Sunday, September 2, 2007

Men's Room Sex

Today the NYT Editorial has a great piece on police raids of men's rooms called,
In it she writes:

For almost 40 years most police departments have been aware of something that still escapes the general public: men who troll for sex in public places, gay or “not gay,” are, for the most part, upstanding citizens. Arresting them costs a lot and accomplishes little.

(Above is the arresting police officer, Police Sgt. Dave Karsnia)

In 1970, Laud Humphreys published the groundbreaking dissertation he wrote as a doctoral candidate at Washington University called “Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places.” Because of his unorthodox methods — he did not get his subjects’ consent, he tracked down names and addresses through license plate numbers, he interviewed the men in their homes in disguise and under false pretenses — “Tearoom Trade” is now taught as a primary example of unethical social research.

That said, what results! In minute, choreographic detail, Mr. Humphreys (who died in 1988) illustrated that various signals — the foot tapping, the hand waving and the body positioning — are all parts of a delicate ritual of call and answer, an elaborate series of codes that require the proper response for the initiator to continue. Put simply, a straight man would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.

I would disagree with her last statement that, "a straight men would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered".

Rather, an uninterested man would be left alone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.

I love how the author of this Op-Ed piece ends her story:

...let’s stop being so surprised when we discover that our public figures have their own complex sex lives, and start being more suspicious when they self-righteously denounce the sex lives of others.



Anonymous said...

So, do ALL sexually abused children grow up to be gay or obsessed with "gay" fantasies or behavior?

Joe Kort said...

No not at all. It is likely to happen given the trauma that young boys suffer from sexual abuse. However it depends on the boys temperment and how the abuse is handled when and if he tells.

What is very likely to happen is that it vandalizes the sexual map of the developing boy who later in life might suffer from sexual addiction and compulsivity, affairs and other sexual and intimacy disorders.

Joe Kort

Ken said...

Thanks, Joe, for setting up this blog on a topic that is so sorely misunderstood with so many men confused, angry, and frustrated not knowing how to live in their own skins. Yes, I agree totally with your earlier comments about how the sexist/heterosexist culture in which men live out their lives has been detrimental to any man's enjoying his own sexual energies. Thank you. Keep writing and stirring up the pot of non-conformity so that men can live more freely who they are. Ken

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joe, for providing an informed forum for this discussion. Until very recently, I would have felt intense shame upon reading about Larry Craig--shame over my own secret, compulsive behavior stretching back to my college days (right around the time of Laud Humphrey's thesis). I never understood why I behaved as I did or why I couldn't stop. My behavior was exhilarating and pleasurable, but left me wracked with guilt, fear of exposure, and shame. If I knew then what I know now, I would have perhaps recognized my sexual questioning and emerging sex addiction, and even perhaps the childhood sexual abuse which underlies both.

I am grateful to be in recovery today, to have embraced my gay identity, and to be free from the compulsive behaviors which tortured me and threatened everything which brought me happiness. While not all men who cruise bathrooms and tap toes are gay, many nonetheless are sex addicts, in the grip of a disease which holds power and won't let go, and compels men to risk their livelihood, reputation, career and family, just like Larry Craig. I am not about to diagnose Senator Craig--I am just saying I can strongly identify with him, and urge men like me to seek help. 12-Step programs like Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous are active in most cities in the US and can be found thru Google search or in the phone book.

My 12-Step program has literally saved my life, brought me "out of the shadows" and out of the "tearoom."

Thanks again, Joe, for your service to men.


Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I am grateful today for not giving into the myth that because I have some attraction to other men I must accept that I am gay. For years that was the message that was coming to me from gay activists and politicians who had a definite agenda to push. It is good to hear that there is finally some acknowlegement that some can be happy without giving into this deception. This has freed me up to develop some meaningful friendships with other men and help me better understand myself as a man. My wife is very grateful for this also.