Tag Archives: sexual stereotypes

Love in Black and White

Black black

The funniest part of that night: he brought me Hennessy.

Hennessy!

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t drink brown liquor. Besides, we had a conversation about my love for tequila days prior. I didn’t really understand.

But stereotypes are powerful like that.

An orchid kind of love this was not; but it’s the closest thing I’ve had to effort in a long time.

When was the last time someone sought me out?
When was the last time someone worshipped my body? (and not the other way around)
When was the last time someone made it a priority to please me?

Admittedly it was nice. There wasn’t really the spark I hoped for, but what we lacked in chemistry we made up with in kink.

“Ask me again if I’m an experienced top.”

I thrusted harder…deeper this time. A shiver ran through his obliques while a smirk emerged from his lips. He wanted to be disrespected and I was happy to oblige. Got to give the people what they want no?

One Mandingo fantasy coming right up!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want…specifically from men. And whom to get it from. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my place in the sexual marketplace and how that bodes for my personal goals.

If there’s anything the last situation taught me, it’s companionship ain’t shit if you don’t see the person on a regular basis. Especially the way we socialize men to enter a space, get their needs met and walk away. I’m actually really tired of my future husbands coming and going as they please but not taking my feelings into account.

“I got feelings too.”

By the end of the night I ran out of lube…and excuses. There was no reason to stay in this cycle of disappointment. If I wasn’t getting my needs met, it was my job to find what I was looking for elsewhere.

Hell, I didn’t have to look far. He was on his knees licking up the rest of the cum off the floorboards.

The joke’s on me.

Tammy Hennessy

The Mandingo Manifesto: Branding The Black Sex Master

You probably don’t know this, but The Black Sex Master is actually the fourth iteration of my online personal blog/journal.

The first one I started right after high school when I attended Penn State. It was the first time I lived outside of New York and I needed a space to jot down my culture shock. The second version was called De Los Otros (From The Others) after the book of the same title. It’s probably the most important book regarding changing my career trajectory from journalist to sexuality scholar. I was also embracing my weirdness and thought it fit. This is also where The Quotes of the Week were born!

The third was named after my AOL hookup screename, but it was private and didn’t last too long.

When I returned from my Master’s program I had so much to say, so much on my mind. But I didn’t just want to write another blog. I also wanted to conduct an experiment.

At orientation, the former director of my program (a White man) warned us of what was to come (paraphrasing):

“You will be ostracized for studying sexuality. The legitimacy of your scholarship will always be in question. Other social sciences will look down on you…”

And he wasn’t wrong. In my day job I’m surrounded by MPH’s, MS’ and social workers who often not only think they’re better than me, but think their skill set is better (it never is).

This stigma is also internalized in the field and intersects with my other identities. I originally wanted to do my thesis interviewing porn stars. I was working in the business for a few years at that point and wanted to formally document what I was experiencing. But several of my teachers encouraged me to do a more “formal” thesis…especially if I wanted to subsequently get into a distinguished PhD program. Funny enough, they “let” a White gay man in my cohort do his thesis on porn. And I get it. Their goal was to get me prepared to be a professional gay. Black gay men need all the help we can get in the “good Negro” visibility department.

Speaking of the politics of respectability, did you know there’s this Asian professor who made his own straight porn to show Asian men are desexualized in media representation? Think a Black man could do that and still have an academic career? I doubt it. Especially ten/twenty years ago.

And then there was that defining moment second year. I was in the waiting room of our program staring at a wall of pamphlets. I realized our program’s tri-fold brochure had a Black women on it. And I thought to myself, “Wait, how many Black students have actually been in this program?!” Come to find out there were only four (out of roughly 40): two gay boys (one of which was in my cohort), a woman a few years before and myself. Pathetic.

And clearly there are other Black academics who have expertise in sexuality but have a “generic” degree, but I think my point still stands. They may market themselves as having an expertise in sexual orientation/gender (read LGBT), but not broader sexuality. The oversexed stereotype of Black folk is so powerful it was covertly eroding my ability to chart my career the way I wanted to. Ironically, the Mandingo effect: that Black men have big dicks and can’t stop fucking was preventing me from studying dicks and fucking for a living. Ain’t that some shit?

So I thought to myself, “If I’m going to always be more valued for my body than my mind, how the hell do I market myself as an intellectual and remain true to myself and my ideals.

Well, I didn’t have the answer to that question, but I figured out a fun way to proceed on my journey.

Looking at other blogs I enjoyed surrounding race and stereotypes, I realized some people were having fun with their branding. There’s Angry Asian Man; get it? He’s Asian, and angry, but no one cares because Asian men are feminine and non-threatening. Anti-Intellect, The Uppity Negro Network, the Field Negro, etc. But all the Black ones I read didn’t explicitly deal with sex (some LGBT, but that’s different).

