Wednesday, 1 July 2009

MTM on Yahoo! Groups, Facebook, and Friendster

Good news! You can connect with the brothers behind ManTalksMan (MTM) on Yahoo! Groups, Facebook, and Friendster. See you there!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Is homosexuality common at boarding school?

Is homosexuality common at boarding school?

The school I attended was a co-educational school. That is the boys and girls were in the same lessons. The only difference was they were in different dormitories and sports were single sex.

So place yourself in the shoes of a young child far from home. With nobody to cuddle them when they are sad or hurt. What happens - well these children have a few options.

(1) Crush any desire for affection and touch.
(2) Seek this from other children.

Many of us, who have attended boarding school from a young age, learn (1) and we will usually have gone through (2), been thoroughly humiliated then learn to do (1).

Bearing in mind that dormitories are single sex I think this answers the question of where (2) comes from.


MTM: You know affection is needed when it calls. It would only seem irrational to NOT express, partake, provide or receive something so natural as intimacy. And you don't even need to call it homosexuality or anything.

At some point, one has to decide which is more important: (1) the expression of something good that it enriches the participants or (2) the illogical prejudice of some spectators that it destroys (1).

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

J. Riga reviews Bert Archer's "The End of Gay (and the death of heterosexuality)"

Review by J. Riga: The End of Gay (and the death of heterosexuality) by Bert Archer [Doubleday Canada, 1999]

I avoided this book for many months. It arrived in the mail from an ex who'd never read it. It had a black line across the bottom indicating it had been rescued from the obscurity of a remainder bin. The title, with its arrogant sense of finality, irritated me. Sexuality is such a sticky, shifting mess of a topic that to make grand pronouncements, especially of death and endings, suggested an author himself a little stiff. Yet, I was surprised to find that beneath the desperate marketing department title lay an optimistic label-breaking take on contemporary sexuality. The End of Gay, using a blend of self and social analysis, actually seeks to further blur lines and thwart attempts to keep sexuality in simplified identity-laden categories.

Divided into three parts, the first is largely autobiographical or based on Archer's personal observations of others and serves to loosely introduce us to his thesis. He believes that we are moving away from gay-bi-straight categories and towards a sexual pluralism free of labels, a re-articulation of the time when sexuality was divorced from a person's identity. As Archer says, "I'm not just arguing labels, I'm arguing ontology, Being itself." For him and the people he uses as examples, the categories are useless. A Catholic college friend of Archer's once claimed, "Y'know, I could see myself doin' a guy. I mean, I'm not a fag or nuthin", but y'know, if I was totally horned up, sure." This random statement was the catalyst for Archer's questioning of the neat little identity categories we have made for ourselves and the often instantaneous presumption that people like his college friend are closeted gays in need of enlightenment. He goes on to interview a man named Rafe who picked up men in straight clubs as Renee. Rafe claimed that after bringing straight men home and revealing that he too was a man "he'd only ever been turned down twice out of dozens of pick-ups." Archer, through examples, argues that the sexual straitjacket binding action to identity is loosening. While second hand sexual stories hardly amount to anything definitive, especially the end of gay, Archer's account of his own sexual expansion did what it intended, made me reassess my flippant use of sexual categorization. We all have our own little stories. Just as Archer's college friend caused confusion when he stuck a toe out of the straight box, I knew a man assumed closeted because of his feminine mannerisms. Despite consistently displaying only a sexual interest in women and denying any in men, I waited for him to come out. He still hasn't. I failed to ask myself if sometimes there really is nothing to come out about and also why femininity is always equated with a gay identity.

The second section of the book is a straightforward account of how sexual behavior and identity formation have coalesced since the 1800s into what we now know loosely as the Gay Movement. From the invention of 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual' in 1868 to today's Gay Day at Disneyland, Archer's historical presentation is lively and accessible, expanding on key events such as Oscar Wilde's trial or the Kinsey Report as opposed to theory. Cornerstone queer theorists such as Judith Butler or Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick don't make appearances. Archer also dispenses with the opaque language of academia and speaks like a well-read friend, though admittedly, his occasional "whatever" or "as far as I can tell" was a little too casual and undermined his authority as an expert. Archer concludes this section with a critique of the current Gay Movement's alleged desire to become a carbon copy of the straight community.

