“Alternatives to Sex” IS indeed a good book, and half-way through I was already regretting there wasn’t more. It would have panicked me if I suspected that Mum had gone very far into the book –it is set in the world of promiscuous, gay sex, with all the politically correct and utterly embarrassing terms involved in that activity, complete with mentions of sex toys, and lubricants, and very unreserved poppings up of the word ‘Fuck’ in noun and conjugated verb form. Still, she had gone far enough to feel warm towards the writer in his honesty, and I myself was completely engaged by the bottom of page 1.
I have never thought of the practical complexities of gay romantic life. I was brought up a Christian, voluntarily confirmed my faith in my teens, and have never found anything in Life, mine or others, to dislodge me from it. Among MANY other things, my faith informs me that that God isn’t happy about tattoos (which is why I’m pierced but not tattooed, though I have a sincere craving for a beautiful Blue Crab somewhere on my anatomy) but more importantly that He loathes homosexuality. I am glad never to have dealt with it as a personal issue (it sounds like I would have spent my entire life dealing with it, and nothing else!) While I must ‘disapprove’ of it on God’s behalf, I must also follow God’s attitude of acceptance and respect for people for who they are fundamentally, rather than parts of whom they are, including those that occasionally (or even frequently) do bad things (Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.) At the end of the day, in fact, if you look at everyone that way, your attitude towards people mentally is much more peaceful and clear. While a person’s sexual leanings rarely phase me, I am completely hostile to compulsive/manipulative/malicious liars, cheaters, and dishonest people in general. Besides, being homosexual, whether it is scientifically a biological issue or not, seems to me an unnecessarily, even foolishly difficult choice of life to burden oneself with, if it isn’t genuinely attached to a person’s core self. As one gay college friend asked me once, “Would you choose to be gay?” I think not.
As I am very busy battling my problems with heterosexual singlehood, gay singlehood –the gay scene, in fact, has rarely ever crossed my mind, and certainly never more that for three seconds together, until now. I am sorry to say that on issues that I know little or nothing about, which have nothing to do with me and generally do not cause me concern, I tend to inform myself at the very minimum level possible, then take a good, safe midline (like a good President should). In this manner, all that I actually know about gay people is that 1) They are extremely intelligent, 2) They are exceedingly well organised, 3) They are generally creative, 4) They are strong enough in character to take firm stands, 5) They are loyal to each other (or their sexual community,) and 6) They love to party and entertain, or be entertained, and have contributed to this industry no doubt more than could be suspected. I am sure that these are generalities, but they are comfortable ones for me to assume, and eminently socially acceptable (not that I’m shy about being socially contrary, when it is warranted.) I had heard that they are also extremely promiscuous, but the figures that have been mentioned in such passing conversations I always took as complete fiction –until now. “Alternatives to Sex” is appallingly shock-making in that regard, at least, to me. I had absolutely no idea… and I’m not sure I wanted one. Still, it’s part of an honest tale, and I have to accept it, if I am to accept the author (Stephen Mc Cauley, which I do, whether the tale is even a fraction biographical, which I feel it must be; or not.) The whole thing is wonderfully intelligently insightful, refreshing, and I love its style and tone, and sense of humour from beginning to end.
My admittedly self-centred point is that, I may have it hard, but Lord might I have it harder. I’m not sure what makes gay relationships apparently so very difficult to have and maintain –though the mention of couple in which one of the males had given permission to his boyfriend to sleep regularly with another may be a clue. We’re human beings, and gay or not, jealousy has to be an issue in such a situation. Perhaps, also, gay men have super high sex drives. I don’t know. I just want to send a big, warm hug to all those single gay men (and women!) who are also in Pursuit of Happiness, and wish them the very best of luck in their journey.