Sex and Sexuality

Mating Season

I’ve been neglecting the blog again, as I have a tendency to do when life gets busy and I spend considerably more time doing than thinking.  

Ah, summertime. The days are long, the weather is warm, the calendar is overflowing with more social engagements than my introverted little brain can handle. We’re going to parties and meeting new people, and inevitably, some of them are cute and charming enough that I want to rip their clothes of. Lovers from far-away lands come to stay and we go to visit. It’s mating season. 

Throughout all of it, I’m enjoying the flirting and dating, but I’m finding myself less and less interested in one-off hook ups, especially through connections made online. The apps and websites have their place, even more so in areas that are less gay than Boston, but they’re no longer for me. Quite simply, I’m sick of the behavior of within the apps, and even more sick of the way they’ve become a sort of barycenter for gay culture. 

I hear it all the time, in person and online: lamentations from men seeking boyfriends and complaining that every Grindr hookup has been a disappointment, and has never led to anything more. I sympathize. I really do. Gay dating can be intimidating in a heterosexist society, and hookup apps can seem like the easy way to go. You know everyone you chat with is gay and available, and rejecting someone is as simple as ignoring his message.  

But it’s a meat market, or like puppies in a pet store. You pick the cute one, or the body that looks like the ones you jerk off to. Maybe, if you’re looking for a real connection, you’ll write to the guy who’s wearing a Batman T-shirt because hey, you’re a “geek” too. You filter them by arbitrary and ill-defined types.  

You message him and chat just long enough to decide that he’s not a serial killer and meet up for a fuck.  

True love? 

Not impossible, but unlikely. You know nothing about these guys, and your initial attraction will be based off the physical and sexual compatibility you share, bolstered by a post-orgasmic endorphin rush. When that burns off and you start to really get to know one another, often the relationship fizzles. 

Instead, do what you love. Sometimes gay clubs and sports leagues get a bad rap, especially in more gay-friendly areas, because it feels self-segregating and like fulfilling a stereotype. But having a gay social network is healthy regardless of where you live and how supportive your straight friends are. You get to do things you love and meet people who share your interests who are also potential partners.  

You get to know them first, and then attraction might develop. Or maybe they introduce you to their friends, and one of them catches your eye. You get the opportunity to have a crush on a person rather than lust after a photo.  

So put your damn phone down and stop making faces into the front-facing camera.  

Go outside. 

Make new friends.  

Fall in love. 

After all, it’s mating season. 

On Justice and Community Policing

Several months ago, I let a guy named Jefferson host a party at my house. A prominent figure in the kink, blogging, and spoken word spheres, we ran in the same circles and were both members of a group with a pretty high barrier for entry– one that prides itself on emphasizing consent to ensure the safety of its members. Because of this, I felt comfortable opening my home to him and his friends for a night.

The party was a disaster– the agreement was that I’d provide the space and invite a couple of my friends, and he’d do the legwork. Despite initially agreeing to a men’s only party, the original invitations said that though the party was “focused on male-on-male action,” all were welcome. He said some deeply misguided shit regarding trans people, but I chalked it up to ignorance and dismissed it. When the day came, Jefferson arrived late, fucked up, and alone– none of the men he’d invited ended up coming. I wonder whether he invited them at all, or just expected my friends to carry the party.  Determined to have his dick sucked by 50 different people throughout the month in honor of his 50th birthday, he unceremoniously waggled his cock in front of each attendee’s face to add another notch to his belt. He’d been there maybe an hour, but I was already regretting my decision.

The last straw came when he interrupted a scene of mine and punched my bottom. I told him to ask the bottom’s permission. He ignored me and did it again. Louder this time, I told him to ask. He tried for a third time, and I had to physically intervene and tell him to get the hell out of our way.

The following Monday, I shot an email to the moderators of the group that introduced us. To my surprise, they replied that they had received multiple emails about him and they were investigating. He’d violated the consent of other members at different parties (yes, plural) throughout the weekend. Upon further investigation, we found evidence that suggested he’s been at this a long time. There’s an internet trail alluding to consent violations as far back as 2005 (see here and here from 2008, Jefferson’s own long, narcissistic diatribe from 2010 in which he gaslights his former partners, an anonymous account of a different consent violation on a kinky blacklist, and an incredibly difficult to read account of a scene in which he gave his bottom a third degree burn). The moderators decided unanimously to boot him from the group and withdraw their support for his sex-related storytelling night.

Some members notified the venue of his storytelling night of his history, and the venue decided to discontinue hosting the event.

Months later, the event reappeared at a different venue. Jefferson gets away with his behavior by establishing himself as an authority figure within sex positive communities and drawing in new people who may not have experience with the kink scene and enforcing their boundaries. It’s an M.O. I’ve seen before. They start “fresh,” never mention their backgrounds, and continue hurting people.

