One Summer night a few years ago I was talking to a friend of mine at the door of a night bar in Vauxhall, one of London’s gay night spots. He was one of those many guys who always referred to himself and others as feminine. The conversation was in Spanish so, the effect of this habit was even more striking, and it got to the point when our exchange was difficult to follow as, being everybody she and her, it was hard to know who he was talking about. I told him how inconvenient that was and asked why he was always using feminine to referred to both men and women. He looked at me really surprised, I would say in disbelieve, and asked me how he should refer to all that people around us. I told him that since we all were men we should be he (él and ellos) instead of she (ella and ellas) with the adequate endings for adjectives and participles. He threw a puff of scorn and said “men?”. I told him that before leaving home I checked and I was certainly a man and that I was sure he was too, to what he replied with no hesitation “I am not a man”. “What are you then?” I asked. He replied with the attitude of someone who knows the absolute truth “yo, una maricona”, which is something like I am faggot or a poof.
This left me really thinking about how heteronormativity has worked so incredibly well in so many gay men to the point that they do not consider themselves men for the mere fact of being homosexuals. A man, a real man, can only be heterosexual, and only heterosexual men deserve to be addressed as “he”. The masculine pronoun suddenly becomes a privilege, a title that denotes class like Sir or Lord, and to be worth of it one must be unforgivingly macho, which means necessary heterosexual and stereotypically butch. Those who are not “masculine” enough become lesser men and should only be addressed as she and her. This raised another important question: what does this say about women and where does it place them? I am sure you can easily guess.
Heteronormativity has created a very narrow idea of masculinity, of what makes a man be a man, that impacts on everything we do: social roles and structures of power, how we should behave, aims in life, how we move or dance, what we wear and anything else you might think and a lot that you will overlook. Men have the duty to exert dominance, assertiveness, being in control, taking what he wants, being aggressive if necessary and have a sense of entitlement. Anything else can only be “she”. Men still grow up in an environment that considers violence an inherent part of being a man. Being ready for a fight for whichever reason, often as stupid as another guy looking at the woman he is with, is part of being a man, frequently seen as so essential that not getting into fights means there is something wrong about him. Respect ends up confused with fear, leadership with narcissism and friendship with loyalty when no servitude.
It is rather curious that we live a time and in a part of the world, say Western Europe, when and where it has never been safer and more accepted diverging from the hegemonic model of masculinity. Yet, gay men keep on idolatrising this kind of men with a sickening desire that only reflects the contradictions of the moment we live. We all know how we are attracted to what we cannot reach, so, for gay men, dreaming of hypermasculine men is kind of logical. We often have the attraction to the person we feel repulsion for, and here is where all gay men will feel turned on by these guys that so deeply despised them mixing a feeling of revenge and submission.
One of the most contradictory fantasies or even fetishes among gay men is straight men. This is almost an oxymoron. If a heterosexual man chooses to perform sex with other man surely is not as heterosexual as he wants us or we prefer to believe, especially if he is surrounded by women he could choose instead. However, the idea that they are having sex with a straight guy makes gay men feel hyperbolically good, especially when they foolishly think they are the only man they fuck. Yes, some mothers do make them. This sense of pride of having a real man is overwhelming, almost empowering. They almost feel superior to the rest of gay men. They are so good that they can get the real men.
Alleged heterosexual men sexually interacting with other men is well reflected in porn in different ways. Normally in settings typically associated with hypermasculinity with oversupply of testosterone like the military, sport locker rooms or prisons to say some. A faggot will serve sexually the needs of a horny macho just because sticking it in a hole is better than a wank. It is a domination-submission relationship that reinforces all the stereotypes and enshrines the superiority of the heterosexual macho that is entitled to anything, and, in its own way, the primitive idea, quite common in some cultures, that the homo is only the one who takes and not the one who gives. Following this misconception, porn shows the rather different setting in which the macho man will fuck a guy in a position of power to get some benefit in return. This is very typical the case of the prison officer getting fucked by the stallion thug under his custody. Although the position of power might seem to lay on the faggot the superior male is actually the over-masculine man forced into that situation. He is the object of desire that just happens to be victim of the circumstances and sticks his dick into the police officer to gain something and to relieve himself in the absence of pussy.
