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Why gay men ignored MeToo What's wrong with cruising?

Why is gay male desire so problematic? Credit: Strand Releasing

Why is gay male desire so problematic? Credit: Strand Releasing


October 4, 2022   6 mins

An explicit tweet about social etiquette at a condomless gay orgy recently went viral as the mostly heterosexual public grappled with the sheer perversity of what they were reading:

Is it unethical to attend a “no loads refused” pimped-out cumdump event if the bottom has blocked you on Twitter even though you’ve never talked to them and have no idea why?

Twitter freaked out: “What exactly is a ‘pimped-out cumdump event’?” “How strict is this ‘no loads refused’ policy?” “Is an anonymous block really an undumpable load offence?”

While this dude’s attempt to grapple with the social niceties of the orgy might seem a particularly extreme example, the online furore it attracted does seem to reflect a cultural misunderstanding of gay male sexuality. It is deemed problematic — an attitude that is often accompanied by a desire to do something about it.

Soon after the MeToo movement kicked off in 2017, there were calls to look beyond the violence of men against women, to include the (perceived) toxic sexual norms among gay men. Camila Martinez-Granata wrote in VICE about “pervasive” sexual harassment in gay bars, where getting groped and squeezed without warning is practically a rite of passage. She called for the fostering of “truly safe spaces in queer nightlife” — ones that rejected the “normalisation of sexual harassment”. A year later, Michael Segalov wrote in the Guardian that “the conversation around consent for gay men has been stifled”.

Some of the statistics cited in these articles depict an epidemic of sexual assault within gay spaces. Half of gay men in both the UK and the US say they have experienced sexual touching without their consent. Researchers have also noted the normalisation of “sexual coercion” among gay men — defined broadly as “a range of ways in which men may be forced or pressured to have unwanted sex”. Examples include pressure to accept undesired “top” or “bottom” positions, for the satisfaction of one’s sexual partner.

MeToo has seen some prominent gay men called out for their predatory behaviour: Kevin Spacey was rightly shunned from Hollywood for assaulting the underage Anthony Rapp, while Terry Crews and other straight male actors have called out the culture of unwanted groping by prominent gay producers. However, there has been a notable lack of reckonings for gay male culture more broadly, despite claims that “toxic” norms are rife in our sexual lives.

Sexual assault researchers appear particularly incredulous that gay men aren’t fighting back. After finding that 70% of a sample of gay men had experienced “unwanted sexual touching”, researchers at the University of Georgia decried the norms of “sexually aggressive” behaviour among gay men, before lamenting that they “do not perceive what happened to them as sexual violence”. In a similar vein, researchers within The Journal of Sex Research complained, with the necessary proviso that “the authors are sex positive”, that problematic sexual scripts were exhibited by gay men — from “hypersexual male identity” to a “lack of emotional responsibility”, particularly for casual partners.

However, such criticisms are incredibly patronising, reflecting a wilful ignorance of gay desire. Commentators apparently struggle to grasp that norms designed to stop the predatory behaviour of men towards women may be ill-suited to the dynamics of sex between men.

Gay men are known for being “sexually adventurous” — a polite way of saying that we’ve got so many notches in our belt, our trousers can barely stay up. While most gay men ultimately wish for (and find) emotionally committed “monagamish” relationships, based around romantic love, it’s also very common to have a period of sowing one’s wild oats, actively seeking out novel sexual encounters with strangers. Gay fantasies often revolve around dangerous liaisons, with non-verbal anonymous sexual encounters as well the eroticising of thuggish “rough trade” personas.

This has been true since the origins of gay male identity. The novels of early 20th-century gay French author Jean Genet — described by Richard Howard as “the first and perhaps the only texts to set forth for the Western imagination an explicit realisation of homosexual eros” — are rife with sadomasochistic gay fantasy. Take this expression of desire from Genet’s novel, Quarelle of Brest:

He could get away with anything. Spit me in the face, call me by my first name.
“You’re getting overly familiar!” I’d say to “Him”.
The blow he would strike me with his fist, right in the mouth,

Would make my ears ring with this oboe murmur: “My vulgarity
is regal, and it accords me every right.”

Gay bars and clubs are known for their “seedy” undercurrent because their primary function — much more so than heterosexual spaces — is to enable sexual conquest. This is why the presence of women in gay bars is seen as so ruinous and why the rise of hook-up apps like Grindr threaten the long term viability of these (supposed) “safe spaces”. The perennial art of “cruising” — seeking out strange men in sex clubs, saunas and public toilets — once rationalised as a form of “self-hatred”, is now clearly understood as simply what many gay men like to do.

The average sauna hook-up occurs via a barely lit labyrinth with interlocking rooms playing pornography. Partners are selected through elaborate non-verbal interactions, looks are exchanged, buttocks and crotches are groped and you’re either led into a room or given a swift rejection. Young gay men quickly learn to master the intricate art of seeking and self-defence: keeping your towel up with one hand, while playing an elaborate game of whack a mole with the prying hands of ugly men with the other.

