There are very obvious issues of stigma against gay male sexual activity, outside and within our community. But to have an honest dialogue about the causes and concerns we must create a few guidelines where we all agree on the topic at hand. To do so, create a logic frame to work back from and to narrow the field of vision of discussion. Otherwise, we would be here all day, and get nothing done.

It is not easy to talk about gay sex stigma because it is envolved in so many different layers that it is difficult to not only see a root cause but, more importantly, anwerers. We are not claiming to have all of the answers, or for that matter, all of the questions. But, we can assist in breaking down the constructs that inhibit our ability to have happy, healthy sex lives.

In the most basic terms, gay sex stigma begins with the Judeo-Christian values centered around sex as they have effected the modern western world. Of course, other regions and religions have apporached the issue of sex differently over time, but if you are reading this, you are most likely living in a western country that has been greatly influenced by biblical texts and purists attitudes.

Let’s begin….

The perceived purpose of sex

Depending on your personal viewpoint, there are a few purposes to sexual activity. If you were fortunate to be raised in a home that was either neutral about sexual activity or expressed sex positive view points, your current views regarding intercourse are probaly healtheir than the average gay male, who was raised in a home that was silent regarding homosexuality, at best, or outright homophobic, at worst.

We speak of “perceived purpose” of sex, because, at stated earlier, this will and has changed from culture to culture, and throughout time. At our current point in history, our view points regarding sexual intercourse are quite rigid and based on fundamentalist values.

Religious Values

“Go forth and mulitply” was the rallying call to entice young men to venture west and populate the growing United States. But this is also a sentemint from the bible regarding procreation. The wasting of a man’s “seed” was viewed as against god becuse masturbation did not lead to the creation of life. It was the exact opposite.

The outgrowth of this ideology established a view of sex that was three pronged.

First: Sexual intercouse was an activity for the sole purpose of procreation

Second: Because the act of procreation was neccisitated upon a penis and a vagina, the act was only to be perfomed by heterosexuals.

Third: For the sake of family unity and the long term health of the clan, sex out of wedlock was forbidden.

Taken at its breath, the religous views and tenants about sex did not leave room for homosexuals, and biblical texts were interpreted to support this. So, gay male sex stigma, begins with the stigma created around sexual activites themselves.

Hypocrisy

The Catholic Church is well known for its views on homosexuality. In the United States they are even given a legal pass on discriminating agaisnt our community based on these religious views. One would believe that those who hold such strong oppinoions against homosexuality would also hold themselves to a higher standard of maintaining the same vigilence that they expect from their parishiners. But, we all know that is not the case. Child rape and male sexual abuse is a huge problem within the confines of the priesthood and law suits have plagued them for decades. We will never no the true number of boys and young men molested by these holy men because from local parishes to the Vatican, files are destroyed, victims paid into silence and the church moves the purpertrators off to another unsuspecting church.

This is also the method used by another religious focused group, The Boy Scouts of America. Not a church, per se, but based on alleged christian values, the stories about molestation within scouting have spawned numerous books, as well as law suits. All ironic when you consider that this organization was sued, by mulitiple states, for their expulstion of known homosexual scouts, and a total ban against new members and leaders who happen to be gay.

Before we leave you beleiving that only christians have this high level of hypocricy against homosexual male sex, let us introduct you to the term Bacha bazi. This “is a slang term in some parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan[2][3] for a custom involving child sexual abuse between older men and young adolescent males or boys, who are called dancing boys. The custom is connected to sexual slavery and child prostitution.[4] In the 21st century, Bacha bazi is reportedly practiced in various parts of Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan.[5][6][7][8][9][3] Force and coercion are common, and security officials state they are unable to end such practices because many of the men involved in bacha bazi-related activities are powerful and well-armed warlords”.

Catholic Church

Societal Views and mores

Even though male homosexuals have existed as long as there have been humans, how societies have viewed us, and by extension, our sexual acts has varied. Christianity created the largest rift between us and straight society, and we have not been able to dig ourselves out of this hole, yet.

The beginning of the last century saw gay males standing up and fighting for more rights and freedoms. Sometimes this was motivated by laws criminalizing our sexual behaviours or crackdowns on bars and clubs we were known to frequent. Throughout the western world, religion has always been at the core of justification of denying us basic human rights.

