched" the scene by watching a few gay pr0n videos.
The second thing that should be obvious is that if a heterosexual male author had written a short romance between cowboy Ennis and cowgirl Jill, and Ennis had initiated their sexual affair by "hauling Jill onto all fours" and roughly fucking her in the anus using only spit and precum as lube, and the entire thing were presented as sweet and romantic, it probably never have become an Oscar-nominated movie. Because odds are, the New Yorker wouldn't have printed the short story in the first place.
Because a "romantic" scene in which cowgirl Jill gets forcefully buttfucked doggie-style -- and keeps coming back to cowboy Ennis for more -- would have (quite reasonably) struck too many readers as one of misogynist violence (and/or a commentary on battered-wife syndrome). For this to have occurred as the opening sequence to a decades-long romance would've seemed "retro" not merely in the "Eisenhower era" sense, but rather, caveman retro.
And that's because when anal sex is placed in a heterosexual context, everyone immediately understands that if it's going to be done it all, it must be done very gently, and with lots of lube.
24 August 2009
Voices from "The Gay AIDS Industry"
"Why I gots Andrew Sullivan Delendum Est
a-tattooed on my hairy chest"
Okay, so I don't actually have that (or anything else) tattooed on my chest -- my skin is way too prone to keloid scarring, and besides, what if I wanna convert to Orthodox Judaism someday? I think it'd make a nifty motto for an embroidered throw-pillow, however, questionable Latin and all.
I really DO dislike Andrew Sullivan, though. Of course, I don't really want to see him destroyed, but I think it would be quite fitting if he had to sell himself into indentured servitude to pay for his antiviral meds, instead of passing on the cost to the readers of The New Republic.
But don't think that I seethe with contempt for Andrew because he did a 180 on the Gulf War after Dubya supported the Defense of Marriage Amendment; nor because he claimed to be shocked when the Pope reaffirmed the Vatican's total disapproval of homosexual acts; and not even because of his deranged, Downs-phobic obsession with the maternity of Trig Palin.
In my mind, all those are as trifling peccadilloes compared to Sully's astounding pile of slimy sarcasm and self-serving lies that was published in the 5 July, 2005 issue of The Advocate. (Though, admittedly, I haven't been a regular reader of America's #1 LGBT News Magazine™ since I was in college, and therefore didn't find out about Sullivan's 2005 Advocate column until seeing a reference to it in a 2008 metafilter thread.)
The column's official title is "Still Here, So Sorry" -- by which Andrew means to say "Ex-cuuuuuuuuuse me for not dropping dead of AIDS." Like Sullivan, I was raised Catholic, so with a tip of the hat to John Cardinal Newman, I'd suggest that a better title for Andrew's pathetic scribbling might've been Apologia pro Vita Suina (et Scrofulosa).
Although many HIV+ individuals have testified that being infected is not the end of the world -- it's an evergreen topic in gay media -- Sullivan goes way, way beyond that, and in my view takes it all the way to glamorizing his "poz" status. There's a lot of self-justifying ridiculousness, but what truly earns Sullivan a special place in Hell is this:
At the tender age of 41—a year longer than I once thought I would live -— I have never felt better.
Yes, I take testosterone and human growth hormone, and I now weigh 190 pounds. I discovered a couple of abs in my midsection the other day. I'll try to disguise them. Do they sell burkas online? I’ve even enjoyed sex more since I became positive -- more depth, more intimacy, more appreciation of life itself. Sorry.
Aarrgh. Just aargh. That's exactly the message that non-infected gay men need to hear, Andrew.
Later he writes about how easy it has become to manage HIV infection:
Five pills once a day. No side effects to speak of.
But his earlier comment about taking testosterone and HGH reveals how deceptive that "no side effects" assertion is -- since both substances are prescribed specifically to help reduce certain side-effects of the antiviral drugs. (And incidentally, Sullivan's bulked-up form has led many to speculate that he's probably using testosterone considerably in excess of the "hormone replacement therapy" levels that a doctor would normally prescribe.)
Some gay media figures rip Sully a much bigger hole...