The high prevalence of non-consensual groping in these environments is part of the ritual gay men have signed up to in order to embrace their sadomasochistic fantasies. It’s also why applying norms of “affirmative consent” — designed to reflect the needs of vulnerable women — can be problematic when applied to gay men.

Feminist Sheila Jefferys, in her influential work Anticlimax: A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution, could barely conceal her disgust at gay desires, which “eroticised power difference” and were reflective of the “worship of masculinity”. However, this is a classic case of applying feminist norms, designed by and for women, to a group which may not share the same wants and needs.

Recently, an Australian politician was asked to explain how newly-imposed affirmative consent laws would work within the context of a gay sauna. In relation to the physical tête-à-tête which occurs while cruising, she noted: “if the person is consenting, they might lean their body into the other person or engage in reciprocal touching.” As for sex, her response was that consent must be given within a “reasonable time” and “might include verbal or non-verbal interactions about consent and the parameters of the sexual act to occur before entering the dark room, provided they continue negotiating consent through ongoing and mutual negotiation”.

This response reflects the awkwardness of applying the norms of consent demanded by MeToo to sexual encounters between men. Focus groups with gay men on the of topic affirmative consent have consistently shown a disconnect between the safeguarding goals of advocates and the kind of sexual encounters they want to have. One researcher noted that most gay men believe affirmative consent “was not created with them or the diversity of gay sexual culture and subcultures in mind”.

The divide between female and male desire has become even more pronounced as various MeToo offshoots have proliferated. There has been much discussion about age gaps, for instance: differences in age are seen to reflect a “power imbalance” that is inherently coercive. This is a laughable idea from the perspective of many gay couplings, where large age gaps are incredibly common, seemingly driven by mutual desires for maturity and youth.

Last year, Labour MP Luke Pollard was bombarded with abuse after a Valentine’s Day post on social media revealed his significantly younger boyfriend. Reflecting on the backlash, writer Christopher Sherwood noted that he received similar accusations of being “taken advantage of” when he entering into a relationship with a 61-year-old man at the age of 24. “My attraction to older people has nothing to do with emotional and material needs,” he notes, going on to clarify he was motivated by a “seemingly innate sexual attraction to the mature physical form”.

It very well may be that many young women often find relationships with older men harmful (although clearly for some women they aren’t) — but this logic shouldn’t be wholesale applied to gay relationships with their own longings and dynamics. It’s unwise to encourage commentators and researchers to apply their own criteria of “healthy sex” to gay men — or indeed any group — who do not see their experiences as problematic. What counts as a predatory violation for some may not be for others.

Still, one can criticise the application of MeToo’s new frameworks to gay spaces without supporting sexual anarchy. There is no doubt that many gay men have experienced sexual violence, and moral norms should be developed to encourage restraint. While pervy saunas and “no loads refused” parties may give off the aesthetic of Dionysian excess, respect for bodily autonomy and awareness of potential harm should always be paramount.

But defining the boundaries of assault should be left to gay men — we should be able to generate a response free from the feminist assumptions generated by the fraught conflicts of heterosexuality. Do gay men need a MeToo moment? No, but we should be having our own conversations about setting the appropriate limits on desire, to ensure sadomasochistic gay fantasy doesn’t turn into outright brutalisation.


Jarryd Bartle is a writer, educator and consultant on vice regulation.

JarrydBartle 

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Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Gawd this article makes it sound like gay sex culture is dominated by naked lust and toxic masculinity. Meanwhile the public gay culture seeks acceptance in mainstream society with equality laws that support gay marriage. A rather extreme dichotomy.
But the toxic aspect ain’t what I’ve seen in the few gay people I’ve known over the years – they’re just regular boring mainstream people like everyone else.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

You must know some square queens.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Funnily enough I did think that too initially when I managed my first gay bloke, but as the ‘template’ repeated itself over the years I was quite pleased to find the handful of gay blokes I met and managed through work, and in due course became (platonic) friends with, were actually quite mundane compared to myself. Rather contradicted what we get told about in dramas and articles such as that above.
I even celebrated with them their gay marriages, but never let on that I’m not comfortable with the concept of using the same descriptors (husband, etc).

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

So you’re a boring, middle class, suburban male, just like the rest of them. Your comment proves nothing.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The gay guys I know, from being in and around the gay community are debaucherous. I stand by my initial comment.

Maurice Austin
Maurice Austin
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Funny, the ones I know from being part of my gay community are as square as I am. Gardening. Cocoa. Furniture restoration. And other such libertine behaviour. We have simply experienced different varieties of gay man, I suspect.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Many are. I certainly was in my 20s/30s. Nowadays I value slippers and an early night.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Who talks to their boss about the intricacies of their sex life?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

I used to get to know my teams and their issues very well – they were my mates – probably a boring middle class suburban habit in Brett H’s view! 🙂

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

of course, but they were really, really not telling you about their sex life as it really is. They were telling you what you wanted to hear. Something we learned to do almost before we had a sex life. A rite of passage, almost!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

Not the mechanical details of course, but certainly their relationship problems. I was happy as a mate to counsel as best as I could.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Of course, that is honourable and humane, it is what friends do, and I applaud it. I would hope that my friends would do the same for me, and me them. But! That is not what what the article is dealing with, is it?

