Both Warrior Bruno in his Warriors Speak post Male Energy and Warrior David McQuarrie in his posts on The Feminization of Gay Culture and Sex and "The Frotonian Brotherhood" (in Personal Stories) have brought up the issue of effeminacy in gay male life, and Warrior Bruno has also made some observations about masculinity, sex, and spirituality to which I want to respond - and both are issues that I'll address in more depth in Phallic, Masculine, Heroic.
A tanned top fucks a pale, effeminized bottom, his fists clenched and face distorted with pain; surrounding them are tee-shirts sold on gay.com, reading "pitcher, catcher, tight end, wide receiver." The catalog copy boasts, "As seen on TV's 'Queer As Folk.' The Catcher shirt is married in spirit to the Pitcher shirt. Great athletic mesh sports design with an underlying dirty and direct message!...a subtle [sic] and naughty message... a subtle filthy message for bros in the know." At the bottom is the ultimate gay male analist self-defining tee: PIG.
Regarding feminization: one reason I've been putting so much energy into Heroes is because I was hearing from warriors like David and Bruno and Rob and Sierra Mountain Man and Terry and Patrick and Andrew and Don and so many others -- and I realized that not only did many of us share the bond of cockrub and dick2dick, but we shared a bond as well of being masculine in a gay male world that often, in subtle and not so subtle ways, denigrates masculinity.
That denigration of masculinity is connected to a whole host of other destructive factors in mainstream gay male culture: a scale of social and sexual desirability that puts looks, money, race, and fame ahead of character and behavior; a concomitant predatory promiscuity that pushes anal sex on people regardless of the health and psychological costs; and a view of sex which, like that of the larger American culture, separates it entirely from spirituality, and generally treats sex as one of the lowest forms of human behavior -- with the result that many gay men, belonging, as they believe, to a minority that's defined by its sexuality, label themselves sluts, trash, and pigs.
The image at right illustrates how American consumerism and anal culture mesh to produce a sense of self as tainted meat.
This combination of a very shallow and essentially consumerist value system, anal promiscuity, and a conception of sex as inherently low and demeaning, is what gives mainstream gay male culture much of its peculiar feel, at once both compulsive and ignoble, with the pervasive sense that in sexual matters, as in others, base and dishonorable behavior is to be expected.
And although many guys into frot seem to be able to escape much of gay male culture's negative conditioning, I doubt everyone can escape all of it.
So this is all of a piece -- it's not just anal, it's a whole complex of cultural factors that are very destructive I think for all gay men, and particularly harmful to us.
Because if we don't want to be part of that mainstream culture, there's nowhere we belong.
Yet every one of us in this club knows that phallus-to-phallus offers a different path.
And it's for that reason that I want club members to get a sense of the very vibrant m2m warrior cultures, such as those discussed in Gilgamesh and The Greeks, which show us another m2m way, one in which we would have felt at home and through which we can still find models for our own lives.
Models that say, it's good to be masculine, and there's no reason to be feminized; it's good to be brave; it's good to be loyal - you can be monogamous if that's what you feel in your heart, you don't have to have many sexual partners - if feeling connected with one man is more important to you than collecting sexual scalps, that's fine - that's the way it should be and has been.
So if gay culture feels wrong to you, my message is - you're right - listen to your voice within. You don't have to follow the crowd into the effeminized anal abyss.
I'll be writing a great deal more about this in The Greeks section of Heroes here on Heroic Homosex, and I encourage you to read the already-posted Introductory Essay and Hoplites, both for the text and to see the images - images of warriors who were passionately devoted to other warriors.
And there are more images at the end of this message as well.
Because when I look at the "gay" male world, I see so much that's wrong, but so much too that could be there - the potential for a world of great nobility and beauty.
But for that potential to be realized, men have to learn to embrace their masculinity, and their heroism, and to reject passivity, effeminacy, and mean-spirited, selfish, behavior.
Throughout history, erotically-bonded warriors, men who epitomized heroic homosex, were often the source of what was best in their societies. And that can be true again. If we work to make it so.
There are a lot of mistaken ideas floating around in mainstream gay male culture. One is a confusion among feminism, the feminine principle, and effeminacy -- three very different things
Feminism in its essence is a civil rights movement - it simply says that women are not intellectually or morally inferior to men and deserve equal treatment. Some feminists of course believe that women are innately superior to men - but they're a minority.