At some point during the program, we started calling each other “sex masters.” And sure enough this URL was available. So I wanted to test a hypothesis: what if I have this crazy URL, but fill it just with words? Little to no crazy images, just the best writing on sexuality I could produce. What would it look like? How would people respond? Would that garner me the respect I so eagerly craved?

Four years later, I can answer that question; it’s a resounding NO.

Black man grinding

Black sex master

Black man rent

The Mandingo effect is so durable, I’m continually amazed. You wouldn’t believe how many people find this site googling for Black men to degrade, humiliate and fuck the shit out of them. I expected that in the beginning, and many of the earlier posts were designed to get these page views back when I expected to put advertising on the site.

Bitchtouse

It’s the same with the Facebook page. There’s no smut on it whatsoever, however not a week goes by without someone hitting me up out of pocket (as Joaquin would say) looking to be used and abused. Although, the about page isn’t really filled out (on purpose) If you click on the links, follow me on Twitter and read the posts you get of sense of what I do and why I named this site the way I did. The joke’s not that hard to get.

The Facebook page is also interesting because many of the people I know in real life (and who read and love this blog on a regular basis) refuse to interact with it because they don’t want their friends/family asking why they “associate with a Black Sex Master.” They’ll go straight to the site, refuse to like the page or share the posts. Even other sex masters! But I get feedback privately all the time. The number of FB fans is probably around half of those who read this blog on a regular basis.

But in the end, none of that matters. To many people, I’m nothing more than my genitalia. And that makes me sad. To paraphrase India.Arie, I am not my dick. I’m much more than that:

I’m a video game lover, especially Halo
I’m a loving uncle and brother
I’m a tech enthusiast and Apple fanboy
I’m probably the biggest Christina Aguilera fan you’ll ever meet

I should be able to talk about all these things and more. I should be able to be proud of all these facets of my life/personality. I should be able to name a site The Black Sex Master and not be blocked by spam filters when there’s no porn on the site.

My full humanity should be recognized and honored; personally and professionally.

It is my belief that as long as Black men (gay, straight or otherwise) are put in this box of hyper masculinity, we will never be free.

This blog is my resistance. And to be honest, it’s the only sanctuary I have left.

Preferences, Pride and Prejudice (Part 1 of 2)

Zeric3LWTV.jpg

What does it mean when someone excludes themselves from dating an entire race based on a few personal experiences?
Lonnell Williams

You may want to watch these videos before you continue reading:

The original interview

Response from “the community”

Follow-up from Zeric

Don’t have time right now? I’ll give you the CliffNotes version:

Black Cuban model who was on a reality show does an interview on a popular internet show and explains he doesn’t date other Black/Latino men because they gossip too much, are incapable of monogamy and he prefers someone who doesn’t party a lot because his past relationships have been ruined due to him being “in the public eye.”

First I want to commend Lonnell for digging deeper when he didn’t have to. His Pillow Talk series has historically been playful and he could have easily glossed over the statement.

Also, I’ve never met Zeric nor did I watch Model City so I know very little about him. He’s made it perfectly clear he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’ll be the first one to tell folk not to expect much from celebrities/public figures.

It’s not so much his opinion; I’m much more disturbed by how many people are defending his statements. If you check the comments on all three videos (as well as video responses and on facebook) many people don’t seem to have a problem with what he said at all. They say:

I get where he’s coming from (He’s right: Atlanta queens are messy)
Attraction is attraction (the “innate” argument)
Dude was keeping it 100% (real) and like he said his comments were directly related to his experiences (the truth hurts)
Why is everyone so concerned about his personal life/preferences? (it’s none of our business if he prefers Italian/White men)

It’s really fascinating when you think about it.

A similar incident happened in 2008: A C-list rapper did an interview explaining he doesn’t like “dark butts” (dark skinned women). Black women rallied together; the collective response was we won’t tolerate this nonsense. They made sure Yung Berg stayed a one-hit-wonder.

Do we, Black/Latino gay/bisexual men (as a group of people) not have the same level of self respect?

Why is general racism (read: especially when it comes from White people) not OK, but sexual racism acceptable?

If you’ve had bad personal experiences dealing with a category of people, is it legitimate to write off everyone who fits that category in the future?

Swanee from Da Doo-Dirty Show, while talking about the Zeric controversy revealed he doesn’t date light-skinned Latino men because he was raped by two brothers when he was seven (41:00).

Justified racism or untreated PTSD? Both?

Microsoft just patented an “Avoid Ghetto” GPS app to help motorist steer clear of “dangerous” neighborhoods.

Racist or a good use of technology? Both?

The rates of HIV are so high in gay/bisexual Black men, should HIV negative men (including other Black men) avoid having sex with Black men to avoid getting HIV/STDs?