The last section is the most interesting and the most challenging. Archer explores the lives of people who have made difficult decisions about their sexual identities, denying the categories they initially embraced or refusing outright to take up house in any. His final analysis is that "you can expand your sexual horizon, but I'm not so sure you can contract it." One analogy Archer uses is food, which is neither an original nor a very strong one. I'm sure we've all heard the wink-wink-nudge-nudge-don't-knock-it-'til-you've-tried-it line before and the food argument is just a dressed up version of this. Archer writes, "I was remembering what my mother told me about olives "you keep eating them, and soon you begin to enjoy them. An acquired taste. The implication is that certain pleasures are learned, are worked for. They are nonetheless pleasurable for being the product of effort." Suggesting we can retrain ourselves to have a sexual interest where there currently isn't one sounds perhaps possible, but like a lot of bloody work. Archer goes one step further than the I'll-try-anything-once school and suggests we have to apply to sex something akin to the gleeful relentlessness found in prepubescent movies about sports teams. Just keep on trying 'til you succeed! A dose of old fashioned practicality seems necessary. I'm all for sexual pluralism and believe that we should explore our bodies with the same wonder we do the world. Yet the amount of time it would likely take for me to (possibly) expand my sexual preferences in any sincere, meaningful way seems like far too much of a commitment. Using his tired analogy, why eat jar after jar of olives when you're surrounded by food your already like? For some this type of sexual exploration is a meaningful pursuit, but I think the average person to whom this book is clearly directed will see it as a niche hobby along the lines of trekking to the North Pole for fun. Most people are too busy trying to find decent people of the gender or type they're already interested in to be flinging themselves at a vagina when all they want is a penis, or vice versa. For this reason, Archer's theory seems realistic only if reigned in a bit. We are moving, though at times painfully slowly, towards a greater degree of comfort and freedom with sexuality and a dispersal of the stigma attached to non-heterosexual sex acts, but these movements are counteracted by others. For example, the current media barrage of mostly stereotypical portrayals of gays, especially men, is still keeping homosexual sex acts tightly cinched to an identity, one narrowly based on marketable points; sex (Queer as Folk) and fashion (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).

One day we may dismantle homo and hetero categories, but with gay marriage as one of the hottest political issues today it's hard to believe that 'gay' is being surpassed as a functioning category for some. Not until all or most political aspects of the straight-gay dichotomy are equalized will people turn their full attention to redefining the boxes. Archer's analysis is inspiring but premature. Gay may be aging rapidly, but it's not yet on its last legs.

Credit: by J. Riga

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sexual orientation: a late 20th century concept confined to the West?

Yes. And as it turns out, it isn't too much of a scientifically attested concept either. Funny how a lot of people can blindly follow social constructs without even questioning or learning about them, no?

In speaking of sexual desires and practices between males, I use the term male-male sexuality" rather than the more familiar "homosexuality" for deliberate reasons. To begin with, as I explain in Chapter I, inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago before the last century did not usually draw a conceptual link between male-male and female-female forms of erotic behaviour. Thus to adopt the term "homosexuality," which implies an inherent connection between the two, is to accept uncritically the effects of a discursive process whose very emergence demands historical accounting...

To impose such categories as "homosexuality" and "bisexuality" upon a society or conceptual universe, whether non-European or pre-nineteenth century, in which they would not have been understood in the same sense that they are currently understood, if indeed at all, and in which behaviour often followed patterns quite different from those we associate with them in our own societies, is unwittingly to hide from view the experience of those very historical subjects whom we seek to comprehend.

