Girl-on-Girl Action Becomes Passé

With lesbian sex not only accepted but boring, what's left to outrage?

Probably not—just more of that illicit “ick” thrill. Despite melodramas like Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, in which a woman kills herself after realizing she is in love with her best friend, lesbian relationships “were never the object of disgust,” Nussbaum says. “Porn films for straight men often use lesbian sex as a turn-on, so clearly their audience does not find that disgusting. It is much harder for mainstream audiences to get used to seeing gay men in ways that suggest sexual contact.”

On Glee, “flexi-sexual” cheerleaders Brittany and Santana regularly share sweet lady lip-locks and dry humping without censure, even though these scenes don’t venture much beyond the Katy Perry “tasted like Cherry Chapstick” level of Eros. But let gay fashionista character Kurt finally exchange a chaste boy-kiss with his prep-school boyfriend Blaine, and it’s Super Bowl Nipplegate all over again. Saturday Night Live alumna–turned–Jesus freak Victoria Jackson summoned up the response from much of America when she wrote that the kiss “sickened” her.

Intentionally or not, gay rights advocates play down men’s sexuality. But when the “ick factor” goes the way of other historic “icks,” as did miscegenation, Jim Crow laws, or interfaith marriage, gay men can have the privilege of seeing their randy ways become as ho-hum as their Sapphic counterparts.

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