Category Archives: Sexually Repressed

The Dark Heart of Homophobia

No podcast today, but there is this…

I’m riding the bus when we come to a stop near a local high school. Five teenage boys get on. They’re all jocks—football, probably. Their jackets are emblazoned with varsity letters and they appear to be fresh from practice. Each carries an oversized duffel.

They are boisterous and full of menacing bravado. The bus is immediately overwhelmed with a rush of testosterone. As they move toward the back of the bus, they purposely jostle everyone in their path. They’re rude and crude and every other word is fuck.

The bus lurches forward, and my fellow passengers instinctively know not to make eye contact. The older women clutch their belongings tight to their bosom. Everyone is tense.

The pack mentality emboldens the young men, who are flush with their newly discovered sense of male privilege. Hormones rage in their adolescent bodies, yet there is an awkward childishness about them too. They are alpha, but only in as much as they are part of a pack.

They have off-color comments for everyone around them. Girls are singled out for the most abuse. They make insinuations about their sexual prowess, while pawing at their groins. The women blush with embarrassment.

Despite being loud, obnoxious and brutish, they lack conviction. They giggle too much, indicating self-consciousness. It’s apparent that, at their core, they are still very uneasy about themselves, and have yet to grow into and own the alpha maleness they mimic.

The bus approaches the next stop, and several of us get up to exit. A nerdy boy with glasses and a violin case accidentally trips over one of the teen’s duffel bags. This is the spark. The jocks erupt, lunging at the offending kid. He is easy prey. He’s petrified, but his survival instincts kick in, and he quickly maneuvers further up the aisle. I grab his shoulder and push him toward the door ahead of me. He makes his escape.

Now I’m in the line of fire. The rear door is only a couple steps away, but I stand my ground. The jocks size me up. I’m not an easy mark; I’m older and more dominant than any of them as individuals, but they trump me as a group. I may even be dangerous. In a split-second, the teens reevaluate the situation and instead of coming at me, they try to take me down with their best verbal shot: “You motherfucking fag!”

I move to the door. This could end very badly for me, but I will not show any weakness. Adrenaline courses through my bloodstream. I alight from the bus, holding the door open so I can briefly yell back. “Hey, thanks for the recognition. Oh, and for your information, its father-fucking, brother-fucking and/or son-fucking fag, never mother-fucking. Get it?”

By the time the jocks realize what’s happened, the bus is in motion, and I am safe.

The teens thought better of physically attacking me, so they did the next best thing. It’s what most threatened males do: they tried to diminish the threat by calling into question my masculinity.  And they do it in that time-honored way—by inferring I was a defective male, a queer, and a sissy. Trouble is, I am queer, and I owned it—right in their faces. On top of that, I stood up to them and even had the temerity to publicly shame them. So that had to be unsettling to them on several levels.

How did the derogatory epithet fag become the quintessential means of destroying the male ego? Why has the only somewhat less offensive slur, “that’s so gay,” become emblematic for everything stupid, negative or girly? These questions get to the root of our culture’s deeply ingrained homophobia.

I contend that homophobia is rooted in a fear and hatred of women. It’s no accident that when we want to denigrate a man we call him a pussy—the same word we use to refer to female genitals. In our culture, men are superior to women—it’s the oily by-product of male privilege. A man who falls short of this lofty ideal, or, god forbid, assumes a passive role in sex, cheapens the “privilege” for all other males. This is a particularly sensitive issue for ostensibly heterosexual men.

This prohibition is so deep-seated in our culture, one can trace its roots back to the Bible. Leviticus 20:13: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” In biblical days, women were nothing more than chattel. For a man to behave like a woman—particularly in a passive, receptive sexual way—back then was an even greater insult to the male privilege than it is nowadays (which explains the whole capital punishment thing.)

Women are also objectified as sexual objects before men dominate them. A woman is not so much a person as she is a collection of parts—tits, pussy, ass, etc. A heterosexual man, familiar with and practiced in this dynamic, will not tolerate another male objectifying him as a sexual object, either real or imagined.

