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April 16, 2007 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Welcome to the Bathhouse: A Straight Man's Guide NSFW: Graphic, awkward, graphically awkward
posted by bicyclefish (99 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
OK, I'm usually skeptical of straight guys telling me they're straight while doing gay things. Or straight guys telling me how gay culture works. But this essay is pretty interesting.
posted by Nelson at 4:56 AM on April 16, 2007


How could I have missed this in my earling morning Coffee-MetaScan (TM)? Now I'll have to wait till I get home to read it...
posted by matty at 5:01 AM on April 16, 2007


I think if this was straight guy he would probably go in with a gay friend, hang out in a towel, get the general layout, have a couple conversations and then roll out and write the article. This dude busted out the beach chair and got his knob slobbed all day long, which is pretty fine considering you're in a gay bathhouse, but it leaves me wondering exactly how straight he was going in.
posted by The Straightener at 5:07 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nice eponysterical moment, The Straightener.
posted by imperium at 5:16 AM on April 16, 2007


I'm somewhat heterodox in my opinions, but I'm fully comfortable with the idea of variations between gay and straight men. It makes me happy to think there are men who generally think of themselves as straight, are willing to go to a gay bathhouse and be aware of how they don't quite belong, and enjoy a blow job, and in the end not be freaky or upset about it. Everyone can be a little bent when they feel like it. Heck, I can even be a little straight from time to time.

This blog post could have been ugly, or stupid, or childish. Instead it just struck me as honest and a bit odd.

For a 35 year old example of the same weird position look in your library for the book "Tearoom Trade". It's presented as a neutral anthropological study of men having sex in public restrooms, but it's impossible to read without wondering about the author's own role. He explains his presence away as non-sexual but it's not particularly believable. It's an interesting book in that it presents a variety of roles for the men involved, both sexual and social.
posted by Nelson at 5:25 AM on April 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


I would have thought the straight man's guide would have gone more like, "What the hell is going on in here? I thought this was a bath house. I am out of here." I have to agree with The Straightener. I am not sure how straight the author was going in. How many blow jobs by men can you have before you are not straight any more?
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:37 AM on April 16, 2007


How many blow jobs by men can you have before you are not straight any more?

At least one more. It's always at least one more.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:48 AM on April 16, 2007 [22 favorites]


Nice eponysterical moment, The Straightener.

Don't get me wrong, if Sabbath wrote a song called, "The Gayener," I would have used that.
posted by The Straightener at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2007


Seems somehow familiar.
posted by washburn at 6:11 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was ready to step across the pond and join in the game the other team was playing, if just for one night,

It's like Matt Stone and Trey Parker say, everybody's a little gay.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:26 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


if Sabbath wrote a song called, "The Gayener," I would have used that.

They did but they gave it to Mott The Hoople. But I digress.

In Richard Price's classic 1970's novel Ladies Man, the protagonist, a straight guy recently dumped by his live in girlfriend has a series of tragicomic adventures in Manhattan. At one point he runs into an old friend from high school and in the course of anight out the friend reveals that he's gay. The friend then offers to take him on a tour of Christopher Street. They wind up in a disco/bathhouse/orgy scene where the straight guy winds up watching the action and thinks to himself 'I started getting horny. I was thinking pussy, but I couldn't ignore where I was.' And that's as good a crystallization of the experience for a straight guy as it gets I think. I've been to a gay bar or two in my day and there's a certain...energy there I guess. They may be gay, but their still guys so the aggressiveness and attitude is a lot thicker that in a straight singles bar. I got hit on repeatedly within a few minutes every time, which can be quite the intoxicating ego buzz, and oddly, to me at least, there was an air of male camerderie similar to an old-guys dive or a sports bar. YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 6:32 AM on April 16, 2007


He doesn't explicitly self-identify as "straight" anywhere in the piece. He uses the dodge "most heterosexual men" and then alludes to "playing for the other team," but that's about as concrete an affiliation as he's willing to assert.

