I have often wondered why gays come across as so different than everyone else. There are a lot of stereotypes about gay men; for example, that they have high-pitched feminine voices, have limp wrists, or walk with their butt cheeks rubbing each other. Sorry, but none of these stereotypes are true. The vast majority of gay men I’ve ever met, and I’ve come across a lot during my volunteer work, online dating, and at community events, are just normal-acting, normal-looking, completely masculine guys, of all races, cultures, religions and personalities. And yet, there’s always something “off” about them. In the last several weeks, I have been invited over for “dinner at my flat” (lol, yeah, right), prompted to have a “tug” on webcam, and told by a guy that I must look adorable while sleeping (when I said I didn’t know, he said he’d come and tell me). Hmmm, something’s definitely off!
Then you start to look at the gay men who add you on facebook. I can always tell a gay these days, and not from their physical features or personality traits (which are as varied as the rainbow). A gay man will often have a lot, if not mostly, men as friends. A lot of these men will be shirtless in their primary profile photo. In addition, a gay man’s profile photos will probably contain a close-up of his facial features or bust, with a slightly seductive glance and smile toward the camera. You can just see it in their eyes—their facebook profile is meant to attract and seduce. It doesn’t matter if he’s feminine or butch, they use the same formula—close up of bust or chest/face, seductive (sometimes looks menacing, sometimes smirking) or pensive gaze looking slightly up toward the camera, and often sparse in clothing if the chest is visible. This seems to be the case whether the guy has a well-proportioned body or is completely fat and flabby, nothing stops these men from showing it off! Sometimes also lying in their bed, draped in sheets, looking over at us as if we are a bed companion. And many of their friends will look the same, with the facial close-ups and torsos or chests on display. All I have to say is, thank the dear Lord facebook didn’t exist 70 years ago!
Another thing you will notice about a gay man’s facebook profile is that many of his other clearly gay friends have very similar facial features. You instantly spot the similarities which define his type, and these guys often look remarkably similar to him. Bearded, hairy guys will often go for bearded, hairy guys, skinny hairless guys for skinny hairless guys. This is something you’ll also notice if you see a gay couple walking down the street—they look like brothers, until you see them holding hands! Like seems to attract like in the gay community. Unless it’s just for rockin’ the casbah, in which case you can go all out for something really exotic and then toss him in the conquest bin when you’re done.
There’s something else interesting about gays that their straight counterparts won’t express openly—their rawly physical, sexual motivations. It doesn’t matter if they’re sweet-looking feminine sweethearts or a burly motorcycle bears, they’re all in it for the sex. Sex here, sex there. Sex everywhere. Just men going at it, like hounds shagging each other while they’re waiting for the girls to go into heat. That has never been me. Nor does that describe the mentality of my heterosexual friends, male or female (they tend not to model their lives after dogs). Do I just attract a better-calibre friend in the straight world, or is there perhaps something else going on?
Finding Peace in the Heterosexual World, but Why?
While I feel disrespected and unappreciated in the gay community for my romantic mindset, I do not feel that way in the broader world as a gay man. In certain cultures, I would be severely prejudiced for being openly gay, but by and large that is not the case in Canada and many other Western countries with progressive attitudes. My heterosexual friends and family, male and female, were overwhelmingly supportive toward me in the coming out process. Furthermore, they have listened to my stories from gay life with interest and have provided strong encouragement for my romantic pursuits. This, when the heterosexual reality of our modern times is not always easy as well—it’s also a place where hook-ups and commitment-phobia reign.
But fortunately, women also control half of the sexual equation in the heterosexual world. Many (modern) women tend also to be accepting toward gays, making great friends and society a better more-tolerant place for us, let’s give them credit! They also have strongly-ingrained romantic and affective needs in their heterosexual relationships that trump sexual ones. Furthermore, the fact that women require that their straight mates to cater to and respond to these needs also tends to make heterosexual men more romantically-oriented. I think it’s the woman’s touch that makes heterosexual lifestyle a relative romantic oasis compared to gay male culture.
