Walter Odets, the sex police, and the big lie

by

Bill Weintraub


Back in February 2005, when the gay male community was in an uproar about an alleged new superstrain of HIV, a reporter from The Advocate named Todd Henneman contacted me, explained that he was doing a story on community response to the superstrain, and asked to interview me.

Which he did -- for more than an hour.

At the close of the interview, and again by email, I asked him to let me know when the story came out.

He didn't, and although the story appeared in early April, I didn't learn of it till the middle of August.

Which is when I finally, thanks to Chuck Tarver, got to see the story.

When I did, I wasn't surprised that Todd had neglected to tell me it had appeared, since it was basically a hatchet job.

The story was titled "The new sex police: with AIDS diagnoses on the rise and a scary new strain of HIV looming large, some activists are advocating radical methods to halt unsafe sex."

So right from the git-go, Henneman lumped myself and certain other AIDS activists into the loaded category "sex police" -- that is, people who force you to do forms of sex you don't like and seek to control your sex life.

And of course characterized what we advocate as "radical."

In the article, Todd devoted one paragraph to blogger Jim Lynch, who coined the term "shit sex";

and then one paragraph to me and the Alliance, in which, as you'll see, he managed to mangle the meaning of Frot.

And then followed with what his editors no doubt considered a damning comment from Walter Odets, a prominent San Franscisco Bay Area psychotherapist and, we now know, analist.

The Stakes

Before reading what Todd Henneman and Walter Odets said, it would be good for us to consider what's at stake here.

In February 2005, there was tremendous concern in the gay community over an alleged superstrain of HIV which appeared to progress to AIDS with extreme and deadly rapidity. [1]

As of this writing, whether there is a superstrain of HIV circulating among gay and bi men, or whether what was seen was simply one man's reaction to the virus, remains in doubt.

What isn't in doubt, however, and as most people know, is that HIV infection rates among American "men who have sex with men" (MSM) have been rising steadily.

And in June 2005, the CDC announced, with much fanfare and attendant publicity, that more than one million Americans are now infected with HIV. [2]

Of whom about half -- that's about 500,000 -- are gay and bi men.

Among those men, at least 94% of the new infections are the result of anal penetration.

In addition, there's concern among some researchers that the rate of infection is skyrocketing.

That whereas before it stood at about 40,000 new infections per year, we're now looking at 60,000 new infections per year.

30,000 of those, in theory, are MSM -- that's 82 new MSM infections per day, each and every day.

That's a lot of gay and bi men who are infected with various drug resistant strains of HIV -- drug resistant because those gay men are taking antivirals which breed resistance.

What that means, as a practical matter, is that with every passing day, if you're sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, you're more and more likely to have an encounter with an HIV+ gay or bi man.

Who has the capacity to infect you with the virus, and whose body is almost certainly incubating new, drug-resistant, and possibly more virulent strains of HIV.

To repeat, there are more and more of these guys.

And, if you're a man who has sex with men, they're in your community.

It should be noted that this figure of more than one million HIV-infected is the largest that it's ever been in the US.

The first stories which appeared said that infection rates had been as high in the mid-1980s.

But subsequently, the AP carried this correction:

ATLANTA - In a June 13 story about the estimated more than a million Americans living with the virus that causes AIDS, The Associated Press erroneously reported the number of HIV cases in the mid-1980s.

There were an estimated 550,000 to 650,000 HIV cases in 1986, not 1.2 million, said Terry Butler, spokeswoman with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So we're now looking at DOUBLE the number of infections we faced 20 years ago.

What percentage of "men who have sex with men" (MSM) are actually infected?

Here's a report from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, June 24, 2005 -- the researchers are Sifakis et alia:

The National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system tested 1767 MSMs at venues where they normally congregated, such as bars, clubs and social organizations, in five different cities.

Overall, 25 percent tested positive for HIV.

However, the infection rate differed by race -- 46 percent among blacks, 21 percent among whites, and 17 percent among Hispanics.

Nearly half of those who tested positive were unaware of their HIV infection. Of those with unrecognized HIV infections, 64 percent were black, 18 percent were Hispanic, and 11 percent were white. Although most had undergone testing in the past, the researchers found that 58 percent with unrecognized infections had not been tested during the previous year. [3]

Those are frightening figures.

Percentage-wise, HIV prevalence among gay men in America is far higher than in most sub-Saharan African countries.

And, nearly half of those men don't know they're infected.

So they're spreading the virus with complete ignorance of the result.

What's more, over the summer, a study was released which revealed that 95% of HIV+ gay men in San Francisco were infected with anal HPV (human papilloma virus), a pathogen which causes anal cancer, and that more than 50% of those men had developed grade 2 or 3 anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN), precursors of anal cancer.

And that poz guys on HAART -- "Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy" -- actually had an *increased* risk of AIN. [4]

A previous study had already demonstrated that infection with anal HPV rendered men far more vulnerable to HIV. [5]

And a study before that one found that 57% of HIV negative gay men carried anal HPV. [6]

And that, of course, they'd been exposed through "receptive anal" -- bottoming:

In multivariate analysis the investigators found that the only factor with a statistically significant association with HPV infection was receptive sexual intercourse in the previous six months (p < 0. 0001). The number of male sexual partners in the previous six months was of border-line significance (p = 0.06).

"The striking finding of the present study is that urban HIV-negative [gay men] have high rates of anal HPV infection across all age groups", write the investigators, adding, "therefore, a high proportion of HIV-negative [gay men] may be at risk of developing anal cancer."

The investigators offer possible reasons for the higher prevalence of HPV infection in older gay men than that seen in women over 30. These include the longer persistence of HPV in the anus. However, they believe that the most probable explanation is new exposure to HPV "because the main risk factor for anal HPV infection was the number of male sexual partners in the preceding six months."

[emphases mine]

So: there's no question that anal penetration puts men (and women) at great risk for HIV and HPV -- two potentially deadly diseases.

And that a huge percentage of the gay male population in America has been infected through anal penetration with one or both of these pathogens.

As well as hepatitis B and C, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV), molluscum contagiosum... [7]

And probably others, some very possibly as yet undiscovered.

Which is why, in May of 2005, a group of leading AIDS *prevention* researchers declared, in the summary of their study,

Having a large number of male sex partners, nitrite inhalant use, and engaging in receptive anal sex explained the majority of infections in this cohort and should be targeted in prevention strategies for MSM.[8]

Source: Buchbinder et al J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Volume 39, Number 1, May 1 2005

[emphases mine]

To repeat: These leading AIDS *prevention* researchers recommended that "engaging in receptive anal sex ... should be targeted in prevention strategies for MSM."

