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The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism (2003)
Joseph Henry Press (JHP)
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CHAPTER S Gay I\lasculirlity | am at a dinner party in honor of an eminent professor, who happens to ~ be gay, and I notice my friend Ben conferring quietly with his boyfriend, Charlie. Charlie leaves the room, and Ben tells me what they were talking about. Charlie had met a man at the party that he found attractive, and he was asking Ben whether it was okay if he went home with the man to have sex. Ben assured Charlie that this was fine, provided that he stayed within the bounds of their agreement: they had to use condoms, and the liaison must be exclusively sexual, and not romantic. Ben chuckled bemusedly think- ing of Charlie's hesitancy to believe that Ben was really OK with this. When Ben's panel of gay men speaks to my undergraduate class, someone invariably asks them about their feelings concerning mo- nogamy. The panel's composition varies a bit from year to year, but typically, a majority of the men say that monogamy is unimportant to them.A couple of years ago, Rick was the sole monogamous holdout 85
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86 the Plan TAlho Would He Queen on the panel. I later learned that the next weekend, Rick and his boyfriend had opened their relationship to include sex with other men in the form of threesomes. The idea of consensually non- monogamous sexual relationships is, to say the least, challenging to the typical Northwestern University undergraduate. The panel is also asked about the number of sex partners they have had, and their answers always elicit gasps. All the men have had hundreds of sex partners. Ben correctly reminds us that it depends on what we mean by sex gay men don't have vaginal intercourse much, and most of the sex acts are oral. Still, even using the broader defini- tion of sex, the typical heterosexual Northwestern student finds it amazing that anyone has had so many partners. There is a big sex difference in the way my students react to these revelations.The women tend to be horrified, while the men are often envious. Although the straight men in my class have difficulty imagin- ing the degree of cooperation necessary to have hundreds of sex part- ners, they have less difficulty understanding the desire to do so. By heterosexual standards gay men are sexually promiscuous.Al- though this was well known to those who paid attention, it became clear to everyone during the AIDS epidemic. In a 1981 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AIDS patients with an average age of 35 years reported an average of 60 sex partners per year, or approximately 1,000 lifetime partners. Of course, the more sex partners a man has, the greater his risk of contracting AIDS, so gay men with AIDS would be expected to have more sex partners than other gay men. But surveys of gay men that ignore HIV status also find large partner numbers. In a survey of gay men from San Francisco conducted in the 1970s (that is, pre-AIDS), the typical gay man had had more than 500 sex partners, the large majority of whom were one-time flings. Many of these experiences were anonymous some took place in gay bathhouses,for example. Gay and straight men's personal advertisements differ in this re- spect too. Gay men's ads are often very sexually explicit. ("Wanted:
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Gay Masculinity 87 Masculine top for Suck buddy.") Although straight men often have explicit sexual fantasies they want potential partners to fulfill, it is doubtful that including them in personal ads would be very effective . . . In recruiting women. Gay men are less likely to enter meaningful sexual relationships. Surveys have found approximately 30 to 50 percent of gay men to be attached at any one time, compared to approximately 75 percent of lesbians and even higher percentages of heterosexuals. Social conservatives have taken facts like these as evidence for the decadent and perverse nature of gay men. I think they're wrong. Gay men who are promiscuous are expressing an essentially masculine trait. They are doing what most heterosexual men would do if they could. They are in this way just like heterosexual men, except that they don't have women to constrain them. ********* Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain some psychological sex differences according to their evolutionary function, and interest in casual sex has always seemed to me its most convincing story. The currency of evolution—what determines how successful one has been, evolutionarily speaking is the number of offspring one leaves. In the unconscious quest to maximize one's reproductive output, men are constrained most by the number of women they can have sex with. If a man had the universal cooperation of women, he could leave thou- sands of offspring in his lifetime. But women do not, in general, ben- efit at all from having more than one sex partner. A single man with average sexual ability can impregnate a woman often enough to guar- antee that she will have as many children as she can have. Thus, we would expect evolution to have made men much more interested than women in sexual variety and casual sex. Casual sex with a variety of women is potentially a reproductive bonanza for a man, because it means that many more children carrying his genes will be out in the world. In contrast, unless there is something very special about a casual
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88 the Plan TAlho Would He Queen sex partner, women stand to gain little and lose much by having casual sex with him. That is, they risk losing the chance for commitment from and investment by other men. I will mention several evolutionary arguments in this chapter, so let me anticipate an objection: Gay men are an evolutionary anomaly they generally don't reproduce and pass on their genes so evolutionary arguments don't apply to them. In fact, I agree that ho- mosexuality remains an unexplained evolutionary paradox. However, many of the adaptations that evolved due to heterosexuality are also found in gay men. For example, gay men have penises, even though they don't use them for the purpose for which penises evolved, namely, procreation. Regardless of whether one buys the evolutionary story, anyone who has been out of the house, much less to a singles bar, knows that men and women differ considerably in their approach to casual sex. Not all men want casual sex, and some women do, but the average difference is large. Determining just how large is difficult, because in measuring someone's casual sex interest our first impulse is simply to count his number of sex partners.The problem with this approach is that casual sex accomplishments are constrained by opportunity. In order for a heterosexual man to have casual sex, he has to have a willing female partner. If women aren't built to be eager to jump into bed with strangers, then straight men's numbers of sex partners under- estimate their interests. On average, heterosexual men and women must have the same number of sex partners. This is not true of gay men, who do not need to negotiate with women in order to have sex. Gay men have sex with other men, who have similar inclinations. These inclinations include interest in sexual variety, and in having sex without commitment. I devised a questionnaire that tapped interest in casual sex and sexual variety without asking for numbers of sex partners. The items in the questionnaire were written so that either straight or gay men or women could answer them.
