June 26, 2011

The gay mind as an addict's mind, sweet-tooth edition

The dangers of a state as influential as New York legalizing gay marriage are the primary effect of allowing a bunch of people with an addict's brain to indulge their addictions without shame, and a secondary effect of sending the signal to the broader non-gay society that abandoning yourself completely to your vices is A-OK. If consenting adults want to destroy themselves and the wider society, then who are we to infringe on their liberty?

In an earlier post I walked through some of the basic logic behind why homosexuals are so self-destructive, and how this can spill over into polluting the majority non-homo population too. The main point was that they do not benefit from the negative feedback loop that straight people do, where a man's and a woman's interests are often at odds with each other, which leads them to develop a sense of compromise, some degree of restraint (that is, in anticipation, before the indulgence could even escalate into a quarrel), and trust -- you wouldn't let just any old person dampen your desires. It has to be someone you trust, so that you feel they aren't just clamping down to enjoy a power trip, but because they care about you.

Rather, gays and lesbians are locked into a feedback loop that is, er, positive, so that their relationships are marred by stubbornness, libertinage, and suspicion. When one male (or female) desire reinforces and encourages another, these desires spiral out of control rather than heal back to a healthy moderate level. That alone is reason enough to discourage gays and lesbians from coming out, being proud, and having relationships with each other. It would be better for themselves and others if they had their tendency toward sin kept in check either by self-discipline or by socializing with people who would look on gay or lesbian behavior as shameful, and so around whom the homosexual would not even go there behaviorally, in order to avoid their discouraging looks in the first place.

You wouldn't let a drunk hang out with other shameless alcoholic enablers, so why would you want a gay or a lesbian to suffer the fate of having no one in their social circle who gave a shit about that person's well-being, who only felt like encouraging their destructive behavior?

This brings up the second reason to nudge homosexuals to keep a lid on their urges -- namely, that at least for gays, these baseline urges are far more in the direction of an addict's than a normal person's. So by sending the signal that gays can do whatever they want (the symbolic message behind legalizing gay marriage, as few will actually make use of their "right"), there is a multiplicative or compounding effect. The "it's OK" to letting themselves get trapped on the positive feedback loop interacts with an already dangerously addict-like level of destructive urges.

This is why when society gives license to straights to do as they want sexually, the outcome is not so dire -- straight people do not have those addict-like urges to begin with, whereas gays do. Of course, most of the coalition of The Preachy and The Gushy, lacking curiosity about how the world works, have never spent any time inside the world of homos to be aware of this uniquely gay danger.

Rather than re-hash all of the well-documented examples of how gays are more prone to harmful addictions, I thought I'd try to sketch out a new one -- are they more sugar-holic than straight men? Empty carbohydrates, being mostly unavailable in even moderate amounts throughout our species' history, were used only as an emergency food until real food could be found. So you might wake up and eat a handful of berries before someone brought down a giraffe or made butter out of cow's milk.

Fat is satiating because that's what our body needs, so eating it provides negative feedback to your hunger centers -- hey, that's a pound of bacon and four eggs, you can stop eating now. Digestible carbs (starches and sugars) are not the goal for our body, just a stop-gap solution to hunger, so they provide a positive feedback -- well, that jelly on toast was OK, but now that glucose is all burned through and we still haven't taken in any fat yet, so go out there and try again to get real food. This is why eating anything but a low-carb diet causes you frequent hunger pangs throughout the day, and makes you feel like snacking, whereas someone eating mostly fat and little carbs can easily live on two or two-and-a-half meals a day with no snacking and no hunger.

Unfortunately there are no studies bearing directly on this topic, but there are some findings from peer-reviewed journals, plus some qualitative fieldwork, which suggest that gays are in fact more prone to carb cravings and sugar addiction in particular.

First, here is a review article on diabetes in the homosexual population, noting that there are no studies that have attempted to estimate its prevalence, but drawing up a long list of risk-factors for diabetes that are particularly prevalent among gays and/or lesbians. Scroll down to "Unique LGBT Risk Factors." Most of the list recapitulates the various addictions that gays indulge in far more so than straights do, such as cigarette smoking and illegal drug use. Note that these destructive behaviors cannot be blamed on an "extreme male mind," as though straight men would use hard drugs just as frequently if only they didn't have to deal with women. Even without the harmful, compounding effect of the gays' lack of a negative feedback loop, they would already start with much more addict-like desires.

