Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Email about Asian-discrimination and penis size

A couple of month ago, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB,

I'm young (in my 20s) and rather new to the gay scene. I've recently started going on gay hook-up sites like Manjam, Gay Romeo, Gaydar and Manhunt, and logged onto Grindr once or twice. What I've noticed is that many guys specifically state that they do not want to date or hook-up with Asian men. I wonder why this is. Is there some sort of ethnic hierarchy when it comes to desirability in the gay scene?

The first reason that came to mind is the stereotype that Asian men are less-endowed than men of other races. I don't place much trust on stereotypes, especially after having slept with a few black men who have come in all sizes from huge to small. It also got me thinking about the importance of penis size in the gay scene. How important is penis size? Is it more important than being fit or good-looking facial features? Why is it that penis size has any importance whatsoever (I've only been a top so I have no idea how penis size affects a bottom's pleasure during sex)? Is it solely psychological (for example, something akin Freud's idea of penis envy, except with average/less-endowed men replacing women)? I also found studies that showed that well-endowed men are more likely to be tops while their less-endowed counterparts are most likely to be bottoms. Even you mentioned a scenario in your blog where a guy was trying to ascertain your size by looking at your fingers; was that just a form of flirting or are there men actually checking for signs like that?

Part of me finds this all rather ridiculous, and another part is slightly insecure and wonders how this affects me or where it leaves me on the desirability scale; I'm an average-sized (6 inches) black guy. Mostly, I'm just curious.


I think there's a rather disappointing answer to this reader's first question about profiles that state things like "No Asians". It's called racism :-(. Although it's not excusable, I think I can explain why young guys feel like that, because about 20 years ago before I met ex-boyfriend S I had similar feelings. I simply felt that I had nothing in common with Asian guys, and I felt that I needed to have a lot in common with guys that I was going to get intimate with. Although I've never had a profile which stated "No Asians", the truth was that when I first came out, I was only interested in Caucasians. However, the more I've matured and grown up, the more open I've become to sex and relationships with guys from all ethnic backgrounds. So although ex-boyfriend S is Caucasian like me, ex-boyfriend P is a Muslim, ex-boyfriend R is Hindu, and boyfriend T is Asian :-).

Avenue QTaking a world view, I don't think there's a global ethnic hierarchy, because preferences vary from country to country. I can recall being in Tokyo, and finding a gay sauna which was Japanese only. However, if my own experience is anything to go by, perhaps young gay guys have a preference for guys from their own background. So within each country, maybe that does define a hierarchy? Although I hope that I'm fully cured of the racist preference that I felt when I was younger, I can't help being reminded of the song Everyone's a little bit racist from the musical Avenue Q!

Regarding penis size, there were a lot of comments about that on my recent posting titled Email from a gay guy who lives in India. Also, back in 2005 I did a posting about my own experiences of penis size, which suggest that East and South-East Asians guys are on average a bit smaller than Caucasians, South Asians (i.e. Indians and Pakistanis), Latinos and Black guys. However, I honestly don't think that's really got anything to do with people's preferences. I certainly had no idea about the average size of different ethnic groups when I was more inclined towards Caucasians. And for the record, I reckon that the guy who was trying to work out my size by looking at the size of my fingers was just flirting.

I've always thought that guys who focus on penis size are being very shallow, especially if they're looking for a life partner rather than just a brief encounter. What's more, there are some drawbacks to big penises because they can be painful to accommodate, and also the quality of their hardness when erect can be significantly lower. Given the choice, I'd much rather have a hard cock to play with than a big one :-).

In summary, I don't think that any gay guy needs to feel insecure about their cock size when they're looking for a boyfriend. Long term relationships are about much more than sex, but even in the bedroom, I'm convinced it's about 'what you do with it' rather than 'how big it is' :-). And in any case, if a guy really does focus on cock size then he's unlikely to make a good boyfriend, so he's not worth the effort!

Do any other readers have any thoughts on these subjects?


Monkeygogo said...

Being a gay Asian myself i completely relate to this topic! I would have to say that I have a very average penis size (6.5 inches). Not small but not huge! Would i like a bigger penis? Probably. Would it change my life? Not at all!

Also I think a lot of people aren't racists,they're probably just really picky and misled into narrowing their options through social stereotyping.

