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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.

A Particular Sexual Predilection

No podcast today, but there is this…

Name: Adam
Gender:
Age: 34
Location: UK
I have been attracted to male children for years. Having been arrested for viewing child porn I realize that I need to pursue a celibate lifestyle. I realize that celibacy is a demanding lifestyle. What advice would you offer me?

You present a particularly touchy issue for our culture, Adam. But before I respond, I’d like to help you with some of your vocabulary. You say you need to pursue a celibate lifestyle. I think you mean to say you need to pursue a sexually abstinent lifestyle. The two concepts — celibacy and sexual abstinence — mean different things. Unfortunately, way too many people use these terms interchangeably, which is not a good thing. It only serves to muddy the waters further.

Celibacy has a very specific meaning. Let me whip out my trusty, handy dandy Funk & Wagnalls dictionary. Celibacy: the state of being unmarried. Some people infer, especially those of a strict religious bent, that celibacy also connotes sexual abstinence. Ya see, religious people are of the mind that there is no legitimate sexual expression outside the confines of heterosexual marriage. Legitimate or not, unmarried people have always been and will always be sexual, so making that unfortunate connection between celibacy and abstinence ill advised and erroneous.

The only thing we ought to be able to say for sure when someone identifies himself/herself as celibate is that he/she is not married. To assume a celibate person, even one who has taken a vow of celibacy, is sexually abstinent is quite a dangerous stretch indeed. Need I point out the very unfortunate sex abuse scandals that continue to plague the Roman Catholic Church?

In the same way, if someone identifies him/herself as sexually abstinent, the only thing we ought to be able to say for sure is that he/she is not engaging in any type of sexual expression. It would be false to assume that a sexually abstinent person is not married, because there are a lot of married people who are indeed sexually abstinent.

In your case, Adam, I believe you are telling me that you are both unmarried (celibate), and because of your particular sexual predilection — young boys — you must also be sexually abstinent. If I’ve got this right…and it is very important that I not misinterpret your words…then I think there are options you may not have considered.

I firmly believe that we learn our sexuality. All we eroticize, in your case boys, is learned behavior. You once learned to eroticize boys; you can now learn to eroticize a more appropriate group of people. This isn’t a particularly easy thing to accomplish, but it’s not impossible either.

Anytime any one of us discovers that the object of our desires is someone inappropriate, we need to adjust our eroticism immediately. This is the better part of being a sexually responsible person. Pedophilia is just one such inappropriate eroticism. A father for his daughter, a mother for her son, a boss for a subordinate, a man for his neighbor’s wife, a teacher for her student, a counselor for his/her client, a congressman for his page…are you getting the picture? I hope so. And the list goes on and on.

I believe learning to readjust one’s eroticism to a more appropriate outlet is a much better option than trying to live a sexually abstinent lifestyle. The reason I believe this is that having a more appropriate outlet will at least give you an outlet for your pent up sexuality. If you have no outlet, or limit yourself to masturbation, you will only intensify your longings and further fixate on the inappropriate object of your current desires.

Like anyone trying to wean him/herself off a bad habit, the task ahead of you Adam, will be challenging. It will also be enriching and life-affirming. I hasten to add that you ought not try to do this on your own. Work with a sex-positive therapist on this.

You’re a relatively young man with many years ahead of you. These years can be filled with happy, healthy and appropriate sexual expression. I encourage you to make it happen.

Good luck

Dr Dick’s Sex Positive Doctrine

No podcast today; instead there’s this…

Have you ever wondered about the term, sex positive? If you’re like me you see it all over the place, especially on sex-related sites. I confess I use it way more often than I should. It’s become one of those industry buzzwords that has, over time, become so fuzzy around the edges that it’s now virtually meaningless. In fact, if the truth be known, I believe the term sex positive has been taken over by the sex Taliban who have made it a cover for their strict code of political correctness. Oddly enough, this is the very antithesis of its original meaning.

If you want to shame someone in the sex field—be it a sex worker, blogger or adult product manufacturer—you label that person as sex-negative. You may not know anything about that person other than you were offended by something they did, said or made. But still, you hurl the epithet as if you were exorcising a heretic. This is a very powerful tool for keeping people in my industry in line. But I’ve begun to wonder, who is setting themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not sex positive? I have to ask: What is the agenda? I mean, could compulsory ideological purity of some artificial standards of thought or behavior be “positive” anything? I say, no!