The list does mention, though, that lesbians are more likely than straight women to be overweight and obese, to drink heavily (and most drink beer, which is full of empty carbs that give you a beer belly), and to have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (these women usually have other metabolic disorders). This is not the strongest evidence that lesbians have more addiction-prone brains, since the lack-of-negative-feedback story suffices here. That is, without having to please the male desire for a slim figure, lesbians don't mind letting their looks go to hell as the result of eating two pizzas, a six-pack of beer, and a couple pints of ice cream while they watch the WNBA game instead of making out or having sex.

However, it also says that "Diabetes rates among men receiving HIV treatment are four times that of HIV-negative men." Since HIV is mostly a gay disease, this tells us indirectly about the greater prevalence of diabetes among gay compared to straight men. Still, because it's in the context of already having HIV plus taking who knows how many medicines for it, it's not clear that the greater tendency toward diabetes stems from a greater indulgence in carbs among gays. It is at least consistent with that idea, though.

I also could not find any academic studies on how diets differ between gays, lesbians, and straights. Luckily the General Social Survey asked a question about whether the respondent was a vegetarian to varying degrees (NOMEAT). There are three different questions that split men into gays and straights (SEXSEX, SEXSEX5, and NUMMEN). No matter which of the three we use, straights are less likely to be vegetarian to any degree: 22% vs. 34%, 24% vs. 40%, or 23% vs. 33%. Lacking the fat that comes from animal products, vegetarians end up relying more on carbs to give them energy, and not by eating a cellar full of celery but by scarfing down heaps of grains, pulses, legumes, and fruit, all of which are loaded with starch and sugar. Admittedly this doesn't show that gays crave the stuff more to begin with; perhaps their social circles are more susceptible to silly fads like vegetarianism.

Now we turn to a more raw look at the food-related cravings straight from the queer's own mind, without the filter of some bureaucratic agency not funding a study that wanted to see whether gays and straights ate the same things in the same proportions, and without the whitewashing that straight blowhards use to prevent curious people from seeing anything that might be there -- "there are no gay foods, only gay people who eat food."

On the first page of a google search for "gay men" and "food," I found a very NSFW tumblr account called "fuck yeah gay men & food". It's six pages of homoerotic pictures with food photoshopped in. Interestingly, there's only one meat-filled picture, which features burlier looking guys. Just ballparking it, I'd say about 30% of the food items are savory starches like pasta, and 70% are sugar-dripping sweets. They don't have carrots, cucumbers, sausages, beefcakes, or other ironic foods that a straight guy would have chosen for yucks. Rather, the food that possesses a gay man's mind when thinking about indulging his other vices is sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

And it's not the kind of sweets that feature in hetero food-and-chicks pictures, where it's more utilitarian. For example, there might be a dollop of whipped cream meant to be licked off of her nipple, as part of the entire single experience you're imagining. The pictures at the tumblr page are more of an association of two things that are equally orgasmic -- Lucky Charms cereal, say, and naked dudes -- but that are not supposed to be taken as part of a single experience. If straight guys were to associate orgasmic food with naked girls, they wouldn't focus so much on sweets but Brazilian barbeque, steaks dripping with butter, triple bacon cheeseburgers, etc. The minority of carby foods would all be savory and still have lots of animal fat, like potato skins. So I think that collection of pictures really does say something about the greater sweet tooth that gays have compared to straights.

Moving on to drinks, here is a lengthy gab session from a gay fitness forum on what they order at Starbucks. It's all the fruitier stuff like mochas and lattes, or going further by adding syrup, sugar, or other sweeteners. I only counted one who would even go for a cappuccino, although there are a few who like their espresso...straight. Considering that these are gays who are supposed to be health-conscious, you can imagine how much of a sweet-tooth the non-gym-rat gays must have. Great quote from the one sane gay of the bunch:

I find it astonishing how so many supposedly health-conscious men have deluded themselves into believing that they aren't sugar-phobic candy addicts with obviously little-or-no liking for the flavour of coffee.

How is it possible to have a taste for blended cake-mixes and still think that its not so bad just because the sweeteners have snazzy trademarked names? – like the calories in one teaspoon of sugar were ever the real enemy.

