Monday, October 20, 2014

Why would celibate gay men cohabit?

Maclin Horton reflects on Eve Tushnet's commentary and opines. Excerpt:

I admit that I really don't see a good resolution for that problem. One thought the question provokes, though, is that her vision of some sort of place for "celibate partnership" (there's a link to further discussion of that idea in her piece) is something that I can see more easily workable for lesbians than for gay men. Despite the abundant evidence, most women don't really understand just how commanding and obsessive the male sex drive is. They may understand it as an observed datum, but since they don't experience it, they still tend to underestimate its power.

Well put.

A problem that I have seen growing for some time within the whole "purpose of sexuality debate" is the downplaying of the difference between male and female and the accenting of the differences in orientations. I don't care if same-sex attraction is completely innate—a position of which I am highly skeptical—the gender of a person is always more determinative of behavior. And behavior, as all men and women know, is what lands you in trouble as far as your relationship with God goes, whether or not there is a risk of pregnancy.

The old cynical line is that men use relationships to get sex and women use sex to get relationships. And although we as Christians want to rise above the wrongful use of others for whatever purpose and enter into a covenant of mutual self-giving, we can't deny the truth of the difference between the genders with regard to sexual urges.

There is a mistaken belief out having to do with gay men, that they can most easily be compared to women. Unfortunately this seems to lead people to forget that their bodies are still male and they have the same fundamental hormones that heterosexuals do.

Perhaps on the surface gay men exhibit feminine traits to attract other men. But having had some experience being around them, they remind me more of men who have not learned to control their male urges, and maybe they would rather not learn. Hence they form sexual relationships with other men so they don't have to.

I'm sure this observation is very offensive to some homosexuals, but the same observation about sexual immaturity and irresponsibility can be made about other men in general. Sports teams, for example; remember the Duke LaCrosse team? In my hometown, the few gang-rape scandals had to do with drunk girls and the HS football team.

But going back to male effeminacy—are gay men really more like women, or are they simulating secondary characteristics? Can we all acknowledge that they are not trying to be more like women in the sex drive department? For example, one gay guy I knew in Pittsburgh wanted to fix me up with his female cousin whom, he assured me, had enormous breasts. I seriously never heard any other human talk about his own relative this way. But it cannot be doubted that this is men's locker room talk, not women's.

Andy Warhol made close study of men who worked extremely hard to look like women consciously, i.e., drag queens. He made these astute observations in his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Excerpt:

Among other things, drag queens are living testimony to the way women used to want to be, the way some people still want them to be, and the way some women still actually want to be. Drags are ambulatory archives of ideal moviestar womanhood. They perform a documentary service, usually consecrating their lives to keeping the glittering alternative alive and available for (not-too-close) inspection.

To get a private room in a hospital you used to have to be very rich but now you can get one if you're a drag queen. If you're a drag queen they want to isolate you from the other patients, but maybe they have enough for a ward now.

I'm fascinated by boys who spend their lives trying to be complete girls, because they have to work so hard—double-time—getting rid of all the tell-tale male signs and drawing in all the female signs. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm not saying it's not self-defeating and self-destructive, and I'm not saying it's not possibly the single most absurd thing a man can do with his life. What I'm saying is, it is very hard work. You can't take that away from them. It's hard work to look like the complete opposite of what nature made you and then to be an imitation woman of what was only a fantasy woman in the first place. When they took the movie stars and stuck them in the kitchen, they weren't stars any more—they were just like you and me.

Emphasis mine. In other words, picturing a woman in a non-sexual place like a kitchen and the fetish dissolves with the fantasy. Only for the length of a Hollywood flick can a woman remain raring for hot romance. Whereas a man is ready jump into bed 24 hours, 7 days a week.

This is why I would suggest that "celibate partnership" is probably not possible for most healthy, young (under 85) homosexual men if they plan on being in close quarters together at all. Maybe a gay man should consider having a "celibate partnership" with a lesbian if he is really not attracted to women and he is serious about celibacy? I have a friend who owns an apartment which he rents to such a couple. He is gay and is a cook at a restaurant. She is a lesbian and works in a very physical construction job and appreciates coming home to good meals. Who knows; maybe they'll fall in love, or maybe they already have a very deep fraternal love for one another.

But just to conclude before I ramble much longer. When Maclin describes the male sex drive as "commanding and obsessive" he is spot on, and this is true for guys who are trying not to let themselves run off on a feeding frenzy. The idea that there is any less drive on the part of men because they are gay isn't supported by any evidence. And I think we need to stress that the reality of male and female is in mankind's immovable roots while this concept of orientation is out in the branches where there is far more fluttering and flexing.


  1. But of course we simply cannot discuss the physical aspects of homosexuality, especially along the lines of differences between the genders. Too much discussion along those lines, and we'd start to see that maybe -- just maybe -- biology matters.