Which is refreshingly self-aware, at least. I too get irritated with men of the Onion-piece variety, the ones who insist "Hey, I'm as straight as they come - but who doesn't like the feeling of a dick in their mouth every once in awhile?"

I actually thought it was a pretty even-handed and even informative piece. I had some of my imaginings and suspicions confirmed, and others overturned. So to speak.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:38 AM on April 16, 2007


Tourists!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:41 AM on April 16, 2007


Blazecock: heh. like I said what kind of surprised me about being in gay locales was the ...guyishness of many of them. Deep-seated stereotypes I know, but even though I've always taken a live-and-let-live attitude towards consenting adults sex practices, i still expected flouncing fashionistas and Village People leathermen. I had met a few more 'regalur dude' gays but I always figured they were the exception. being shown I was wrong was a learning experience.
posted by jonmc at 6:46 AM on April 16, 2007


I can't really click on the links at work, but if you're not really looking for the aforementioned recreational activities and polite about declining advances, can you simply enjoy a good steam bath? Even without sex, those are pretty nice from time to time.
posted by pax digita at 6:54 AM on April 16, 2007


[O]ddly, to me at least, there was an air of male camerderie similar to an old-guys dive or a sports bar.

Why would this surprise you? Homosociality is homosociality, with or without a physical denouement.

What bores me about gay-male environments isn't the gayness, it's the lack of women to talk to.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:58 AM on April 16, 2007


The fact that you incorporated a Colin Powell quote into a story about bathhouses makes you my new hero. Awesome.

But it's not much of a "straight-man's guide" is it? I mean if you're not gay - and not interested in trying the gay on for size for a day - what do you do in one of these places? Shower? "Regalar dudes" or not, the description in the article doesn't sound like any gym/spa I've been going to. Does a straight guy have any business at all in a "gay bathhouse?"
posted by three blind mice at 6:59 AM on April 16, 2007


adamgreenfield: I kinda realized that in retrospect, but (probably because of cultural stereotyping) I was expecting Queer Eye, not Clerks.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on April 16, 2007


adamgreenfield writes "Why would this surprise you? Homosociality is homosociality, with or without a physical denouement."

Yeah, but think about straight equivalents: the atmosphere in a straight pickup bar is very different from the atmosphere in a straight non-pickup bar. So while I'm not shocked that the atmosphere in the gay bathhouse was similar to the atmosphere in a sports bar, it isn't really an obvious fact either.
posted by Bugbread at 7:05 AM on April 16, 2007


three blind mice writes "But it's not much of a 'straight-man's guide' is it?"

I think it's "guide" in the sense of "guide in a museum", being someone who explains things, not so much "travel guide" which you use to figure out what you're going to do. "Straight man's explanation" sounds kinda awkward.
posted by Bugbread at 7:07 AM on April 16, 2007


if i clicked on that link, does it mean i'm "curious"?
posted by bruce at 7:12 AM on April 16, 2007


bugbread, you've become confused somehow: jonmc wasn't comparing a bathhouse to anything. He was comparing the homosocial vibe of a gay bar to that of the bars he frequents: apples to apples.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:17 AM on April 16, 2007


Honestly, I always found most bathhouses rather boring. Now Slammer and BlowBuddies were another matter... Club Houston has a nice little dark area with a maze and a sling, but fellas, it just ain't the same.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2007


The blowjobs were one thing but between the lube and the condom, I couldn't feel anything and the general unfamiliarity of the situation hit me.

Ok, he may be writing this targeting a heterosexual audience, but given that he fucked a guy in the bathhouse I'd wager he's doesn't fit into the heterosexual category. Bisexual, perhaps.
posted by chundo at 7:26 AM on April 16, 2007


Construing "straight" and "gay" to be binaries rather reminds me of the old "one drop rule" about race. One [blowjob/drop of black blood] makes you [gay/black]. It's all about the purity of the privileged class- even one tiny deviation marks one as part of the stigmatised class.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:34 AM on April 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


It's all about the purity of the privileged class- even one tiny deviation marks one as part of the stigmatised class.

