Gay Life Tips from a Retro Gay Sex Book!

posted by Madame Bubby

Gay Sex: A Manual for men Who Love Men old edition book cover

In 1991, Jack Hart published a book Gay Sex: A Manual for Men Who Love Men. Now, given the conditions of the time, when AIDS was still killing so many gay men and the Religious Right still holding power in a post-Reagan political and social climate, the book is both timely and groundbreaking.

By that time, safe sex was the norm, and I think the book reflects the want and the need for sexual activity that doesn’t always end in the ultimate, and to be honest, at that time, deadly fuck.

The book is divided alphabetically, and most significantly, it just doesn’t cover mechanics. It covers the complex thoughts and feelings that both cause and affect sexual relationships. It assumes a freedom to explore gay sex and perhaps find love.

For example, the letter L is divided into these categories: labels, leather, legal matters, legal trouble, loneliness, love, love at first sight, and lubricant. Those categories certainly cover a wide range. In this case, one could even claim the L section really covers life at all levels.

Here are some helpful and insightful quotes that transcend time from that section:

“Labels… The fact is, labels are useful. Without labels, we could end up at the Irish parade instead of the Gay and Lesbian Parade. Just don’t let labels get the upper hand. At one point in your life, you probably assumed you were straight. That label, however unconsciously it was adopted, limited your ability to explore your attraction to other men. You may now identify as gay. That’s fine, but if you find aspects of your personality that don’t fit that label, it’s the label that should be redefined – not your personality.”

“Legal matters… Sign power of attorney agreements, providing the authority to make the decisions and sign documents for one another should one of you become incapacitated. It’s important to have a will, and also a Living Will, which indicates what you want done if injury or illness leaves you unable to indicate your own desires.”

“Loneliness… The best antidote for loneliness is not finding a lover, or a date, but in doing things you enjoy, with other people, and through that, finding some new friends. Unfortunately, no one will ever believe this basic truth from reading a book. Some spend years learning it the hard way, and others never learn it all.”

“Love at first sight… There’s nothing wrong with that feeling. It’s enjoyable, and psychologists have even come up with the term limerence for that swept-off-your-feet sensation. But if you assume that a relationship has to start that way, you’ll miss some good opportunities that simply don’t announce themselves quite so loudly.”

“Lubricant… It’s best to use a lubricant that comes from a tube or squeeze bottle. Anything in a tub or jar easily becomes a repository for germs, as your fingers dip in and out."

Now, based on these quotes, one might think, yeah, we know, and we’ve come a long way since then. Perhaps in some matters, especially social and legal rights and recognition, but the complex feelings and actions that feed into one’s variegated social identities remain, transmuted as their context transmutes.

In fact, one could even claim that labels and loneliness have taken on even more complex, and perhaps, problematic dimensions in a life that now encompasses both cyber and physical space. There’s much more going on than choosing the right lubricant which can now be delivered to your door in a few hours for the hook up you scheduled on Scruff.

Perhaps the key words here also begin with the letter L. We physically lost a generation to AIDS. Let’s not socially and psychologically lose a generation to labels and loneliness.

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Coffee?

Cup of coffee

Coffee is omnipresent. At least as far back as I can remember. I grew up in a world where stewardesses and waitresses always offered coffee and groups of adults drank cups of coffee (even at night). It usually came out of big metal cans, already ground. People made it at home in tall shiny percolators. Mrs. Olson spent her life in other people's homes encouraging coffee drinking. Badly made coffee meant social disgrace.
 

Mrs. Olson commercial

The beverage was the medium of socialization, its most minimal level. I don't know you that well, neighbor, but here's a cup of coffee. And you could always get coffee at places where life-changing boundary events occurred: hospitals and funeral homes. And you drank it from white styrofoam cups.

The coffee phenomenon in the West started out as an expensive treat for well-heeled gentry in late seventeenth century England, becoming the preferred drink of literary intelligentsia in what were called coffee houses. The less expensive it became (tea followed a parallel journey), the more widespread.
 

Sears department store exterior

Unfortunately, the coffee buzz was built on the sounds of whips cracking on plantations populated by African slaves. The same dynamic applies to sugar, which Americans used to add to their coffee in cute little packets (I remember ones that showed pictures of birds) or cubes before Starbucks entered the market with its elaborate lattes and coffee lingo of Tall and Grande. No more just black or sugar or cream choices.
 

