Cruising Culture: Promiscuity and Desire in Contemporary by Ben Gove

By Ben Gove

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Julien and Mercer, ‘True confessions’, p. 171; emphasis added. 45. Fain, ‘Is our “lifestyle” hazardous to our health? Part II,’ p. 19; cited in Weeks, Sexuality and its Discontents, p. 47. 46. Seidman, Romantic Longings, p. 169. 47. Delany, The Motion of Light in Water, p. 354. ’ Here the distinction appears to be between ‘promiscuous sex’ with strangers (usually in public spaces) and ‘social sex’ with known partners, such as his wife and their live-in male lover. Earlier, however, Delany argues that his sexual encounters in the riverside trucks ‘with thirty-five, fifty, a hundred all-but-strangers .

The PASSING PLEASURES 27 frequent (though also internally disputed) radical feminist emphasis on the interdependence of sexual freedom and other forms of social change was succinctly summarised in Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics: A sexual revolution would require, perhaps first of all, an end of traditional sexual inhibitions and taboos, particularly those that most threaten patriarchal monogamous marriage: homosexuality, ‘illegitimacy’, adolescent, preand extra-marital sexuality. . 102 While lesbian and gay political and cultural organisation was already well-established across the country during the 1960s, the Stonewall riots of June 1969 provided the material and symbolic catalyst for a more consistently radicalised – and hence more unapologetically visible – gay and lesbian movement to amass in urban areas, with national attention focused on New York.

Of course, Nugent’s prominent position in artistic/literary society made such erotic ostentation far easier, and even expected, particularly of a ‘Negro’ male. Yet Nugent’s openness is echoed – albeit in different circumstances – in a number of Chauncey’s accounts of nonsecretive working-class gay male promiscuity in districts such as Harlem. 80. Chauncey, Gay New York, p. 2. 81. , pp. 219–20. 82. , p. 8. 83. , p. 9. 84. Little is as yet known about the effects of the First World War on gay life.

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