Last edited 1 year ago by Leejon 0
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

You must know some square queens.

Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?

Surely ‘queen’ connotes flamboyance, even extravagance of behaviour.

Whereas ‘square’ connotes understatement and conformity.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Don’t be so literal.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Ha! Well said.
I definitely know some number of “square queens”. But, there is that population of gay men who seem to be like the worst of men and the worst of women in one package. One sees such archetypes in film–like “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” (1977).
So. What does the distribution of bay men look like? How may are “squares”. How many are rapacious?
Over the years I’ve been told of some number rapes. Oddly, most of the victims in this non-random sample are men. One involved a fellow just going off to a bar. He ended up getting drugged and then waking up the next morning in the bushes in the city park.
Nothing to be done about it, so he just went home, cleaned up, and got on with life. Until he developed this strange infection. He had developed AIDS.
Yes. There are some evil, rapacious people out there. And many of them are gay men. They ain’t victims. They’re victimizers.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

“Meanwhile the public gay culture seeks acceptance in mainstream society with equality laws that support gay marriage”
I suspect its a small percentage of gay men who want that. There’s a lot of hetero men who don’t want marriage, too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
D T
D T
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Gay marriage was the pet project of a few very wealthy and influential gay men who wanted this. Meanwhile the rest of us suffered in the workplace for their dalliance into politics. Before gay marriage most of us needed protection in the workplace and in housing. The gay marriage advocates were unconcerned with this.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  D T

Marriage was always designed to attach men to children to ensure inheritance and fidelity (more for the woman in many cases). And widows pensions were there to support the person (usually female) who had foregone (or been removed from) jobs and career advancement as a consequence of having children. Legal marriage is not about love, and now we can reliably attach any man to his offspring it’s time to abolish it for all. Gay marriages rarely result in children so the pensions are unnecessary!!

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

“Marriage was always designed to attach men to children to ensure inheritance and fidelity”
Was it? You mix up ancient ideas of marriage and modern ideas of women and jobs and career advancement. And do I understand you want to abolish marriage because it’s not about love? But that’s not true, is it?

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Legal marriage is about the Law. And is frequently abused. I prefer to separate monogamy and love from legal entitlement to support from another adult that’s what’s modern about my approach. Children should be supported by both parents adults should be financially autonomous because women are now in the labour force in large numbers. Too many old men trapped into marriage meaning their children lose all their inheritance. Having been born under King George I see more and more examples (and know a lot about the law) of why it’s a bad idea and now definitely one since he advent of DNA testing.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

That’s just the thing. Marriage isn’t a right. It’s a social obligation intended to curtail exactly the kind of behaviour amongst men, that is considered acceptable in certain gay men.

Agree about the fact that most gay people you meet being boring and mainstream. Where is the fun in that though, if you are looking for victims?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I did tactfully get into cultural discussions with the few gay blokes I knew, in order to understand their views – and every one of them hated the gay exhibitionism, gay victimhood, Mardi Gras parades and the gay stereotypes. Very reassuring – and I suspect the same goes for trans people too. Their situation gets hijacked by leftist extremists.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

So all your gay friends are right wing conservatives ?

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

It is of course possible that your insane ramblings about ‘us gays’ is not the result of a deep understanding based on those few you have conversed with. But rather inherent bigotry and not a small amount of hubris with regards to your knowledge. But what do I know? I’ve only lived as a gay man, along with my partner of 35 years, without a ‘manager’ as gracious and wise as yourself. If only I had known that ignorant straight men had all the answers.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Marriage is neither a right, nor is it an obligation, it is a social convention. One that I would aver was not instigated to stop homosexuality but rather to produce and rear children in a safe, loving and educational environment, leading to, of course, a stable society. Your use of the word ‘victims’ perhaps is an insight as to how you view personal relationships. Creepy!

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Except when they go to saunas?

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Talk about straight dichotomy most porn is heterosexual ?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

It seems to me that men don’t like complications, gay or not. This might create problems but it’s a fact of life. Lesbians used to accuse gay men of not being political enough, but they knew what they wanted and politics wasn’t part of it.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

The problem here is, that straight men are expected to face “complications” and “politics” whether they like it it or not.

And if any straight men behaved the way gay men did, in terms of promiscuity, lack of commitment, drugs usage or sexual depravity, they would be crucified.

The underlying issue is that gay men, like women, have to treated absolutely equal…at their option, and when convenient they have to be treated as “different”

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“And if any straight men behaved the way gay men did, in terms of promiscuity, lack of commitment, drugs usage or sexual depravity, they would be crucified.”
Only because they’ve committed themselves to the institution of marriage, which has certain conditions attached, and for obviously good reasons. Unmarried men behave exactly as they feel like: promiscuity, drugs, sexual depravity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Unmarried men behave exactly as they feel like: promiscuity, drugs, sexual depravity.

