March 27, 2017

Rembrandt Duran Proud to be Out and Changing the Face of Gay Sex

This page was written bR. KURT OSENLUND was published today on

Rembrandt Duran was 23 when he stopped pursuing women. “I was like, 'Let me try this whole gay thing for a bit,'” he says. The gay thing stuck, and in the two years since, Duran has had sex with more than 550 men. He admits that his promiscuity is at least partially fueled by gay repression. “Maybe it’s come from being ashamed and wanting to keep it ‘on the low’ or whatever,” he says. “But now I’m the opposite—I’m shouting it to the world.” And that includes on social media. If you follow Duran’s private Instagram account, be careful opening it in CVS: the person behind you might think you’re logged onto PornHub.
Duran’s penis has made him popular on Grindr and Scruff, but that didn’t always jell with the rest of his appearance. “I used to dress like the Mexican version of Prince,” says the 25-year-old New Yorker, who was formerly in fashion—his caps have been worn by Missy Elliott and Will.I.Am—and describes himself as a “handsome, pretty, queer Mayan Dutch Jew.” He continues, “I had pink clothes, long hair, and huge hoop earrings. But with men, that didn’t work. They’d love my nudes, but I’d walk in the door and they’d say stuff like, ‘Maybe next time leave the earrings at home.’ ” Compromise has become part of the game for Duran, who freely acknowledges that he’s playing a role. Growing to resent his look, he’s cut his hair, ditched the bold clothes, and embraced his “masc” side. He’s even had a New York Mets logo tattooed on his face. “I’ve established myself in a certain scene as being trade-adjacent,” he says. “And I’ve definitely grown more aware of what certain guys are into. I give them a gay street-dude fantasy—the best of both worlds.”
As Duran has gained more attention, and become more public and unabashed with his alpha-gay persona, he’s allowed sex to permeate most aspects of his life. Capitalizing on his assets and a growing rolodex of partners (at one point, his phone’s media scroll was organized by bottoms, tops, fetishes, and sex videos), he’s both worked at and organized sex parties, private and public, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He’s also served as an escort and a “sex matchmaker,” he says, uniting partners via his catalog of flesh, and never allowing any personal attachment to get in the way. “A lot of guys like to keep their friends and their hoe lives separate, and they feel like they can’t be friendly to people they have casual sex with,” he says. “It’s all the same to me. I’ll stay in communication with people and hook them up with hot bottoms or hot tops. I don’t mind if they do it without me.”
Though desired and dominant, Duran doesn’t consider himself sexy. “I’m cute, I’m high energy, and I’m fun,” he says of his appeal. And while any exhibitionist is surely seeking some level of validation, what Duran continually comes back to in conversation is a drive to de-stigmatize sex. “I want people to be like, ‘I had a really good morning; I had really amazing sex’—the same way you’d say you read a really great book,” he says. “Good sex is part of a good day, and it’s not something we should feel uncomfortable talking about or hearing about. It’s society that's made it into something dirty.”
The same goes for Duran’s views on protection and STDs. He is HIV-negative, is on PrEP, and gets tested once a month, if not twice. He confesses he’s not big on condoms, but he’s open with partners and tends to let them steer. “I’m speaking from a place of top privilege, and I understand that,” he says. “If someone asks me to use a condom, that’s important. I want people to feel comfortable—it makes the whole thing sexier.” Duran has contracted chlamydia five times and gonorrhea twice, and, without endorsing such things, he wants to knock out their stigmas, too. “Many STDs and STIs are more manageable than common infections, like a cold or the flu,” he says. “They’re only viewed so harshly because they’re tied to sex. That’s why people get HIV—they sleep with people who don’t get tested because they’re afraid. It’s a social problem. Give me gonorrhea, I’ll get a shot, and it’s gone the same day. Give me chlamydia, I’ll take two pills, and it’s gone in two days. Give me the flu, and I’ll be off my game for two weeks—and I probably won’t ask for a second date.”

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