Our response

Now, what have we of The Man2Man Alliance proposed as a response to this situtation?

That, as the Buchbinder study recommends, we do indeed target anal sex.

And:

That gay and bi men be encouraged to consider non-anal alternatives, in particular Frot, which is a very low risk and very pleasurable form of genital-genital male-male sex.

And we've pointed out that each and every time a man chooses Frot rather than anal, is a time when he cannot give or get HIV.

Since the rate of new MSM HIV infection is directly related to the prevalence of anal penetration among MSM, *any* reduction in the number of acts of anal penetration would yield a reduction in the number of new HIV infections.

Once again, the relationship is simple and direct:

Don't do anal, don't get HIV.

So, if a gay man does anal 100% of the time, he's at risk 100% of the time.

If, by contrast, he does anal 90% of the time, he's at risk only 90% of the time.

He's reduced his risk by 10% simply by choosing a more pleasurable form of m2m sex.

He hasn't given up sex, and he hasn't given up "gay" sex -- sex with another guy.

All he's done is chosen Frot rather than anal.

What this means is that we could simply and quickly reduce the rate of new HIV infections by encouraging men to make non-anal choices.

The sort of choices the vast majority of gay men made in the 1950s and 1960s, when oral, Frot, and mutual JO predominated, and anal was denigrated. [20]

And there was no health crisis among gay men.

Is that "radical?"

No.

It's a commonsense and gay-sex-positive solution to a very pressing and dangerous problem.

Please remember, as you read these excerpts from Todd Henneman's article, that all we're proposing is moving men away from anal at least some of the time.

And that NO ONE disagrees that doing so would save lives. [9]

The Smear

Here's what Todd Henneman and Walter Odets said in The Adovcate, the nation's leading gay magazine, about Jim Lynch, myself, and Frot:

... the new " sex police " [are] AIDS activists who patrol chat rooms online, bulletin board "bloggers" who denounce anal sex in their forums[,] and pundits who propose solutions like universal HIV testing and the levying of medical-support payments against those who pass along HIV....

Perhaps most sensational among the new AIDS activists [and sex police] are those who campaign against anal sex. Bisexual blogger Jim Lynch describes it as "shit sex " and says the way to avoid the "supervirus" includes no longer depicting anal sex as erotic. "It's truly unfortunate that some folks perceived [me] to be antigay when nothing could be more pro-gay than keeping gay and bisexual men alive and healthy," Lynch says.

Bill Weintraub, who runs the Web site Man2ManAlliance.org, also encourages gay men to give up anal sex in favor of what he calls "frot," or frottage--rubbing bodies and genitals together. He remained HIV-negative without using condoms during his 13-year relationship with an HIV-positive man because they stuck to frottage, Weintraub says. He insists frottage is "hotter" because anal sex "cannot give you the same experience as direct genital-on-genital sex. "

But psychologist Walt Odets says efforts to make anal sex unerotic reflect homophobia. "I think that anal sex has for gay men the same emotional significance that vaginal sex has for heterosexuals," says Odets, author of In the Shadow of the Epidemic. "No one would propose that we initiate a public-health measure by de-eroticizing vaginal sex. It would sound like a ridiculous idea. It's no less ridiculous for gay men."

What is Frot?

What's wrong with that Advocate report?

It smears me and other anti-anal activists as homophobic sex police.

And it lets stand *completely unchallenged* a ludicrous statement by San Francisco gay guru Walter Odets.

First of all, however, we need to correct Henneman's stunning misdefinition of Frot.

I say "stunning" because I spent more than an hour on the phone with him and I explained to him what Frot is -- as I do with everyone I talk to.

And of course I directed him to our websites, which are full of representations of Frot.

Hard to get that one wrong, unless you want to get it wrong.

So: as the vernacular expressions for Frot -- cocktocock, dick2dick, cockrub, bone on bone -- make clear, Frot is phallus-on-phallus sex.

Not complicated.


Frot


Frot


Frot


Frot

Nowhere on my sites or in my work is Frot defined as rubbing bodies together.

Frottage, as defined by sexologists, can be any sort of sexual rubbing.

But not Frot.

I've gone to a great deal of trouble to make that distinction clear to the public, as can be seen for example in this definition of Frot which is cited repeatedly on my websites and of course in this article:

The term "Frot" itself was coined by Frot activist Bill Weintraub in October of 2000 in order to provide men with a race-neutral term for the activity, and to provide a substitute for the word "frottage," an ersatz French word which most sexologists use to refer to any sort of sexual body rubbing.

Frot, by contrast, like the slang terms cock2cock and dick2dick, refers specifically to the rubbing of erect penis on erect penis.

And I made it clear to Henneman.

We do say that Frot can be and often is full-body: face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and cock-to-cock.


Frot

But it's NOT Frot if the genitals are not kept in constant contact.

Why does that matter?

Because Frot, unlike anal, is mutually and simultaneously genital for both partners.

And thus extraordinarily pleasurable.

In describing Frot as "rubbing bodies and genitals together," Henneman makes the practice sound infantile.

When it is actually the acme of mature, masculine, intimate, and fully genital, man2man sex.


Frot

Henneman's purposefully botched description of Frot aside, the meat of the matter is contained in two slanders:

Henneman's terming me a member of the "sex police"; and

Odets' claim that any questioning of the primacy of anal is "homophobic."

Policeman or Liberator?

What are the sex police?

In days past, when sodomy (often defined as homosexual and various other non-procreative forms of sex) was still a crime, there were true sex police -- that is, law enforcement personnel who were charged with arresting and prosecuting those who violated laws against sexual conduct, including homosexuality.

Although there are still places in the world, such as Iran, where adult consensual sexual acts are still punishable by death, as a practical matter in the United States, those so-called sodomy laws have seldom been enforced since the 1960s, and by the 1980s most states had either repealed or greatly limited their statutes against consensual adult sex.

And in 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Lawrence v Texas, overthrew those state statutes which were still remaining.

Nevertheless, the term "sex police" is very damning in the gay male community, since the power of big-city vice squads to arrest and prosecute men simply for having sex was one of the most oppressive and dangerous to our community.

Nowadays, however, homosexuality per se no longer falls within the purview of law enforcement.

Because it's not against the law.

Are there still sex police in the gay male community?

Yes.

In point of fact there are.

But these are a different sort of sex police.

Not paid by the state, but empowered by their subculture to enforce normative sexual behavior -- subcultural norms.

And what is the gay male subcultural sexual norm?

Anal penetration.

The sex police in present-day gay male culture are gay "men into anal" -- that is, analists -- who enforce the anal norm through cultural messages, peer pressure, and coercion.