Pope Guilty, sometimes even associating with the stigmatized class marks one ('race traitor' 'nigger lover' 'fag hag' 'dyke tyke' ) as stigmatized to some.
posted by jonmc at 7:37 AM on April 16, 2007


adamgreenfield writes "jonmc wasn't comparing a bathhouse to anything. He was comparing the homosocial vibe of a gay bar to that of the bars he frequents: apples to apples."

Ah, whoops. Sorry about that.
posted by Bugbread at 7:37 AM on April 16, 2007


jonmc writes "Pope Guilty, sometimes even associating with the stigmatized class marks one ('race traitor' 'nigger lover' 'fag hag' 'dyke tyke' ) as stigmatized to some."

I don't think Pope Guilty was focusing on the "what stigmatizes someone" as much as the "single drop puts someone in group" part.
posted by Bugbread at 7:40 AM on April 16, 2007


I'd hardly call that link NSFW or graphic. Two guys in a communal shower, covered with towels. The text might be a little graphic, but the imagery isn't.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:54 AM on April 16, 2007


So did he or didn't he put it in that guy's butt?
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:55 AM on April 16, 2007


Construing "straight" and "gay" to be binaries rather reminds me of the old "one drop rule" about race.

I'm not sure if this was targeted at my comment or not, but in case it was -

Having sex with another man may not make you gay, but it certainly makes you bisexual. I never implied there was a stigma associated with that, however.

And thirteenkiller, he did.
posted by chundo at 7:57 AM on April 16, 2007


One drop rule? Come on, now.

After some initial hesitation, I dropped all pretense of objectivity and decided to get the ball rolling. Adopting a pose that suggested I was open to whatever, I leaned back and waited for the first guy to approach. He wasn't long in coming and neither was the second or third...

...This being a public room, there wasn't any anal sex going on and most men seemed content to provide blow-jobs and feel me up. One would wander off and another would take his place. Surrounding our little party were about half-a-dozen guys on average, watching intently and jerking off.


This is straight boy goes gay stroke book material, plain and simple.

Don't overthink a plate of plantains and potatoes.
posted by The Straightener at 8:00 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sometimes a plantain is just a plantain.

Mmmm, plantains.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:04 AM on April 16, 2007


Don't go bananas, man.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 AM on April 16, 2007


I was really more commenting on the comments here than the article, Straightener.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:08 AM on April 16, 2007


(and I was just sort of running with it, not contradicting the Pontiff)
posted by jonmc at 8:09 AM on April 16, 2007


Don't overthink a plate of plantains and potatoes.

Wait, what happened to the beans?
posted by GuyZero at 8:11 AM on April 16, 2007


The Straightener wrote: This is straight boy goes gay stroke book material, plain and simple.

I don't think any aspect of sexuality is "plain and simple", and given that this could well be a wholly fictitious or embellished account, I think you're possibly reading too much into it. I don't care to judge the author's sexuality one way or another, certainly not with such finality.
posted by Kiell at 8:13 AM on April 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


The great thing about human sexuality is that any one of us could elect to have sex with someone of the same sex and still not be gay.

It doesn't matter how many times or what goes down.

Admittedly that's probably a hard line to cross for most people in this society today, what with all the hating on gays.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:17 AM on April 16, 2007


Matt Oneiros writes "Admittedly that's probably a hard line to cross for most people in this society today, what with all the hating on gays."

I think the "not being sexually attracted" part is probably a bigger hurdle. Sure, I could have sex with guys and not be gay, but what's stopping me isn't society's hating of gays, its the fact that I'm not sexually attracted to guys.
posted by Bugbread at 8:39 AM on April 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Don't overthink a plate of plantains and potatoes.

Wait, what happened to the beans?


There's two of them, right behind the plantain.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:45 AM on April 16, 2007


Obligatory link to the Onion's classic "Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?"

"I swear, if these homosexuals don't take a hint and quit sucking my cock all the time, I'm going to have to resort to drastic measures—like maybe pinning them down to the cement floor of the loading dock with my powerful forearms and working my cock all the way up their butt so they understand loud and clear just how much I disapprove of their unwelcome advances. I mean, you can't get much more direct than that."
posted by banishedimmortal at 9:03 AM on April 16, 2007


Having sex with another man may not make you gay, but it certainly makes you bisexual.