We notified the new venue and they withdrew their invitation. He found another, and we repeated ourselves. We’ll continue to intervene as many times as we need to before he gives up and accepts that he and his events are not welcome in our city. We won’t accept him as an authority figure anymore, and we won’t let new faces to the scene see him as someone to be trusted because of his status and connections.

We can’t protect everyone. We can keep him away, but there are dozens like him. The best we can do is to share information freely and keep these men and women out of positions of relative power and make it clear to the scene that abusive behavior won’t be tolerated. We are a community, and we need to protect our own.

On Butt Fucking

These days, I bottom more than I top. I own the “power bottom” label, despite its somewhat nebulous definition. (To condense it into a soundbite, I like to say that I “fuck from the bottom.”)

99% of the time, I’m bottoming frontally. Oddly enough, I’ve encountered more partners who expect me to avoid my front hole rather than use it, but I’ve been fucking with it for more than a decade and its resilience and independent control is what makes it so much damn fun. I can accommodate damn near anything and it rarely feels uncomfortable (nothing another glob of lube won’t fix) and never painful.

Bottoming anally, on the other hand, is an exercise in patience and acceptance that some days, it’s just not going to work. I need to take it slowly, and adjust and re-adjust constantly. Don’t get me wrong– once I’m comfortable, it’s absolutely worth the effort, but it’s almost always undertaken as a solo endeavor as part of an hour-long self-love session when the mood strikes and I have the house to myself.

I’d love to bottom anally more often with my partners, but I’m caught in a catch-22. I want to bottom anally in the same aggressive, dominant style that I bottom frontally. That’s a skill only gained with experience. I can only gain that experience by having the sort of sex I don’t really want to have.

Despite that, I was butt fucked successfully a few weeks ago, for the first time in over two years. It felt great and I came like a rocket launcher. The top was an ex of mine, a relationship where the power dynamics have always been clear, so when I told him, “Fuck my ass,” he eagerly did as he was told (after briefly whining, “What?! I thought you were going to fuck my ass..”). Knowing that I was still in control– control of him, not just the empowered “take charge of your sexuality!” sort of control– was part of what made it work.

I don’t know where I’ll go from here. More butt play is in my future; there’s no doubt about that. It’ll probably be a while before I’m really ready to butt fuck from the bottom, but as they say, the journey can be every bit as much fun as the destination.

How I Came to Be Part I: The Beginning

“How I Came to Be” will be a three-part series, exploring the path I took to finding relationship dynamics and styles that are right for me. Each part covers an era in my life defined by my relationships during that time. This story is ever evolving.

Fair warning: part I of this story is the ugly part.

I fucked a near-stranger while on vacation in Texas the summer before I started high school. I was young. Very young. But even then, I didn’t like the concept of “losing your virginity” as some sort of milestone; I just wanted to get it over with. We never saw each other or spoke again, though many years later I heard he’d been killed in Afghanistan.

Months later, my high school boyfriend hated that someone had “gotten to me” before him. Someone other than he had “broken the freshness seal” or some other slut-shaming nonsense. Consequently, Tod and I waited several months to have sex– I think he meant to test me, to see if the whore had any self-control. At fourteen, naïve and sophomoric, I told him loved him and swore he was my one-and-only.

It was what he wanted to hear, because the only love he’d grown up with was in myth and movies. His family was from Southie stock, and he imagined the ugly past with rose-colored glasses, because he needed an escape from the reality of his mother’s health issues and his father’s Vietnam-induced PTSD. I told him what he wanted to hear because I’d learned quickly that when I said things he didn’t want to hear, things went downhill fast.

I never heard the word “codependency” until I was much older, but it was an accurate description for our relationship. We were young, stupid, and desperately insecure. He was controlling, forever afraid that I would stray. In his mind, I validated his fears when I expressed interest in a close friend of mine.

I asked for an open relationship, swearing it was only about the sex. The manipulation, gaslighting, and psychological and verbal abuse started. I retaliated by cheating, first with the guy I’d originally been interested in, and later with several others. I wasn’t “allowed” to break up with Tod, so I carried on as if we weren’t together at all. Eventually I started an entire second relationship behind Tod’s back, which continued until I moved away to college.

Of course I didn’t deserve the abuse, which had become physical by the time we split up, but we were both bastards to one another. I didn’t like the relationship and I didn’t want it, but I was held hostage until I moved away and didn’t tell him where I was going. It was the only way I could end things for good.

The relief that came with the end of my relationship with Tod was tremendous, and it felt like coming out of a fog. Unethical as my behavior had been, I saw the value of dating two people at once. The sexual variety kept that spark alive in both relationships, and I came to understand that one person could never be everything for me. It fit with my outlook on life and my need for independence. I’d been reading about non-monogamy and nodding along in agreement with the principles laid out in The Ethical Slut, and at seventeen, finally free and on my own, I swore off monogamy for good.