These gay male sex police, whom, again, we call analists, put forth the message that only anal sex is true gay sex, that in any sexual encounter anal must be the culminating event, and that any other form of sex is immature and incomplete and not truly gay.

Their message in short: you're not really gay if you don't get fucked.

That norm is promulgated by the gay male sex police 24 / 7 / 365.

And it's reinforced through peer pressure, often resulting in physical coercion when a man refuses to get fucked. [9a]

That's how the true sex police operate in the gay male community.

What about men into Frot -- Frot men -- and Frot activists like myself?

Are we the sex police?

No.

Frot men are a tiny and denigrated minority in the gay male community, and virtually unheard of in the nongay ("straight") world.

Frot men have neither the numbers nor the power to function as police.

To the contrary, they are VICTIMS of the sex police, since they are targeted by their gay male peers to do anal.

And Frot activists like myself are consistently censored and silenced.

Unlike the editors of The Advocate and guys like Walter Odets, we have no ability to reach hundreds of thousands of gay men.

Rather we are marginalized, ghettoized, and our work relegated to the shadows.

While we personally are the victims of relentless ad hom attacks.

So: terming Frot activists "the sex police" is totally false, and in reality, reverses the true power dynamic in the gay male community.

In that community, guys into Frot are the VICTIMS of the sex police.

And men into anal are their oppressors.

The Big Lie

Calling Frot men "oppressors" and "sex police" is what students of propaganda term a "big lie": a form of propaganda which takes a power dynamic and reverses it.

Nazi Propaganda Poster
"The Jew: War Inciter / War Prolonger"
readers may click here to see more such very disturbing images

A classic big lie was one made over and over again by the Nazis about the Jews:

"The Jews are making war on the German people."

In reality, of course, the Jews of the 1930s did not have the means to make war on anyone.

They had no weapons, no military, no war-making capacity whatsoever.

It was the Germans who were making war on the Jewish people through mass murder and who indeed almost succeeded in physically annihilating the Jews.

Nonetheless, observers of German life during Hitler's reign have testified to how deeply ordinary Germans believed this particular lie. [11]

And that's because the Nazi propaganda machine -- using all the media at its disposal at the time -- print, radio, film, and even the nascent medium of television -- and every conceivable venue -- the schools, youth groups, civic associations, the military, public demonstrations, and so forth -- propagated it non-stop. [12]

And that's what the analists are doing.

They never miss an opportunity to insist that "if it's not anal, it's not gay."

And that those critical of anal are homophobes.

Are the analists Nazis?

No, of course not.

But the power dynamic and the distortion is the same.

"Frot men are the sex police."

That's a lie, and given its reversal of the power dynamic, it's a BIG LIE.

In the gay male community, the analists are the sex police.

And Frot men are their victims.

Oppressor or Liberator?

Calling me "the sex police" paints me as an oppressor.

The truth about me is that I'm a Gay Liberationist.

And in all my published work, starting with Hyacinthine Love, or Some Thoughts on Cock-rubbing and the Cultural Tyranny of Butt-fucking, which first appeared in 1999 in White Crane Journal;

and proceeding through Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution;

and Rethinking Gay Sex,

-- I use the language of liberation, which I learned when I came out in 1972, to make the point that the primacy of anal penetration has become a new orthodoxy in the gay male community as oppressive to gay and bi men as the old orthodoxy of the medical model of homosexuality.

That's why I make frequent reference to the "Buttfuck Dictatorship" and compare it to the "Heterosexual Dictatorship" which we in Gay Lib sought, by and large successfully, to overthrow.

Far from being the sex police, my goal is to free men from sexual tyrannies, be they gay or straight, so that all men, whether gay, bi, or straight-identified, can be free to be their authentic sexual selves.

And to that end, what I and other guys in the Frot Movement are doing is offering Frot to the MSM community as a gift.

Like any gift, once given, it's up to the recipient what to do with it.

He can cherish it; he can throw it away; or he can put it up on a shelf and think about whether he wants to make it part of his life.

Offering this practice to the community does not make me a policeman.

Because, again, I don't have the power to force men to engage in Frot.

Nor do I seek that power.

The guys who function in the gay community as sex police nowadays are, as I've said, community "leaders" like Odets, who attack anyone who dissents from the gay = anal status quo as "homophobic."

That's patently false.

Because clearly I'm not homophobic.

Homophobe or Homophile?

Bill Weintraub and Brett Averill
1982

Fact is, I'm an openly gay man and have been all my adult life; I love homosexuality and men and sex with men; and I've spent a lifetime not only saying so publicly and under my own name, long before it was easy or popular to do so, but living as transparent and public a relational and sexual life with my lovers as possible and consonant with my physical safety.

Further, over the last 33 years I've done tons of political work in and for the gay community; and I lost my first and dearly beloved lover, Brett Averill, again very publicly, to AIDS.

I'm critical of one act -- not of homosexuality per se, nor of sex between loving men, which I've said repeatedly is "one of the highest expressions of the human spirit."

And I've created, in addition to my other writing, four websites full of pictures and ecstatic prose which celebrate what I call Heroic Homosex.

That's neither the life nor the work of a homophobe, and no reasonable person would construe it as such.

What I'm critical of, as is abundantly clear from my work, is not homosexuality, which I consistently exalt, but the current primacy of anal penetration among gay men and the incessant pressure and coercion to do anal.

That pressure and coercion comes out of the gay establishment and from men like Odets -- the true sex police.

Not from me.

Calling me the sex police and homophobic is a smear.

And putting it into print without giving me the oppportunity to respond is unconscionable.

In point of fact, what I've called for, for the last five years, are "accurate and realistic assessments of pleasure and risk" among the sex acts available to men who have sex with men.

If we make those assessments, Frot is most pleasurable and least risky; and anal least pleasurable, and most risky.

But we're never allowed to make those assessments -- not in the pages of a publication like The Advocate nor anywhere else in the gay press.

Instead, whenever I do manage to bring the subject up, I'm subjected to ad hom attacks -- I'm the "sex police," I'm "homophobic," I'm "crazy" -- and any discussion of the facts is effectively squelched.

While an assertion like Odets' -- "that anal sex has for gay men the same emotional significance that vaginal sex has for heterosexuals" -- is allowed to stand completely unquestioned.

Yet, as I've documented, the health and, very possibly, the survival of the gay male community demands that statement be examined.

For, adds Odets, "No one would propose that we initiate a public-health measure by de-eroticizing vaginal sex. It would sound like a ridiculous idea. It's no less ridiculous for gay men."

Ridiculous or Reasonable?

"Ridiculous," says Odets.

Is it?

