The seven year itch
After seven steamy years, SX’s resident gay sex writer Barry Lowe is finally signing off.
It seems there’s no cure for the seven year itch. I’ve tried everything: spirulina, quinoa, masturbation, Valium, Viagra, vegetarianism, although not that final frontier V – vagina. That means, officially, I’ll die that other V word: a virgin.
In July 2007, Brad Johnston, the then editor of SX asked me to fill in while the columnist responsible for the aptly titled SXXX page at the rear (I’ve always been extremely anal) of the paper took a well-deserved break, exhausted from writing about sex every week, something I’ve come to appreciate in the intervening years because the initial three-week gig turned into seven years. Brad’s successor, Reg Domingo, retained me to keep the smut coming.
I’d just turned 60 when I began, and my original ‘statement of duties’ in the face of an increasing conservatism in the gay community was to remind people of what most of us had in common – a joyful comingling of the same squishy bits. I was encouraged, however, not to use euphemisms and to flaunt our joyous gay sexuality in its myriad rainbow colours. It got me a lot of fans (and another word that begins with F) both here and overseas (hi to my readers in Seattle and Palm Springs), and a certain amount of criticism from people who perform their lovemaking behind closed doors with the lights off while wearing rubber gloves and a sleep mask – and I ain’t talking kinks here, I’m talking vanilla with a twist of self-loathing. They were the people who were quick to condemn me for giving the gay community a ‘bad name.’
[Image] Barry Lowe and partner Wally. Photo: Supplied
Gay puritanism is one of the major threats to the diversity of cultures in the rainbow coalition. ‘Assimilation’ is a dirty word to me. There is no such animal as an homogenised gay experience. Generics are for supermarkets.
The most positive feedback usually followed columns on Satan sex, Arab men, and big dicks. I was once asked for the location of a beat and glory hole which featured in a story about the biggest dick I’d ever had even though the incident occurred in 1965. Alas, the glory hole has been a car park for decades, the owner of that ten-inch schlong long since departed. Negative feedback inevitably followed anything I wrote about porn stars, be it an interview or an obituary, suggesting adult movie actors were not worthy role models. I had many a letter from young gay men who disagreed having ‘discovered’ their homosexuality (as well as technique) through gay porn.
This is my long-winded lead-up to saying that this is my final Adult column for SX. It’s been a great seven years. I’ve met some wonderful people through my writing, reacquainted with people from my past (some of whom I even like), taken some incredible journeys trawling through my past leaving enough out to make my autobiography hair raising with revelation, helped a few people who wrote to thank me for an article on a fetish or something or someone dear to their heart. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.
It’s sad to leave something that has been part of my life for so long, but, as I gallop toward my 68th year, time has become more finite. I have erotica and romance books to write, people to meet, places still to visit. Besides, I really must finish Troughman: The Musical and I have so much more on site research to do.
So long, and thanks for reading. We’ll catch up some other time.
[Ed’s note: On behalf of everyone at SX, I thank Barry Lowe for his many entertaining, titillating, thought-provoking and yes, even at times revolting, columns over the years and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. Cheers Barry! - Reg]