Even the word "sexuality" invites misinterpretation, so clarification is in order. By "sexuality," I do not mean fixed sexual orientation, as late twentieth century speakers of English tend to do, for instance, when they refer to a particular individual's "sexuality" -- meaning that person's place within the currently canonical trinity of "homosexuality," "heterosexuality," and "bisexuality." For much of the period examined in this study, the notion that each individual possesses a deeply rooted personal identity based on the biological sex of the preferred sexual object or objects (and specifically whether it is the same as or different from her or his own), and the tripartite taxonomy of sexual types that has resulted from this construction, held no currency in Japan, nor had they emerged even in the West.

Credit: Pages 5 and 6
, "Cartographies of Desire: Male-male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950", by Gregory M. Pflugfelder [Published by University of California Press, 1999 ISBN 0520209095, 9780520209091 399 page]

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Disentangling Heterosexuality from Masculinity

Does heterosexual sex make a man more masculine? Does homosexual sex feminise a man? No and no. This article tries to disentangle the "traditional" North American point of view that heterosexuality and masculinity automatically imply each other.

Abstract: In traditional North American society, being "masculine" is often defined as (1) the opposite of being "feminine" and (2) avoiding sexual contact with other men. Recent trends in attitudes toward homophobia and masculinity, however, suggest that these traditional orientations may have begun to change in North American society. Drawing from a multiyear ethnographic study of heterosexual male college cheerleaders, I argue that associated with these changing attitudes and practices, many men are beginning to disentangle heterosexuality from masculinity. In this context, I demonstrate how avowedly "straight" men, in some instances, engage in gay sex and openly view such encounters as non-threatening to their own personal identities and public status as heterosexuals. The study carries theoretical implications for the conditions under which heterosexuality and masculinity do not imply each other and, most speculatively, when and how gay men are considered masculine.

Credit: "Disentangling Heterosexuality from Masculinity" by Eric Anderson, American Sociological Association

Read the entire paper here:

Monday, 9 March 2009

PLU (People Like Us)

Name: PLU [acronym], People Like Us [noun]

We have one word for this: vague. Or relative.

First, one needs to answer who is "us"? What is "us" made up of? Can we really have people who are like us in all ways? Or if we mean just one aspect of our being, then we have many PLU groups. A single mother working as an artist who is Protestant Christian can have three PLU circles: single mothers like her, artists like her, and Protestant Christians like her. And we all know that humans can be more complicated than that. That single mother/artist/Protestant is also Danish American, a breast cancer survivor, a democrat and an animal rights activist.

Who is "us" again?

Friday, 20 February 2009


Name: breeder [noun]

Some people like to refer to heterosexualists as "breeders" stressing that the latter are defined by their capacity/duty/want to reproduce or "breed". We think this is not only unfair but a fallacy. It is absurd to think heterosexualists generally desire for offspring and homosexualists generally abstain from begetting them. Also, calling heterosexualists 'breeders' is potentially offensive as it suggests that reproduction comprises the primary use of their sexual identity.

Remember that reproduction is a biological function. The only people exempt from this function are those who cannot successfully reproduce offspring ie: the infertile (and even there, there is some chance to reproduce). Homosexuality does not render a person infertile nor does heterosexuality promote fertility. Simply put, you do not even need a sexual identity to reproduce. For blokes, you just stick it in and the rest will follow.

Silly, silly label. Almost anybody can be a breeder.

Setting Things Straight (Part 2)

The second part of 'Setting Things Straight' is nigh. It is a series on the terms, names, and labels many people today use that, as we believe, need a lot of questioning before we actually use them. You are also invited to question them as much as you want, given that you put a lot of thought in it (yes, we do not allow nonsense here).

The first term/label to scrutinise is "breeder".

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Setting Things Straight (Part 1)

Sex refers to the male and female duality of biology and reproduction. Often, individuals of the two sexes attract one another and communicate their readiness to procreate through biological changes, or, in social species, through courtship behaviours.