Odets' argument hinges on one premise: that anal penetration is the gay male equivalent of and fully comparable to penile-vaginal sexual intercourse.

Is that true?

Is it true that for gay men, anal penetration is the authentic equivalent of penile-vaginal sexual intercourse among heterosexuals?

Is it true that anal is practiced as universally by gay men as vaginal is by straights?

Is it true that the act of anal penetration defines "gay?"

And is it true that anal penetration is the anatomical and physiological equivalent of vaginal sex?

If not, then de-eroticizing anal, far from being ridiculous, is a perfectly legitimate goal, and one we should pursue without delay.

Because anal is clearly dangerous.

Indeed, according to The Advocate's own medical advice writer, ano-rectal surgeon Dr. Stephen Goldstone of GayHealth.com, anal penetration "is the highest risk sex act [sic] that men who have sex with men can perform."

And, he adds, "Virtually every STD can pass between partners during anal sex, and for most, penetration isn't necessary and a condom may not protect you."

Anal sex is the highest risk sex act that men who have sex with men can perform. Virtually every STD can pass between partners during anal sex, and for most, penetration isn't necessary and a condom may not protect you. STDs are harder to diagnose when they are inside your anal canal and not on your penis. STDs commonly passed during anal sex include: HIV, herpes simplex, gonorrhea, syphilis, molluscum contagiosum, crabs, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis, and chlamydia. [13]

Five of the pathogens / diseases which Goldstone mentions are potentially fatal: HIV, hepatitis, HPV, syphilis, and gonorrhea.

And the extreme vulnerability of the anus when penetrated is such that we may be sure that others will arise.

Yet Walter Odets doesn't want us to talk about anal.

Why not?

Is the critique of virtually any gay male activity, ipso facto homophobic?

Of course not.

Fact is, gay men, like other people, do lots of things which aren't good for them.

For example, many gay men use drugs -- like crystal meth.

And when they do, the community quite sensibly tries to discourage that behavior.

If anal is not comparable to vaginal, there's no reason it should be treated any differently than any other dangerous and self-destructive gay male act.

So let's examine Walter Odets' statement, and see just who's being ridiculous.

Because, as we'll see, what Walter has said does not bear up under scrutiny.

Here are five points on which Odets could easily have been challenged -- but was not:

What does "gay" mean?

According to Odets, "anal sex has for gay men the same emotional significance that vaginal has for heterosexuals."

Is that true?

I, Bill Weintraub, am a gay man; yet anal sex has NO emotional significance for me.

How does that fit with what Walter said?

Perhaps I'm not really a gay man?

Let's test it out.

1. Gay men are men who are more or less exclusively sexually attracted to other men.

2. Bill Weintraub is a man who is more or less exclusively sexually attracted to other men.

3. Bill Weintraub is a gay man.

Yep.

That works.

Perhaps what Walter is suggesting is that the practice of anal is unique to gay men, and thus carries special significance.

Let's check that out.

1. Harry is deeply attracted to women.

2. Harry likes to penetrate women anally.

3. Harry is gay.

That doesn't work.

If Harry's deeply attracted to women, Harry isn't gay.

Or:

1. Harry is deeply attracted to women.

2. Harry likes his wife to penetrate him anally while wearing a strap-on.

3. Harry is gay.

Nope.

Only if we change the definition of "gay" from "men who are sexually attracted to other men" to "men who participate in anal penetration," does that work.

But that's not what "gay" means.

And it's never been what gay means.

In a sexual context, "gay" refers, and has always referred, to sexual orientation; not to any one sexual act.

A "gay man" may do oral sex, or engage in anal penetration, or Frot, or mutual masturbation; or he may be celibate.

What makes him "gay" is not one sexual act or another, but his more or less exclusive attraction to other men.

Gay does NOT equal anal.

Gay equals gay.

And that's the end of that particular discussion.

Nevertheless, Walter Odets claims that any effort to curb the current ascendancy of anal "reflects homophobia."

On what basis?

As I've demonstrated, I'm an out and proud gay man whose life and work are the antithesis of homophobic.

And I've also established that gay and anal are not synonymous.

That gay refers to sexual orientation, and not a specific sexual act.

How therefore can our effort to remove anal penetration from the center of gay male life reflect homophobia?

Fact is, it only takes a few moments' analysis to expose both Walter Odets and his statement as "ridiculous," a ridiculous attempt to conflate one sexual practice, which, one may assume, is dear to Walter, with an entire sexual orientation.

That won't work.

Anal penetration is one thing.

Homosexuality is another.

The best Walter can say is that any effort to end the current ascendacy of anal "reflects an effort to end the current ascendacy of anal."

That's all it reflects: a desire to see a practice which is objectively dangerous, and not inherently pleasurable, minimized.

Perhaps Walter will say that I and other gay men who don't do anal are insane or psychologically damaged -- that we're gay, but not fully gay.

Kind of the way homosexuals, in the 1950s, were thought to be heterosexuals who were suffering from a "psychosexual block" which prevented them from engaging in vaginal sex. [20]

Can Walter prove that that's true?

I guarantee you he cannot.

Because fact is, and as Walter well knows, throughout most of the 20th century, most gay men did not do anal:

Some not-so-ancient history

Throughout the first five decades of the 20th century and into the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, both anecdote and studies tell us, the majority of gay men practiced not anal, but oral, JO and Frot. [14]

Why didn't anal penetration have "emotional significance" for them?

Is it perhaps, as I've argued, that the significance of anal is not inherent, but is rather culturally-driven, and therefore, arbitrary?

If so, would it not be the case that gay men could give up anal, in part or in total, and find "emotional significance" in other acts -- as I and tens of thousands of other Frot men have throughout our lives?

Think about it.

If anal truly had the same significance for gay men as vaginal has for heterosexuals, could gay men have lived without it for all those decades?

Doesn't make sense.

And referring back to those gay men in the 1950s and 60s, were their lives the poorer for being deprived of the alleged "emotional significance" of anal?

There's no evidence of that.

To the contrary, Evelyn Hooker's pioneering studies of the mental health of gay men in the mid-1950s showed them to be as well, indeed slightly better, adjusted than control groups of nongay men.

And when I came out in the early 70s, I made a point of getting to know older gay men, because they were, at the time, the only reliable source of gay history.

Not one ever complained to me of the lack of anal sex.

To repeat, there's NO evidence that lack of anal hurt those men. [22]

They feared the vice squad and the depradations of blackmailers, they worried about losing their jobs and their reputations if exposed as gay.

But on standardized tests they were no more anxious nor depressed than straight guys, and when you spoke with them, they made no mention of misery brought on by the lack of anal.

Moreover, since they didn't suffer from the score or so of anally-transmitted STDs so prevalent now, they were at the least physically healthier than gay men today.

