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Mike Alvear

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Is Effeminacy in Gay Men a Function of Nature or Nurture?

Posted: 07/21/2010 5:00 pm

Why do so many effeminate gay men prefer in their partners the very masculinity they've bleached out of themselves?

The obvious answer is that they're attracted to their opposites. But that answer only goes so far. Effeminate men may lust for their masculine counterparts but most masculine men don't return the favor.

Effeminate men get hoisted on their own chiffon petards. The more they take on effeminate characteristics the less able they are to attract the kinds of guys they want to sleep with. This is a mating absurdity.

Imagine birds trying to attract mates with red and white plumage when the objects of their affection are attracted to yellow and green.

The mis-matched mating call of the merry marys brings up a great question: If effeminacy is counter-productive to attracting the kind of sexual partners you want, then why not butch it up?

Is it because like being gay, being effeminate isn't a choice?

Nobody knows what fuels the gay flame -- nature or nurture. Some believe gay guys turn sissy because they're naturally nelly and some think it's because they're conforming to a culture that expects it.

I've always maintained that effeminacy is like obesity. Sometimes it's glandular, but mostly it's cultural.

There's an undeniable Pansy Vortex in gay life. You fall into it with baggy jeans and a t-shirt and climb out of it with spandex up the crack of your ass.

How else do you explain my ex-boyfriend "Larry?" Closeted when I met him, he was popular, gorgeous, smart and athletic. He was the be to everyone's bop. Then he came out. Everybody he hung out with liked to do drag and camp it up. Suddenly, Larry started shaving his legs, wearing tight shorts, and calling everyone "girl." He ripened into a fruit before my very eyes.

Larry slid into the Pansy Vortex and I couldn't do anything about it. One day he made me close my eyes and sit at the foot of his bed for a surprise. He pulled out a long black wig and a slinky Bob Mackie knock-off. And that was the end of that.

Now was Larry born with the desire to dress like Cher or did he just adapt to a culture that demanded it? After all, gay culture encourages effeminacy -- we venerate drag, often call each other "girl," love bitchy humor and consider camp an art form.

Whether the ability to walk with a lisp is in-born or lea rned, there's no denying that most nelly guys don't find other nelly guys sexy. A study published in the American Psychological Association showed a substantial number of effeminate-identified men who prefer masculine men for their sexual partners.

Even the nelly don't equate nelliness with sexiness. And that's a shame. Because there's something self-negating about taking on characteristics you don't want your partners to have. There are lots of ironies in gay life but none perhaps greater than this: Sissies are often the biggest sissyphobes of all.

 

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