Monday, May 21, 2007

What do gays do for fun (other than have sex)?: It bothers me just how much homosexual sexuality is discussed at the expense of other aspects of who they are. I was debating a gay guy on the Internet one time, and when I argued that, in my view, homosexual sex was not equal in value to heterosexual sex, he claimed that I thought he was infererior compared to me. I said no: there is a great deal about us that is not sex. Instead of supporting the view that he was a full human being, he continued argue that sex is absolutely central to who he is. I told him that if he thought of himself as a 6 foot penis rather than a man, well that is his choice, but that is simply a distortion of who he is.

So in that spirit, let's see what gay guys do with their free time other than the yucky stuff I don't like to contemplate. Looking at the General Social Survey, I compared the percent of straight versus gay who have done certain things in the past year. Here are the numbers:

Percent having done the activity in the past year

Attending sports event
Straight 66.5
Gay 54.5

Art museum
Straight 38.6
Gay 60.0

Straight 32.9
Gay 50.0

Car race
Straight 24.5
Gay 9.1

Straight 54.4
Gay 18.2

Straight 56.9
Gays 27.3

Attending dance performance
Straight 16.6
Gay 42.5

Attending classical/opera performance
Straight 16.5
Gay 32.7

Straight 53.2
Gay 18.2

Performed dance/theatre/music
Straight 11.2
Gay 22.5

Played sports
Straight 71.4
Gay 63.6

Attended movie
Straight 72.9
Gay 72.5

Played musical instrument
Straight 23.5
Gay 30.0

The only thing that really surprised me was gardening. Combine this with camping, hunting, and fishing, and evidently gay guys don't like to get dirty. Gay guys do like playing sports almost as much as straights. (I didn't want to get sexual, but I was stalked by a guy in the showers once). Not surprisingly, homosexuals are more cultured.

Side note: I'm trying to imagine someone not going to a movie for a whole year. Maybe I'm the strange one.


  1. I suspect love of gardening is genetic, going back to the gathering part of hunter-gathering or to a very recent time when almost everyone was a farmer. Or to Steve Sailer's idea of loving to look out for game and lions over the veldt.

    Gays tend to live in cities where gardening is not really possible ... and maybe you are on to something when it comes to dirt. I (I am straight.) do not feel particularly sexy after gardening.

    I don't know if you can make anything quantitative about this. Perhaps compare gays and straights who are all living in the suburbs or all living in the city.

  2. It also would be interesting to do an activity comparison between gay men and straight women. Except for playing sports, I would strongly suspect that the gay male/straight female difference is generally much less than the gay male/straight male difference.

  3. I'm wondering if lack of gardening is just driven by gays tending to be apartment dwellers. My impression is that lots of gay men are into elaborate house plants and window flower boxes for their apartments.

  4. If anything, the numbers for certain cultural activities may minimize the differences between gay men and straight men. It's a reasonable assumption that some of the straight men who've gone to art museums or dance performances or similar things have done so merely to accompany their wives.

  5. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Well, there is the gay stereotype of gay guys being florists. This is not without some truth. My girlfriend bought a home in Jersey City, NJ. 3 gay guys live next door. They have a beautiful garden and one is a florist. As for Steve Sailer's comment about gays being the shock troops of gentrification, very true around here. 3 more gay guys moved in up the street and now gays are starting to move into parts of Newark, NJ.

  6. Do you have a big enough sample size to look at lesbians?

  7. Homosexuality: the love that never shuts up!

  8. Buckaroo5:50 AM

    A few random comments:

    Another way that this data may underplay the difference is that it asks about a certain activity being done at least once. It would be interesting to also see the actual frequency with which people engaged in a particular pursuit. I suppose this could actually make the differences look smaller but somehow I doubt it.

    The fact that gays tend to live in cities is a potentially confounding factor as Steve Sailer points out. A friend of mine observed that a number of the identified "gay" cars are simply practical vehicles for urban dwelling, childless couples with disposable income but no parking.

    If you want to imagine people who go a year without stepping into a cinema imagine a) parents of newborns, b) older people who aren't drawn to multiplexes crawling with loud, disrespectful, and often threatening urchins but who can afford plasma screens at home. This would tend to artificially depress the hetero movie-going number [even for b), it's fair to assume that gays are more adventurous than straights of the same age].

  9. roissy8:54 AM

    steve is right. the gay couples who live in my apartment complex in DC have the most ornate flowering potted plants and window boxes which they dutifully tend. i asked one how he keeps his plants so green and he said "two words: miracle gro!"

  10. Anonymous9:39 AM

    One thing that might skew the gardening category is if taking care of your lawn is considered gardening. There is nothing more straight male than being obsessed with having a nice looking green lawn.

  11. Anonymous9:43 AM

    Another good question to ask would be whether you have hosted a barbecue in the last year.

  12. Anonymous9:55 AM

    "If you want to imagine people who go a year without stepping into a cinema imagine a) parents of newborns, b) older people who aren't drawn to multiplexes crawling with loud, disrespectful, and often threatening urchins but who can afford plasma screens at home."

    Or those who don't want to drop $8 or $9 for a piece of shit film and have their feet stick to the floor with gum, spilled soda, assholes on their cellphones, etc...Renting is cheaper and if it sucks, I won't be out a too much cash. If I need to use the bathroom, just hit pause. Also, theatres don't sell beer.

  13. Golf -- does the GSS ask about playing golf? In 35 years of playing golf in big cities (including at Waveland which borders Boys Town in Chicago), I've never been partnered with anybody with gay male traits. Never.

  14. Anonymous almost certainly nails the main explanation for the gardening conundrum by pointing out that lawn care is probably included under gardening.

  15. Steve: no question on golfing unfortunately. The gardening question was "growing vegetables or flowers in your garden" so male lawn mowers shouldn't answer yes. Living in apartments seems to be the answer.

  16. Anonymous10:38 PM

    its amazing how breeders try to figure gays out. I am gay, a hunter, fisher and football fanatic. I love to kill stuff and eat it. I know many gay guys that love camping hunting fishing etc.

    To stereotype gays as sissy fags who only love the opera and flower arranging is sheer ignorance.

  17. Anon: In my real life, I'm a nice guy, but on my blog, I respond in kind: we straights can't win with you queers, can we? If our textbooks ignore you, we're bigots; if we want to learn more, we're breeders who want to figure you out.

    Thanks for the really enlightening "we're all the same" bromide. I'll stick to the surveys.


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