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How would you define "Top" and "Bottom"?
Physically - top/bottom "place" during the act 31%  31%  [ 4 ]
Domination / Submission wise 15%  15%  [ 2 ]
Penetration-wise ("Bottom" being penetrated) 38%  38%  [ 5 ]
Don't care / Don't think about it 15%  15%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 13
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:03 pm 
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Yeah, much better if you ask me. You don't have to be 100% bottom or top all the time even if that is what you like or prefer, a switch is fun too. Why eat half a sandwich when you can have it all?
:happy0192:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:53 pm 
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If that's your inclination, why not. I haven't been top very much but the times I was were certainly good. It's hard to judge what happens on a night, things just do. The point is to enjoy it and to be safe and outside of that anything goes that's consentual.
:) :grin:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:59 am 
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Yeah, it depends on who you're with and what you feel like doing with the guy. Sometimes you want them to fuck you other times you want to fuck them or do everything or anything that comes to mind. Some guys are hung up about fucking or getting fucked, that kind of thing, some don't care about anything as long as it's sex in any form. LOL. I guess we all got our preferences for what we like to do or let guys do to us.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:37 pm 
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victor wrote:
LOL - no, Mother Nature knows best. :happy0192:

I was thinking, and I do that on occasion... while riding the bus today (don't ask), top and bottom, versatile, as it is not just a physical but also emotional or psychological state, it applies to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, men and women.

Obviously, you don't have to be gay to be submissive and hetero men can be as much a bottom (passive) as women can be. Some men much prefer to lie on their backs and let the woman do all the work much like gay bottoms let the partner get sweated up.

And what happens if both partners are passive? No more sex? Less sex? Or does one have to "force" herself or himself to be the active one? Is this where sex dies in a relationship when both are passive?

I suppose, in that case, the opposite would also be true. If both are active there would be more sex, right? Because both would take the active role and at least something happens!
:)


Deep thoughts there, Vic. I just stare at packages, and I don't mean shopping, when on the bus, what else is there to do? LOL.

I never thought about that psycho aspect a lot, I mean, you're having sex, who cares? as long as you both enjoy it, right? You like what you like and you gonna try and get it that way so I'll leave the head stuff (not blow jobs!) to the scientists and shrinkers, I just want to get on with it you know? :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:58 am 
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Top Scientists Get to the Bottom of Gay Male Sex Role Preferences
September 16, 2009
By Jesse Bering

"Tops," "Bottoms," "Versatiles" and others in the study of gay male self-identity

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Jesse Bering

It"s my impression that many straight people believe that there are two types of gay men in this world: those who like to give, and those who like to receive. No, I"m not referring to the relative generosity or gift-giving habits of homosexuals. Not exactly, anyway. Rather, the distinction concerns gay men"s sexual role preferences when it comes to the act of anal intercourse. But like most aspects of human sexuality , it"s not quite that simple.

I"m very much aware that some readers may think that this type of article does not belong on this website. But the great thing about good science is that it"s amoral, objective and doesn"t cater to the court of public opinion. Data don"t cringe; people do. Whether we"re talking about a penis in a vagina or one in an anus, it"s human behavior all the same. The ubiquity of homosexual behavior alone makes it fascinating. What"s more, the study of self-labels in gay men has considerable applied value, such as its possible predictive capacity in tracking risky sexual behaviors and safe sex practices.

People who derive more pleasure (or perhaps suffer less anxiety or discomfort) from acting as the insertive partner are referred to colloquially as "tops," whereas those who have a clear preference for serving as the receptive partner are commonly known as "bottoms." There are plenty of other descriptive slang terms for this gay male dichotomy as well, some repeatable ("pitchers vs. catchers," "active vs. passive," "dominant vs. submissive") and others not—well, not for Scientific American , anyway.

In fact, survey studies have found that many gay men actually self-identify as "versatile," which means that they have no strong preference for either the insertive or the receptive role. For a small minority, the distinction doesn"t even apply, since some gay men lack any interest in anal sex and instead prefer different sexual activities. Still other men refuse to self-label as tops, bottoms, versatiles or even "gay" at all, despite their having frequent anal sex with gay men. These are the so-called "Men Who Have Sex With Men" (or MSM) who are often in heterosexual relations as well.

Several years ago, a team of scientists led by Trevor Hart at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta studied a group of of 205 gay male participants. Among the group"s major findings—reported in a 2003 issue of The Journal of Sex Research —were these:

(1) Self-labels are meaningfully correlated with actual sexual behaviors. That is to say, based on self-reports of their recent sexual histories, those who identify as tops are indeed more likely to act as the insertive partner, bottoms are more likely be the receptive partner, and versatiles occupy an intermediate status in sex behavior.

(2) Compared to bottoms, tops are more frequently engaged in (or at least they acknowledge being attracted to) other insertive sexual behaviors. For example, tops also tend to be the more frequent insertive partner during oral intercourse. In fact, this finding of the generalizability of top/bottom self-labels to other types of sexual practices was also uncovered in a correlational study by David Moskowitz, Gerulf Reiger and Michael Roloff. In a 2008 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, these scientists reported that tops were more likely to be the insertive partner in everything from sex-toy play to verbal abuse to urination play.

(3) Tops were more likely than both bottoms and versatiles to reject a gay self-identity and to have had sex with a woman in the past three months. They also manifested higher internalized homophobia—essentially the degree of self-loathing linked to their homosexual desires.

(4) Versatiles seem to enjoy better psychological health. Hart and his coauthors speculate that this may be due to their greater sexual sensation seeking, lower erotophobia (fear of sex), and greater comfort with a variety of roles and activities.

