Is hook-up culture killing us?

Do you think that being a gay male is inherently lonely? This is a question I have asked many of my gay friends, a few ex-lovers, and a few that are so close to the gay(s) that I thought they would be good participants to this pool, i.e. the girl friends and mothers of gays. I sent out this short “survey” in text form, then I sat and mused about it all day. It was a melancholy day, rainy and grey as I sat in my mother’s apartment after a night out. Last night, I met a very handsome man, one whom I liked. We had a lovely evening out… needless to say our second to last stop was karaoke. We seemed to like each other very much, but that was not enough to make it. I am sure many gay men can understand, but this is not remotely exclusive to gays. This was not my first rodeo, and I’m certainly no novice in the field of sex and gayness. So, I sat in the apartment sending out this text survey, while thinking to myself about our culture and about how that affects our society, especially our community as gay males.

I began wondering about how all this affects (us) when it comes to HIV/AIDS?  Beyond stigma, is loneliness one of the biggest factors in our repertoire that eventually helps lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS in our culture?  One of my friend’s answers to my question was, “YES,” but he then went on to say, “hook-up culture is killing us” … (please don’t try this at home, but I did more thinking). My true question: has our life style as gay men sealed our alienation and inherently corrupted us from the inside out?

When I asked the question, “Do you think that being a gay male is inherently lonely”?  I got many answers; it seemed to be a 50/50 split from my small pool of friends. (A few of their answers follow)

Thinking about my small survey, I now wondered, do gays forsake other gays, then feel lonelier by our actions… and are those actions making us sick?  It might (hopefully not) be solely about HIV AIDS; although for the focus of this project, it is. I guess there are many ways to affect a community. Speaking as an artist, please understand I am not posing a solution within my blog posts about what we should or should not be doing. I am merely asking questions, and hoping that the few who read my post might ask similar questions of themselves.

“I think of artists like scientists. Just like scientists, we begin with a question, something we don’t know. We go into our studio and research that question”…. “But we artists know that if we join the thousands of artists asking rigorous questions, the world will change.- Making Your Life As An Artist Andrew Simonet

Perspectives like this can be difficult to write. I feel I need more words (which I do not have the vocabulary for at this time) for folks to understand I am not saying: loneliness  = HIV/AIDS, and hook ups do not = HIV/AIDS. But does the byproduct of loneliness and repetitive hookups induce a social psychosis that causes a loss of contact with reality and opens our window of infection?

Maybe the question is too convoluted for the vox populi. Still, it is a question I think must be addressed when doing a project based on stigma and HIV/AIDS, a [mostly] sexually transmitted disease in our society.

Here are a few of my friends answers from the survey:

  • “Hey bub. Interesting q. I don’t think loving men is inherently lonely but I think our culture makes it so. I've experienced loneliness/hopelessness mostly from the feeling of being unacceptable.”
  • “Yes Also random my bf thinks he has intimacy issues from all his years of hook ups! Hook up culture is fucking killing us!”
  • “No
  • Unless you are somewhere not so gay friendly I just don't think just because a person is gay, they are more prone to being lonely”
  • “Yes”
  • “I don't think so, my queer community makes me feel like I have another family “
  • “I think it makes you inherently an outsider, but if you are comfortable socializing with people that may be different than you, and you have supportive friends and family, there's no reason that you have to be lonely.”
  • “No. I think loneliness is a part of the human condition and there are countless factors which can contribute to and perpetuate loneliness. Loneliness in my opinion is the symptom which results from factors such as alienation or exclusion from the pack, be it friends, family, classmates, social groups, coworkers, peers etc. We have the capacity to be kind and to include others we perceive as different or weird in our interactions and gatherings. Human are pack animals just like dogs. Look what happens to dogs when they are excluded from their pack. They can become vicious and mean, not because they are by nature but because they have been alienated and isolated from their true nature to be a part of a community. A lot of crime and criminals could be stopped before they even think about committing any crimes if we didn’t segregate the population as we do through economic classes, social standing, education etc. So no, I don’t think loneliness is inherent to anything that is germane to our brain chemistry, gay or not gay. I think it is because as a society, we are mean, narrow-minded and scared little half-wits, too afraid of anything that falls outside one of the fifty shades of gray.”

It’s funny how life works, you learn a new word one morning then “boom” you start to see it everywhere. Well, after posing this question I saw a friend post an article almost about the same shit I was asking. Click here to read article

Before I sat down to write this post, I found another article; the opening is as follows:

“Dating apps like Grindr and Tinder have been blamed for the rise in STDs

Peter Greenhouse, a sexual health expert from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said that people can now “acquire chlamydia in five minutes” because of the apps.” – Attitude mag.  Click here to read