These cultural triggers are exceptionally easy to trip. With very little effort at all, we can debase a man simply by suggesting that there’s a whiff of the feminine about him. In turn, the slandered male is burdened with proving the contrary, which often leads to overcompensation. To deflect suspicion, some men affect a macho bravado so as to appear even more masculine than their peers. And how better to do that than to suggest someone else is a pansy?

I can say for certain that all those boys on the bus had been, at one time or another, accused of being a fag. It’s exceedingly common in sports for even teammates to insinuate a fellow athlete is not performing up to expectations. Each of them must have known the sting of that reproach. Some may even have had self-doubt about their own sexual tendencies. That’s why they hurled at me what they knew would hurt any other self-respecting male the most.

What they didn’t count on was that I had, long ago, inoculated myself against this poison. I own, even revel, in my queer sexuality. An insult doesn’t work if the one insulted self-identifies as the slur.

Institutionalized homophobia, on the other hand, is more insidious. The dominant culture enshrines male privilege and, like the boys on the bus, punishes anyone who attempts to undercut the paradigm. Discrimination is so widespread, ingrained—and sometimes so subtle—that many non-gay people don’t even notice most of it. But those of us on the receiving end of the bigotry are keenly aware.

It’s a particularly acute problem for young people who know they are different, and different in a way that isn’t tolerated of by the dominant culture. They are much more vulnerable because they have yet to developed the emotional resources to counteract the oppression. They don’t yet realize that it’s society’s problem, not theirs. Their peers mercilessly persecute them. And for the most part, authority figures don’t even try to stop the torment. That’s why young gay people commit suicide at a rate of about seven times that of straight kids.

You may have noticed that I’ve framed this presentation in terms of the natural world. Dominant and submissive behaviors in other species often have sexual overtones, especially in other primate species. A dominant male will harass a male subordinate until he submits and presents his rump. This establishes a pecking order in the troupe: a subordinate male is submissive and the dominant male is in control.

Some straight men see gay men as a threat, instinctively fearing a supposed challenge to the established order of things; who is in control. It’s basically a struggle for dominance and troupe status. A gay person who is a productive member of society, who is indistinguishable from his heterosexual counterparts, ups the ante. He’s a threat to anyone who believes what he may have been told all his life—that gays are perverted, miserable, lonely people who live short, desperate lives.

Institutionalized homophobia impacts so many aspects of our culture. It may be obvious how it skews our notions of sex and sexuality, of who can do what to whom and when. But did you know that it is often an underlying cause of much male sexual dysfunction? It also contaminates national policy in terms of public health issues, military readiness and the rights and freedoms we afford our citizenry. The business sector also suffers. Harassment and intimidation of gay workers result in loss of productivity costing businesses millions every year. But the most tragic is the toll it takes on individual relationships. Families are torn apart, friendships end, and people sometimes are killed or kill themselves over a futile and misguided attempt to uphold the status quo.

The Root of Our Discomfort

Name: Maya
Gender:
Age: 28
Location: UK
Hi there! I recently found out that my brother in law is gay. I wanted to know what makes people gay? Is it choice, genes, hormones, etc? Please clarify because his condition and opposition to his choice of sexuality has made him depressed and he’s on antidepressants and not very healthy. Please answer.

Back in 2007 Solon.com featured a little piece called: Don’t Ask the Sexperts in their annual sex issue: State of the Sexual Union. Slate asked seven people who earn their livings thinking and writing about sex, what they’ve never been able to figure out about sex or sexuality.

One of the contributors was Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She’s the author of 31 books about sex and relationships. This what she said still remained a mystery to her.