One of Hart and his colleagues" primary aims with this correlational study was to determine if self-labels in gay men might shed light on the epidemic spread of the AIDS virus. In fact, self-labels failed to correlate with unprotected intercourse and thus couldn"t be used as a reliable predictor of condom use. Yet the authors make an excellent—potentially lifesaving—point:

    Although self-labels were not associated with unprotected intercourse, tops, who engaged in a greater proportion of insertive anal sex than other groups, were also less likely to identify as gay. Non-gay-identified MSW [again, "Men Who Have Sex With Men"] may have less contact with HIV prevention messages and may be less likely to be reached by HIV-prevention programs than are gay-identified men. Tops may be less likely to be recruited in venues frequented by gay men, and their greater internalized homophobia may result in greater denial of ever engaging in sex with other men. Tops also may be more likely to transmit HIV to women because of their greater likelihood of being behaviorally bisexual.

Beyond these important health implications of the top/bottom/versatile self-labels are a variety of other personality, social and physical correlates. For example, in the article by Moskowitz, Reiger and Roloff, the authors note that prospective gay male couples might want to weigh this issue of sex role preferences seriously before committing to anything longterm. From a sexual point of view, there are obvious logistical problems of two tops or two bottoms being in a monogamous relationship. But since these sexual role preferences tend to reflect other behavioral traits (such as tops being more aggressive and assertive than bottoms), "such relationships also might be more likely to encounter conflict quicker than relationships between complementary self-labels."

Another intriguing study was reported in a 2003 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior by anthropologist Mathew McIntyre. McIntyre had 44 gay male members of Harvard University"s gay and lesbian alumni group mail him clear photocopies of their right hand along with a completed questionnaire on their occupations, sexual roles, and other measures of interest. This procedure allowed him to investigate possible correlations between such variables with the well-known "2D:4D effect." This effect refers to the finding that the greater* the difference in length between the second and fourth digits of the human hand—particularly the right hand—the greater the presence of prenatal androgens during fetal development leading to subsequent "masculinizing" characteristics. Somewhat curiously, McIntyre discovered a small but statistically significant negative correlation between 2D:4D and sexual self-label. That is to say, at least in this small sample of gay Harvard alumni, those with the more masculinized 2D:4D profile were in fact more likely to report being on the receiving end of anal intercourse and to demonstrate more "feminine" attitudes in general.

Many questions about gay self-labels and their relation to development, social behavior, genes and neurological substrates remain to be answered—indeed, they remain to be asked. Further complexity is suggested by the fact that many gay men go one step further and use secondary self-labels, such as "service top" and "power bottom" (a pairing in which the top is actually submissive to the bottom). For the right scientist, there"s a life"s work just waiting to be had.

Source: Scientific American.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:11 pm 
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:happy0192: :smile: :bouncy 1: :happy0065:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:12 pm 
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New Yorkers Most Likely to Top
by paul
Wednesday, 27 May 2009

image

In a survey of Craigslist ads in 10 American cities, The Sword has found that New Yorkers were most willing to top, while Houston -- home of proud fuck-slut Mason Wyler -- had the most bottoms.

Unlike Janice Dickinson, a whopping 73% of Houston's Craigslist-using inhabitants were seeking tops. It turns out that while you shouldn't mess with Texas, you could probably get away with sticking at least a finger up in there. Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles were also bottom-heavy with 69%, 63% and 61% top-seekers, respectively.

There were only three cities on our list with more tops -- New York City, Atlanta and Washington D.C -- with pushy New York leading the way with 54% of those endlessly amusing M4M posts looking for a bottom. We could speculate endlessly as to why San Francisco is forever on its knees, or why Atlanta fears its butthole, but frankly, we're too busy organizing an interstate gangbang on via Twitter.

Source: The Sword.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Porn Star Mason Wyler: I’m HIV-Positive And It ‘Sucks’
23 August 2010

[img][img]http://talkaboutsexxx.com/cpg1410/albums/userpics/10961/mason-wyler.jpg[/img][/img]

Mason Wyler, the porn star and entrepreneur (real name: James Wallace), reveals he’s HIV-positive in a blog post (all links NSFW), saying “I have only myself to blame.

I have HIV and it kind of sucks.” It was followed up the next day with a demand to “STOP” criticizing him and his sex life.

He writes: “I am a sex fiend. I am NOT a monster. So to the people who are spreading rumors that I have done otherwise, STOP. You are not saving anyone’s life by talking about me so STOP. You can not equate countless hours spent browsing hook-up sites and blogging about my sexual desires online to a wild and irresponsible sex life offline so STOP. You don’t know what I do in my private life so STOP. What you are saying about me could be considered defamatory so STOP. You have already done enough damage so STOP. Seriously. Just STOP.”

The acknowledgment comes after a brewing porn “war” (AGAIN: links NSFW), which included stories of Wyler — who made rape allegations against an Army soldier in 2008 and has performed in bareback scenes — being fired from his own website, having his roommate (also a porn star) tweet that Wyler is “spreading disease,” allegedly still cruising Adam4Adam with a profile that says he’s HIV-negative, and having his status exposed by porn publisher Mark Wilson of Great Atlantic Media, which manages the websites of some of Wyler’s fellow industry stars.

Supposedly it was in the name of safety for other performers.

Source: Queerty.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:28 am 
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Gay men in the U.K. and the U.S. differ in definitions of sex
By Celeste Lavin
28 July 2010

Image

A recent study conducted by the Kinsey Institute found that gay men in the U.K. and the U.S. define having "had sex" differently.

The study, published in the July issue of the journal AIDS Care, compared 180 gay men in the U.K. ages 18 to 56 to190 gay men in the U.S. ages 18 to 74. While nearly all agreed that penile-anal intercourse constituted having "had sex," opinions differed when it came to other interpretations of sex.