On the grand scheme of things, size, shape, color - these are all things will be irrelevant in 20/40 years time. What will matter then is being able to love someone who loves you back for something a bit more permanent than just physical appearances.

Paul Brownsey said...

I'm a little uneasy about using "racist" for someone's preference for or against a partner of a certain race. The sort of person you are sexually attracted to is in an important sense not something you can choose (as gay men who in their pre-coming-out years tried to find women attractive may well agree), and if a person of a certain race does not attract you sexually, it seems to negate the whole exercise, and to threaten disappointment to both parties, to sleep with them anyway under some sort of principle of inclusion. It may be useful to consider why you aren't attracted to people of a certain race and whether some sort of false stereotype is involved, but if, at the end of the say, you can't get it up, is it really racist to steer away from people of that race?

A further reason to resist the label "racist" here is that inability to find people of a certain race sexually attractive may well not go with the slightest tendency to endorse the sorts of attitudes and behaviour that the term "racist" usually connotes.

I wonder if GB would use "ageist" of those dishy lads in their 20s who won't sleep with 60-year-olds?

Paul Brownsey

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul Brownsey entirely. Using racist in this way is not helpful.

I am not sexist because I don't want to sleep with women and I am not racist if I prefer chavvy Caucasian men.

I recognise that my preference for Caucasian men is very much a function of my personality and its reaction to where, when and how I grew up. These things interacted to form my ideal of what is attractive and masculine to me. It has no impact of whether or not someone is worthwhile, competent or deserving of more or less respect and it’s a little offensive to suggest one might be racist because of who they find attractive. As I have gotten older, my life experiences have expanded my world view and I find that I can sometimes be attracted to black, Arab, Asian and oriental men, though I still prefer them to be chavvy ;-0

Anecdotally, it seems many western heterosexual men find oriental women to be very sexually attractive. I wonder if the homo part of one’s sexuality might predispose us homosexuals to be more generally attracted to others who are more like us in more ways than just gender.

GB said...

OK, I accept that Paul Brownsey and the anonymous commenter have a valid point. Perhaps I was too hasty in using the R-word! In the words of Avenue-Q, in my own case I think I was "a little bit racist" when I was younger, so this post reflects my own prejudices against myself.

The point that the anonymous commenter makes about homosexuals being attracted to people who're like them in more ways than gender is also very interesting. I wonder if there's been any research along those lines?

GB xxx

Mr Vain said...

I also agree with Paul Brownsey that your sexual preferences towards certain races is just your attraction, however it does not make you racist in one bit.

I personally came out when I was 19 after trying hard to pretend I was attracted to girls. I have had a few sexual partners both white and black, and am now in a long term relationship with a white guy. In terms of penis size, I always believed the rumour that black guys had huge penis' but after a one night stand I woke up to find this was most definitely a myth. After I first came out I slept with guys of all different size and races and found that I didn't enjoy being the bottom that much especially with well endowed guys.

Since being in a relationship my partner has an average size penis (about 6 inches with good girth), and I have a slightly longer penis (7 inches but not as thick). I now really enjoy sex, especially being a bottom and he enjoys it when I top him too so I would say it's not all about size but more the chemistry you have with a sexual partner that makes sex great.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people often think of racism as pertaining to much larger issues than this. However, this situation could be considered racism in situations where such exclusion is done based on comparative stereotypes (e.g. they're less masculine than us, less intelligent, less capable of this or that, etc.) since racism is usually defined as deeming on race and superior/inferior to another.
I appreciate that you mentioned your experiences in Japan. I think such matters depend on the society and how minority groups react to the predominant societal standards. There was an episode of Tyra that brought to light how gay Asian-Americans dealt with such issues. It was interesting to see how polarized the concerned parties were (from 'I-only-date-white-guys-despite-being-Asian-because- that's-what-I-find-beautiful to I'd-never-date-white-guys). Of course, those parties are not representative of the whole gay Asian-American community, or gay POCs in the US for that matter. Among African-Americans and Latinos in the US, the down-low subculture is often exclusive and hostile towards other ethnicities. There's also the sentiment within that it's the solution to SGL (same gender loving, a term that also originated amongst SGL African Americans) black and Latino men who didn't want their masculinity compromised by their sexuality and feared being stigmatized within the gay community because of their race (just because a group suffered prejudice doesn't ensure it'll give up prejudices against other groups, as is evidenced by homophobic African-Americans and racist gay people). Again, it doesn't represent all gay African-Americans.
Currently, I'm living in a relatively small student-city somewhere in continental western Europe. It's supplying me with different perspectives on all of this.
Thanks GB for posting this and for your thoughts. You're always so helpful.