I guess this whole “Stop and Frisk” policy here in NYC isn’t so bad then eh? Young Black/Latino men commit a good percentage of crimes, we’ll just have to stop and search all of them even if there’s no probable cause.

Where do you draw the line?

(to be continued)

When Racism Meets Masturbation

It all happened so fast…

I woke up like I always do. If up to me, I prefer having “me time” in the morning; it starts the day off right. I was in the mood for some thugged-out Latin action, so I turned to one of my favorite smut sites: bilatinmen (NSFW).



Usually I don’t watch solos, but their new update was this handsome mofo Sly. “Oh he’s hot. This should do.” I assumed the position, grabbed the lube and began to watch the video.

sly1.jpg

Relevant background:
1. I used to work in the adult video industry, so I always watch the interview to hear the questions/follow the story-line. My favorite sex research is porn research.

3. This particular cameraman/producer (I think his name is Angel) is one of my favorite in the industry. He jokes with the models, asks interesting questions and caters to the fetish folk (ie. He always gets a shot of the feet for the foot fetish people. How nice.)

2. I’m fascinated by tattoos and piercings. I don’t have any; not even my ears pierced. It’s one of the reasons why I love bilatinmen so much: many of their models have that stereotypical Southern California cholo look, with lots of tattoos. Sly, in fact has “nymph” tattooed on the shaft of his penis (score!).

Anyway, so the video starts off well enough. Sly’s explaining his tattoos and gang affiliation (I’m sorry I’m not too familiar with the gangs in California…apparently the rose on his face means something). He undresses and begins to touch himself.

Then the video gets a little weird. One shot reveals there are two other people in the room (???) and as he begins to jerk off I read the rest of his tattoos on his chest and arms. Then I see it:

sly2.jpg

I panicked:
What the hell? Why doesn’t he like Black people?! What did we ever do to him? Do I keep jerking off? This Astroglide ain’t cheap, we can’t just waste it. Do I call customer service?! (can you imagine how that conversation would’ve went?)

Hello Anthony, how can I help you?
Yes, I’d like to cancel my membership.
Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. Is there something wrong?
Yes, one of your models Sly doesn’t like Black people.
Sir, it’s OK, he can’t see you through the screen.
That’s not the point!!

At this point, the conversation in my head took so long my morning wood was completely ruined.

Now don’t go starting boycotts, sending Angel nasty emails and all that. I’ve met some employees from the site at industry events and they’re good people. In fact, Angel was nice enough to include some behind the scene footage to explain the tattoo (I know I’m not the only one who could read it). Listen to Sly’s response:

Wait, what? His mother approves of his gangbanging?!
Sigh.

Often when I tell people there is no safe space as a black gay male they think I’m being dramatic. But trust me, nowhere is safe: even in my own bed.

Looking for Love (In All the Wrong Races)

Boy, boys, all type of boys. Black, White, Puerto Rican, Chinese boys…
– Missy Elliott: Work It

When I was in first grade I had three best friends:

One was Black.
One was White.
And the other was half Chinese and half Puerto Rican.

From a very young age, I have been exposed to other races/ethnicities. As I grew older and began to explore my sexual desires this openness has continued.

It has become painfully clear dating over the last ten years I am the exception and not the rule.

The first boy I ever kissed was Jamaican, but overall I was never masculine enough for the other Black boys (again, I didn’t know the cues so it was hard bonding with them). The White boys didn’t pay attention to me because I was Black (racism). There weren’t many Asians in my neighborhood so that was a non-issue. I am primarily attracted to Latinos because that’s who accepted me for who I was (androgyny and all) during my formative years of sexual socialization. Although my truth is I don’t have a type (friends disagree with me about this all the time), I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge it’s easier for me to relate to Latinos, especially those from Central America (although it varies by country). But I never seek anyone out/disregard someone solely because of their race/ethnicity.

I have my prejudices and experiences just like everyone else, but in general when I meet someone I don’t have expectations based on their race/ethnicity. This objectivity/reflexivity is a learned trait. Most of us don’t realize how our beliefs and perceptions about people from different racial groups inform our sexual experiences (within our own race and with different racial groups).

This is what I study for a living. In the research we call it sexual partnering and sexual stereotyping. Dr. Patrick Wilson, a psychologist at Columbia University (and co.) recently published a paper that sums up the state of gay dating pretty well (full citation below). For now, let me give you the short version of the story:

The White guys were primarily attracted to Latinos.
The Black guys were primarily attracted to other Blacks and Latinos.
The Latinos were attracted to their own or White guys.
And Asians were primarily attracted to White guys.

I made a handy little graphic to help explain the results. (see Figure 1.)

gay dating.jpg

Now this study involved a racially diverse sample of men who use the Internet to engage in bareback (raw) sex with other men in the New York City area, but I would argue this is the case for most major US cities.