That is probably why I am the way that I am. I grew up around women, make friends most easily with women, and was acculturated into a heterosexual society that taught me that I needed to respond to women’s emotional needs in order to find a wife. As a heterosexually-cultivated young man, my purely sexual side (what I could have become if I was only exposed to masculine attitudes and practices) was tempered by feminine values. As it turns out, this attitude and these values are something that I have in common with my straight male friends as well. They (also around my age) tend to see sex only within the context of a relationship and can often only count one or two sexual partners (and maximum only a handful) within their 10-15 years of sexual maturity.
This is in strong contrast to Farid and many others like him. Farid counted hundreds, if not close to 1000, sexual partners in the last 9 years, and showed me his list. In any case, many of the urban gay men that I’ve met my age or younger online have at least have dozens if not hundreds of partners already in their short lifetimes. What a huge contrast to straights!
Romantic Conditioning by Women
That’s not to say that straight guys are any more noble than gays in their initial intentions. I think, at least instinctually, their motivations are similar. Most heterosexual men are also probably first and foremost attracted to a woman’s physical appearance above everything else. A woman, while she will find certain men inherently more attractive than others, often has different objectives in mind. She’s more likely to be interested in how a man will treat her in the long term and satisfy her emotional and affective needs. So she will converse with him, testing him on these more long-term-oriented concerns over compatibility, and he must learn to respond to these adequately if he is ever going to realize his sexuality. Eventually, heterosexual men, I argue, become conditioned by their female counterparts toward these more emotional goals. This helps explain why heterosexuals guys tend to have much fewer sexual partners in their lifetime and also tend to view the world of relationships through a more romantic lens. They were adapted and conditioned that way by women, and with time and practice that became a fundamental part of their own orientation. That’s not to say that there aren’t boat-loads of players out there, but players are only successful because they can play on womens’ emotions. For this reason, the straight world is filled with ghastly-ugly players who score because they know how to listen and respond appropriately to a woman’s feelings.
However, men who are attracted to men don’t have the same physical-emotional barrier to surpass. A man has, instinctually, mostly his physical and sexual interests in mind when he sees another man that he is attracted to. If that other guy also finds him attractive, then that’s the end of that. The initial objective of their mutual interest is to satisfy their physical desires and needs. There is no emotional testing and no further barrier to overcome. They just go hop on each other like dogs, no conversation required in many cases (except to determine what roles each side prefers to play and level of protection). So far, this scenario sounds natural from a purely animalistic perspective. However, there is a very serious problem. The two men have now had sex and shared the most intimate part of their bodies (and I would argue, their souls), revealing all, without even really knowing each other. Who know’s what kind of person you went home with last night or invited over after an exchange on Priape, he might be completely crazy, on drugs, or even violent! The two men haven’t spent enough time together to know if they are compatible on a long-term basis. There was no emotional exchange or conditioning, only a physical one.
With time, a gay man moves further and further into this world of fast-acting chemistry and cheap-and-easy sex with other men and away from his heterosexual conditioning in sexual pursuits (encouraged by women or heterosexual norms during his childhood or adolescence). Although he may still believe in love, his traditional and romantic sides wane. Thus, unless he can overcome the gay standard through careful reasoning with himself, sex becomes the way a gay man understands how to build relationships (or just get off, depending on the person).
The Pursuit of a Challenge
Problem #2 with the man-on-man formula: another long-ingrained male instinct is the need to hunt and pursue. If both sides have sex right away (like in the male-male case presented above), they’ve already seen everything of each other. There’s nothing left to discover, nothing left to look forward to, nothing left to pursue, no reason to try to get to know the other guy better. You’ve already HAD him. Why bother learning the names of his brothers and listening to him complain about how his mother treated him as a child?
However, unlike gay men, women tend to hold off on sexual activity until an emotional attachment has been formed (or is in the works). Holding off on sex for a little while gives the man something to look forward to and a reason to get to know her better. Then, when she gives him what he wants, he’s crazy for her and wants to make love to her body in every way humanely possible! He’s already formed an attachment to her and has thus added motivation to continue pursuing the relationship, and during this process of sexual discovery, the woman’s bonding instincts and emotional encouragement ensure that the attachment gets deeper and deeper.
