the current issue of Out Magazine takes a look at manhunt.net and it’s effects on gay life (“has manhunt destroyed gay culture?”). this article is one of the best articles i’ve read in the magazine in a very long time. it really hits home with me, and i suspect many of you.
“Looking for Mr. Right,” countless Manhunt profiles claim, but until he comes along, they’re open to playing with Mr. Right Now. Online cruising has its place in gay society: Access to a satisfying number of Mr. Right Nows is part of the pleasure and the privilege of moving to the big city to be gay.
Beyond a certain point, though, perpetually settling for Mr. Right Now becomes a failure of hope. When you came out, you did it because you wanted something. Part of what you wanted was sex, but part of what you hoped for was the possibility of being loved as your true self. And when, as often happens while cruising online, we diminish the hopes that drew us out of the closet, we reduce sexy to a purely physical act.
When we do these things we lie to ourselves — and worse, we tell the same lies that our enemies tell about us. The fundamentalist canard about loving the sinner but hating the sin draws a nonsensical distinction between person and act. Cruising online, by encouraging us to separate sex from the rest of our lives, does exactly the same thing. These are falsehoods about human nature and about the place of love in our lives, and they undermine the belief that sex can be anything more than a pastime.
As a normative way of socializing for gay men, online cruising is a disaster. We need to recognize its effects — including its tendency to isolate us, encourage objectification, and diminish our sense of life’s nonsexual possibilities — as disasters. We need to recognize that too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it is easier and feels safer than thinking about the love we are missing and the power we do not have. Too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it’s easier and feels safer than mustering the courage, patience, discipline, and imagination required to help ourselves and each other become the men that, in our strongest moments, we want to be.”
that was just an excerpt from the article. i’d encourage you to pick up a copy or read it online (or both)