Gay men in the U.K. were found to have a broader definition of sex. Of the U.K. gay men, 84.9 percent agreed that giving oral-genital stimulation constituted sex, compared to 71.6 percent of U.S. gay men.

Fewer men defined giving and receiving oral-anal stimulation as having "had sex," with 78.4 percent of U.K. gay men defining it this way, and 61.2 percent of U.S. gay men. Giving and receiving manual-anal stimulation was called sex by 70.9 percent of the U.K. men, while just 53.4 percent of the U.S. men agreed.

The greatest difference in interpretation of what constitutes having "had sex" was how gay men viewed giving and receiving sex toy stimulation. While 77.1 percent of U.K. gay men saw this stimulation as sex, only 55 percent of U.S. gay men agreed

Subjects' definitions of having "had sex" has implications for the health world because it affects men's number of reported "sexual partners" and frequency of "sexual encounters," two inquiries often made by doctors about patients' sexual health.

Lead author of the study, Brandon Hill, a researcher at the Kinsey Institute said, "It is important for researchers and clinicians not to assume that their definition of 'sex' is shared by their participant or patient, and to use behaviorally specific criteria when conducting sex-behavior assessments, especially when assessing risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infection transmission."

Source: 365Gay.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:56 pm 
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The Kingdom in the Closet
By Nadya Labi

Sodomy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, but gay life flourishes there. Why it is “easier to be gay than straight” in a society where everyone, homosexual and otherwise, lives in the closet

Yasser, a 26-year-old artist, was taking me on an impromptu tour of his hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a sweltering September afternoon. The air conditioner of his dusty Honda battled the heat, prayer beads dangled from the rearview mirror, and the smell of the cigarette he’d just smoked wafted toward me as he stopped to show me a barbershop that his friends frequent. Officially, men in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to wear their hair long or to display jewelry—such vanities are usually deemed to violate an Islamic instruction that the sexes must not be too similar in appearance. But Yasser wears a silver necklace, a silver bracelet, and a sparkly red stud in his left ear, and his hair is shaggy. Yasser is homosexual, or so we would describe him in the West, and the barbershop we visited caters to gay men. Business is brisk.

Leaving the barbershop, we drove onto Tahlia Street, a broad avenue framed by palm trees, then went past a succession of sleek malls and slowed in front of a glass-and-steel shopping center. Men congregated outside and in nearby cafés. Whereas most such establishments have a family section, two of this area’s cafés allow only men; not surprisingly, they are popular among men who prefer one another’s company. Yasser gestured to a parking lot across from the shopping center, explaining that after midnight it would be “full of men picking up men.” These days, he said, “you see gay people everywhere.”

Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. “Oh shit, it’s a checkpoint,” he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brown uniforms. “Do you have your ID?” he asked me. He wasn’t worried about the gay-themed nature of his tour—he didn’t want to be caught alone with a woman. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I’d left my passport in the hotel for safekeeping. Yasser looked behind him to see if he could reverse the car, but had no choice except to proceed. To his relief, the cops nodded us through. “God, they freaked me out,” Yasser said. As he resumed his narration, I recalled something he had told me earlier. “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,” he had said. “If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.”

Notorious for its adherence to Wahhabism, a puritanical strain of Islam, and as the birthplace of most of the 9/11 hijackers, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country that claims sharia, or Islamic law, as its sole legal code. The list of prohibitions is long: It’s haram—forbidden—to smoke, drink, go to discos, or mix with an unrelated person of the opposite gender. The rules are enforced by the mutawwa'in, religious authorities employed by the government’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The kingdom is dominated by mosques and malls, which the mutawwa'in patrol in leather sandals and shortened versions of the thawb, the traditional ankle-length white robe that many Saudis wear. Some mutawwa'in even bear marks of their devotion on their faces; they bow to God so adamantly that pressing their foreheads against the ground leaves a visible dent. The mutawwa'in prod shoppers to say their devotions when the shops close for prayer, several times daily. If they catch a boy and a girl on a date, they might haul the couple to the police station. They make sure that single men steer clear of the malls, which are family-only zones for the most part, unless they are with a female relative. Though the power of the mutawwa'in has been curtailed recently, their presence still inspires fear.

In Saudi Arabia, sodomy is punishable by death. Though that penalty is seldom applied, just this February a man in the Mecca region was executed for having sex with a boy, among other crimes. (For this reason, the names of most people in this story have been changed.) Ask many Saudis about homosexuality, and they’ll wince with repugnance. “I disapprove,” Rania, a 32-year-old human-resources manager, told me firmly. “Women weren’t meant to be with women, and men aren’t supposed to be with men.”

This legal and public condemnation notwithstanding, the kingdom leaves considerable space for homosexual behavior. As long as gays and lesbians maintain a public front of obeisance to Wahhabist norms, they are left to do what they want in private. Vibrant communities of men who enjoy sex with other men can be found in cosmopolitan cities like Jeddah and Riyadh. They meet in schools, in cafés, in the streets, and on the Internet. “You can be cruised anywhere in Saudi Arabia, any time of the day,” said Radwan, a 42-year-old gay Saudi American who grew up in various Western cities and now lives in Jeddah. “They’re quite shameless about it.” Talal, a Syrian who moved to Riyadh in 2000, calls the Saudi capital a “gay heaven.”

This is surprising enough. But what seems more startling, at least from a Western perspective, is that some of the men having sex with other men don’t consider themselves gay. For many Saudis, the fact that a man has sex with another man has little to do with “gayness.” The act may fulfill a desire or a need, but it doesn’t constitute an identity. Nor does it strip a man of his masculinity, as long as he is in the “top,” or active, role. This attitude gives Saudi men who engage in homosexual behavior a degree of freedom. But as a more Westernized notion of gayness—a notion that stresses orientation over acts—takes hold in the country, will this delicate balance survive?