No, they absolutely do not. If straight men were to behave towards women in the manner of gay men – as described by the writer – they would very quickly have criminal records.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

So they don’t take drugs, they’re not promiscuous and they don’t get involved in depraved sex? Is that what you’re saying?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Nope. Read again.

I expressly referred to unrestrained sexual approaches without concern for the wishes of the other person – as described by the writer. In the sauna, for example: having to play whackamole with prying hands.

Men behaving like that towards women would soon be in trouble with the law.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

“I expressly referred to unrestrained sexual approaches without concern for the wishes of the other person “
Your comment was a little vague about what you were referring to. I see now that you meant the approaches made towards other men. But I was talking about promiscuity and drugs used among unmarried men that is no different than gay men, and you’ll also see that I was responding to a comment by Samir Iker. So when you said “they absolutely do not” you were referring to something I had not said.

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

So male><female sex is always tender ?

Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

So most gay men -as described by the gay writer are criminals ?

Julian Townsend
Julian Townsend
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“Equal” is not a synonym of “identical”. Equallity for gay people doesn’t have to mean adopting the norms of heterosexuality.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Townsend
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

The idea that feminists are setting standards for the behaviour of gay men is ludicrous.
Their post-modern, neo-Marxist ideology is totally alien to gay relationships.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Well, why not? We have men telling us what a being a woman feels like, muslims telling us about the importance of preserving the rights of religious minorities, blacks complaining about racial violence, gays demanding the right to marriage while merrily sleeping with more partners than a busload of straight men….

Besides, it’s not as if feminists would be setting any standards for themselves, so i guess the rest of u so have to put up with their efforts.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

What do you expect from feminists? Every man is a target.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I’m a straight female and I reject the standards they’re trying to set for me, too.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

What an essay. It makes perfect sense to me now why so many gay men catch STIs.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

And that’s a problem for who?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

In a country with a national health service, the taxpayers.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Actually, anyone who also has to bear the costs. Which might include additional healthcare resources and costs in such cases. And what else might have been done with those. What economists call “externalities”. It is unlikely this is not at some cost to society in general.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

So the moral police get to chose who gets health care. Just like those who said the unvaccinated for Covid didn’t deserve hospital care. Hetero men and women get STDs, you know. Should they also be denied care?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Not what I said at all. I merely answered the question you asked and stated that such behaviour pushes costs onto others. I made no statement on what we should do about it. You made that bit up.
Do you factually disagree with what I actually said ?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, you said the problem is for those who bear the cost. I get that. But why is it a problem for them? Is it because they think it’s money wasted? Would you have the same feeling about girls getting pregnant by accident? Where do you draw the line about who gets health care and who doesn’t? And of course you’re speaking for others who may not hold the view that it’s a problem, anyway.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Agreed. Let’s extend the principle: fall off a horse, concussion on a rugby pitch, crash your motorcycle? All your lifestyle choices, therefore no free NHS for you! Despite the fact that you get no choice about having to pay for it.
Funding the NHS through general taxation and making it (substantially) free at the point of use is a model this country is wedded to. A rather unpleasant side-effect is that “taxpayers” think that gives them the right to dictate the lifestyles of other people

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

If you wear protection and get regular check-ups, you should be ok.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

It costs £11,000 per person/year to treat HIV on the NHS. That’s a lot of taxpayer’s money.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

And so? What are you saying. They’re undeserving of it?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

They will be when health rationing starts (soon) since they will – quite rightly – go to somewhere near the back of the healthcare queue.

The West is becoming poorer and less politically and economically stable.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Along with alcoholics, obese people, those in car accidents, pregnant girls, heteros with STDs, non taxpayers, unemployed. Where does it end?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

With prosperous, employed people who haven’t pursued risky lifestyles getting preference – reasonably enough.

And among those at the tail end of the queue, a dogfight based on electoral clout. There are more heterosexuals than homosexuals, more obese people than self-destructively promiscuous, cruising gays.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Not sure if I get your point. Is it that everyone’s entitled to care but there’s a pecking order, a queue that prioritises?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

“For the first time in a decade, the number of new HIV diagnoses among heterosexuals is higher than for gay and bisexual men, according to new figures for England from the UK Health Security Agency.”

Should they go to the back of the queue?

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Possibly because most gay men now get their very expensive pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs on the NHS???

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I’m saying there’s a cost, born by the taxpayer. That is the ‘problem for who’ that you’re talking about.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Yes, I understand that. Are you saying they’re undeserving of the help they get?

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

It doesn’t stay in that population, it always moves out into the general population. It also means there is a reservoir where diseases can evolve. Many STIs are now evolving significant antibiotic resistance.
So it ultimately affects the population as a whole.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  M. Jamieson

You seem to think gays invented STDs.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Not at all, but a very large proportion of STIs are found in the gay male population – for example in the US more than 80% of syphilis cases are in gay men. You certainly don’t see numbers like that among lesbians – behaviour makes a difference, and numbers make a difference from a public health perspective.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Bigots, as we can see. These people shame me by comprising my humanity with my disgust of them.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Maybe gay men ignored MeToo because it was never about them and it was about the relationships between men and women?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Maybe they just don’t care.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The operative word is “men”, not “gay’.

