American Culture

The Scrogues' Guide to Women: what's up your straight guy's ass?

By Ann Ivins

From: a recent IM exchange

Her: Why do even the nicest straight guys get weird when you talk about gay sex? Are men just naturally more homophobic than women?
Me: We’re talking gay male sex , right?
Her: Yeah, of course. Straight chicks don’t act like that when you talk about lesbians.
Me: Uncontaminated ones don’t.
Her: Uncontaminated?
Me: By patriarchal fundamentalist religions… but that’s a whole different can of writhing phallic worms.
Her: Oh, right. But what’s the deal with uncontaminated guys?
Me: You mean, why do their anal sphincters snap shut with a faintly audible *pop* right before they remember to mention all their gay friends?
Her: Yeah, the sphincter snap.
Me: Let me think about it…
Her: You’re going to use this for that Guide thing, aren’t you? It’s about men, not women.
Her: E? E? E?????
Her: Goddamnit. Don’t use my name, for Christ’s sake.

For the record, I believe “gay” and “straight” are useless terms. The universal human desire to get off isn’t as simple as A and B, even with AB’s thrown into the equation. Human sexuality is more like a spectrum, or a range, or perhaps a Cartesian coordinate system with wet bits and lots of throbbing – complex, confusing, and much, MUCH more situational than most people want to admit. I think in terms of percentages.

Like this: You’re a guy. You say, “I’m totally gay.” I say, “You’re a Ninety-Five Percenter,” meaning that in a perfect world full of freely available 23-year-old International Male models, you’d shun the vagina. You’d laugh at the vagina. You might even utter a contemptuous “Tchah!” when the vagina came up in conversation. If, however, you were born into an environment in which a young gay boy was beaten, humiliated and brainwashed into seeing himself as sick and disgusting, you very well might be able to not only marry the possessor of a vagina, but put it to occasional use as well. As my NFP(Gay) friend Bruce explained once, “If it’s dark enough, a hole is a hole is a hole.”

Or like this: You’re a guy. You say, “I’m totally straight.” I say, “You’re an NFP.” You say, “I-don’t-have-a-problem-with-it-I’m-just-not-attracted-to-men (the official appropriate response on page three of your Enlightened Modern Male Handbook).” I say, “Have another beer. Or two.” Then I take you to the men’s room, promise you complete secrecy and the best blowjob of your life, unbutton your fly, kneel, and right before the magic moment say, “By the way, I’m a trannie.”

Ninety-Five Percenter, pal.

So back to the original question. My correspondent had a point: ask an NFP(Straight) woman if she’d ever have sex with another woman, and she’ll say something like “Oh, probably not,” or “I doubt it,” or “Which woman are we talking about here? Like Tina Fey?” Ask the same question of a charming, progressive, lovable NFP(S) man and listen closely… yep, there it is, just before the “I-don’t-have-a-problem.” The telltale sphincter snap. Why?

This is where the Just Came Out Gay Men’s Chorus melodically exclaims, “CLO-seted!” with the annoying but blessedly transitory zeal of any recent convert. This is where Euphrosyne says, “Hmmm. I don’t know.” Suppressing a vital part of who you are for years and years and having it come out as rage, hatred and violence: that makes sense. Horrifying, revolting, fatal sense. Momentary but instinctual discomfort, particularly in a relatively safe environment, like a room full of like-minded guiltily uncomfortable liberals and women who dig the Enlightened Male? Not so much.

My theory (and the word once again is theory): it might just be about dominance. Pack position. Who gets to piss last and longest on the fire hydrant of society. Nature or nurture, most men have been expected from birth to compete, to win, and to equate their rank in the Big Game with their worth as a human being. The times they may be changing, but not much and not fast. And unless that nice tolerant NFP guy is a total blithering idiot, he has noticed that in this game, women start out behind and never really catch up. He may be aware of the essential wrongness of these rules, he may be actively involved in fighting against the status quo, he may have “NOW” tattooed on his scrotum and a rainbow ring hanging from his Prince Albert – but that lifelong conditioning is deep. Associating being on the receiving end of penetrative sex (the root of the sphincter snap) with being feminized and therefore with being weak or vulnerable… at a gut level, like it or not, it makes sense. Sad but true.

