Category Archives: Human Sexuality
I used to hate myself for liking boys. I cried and cried. Prayed. And cried some more. Feelings wouldn’t budge though. Long story short. I made it. Homophobia couldn’t hold me down. I rather be a real gay man than a fake straight one. Can I get an amen?
This society would benefit greatly from requiring graduating seniors to take a human sexuality course. Sexual orientation & Sexual activity are not the same thing. We think gay equals sex. Ergo, they think that being gay is a choice because people choose (unless raped) to have sex. We are ill-taught. When most homophobic people say “you chose to be gay,” they really mean “you choose to have sex with the same sex.” They don’t know better. A lot of people are under the impression that having sex determines your sexual orientation. I was gay before I had sex. If I stopped having sex, today, I would still be gay. Who I fuck doesn’t determine my sexual orientation. Everyone, of all sexualities, needs to take a step back and consider that having sex isn’t a prerequisite to sexual orientation. There are gay virgins. There are straight virgins. There are bisexual virgins. There are pansexual virgins. One need not have sex. I guess, we could say that everyone’s sexual orientation is blank until they have sex, but then we’d marginalize people who don’t have sex. I always knew I was “different.” I didn’t always know there was a word for it. I accepted that I was gay long before I ever did the do.
I strongly believe in the act of asking questions. Questions are one of the primary ways by which new knowledge is yielded. But, I also know that the way we frame questions, and the implications of that framing, are also important aspects of the act of asking questions. Recently, I was involved in two situations that centered around the act of asking questions, and the implications that come from these questions. In this essay, I will explore the act of questioning, the way questions are framed, and the implications, if any, of asking questions.
Thinkers, intellects, scholars, and academics all ask questions. I would be hard pressed to find a person who did not expect anyone to not ask questions. However, I will continue to assert that the questions we ask, and the way that they are framed, are just as important as the answers we seek. There absolutely exists a need to ask questions, but there is also a need, or rather, a responsibility to be aware of the way in which we frame questions, and the implications, many times negative, that come along from poorly framed questions.
As I mentioned earlier, I have recently been involved with two situations regarding questions, framing, and implications. The first situation revolved around a question asked by Dr. Steve Perry. Perry, most known for his Capital Preparatory Magnet School, asked a question that left some feeling uneasy. Perry asked, “Given the recent FAMU tragedy, do Black groups, colleges & high schools foster brutality?” On the surface, Perry’s question looked to many to be an opportunity to start dialogue on hazing in American schools, but looking deeper we can see that the question is also problematic. The way in which the question is framed, its placing of an HBCU next to a question invoking Black brutality, has certain racist implications, in my opinion. Perry has the right to ask his question, but there also exists a right to consider the framing and implications. Would a similar question ever be leveled at White America? Would the sexual assault that took place at Penn State constitute an examination of the brutality of White America? I think not. There tends to be a need to associate individual Black acts with collective Black pathology. Perry’s question could have been framed in any number of ways, and it still would have sparked the conversation that Perry had in mind.
The second incident revolved around a question asked by “Dr. Goddess,” a well known Twitter personality. After reading an article about Kobe Bryant’s alleged sexual activities, Dr. Goddess posed a question the following question to Twitter, “If you’re a heterosexual man and you just LOVE anal sex, like, it’s your preference… are you really gay? #curious #sorry.” In my mind, this question immediately ran as homophobic, but others had different opinions, particularly Dr. Goddess. In her mind, the question wasn’t problematic because, in her own words, “I really DON’T know “gay life,” “I HONESTLY do not know. Is that okay? I mean… I am so confused right now…” Like unintended bigots before her, Dr. Goddess hid behind her heterosexual privilege, as opposed to accounting for the way she framed her question, and the implications of that question. Many people came to the aid of Dr. Goddess, and they were well within their right to do so. In their mind, questions are incapable of harboring bigotry, after all, questions are the way that new knowledge is yielded. I would disagree, however. I think it was possible for Dr. Goddess to examine heterosexuality without using homosexual as “sexual other” on which heterosexuality is examined. The question need not to have invoked homosexuality at all. For example, “If you are a straight man, and you really enjoy anal, why don’t you prefer vaginal?” Or, “What are our thoughts on anal sex as practiced among heterosexuals?” These all could have sparked a conversation on anal sex, and they would have done so without using homosexuality as a sexuality stepping stone. “I think questions, particularly those poorly framed, have a long history of racist, sexist, and homophobic implications, and this was just a continuation of that history.
