The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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To Be a MAN

October 31, 2012 , , , , , ,


I tried yesterday to initiate a rather lengthy critique and analysis of the thoughts of Professor Camille Paglia which is to be delineated into three separate sections on this site. Obviously I ran into some difficulties in writing the first part of this essay as it is not what you are currently reading. Owing to the fact that I have a rather acute intellectual love/hate relationship with Professor Paglia, I very much wanted to first get my animus out onto the table of discussion being that I always prefer engaging with hate before ever tackling love.

Even though Professor Paglia has some rather thought provoking and sagacious ideations on the historical angst between the sexes as proffered in her seminal monograph Sexual Personae, all of the notions through out her corpus of work concerning the specifics of male sexuality, and how it biologically informs on every aspect of existentially being a man, are either ludibrious and bizarre or they are just plain ignorant and even at times wicked. With this being my state of mind, I found that my thoughts were becoming too mendaciously tangential when trying to write yesterday. So I am hoping that by letting the basis for all of my notions on male sexuality hang out, so to speak, it will make the task of writing about Professor Paglia’s propositions on the same subject a little easier.

Everything which I assert about male sexuality is heavily predicated by two over-arching and under-girding existential points of view which Professor Paglia consistently fails at noticing (partly owing to the rather obvious fact that she is a woman; yes, in adjudicating male sexuality possession of a Y chromosome, let alone a  penis and testicles is necessary and not just sufficient). My first and probably most radical idea is that there is NO extant demarcation of male sexuality in how it manifests; id est no male homo/hetero/bi sexuality, there simply is MALE sexuality. A man simply has one cardinal sexual exigency if not preoccupation for the majority of his life: satisfying his biologically induced ejaculatory devoir. How this task is accomplished is seldom of any concern to a man. The tacit understanding every guy has with his manhood is that the penis has demands and simply put, they must be sated with as little interference from the higher cognitive functions as possible. With this understanding of what it is to be a man, it is easy to see why male sexuality is so extremely protean, multifaceted, and adaptable to a myriad of situations and scenarios. One should expect this contingency on evolutionary grounds alone for a sentient and self-actualized species such as ours where for a man the sexual primacy is in quantity instead of quality. And I have witnessed these phenomena in countless situations and environments (also in myself of course) spanning over many years and a copious amount of male/male sexual encounters, all of which imbue my assertions with their rhetorical heft.

The second contention is one which is influenced by the writing of Gore Vidal on this subject. By the nineteen sixties, Mr. Vidal was always quite candid in asserting that when you use the terms homosexual or heterosexual, you are in fact only describing acts, behavior, not individuals. This led him to the view that there most likely is an exiguous amount of intrinsic homo/heterosexual humans with the majority being some measure of a bisexual. This intellectual stance is not far from Professor Paglia’s or at least she sees this kind of sexual orientation as the only possible solution to the male/female sexual divide, as adumbrated in her intellectually impressive and equally depressive essay, No Law in the Arena.


Yet one can never have any dialectical clarity with these contentions unless you realize that the terms gay and homosexual not only can not but more importantly should not ever be conflated or thought interchangeable. Both Mr. Vidal and Professor Paglia could never get this right, although in Mr. Vidal’s case he did not care for either term and eschewed using them in most cases except where necessary for clearness of thought (he often used the term homosexualist in this vein). And I most ardently defend the idea that Gays and Lesbians are distinct in human terms just as people with brown hair or green eyes or more melanin rich skin are. This is what makes the bigotry hurled at Gays and Lesbians untenable and opprobrious and necessitates the acknowledgement of legal Constitutional special status. In this way, I agree with Mr. Vidal that homosexuality is a behavior, just one aspect of male sexuality, yet we still do in fact need the word gay or some other word like it which admits to this distinction. A distinction which informs more on one’s emotional make-up then sexual make-up or dare I say it, “identity”–a word to be only used in quotes. Gay used as a word of description is an exhausted word and should be retired immediately, but what should replace it in dialog? This is where what intellectual acumen I am in possession of is in a lamentable dearth as I have no talent for neologism, but I am quite eager to see someone else take up this challenge.


There was no intent here to defend these assertions or present a more scientific and scholarly grounding for the thoughts which are promulgated (i.e footnotes, cross-referencing, etc). Instead, these tasks are accomplished in the essays which specifically concern male sexuality in my first collection, still incubating and waiting to be published. But now that they are more plainly laid out for your inspection dear reader, I feel that the next essay I write on Professor Paglia’s views on this subject and my contention with them will be more coherent, less verbose, and hopefully worth your time to read.

What do you think?

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