“We often see (and are hopefully aware of and actively trying to counter) how society has this sort of dualistic, impossible view of women—the one where women are expected to be virginal (or else they’re “sluts”), yet sexual objects with infinite sexual prowess for our desire and wet dreams; anything in between is shameful or inadequate. I could dig into all my opinions and views on this topic (as I have many), but the reason I bring up this societal issue is because of an almost antithetical ideology I’ve found in the gay community.
I remember the first man I fell for, and how he said I was “too new” and he couldn’t be my first. That happened the first time I fell in love with a man, too. When I was looking to explore my sexuality and date, I was repeatedly shut down and turned away because I had no experience with guys. Sort of like when you’re applying for a job and you’re told you have to have so many years of experience, yet you can’t have any years of experience because no one will give you any experience. Like, what the hell, guys. It seems if you’re a virgin in the gay community, you are not to be touched.
Conversely, and what really bothers me, is the hookup shaming that exists within the gay community. While it seems one shouldn’t be a virgin, a gay man who engages in sex with multiple partners is awful and to be avoided. Not always, but I see the shaming more and more it seems, as pictured:
There are already a lot of problems to be had with hookup shaming, but I find it particularly offensive in the gay community. And I think the reason for that is because the sex lives of gay men have already been ostracized by society (and while it’s changing, it’s still taboo in many social circles).
For some folks, engaging in hookups is the only way to explore their sexuality and identity. I would be willing to say that it wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really started navigating my identity, and it also wasn’t until I started having sex with men that I really even got to engage with the experiences of other gay men (unless reading stories online).
There’s always the stereotype that men are hyper-promiscuous, and perhaps it holds true. Sex can’t be disassociated from our identity and our culture when the whole reason that we are alienated is based on sex. So while the stereotype exists, I don’t think it should be perceived (or utilized) as a criticism. There shouldn’t be shame.
I feel as though, as gay men, we have to be progressive in our sexual attitudes because our sex is and always will be politicized. So to have folks within our own community—because any gay man, whether he chooses to be or not, is a part of the gay community—shame us for our sex is unacceptable. We can do better, and we have to in order to support those who share our identity.”