Sunday, July 14, 2013

UK Sex Blog: The Death of SF Gay Sleaze?

From across the pond, I learned some news about my own backyard. Chris Ashford, pictured, is an out professor of law and sexuality at Northumbria University in the UK, and he maintains a blog delving into those areas. Last month, after reading a year-old post of mine, he wrote:

Are we seeing the end of ‘sleaze’ in San Francisco?  Twelve months month ago, Mack Folsom Prison – the notorious SOMA sex club – closed its doors.  Despite assertions at the time that the venue would re-open, the death of a club co-owner a couple of months before the closure seems to have also sealed the fate of the club.  It hasn’t re-opened and nor has any other venue to provide a space for former Mack patrons.

In contrast to the ‘oral only’ (although not always adhered to) policy of Blow Buddies (also in SOMA) or the safe sex preaching Eros nearer Castro, Mack was notorious for the bareback sex activity that took place.  It embraced and celebrated sleaze.

Nice of a gay man in the UK to inform San Francisco queer sex hounds about the broken promise of the Mack club owners to set up shop again South of Market. Ashford speaks more truth:

Grindr and Scruff might support alternative sexual encounters, but they do not replace the cultural sexual space that has been lost with the closure of Mack.
This erasure of this corner of queer culture and history comes in the wake of other attempts to re-orientate the City.  A number of years ago, the bareback porn company Treasure Island Media (NSFW), were banned from the Folsom Street Fair and earlier this year, a new ordinance came in to force, banning nudity and ending another element of city sexual liberation.  The City of queers and liberation is starting to look a very normative place indeed.

Glad to see someone connecting-the-dots about the loss of queer sex spaces and the diminishing of liberation, a word we don't hear and debate often enough, in San Francisco. Ashford concludes with additional homo honesty:

More broadly, we see the triumph of the gay rights agenda, and with it, the defeat of sexual liberation [...] I do not regret that we have same-sex marriage in much of the world, and a string of new legal rights and protections, but I do worry at those facets of identity that we have lost, and continue to lose.

Needless to say, I was impressed and agreed with Ashford's observations so I contacted him and we're now in touch via email. He's coming to San Francisco later this summer and I hope to meet with him for a chat because it's so rare to come across a writer who calls for maintaining queer sexual spaces and culture, while recognizing gay marriage is also an option for LGBT people.



The most interesting thing is that it takes an observer who is thousands of miles away to bring up this issue and people right here in FOG CITY just don't get it despite the fact that sexual repression is happening right in front of everyone.

Anonymous said...

"banning nudity and ending another element of city sexual liberation"

And yet the nudity-ban opponents swore up, down, and sideways that the nudity in Jane Warner Plaza was ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY non-sexual.

Michael Petrelis said...

Not all sexually related activities involve penetration or masturbation. Lots of folks get sexual kicks just watching naked dudes on the streets. Sexual liberation comes in many forms!