Journalist and "professional activist" Michelangelo Signorile responded with a blistering column entitled Dear Bareback Andy. Although I am decidedly not a fan of Signorile -- whose claims to fame include involvement with ACTUP's headline-whore "consciousness raising" at Catholic Masses -- I give him major props for being harshly and tirelessly critical of the barebacking trend. And aside from the gratuitous slams on Sullivan's "right wing" politics, Signorile's scorn for "Bareback Andy" is wonderful to see -- "I gotta go get me some of that hot poz seed!"
...while others rush to his defense
On the other hand, Washington Blade columnist Chris Crain took umbrage at Signorile's attack, and Crain's defense of Sully even endorsed Sullivan's likening of HIV infection to diabetes:
Rather than losing all credibility by trying to scare people into abstinence until marriage or safe sex until death, HIV prevention ought to arm people with useful information from which they can make their own judgment about what risks to take.
If you're at a high risk for diabetes, your doctor wouldn't dream of scaring you with warnings like, "Don't you ever eat another chocolate cake in your life!"
If Crain's name rings a bell, it's possibly because he and his boyfriend were once beaten up by "Moroccan youths" in Amsterdam, which got plenty of coverage in the non-gay press. But quite honestly, I was inclined to get in line behind the Moroccan youths after reading the final grafs in Crain's response to Signorile:
Gay men, who are by nature at higher risk of getting HIV, can take certain steps to lower their risk: explore safer sexual activity like oral sex and frottage; stick to being a top in anal sex if you do not want to wear a condom
Fifty points to Crain for at least mentioning ''frottage,'' but minus a thousand points for neglecting to define it for readers who might think that he's talking about the criminal practice of rubbing one's crotch against unwilling strangers on a crowded subway (that's "frotteurism"). And minus a further 17 quintillion points for the recommendation that I've highlighted in bold text. Since every top requires a bottom, Crain's dipshit advice actually translates to: "Let the other guy(s) bear the brunt of the risk for your unwillingness to put on a raincoat."
Sex columnist Dan Savage has astutely noted that anal "tops" who feel no ethical responsibility to wear a rubber if the "bottom" doesn't insist on it belong in the same category as straight guys who say that worrying about birth control is entirely the woman's problem. Or, in the immortal phrasing of Todd the Squirrel from Chris Onstad's online comic Achewood:
With the minor difference, continues Savage, that people were customarily quite unembarrassed about saying that straight men who hold this attitude are appalling pigs. But Crain (who later became Executive Editor of the Washington Blade) apparently thinks that would be too, you know, judgmental. And Crain continues with the lethal non-judgmentalism:
Gay men who already have HIV should also be hearing a message grounded in reality: explore non-risky sexual activity like oral sex and frottage; stick to being a bottom in anal sex if you do not want to wear a condom; if you really want to bareback as a top, make sure your partner knows your HIV status.
So, to HIV+ men who wish to anally penetrate other men without a rubber, Crain's reality-grounded answer is "Okay-doke, just be sure to mention in advance that you have HIV." Which is a bit like saying to Todd the Squirrel: if you really want to fuck a bitch without wearing a gunny sack, it's okay as long as you remind her that sperm can cause pregnancy.
I just wish I could say that Crain and Sullivan were odd anomalies in the gay world, but their attitudes here are just the logical ends of a "mainstream gay culture" which holds that stigmatizing bad behavior is a sin far worse than the bad behavior itself could be.
10 August 2009
Dave & John: "Bi-curious J/O buddies"?
Above: Imagine the sensational Patti LuPone as Patti LuPooch. THAT would be an Extraordinary Claim Requiring Extraordinary Evidence, but occasional male bisexuality is far more mundane...
For example, let's take the case of David and Jonathan, whose intimate male friendship (though not necessarily involving physical intimacy to the point of shared orgasm) is described primarily in the Biblical book that Christians call 1 Samuel. Their story begins in chapter 17 and continues all the way to 2 Samuel 1:26, in which verse David grieves over Jonathan's bloodied body and laments, "my brother Jonathan, very pleasant hast thou been unto me; thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."
Now, how to interpret that "passing the love of women" remark?
Clearly, David had enormous heterosexual energy, and presumably Jonathan did too (at least, he was married and had a son). It's also clear that ancient Jewish culture had a particularly strong revulsion towards male/male anal penetration, since it's prohibited in Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 as an abomination worthy of capital punishment for both men involved. So David and Jonathan, as G-d-fearing Jews, would never ever have crossed the grassy divider and taken a ride up Hershey Highway.