Me too was never about use of force (physical, drugs, blackmail), which is the real definition of rape. If it was, Rotherham, Rochdale or “minority” dominated urban US areas would be in the spotlight.

No, it was all about “regret” rape.
And the crux of the issue is that if any man, gay or straight, slept with someone willingly (often for months) and then accused him / her of rape two years later, he would be a figure of derision and contempt.

It’s only our oppressed, highly educated women working in media or education who are allowed to suffer from this epidemic.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samir Iker
Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I’m divided between MeToo being a distraction from the outing of prominent Hollywood paedos and failed actresses who had thought that blowing the producer on the casting couch would make up for their lack of talent only to discover that it didn’t.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

It was also due to outrage over Trump winning in 2016, yet it seemed to take down a lot more men who voted Democrat.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Very little to do with Trump mate, stop casting the orange draft dodger as some sort of libertine hero, the self-obsessed Trump has never had an adult relationship with a normal woman in his entire status-obsessed life, just gold diggers who couldn’t care less if he dropped dead tomorrow.  

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

“Outrage over Trump winning”. Yes, that’s really stretching it, and desperate.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

It’s simple. They’re both playing the game.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

This article only succeeds in making homosexuality seem alien and gross.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Come on. You’re smarter than that.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I was talking about the article, not my personal views on homosexuality. I’m not bothered about men who prefer men, and I approve of gay marriage.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Okay. Point taken.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

This article only succeeds in making me glad that I’m married.
Dating for young men seems like a minefield now whether gay or straight.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Interesting point. Did you expect something else?
Homosexuality is indeed inherently ‘alien’ isn’t it? Alien in the sense that it is dissimilar to heterosexuality….from a culture different from the majority/mainstream culture… the society inhabited by the 94% of us who are heterosexual.
As for gross….certainly for the 94% who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex , same sex attraction & engagement would indeed tend to be perceived as ‘gross’ and ‘unnatural’, wouldn’t it? How could it not?
But the fact that homosexual behavior may be alien to most and distasteful to many does not mean it cannot be accepted within the wider society. Just because most of us find tofu to be alien and gross doesn’t mean tofu-eaters should be outlawed.
Of course it also doesn’t mean that all of us who believe tofu to be disgusting should be compelled to embrace it, either. [Perhaps one of the drivers behind the cinematic crash & burn which seems to be “Bros”]
One of the many advantages to living in a free world!

Christopher Raymond
Christopher Raymond
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

You mean it makes straight men jealous.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago

Is there something to the Kevin Spacey – Anthony Rapp accusations I’m not getting? It keeps getting called sexual assault, has the definition changed from forced penetration? But the accounts I’ve read describe it as Kevin Spacey making sexual advances (climbing on top of him on a bed) towards an underage Anthony Rapp, but Rapp rejected the advances and nothing happened.
I’m not denying the encounter seems highly inappropriate and unfortunate, but it kind of seems like poorly conducted daddy culture to me.
I’m aware that other men have made accusations of actual sexual assault, but from what I’ve read, the Anthony Rapp encounter doesn’t qualify. It seems like many publications, including this one, are playing fast and loose with definitions.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

Google the legal definition of ‘assault,’ and this is what you find:
an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.
Note that all it takes is an act that creates ‘apprehension’ of an ‘offensive contact’. In the lighter versions this is minor stuff indeed, but because ‘assault’ sounds so hard-core, people think it is something much worse. It does not help that many campaigners deliberately (?) confuse ‘sexual assault’ and rape. This allows them to say that attacks on women are both extremely comon (sexual assault), and extremely serious (rape), and gloss over the fact that the common acts are not serious and the serious acts are not common.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m no expert here either, but aren’t we risking straying into subjective justice if we criminalise the perceived intention to commit a crime rather than the crime itself (which may not have been committed) ?
I too had always assumed assault to be something physical which had actually happened and caused physical (or psychological) damage.
Isn’t an individual’s claimed perception that something will cause them damage actually a different offence and not assault ? Certainly, there are offences in this area, some of them serious. But surely let’s give them appropriate titles ?
There are some echoes of the subjectivity of “hate crime” here (and alleged thought crimes in general) that make me feel a little uneasy about where our legal principles are going.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

This subjective justice is already in full-swing in the form of hate-crime being a distinct category in criminal justice.
edit to add: I think the most troubling thing in current legal discourse is the continuing effort to outlaw being an asshole.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ali W
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I agree with you about hate crimes and the like, but it has always been the law that assault can be committed without physical contact.

The point is whether the person ‘on the receiving end’ has a reasonable fear that they might be struck, grappled with, or whatever, as a result of the other person’s behaviour even before physical contact (if indeed there is any).

