Welcome to Discovering the Male Mysteries with Mel Mystery. This blog is a supplement to my podcast is for and about gay and bi pagan men. My podcasts are about what it is to be gay, what it is to be pagan, what it is to be men — sometimes as separate topics and sometimes all meshed together as one. I started this endeavor after seeing that there were few, if any, podcasts out there on this topic. The podcasts are informative, and present topics that challenge conventional thinking.

Archive for July, 2016

Co-Dependent God?

Not too long ago I was in a conversation with a Christian co-worker about life challenges and struggles.  She’s a very genuine person and often has well thought things to say about life from a Christian perspective.  In this particular instance, she said something both interesting and disturbing.  She suggested that God gives us challenges and struggles because if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t need “Him.”

The idea stuck with me, not because I agree with it, but because I found the mindset disturbing.  If we’d been talking about a relationship with another person – say a boyfriend, spouse, friend, or even a relative – the reaction would be “This person keeps you down so he can feel better about himself and to keep you hanging on and ‘needing’ him?  You need to get away from that relationship or at the very least go through counseling together if the relationship is important.”  Since this is God, the omnipotent ruler of the universe, of course this is different. It’s okay. I don’t actually buy that, but many Christians are willing to accept behaviors and conditions from their God that aren’t acceptable from people in their closest relationships, let alone from a mortal ruler.  If someone ruled by keeping their people down, there’d certainly be a rebellion and in Christian mythology there supposedly was. If one is to accept Christian mythology as fact (as many Christians do), it makes one wonder about the other side’s version of things, since history is usually written by the victor and demonizes the opponent – in this case, literally.  I’m not going to go down that line of reasoning, but I will leave it as food for thought.

Of course, being a co-dependent ruler who needs human worship and approval is not the only image of the Christian God.  In fact, this idea of God is very medieval and feudal, coming from a time where feudal lords ruled, protected, and likely exploited the common people, and the people were happy to give up some freedom and perhaps even dignity because the system was still better than going it alone. Modern conceptions of God are more that of a loving parent, though often a strict disciplinarian.  God wants what’s best for us, though we don’t always know what’s best for ourselves and we often have to accept His judgment.  We are children, after all, or perhaps sheep.  The loving shepherd is also a Christian God archetype.  Still a parent who loves us, but keeps us down for his (or her) aggrandizement or to keep us needing them, doesn’t mesh with the concept of unconditional love, and again, I think we’d question that love if it was all about the other person and left us wanting.

For the Christians out there reading this, you’re welcome to justify your life challenges and struggles in a context that makes sense to you, and I know there are other ideas on this matter.  As a Pagan and a polytheist, I feel free to pick and choose Gods, Goddesses, and even other spirits that resonate with me and with my conception of the world.  I wouldn’t willingly choose a deity who kept me down, abused my trust, or exploited my struggles.  For you monotheists out there, Christians and others, you only have one choice.  You have to accept or to justify, your One deity’s actions and commands.  If you don’t like it or it doesn’t mesh with your beliefs or your view of the world, you’re the one who has to adjust, adapt, and accept, or else risk going to Hell.  I don’t believe in Hell.  I actually believe in reincarnation.  For me, struggles and challenges are part of a learning process.  My struggles and challenges weren’t put there by “the devil” to trip me up nor were they put there by any god or goddess to keep me needy.  If they were put in my path, it is so I can grow and so I can learn to fish for myself as the saying goes, rather than relying on handouts from the fisherman. Teach a man to fish… and all of that.  In the grand scheme of things, struggles and challenges teach us and test us. I’m learning to be the best soul I can be, though it may take me several lifetimes to get there.

Tops, Bottoms, and Normativity

It’s pretty much expected that gay men like and are interested in anal sex, right?  But not all gay men are into anal.  The assumption that gay sex is exclusively anal sex affects everything from straight notions that gay sex is “disgusting” to the FDA blood ban on men who’ve had sex with other men.  In the gay community, one of the first things asked when hooking up is “are you a top or a bottom.”  What if you’re neither?

There are some threads online about gay men who aren’t into anal sex. The conversation usually goes something like this: “I’m not into anal sex,”  “Anal sex doesn’t do anything for me,” or “It seems kind of gross.”  Followed by: “You must be a prude,” “Get over your internalized homophobia,” or “If you’ve tried it and didn’t like it, you must not be doing it right.” Gay men who admit they aren’t into anal are met with the same kind of enforcement of social norms that vegetarians experience when they have dinner with a room full of meat eaters and the same kind of judgment that a gay man gets from his family who suggest he just hasn’t “met the right woman yet.”  Those who enforce the social norms feel and react like you’re trying to take something away from them – whether meat, heterosexuality, or anal sex.  Can’t we live in a world where folks can do their own thing without social pressure or stigma?

I’ve been reading a lot lately about homonormativity and I can’t help but feel that the gay male obsession with anal sex is a mirror of heteronormativity.  For straight folks, the missionary position with the man on top and the woman underneath is the expected default for sex.  Anal sex is the gay missionary position.  You have a top and a bottom.  In heterosexual terms, you have to either be the “man” or the “woman” in the relationship.  I don’t buy that and I don’t think that gay sex and gay norms have to mirror straight sex and straight norms either.  I like cock and I’ve never had much of an attraction to assholes, so is it any wonder my own interests are cock centric and not anal centric.  I’ve had anal sex from both roles; I’ve played with anal toys; and sure maybe I just haven’t had the “right” experiences.  But honestly, I like oral and hand jobs, both giving and receiving – not to mention kissing, cuddling, and some kinky stuff too.  I believe in a pluralistic world and I’m not trying to take anal sex away from those who like it.  I am trying to expand what is considered normative, and not restrict views of “normal” gay sex to a single act.

For those who postulate that not liking anal sex is somehow homophobic, what about the egalitarian issues related to anal sex?  Anal sex as a gay norm comes with heterosexist and sexist baggage.  It’s heterosexist because making it the default gay male sex act assumes that mirroring straight sex by sticking a dick in a hole is the “right” way to do sex.  It’s sexist because one person takes the role of dominant male and the other a submissive female. Just because we don’t state our gendered assumptions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Bottom shaming is something that’s been with us since the dawn of civilization.  In ancient cultures and even today, being the “top” in anal sex meant you were more of a man and being the “bottom” meant you were submissive or conquered.  It might have been okay between men of different ages, ranks, or social positions, but not among equals.  Today many men who are into anal sex, don’t bottom or at least don’t admit to being bottoms because there’s a still stigma that it makes them less than a man.

Those who argue that guys not into anal sex should give it a chance should take their own advice.  If you claim to be a top you should try bottoming, and vice-versa.  If you don’t like it, you should probably keep trying because you probably just haven’t had the right experience.  You should also probably try expanding your general sexual repertoire too.  By assuming both top and bottom roles, you’d be making anal sex more egalitarian. By trying other things, you’d be expanding the definition of gay male sex beyond a single type of sex act.

I applaud those of you out there who are “versatile,” who take pride in their kinks, or who simply state they like oral in their personal and hook up profiles. Please keep the conversation moving forward.