Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Complicated

Love is complicated. Sex is complicated. Gay love and gay sex are very complicated. Especially when you try to explain them to straight people.

I don't like sounding elitist, and I hate the notion that somehow gay people are different than straight people. But I'm beginning to realize that gay love and gay sex are pretty different than the hetero versions.

I'm not talking about the obvious elements (two people of the same gender, we use our butts a lot more, etc.). I'm talking about rules, boundaries and dynamics.

But before I launch into my observations, let me preface the rest of this post with something. I think everyone knows Matt and I are broken up. And it isn't like all the other times we've broken up. This one is for real. I'm moving out, I'm getting the cat and we're free to do what we want with other people. I've totally been taking advantage of this last point, and I have to say I feel freer than I have in years. Like some kind of coming-of-age mid 90s gay drama, my independence, sense of self and sexuality are blossoming. And it's totally awesome. You have to remember, Matt and I were together for 4.5 years. I was with him since I was 22. Before that, I had only been out for about three years and dated sparingly since I was living in mid-Missouri, not really the hotbed for hot guys to get into bed with. Now I'm fully realizing the potential that being single and in my 20s has, and it doesn't hurt that I'm quite possibly in the best physical shape of my life.

So anyway, gay love/sex is different. With Matt, we were always trying to wedge our relationship into some sort of heteronormative model that really just doesn't work. We tried to be monogamous (and when we weren't, it was always during a rough patch between us rather than a time when things were really solid. Big mistake). We tried to be domesticated, loving and caring in all the ways we thought we were supposed to because that's what movies, television and our parents had told us for years. But we weren't Ozzy and Harriett, and we never were going to be.

I need fluidity, and I think a lot of gay men do as well. At Market Days this year, I hung out with a couple. They're legally married (they're from Boston). But they openly show affection for other people and bring guys into the bedroom occasionally. But they're completely in love with one another. Another guy I know (I'll call him Shiv), is polyamorous, meaning he has loving relationships with multiple guys. I don't think either scenario is right for everybody, but I think both are reflective of how gay men find ways of making relationships work for them.

I think a lot of straight people would probably benefit from these models. However, the added threat of pregnancy makes things a little trickier (you have a kid with someone else and then there's legal trouble there for ya). Still, I don't think gay men should be judged for their openness to show affection for one another. We can love, still. We just choose to do it in a different way.

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