So give a good NFP guy a break. Turn a deaf ear to the involuntary muscular spasm. Appreciate that he’s able to kiss his father in public, plays basketball with his daughter, and will watch every episode of Project Runway with you and a roomful of gay men without even once clasping his hands unconsciously over his genitals. Give a little, get a lot.

But save the pegging conversation for a really opportune moment.

Got a question about women? Or men and women? Tap out an e-mail with the hand that’s not wanking to Internet porn and send it to:

askeuphrosyne at gmail dot com

Confidentiality guaranteed, ball-busting absolutely free. Go on, hit me.

19 replies »

  1. Despite the mostly serious nature of the topic, I’m splitting a gut at the greatest collection of one-liners I’ve read in years.

  2. After all these years, I finally figured when I got to the paragraph space preceding the paragraph that begins with this sentence:

    My theory (and the word once again is theory): it might just be about dominance.

    Eureka, Euphrosyne. That’s it! Most men — even non-macho types indifferent to competition like myself — lack the inclination to be in a relationship to someone they’re submissive to.

  3. You know I’m just speculating, right? What I do know is how deeply ingrained all those conscious or unconscious messages about femininity are in me, and how easy it is to act on them, and how hard it is to change them. Different messages, but I thought the processes might be similar for men.

  4. how hard it is to change them

    First a correction to comment 2: After “figured” insert “it out.”

    Remember, too, that men — again, indulge my generalization – need visual stimuli. Without the female form that signals sex to them, there’s nothing to drive them to sex with a man.

    Sure, a teenage boyr might have sex with a watermelon or sheep. But most men need a real woman, the sight of a woman, or the voice of a woman on a phone that symbolizes the sight of a woman, to invite them to have sex.

    Women, I’ve heard, don’t necessarily require the visual model of an attractive man to have sex. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Admittedly I have “man crushes” (for instance, on a certain B.O.). But retraining myself to sexually “imprint” on the form of a man? What would be my motivation to reorient myself?

  5. Of course it’s about dominance. That’s why we have hot, throbbing man sex in prisons. Or, at least, I assume they do. I don’t really know. But I saw it on FOX once.

    That was friggin hysterical. I’m gonna have to come up with a question…even though it’ll probably mean that my man-ego will be obliterated. I was going to ask the obvious one, “Why do nice guys always finish last?” But, to be honest, the answer to that one scares me. And it will probably lead many of your nice guy readers into substance abuse. 🙂

  6. Oh, I see. Russ, I didn’t mean the attractive processes were the same; that wasn’t very clear. I meant the intense socialization from all directions to behave in certain ways, to meet certain expectations, happens to women, too.

  7. Michael,

    Do nice guys really finish last, or is that just a legend?

    That would be an interesting meme to quantify.


  8. I was just thinking the same thing. What kind of nice? Finish last how? Michael, feel free to clarify in an e-mail (hint, hint).

  9. ““Why do nice guys always finish last?” But, to be honest, the answer to that one scares me. And it will probably lead many of your nice guy readers into substance abuse.”

    Mine does… 😉

    …but that didn’t happen until he had recovered from being in the desert for a number of years.

  10. UT: Not talking about you, but what does a woman, tasked by biology with staffing a home with progeny, want with a guy who’s too nice to fend for said family? Nice, but strong, is what I presume to guess women want. Strong, but not nice, will do for some. Nice, but not tough — he’s the odd man out. And rightfully.

  11. Russ, true. All that makes sense. We’re kinda veering off target from the original post, but what constitutes “tough” in this day and age? Is it someone who can survive a pit fight? Or is it someone who managed to tough it out through college and grad school with his sanity intact? Is “tough” physical or intellectual? Or, for that matter, spiritual? Or financial? I suspect it’s more than just “toughness.”

    I think it has a lot to do with appearances rather than actual “toughness.” A lot of nice guys tend not to expound on their achievements. Because they’re, well, too nice to bring it up. A lot of “tough” guys are all about talking about what they’ve done, real or not. I’m talking generalizations here, of course, but I think it’s not all that inaccurate.

  12. UT: The ability to support your family through thick and thin is sufficient strength and toughness.

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  14. Wow. I was laughing so hard reading your post, Euphrosyne, I think I heard my sphincter snap … guess i’m only a ninety-fiver. Oh well, I’ll have to break it gently to my family !

    ps: if there is a sexuality scale (and I believe there is, following Kinsey and Euphro) then how does punishment get meted out in (some versions of) Christianity for those who stray to teh gay?