And perhaps better adjusted.

So, the alleged "emotional significance" of anal penetration is a recent phenomenon, and there's NO EVIDENCE that men who did not and do not practice anal penetration suffer psychologically for not doing so.

And that's a key point:

Like men in the homophobic 50s who didn't do vaginal, gay men today who don't do anal suffer for violating a community norm: they are denigrated and their preferred way of having sex incessantly derided. [21]

Despite that, and as was true of gay men in the 1950s, they are not psychologically maladjusted.

Not a bit.

They're oppressed -- which is entirely different.

And what's worse, they're oppressed by their own gay leaders -- like Walter Odets.

That's disgusting.

Of course, as I noted above, Walter et alia may argue that gay men who don't do anal are "immature" homosexuals.

The problem with doing that if you're homosexual, is that once you begin linking "maturity" to a sexual act, you're right back where we were in the 1950s, when men who didn't do vaginal -- that is homosexuals -- were considered "immature" heterosexuals and were legally persecuted by the sex police aka the vice squad.

Except now we have a new level of sex police, our very own gay sex police and queer vice squad, who declare that if it's not anal, it's not truly or fully gay -- it's "immaturely" gay.

So what we've got is a new hierarchy: Homosexuals are immature heterosexuals, and homosexuals who don't do anal are immature homosexuals.

Which means that at the apex of life there are heterosexuals, beneath them are homosexuals into anal, and beneath them are homosexuals who don't do anal.

Like Walter's conflation of homosexuality with anal penetration, and his confusing of any critique of anal penetration with homophobia, that will not work.

Both in decades past and now, many gay and bi men did not and do not participate in anal penetration.

They're not self-loathing, they're not immature, they're not less than fully gay.

They're just guys who don't do anal.

What's more, those guys who don't do anal, if they're into Frot, have a very fulfilling, very hot, very connected and very intimate sexual life with other men which is virtually free of the threat of sexually transmitted disease -- and which does not depend for its validity upon its imitation of a heterosexual act.

Is that immature?

No.

To the contrary, it's healthy, it's self-actualized, and it's fully adult.

Does Walter Odets have a vagina?

Odets speaks of the "emotional significance of vaginal sex."

As my colleague Chuck Tarver points out, that's like Walter declaiming on the emotional significance of giving birth.

In point of fact, Walter doesn't know, and will never know, what either feels like.

Poor Walter.

God or evolution or maybe both gave Walter a penis and testicles -- not a vagina and ovaries -- and he will *never* know what the emotional significance of vaginal sex actually is.

Because he doesn't have a vagina.

He has an anus.

And the two are not the same: as ano-rectal surgeon and gay medical advice columnist Dr. Stephen Goldstone of GayHealth.com observes, an anus is not a vagina. [15]

An anus is solely an organ of fecal excretion, it contains no erectile tissue, and it's not capable of a genital response.

Not capable, cannot do it.

An anus is not a vagina; and mimicry does not confer authenticity

Given that an anus is not a vagina and is not capable of a genital response, what does it mean for gay men and gay male life that this non-genital act focused on an organ of fecal excretion has, for some gay men, the alleged emotional significance Walter ascribes to it?

And where does such significance as it may have come from?

If it's there at all, in my view, it comes from a desire to mimic the heterosexual majority.

And from guys like Walter Odets, who make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anal mimics heterosex in two ways:

It's penetrative; and,

there are male / female roles, commonly referred to as "top" and "bottom."

But mimicry does not confer authenticity.

And for an act to have true emotional significance, it must be authentic.

Penile-vaginal sexual intercourse, penetrative sex between a man and a woman, when consensual and loving, is a fully and mutually genital act which utilizes the erotic capacities of both partners to result in a profound sense of physical union.

The anal penetration of one man by another, by contrast, is genital only for the penetrator.

brutal and thuggish
readers may click here to see more such X-rated and very disturbing images

The man penetrated has no genital experience whatsoever.

Instead, his anus is used as a vagina substitute, and his rectum as a sperm receptacle, in an act which is totally inauthentic and false.

And which is often, as we all know, brutal and thuggish besides.

To say that the act of anal penetration has the same emotional significance as penile-vaginal sex is like saying that Michael Jackson's tinkering with his skin color has made him into a person of purely European descent.

Or that a Jewish person's straightening of his aquiline nose has changed his ancestry from semitic to nordic.

It has not.

In all three instances, the people involved have mimicked the majority.

But that's all they've done.

Though no doubt unintentionally, Odets' rather goofy statement points to a central truth about anal:

it's a form of "sex" between men -- homosex -- which has been hetero-sexualized.

Thus the constant and rather plaintive claims that anal is the correlative of vaginal.

It's not.

Because there's no genital / erectile tissue in the anus.

What the receptive partner feels is ano-rectal distension -- not genital pleasure.

So Walter's claim that to speak of de-eroticizing anal is as ridiculous as to speak of de-eroticizing vaginal, is -- well, itself ridiculous.

Because the two are not in any way comparable.

An anus is not a vagina.

And anal penetration is not penile-vaginal sex.

Indeed, we can speak of de-eroticizing anal, and guys like Walter can worry about our doing so, precisely because anal penetration is not inherently erotic.

If it were, we could not de-eroticize it.

But it's not, and we can.

To repeat: That's why we are of concern to the Walter Odets' of this world.

They know that anal is not inherently erotic, and that it can be de-eroticized.

If it couldn't be, what we say wouldn't matter.

Genital-Genital Sex: A Fundamental Human Right

Moreover, gay and bi men have the right, just like straight people, to have sex which is mutually and simultaneously genital, and therefore mutually, intensely, and simultaneously pleasurable, for both partners.

Men like Odets would deny, in the name of the anal status quo and the supposed significance of a non-genital act, their fellow gay men that elementary human right -- and the intense mutually genital pleasure which comes with it.

That's oppressive, and, in my view, if we're going to use the term, fundamentally homophobic.

Because it condemns gay men to be second-class sexual citizens -- forever.

What I and other Frot men advocate, by contrast, would make gay men the equal of heterosexuals.

Because, like heterosexuals, their sex would be fully and mutually genital.

That's what this argument is about -- not symbolic acts or purported emotional significance, but what sex actually is.

And what sex actually is, we maintain, is genital rubbing -- the contact of genitals with genitals.

Fact is, throughout the world, that's what sex is.

For the vast majority of human beings, sex is about genitals -- not anuses.

Indeed, if gay men had vaginas, does anyone think we'd be having this discussion?

Put differently, if gay men had vaginas, would anal penetration be a major part of gay male life?