“I’m sure there are many, but one nagging one is what causes homosexuality. I admit, I am curious—but the real importance in getting to the bottom of this question is that the answer would be helpful to the homosexual community. I suspect that the cause is genetic, which would mean all those people who say that gays and lesbians can change to become heterosexual would have to sing another tune. Instead of trying to “fix” a situation that doesn’t require fixing, they would have to learn to accept homosexuals. But I am not a scientist, so I can’t set about finding out the etiology, the cause of homosexuality. All I can do is act as a cheerleader to encourage scientists to come up with the answer.”

I was astounded when I read Dr Ruth’s comment. Here is one of the most popular names in the field of human sexuality saying such a startling thing. It’s not that she misrepresented the state of scientific inquiry into the issue of sexual orientation. What she said is true. We don’t precisely know what “causes” homosexuality, but more importantly…and this is what she leaves out…we haven’t a clue what “causes” any sexual orientation — straight, gay, bi, what have you.

What troubled me so about Dr Ruth’s comment is that, perhaps inadvertently, she perpetuates the myth that homosexuality (as opposed to say heterosexuality) has a cause. And when she uses the word “cause”, she denotes to her audience that there’s a cure. All I want to say is that if there’s a “cause” for homosexuality, there is certainly a “cause” for heterosexuality. If there would ever be a “cure” for homosexuality, there would certainly then be a “cure” for heterosexuality.

Do you see how obvious and pervasive the prejudices of the dominant culture are? I absolutely expected better from old Dr Ruth, don’t cha know. It’s true that she goes on to say that she thinks the “cause” of homosexuality is genetic, therefore us homos can’t change or be “fixed”. She then suggests, if this IS the case, the dominant culture would then simply have to learn how to accept homosexuals for how they are. I went, HUH???

Dr Ruth, darling, do you honestly believe that if, or more properly, when we discover the determining factors of sexual orientation — and I do believe there are more than one — the sexual bigots among us won’t militate to have the deviant orientations “fixed”? All I can say is to think otherwise shows an alarming naivety about human nature.

When Dr Ruth, or anyone else for that matter, separates out one sexual proclivity from all the others and suggests that it has a cause, whatever it might be, the rest of us run for cover and wait for the other shoe to drop. Imagine if instead of sexual orientation we were speaking about racial or ethnic characteristics. What causes black people? What causes Asian eyes to slant? What causes flat noses? What causes nappy hair? What causes short people?

Well you see where I’m going with this, right Maya? Questions like these presuppose that there is a norm — tall white people with round eyes, perky noses and straight hair. And you know what? There are a multitude industries out there poised to prey upon all the short, non-white people with almond eyes flat noses and nappy hair who feel they must conform to any and all arbitrary and culturally induced norms in order to be happy. It’s shocking.

So on to your brother’s case. If sexual orientation is chosen, why would he have embraced a lifestyle that makes him sick and depressed? It simply doesn’t add up. The self-hatred and internalized homophobia that is at the root of your brother’s discomfort is culturally induced, but it is also self-inflicted. We don’t know what “cause” homosexuality, but I can tell you for certain what causes homophobia. And that, my dear, is bigotry.

It’s up to your bother to fight this first within himself and then in the popular culture with every ounce of his strength. Because that’s what all us well adjusted, comfortable in our own skin queers do if we want to live happy healthy integrated lives. None of us is waiting around for someone to tell us what caused us to be the way we are, because we know that whatever “caused” us caused all the other differences and variations that appear in human kind.

And one final tip for you, Maya — despite your good intentions, the more you indulge your brother’s pathologies and commiserate with him, or wonder aloud with him why he is queer then you are part of the problem, as opposed to being part of the solution. I encourage you to challenge him to buck up and get right with himself. Help him throw off the yoke of his shame and guilt, to own and embrace his uniqueness and celebrate his sexuality, which is his norm.

