Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gay Men and Alcohol

Are most gay men alcoholics? Anon.

There is no reason to think that most gay men are alcoholics any more than most straight men are alcoholics. There have been studies of substance abuse and alcoholism in gay men -- which certainly exists -- but to my knowledge no comparisons with heterosexual men have been made -- which would have built-in complications in any case. First there's the question of how MSM (men who have sex with men) identity: gay? bi? -- some guys have sex with other guys and insist they're straight (sure) or at least are leading a "straight life" with a partner of the opposite sex. Studies dealing with sexual orientation are always tricky.

Some feel that gays are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol because of the underlying shame some feel about being gay. Internalized homophobia certainly exists -- and can certainly lead to substance abuse -- but nowadays there are a great many more gays who have absolutely no shame or guilt over their orientation. Then there's the fact that some gays might abuse drugs/alcohol not out of any shame, but for the same reasons that straights do : disappointment in life or love and all the other problems that beset humanity no matter what our orientation.

Life can be tough for all of us, and some people deal with it by abusing drugs or alcohol. In my opinion -- and based on my own observations over many years -- gay men are no more likely to do this than any other segment of the population.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gay does not = Drag

No offense, but why do gay men like to dress up as women? Anon.

No offense, but generally we don't You're confusing homosexuals with transvestites, many of whom are actually heterosexual. When a man is both a homosexual and a transvestite (or cross-dresser), we call him a "drag queen." Drag queen culture is very colorful, which is why it seems so prominent in the gay scene. During Gay Pride parades and marches, the cameras will often zoom in on the drag queens and other colorful participants and ignore the more "ordinary" gay people. For the same reason the gay media often presents a disproportionate amount of cross-dresser portrayals in movies and documentaries. Some "drag queens" may be transsexuals who are in various stages of transitioning from (biological) male to female.

Drag queens are only a small percentage of the gay community although the media may make it seem as if most, if not all, gay men are drag queens. In truth, most gay men are very happy as men, have no real "identification" with females (as many drag queens do), and have no desire to dress up as women. Many feel the gay community would be quite a bit duller without its drag queens while some butch gay guys get awfully tired of the constant confusion between gays and transvestites.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mature Action

I'm a fifty-four-year-old gay man who thought that all the fun was behind him, but I've put myself out there -- on line and in bars -- and am having more sex today than I did twenty years ago. My God -- I get laid practically every time I go out, and I can't believe how many men contact me on gay dating sites for older men. Even guys twenty years younger! I'm not so special but apparently there's someone for everyone. I try to play safe at all times, of course. I'm just here to say that there definitely is gay life for those of us who are fifty and beyond. Brian

Brian, I'm not sure if you're asking a question or just bragging, you little devil, LOL. Seriously, you've hit the nail on the head. Of course there's more to "gay life" than sex, but sex is certainly a big part of it. Good for you! I think younger people might be less depressed about getting older if they knew that the, ahem, joys of life continue even in middle and senior years, and this is true for straights as well as gays. As for "trying to play safe," don't just try -- do it! HIV and other SDT infection is rising in men above the age of 50, the downside of all that action. But that's no reason to take alarm. Use condoms (even if you're a top), shower within thirty minutes after sex, avoid risky behavior, get yourself tested regularly, and it's not a bad idea to get to know a potential sex partner first and find out about his sexual history if you can. You can be safe and have a great time as well! I'm looking forward to my fifties, which are rapidly approaching. Way to go, guy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Of Lesbians and Transsexual Men

Why do lesbians become transsexual men? R.J. Atlanta.

I don't think they do in general. Transsexuals and homosexuals (lesbians are female homosexuals) are not the same thing. Homosexuals are attracted romantically and sexually to members of their own sex. A transsexual is someone who feels they were born into the wrong body. They are, for instance, biologically male, with male sex organs, but they feel and act and think as female. Or vice versa. Because of this they "transition" from one sex to another via a sex-change operation. This includes hormone shots, therapy, and so on, and is a long and difficult -- and probably frightening -- process in some ways, as no transsexual can ever be certain how things will turn out. Some transsexuals are proudly "out" about their status; others prefer to "pass," so to speak, and keep it secret. Some people fully transition, changing their sex organs; others retain the sexual organs they were born with for varying reasons. [Here I'm gonna stop because it gets complicated and I've never claimed to be an expert on transsexuality.]

As for your specific question, there have apparently been cases of people wanting to change their sex even though their therapists and other experts feel it's a bad idea or that they aren't really transsexual. I suppose this can happen with both gay men and lesbians who are uncomfortable with their sexual orientation, but I don't think it happens very often. Some people go "underground" to get the drugs and hormones they need and the results are often said to be disastrous.

It's safe to say, however, that there isn't an "epidemic" of lesbians transitioning into men. Most lesbians are perfectly happy being women.

I think what has you confused is that some female-to-male transsexuals do identify as lesbians before they recognize that they are really transsexual. Once they realize their true nature, however, they also realize that they were never, in a sense, lesbians; they were always -- in the psychological if not biological sense -- men attracted to women. They engaged in homosexual activity almost by default because they had female bodies. Sometimes "heterosexual" women who transition into men become gay men afterwards, and feel they were always gay men no matter what biological body they were in. To further confuse the issue, there are cases of women who were attracted to women before the change, and then become attracted to men afterward, going -- in one sense -- from straight to gay and vice versa. (But be advised this does not mean that a gay person's sexual orientation can be changed.)

Many transsexuals are not gay.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Don Juan Homosexuals

What is a "Don Juan homosexual" and are there many of them? Anon.

You don't hear the term much anymore but a Don Juan homosexual is a man who sleeps with and/or gets involved romantically with many, many women because he can't deal with his homosexuality and wants to prove to himself and others that he's a "man." He takes the notion that a "virile" man must be heterosexual too literally. You would think that Gay Liberation would have eradicated most of these guys, but they still exist. There are men who have had several marriages (none successful) and many children who are actually repressed homosexuals -- they can sleep with women successfully but their main sexual attraction is to men. Some of these guys do have sex with men but do it on the "downlow," ashamed of their feelings and actions. They often have a "macho" meat-headed mindset, but Don Juan homosexuals can often be the more intellectual type. Some of them go their entire lives without having gay sex. They have low self-esteem and it's important for them to be seen as heterosexual, "manly" men and studly lover boys. Their marriages often end not because they cheat with men but with women, each time hoping that this new conquest will be the woman who will convince them forevermore that they're "normal."

Sad, really.