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Injecting a bit of masculinity into sex

Wed 1 Aug 2001 In: Safe Sex View at NDHA

Now, it was one of those Internet encounters that you have when you are bored. You know how they go, right? Someone anti-gay wanders 'accidentally' into a gay chatroom or a newsgroup and usually you can't be bothered replying to their abuse, but occasionally you do. And this one was letting his problems hang out in ways I thought were interesting. 'The reason you faggots want to have sex with other men,' he typed, ' is that you lack masculinity. You need other faggots to inject maleness into your shit-holes because you don't have any balls.' Now I really loved this. He didn't just call me names. He had a whole weird theory about the matter. And I loved the injecting part. So gay sex, I thought, comes down to injecting masculinity, a bit like a tetanus shot or a flu vaccine. Hmmm, my masculinity count is down, can I have an injection please? Or how do I love thee, let me inject some masculinity into you... But as for lacking masculinity, I finally asked the writer, had he actually been in a gay bar or a gym lately? Well, it was worth a try... 'That's affected masculinity,' he replied. 'It's a pretence. It's fake.' So really you couldn't win. In his opinion only straight men could be masculine. I wasn't straight therefore I couldn't possibly be masculine. But I have to admit that there are interesting things about masculinity and being gay, though they are things that would be totally unimaginable by my chatroom buddy. You may have learned subliminally from an early age that gay men are supposed to be effeminate when you saw a lisping interior decorator on an American sit-com for the first time, but later on in life, when you meet a real rugby player who is gay, someone from the army who is gay, a logger from Kinleith who is gay, you do get to realise that society's idea of masculinity doesn't quite measure up to reality. You learn that masculinity is just a bunch of signs, a deep voice, a big build, a slow and easy manner of behaviour. And even the girliest gay boy can learn them. How often have you seen someone decide to go to the gym, change a hair-style, wear different clothes and suddenly make the change from sweet little gay boy to butch, huh? And in a way, my chatroom buddy was right. Gay masculinity is a pretence, but the real secret is that all masculinity is a pretence, even from the heterosexual angle. But often straight men, particularly the homophobes don't seem to realise this very basic fact. A naval training instructor is acting out masculinity, just like an overbuffed gym-bunny is acting out masculinity. Everyone is pretending, and everyone has moments in front of the mirror when it all gets weird. But gay men have learned the secret of masculinity. They know it is fake and therefore they can play with the whole idea. Sure you can say "I only go for hyper-masculine men" or "I only have sex with girly-boys," but you don't really, even in the butchest gay bar, take it that seriously. You know it is only a preference, right? And gay sex could often be subtitled 'Having Fun With Masculinity.' Sometimes you don't care and you're just having sex but at other times you are playing with the whole idea of masculinity and it adds an element of excitement. Let me explain. Being masculine means you are always a Top, according to the straight rules. Being masculine means you are not tender, according to the straight rules. Being masculine never means you are a Bottom. And sometimes it is good to be like this. Me Tarzan, you Jane. At other times it is fun to throw it all away, and do everything completely reversed. It is actually exciting as the roles are changed between you and your partner. You get to have it both ways. I want to be Jane, this time, OK? I really wanted to tell my chatroom homophobe about the butchest long-haul truck-driver I ever met in Australia, whose occasional preference was to pick up the sweetest, girliest gay boy he could find and have the sweetest girliest gay boy be a Top.... Being able to play around with a concept like masculinity means that you are able to free yourself from it. Masculinity can be a prison for those who take it seriously. There is all that anguish about things and whether at a particular moment you were butch enough and whether someone thought you were a wimp and how you shouldn't cry, even though you did. This is the stuff of nervous breakdowns. And who really wants to relate to someone who is only ever masculine? Most of us, I think, want to relate to other human beings in all their fullness. We might have sex-fantasies about masculinity, but only the very stupid confuse sex-fantasies with the rest of life. The problem is that many straights, including my homophobic chat-room buddy, haven't quite got the picture yet. And they feel threatened by anything different. Sometimes they even want to beat them to death for it, because to be different reveals all sorts of possibilities that make them nervous about who they really are. And they are stuck there in their masculine pretence. We should feel sorry for them, really, because they confused an image with the real world, and that never, ever works. At least we've found the way out because we can play with the idea of masculinity, one minute pretending to believe it, the next minute throwing it out with the dishwater. But back to injecting masculinity. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun. "Now this is an operation, and I have to do it very carefully. Unfortunately I'm going to have to inject some masculinity into you, I don't like doing it, but I'm forced to do it, for your own good. So just roll over... that's it, nice. Now this won't hurt a bit..." David Herkt - 1st August 2001    

Credit: David Herkt

First published: Wednesday, 1st August 2001 - 12:00pm

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