Slaves in a coffee farm in Brazil

Yes, the coffee shop is back and has reached heights of gourmet splendor (and I might add still based on oppressive labor in areas where the beans are harvested), but its denizens are usually working on laptops, perhaps a place to at least get out of the house in an online world. No coffee shop has a right to exists without Wifi.
 

Person at Starbucks on a laptop

Person to person connections do occur in these settings, but often they seem to be first-time encounters. I spoke with you online. Let's meet for coffee.

I've never got meeting for coffee, unless it's an early morning meeting. At my house. In my bed. I've noticed many of the traditional brands like Folger's used to show commercials with couples in intimate settings drinking coffee. White couples in fluffy bathrobes lounging around on Pottery Barn-inspired home settings. It's the wholesome after-sex drink, like the once omnipresent after-sex cigarette.
 

Straight couple in white bathrobes drinking coffee in bed

This image is retro in some way, maybe, but also, especially when paired with the cigarette, there are some associations with loneliness. Picture the elderly woman in McDonald's drinking coffee, and then going outside to smoke. And going home to repeat that action.

What's scary is one could substitute elderly single gay man in the picture above.
 

Older man sitting alone at McDonald's drinking coffee

After all, the trendy young gays go out for coffee, and either drink it at the local Starbucks or, if they are really status conscious, at some hipster place that sells environmentally friendly beans in recyclable cups. The shop also doubles as a cat petting parlor and sells locally made tie-dye scarves. The gaylings also take their coffee home sometimes, because just being seen with the cup on the street gives them social status.

The only place you will see me with a cup of coffee is early in the morning, my best time for sex, which means you will have to spend the night at my house. And trust me, if I get really turned on, you'll need that cup of joe. Woof!

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Featured

Madam Bubby is Damn Mad: Ageism in the Gay Community


Posted on craigslist, missed connections:

Thursday night it was the backyard at Manhandler. You were sucking guys off with your shirt off. You smoked a lot. That's nasty by the way. You seemed to be in my proximity or in my face the whole time I was there. You were inside fucking with your tired little cell phone (probably seeking even more cum from the web) and I got a good look at your face in the light. No wonder you lurk around dark sex venues. You are at least 55, maybe 60, wrinkled, fugly, and that Sean Hayes hairstyle has GOT to go. Please, do us all a favor, and take the summer off from sex. Don't come to water sports parties or bear naked or anything else. Stay home, or whatever the fuck. And the next time you try to elbow your way into the middle of my sex with someone, I'm going to give you a swift kick into your dried up decayed little balls. You know who you are, the one who looks like Jack from Will and Grace, and wears that ridiculous half-lopsided little harness thing sometimes. Go pickle yourself, hon.

Manhandler Saloon

Reply to the above: OMG I know exactly who you're describing. He is everywhere!!!! And so rude and will try to horn in on your action. He needs to stay home for about 20 years until sex no longer matters lol.

I am damn mad. I understand the poster's need to vent on one level, but I actually felt sorry for the person this individual was complaining about.

I wasn't surprised by the poster's crass materialism (”tired little cellphone”) and of course, obviously, the insults about the person's age and physical appearance. Such unabated viciousness seems to be common these days in a culture of narcissism and entitlement.

And let's face it: these have always been problems with ageism in the gay community, as well as the rampant discrimination against those who don't possess an ideally perfect youthful body. Even in vintage Hollywood, an actress over 35 was over the hill.

And the prejudice against age and those who don't match up to certain physical standards has escalated in a world where sex is available on a phone app, bodies can be photoshopped, and Kim Kardashian is a role model.

Gay body issues


Regarding the reason for the vent, I do understand the etiquette about not “horning” in on public sex scenes, but rather than posting something so hurtful anonymously (the coward's way out), how about speaking kindly to the person and perhaps explaining the etiquette, for a start?

(But then, in the middle of a circle jerk, counseling might not come to mind.)


As I said above, I feel deeply sorry for this person who was the target of such vitriol. Loneliness … sexual addiction … who knows what drives this person to behave this way? I think his fate is the fate of so many unattached older gay men, many of whom don't know how to develop relationships (or, even more sadly, they could be lonely survivors of the AIDS epidemic of the eighties) because their only exposure to gay life was “dark sex venues,” which before today's environment of acceptance, were often the only places a gay person could connect?


Lonely older gay man

And finally, to the person who posted that craiglist ad: Who are you to judge? You also seem to frequent these “dark sex venues.”

 

I don't think I would be wrong in predicting that you will be that person in about twenty years. Karma's a bitch, bitch!

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