NO "SHAME"

Should The LGBT Community Advocate For More Gay Sex In Movies?

Our old friend Ramin Setoodeh is back causing more problems.

You remember Setoodeh, he’s the Newsweek writer who said gay actors couldn’t really pull of playing heterosexuals. And that effeminate characters on shows like Glee and Ugly Betty were hurting gay youth.

Now, in a piece called “Why Does Hollywood Hate Gay Sex?”,  Setoodeh bemoans the absence of man-on-man sex scenes in 2011’s big-budget films—arguing that we’ll need to show the straight community what happens in our bedrooms for them to accept us.

For Setoodeh, it’s a surprisingly thoughtful article: He makes the case fairly well that “gay sex is the last Hollywood taboo” by showing how little intimacy we saw between men on screen last year—and that what we did see wasn’t pretty.

A quick rundown: 

*The erotic drama Shame has one gay sex scene, but it’s dark, furtive and represents a low point for lead character Brandon (Michael Fassbender). “A guy unzips Brandon’s pants… and the camera cuts away. The screen fades to black.”

*Glee‘s Kurt and Blaine (above) take each other’s virginity by exchanging eskimo kisses.

*J. Edgar‘s veiled relationship between Hoover and his confidante produces only one furtive kiss.

*To signal he’s come out, Beginner‘s Christopher Plummer (right) wears purple. (Was it Spirit Day?)

And so on.

Lesbian sex gets a pass, writes Setoodeh, because men get a kick out of it and women don’t really mind it. Thus we get Black Swan‘s Natalie-on-Mila scene and The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo‘s rendezvous between bisexual Rooney Mara and a goth-club dyke.

Sex between men, though? Even out director Joel Schumacher knew that was a no-no. And he put nipples on Batman!

Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick told Setoodeh that when W&G was coming together, Schumacher told him, “Whatever you do, don’t make it too butt-fucky. Don’t let anyone in the audience think about butt-fucking and you’ll be fine.” Mutchnick continued: “The sad reality is, if you’re in a theater and they show gay sex, someone in the audience will shout, ‘Ewww!’ ”

It’s too bad more straight guys and girls aren’t comfortable watching man-on-man action. But do we really need to force them to view the act so they’ll let us get married?

Setoodeh says we do, concluding that the road to gay acceptance in the mainstream is paved with Astroglide:

Real societal change is always the product of the stories we see. In 1967, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner made interracial marriage normal just months after the Supreme Court ruled that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. That’s why there’s more at stake in this gay-sex debate than just the titillation.

If Hollywood refuses to push boundaries, to make more people comfortable with something that a segment of America is still uncomfortable with, gay people remain second-class citizens.

“Here’s my thing with gay sex,” Dustin Lance Black says. “In terms of sex, we get plenty of that every day in our own lives and thrown on the Internet. I feel like what I’m really interested in is gay romance.”

And that’s the real problem with no gay sex. You can’t tell a real love story if nobody is doing it.

Here’s where we think Setoodeh’s wrong: While Dinner may have made interracial marriage more palatable to mainstream America, it didn’t do so by showing an interracial sex scene. Hollywood didn’t need to get explicit to show the value of a love story between a black man and a white woman. It just needed to show the romance, and there was only one brief make-out session between the lovebirds.

And we don’t think mainstream America needs to see whats going on between the sheets, even though we’d like them to know it’s perfectly normal.

We think Dustin Lance Black is spot-on: tell the romance. Show the kiss and a maybe a little more. The rest can stay in gay porn, where it belongs.