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November 17, 2004

Comments

Amanda

Well, just like I mentioned in the post below, I think it's worth remembering that anonymous sex is often resorted to by people who are ashamed of their sexual orientation. Less shame, less anonymity. Not that it will go away completely, of course.

The interesting thing to me is that while bathhouses are incredibly controversial (the only one in Austin gets picketed all the time), the straight version of the bathhouse is pretty much ignored by the "love" the sinner, hate the sin crowd. The irony of that is that most people in swingers' clubs are married, which means they are committing a far graver sin than homosexual fornication--they are committing adultery.

Hugo

Agreed, Amanda -- that was one of the points I made many years ago. Before condemning anonymous gay sex, one has to ask what factors make it so fundamentally appealing. A culture of repression, denial, and hatred surely plays a key role in making the world of glory holes and bathhouses far more attractive than they might otherwise be.

IT

I'm sorry Hugo, but I read this with the same sad sense I get when I hear that gays are being blamed that Kerry lost the election.

i do not think your response to the word "perverted" is the problem and I regret that you feel forced to "pull back".

Now we are supposed to silence OURSELVES.....?

 Rob

If gay marriage had been acceptable, how do you think it would have affected the HIV crisis in the United States?

Even assuming that there'd be cheating - even assuming it would be more common than in heterosexual couples - I think it might have made a big difference in the epidimiology of the AIDS crisis.

It's worth noting that HIV reached the United States multiple times. There was a case in St. Louis in the 60s. There were previous cases as well, some going back to the 50s or 40s. (I forget the particulars). The St. Louis case was interesting because an alert doctor took blood samples from the patient and froze them because the destruction of the immune system was so puzzling.

zuzu

No, I never visited a bathhouse for research purposes!

Whyever not? If you're going to do a study of them for your thesis, don't you think you should darken the door of one?

Amanda

Good point, Rob. In the early days of AIDS, I'd say a huge percentage of the transmissions occured in a bathhouse setting. A lot of people realized early on that the disease would only be slowed if homosexuality became more acceptable to society at large, which would encourage more gay men to form monogamous relationships. And they were obviously right.

Hugo

Zuzu, trust me, I thought about it. But I was simply too nervous!

Xrlq

Fair enough, but making anonymous sex socially unacceptable is an equally important component of that, if not more so.

Amanda

Xrlq, I do have to wonder exactly how one goes about creating an atmosphere of disapproval of promiscious, anonymous sex while still maintaining a sympathy for the reasons that people seek it out.

David Morrison

Of the 19 friends and acquaintences I lost to HIV/AIDS, ten of them believed they contracted the virus in bathhouses. The same number, by the way, who believed they contracted the virus while part of a long-term/lover relationship.

It's interesting that the cities that had arguably the highest degree of social acceptance of active homosexuality, San Francisco and New York, or at least large and active self-identified gay communities, also had the highest number of bathhouses and bars with backrooms where sex took place on site.

It's also interesting to note that a study published in the journal AIDS found that a "substantial number" of new HIV infections take place in so-called steady relationships.

Data from the Amsterdam Cohort Study (ACS) among young homosexual men suggest that a substantial proportion of new HIV infections occur within steady partnerships. Despite the intensive campaign promoting safe sex practices among homosexual men in Amsterdam, risk-taking remains at substantial levels, especially among steady partners.

Sorry to disagree with you again, Hugo, but I think a drive to drill holes in public property in order to facilitate sexual acts in public places meets a definition of perverse.

Tara

I don't know. If wee use the word 'perverse' to describe perfectly normal (in the sense of common and persistent) things, aren't we just lying to ourselves? It would be like saying over-eating is perverse. And I *know* you all have huge issues with over eating.

I'm sad about your decision Hugo. What makes you so sure that other people are right and you're wrong? Or that your opinion is not worthwhile enough to be published. Jeez, if everybody thought their views had to both perfectly modulated and perfectly expressed before they could publish them, well, media quality would be higher but very scarce!

DJW

I wonder if I'm not getting too old, at 37, to still hold -- simultaneously and with equal conviction -- irreconciliable positions on such profound matters!

Wait a minute. When we get old we have to adopt a coherent and consistent worldview? This is going to be quite a challenge...

In all seriousness, this doesn't mesh with my amateur sociology. Sure, college students who haven't thought much about the difficulties and problems of their various views might have some pretty radical glaring inconsistencies. But in my short life, I've gone from a desparate attempt to construct a coherent and complete ethical worldview (early to mid 20's) to a more relaxed acceptance and perhaps even celebration of a certain amount of contradiction as a fundamental part of the human pysche (late 20's).

yami

Y'know, as an atheist it might not be my place to comment, but I was struck by your use of the phrase "radical acceptance". Isn't that what Christ offers?

I can't speak to the theology of sex, but on some level, your positions appear more closely related than you seem to think.

Hugo

How comforting of you, yami, to say so!

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