NYU's Independent Student Newspaper

Reclaiming the Bar Orgy, Proclaiming our Pride

October 26, 2015

Gay pride in the heteronormative sphere has a tendency to hide the cultural differences that have shaped the homosexual narrative. When a sexual aspect of queer culture is too extreme, individuals are scolded for a non-traditional expression of their identity, one rooted exclusively in heterosexual expectations. This is a sexual account of a student who seeks an all-inclusive definition of gay pride and its intrinsically unique past.

I’ve had my fair share of fun. Bathhouses and barebacking have certainly been buzzwords of my nights. I’ve mastered the art of silent conversations that inevitably lead to someone down on his knees. And while a private, personal connection with someone can certainly add an emotional level to a sexual relationship, a heated and spontaneous encounter with strangers in public can reveal a connection to something bigger than another person.

I couldn’t see a thing in the bar as I descended into a hazy scene. After quickly buying a shot, I began cruising on the dance floor. I had no experience in gay bar culture, but I had survived Welcome Week and all the hormonal peers and queers that came with it. Cruising at the bar, however, was almost easier somehow. There was absolutely no shame here. One didn’t need to bashfully look away, faking some fictionalized, virginal innocence. If you stared long enough, the men would come.

One by one, various takers and I danced, frenched and moved on in a grinding mix of denim pockets and curious hands. Soon, my final suitor led me to a new corner where total darkness enveloped us and disco balls would never shine. The moment I felt not one, but three pairs of hands on me, I knew I’d found something special. Someone’s lips were here, another’s were there and I never wanted it to end. Never had this amount of sexual freedom been given to me, and for good reason. The sexual intensity that the corner room held was unmatched, and there was no way my Gaga-crazed, high school self could have handled it.

Leaving the bar satisfied, I realized I had successfully engaged in my first semi-public orgy. The tangle of bodies was exhilarating, exhausting and downright sexy all at once. It was an experience that overwhelmed me in a moment of young naivete, and I took it as an intimate night I would never forget. Today, I see past the personal reflections into why we gay men still hold onto this slice of cultural history that is so deeply embedded in our culture.

With the presence of social media, some question the effects of such apps as Grindr on cruising culture, the gay bar and the orgy. While not as regularly sought out among the queer community today, the orgy rooms of gay bars are undoubtedly frequented by men young and old. Today’s gay community now has the opportunity to partake in this cultural performance — one that links us to the history of our gay ancestors who searched for nights of spontaneous release without the safety of a screen or a profile picture. So perhaps it’s time to reclaim the bar orgy to proclaim our full sense of pride for our authentically non-heteronormative history.

A version of this article appeared in the October 26 print edition. Email David Bologna at [email protected]

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