No, it would make them bisexual in your eyes. As for how they identify to themselves and others, that's their business.

Sexuality's a continuum, not a set of three boxes.
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:15 AM on April 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm unclear why many are concerned about the author's sexual orientation.
I've never been to a gay bath-house, but have been curious about what happens inside. Now I know.
Who cares about the messenger?
(Or is it because there is a sub rosa streak of self-loathing manifest in the author's assertion he is not gay when some believe he's denying himself the truth? Which rankles?)
Help me understand.
posted by Dizzy at 9:17 AM on April 16, 2007


This is one of those things that strikes me as achewoodian.
posted by drezdn at 9:23 AM on April 16, 2007


WANTED: Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.
posted by dhartung at 9:23 AM on April 16, 2007 [10 favorites]


I think the "not being sexually attracted" part is probably a bigger hurdle. Sure, I could have sex with guys and not be gay, but what's stopping me isn't society's hating of gays, its the fact that I'm not sexually attracted to guys.

Yes, but attraction's fluid based on the setting you're in. Straight men sleep with men when they're stranded somewhere without women. Men go home with women they'd never look twice at because they're lonely and nobody hotter is around. Gay men have straight sex if it helps them play a certain social role — some of them do it successfully, too, erections and orgasms and all.

Honestly, not being attracted to your partner just isn't that big a hurdle. If it was, there wouldn't be so much prison sex, pity fucks or married men in the closet.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:29 AM on April 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


You know, closeted and married gay guys have sex with women all the time, and we don't accuse them of heterosexuality. Yet the instant a guy touches a dick, we scream "He's gay!" It's quite a double standard. Is it that hard to believe that a straight guy could get blowjobs from men and not be gay? I mean, blowjobs are a hot commodity for some people, no matter where they come from.
posted by freedryk at 9:33 AM on April 16, 2007


(Jinx!)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:34 AM on April 16, 2007


poweredbybeard writes "As for how they identify to themselves and others, that's their business. Sexuality's a continuum, not a set of three boxes."

True, but it being a continuum just means that the different parts blur into eachother, not that it all depends on how you self-identify. A person who is only sexually interested in the opposite gender, and has absolutely no sexual interest in his own gender, is not gay, regardless of whether he identifies himself as gay. Likewise with a self-professed straight person who only is sexually attracted to his/her own gender.

Now, admittedly, that's not very useful, when we're talking about the middle part of the spectrum, but at the ends, who you are sexually attracted to is a greater indicator of your sexual preferences than what you happen to identify yourself as.
posted by Bugbread at 9:36 AM on April 16, 2007


(Hello?)
posted by Dizzy at 9:40 AM on April 16, 2007


freedryk writes "You know, closeted and married gay guys have sex with women all the time, and we don't accuse them of heterosexuality. Yet the instant a guy touches a dick, we scream 'He's gay!' It's quite a double standard. Is it that hard to believe that a straight guy could get blowjobs from men and not be gay?"

I think the idea is that closeted folks are having straight sex as a coverup, not due to preference. I don't think people think "touch a dick, and you're gay", but "touch a dick because you want to touch a dick, and you're gay" (which I disagree with, because it ignores the whole middle of the spectrum, but there you go).
posted by Bugbread at 9:44 AM on April 16, 2007


(Yeah, Dizzy, I think people are assuming he's lying or closeted — and since the post is presented as a straight guy's point of view, that feels like false advertising.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:06 AM on April 16, 2007


Nice article, actually (I was expecting the worst). Very accurate description -- except that he suggested there was no music playing. I've never been to a bathhouse without music.

It's interesting to hear that some straight guys are surprised at the "air of male camaraderie" at gay bars, etc. Thinking back, I suppose I was surprised at this too, when I came out of the closet and made my first ventures into gay nightlife. But I guess I'm so used to it now that I forget what my straight coworkers must be picturing when I mention going out to "the bars."