An organism's sex is defined by its biological role in reproduction, not according to its sexual or other behaviour. The female sex is defined as the one which produces the larger gamete and which typically bears the offspring. In contrast, the male sex has a smaller gamete and rarely bears offspring. (In humans and other mammals, only the female sex may bear the offspring.)

Gender, in common usage, refers to the social differences between males and females. Gender identity is an individual's self-conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex. Gender and sex are not interchangeable.

A cisgendered individual is someone who feels their sex and gender are "consistent”; they have male reproductive organs and can derive a strong psycho-emotional affiliation with that possession. An intergendered individual is someone who feels their sex and gender are inconsistent; they have male reproductive organs but feel a strong psychological/emotional affiliation with the opposite sex; they often have a tendency to resort to transvestism ("cross-dressing"). A transgendered individual is someone who feels they belong to both male and female.

Sexuality refers to sexual behaviour in all sexual organisms. Human sexual behaviour or different human sexual practices encompass wide range of activities such as the search for a partner or partners, interactions between individuals, physical or emotional intimacy, and sexual contact.

Sexual orientation refers to the direction of an individual's sexuality, usually conceived of as classifiable according to the sex or gender of the persons whom the individual finds sexually attractive. The most commonly used categories of sexual orientation are heterosexuality (being sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex), homosexuality (being sexually attracted to members of the same sex), bisexuality (being sexually attracted to members of either sex) and pomosexuality (being attracted to people without the distinction of gender or sexuality). There have been many discussions on whether sexual orientation is mostly malleable or predetermined.

The terms gynephilia (sexual attraction to females) and androphilia (sexual attraction to males) are occasionally used when referring to sexual orientation as many find the terms homosexual and heterosexual to be unclear in several respects.

Sexual identity may be used as a synonym for sexual orientation, but the two are also sometimes distinguished, with identity referring to an individual's conception of themselves, and orientation referring to "fantasies, attachments and longings" and/or behaviour. In addition, sexual identity is sometimes used to describe a person's perception of his or her own sex, rather than sexual orientation. The term sexual preference has a similar meaning to sexual orientation, but is more commonly used outside of scientific circles by people who believe that sexual orientation is, in whole or part, a matter of choice.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

"Dirty Dancing" with Brandon and Logan

Some say these guys are straight. Some say they're gay. I say: Does it really matter? I wouldn't give a shit. These strapping young lads are way too cool! Isn't it just fun to be secure?

Friday, 16 January 2009

First post is about the blog and the brothers

"Because real men can hold hands."

MTM is a blog about men, for men, written by men.

MTM is about male-male relationships: about men and their need for intimacy and bonding with other men.

MTM promotes brotherhood between blokes who desire only the best for their fellow blokes. We aim to limit if not nullify the effects of social oppression towards men (whether by other men or by women, or by society in general). We are not unlike Men's Movement in this respect.

MTM is about male-male sexuality: about men and their sexual attraction to other men, and the need to eliminate irrational fears and inhibitions in regard to these feelings.

MTM is not about 'homosexuality', as it includes female-female sexuality, and has historically been [incorrectly] associated with sexual misconduct (eg: sodomy), mental conditions (eg: GID), culture-specific sexual identities (eg: Gay), and transgender - which all deserve blogs of their own.

MTM is not about misogyny. We do not think that males are better than females. We do not, and cannot, hate women. We believe that both sexes have their differences but are nonetheless born equal.

MTM is not against male-female sexuality. By all means, indulge in it if you feel it natural. Humans, like most primates, are naturally "bisexual" beings. We are attracted to whoever is "hot" regardless of gender.

MTM is not for perverts looking to get laid. Sex is a good thing but this is not a channel for meaningless sexual exploits. We believe that sex should be treated with respect.

And lastly, the bros of MTM are not infallible. We do not claim to be experts on sexual health, sociology, psychology or anthropology. You may use the comments section to argue with, for, or against any material you see as unacceptable on an objective level.