I’ve often wondered with our over-sexualized media culture — something which I acknowledge I contribute to with my catalogue of gay erotica — if we are separating love and sex, and thus we’re being encouraged to cheat. I think this argument could hold true for society at large, but I think it’s a much stronger argument when we look at just the gay male community.
As a gay man — even as one who is not all that plugged into gay culture — I’m constantly bombarded with sexual images and ideas. My local pride festival invites a handful of celebrities in for pride weekend, and half of those celebrities are gay porn stars. (The other half of the celebrities are drag queens. My local pride organization seems to think this is gay pride, not LGBT pride.)
With the gay magazines and their naked photoshoots, the prevalence of porn on the internet, the way gay culture centralizes on sex (like with this music video, or this one), and with my local pride organization idolizing porn stars as leaders in the community, I’m left with one very clear message. I need to be bigger, harder, longer, and I have to fuck every hot piece of ass I can find. And I need to do it every day, though twice a day is better.
All of this culminates in one word: sex. Not love. Sex. We are encouraged to seek out sex, not seek out love. And if we need to cheat to get some good sex, well, it’s apparently worth it. Because sex is awesome. To believe otherwise is to not be a part of the gay male culture.
With the prevalence of Grindr and the ease with which men hook up, it’s become ingrained in us that a quick, anonymous fuck is fine — even if it’s not with our boyfriend. After all, it’s just sex. It’s not like we’re in love with the guy we’re hooking up with. (And I don’t mean to diss hook ups and anonymous sex — they certainly have their place and I’m no stranger to them.)
Disengaging love from sex is something that certainly happens naturally in some relationships, and can be a healthy way for other relationships to survive and thrive — but gay culture paints this very clear picture that we all should have this separation between love and sex, so that we can fuck with abandon and come home to our love at night.
But the truth is that if there isn’t a pre-arranged agreement that infidelity is acceptable for both partners, someone will end up getting hurt. And even in situations where there is an agreement, one partner may find that over time they grow uncomfortable or upset with their partner’s sexual adventures. Some people can handle open relationships and other people can’t. Gay men shouldn’t be told that open relationships are the gold standard; instead, open relationships should be presented as an option. Every couple works differently and every type of couple should be portrayed in gay media — from swingers and polyamorous relationships to committed and faithful couples.
So where does this leave me as a writer of gay erotica?
I often write about hook ups — whether they’re anonymous or they know a little bit about each other. However, I always acknowledge that the heart has its place. Hook ups can spawn feelings of attachment, feelings of shame, or sometimes no emotional reaction at all. While I don’t always depict infidelity, I’m careful to keep it in line with the character’s view of infidelity, and to not put too much of my own opinion in there. In my latest release, Go-Go Boys of Club 21, Ryan cheats on his partner Liam — Ryan absolutely feels no regret, for him, infidelity is part of how he operates in a relationship. For Liam, though, it’s devastating since he believed that Ryan was faithful to him. And in my short story, Bathhouse Nights, Daniel hooks up with Justin, a supposedly straight jock with a girlfriend. Justin doesn’t care that he’s being unfaithful, but Daniel is put in a (brief) moral dilemma knowing that the man of his dreams wants to fuck, and in doing so, he’d be helping that man cheat on his girlfriend.
Cameron D. James is a writer of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance; his latest release is Go-Go Boys of Club 21: The Complete Series. He lives in Canada, is always crushing on Starbucks baristas, and has two rescue cats. To learn more about Cameron, visit http://www.camerondjames.com.