While we're on the subject, here's an amusing (albeit more freakout-ish) straight guy's account (youtube, probably NSFW) of a bathhouse experience.
posted by treepour at 10:15 AM on April 16, 2007


How many blow jobs by men can you have before you are not straight any more?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind.
posted by jimfl at 10:26 AM on April 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


(Oh CORtex...)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:40 AM on April 16, 2007


Sexuality's a continuum, not a set of three boxes.

bugbread summed up what I was trying to say much more succinctly than I did. It may be blurry, but in the standard lexicon most people interpret "straight" as "only attracted to the opposite sex", "gay" as "only attracted to the same sex", and everything else in some nebulous "bisexual" gray area. You can argue semantics all you want, but you can't deny that by his actions he at minimum falls somewhere in the middle. When we're trying to describe it in terms that our culture provides us with, self-definition is irrelevant (or we'd all have our own dictionaries).
posted by chundo at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2007


Just because a man has sex with men doesn't mean he's gay, and a man doesn't have to have sex with men to be gay.

And "bi" is a convenient term for those who like to self-group or group others. Nothing wrong with it, it just is.
posted by breezeway at 11:20 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


breezeway writes "Just because a man has sex with men doesn't mean he's gay, and a man doesn't have to have sex with men to be gay."

I don't think anyone here is disagreeing with that.
posted by Bugbread at 11:25 AM on April 16, 2007


I tried to smoke a cigar once. Is everyone here gunna tell me I'm a cigar aficionado?
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:29 AM on April 16, 2007


If any term is appropriate here, it would probably be "bi-curious." Unless someone tells you their sexual orientation you can't really be sure they're doing it with a preferred gender.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:33 AM on April 16, 2007


Citizen Premier writes "I tried to smoke a cigar once. Is everyone here gunna tell me I'm a cigar aficionado?"

Again, is anyone making that argument?
posted by Bugbread at 11:35 AM on April 16, 2007


By "here," bugbread, do you mean within the last few comments, or in the entire thread? With folks upthread wondering how straight this writer was to begin with, what I wrote seemed worth saying. Maybe what I said had already been covered by the time I hit "post.". If so, was I then simply agreeing with other disagreers? What's wrong with that?

In a general sense, I hope there's reason other than disagreement to post comments here; otherwise, spending time here would be quite disagreeable.
posted by breezeway at 11:47 AM on April 16, 2007


breezeway writes "With folks upthread wondering how straight this writer was to begin with, what I wrote seemed worth saying."

Sorry, I was a bit unclear.

What I meant was that nobody here is arguing that the physical act of penis in vagina makes one hetero, or that penis in male mouth makes one gay. Hetero/gay/bi are issues of sexual preference, not activity. If you're closeted and have sex with your wife, but have no sexual interest in women, but only men, I think we'd all agree that you're definition gay. Likewise, if you drop the soap in jail, but don't have sexual interest in men, we'd all agree that you're definition straight. If you like them both equally, you're definition bi, and if you're anywhere else on the continuum, well, it's hard to say, that's what continuums are like.

There was a bit of sloppiness upthread, where people were saying "he's gay" as shorthand for "he's not straight". That sloppiness is bad. They should have said "he's either gay or bi" (once again, with the understanding that it's a hazy continuum, not three boxes).

So, that out of the way, my whole point is that people aren't saying he's gay because of the physical act of getting blown and screwing somebody, but because he did those things voluntarily, without extenuating circumstances. That is, he did them because, to some degree at least, he wanted to. Nothin' wrong with that, but I don't think people are saying he's gay because of what he did, but because of why he did it.
posted by Bugbread at 12:11 PM on April 16, 2007


Straight - gay - straight - gay. Won't someone think of the bisexuals?

We think of you.