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Gay Masculinity INTEREST IN CASUAL SEX Rate your agreement with each item, from 1 (strongly dis- agree) to 7 (strongly agree) 1. I would consider having sex with a stranger, if I could be assured that it was safe and s/he was attractive to me. 2. I like the idea of participating in a sex orgy. 3. I would not enjoy sex without any emotional commitment at all. (This item is reverse scored.) 4. I do not need to respect or love someone in order to enjoy having sex with him/her. 5. I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with one sex partner. 6. Sometimes I'd rather have sex with someone I didn't care about. 7. Monogamy is not for me. 8. I believe in taking sexual opportunities when Ifind them, as long as no one gets hurt. 9. I could easily imagine myself enjoying one night of sex with some- one I would never see again. 10. If an attractive person (of my preferred sex) approached me sexu- ally, it would be hard to resist, no matter how well I knew him/her. 89 I gave the questionnaire to both gay and straight men, as well as to lesbians and straight women. I also asked how many sex partners they'd had. Although gay men had had far more sex partners than straight men, they scored nearly identically on the questionnaire measuring interest.The number of partners of straight men was similar to those of straight women and lesbians. These facts suggest that women are responsible for the pace of sex. Gay and straight men both want casual sex, but only straight men have the brake of women's sexually cautious nature to slow them. One e-mail listserv I subscribe to has a number of conservative subscribers. Recently, the topic of gay men's sex lives came up, and the
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9o She Plan TAlho Would He Queen (mostly male) commentators balked at the idea that they would be- have as gay men do if women let them. I think it is instructive to think about how many opportunities the typical heterosexual man gets to have uncommitted sex with attractive strangers. Probably not many unless he is a rock star or movie star or looks like Brad Pitt. It is easy to avoid opportunities that aren't there. The evolutionary anthropologist, Donald Symons, who first used the example of gay men to draw inferences about the male psyche wrote,"I am suggesting that heterosexual men would be as likely as homosexual men to have sex most often with strangers, to participate in anonymous orgies in public baths, and to stop offin public restrooms for five minutes of fellatio on the way home from work if women were interested in these activities. But women are not interested." ********* Gay male couples tend to go through a typical sexual progression. At first, when the relationship is new, sex is hot and heavy, and the couple is happy being sexually exclusive with each other. But with most couples, as the newness wanes so does the sexual excitement, and eventually one or both partners seek sex elsewhere. In a study of 156 gay male couples in the pre-AIDS era, David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison found that most became nonexclusive within a year, and all were non-monogamous within five years. This pattern often occurs even as partners become increasingly committed to each other in other ways emotionally and financially, for example. The opening of gay relationships to outside sex partners un- doubtedly reflects the compromises necessary for two men to fulfill their masculine desire for sexual variety. But it may also represent a feminine characteristic that I have neglected to mention. Many straight men admit that they would love to have many more sex partners than they do. However, few of these men would be eager to allow their wives the same freedom. Straight men tend to be sexually jealous. Gay men tend to be less
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Gay Masculinity 91 so. One way to show this is to have people imagine their partner both having sex with someone else and falling in love with someone else, and then to choose which scenario is more disturbing. Straight men tend to find the sexual infidelity scenario more disturbing. Straight women and gay men tend to have the opposite reaction. No one really knows why gay men react this way. It may simply be the compromise they have to make in order to have as many sex partners as they like. Perhaps both women and gay men recognize that their male sex partners are capable of having meaningless sex with others. Although this might not make either women or gay men happy, it is preferable to their partners having meaningful sex, because meaningful sex can more effectively end relationships. Or gay men's decreased sexual jealousy might reflect a more fundamental feminine trait. When straight men learn that their wives are unfaithful, they often become violent. Sexual jealousy is a major cause of domestic abuse and spousal homicide, committed most often by men. However, gay men are less physically aggressive compared with straight men. If sexual jealousy and physical violence are intertwined, this could ex- plain why gay men are less sexually jealous. ********* In the course of my research on differences between gay and straight men, we also took photographs of our subjects' faces. In con- trast to our results for speech and movement, raters could not tell gay and straight men's faces apart.This does not mean that gay and straight men look the same, however. I work out at two gymnasiums, one on my university's campus, and the other in Boy'sTown.The gay men at the latter are distinguish- able from the mostly straight male students at the former. The gay men are noticeably more muscular and have less body fat.When they leave the gym, they are wearing tighter clothing, which reveals their honed bodies. Most of my female friends insist that gay men are better