There exists a very real stereotype, underlying homophobia, that insists that anal sex is a thing that gay people do. This homophobic stereotype assumes that heterosexuals do not consistently engage in anal sex, and that it is one of the hallmarks of homosexuality. Both stereotypes are untrue. I don’t know all the statistics on anal sex, but anyone who has watched a heterosexual porn knows that anal sex place, and often. Also, as someone who is gay, I know that there are a variety of sexual activities engaged in by members of the gay community. The assumption that anal sex is “gay,” also, rests upon the phallocentric assumption that lesbians do not count as gay.
In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, we get a clear picture of the very real implications that arise from our poorly framed questions. In the novel, the protagonist Sethe recounts her experience with a White racist man named Schoolteacher, who used questions to support and explore his racist thinking. Schoolteacher, “measures the body of the enslaved and asks incessant, probing questions in order to control them through his knowledge of them.” I highlight this, to bring light to the fact that questions are quite capable of carrying bigoted associations and implications. Bigotry– in Dr. Goddess’ case homophobia–is often enshrined in the act of questioning.
I do not believe that Dr. Steve Perry or Dr. Goddess are horrible people, but I do think they are, both, individuals who had lapses in judgment. They asked poorly framed questions, and were unwilling to accept that their questions had negative implications. No one, not even respected thinkers, is above criticism. We all have a responsibility to exercise care and consideration when we ask questions.
Update: Here is a collection of the tweets that transpired that night. I don’t feel that it’s very cohesive, but it’s better than nothing. Judge for yourselves. chirpstory.com/li/3601
Ideas often come to me at the most peculiar times. The idea of this essay came to me while I was sweeping in the den of my house. I’m not sure what that says about the overall idea, but I am very fortunate that it did.
As I went about sweeping my den the nature invisibility, or rather visibility, as it pertains to those in the gay community appeared in my mind. I, and I am sure countless others, have heard the homophobic argument that homophobia isn’t an issue, or a serious issue, because unlike race or gender, it’s something that you can hide. These homophobes believe that because one cannot hide the color of their skin or the fact that they have breasts, homophobia isn’t the same as racism or sexism. The idea being that that gays choose to display their sexuality, and as such those who are victims of homophobia are often asking for it.
On the surface this seems like a somewhat logical belief. There is something to be said about the way skin color or sexual anatomy presents itself in an overt form making it easily identifiable for racism and sexism. But, I would like to suggest that homosexuality, or at least the characteristics that we associate with it, also presents itself in overt ways which make it easy for homophobes to marginalize and oppress homosexuals.
We are trained in this white supremacist patriarchal society to see race and gender. We are taught to associate certain characteristics with race and gender, and to pinpoint those characteristics when they are expressed. The way one walks, or talks, or who the person hangs out with, are all ways that racist and sexist people identify and discriminate against people based on their race or gender. However, this phenomenon is not unique to race or gender oppression.
Homosexuals, whether they choose to or not, are daily assaulted by the expectations and assumptions that we as a society place around sexual orientation. From an early age children have their gender expression policed in this society, and this often results in them being the victims of homophobia. If a little boy walks to feminine or if a little girls voice is too deep these are things used to police their gender, and are also used by homophobes.
As we get older the way homophobia pinpoints us does not change. I can think of countless occasions where I have been the victim of homophobia based on things outside of my control. I do not choose to hold my hands the way that I do, I do not choose to walk the way that I do, I do not choose to talk the way that I do. i also did not choose for these otherwise empty characteristics to be associated with my sexual orientation. In a homophobic society these characteristics of myself render me visible, and thus prevents me from being invisible. Of course, I could possibly do things to render myself invisible, I could try and walk and talk in a different manner as many do. As a gay person my sexuality is just as overt as my race and my gender.
