I am not really a big supporter of the whole “anti-gay bigots are secretly closeted gay men” meme. I find it far too ‘pat’ an answer – human behaviour and beliefs are multifaceted and complex. While there have been a number of examples where anti-gay crusaders (Eddie Long, George Rekers, Ted Haggard) have turned out to be something other than the sterling avatars of pure heterosexuality that they claim to be, there are enough men in public life who hate gays with equal sincerity and virulence who show no evidence of being gay, secretly or otherwise. Whatever the relationship between gay hatred and self-hatred by gay men, I find that particular explanation sometimes borders on succumbing to ‘shaming’ straight men for being gay, and that makes me uncomfortable.
All that being said, sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any other explanation*:
“Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system,” says [anti-gay activist Paul] Cameron. “If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one’s own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm.” So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. “I’m convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers,” says Cameron.
“People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical,” he adds, sounding evangelical himself. “It’s pure sexuality. It’s almost like pure heroin. It’s such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they’ll take enormous risks, do anything.” He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. “Martial (sic) sex tends toward the boring end,” he points out. “Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does” So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.
There’s a lot to unpack here:
1 – Solely for one’s own personal amusement
Okay… so apparently Mr. Cameron is one of those “sex is for mekkin’ babys” kind of guys. This is often cast as a “traditional” view of the function of sexuality, but it’s about as “traditional” as ‘White Christmas‘ – which is to say, it’s been “traditional” for maybe 200-300 years tops, and only in certain cultures. Far more ‘traditional’ (in the sense that it goes back into antiquity and crosses cultural borders pretty much effortlessly) is the view that sex is really nifty and fun. Industries have been (and still are) founded on that principle. By contrast, ‘sex for procreation only’ is and has been a failing idea that has required harsh punishment and the power of religious authority to keep itself propped up for generations.
And let’s not overlook this, because I think it’s more or less borne out by the rest of the statement: one’s own personal amusement? Masturbation is for one’s own personal amusement. Sex, even as pure amusement, is for (one would hope) the mutual amusement of all involved parties. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on the fact that Mrs. Cameron could, if need be, flawlessly reproduce from memory the pattern of stucco on the ceiling above her bed. If Mr. Cameron has this idea of sex as personal amusement fixed in his head, and doesn’t see how weird a thing to say that is, my guess is that in his zeal to stay hard, he never notices the look of bored and slightly disgusted distraction on his poor wife’s face during their semiannual sexual ritual.
2 – Homosexuality is too powerful to resist
So here’s the central part of his argument: that gay sex is better than hetero sex, and men everywhere are champing at the bit to plunge their way into some hot man ass. He seems to think the same situation holds for women – suggesting perhaps that Mr. Cameron doesn’t like to eat pussy. Whatever the reason, Mr. Cameron seems to have, for all his vaunted experience as a psychologist, not a blessed clue about how sexual attraction works. Human sexual attraction is not about maximizing orgasm quality – the reason straight men aren’t attracted to other men isn’t because they simply haven’t discovered the joy of prostate pounding, it’s because they (we) just don’t work that way. The wide variety of human sexual preference should be abundant evidence to suggest that people are attracted to all kinds of different things, and very little of that decision is made on the basis of likely orgasm quality.
Also… threesomes are a thing, Mr. Cameron. Just throwing that out there.
3 – Heterosexual people are just waiting for society’s approval
There are a lot of sex-positive liberals out there, Mr. Cameron. Amazingly though, they (we) haven’t all ‘gone gay’, despite the fact that there are few consequences to such a ‘choice’. In a society where a plastic sexual identity is possible (and not a source of shame and persecution) you’re right: some men will have sex with other men – those men who want to have sex with other men. That’s all.
4 – Gay sex is like heroin
I know people who like sex a lot, but I have never heard of anyone who would compare it to heroin – gay or otherwise. Maybe I’m divulging a bit too much of my own business here, but considering the stories I’ve heard about what heroin addicts are willing to do to get their next ‘fix’ (including, interestingly, providing sexual favours for money), I can’t see this kind of statement as anything other than really freakin’ weird.
5 – Marital sex gets boring
Aaaaaand so you give up on women altogether? This one is truly bizarre. Some men who are bored with their marital sex lives have affairs. Others might work with their spouse to spice things up a bit. Again, the only way I can see for this statement to make sense is if Mr. Cameron thinks that all men secretly long for a taste of the cock and are as bored with hetero hotslappy as he is. Only way.
Of course there’s the assumption built in there that gay people don’t get sexually bored either, which is kind of a strange assumption.
6 – Heterosexual sex doesn’t provide the same ‘sheer sexual pleasure’ that homosexual sex does
I seriously don’t even know what to say to that. There’s no way for me to parse that sentence without accepting the premise that Mr. Cameron had gay sex and wants more, but can’t because he thinks it’s wrong.
There are a lot of sad things that come through this quote, and if it weren’t from such a hateful assbag, I would feel deep and abiding sympathy for a man so twisted by the conflict between his ideology and his sexual orientation. If Mr. Cameron, or those like him, lived in a society that allowed people maximum freedom from both legal and social punishment for acts that do not harm anyone else, he’d be able to live the kind of life he so evidently wants to. The great tragedy of the situation is that not only can he not live in a world like that, he is actively working to make sure that nobody else can either.
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*I actually took the time to track down the source of this quote. It comes from an article by Robert Dreyfuss, who provides no citation for where these remarks were actually said. Treat them with the appropriate amount of skepticism.