Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Sex Education Gay Men Never Get

The following was an exchange between Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley) and his son, Kurt (Chris Colfer) in last night's episode of "Glee," titled "Sexy," written by Brad Falchuk.  For those of you who don't watch "Glee," Burt knows his son is gay.


Burt:  For most guys, sex is this thing we want to do.  It's fun, it feels great, but we're not really thinking too much about how it makes us feel on the inside, or how the other person feels about it.

Kurt:  Women are different?

Burt:  Only because they get that it's about something more than just the physical.  When you're intimate with somebody in that way, you're exposing yourself.  You're never going to be more vulnerable, and that scares the hell out of a lot of guys, believe me.  I can't tell you how many buddies I've got who've gotten way too deep with a girl, who said she was cool with just hooking up.

Kurt:  But that's not going to happen to me, Dad.

Burt:  No.  It's going to be worse, because it's two guys.  With two guys, you got two people who think sex is just sex.  It's going to be easier to come by.  And once you start doing this stuff, you're not going to want to stop.  You got to know it means something, it's doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem.  Even though it feels like you're just having fun.

Kurt:  So you're saying I shouldn't have sex.

Burt:  Kurt, when you're ready, I want you to be able to do everything.  But when you're ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person.  Don't throw yourself around, like you don't matter. Cause you matter, Kurt.

(Italics are mine for emphasis.)


  1. This was such a powerful scene. Glee is doing great things in the world. Educating, being the parent that a (gay) person seldom has.
    For me, sex is something that my mother has always been opened to talk about. My school was also very considerate, we had series of lessons in the 8th grade, also in gymnasium. And teachers who acknowledged that sex is normal but you should always protect yourself (also protecting the ONE YOU LOVE! in the process). Ok, we did not speak about sex between two men or two women (still the terms gay, bi, trans were explained to us at school). I went to search stuff on the Internet and it has given me the theoretical basis. The first book that got me thinking about sex and emotions being the catalyst for the greatest physical pleasure was Haruki Murkakami's "Kafka On the Shore". Threw countless of gay movies, books and enjoying my body I have come to realize how important it is to protect myself and love myself, not letting others say when it would be the right time to loose my virginity. Maybe I'm being too direct but this is how I feel: masturbation with emotional fire is a greater gift to myself than sleeping around with countless of people. When the right one comes along who I feel a connection... "But when you're ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person".

  2. Nicely done, elevencats. Great comment.

    I'm surprised you saw the same episode of "Glee" on the same night. I thought there'd be a delay. I guess this isn't the case. The world is smaller still than I realized.

    No, I don't believe you're over-sharing at all. You and I know blogs have the power to affect people in a positive way, and I have no doubt what you said will be helpful to someone. (Hence the reason why I'm as open as I am here, too.)

    I think the fact you're a virgin is inspiring. Elsewhere in my blog, I wrote about being a virgin until I was twenty-six. No shame in that. Part of it was I took a long time to come to terms with being gay. Part was also that I came of age during the early days of AIDS, when little was known of the disease. I was scared straight, so to speak, paralyzed at the thought of being sexual, getting sick, and dying before my time. I'm so grateful I waited, for that, and so many other, reasons.

    I love your comment about how waiting to have sex is connected to protecting and loving yourself. I couldn't agree more. And, in the meantime, yes, masturbation is not only acceptable but fun. What better way to love yourself physically, to learn about your body, and to experience your own sexuality without, as you say, sleeping around.

    Thanks for your wonderful and honest comment. I really appreciate your contribution to my blog.

  3. I started reading this post, then realized it was about an episode that I hadn't seen. So I went and watched it online, and was blown away. Absolutely and totally blown away.

    I appreciate that they have highlighted the issue of 'gay sex education'. Which is non-existant. I just spoke about this with my mom this weekend, who maintains that it isn't her responsibility to know anything about the mechanics of gay sex. I disagree, but I can't force her to figure out why (but it is for all the reasons that Blaine mentioned in the episode, and more).

    Gay sex needs to be normalized by society; this can be done first in families educating themselves about it and then schools altering curriculum so that it is included.

    Today I was working at one of the larger schools in my hometown. It has a population of about 1500 students. And I got to thinking that at least 150 of them were gay or lesbian, if we accept the age-old statistic presented by Kinsey of 10% of the human population being homosexual. But it is likely higher than that. Much higher if we include bisexuals and variants upon that theme.

