goto Appendx main menu Sexuality and Appendx :
Bryan Reynolds
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When I inquired about the doorless toilet stalls at the Office of the Director of the Science Center, I was told that the doors were removed to suppress the gay male sexual activity that was taking place in the toilet stalls.  So, to quell gay male sexual activity, Harvard is willing to expose the most conveniently situated toilet space in the Science Center, and consequently make public the traditionally private act of defecating.  In fact, Harvard's effort to suppress gay male sexual activity is at the ready expense of the purpose for which the toilet space was originally designed.  The toilets in this men's room are used so infrequently now that they might as well have been removed along with their stall doors.  The architectural alteration of the toilet stalls has therefore made the atmosphere of this men's room radically different from that of other men's rooms.Appendx 1 page break 197 | 198 

In general, men's rooms (commonly called "washrooms" or "restrooms") have a similar decorum and ambiance.  While in a men's room, most men behave in an extrahomophobic manner.  They go about their operations speedily and in businesslike fashion.  Rarely do they communicate or make eye contact with each other.  This situation is largely due to the fact that when urinating, without the employment and protection of a locked toilet stall, the phallic symbol of male power and organ for sexual pleasure, the penis, is exposed.  Consequently, the penis and its owner are made vulnerable to ridicule, based on the size and shape of the penis, and to direct physical contact between the penis and another man; inasmuch as physical contact may bring about diverse and unanticipated reactions, all of which are troublesome for the heterosexual regime, it is considered taboo.  Some men, however, to escape penis exposure, their own and that of other men, urinate in the toilet stalls instead of the allocated urinals.  In addition to the socially problematic implication that these men have something embarrassing to hide, there is the less overt implication that these men are purposely making it impossible for themselves to observe the penises of other men.  Since the men's room is culturally constructed as a normative space with regards to sexuality, which is to say that it is constructed as heterosexual space, to be caught seeing or merely looking in the vicinity of another man's genitalia is to infringe upon his private space and risk being identified as a pervert or a gay man.  While in the process of urinating in a public men's room, notwithstanding the often claustrophobic proximity of the urinals, never is one man to look at, speak to, or touch another man, unless it is obvious that the men involved were familiar with each other prior to the men's room encounter; and, even then, penis watching and penis touching are unacceptable and forbidden.  Almost any breach of this codified etiquette is likely to result in a hostile, potentially violent, interaction.  To be sure, when urinating in a public men's room, a man's ability to adequately represent conventional masculinity is threatened by almost everything associated with the accessibility of his penis. 

The doorless toilet stalls in the Science Center men's room, nevertheless, disrupt common preconceptions of the men's room environment, intensifying the awkwardness and anxiety typically experienced in men's rooms, by making an already endangered heterosexual space more dynamically homoerotic.  Each of the six doorless stalls in the Science Center men's room, within which a man must sit in order to defecate into its accommodated toilet, faces a urinal.  This spatial relationship encourages a quite unique and provocative voyeuristic occurrence.  While one man is situated on the toilet (perhaps holding his penis so that he can urinate while defecating), he isAppendx 1 page break 198 | 199compelled, if for no other reason, since the man urinating is the only animated object within his scope of vision, to watch the backside of the man holding his penis while urinating before him.  To refrain from looking at the man urinating would require a deliberate act of avoidance.  The combination of the anal stimulation achieved while defecating, the observance of the buttocks of the man urinating, and the various possibilities, tangible as well as imaginative, for the penile stimulation of both parties (such as during the process of urination), along with the homoeroticism already psychologically connected to any men's room, all make this situation particularly page

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