The feminine principle, as a psychological and spiritual manifestation, is nurturance. In general, women seem to be more "naturally" nurturing than men, although whether nurturance is biologically rooted or not is to some people an open question. But men may legitimately seek to develop nurturing qualities in themselves, and many men have those qualities. A man can be both nurturing and masculine - one doesn't have to exclude the other.
But effeminacy in gay men is an imitation and internalization of stereotypical "girlish" traits whose only function is to indicate submission to patriarchally-sanctioned male dominance, and which for that reason most women in the post-industrial world have abandoned.
Consequently, effeminacy among gay men is psychologically destructive - it weakens and degrades, and is almost always a symptom of internalized homophobia.
So there's no reason for a man to be effeminate, or allow himself to be feminized, and every reason for him to be masculine.
There's also a confusion in the minds of many gay men between masculinity and machismo - but they are not remotely the same.
Machismo is phony male posturing - it's a cover for a lack of self-confidence.
Masculinity is simply the ability to be effective in the world - as Bruno says, the penis is external, we should be also - that's a crucial religiously-based understanding of masculinity.
So once again there's no reason to be apologetic about being masculine - masculinity is desirable.
Of course women can be effective actors in the world too. The trick, as Bruno also says, is to find a balance. If there's a failure in contemporary feminism, it's that many women have felt forced to subordinate their nurturing qualities in order to compete with men in the soulless striving of corporate America. It's not surprising that some women are now rejecting that way of life, seeking instead to stay home with their children.
But you don't see women turning to effeminacy as a solution. The bizarre thing about effeminacy in gay men is that it's a behavior most modern women have themselves rejected.
One contributor to effeminacy in gay male culture is that many gay men think of themselves as weak - once again, an internalization of a homophobic self-image that aspects of anal culture exacerbate.
And that's one of the reasons I keep telling guys in the club that you need to be politically active in defense of your right to frot - which involves coming out. The closet, like so many other aspects of mainstream gay male life, is castrating and emasculating, and gay men who buy into the closet make themselves even weaker.
As Warrior Bruno pointed out, there's a religious issue here as well, which I'll be saying more about in Phallic, Masculine, Heroic.
I often use that phrase -- phallic, masculine, and heroic -- to characterize cockrub and dick2dick men like ourselves.
One reason I do that is to counteract all the negativity about sex in mass gay culture -- we never hear that phallus is sacred, or that masculinity is holy, or that our lives are heroic -- but they are.
These ideas aren't original with me. As Warrior Bruno says, there's a whole Eastern tradition, just as there used to be in the West -- pre takeover by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic juggernaut -- of the phallus as sacred.
You can see that in this image of a phallus from the Greek sanctuary of Delos.
Before it was attacked by Christian zealots, the phallus itself was about 6 feet long. Notice the phallic bird -- a common image in the ancient world -- on the base. On the other sides of the base are scenes of men worshipping the phallus.
Such images were ubiquitous in the ancient world. This is a "herm" -- a statue of the god Hermes with an erection. These herms stood before houses and at every important cross-roads in ancient cities like Athens.
And I'll be showing you many more of these phallic objects in The Greeks.
And the phallus has been and is still worshipped in non-Western cultures as well. Above is a picture of the Phallic Rock on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, scene of warrior initiation rites. Brett and I visited Phallic Rock. It's a place of incredible power.
Often Shiva is worshipped in the form of a phallus or lingam. This is a lingam in a Thai temple decorated with offerings of flowers and ribbons.
|photo by David Bell|
Phallic energy is used for religious purposes in many cultures:
This man is a Tantric - through the use of meditative breath and prolonged non-ejaculatory sex he's filled his body with sex energy and achieved a higher state of consciousness - the technique is ancient and very effective.
So if we understand that the phallus is sacred, then we understand it's not to be misused, either by sticking it in a hole full of shit or in meaningless sex - promiscuity
Sex itself is a sacred act, it connects us with the power and love of another man, and we need to always think of it that way.
And of course for the men in this club, the most powerful expression of sex between men is phallic mating - cock2cock and dick2dick.
Living in a society that denigrates sex, it's sometimes difficult to remember that sex is sacred, but we can do so if we build and maintain communities for ourselves that reinforce our understanding of what sex is.
That includes communities like this one, warrior communities, whose members understand the power of the phallus, just as ancient warrior cultures did:
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