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Michael Stevens has been watching more gay sex recently, and it didn’t involve an ‘Incognito’ tab or a visit to Pornhub. Mainstream TV shows are depicting gay sex in all its messy glory and while he couldn’t be happier about it, Michael Stevens does have a few tips!

Buggery. Sodomy. Uphill Gardening. And there are so many more terms exist to describe it.

In the UK, the original 1967 partial decriminalisation of same-sex activity was called “the Buggers’ Charter” by opponents.

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There is still something deeply disturbing to many people about the idea of one man fucking another. 

A part of it is to do with the idea of dirt. Shit, to be exact. Something we have an instinctive aversion to and are trained from a young age to treat as bad. But all our sex organs are also excretory. Vaginas, penises, are both channels for waste disposal, as well as anuses. So it’s not just the taboo of waste. 

Clearly, it’s to do with deeply entrenched ideas about what it is to be a man. Men fuck, they don’t get fucked. In so many cultures and languages some variation of “Fuck you!” is one of the strongest insults one man can give another. To get fucked is to some, a sign of being unmanned, losing status, going down in the pecking order.

It subverts the masculine, it symbolically turns the man into a woman, as in most cultures, only women are supposed to get fucked. If a man is penetrated it confuses the idea of just what a man is or should be. 

But it is hard to find a culture that doesn’t know about anal sex, whatever the sex of the partners might be. And it’s pretty hard to find a culture that ‘officially’ approves of it, although many have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude about it. They know it happens, just don’t talk about it. Some people say it’s the oldest form of contraception.

And then there’s rimming. Outside porn, you don’t see guys eating out arse on TV very often, however, The White Lotus on NEON recently bucked that trend.

Have you seen The White Lotus? It’s excellent. And it’s caused a bit of stir as it depicts one of the main characters (Murray Bartlett, playing resort manager Armond) getting wasted and rimming one of his staff, (Luke Gage, playing Dillon). Bartlett is an out gay man, and known for roles like playing Mouse Tolliver in Tales of the City, so this most likely wasn’t too much of a challenge for him.

Now, apart from the questionable rimming technique displayed – I mean really, who rims someone standing? Dillon should be bent over the desk so Armond can really get in there – it’s pretty amazing that one of those sex acts that so many gay men know and love, but so many straights see as taboo, is finally getting some screentime. 

I think it’s great to see it being given more exposure. It’s part of the world, certainly part of my world as a gay man. Getting your prostate massaged is a normal part of life for so many of us, and it feels so good; if it doesn’t someone is doing something wrong. And it’s great to see it on-screen in a non-pornographic way, just part of the ways we can enjoy our bodies and show our love.

Not all gay men are into arse-play and anal I know, but sodomy is the sex act that so often defines gay men to the rest of the world, and so far, this year I’ve noticed more explicit portrayals of it. In It’s a Sin on TVNZ On Demand, things get real when the inexperienced lead (Olly Alexander) is getting fucked, his partner has to tell him to go clean up. We’ve all had those moments. It kinda goes with the territory. And it’s refreshing to see such honest and authentic portrayals of gay sex on mainstream shows. Are we living in a golden age of television or what? 

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