THE BUTTFUCK DICTATORSHIP
FROT AND THE NEXT
Thirty years ago a handful of gay liberationists, of whom I was one, confronted a smug, self-satisfied heterosexual establishment convinced that homosexuality, if not evil or sick, was, at best, an immature and adolescent behavior which the healthy inevitably outgrew.
This Heterosexual Dictatorship, as we in Gay Lib called it, had a deathgrip on all discussions of sexuality in America. Not only were there no bookstores or newspapers or movies or even books that presented homosex favorably, but not even in academic, scholarly, or professional circles was it possible to assert that homosexuality might be a normal, healthy, or fulfilling life choice.
Anyone even suggesting that was certain to find him or herself shunned by friends, abhorred by family, ridiculed by colleagues, and out of a job.
That was the power of the Heterosexual Dictatorship.
But we in Gay Liberation knew that that Dictatorship was wrong, and we weren't afraid to say so. We knew that what we wanted wasn't immature or adolescent or anything else other than the expression of our truest and most authentic selves.
For five years we spread that passionate message -- that Gay, in all its manifestations, is good -- among gay and straight people alike.
The result was revolutionary. A portion of humanity that had been despised and persecuted for centuries suddenly found itself able to breathe free and to realize one of the most basic of human aspirations -- the celebration of sexuality.
But in 1975 the mood began to change. Neo-conservative forces became increasingly vocal in the gay community, and in sexual mores there was a profound shift, a pendular swing familiar to students of revolution anywhere. For among gay men, apparently frightened by the possibility of a world without sexual boundaries, a consensus began to emerge and swiftly take hold that the smorgasbord of sexual choices familiar to previous generations was not good enough, that instead sex had to be defined and controlled. Whereas previously oral sex, JO, frottage, and anal sex had been viewed as essentially equal, a new and rigorous definition of good gay sex appeared, in which the first three were considered foreplay, and only the last regarded as the culminating, and therefore essential, gay sexual act.
This new model of gay male sexuality mirrored, of course, heterosexuality, in which foreplay leads to penetration, and for which the psychiatric establishment of the time had a term: "full genital maturity." The parallel was stark: For straights, cocks and cunts. For that newly emerging ethnic group called gays, cocks and butts. Tops and bottoms, dominants and submissives -- you see, we could say, we're not that different after all.
At the same time gay men sought to imitate straight men in other ways, and so entered the clone, a new type of gay man defined by his muscles and his moustache. The fact that beneath the veneer of hyper-masculinity there might still lurk a screaming and sometimes vicious queen bothered a few people, but since sex was becoming increasingly anonymous, it wasn't really necessary very often to discover what your partner was actually like. He looked good, and that was enough to get you both off.
Gay men who didn't like anal intercourse rapidly found themselves put into a category that just a few years earlier had been reserved for all homosexuals: adolescent and immature. Their sexual choices were stridently belittled, and they were often told that they themselves were not truly gay. A few, like myself, who perhaps remembered the bad old days before gay liberation and believed that the essence of sexual liberation was the freedom to practice one's own authentic sexuality, stuck stubbornly to their non-anal ways. (See "Hyacinthine Love" at www.whitecranejournal.com/wc01080.htm or on this Cockrub Warriors site for my autobiographical view of that era.) But many found that the peer pressure was too great, and simply concealed their sexual preferences as best they could, having anal sex when it seemed necessary to placate their partners.
And so it's gone ever since. Today, anal sex dominates gay male lives, both in thought and deed.
Its hegemony would be the envy of tyrants anywhere. Anal sex dominates pornography, which remains the principal way sex is modeled for gay men, dominates gay literature, theater, legitimate cinema, art, and the gay press, dominates discussions of gay male relationships, in which the question is invariably asked "Who's the top?", dominates cyberspace and the chat rooms, and of course dominates our sex lives themselves.
The cultural deathgrip that anal sex has on gay male life is so thorough that it's equal to the stranglehold that heterosex once had on all sexuality in America. Thirty years after Gay Lib first took on that smug, complacent group of social arbiters and moralists it called the Heterosexual Dictatorship, gay life is controlled by a Buttfuck Dictatorship.
Physically, of course, this particular despotism has been a disaster. We're still counting the bodies, but my guess is that to date (and allowing for under reporting) about 500,000 gay and bi American men have died of AIDS, most of whom acquired HIV through anal intercourse.
