As recently as 2017, the headline of a GQ article by Scott Meslow asked “Will Moviegoers Ever Be Comfortable Watching Two Dudes Kiss?

Little did Meslow realize that six years later all kinds of explicit gay sex (i.e., the kind that goes way beyond lips and tongues) would be bustin’ out all over.

Last February I caught Episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us series, titled “Long, Long Time.” The episode abandoned the basic zombie apocalypse narrative in order to tell a domestic love story (a sad one) between two middle-aged men with hairy chests and beards (Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett). My reactions were divided between earnest admiration and serious internal groaning. I wrote that I’d been permanently traumatized by a sex scene in the upstairs queen bed. Even today I shudder thinking of Bartlett blowing Offerman off-screen…Jesus God.

Just before Telluride I caught a screening of Pedro Almodovar‘s Strange Way of Life, an older-guy love story costarring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. It contains a fair amount of joyful, slurpy kissing between the younger versions of their characters, played by José Condessa and Jason Fernández. And early on Pascal mentions “the smell of cum”…don’t ask.

A few days later I experienced a mixed reaction to Andrew Haigh‘s All Of Us Strangers, a classy, ultra-swoony, top-tier capturing of an intimate gay relationship. It costars Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, whose characters do a lot more than kiss — anal, fellatio, chest licking of sperm droplets. I knew it was a well-made film but…

Last month Todd Haynes announced that his next project will be a 1930s-era gay love story with explicit sexual content that will venture into “dangerous territory.” The lovers will be an older corrupt cop (Joaquin Phoenix) and a younger Native American character.

So if Meslow pens a GQ update, the headline might be “Will Moviegoers Ever Be Comfortable Watching Joaquin Phoenix Doing God Knows What With A Younger Dude?

Alternate Meslow Title: “What Happened To The Good Old days of Straight-Friendly Gay Behaviors?2nd Alternate Title: “Do Moviegoers Want to Even Think About Older Dudes Having Sweaty Sex Together, Much Less Watch it?

To say “times have changed in a relatively short time” is putting it mildly.

41 years ago Sidney Lumet‘s Deathtrap, an adaptation of the 1978 Ira Levin play, upset audiences with a very mild kiss between Michael Caine and Chris Reeve, whose characters are co-conspirators in an elaborate murder scheme. Reeve told “Celluloid Closet” author Vito Russo “that the kiss was booed by preview audiences in Denver, Colorado“, and that “a Time magazine report of the kiss spoiled a key plot element and cost the film $10 million in ticket sales.”

In “Murder Most Queer“, author Jordan Schildcrout described a Deathtrap screening in which an audience member screamed, “Say it ain’t so, Superman!” at the moment of the Caine–Reeve liplock.

HE’s own Dixon Steel recently reported that the audience “hissed” when he saw Deathtrap at Westwood’s Regent theatre.

When Steel attended a 1980 screening of Brian De Palma‘s Dressed To Kill at Manhattan’s New Amsterdam theatre, the audience “turned on the movie, booing and screaming at the screen” when it was revealed that the killer was Michael Caine in drag.

In short, basic hetero behaviors haven’t changed that radically over the last 40 years. Left to their own instinctual devices audiences would probably be coughing and clearing their throats at these recent depictions of gay sex. Alas, woke tyranny has taught them to shut the fuck up or risk social condemnation.