Gay people have more freedom to explore BEAUTY, SEXUALITY and TRANSCENDENCE than the hetero majority. Nature has put us on the fringes of society for a reason. As we gain more acceptance and legal rights it is possible the heteros will drag us deeper into their old, tired games of conflict, competition, hierarchy, dysfunctional relationships: If being gay becomes ‘normalised’ will we suffer the ugly fate of becoming normal? But while assimilation gains pace, a major slice of gay life seems today to be swimming in a toxic and confused maelstrom of hedonistic excess, disease, addiction and even de-humanisation. We need to accept that we are a segment of humanity still working out who we are, only a few decades into a story of poltiical liberation and social acceptance. If we are not to sink into the normality of heteronormativity, i believe we need to balance the political progress, the assimilation, with a deep soulful search into what makes us who we are, what makes us unique… to find out what gifts our sexuality brings to the world.. while we still can.
BB is an acronym that every gay man understands. BBB is a new one I am offering to gay life, and it stands for the urges that seem so central to so many of us: the urge to have plenty of sex, the pursuit of beauty and love, and the desire to transcend the daily mindset, to get high and party.
BBB: BEAUTY BUGGERY AND BLISS These are the forces that gay men in particular have more freedom to explore than heteros with families.
Gay life is obsessed with beauty: and why not? It’s one of the best features of being alive! As long as we are appreciating that there are limitless forms of beauty, it is not limited to just one or two body types, and as long as we remind each other that beauty is an inner quailty as well as an outer, and that what is going on inside the heart and mind will sooner or later manifest on the face and body! Throughout human history we have often been makers of art, creators of beauty. Gay men are much more free than straights to express our appreciation of physical beauty throughout our lives. Once a hetero man has a woman partner he generally has to rein in his desires, but in gay couples we are are likely to continue to enjoy the beauty of others (and more likely to enjoy sexual play with them too) all our lives. We are often able to enjoy that our partners and lovers have other lovers. We also put more effort into keeping ourselves attractive, fit and beautiful than straight males, the better to enjoy the life we are living.
I believe BEAUTY and LOVE are very closely related…. our search for beauty, in ourselves and others, is part of our soul’s wish to love and be loved, our wish to really LOVE LIFE and get the most out of it. So is our, often vast, appetite for SEX. Gay sex has always existed, but never before have we been free to explore our sexuality as we do today, able to find as many partners, able to meet without fear or shame, with a large range of sacraments easily available to deepen the experience. We might reflect that for many millennia sex on planet earth was just sex. Taboos around the body seem to have developed in the last few thousand years – and during that time same sex relations have suffered the most persecution, though of course many kinds of sexual expression became labelled as bad, cutting humanity off from a full relationship with the body and the spiritual pleasures it can bring us. Gays have taken the new liberality around sex and drug taking that began in the 1960s and run with it, pursuing experience to extremes few straights get to know about. We are bliss seekers, par excellence.
We take a lot of drugs. I know some straights do too. But living in the holy triangle of south London I’m aware that gays do it better. i hear many tales of excess, eg three day plus long partying that goes on. The stories I hear are either tragic, comic or cosmic. I know it’s not just happening in London either, party scenes exist now across the UK. The internet and dating apps makes it easy, and i sometimes get the impression gay cruising is now a drug game more than a sexual one. People are chasing the high, and hoping for some compatible playmates along the way. Sometimes disasters strikes, things get out of hand, but usually I hear that men help each other through these moments. Drug nights are sometimes more about counselling and caring than anything else. A parallel universe exists where men in altered states of consciousness explore various types of connection, to each other and within themselves. Many hold it together and continue to go to work, maintain friendships and love affairs, but all are aware of the tightrope they are walking. We know there are many casualties, though while men are living the high that’s the last thing they are thinking about. They communicate and mix with others operating on the same plane of experience, and sometimes connection with the rest of the world gradually slips away.
When we play with mind altering substances we are accessing powerful energies of the soul within ourselves. This is a natural drive in us – the soul inside pushes us to explore and expand… because it is through the heights of experience… and the hurts.. that we will find that soul, and grow as a person. Modern culture tries to dispense with religion and leave matters of spirit to those on the fringes of mainstream society (such as mediums, psychics, healers). Well WE are society’s fringe, and all these strong drives pushing gay life are SPIRITUAL URGES pushing us to find and know more of who we are. We are driven to create connection, celebration and to discover new heights of living. It’s my hope that gay life can find a way to accept this and become even more PROUD of the role we play in the development of human understanding and consciousness. That we become proud of the ways we are NOT the same as heterosexuals and learn to access the healing gifts and spiritual treasures that exist within us.
The rational worldview has facilitated the political and social liberation of gay people in the west, but by denying the spiritual side of humanity it has produced a vacuum where many gay men are pursuing extremes of beauty, buggery and bliss with no grounding in a soul centred understanding of who we are. I am not suggesting we turn back to religions to change this, i am proposing that we work it out for ourselves: we had to think for ourselves, to listen to the soul inside, in order to come out as gay in a world that still largely denies our right to be who we are – and we have to do the same regarding the nature of that soul. We can form our own direct relationship with the cosmic reality, the bigger picture of life, but it would make a huge difference if we were doing our exploring and expanding within a gay culture that supported this kind of inner exploration and discovery, that recognises TRANSCENDENCE as a real, spiritual experience – one to cultivate, explore and enjoy (and also recognising that drugs are only one of many routes to it).
There is more to us than chemisty, biology and physics. We are also the things that science cannot explain: mind, emotion and bliss seeking spirit. And we are freer to pursue our self expression and bliss than we have ever been before, at least in the west. Will we make wise use of this liberation or will the forces of unconsciousness, of greed, excess and abuse, win the day?
Beauty Buggery and Bliss are powerful intoxicating, addictive forces: they can lead us to concsiousness, to soulful awakening and a fulfilled life, but they can also lead us into an oblivion of compulsive behaviours, negativity and unconsciousness. We exist on the edge of society for a reason. We are there, stretching the boundaries of human experience, and bringing back the lesson that yes we can live beyond judgements and societal rules but a healthy, happy life requires some self awareness and spiritual grounding. We are bringing back our experiences as souls embracing the mystery of life, beyond reason, sometimes beyond sanity, and we, even in our intoxicated games, are exploring who we really are.