...naked.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:22 PM on April 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


so that's what was making my brain tickle.
posted by jonmc at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2007


I have a friend who is a Catholic priest; he doesn't have sex with anyone. As far as I know, he never has; he told me he'd always fallen in love with men, but when the urge to make that love physical came upon him, he entered the priesthood and took a vow of celibacy. His love of God is greater than his attraction to men and he makes an excellent, happy priest. He considers himself gay because he loves men and would partner with a man but for his vow, which he took to keep himself from sinning (and of course, a whole host of other reasons; I'm simplifying his approach for the sake of example). He is a celibate gay man who has never had sex with men.

He's a part of what I meant by one not needing to have sex with men to be gay -- he's part of the continuum, as a non-practicing homosexual, just as straight people without sexual experience are still straight. They aren't anywhere in between gay and straight, and they still feel attraction and "couple-style" love, they just don't have sex.

I didn't make my thoughts clear on this, and probably still haven't, but I think gay and straight, and the gradient of bisexual, have everything to do with love, or lust, or simply who one seeks or how one identifies oneself, and little to do with sex itself.
posted by breezeway at 1:21 PM on April 16, 2007


Breezeway: We're in agreement.
posted by Bugbread at 1:33 PM on April 16, 2007


I know this isn't Fark, but I couldn't just let this thread sit at 68 comments.

My apologies.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:47 PM on April 16, 2007


I thought so, bugbread. I just like making myself clear.
posted by breezeway at 1:56 PM on April 16, 2007


I was expecting more graphics.
posted by hellphish at 2:55 PM on April 16, 2007


Nelson writes "For a 35 year old example of the same weird position look in your library for the book 'Tearoom Trade'. It's presented as a neutral anthropological study of men having sex in public restrooms, but it's impossible to read without wondering about the author's own role. He explains his presence away as non-sexual but it's not particularly believable. It's an interesting book in that it presents a variety of roles for the men involved, both sexual and social."

Here's another shout out for Laud Humphrey's classic example of the Participant Observation method in sociological research. These days, the ethics committees that give almost all research the thumbs up or down would be unlikely to let it go, but if John Rechy is a little bit too down and dirty in his accounts of the US cottaging scene, let Humpheys be your guide.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:22 PM on April 16, 2007


I think he pretty much exited the bathhouse by the "Thanks, but no thanks" door. Curiosity ... SATISFIED!!.
posted by adipocere at 4:32 PM on April 16, 2007


ummm - how is this a straight man's guide?
posted by 2shay at 4:48 PM on April 16, 2007


10 bucks says he goes back. He'lll know where the lockers are =)
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:54 PM on April 16, 2007


I didn't try a cigar because somebody put a gun to my head. I tried a cigar because I thought I might enjoy it. The same thing this guy did. I probably won't try cigars again, at least not the 99¢ ones. This guy didn't suggest that he'd be running back, either. I don't like smoking cigars and this fellow may or may not like getting a blow job from another man.
Trying something doesn't mean you're on the fan mail list.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:33 PM on April 16, 2007


"I went to a Bar Mitzvah once; that doesn't make me Jewish!"

He tried something--with an extremely open mind, I might add. It seems like it wasn't his, er, bag. Dude's not gay or bi.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:35 PM on April 16, 2007


pretty much exited the bathhouse by the "Thanks, but no thanks" door.

Yeah, I've pretty much been there - not to the BJ bathhouse in particular, but I snogged some bartender bloke once decades ago. The life lesson I learned from that is that it's very important to shave regularly.

Never felt much desire to revisit, but I know the owner of one of the local gay bars and often go there to play pool with the regular crowd who I've also gotten to know (some from other, straighter bars I also frequent). Nobody seems to have a problem with it if I don't. It's not really a "maze and a sling" type of joint though.
posted by Sparx at 6:25 PM on April 16, 2007


How many blow jobs by men can you have before you are not straight any more?

In the local Craigslist, I often see posts from gay guys to the effect of, "Athletic, straight frat guys -- if your girlfriend isn't doing it for you, give me a call for a quick, NSA blowjob." The implication is always that straight guys can enjoy blowjobs from gay guys.

