Happy Gay Pride Month!
It’s time, once again, to post my annual pride posting.
In my lifetime I’ve witnessed a most remarkable change in societal attitudes toward those of us on the sexual fringe. One only needs to go back 50 years in time. I was 15 years old then and I knew I was queer. When I looked out on the world around me this is what I saw. Homosexuality was deemed a mental disorder by the nation’s psychiatric authorities, and gay sex was a crime in every state but Illinois. Federal workers could be fired merely for being gay.
Today, gays serve openly in the military, work as TV news anchors and federal judges, win elections as big-city mayors and members of Congress. Popular TV shows have gay protagonists.
And now the gay-rights movement may be on the cusp of momentous legal breakthroughs. Later this month, a Supreme Court ruling could lead to legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the whole country.
The transition over five decades has been far from smooth — replete with bitter protests, anti-gay violence, backlashes that inflicted many political setbacks, and AIDS. Unlike the civil rights movement and the women’s liberation movement, the campaign for gay rights unfolded without household-name leaders.
And yet, I sense that soon, if it hasn’t begun already, we will experience a backlash in the dominant culture. I don’t relish the idea, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. And when it comes, as I think it will, it won’t smart nearly as much if we know our history. And we should also remember the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”
In honor of gay pride month, a little sex history lesson — The Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between demonstrators and police at The Stonewall Inn, a mafia owned bar in Greenwich Village NYC over the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 are usually cited as the beginning of the modern Lesbian/Gay liberation Movement. What might have been just another routine police raid on a bar patronized by homosexuals became the pivotal event that sparked the entire modern gay rights movement.
The Stonewall riots are now the stuff of myth. Many of the most commonly held beliefs are probably untrue. But here’s what we know for sure.
- In 1969, it was illegal to operate any business catering to homosexuals in New York City — as it still is today in many places in the world. The standard procedure was for New York City’s finest to raid these establishments on a regular basis. They’d arrest a few of the most obvious ‘types’ harass the others and shake down the owners for money, then they’d let the bar open as usual by the next day.
- Myth has it that the majority of the patrons at the Stonewall Inn were black and Hispanic drag queens. Actually, most of the patrons were probably young, college-age white guys lookin for a thrill and an evening out of the closet, along with the usual cadre of drag queens and hustlers. It was reasonably safe to socialize at the Stonewall Inn for them, because when it was raided the drag queens and bull-dykes were far more likely to be arrested then they were.
- After midnight June 27-28, 1969, the New York Tactical Police Force called a raid on The Stonewall Inn at 55 Christopher Street in NYC. Many of the patrons who escaped the raid stood around to witness the police herding the “usual suspects” into the waiting paddywagons. There had recently been several scuffles where similar groups of people resisted arrest in both Los Angeles and New York.
- Stonewall was unique because it was the first time gay people, as a group, realized that what threatened drag queens and bull-dykes threatened them all.
- Many of the onlookers who took on the police that night weren’t even homosexual. Greenwich Village was home to many left-leaning young people who had cut their political teeth in the civil rights, anti-war and women’s lib movements.
- As people tied to stop the arrests, the mêlée erupted. The police barricaded themselves inside the bar. The crowd outside attempted to burn it down. Eventually, police reinforcements arrived to disperse the crowd. But this just shattered the protesters into smaller groups that continued to mill around the streets of the village.
- A larger crowd assembled outside the Stonewall the following night. This time young gay men and women came to protest the raids that were commonplace in the city. They held hands, kissed and formed a mock chorus line singing; “We are the Stonewall Girls/We wear our hair in curls/We have no underwear/We show our pubic hair.” Don’t ‘cha just love it?
- Police successfully dispersed this group without incident. But the print media picked up the story. Articles appeared in the NY Post, Daily News and The Village Voice. Theses helped galvanize the community to rally and fight back.
- Within a few days, representatives of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis (two of the country’s first homophile rights groups) organized the city’s first ever “Gay Power” rally in Washington Square. Some give hundred protesters showed up; many of them gay and lesbians.
The riots led to calls for homosexual liberation. Fliers appeared with the message: “Do you think homosexuals are revolting? You bet your sweet ass we are!” And the rest, boys and girls, is as they say is history.
During the first year after Stonewall, a whole new generation of organizations emerged, many identifying themselves for the first time as “Gay.” This not only denoted sexual orientation, but a radical way to self-identify with a growing sense of open political activism. Older, more staid homophile groups soon began to make way for the more militant groups like the Gay Liberation Front.
The vast majority of these new activists were under thirty; dr dick’s generation, don’t cha know. We were new to political organizing and didn’t know that this was as ground-breaking as it was. Many groups formed on colleges campuses and in big cities around the world.
By the following summer, 1970, groups in at least eight American cities staged simultaneous events commemorating the Stonewall riots on the last Sunday in June. The events varied from a highly political march of three to five thousand in New York to a parade with floats for 1200 in Los Angeles. Seven thousand showed up in San Francisco.
