Syncing Sexual Identities

by Johnny Murdoc

One core problem that we at SEX+STL would like to address is the dissonance between our sex lives and the other factors that make up who we are. It’s no secret that American culture is incredibly uptight when it comes to sex (although not nearly as uptight as some other cultures) and that often leads to a dichotomy where we behave one way when no one’s looking, and another when everyone is.

I’m one of those gay guys who wants to get married. Fairly desperately. My partner and I have been together eight years. We own a house together. We’re monagomous. For dinner tonight, I’m going to make spaghetti and french bread. (It’s vegan spaghetti and french bread. That still makes me a rebel, right?). With dinner, we’ll probably watch television. For all intents and purposes, we’re a perfectly presentable, average young American couple (aside from the fact that we both have male sex organs.)

That’s not all we are, though. Sex and sex culture play a large roll in my own personal culture. I write about sex a lot, I write a lot of porn, I blog a lot of pictures of naked men. I get turned on by guys being a little rough with one another. I get turned on by fetishizing sportswear. I think that Fight Club may not only be one of the best movies ever made, but also one of the most erotic. My partner and I have an active sex life and do things together that most people don’t talk about in polite company, and I’m certainly not allowed to talk about on a blog.

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club

This view of us doesn’t jibe with conservative Americans (you know, the ones who get to vote on our rights?). That we have a sex life at all (let alone that we have the audacity to admit it) is what really bothers so many people. I would never suggest that we have to give that up, or tone it down, to make ourselves more presentable to the masses, even though doing so would make fighting for equal rights easier. Honestly, the masses themselves are not presentable by any wide margin. Gays aren’t the only ones into kink and BDSM. They aren’t the only ones who trend toward one night stands. They’re not the only ones who like to have sex, to talk about sex, to watch other people have sex.

I don’t want to get married out of a deliberate sense to be normal, or to be seen as normal. [Now, I’ve grown up in a culture that heavily favors monogamy (in public, if not in private) and marriage, and I’m positive that growing up in this culture has helped shaped those ideas for me, personally]. I want to do it because I need rights. I need to be able to make decisions for my partner in the case that he can’t make them for himself, and I need him to be able to do the same. I need to know how to do my taxes without bending over backwards to figure out the logistics. I need to be able to see him in the hospital if he’s sick. And I believe that any right the government (State or Federal) bestows on some, it should bestow on all.

I just don’t think that we should have to change in order to get them. I recognize that the voters of America (why the fuck are my rights in their hands, anyway?) need a softer, less sexualized version of homosexuality to feel comfortable with it. Our goal should be to open up discussions about sex and sexuality for everyone, though. We only do our culture harm by denying our sex lives, by being ashamed of them. This country needs a serious dose of reality.

We won’t accomplish anything by changing ourselves. If we have to assimilate to get equal rights, they still win. I want equal rights on equal terms, not equal rights on their terms. It’s not up to anyone to decide how you live your life but yourself. That goes for the conservatives telling you not to have threesomes, and it goes for the gays who tell you to wear polo shirts and get a white picket fence.

I don’t see why we can’t have threesomes and a white picket fence.

Full disclosure: this rant originally appeared on my NSFW blog last year in a slightly different form. White picket fence image: Yellow Tulips, White Picket Fence…, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from myeye’s photostream