Guy who sent the query to GB.

One London Life said...

I'm in the "not necessarily racist" camp. Just because someone's put "No Asians" on a profile doesn't make them a racist. There could be any number of reasons, some of which were stated above.

What it does make them, perhaps, is insensitive. I personally would say that historically I've been 90% attracted to Caucasians, with the other 10% being a range.

I would never put "No [anything]" on a profile, it's efficient but a little rude.

Anonymous said...

I used to maintain a list of "No's" on my gaydar profile until this chap left me a track and a message. His profile really does hit the nail on the head.


I was initially steadfast in my belief that no one was being hurt by what I said but then came to appreciate the crass image I was projecting. Ever since rewriting my profile I have not had to deal with significantly more unwanted attention than in the past but I have been getting more messages, possibly by coming across as more level-headed and less angry.

Anonymous said...

@One London Life: Have you ever considered that it may be because 90 percent of the guys, you've been exposed to, have been Caucasian? Maybe?

GB said...

@Most-recent-anonymous-commenter: about 20 years ago, that was certainly true in my case!

GB xxx

One London Life said...

@anonymous. It's possible that I have in inbuilt cultural shift (being white/British myself) but I don't sense it in myself. Perhaps an outsider would have a better perspective.

My background is that growing up I went to a school which was more than 50% Indian/Asian and 50% Caucasian (only 1 black guy) and when I thought I was straight, my longest relationship was with a black girl. With the exception of one white Jewish guy and a white British guy, all my friends were British Indian or Sri Lankan.

In my time I've had very little sex with British people as I don't find most traditional British attitudes towards life and love to be very sexy. In that way I suppose I exhibit a negative cultural bias towards my own kind.

I've had sex with a range of nationalities and skin colours but still come back to Caucasian. Perhaps one reason is that I'm one of those weird people who's turned on by hairy guys and body hair seems to be rarer in Asians guys. I'm also turned on by taller, beefier guys.

In the past I've considered relationships with British Indian guys but being gay and Indian, at least when I was younger, seemed to come with a range of family and cultural problems so you don't seem to meet many out gay Indians when out and about.

That may actually be another thing to consider. I like meeting people face to face to socialise, flirt etc. if I think about the bars and clubs I go to, there is a very low representation from ethnic minorities. I can only think of one Asian and a couple of black guys I see regularly. Maybe I socialise in a bubble!

Probably enough self-analysis for one day!!!

One London Life said...

I suspect that many people either select partners based on someone who either reinforces who they are or somehow fills a gap, ie they act as a mirror which reflects back what they feel is missing in themselves. It's perhaps similar to the reason one collects art. Being surrounded by art enriches the soul. As Keats put it (I think!!!) "A thing of beauty is a joy forever".

I always wanted to escape my own culture so I embraced others (somewhat haphazardly), eventually settling down with an American. I count a number of British guys as friends, but I struggle to find the "sexy".

Jay said...

OK most of the above may be true, but how many times have you seen in gay magazines (Gay Times) Asians or Indians on the cover page? Never

Putting 'No asians' next to Fat, Old, Trans on gaydar makes it seem negative to be Asian or anything other than white.

Anyways it all comes down one knowing themselves if they are racist or it being a preference. I think most people know if they are racist or not.

Anonymous said...

GB, A very obvious point everyone avoids is that notions of beauty and desirability have followed the caucasian ideal even in non-caucasian cultures. Though this can be attributed to a variety of factors including colonialism, globalization or even hollywood, it simply remains a fact that this ideal is the majority view all across the modern world. With the slow rise of the East both economically and culturally this will change but albeit very very slowly - atleast not in our lifetime :(

Anonymous said...