And there's no end in sight. No vaccine, no cure. The failure of HAART and the barebacking debacle, epitomized this summer by the death of barebacking activist Stephen Gendin, who had infected his previously negative lover about a year earlier, sounded a clarion call that there was no safe way to return to unprotected anal sex, even while rising infection rates tell us that more and more are doing so.
Psychologically, the cultural emphasis on anal sex has been, I maintain, devastating also. The division of gay men into tops and bottoms means, inevitably, that a large proportion of gay men, probably the majority, internalize a submissive, feminized role that at best is a parody of the way women themselves actually behave and which has been rejected by most heterosexuals. (The incorporation of this female caricature, which is most clearly seen in the buxom burlesques of drag, should not be confused with the psychologically desirable male goal of coming to terms with the feminine, or intuitive, side of one's nature.) As gay men we experience the results of this internalized self-hate everyday in the bitchiness, the attitude, the hissy fits, and the denigrating use of she, her, and girl to refer to other gay men which, along with alcoholism, drug abuse and compulsive promiscuity, are among the worst aspects of gay male life. And although we can't be absolutely certain of what goes on in private, we know that chat rooms are full of men asking to be fucked while being called pussy, cunt, and bitch. Put simply, the division of gay men into tops and bottoms has strengthened internalized homophobia, the single greatest destructive force in gay male life.
And spiritually, the denial of equality in sexual relations ties gay male sexual practice and gay men into the false dualities of the intensely homophobic Judeo-Christian-Islamic worldview, which in contrast to the other great religions, denies the essential oneness of creation, and falsely posits instead a universe divided into creator and created, good and evil, male and female, top and bottom.
Despite its disastrous effects upon the health, emotions, and spirit of gay men, the Buttfuck Dictatorship remains comfortably in power. Like the heterosexual dictatorship which preceded it, its primary weapons are the scorn and ridicule it lets fall on gay men who dare to deviate from its norms, and its ironclad control of the avenues of debate.
But it's axiomatic among students of revolution that where there's oppression, there's resistance. And the resistance to anal sex has been building among gay men for years.
Three years ago I wrote an essay called "Some Thoughts on Cock-rubbing and the Cultural Tyranny of Butt-fucking." In it I explored some of the cultural and historical forces I've discussed in this article, and described at some length how I had a long and passionate sexual life with my lover which centered around cockrubbing, and in which anal sex played no part.
Despite my article being closely reasoned and passionately written, no one would print it. After two years of putting it out there, I found one editor, Toby Johnson at White Crane Journal, who was willing to run it, but even he was uncomfortable with the term butt-fucking in the title and insisted that I add the somewhat opaque hyacinthine love to its name.
Then I found that no one would publicize it, or carry for that matter any other criticisms of anal sex. When, for example, I suggested to the publisher and editor of POZ that the failings of safer-sex campaigns and the urge to bareback needed to be explored in a cultural, rather than simply moral sense, they refused to even run a letter from me. Even after Larry Kramer himself intervened via email to urge that they do so. It was a stunning example of an entrenched AIDS/anal establishment simply digging in its heels and saying, fuck you fella, we control the debate and you're not going to be heard. (Of course there may have been other motives as well, since POZ had hardly been an innocent bystander to barebacking, having editorially puffed up Gendin and the barebacking movement as the natural heirs to Michael Callen, ACT/UP and the PWA coalition. We'll never know how many people died or were infected as a result of POZ' flirtation with pseudo-revolutionary sexual politics.)
So I turned to the internet, and there I discovered a rapidly growing movement of men into frot (the new, hip term that's short for frottage), cockrubbing, and wrestling who refuse to knuckle under to the anal establishment, and who are increasingly vocal and organized in their opposition. I've spent most of a year now publicizing my article among them, have gotten tons of email responses from grateful readers, and now have my own online frot community
This growing movement of men into frot who disown anal sex is not simply a matter of sexual taste. It goes farther than that, for it's a rejection of the overly and unhealthily feminized self-image of gay men that has dominated our lives for generations. As such it is, I believe, like other masculinist impulses among the gay masses, a manifestation of the collective unconscious correcting a psychic phenomenon that has lingered too long in one direction.
So it's no accident that men into frot reject almost every aspect of the anal sex worldview, embracing equality and masculinity as the essence of a gay male sexual experience, and often, though not always, seeking involvement in such traditional male contact sports as wrestling and boxing. To the frot boys, the buttfuck emperor has no clothes -- his proclamations of superiority and sexual fulfillment ring hollow, and much of the time, guys into frot like myself just don't get it.