‘They will seduce you’

When Yasser hit puberty, he grew attracted to his male cousins. Like many gay and lesbian teenagers everywhere, he felt isolated. “I used to have the feeling that I was the queerest in the country,” he recalled. “But then I went to high school and discovered there are others like me. Then I find out, it’s a whole society.”

This society thrives just below the surface. During the afternoon, traffic cops patrol outside girls’ schools as classes end, in part to keep boys away. But they exert little control over what goes on inside. A few years ago, a Jeddah- based newspaper ran a story on lesbianism in high schools, reporting that girls were having sex in the bathrooms. Yasmin, a 21-year-old student in Riyadh who’d had a brief sexual relationship with a girlfriend (and was the only Saudi woman who’d had a lesbian relationship who was willing to speak with me for this story), told me that one of the department buildings at her college is known as a lesbian enclave. The building has large bathroom stalls, which provide privacy, and walls covered with graffiti offering romantic and religious advice; tips include “she doesn’t really love you no matter what she tells you” and “before you engage in anything with [her] remember: God is watching you.” In Saudi Arabia, “It’s easier to be a lesbian [than a heterosexual]. There’s an overwhelming number of people who turn to lesbianism,” Yasmin said, adding that the number of men in the kingdom who turn to gay sex is even greater. “They’re not really homosexual,” she said. “They’re like cell mates in prison.”

This analogy came up again and again during my conversations. As Radwan, the Saudi American, put it, “Some Saudi [men] can’t have sex with women, so they have sex with guys. When the sexes are so strictly segregated”—men are allowed little contact with women outside their families, in order to protect women’s purity—“how do they have a chance to have sex with a woman and not get into trouble?” Tariq, a 24-year-old in the travel industry, explains that many “tops” are simply hard up for sex, looking to break their abstinence in whatever way they can. Francis, a 34-year-old beauty queen from the Philippines (in 2003 he won a gay beauty pageant held in a private house in Jeddah by a group of Filipinos), reported that he’s had sex with Saudi men whose wives were pregnant or menstruating; when those circumstances changed, most of the men stopped calling. “If they can’t use their wives,” Francis said, “they have this option with gays.”

Gay courting in the kingdom is often overt—in fact, the preferred mode is cruising. “When I was new here, I was worried when six or seven cars would follow me as I walked down the street,” Jamie, a 31-year-old Filipino florist living in Jeddah, told me. “Especially if you’re pretty like me, they won’t stop chasing you.” John Bradley, the author of Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis (2005), says that most male Western expatriates here, gay or not, have been propositioned by Saudi men driving by “at any time of the day or night, quite openly and usually very, very persistently.”

Many gay expatriates say they feel more at home in the kingdom than in their native lands. Jason, a South African educator who has lived in Jeddah since 2002, notes that although South Africa allows gay marriage, “it’s as though there are more gays here.” For Talal, Riyadh became an escape. When he was 17 and living in Da­mas­cus, his father walked in on him having sex with a male friend. He hit Talal and grounded him for two months, letting him out of the house only after he swore he was no longer attracted to men. Talal’s pale face flushed crimson as he recalled his shame at disappointing his family. Eager to escape the weight of their expectations, he took a job in Riyadh. When he announced that he would be moving, his father responded, “You know all Saudis like boys, and you are white. Take care.” Talal was pleased to find a measure of truth in his father’s warning—his fair skin made him a hit among the locals.

Marcos, a 41-year-old from the Philippines, was arrested in 1996 for attending a party featuring a drag show. He spent nine months in prison, where he got 200 lashes, before being deported. Still, he opted to return; he loves his work in fashion, which pays decently, and the social opportunities are an added bonus. “Guys romp around and parade in front of you,” he told me. “They will seduce you. It’s up to you how many you want, every day.”

‘Gulf Arab Love’

One evening in Jeddah after a sandstorm, I sat in the glass rotunda of a café on Tahlia Street. I’d spent many nights there, interviewing men who were too nervous about being caught with a woman to invite me to their apartments. In a country with no cinemas or clubs or bars, the family sections of cafés and restaurants are popular dating haunts, and during my time in Saudi Arabia, I saw many heterosexual couples talking quietly together, while the girl’s cover—her girlfriends—sat nearby.

On this occasion, I was accompanied by Misfir, 34, who was showing me how to navigate Paltalk, a Web site similar to the one where he met his boyfriend three and a half years ago. Misfir told me that “bottoms”—men willing to be penetrated—are in short supply, and he advised me that if I wanted to generate responses to my postings, I should come up with a screen name that hinted at such willingness. We settled on “jedbut,” and I logged on to the “Gulf Arab Love” chat room, introducing myself as a bottom.

Within minutes, I had more admirers than I could handle. They dispensed with small talk, asking for my “ASL”—age, size, and location—without preamble. “Jeddah_bythesea” cited his private dimensions and sent electronic “nudges” when I was slow to respond. “Jedbuilt” pressed me to continue the conversation by phone, but I was distracted by the flirty attentions of jed-to-heart.” However, jed-to-heart’s tone changed when I revealed I was a journalist:

JED-TO-HEART: I lie

jedbut: who do you lie to?

JED-TO-HEART: I lie in my work

JED-TO-HEART: with my family

JED-TO-HEART: but I’m gay

JED-TO-HEART: I can’t say I’m gay

jedbut: is that hard? to lie? do you tell people you like women?

JED-TO-HEART: that why I lie

jedbut: what do you think your family will do if they find out?

JED-TO-HEART: yes

jedbut: are you married?

JED-TO-HEART: ohhhhhhhhhhhhh I think I will kill myselif

He went on to write that he kept his sexual preference a secret from just about everyone, including his wife of five years.