Walking the Line

Double standards.As I’ve mentioned before, bisexual erasure is a thing I feel pretty strongly about. It sucks– bisexuals have been around forever, and yet we’re still subjected to eyerolls and disbelief when we come out. Because of this, I think visibility is important and the more bisexuals who stand up to be counted, the better.

Yet I refer to myself as “gay” half the time. Where’s the logic in that?

I’m not one to dwell too much on labels, but after many years of alternating between the two in conversation, I stopped to think about why. The answer is almost unsatisfyingly simple: I identify with both.

I am bisexual in that I am attracted to all sorts of folks, among whom are men, women, and non-binary individuals. My sexual history reflects that diversity, and though I can’t predict the future, I expect the next five years won’t look two different from the past.

Despite that, I am also gay. All but one of my serious relationships have been with men. I’m open to another relationship with a woman or non-binary person, but all the partners I’ve introduced to my family and colleagues have been men. In other words, I navigate the world as a gay man and my romantic experience largely reflects that identity.

Is it disingenuous for me to straddle that line and claim both identities? I don’t really know. I do think my sexuality is more complicated than a single word (something which I think is true for most people) but I’m going to choose the most appropriate word to convey the point I’m trying to make.

These distinctions are all arbitrary anyway.

On Consent and Community

Let’s talk about consent and making our communities safer.

When you first join a sex-positive community or the kink scene, the first thing they tell you is that consent is of the utmost importance. But stick around a while longer and you’ll encounter a huge number of people who have had their consent violated and their boundaries crossed. You’ll hear stories about well-respected community leaders crossing others’ boundaries. Sometimes, these are the same leaders who stressed the importance of consent to you in the first place.

Why the disconnect? I do believe that most people in kinky/sex-pos communities are well-intentioned and practice what they preach, but the “community” environment lends itself to becoming a safe haven for predators. The kink scene especially, in its efforts to differentiate between BDSM and abuse, has a tendency to overlook the problems within.

What You Can Do to Avoid Violating Someone’s Consent

I’m serious. Fuck those guides on “how to protect yourself.” I think the single biggest cause of consent violation is a narrow understanding of what consent means. If you define consent as “(s)he didn’t say ‘no,'” there’s a good chance you have violated (or will violate) someone’s consent. Consent is:

  • Uncoerced: Consent given under pressure, threat, or intimidation is not valid consent. If he initially says “no,” but relents after the seventeenth time you asked, you are coercing him. If she agrees only because she’s afraid of harm or your disappointment, you’re coercing her.
  • Unimpaired by drugs, alcohol, or sub space. Do not wait until she’s intoxicated to spring an idea on her, because you think she wouldn’t consent to it otherwise. Yes, I do consider sub space a form of endogenous intoxication: I’ve played with people who go non-verbal in sub space and who lose a concrete understanding of what’s happening to them or who’s doing it. They’re less inhibited, their pain thresholds are elevated, and they’re less aware of their bodies. Sound familiar?
  • Unambiguous: The absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” I don’t believe that consent must always be verbal, but it probably should be unless you know your partner very well. Consider his body language: if he hasn’t said “no,” but he’s covering himself, pulling away, or blocking your touch, you don’t have consent.
  • Specific: Consent to sex with a condom is not consent to sex without a condom. Consent to bondage is not consent to sex. Consent to sex is not consent to bondage. Consent to spanking is not consent to anything but spanking. You catch my drift?
  • One-time-use: Similarly, consent does not extend beyond the end of an activity. Just because you had mind-blowing sex with him tonight doesn’t mean you can jump him in the morning and assume it’s OK.

If you’re unsure, don’t do it. If he really, honestly wants to fuck you when he’s drunk, he’ll want to fuck you sober. If you didn’t discuss punching beforehand, but you think she might be into it, mentally file it under “maybe” and ask her when you’re negotiating your next scene.

How to Protect Your Communities

First and foremost, do your part by following the above rules and not violating anyone’s consent.

Then, listen to others. Support community members who have had bad experiences. Never blame the victim or suggest what he could have done to prevent the consent violation. Don’t vouch for anyone you aren’t 100% certain is safe, and if you do serve as a reference, be careful to speak only about your own experiences. Encourage second opinions, because your positive experience may not be universal.

Have a direct impact on safety at parties in your area by learning how and volunteering to be a dungeon monitor . Some groups offer classes in DMing, but if not, there’s more than enough literature on the net to get you started.

Don’t support known predators. Don’t attend their classes. Don’t attend their parties or events. Don’t invite them to your parties or events.

