Thomas+ identifies as a “feminine gay man.”
This is his story.
Tell me about a period of time or a particular experience where you felt desexualized.
Sometimes I feel desexualized when using Tinder, when I don’t feel attractive or valued or validated after having fewer than 1-2 matches after what seems like 40-50 swipes.
During the “heat of the swipe” (I should trademark that), I’ll pause every few minutes on some guy’s picture who I find very hot and just think, “Who am I kidding? He’ll never want to fuck me.” Which is a scary thought, because obviously I have value other than whether or not somebody wants to have sex with me, but when I have that need to feel sexually validated, I am concerned about whether somebody would find me “sexy” or not.
But more than that, I have found that the images that cause me the most consternation are the “traditionally masculine” ones. And it’s part of a larger conversation about masculinity & queer men, in that I’ve internalized the idea that masculine men are more attractive and more valuable than us feminine men. For example, I am attracted to all sorts of men, but I can only imagine myself with another more feminine man, because I feel like a masculine guy can “do better than me.”
These feelings worry me because they seem very misogynistic, that even about queer men, the “feminine” is subjugate to the “masculine.”
Tell me about a positive experience you had of feeling sexual.
I feel very sexual when I embrace these feminine aspects of myself and my body, rather than rejecting them.
I remember getting ready to go out with my friend, Jess+. I was wearing this delicious pair of corduroy red shorts which hardly covers half of my thigh. I love to show off my cute, hairy legs! And then, as Jess and I get dressed together, she puts this beautiful shade of red-purple lipstick on me, and I feel fierce as hell. She takes out the tube and nods at me, and I nod back, before she applies some to my lips. Which stands in stark contrast with the time, a few months earlier, when we had been out for a few hours, we were drunk and dancing, and she takes the lipstick out and starts to reapply her own lips and those of our friends, and – because I’m drunk – I work up the courage to jokingly ask, “What about me?” She puts some on, and I feel cute as hell. And this time, I’m (mostly) sober, and I feel great with my lipstick and my short-shorts. It’s my gay boy interpretation of a “freakum dress” and I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT GIVE A FUCK if someone looked at me and thought, “Wow. He looks way too feminine.” Like fuck you. I’m not dressing up for you. I’m dressing up for me.
+ Name has been changed.
Next time on desexy, I discuss why saying you’re not attracted to trans people is problematic.
Anonymous. Personal Interview. 1 Jan. 2015.