We can answer that question because, in point of fact, there are people on this earth who have both vaginas and anuses.

They're called women.

And the overwhelming majority of the world's women do not elect to be penetrated anally.

If anal penetration were the erotically valid substitute for vaginal sex that its gay male proponents claim it to be, straight women would choose it overwhelmingly -- and thus avoid what remains the leading complication of straight sex: pregnancy.

But straight women do NOT choose anal.

Anal is almost always imposed upon them by their male partners. [16]

In addition, not only is anal penetration not genitally pleasurable, but it is far riskier than vaginal sex.

Studies of sero-discordant heterosexual couples have revealed that women are 10 to 20 times more likely to sero-convert (acquire HIV) through anal penetration than they are vaginally. [17]

In short, anal penetration is NOT comparable to vaginal sex nor is it in any way the equivalent of vaginal sex, and it is heterosexual women themselves who are the living proof of that.

Absurdities and smears

So: Walter Odets' statement stands exposed for what it is: an absurdity which undercuts the efforts of men like myself to do something for our community which would both increase sexual pleasure and end anally-vectored diseases.

And his characterization of our efforts as "homophobic" stands exposed for what it is: a smear.

What I have said is that gay men have the right, just as much as straight people, to sex which is mutually and simultaneously genital.

Men like Odets would, in their pursuit of a heterosexual model of homosex, forever condemn gay men to be sexual second-class citizens.

That's homophobic.

My work consistently elevates and exalts homosexuality, while seeking to improve the health of men who have sex with men.

Odets' work not only degrades, but is potentially deadly for homosexuals.

For more than twenty years we've known exactly how HIV is transmitted among men who have sex with men: through anal penetration.

And over those twenty years, people like Odets, rather than help move men away from anal, have protected anal and, through constant re-iteration of the lie that anal and vaginal are equivalent, encouraged men to do anal knowing full well that some of them might die as a result.

Sure, he's told them to use condoms, but the condom failure rate over a year's time in vaginal sex, which is far gentler on the condom, is 20%. [23]

So Walter, just like every other "safer-sex educator," has long known that it was inevitable that due to his advice, some of his clients would be infected with a universally fatal pathogen.

At best, such behavior is bizarre.

Particularly given that gay men don't have to stop having sex with other men in order to avoid that deadly result.

Yet Walter actually goes out of his way to sabotage efforts to introduce men to a far more pleasurable and far safer alternative.

Why does he do it?

I can't say for certain, because I'm not Walter Odets.

But two possibilities come to mind.

The first, which is kinder, is that Walter's developmental model is several decades out of date.

The Myth of Psychoanalysis

As it happens, Walter and I are about the same age.

Which means that we both grew up when a psychoanalytic model of human development prevailed.

That model, long since discredited, posited that human beings went through certain "psychosexual stages" as they matured:

  • Oral, when they sucked at their mother's breast;
  • Anal, when they learned to control their bowels;
  • Oedipal (for boys), when they developed strong sexual feelings towards their mothers and wanted to kill their fathers;
  • Latency, running roughly from ages 6 to 11, when sexual issues were less pronounced;
  • Puberty, a period of greatly heightened sexuality and sexual experimentation; and,
  • Full genital maturity -- which was defined as penile-vaginal sexual intercourse.

In the 1960s, when both Walter and I were teenagers, it was widely believed that male homosexuals were, in effect, heterosexuals who suffered from a "psychosexual block," which prevented them from resolving their Oedipal feelings and so entering "full genital maturity."

And it was the goal of psychoanalytic psychiatry and other psychotherapies in the 1960s to help homosexuals overcome those blocks and, of course, become heterosexual.

This idea was extremely widespread.

Known as the medical model of homosexuality, it was, vis-a-vis homosex, the dominant culture of its day; it had many very vocal proponents, among whom were two therapists named Bieber and Socarides -- names which gay men of my generation will not soon forget.

In 1973 however, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness, and, in effect, tossed out the neo-Freudian, psychoanalytic theory of the etiology of homosexuality.

Which was just as well, since the therapies based on that theory didn't work.

I know.

I spent seven fruitless and very frustrating years in psychoanalytic therapy trying to overcome that non-existent block and become a heterosexual.

Eventually, like a lot of other guys, I figured out that the therapy was never going to work; and that if the therapy didn't work, the theory in back of it was unsound.

And I also realized that not only was there nothing wrong with being homosexual, it was actually a lot of fun.

But though I came to understand that the psychoanalytic stages were a sham, that was not necessarily true of my gay male peers.

For not too long after the APA's seemingly liberatory act, and rather suddenly, anal penetration became in effect the homosexual version of full genital maturity.

And gay male sex, which had up till then been a rich smorgasbord of sexual choices, became a sort of all-too-predictable table d'hote, consisting of some perfunctory "foreplay," a little oral, and the main and monotonously culminating course, anal.

It was in 1975 that I was first told "You're not really gay if you don't get fucked."

The implication was clear:

Straight people had penile-vaginal sexual intercourse, and gay men had anal penetration.

And the two were proclaimed to be fully equivalent and comparable.

Why did that happen?

In brief, because the gay male community, after a period of rapid and truly revolutionary change in the early 1970s brought on by the counterculture, the Stonewall Rebellion and the emergence of Gay Lib, entered, as typically happens, a period of consolidation and reaction, and became far more conservative.

Part of that conservatism meant that the community began instituting norms for behavior and appearance.

Long hair, androgyny, and bell-bottoms were out; short hair, muscle, and straight-legged 501's were in.

The emergence of the muscled and mustachioed clone was contemporaneous with that of the primacy of anal penetration, which, looked at objectively, is an extremely reactionary act.

For, as I've said, it imposes a heterosexual model on homosexual sex.

People, who like Walter Odets, assert that "anal has the same emotional significance for gay men as vaginal for heterosexuals" have obviously bought into that particular model.

But that doesn't mean the model is correct.

What it means is that their minds are still trapped in the mire of what was, for gay people, the very unliberated 1960s.

For, as we've seen, anal penetration is not comparable to penile-vaginal sexual intercourse.

Rather, what the cultural dominance of anal penetration has done is impose a heterosexual or male-female model of sexuality on what is a male-male act.

And that makes no sense.

It fits the old psychoanalytic / neo-Freudian paradigm, but no developmental pyschologist today believes in that paradigm.

Nor do most lay people.

So why impose a male-female model on what is a male-male act?

Like I say, that makes no sense.

Men and women have a way of making love which suits them anatomically.

So do men and men.

But the two ways are different.

Penetration works, anatomically, for a man and a woman.

It does not for a man and a man.

Nor is it necessary.