Back in Gulf Arab Love the next day, I encountered “Anajedtop,” who said he liked both men and women; he too was married. I told him I was a journalist, and we chatted for a bit. I asked him if we could meet. He was hesitant, but he seemed curious to find out whether I was for real. We arranged to get together that evening at the Starbucks on Tahlia Street. I waited for him in the family section, which opens out onto the mall and is surrounded by a screen of plants. A mall guard patrolled just outside. At first, Anajedtop avoided my eyes, directing his comments to my male interpreter. “I went in [the chat room] to get an idea of the bad people in those rooms so that God will keep me away from those kinds of things,” he said, his leg jiggling nervously. He abandoned this weak cover story as our conversation progressed.

He claimed to prefer women, though he admitted that few women frequent the Gulf Arab Love chat room. In the absence of women, he said, he’d “go with” a guy. “I go in and put up an offer,” he said. “I set the tone. I’m in control.” To be in control, for Anajedtop, meant to be on top. “It’s not in my nature to be a bottom,” he said. I asked him whether he was gay, and he responded, “No! A gay is against the norm. Anybody can be a top, but only a gay can be a bottom.” He added, “The worst thing is to be a bottom.”

The call to prayer sounded over a loudspeaker, and his leg began shaking more insistently; he put a hand on his knee in a futile attempt to still it. The guard hovered. “I’m worried the mutawwa'in might come,” Anajedtop said, and rushed off to catch the evening prayer.

What is ‘gay’?

In The History of Sexuality, a multivolume work published in the 1970s and ’80s, Michel Foucault proposed his famous thesis that Western academic, medical, and political discourse of the 18th and 19th centuries had produced the idea of the homosexual as a deviant type: In Western society, homosexuality changed from being a behavior (what you do) to an identity (who you are).

In the Middle East, however, homosexual behavior remained just that—an act, not an orientation. That is not to say that Middle Eastern men who had sex with other men were freely tolerated. But they were not automatically labeled deviant. The taxonomy revolved around the roles of top and bottom, with little stigma attaching to the top. “‘Sexuality’ is distinguished not between ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ but between taking pleasure and submitting to someone (being used for pleasure),” the sociologist Stephen O. Murray explains in the 1997 compilation Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature. Being a bottom was shameful because it meant playing a woman’s role. A bottom was not locked into his inferior status, however; he could, and was expected to, leave the role behind as he grew older. “There may be a man, and he likes boys. The Saudis just look at this as, ‘He doesn’t like football,’” Dave, a gay American teacher who first moved to Saudi Arabia in 1978, told me. “It’s assumed that he is, as it were, the dominant partner, playing the man’s role, and there is no shame attached to it.” Nor is the dominant partner considered gay.

However much this may seem like sophistry, it is in keeping with a long-standing Muslim tradition of accommodating homosexual impulses, if not homosexual identity. In 19th-century Iran, a young beardless adolescent was considered an object of beauty—desired by men—who would grow naturally into an older bearded man who desired youthful males. There, as in much of the Islamic world, sexual practices were “not considered fixed into lifelong patterns of sexual orientation,” as Afsaneh Najmabadi demonstrates in her 2005 book, Women With Mustaches and Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. A man was expected to marry, and as long as he fulfilled his procreative obligations, the community didn’t probe his extracurricular activities.

A magazine editor in Jeddah told me that many boys in Mecca, where he grew up, have sexual relations with men, but they don’t see themselves as gay. Abubaker Bagader, a human-rights activist based in Jeddah, explained that homosexuality can be viewed as a phase. “Homosexuality is considered something one might pass by,” he said. “It’s to be understood as a stage of life, particularly at youth.” This view of sexual behavior, in combination with the strict segregation of the sexes, serves to foster homosexual acts, shifting the stigma onto bottoms and allowing older men to excuse their younger behavior—their time as bottoms—as mere youthful transgressions.

In Islamic Homosexualities, the anthropologist Will Roscoe shows that this “status-differentiated pattern”— whereby it’s OK to be a top but not a bottom—has its roots in Greco-Roman culture, and he emphasizes that the top-bottom power dynamic is commonly expressed in relations between older men and younger boys. Yasmin, the student who told me about the lesbian enclave at her college, said that her 16-year-old brother, along with many boys his age, has been targeted by his male elders as a sexual object. “It’s the land of sand and sodomites,” she said. “The older men take advantage of the little boys.” Dave, the American educator, puts it this way: “Let’s say there’s a group of men sitting around in a café. If a smooth-faced boy walks by, they all stop and make approving comments. They’re just noting, ‘That’s a hot little number.’”

The People of Lot

Yet a paradox exists at the heart of Saudi conceptions of gay sex and sexual identity: Despite their seemingly flexible view of sexuality, most of the Saudis I interviewed, including those men who identify themselves as gay, consider sodomy a grave sin. During Ramadan, my Jeddah tour guide, Yasser, abstains from sex. His sense of propriety is widely shared: Few gay parties occur in the country during the holy month. Faith is a “huge confusion” for gay Muslims, Yasser and others told me. “My religion says it’s forbidden, and to practice this kind of activity, you’ll end up in hell,” he explains. But Yasser places hope in God’s merciful nature. “God forgives you if, from the inside, you are very pure,” he said. “If you have guilt all the time while you’re doing this stuff, maybe God might forgive you. If you practice something forbidden and keep it quiet, God might forgive you.” Zahar, a 41-year-old Saudi who has traveled widely throughout the world, urged me not to write about Islam and homosexuality; to do so, he said, is to cut off debate, because “it’s always the religion that holds people back.” He added, “The original points of Islam can never be changed.” Years ago, Zahar went to the library to ascertain just what those points are. What he found surprised him. “Strange enough, there is no certain condemnation for that [homosexual] act in Islam. On the other hand, to have illegal sex between a man and a woman, there are very clear rules and sub-rules.”

