Diary of a Gay Boy: What’s My Age Again?

In my last post, we established that dirty little secret of my sprightly youth. To quote: “I’m young. Not in the, ‘wow, he’s so underage it’s illegal’ sort of way, but rather in the sense that I moved to Chicago for school less than a year ago.” I’ve been thinking a lot about age recently, and seeing as how I work at a sex toy boutique, thinking of it in terms of sexuality. Age has long been directly correlated with sexual virility and desire. In ancient times, young boys were often the sexual objects of great thinkers, fighters, and monarchs. In fact, many famous individuals sought young male muses, from Alexander the Great to Oscar Wilde.

Before I continue, let me be abundantly clear: I am not advocating sex with those who are under the age of consent. Those laws are established for an explicit purpose of which I agree with; the protection of children must be paramount. There is no excuse for sexual abuse. Ever.

Now that we have established this, let’s look at those who are legal. Nationwide, the age in which erotic photography becomes legal is 18. I still remember when I “came of age,” the moment I realized that those “barely legal” porn sites were actually talking about me. The gay community has developed a complex lexicon to talk about young men such as myself. The phrase “twink,” for example, speaks of young, hairless, preferably blond, and presumably naive, young men who will submit to their youthful libidos to pursue the orgasm at the drop of a hat. Highly fetishized, the twink takes up an inordinate amount of the digital space to create a sexual fantasy for those who desire the youthful body. But what is it about youth that creates such fascination and desire? Is it the pursuit of lost, out teenage-dom amongst gay men of another generation? Is it the aspect of naivete and submission ingrained in the fantasy’s definition? Or perhaps, is it the sense of danger; of life shattering involved in taking the innocence of a young sprite? Sex is, after all, a rather abrasive activity which, to paraphrase Leo Bersani, is anti-loving, anti-communal, and anti-egalitarian (rather, it is an activity which shatters Freud‘s Ego and allows us to be reduced to our most raw and primal state).

We will most likely never find an answer, although I’m sure Social Psychologists and Queer Theorists will attempt. Reality is that it will probably be more complex than my simplistic allusions. But I feel the question remains important, particularly in light of the fact that I am inevitably influenced by its answer. Some aspects of life remain pre-determined; my “twinkiness” is one of them (no matter how much I may resent it). However, we who do not fit into the “young, dumb, and full of cum” manifesto must stay strong. One day, we too will have enough chest hair to finally be taken seriously.

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Do you too want to rage against the machine, and create radical new ways to be queer? Check out these excellent titles from the Tulip bookshelf…

-Public Sex by Pat(rick) Califia

-Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America On to Sex edited by Regina Marler (featuring writings by Allen Ginsberg, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and others)

-Ceremonies by Essex Hemphill

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