"Has Manhunt Destroyed Gay Culture?" A cost-benefit analysis of our quest to get laid. By Michael Joseph Gross

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    Aug 11, 2008 2:25 AM GMT
    "Has Manhunt Destroyed Gay Culture?"
    A cost-benefit analysis of our quest to get laid.
    By Michael Joseph Gross

    Money quote:

    ...Practically every gay man has his own version of this secret, which we learned to keep while growing up in the closet: the secret fear that, if we were truly known, we would never be loved.

    If you were asked to design the perfect weapon to exploit this vulnerability as it manifests itself in attractive, urban gay men, you’d want something that would intensify our isolation, exaggerate our propensity to objectify each other, and persuade us to objectify ourselves -- by encouraging us to believe that our purpose is to look good and have lots of sex.

    Manhunt would be your perfect weapon, a heat-seeking missile for the weaknesses that have plagued us for decades. Perry Halkitis, a New York University associate dean and professor of applied psychology, says, “Manhunt is a symptom. It does well because we don’t know how to relate to each other and we don’t know how to take care of ourselves.”
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    Aug 11, 2008 3:00 AM GMT
    They lost my at "Manhunt’s annual income from memberships alone is roughly the same as the total amount of individual contributions to this country’s two biggest gay political groups, the Human Rights Campaign and NGLTF. Foreman says, “If we could leverage their membership for activism, there’s no limit to what we could do.”"

    No one was complaining when gay men were spending their dollars in bars to hook up.
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    Aug 11, 2008 3:52 AM GMT
    Someone posted this a while back. Didn't have the time to read it, just scan. Don't have the time now, too.

    Seriously I think it's crap. Gay culture had always been this way even back before Manhunt. Started with the flamboyant 70's and 80's I suppose. When HIV was still a vague reality.

    From the article:
    Now, though, it seems our avoidance has created a different kind of society, more isolating, more brutal, and weaker. We still don’t know how to have enduring relationships. We still don’t have examples. We still don’t have mentors. We still don’t have courtship rituals. We are still getting HIV.

    And blame it all on the internet? This isn't even only a gay thing. Facebook, Online Dating, the hundreds of thousands of online communities centered around a specific interest shared by members around the world.

    The reason why we don't have enduring relationships, examples, etc is because of the fact that we are still not 100% tolerated/accepted. Even with the advances in equality we're still just poking our nose out of the closet.

    And nothing will change the fact that in most cases we can't recognize a fellow GLBT simply by looking at them which precludes easy personal interaction. i.e. meet on the street, say Hi, ask out for coffee, will still carry the risk of you getting punched in the nose. icon_lol.gif

    Until we can find universal acceptance as normal people, we're still very dependent on secret enclaves where everybody being Gay or Bi is a given and not something that needs guesswork.

    Even gaybars are still limited because of the mere fact that we are a small percentage of the population. Chances of meeting the 'right one' in a gay bar is slim if there are only 40 gays in your erm... village. LOL

    That said, I absolutely hate the way manhunt makes no pretense of maintaining decency and the way the beautiful, the young, and the shallow swarm that place. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:08 AM GMT
    I was going to post this article today, but I see someone else did.

    I have to admit I was shocked by the amount of money Manhunt earns and the number of men who are members. I was also very interested in the writer's notion that we create "pornographic versions" of ourselves on such sites. (My original dissertation proposal was "the erotic body in cyberspace" but I got quickly bored.)

    I found the article generally moralistic. The author is very anxious to pathologize his own use of Manhunt, a guilty attitude that seems to me another inflection of the problem, not the solution, in gay life. I guess I would pose the question if it's possible to have lots of recreational sex and not be flawed in some way. Nobody seems willing to say that can be the case.

    My more general problem with the article is that it doesn't make any effort to contextualize Manhunt more broadly. Our entire culture is "wired" now, so that we are all, straight and gay, virtually disembodied in many of our interactions and behavior.
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:21 AM GMT
    Please. Gay men objectified themselves long before Manhunt was ever even thought of. Websites like Manhunt, M4M, Jockbod, and yes, even RJ, have just made it easier.

    What they have also done is make it easier for gay men to meet each other and for young men to deal with their coming-out issues.

    So what if someone is making money from it. Capitalism is GREAT!
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:23 AM GMT
    To me its not MANHUNT but all the stupid gay porn they have. I dont and never have paid for porn. I watch mostly straight porn where real guys are doing real sex. Not acting. And I dont need a bunch of porn and guys in leather selling me metal douch pipes along with my hook up Thank You Very Much!