Like all good ideas that have gone bad due to overuse—or worse, sloppy use—the sex positive concept once had meaning that was life-affirming and enriching. Sex positive has been in the lexicon at least since the mid-1950s. It frequently appears in journals and research papers to describe a movement that examines and advocates for all the other beneficial aspects of sex beyond reproduction.

I’ve been using the term since 1981 when I opened my practice in Clinical Sexology and Sexual Health Care. The opening words of my mission statement read: “I affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond.” Way back then, I was flush with my quixotic pursuit to stand steadfast against all the cultural pressures to negate or denigrate sexuality and pleasure. I dedicated myself to spreading the gospel that healthy attitudes toward sex not only affect a person’s sex life, but his/her ability to relate well with others.

This came relatively easy for me, because I’d learned something very important about evangelization in my life as a Catholic priest. (Another quixotic pursuit, but we’ll have to save the details of that misadventure for another time.) One of the first things one learns in seminary is how to proselytize, to sow the seeds of a creed, and then nurture them taking root by endless repetition of the articles of faith. Of course there is a downside to this, too. Repetition fosters mindlessness, stifles creative thought, and worse makes things boring.

But the creed statements of the world’s three great monotheistic religions are masterful works of theological art.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam!
Allaahu Akbar!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the of the Holy Spirit!

Each contains the most profound kernel of religious truth the believer needs to know, but all are easy enough for a child to learn. And like I said, the secret is in the repetition. For the true devotee, these creedal statements are uttered dozens of times a day and to great effect.

Early on in my career as a sexologist, I decided to put the principles I learned in the Church into disseminating my new belief system. First, keep the message simple! I settled on: “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” This has been my mantra for decades. It contains everything you need to know about being sex positive, but it’s easy enough for a child to learn. Even now, I close each of my podcasts with this same article of faith. To this day it soothes me to hear myself say these words. And it comforts me in the same way blessing myself did in my priestly days.

Despite my apprehensions, I continue to be an apostle of the sex positive doctrine. I know that even though my industry has corrupted the concept, others have yet to hear the good news. And there’s something almost spiritual about seeing someone grasp the idea for the first time. Let me tell you about one such instance. Some while ago I was asked to offer a workshop for a group of doctors on the topic: Health Care Concerns Of Sexually Diverse Populations. Unfortunately, just a handful of doctors attended the workshop—which was pretty disconcerting, considering all the work I’d put into the presentation. I guess that’s why kinksters and pervs, as well as your run-of-the-mill queer folk, are often frustrated in their search for sensitive and lifestyle-attuned healing and helping professionals.

Since the group of doctors attending was so small, I decided to ask them to pull their chairs in a circle so that our time together could be a bit more informal and intimate. Frankly, I’ve never found it easy talking to doctors about sex; and discussing kinky sex was surely going to be very tricky. So, I decided to start off as gently as I could. My opening remarks included the phrases “sex positive” and “kink positive.”

Sitting as close to my audience as I was, I could see at once that these fundamental concepts weren’t registering with them. I was astonished. Here was a group of physicians, each with a large urban practice. Could they really be this out of touch? I quickly checked in with them to see if my perception was correct. I was right! None of them had heard the term, sex positive. The two who hazarded a guess at its meaning thought it had something to do with being HIV+. I had my work cut out for me.

I decided to share my creed with them. “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” I asked them repeat it with me as if I were teaching a catechism to children. Surprisingly, they did so without resistance. After we repeated the mantra a couple more times, I exposed them to the sex positive doctrine unencumbered by political correctness.

  • Sex Is Good! Sex is a positive force in human development; the pursuit of pleasure, including sexual pleasure, is at the very foundation of a harmonious society.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The individual makes that determination. For example, what I decide is good sex for me, may be boring sex to someone else. And their good sex may be hair-raising to me. In other words, consensual sexual expression is a basic human right regardless of the form that expression takes. And it’s not appropriate for me, or anyone else, to call into question someone else’s consensual affectional choices.
  • Sex Is Good! Everyone has a right to clear, unambiguous sexual health information. It must be presented in a nonjudgmental way, particularly from his or her health care providers. And sexual health encompasses a lot more then just disease prevention, and contraception.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The focus is on the affirmative aspects of sexuality, like sexual pleasure. Sexual wellbeing is more than simply being able to perform. It also means taking responsibility for one’s eroticism as an integral part of one’s personality and involvement with others.
  • Sex Is Good! Each person is unique and that must be respected. Our aim as healing and helping professionals is to provide information and guidance that will help the individual approach his/her unique sexuality in a realistic and responsible manner. This will foster his/her independent growth, personal integrity, as well as provide a more joyful experience of living.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! Between the extremes of total sexual repression and relentless sexual pursuit, a person can find that unique place, where he/she is free to live a life of self-respect, enjoyment and love.