    And if biology matters, the SSM movement would fall apart (if it were intellectually honest, that is). If biology matters, then it is obvious that the male and female genders differ, and complement each other in a way that biologically makes procreation possible, and that results in a stable family unit upon which society has been successfully based for thousands of years. And it would be obvious (again, to the intellectually honest) that these self-evident facts make it entirely rational and legitimate for a state to favor one-man one-woman marriages to the exclusion of other types, even under modern equal protection law.

    And if biology matters, then one would also have to acknowledge some very uncomfortable biological facts about homosexuality (certainly as between two men). This article summarizes a few of those. (Warning: it is very graphic, in a clinical sense -- and I mean it.) Its takeway paragraph:

    The truth is that homosexual behavior, especially male homosexual behavior, is very dangerous and unhealthy. And it is certainly not something that governments or organizations of any type should promote. Those dealing with homosexual desires deserve understanding and compassion, but they also deserve the truth.

  2. "...they remind me more of men who have not learned to control their male urges, and maybe they would rather not learn. Hence they form sexual relationships with other men so they don't have to."

    Precisely. Having worked in a field with tons of gay men, been friends with them, and seen their antics and heard the drama way more than I like to reflect upon...I think this is pretty much the most accurate, concise description I've ever heard.

    OTOH, I think most women who today label themselves "lesbian" are 100 years' ago's "spinsters," women with low sex drive and/or a shyness or phobia (sometimes trauma-induced) of men who may sometimes find it amicable to set up house with a similarly-minded woman but mostly just don't have the libidinal drive most women have, for whatever reason. So for them, celibate partnership not only sounds more reasonable, but often becomes the default state. (See: "lesbian bed death.")

  3. My article barely scratches the surface of what homosexuality and lesbianism are like in reality rather than in theory which is, to a great degree, pointless. What you are both pointing out is that the closer you look at homosexuality the more pronounced the differences between the sexes become.

    WRT the info is the article Pik linked to, I have long known this stuff, and I remember in the late '80s there was an HIV+ gay man who was practically crucified for trying to discuss all these facts -- I forget his name. He was trying to expose all the dark angles of being gay: rampant drug use, depression, fear and anxiety about relationships, intense sex binging and extreme promiscuity, etc. I remember reading articles of his in SPIN (wow, I'm that old.)

    1. I don't recall his name, either, but I recall the "crucifixion".

      I'm a bit younger than you, I think, but I recall all that.

  4. Sports teams, for example; remember the Duke LaCrosse team?

    Come again? The team attended a strip show at a members' residence which lasted all of four minutes and ended with team members spending twenty minutes or more trying to persuade the strippers to exit the bathroom they'd locked themselves into and then to leave the premises. Nothing else happened.


    I suspect you're off the rails here in attempting to understand homosexual men as adult men or as adult women or conceiving of the sexual dimension as forming an integral whole with personality in ways you are used to.

    Midge Decter put it thus a generation ago: the mundane social behavior which is modal among homosexual men is not that of adult women but of teenage girls. A minority strand engage in a parody of masculine behavior (leather & weight lifting).

    I'll offer you a hypothesis about the sexual dimension. Men who lose out in ordinary competition among strata and hierarchies often form alternative hierarchies. Once upon a time you had hobby shop geeks and sci fi geeks and computer geeks among young men. Male homosexual society is an alternative hierarchy with social dynamics which have an adolescent feminine aspect (catty, dramatic, and gossipy) but a sexual object and goal. Male homosexual couplings are corrupted friendships and may in some circumstance lose their sexual dimension as the friends compete in other venues.

    1. strip show at a members' residence

      Having women strip for you together with your friends sounds like a "corrupted friendship" to me. That was my point.

      My main point is that homosexual males wouldn't be the best candidates for forming anything remotely resembling a Josephite marriage.

    2. Having women strip for you together with your friends sounds like a "corrupted friendship" to me. That was my point.

      You do recall that three young men were hounded for eight months by a public prosecutor pursuing charges he knew were utterly bogus within 18 days of taking over the case and that said public prosecutor had contrived to conceal for those eight months the crucial DNA evidence which demonstrated the charges were false? You do recall that their families were hit with six figure legal bills? You do recall that having been exonerated they were subject to vicious and stupid attacks on their character by people who wouldn't have known them from a cord of wood?

    3. Yes, I remember all that. Furthermore, the girl who lied was just convicted of murdering her boyfriend.

      It was a bad example, and using it probably weakened my point. But those guys were stupid to book "exotic dancers". They bring trouble--trust me.

      The college I attended in the late eighties featured a semi-regular weekend event in the football players' main dorm floor where they would get a girl, ostensibly consenting and probably drunk, and they'd all take turns banging her. That is probably a better example.

      These things happen at bachelor parties also. One bachelor party I heard of featured having a girl there "just in case anyone needed her". My suggestion is that this is bad male behavior but it is a virtually unknown mode of female behavior.