Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Did you ever consider that finding sex is just too easy today? Turning the clock back just 50 years, gay bars were shadowy places that people went to at their own risk. Every time you went to a bar you worried that it could be raided and your life could be ruined. Your picture could wind up in the newspaper; losing your job was fairly certain; jail time and a criminal record loomed and being outed to your family, friends and the community haunted you. There were even riskier venues like bathrooms and parks where physical violence loomed in addition to the law.
The ‘70s brought gay liberation and relative freedom. If you lived in the biggest cities, gay nightlife was plentiful and you could readily cruise men on the street where eye contact was a relatively easy path to having sex. This was also the heyday of the bathhouses and the discos. But you still had to leave home to find sex.
The ‘80s brought the AIDS plague and suddenly everything was more complicated and sad. Every potential hookup had the shadow of illness and death looming over it. Suddenly, a lot of men were spending more time caregiving than enjoying carnal pleasures.
The ‘90s brought the “cocktail” and the Internet. Suddenly men who were at death’s door were rising out of their beds and returning to their lives. The pall that had been cast over the gay sex scene started to lift. At the same time, the chat rooms and Internet hookup sites were becoming very popular. Now you didn’t have to leave your house to find a trick. You chatted and agreed to meet up. The wear and tear of getting dressed to go out, going to the bar or bathhouse and finding the right guy was eliminated.
Now we have apps. Grindr can tell you that there is a man 237 feet from where you are that is looking to meet, and it even includes a picture (however, without private parts—Apple doesn’t allow that). It gives you a hundred choices in your immediate area. You could go online and be doing the deed within minutes. The temptation to be constantly checking your phone to see who is online and who is interested in you is irresistible. You can be in a constant state of distraction.
Maybe in an environment where sex is that easy, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive to see a person more than once or get to know them very well, if there is another even hotter new guy 349 feet away. I am not advocating for making sex harder to come by. I’m just saying that impulse buying is not always very smart. We all have too many shirts, pants and shoes that happened to be on sale and struck our fancy in the moment, but that we only ended up wearing once.
Anything worth having requires some patience. The savory new dish is always alluring. But, now that technology has made hookups so incredibly easy—sort of like junk food—maybe it is time for a home-cooked meal that takes a little more time to prepare.