In other words, it’s not just what happens in the mind of the potential assailant (in other words, mere intention). It’s what the potential assailant’s behaviour causes to happen in the mind of the ‘recipient‘.

Hence the phrase ‘assault and battery’: there can be an assault that stops short of battery.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You’re absolutely right…but you’re too generous. It is not the intention to create a ‘crime’ which is at question here, rather it is the intention (or the fact) of behaving in a manner which is unwanted.
The unwanted behavior may very well be entirely non-criminal, but it becomes sexual assault if that behavior (say a kiss on a date) is defined by the ‘kissee’ as unwanted…at the time the kiss occurs….or two hours later when a resident adviser convinces her she doesn’t have to tolerate unwanted kisses.
It’s crazy, no question.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Good God that definition is preposterous… I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve taken mandatory training for work that defines these types of things. This sneaky changing of definitions over the last decade has made the world an infinitely more stupid place.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

If you’re using Google for definitions, you’re getting curated narrative, not meaning.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

I got this one from https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/assault,
Alternatively, https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/news/item/assault-offences-explained/ gives much the same thing

“A person is guilty of common assault if they either inflict violence on another person – however slight this might be – or make that person think they are about to be attacked.”

OK, searching instead for the more precise “sexual assault” gives (https://www.cps.gov.uk/crime-info/sexual-offences)

Sexual assault is where one person intentionally touches another person sexually without their consent. The touching can be done with any part of the body or with an object.

Where is the ‘curated narrative’ in that?

I am not a lawyer, and using Google to look for an official definition seems both safe and unavoidable. Anyway, either definition of ‘assault’ includes acts that cause little or no damage or distress – which was my original point. According to Wilfred Davis (above), who sounds more knowledgable than I am, this has always been the law.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

These definitions seem fine. The earlier one you googled (‘an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact’) is so open to (mis)interpretation as to be meaningless

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Personally I do not see the big difference between
an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.
and
“A person is guilty of common assault if they either inflict violence on another person – however slight this might be – or make that person think they are about to be attacked.”
But anyway I suspect that the actual aplication of that law has been fairly reasonable in practice.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

As a very brief (an therefore necessarily incomplete) definition, it’s a pretty good summary, although – in English law, at least – it would be improved by qualifying ‘apprehension’ with ‘reasonable’.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

I’m grateful to m’learned friend, but struggle with the equation of ‘offensive contact’ (whatever that is) with assault

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Practically everyone on the tube in rush hour is being assaulted then???

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You can spend days chasing the so-called ‘legal’ definition of ‘sexual assault’ (which is different from just ‘assault’) and at the end of that time arrive back where you began, knowing only that…well…it depends upon what the so-called ‘victim’ says it is.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) a Sexual Assault is: “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” What, we ask, is NOT a sexual behavior?
When men and women interact, the very fact of their sexual being and inherent sexual attraction (or presumed sexual attraction) tends to cast all of their interactions into a potentially ‘sexual’ mode and every behavior potentially sexually tinted.
The DOJ defines sexual assault as “ any nonconsensual sexual act”. Same thing. What is a sexual act… what isn’t? Nor is the condition of consent one which needs (depending upon the Court or Board) any real proof. Rather, in demonstrated case after case, we see the accused having to, instead, demonstrate proof that they had obtained what the ‘victim’ says they did not give.
And so we return to the understanding that sexual assault is indeed, anything of a sexual nature which is unwanted where the unwanting is known only by the ‘victim’ who is under no compulsion to communicate her ‘unwanting’ condition.
Affirmative Consent…which increasingly is becoming a ‘sexual assault’ standard, is insane.
It’s been insane from the get-go.
When California first tumbled down this rabbit hole, one of the authors of the bill, California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal was asked: ‘How would affirmative consent be proven?’ Her answer: “Your guess is a good as mine.”
She might more accurately have said, “It can’t.”
It is impossible to prove that consent was given — if one’s partner said it was not. It is impossible to prove that consent was maintained, if one’s partner said it was withdrawn. Add to this the notion that even if consent is proven (somehow), such consent is not valid IF…the woman has been subject to male persuasion (“C’mon…”)….or psychological pressure (“You know you wanna!”)….or threat (as in, and I quote, the threat to “no longer love them”). Equally consent nominally received is invalid if the woman in question has been drinking (and God knows people don’t ever drink on Saturday night!).
Needless to say, the male , in all these cases is absolutely responsible….well, because he’s male.
Seems pretty clear to me.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Then there a few times in my (distant) past when I was “assaulted” and didn’t know it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

Yeah, and it’s a bit weird that Stacey’s behaviour in the terms described for gay culture in the article above is merely ‘flirtatious’. A great pity too as it’s deprived us of one of the best actors in the last thirty years.

D T
D T
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Fortunately there are enough great actors out there that no one even misses Spacey.

D T
D T
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

Why wouldn’t it be assault if someone grabs a 14 year old by the buttocks and forces them onto a bed? That is part of what happened to Rapp. I am just happy for Rapp that he was able to get away and wasn’t raped by the creep.