However, it's also abundantly clear (in my experience-informed opinion, anyway) that when two soldiers who trust each other intimately are sharing a blanket on a cold, lonely night, far away from female company, and both of them wake up with "morning wood," well... sometimes things are gonna happen. That is, the friendship goes temporarily into "bi-curious jack-off buddies" territory. (Indeed, in my view, that's a major part of why "Don't Ask Don't Tell" continues to drag on as a political controversy in the U.S. -- it's the messy reality of male bisexual potential. If there were truly a stark hetero/homo dichotomy, with 98% of men being exclusively hetero and 2% being exclusively homo, DADT would've long since been resolved in favor of a policy that allowed the homo 2% to serve "openly" so long as they were very discreet and low-key about it.)
In short, there is most definitely a logical third option between the timidly prudish "David and Jonathan were just really super close Platonic friends" of Biblical dogmatists and "David and Jonathan were butt-bangin' out-and-proud Gay men who challenged received patriarchal gender norms," as some Queer Theorist idjits would have us believe.
Mind you, I'm not claiming that Dave and John, on some cold lonely nights, necessarily kissed and cuddled and played with each other's dicks and enjoyed some harmless "swordfighting" until they both came. I'm just saying that there's no Scriptural basis whatsoever to completely rule out that possibility -- for Christianity teaches that only Jesus was entirely without sin, and Judaism doesn't make that claim about any mortal man.
Furthermore, human nature hasn't changed since Biblical times, and we all know that when horny, mostly-straight guys are desperate for something more fun than solo masturbation because there aren't any willing ladies or even hookers around, "circle jerks" have once in a while been the time-honored pragmatic solution, and this has been the case throughout the history of human males. Thus, probably David and Jonathan were just best friends, but maybe they were sometimes "friends with benefits," without ever doin' what-what in the butt. Peace out!
04 August 2009
Arts 'n' Crafts
Gay male culture TEACHES men that they should diligently practice and practice and practice until they start to enjoy the sensation of being anally penetrated -- and believe you me, there's quite a substantial learning curve involved! And then the culture encourages them to think that this is somehow encoded in their genes.
31 July 2009
A letter I sent to my mean and judgmental evangelical Christian friend...
Thanks very much, Dani, and sorry again for not warning you about the NC-17 line drawing in the Wikipedia link defining "frot" -- glad your kids didn't see it! One other thing, though: please, please bring that Wiki article (which I co-wrote) to the attention of your husband and his med-school colleagues, and here's why...
In 1985, which is to say just a few years before C. Everett Koop's AIDS letter, the Dutch government launched a two-pronged AIDS prevention campaign aimed at gay/bi men. The message was very simple:
(1) If you are a man who has sex with other men, the surest way to avoid AIDS is to abstain completely from anal intercourse.
(2) If you are unwilling to abstain from anal sex, you must use a condom every time.
Note that the Dutch campaign said nothing at all about oral sex, and more than 20 years later, we have massive amounts of clinical data vindicating the Dutch assumption that it really wasn't crucial to discourage fellatio in order to contain the epidemic. Studies of gay/bi men who don't have anal sex at all support this, as do studies of serodiscordant hetero couples where the man is HIV+ and the woman is HIV-. All the data point to the inescapable conclusion that blowjobs very, very seldom lead to HIV transmission, even if you swallow the jizz (unless supposing you're a crystal-meth using gay party boy or female crack ho' and have lesions all over the inside of your mouth).
Which leaves anal sex as practically the entire reason why gay/bi male HIV cases number in the hundreds of thousands in the U.S. alone. Hundreds of thousands who got infected either because the condom broke during a buttfuck session, or (much, much more often) because they made the choice to imitate "bareback" porn movies in which condoms aren't used at all. Curious readers can find bareback porn at just about any adult video store stocking gay titles -- oftentimes just three feet away from the "Safer Sex Always!" poster.
But guess what? If I should ever figure out a way to fund my dream of directing and co-starring in a slickly produced, quadruple-X-rated DVD demonstrating and role-modeling exactly how gay men can make "frot" unbelievably, skull-poppingly pleasurable and also sweetly intimate, it will be the FIRST such movie in the entire buttfucking history of the buttfucking gay porn industry.
