I think cissexual het men have largely ceded the field of talking about male sexuality…
To refuse to talk about it, though, is to be a prisoner of the privilege.
There is an idea, floated among feminists and other progressive thinkers, that some groups of people have been “silenced,” or are being “silenced.” I think this idea has some merit, although it’s not always so easy to identify who is silenced and when. For example, I find gay and lesbian history fascinating because here is a group of people who were quite obviously silenced fifty years ago. And yet, the fact that this group was silenced is obvious in retrospect and only in retrospect.
Fifty years ago, homosexuals were not considered an oppressed minority at all. In fact, many of them were seen as privileged men willfully engaging in a socially destructive sexual fetish. And I’m sure the psychoanalytic establishment at the time faulted these men for “refusing to talk about it” – for standing apart, arms folded, turning their backs on the truth. These men were not “silenced,” they were “refusing to talk about it.”
When Thomas says that heterosexual men have ceded the field when it comes to talking about male sexuality, that’s interesting. “Heterosexual men” is a large category. What would cause all heterosexual men to “cede the field” on a topic this important? Thomas thinks this is because “there’s a huge unstated assumption that to even address the question [of male sexuality], for men, is to mark one’s self as ‘other.’”
Is that the reason?