Has Manhunt Destroyed Gay Culture? A cost-benefit analysis of our quest to get laid
The author explains how online services, like Manhunt (and presumably others, like gay.com, craigs list, etc.), used primarily for hookups, have reduced gay culture to a meat market. Sex has become the handshake for gay men. This wasn't written by some right winged conspirator seeking to demonize gay culture. This is a guy who actively participates in this culture. He writes
I am not scolding. I have done practically every stupid thing a guy can do on Manhunt. I don’t like to think about the number of books I could have read, languages I could have learned, and friends I could have stayed in better touch with if I had not wasted so much time cruising online these past 12 years.Which brings up a question: Why do we feel this need to meet other gay guys? I know it's certainly true for me. But why? I'm not looking for sex. So, what am I looking for? Why do I crave the interaction I have here on the queerosphere?
A number of years ago I spent 3 months in France on a temporary assignment for work. I don't speak French, which wasn't a problem at work as everyone was able to speak English well enough for us to communicate. However, out in the community on evenings and weekends it was a very different experience. I was in Orlean, which is not one of the big tourist areas; so, there were a lot of people I encountered who did not speak English. While eating in a restaurant, I would often just point to an item on the menu and hope that I didn't just order lambs brains or something. It seemed that whenever I ran into another American we would became instant friends as we would talk and share places we've been and experiences we've had. Thinking back, I realize that if I had run into these same people here in the US, we probably wouldn't have even noticed each other or given each other the time of day. But, in France, we were strangers in a strange land. We didn't speak the language, the culture was foreign to us. So, we latched onto someone, anyone, with whom we could relate - someone with whom we had a shared language and culture.
Is it the same with being gay? Growing up in a heterosexual world, are we all strangers in a strange land? Do we just feel this need to connect with something familiar? To talk with others who have shared feelings and experiences? Do we just want to feel like we are not alone in the world?
There is hope. I see signs that gay men are wanting more out of their relationships. Groups that cater to gay men and women without focusing on the sexual aspects are growing in numbers. For example, the Gay Christian Network recently surpassed 10,000 members worldwide. The problem, as I see it, is that these pockets are still isolated. Most gay men probably don't even know they exist and see services like Manhunt as the only way to meet guys.
So, if we have this innate need to meet and interact with others like us, how do we satisfy it without putting our integrity and values at risk? How can we be "in the gay world but not of the gay world?"