Why not just swear off sweets then and shrug off such "effeminacies"? – as my father would say.

Contrast that to this one trying to defend his preference for sissy drinks:

Also, I am not in the least embarrassed to say that I don't like pure, unadulterated coffee. I want hazelnut, cream and some sweetener even if it means calories. There's a snobbery attached to this as though liking black coffee is an accomplishment deserving of a badge. Liking black coffee, just like smoking and drinking straight whiskey, doesn't make you deeper, smarter, more sophisticated or more worldly. It's just a different taste.

Sounds like it's too late for you to get deeper or smarter, but it would put some hair back on your waxed faglet chest. Observe what the lack-of-shame culture leads to -- they aren't going to indulge themselves more just within the realm of sexual behavior. Rather, that mindset will generalize to include sucking down sugar all day because, hey, it's just a different taste, like the taste for buttsex.

Speaking of girly drinks, how about booze? The stereotype is that women and gays dig the ones with lots of sugar to mask the taste of alcohol, just as the sweeteners mask the taste of coffee. Two groups of journalists visited local bars to see what the consensus was about gay drinks, and they confirm the greater sweet tooth of gays when it comes time to get drunk. Here is one from gothamist, who hit up New York bars, and here is a similar report from Halifax, which shows that it isn't some uniquely American aspect of gay culture. It's not as though they ignore beer entirely in favor of mango-tinis, but the fact that such a larger fraction of gays prefer girly drinks tells us that on average they have a more powerful craving for sugar than straight men do.

None of these examples are best explained by the lack of negative feedback that characterizes gay life -- as though straight men, when shielded from the influence of women, would be as likely as gays to eat vegetarian meals, orgasm while dreaming of parfaits, take swigs from a gingerbread latte, or nurse a cocktail charmingly called a Rim Job. Instead it looks like gay men really do have a stronger compulsion to suck down addictive sugar, rather than fill up on ewwww icky animal fat.

Placing this in the larger list of gay impulsiveness, it seems like their minds are more addict-like to begin with, even without the harmful positive feedback loop that they trap themselves into by coming out and socializing with and banging other gays. Thus, sending the signal that it's OK to indulge your every fantasy is especially dangerous for gays. These quasi-addicts need more than straights to be discouraged from surrendering to desire. For us, the urge to indulge is less frequent, and giving in even less frequent. We won't be so degraded if someone tells us "Oh just go for it!" because we take that to mean occasionally. Gays, however, will be destroyed by following that call. Only a bunch of morons insulated from the reality of gay life would cheer such self-destruction along so credulously and merrily.

It took the plague of AIDS to peel open the dazed eyes of the gay community and made them take fewer sex partners. And yet condom use is down by 6% among New York City gays from 2007 to 2009. So this broad support for letting them do whatever they want could not have come at a worse time, when the memory of AIDS has apparently just begun to fade, and its hard lessons along with it.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    I swear, Ag, you and Inductivist ought to put your collective minds together, do a little research, and come up with your best shot at what pathogen is most likely to result in male homosex, you know, the Cochran hypothesis.

    I mean, between the two of you, you could grab as many gays that you know, compile a short list of questions, and I'll bet that with a relatively small sample size, you'd be able to narrow it down to a few likely suspects.

    Sound silly? Well, maybe not. For instance, maybe after talking informally to about 50 or so gay men, you'd discover that more than the norm had been hospitalized when they were infants, toddlers for a particular respiratory infection, say. Or maybe you'd discover that one of their parents or sibs had a persistent tonsil infection or bronchial infection that kept getting passed to them, or maybe you'd discover that their mom had what the doctor at the time thought might be a "mild case of mono" or some such thing during pregnancy. I know, I know; the "research community" seems hell-bent on some complex genetic cause of homosex, some really convoluted evolutioary, genetic explanation.

    I think I am correct in saying that most of the researchers seem to feel that hormonal effects in the womb are the cause of the failure to fully masculinize the male brain and that that is the cause of male homosex. That makes sense, but it still doesn't explain why natural selection hasn't "fixed" the hormonal abnormality that fails to make a male fetus complete, why he's as good as infertile. I mean, natural selection isn't working all that well if approx. 2-4 % are gay , yet we know natural selection does work well...so the hormonal failure to masculinize the brain has to be due to something that out-evolves us and the only thing that does is bugs. The Cochran-Ewald logic is on target, don't you think?