I've always been a strong believer that for a man to receive a blow job from another man doesn't make the receiver gay.
posted by jayder at 7:51 PM on April 16, 2007


Okay, let's all agree that an NSA blowjob doesn't make you gay, but I'm impressed that this guy went all the way to CIA.
posted by hutta at 8:11 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


...this guy went all the way to CIA

So, he was some sort of undercover agent?
sorry, I couldn't resist :-)
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:55 AM on April 17, 2007


The idea that sexual orientation is a (single-dimensional) continuum seems to me to be little improvement on the 3-boxes model. Any given group of people whose self-identification lands them on one point on this spurious continuum will display huge variety in their interests and practices. Likewise, it is not inconceivable that you could find two people at opposite ends who nonetheless share a lot in tendencies and practices (liking it romantic or rough, lights on/off, one/many partners....). I don't think the words 'gay', 'bi' and 'straight' are doing us any good whatsoever. I'm all 3 and then some, and can prove it to boot:)
posted by fcummins at 5:09 AM on April 17, 2007


I'm with pax digita.

How about a "bathhouse"...where you can get just a bath, or sauna, or jacuzzi?

Along with affordable medicare, education, or mental health services, I'm afraid not in the States...

...at least beer and cigarettes are affordable for all.
posted by humannaire at 5:34 AM on April 17, 2007


2shay writes "ummm - how is this a straight man's guide?"

Well, it's a guide explaining to us straight folks what a bathhouse is like. I didn't know before I read it, and now I do, and the only disagreement in this thread from folks who have actually been to bathhouses is "usually they have music", so it seems to have done a decent job as a guide.

Citizen Premier writes "Trying something doesn't mean you're on the fan mail list."

Didn't say it did. Enjoying it and wanting to do it (specifically, for sexuality, "being sexually attracted to the same/opposite gender") is what puts you on the fan mail list, not "being curious about sex with the same/opposite gender", or "having sex with the same/opposite gender". No, there's no guarantee that this guy was anything other than dictionary straight and just really curious. But, in all likelihood, if it was just curiosity, it would have been satisfied by the third or fourth blowjob. So I'm just saying "yes, he may be dictionary straight and just curious, but from the evidence at hand, that seems amazingly unlikely, and him being bi or gay is far, far more likely".

But, fine, if we accept that a person being sexually attracted to the opposite gender doesn't make one straight, being attracted to the same gender doesn't make one gay, and being attracted to both doesn't make one bi, can you please provide some other word, because saying "neocons are scared of being-attracted-to-the-same-genderness, and want to restrict the rights of being-attracted-to-the-same-gender people" is kinda awkward, and, while I always thought BGALA (the Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance in my university) was an awkward acronym, it doesn't hold a candle to "BABGBASGYMBASGYFA" (the Being Attracted to Both Genders, Being Attracted to the Same Gender if You are Male, and Being Attracted to the Same Gender if You are Female Alliance)
posted by Bugbread at 5:37 AM on April 17, 2007


It isn't in whose hole you put it. It's what hole you're thinking about as it happens.

I've blown plenty of nominally straight guys. They enjoy it, probably thinking of their favorite females. Often this was under circumstances where their only alternative was go without (unpleasant) or go wank while sitting on a toilet (also unpleasant).

I don't doubt that some men screw women while thinking about their favorite men. That's just how it works, because most sex happens in our minds, not with the genitalia.

I'm surprised that a bathhouse still exists. I thought they'd all closed down. I've only ever been to ones in Manhattan.
posted by Goofyy at 5:48 AM on April 17, 2007


because most sex happens in our minds,

then it's an empty experience
(bad-oom-cha)
posted by jonmc at 6:18 AM on April 17, 2007


I'm surprised that a bathhouse still exists. I thought they'd all closed down. I've only ever been to ones in Manhattan.

