I’m halfway through the second season of Skins, the recently-Americanized British drama that will make you want to take pills and fuck a 15 year-old. It is a show about partying, shagging, emotional teens, but it is well-written. The symbolism and syntax is purposeful. That is why I found something particularly interesting in a season the season-one episode “Michelle.” Anti-hero Tony, who has cheated on his girlfriend with seemingly half of Bristol’s available females, finally goes to0 far by giving his friend Maxxie, who's gay, an exploratory (and painful) BJ while Michelle is passed out in a bed next to them.

Michelle wakes up in the middle and spends the next couple days waiting for Tony to apologize. He doesn’t. She decks him. Though Tony has deserved an ass-kicking since episode 1, Maxxie, who's gay, gets reamed out as well. When he tries to apologize to Michelle calls Maxxie “dirty little slut who fucks around with other people’s boyfriends.” With most shows I would just find that to be a insensitive double standard, but its Skins so it’s making a point.

The idea of two men having sex tends to make people uncomfortable. I could fill a post with inadvertently ignorant or hurtful things that the people closest to me have said on the subject of my sex life. My parents, my sister, my straight friends all view gay sex as something that is, if not dirty, a path to physical violence or life threatening disease. So when gay guys have the exact same amount of sex as a straight counterpart, it is the homo that gets called the slut. icon_rolleyes.gif

Take this for example: There are two guys that go out together one night. Both flirt with the people they find attractive, both make out with a couple of them at the bar. Both stumble out together and start talking to a pair of attractive friends at the bar’s 3 am “sidewalk sale.” Both take one of the friends home and have sex. However, one of those guys is gay and the other is straight. How are their friends reactions going to differ?

The straight guy’s friends will high-five him and ask the details. He’ll further his reputation, at least among men, as someone who is enough of a “stud” to always be able to score ass. But the gay guy’s friends? They’ll call him a slut.

As proved time and again (frequently by Advocate commenters, thanks guys) gay men love to call each other sluts. And whore tends be categorized as “anyone who has had more sex than the person doing the name calling.” I think most gay men out there are brought up to believe that gay sex is something very wrong (often through comments like the one in Skins) and most of us, even the most sexually liberated, have to struggle with the societal implications of being naked with another man. So calling each other whores seems to be the easy way out.

It’s another great example of gay men internalizing years of negative remarks and turning them against each other. Grow up in a world that demonizes effeminate men? Check how many Grindr users demand St8-acting sex partners and then try to claim those feelings have no effect. So gay men get taught their the way they have sex is somehow worse than the way straight guys do, and then they give it just as bad as they get it to the people around them.

If there is anyone out there who has never had sex, and never plans to, then I might be a little more inclined to give them leeway on the language they use. But for everyone else I wanna ask this: If a straight guy can’t be a slutty, why can you? That word has so many of its own problematic roots, most having to do with misogyny, that retiring it amongst our own community would be a nice breath of fresh air.