Finally I told them they ought to think creatively how they could adapt this concept to their own practice. It was up to each of them to make this creed their own. As it turned out, this primer was just the thing to open my planned discussion of health of kinksters.

In a way this experience was a bit of a spiritual reawakening for me, too. Despite my misgivings about the contamination of the sex positive doctrine by malicious people bent on using it as a weapon against those they disagree with. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to watch these sex positive novices hear, and then embrace, the message for the first time. It was nothing short of a religious experience.

Moist, Damp, WET!

We’re back with yet another Product Review Friday and it’s an all lube day, thank you very much! Yes siree folks, these slip-sliddin review products came to us by way of our friends at Wet.

We have a selection of 4 of the best selling Wet products to tell you about today. Dr Dick Review Crew members — Christa, Carlos, Joy & Dixie and Mick & Chuck, have the lowdown.

Wet Platinum Bodyglide —— $12.03

Christa
I’m just a teensy bit of a lube fanatic. There I said it! The reason I’m like this is I learned about four years ago that my mother had to suffer through sex with my father for years, because neither one of them knew anything about personal lubricants. That just makes me so angry. My mother’s whole life would have been different had there been lube available to her. She probably would have enjoyed sex instead of experiencing it as a painful troublesome chore.

I sometimes wonder how many other women, even nowadays, have no information or access to a good personal lubricant. You know what I think? I think there should be some kind of foundation or nonprofit organization that has as its mission the education and dispensing lube wherever women gather. Imagine how transformational that would be.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I’m just glad that I live in this day and age. I can hardly imagine my sex life with out lube. So I’m always up for trying a new product. And Wet Platinum Bodyglide made my day.

Silicone based lubes are my favorite for just about every kind of sex, except, that is, for use with my silicone toys. Silicone based lubes last longer than water-based lubricants and they are also water resistant. Wet Platinum Bodyglide keeps everything slippery with just few drops, so this product will last and last. This is the ideal lube for ass play and it’s latex compatible (use a condom!). My little sub ass whore of a BF really loves Wet Platinum Bodyglide too. And if he gets off on it, you know it’s good. He’s like the total ass play lube connoisseur.

Wet Platinum Bodyglide has a slightly thinner consistency than some of the other premium lube brands I’ve tried, but that hasn’t been an issue for me or the BF. It certainly is less expensive than a lot of the other premium brands, so there’s that. And there is no discernible taste or smell, which is a very good thing in my book.

Ya know what I liked? I really liked the bottle design. I know that doesn’t sound like an important thing, but it is. The Wet Platinum Bodyglide bottle has a notch in the side that makes holding on to it, even with lubed-up fingers very easy. Now that’s being thoughtful in the design department, if you ask me. Other lube bottles are smooth and cylindrical and they just slip through one’s fingers. And that can and often does make spilling the lube a problem.
Full Review HERE
Wet Original Classic —— $9.11

Carlos
I was given a 3.5oz container of Wet Original Classic to use for my review. It’s nice that I got as much as I did. I hate trying to review a lube product with only a tiny sample packet.

The 3.5 oz container provided me more then enough lube for several play events, both by myself and with my wife. The beautiful thing about water based lubes, like Wet Original, is that it’s non-greasy. And that makes clean up a breeze. And it will never stain clothing, furniture or sheets. I love that!

Wet Original is actually a moisturizing gel, so it has a thicker consistency than some other water based lubes I’ve tried. I like that too, a lot.

It comes in a handy flip-top plastic bottle. It has a textured notch on its side that makes holding on to the bottle and opening and closing it effortless even with slippery hands and fingers.

I’m often frustrated by water based lubes because they tend to dry out pretty fast. But Wet Original is surprising long-lasting. I actually had to reread the label to make sure it was water based. That was kind of funny.

