My actual brothers, my genetic siblings, are pretty much not in my life, except for the occasional bits of news from mom, or the exceedingly rare phone call out of the blue. They’re not terribly interested in my life nor am I in theirs. As an adult, it’s my husband and my extended family that seems to naturally fill my need for connection and belonging. 

I actively like all of them, in different ways, of course, being different people. I also love most of them (yeah, I said “most”). Each has some idiosyncrasies that irritate me to some point, but I really do like them… all four of their unique selves. I’ll always be connected to them, just not as actively and consistently as my local, extended family.

That includes the guys I regularly play with at the JO club—men I masturbate with in an organized, social way. I call them “Jacks,” “bate brothers” or “brothers of the bate” just because I like how that sounds… It fits, even if it sounds a little silly, even to me. I really do feel like the guys I jack off with are my compatriots, my fellows, my fraternity.

These men are open to recreational masturbation most of the time, and though there are no strings attached, what makes the Jacks relationship significantly distinct from either romantic love or sex-only hookups is that friendship is clearly not off the table. Friendship is, in fact, a natural option for Jacks. We are free to explore whatever relationships work for us among a network of men forming a community based on safe parameters and trust.

Every now and then when I’m at a Jacks event, I’ll encounter a guy I know from somewhere else, either from work or socially or some other non-sexual context. It is usually a lot more okay than I suspected it might be. That used to surprise me. Now it surprises me when guys are not okay with it. The great majority of the time, it’s a really fun thing, discovering this person you know from somewhere else and getting to know them in this new context. When it’s not okay, it’s almost always because they are afraid of exposure—of being outed—but most of the time, the space is safe enough that it allows us to relax and enjoy that sexual connection regardless of preexisting non-sexual connections.

I do notice that if I encounter someone I know really well, someone I am close friends with or work closely with, we will probably not actually play with each other, although there may be friendly touch, a hand on the shoulder or arm for instance, but we won’t engage physically. It’s more likely we will either ignore each other in the playspace or we will just make friendly eye contact, staying out of directly sexual contact while enjoying the fact of them having a good time and them seeing me have a good time. There is usually a sense that playing sexually with a close friend is comehow incestuous, although on occasion that proscription doesn’t operate at all. As always, chemistry rules the day, but I think that an anti-incestuous instinct is generally part of our chemistry… Generally.

I really like who I am in a sexual space, and I don’t feel embarassed sharing that. When I get to bring that energy to an existing relationship, it feels integrative, like showing them another aspect of me which is just as genuinely “me” as the nonsexual me. It’s a new dimension to that understanding of each other and neither a distraction or threat of any kind, at least that’s true for me.

And I’ve noticed a specifically fraternal feeling—not just in myself but widespread among the Jacks—a sense of brotherhood and community as we continue to recognize each other over time, to feel intimately safe together and to openly enjoy a raw, genuine, sexual experience either with or around each other. It seems to foster a sense of extended family or clan.

It’s an aspect of JO club membership that we don’t discuss much openly, since the thing that leads us in is the urging of our insistent penises. We know that staying focused on the primary purpose of our gathering together—on simply jacking off together—makes the additional benefits possible, and that a new guy will ultimately be likely to experience that deeper value if the experience clicks for him, but that it’s just being horny, just craving that sexual experience that gets him in the door. And while that basic libido will urge him (and us) back to the Jacks again and again, I think it’s more than just horniness.

We all seem to express it in different terms, but when asked why a regular member comes back again and again, the answers are predominantly not about cock, cum or masturbation. They are social, personal, spiritual and psychological, and particularly point to a connection with a community. Our dicks lead us in but our desire to belong, to be a part of something greater than ourselves, keeps us coming back.

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