"It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired." --Robert Heinlein

The Church of Reality




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The Internet Did Not Create Casual Sex

When I came out as a homosexual, at age 19, in 1986, I made my first gay friends by (1) going to campus or youth-oriented gay groups, (2) going to gay bars, and (3) working out at a gym with other gay fellas. The Internet did not exist. Personal ads in the gay newspapers were as lame then as they are now ;-)

Although the Internet did not exist, casual gay sex did exist. How else would so many of my gay friends become infected with HIV and then die quickly from AIDS? Gay men would meet each other for anonymous encounters at certain public parks, in certain rest rooms, and at particular gay bars that catered to rough trade. We didn't need the Internet. Instead we needed agreed-upon places.

Those agreed-upon places still exist, but more and more we gay men use the Internet as our primary method of pursuing anonymous sex.


I've never been comfortable with pursuing anonymous sex, not at agreed-upon places, and not via the Internet. The only times I've agreed to hook up with a stranger, regardless of method, I've been intoxicated. Yes, this has happened several times, but when I'm sober I have no interest in casual sex. And I've never gone to a place or logged on to my computer with the specific intent of finding a warm body to fuck.

I think this trait probably saved my life when I came out, back in the 1980s, back when AIDS killed people relatively quickly. Because I resisted having casual sex with those in my first group of gay friends, I am alive today well after most of them died.


This trait has apparently also protected me, so far, from being infected by any sexually transmitted bacteria or viruses. Or I've been lucky. Or both.


There are many gay men for whom sex with strangers is a recreational activity. If they find themselves with free time, they log on to a computer or go to a bar with the specific intent of finding a sexual partner. Superficially, I don't see anything morally wrong with such behavior. I do think it helps to spread sexually transmitted diseases, and crabs, and scabies -- no matter how safe you are, some of these critters find a way to jump from one host to another. I think that it is a much safer strategy to create a stable group of sexual partners, rather than to play with newcomers on a regular basis, but there appears to be something exciting about strangers that trumps safety concerns -- and something emotionally entangling about fuckbuddies.

However, when I sit back and ponder why I don't pursue anonymous sex, my reasons have nothing to do with safety. When I listen to my body and my emotional responses, I feel having sex with people I know and care for is far superior to having sex with strangers. I feel getting to know somebody on an intellectual and emotional level -- in addition to the physical level -- is far more interesting and rewarding than a night of high performance sex.

I feel having a group of close friends, regardless of whether we have sex, is a more humane way to live my life. I don't think it is healthy for me, or perhaps for others, for me to treat people as sex objects, for me to pursue people solely on the basis of their physical sexual attractiveness, or to rate people solely on the basis of their sexual performance.

Obviously many many people differ from me on this point. They seem to enjoy recreational sex. They continue to pursue it, regardless of the risks, regardless of the opportunity costs. Some people like crossword puzzles, other people like sex with strangers.

I like sex with people I know and care for, especially if they feel the same way -- if they see sex as a way to help build an emotional and intellectual connection. When I sense that somebody is interested in me purely as a sexual object for their own momentary pleasure, I am usually turned off.

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