Playboy, June 1977
“Sex Goes Public” The Gays Pioneer, by Arthur Bell
In premovement days, to cheat on a lover was considered verboten. The best thing in life was to settle down with a nice young man and raise French poodles in Brooklyn Heights. Homosexual relationships were supposed to imitate the best of Ozzie and Harriet. That they often imitated the worst of Edward Albee had to do forced confinement, false obligations, vows that had little relationship to deep feelings and sexual drives that had little to do with monogamy. In 1969 came the revolution. Gradually gay men hopped off their pianos and stopped singing WHY WAS I BORN? They began to accept their sexuality; in fact revel in it. The movement made it possible for the homosexual to “be gay.” The back-room bars make it possible to “be free,” to drop one’s inhibitions along with one’s khaki overalls.
With the proliferation of the orgy rooms, one doesn’t have to slash one’s wrists after the closing hour. There’s always one more bit of heaven to visit, one more tasty treat waiting around the bend. Forget the hour, it’s possible to ball until the mailman comes. While we’re at it, forget love too. And romance is just a even-letter word that no longer exists. When homosexuality came out of the closet, romance went in and bolted the door. And the back-room bars became TV dinners for young men with insatiable appetites.