If you believe conservative social theorists, gay men are sexually promiscuous to the point of approaching relativistic speeds. “Studies show the average gay man has approximately one billion sexual partners per year,” the spokesperson for the God Guns and Glory Family Institute will tell a camera with a straight face, right before he goes back to the hotel to have sex with the studly 17-year-old baggage carrier. The more moderate commentators will concede that perhaps all men are rakes but that gay men happen to get more action because they are not counterbalanced by the prudish restrained sensibilities of a lady, who will demand a dinner and a bouquet of flowers before offering her own rosebud to the ravenous beast.
In truth we know a lot of women who turn that paradigm right on its head (and we love those women!) and also a lot of geeky straight men who are the most comfortable they’ll ever get with sex during the awkward moonlight scene in Avatar. A better reason casual sex might come easier to gay men than to straight guys is that, according to stereotype, there is a much higher degree of probability that the gay man has washed his damn taint in the last 24 hours. That’s one less thing for his partner to worry about, and you have to agree, it is a pretty big thing.
But the conservative theories about gay men and sex are wrong, because the theories assume sex is extremely central to gay men, when they actually don’t really care that much about it. Yes, that’s right, sex is not that important to gay men. Sex has it’s proper place and time like everything does, and it sure is fun to joke about, but gay men really just use sex for an excuse to cuddle. Preferably overnight. Cuddling is the epitome of intimacy; sex is just the punctuation, a formality, like a handshake, so afterward you can hold each other undistracted by your boner. Sex is the doorway into cuddling, which is the opposite of how it is for straight men, who use cuddling as a doorway into sex. Or at least that’s what the ladies tell us.
Not all gay men admit they like to cuddle, because lots of gay men are pretty manly and cuddle isn’t a very masculine word. It basically sounds like “cute” and “baby turtle” mashed into two syllables, which makes you think of class pets and children’s cartoons, or maybe those beach pelicans that kill the hatching turtles trying to get to the ocean – to feed their own babies, which are also very cute! Masculine words sound like “domination” or “motorcross,” which would be more likely to catch on with men. “Hey bro, do you wanna motorcross with me on the recliner?”
But whatever you call it, cuddling can cause a man to burn with envy. An open-minded gay man might tell his rapscallious boyfriend, “alright you can have sex with John, but after that you come home right away; I just cannot bear to imagine you cuddling with him!” And all gay men, those who are big spoons and those who are little spoons alike, hug and caress their pillows when they don’t have someone sleeping with them. They cry into its soft contours. Yes, just for someone to cuddle with – that’s just how big a deal it is.
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