The Temple of the Body

It is an old trope, gay men are repulsed by vaginas, and lesbians are fueled to rage at the thought of a penis. But is this actually the truth or some outdated mindset of a bygone era that promoted sexist ideals. How much of this hearkens to a past post about what is “normal.” I want to be clear that I am not talking about preference or sexual desire. We are not going to look into sexual attraction. This only about the actual appreciation or dislike of the sexual organs of the opposite sex. Let’s take a look into this matter and see exactly why gay men are grossed out by vaginas. Or why lesbians are put off by the mere thought of a penis.

I spoke a bit about normal in a recent post. We’re all  taught what is or is not normal. The facts behind that teaching are definitely up for debate. But what I can say is that even as a gay man, I was taught by other gay men about what is normal for us to like or how to act. It is also no secret that I am not a platinum or gold star gay. During my youth, I did date women and of course dating leads to sex, so yes that also happened. After coming out, it was taught to me that as a gay man I should find a vagina gross and for no other reason than it was a woman. If you are gay you don’t date or like women.

Now to be fair, when I came out those many years ago, I do not feel that our community was in the place we are now. Transgender may have been talked about, but it was on a lesser lever. I knew people who considered bisexuals confused, afraid to commit to being gay,  or  just wanted to play it safe. Gender fluid wasn’t an option I ever heard about. And for someone said they were non-binary,  my computer nerd brain would have conjured that they didn’t like ones or zeros.

There is a line from Leah Delaria, a lesbian Comedian, that I like and has stayed with me to this day.  She once said, “Its not that we dislike penises, we just dont like them on men.” The  joke was more about the usage of dildos. Though, it does beg a question whether the dislike stems form the organ itself or the person it’s attached to. As this could approach a different topic, we focus only on the point of this article.

To see how minds may have changed, since my gay youth, I decided to post the question to a couple of LGBTG and Gay Facebook Groups in the Cleveland area. When I posed the questions, I was unsure how it would go. In part, I felt the old mindset may be still present. I also wondered if our community has actually grown and diversified. In all honesty, part of me felt that there would be very little generated in comments to the issue. But I  realized that people still had very strong opinions over this matter.

One poster had this to say, “I’m not attracted to someone’s reproductive anatomy one way or another, but rather their personality and if I’m being honest, their facial features.” More often than not, the consensus was that primary sexual characteristics (body parts) weren’t the driving force of the attraction. I began to see that people were concerned with the person in general or how they presented themselves. I was impressed with the responses I saw from trans men and women. They spoke more on body positivity and how attraction is based on the person and the qualities they show.

Now, we cant have the good without some of the bad, unfortunately. In polling the Gay Men’s group, there were those that still had the outdated idea that women are gross. The mindset saying that if they found them attractive they wouldn’t be gay. This got me wondering why anyone cares about the genitalia of another person they are not dating or romantically interested. I can say that when I see a person walking down the street, the furthest thing from my mind is what they look like without their pants. I notice outfits and how they are presenting themselves, first.

“The idea of being repulsed to genitalia is rooted in biological essentialism—basically that there are ONLY two genders and ONLY two sexes, which is wrong… “

A comment that stood out to me was from a poster who said this, “The idea of being repulsed to genitalia is rooted in biological essentialism—basically that there are ONLY two genders and ONLY two sexes, which is wrong… It is also rooted in the idea that gender and sex are the same, which again we have learned is not true. Also reducing someone as a prospect for sex down to just their genitals is kind of dehumanizing.” This spoke volumes to me and brought some of the beliefs I have been working on, home to roost. It makes it seem like humanity, in some ways, is finally starting to evolve. That we are starting to appreciate the value of the person and that we are more than the sum of our parts.

Photo by cottonbro on

I am often left wondering if we didn’t have to apply labels to love or who we’re attracted to, how different the world would be. It used to seem simple, I was gay because I am attracted to men. I prefer to sleep with men, and want to have a relationship with men. But wouldn’t it be so much simpler to say I am a human attracted to humans for who they are. A human that wants to be in a loving relationship with someone who accepts me? After all, you don’t need a penis to be a man or a vagina to be a woman. To limit my attraction because of that is a sad existence. We are not responsible for how those we love come to us. To withhold love because they don’t fit a preconceived idea of what it means to be a specific gender is… dehumanizing.

What I have learned in my years is that my attraction for a person is not bound by their genitalia. I have come to realize its is about the person and the qualities they exude. What I am seeing is that more and more people are starting to feel the same way. To diminish someone because of a sexual characteristic is one of the most base judgments me can make, after skin color. It seems that there are those out there making the shift to appreciate people for who they are, not how they fuck.

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