@ One Life London: I understand what you mean by people wanting to mirror themselves in their partners. It's been documented that people are often most attracted to others with similar physical characteristics as themselves. Of course that's based on biological/evolutionary factors and doesn't take into account societal factors such as the media, cultural fetishization, etc. I admit I do have a bit of that in me. I reckon I'd prefer people of the same ethnic and cultural background as myself who share similar physical features. However, in my case, that's extremely hard to find, especially -as you stated concerning ethnic minorities- in the open gay scene. And, therefore, I cannot be sure if that preference actually exists, or it's just a passing lust for the seemingly unattainable.
@ Jay and most recent Anonymous: I agree with you about Caucasian aesthetic standards being most promoted at the cost of neglecting others. It applies in the straight world as well, and is much more obvious therein (as documented by OkCupid herein: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/).

Anonymous said...

The Gaydar profile mentioned in anonymous2 sums it all up really. It's strewn with wit, sarcasm and humour but one can't help feeling guilty laughing at it considering it sends out a serious message. It does defy logic to exclude all members of one ethnic group when one wouldn't be attracted to all members of another ethnic group either.

Anonymous said...

Maybe "racism" in dating is also a confusion about preferences: I found myself attracted in particular to smooth black-haired guys that are shorter than me. Guess what: in Asia almost 95% of guys fit that bill whereas in Ireland it's much harder to find a local like that. Southern Italy is easier than the North. In short, I could say that I prefer Asians over Caucasians just because if you show me the pic of an Asian guy, it's five times more likely that I'm attracted to him than if he's Caucasian - but in the end, the race is totally irrelevant as long as the guy is short, smooth, black-haired, hunky and cute... :-P

By the way, I read some scientific research according to which the relationship between finger and dick size apparently does hold (statistically) - apparently caused by the same hormons in the womb. Then again, big dick fetish is probably just as much a fetish as any other (leather, sneakers, big feet, red hair...), and practically, I find girdth much more important than length... ;-P

Anonymous said...

I think some of you are missing the point. Regardless of your preferences, it's incredibly insensitive to use the words "No Asians" in a country where Asians are a minority race.

It's akin to signs in the 1960's, on buses and restaurants saying "No Blacks".

Nobody would dare utter such words in a public space. Grindr/social media apps should not be an exception.

If you really feel the need to vocalize your prejudice and exclude others, then keep it to yourself.

Pao said...

Agree with previous Anonymous that "no xxx" is just totally insensitive. I would agree preference is not racism, BUT ignorance and arrogance are.

I don't think anyone will complain if someone frankly express what they found sexy, e.g., i like guys with green eyes, or curly hair, Sexy and attractiveness is in the eyes of ourselves. However, making a statement like "no xxx" is just drawing a line, a fence or a wall making division. The word of "no" makes a clear segregation between what is desired and what is not.

I hate to think it is an acceptable attitude in particular in gay community when we are constantly being drawn a line out of something. How much time will it cost for someone to write a statement like "I would prefer..." instead of "no xxx"?!

Anonymous said...

It's quite disheartening to see the extent of apology and defense for what IS racism.

Racism, much like bullying and homophobia, has less to do with your own preferences or your own beliefs, but more how it makes OTHER people around you feel.

There are ways of exercising your rights and preferences WITHOUT making others feel like unwanted, second-class citizens.

BlokeToys said...

Definitely consider the rampant ageism too. It's quite remarkable how many men only want to meet guys in their 20's with gym addictions, when in reality those men are the extreme minority. When I was actually in my 20's I had more in common with older men, and a lot of the met I met at that time were amazing.
Just because a guy is in his 30's, 40's, 50's... doesn't mean he can't have a great body, a fantastic attitude and be very worth knowing.

I think the answer is that guys expect too much from dating and hookup sites. Guys have a fantasy about who they want to meet, and their profiles don't reflect reality. Quite frankly a lot of them are delusional, if they even exist to begin with and are not fictional profiles designed to con guys into paying for a membership account.

There are genuine guys out there for everyone, and you can meet great guys on-line. But I would only see it as an added option, and not the first place to seek guys. Social settings are always going to beat on-line possibilities in my book.

Indigo Blue said...