    Manhunt serves its purpose and answers alot of the questions I hate asking in person. I save ALOT of time not ending up at a guys apt and then having to leave because I was not brave enough to ask him his sexual prefs, then turn him down because of them before I get there. (call me polite) (in person) On manhunt it all can be done instantly and with no fuss. Just press block If it were only that easy in person. Thats more time spent hanging out with the guys you actually like. And less time accidently hanging with someone you thought you might like, but ends up taking out poppers and a rim chair.

    I dont think its destroying people, I just think men are horny fucks. Yea somebody is making Big bucks off of it and not sharing. But what do you expect the gays to less greedy and shallow as straights?

    Behold, the ravages of age... eventually puts everyone back on track.
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    Aug 12, 2008 4:21 AM GMT
    Sedative> Until we can find universal acceptance as normal people

    Ironically, that will be the end of "Gay Culture". When we became mainstream.

    In a sense, I think I began seeing this here in Ann Arbor even before the internet sex revolution. In the mid-to-late 1990s a generation of students was on campus who (mostly) did not hide their sexual orientation from their peers. They didn't need a specifically gay group where they could let down their hair. They could go to straight clubs with straight friends and be "gay". They could even hit on other guys without getting punched in the face if they asked the wrong guy. Many gay social groups experienced a decline, some losing critical mass and disappearing.

    Still, it was a game where the odds were stacked against you when it came to sex. So while you could socialize with the general population... hookups were a different problem. Especially if you weren't into tea rooms. As if on order, along came the internet sex sites. Now you could not only hookup, you could even engaged in cam "sex" without even having to meet anyone or leave your room.

    Doesn't anyone go out (as in, outside - in person) "cruising" anymore?

    So who needs "gay culture" (or community) when the younger generations can socialize with society at large and get sex on-line?

    What will happen in 20 or 40 years when this is true in general and not just amongst the younger guys?
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    Aug 12, 2008 12:35 PM GMT
    We're not going to find "universal acceptance" as long as the Bible is still strongly influencing cultural values. The state may say we're otay, but religion will still call us immoral and dangerous.

    We're more likely to experience what other minorities do -- full civil rights and a higher degree of tolerance -- but that doesn't mean the loss of a discreet culture of our own, especially where our sex lives are concerned.

    I suppose you could argue that we've closeted that by moving it online into new gay cyber ghettos. I think what the author of the article is saying, interestingly, is that in that process of moving sexual rituals online, we've eliminated the usual accompanying process of social interaction.

    Thus we turn ourselves into fantasies of ourselves online. It's a mutual process of course. We project certain aspects of ourselves and other people make their own assumptions about who we "are" on that basis.

    Then, as we all know, this fantasy can easily crumble in real life -- immediately on meeting or after anything more than the 20 minutes spent having sex five feet from the front door.

    My question in this argument would be whether we've really ever had meaningful rites of socialization. I am not an extrovert and found bars as predatory as Manhunt, if not more so. And my memory of them, generally, is their cruelty. The question for me would be: "Do I want to subject myself to an evening of predatory evaluation or do I want to spend 20 minutes finding a trick online who may or may not turn out okay?"

    Having, um, excessive experience in both venues, I like coffee shops better now.
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    Aug 12, 2008 1:22 PM GMT
    I have never used Manhunt to hook up with someone. It became popular after I had met my partner. To me it is just a more efficient way of getting laid in comparison to the gay bar scene, with the added benefit of not inadvertently promoting alcoholism or drinking and driving.

    I am a pragmatist when it comes to men. Most men are sexually driven (I concluded long ago the men in my family are rare). Throw a whole lot of sex-crazed men togther like you do in the gay community, and they will find ways to get laid, whether it be public parks, public washrooms, bathhouses, bars or the internet. I don't see this changing any time soon.
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    Aug 12, 2008 1:30 PM GMT
    obscenewish said Our entire culture is "wired" now, so that we are all, straight and gay, virtually disembodied in many of our interactions and behavior.


    Agreed. I often feel as though the internet technology is killing the art of conversation. Granted, I know we are talking about Manhunt here, but it seems as though people are so wired now that "courtship" is done through text messages and emails instead of talking on the phone, or spending time together.
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    Aug 12, 2008 1:55 PM GMT
    joescorpio1970 said
    obscenewish said Our entire culture is "wired" now, so that we are all, straight and gay, virtually disembodied in many of our interactions and behavior.


