Oh, it is good to be home! It’s also sad to no longer be in France. This qualifies as a great vacation… I had a great time and was really missing home by the time it was over. Even so, it was hard to leave. I want to return there. A lot.

And now, some responses…

How is sexuality viewed in France/Spain compared to the US?

Of the limited exposure we experienced, our couplehood was a complete non-issue everywhere we went. That included Paris, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bayonne and St. Jean-de-Luz. If anyone had a problem with a couple of out, middle-aged homos in their midst, there was absolutely no indication in the general public. The French may simply be more discreet than American in their disapproval, but we dealt almost entirely with the general public, not gay people, and found them uniformly friendly and warm.

Actually, Paris was a bit colder, but I perceived that as about a general dislike of tourists and outsiders, not Americans or Gays. Beyond that, I’d say we felt safer, more comfortable and less conspicuous there than anywhere in the US.

Do men cruise differently there?

I can’t say. We had very little “gay time” on this vacation. we were sightseers, shoppers and diners, but not specifically cruising homos. We did go to a couple of gay bars in Biarritz, but the tourist town was in total off-season mode and the bars were mostly deserted. Most of the people we saw there were locals being convivial… We’ll have to go back and see.

Then again, neither of us cruise a whole lot in the way single guys do. A little online, of course, but not out and about. I can tell you that there were virtually no cruisers online in Biarritz and Grindr was almost useless there, since it wouldn’t fully log me on to the alien network…

If you have sex with any locals, does it feel any different than sex with Americans?

I wish I could tell you. I’d love that perspective. From my experiences with visitors in the US, there is a different approach and energy, but the sex is not radically different. In my experience, every locale in America is a bit different, feels more or less safe to explore. I can tell you that in places that don’t have a vibrant sexual scene, options are limited and people don’t quite get kink as well. More of them just want to fuck and suck, and won’t settle for just JO. I think it takes the presence of a bater community to increase awareness of options, and Europe doesn’t seem to have JO clubs per se.

Do you feel different sexually while on vacation?

On this vacation, I felt far less sexual than I do at home. This may have been part of a general “lull” in my libido but I think it had more to do with the lack of bear culture versus lean culture. French people are generally quite a bit thinner than Americans. This was obvious when we were there and even more so when we got back and saw how big Americans are in contrast. 

I love how American culture has delivered plenty of lovers for the bigger man, as evidenced quite well in the photo blogs of tumblr, but I think nothing quite branded me as an American quite so immediately as my size did. I’m 225 pounds in a 6-foot body, not that unusual here in the US but a good 40 pounds heavier than my counterparts in France…

Being there made me want to lose weight, and when I’m in that frame of mind, I don’t feel sexy. If I’m in the process of losing weight, that makes a huge difference, even if I’m the same size. On this vacation, I was in the process of enjoying French cuisine every day, and that is not weight-loss mode.

And to be frank, I feel less sexual when I’m with my partner than I do when I’m on my own. I adore this man, but we don’t have a lot of sex anymore. We negotiate our sexual openness and constantly take care of our relationship, and it’s a living process. We’re both very much in love with each other, very comfortable together, share 19 years of history together, but we sleep together in the literal sense, not so much in the figurative anymore. I think that’s normal and I’m grateful we are both still so unequivocally eager to be together, but that means less sex. This vacation was about being together, so there was very little sex. There was lots of walking, eating, exploring and interacting with people, and there was much love. Not much sex… I masturbated a few times but a lot less than usual.

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