THE BLOG

Slut Rehab for Gay Men

09/08/2010 06:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Recently, I got an email from a 19-year-old who slept with half the city and got tagged with the kind of reputation that made him dating Kryptonite. "Whenever I meet someone new they either know me as a slut or they find out through their friends," he said. "How can I get past my "reputation" to land a lover?"

This whole reputation thing makes me gag. The only valid reason to stop, er, being democratic with your genitals is because it's no longer fulfilling, not because you're scared of what people will think.

The whole notion that you have to worry about your 'reputation' sounds like the church got together with farmers to produce Grade-A fertilizer. You're SUPPOSED to be slutty when you come out. Your underwear is SUPPOSED to fly off at the thought of new meat. Your heels are SUPPOSED to fill with helium at the sight of a hottie. So what if you speak eight languages and you can't say 'no' in any of them? So what if you walk around bars with a mattress strapped behind your back? That's part of coming out. As long as you're using condoms and playing safe, why not?

Long-term, gay men need to stop caring so much about what other people think or they'll lose their own identity. Still, I'd be a fool not to acknowledge that many people do care about the past and would rather judge your history than your character. So here are the options for taming that axis of evil between your legs and restoring a tattered rep:

Move. It's the quickest way to restore your reputation. Unfortunately, it's also the most expensive and disruptive. I'd only recommend this if you live in a small town that's forced you to wear a scarlet letter (T for tramp).

Wait it Out. As old meat moves out, new meat moves in. This takes patience. Most gay men think the word refers to somebody sitting in a doctor's waiting room, but it actually refers to calmly watching time go by.

Change your Hangouts. Go where people don't expect you to go. Join sports clubs, book clubs, anything that gets you out of your normal surroundings.

Get a Makeover. Confuse the hand-wringing sex-phobics who actually think your "reputation" defines you. As my drag queen friends like to chant, " A little make-up, a little paint, will make a man what he ain't." I'm not proposing mascara, but do change your look -- your hair, your clothes. Your look.

Change The Way You Flirt. Showing guys you don't know how your tongue doubles as a throat plunger is not going to help your cause. Pay attention to what you're doing in public. If you're a handsy kind of guy who hangs all over people, kissing and touching them as if they're your lovers, STOP. You're reinforcing the reputation you're trying to get rid of.

Reputations aren't like hymens -- once they're ruptured you really can get them back. But don't go sex-negative, and for God's sakes don't turn into a priss who can't poop without prunes.