Hiya GB,

I agree with you. Being an Asian myself I can relate to it.
It's called being racist - plain and simple. Anyone trying to defend it is defending the indefensible.Sometimes I wonder how people can be so shallow.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, it is what gets your dick hard. I prefer guys with furry bodies. Smooth is a turn off and I let people know that on my profile. People have been offended because of that, but I can not take that on as my issue.I am happily partnered for 15 years and married for 3. So if you on sites like grindr looking for love, and feel rejected or offended, perhaps you need to meet people in a different.

Arthur said...

I have to say I agree with GB that saying "No Asians" on your profile is a little bit racist. Still, there is no need to get all up in arms about it as he's certainly not suggesting that mentioning it automatically puts anyone in the league of, say, the BNP.

I do want to offer a word of encouragement to the author of the letter. Think of this as a matter of enlightenment and global aspirations. We are in a great cultural moment - never before had the cross pollination between different cultures been so fervent. Anyone who is a least bit xenophobic will be crushed under the wheel. It's just the nature of modern progress. I do believe that those who play well in expanded horizons will be more open/ attracted to a wider range of people. As you said you are a foreign student, you are learning in a different culture, your world view is constantly expanding. So, align yourself with other enlightened, open minded men who can share that with you.

DInosaurs are not worth to be fussed over...

timxb24 said...

I’m Asian, and I should say I’m Chinese, (so sorry about my poor English...)
I think there are indeed some difficulties in the relationship between people from different cultures. I have a white bf, I notice there are some culture issues, and sometimes language barrier as well… therefore building this relationship is rather harder than u guys… so I can understand some people don’t want to date Asian.
however, I personally think, it won’t be a big problem for those people who live in the same country in their entire life, those Australian/American born Asian are Australian/American , at least they can speak better English than I do… so they should not being included…
Well when I experienced those “NO ASIAN” signs from the dating website (only a few times maybe one or two?), personally I feel upset about these words. It does hurt, despite the person trying to explain this is not racism. I’m potato queen, but I never wrote those words in my profile… it’s no different from stating: NO “U”, YEA U!! GET OUT OF MY PROFILE!!
People said it’s efficient to get rid of those people who are not in ur preference list. But I think it’s still rude to state it out. U can just not reply their msg if they trying to hit on u… that’s what I did…
So basically, what I said is whether it is racism or not, it should not be there, cos it hurt other ppl emotionally, it’s just inappropriate to list who u don’t like. It makes ppl think what’s wrong with themselves… (I think nobody like to hear the words” I don’t like u”.) Simply ignore those msgs from ppl who are too young, too old, not good looking or bad body shape or ur ex bf, or deep inside u just don’t like them with bias.

martin bryan said...

To be honest im one of the guys who have no Asian or Indian guys on my profiles. Not because i am racist...because i am not attracted to either. I have a really good Chinese friend that i socialize with regularly and my best friend has an indian boyfriend that i get on with very well. Everyone is born the way they are even being white, some people do not find me attractive and at the end of the day its their loss, you should thing the same!!! its my loss :) xxx

Anonymous said...


Arthur Lo said...

That was great. Thanks to whoever posted that video.

I'm not commenting against anyone in particular but it seem like the usual defence by guys who have listed racial preferences in their profile is something along the line of, "well I'm friends with some asian/white/black/latino people so I'm not racist, but I'm just don't want to have sex/ be romantically involved with asians/whites/blacks/latinos."

What if we substitute "race" with...

"Well I'm friends with some poor people so I'm not a snob, but I just don't want to date anyone poor"

"I have some blue collar friends with no qualifications whatsoever but I'm educated to doctorate level and please only contact me if you at least have a university degree."

Nothing wrong with these statements but it's hard not to wonder if it's all just some thinly veiled disguise...

Z said...

It has been interesting reading these comments. Since we are all fags (well most of us anyways who read this blog), maybe we can relate better to understand the inherent wrongness of having "no Asians" in a Gaydar profile by substituting "no fags" instead, and also if we conceptualize the situation as a job advert rather than a dating/hookup ad.

So the job advert would read: "No fags need bother apply for this job".

Can anyone defend this fictitious job advert as anything but homophobic?

Jeremy LIN-SANITY said...

I can't believe we're in the 21st century and SOME OF US here can't even look past a person's skin colour without drawing a conclusion about their sexual attractiveness.