Why, we ask for example, is it better to dominate (or be dominated by) your partner? Doesn't make sense for guys into frot. What we value is the intense and complete equality we feel with our buds and lovers, the face to face, heart to heart, cock to cock contact, in which neither partner is controlling the other. What we seek, as I've said often in my own writing, is the union (or contest) of two equally strong and noble beings, not a master and slave. If that's romantic, so be it. For many of us, frot is the ultimate expression of romance.
Why is there so little touching? In porn fuck scenes, it's common for the only contact between the partners to be anus and penis. What about the rest of the body? What happened to the back, the chest, the arms, the legs, the face, the ass cheeks themselves? Where'd they go? In frot, we relish the full body contact, the touching of as much of the two bodies as possible for as long as possible. That's one reason that guys into frot are so often into wrestling, and vice versa. We want to feel all of the other guy's body, not just his fuck hole.
What about sensation? Cocks and balls are, in arousal, exquisitely sensitive. Anuses are not -- they are not, and will never be, organs of sexual pleasure. Every guy into frot has heard the claims made for the prostate. We don't buy them. We think that anal sex is, for the bottom, largely a mental trip, a getting off on the domination and the pain.
What about the parallels with heterosex? Whenever we frot guys bring them up, we're accused in effect of disloyalty -- why? Are the butt-fuckers that insecure? I maintain that anal sex is popular among gay men for the same reason that Jews used to shorten their noses and African-Americans straighten their hair -- it yields a sense of conformity with the majority culture. Yet would any Jewish leader advocate plastic surgery, any Black leader endorse Afro-sheen? I don't think so.
So there now exist two very different views of sex in the gay male world. The older is characterized by inequality, the feminization of one partner, and limited physical contact. The newer values equality and masculinity, and seeks sex that is prolonged and sensual.
What is emerging is a Kulturkampf. And unless the analists become far more tolerant of their gay frot brothers, over time the conflict and distance between the two camps will inevitably grow.
But those of us into frot are not really concerned by the widening gulf. We have stood apart from the great anal sex frenzy of the last 25 years that consumed an entire generation, and from that experience we have gained a certain clarity. It's clear to us that anal sex is physically dangerous and culturally outmoded, and we will continue to say so. No doubt the proponents of buttfucking will mount a vigorous defense. But they won't succeed. There are currents and tides to human affairs and anal sex, with its emphasis on feminization, hierarchy, and penetration no matter how great the risk, belongs to the past and is about to be washed away.
For frot belongs to that emerging world in which all people will be free, dominated not by the state or the group or the corporation or a husband or a boyfriend, but free to make their own choices and determine their own destinies.
It was the democratic and homosexed Greeks who first had that vision of humanity, which they gave to the world. We in frot are promoting that vision sexually. We frot boys, cockrub dudes, and dick2dick bros are confident that the days of the buttfuck dictatorship are numbered, and we're certain that the future is ours.
© Copyright 2000 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced or quoted without permission from the author.
the future is ours
This article, The Buttfuck Dictatorship, was published in slightly different form in November 2000 in Jack Nichols' GayToday as Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution.
Reader response to the essay was so powerful that Jack, one of the founders of the modern gay movement, followed it a month later with an interview titled Cockrub Warrior: Bill Weintraub.
Following on the success of Hyacinthine Love, or Some Thoughts on Cock-rubbing and the Cultural Tyranny of Butt-fucking, published in January 2000, Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution was the first essay to describe the dominant culture of anal penetration, to term it The Buttfuck Dictatorship, to critique analism and anal penetration itself, and to call for a new m2m culture of Heroic Homosex centered on phallus, masculinity, and fidelity: Frot.
In the years since, the word "Frot," which I coined, has come to be used worldwide to describe phallus-on-phallus sex, while analists are increasingly on the defensive regarding their dangerous and out-moded practice.
Despite the opposition of the analist establishment which controls much of the gay male media and AIDS, Inc., literally millions of people have visited the websites -- Heroic Homosex, Cockrub Warriors, and Frot Men -- of The Man2Man Alliance, and throughout the world men who have sex with men have begun to recognize Frot as the leading alternative to anal.
Over the next year, I and my fellow Frot Men will continue to empower, educate, and consolidate the democratic and life-saving gains of Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution.
July 20, 2004
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