Friday, August 20, 2010

I want to talk about bators. “Bators” are the self-described, proud masturbators in a currently thriving area of the kinkiverse. They are men who seek other men to masturbate “with” (either physically or virtually). Some of them can be found at jack-off clubs but you will find a lot more online, at places like bateworld.com (which became bator central some time after its predecessor, batenation.com, dissolved in a flurry of social web host incompetence). In bateworld you will find a lot of men, thousands of them, with handles like “Stroker” and “Tugger” and “B8Addict” and “Edger” and on and on… Guys who, like me and like most men, love to masturbate, but unlike most men, glorify the bate and elevate this most common of human sex acts to a genuine kink, a cultural phenomenon. Something to share with like-minded fellows and revel in like any kink.

Bators don’t just love to masturbate, many are somewhat obsessed with it. Many proudly proclaim themselves to be masturbation “addicts” or “compulsive” masturbators. They share stories, pics and videos of getting lost in “the bate,” or lost in “the goon” (gooning refers to the monkey-like, drooling, demented look a bator will have when he is completely absorbed by his penis and the sensations he is giving himself, a state which evokes the reptile brain, freedom from higher mental functions and a complete surrender to sexual sensation.)

There are phone lines where bators listen to each other while they jack off, some just listening on a speakerphone while their bolder brethren wank and moan and talk dirty, about penis, cock, stroking hairy boners, sometimes just repeating the word “penis” over and over again.

There is more than one kind of bator, just as there are many shades of vegetarian or protestant or European. As a man who leads a community of masturbators, I have encountered several discreet varieties within the world of bators, jackers and wankers.

I would say the most general divisions are between what I would call solosexuals, Jacks and dabblers. The first two are the only actual bators, but there are a lot of dabblers, so they merit mention here…

Solosexuals” are interested in masturbation to the exclusion of physical contact with others. They may fantasize about others sexually, but in reality, they just want to masturbate. Period. Most solosexuals are not really interested in or well suited for sexual relationships with other people. They may not be introverted. They may, in fact, be really friendly and outgoing. They just don’t want to have sex with anyone but themselves. These guys can be found by the hundreds and thousands in online communities like bateworld. Solosexuals may be gay, bi or straight, but when it comes down to engaging in actual sex, it’s practically a moot point, since they are almost exclusively into their own penis, and less likely to pursue a lasting sexual relationship with others.

The big drawback to solosexuality is loneliness. While many solosexuals are perfectly happy to be single, many still want intimate contact with a partner or a family. They still love, they still need intimacy. They just are wired to find their most complete sexual satisfaction by their own hands. Many find compatible partners and many more just live in the closet, and hide their masturbation just as they did when they were kids. For many, the hiding itself becomes sexualized and part of what turns on the solosexual. Not surprisingly, solosexuality may work best for single men who don’t mind being that way, but they exist in all kinds of relationships. Nobody knows how many men are genuinely solosexual.

Jacks” want to masturbate with others, primarily other men. Although there are plenty of straight guys who like jacking off with women, they seem to be a small minority in the greater Jacks phenomenon. Jacks are more often gay or bi, but may also be straight. Jacks are characterized by a desire for “social” sex with a fraternal, convivial energy. They want to jack off with other guys, and prefer mutual, group or social masturbation to solitary masturbation.

The big difference between solosexuals and Jacks is the primary connection being sought by each. Every masturbator is seeking a connection with himself. Solosexuals will generally prefer and return to solitary masturbation by preference. Jacks want to connect with others as well as themselves. Because of the intensity and primal quality of shared masturbation, it also serves as a mirror to our selves, as well as an opportunity to be sexually connected without an assumption of romantic possibility down the road… Jacks sometimes refer to their preferred activities as “recreation, not romance.”

And then there are the dabblers, the tourists, the curious… These may be bi-curious guys who are just dipping their toes into the realm of same-sex experience, or gay men surreptitiously seeking a way into a more “penetrative” contact than just masturbation, or coupled men seeking a safe way to play outside their primary relationships… There are the men who perceive the “kink” of Jacks clubs and are just checking out if it is for them, since they like to masturbate already… The dabblers are a lot less likely to show up in the solosexual realms, because they’re not likely to be solosexual, and solosexuality by design excludes contact with others. Among the Jacks, however, you find a wider range of interest in JO as a primary kink, and a lot more experimentation. Guys are more likely to show up at JO clubs once or twice, and then lose interest and move on, or show up once every few months.

Real “Jacks” will return to a JO club again and again, and will feel comfortable around the diverse men sharing masturbation in pairs and groups. They may have exclusive relationships, but they often return to JO clubs when circumstances allow, because it just fits for them. Solosexuals just need the time and place to masturbate, and whether they are using a phone line, web chatting, watching videos, using a web cam or just fantasizing, they are the only human being touching their penis (they’re also the only people having genuinely safe sex). 

All of these guys experience varying degrees of self-acceptance, just like anyone. We all negotiate our brief lives with varying levels of joy, fear, contentment and boredom… Whatever a person is most naturally drawn to for sexual pleasure and satisfaction, so long as it is consensual and does no harm, embracing it and accepting it is part of being a whole person. 

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