Hey sex fans!
Have I got some marvelous news for you! My friend and colleague, Cooper S. Beckett, has written a new book. It impressed me no end so I thought, rather than keep this all to myself, I’d share it with you.
Ya’ll remember Cooper, right? OK, maybe ya don’t; it’s been a long time since he was last seen skulking around my site. Way back in March of 2011 I had the pleasure of welcoming Cooper and his ever so lovely sidekick, Ginger, to my Sex EDGE-U-cation show for a two-part interview. You can find both parts in the Podcast Archive HERE and HERE!
Cooper and Ginger are the hosts of the Life On The Swingset podcasts, where they discuss a wide range of topics, with a focus on consensual non-monogamy.
Cooper’s new book: My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory, is a collection of essays on…wait for it…his personal journey through ethical non-monogamy. This is what he says about it in the Introduction:
You should read this book because it represents my journey. From starry-eyed newbie swinger, through my dealing with jealousy and conflict, through the triumphs of orgies and play parties, through the devastation of breaking up, through exploring polyamory, through divorce, through major life changes, through depression, through success and failure, through the rise and fall of new relationships.
Triumphs of orgies?? How you do go on, sir!
It’s no secret that Cooper is unabashedly biased when it comes to swinging, polyamory, as well as other forms of ethical non-monogamy. And why shouldn’t he be? As he plainly states he has grown in his appreciation of himself and his sexuality in the process. Now, how many of us can make a similar claim? However, in his enthusiasm, he doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. He speaks honestly and earnestly about this particular way to live one’s life. He describes the opportunities that allow for growth in terms of understanding one’s sexuality and one’s loving relationships through experimentation and self-reflection.
To my mind, there is nothing more compelling than a “coming out” story. It’s one thing to quietly self-identify as a fellow big-fat-pervert, as I am apt to say on my podcasts, it’s quite another to tell the whole world. I am pleased to welcome Cooper to the Out-There-Come-What-May club. It’s good to have you here, my friend.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is titled: Bi The Way – Male Bisexuality and Swinging. Cooper, Ginger, and I talked about this very thing, at length, in our podcast together. So it was delightful to find him exploring this concept in print as well.
There is a huge double standard in the swinging lifestyle when it comes to acceptance of bisexual males. We all know this, it’s endemic. As swingers we seem perfectly happy that our women are bisexual. We encourage and expect them to be so often. Some more than others, but by and large, definitely bisexual. Now don’t jump down my throat here, I’m well aware that straight swinging females exist, and probably in a decent sized number, but wouldn’t we all agree that the VAST majority of females in the lifestyle are bi? This fact isn’t really shocking, as even the mainstream vanilla world has embraced girl-on-girl dalliance action in the past ten to fifteen years. So when a lifestyle such as swinging presents itself as an option, affording them the opportunity to play with girls, well, there ya go, that’s where the bi girl inside comes out. Many of the swing couples I’ve met said that this was one of the prominent reasons they got into this lifestyle in the first place. So Mrs. could play with another woman. You raise the call for bisexual males, however, and tumbleweeds blow by. Invisible because it’s been made very clear in club and party rules and pricing that a man who wants to play with another man is an unwelcome addition to the scene. This doesn’t make sense.
See why I like Cooper so much?
Another thing I liked a lot about the book, and I think every reader will echo my feelings about this, is Cooper’s thoughtful addition of a glossary of pertinent lingo. If you don’t know the difference between a Full Swap and a Soft Swap or don’t know PIV and PIA from a hole in your head (someone’s gonna appreciate that pun, don’t cha know), not to worry because Cooper takes great pains to spell it out for you.
On a personal note, I want to say a special thanks to Cooper for his chapter titled: Podcasting Can be Lonely. I thought I was the only person who thought this way.
Podcasting can be a lonely pursuit at times. You predominantly interact with people that don’t have physicality in your world. They’re avatars, they’re ones and zeros. They exist for real somewhere, of course. (Most of them, there are the bots after all.) But few exist beyond text on a screen. Writing for a website is the same way. It’s a lot of work, and a tremendous output of self. We sex bloggers reveal so much to so many people (at least we hope for “so many”) and can often get to wondering if we’re just shouting into the void.
Funny, erotic, thought provoking, authentic, and true. My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory raises the bar for all of us who are trying to live honest ethical non-monogamy and talk with others about our experiences. Cooper Beckett, you are an inspiration!
My Life on the Swingset is available exclusively as an Amazon Kindle e-book. A print edition will follow later this month. And be sure to look for the audiobook release in the spring. Check it out, sex fans; you’ll be so glad you did.
Location: Sacramento, CA
Dear Dr. Dick I am at the end of my rope. I am a white male, 47, 50lbs over what my Doctor would like me to weight. I am per-diabetic, with blood pressure and cholesterol just a little higher than my Doctor would like. I have been married for going on 13 years, and have a 7-year-old special needs son. And my sex life sucks.