Indeed, the Koran does not contain rules about homosexuality, says Everett K. Rowson, a professor at New York University who is working on a book about homosexuality in medieval Islamic society. “The only passages that deal with the subject unambiguously appear in the passages dealing with Lot.”

The story of Lot is rendered in the Koran much as it is in the Old Testament. The men of Lot’s town lust after male angels under his protection, and he begs them to have sex with his virgin daughters instead:

Do ye commit lewdness / such as no people / in creation (ever) committed / before you? For ye practice your lusts / on men in preference / to women: ye are indeed / a people transgressing beyond / bounds.

The men refuse to heed him and are punished by a shower of brimstone. Their defiance survives linguistically: In Arabic, the “top” sodomite is luti, meaning “of [the people of] Lot.”

This surely suggests that sodomy is considered sinful, but the Koran’s treatment of the practice contrasts with its discussions of zina—sexual relations between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. Zina is explicitly condemned:

Nor come nigh to adultery: / for it is a shameful (deed) / and an evil, opening to the road / (to other evils).

The punishment for it is later spelled out: 100 lashes for each party. The Koran does not offer such direct guidance on what to do about sodomy. Many Islamic scholars analogize the act to zina to determine a punishment, and some go so far as to say the two sins are the same.

Two other key verses deal with sexual transgression. The first instructs:

If any of your women / are guilty of lewdness, / take the evidence of four / (reliable) witnesses from amongst / you/ against them; and if they testify, / confine [the women] to houses until / death do claim them, / or God ordain them / some (other) way.

But what is this “lewdness”? Is it zina or lesbianism? It is hard to say. The second verse is also ambiguous:

If two men among you / are guilty of lewdness, / punish them both. / If they repent and amend, / leave them alone …

In Arabic, the masculine “dual pronoun” can refer to two men or to a man and a woman. So again—sodomy, or zina?

For many centuries, Rowson says, these verses were widely thought to pertain to zina, but since the early 20th century, they have been largely assumed to proscribe homosexual behavior. He and most other scholars in the field believe that at about that time, Middle Eastern attitudes toward homosexuality fundamentally shifted. Though same-sex practices were considered taboo, and shameful for the bottom, same-sex desire had long been understood as a natural inclination. For example, Abu Nuwas—a famous eighth-century poet from Baghdad—and his literary successors devoted much ink to the charms of attractive boys. At the turn of the century, Islamic society began to express revulsion at the concept of homosexuality, even if it was confined only to lustful thoughts, and this distaste became more pronounced with the influx of Western media. “Many attitudes with regard to sexual morality that are thought to be identical to Islam owe a lot more to Queen Victoria” than to the Koran, Rowson told me. “People don’t know—or they try to keep it under the carpet—that 200 years ago, highly respected religious scholars in the Middle East were writing poems about beautiful boys.”

Even Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab—the 18th- century religious scholar who founded Wahhabism—seems to draw a distinction between homosexual desires and homosexual acts, according to Natana DeLong-Bas, the author of Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad (2004). The closest Abd al-Wahhab came to touching upon the topic of homosexuality was in a description of an effeminate man who is interested in other men at a wedding banquet. His tone here is tolerant rather than condemnatory; as long as the man controls his urges, no one in the community has the right to police him.

Religious scholars have turned to the hadith—the sayings and doings of the Prophet Muhammad—to supplement the Koran’s scant teachings about sodomy and decide on a punishment. There are six canonical collections of hadith, the earliest recorded two centuries after Muhammad’s death. The two most authoritative collections, Rowson says, don’t mention sodomy. In the remaining four, the most important citation reads: “Those whom you find performing the act of the people of Lot, kill both the active and the passive partner.” Though some legal schools reject this hadith as unreliable, most scholars of Hanbalism, the school of legal thought that underpins the official law of the Saudi kingdom, accept it. It may have provided the authority for the execution this February. (Judges will go out of their way to avoid finding that an act of sodomy has occurred, however.)

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The gay men I interviewed in Jeddah and Riyadh laughed when I asked them if they worried about being executed. Although they do fear the mutawwa'in to some degree, they believe the House of Saud isn’t interested in a widespread hunt of homosexuals. For one thing, such an effort might expose members of the royal family to awkward scrutiny. “If they wanted to arrest all the gay people in Saudi Arabia,” Misfir, my chat-room guide, told me—repeating what he says was a police officer’s comment—“they’d have to put a fence around the whole country.”

In addition, the power of the mutawwa'in is limited by the Koran, which frowns upon those who intrude on the privacy of others in order to catch them in sinful acts. The mandate of the Committee on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is specifically to regulate behavior in the public realm. What occurs behind closed doors is between a believer and God.

This seems to be the way of the kingdom: essentially, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Private misbehavior is fine, as long as public decorum is observed. Cinemas are forbidden, but people watch pirated DVDs. Drinking is illegal, but alcohol flows at parties. Women wrap their bodies and faces in layers of black, but pornography flourishes. Gay men thrive in this atmosphere. “We really have a very comfortable life,” said Zahar, the Saudi who asked me not to write about homosexuality and Islam. “The only thing is the outward showing. I can be flamboyant in my house, but not outside.”

This strikes many Saudis as a reasonable accommodation. Court records in Saudi Arabia are generally closed, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the mutawwa'in are most likely to punish men who are overtly effeminate— those whose public behavior advertises a gayness that others keep private.

