FROM THE EDITOR.
Everything is about sex except sex, which is about power.” This quote is often attributed to Oscar Wilde but, while most scholars dispute this, whoever did say it was on to something.
I’m sitting at a table in a busy pub at lunchtime, eating with a work colleague, a woman who is unusually attractive. A stranger, a man, comes up to our table and slides a piece of folded paper towards my friend. He doesn’t speak, and then walks away. My colleague slides the paper under a drink coaster and continues chatting as though nothing has happened.
“What’s that about?” I ask.
“That’ll be his phone number,” she says. I’m stunned. “What? How do you know?” She unfolders the paper and shows me. Sure enough, there’s no message – just his name and a phone number.
“Does this happen often?” I ask.
“Every day,” she says.
I expect she’s exaggerating, but I ask her how she feels about this and she shrugs as though it’s so common to her that it’s meaningless. Nevertheless, I sense that it’s something of a burden. And she wasn’t exaggerating. I was with her on numerous other occasions when it happened again.
That was over 20 years ago, before everyone had access to the internet, before smart phones and Tindr. A few weeks ago, I was shooting a DNA fashion story with a gorgeous male model who has an international profile, and he said that something similar happens to him, every day, but on social media.
Every day, he’s sexually propositioned. Mostly it’s guys trying their luck for a dick pic, a dirty chat or a hook-up. But it’s often more involved propositions along the lines of, “Let me fly you to Paris for the weekend…” He says he’s pretty good at sorting the genuine offers from the time-wasters but he’s hit-up for sex by men he doesn’t know every single day.
What do these two stories have in common? One, that many men don’t realise that sexual attraction needs to be reciprocal before sex happens. And, two, that some men think sex can be attained through the flaunting of wealth and power. The #metoo and #timesup movement have made it clear that men, gay and straight, have trouble keeping it in their pants.
I’m not making judgements and, damn, part of me wishes I was being hit on for sex every day and flown to Paris for it. Though, of course, it would get tiresome and, I suspect, make it hard to meet anyone who was actually genuine, and so form a relationship.
Let’s not fool ourselves, sex has always been transactional to some degree. Wherever there’s a power imbalance, there’s the opportunity to use sex as a bargaining chip or, as Pat Benatar said, as a weapon. How often do we hear the phrase “the battle of the sexes” and how frequently are we reminded in popular culture that men pursue sex while women hold out.
It’s here that gay sex comes out on top! There is no gendered power imbalance between same-sex partners. (Although there may be other imbalances like age, wealth, health, etc). But we are blissfully untouched by the gendered sex struggle. And I think this is why many gay couples are able to successfully open their relationships, negotiate their sexual needs and desires with their partners, and explore their fantasy lives unjudged. Sex between men can be the expression of a deep emotional bond, or a one-off cum-and-go encounter to satisfy a lusty desire. Our straight friends, courtesy of Tindr, are only just discovering what generations of gay men have known.
This month we celebrate gay sex. How to do it well: Cameron McCool begins his new regular sex column, Your Best Sex Move. What to wear: Christian Scott shoots hot model Brandy Martignago for our Bed Time fashion spread and the cover. How to explore sex: Jack Ladd recalls a cooly kinky encounter. And how badly sex can go: brace yourself for a nasty story from Marc Andrews in Berlin! There’s also a fun product review on some current sex toys.
We also have a host of other great features: an exclusive interview with Sally Field’s son Sam Greisman, we speak to Chris Csabonyi who survived ex-gay therapy, catch up with Hollywood actor Chris Salvatore, review Priscilla and bring you a racy shoot with one of its buff stars, visit gay-friendly Colombia and showcase the photographic sexual fantasies of Joel Devereux.
DNA – keeping it sexy and smart.
Gay sex comes out on top! There’s no gendered power imbalance between same-sex partners.
Brandy Martignago for our Bed Time fashion spread and cover.