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Where Are the Slutty Straight Guys?

Where Are the Slutty Straight Guys?


SPOILER WARNING: If you're still in the first season of the British Skins, be careful.

COMMENTARY: I'm halfway through the second season of Skins, the recently Americanized British drama that will make you wish you were 15 again so you could take pills and fuck. It is a show about partying, shagging, emotional teens, but it is well-written. The symbolism and syntax are purposeful. That is why I found something particularly interesting the season 1 episode "Michelle." Antihero Tony, who has cheated on his girlfriend with seemingly half of Bristol's available females, finally goes too far by giving his friend Maxxie an exploratory (and painful) BJ while Michelle is passed out in a bed next to them.

Michelle wakes up in the middle and spends the next couple of days waiting for Tony to apologize. He doesn't. She decks him. Though Tony has deserved an ass-kicking since episode 1, Maxxie gets reamed out as well. When he tries to apologize, Michelle calls him "dirty little slut who fucks around with other people's boyfriends." With most shows, I would just find that to be an insensitive double standard, but it's Skins, so it's making a point.

The idea of two men having sex tends to make people uncomfortable. I could fill a post with inadvertently ignorant or hurtful things that the people closest to me have said on the subject of my sex life. My parents, my sister, my straight friends all view gay sex as something that is, if not dirty, a path to physical violence or life-threatening disease. So when gay guys have the exact same amount of sex as a straight counterpart, it is the homo that gets called the slut.

Take this, for example: There are two guys who go out together one night. Both flirt with the people they find attractive, both make out with a couple of them at the bar. Both stumble out together and start talking to a pair of attractive friends at the bar's 3 a.m. "sidewalk sale." Both take one of the friends home and have sex. However, one of those guys is gay and the other is straight. How are their friends' reactions going to differ?

The straight guy's friends will high-five him and ask the details. He'll further his reputation, at least among men, as someone who is enough of a "stud" to always be able to score ass. But the gay guy's friends? They'll call him a whore.

As is proven time and again (frequently by Advocate commenters -- thanks, guys), gay men love to call each other whores. And "whore" tends be categorized as "anyone who has had more sex than the person doing the name-calling." I think most gay men out there are brought up to believe that gay sex is something very wrong (often through comments like the one in Skins), and most of us, even the most sexually liberated, have to struggle with the societal implications of being naked with another man. So calling each other whores seems to be the easy way out.

Gay men spend years internalizing negative, homophobic remarks and then turning them against each other. Think there's no connection between the demonization of effeminate men and the number of Grindr profiles asking for "Str8 acting" sex partners? We get taught that our sex is somehow worse than the others'. Then we give it out as bad as we get it to the people around us.

If there is anyone out there who has never had sex and never plans to, then I might be a little more inclined to give them leeway on the language they use. But for everyone else I wanna ask this: If a straight guy can't be a slut, why can you? That word has so many of its own problematic roots, most having to do with misogyny, that retiring it among our own community would be a nice breath of fresh air.

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