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No Sex With a Large Penis (or any other penis)

jason_els

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Interesting article in Village Voice about the decline of public sex in New York. It seems that younger people just aren't as interested in the wild debauchery of their elders. The author claims that younger people, being more liberated, are focusing on the issues of marriage, having children, and serving openly in the military. The mayor's crackdown on sex venues hasn't helped either.

On the night before Memorial Day last month, several hundred men were packed into the top floor of a building in the meatpacking district. A DJ spun in a corner while bartenders frantically poured vodka into paper cups. A few of the men—most of them older—had checked their clothes, but the younger ones were keeping theirs on. In a few darkened corners, there were a few guys giving blowjobs and some ass play; overall, however, the scene could have passed for a typical holiday weekend at any East Village gay bar.

What was most notable about this party wasn't that a few people were—somewhat desultorily—playing around. Rather, it's how many didn't seem to evince the slightest interest in a hookup of any kind. Despite the heat (no fans, let alone air conditioning), the naked go-go boys and the alcohol people seemed content to make chitchat. And whatever little sex was going on, most seemed oblivious to it.

In 2002, I wrote the Voice's cover story for the Pride issue on "The Return of Public Sex." I chronicled the explosion in sex venues, from clubs to private parties to backroom bars: "After years of AIDS anxiety and government repression, gay public sex is bigger and better than ever," I wrote.

What a difference six years make.

The city has shut down all but two bathhouses and every known sex club in Manhattan, as well as citing bars, clubs, and private parties where inspectors find any men-on-men action. The few entrepreneurs still out there complain about apathy and different priorities among younger gay men.

Like everyone else these days, Nardicio blames the Internet for the lack of public engagement. Even so, he adds: "If people wanted dirty, raunchy parties in New York, it would happen. But people don't want it."

If there's a generational shift between post-Stonewall gay men and their younger counterparts, it's that the latter are more interested in fashionista kiss-kiss cocktail soirees like Hiro at the Maritime Hotel and Beige at B Bar: "People are so obsessed about how they look," Nardicio complains. "Everyone wants to pretend they're an A&F model."

For some, this new attitude may mark a healthy and normal progression—from the generation that had to fight for its right to party to a new breed fighting for the right to marry and serve openly in the military. Today, it's easier than ever to come out, and people are doing it in high school or even before. Coming out so early in life, they don't feel as alienated from straight women—or, increasingly, men. Rather than facing discrimination and alienation, they can look forward to marriage and children: "They're not feeling as marginalized," Nardicio says. "Young guys are not as interested in a gay-only scene."

Even on the Internet, young guys are at least as interested in social- networking sites like MySpace as hooking up on Manhunt. "The 21-year-olds are interested in dating," Nardicio notes. "There's a lot less self-hatred."
- Village Voice
I suggest reading the rest of the story as it's a fascinating look into the changing mores of New York's gay scene.
 
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mindseye

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Hmm, one of the things that strikes me about this article is that it seems to miss an obvious reason for the decline of what they call "gay public sex":

Historically, many gay men sought bathhouses, because they were not out to their roommates (...or wives!), and therefore didn't have a place to bring their partners. The prevalence of gay public sex was due to the lack of opportunity for gay private sex. As we've succeeded in lessening the stigma of coming out (and especially so in New York City), more gay men are able to bring partners home. For the deeply closeted, "dating" wasn't even an option.

This isn't necessarily a shift in attitude like the writer suggests, but an expansion of opportunity and an increase in the number of available options.
 

jason_els

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Hmm, one of the things that strikes me about this article is that it seems to miss an obvious reason for the decline of what they call "gay public sex":

Historically, many gay men sought bathhouses, because they were not out to their roommates (...or wives!), and therefore didn't have a place to bring their partners. The prevalence of gay public sex was due to the lack of opportunity for gay private sex. As we've succeeded in lessening the stigma of coming out (and especially so in New York City), more gay men are able to bring partners home. For the deeply closeted, "dating" wasn't even an option.

This isn't necessarily a shift in attitude like the writer suggests, but an expansion of opportunity and an increase in the number of available options.

That's an interesting perspective and very reasonable in my estimation. I feel cheated though. Having missed out on the golden years of wild public gay sex only to find that nobody is doing it now that I can, doesn't make me a happy guy. I think we've lost something there. Perhaps the prevalence of nice and fun gay bath houses in cities elsewhere, like Cleveland, mean there's less acceptance? I wonder if there's a correlation?