Needless to say, this is what you're missing out on:


Anonymous said...

I’m an oriental Asian with an English boyfriend. I am confident about myself and never bothered on guys directly advertising that they are not into Asians. I was like that as well way back in Asia – I only want guys who have similar characteristics with me (should be equal or greater than in terms of height, dick, looks, education). Now at 28yo, I hook-up with guys based on what they can offer and background is never anymore an issue. Example, I do not want small cute Asian guys before but now I do because I and my friend enjoy topping small tight holes :p

I do not think those doing it are racist but for the benefit of all it will nice if they will remove it. There is a negative effect of confidence of other Asian guys and the Caucasian doing it can also be perceived by some as narrow minded, not well-travelled, or worst uneducated.

Anonymous said...

I am a mixed-race bottom. Mixed black, hispanic and asian. I fortunately have been blessed with a well endowed lower region, and i'm 6'3. So I break the stereotype.

I have been in relationships with hispanic guys, black guys, asian guys, mixed guys and white guys. I can tell you that dick size can be a benefit to the pleasure of a bottom but it's not necessary.

I am a bit of a rice-queen, as I love japanese and filipino boys (I dont get called a rice-queen though because my dad is half chinese lol). But my current boyfriend of two years is white. Some of the best sex I've ever had is with asian guys, as long as the top knows how to work it, then the dick size shouldnt really matter.

I do get the whole racism aspect of guys not wanting to sleep with asian guys, but in my experience ive had it the other way as well. because i love more Cuban than anything else, ive had asian guys say they dont want to sleep with my coz they'll dick would look to small next to mine.

penis envy is a stupid thing, coz ive slept with some big dick guys who are SHIT! and ive slept with some not-so-big dick guys who have left my breathless.

it's a dumb myth that needs to be dealt with in both the gay and straight community.

Harry said...

The comments posted on this thread really shed light on a persistent problem that exists within the gaysphere - myopic racism. While I can accept the fact that one isn't sexually attracted to Asians (which accounts for ~ 60% of the world population!), it's completely preposterous to use the "I'm not racist because (i) that's my preference, and (ii) I've ethnic minority friends, etc" argument.

It's completely OK to have preferences and sexual attraction can't be forced upon anyone. HOWEVER, openly stating 'No Asians / Blacks / other ethnic groups' is simply not acceptable. It creates an environment that promotes unspoken hostility towards ethnic minorities. Such phrases not only reinforce negative stereotypes about race, but also reduce individuality to a state of non-existence. The latter is especially ironic considering how individuality is the pride of the liberal West.

The concept of "racism" doesn't necessarily require the *intention* to malign a certain group of people. One might think that it's seemingly harmless to state one's preference but the lack of forethought, coupled with the wrong choice of word, is the classic definition of myopic racism. Just because you don't view it as racism doesn't mean it's not affecting the people around you!

Anytime one chooses to single out a subset of the population for whatever reason, it insinuates prejudice. People seem oblivious that inappropriate words can be tremendously damaging to their target audience. Some might argue about excessive political correctness but take a step back and look at the situation from another perspective.

Is an open statement like "No Asians" really that different from denying ethnic minorities of yesteryear their right to co-existence without seeing hurtful words being plastered everywhere? Case in point, America in the mid-20th century. We might have moved forward a few decades since then but open prejudice has now moved from the real word to the cyber space. Frankly speaking, what would be your first reaction upon seeing a profile stating 'No Whites'?

On heterosexual sites, it would be almost impossible for someone to post 'No (Race)' and not be chastised by the majority of people for the lack of sensitivity. Hence, it's truly unfortunate when gay men, who themselves are victims of open prejudice, treat others within the community in a similar manner. If you truly have a preference, isn't it much better to say 'Prefers Caucasians / people of similar ethnicity' as opposed to 'No (Race)'?

Just remember, no one's denying your rights to be sexually attracted to a certain group of people exclusively. All that's asked of you is to be mindful of the words that you choose to use on public sites. Seeing negative words can cause people a lot of discomfort and it really doesn't take much efforts to use a more positive tone in getting our message across.

It's the cyber space but you can still keep it classy. Don't be a dick.