Filipinos, who have little influence and less familiarity with the demands of a double life, seem to be especially vulnerable. When I asked Jamie, the Filipino who says he gets followed down the street by Saudi men, whether he was gay, he answered, with a high giggle, “Obviously!” But he has paid a price for his flamboyant manner. He used to wear his thick black hair down to his shoulders, concealing it with a baseball cap in public, until recently, when he ran into a man in a shortened thawb at a coffee shop. The mutawwa asked for his work permit. Even though he produced one, Jamie was shoved into an SUV and driven to a police station.

“Are you gay?” a police officer asked after pulling off Jamie’s cap and seeing his long hair. “Of course not,” Jamie said. He challenged the cop to find a violation, and the officer confirmed the mutawwa’s report that Jamie was wearing makeup, dressing like a woman, and flirting. After spending a night in jail, Jamie was taken to mutawwa'in headquarters in Jeddah, and a mutawwa interrogated him again. When he tried to defend himself, the mutawwa asked him to walk, and Jamie strode across the room in what he considered a manly fashion. He was eventually allowed to call his boss, who secured his release. Jamie cut his hair—not out of fear, he says, but because he didn’t want to bother his boss a second time.

Jamie laughed as he told me of his attempts at dissimulation; though the stakes can be high, efforts to stamp out homosexuality here often do seem farcical. The mutawwa'in get to play the heavies, the government goes through the motions, and the perps play innocent—Me? Gay? Few people in the kingdom, other than the mutawwa'in, seem to take the process seriously. When the mutawwa'in busted the party that led to Marcos’s deportation, they separated the “showgirls” wearing drag from the rest of the partygoers, and then asked everyone but the drag queens to line up against the wall for the dawn prayer. At the first of the three ensuing trials, Marcos and the 23 other Filipinos who’d been detained were confronted with the evidence from the party: plastic bags full of makeup, shoes, wigs, and pictures of the defendants dressed like women. When the Filipinos were returned to their cells, they began arguing about who had looked the hottest in the photos. And even after his punishment and deportation, Marcos was unfazed; when he returned to Jeddah, it was under the same name.

The threat of a crackdown always looms, however. In March 2005, the police crashed what they identified as a “gay wedding” in a rented hall near Jeddah; according to some sources, the gathering was only a birthday party. (Similar busts have occurred in Riyadh.) Most of the party­goers were reportedly released without having to do jail time, but the arrests rattled the gay community; at the time of my visit, party organizers were sticking to more-intimate gatherings and monitoring guest lists closely.

The Closeted Kingdom

To be gay in Saudi Arabia is to live a contradiction—to have license without rights, and to enjoy broad tolerance without the most minimal acceptance. The closet is not a choice; it is a rule of survival.

When I asked Tariq, the 24-year-old in the travel industry, whether his parents suspected he was gay, he responded, “Maybe they feel it, but they have not come up to me and asked me. They don’t want to open the door.” Stephen Murray, the sociologist, has called this sort of denial “the will not to know”—a phrase that perfectly captures Saudi society’s defiant resolve to look the other way. Acknowledging homosexuality would harden a potentially mutable behavior into an identity that contradicts the teachings of Islam, to the extent that Islam deals with the subject. A policy of official denial but tacit acceptance leaves space for change, the possibility that gay men will abandon their sinful ways. Amjad, a gay Palestinian I met in Riyadh, holds out hope that he’ll be “cured” of homosexuality, that when his wife receives her papers to join him in Saudi Arabia, he’ll be able to break off his relationship with his boyfriend. “God knows what I have in my heart,” he said. “I’m trying to do the best I can, obeying the religion. I’m fasting, I’m praying, I’m giving zakat [charity]. All the things that God has asked us to do, if I have the ability, I will do it.”

Amjad cited a parable about two men living in the same house. The upstairs man was devout and had spent his life praying to God. The downstairs man went to parties, drank, and committed zina. One night, the upstairs man had the urge to try what the downstairs man was doing. At the same moment, the downstairs man decided to see what his neighbor was up to. “They died at the stairs,” Amjad said. “The one going down went to hell. The one going up went to heaven.” For Amjad to accept a fixed identity as a gay man would be to forgo the possibility of ever going upstairs.

But as the Western conception of sexual identity has filtered into the kingdom via television and the Internet, it has begun to blur the Saudi view of sexual behavior as distinct from sexual identity. For example, although Yasser is open to the possibility that he will in time grow attracted to women, he considers himself gay. He says that his countrymen are starting to see homosexual behavior as a marker of identity: “Now that people watch TV all the time, they know what gay people look like and what they do,” he explains. “They know if your favorite artist is Madonna and you listen to a lot of music, that means you are gay.” The Jeddah-based magazine editor sees a similar trend. “The whole issue used to be whether that guy was a [top] or a bottom,” he told me. “Now people are getting more into the concept of homosexual and straight.”

But new recognition of this distinction has not brought with it acceptance of homosexuality: Saudis may be tuning in to Oprah, but her tell-all ethic has yet to catch on. Radwan, the Saudi American, came out to his parents only after spending time in the United States—and the experience was so bad that he’s gone back into the closet. His father, a Saudi, threatened to kill himself, then decided that he couldn’t (because suicide is haram), then contemplated killing Radwan instead. “In the end,” Radwan told me, “I said, ‘I’m not gay anymore. I’m straight.’” Most of his gay peers choose to remain silent within their families. Yasser says that if his mother ever found out he’s gay, she would treat him as if he were sick and take him to psychologists to try to find a cure.

Zahar, at 41, has managed the unusual feat of staving off marriage without revealing himself to be gay. Marriage would devastate him, he says, and exposure of his homosexuality would devastate his family. So Zahar has employed an elaborate series of stratagems: a fake girlfriend, a fake engagement to a sympathetic cousin, the breaking off of the engagement. As he put it, “I schemed, and I planned. I don’t like to con people, but I had to do that for my family.”