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92 She I\Ian TA:ho Should He Queen looking than straight men, and perhaps they are, overall (i.e., counting body as well as face).Why might this be? If gay men are better looking than straight men, it is because they have to be. Gay men are masculine in the emphasis they place on a partner's physical attractiveness. Consider the questionnaire on the importance of a partner's physical attractiveness. When I gave that questionnaire to straight and gay men and women, the women scored lower than the men. Gay and straight men scored similarly. (Before we accuse men of being shallow, consider that straight women are more concerned than men about a potential partner's status and income.) IMPORTANCE OF PARTNER'S PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS 1. It is easy to imagine becoming romantically involved with someone I initially felt was physically unattractive, as I grew to know her/his personality. (reverse scored) 2. Looks aren't that important to me. (reverse scored) 3. In the past, I've usually initially become romantically interested in someone largely due to his/her physical characteristics. 4. It is more important to me how nice a potential romantic partner is than how good looking he/she is. (reverse scored) 5. I wouldn't consider being romantically involved with someone who was significantly overweight. 6. It would be hard for me to get involved with someone with a noticeable skin problem. 7. I like my romantic partner to dress attractively, even if it requires some effort on her/his part. 8. I would be upset if my partner did not try to maintain her/his physical appearance. 9. If my partner became much less physically attractive, it would be difficultfor me to stay with her/him. 10. I would be happy f my partner were more sexually attractive than I.
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Gay Masculinity 93 Straight men have it easier, in this sense, because women are less hung up on looks and, therefore, easier to please. Gay men are victims of their own choosiness. I have known few straight men who openly worried that they were not good looking enough for a successful dating career. In con- trast, I know gay men who do worry, despite the fact that (in my opinion) they look fine. It is relatively easy to make one's body attractive, and many gay men spend hours a week at the gym. Gay men are less likely than straight men to be obese. (Along with"no femmes," gay advertise- ments open add"no fattiest") But sometimes gay men go too far in the pursuit of thinness. Gay men are markedly over represented among men diagnosed with eating disorders, comprising 20 percent to 50 percent of male cases. (Remember, only 2-4 percent of men are gay.~. Gay men also tend much more than straight men to pay attention to fashion, such as designer clothes and trendy shoes. I don't think that this stems from the same roots as the desire to be muscular. I doubt that gay men care all that much whether a potential sex partner is stylishly dressed, as long as he is otherwise attractive. Rather, the inter- est in fashion appears to be a feminine trait. Gay men who are most interested in fashion tend to have other feminine interests as well. ********* The humorist, Cynthia Heimel, wrote that the most important male sex organ is the eye.This is equally true of gay and straight men, and in two senses.The first sense is the one just covered, the concern with physical appearance. The second sense is more overtly sexual. Both gay and straight men enjoy looking at naked people (of their preferred sex) a lot more than women do. The questionnaire that asked about interest in visual sexual stimuli got results that differed markedly between men and women, with men scoring higher. This is one of the largest sex differences in human mating psychology (although it is much smaller than the answer to the
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94 the Clan TAlho Would He Queen question,"Do you prefer to have sex with a man or a woman?". It also has a plausible evolutionary basis.A naked woman is potentially a sexual opportunity, and so straight men should have evolved to seek them out and to become sexually excited in their presence. In con- trast, women have nothing to gain by becoming easily aroused at the sight of a naked man. Otherwise, men would be constantly exposing themselves to women and preventing women from using their good cautious judgment. Although difficult to document, consumers of pornography are certainly disproportionately male. Even visual erotica that is targeted at straight women is disproportionately consumed by men gay men. Playgirl magazine, which was intended to let women share in the ob- jectification ofthe nude body,probably has as many gay men as women readers. Gay men also respond to pornography very much as straight men do, and very differently from how women do. Show men two erotic video clips: one