Good luck

Joining The Resistance

Name: Green Guy
Gender: Male
Age: 44
Location: Lowell, MA
Dr. Dick I am an African American gay man who was reared in a very psychologically abusive and conservative southern environment. I am very inexperienced with relationships, dating and sex. In fact, I have been celibate for the last five years, trying to figure out how I got so psychologically fucked up and what to do about it. I was in therapy for quite a while, but I still have many issues to deal with, including trusting men. I would like to be in a healthy relationship, but I don’t even know where to start. I feel that my personal life has been a total disaster. I want to change things around, but I feel utterly lost. Although I am professionally successful, I have serious issues with my body. I am somewhat overweight, but have recently joined a gym to get in shape. I just feel totally hideous, and depressed (I am on medication), and don’t believe any guy would ever be interested in me. Please help!!

Holy Cow, darlin’, you sure do know how to let it all hang out, huh? Did you notice how may superlatives you used: “very abusive, many issues, total disaster, serious issues, totally hideous” to mention a few. It’s clear to me, and probably any other human that comes near you, that you are soooo not ready for a relationship. In fact, if you are as icky and psychologically fucked up as you say, if you can’t trust anyone, if you’re a dating klutz, if you are totally hideous and misshapen, then why not just let it go and spare any other person the torture of being involved with you? You’re right, what guy in his right mind would be interested in the likes of you?

Ok, you see what I’m doing here? I’m joining the resistance. You want to pile it on yourself, swell. I’ll join you. I’ll pile on too and together we’ll heap on the insults and contempt until you can’t stand it any more, until you reach your tolerance for self abuse (and not the good kind). And from what I can gather, that’s gonna take some piling on. Of course, you could quit this self-abuse at any time. Seems to me 44 years of negative and undercutting behavior is plenty…even for you.

None of us is without our issues, my friend, least of all me. But to navigate social situations, even casual ones, one needs to be able to judge what the traffic can bear. If you come on like gangbusters, like you did in your message to me, you’re finished even before you begin.

Whatever therapy you did in the past, it either didn’t work or it didn’t have any lasting effects. Find a therapist that will challenge you not stroke you. Find someone that will jump on your shit, someone who will care enough about you to disallow you from hurting yourself with such cruel remarks about yourself.

When I have a client like you in my private practice I always lay down the law. For every self-critical thing you say about yourself, you must say something nice about yourself. That shuts the client up in a hurry. Once he or she is quiet enough to listen we start pulling apart the tangle of their self-hatred.

You were abused as a kid. Sadly, so are lots of kids. But that’s in the past. I’m sure you have scars, but who doesn’t have scar tissue. You don’t know how to interact with others socially, that a skill that can be learned. You’re fat and out of shape? You’re going to the gym to address that. You’re depressed even on antidepressants? Well, no wonder you’re sick of yourself. And that has got to stop, NOW.

Before you consider asking anyone else to love you — with all your flaws — you’re gonna have to learn to love yourself — with all your flaws. If you can’t do that, then don’t expect anyone else to do it before you do. Get off your pity pot and get to work. You say you are successful in your professional life. (Frankly I don’t see how that’s possible given the litany of your liabilities.) But for the sake of argument, let’s say you are telling the truth. How did you come to be a successful professional without at least some redeeming qualities? That is unless you are a professional executioner, or a professional hit man, or a politician.

You see you can’t have it both ways. If you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your professional life, then you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your private life. With the help of this new therapist you’re gonna get — the one who is not going to let you get away with your shit — you’re gonna learn how to marshal and channel the aptitudes you have that make you successful in one area of your life, to make you a success the other areas of your life.

Good luck

Name: Jose
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: Norwalk, CT
how can i approuch a good stripper to get into sex? even tho they just strip some do more off work. How do I know they are willing to do it?

I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that English is not your first language, right Jose? I think I understand what you are asking. Let’s just hope the women you approach will also understand you’re meaning.

So OK, you know this fine stripper and you want to have sex with her, right? Swell! First thing you oughta know is that not all strippers are hookers. Some simply strip because they make really good money. They don’t sell sex, mostly because they don’t have to. The strippers that do offer sexual favors for a fee, don’t do so where they strip. It’s bad for business and, I hasten to point out, it’s against the law— except if you’re in Nevada — and you’re not.

