A Fag Slut And Continuum

A fag, a slut and a continuum

My ultimate bestie, Gawie, has a bitchy internet connection at home and very kindly drags himself to a coffee shop so he can Skype with me about sex. Hilarity ensues. Due to his public environment, he is often miming so as not to offend anyone’s delicate ears with the mention of anal sex. His tentativeness to speak freely about a pretty normal component of his life is a fitting indicator to the premise of this article; societal and internal homophobia and how it might affect the sex lives of men who have sex with men (MSM).

 

While there are many ways for homophobia to flourish, Gawie and I trace some of our experiences to the exposure to certain religious practices. These had a strong emphasis on sex as a matter of procreation. The ‘peen’ moves rhythmically in the ‘vageen’ until the miraculous juice of “mankind” rockets into the amorphous lady cave and, an amount of time later, a baby is born. This centring of procreation, as opposed to pleasure, intimacy and fun, becomes the pivot of why and how sex exists. Our particular brands of religion then tied a moral superiority to this heterosexual intercourse between a biological man and woman, leaving every strain of sex excluded by it on a periphery of deviation and dysfunction. It is this outer circle of assumed gang bangs, slutbags (Gawie’s favourite self-description) and pedophiles (…”but Deborah, if the gays have sex with each other what will stop them having sex with children?!”…) that Gawie and I negotiate, during a pretty awkward Skype call, the concept of internalised homophobia and, in my case internalised misogyny, and how it affects our sex lives.

 

These social assumptions around “good” sex (morally certified, procreational and heterosexual) and “bad” sex (basically all the fun stuff) manifested both as external experiences and internal tensions for both of us. A quick gambol through various LGBTQI blogs and forums indicate similar experiences. The horribly familiar stories of MSM being assaulted for their “bad” orientation and the more painful stories of MSM bullying their sexual partners as they negotiate what can be assumed to be their now internalised homophobia are commonplace. What Gawie and I discuss (through hushed tones and muffled laughter) is the social description of our bodies, sex and pleasure only through a lens of “badness” and the ongoing internal negotiation of how bad we might actually be. On the continuum of “bad” sex how many dicks can we suck before I am a slut and Gawie is a fag? When do we stop being good kids experimenting and become bad kids who have made a choice? And how do we enjoy sex if we’re to believe the sex, which is often loving, tender and intimate, is somehow inherently immoral? It appears we all have our versions of the continuum of “good” and “bad” sex tied to our internalised phobias. At some point on the continuum even being seen near a man known to have sex with other men is too threatening. Gawie regales a glorious tale of literally being shoved BACK INTO THE CLOSET, after fooling around with someone, when a knock sounded on their door. He also tells me how he felt physically ill the first time he put a dick in his mouth; a feeling he now attributes to his own psychological tensions around his desires. Gawie is one of the luckier ones though. While he has struggled with the tension of internalised homophobia, he found a way to step off of the continuum and now knows that whatever sex he is having is “good” because it’s good for him. I ask him his secrets, so I can share it with our readers. He tells me that he is stronger than the narrow homophobic definitions of intimacy, love and sex. That he learnt to love and accept himself. I tell him that his sentiments are inspiring but would be a terrible way to end an article.

*Jo would like to thank Gawie for his ongoing willingness to participate in ridiculous conversations about sex.

Jo Glanville is a contributing writer for Anova Health Institute.  These are her views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and affiliates.  If you’d like to write for us please send an email to info@anovahealth.co.za