That's right -- what you will definitely not ever find near the "Safer Sex Always!" poster, or anywhere in any goddamned porno shop in America, is a movie that depicts frot as anything more than 5 seconds of foreplay before driving right up the Hershey Highway -- with a condom whose presence the pornographers do their DAMNEDEST to disguise from the viewers, so that the "safer" anal sex resembles barebacking as closely as possible. Thus, even while the actors are protected, the message visually reinforced for the porn audience is that "bareback is better."
Of course, gay male entitlement-mentality recklessness has cost billions of taxpayer dollars, along with higher healthcare premiums for everyone who shares an insurance plan with these barebacking idjits. (For example, Andrew "Sex has gotten so much hotter since I turned HIV+!" Sullivan's antiviral drugs, and the testosterone injections he gets to counteract the side-effects that the antivirals purportedly don't cause him, are subsidized by whatever health-insurance company that The New Republic uses, since Andrew was still Editor-in-Chief of TNR when he chose to let some other dude ejaculate a big wad of semen (that just happened to be chock-full of HIV) into his heavily-trafficked lower colon. (Your Word-of-the-Day™ calendar entry: The ubiquitous and utterly enchanting gay slang term for ejaculating into another man's rectum with no condom to catch it is "to breed" -- e.g., "Breed my hot guy-pussy, you fucking stud!")
Anyway, by Andrew's own admission, his little "oopsie!" definitely happened circa the early '90s -- already several years AFTER the Dutch government and C. Everett Koop had tried to warn him that practically the only way for a non-heroin-using gay man to get AIDS is to do precisely what Mr. Sullivan chose to do.
Quite incidentally, some of you already know that I got my ass fired from The New Republic a couple years back, because I'd been gossiping online about a little fact-checking problem they'd immersed themselves in. Je ne regrette rien about having tattled on my employer -- after all, it netted me some much-appreciated free publicity in VanityFair.com and The Huffington Post. And anyway ,it was the third goddamned time in a decade that TNR had gotten caught in a total failure to do the most rudimentary fact-checking, so I would urge my former employer to consider the faint possibility that just maybe, God Himself directed me to their offices as His hand-picked courier bearing the message:
Dear TNR: Y'all needs to STOP doin' this NOT-doin'-fact-checking shit -- it just screams "sloppy."
The LORD God
P.S. Though you were fully justified in firing Mr. McGee for his unprofessional behavior, do please continue to water the office plants he left behind. It is not My wish that they should suffer because of this.
However, I've certainly not held any lasting grudge against the mag. Despite having feet of clay (viz., an embarrassing inability to recognize a badly-repackaged urban legend presented as factual reportage), Franklin Foer and his editorial staff remain, within their narrow spectrum of competency, truly excellent political analysts. And their book/arts/movie reviews are really kick-ass. Therefore, it pains me to know that TNR readers everywhere have to pay just a little bit more for the magazine, and TNR employees have to pay just a bit more for their health plans, and all because Andrew Sullivan had once done something that even a goddamn learning-disabled baby hamster could've told him was a terrible idea.
Now what was I saying about that Dutch anti-AIDS effort? Oh, yeah. By the early '90s, the language of the Dutch campaign had been changed -- totally dropping the "don't have anal sex at all" suggestion. (Which was, let's remember, MERELY a suggestion, as the libertarian Netherlands had abolished its anti-sodomy laws as of 1813 .) In place of the two-pronged approach, the revised language put all the AIDS-prevention eggs into just one basket. That basket being, of course, "Use a condom every time you have anal sex." Which in no time at all got truncated to "Use a condom every time" -- thus subtly reinforcing the highly dubious notions that breaking-and-entry through the backdoor is not only "vanilla," but also the Default Mode of male/male sex.
And why exactly was point (1) dropped from the Dutch campaign? And why was it never even given a chance by the NIH, CDC and other tax-funded government health institutions in the US?
In a nutshell, folks: Because telling gay men "you know, not having anal sex at all is actually an option you guys might wanna consider" would offend them. Even worse, it would concede a tiny point to those awful, awful homophobic religious conservatives -- namely, that "it's not a lifestyle, it's a deathstyle" occasionally has a kernel of truth to it.