Not only can two men can have a fully genital experience without penetration; but -- they cannot have it with penetration.

In a male-male act, penetration destroys genitality.

What I've learned in my life is that you cannot trust the dominant paradigm, whether it's heterosexual or homosexual.

You need rather to think outside the box -- or, as my colleague Chuck Tarver says, think outside the butt -- and reason through what works for you as a man.

Of course I don't know if Walter's capable of doing that.

His mind may not be sufficiently elastic.

And, it's also possible -- mind you, I say possible -- that money is clouding his judgment.

For, as the great muckraker Upton Sinclair wrote a hundred years ago, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding."

And indeed, like many others who defend anal, it would appear that Odets has a financial interest in maintaining the anal status quo.

Odets has a San Francisco Bay Area psychotherapy practice geared towards "helping" HIV negative gay men stay negative. [18]

But if, like me, they don't do anal, they don't need any "help."

I've been a sexually active gay man for more than three decades, and I've remained STD free without any help from anyone.

So: I've remained STD free -- for free -- it hasn't cost me a dime.

If gay men were to move away from anal and towards Frot -- Walter, presumably, would lose money.

I had very passionate skin-on-skin Frot sex with my late lover Brett, who was HIV+ and eventually died of AIDS, daily for 12 years; and after the first HIV test, I never worried about sero-converting -- cause clearly it wasn't going to happen.

After Brett died, I had other boyfriends who were poz.

One, Danny, a very cute karate kid, wanted to marry me.

But it was far too soon after Brett's death for me to consider that.

Nonetheless, I didn't worry about Danny being poz -- because I knew he wasn't going to infect me.

Still, Walter's been out there all these years "helping" HIV negative gay men stay negative.

Guys, wake up.

You don't need Walter, you don't need condoms, you don't need anything outside of yourself to keep yourself free of HIV and other STD.

Just stop doing anal.

Jim Lynch is right: anal penetration is shit sex.

You have the God-given capacity to have a wonderful and ecstatic sex life for the rest of your life, free of disease and ersatz vaginas.

And anuses and shit.

Just be yourself.

You're not a woman and you're not a pseudo-woman.

You're a man.

Have sex like a man.

The Battlefield

We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue. And then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

George Orwell [24]

AIDS and the other anally-vectored diseases -- and there are more than twenty -- is that battlefield.

As are the issues of low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, promiscuity, and unstable relationships which continue to plague the gay male community despite decades of agitating, organizing, and dramatic successes in the courts, legislatures, and throughout popular culture.

For thirty years, anal has dominated gay male life.

The result has been a disaster.

In America alone, 500,000 gay and bi men dead of one anally-vectored disease, and another 500,000 infected.

And every day, at a minimum, 40 men join their ranks.

For those three decades, "men into anal" have insisted that anal is the gay male equivalent of vaginal, and that all the problems attendant upon putting anal at the center of a sexual subculture could be whisked away.

They cannot be.

Anal does not equal vaginal.

And the problems attendant upon anal will never go away.

Because anal is a lie.

You can tell yourself that your anus is a vagina; that gay male anuses are "manginas" and "boy pussies"; that anal penetration is inherently erotic; and that gay men who are critical of the role of anal in gay male life are anti-gay.

But that doesn't make any of it so.

As George Orwell, who understood perhaps better than anyone the lies totalitarian cultures generate, said,

We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue. And then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.

And that indeed is what "men into anal" have done for years: impudently twisted the facts to make it appear that an anus is a vagina, that anal penetration is inherently erotic, and that anal is a necessity of gay male life.

The reality is that an anus is not a vagina, anal penetration is not erotic, and throughout history men who have sex with men have led completely fulfilling sexual lives without ever doing anal.

Anal penetration is not a necessity, nor is it in any way natural.

It's a learned behavior, which like smoking, has been incessantly glamorized; and like smoking, it can be de-glamorized and unlearned.

Orwell:

Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

The battlefield is here, and the battle is now.

And the issue is not just disease.

A lot of the psychic pain in gay male life, which manifests as depression and low self-esteem and substance abuse, promiscuity and failed relationships, comes from the culturally-dictated erotic focus on the anus -- what is literally a shithole.

We need only look at the lives of "men into anal" to see that that focus produces conflict and malaise quite independent of any external homophobia.

I, by contrast, since coming out, have never felt conflicted about homosex or my homosexuality.

Nor have I used drugs or alcohol or been felled by depression.

I love being a man, I love being around men, I love having sex with men, I love being in love with a man and loving a man.
Sacred Symbol:
Greek herald's staff - the beards tell us that both snakes are male

And my erotic focus is phallus to phallus.

My sexual life is centered on phallus, which is, after all and as religious scholar Alain Danielou says, the sacred symbol of male creative power. [25]

Can one say anything similar of the anus?

Anus, sacred symbol of ???

Bodily wastes?

Excrement?

No.

Let's face it: An anus is what it is: a part of the body which is intrinsically dirty -- and yes, Walter, that's what it is, dirty; and which, according to the good doctor Goldstone of GayHealth, there's no way to sanitize:

Hygiene: No matter how hard you try, your anus will always be an anus. You can't sterilize it. [13]

The anus is a part of the body which we're taught, for hygienic reasons, to avoid.

Not true of the phallus.

Of course I and other Frot men don't isolate the phallus -- we're attracted to the total man, not just his penis.

Nevertheless, I have no question that a focus on making love phallically is far healthier than one which turns the anus into an object of desire.

Yet are gay psychotherapists like Walter Odets prepared to help their gay male clients move away from their anal erotic focus?

Obviously not.

And that's another part of the battle.

In Sum

The suggestion that we de-emphasize anal in gay male life while putting forward Frot is not radical. It's a commonsense response to an ongoing emergency.

Frot men are not sex police; analists constitute the sex police in gay male life, and guys into Frot are their victims.

Frot activists like myself and Chuck Tarver [19] are not homophobic; we're openly gay men who love our community and seek only what is best for it.

Walter Odets' statement that anal penetration is comparable to penile-vaginal sexual intercourse is demonstrably false; as is his claim that to speak of de-eroticizing anal is ridiculous.

Given the immense harm created by the predominance of anal penetration among gay men, and given that anal is not an inherently erotic act, it is not simply ridiculous but irresponsible to NOT speak of de-eroticizing anal and helping gay and bi men discover other, far more pleasurable and far lower risk alternatives.

If anal did not have the catastrophic health effects which it does, maybe none of this would matter; though minorities mimicking majorities -- whether Jews straightening their noses or Blacks straightening their hair or gay men pretending their anuses are vaginas -- is rarely a good idea.