    We women love carbs. It doesn't strike me as unusual that a gay male, since his brain has not been fully masculinized, would eat as we women do.

    Man, around menses, you ought to see the carbs we consume!

    Interesting post--blunt, funny yet serious as always.

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  2. Anonymous1:06 PM

    So I think that collection of pictures really does say something about the greater sweet tooth that gays have compared to straights.

    Well, girls like sweets (browsing in a bookstore flicked through a pastel pink "Cooking for Girls" book aimed at 20 something women last week - half of it sweets and cake, other half appeared to mainly consist of bread and pasta and vegetable heavy food). Feminised men are gonna be the same way. And vulnerability to fat phobia is going to enhance this for the same reasons.

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  3. "We women love carbs. It doesn't strike me as unusual that a gay male, since his brain has not been fully masculinized, would eat as we women do."

    The gay sweet tooth could be seen as a feminized trait, rather than evidence of an addict-like brain. But looking at it along with all their other traits, it looks more like yet another addiction than yet another feminization, as the former far outnumber the latter.

    If it were just a feminine thing, they shouldn't be too much more extreme than the average woman. I wonder whether gays crave carbs and sugar more than even women?

    At least from hearing drink orders in Starbucks, there are a fair number of women who order coffee and Americanos (watered-down espresso). Yet I don't remember hardly any gays ordering non-fruity drinks in two years of my near-daily trips.

    I do recall waiting for my drink, and a gay guy picking up a double espresso. It stuck in my mind because it was the only time and so against the stereotype.

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  4. "You make me sick."

    Heh, so gay customers waltzing up to the bar and casually ordering a drink named after the act of one man exploring another man's asshole with his tongue -- that's just the new normal, eh?

    What am I talking about, you're too immature to have even been to a bar anyway. That would explain your cluelessness about how vile and dehumanizing gay life is.

    But you saw a couple of sweet, wholesome queers on TV or in movies, so that must be true!

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  5. "most of the coalition of The Preachy and The Gushy, lacking curiosity about how the world works, have never spent any time inside the world of homos"
    The most vocal are themselves homos. And having gay friends is a predictor of favoring gay marriage. The least gay friendly are going to self-select out of "the world of homos".

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  6. Anonymous1:00 AM

    Ag,

    Regarding drink choices, check out paragraph #13.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2297604/

    (BTW, personally, I hope they don't "lose" their bars.)

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  7. I was already considering unsubscribing from your RSS feed after the recent post where you tried to impress everyone with how tough you were to critical mass riders; this seals the deal. I should still thank you for so thoroughly reinforcing my picture of the kind of person who would hold these opinions. Now, let's see if you can restrain yourself from calling me a pussy and telling me to meet you behind the school for a fight.

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  8. My internet empire... crumbling....

    Heh, sayonara dork. Just remember that when you become a doctor and see a new flood of gay self-inflicted victims of AIDS v.2.0, you chose to stick your head in the sand about their more addict-like brains and how destructive it would be to give them such license as we are right now.

    Remember that you sat by and did nothing, even cheered it on. But on the bright side, you earned some moral hipness points, so not everybody lost out.

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  9. Johnny12:56 AM

    Hey, Agnostic. Like your blog. I think that sometime you should use some of the GSS data to demonstrate if the current millenial generation are pursuing fewer sexual partners than Gen X.

    I remember Auadacious Epigone had a post up showing that the percentage of women with 10+ sexual partners has risen over the last 20 years. I'd like to see your refuation.

    Thanks

    -Johnny

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  10. I've posted on that topic before. The data are from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey -- just google YRBS, and they have already drawn up fact sheets with the trend from 1991 to 2009.

    It looks at high schoolers, and all signs of sexuality are down over that time (so that would be the later Gen X-ers through the Millennials). Whether they've ever had sex, are currently sexually active, have had 4+ partners, etc. All way down.

    I checked the GSS, and over the entire period of 1988 to 2010 there are only 23 females who have had more than 10 partners. That makes it impossible to determine if there's a trend up or down. And they aren't clustered in recent years either.

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  11. It is worth mentioning that the diabetes thing may have another explanation--a lot of the protease drugs mess with your metabolism.

    I think a lot of the carb craze has to do with gay men being feminine, too.

    ReplyDelete

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