When Are You Officially a Gay Slut?
The dating scene in the LGBT world is complicated to say the least. The idea that you can be in monogamous relationship for the rest of your life can be daunting, but it is not unheard of. Unfortunately; gay people have for a long time been deemed to be “dirty sluts’. They are dirty because they are accused of spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to the rest of the “clean” population. Some of us are old enough to remember the days of the “Gay Cancer” which became a curse on our community until straight people started getting HIV/AIDS too.
The second part of the label is the “slutty” bit. Apparently it is outrageous that gay slut people would want to have sex. The LGBTIQ category of human beings is supposed to be grateful that they are allowed to be alive; let alone fucking left, right and center. Ideally we are supposed to be celibate in order to atone for our sins of loving someone different or loving them differently. Even within our own community, we do like to slut shame those that are having sex. I ask in this article: what is the right amount of lovers to have in a lifetime? One, two, six, one hundred? What about the frequency? Does having two lovers in a 24-hour period make you a slut.
At this point, there is really no value in doing a comparative analysis with how promiscuous straight men are treated because that is just a fact of our double standard society today. We already know that a randy straight man is a stud to be admired and envied whilst a randy gay man is a disease-ridden slut who likes too much of what he should not like at all. The frequently used mini-insult “you suck” is just one of those homophobic epithets that have become so common that they are virtually institutionalized. The idea that you are bad enough to suck dick, just like those horrible gay people. Of course we conveniently forget that many (if not, all) the things that LGBTIQ people do in the privacy of their bedrooms are happy enjoyed by straight married couples.
The Gay Scene and its Rules
The rule is that there are no rules. The opportunities to hook up are endless…but there is a cost. Leaving the drama of breaking and making up; there is the real danger of STDs. The advent of ARVs and other medication has meant that the gay community is back to the complacent stage that it once enjoyed in the late 1970s. The costs of managing an infection over a lifetime can be quite significant and besides; being ill inevitably limits you. That is why the message must still go out to be responsible even as you enjoy the gay scene. That in no way means that you should not be having sex…the trick is to have safe sex.
I have to say that I was quite shocked to hear about conversion parties where known HIV positive people would have unprotected sex with HIV negative people in order to infect them. That is not having fun; just too much irresponsibility. The sociologists tell us that this was inevitable as people got tired of the safe sex messages. They wanted to live again (even for a few heady years that would terminate in serious illness) and be free from the stigma of HIV/AIDS that had been pushed back to the gay community.
Moving back to the actual sex; the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) released figures about 7 years ago which showed that over 50% of respondents had had between one a five sexual partners whilst about 30% had more than ten. There was that core group of 50% who had more than 50 partners. So who is really a slut. Some might say that 5 is too little and 50 is too much. Your life span also matters. Fifty lovers over fifty years of dating is not quite as bad as the same number for two years of dating. Interestingly, nearly 90% of respondents in an FS Magazine survey rejected the notion that they were sluts. About 10% accepted that they fitted the bill for sluthood.
Social Constructions of Promiscuity
When you really think about how other animals behave, the notion of being a slut is concocted by our social conventions. Other creatures could not care less as to who they were doing it with or for how many times. All they want is a relatively healthy mate that will be able to produce viable kids. Human beings are proud to be different. We put very strict limits on the acceptable amount of sex. At the same time (unlike most animals) we sometimes have sex for exclusively pleasurable purposes; without any intention of having offspring from it.
Some social commentators have urged a move away from playing the number’s game. Instead they argue that the focus is on how LGBTIQ people behave in relationships. If you are serial but enthusiastic monogamist, they consider you to be somewhat better than a person that regularly cheats on their current partner. Society demands that we are supposed to be discriminate when selecting sexual partners. It all stems from our perception of sex as being something dirty and naughty, that is fit to be enjoyed in furtive fits. Sleeping around then devalues the idea of a treat.
Then there is a contingent that defines a slut as someone that has sex without really being attracted to the other person. They use sex as an instrument to get over boredom, stress or even loneliness. Such a strict definition might turn many of us into unwilling sluts because that is precisely what sex is supposed to do for us.
Slutty Attitudes and Behavior
Of course the way in which you have sex can also determine whether you are demanded a slut or not. Being too “easy” is considered to be a no-no. The same can be said for doing “dirty stuff” whatever that means. If you seem to be enjoying yourself too much, then you also qualify for being labelled a shameless slut. All this boils down to our unhealthy relationship with sex. Unless we accept that sex is something that is natural and enjoyable, we will continue to judge those that want to more than us.
What is really interesting is the fact that it is not the numbers that matter but rather the actual behavior and attitude of the individual. There is an expectation that we are supposed to be reactive to sex rather than proactively seeking it. The right to be active and even proactive is the exclusive domain of straight men. Even straight women are not afforded the right to want and enjoy sex. They ideally should not really want it but fall victim to randy men who they submit to under the so called “natural law”.
There are still contradictions. I once saw someone wearing a shirt proudly proclaiming that “sluts are good”. I did not know whether he was being ironic or whether he genuinely wanted to enjoy a slut. The problem is that if a real slut was offered on a plate, it is almost certain that that guy would run a mile.
Perhaps one of the most mortifying things is when everyone around you considers you to be a slut, but you are the last person to know about it. They tend to judge you on a very superficial level. One of my school chums was labelled a slut throughout high school. I must admit even I was taken in by the stereotype until she confessed to me that she was a virgin. Everybody was whispering behind her back for something that she had actually not done. Such is life: you can become an unwilling slut for no reason other than being seen talking to people.
I am particularly interested in how us members of the LGBTIQ community treat one another. If we are slut-shaming fellow members then we inadvertently contribute to the over-sexualization of our community. For years and years, the mantra amongst the bigots was that gay people were diseased immoral people that deserved the wrath of a vengeful God. Now that we have reconsidered, it seems that we are not that bad after all. Let us not continue hurting one another through slut-shaming.
The Right to Sleep Around
I would say that everyone is entitled to sleep with as many people and as often as they want. My only provision is that you keep safe. The world is not all dandy-dandy. It would have been preferable if there was no consequence for sleeping around but that is not what happens. The reality is that we still have to put on those pesky condoms, always and faithfully. If you are caught up in a tricky situation, there is always PEP. Truvada can offer some level of limited protection if you know you are in the danger zone, but it is no guarantee either. Otherwise enjoy it why you can.