But the fact is that anal does have catastrophic health effects, and that there's a direct correlation between the rise of anal and the rise of not just HIV but a host of other incredibly destructive STIs.

Until we can have free and open discussions in the gay male community about what sex is and what it might be -- not hatchet jobs, and not vehicles for ad hom attacks -- there'll be no true sexual freedom and no true sexual diversity among gay men; the HIV epidemic will continue; and we will have new and, I predict, ever more gruesome epidemics of anally-vectored diseases.

Bill Weintraub

September 5, 2005

© All material Copyright 2005 - 2011 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.


NOTES

1. Santora, M. and Altman, L. K. (2005, February 12). Rare and Aggressive H.I.V. Reported in New York. The New York Times.

2. Yee, Daniel. (2005, June 13). More Than a Million in U.S. Lives With HIV. Associated Press.

3. Sifakis, et al. (2005, June 24). Report of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.

4. Palefsky J et al. (2005). Anal intraepithelial neoplasia in the highly active antiretroviral therapy era among HIV-positive men who have sex with men. AIDS 19 (13):1407-1414, 2005.

5. Chin-Hong PV et al. (2005). Age-related prevalence of anal cancer precursors in homosexual men: the EXPLORE study. J Natl Cancer Inst 97: 896-905, 2005.

6. Chin-Hong PV et al. (2004). Age-specific prevalence of anal human papillomavirus infection in HIV-negative sexually active men who have sex with men: the EXPLORE study. J Infect Dis 190 (on-line edition), 2004.

7. List adapted from Medical Institute Advisory (2004, March 11).

8. Buchbinder, S. P., Vittinghoff, E., et al. (2005, May 1). Sexual Risk, Nitrite Inhalant Use, and Lack of Circumcision Associated With HIV Seroconversion in Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Volume 39, Number 1, May 1 2005.

9. See, for example, Klausner, J, MD. Kissing and mutual masturbation. Medical sex advice column on Gay.com. Not dated.

10. For examples of cultural messages which support anal, see Weintraub, B. (2004, February 5). Multipartnered Pansexualism or Heroic Love; and for a discussion of physical coercion, see Weintraub, B. (2003, August 2). Is Unwanted Anal Penetration Date Rape? and Lorspir, R. (2004, April 5). A Case of Rape. All three articles are available on The Man2Man Alliance.

11. See, for example, Bettleheim, B. (1979). Surviving and other essays. New York: Knopf.

12. William Shirer, who lived in Nazi Germany during the 1930s, has commented on how difficult it was to escape the effects of the incessant Nazi propaganda. Indeed, the term "the big lie" is attributed to Hitler himself, who is purported to have said, "The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it."

See, Shirer, Wm. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 248.

13. Goldstone, S. Anal sex. GayHealth.com website. Not dated.

14. Rotello, Gabriel. (1998). Sexual Ecology: AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men. New York: Plume. See in particular Chapter 2, Gay Sexual Ecology, pp. 42-43.

15. Goldstone, S. (2003, July 25). Is a fissure causing my pain during anal sex? GayHealth.com.

16. Halperin, DT. (1999, December). Heterosexual anal intercourse: prevalence, cultural factors, and HIV infection and other health risks, part I. AIDS Patient Care 13 (12):717-730.

17. Halperin, DT, Shiboski, SC, Palefsky, JM, and Padian, N. (2002) High level of HIV infection from anal intercourse: a neglected risk factor in heterosexual AIDS prevention. Poster presentation at the 2002 XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona.

18. Described in Specter, M. (2005, May 23). Higher Risk. Crystal meth, the internet, and dangerous choices about AIDS. The New Yorker.

19. Tarver, Chuck. (2003, August). Fighting the Conformity That Kills. Paper presented at the Black Gay Research Summit.

20. See, for example, gay pioneer and activist Jack Nichols' reminiscence of gay life in Washington DC in the 1950s in Nichols, J. and Weintraub, B. (2000, November). Interview: Cockrub Warrior Bill Weintraub. Available on The Man2Man Alliance.

21. To understand the parallels between analist denigration of men who don't do anal, and the heterosexual denigration of homosexuals, see Weintraub, B. (1999, December). Hyacinthine love, or some thoughts on cock-rubbing and the cultural tyranny of butt-fucking; and Weintraub, B. (2000, November). Frot: the next sexual revolution. Both are available on The Man2ManAlliance website.

22. I know, because I've been around the block more than a few times in my life, that there are those who will say that gay men into oral in the 40s, 50s, and 60s were into trade, and had poor self-images, etc.

NOT SO.

I made a point, when I came out in 1972, of getting to know older gay men.

I did that because I wanted to learn the truth about what gay life had been like in an earlier era.

The men that I met were mature, masculine, well-adjusted guys -- who did not do anal.

That's what they were.

What analists like Odets have done is impose an out-dated model of human development on gay men, a model which says that penetrative sex is the goal of "psychosexual development."

That's nonsense.

And that's all it is.

Gay men lived for decades without anal penetration.

And they did just fine.

Since anal penetration has become dominant in gay male life, not only is the community riddled with disease, but there is considerable psychic stress.

That's something I talk about towards the end of this article.

23. Weller S, Davis, K. Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission (Cochrane Review). (2003). From The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2003. Oxford: Update Software Ltd.

Please note that this meta-analysis concentrated on heterosexual, vaginal sex. Anal penetration is far rougher on the condom, and we can assume that the failure rate, failure being defined as infection with HIV, is considerably higher.

24. Orwell, George. In Front of Your Nose, 1945-1950 (Collected Essays Journalism and Letters of George Orwell). Edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus. Nonpareil: 2000.

Note also this famous quote from Orwell: "To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle."

25. Danielou, Alain. The Phallus. (1995). Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. Danielou's introductory words are worth noting:

It is only when the penis stands up straight that it emits semen, the source of life. It is then called the phallus, and has been considered, since earliest prehistory, the image of the creative principle, a symbol of the process by which the Supreme Being procreates the Universe.

This is not the case of a symbol plucked at random but the recognition of the continuity of the process that links all the various levels of manifestation, according to cosmological theory. The phallus is really the image of the creator in mankind, and we rediscover the worship of it at the origin of every religion.

A source of pleasure, the phallus evokes divine bliss, the Being of Joy. Within the microcosm of the living being it represents the progenitor, which is always present in its work.

Contempt for this sacred emblem, as well as degradation and debasement of it, pushes man from the divine reality. It provokes the anger of the gods and leads to the decline of the species. The man who scorns the very symbol of the life principle abandons his kind to the powers of death.


© All material Copyright 2006 -- 2011 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.


Bill Weintraub heads The Man2Man Alliance, an organization of men into Frot


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