The Secret Relationship Between Gay And Straight Go-Go Boys Exposed

queerty2For most New Yorkers, quality time with one’s friends probably involves some kind of leisurely brunch or maybe a Magnolia cupcake splurge whilst recounting their latest romantic trysts and showing off those latest designer bags, sporadically purchased during another “crazy, New York-minute” moment.

However, I most often find myself getting the latest bullet point delivery of friends’ hook-ups and break-ups and when the latest sale is happening for Nasty Pig jock straps during a quick break from the go-go box as my pals and I sort through each other’s break-away costumes and underwear shed just moments earlier. Quality time with my friends—like most of my time in general—is usually spent in some form of undress, at its very tamest. You know you have a solid friendship when you can dance naked and hard next to your buddy in a shadow box, all the while exchanging notes on your favorite Orange is the New Black characters, still maintaining your boner I might add. And that, dear readers, is a real Sex in the City moment.

Side note: Fuck Carrie, I’m all about Red. #trueRED #OITNB”

As far as my male friends go, I reserve a special term for such a friendship as described above: the “Go-Go Bro.” The Go-Go Bro is that dancer/sex-worker/stripper friend who always has your back without trying to get you to “back on into it.” It’s a relationship steeped in sexuality and yet practically asexual at the same time since sex and nudity are simply the backdrop for such a friendship, acknowledged merely as the demands of the job. In the realm of male-male bonding, the Go-Go Bro is quite possibly the gayest and yet completely non-gay friendship contract in existence. Whereas other straight-straight, gay-gay, and gay-straight pairings might seethe with carnal tensions simmering just below the surface of a “causal” bro hug or a sly slap on the ass, sex is already at the forefront of the Go-Go Bro relationship. That’s just how the jobs usually work. My friends and I aren’t grinding away at a ladies afternoon tea party, we’re swinging our dicks around at 2 a.m. in a packed club wearing basically a piece of cheese cloth and some combat boots. And yet, somehow this all again becomes merely the accoutrement and expectations of the evening’s work. Instead, the focus of the night becomes teaching each other hand stand tricks or exchanging chest work out tips or where one can get the best deal on herbal Viagra.

queerty3Side note: You really have to be careful with those online, herbal Viagra vendors. #bonerbuster

Right now you’re probably thinking, “Really, Harder? There’s no sexual tension whatsoever?” The thing is — at least in my case — the Go-Go Bros I most often casually drop my pants next to and debate pubic hair aesthetics with are in fact straight-identified men. It is an atmosphere both tingling and yet completely void of sexual energy when your big-dicked Dominican bud helicopters his penis in your face and all you can do is exasperatedly ask him (again) what he wants from the bar before the cocktail waiter comes to grab your order.

Side note: Now you may be thinking, “Well, technically Harder, you could still be turned on by a straight dancer, especially if he’s helicopter-ing a coke can sized schlong in your perimeter.” True, true. But personally, I got that whole B-gay-movie “I’m in love with my straight friend” subplot out of my system in high school.

What I find more curious is the idea that a guy who continually offers his body up to other men, many times with flag pole rigidity, can identify truthfully as straight. As a matter of fact, my Go-Go Bro Andre and I were discussing this very same phenomenon while dancing and intermittently jacking off in a shadow box during a sex show at Berlin at Club Providence. Andre definitely identifies as an exclusive vagina enthusiast. His Facebook page is covered with “hot girls on hot cars” and he has a keen sense for discovering the token straight girl during any gay strip night and dragging her out from under her cosmo for a lap dance

harderAs we traded the bottle of lube back and forth between each other, Andre recounted to me so many stories growing up of neighborhood circle jerks, porn-watching parties and ejaculating contests with his other straight guy friends that I have a year’s minimum worth of “Frat Boy Fantasy” outlines. Andre’s adolescent memories definitely struck me as being gayer than Chris Colfer getting plowed by Michael Sam at a Judy Garland look-alike-pageant. However, to him, they were as straight and normal — or perhaps “commonplace” is more accurate —than a locker room full of naked basketball players snapping each other in the asses with their shower towels.

Side note: My spin on the “straight but curious” locker room set-up would be jocks going down on one another at the behest of their cheerleader girl friends, secretly organized by the butch lesbian softball coach who’s really the brains of the entire operation. Did I mention I’ve been watching a lot of Orange is the New Black?