Nope, they're still around (and, to me, this fact makes the world a happier place). FWIW, San Francisco closed down all sex clubs and bathhouses as a response to the AIDS crisis; it finally allowed sex clubs to reopen, but bathhouses are still illegal -- the difference being that in a sex club, there are no private rooms (the theory, I assume, is that unsafe sex is more likely to take place in private rooms). The clubs tend to be pretty aggressive in advocating and educating about safe sex, and often provide free HIV testing.
posted by treepour at 8:49 AM on April 17, 2007


Adding another term to the discussion, a lot of public health workers use the term "MSM," meaning "men seeking men." The "MSM" label allows them to speak of people based on what they do, rather than how they self-identify. They still need to get the message out about safer-sex practices, etc. without having it tuned out because "it's a gay thing."

I'd say that the person in the article was an "MSM," at least for that night.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:54 AM on April 17, 2007


(the theory, I assume, is that unsafe sex is more likely to take place in private rooms)

From what I saw at Slammer and BlowBuddies, the theory fails in practice. There's education, sure, and condoms aplenty, but patrons still make their own choices about what they do. I saw plenty of less-safe sex when I was there.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:58 AM on April 17, 2007


Robert, I dunno. Not to nitpick this to death, but, technically, the fact that you saw unsafe sex doesn't mean that just as much of it occurred as would have occurred had private rooms been available. (Badly-constructed sentence, sorry -- hopefully it's decipherable). Moreover, I assume you mean unsafe anal sex, as condom-less oral sex is nowadays considered at least safer sex.

Maybe you were at BB on a really happening night, but in my experience, anal sex is far from the norm at sex clubs. For one thing, there are few places to lie down and get comfortable. Second, most guys that I know (yes, even ones who frequent such places) consider that far too vulnerable/intimate of an act to exhibit in front of a crowd. In the linked article you'll note that the guy who wanted anal sex was in a room:
Coming upon an open door I looked in to find a man, face-down on a bed. Seeing me, he beckoned me [ . . .]
Usually, bathhouse etiquette would require that the guy in the author's role close the door if things are going to go further.
posted by treepour at 9:39 AM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Usually, bathhouse etiquette would require that the guy in the author's role close the door if things are going to go further.

See? Ya learn something new every day.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:15 AM on April 17, 2007


Interesting article.

I entirely agree with what freedryk and Pope Guilty wrote concerning the orientation of the author. My hunch is also that he's straight, period.
Straight and easy-going.

Reminds me that I happen to know some straight guys that bartend at gay clubs because the girls who go to gay clubs are both more wild and more approachable. And sure, the straight bartenders have been hit on and kissed by gays many many times, but that didn't and will never change their orientation.

*shrug
posted by ruelle at 3:20 PM on April 17, 2007


ruelle writes "My hunch is also that he's straight, period."

So he isn't sexually attracted to men, period? And he got multiple blowjobs because...?
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 PM on April 17, 2007


So he isn't sexually attracted to men, period? And he got multiple blowjobs because...?

They felt good.
posted by treepour at 3:48 PM on April 17, 2007


treepour writes "They felt good."

I suppose that's possible. I hadn't really thought about the possibility that he could have just closed his eyes and said "what the hell, it feels good, and I'll just imagine it's Jessica Alba" (or whomever Americans find hot nowadays, I can never keep up).
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 PM on April 17, 2007


For one thing, there are few places to lie down and get comfortable.

Treepour, sweetie... When you fuck in public, you're usually not lying down! ;-)
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:29 PM on April 17, 2007


I'm also kind of surprised at the clientele he saw. I was under the impression that XS was largely a twink hangout.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:47 PM on April 17, 2007


Treepour, sweetie... When you fuck in public, you're usually not lying down! ;-)

Oh, you must be talking about the old days. I've gotten a lot more versatile over the past few years.
posted by treepour at 4:56 PM on April 17, 2007


The Steamworks is by far a more pleasant Local Bathing Establishment™ (LBE™) in Toronto, with gigantic custom-built stainless-steel hot tubs, but it comes at the cost of obnoxious and lippy counter staff who will read you if you so much as smile funny. I am always amused by Spa Excess’s posters advertising upcoming “Asian nights,” as they would be hard to distinguish from any other night.

Anyway, the best thing about gay-male environments is the lack of women to have to talk to.
posted by joeclark at 9:59 PM on April 22, 2007


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