Huffington Post: More Straight Americans Than Gay Americans Having ‘Gay Sex’

August 23 0 Comments Category: Blogs, Health

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More Straight Americans Than Gay Americans Having ‘Gay Sex’

By:
Editor, HuffPost Gay Voices

I’ve been thinking a lot about sex lately. For those who know me personally, that probably won’t come as too much of a surprise. I’m a red-blooded gay man with a hunky, virile boyfriend, and I’ve always seen sex as a healthy, important part of my life. But in recent months I’ve started to realize that I’m not the only one who is obsessed with what I’m doing in my bedroom or in my shower or on my kitchen table or… well, you get the idea.

My sex life, and the sex lives of my queer brothers and sisters, is (and has been) a favorite topic for countless right-wing and evangelical conservatives who fill their radio broadcasts and newsletters and email blasts with lurid concerns about the things that go bump (and grind) in the night in our homes. Not only is gay sex portrayed as filthy and indefensibly immoral because it does not result in pregnancy, but these pundits and politicians seem to take the greatest pleasure in presenting it as fundamentally dangerous.

For example, Bryan Fischer, the anti-gay radio host and American Family Association spokesman (has anyone else noticed the sad fact that when the word “family” is used in a organization’s name, it usually means trouble?), recently proposed an “awareness” campaign that would feature graphic photos of the consequences of gay sex (e.g., HIV and its associated complications) in the same way that many countries feature images of diseased organs on the sides of cigarette cartons in an attempt to dissuade people from smoking. And earlier this year GOP State Senator Stacey Campfield, the man who spearheaded Tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill, told HuffPost Gay Voices’ Michelangelo Signorile that “it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.”

Not only are statements like theirs patently untrue (the tragedy of AIDS in Africa alone is proof enough), but these pundits are ignoring one little thing: If we consider that, at the very least, straight Americans outnumber queer Americans 10 to 1, then there are many, many more straight people in this country having “gay sex” than there are gay people having it.

Yup, you read that correctly. If, like Fischer and Campfield and their comrades, we were to define “gay sex” as non-vaginal sex, specifically oral and anal sex, then anytime two heterosexual people have oral or anal sex (not to mention BDSM or kink or group sex or role playing or masturbation), they are engaging in the very same activities that these pundits label as obscene and hazardous. And guess what: They’re doing it all the time!

For instance, Slate examined a 2010 Journal of Sex Research study and found:

By ages 25-29, eight of every nine women have performed fellatio, and half have done it in the past month.

By ages 25-29, 88 percent say they’ve received oral sex from a man, and 72 percent say they’ve received it in the last year. (Men confirm this: 86 percent say they’ve given it, 74 percent in the last year.) That’s pretty close to the 91 percent of men aged 25-29 who say they’ve received oral sex from a woman and the 77 percent who say they’ve received it in the past year.

20 percent of women aged 18-19 say [they've tried anal sex], and by ages 20-24, the number is 40 percent.

But we don’t really need surveys or studies to tell us that straight people enjoy the same kinds of sexual activities that queer people do, do we?

And perhaps this points to the even bigger blow-up doll in the room: our country’s (at least publicly) antiquated attitudes about sex, and the shame associated with it. Even though everyone is having sex (and not always with their husband or wife or significant other), we still won’t talk about it, and we specifically go out of our way to stigmatize it. We give films with sexual content R and NC-17 ratings while films with graphic violent content breeze by with a PG-13. We tar and feather Janet Jackson when she shows her nipple during the Super Bowl but buy our kids video games dripping with glorified decapitations and mutilation and other assorted gore.

Painting sex, gay or straight, as damaging and wicked has very real consequences, from blocking safe-sex education in schools (which can lead to more STIs and unwanted pregnancies) to contributing to false ideas about what it means to be queer and cultivating a culture where those struggling with their sexual identities are encouraged to stay in the closet, seek so-called “reparative therapy,” or even consider suicide.

And it’s not just straight people who are guilty of demonizing sex and sex positivity. After my recent column examining the radical possibilities inherent in validating relationships that are not purely monogamous, I received an onslaught of emails from disgruntled Gay Voices readers. I was even called “ho-ish” (my new favorite term) and a “slut.” What’s more, I was told that my view “threatened to set back the marriage equality movement 20 years,” and that I should stop giving our enemies ammunition to use against us.

Let me be clear: I am a big supporter of marriage equality, and I’d love to have the option to get married if I choose to do so at some point in the future. However, what good is gay marriage (or forwarding the queer movement) if it comes with the trappings of a broken system?

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