In the US and countries in Europe, equal marriage rights is something many thought would never happen. But does it force a new form of conformity and respectability on gay men – making those who enjoy lots of no strings sex the new outcasts? Alex Hopkins speaks to gay men who are unapologetic about enjoying sex without attachment.

 

Richard, age 41, London

For me being a slut means enjoying a natural impulse – giving in to base desires and drives and not trying to restrict oneself for the sake of respectability.

I’m able to separate love and sex easily. I find sex can be quite transactional, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable if all participants feel similarly. I would only emotionally invest in sex if I were interested in a relationship with the person. Regarding ‘slutty sex’, the attraction is the thrill of doing something naughty and unrespectable in polite society. 

Are gay men more promiscuous than straight men? I suspect they are, but I guess it’s only anecdotal knowledge. You hear most straight men say women don’t want sex as much as them and are unlikely or unwilling to divorce it from feelings of attachment, wanting to breed or being ‘in love’. I think men can compartmentalise feelings more (whatever their sexuality) - but straight guys are less likely to act on the impulse.

Do I feel that gay marriage has led to those gay men, not in a relationship being looked down on? I don’t care what other people think – again, ‘marriage’ is bringing us all under the veil of ‘respectability’ and anyone who already feels like an outsider and who isn’t bothered about being part of the status quo should be resisting that anyway. Don’t conform because of what others think – do what you feel is right for you – follow your own path.
 

Rad, 28, London

I think sex is a wonderful thing to be enjoyed with whoever you want, whether you're emotionally attached to them or whether it's someone you meet on an app. As long as all people involved are having fun, I see no harm in it.

I think all men are promiscuous, but gay men get more sex because it's easy to find. It may be a bit more complicated for straight men, as women have always had an image to uphold in society, so they’re not branded sluts or promiscuous. If a woman has lots of sexual partners, she's looked down on, while men are applauded, which is wrong. No one should be judged on the number of sexual partners they have.

Yes, I guess I would describe myself as a ‘slut’ – and others have called me that, but I don't see it as a negative thing. I do what I enjoy, and I don't mind what other people say about it.

I think some people think I’m ‘slutty’ for having sex with random people from apps and going cruising. I prefer sex to be an activity that has no emotional attachment - which also might be considered slutty.

I don't think gay marriage has anything to do with how gay men who aren't monogamous or don't settle down are viewed. I think gay marriage is a step forward in promoting equal rights. It should be available if you want it but it should not be a life goal for everyone. Anyone who looks down on men (or women for that matter) that don't settle down need to mind their own business. Not everyone needs a partner to be happy.
 

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Alberto, 30, Barcelona

I’m one hundred percent liberated when it comes to sex. I like it, I love it, can't get enough – ever since I was a teen. Maybe I am overly sexual, which has led to misunderstandings in the past - men thinking that sex meant something else when it didn't.

Would I describe myself as a ‘slut’? Yes! And my response when people call me a slut is 'I bet you wish you were getting laid this often', or simply 'you wish you had an open mind to enjoy yourself as you want.'

I go cruising, cottaging, to dark rooms, I even try to flirt with men on the street, public transport…whatever.  Threesomes, orgies, anything 'slutty’!

Has gay marriage led to gay men who don’t settle down in a monogamous relationship being looked down upon? Yes, I think it has – but that comes from people who will cast their expectations on others. I’m happy with myself first, and then, maybe with someone else, but even when I’m in love with a guy, I still lust after other men. 

 

SP, 54, South East England

I've never understood this idea that promiscuity was somehow wrong. Equally, that having lots of sex with different partners, was somehow indicative of low self-worth: to me, and it seemed, to my friends, it was the opposite. Being "a slut" meant having fun, being attractive, was life-affirming and good for the self-esteem. 

Sex isn't something to be confined to other single people, a single act, or a single fetish. It’s a natural expression of deep urges, somewhat outside of the civilised and sanitised world that we humans have constructed for ourselves - and we should glory in that.  

I went through a period of depression over a couple of years, where my sex drive diminished to near zero and my confidence disappeared. I mourned for it, mourned for the feelings, the sex, the intensity of it.  As it came back my life brightened, I met some great people (one in particular who probably has no idea how much he helped me recover by his utter brazenness; his joy in sex, his sluttishness with me).

Why do gay men have more sex? Because we can, because we're men and enjoy things being done to and with our cocks, arses, mouths. The Neo-Puritanism of many younger gays, those falling for the heteronormative idea of sexual fidelity forever, amazes and depresses me.

We’re all supposed to be ‘grateful’ for ‘equality’, but this has come only by neutering gay men, making them ‘just like us’. It ignores that the vast majority of long-term gay male partnerships were not based on sexual fidelity. This idea of ‘The One’, that if you ‘truly love someone’ then you wouldn't have sex with anyone else.... It's a total lie (even in many straight marriages), yet one is supposed to laud it as the pinnacle of fulfilment. Well, bollocks to that!

 

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