Last edited 1 year ago by D T
Phillip LeConte
Phillip LeConte
11 months ago
Reply to  Ali W

Anthony Rapp’s accusations have been a heaven-sent to actual perps of sexual assault.

Brendan Ross
Brendan Ross
1 year ago

It’s very true that male homosexuality isn’t subject to the same dynamics as heterosexuality is, because there are no women — that should be obvious to even the most casual observer. And therefore it makes sense that the same kinds of “new rules” exploration that has been going on in the disastrous situation that heterosexuality finds itself in, currently, in our cultures should not be carried over to the homosexual sphere, because that simply is deploying them out of their proper context.
You may wish, however, to take careful note of the developments inside the fraught and very troubled world of present-day heterosexuality, because the two worlds — the gay and the straight — are now largely linked in the eyes the average person due to the rise of gay marriage/unions and the “normalization” of homosexuality in the popular culture. Many will expect the same norms to apply across the board, because the entire argument was that, but for the narrow issue of the sex of the target of one’s attraction, gays and straights were the same. Many will therefore take a dim view of any “special pleading”, regardless of how logical and sensible it may be (and it is both … again, because no women are present in the gay male context, so applying similar rules is illogical). You will find yourselves under a lot of pressure to conform to broader “straight” norms, as they continue to develop, because now the straight world sees you as “the same” as they are.
A case of “be careful what you wish for”, it seems to me.

Leanne B
Leanne B
1 year ago

I don’t understand why the words “Queer spaces” is used here. Queer spaces are places where men invade lesbian clubs and women invade men’s saunas. What gay man or lesbian wants that?

Jonathan Sidaway
Jonathan Sidaway
1 year ago

Interesting. The scene described not for me – happily civil partnershipped: marriage is for women and men – but I’ve always felt that post-liberation, women, black people and the same-sex-attracted are different categories, which can be compared for the purposes of showing how incomparable in a lot of ways these groups are. The now forgotten Pincher case, for instance: the men groped were (I understand, perhaps wrongly) pretty much of the same class as Pincher: different things can be said abt striving actors and that American actor . Was it really as bad for the Carlton club people as sexual assault by a six foot man on a woman? Sex differences matter.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

#MeToo is simply amplified hysteria…and it’s amplified, seemingly exclusively, in the heterosexual community.
But the amplification occurs NOT because so-called ‘fraught conflicts’ are exclusively heterosexual. (How could they be??) But because half of the heterosexual pair-bond has been primed for perpetual victimhood by stridently outraged, 4th Wave Feminism…itself amplified by the State via the much ballyhooed (and entirely bogus) calculation that 25% of all women are already Victims (and THAT, they tell us, is horribly under-reported!)
So what is ‘sexual assault’? According to the Title IX Mavens who patrol our Colleges & Capitols, it is something ‘uwanted’. This unwanting need only be a momentary thing. It can be preceded and even followed by significant periods of ‘wanting’. Nor does the Unwanting even need to be communicated to one’s partner. It need only be a sensation experienced, before, during, or after the fact at issue.
Sexual Assault can be an unwanted kiss, a wayward look, an unappreciated joke, a rude comment, a pat on the butt, an awkward embrace, a crude proposition, a persistent & obnoxious request (“So, like, do you wanna go out the Saturday after next Saturday?). And more, sexual assault is regretted sex, unhappy break-ups, bad sex, spurned sex, …the list of unwanted stuff is endless.
I knew a man once who was accused of sexual assault because…on his desk…he had a 5X7 picture of his wife….on vacation….at a beach….wearing a bikini. He had to take it down.
The truth is Adult Sex is a full-contact sport. Men know this; women used to know it. The ‘sexual dance’ which precedes direct & explicit sexual engagement is filled with sexual advances, sexual retreats, and exploratory sexual maneuvers. Each potential partner ‘scouts’ the other to discover potential levels of shared interest, and they do this with the very behaviors which fill the lists of Unwanting.
It’s not, of course, that any particular behavior, in and of itself, is always, perpetually bad or wrong (except for the violent and criminal)…it’s that all of those behaviors can be perceived by the primed-victim to be assaultive (if they so choose). Thus the insanity of Affirmative Consent as pushed by those same strident 4th Wavers and the Deans of the Zampolit.
Why has the idiocy of #MeToo not infected the Gay Male Community? Because it would kill the Community. If the ‘sexual dance’ becomes — via #Metoo Doctrine & Dogma — a cold calculation negotiated by lawyers, why bother dancing? Why are men not #MeTooists? Because all the Commissars of Sexual Assault are women telling women, men are toxic….and if all men are toxic, the world itself dies.

Phillip LeConte
Phillip LeConte
11 months ago
Reply to  B Davis

“Because it would kill the Community.” Spot on! Gay men are in no hurry to have our sex lives, once again, adjudicated by straights. We have a #metoo, It’s called Move your hand or I’ll break your arm.
Unherd, hire B Davis!