showing only men and the other showing only women. If they are straight, they become much more sexually aroused by the clip showing women than by the one showing men.This is true whether you measure sexual arousal by asking them (subjective arousal) or by using a penile plethysmograph, which measures the degree of penile erection (genital arousal). Gay men show exactly the opposite pattern: they are much more strongly aroused by video clips of men than by those showing women. Men are quite specific about the kind of erotic categories (i.e., male versus female) they respond to; we call this pattern "category specificity." In contrast, women of all sexual orientations tend to be aroused by video clips showing men and by those showing women. Women have a bisexual pattern of sexual arousal, both subjectively and genitally. Men's category-specific pattern of sexual arousal is probably im- portant in developing their sexual orientation. The experience of in- tense sexual arousal to one sex or the other, but not to both, is a powerful source of information.
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Gay Masculinity INTEREST IN VISUAL SEXUAL STIMULI 1. Seeing attractive people nude doesn't sexually arouse me. (reverse scored, 2. It would be exciting to watch 2 people have sex. 3. Seeing attractive people (of my preferred sex) in skimpy clothing such as lingerie or tight briefs is very sexually exciting to me. 4. Ifind photographs of attractive naked bodies (of my preferred sex) sexually exciting. 5. Being around a group of attractive naked people (of my preferred sex) does not sound very sexually arousing to me. (reverse scored) 6. When I meet someone Ifind attractive, Ifantasize about what they would look like without clothes on. 7. Seeing the genitals of an attractive person (of my preferred sex) would be extremely sexually arousing. 8. Seeing my sexual partner undress is a real turn-on. 9. Whether or not I approve of them, Ifindfilms of attractive people having sex to be very sexually exciting. 10. When I see someone especially physically attractive, I may follow them briefly to get another look. 11. When Ifantasize about having sex with someone, I try to picture very vividly in my mind what their body would look like. 12. If I had to choose, I'd rather have a long conversation with some- one I'm attracted to than see them naked. (reverse scored) 95 What about bisexual men? Although there are clearly men who call themselves "bisexual" and who have sex with both men and women, both scientists and laypeople have long been skeptical that men with bisexual arousal patterns exist. Kurt Freund, who invented penile plethysmography, related that he was never able to find a subset of men who appeared bisexual in the lab. Although their data are less scientific, gay men share Freund's skepticism. They have a saying:
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96 the Plan TAlho Would He Queen "You're either gay, straight, or lying." In contrast, many women are bisexual; perhaps most are, at least in their sexual arousal patterns. The motivation to seek erotic stimuli, such as strippers or pornog- raphy, and the tendency to be sexually aroused by erotica depicting one sex or the other (but not both) are characteristic of male sexuality. In these senses, gay men are masculine. ********* One of the first times that the gay panel spoke to my class, I offered to take them out for drinks on Halsted Street. I suggested that we go to Roscoe's, the only bar I had visited. Ben and his friends looked at each other knowingly and suggested that we go to Cocktails instead. Later they told me when they were about 30 years old, they felt too old to go to Roscoe's. I thought that they meant that the youngsters at Roscoe's were too unsophisticated to spend time with, but it became clear that they felt unattractive to the Roscoe's crowd. I am about 10 years older than they are so I wondered whether the boys (whom I had considered men when I was there before) at Roscoe's had been horrified by my presence there. All the gay men with whom I have ever raised the issue believe that gay men are extremely youth-conscious. Even my 22-year-old research assistant has started to pine for his days in the sun when he was desirable to all gay men.The lonely aging queen, with no chance of a date, much less a relationship, is a common stereotype among gay men. Is this beliefjustified? If it is justified, then it reflects another way that gay men are like straight men in being most sexually attracted to younger adults.This contrasts with women, who tend to prefer older mates.This sex differ- ence also has a fairly compelling evolutionary explanation. Men should have evolved to be attracted to women, especially when appraising potential long-term partners, who are fertile and will remain so for a long time. Because women's fertility is closely linked to youth, men should be more attracted to younger than to older women. Men's