The belief that sexuality isn’t visible the way race or gender is, is a myth homophobes use to diminish the realities that gays face. It is about denying our struggle and the oppression that we face. We live in a homophobic society where gender expression is linked with sexual orientation and that underlies much of the oppression that homosexuals face. As a child I longed to be invisible, and sometimes I still wish to be rendered invisible. I did not choose for my sexual orientation to be linked to my gender expression, but that is the way that homophobia works, and as such the myth that sexual orientation is invisible, unlike race or gender, is one that continues to harm those in the gay community.
The construction of heterosexuality has had many effects on the construction of homosexuality. This construction has meant that homosexuality has been associated with certain characteristics and many stereotypes. Homophobia makes it almost impossible for gays, or anyone for that matter, to be have an invisible sexual orientation. The time has come for us to realize that sexual orientation, like race and gender, is visible. The myth of invisibility must end.
I say this because so many uneducated, uninformed, and just plain ignorant people seem to think that unless you are sexually active you somehow cannot be gay, bi, or straight.
Sexual Activity is one thing.
Sexual Orientation is one thing.
I wish you all would get this through your ableist heads. Think about all the thousands of people across the world who for whatever reason have never had the chance to be sexually active with another person. It may be because of a severe handicap, lack of sexual organs, or some other reason.
Does this mean that only able bodied people who have had sex are allowed to have a sexual orientation? Of course it doesn’t. Because sexual activity isn’t a prerequisite to sexual orientation.
Stop acting like unless someone touches, kisses, or has sex with another human being they don’t have a legitimate sexual orientation.
When you are rooted in truth it becomes increasingly hard for others to hurt you with their lies. When you are rooted in knowledge and research it becomes increasingly harder for others to hurt you with their falsities.
This is why it is vital for gay men to educate themselves about sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity. There are a million lies out there about what sex is and isn’t, what sexual orientation is and isn’t, what gender is and isn’t, and what gender identity is and isn’t. And it’s only through education and information that you can cut through those lies and use truth as your authority. You’ll be better able to recognize all of the lies that people used to demean and belittle gays, such as the notion that homosexuality is a choice or that being molested is a determinant of ones sexual orientation.
When you know are rooted in the truth you won’t be shuck by lies and you’ll be better equipped to handle homophobes who may be out to deny yourself or other gays of humanity.
You are probably asking where does one start if they want to become more educated on Human Sexuality and I have the answer. Well I have a link to a website that has been instrumental in developing my point of view and challenging some of the assumptions I have had around human sexuality.
I’ve long held the belief that education and information are the building blocks to empowerment. One of the main ways I envision truly empowering the gay community is by educating and informing gay men and women about human sexuality.
Today I had the misfortune or rather the fortune of having a conversation with a gay man regarding a heterosexual male who likes to be on the receiving end of sexual intercourse, that is he liked to be the receiver during anal sex.
What does sexual orientation have to do with sexual behavior? Being a penetrator doesn’t make you gay or straight. Being a receiver doesn’t make you gay or straight. Sexual Orientation is determined by enduring sexual D-E-S-I-R-E. It has little to nothing to do with what you do if you do anything at all. Someone isn’t more gay because they like to receive.
“what? if your man sleeping with another man your Gay point blank period.”
No unfortunately that’s not how human sexuality works. That may be how closed minded and judgmental individuals work but that is not how human sexuality work.
Are you saying that any man who has sex with a woman is heterosexual?
For any gay men and women who share that young mans sentiment I encourage you to take a human sexuality course. I promise you that enrolling in it will be instrumental in debunking many of the myths and fantasies so many gay men have about humans and sexuality.
This notion that doing THINGS are what make you gay. Yeah definitely no truth to that.
Your sexuality is about whats between your ears not whats between your legs.
You don’t even need anything between your legs nor do you need to be able to use those things between your legs if you have them.
This notion that sexual orientation has something to do with whether or not you have a penis or a vagina, use that penis or vagina, and the way in which you choose to use that penis and vagina is nothing more than fictional narratives that many of you uninformed and uneducated men have chosen to craft and construct.
I would encourage everyone to think and I mean really think about the falsities you subscribe to at your own and others detriment.