Reader Matt in VA, who is gay and in a civil marriage with a man, leaves this comment on another thread:
I don’t think it’s true that it’s only (gay) priests, somehow supposedly a category different from gay men as a whole, who hit on and have sex with underage men/post-puberty boys. Plenty of straight men find an attractive 16-year-old girl attractive; plenty of gay men find an attractive 16-year-old boy attractive. But gay men do not put on the brakes as often. Look at the sexual choices gay men (collectively speaking) make, that everybody knows they make — lots and lots of sex, plenty of casual or anonymous partners, sex while using drugs — *despite* the fact that in many gay men’s own lifetimes tens of thousands of them died of sexually transmitted disease. Simply looking at the sexual choices gay men make, you see that plenty of them value sex more than *anything,* including their own health, the health of their partners, even their own lives. All you have to do is look at the epidemiology statistics to see this. Or, God, spend some time on gay-men-specific or gay-men-only websites or sex apps. (Not that straight people would EVER want to; it would make any loving mother of a gay son weep.)
Gay men just do not stop themselves as often when it comes to bad sexual choices. This is flatly obvious and has been since 1969.
I’m gay and I remember, after coming out, learning and internalizing this idea that “everybody does it”/”why not”? You’re horny, you enjoy sex, and you *know* that somebody will have sex with you, it’s not hard, it’s quite easy. You come to see highly sexualized behavior as just *normal.* And the loudest and most persistent voices in the gay male community are the ones who constantly argue that even the slightest bit of “sex-negativity” is “internalized homophobia” or “serophobia” (as if the desire to not want to get HIV is irrational fear or animus) — of course those people would be the loudest, since they, by definition, value risky sex more than they value their own health/lives or the health and lives of their sexual partners; it is their ultimate value.
It’s just *not* the same thing as with straight men. Well-meaning straight liberals just do not get it, and lots of gay men will not criticize anything gay men collectively do because they think it will result in both lots of anger from other gay men as well as the empowerment of ideological enemies who want to, say, ban gay marriage.
Men and women are fundamentally different and a male-female sexual culture is not going to be the same as a male-male sexual culture.
Also, I think it’s absolutely to be expected that a clergy full of gay men will find chastity harder than a clergy full of straight men. Again, it’s so much *easier* to have quick, furtive sex with another man than it is with a woman. It is the nature of the two sexes. And there’s that saying: “The more food you eat, the less you want; the less food you eat, the more you want. The more sex you have, the more you want; the less sex you have, the less you want. The more money you have, the more you want; the less money you have, the more you want.” I think the more you–and your body–feel that sex is there as an option, the harder it is to resist seeking it out; you fall into a pattern. Whereas the less sex you have, the easier it becomes to go without. It’s just not the same for straight men as it is for gay men.
If you read “The Times of Harvey Milk” or “Fun Home” or a lot of other books, you see a frankness about the fact that even gay men who don’t actually come out of the closet until much later often have a knowledge *at some level* of their sexual attraction to other men and don’t seem to find it impossible to find somebody to have sex with even when they are 15 or 16 or whatever–and it’s usually a man past the age of majority, who is more likely to know what he’s doing/be willing to be assertive. I mean, I’m sure there are straight men who, as boys, fool around with other men, too — the British school system for an awful long time seemed to have quite a lot of this, and Captain Ryder in Brideshead … doesn’t seem to have ended up gay. Again, gay men are, I think, just not as likely to stop themselves when it comes to minors–as horrible as that sounds. I mean, that is, 16 or 17 year olds. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that many gay men probably feel they have much less to lose — probably no family or children of their own.
I really hate gay male sexual culture–no doubt in no small part because I feel that it was presented/sold to *me* as something great and empowering and then I came to realize how awful it is and how much it made me, and was made to make me, internalize an absolute contempt and disregard for other human beings as well as myself–and will always want to push back against the idea that there are not serious problems *inherent* in gay male sexual cultures and communities. Whether I like it or not. I mean, maybe it is “internalized homophobia” — in the sense that I recognize the temptation to make bad sexual choices *in me*, I know it’s there, I know I myself am a miserable sinner, and at least, say, Christianity gets that, whereas gay male sexual culture has basically no concept of sin other than “sex-negativity”. None of this is to say anything definitive about any specific gay man, only that — and I think this is just objectively true–real problems arise within specifically gay male cultures and communities.
What to do about that, I don’t know. I love my husband. Certainly it seems to me that given what the Catholic Church itself teaches about sexuality, though, and given its current status as a shell organization for pedophiles and pederasts, the gay issue *deserves* real attention. I am not convinced that the people who say the clergy have long been full of gays are wrong. But that doesn’t make it “right.” It would be great if some kind of solution to this problem could be found, something that “tames” gay men or funnels them/us into some kind of binding institutions, or finds a way of, say, bringing the hammer down harder on sexual excesses without a return to 1950s-style rounding up gay men in paddywagons and publishing their names and pictures in the newspapers. But there’s no evidence that such a “via media” exists or can exist. Some alternatives just may not be there no matter how much we want or need them.
Matt in VA really needs to start his own blog. His observations are almost always interesting and challenging.