I’m about to shatter the myth of rampant promiscuity amongst gay men. AKA: the “gay men are sluts” rule.
It’s really just a matter of how you count.
As it often does, the topic of sexual partners came up at a recent get together with myself and a few of my girlfriends. Specifically the number of people we had slept with over the course of our lifetimes. I know my number (give or take a few dozen) because I sometimes play a game at night when I am trying to fall asleep in which I try to remember them all, past to present. I usually drift off somewhere around 1995 – and that’s the year not the number.
The girls love to talk about this because it makes them feel good about themselves – my number is so much higher than theirs and they can feign innocence and chastity.
As it turns out, they count sex as intercourse only. Blowjobs, hand jobs, that crazy thing they did on fetish night at the Kink Pit – all not included in their tallies. They counted only “acts” which could lead to pregnancy, their primary fear and concern.
I counted anything that could kill me.
Straight girls are taught to “not get pregnant,” gay boys are taught to “not get AIDS.” It’s a drastic difference in message. It’s easy to see where the variation in numbers comes about.
I’m unsure if straight boys are taught to count at all. A smile in the hallway after third period does not count as having sex.
After fully revealing the disparity of our calculating techniques, the tables quickly turned. My girlfriends – once the epitome of virtue and purity – quite suddenly felt like whores. No longer could they count their sexual partners on only one hand. No longer could they use only single digits.
When I counted “like a straight girl” my numbers dropped significantly; like 1929 stock market crash significantly.
In the end we agree to disagree. Their method of calculation seems to suit their purposes just fine and mine provides a roadmap for staying alive.
It seems that the perception of gay men as overly promiscuous has been brought about by a simple clerical error. Somewhere along the way we all just learned to count a little differently.