    Agreed. I often feel as though the internet technology is killing the art of conversation. Granted, I know we are talking about Manhunt here, but it seems as though people are so wired now that "courtship" is done through text messages and emails instead of talking on the phone, or spending time together.


    For someone who has always hated talking on the phone, I appreciate technology's ability to keep me in touch with friends and family. The social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are a godsend for allowing me to reach out to my nieces and nephew. I get to see the latest pictures of them, get to e-mail them etc.. I only see them in person 3 or 4 times a year now.

    I also find that people are more comfortable talking about themselves and what is bothering them over the internet in comparison to talking face-to-face at a bar or in a coffee shop. The intimidation factor is eliminated.

    The one thing I hate about technology though is what text messaging has done to people's ability to write English. I cannot remember the last time I saw someone actually type "you" instead of "u".
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:12 PM GMT
    I agree that there seemed to be a bit of first-person hand wringing in this article. I also wondered at questions that were not asked. Such as "How many of these men on manhunt even identify as gay and are merely 'men who have sex with men'?"

    All that said, I do worry about how manhunt seems to be accelerating our atomization. Some people certainly use it as a tool for getting off and nothing more but what about those for whom it IS their socialization - especially the 'kids'?

    There was an article in The Atlantic by Lori Gottlieb recently regarding settling/getting married that seemed to touch upon very similar issues though:

    Those of us who choose not to settle in hopes of finding a soul mate later are almost like teenagers who believe they’re invulnerable to dying in a drunk-driving accident. We lose sight of our mortality. We forget that we, too, will age and become less alluring.

    It seems that manhunt ratchets up that feeling of "just one more spin of the wheel and I might hit the jackpot" forgetting that 'money can't buy love' as it were.

    I dunno - just kinda thinking out loud here....
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:38 PM GMT
    Gay people who use Manhunt for socialization should get a reality check, or at the very least open up other avenues such as Facebook or this wonderful website I am typing on now.

    It is hard for most people finding a bf/partner whether they be straight or gay, but if you limit your avenues it becomes much more difficult. RJ, Manhunt, Facebook, bars, volunteer groups, gay sports leagues, work, other friends, tap into them all!
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    Aug 12, 2008 3:57 PM GMT
    (This is my experience and not the rules)
    The strange thing about having a profile anywhere, is that you are presenting your own ideas about who you are (with some added sexy) and who you want others to think you are, filtered and over analyzed, dotted with well chosen pictures. In real life interactions with strangers, we don't have that luxury. They see you as you are and not who you think you are. There is something comforting about that reality for me. Today I look like a psycho with giant hair because it is damp out and I ate too much mexican last night. I won't be posting a pic of this, LOL.

    My preference has always been face to face meetings. I hate blind dates where someone has "sold" their idea of me to another person , who then comes with a set of expectations that have absolutely nothing to do with me. In a way, your profile online is a lot like that. Taking my shirt off in a room full of strangers is the last thing I would do in real life, but somehow it seems the suitable thing to do on here. I try to paint the picture of who I am online in my profiles but it does not always work. In a way, I realize that none of this is real, but then again, it is real. I have shared a lot of meaningful things on here beyond what underwear I wear. I have also gotten the best advice and support on here and access to opinions and experiences that i might otherwise avoid. There is a compromise we make to engage others this way , I suppose.

    The huge difference for me is that when I walked into an unmarked gay bar back in the 90's, I felt welcomed without having to think so fucking hard. I was making a political statement by not being anonymous. Nothing about it felt isolating, rather , it felt like the best party ever.
    I am not sure I could ever feel that same feeling online given how hard people work to present the perfect picture and their ability to hide beyond a created identity.
    Don't get me wrong, wasting the day online is entertaining... but it does not match the excitement of meeting someone in person who is interested in the person standing in front of them and not just a picture of perfect abs accompanied by well thought out prose.

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    Aug 12, 2008 4:12 PM GMT
    "If it’s true -- and everybody says it’s true -- that sex is the gay handshake..."

    Bah! icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 12, 2008 10:44 PM GMT
    My concern is that the reliance on virtual communication is compromising basic social skills and manners.



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    Aug 12, 2008 11:39 PM GMT
    elvis_audi> My concern is that the reliance on virtual communication is compromising basic social skills and manners.

