I’ve started to laugh aloud when young guys complain about the sexual predations of older men. The awful older guy who chatted him up all night and then expected sex. The dirty older guy who had sex with him, gathered up his clothes, said thanks and went home. The creepy older guy who talks about bathhouse sex.
Young fags are the new moralists. I’d call them prudes, except they’re all so horny.
I blame it on all this talk about relationship recognition. They’re the first queer generation to take their cues about gay life from teachers and TV, rather than bars and sex partners. They all know that Ontario and British Columbian homosexuals are entitled to live coupled-off, married, child-nurturing lives. With the way the issue is dragging on, who could forget that marriage is an option?
Same-sex married life suits some and certainly rates as a novelty among trend-followers. To me, activists who talk of same-sex marriage “eroding gay culture” are being petty – as if people should purposely be deprived of a wedding day so as to supply the clubby-artsy scene with people who can’t find personal satisfaction elsewhere. The argument makes “gay culture” seem like a booby prize.
People don’t have that kind of on-off switch. What’s legal or not has never been a measure of our desires. If the availability of marriage is what prompts you to marry… how shallow is that?
Which is why young gay moralists are so disturbing. They see marriage as option number one. But their own behaviour contradicts this very goal. They see sexual motivations in others, but not in themselves.
Though I tend to pursue guys my own age (30s), I’ve had two ongoing sexual affairs recently with guys in their early 20s. I didn’t initiate these fuck-fests and hadn’t even entertained sexual thoughts about either one until the first moment he was stripping naked in my apartment.
Unlike liaisons I’ve had with guys my age (or that I had as an early 20s guy with older men), both these affairs had complicated unspoken rules set by my companions: outside the bedroom, we pretend nothing is going on. No talking about it with each other, no mentioning it to anyone else and, in fact, hadn’t we better pretend we barely know each other? In both cases, this went on for months.
One of them worried about his friends thinking him a slut; he’d make out with me in dark corners, but then go on about wanting a husband, house and children, just so nobody would get the wrong idea.
The first time the other one ever showed up in my apartment without the intention of orgasming, he declared: “I’m really looking for a boyfriend and when I meet the right guy, I don’t want to have to tell him about this, because I want to be completely honest with him. Do you mind if we don’t have sex any more?”
Older men get the blame, but it’s the younger guys who want to cut off all intimacy from sex. Rather than allow their casual sexual encounter to be accompanied by friendliness or at least camaraderie, intimacy is sealed up like a bride’s hope chest. They want to get off, but remain a kind of emotional virgin, waiting for the day Prince Charming rescues them from the wasteland of gay singlehood. No breakfast – please.
If gay life has had one advantage, it’s the need to reconcile who we are with what we want. Out queers have always had to justify their existence. It isn’t the nicest spotlight to be standing in, but it certainly keeps you honest.
Now that we don’t have to account for our differences – we’re just like everybody else, remember? – I worry that honesty is drying up. Any intimacy not recognized by the government isn’t real. Any sex outside wedlock isn’t happening. Just like hypocritical straights.
These ready-made fantasies can’t be a better way to live than the old conundrum, daunting as it was: “I’m gay. What the hell am I going to do with my life?”
Paul Gallant is Managing Editor for Xtra.