Gay Men, Sham Marriages, & Anal Sex

Posted by – October 23, 2007

Sonia in CO directed me to this interesting selection of YouTube videos by the always-astute Wayne Besen about sham marriages, but what caught her eye, and mine, was the comment by Zeke:

Why are discussions about gay spouses and the spouses that they betray, take advantage of, lie to, devastate, degrade, etc. ALWAYS, 100% of the time, about gay men and their victim wives. Why do we NEVER, EVER hear people talking about married lesbians and the husbands that they betray, take advantage of, lie to, devastate, degrade etc.? Lesbians marry men just as much as gay men marry women but yet they are NEVER discussed in the same visceral judgmental terms that are used speak of gay men.

He goes on to talk more about the way men are always villains and women always victims when we talk about divorce, in general. But I think the one thing that Zeke didn’t mention is how people are freaked out by sex between men, because they think it’s all about anal sex. I think that’s one of the reasons people are more offended/freaked out by gay men than by lesbians. I mean, women are also so valued for “being” sexy but we don’t talk much about women’s sexuality either, so I think – other than the uber-femme “fake” girl on girl porn, we tend to think of women who have sex with each other as doing something more like naked cuddling than – pardon my french – fucking.

There’s a story in Judith Halberstam’s Female Masculinity where she talks about this one case, in the UK, a century + ago, where the judges ruled out the possibility of these two female headmasters having sex with each other because – according to him – that wasn’t *possible.*

We also tend to assume women are more loyal, & more emotional; that women who leave a husband for a woman are doing so for love, while men – you know – men are always just out to get their rocks off.

That is, I think what Zeke missed is all the latent sexuality issues going on when we talk about divorce & relationships, & with all the gender stereotypes that come into it.

This, plus the recent Vatican issue, makes me wonder when we’re going to work out that half the problem is that men who come out as gay are villified because of all our own sexual hangups & mythologies.

3 Comments on Gay Men, Sham Marriages, & Anal Sex

  1. Marlena Dahlstrom says:

    Agreed. I think you touched on an important point.

    As far as the gender stereotypes that get evoked, I think it also ties into Victorian notions of women as victims-never-victimizers. The neo-Victorian strands of some feminist thought that only women can be oppressed/victimized/done wrong, etc. And the sexist assumption of some difference feminist that women are innately pure of heart and couldn’t possibly leave their husbands for the same reasons that those evil horndogs leave their wives for.

    FWIW, I see a similar set of assumptions being made about Men’s Rights advocates. Granted the vast majority of them *do* seem to be angry (often misogynistic) assholes. But there seems to be an unwillingness to even consider whether their complaints about getting screwed over in divorces and child custody cases might have some basis in reality — because *of course* they must have had it coming. Sort of the equivalent of the headmaster case, it’s seemingly viewed as just not *possible* these guys were the ones wronged.

  2. Julie says:

    A few months back Good Morning America did a rather ridiculous look at a group of women who were betrayed by their latently gay husbands. It was like right wing hot button emotional pornography that focused on the women’s suffering and betrayal as a subliminal political message. The “between the lines” message I felt, could be read as anti-homosexual moral majority kind of propaganda. There is lurking heterocentric moral subtext in almost every single thing you watch on television. The funniest thing about the GMA piece is every woman on the panel had significant masculine traits that they seemed unaware of. What’s not funny is the way television devours people and pimps them out for hot button emotional porn. So old Zeke has to step back back and consider the sources his news/info-tainment whatever is coming from.

  3. Jude says:

    I think its worth examining the reason that gay men and lesbians might marry – I think men tend to have a lot more to gain by pretending to be heterosexual (i.e. – retain privilege) whereas I think women might have more of a financial stake – I suspect that the privilege Delta from hetero man / gay man is greater than that from hetero woman / lesbian woman.

    Not at all sure what it means, but I do think there is an assymmetry to these sorts of relationships that might be interesting to factor in.

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