My wife who I love dearly has chronic pain that leaves her muscles aching all the time, so the last time she and I had sex was the night we conceived our son. I have tried to take care of my needs though masturbation, but to be honest I am getting very bored with the whole idea of jerking off. Even using my hand I have trouble sometimes getting a hard on. I have managed to have an orgasm while my dick is soft, it just takes care of the itch, and it does not really satisfy me like fucking or a good slow hand job while fully hard.
I have tried using a cock ring, but I think I am doing something wrong because I don’t stay hard while using one and none of my partners has used one so I have no one to ask. I also have the problem of finding the time when I can be alone. Without my wife finding out what I am doing, because she does not approve of me watching porno, or jerking off. The last time she caught me, she did not speak to me for over two weeks.
I am trying to find a family counselor for my wife and I, but I’m having problems with finding one covered by our Insurance and one that can make appointments that will fit in with my wife’s work schedule.
I have been exploring my BI side with men I meet on the web. I am fussy because I want to be safe, and they have to have somewhere we can meet. Most married BI guys have the same problems I do, nowhere to go to have a little fun. There are no bathhouses in our area. And on top of all those problems I can only get a hard on if I use one of the ED drugs. Which my Medical Insurance will not pay for so my Doctor has been giving my free samples that he gets.
So of the five or six times a year I get to have sex, maybe one of them I will get to fuck someone. While I like being a bottom, there are times I just want to fuck someone. There are times I just want to pack up my bags and leave to find the sex life I want, but I do love my wife and son, and I don’t think leaving will make anything better.
So here I sit, I have run out of ideas, my counselor has run out of ideas. Having sifted thought most of your web site with no luck I hope that maybe you can shed some new light on this disaster of a sex life.
Do you know the phrase, “sinking to the lowest common denominator?” Well that’s what you are doing, my friend. You have precisely the sex life you permit yourself to have. You’ve boxed yourself into a corner by allowing others, particularly your wife, to dictate what you can and cannot do with your sexual energy. So there you are high and dry, as they say.
I appreciate the fact that your wife may have medical issues that might prevent her from joining you in the vigorous sex life you desire. But if that’s where you leave the discussion then you are getting precisely what you deserve.
I realize you’ve committed yourself to your wife through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. But in the absence of a marital sex life, you’ve discovered new and uncharted areas of your own sexuality. This volatile combination will either be destructive or regenerative.
I have one real simple premise that I live by. And that is, each of us has a right to a happy, healthy, integrated sex life. If there is something that is getting in the way of achieving that, whatever it might be, it is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
As far as relationships go, particularly a marriage, I am of the mind that we ought, first and foremost, work to honor our commitments of fidelity and mutual support. Are there ways that these two moral principles — a right to a healthy sex life and one’s marital commitments — can coexist when one’s relationship excludes the possibility of happy sexual expression? Yes, I believe there are. And many couples achieve this balance, because they have an overriding love and concern for one anther.
Now the facts — not all loving relationship, including many marriages, have a sexual component. Many, for one reason or another, simply don’t. In fact, most long-term relationships are not sexual in nature. However, a partner in loving relationship who is unable to provide sexual satisfaction to his/her partner should give the languishing partner permission to find sexual fulfillment outside the relationship. I hasten to add that these are often very difficult negotiations to hammer out. But to do less than try to make these accommodations is, I believe, a form of sexual abuse.
If what you report about your wife’s revulsion to even you sexually pleasuring yourself is accurate, then you have a very hard row to hoe. Trying to negotiate a satisfactory solution to your dilemma is all the more difficult when one of the partners is opposed to even discussing the issue. This is where a good counselor will come in handy. (If you would like to consult me, see the Therapy Available tab under the About Dr Dick page in the header of my site.) If your therapist is not up to helping you bring this issue to the fore, then you’d better look elsewhere for the help you need. If this issue is left unattended you will continue to sink to the lowest common denominator. You will continue to be unhappy as you skulk around looking for stray cock in unsavory places. And I have a sense that you are not being totally upfront with me about your extracurricular activities. Simply put, you do yourself and your marriage a greater injustice with this kind of reckless behavior than risking the dissolution of your marriage by engaging your wife in an honest search for a healthy solution to your problems.
That being said, I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that you’ve already made up your mind about the direction you intend to go. I suspect that you will continue to explore your nascent bisexuality through these furtive liaisons with men you’ve been meeting. I also assume that, divorce is not an option, at least not in an up-front sort of way. The sad thing here is your wife is unable to join you in coming up with a viable solution to the problem at hand, because she is being kept in the dark about your dalliances.
I am not suggesting that you deny your sexual needs just to appease or pacify your wife. Nor do I condone deceiving your wife about your true self. These options will only create a divide between you and your wife that will never be bridged.
If you ever hope to escape the corner you’ve painted yourself into, you’ll have to buck up and be honest with your wife. Looks like you have your work cut out for you, my friend.