I’ve always looked at being gay as being inherently rebellious. An innate deviation from society’s standards. Natural born outlaws.
Growing up, the only gay people I ever heard talked about with any type of reverence were the artistic and creative ones. “We Will Rock You” was shouted by every conservative Christian in football stadiums while newscasters reported about the assassination of the genius Gianni Versace in pallid tones. All the other faggots were just abominations, preparing to die a slow-burning, godsent AIDS-related death. Years later, when I became consciously aware that it was men that inspired the blood in my body to rush towards my dick, gay pornography became the only place I could access my sexuality. Those chiseled sex workers became an avatar of freedom. The Elton John’s and Andy Warhol’s of the world told me I had to become an exceptional level talent and amass a large amount of adoration to be accepted. The Mike Branson’s and Matthew Rush’s told me I needed to be sexy and unrestrained. All I knew about my culture was sex and success.
I grew up with a heteronormative, motion picture idea about relationships that didn’t translate to the young, gay world. Unlike most boys who begin there dating careers with a series of modest courtships starting from a young age, I was bombarded by a stream of anonymous sex during my early 20’s. Having the overactive hormones of a young man, I had no problem assimilating into the lifestyle. Nurturing success proved to be a task I didn’t have the discipline for, but sex was easy and hit every instant gratification receptor in my brain, so I gave myself permission to ramp up in that category. I fell in love with the pursuit of it. The hunt. The diversity. Experiencing different men’s auras. Their lips feel different. The salt levels and cologne on their necks give them their own taste. They smelled novel under your fingernails and in your nostrils the next day. Rabid, selfish jackhammer poundings to romantic, slow-grinding Jodeci strokes. Energizer bunny-hopping power bottoms to lifeless dead fishes. Gruntings in deep decibels and moanings in Mariah Carey octaves, clashing with the sound of the bedsprings singing. For a moment, it’s complete, hot-blooded poetry. I get off on the validation of being wanted and desired — of being somebody else’s vice for fifteen minutes. After I’ve exercised it, I give out an obligatory “thank you” or “I needed that,” and we split up, sharing intimate moments, but never exchanging names. Every guy that I slept with has concurrently meant everything and nothing to me.
Maybe it was just me appealing to my basest and most primitive desires. Maybe it was just my way of coping with adolescent traumas that arrived later on when I was a more experienced homosexual. I didn’t consider myself a sexual addict because the culture encouraged it. Sexual compulsiveness is only a disorder for the hets. I could explain it away by saying that gay men were unrestrained from the modesty that straight men had to feign to get women to give it up. Most of the men I know organize their lives primarily around carnal desires and make it the focal point of their lives until their libido is shot. But the problem with the sex free-for-all that emerged is that I didn’t see men as anything more than a gutter for my desires. Even to this day, I’m a great fuck, but have little to no idea how romance is supposed to work out.
Everybody handles their scars differently. As destructive as my brand of coping could be made out to be, it was reciprocal. I was never malevolent about my dalliances. Patronizing men on PrEP, who go mute about other incurable STDs, trying to get others to bite their sour apple. Trying to pass off the constellation of bumps on their dicks as pearly penile papules and fordyce spots. Other slither out of condoms mid-coitus without the recipients knowledge. A few men with HIV feel it’s there duty to give the “gift” of a disease to alleviate the fear of unsuspecting fuckbuddies who were taught since birth that gay sex was a form of danger. Senators in California pass laws so that these predators don’t have to face serious repercussions for infecting people because they no longer fear it as being a treacherous plague that can drastically change lives for the worst. Whatever they have to do to get a jolt of dopamine, even if it meant developing an anti-Midas Touch and damaging everything their dick comes in contact with.
I guess in reality, you can say that there are evil people around regardless of their positioning on the Kinsey scale, but it seems a little more poetic amongst gay men, because we are natural born liars. Deceiving people from a young age. Every since we realized we were passionate about boys, before we even knew there was a term for it. When we had to be very terrified and cautious not to let anybody find out what kind of thoughts kept our tighty whitey’s crunchy. I always said if it wasn’t one sin that was gonna do you in, the other would definitely catch you. You either lie about an unconscious choice in life, or give into it.
All of the religious guilt and common sense recedes to the margins though, when your still walking around some testosterone pumping nightclub with an engorged set of nuts. Especially when you don’t have to settle because an angel of a twunk is telling you that he lives right around the corner. The words slurring out of his mouth are breathalyzer redlining, but I hop into the passenger seat anyway. Controlled destruction became a lifestyle imposed on me because I couldn’t see much for the future. When I came out, I was sure either a disease or depression would be my ultimate red light. Now that there’s medicine available to prevent the worst of ailments and I’ve gotten over the despondent novelty of not being accepted, I still can’t see much for the future of gay men. I mean, what’s the endgame? Are we supposed to work towards the goals of the idealized gold star gays with their MBA’s, LLC’s, and IVF’s? Do I aspire towards the domesticity of my parents’ failed marriage? Procreate and have kids, giving life meaning and marking a point to move on instead of neurotically obsessing about oneself? Do I only want these things because it’s what I was always told I should want? Maybe none of us has gotten it right yet. Do I really want a relationship like my parent’s? Or like my friend’s parent’s? Should I just cultivate relationships where monogamy is a pejorative? Do I keep up with my single, licentious lifestyle until I’m hitting my forties thinking my life is over, complaining about being old, and developing unhealthy, superficial obsessions with 20 year olds? Regurgitating the behavior of my failed predecessors, mimicking the most destructive of their behaviors until my libido is depleted and all I crave is companionship?
By the time I wake up, the stimulants have worn off and I’m somewhere west of Hollywood and south of Eden. There’s two more men here now — one is bent over on his elbows and knees, pinching a bottle of Blue Boy to a nostril and thumbing the opposite one closed while the other wastes half a bottle of Swiss Navy streaming into a prolapsed gape. The twunk I arrived with is scrolling through the apps, looking for more men to drag down with him. His bender isn’t over. Everybody has that flushed gaunt in their cheeks and forest of red lines surrounding their irises. The bottom’s lips and nails are pale blue. I randomly begin sniffing inside the styrofoam cups on the coffee table, downing one. The Coke had gone tame, but the Jack is still potent. It’s incredible thinking about how many times I’ve knowingly put myself at risk, fully aware of how the next few months were going to play out. Me, a nervous and regretful mess, waiting for every exposure window to close or hoping it can clear up with a shot of rocephin and an amoxicillin prescription. A large proportion of gay men are loose screws personified. Between our rapport with family members, body issues, trying to fit into society, having to shrink ourselves for others comfort, alienation from ourselves, and even our own culture, it’s no wonder a whole raft of us sink into depression, drug-taking, and other escapisms. It’s no wonder why the bulk of us make sex the central part of our lives. Fiber supplements, Truvada, Imodium, Caverject. I wish I could say there was a world outside of sex for gay men, but everything revolves around it. You roll out of somebody else’s bed, put your pants on and walk through the invisible turnstile at their front door. You get in your car and hate yourself for letting your libido trump common sense. You wake up from sleeping off your come-down, horny again, and log back onto the apps. You give into the transcendent and fleeting relief of the omnipresent promiscuity and palliatives, followed by the hollowness and deranged search for more after it had faded.
This is the only life I’ve known.