This Is How Being Gay and Sex-Positive Is Mistaken for “Yes”

Written by | Gay Voices

Gay Bar Pole Dancing

(Photo courtesy WikiCommons Images and Delegate [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) Cropped for space.

Is being gay and sex positive being mistaken for consent? A reader explores that topic in this contribution to our “Gay Voices” series:

Lack of consent practices contributes to continued attitudes that “boys will be boys” and the reinforcement of male entitlement. It also gives men permission to have free reign over any body he wants.

“I think it’s clearly a problem in the gay community,” says Ian Howley, Chief Executive of LGBT Hero, GMFA’s parent organization*. “Some of the men who said it didn’t bother them said their reasoning behind [that] was due to being in a gay venue. Groping or being touched without consent in any situation is unacceptable. Just because it may happen at a gay venue does not give gay men a lisence to do it. It’s illegal and you can be prosecuted for it.”

Now Hear This

Before you get all up in your feelings, please understand something:

This examination is about taking a closer look at the lack of consent, both on and off-line, and what consent might mean within gay male culture if we value it more. Examining when familiar or unfamiliar men send unsolicited nude photos, make lewd demands or take advantage of you while you’re tipsy.

Let’s take a closer look. And let’s start withthe attitudes shaping gay men’s responses to what consent actually means.

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All in the Attitude

We all have collective and individual notions when it comes to sex. But sexual expression is not entitlement. Some believe that, if you’re a gay man, it’s okay to simply accept that non-consensual expression happens. Heteronormative culture promulgates that myth it and so do some gays. It was once commonplace to expect aggressive sexual advances in gay male spaces. Now those spaces have expanded to include the internet.

Here’s my opinon. I don’t care to attach “positivity” to any kind of behavioral construct, i.e. “sex positivity,” because it requires viewing sex from an uplifting perspective only. That distances us from the responsibility of examining various concerns with how we express ourselves sexually.

In A Nutshell

I support embodying a healthy view of sex and intimacy. Holding these values contributes to feeling safe about intimacy. Feeling safe contributes towards self-actualization, and internalizing a personal view that’s self-affirming.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

I’ve recently had an influx of new Facebook requests from gay men. I’m excited about it. I am into reinforcing the concept of community by uplifting each other. I want to be a supportive booster of my fellow LGBTQ family members. I’d like to affirm our humanity and encourage us all to feel good about who we are. The downside to the friend requests is simple. I have to do a lot of blocking, due to the non-consensual pornographic images, sexual demands and requests I receive.

I can hear it now: The digital wafting of “don’t be such a prude.” Or that I am against sex-positivity. I’m definitely far from a prude. However, if someone were to be reserved, that is nothing to be ashamed of, either.

Getting images of bare genitalia and offers of fellatio feels violent to me. Maybe violent is an extreme term, but it feels deeply disrespectful. It’s even more disrespectful when you’ve invested emotional time getting to know a guy, and they slap you in the face with a couple of pics of their junk. It’s your body and you should have full autonomy. Just don’t hit me with that.

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I’m Not a Cop

These musings aren’t about policing or shaming the expression of sex among gay men. I’d like to shift into a different narrative — one that asks we consider what consensual sex looks like, and to include it our value system.

Remains of the Day

At the end of the day, you do you, but before you send that unsolicited pic of your business, or decide to take advantage of a younger guy who happens to be unaware of his surroundings. Think about the impact of your behavior, because it’s not always about you.

muscle guy drinking kombucha
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*The above article was submitted to Gay Voices. Metrosource makes no claims based on its content. It has been edited for clarity and grammar.

Last modified: December 11, 2019