Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every time I’ve asked, “How do you identify your sexuality?” I get roughly the same answer from the members of my jack-off club:

  • 65% identify as gay
  • 25% identify as bi
  • 10% identify as straight

I’ve asked this question many, many times over the past five years and the percentages always come in right around there. It’s remarkable in its consistency and it raises a lot of questions for me—questions about that 10% of men who identify as straight…

I’m not a sex researcher, although I have the same access to sex research that you do. I am a 52 year-old man who runs a jack-off club in an unusually progressive community in the USA. I’m someone who jacks off with hundreds of men a year, someone with an open mind and a lot of opinions… just like you, probably, at least on that last point…

In any case, I have a certain broad body of personal experience. You might call it clinical evidence. You’d be wrong to call it that, but you could…

Do I personally accept that these guys are, in fact, straight? That’s not an easy question and I have an uncontrollable urge to nuance the answer (in other words, avoid answering). I really want to try and be honest here, so I’ll just say again, that this is just my opinion and I am completely open to being proven wrong…

I accept that these men have a right to identify as they choose, but I don’t always trust the perceptions of anyone, particularly about themselves. Humans are remarkably adept at self-deception. We don’t see each other or ourselves clearly, except, on occasion, when we really fall in love with each other, and not always then either.

I have lived peacefully with the identity of “gay” for almost 35 years now, but I know I would be open for sex with a woman if conditions were right, and I even occasionally desire a woman sexually. It’s rare but it happens, so you could say I am bi or perhaps a Kinsey 5.8… I don’t believe that sex with a woman would alter my innate craving for intimate male contact, but I know I could enjoy sex with a woman, as I did when I was 15, 16 and 17, before I gave it up for cock. To be fair, I have to cut straight guys the same right to explore, to have diverse tastes, to be curious…

Guys are a lot easier to have sex with, a lot easier for a fellow man to understand, and I personally love cock. My response to women’s breasts and vaginas and the shapes and smells of women is pretty much indifference… particularly since I don’t have much curiosity left to satisfy there. I did that and I feel pretty satisfied that I’m not really interested. I know I crave men, so it’s easy to identify as gay.

But we gay guys know that straight guys don’t have to “come out.” They don’t ever have to hide that they want sex with women. That’s the key experience that ties all the disperate queers together, the common thread of having had to hide, having started from that condition of shame, and having to ultimately accept what we have suppressed. We have a lot more that divides us than unites us, but this is The Major Biggie in the world of common-experience for The Gay. We know the closet, and ultimately, we know it as the enemy of happiness.

I believe that a “straight” guy who craves cock is either closeted gay or at least “has a touch of the bi,” as Dan Savage puts it. Bi men get to be excited by men and women. They get to crave who they crave. For a closeted man, the problem is expressing the suppressed side of his desire. He is then invariably filled with fear, paranoia and then shame. They start out with lust just barely winning out against terror long enough to get off, and then, as lust inevitably retreats in its characteristically fleet fashion, they are left with remorse… and watching that cycle playing out again and again drives me fucking crazy…

Because I have this private club, with strict rules about confidentiality and discretion, specifically because I want members to feel safe—safe to play, safe to enjoy, safe to express a specific desire, safe from disease… well, safer—but it is also a perfect opportunity for a closeted man on the down-low to cheat. I don’t support that, but I’m not going to take any action to stop someone from what I suspect may be cheating, because these things have a way of inflicting their own punishment on a man. 

I have this club, and if a guy who has identified as straight all his life is exploring his attraction to men, or his attraction to masturbation with other men (which works better in a JO club) I am happy that the Jacks offer an opportunity to see what it is like, but I know perfectly well that if he is hiding this activity from someone he is in an “intimate” relationship with, it’s actually better for him if he doesn’t like it, if the experiment fails, at least, it’s better for his relationship…

I know that there are many men in my club who have wives, children and secrets. It’s not my job to make them honorable men, but I wish I knew better how to encourage honor in the context of our sexual experiences. There are a few men in the club, I know of six personally, who have wives who know about and even support their husbands’ same-sex attraction and exploration. There have been two members I’m aware of who’s wives actually pick them up on occasion from the events. Something in their relationships allows that honesty to thrive and inform their own relationship. I admire these women a hell of a lot.

When I first encounter a self-identified straight man at an event, I support him individually as a man, neither straight nor gay, but just as a guy exploring himself, which I believe is a good thing. What I wish for all the members, and really for everyone, is to be willing to move steadily toward a truer, more honorable existence. Just try to be more true and keep trying because you’ll never get all the way there…

Do I believe a guy can want to jack off with another guy and still be straight? Really? I guess it depends on how much he wants it. If it’s an interesting idea and he easily gets distracted by other ideas, maybe never follows through or follows through and doesn’t return. yeah. He’s a straight guy. If a guy feels like he’s missing something without another man to masturbate with, no. He just doesn’t really know what gay or bi mean.

And if he has fought with himself or negotiated all kinds of justifications and subterfuges to do this, well… I have a hard time seeing this as a passing fancy. To go through all that a man goes through to touch and be touched another man sexually, that looks like evidence of “need” as opposed to “want.”

But… I respect everyone’s right to identify however they do until they identify another way, and then it is still their right. I think there really are a couple of actual straight guys in my club, but most of the guys who identify that way, just haven’t recognized yet that they’re experiencing the only closet that really matters: the one in which you hide from yourself… 

All just my opinion, and I could be wrong (as the clever but total asshole Dennis Miller said) but fair warning: I’m not done chewing on this bone by a long shot…

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