It is frequently said that gay men have more sex than anyone else on the planet. Could it be true? Certain experts claim that men, whether gay or straight, are designed to be sexual without the need to be wooed or romanced. They are pretty much ready to dive right in and do the deed at any time without being warmed up.
Some claim that bathhouses are to blame for promiscuity in the gay world. Those people suggest closing down bathhouses to take away the temptation, thus eliminating the sexual debauchery taking place inside. Others claim these facilities’ clientele would simply soldier on and find other venues. This is likely accurate, especially now that there are phone apps like Grindr and Growlr that make quick hook-ups easy.
If queer men meet at a business designed for hooking up, then at least they are in a comfortable environment where they won’t feel the need to make haste; they can take the time to be safe. It beats a venue like an alley or public washroom.
“It’s hard for me to say if gay men are more active than others,” said Evelyn Reiser, executive director of Saskatoon Sexual Health Centre. “My days are full enough as it is, just trying to make people understand the imperativeness of safe sex. My main goal is to reduce disease and teach birth control. These are what I need to focus on. Lecturing clients on the importance of monogamy is something we simply don’t have a whole lot of time and energy for here.”
This leads to another question: Is infidelity among gay men as common as society believes? According to Jai Richards, a Saskatoon counsellor and psychotherapist, there is indeed infidelity in the queer community, but there is in the straight world as well. “Part of this probably stems back to the sexual revolution, where gay people said ‘screw the rest of you and all your rules,’” says Richards. But he also believes that the stereotype of gay men being “horn-dogs” incapable of monogamy cannot all be chalked up to biology.
“It has to do with a lot of factors,” Richards claims. “It has to do with upbringing and culture and personal morals and values. Sure, there is plenty of promiscuity in the queer male community, but there are countless tender and loving faithful relationships too. There are both sides of the spectrum in our culture, but there are both sides in all the other cultures.”
No matter what part of society you live in, if you search for infidelity, you will find it. If there is a lack of monogamy in the gay male community, perhaps it stems from the fact that gay lifestyles have, at various times, been frowned upon by society – in previous eras, gay people had to hide what they were doing to a point that there was no time or opportunity for tender moments such as foreplay and afterglow. Perhaps it all boils down to kindness. As gay couples become more visible in society, and acceptance becomes the norm, perhaps the intense focus on sex in the gay community can relax and we can hone in on balanced relationships, complete with romance, love and intimacy.
–Wes Funk is an Edmonton-based novelist and freelance writer. His novel Dead Rock Stars has been incorporated into various curricula, and his book Cherry Blossoms won a National CBC Bookies Award.