In the West, we would expect such subterfuge to exact a high psychological cost. But a closet doesn’t feel as lonely when so many others, gay and straight, are in it, too. A double life is the essence of life in the kingdom—everyone has to keep private any deviance from official norms. The expectation that Zahar would maintain a public front at odds with his private self is no greater than the expectations facing his straight peers. Dave, the gay American I met, recalled his surprise when his boyfriend of five years got married, and then asked him to go to the newlyweds’ apartment to “make the bed up the way you make it up,” for the benefit of the bride. “Saudis will get stressed about things that wouldn’t cause us to blink,” Dave said. “But having to live a double life, that’s just a normal thing.”

Most of the gay men I interviewed said that gay rights are beside the point. They view the downsides of life in Saudi Arabia—having to cut your hair, or hide your jewelry, or even spend time in prison for going to a party—as minor aggravations. “When I see a gay parade [in trips to the West], it’s too much of a masquerade for attention,” Zahar said. “You don’t need that. Women’s rights, gay rights—why? Get your rights without being too loud.”

Embracing gay identity, generally viewed in the West as the path to fuller rights, could backfire in Saudi Arabia. The idea of being gay, as opposed to simply acting on sexual urges, may bring with it a deeper sense of shame. “When I first came here, people didn’t seem to have guilt. They were sort of ‘I’ll worry about that on Judgment Day,’” Dave said. “Now, with the Internet and Arabia TV, they have some guilt.” The magazine editor in Jeddah says that when he visits his neighbors these days, they look back at their past sexual encounters with other men regretfully, thinking, “What the hell were we doing? It’s disgusting.”

When Radwan arrived in Jeddah, in 1987, after seeing the gay-rights movement in the United States firsthand, he wanted more than the tacit right to quietly do what he chose. “Invisibility gives you the cover to be gay,” he said. “But the bad part of invisibility is that it’s hard to build a public identity and get people to admit there is such a community and then to give you some rights.” He tried to rally the community and encourage basic rights—like the right not to be imprisoned. But the locals took him aside and warned him to keep his mouth shut. They told him, “You’ve got everything a gay person could ever want.”

Source: The Atlantic.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:06 pm 
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Young Men Suck At Sex, Bottoming Doesn’t Hurt, And 1 in 2 Guys Bareback
18 October 2011

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Image via See-ming Lee

Researchers at George Mason University and Indiana University recently studied the sexual behaviors of 24,787 gay or bisexual-identified men who had a same-sex encounter within the last year.

They surveyed these guys through the internet and while they acknowledge that their primarily white sample is not “representative of the general population,” they still say their findings might encourage gay men’s sexual health professionals to stop focusing purely on disease and anal sex, because gay dudes aren’t having nearly as much anal sex as they might think.

Here are some of the study’s more interesting findings:

GENTLEMEN PREFER KISSING (AND BJS) - During their most recent same-sex encounter, 75 percent of all men gave oral sex, 74.8 percent kissed on the mouth, 74 percent received oral sex. Only about 35 percent of all men went full-blown anal. Apparently the question, “Are you a top or a bottom?” only matters one-third of the time.

WHO ARE THE BAREBACKINGEST BUTTSLUTS? - Men aged 18 to 24 bottom most often and men aged 30 to 39 top most often. Only 45.5 percent of men who reported having anal sex (both top and bottom) used a condom. Perhaps barebacking is more common than we’d all like to admit.

WHERE DO MEN DO “IT”? - About 49 percent of men had sex in their home, 28.6 percent in their partner’s home, 7.2 percent in a hotel room, 3.7 percent in a public space, and 1.6 percent in a car, truck or van. Bisexual were most likely to fool around in a hotel room. Younger dudes were more likely to make out in a vehicle either because they’re too poor to afford a hotel room or because living with their roommates or parents totally “sux.”

MOST GAY/BI MEN HOOK-UP - 42.3 percent of all men said that their most recent male sexual partner was with a relationship partner.

OLD DUDES LOVE BONER DRUGS - 11.2 percent of all men pop a Viagra, Cialis, tiger penis, or other erectile medication before getting it on. Naturally, men aged 50 and above used these drugs the most.

YOUNG GUYS DON’T ENJOY SEX - While 75.7 percent of all men indicated that they felt either extremely or quite aroused during their most recent sexual encounter, rates of arousal were highest among men over the age of 60 and lowest among men aged 18 to 24. Looks like your daddy fetish might be paying off in terms of pleasure, but sorry young guys, you’re just too inexperienced to pleasure anyone but yourselves (haha!). Either that or older men who have sex are just more likely to report any sex as very arousing where younger guys feel more finicky about what really turns them on.

BOTTOMING DOESN’T HURT? - According to he study, bottoming hurts significantly less than one might think—85.8 percent of men reported little to no anal pain during sex. Bisexual men complained most about being butt hurt. And apparently the pain of receptive anal sex decreases the older you get, possibly because older men have learned how to bottom more comfortably over time.

THE MONEY SHOT – Only 81.2 percent of all men reported having an orgasm during their last sexual encounter. Men 60 and older reported a lower incidence of orgasm (72.9 percent) and men who had sex with a relationship partner were more likely to get off than men who fooled around with a hook-up.

BISEXUAL MEN CAN’T KEEP A MAN? - All bisexual men, especially those 50 years and older, were less likely to have had sex within a same-sex relationship either because gay guys don’t enter relationships with bisexuals or because the bisexuals men primarily form relationships with women and were thus more likely to have gay sex with a casual acquaintance.

Considering how little data has been collected on the sexual activities about gay men, it’s nice to have some real world data to show that we’re not all having mind-blowing, anal porn star sex. Some of us just wanna kiss tenderly with the one we love… and maybe get a beej.

Source: Queerty.

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