There’s a lot going on here (ie. access, isolation, self-hatred, etc.) but on a superficial level (call me naive), but I really didn’t realize how segregated we still are! Having friends/lovers from different races (let alone age, country of origin, etc.) has just been my experience and is second nature to me. Notice the only two way street is between Whites and Latinos. So theoretically, interracial pairing outside of that is hard to come by (ie. Blacks with Asians).

I usually meet a guy, see him as a human being and try to get to know him as an individual and go from there. Silly, privileged me! I’ve been going about this all wrong. According to the research, I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong races.

[Citation]

Wilson, P. A., Valera, P., Ventuneac, A., Balan, I., Rowe, M., & Carballo-Diéguez, A. “Race-based sexual stereotyping and sexual partnering among men who use the Internet to identify other men for bareback sex” Journal of Sex Research [Epub ahead of print] 2009

Of Boyfriends and Beauty Bias

And think about it this way. Capitalism always trumps beauty—because it trumps everything.
Raina Kelley; Beauty Is Defined, and Not By You

Everyone get out a pen and paper!

There’s this exercise I like to do with people when talking about attraction. It’s a free-write to a simple question:

Describe your ideal partner.

No other direction. Keep writing until you feel like you’re being redundant. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I love this exercise because it’s a really great way to see where the person’s head is at. These conversations usually start because friends comes to me when they can’t find suitable people to date. In my mind the easy fix to this problem is to examine your priorities.

Let’s use my (ex) husband Joaquin as an example. I took the liberty of transcribing one of his recent videos describing his perfect guy. Using his words, he’s looking for someone:

presentable
that dresses well
with good hygiene
that carries themselves well
muscles (“don’t hurt”)
that can carry a conversation
that can spit game (i.e. poetry)
has swagger (romantic)
writes letters/draws pictures (creativity)
has a car/money for public transportation
has a job/hard worker

I’m going to stop there (he goes on for a while, lol). Now order is important. With most of the straight-identified males I do this experiment with, at least half of the top ten will have to do with body parts and the rest varies. If you watch the entire video, you see Joaquin likes calf muscles. Let’s categorize his answers:

Aesthetics
presentable
that dresses well
with good hygiene
that carries themselves well
muscles (“don’t hurt”)

Personality
that can carry a conversation
that can spit game (i.e. poetry)
has swagger (romantic)
writes letters/draws pictures (creativity)

Class
has a car/money for public transportation
has a job/hard worker

It’s a pretty even split…or maybe not?

A closer look reveals more. Most of the things wanted in the aesthetics category require money. A nice wardrobe and high end cologne aren’t cheap. Muscles? Better have a gym membership (and money for nutritional food)!

Even the personality category is tainted by class. Being educated/”worldly” is usually correlated with being able to talk about different things (carry a conversation). Creativity takes free time: I would love to work on this blog more, but it’s not currently paying the bills. Ironically, leisure time costs money.

I think you all get the point I’m trying to make. Being attractive isn’t cheap. And because class is still tied to race in most of the world, that means people’s definition of beauty tends to divide on racial lines.

To be fair, Joaquin never mentions a specific race in the video. In fact, the imagery he uses show a wide range of people. But it begs the question:

When people partner up, are they sorting by race/ethnicity without even realizing it?

(to be continued)

Closets Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: anti-gay zealot turns out to be a hypocrite and an undercover homosexual himself. Wait, you have heard that one before?

I think what’s being left out of the George Rekers commentary is how complex issues of internalized homophobia and coming out are. It may seem like semantics, but there is a big difference between internalized homophobia and shame, denial, hypocrisy and discretion.

Continue reading Closets Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

Quotes of the Week – Ending 12.20.09

(screaming and crying)
I’m no one’s cum receptacle!!

LOL. My cousin told me gay marriage is not right! I told her neither is having four kids out of wedlock but I don’t judge.
Devious Aga via Twitter

You still didn’t tell me what you like in bed.
If I tell you what I like, is that going to help you get me a boyfriend?
Well it might not get you a boyfriend, but it might get you fucked.

What is he? I can’t tell.
Look at his ass.
Ahh…Dominican.

(out of NOWHERE)
::whispering:: Aren’t you glad you’re away from those hateful lesbians?

…and I don’t know how many of you have ever dated Gemini men, but Gemini men are the best at really being aggressive….
Xem VanAdams: If He’s Gonna Climb My Back
(sexual stereotyping by Zodiac sign? I LOVE IT!)

(my emphasis)
When calling someone else out, we’re in essence calling ourselves out too. For the shit that we’ve done…for the shit that we’ve allowed…for the shit that’s we’ve attracted. We’re also admitting and confessing our own irresponsibility.
Trent Jackson: In the Mix With Trent Season 8, Show 21