    But, lets stick with the 'concrete' number of 150. Which is a lot of young people who have no idea how it is that they will have sex. And won't know until it is a bit too late. Or will be educated by the wrong sources, and incapable of asking the right questions. That is 150 young people who are at a high degree of sexual risk as a result. It is immoral.

    I have spoken about this with a couple friends. Once again, the vast majority just don't seem to understand the importance of it - probably because they don't understand the scope of the problem. And the increasing concern as more and more men become open to 'experimenting' with men, and women with women...

  4. Wow, that was a great episode. After a day where one of the blogs I read was discussing the lack of sex ed in parts of the States, it was so refreshing to watch. I love the character of Kurt's dad, so honest, and such a great response to the concerns Blaine had.
    And ElevenCats, I agree, you're on the right track! Loving yourself (in many ways) will mean you aren't looking elsewhere for something until you feel you've found someone who is as special as you are.

  5. @canadianhumility: You raise so many great points about how sex education, specifically for gays (but for everyone, really) is severely lacking in our public school system. If the information kids receive in schools today is anything like what it was when I went to school--there was none!--then we're in serious trouble. Small wonder STDs, teen pregnancy, AIDS, etc., remain serious problems. Don't get me started on this subject.

    I really love the steps Burt Hummel took to educate his son (an example to follow for all parents):

    1). He obtained written material specific to the mechanics of gay sex, gave it to Kurt, and said to ask if he had any questions. This got him off the hook from explaining anything he wasn't comfortable with, yes, but it also ensured Kurt received the right information.

    2). He talked honestly, plainly, and compassionately about the soft stuff--the feelings that go along with having sex, the potential impact to self-esteem, etc. In other words, he took responsibility for imparting his moral position on the subject, which parents should do.

    3). He passed no judgment on Kurt for being gay. He did not comment on whether gay sex is right or wrong, moral or immoral. He came across that it's like any other sex, which would go a long way toward ensuring Kurt's self-esteem is maintained.

    Good man, Burt Hummel, good man.

    I realize what's portrayed on "Glee" is idealized, but what an opportunity for parents to see how best to handle educating gay kids about sex. I can't imagine how it could be done better.

    @Sarah: Kurt's dad is a dream. I mean that in two ways: he's certainly idealized (is any father really like that?), and I wish he'd been my father. Every time I see Burt Hummel's face, I see an everyman doing what he can, to support his family and to do the right thing by his son. I wish I had the same type of relationship with my own father.

    And your line directed to elevencats? Beautiful, Sarah. Beautiful sentiment and beautifully expressed. Nicely done. I suspect you're one incredible parent, too. Your children are very lucky.

    A sincere thanks to both of you for your comments.

  6. I finally got a chance to see this episode! So entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. The actor that plays Kurt's Dad is becoming a great model for fathers everywhere. I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was amazing too in the way she can relate to everyone young and old. This must be the first time I have ever seen sex dealt with in a fun but responsible way on a TV show. The show's writers are geniuses!

  7. I agree, Doug. "Glee"'s writer's are geniuses. What they have is an opportunity to put forth what they think--and, let's not forget, some of them are gay--sex education should look like, including that gay kids receive. I pray many parents watched this episode with their children and learned how to handle the subject effectively, especially if their kids are gay.

    And what is the deal with Gwyneth Paltrow? There is so much negativity surrounding her on the Web and in blogs. According to some, she can't act, she can't sing, blah blah blah. I'm tired of all the negativity. She's an Oscar winning actress, and, in my opinion, her voice is every bit as good as that of many recording artists today. People need to give her a break.

    Don't you think blogs are often a great place for people to complain incessantly, without taking responsibility for what they write (hiding behind pseudonyms) and without being constructive? It's too bad, that's all I have to say.

    Thanks so much for your comment, and my apologies for taking so long to respond.

  8. The gay culture is not a positive thing for Indian subcontinent. But its true that there are many people who wants to make a relation just like this. For this reason sexual education is a very important thing for those people.
    Another thing, we need to think that no more sex education is not available for third world. So Glees job is really very essential for those countries.

  9. Your comment is well made, meet gay.
    When I saw this episode of "Glee," I knew the exchange between Kurt and his father was an important one.
    There are lots of places where a gay or straight person can learn about the physical mechanics of sex, but few where feelings are addressed, and where the importance and specialness of sex are highlighted.
    Because I believed this scene said exactly what I wanted to, I knew I needed to capture it for anyone who visited my blog and was interested.
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it.