    That's a strange twist. Back in the 1980s, as on-line communities were first emerging, the conventional wisdom was that it allowed asocial "geeks" to learn how to socialize with others.


    Obviously "universal acceptance" is utopian, but to some degree the tide has already turned. There will always be haters out there, but hopefully the day is near where in most metropolitan areas it is the haters, not us, who will be ostracized.

    What is "gay culture", anyhow? Show tunes? Leather? Opera?

    What binds us, other than wanting to sleep with members of the same sex, are shared experiences such as coming out stories and other adventures with discrimination (Don't Ask Don't Tell, Marriage, ENDA). Even absent Manhunt, what will happen to the gay community/culture once ENDA is finally passed, when marriage is available (and recognized) in most if not all states?

    Just think how things have changed in recent decades. 30-40 years ago the "gay agenda" was to dissolve the military and abandon marriage. Obama can explain that Rev. Wright is of a different generation who grew up in a different America. In 40 years we might still be trading coming-out stories... and the kids will wonder what the big deal was about coming out.

    And where will Manhunt be? Nature obviously is more difficult to change than society. So I guess I'm saying buy stock if you can.
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    Aug 13, 2008 1:15 AM GMT
    caesarea4 said...What binds us, other than wanting to sleep with members of the same sex, are shared experiences such as coming out stories and other adventures with discrimination (Don't Ask Don't Tell, Marriage, ENDA). Even absent Manhunt, what will happen to the gay community/culture once ENDA is finally passed, when marriage is available (and recognized) in most if not all states?

    Just think how things have changed in recent decades. 30-40 years ago the "gay agenda" was to dissolve the military and abandon marriage. Obama can explain that Rev. Wright is of a different generation who grew up in a different America. In 40 years we might still be trading coming-out stories... and the kids will wonder what the big deal was about coming out....

    All true. But, we will ALWAYS be a minority. THAT in and of itself means there will need to be some kind of network. I guess the real question is what kind. I certainly hope it's never one that reduces, as you put it, wanting to sleep with members of the same sex to a mere transaction.
  • joeindallas

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    Aug 13, 2008 10:48 PM GMT
    CULTURE no more Lifestyle
  • shoelessj

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    Aug 13, 2008 11:34 PM GMT
    Sedative said:
    "Someone posted this a while back. Didn't have the time to read it, just scan. Don't have the time now, too."

    Now, THAT I blame on the Internets!
    icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 14, 2008 12:13 AM GMT
    shoelessj saidSedative said:
    "Someone posted this a while back. Didn't have the time to read it, just scan. Don't have the time now, too."

    Now, THAT I blame on the Internets!
    icon_wink.gif


    Well... it's a huuuge article. icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 14, 2008 1:26 AM GMT
    Well, well, well. It looks like all the manhunt money is going where it doesn't belong. Co-founder of Manhunt Jonathan Crutchley apparently donated $2,300 to John McCain's presidential campaign.

    I guess he thinks marriage equality would eat into his hook-up site's business too much.
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    Aug 14, 2008 4:04 AM GMT
    I just read that. It finally explains why, when I put the line that "I only fuck Republicans without lube," in my MH profile, it was censored. I received an email saying that they "were amused" but found my comment "inappropriate"...on a site featuring closeups of anal openings.

    I protested since there were many California profiles taking digs at Republicans. They reversed the decision, but I have long wondered why it was such an issue.
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    Aug 14, 2008 4:09 AM GMT
    Sedative said
    shoelessj saidSedative said:
    "Someone posted this a while back. Didn't have the time to read it, just scan. Don't have the time now, too."

    Now, THAT I blame on the Internets!
    icon_wink.gif


    Well... it's a huuuge article. icon_wink.gif

    This from the boy with over 4,000 posts to his name...icon_twisted.gif
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    Aug 14, 2008 6:11 AM GMT
    Gigadu said
    Sedative said
    shoelessj saidSedative said:
    "Someone posted this a while back. Didn't have the time to read it, just scan. Don't have the time now, too."

    Now, THAT I blame on the Internets!
    icon_wink.gif


    Well... it's a huuuge article. icon_wink.gif

    This from the boy with over 4,000 posts to his name...icon_twisted.gif


    Well. You misunderstood me, hooman. When I say scan I mean absorbed only 80-90% of relevant data and not the usual 100%. icon_wink.gif