This question concerns both sex and etiquette: How much privacy can one reasonably expect while engaging in consensual sex in a sex club? While visiting one of those open-to-the-public establishments that cater to men who want to get off with other men, I saw an uptight but openly gay prig who is a member of my social circle. I shared this fact with a straight friend while dishing the dirt over cocktails. She blabbed it to others.
This issue has turned a group of adult men and women into a squabbling mob of kids at recess. Three camps have formed on our little playground: 1. There is some kind of fag code of honor that says that whatever deeds take place in these es-tablishments stay there. (This is Mr. Prig's position.) 2. One is free to talk about what one sees in a sex club, but one should be discreet when sharing that information. (Telling a straight woman would be out-of-bounds, for example.) 3. If you choose to rim one man while being sucked off by another in full view of 30 people in a quasipublic place in New York City, well, you've really blown any expectation of anonymity. (This is my view.)
Your input as an expert on sex and manners would be greatly appreciated.
I forwarded your letter to Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, who regularly tackles etiquette questions in her very fine advice column. Alas, Miss Manners has not, as of this writing, done me the courtesy of responding. Therefore I shall, with your kind indulgence, wing it.
The gay man who cultivates a priggish persona--the type who makes an elaborate show of disgust when he hears of other gay men's feats of sexual derring-do--should never be seen in public engaged in a sex act that requires more than two dozen syllables and three languages to accurately catalog, i.e., an exhibitionist homosexual menage a trois featuring analingus and fellatio. (That's 27 syllables by my count, and four languages: English, French, Latin, and Greek.) As for the amount of privacy a person can "reasonably expect" in a sex club: a prig may hope those pre-sent will be as discreet as he is being indiscreet, but there's nothing reasonable about that expectation. In fact, it's thoroughly unreasonable.
As for the first camp's position: the existence of a "fag code of honor" is news to me. Most gay men, as most gay men should be aware, are terrible gossips. If you don't want gay men gossiping about your sex life, don't have sex in front of a crowd of gay men. Likewise, the second camp's position--gay men, as a rule, should be discreet--isn't grounded in reality. If discretion is a "rule," well, it's one gay men flout as aggressively as we do those "sexual conduct strictly prohibited" signs posted in the locker rooms of better health clubs.
While most gay men regard rimming and sucking as relatively vanilla, performing both at once in front of 30 men is remarkably sleazy--and Mr. Prig's own choice. Had Mr. Prig refrained from misrepresenting him-self to his social circle, there wouldn't have been anything remarkable about spotting him in a sex club with his tongue wedged in a strange man's rump; if your friends knew him to be an ass-eating sleaze-o-rama, what you saw wouldn't have been dirt. But when Mr. Prig engaged in public sexual conduct that conflicted so outrageously with his publicly stated beliefs, his behavior was both remarkable and blabworthy. A hypocrite unmasked can blame no one for his humiliation but himself.
Finally, let me remind everyone that rimming is not a first-date activity, nor is it something I would encourage anyone to perform on a perfect stranger. While low risk for HIV, rimming is high risk for everything else, and if you don't know how recently your companion has showered, rimming is in terribly poor taste. I believe Judith Martin disagrees on this point, but Miss Manners takes a more permissive position on oral-anal contact than I, Gentle Reader, which is her prerogative as a lady.
My older sister is marrying the father of her six-month-old. The problem is, until last year she was a lesbian.
Every time my sister talks about her wedding, I want to gag. Does she really think that people don't remember the militant lesbian she was not two years ago? Now she puts down lesbians whenever she can, which really hurts me considering that I'm a lesbian. My dad is ecstatic that she has converted (he is superreligious). I feel like I can't trust anything my sister says or does. Any words of advice?
--Lost a Sister
Before offering advice, I would like to commiserate. Ten years ago, I had three lesbian pals. They all ate pussy and sucked tittie and did each other with strap-ons. Today one of my lesbian pals is married to a man, another is living with a man, and the third is a man. Oddly enough, none of the gay men I know has ever run off and married a woman, dated a woman, or become a woman.
When I think about my three lesbian buddies--and other, famous ex-lezzies, like Anne Heche--I think, "Gee, what is it about being a dyke that's so easily shrugged off?" Any thoughts, lezzies?
As for your sister, LAS: While you can't stop her from getting hitched, nowhere is it written that you have to play along with the homophobic amnesia. Tell your sister that unless she knocks off the put-downs, you will seize every opportunity to remind her, her husband, and your dear ol' dad just what a world-class carpet muncher she used to be. And when the dumb breeder's child is old enough to understand carpet munchin', you'll make damn sure the kid knows mom spent several years facedown in deep shag.
In other ex-lesbian news, Reuters reports that a heartbroken 37-year-old lesbian tried to kill her 35-year-old lover with a speargun after being dumped for a man. Luckily for the ex-lesbian, her ex-girlfriend was a bad shot. And in soon-to-be-ex-lesbian news, a female couple in Somalia have been sentenced to death for "exercising unnatural behavior."
Somalia's legal code is based on that laff-a-minute/lop-off-their-hands/off- with-their-heads Islamic Sharia law, which prescribes death for homosexual acts.
It's too bad for these unfortunate Somalians that they're not a pair of 175-foot-tall lesbians carved into the side of a mountain. Then the world might give a shit that they were about to be wiped off the face of the earth by a pack of intolerant religious ass-wipes.
Confidential to Amicably Seeking Opinion or Diagnosis and Chicago Dreamer: Yes, you're both gay.
ASOOD: Try looking in the mirror when you're not high. CD: It might be a good idea to drop the girlfriend, get away from the fundie, and start realiz-ing your all-consuming "fantasies" before you turn 30.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.