Toward a Radical Gay Sexuality

by Jay Turner

Whenever a new idea that was once radical becomes assimilated, it ceases to have power as an agent for change. Being Gay has become largely accepted -- provided we are monogamous, basically vanilla and keep our sexual practices behind closed doors. We are accepted provided we are quiet, well-behaved, and don't make waves. Perhaps all most Gay people ever wanted was to be accepted as equal participants in the prevailing sexual morality.

There is a great value however, in being on the outside of societal acceptance, and challenging society to look beyond its present boundaries. There is always new territory left to explore, and the exploration can be challenging and exciting. At one time it seemed that the Gay liberation movement had the potential to challenge the fundamental sexual attitudes and habits of our society to move away from rigid and habitual modes of sexual expression. That potential does not seem very strong anymore. As a society, we have still not come to terms with concepts such as open relationships, free love, nudism, leathersex, painsex, and so on, although many of the terms have become familiar. Most people, including most gay people, are not yet willing to explore these and other modalities for themselves.

I believe that we are in fact desexualized by our society, and that our society seeks to deny us the full enjoyment of our sexuality. Americans seem fearful of exposing and expressing sexuality freely. It is a form of control dynamic. We are better worker drones, better consumers if our sexuality is denied. Society seems to have an interest in seeing that children get the message that sex is dirty, that the human body must be hidden from view. Thus, parents have been arrested for practicing nudism around their children. Society calls it "psychological sexual abuse." Americans seem to have learned from the cradle to ignore their bodies, and deny their potential for providing enjoyment. We are fat, and, it seems, getting fatter. We sit in front of our TVs and we eat, rather than take off our clothes and fuck. We could choose to take care of our bodies, to keep them healthy and attractive -- a joy to have and to share, but many do not. The wall of fat greatly reduces their attractiveness and serves to protect them from sexual intimacy.

What can we do to resexualize our desexualized existence? Can sex be more than a reflex, more than a biological urge we gratify with our partners a few times a week for a few minutes? Can we become aware of our sexuality, and recognize that it is at the very core of our energy bodies and the way they want to operate? Can sex be an important part of our lives? More important than music? than TV? than shopping? Maybe as important as eating and sleeping? Can our sexuality be reclaimed and totally integrated with the force of life itself? Of spirit itself? Can we use our sexuality as a powerful key to activating our spirituality? Can sex be a collective act of brotherly love that totally blows away anything the religious institutions have to offer? Can sex be a form of magic that impulses positive changes in our lives? that shifts things for us? Can we really pay attention to the magical element in sex and become adept at making sex magic? Can we become sexual beings? Sexual animals? Can we bring mindfulness totally to bear? And can we fight societal repression?

I sometimes go to a local bathhouse in my area. While a few brave individuals seem unafraid to expose their bodies to public view in this safe context, and to openly caress and pleasure themselves, as well as connect with others, the large majority hide behind their towels, seem ashamed to expose their bodies, ashamed to express their sexuality before others. Although most are there in the hope of having sex, they seem unable to reach out and make that connection to any of the other patrons. This seems to have nothing to do with age or looks. The youngest and most handsome seem as isolated as any of the others, if not moreso. Most seem to climax their activities by masturbating alone in their rooms, dividing their attention between the faceless action on the video monitors, and the doors to their rooms, hoping someone will join them -- but no one does. A few mavericks do fashion lives for themselves which allow their sexuality to express itself freely and joyously. They have found various alternative living arrangements in which sexual expression is not restricted to a monogamous relationship, or a steady date. They have managed to develop or cultivate their sexuality so that their sexual energy is intensified, and so that its expression achieves a higher meaning. So that sexuality becomes a creative expression that explores and structures the erotic energy in many different ways.

Sexual expression can be as rich and diverse as painting, music, poetry, or any other artistic expression. Sex can be sacred, can be mystical. It can connect us with higher spiritual energies and possibilities, and it can further our spiritual growth. Sex can be magical. Its expression can provide a pathway to alchemical arts and magical transformations. Sex can simply be the most fun a person can have. It's free, and in some form, it's always available.

For most of us, between our jobs, our weekly chores, and our other priorities, there seems to be very little time left for sex. Can we make the time available to give sex a higher priority in our lives? For most of us, our sexual practices, whatever they may be, operate within well defined limits, on a basis that is largely habit. Can we challenge ourselves to take a few steps outside our boundaries, and explore whether our sexuality can be a vehicle to enrich our lives in some new way? I think that maybe we can all start to reclaim our sexuality by exploring our own answers to these two questions.

It also seems important to me somehow, to keep looking for possibilities for challenging the accepted values and habits -- to keep pushing our society to work to extend its limits. I believe that Gay people have a special role in challenging our society to open up to the possibilities offered by sex and its expression. And I think that just maybe, a society with a relaxed, open attitude toward sexuality, and a real joy in its expression, will be a more loving society in which to live.

Jay Turner has a personal in For Your Information.