We’ve heard it a million times. It’s the very first line spoken in the series “Queer as Folk”. It’s all about sex! Gays can’t keep their dicks in their pants or in one dude. Fuck love in this “game”. Interestingly, women complain of a similar problem: All men are the same! Yet many women go on to marry…men. In monogamous relationships. (Whether the husband cheats on the side is beside the point.)
So how does this work for them? How do women eventually find love with men while many gays lose hope that there’s that one man out there for keeps, even if for one faithful year?
Psychology, in collaboration with biology, says most men, are wired to be fine with the superficiality of sexual gratification – compared to women who, early in life, already want the security and constancy a relationship provides. However, my stand is this: that my gender is predisposed to a certain mode of behaviour does not mean everybody who identifies as that gender will behave similarly. In some respects, I am like other guys, and in other respects, I am not.
We live in a culture that celebrates male promiscuity. Too many boys – gay and straight – are growing up free of the societal pressure placed on girls to be sexually disciplined.
Let’s narrow this down to a specific culture: gay culture. Give or take, being gay means you’re likely to have your first sexual experiences much earlier than your straight counterparts. The reason is not embedded in rocket science. We all – gay, straight, whatever – were born of the union between a male and a female human. That is the staple sexuality, like it or not; any other arrangement after this is peculiar, a freak of nature, queer. So there are elaborate rules and taboos barricading relations between opposite sexes: where to see them, when to see them, how to touch them… These rules do not apply to relations between persons of the same sex. Why? Because, for the most part, nobody expects two persons of the same sex to fuck, let alone get married. Look how long it took the world – centuries, in case you were sleeping! – to accept that homosexuality is not just fantasy, and even then, its inclusion in mainstream cultural interaction is not total yet. Most people still prefer to think of two men who are very close as good friends. Unless otherwise informed. Whereas from time immemorial, a man and a woman who exchange even as much as a soft look may already be considered an item; and according to the culture of the society they live in, they had better follow the rules of being an item to the letter or face dire consequences.
By the time most of our straight counterparts are thinking about having their first sex, from mid to late teens, we’ve already smooched and fucked and kissed. A 30-year-old straight guy who is a virgin makes more sense than an 18-year-old gay guy who’s a virgin. People are going to ask him how then he knew he was gay if he’s never slept with a guy (nobody will ask a straight guy this). To many minds, gayness remains about sex before anything else. If at all.
Who’s to blame?
How many of us reading this were raised to see two men kissing as normal? How many of us were raised to see two men become boyfriends, with the potential of graduating to husbands? How many of us shared a playground with even one kid from a two-dad home? How many of us gays were raised to believe that sexual orientation is an either/or thing, like an array of dishes, each different, each delicious in its own way, each equally legit?
Our first encounters with our gay sexuality – a kiss, a rub of the other’s penis – were laced with heart-banging fear. Not just fear of being caught, but fear of being caught IN SOMETHING WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW EXISTED. Something we saw no examples of around us. Something nobody ever talked about or imagined doable. Something that had no rules guiding its conduct (forget these rabid African-culture screamers, how many African languages have a word for “homosexual”?)
The Heterosexual Advantage = the Homosexual Disadvantage
Every boy – heterosexual and homosexual – grows up knowing that one day he will be like Daddy and Mummy, have a wife (don’t laugh at the gay boy, because that’s all the images available to him) have kids. Of course, both boys will be stupid at first to think that babies drop from heaven into Mummy’s tummy, but they will outgrow that. The LAST thing on their minds when imagining this kind of future is sex. Neither of them can think of their parents as sexual beings at this point.
Now as the hormones of puberty surge within both boys, and they head to the crossroads where we all separate into who likes what, the heterosexual boy is already exposed to the many possibilities his sexuality offers: love, children, heartbreaks, family, home-cooked meals, a nice home, weddings, even divorces. He may suffer through puberty (acne and the surprise hard-ons) but can restrain himself sexually. He may be bold and experiment with that girl in his class, or he may wait to grow a little more before tasting the forbidden cherry, like Daddy and Mummy (probably) did. He knows there’s an “ideal” time to enjoy the koko.
The homosexual boy does not have this advantage. He is feeling these…things stirring within him when he stands close to another boy, or when his male friend says something sexually suggestive. Eventually (while on the job), he learns what it all means, who he is wired to be. But how does he, like the straight boy, wait for the right time to pop the cherry? What will be the point? Who, in the society he grew up in, can he look up to as a role model of his sexuality? Definitely not Daddy and Mummy who are male and female. Who could have taught him a little discipline, no matter how misplaced, with his desires? Definitely not Daddy and Mummy who likely warned him about girls. Not boys. So why/how can he be disciplined about his desires? Where will it lead, now or later? After all…surely, he will outgrow this…this long hug with a boy – or this…this kiss and “I love you”, simulating what normal couples do – or this…this letting a boy reach into his pants to squeeze his hard penis? Surely he cannot marry this boy or have him as a boyfriend – where has that been done?
Sex, sex, sex!
And so the first encounter the gay boy has with who he is comes from the last hurdle the straight boy has to cross: SEXUAL DESIRE. Talk of starting life rear end up.
The result: the only aspect of (our) sexuality that ends up branding itself in our brains becomes the sex. Sex which, as far as social sense goes, carries no responsibilities, no consequences, no future. We never saw the cooperation between two men – one man who attends his kids’ PTA on short notice, because the other man (Dad Number 2) had to attend another pressing engagement. We never saw two well-dressed guys who are together (as in together)share a pew in church and after church go to say hello to Pastor. We never heard the boisterous laughter of two old men – neighbours, 40 years married to each other, happy – eating suya and having beers against an orange sunset.
We started from the “dirty” part, the forbidden fruit, the sex. Until our identity became mostly about that –
Written by Absalom
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