This illustrate a little bit how the sexuality of “the real” man has been reduced to sticking his dick into things. That is the only source of pleasure, and the only erogenous point of men: his penis. Don’t take me wrong, I think sticking it in wherever you might think is great fun and kills boredom. I can tell that fucking the seat of a Citroën AX inserting it between the seat and the head rest was great, in fact it was the best seat-headrest fuck of all cars at that time. This would raise eyebrows, class anyone who has done it as pervert or beyond, but at least he will be doing what men are supposed to do. Enjoying the stimulation of any other body part will make you genuinely weird. Very few times, if any, porn shows men getting aroused by the stimulation of their nipples, the balls and scrotum or the prostate unless they are the bottom guy in a man-to-man act. It is not unusual in heterosexual porn that men only exist between the waist and the knees. In fact, many porn actors start doing gay porn to become stars because gay films show the full body of men while hetero films are often too focused in showing the women. Men fisted or fucked with a strap-on by women are never portraited as powerful dominant assertive men. On the contrary they are shown as submissive instead. All of a sudden, the strength of these almighty men is threatened by a simple idea: that someone, no matter who, might think they are gay.
This absolute panic extends to everything in their lives. I have the experience of being with men who would refuse to buy some shirts they did like only because they were pink, lilac or a bit unusual, and someone might have thought they were gay. Many men do not dance because dancing is not seen as an enough masculine activity. Any show of friendly or brotherhood affection between men is taken with care to not to raise any suspicion. The way they walk, stand, talk… everything has its right measure of macho manners. The mere idea that someone, even a stranger on a passing-by bus that is not even looking and who will never meet again, might thing they could be gay is overwhelming.
Finding any of these men in a gay place is rather amusing and sad. They tend to be loud to mark the territory and to let everyone know who the dominant male is because they are frightened as they think that all guys want to fuck them. They presume that gay men are like them and that their only goal in sex is sticking their dicks somewhere. Little they know that more likely these men around them are the ones who want to face the wall, and not even for a moment they can imagine that most of these men enjoy getting fucked and fisted, play with their balls and nipples, urethral sounds to stimulate the prostate… can you imagine their face of horror if someone proposed these pure masculine souls to stick something down their dicks?
Women, on the contrary, are presumed full of erogenous areas. This has placed these men in a situation in which their only function in sex is close to be a dildo for women. Nothing against that, part of being a good lover is being able to please your partner, but when it comes at the price of giving up most of your pleasure to have someone else’s regard and appreciation, I am not sure it is as healthy as it looks like. Heterosexual men are afraid of asking their women what they would like to experiment for fear of being regarded as gay. They have renounced to their own body and to all the pleasure it can supply. Ultimately, they are afraid of being men.
More and more men, however, are realising that there is more to men’s sexuality than sticking the penis in wherever it can fit. Often, they play in the shadows with close sex buddies or resource to escorts, both male and female, to experience the other pleasures of men. Most male escort will tell you how often they get clients that consider themselves perfectly heterosexual that want to play with cock every some time. Some female escorts I know tell me how much more frequent is becoming over time the request of wearing strap-ons or fisting their clients. A friend of mine told me how he attended to a hotel room where one man had hired five women to get him fucked with dildoes and after a few hours he requested to have real cock. The client did not fuck a single one of these women. My friend, who is supposed to be the queer one, fucked him and a couple of the girls too, given the circumstances.