Thus, that utterly reasonable "Option 1" of the Dutch campaign -- you can abstain from anal and still be gay as a tangerine and still enjoy other modes of HOT MAN-TO-MAN LOVEMAKING -- got thrown in the trash. And all because of gay political and ideological nonsense that everyone else's money subsidizes. (Just one of the many, many reasons that I tell people: "I'm a total homo with no apologies, but please don't call me gay, because it's a stupid word and an even stupider subculture.")
Thus, in summary, your husband and other medical professionals need to know that this eminently logical approach to preventing HIV among gay/bi men languishes as a neglected and unfunded grassroots movement (if not for the Web, it wouldn't exist at all).
Meanwhile, the victimhood hustlers of the Gay Establishment continue to call poor old Ronald Reagan a "murderer of gay men because he wouldn't talk about AIDS," and continue to chant "Please please please give us mo' and mo' money for Safer-Sex Education and condoms and NIH research studies in Argentinian gay bars to solve the incomprehensible mystery of why every year in America, another 30,000 or so gay/bi men turn up HIV+!"
As you've PROBABLY guessed by now, Dani, I've decided to make it my life's mission (or at least a project for the summer, since I'm still only partially employed) to increase "frot awareness" while also opening a can of boiling-hot acidic pain on the above-mentioned Gay Establishment. (Waving at Andrew Sullivan.)
Admittedly, I haven't quite figured out yet how to accomplish this second part, but it's something I've long wanted to do. However, I've decided I just can't do it without a leetle bit of help from some of my straight friends, which is why I ask you to forward that Wiki link to Kevin so that he can pass it on to others in the medical community whenever appropriate.
Whew. Thanks. That's all!
P.S. Just so you needn't fret over my health too much -- although I've slowed down with maturity, at times in my younger days I was incredibly promiscuous. Yet I remain HIV- and thus far, the onliest STDs I've had to deal with have been one case of crabs and one male yeast infection that somehow got established on the head of my wang.
My secret? Well, after giving it the ol' college try because I'm Mr. Empiricist, I quickly concluded that takin' it in the kiester, or doing it to other dudes, just isn't as amazingly pleasurable and sex-sational as the majority of gay men have convinced themselves it is (with quite a bit of help from self-anesthetizing recreational drugs ).
Certainly ain't sexy enough, in my empirically-based opinion, to be worth the elevated HIV risk, physical discomfort, brown stains, minor rectal bleeding, and all the other assorted drawbacks. So I quit doing it! Makes it somewhat less likely that I'll ever have a boyfriend again, but on the whole, I'm happier this way.
P.P.S. Although it's obviously not my place as a non-Christian to tell you what Jesus would think of all this, I *can* assure you that at least a few Orthodox Jewish rabbis have more or less endorsed the grassroots frot movement, albeit not shouting their qualified "okay" from the rooftops.
You see, in the Talmudic interpretation of the Pentateuch, the verse "If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they shall both be put to death," is understood to be a narrow ban on fudgepacking only. In the Orthodox view, all the other types of man2man frolics, along with lesbian sex in general, will most certainly make G-d sigh and go "Tsk-tsk-tsk, I'm rather disappointed in you, kiddo" -- but He doesn't flip out and make a HUGE Federal case about it.
And the gay dude who coined the slang term "frot," one Bill Weintraub, draws substantially from traditional Orthodox Jewish analysis of the Bible's sex rules in formulating his arguments, though he himself is one of those semi-agnostic Jews who presumably eats bacon (and Bill definitely has lots and lots of gay sex with his Baptist-raised hubby -- just not the one particular form of gay sex that the Torah completely prohibits as an abomination worthy of capital punishment).
P.P.P.S. Mr. Weintraub is a cantankerous old left-winger who was part of early gay activism even before the whole Stonewall thing 40 years ago. I have massive disagreements with some of his politics, and I think he shoots himself in the foot in the way that he tries to promote "frot."
For example, he seems altogether unacquainted with such time-honored proverbs as You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and also Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and also Mary, Mary, Mary -- you just can't win friends and influence people by calling one of your fellow gay men "idiotic bug-chasing faggot" directly to his face, even when it manifestly applies. (Waving at Andrew Sullivan again!)
I used to waste time arguing with Weintraub over his chosen approach, but now I've decided it's far better to bless the man for having done the enormous work of launching the "grassroots frot movement" in the first place -- and I'll just let him play the Bad Frot Cop role, while I play Good Frot Cop...
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