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Gay Masculinity 97 fertility does not decline much with age, and in fact, older men have acquired some of the things that women should value in a mate (in- cluding resources and evidence of survival skills). This could explain why women prefer somewhat older men. I wrote the questionnaire on age preference to assess preference for younger versus older partners. In two separate studies gay men have scored intermediately between straight men and women.That is, PREFERENCE FORYOUNGER PARTNERS 1. Facial wrinkles in a potential romantic partner would be a real turn-ofito me. 2. Ifind gray hair to be somewhat sexy in a potential romantic partner. (reverse scored) 3. I could imagine being romantically and sexually involved with someone 20 years older than I. (reverse scored) 4. If I had to choose someone other than my current romantic partner as a long-term romantic partner I would choose someone age (reverse scored) 5. If I had to choose someone other than my current romantic partner as a one-time sexual partner I would choose someone age scored) . (reverse 6. I am turned of}7by bodies that show signs of aging (such as sagging skin or varicose veins). 7. I am most sexually attracted to younger adults (aged 18-25~. 8. If someone showed definite physical signs of aging, it would be difficultfor me to be very sexually attracted to them. 9. Ifind attractive adolescents (aged 16-18) particularly sexy. 10. I would be comfortable having a mate considerably older than I. (reverse scored) 11. It is hardfor me to understand why anyone would have a strong preference for younger rather than older partners. (reverse scored)
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98 the Plan TAlho Would He Queen they are less youth-obsessed than straight men but more so than straight women; they are a bit closer in this way to straight men than to straight women. Evolutionary psychologist Doug Kenrick has ar- gued that gay men are identical to straight men in this regard. He has focused on the actual ages that gay men request in potential partners (in personals ads and in questions 4 and 5 on my questionnaire) and finds that these ages are quite similar to those preferred by straight men. Whether or not gay men are just as youth-centric as straight men or are slightly less so, it is clear that aging gay men have a harder time finding desirable sex partners than straight men do. In this sense gay men have the same experience as straight women. In another way, however, their predicament is more difficult than that of straight women. Straight women actually prefer slightly older men, and certain traits such as accomplishments and wealth can make older men more attractive. (My sense is that, in contrast to women, gay men are not much more attracted to wealthy and accomplished men, but some are willing to trade company and sexual access for money and resources.) Straight women seem to value these non-physical traits more than gay men do. Most gay men would prefer partners in their 20s. Few women over 30 have the same preference. Therefore, it must be harder for older gay men to get what they want. This does not mean that older gay men are doomed to be un- happy any more than it means that older women are. The idea that aging gay men are lonely and unhappy has been challenged by scien- tific research, which suggests that even unpartnered gay men tend to have busy and satisfying social lives. Evidently, older gay men do not focus as much as younger gay men do on sexual gratification.That is another sense in which they are like straight men. ********* One main reason many parents express disappointment when they learn that their son or daughter is homosexual is that they fear they
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Gay Masculinity 99 will not have grandchildren. However, there is a baby boom among homosexual people these days. Among lesbians, that is. Obviously, it is easier for lesbians to become parents than it is for gay men. Lesbians can find sperm donors. At the very least, gay men must find women willing to donate their bodies for nine months to carrying a child. Still, I think that there is another reason why we haven't seen flocks of gay men seeking to become parents. (To be sure, many gay men became parents in the context of heterosexual mar- riages, though this seems to be getting less common.) It is because like straight men, gay men are less interested in children than women are. When I teach undergraduate Introduction to Psychology, I some- times show video clips of infants and children. I watch my students' faces, and the sex difference is striking.The women make googoo eyes and have smiles that betray profound desire. Although the men also smile, their smiles are unremarkable. For more objective evidence, con- sider the items in the questionnaire that I wrote to assess interest in children. In two studies, gay men scored similarly to straight men, but lower than straight women (whose scores were similar to those of baby-booming lesbians).The sex difference was not especially large, and this is one trait for which I suspect that subjects are not being completely honest in their responses.After all, who would deny expe- riencing warm, positive feelings from babies? INTEREST IN CHILDREN 1. Igreatly enjoy spending time with young children. 2. Iget a lot ofpleasurefrom holding babies. 3. I would enjoy taking care of a babyfor afriend or relative. 4. I daydream about having a baby of my own. 5. Offen when I see babies, I experience warm, positivefeelings. 6. When I think about it hard, I have strong doubts whether the rewards of raising an infant are worth the work and responsibility. (re- verse scored)