The admiration for this type of masculinity has created its own class of posing macho gay men, who have adopted this hypermasculinity as a fetish and pattern of behaviour and surely have endlessly practised every gesture in front of the mirror until achieving perfection. It used to be easy in bars and clubs to find these over the top masculine guys displaying all sorts of mannerisms to the point that they looked like taken out of a comedy show. However, there was always a moment when they were out of guard and the flapping hand appeared, making these occasional tweaks a lot more evident. Their aversion of being camp made their campness much more noticeable.
We all know how the more apparently macho a man is the more likely it is that he will want to get some cock up the butt. The overcompensation process is evident, and it probably is a result of the sense of shame. Since they love what men are not supposed to do, never mind to enjoy, they compensate with anything that will make them look like the stereotypical dominant male that they feel they are not, from grown hypertrophic muscles to posing like a film cowboy by the bar. If that is their choice they should be free to do so but I can only feel a bit of pity for them. One can only presume that these are the real “straight acting” guys that so proudly advertise in the hook up apps. They certainly act and are straight to the cock.
This is, after all, an artificial, imposed conviction rather unwanted by many men, including a lot of undoubtedly heterosexuals; and like everything artificial, imposed and unwanted is intrinsically contradictory. All that strength, self confidence and power is shuttered by something as petty as the possibility of some random stranger thinking whatever he might think about the colour of your shirt or a woman thinking he is not man enough for not getting in a fight. Just think about that expression: being man enough. What the hell does it mean?
Personally, I find more bravery and confidence in the many men living often in the fringes who choose to challenge the stiff rules and stereotypes. Those who go out every day dress crossing knowing that some will laugh at them, spit on their faces and feel entitled to assault them; or the trans who face their own contradictions and absolute incomprehension of the world; the man who has taken ownership of his campness and made a style of it; or those who has proudly discovered all the sources of pleasure of the male body, embrace them and shamelessly explore them further every time. It is easy to be brave knowing that you will have social recognition, but would you be brave knowing that you will be pushed to the fringes of society and classed as a lesser man? This requires true self-confidence, assertiveness, bravery and strength.
The most masculine experiences are often regarded as those that can only be experienced by men and not by women. With this perspective we need to wonder if the most possible masculine experience would be getting fucked by another man. That is the one thing that women cannot supply: cock. They can use dildoes, stick the hand there and get your unconscious with some prostate play or anything else, but penises are men’s things. Rather inconveniently, this kind of boys’ game has been considered something humiliating, degrading, submissive, faggoty and, therefore, unworthy of proper men. We can surely agree that homosexual and heterosexual men either camp, butch or straight acting, are anatomically and physiologically the same beast and will function equally. I do not think I am adventurous if I say that about 90% of gays enjoy receiving anal intercourse. This is mostly because gay men have tried it, including those who do not enjoy it; that’s why they know they don’t like it. It would be reasonable to think that the same proportion of heterosexual men will equally enjoy it, but, since what men do is sticking their dicks in places, considering undertaking that experience is an absolute no. I recently read that 40% of men, probably including gay men, had experienced it (The article did not say how many in repeated occasions) this leaves 60% of men rejecting it, being those who have tried the real thing with another man much lower. Either way, we have an awful lot of men renouncing one of the greatest sources of masculine pleasure, for many the greatest. What kind of masculinity is that? It seems peculiar how women in the las few decades have managed to claim pleasure and their right to explore it but men seem still haunted by the idea.
It feels to me that we got it wrong all this time. That the real men are actually those who we were told were not but embraced and took ownership of the male body and explore all the possibilities it offers to the enjoyment of the senses; those who have made relations between men a lot more than competing to catch a ball and collaborating instead to reach higher levels of pleasure; those strong and confident enough to not to feel shame to show other masculinities and ways to be men even when they might think of themselves as something else.
Stop idolatrising those insecure fragile hypermasculine men who only talk about football, cars and women breasts. Be certain that they are fantasising with doing what you do because you are the ones who have comfortably and proudly embraced all the sides of your masculinity. They know that you are the real thing, the real men that they would love to be but can only dream they dared to be.