But, there is something a bit more primal at work. Relgion is used as the reason but the true motivation is based on the way humans view the body, and especially the male body.

First: The body itself, is dirty and disgusting. It is unclean from a standpoint of relgious concept but also in normal practical application of daily living.

Second: Of all of the party parts, there is nothing dirtier, more gross and undesiarble as the human anus. Any association with this body part is considred disgusting and not to be spoken of.

Third: Males are the penetrators and women are the ones who are penetrated. Deviation from this biblical script is considered abhorrent.

When gay males are viewed throught the lens of a hetrosexual society, our sexual lives garner the most focus. They cannot seperate the man from the activity. This also may be associated with the actions of the gay community itself. Becuase our only true difference is our sexual orientation, our sex lives, and our freedom to perform them, must be at issue. It also does not take much for our community to strive towards a greater level of sexual freedom than the average straight person can handle regarding sexual acts conducted by anyone.

In a world when most, errounsuly, equate percetption with reality, we can not escape having our sex lives judged and then stigmatized by the larger society.

Homophobia

No matter how liberal the home enviorment you were raised in, it was still homophobic. This could have been by purposeful design, avoidance or silence. Even if, by some miracle, you were able to have escaped this most common up-bringinig, you still had to contend with a hostile world outside of your door. From the neighbours, to the school hard, the mall to the church, homophobia in some shape form or fashion is part of our daily lives.

Becuase of the normalization and even legaliztion of homophobia, our community can also be some of the harshiest participants. Internalized homophobia comes in many shapes and forms, but many revolve around sexual acts and activites, because, as stated above, it is almost impossible to separate the gay man from gay sex in the minds of most humans.

The Straights

Without a doubt, heterosexuality is the default position for the human race. Without it, procreation and thus the continuation and survival of our species would not have been possible. But, with over eight (8) billion souls walking the planet, society is beginning to make space for homosexuals.

We do not have to explain to you how the straight world sees and processes gay male sexual activity, because you have enough examples to challenge our own. It is shown causually in marketing materials, movies, books and on our televisions. Pop-up adds are filled with their activities and we, have no choice, but to remain silent and “deal with it”. But, put one, none sexual gay male, in a popular tv series and the backlash will be swift and severe.

To be clear, there are very distinct views regarding gay males sexuality verses other sexual orientation minorities. Gay male sex seems to be no only an affront to god and nature, but also both straight men and women. Laws around the world prove that we are punished much harsher than other homosexuals, with our practice being seen as worthy of canning, prison and of course, prison.

The Gays

With all of the sexual stigma against us directed from the heterosexual world, one would think that inside of the gay male community that we would have created environments that are much more welcoming and sex positive. To some extant this is true. Again, this depends on where you live. But our brothers can be some of the harshest critiques of our sex lives.

HIV/AIDS:

There can be no doubt that the HIV virus has shaped our modern lives for over 40 years. Before this time, gay male sex was seen as “dirty, wrong, bad” and worthy of a ticket straight to hell, but the worst physical manifestation of was an STD that was quickly and easily cured. HIV changed all of that. For the larger straight society, and yes, many within the gay community, this was seen as just punishment for sex lives that were unnatural. A punishment that was a long time in the making.

Because the first cases of AIDS were found in sexual hot spots like New York City and San Francisco, this seemed to add credince to the argument that our sexual lives should be stigmatized. The fear that gripped our community has not disappacted as much as one would have hoped.

Even as HIV testing has become normalized, treatment increased the overall health and life expectancy of those living with the virus, and PrEP preventing infection by 99%, the stigma around sex with in our community is still strong. This is evidenced by every advancement being viewed as a negative. Undetectable equals Uninfections has been called an excuse for those with HIV to have unprotected sex with negative guys, and PrEP only being a prevention medication for so-called “truvada whores”.

Our collective and indiviual internalized homophobia rears its ugly head whenever our sex lives enter the converstation.

Minority respectability:

Jealousy/Envy:

Contrarty to what some want to convince you, gay males are actually, truly and really male. This means competetion is within our DNA. This includes for sexual partners.

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