One of the most interesting facets of society is that we are so quick to judge other people without taking the time or energy to understand the full story behind it. And this manifests itself in a couple of different forms and methods, some more severe than others. We presume all Asians are good at math, all black people love fried chicken, and anyone who consistently and openly talks about sex just might be a slut.

One of the most prevalent issues out there is how much we strive to keep a low profile when it comes to our sexual encounters. The whole topic can go either way depending on who you talk to and what type of person they are. But perhaps the biggest divide comes from who has sex often and who doesn’t have sex that often, or perhaps often enough, summed up pretty perfectly by Kacey Musgraves’ Follow Your Arrow:

“If you save yourself for marriage, you’re a bore.
You don’t save yourself for marriage, you’re a whor-ible person.”

People have a wide range of viewpoints on it, from saving themselves for the right person or until they’re married, to living a hookup-intensive lifestyle, further advanced with the development of Grindr a couple years back. But amongst the things people choose to broadcast on social media, their sexual conquests (and, in some cases, disasters) don’t always make the cut.

The vast majority of gay guys in particular are concerned with other people’s perception of them that they choose to willingly follow the lines of what a gay person ‘should’ be versus what they themselves truly want to be. We are surrounded by presumptions of of a sexually-active, disease-ridden lifestyle that knows no boundaries besides the bottom of a glass of wine and an empty bank account, and in many cases, the simplest, if not, wisest thing to do is to disprove those beliefs even if it directly contradicts with who we want to be as individuals.

While yes, those assumptions are not true for the entire LGBT community and it’s always a good move to discredit someone’s mindset of the type of lives we live, the most fruitful decision we can ever choose to make is to be true to who we are as people. One of the biggest steps in that direction comes with the acknowledgment of being gay and, especially, openly admitting this fact to our closest friends and family or whoever we feel most comfortable with. But beyond that, as interested as we may be in sex, knowing what that feels like, experiencing that every single week or as often as possible, many fall under the fear of what others will think if we begin to turn in that direction and actively pursue those opportunities.

After a conversation with one of my friends, the underlying reason behind this, to me at least, makes sense: Many of us deal with a heightened level of anxiety that likely stems from our sexuality, and knowing the pressures and dangers that exist and come with being gay, especially for those who are not yet fully out. We take a careful measure of the atmosphere around us to ensure our own personal safety and then decide how to behave from there. Being perceived as someone who actively goes after sexual opportunities and can be labeled a hoe or a slut is the last thing we want to have happen because of the negative ramifications associated with it.

But if there’s anything to be learned from living, it’s that life really is just a couple decades long. Our valued time living is drastically short. Days, weeks, months, and seasons pass by at an alarming rate, and before we’re fully aware of it, it’s a new semester, next summer, next fall, next year. Our time is incredibly fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Most of all, your lifespan is far too short to be and do anything less than what makes you happy, because your happiness is the single, most important thing in existence, and if you can’t do that, you’re ultimately not living for yourself.

The truth is there is nothing wrong with casual sex. At all. As long as you’re not damaging a relationship (particularly with your knowledge) and being safe about it, nothing in the world should stop you from going out, meeting a few people, and, if it comes to it, reaching that magical stage. For many people, sex is the ultimate goal, and many others who deny it and say getting to know a person is their preferred option are secretly lying to themselves (though of course plenty of people genuinely do want to get to know someone first). It all depends on who you ask.

We grow up with such a taboo against sex, like it’s a forbidden topic or a repulsive thought – god forbid someone labels us as a slut. It’s a delicate balance between the stereotype of a “disease-ridden lifestyle” many naysayers are keen on chanting and living the life we want to live. But we’re not, and shouldn’t be, living our lives to appease hundreds of other people who write a variety of colorful messages on social media. We’re living our lives for ourselves, at least we should.

The negative connotations of using Grindr are plentiful. Many people think it’s trashy, slutty, and many other similar adjectives. But for thousands, if not millions, it’s a way to meet and talk to more guys exactly like us. And shouldn’t that be an important element of life, finding and befriending more people with similar interests to better navigate the dizzying maze known as life? If sex happens along the way, who cares!? For better or worse, these are our own choices to make.

The weapon of judgment is, and has always been, a two-way street. We’re mindful, to some degree, of what other people think of us, yet quite frequently we’re quick to cast our own beliefs on other people and how they live their life. It’s happened to me countless times. I’ll read something on Twitter or overhear one of my friends talking about something, and I’ll immediately think of how that person’s life must typically be, and not all of these thoughts always lean towards the positive side. But then I have a second thought, and it’s most often “Well, it’s their life, not mine.”

I’m not sure where, but I’ve read an article somewhere stating that the first thought we have about a person is what we’re conditioned to think. The second thought we have is what our inner conscience tells us is right. For a couple people, these thoughts can vary, but in my experience, I believe it to be true. If more people stopped judging and started living their own lives, miraculous things can happen for millions of people.

Eventually, the world can, in some aspects, become a judgment-free zone. If anything, at least to a less degree than what it is right now. A 33-year old gay man was brutally assaulted last year outside a bar in New York City, leaving him in a vegetative state. His killer was sentenced to two years but was released eight months later; the victim eventually died. There’s countless stories of teenagers across the globe being bullied for who they are (not for who they choose to be, contrary to certain opinions). An equal rights bill, labeled HERO, was recently denied by voters in Houston largely under the false presumption that it would allow someone who identifies as a man to enter the men’s bathroom, and focusing only on that singular myth, despite the city voting to elect a mayor who is openly gay and who voters chose to elect three times.  So much work needs to be done.

For now, most of us have our own selective issues to worry about, the ones directly in front of and impacting us, like college, our relationships, and other things that are slated to happen down the road. But there’s no logic in ignoring what is happening in the world around us, and doing whatever we can to help the crusade is not a bad idea at all. Even if it’s something as simple as extending a few nice words to a random 16 year-old on Twitter, if you have the power and ability to do something good for someone, it’s not a bad idea to do it.

And who knows? Maybe piece by piece, topics like sex may become less taboo. It’s all gotta start somewhere.

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