You can use Wet Original with all your favorite toys too, especially silicone and cyberskin toys.
Full Review HERE

Wet Naturals Beautifully Bare —— $9.11

Joy & Dixie
Dixie: “Wet Naturals Beautifully Bare is about the best lube I have ever used. I love this stuff.”
Joy: “I totally second that! Before we tried Beautifully Bare you would have had a very hard time convincing me that a water-based lube could be this amazing. I can’t sing its praises enough.”
Dixie: “Its hypo-allergenic formula is free of the additives that one commonly finds in lube, like glycerin and parabens. And trust me, finding a high quality lube that doesn’t contain a lot of dubious chemicals isn’t easy. That’s why Joy and I are so stoked about Beautifully Bare. Everyone, but especially women; even those of us with very sensitive skin can now play worry-free.”
Joy: “Beautifully Bare is enriched with vitamins and botanicals that make this lube a safe supplement to my own wetness. It absorbs easily into my skin; there is no residue or stickiness.”
Dixie: “It comes in a flip-top plastic bottle that is easy to open and close. And there is an easy-grip notch on the side of the bottle that makes it easy to handle even with lubed up fingers. I thought that was a very thoughtful design.”
Joy: “Because Beautifully Bare is water-based there’s a no hassle clean up. It won’t stain or discolor clothing or bedding and it is tasteless and odorless. I am so impressed with this stuff.”
Dixie: “And all of this at a bargain basement price!”
Joy: “Beautifully Bare is ideal for jilling-off, it’s condom compatible and is great with all my toys.”
Dixie: “It may not last as long as our favorite silicone-based lube, but most of the time, when I’m enjoying myself by myself, I don’t need that kind of staying power.”
Full Review HERE

Wet Oil Base —— $9.26

Mick & Chuck
Mick: “For review purposes, we received a 3.8oz plastic bottle of Wet Oil Base body glide lube. Just so you know, this is the first oil-based lube we’ve ever tried.”
Chuck: “This stuff rocks for jerkin off. I mean, we didn’t know what we were missing till Mick and I landed this Wet Oil Base for review.”
Mick: “Chuck and I sometimes have marathon edging sessions. We slip on our favorite cockring, pop in a hot porn DVD or two and stroke ourselves silly.”
Mick: “My dick used to get sore when all we had was water-based lube for these events. And there was the endless adding lube when the water-based stuff dried out, which it does very easily.”
Chuck: “So true. But Wet Oil Base is different, because it lasts and lasts. What a difference an oil-based formula makes!”
Mick: “You’ll want to be careful not to get this stuff on furniture. It’s a bitch to clean up. So when we’re havin one of our pullin our pud contests; we just put down some towels and let it rip!”
Chuck: “And just so you know; Wet Oil Base is not recommended for use with latex condoms.”
Mick: “And ya know my skin feels so soft and smooth after using this stuff. I guess it contains a bunch of moisturizers and whatnot.”
Chuck: “It’s odorless and colorless and it’s intended for external use only. So keep that in mind.”
Mick: “We think every guy should have a stash of Wet Oil Base for those times when only a little stroke session will do.”
Full Review HERE

ENJOY

Kevin Keck Returns — Podcast #169 — 11/23/09

Hey sex fans,

The hilarious Kevin Keck is back with us again this week.  And we are treated to an even arts_cover2-1_47more intimate look into The Erotic Mind of this enormously talented essayist, poet, teacher and comedic genus than we got last week.  As you know, this is the podcast series where noted erotic artists of every stripe come to talk to us about the creative process involved with this specialized art form.  Kevin’s insights are both humorous and poignant, and not to be missed.

You did hear last week’s show, right?  If ya didn’t that’s ok, because Part 1 of our chat is archived right here on my site.  Simply use the search function to your right.  Type in Podcast #167 and voilà!  But hey, don’t forget to use the #sign when you search.

Kevin and I discuss:

  • People’s response to his confessional sex writing.
  • The universality of awkward sexual moments.
  • When sexuality goes awry.
  • Happening truth, story truth and emotional truth.
  • Self-consciousness about bodily functions.
  • The work of Rachel Kramer Bussel.
  • Being the father of identical twin daughters.
  • His father to son talk about girls.
  • Telling stories that entertain.
  • How sexual issues creep into his other writing.

Kevin treats us to a brief reading of his work during our conversation, but I think we deserve even more.  So I’ve taken the liberty of tacking on an audio clip of Kevin reading a full segment of the fruit of his Erotic Mind.  Stay tuned after the show for this extraordinary treat.

For more of Kevin reading his work, check out this download site HERE!  And be sure to visit him on his website HERE!  Or his Facebook page HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

 

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