Go-Go Bros aside, I can’t say, of course, that there’s never been a moment of sexual tension — or action — that doesn’t occur either on a club box or in a dressing room. Not every dancer is my Go-Go Bro, and I’ve certainly enjoyed literally hanging out with some of my co-workers in a less-than-brotherly way. What I find so fascinating though are those friendships where sex and sexual expression are simply white noise to the real conversations being shared between friends who can move so fluidly from the “adult space” to the “brunch space” — or in my friends and my case, the “late-night diner space.” Personal discoveries such as this are just one of the many road markers I’ve encountered on my journey into the not-so-black-and-white, X-rated world. If the Go-Go Bro offers a new perspective of sexual identity, maybe orange really is the new black.

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  • robirob

    Is it supposed to be a shocking surprise that in a sex heavy work enviroment sex loses a great deal of its sex appeal for the employees and the same goes for relationships between colleagues (no matter if they are gay vs straight, gay vs. gay, or straight vs. straight)?

  • Jonathan26

    This was very well written, full of insights & emblematic of the rich experience being gay can afford each one of us. Just before gay pride, this article brought back many fond memories of my time on the box at the Roxy & Twilo and while not exactly the same as the author’s, a powerful reminder of a very happy time in my life. Thanks.

  • GlitterKidder

    Well that’s a few minutes I can never get back. That was so boring & filled with useless information. Who cares? NEXT!

  • Stache99

    Go-Go bros. LOL

    Sorry but I just get sick of the bi/closet guys with all their head trips. It was all fun and games when I was younger but now I’m tired of the down low types that can’t seem to accept themselves or just use gay men to f*ck with.

    Why can’t you just be honest? I like women but sometimes I like guys too. I thought this crap would end eventually but guys still have a long way to go apparently.

    Then again maybe it’s the gay communities fault because we’ve always held straight guys up as more valuable and no one knows their value better then these types.

    Finding people comfortable in their own skin is my thing today. I’m done with all the straight bro games. End rant:)

  • enlightenone

    This reminds me of the rationale gay-for-pay porn performers/gay owners of porn sites uses for “straight-identified” guys (many supposedly for the “first-time”) have sex with other guys and them and be delusional in holding on to heterosexual male privilege and dense “girlfriends/wives!”

  • RIGay

    Ah, youth.

    • Stache99

      @RIGay: Here’s to that. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those “young, dumb, and full of cum” days. So exciting back then. Ah to be so naive again.

      However, just like High School which is pretty much what it is. Once is enough.

  • jockjack5


    Hahaha… well said!!

    You captured my thoughts exactly.

    What a totally useless and boring waste of time.

  • NateOcean

    Do those 3D glasses really work? Can they see me? OK, what an I holding?

  • ingyaom

    Go-go dancers are on boner-pills and hard all the time? Really? I haven’t seen this before.

  • crumb bum

    This lost me at “most New Yorkers.” Yeah, 4 million New Yorkers are buying the latest designer bags. Give me a goddamn break.

    And can we just stop with the cupcake thing?

  • bigrawtop

    I bet you would have more fun hanging out with the guys if they were comfortable with being gay like you. I wish our community loved itself enough to support and hire more hot gay guys like you.

  • Billy Budd

    This essay/post was a complete waste of time.

  • Stache99

    I have no experience in this profession but taking b*ner pills would seem to make allot of sense. Part of your job is making your c*ck obvious and thus enticing to customers.

  • lykeitiz

    Although I’ve never been a go-go boy, when I was in my 20’s I had a straight best friend, who actually was 100% straight. We were each others “dogs”. I was his wing man in straight bars, he was mine in gay bars. It really was a unique bond that lasted for years. I could relate to this article. It does happen.

  • dazzer

    That was a well written, insightful piece of journalism.

    I came out of it knowing more than when I started reading it – and that’s a sign of good writing.

    (That said, you’re writing for Queerty, Mr Harder – not the New Yorker – learn to follow a short para followed by long para followed by shorter para writing rhythm; break it up with unusual punctuation or conjunctions of unusual concepts.)

    That said, I’m nitpicking. I enjoyed reading this.

    Queerty eds, with this and the history article yesterday, you produced two really quality articles. If you keep this up, I:m going to start coming to the site because of its excellent writing and informative articles as much as I come for the gratuitous snark and flame-wars in the comments section.

    Thank you, editors.

  • DjARD


    Not the writing itself. That was rather good. Not exactly an Op-Ed for The Atlantic, but nice work.

    No, no. It’s the delusions. It strikes me how this essay can discuss gray-area expression of sexuality while still being so firmly rooted in gender/sexuality-binary based perspective. And yet it is.