This is where things get sticky. I know this one is controversial, but share what you know, while respecting victims’ privacy. If you know that John Doe had a bad experience with Jane Smith and Sally Jones is considering inviting Jane to her party, speak up. Say something like, “I’ve heard that Jane sometimes takes advantage of her bottoms when they’re in sub space.” Don’t mention John by name without asking him.

Prepare for backlash if you do this. There are some in the scene who brush off these accounts as hearsay, and may accuse you of “causing drama.” It’s up to you to decide where you stand on this, but personally, I think that if “drama” is the cost of safety, I’m willing to pay it.

Like sex, no community is 100% safe. Still, fostering an environment that values consent, supports victims, and condemns predators goes a long way toward helping a scene live up to the moniker of “community.”

Faggot!

A Statement on Separatist Faggot Acceptance -- Zac Slams

Credit: Zac Slams

Disclaimer: This post may piss you off. I know you probably hate that word. Hear me out, though.

The word stings like a slap to the face, with a hard “g” and a Sid Vicious snarl. 

Faggot.

Brutal. Antagonistic. Caustic. It’s been slung at me by classmates and strangers on the street.

I like the bitter taste it leaves on my tongue. Not when they say it, but when I do.

They say it as an expression of hatred, to degrade us for our sexuality our femininity. But I don’t find either of those degrading. I am not “straight acting” or “masc.” To embrace faggotry is to throw  up middle fingers at homophobia and the misogyny it stems from.

Let’s turn the brutality of the word back on itself. The faggot is aggressively, unabashedly queer, anti-assimilationist, and dismissive of the idea that we are just like them. I want the word to strike fear not in our hearts, but in theirs, and to remind them that when we call them out on homophobia we pull back the curtain on their fears: the fear that our faggotry will disrupt their system, corrupt their binaries and crush the boxes they’ve constructed.

I wouldn’t expect anyone else to embrace it and I wouldn’t apply the label to anyone who doesn’t identify with it. I respect the guys who fit into the traditional, hetero narrative of married life and white picket fences, but I expect the same respect in return. I’m not an angry person, but as a queer, trans, non-monogamous pervert, some view my mere existence as an act of aggression.

Faggotry is punk as fuck.

I’m a cocksucking faggot, a flaming faggot
A fuck bunny, fruitcake, cum superdeli, homo
Uncle Walt, Auntie Mame, little sissy pansy
Fudge-packing butt pirate, drag queen, hairdresser
Interior decorator, pervert, pornographer
Sodomite, sex fiend, mincing, limpy-wrist
Scat-nosed poof prince, a resident of Castro
And president of the united states of love

Pansy Division – Cocksucking Faggot

This Tired Debate Again? Yes, Bisexual Men Exist

Evidently there’s some recent hullabaloo about the millionaire matchmaker insisting that bisexual men don’t exist. My friend Lucas at Top to Bottom asked bi men for our thoughts on the subject, and I’m more than happy to oblige.

This shit again? It blows my mind that even now, there are people out there who believe that bisexuality, especially male bisexuality, is a myth. The theory is rooted in the chauvinistic idea that the dick is what “counts”: bisexual women are really straight, and bisexual men are really gay. We just haven’t accepted it yet.

The typical story goes like this: teenage/young adult guy grows up with the assumption that he’ll marry a woman and start a family. He might mistake intimate friendships with women for attraction, and he might date one or two of those women, but he’s never really able to dedicate himself to those relationships. He starts to notice his attraction to men and comes out as bisexual, holding out hope that he’ll meet the right woman and live out the traditional heteronormative relationship trajectory.

But it doesn’t work out like that, and he begins to accept that he’ll only ever be happy with another man. After some exposure to other gay guys, he realizes that he can still have the life he dreamed of with a long-term partner, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence in the suburbs. He’s finally able to address his internalized homophobia and embrace the label that suits him: gay.

In my book, that’s a heartwarming story of self-acceptance that doesn’t “disprove” male bisexuality at all. I’m told it happens often, but I think that we’ll slowly start to see less of it as progress continues to slowly erode homophobia. The more kids grow up comfortable with the idea that gay or straight, you can live whatever lifestyle suits you, the less they’ll feel the need to lie to themselves and others about their desires.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen much of the “bi now, gay later” phenomenon here in Boston, but I hear how common it is from friends in the south and mid-western US.

Instead, I see bisexual men in larger numbers than you might expect. Many of them are out but invisibly bisexual within monogamous relationships. Some remain painfully in the closet, because their monogamous, heterosexual relationships make coming out an unnecessary risk. Others identify publicly as gay, because hearing “Sure you are,” every time they mention their bisexuality gets old, and they’re sick of explaining.

But make no mistake: we are not confused. We won’t pick a side. We exist. We always have, and we always will.

Bonus: 25 Celebrities You Might Not Know Are Bisexual