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100 She Plan TAlho Would He Queen Although I am suggesting that neither gay nor straight men have a female-typical level of nurturance, I am not implying that men don't make good parents. Most men become devoted to their own children. And when men are faced with the challenge of raising children on their own, they usually rise to the task. But on average, men, compared with women, are less driven to have and raise children. So maybe we'll never have a gay male baby boom. ********* As the gay rights movement has challenged more and more tradi- tional practices and assumptions, some gay writers have begun to chal- lenge the prohibition of gay marriage, partly on the grounds that for- bidding gay men to marry forces them into some of the behaviors that make straight people uncomfortable most importantly, promiscuity. Writers like Andrew Sullivan and Bruce Bawer have argued that gay male promiscuity and relationship instability are primarily conse- quences of social stigma and society's unwillingness to formally recog- nize gay relationships. Undoubtedly, conferring such recognition would make gay male relationships somewhat more durable. Legal ties are inconvenient to break, and if gay couples could receive the perks given to heterosexual married couples (e.g., health coverage of spouses), that would also provide a positive incentive to stay together. However, discrimination cannot be the whole story. If it were, gay men and lesbians would have similar behavior patterns, but they do not. Among other differences, lesbians are more likely to be in rela- tionships, place less emphasis on sex in their relationships, have many fewer sex partners, and are more monogamous. Because of fundamental differences between men and women, the social organization of gay men's sexuality will always look quite different from that of heterosexual men's. Regardless of marital laws and policies, there will always be fewer gay men who are romantically attached. Gay men will always have many more sex partners than straight people do.Those who are attached will be less sexually mo-
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Gay Masculinity 101 nogamous. And although some gay male relationships will be for life, these will be many fewer than among heterosexual couples. Social conservatives will view this prediction as tantamount to an admission of the inferiority of the gay male lifestyle, but it is not that. Nor do I wish to take the radical position that the traditional hetero- sexual family is sick, outmoded, or otherwise doomed.The aspects of gay men's relationships that cause discomfort the preeminence of sexuality, the relatively short typical duration, the sexual infidelity are indeed destructive in a heterosexual context, but they are much less so among gay men.There are two main reasons for this difference. First, gay male couples do not often have children, but heterosexual couples usually do.The main reason we strive for commitment in our sexual relationships is because we want to keep families with children from breaking up. This function is irrelevant to most gay men. It is relevant to those few who raise children, but they are unlikely ever to comprise a substantial proportion of gay men. Second, men feel much less psychic conflict than women about casual sex.That is, most women are not only less interested in casual sex but actively avoid it, because it makes them feel cheap and used. In contrast, most men don't mind being used sexually, and whether or not there is emotional attachment, sex with an attractive partner is a self-esteem booster.When straight men try to engage women in rela- tionships based solely on casual sex, they often resort to deception because they know that their prey want something else. Gay men are much less likely to practice this kind of deception. They are straight- for~vard in their desires.This is the primary reason gay personal ads are so explicit. Does anyone doubt that straight men would specify their anatomical and sexual preferences if they could get away with it? The emotional consequences of promiscuity are much less damaging to gay men than to straight women. I am ignoring the obvious point that careless promiscuity can have awful health consequences for gay men. Given proper precautions, this issue essentially vanishes. I suspect that regardless of the progress of gay rights, gay men will
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102 the Plan TAlho Would He Queen continue to pursue happiness in ways that differ markedly from the ways that most straight people do. This will be true even as society becomes increasingly tolerant of them. Both heterosexual and homo- sexual people will need to be open minded about social practices common to people of other orientations. They will also need to be cautious about recommending solutions to life problems that work for them but that might not translate well to the other camp.
Representative terms from entire chapter:
male sex partners, sex partners, casual sex, straight women, potential romantic partner, gay male couples, current romantic partner, gay male relationships, sexual arousal patterns, romantic partner, plan talho, preferred sex, gay male, sexual arousal, sex partner, sex difference, visual sexual stimuli, sexual variety, attractive naked people, sole monogamous holdout, sexual relationships, straight people, male couples, sexually attracted, potential romantic, attractive people, reverse scored, physical attractiveness, video clips, male sex,