There are two real good ways to go about this hunt for stripper sex. First, you could ask the vixen out on a real date. Personally I think this is the best way of going about gettin laid by any woman. If the woman, stripper or whatever, is available for a date, and you’re not a totally creepy putz, she might take you up on the offer. Just remember, many strippers already have a boyfriend, and he wouldn’t look kindly on you trying to hustle his filly, if you catch my drift.

Also, some stripping establishments prohibit their employees from fucking with the customers. If that’s the policy at the joint you frequent, let it go. Don’t pester the woman for something that will jeopardize her job. However, if she does accept the date, and all goes well, and you charm the pants off her, literally, you just might get a little slap and tickle. I just hope we’re clear on the concept that if any woman, especially a sex worker, accepts a dinner invitation it is not the same thing as saying she’ll fuck you, right? GOOD!

The second option is to ask the stripper if she does escort work on the side. Again, some stripping establishments prohibit their strippers from fraternizing with customers in any way, shape or form, especially fucking them. You ought also know that if the woman in question is indeed an escort as well as a stripper, your “date” with her is gonna cost ya. These women are professionals; so you’d do well to treat them with the respect you’d offer any other professional woman.

Never, under any circumstance, offer to pay a stripper…or any woman for that matter…for sex. That would be pandering prostitution, and that’s against the law. If the woman in question is an escort, she will be exchanging her time, the pleasure of her company and her expertise for money; not sex for money. Get it? If she’s smart she won’t give you a second chance to get this right. So if you fuck up asking her the first time you may be out of luck forever.

My advice to you is, figure out ahead of time which way you want to go on this — a real date or escort hook up. Then approach her like a gentleman. If she’s not interested, respect her decision to decline your offer with grace and dignity.

Good luck

SEX WISDOM with Shai Rotem – Podcast #179 – 01/13/10

Hey sex fans,

I have a fantastic show in store for you.  I am delighted to inform you that I am launching yet another podcast series today.  I call it the SEX WISDOM podcast series.

Besides the wildly popular Sex EDGE-U-cation series and The Erotic Mind series that have been running for the past year and longer, I thought it would be grand to chat with some of the movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality.   So in the course of this new series we will be chatting with researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers who are making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves.  I can assure you that these conversations will be well worth the time you spend with us.

I have chosen a remarkable man as my first guest.  His name is Shai Rotem.  He is a certified surrogate partner; or a sex surrogate, if you prefer.  And he’s here to tell us about the critical work he is doing with his clients.  This is fascinating stuff, sex fans!  Please stay tuned.

Shai and I discuss:

  • A working definition of the term Surrogate Partner.
  • How a sex surrogate differs from a sex worker.
  • Being part of a scripted therapeutic intervention.
  • Surrogate partner therapy and the law.
  • Who can benefit from surrogate partner therapy.
  • The impact of a repressive religious upbringing on sexual wellbeing.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Sensate Focus Techniques.

Shai invites you to learn more about surrogate partner therapy by visiting the International Professional Surrogates Association’s website HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes.  You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S  — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #82 — 09/29/08


Hey sex fans,

I have a really delectable show for you today. We have a big load of stimulating questions from the sexually worrisome. And I respond with an equal number of stunning, appealing and oh so informative responses! Hey, it’s what I do.

And just to mix things up a bit, I’m gonna throw in a nice Product Review.  You’re gonna love this one!

  • Lilla’s BF suddenly shut the backdoor.  What’s up with that?
  • E is all worried about the consistency of his spunk.
  • Dustin is gay.  His best gal-pal is straight.  They want to make a baby.
  • NHB is chompin’ at the bit.  He and his partner are discussing opening the corral.

Finally a Product Review — The Vergenza Mk. I

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. ;-) Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes.  You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.
Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S STOCKROOM.

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