    Let’s look at it from a different perspective. How about this: Regardless of how well you know these men you work with, regardless of your own ideas on sexuality, coming from an objective viewpoint, these straight go-go boys aren’t straight. And they aren’t gay. In all likelihood, they’re bi. Or perhaps omni, pan, or something completely unquantifiable.

    And go-go dancing is an ideal way to express that aspect of their sexuality. In our current climate, bisexuality among men is still not particularly viable. Chances are these guys do have much stronger inclinations toward women – but that doesn’t nullify their inclinations toward men.

    As we’ve moved further toward a supposedly more accepting society, expressions of homosexuality are more allowed. More and more “straight” men do gay4pay porn, or go-go dance. But as I said, they aren’t straight – instead, it’s an expression of a form of their sexuality that seems non-viable, or not as great a part of them (to them). And those avenues provide a way to do so while still saying they’re straight (the reasoning for both, unsurprisingly, having to do with money).

    Maybe it doesn’t seem viable because they want men who are like them, and as part of a vicious cycle, those men like them aren’t easy to find. Maybe it doesn’t seem viable because they know whichever gender they’re with, that’s the sexuality they are (an assumption made in this essay – he hits on and goes home with girls, thus he is probably straight), and they’ll receive judgements from both sides. Many other factors as well which would make this post far longer, and a greater examination of ingrained heterosexism and sexism in Western society.

    Whatever the case may be, and it may be all of those cases, these dudes aren’t straight. And as long as we continue to endorse and embrace this sort of black-and-white (but supposedly “gray”) thinking, we’re just going to end up with one big, fat clusterfuck of self-loathing bisexual men, with gay and straight alike hitting them, which causes them to… you know. A vicious cycle.

    Perhaps, Mr. Harder, if you can challenge your own perspective on this, it might be worthwhile to begin challenging your peers perspectives on it. Not sure how well they’d take it, but I’d do it myself if I could.

  • bigrawtop

    @DjARD: Maybe you haven’t been around real straight guys in your fluidity tainted culture. The difference is likely that with gay guys you can touch each other, kiss and flirt (or maybe more). You can have conversations about topics straight guys don’t understand because they aren’t in the community. There is a comfortability that closeted guys (don’t want to admit their bisexuality) don’t have. Statistically very few people ID as bi. Most people pick a side. I’m more comfortable with those on my side and it serves my sexual needs more. I’m too old to deal with the tease of straight guys who are open. I don’t have the patience for denial.

  • litper

    Nasty anti-gay shit. Only old self-hating republicans would believe in these “straight” guys…

  • Hermes

    @DjARD: Or perhaps you are just full of it. I am amazed repeatedly at how many of my fellow gay folk have far, far, far, far, FAR too many hang ups that can be dealt with in an afternoon by saying “NO, I will not live that way, I accept all of me and therefore all of everyone else.” I know it can be done in an afternoon because I did it in an afternoon when I was 14.

    Yes, some of us are gay, yes some guys are straight, yes some straight guys have lots of sex with guys. Yes, there are straight identified men who prefer other men. NO that does me no harm whatsoever, no I have NOTHING TO PROVE because I know exactly who I am and who my partner is and who my friends are. Yes, I have friends who are straight and sleep with guys, I always have, since h/s – NO I don’t think they are “deeply conflicted” or any other bullsh**. they are straight and have sex with men. I also don’t need or want to talk about “cis gendered” or “binary sexuality” or any of that utter crap.

    I do not need and have never needed to engage in the sick little wars of “Who is what, really, and for true.” What matters is that everyone is happy and supports everyone else’s rights, my friends always have. When I see a guy who is actually sleeping with guys AND opposing gay rights, that’s someone to go after, and I do — the rest is just a waste of life energy.

    Unfortunately the more I read Queerty, which I was very happy to subscribe to – the more alienated I feel from what passes for community in this part of the gay world. I’ve been partnered over 20 years. We decided to make it work, and it has. We have kids, whom we love. I have a good job that pays well and is 100% secure. I worked hard to get those things. I am a Leftist, hard to the Left by American standards. I think anyone who thinks that they believe in the middle class (even if they are in the upper middle or upper class themselves) or who wants ANYTHING for their grandchildren is absolutely deceiving themselves if they are on the Right. Here though are people who never escaped the most puerile behaviors and flash angers. Here are people who are into identity politics – which is meaningless to us. Here are people who… its just too much for me, and disappoints me every-time I glance at the comments — which is leading me to read Queerty less and less.

  • lykeitiz

    @DjARD: This article was written by an individual about individuals that he has actually known. Thank you for your projections, but unless you have similar first-person examples, then all you did was add 8 paragraphs of psycho-babble that could have been copied & pasted from any journal. I think I’ll listen more to the guy in the trenches.