John Lammi
John Lammi
1 year ago

Why should gay men pay attention to the prescriptions of angry controlling women. I certainly wish these women would stay silent about gay men.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago

This article moves in on and undermines the idea that Gay Men are no more or less capable of certain dynamics between two people as any other combination.
If they want and believe they should enjoy special dispensation, an opt-out, in judgements as it were, then that assumes as the article indicates that for instance, Gay Male relationships cultivate a unique and different set of norms which should be judged differently.
Ironically I have always believed that the dynamic between two men is capable of a unique and different atmosphere and it is down to a rather obvious point two men together represent the strongest possible physical potential achievable aggressive interaction.
As a single alpha female, I love the company of gay men, they bring a whole load of stuff to the party, often very handsome, attentive, exquisite manners and artistic, knowledgable and witty and none of it is about being invited up for a coffee at the end of the evening which is a relief for all concerned.
The people I find infinitely more complicated to deal with are other women.
Their ambiguous flirtatiousness is very tiresome. Much less Me/Too more Me/What?

Last edited 1 year ago by Michelle Johnston
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago

As a very non alpha female who does not approve of homosexual behavior, I do concur about gay men being pleasant for women to be around in all the ways you describe.

Last edited 1 year ago by Betsy Arehart
M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
1 year ago

It very well may be that many young women often find relationships with older men harmful (although clearly for some women they aren’t) — but this logic shouldn’t be wholesale applied to gay relationships with their own longings and dynamics. It’s unwise to encourage commentators and researchers to apply their own criteria of “healthy sex” to gay men — or indeed any group — who do not see their experiences as problematic. What counts as a predatory violation for some may not be for others.

This could basically be applied to any scenario. “If other people don;t find x problematic you should just assume the problem you see isn’t relevant.”
I’m not sure that excuses taking a hard look at what can be very exploitative relationships. Because it’s pretty normal for people in such relationships to tell everyone that actually they are ok.

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

Well that tells it as it is, rather than how those who are not part of yhe group want it to be.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Why ever should the dictates of controlling #Me Too women be imposed upon men with no intention whatever of engaging in sex with women?

The response of any gay men should of course be “Our bodies, our choice.” Those victimhood-embracing women who view masculinity as toxic should celebrate keeping that toxic sexual behaviour soley inter-male, and far away from them. Unless, of course, this is really all about control.

D T
D T
1 year ago

The author is wrong, gay men definitely need a MeToo movement. Drugging predators are rampant in gay spaces and the targets are usually disadvantaged young gay men, often black or brown. Men go to these spaces looking for friends and community and instead find drug dealers and the drug crowd. At this point I am in favor of all gay bars shutting down, they readily allow the drug crowd in to preserve themselves and have become vile. This is I think the primary reason why the queer bars are taking their place, most of us don’t want to go into the vile environment of a gay bar or club. Men in gay spaces inherently blame the victims not the predators. What the chemsex crowd is doing is reprehensible to these young men, many of them are unknowingly being turned into addicts. Internalized homophobia leads these guys to drug raping other gay men and it is common in our spaces. When you consider that drug rape is how most of the gay serial killers started out it is pretty clear that these guys have the exact same regard for the lives of others. Additionally, it is incredible to me that a lot of gay men consider drug rape a form of sex rather than recognize it as a violent crime.

Last edited 1 year ago by D T
S Ash
S Ash
1 year ago

Golly

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Celebrating promiscuity is not an attractive trait in any man or woman, gay or straight. I am sure many gay men find it distasteful, to say the least.

Last edited 1 year ago by Malcolm Knott
david lee ballard
david lee ballard
1 year ago

“Gay” people ignore things we don’t want to be bothered with because “Gay” is a construct of the Western bourgeois, and wholly an expression of the norms and socioeconomic privileges of that milieu, that’s the “Gay” gaslighting you in this article. “you can’t question our privilege because we suck c***”? This seems the core of the argument. This is why I can no longer “identify” with the +.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
1 year ago

The rules that women want don’t work for gay men because . . (wait for it) . . men and wowen are different. What a shock (to the woke idiots, of course).

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

“norms designed to stop the predatory behaviour of men towards women may be ill-suited to the dynamics of sex between men.”
Spot on!!! Thank you. I feel the same way about the difference between two men – or two women – engaging in BDSM, and a heterosexual couple engaging in BDSM. Big difference. Huge.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Why the difference? Large numbers of women enjoy BDSM.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

They do? Innocent me!

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

Well as you can see, Max knows an awful lot about women.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

What is the big difference?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

If it’s consensual, there’s no moral difference whatsoever.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

The fact is that lots of people, gay, straight or in between like the power dynamics of sex. This includes lots (most) straight women that get off on men being more powerful than them and using that power in the bedroom. For the most part, they love it. This might offend your feminist sensibilities but it’s a fact. I’m not going to say that these little ladies don’t know their own minds or are conditioned by society or whatever. I have too much respect for women to do that.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Frankly who gives a damn? Yes, I have sympathy for the gay community: one only has to look at the beauty and desireability of woman and think ” How on earth could anyman prefer one of his own to them?”!!!