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Thursday, June 13, 2013

PROMISCUITY: A LEARNED BEHAVIOR?

Often, the gay community is stereotyped as a breeding ground for promiscuity. A common misconception is that all gay men are Lotharios, willing to seize the opportunity of coitus given any empty restroom and a packet of lube. But the reality is the amount of promiscuity that exists in the same-sex world is no different than our heterosexual counterparts.

However there are few successful monogamous homosexual relationships displayed that create a palpable balance between the stereotype of the sexually free-spirited gay man (the freak) and the more reserved antithesis (the faithful). This isn’t to say that a “freak” can’t be faithful, but within a subculture that relishes in the glorification of youth and sexual liberty, why don’t more examples of monogamy exist to promote a plausible alternative?

Two summers ago I decided to do two things I had never done. Not only was I going to attend the New York City Pride March in Greenwich Village, but I was going to throw caution to the wind by doing it alone. While walking down Fifth Avenue amidst the throngs of cheek-seeking butt-paddlers and shirtless peacocks, I sought relief from the humidity of a summer day by ducking into the nearest bank lobby. Once inside the air-conditioned nirvana, I peered out onto the street to enjoy the view as the festivities continued. My gaze was interrupted when a man on the other side of the bank greeted me and held my interest for the next 15minutes. I’ll call him Eric.

Eric was black, handsome, in his mid-thirties, worked in D.C. and was in town for the weekend. After formalities had been exchanged, we began to delve deeper and entertained the topic of dating. Eric explained that he was taking a serious approach to dating in D.C. After weeding through handfuls of men that he sensed were not quite long-term material, he  settled on steadily dating a few who possessed the potential he desired, but lacked the experience he felt necessary to maintain a successful relationship. He thought he could teach them if they were willing to learn. I expressed to him that, at that point, I was more prone to dating than “hooking-up” because I had my fair share of NSA one-nighters during college. This was an idea that seemed foreign to Eric. I thought I was sewing my wild oats so I could be knowledgeable about  what I wanted in the future; Eric thought I was  inexperienced. He thought that I shouldn’t date, unless my dating was solely foreplay leading up to “having fun” and moving on.

As the conversation continued, I entertained his logic while masking my confusion. I didn’t understand why this older gentleman– who should’ve been lending words of wisdom and guidance to the new generation of black gay men–  felt that my choice to indulge in relationships instead of careless liaisons was a waste of my youth. . Maybe he was right. Maybe I was putting way too much thought into not having frivolous encounters.. After all, he was older and probably knew better … right?

Soon the thought-provoking dialogue came to an end and Eric punctuated his previously expressed beliefs by asking if I wanted to get away from the crowds and hang out at his friend’s place.. Aware of the implications, I declined. I remained in the bank lobby and processed the information Eric had left with me. While standing there, differences between gay and straight lifestyles became more obvious and these differences shed light on why successful monogamous black gay relationships seem so rare.

Within the straight lifestyle, while many young men and women do have periods of wild promiscuity, the upper-hand of dating is given to them. Straight men and women are given the chance to openly experiment and experience relationships. In some cases, this behavior is even encouraged by their older peers. Perhaps the reason that many gay men, including Eric, have a hard time finding a relationship and making it work is because loving another man and understanding what that means is something many of us are just learning in our adulthood.


For some of us who weren’t as open with our sexuality in our teens, those feelings of infatuation and adoration that we had for the same sex were pacified with throes of passion behind closed doors. In the bigger picture, there is no doubt that we all want to love and know that we are loved by someone. Clearly, it isn’t that promiscuity is a more desirable option for all of us. Yet, for some of us, promiscuity is all we have come to know.

SOURCE: MUSED MAGAZINE

2 comments:

  1. Very well put!
    I do not always agree with you, but you ARE one of my favorite blogs!

    ReplyDelete

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