  • Billy Budd

    In my personal opinion, and in my opinion ONLY, whenever a straight man masturbates thinking of another man, he becomes a bisexual. Whenever a straight man has sex with another man, he also becomes a bisexual. That is MY opinion.

  • litper

    @Hermes: you’re not leftist, you sound like the typical sdelf-hating right-wing republican who still lives in 1950s! Go back to your cave!!!

    • Stache99

      @Hermes: I so agree. These comments are just weird. All my guy friends are completely straight but love having sex with other guys. That’s natural. Not this identity conformity BS.

  • litper

    @Billy Budd: that’s not just a opinion, that’s a fact. All these homophobes who defend these “straight” guys are getting pissed because their “straight” fantasy is under a threat, and more and more people refuse to accept this shit!

  • DjARD


    Have you heard of the anecdotal fallacy? Because that’s what your using. I do not have first hand experience with straight identifying go-go boys or gay porn performers. I have experience with other, non performing men who I would classify using the criteria I supplied, but providing them as an example would be only such – an example, not proof or evidence. It means nothing to the overall weight of the argument.

    Just because the author knows these men personally does not mean his projections are wholly valid – in all likelihood, it is because he knows them, and because of his own background and conditioning that those projections are considerably less valid (which, admittedly, doesn’t entirely matter, this being partly an opinion piece).

  • DjARD


    I apologize that you’ve taken such great offense to my examination. However, I don’t understand why you felt the need to both lash out at me, as well as generalize me. However, you did play into some of things I said, such as gender binary.

    I am not gay. Although you assumed I was, I generally identify myself as bisexual (though I am far more complex than just that – and I do accept that fact). I also never said I did not accept these men. I do not accept the system that says they must identify as straight, and I do not accept how that has affected their perceptions, but as humans, I have nothing against them. You make the assumption I am attacking these men, and men like your friends. I am not. I am challenging the system around them. Although, yes, I would personally challenge some of those men. But that is very different from attacking somebody.

    I notice you mentioned yourself as being a leftist. I am certainly one too, being somebody who prescribes themselves to aspects of Marxist social theory, and to social democracy/mixed economies. But it then puzzles me that somebody like yourself would not see how the system I’m attacking, the things I’m saying – how the use of the words “cisgender” and “binary sexuality” – have quite a bit to do with American corporate capitalism and Christian hegemony, and how it plays into sexual politics.

    Ignoring these issues only serves to keep those things you’re against in power.

  • jar

    @Hermes: If a man is having “lots of sex” with men, he is not straight. That is a definitional issue. What I find amusing about your comment is that you laud yourself for being so open-minded (while also dissing others for not being as enlightened as you), yet you express so much anxiety about the bisexual identity. Why is this? What is so upsetting you about the simple fact these men you know who have sex with other men are actually bisexual? It seems to me it is you who are unevolved on the issue of sexual orientation. There’s a long reactionary history, as others have alluded to, of men who have sex with men anxiously holding onto a straight sexual identity.

    • enlightenone

      @DjARD: Your comments (and a few who posted prior)are worthy of an Atlantic op-ed! Continue to be a voice here to help Queerty evolve as well as the featured writer (who needs greater insight into the impact of the “repression” of same-sex attraction has had on the male psyche)!

  • Andrew

    @Hermes: Totally feel you. I’ve grown very tired of so many discussions of gay life devolving into theoretical debates about gender identity, binary sexuality, etc. Can’t gay men just be that anymore – gay and male? Everything doesn’t have to have a transgender angle. Ugh.

  • enlightenone

    @Stache99: Of course you would want to perpetuate this delusion, it serves your appetite for “straight” dick, not that it’s any better than “gay” dick. Tip, pun intended, it’s all in your head, no, I mean bum!

  • Kenover

    Talk to me in twenty years.

  • mcflyer54

    I danced, off and on, for about 6 months at the now closed New York City Gaiety theater in the 90s. Most, but not all, of the straight guys dancing (and they seemed to be in the majority when I was working) held much contempt for the gay dancers and audience. There was little, if any, camaraderie among gay and straight dancers off stage and when there was any semblance of friendship the straight dancer was usually quickly ostracized by straight guys. The dancing filled a desperate financial need for me at the time but I would hate to have to go through it again.

  • jwtraveler

    @crumb bum: Me too. More like “most white, yuppie Manhattanites”. And I think Magnolia is highly over-rated.

Comments are closed.