Again, I’m not going to generalize and say that this is always the case. I’d go so far as to say that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, by making sex readily available to all and establishing serial monogamy as the norm, actually benefited the physically-minded male side of the heterosexual relationship equation more than the female-oriented goals of emotional attachment and relational stability. However, even today, statistically speaking, strong emotional-sexual attachments seem more common in heterosexual compared to homosexual relationships.
Because women are more romantically-inclined (and instinctually looking for quality father-material), few heterosexual men can be the purely sexual beasts that their homosexual counterparts are. Even women who fall into bed easily at least require a conversation to get to know their partner better before agreeing to have sex. They don’t spread their legs after one flirty passing glance.
As I mentioned in my “First Time in a Gay Bar” article (July 2010), many men who meet in such places don’t even have a real conversation before heading off together to have sex. They just stare at each other in a certain way, maybe dance/rub a bit, and then ask “your place or mine?” It’s incredible! Another thing, according to Farid, is that these purely sexual unions tend to have very little emotion or tenderness to them. It’s just a physical manoeuvre based on a sexual need and some level of chemistry and lust. Farid also swears (and we must cede to his vast experience in this area, him having had almost 1000 sexual partners) that men that have lived most of their lives in relationships with women are the best lovers, because their sex (regardless of whether it is rough and wild or slow and careful) has a level of tenderness and compassionate expression not available from gay-for-life men. Women condition heterosexual men to have compassion and tenderness toward their sexual partners, period, even if they do decide to go at it like hounds.
Overall, I’d say that sex for sex’s sake is a harder sell in the mainstream heterosexual world, and as such heterosexual men are often more adapted to respond to the emotional desires of their partners. Even those heterosexual “players” that do score one woman after another have to at least fake emotional or affective interest in the women that they have sex with. Similarly, I have been conditioned by strong-headed, ethical heterosexual women to be like a good heterosexual man responsive to womens’ needs for most of my current life. And until I was about 18-19 years old (7 years ago), I also believed that I could probably live a heterosexual lifestyle (once I figured things out) and conditioned myself in that regard. Therefore, I fit well in the world where sexual relationships are strongly tied to romantic/affective partnerships.
So when I talk about my traditional romantic mindset, heterosexual men and women tend to relate to and appreciate my perspective. They understand where I’m coming from and that what I want is a respectable goal. I feel less judged and more supported being a gay man in a world of heterosexuals than I do as a gay man in a world of gays. Strange, but true. You would think I would find comfort in the gay world, a community of my peers, but instead I only feel more judged and less respected. Gay men, spoiled by their instinctual physicality and sexual encounter after sexual encounter, see my worldview as naïve and old-fashioned. It’s not—I see them for what they are, I see myself for what I am, and I have no intention of adapting to their standard.
Overall, I would say that gays are much more critical and even “homophobic” toward me than any heterosexual has ever been in our modern world. This is a world where even heterosexual men (two I’m thinking of in particular, one Italian-Canadian and one Australian) have no qualms about talking about how handsome or sexy other men are, while remaining entirely and confidently 100% heterosexual. These straight men understand my gay reality and motivations and respect it, as well as my romantic, traditional, relationship-driven, and moral nature. It’s amazing. I want one!
Conclusion: I'm Done with the Gay Mentality and the People Who Propagate It
Being treated with such disrespect and lack of appreciation from gays has, with time, led me to conclude that I will simply not acknowledge being “gay” anymore or invest in new relationships with others identifying so strongly to that mindset. I would rather be “homosexual” in an environment of heterosexual guys and gals that respect me than gay in a world of other gays who judge me so harshly. I can only have loyalty and pride in a people who accept me for who I am. I am not a horse, I do not need to be broken into the world of sex. I have no need to prominently display a photo of myself half-naked, sprawling in my bed, or lying about in my underwear, or working out at a gym, on a facebook profile or anywhere else. On a more philosophical level, there is no further reason to count myself as part of the gay community—the rainbow flag and parades mean very little to me anymore. I don’t have pride or conviction for what they stand for, but I do believe strongly in my values and my heterosexual conditioning. And as such, I can have pride in myself.