I’m not too tumblr savvy, other than scrolling through the endless pics… But I wanted to say some things. I’m 30 and have never had sex. I’m gay. I was raised in a very conservative Christian family, I went to a Christian college and even went to seminary for a gotten over just about every intellectual and spiritual hurdle to being gay, except for that very big one…actually having sex with another man. I love masturbating and lately have been clued in to some of the finer points of edging and “gooning.” One afternoon a couple months ago I masturbated for three hours–the longest I’ve ever done–and I experienced some wonderful things physically and emotionally. I’ve been reading your blog and I’ve looked over the Rain City Jacks website. I am planning some time soon to come to an event. I am very nervous about the idea but very excited. I hope to learn something about myself and other men, and of course to have a good time and get off. Just wanted to share. Thanks.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. I apologize if this is about a hundred times more response than you wanted… but here goes!

I live in an unusually progressive (read, “non-conservative”) city. Being gay here is about as close to a non-issue as anywhere I’ve ever lived, and I love it, but it’s important to remember that the rest of the country is not like this. Gay people have a hard, hard time just being honest with themselves, much less anyone else, about who they really are. Life becomes very heavy with the effort of hiding details large and small in virtually every situation. We who live on the islands of tolerance in the blue archipelago are the minority. We should not forget that our courage to live honestly affects others in harder places.

I encourage you to honor the truth in your life, just as you honor that you are gay, regardless of what you have done or not done. You accept and honor your own truth, which is more than most gay men in your situation.

But also honor your past and your conditioning, not its repressive nature, but the fact that you grew up in it. It is part of you, and you can’t ever shake it, only draw upon it as we all draw upon our experiences to make the best now we can create.

In other words, you get to have a hard time finding sexual relationships, and you get to figure out that part of life anyway. Let’s face it: A gay kid who grows up with parents who are truly happy with him being gay, and are mostly concerned about him just being healthy, safe, well-educated and connected with supportive communities, is going to have a much easier time finding his way through the world of interpersonal relationships than another gay kid whose parents would threaten him with death and damnation, ostracism and isolation if he merely admits he ever so much as thinks about “those things” much less claim to be gay.

We all have a puzzle to work out in life. That is life: We navigate our own challenges on the way to what we hope will be a satisfying, reasonably happy life. Your puzzle includes religious and cultural abuse regarding your one of your most fundamental impulses.

Meeting people, learning about dating, negotiating relationships and learning how to have sex (first bad sex and then better sex and hopefully really great sex) is tricky for everyone, and sex with the self is an important part of getting there. For a lot of men, a JO club is an excellent way of first experiencing sex with other men. It is direct, simple, controlled and friendly.

But make no mistake: jacking off with other guys is, literally, having sex with other men. If you have never touched another man’s hard penis for the purpose of pleasure, and visa versa, you’re practicing a purely solosexual existence. When you take the step to attending a JO club, and if you can muster the will to allow others to touch you, and allow yourself to touch others, you will have taken an important step. You will have broken through that first barrier.

And it will almost certainly not be easy getting to that point. You should just accept that. Your first sexual encounter with another man will be a big moment for you, so it’s 100% normal to be very nervous and very excited.

However it turns out—and you may feel really awkward and shy and you may not get off at all the first time—You should know that every man in the room has been there at that moment, or is even there at the same moment as you. First times are some of the best memories we have. I want you to know that I want you to be happy, to experience the same wonder I and countless others have experienced, and that we support you in being happy, because we recognize ourselves in you, even with all of our differences.

So please do get yourself to that moment. That is your job now: To bring yourself to the opportunity to experience for yourself what you have desired and denied for so long. It can be great or it can be tough but it makes possible every next experience in your life. That may not be in a JO club, but this is certainly one of your options.

Please let me know if there is any support you may need. Just click the “Contact” link on the top left column on this page and let me know if there’s anything I can tell you, other than the time, date and location of the next events.

And thanks again for sharing. I look forward to meeting you.

Update

This is not a lengthy post. Sorry, my faithful minions… 

I just want to mention that movement on my book seems to have kicked into gear. The right people are falling into place, the right circumstances are appearing at the right times… It’s starting to look like this thing is really happening, and lots of new considerations are coming up.

For instance… Who will hate me and how will I handle that? I’m fairly certain that is going to happen, and I’m used to being pretty well-liked, if not treated civilly. I am hoping that I will find a hell of a lot more supporters than detractors, I just hope that the haters aren’t within the community of the Jacks. I think I’ll need to be prepared for that.

Another consideration is money. This would be a whole lot easier with a modest writer’s grant. I’m probably going to need to take a few unpaid days of leave to do the needed research. With or without an angel on my side, this is going to go forward… I would not mind meeting an angel, though. I am putting my mind to that one too.

It’s interesting to me how much information can not be found on the Internet. Quantitative research is one thing I need to leave home to find, but so is the human connection, the people whose stories I want to tell. I am really, really looking forward to the unplugged portion of this work.

I’m really excited. Almost giddy…

I’m really glad you read my blog, by the way. If you would like to help me with my work, click on the link in the top left corner that reads, “Ask me anything,” and ask me something interesting. It’s incredibly stimulating for my creative process to not just hold forth in this blog, but to engage in conversation.

More—much more—to come.

Meanings

I see three specific meanings that we generally apply to the word, “masturbation.” One contextual, one an objective action, and one euphemism.

And of course there are many more. This is, after all, the most common sex our species practices, so there are myriad applications and twists on the word, but I have a theory that a good 90% of us think of these three general meanings when we refer to masturbation. Here’s my grand theory:

  1. Solitary sexual stimulation in general, particularly of the genitals. The operative word is “solitary.” This definition of masturbation assumes that one is always alone with one’s own pleasure (or shame), specifically giving to oneself and receiving from oneself. No other person is physically involved in the act, although others may be virtually involved through imagination (fantasy), auditory (phone sex), visual (porn) or other surrogate means (voyeurism, fetish objects, etc.). This can include sex toys or any number of enhancements, and may or may not culminate in orgasm. To qualify as masturbation, it must be a solitary practice.
  2. Stroking genitals with the hand. The focus is on the specific activity of genital stimulation without penetration, chiefly with the use of our most readily available manipulative tool, the hands and fingers. This idea of masturbation defines itself by what’s being done rather than who is doing it or what context it happens in. From this perspective, a partner or group of any size may masturbate together or masturbate each other, also employing the use of toys if desired, as long as no part of one body goes inside another. The moment of oral or anal contact to genitals is where the masturbation ends and penetrative sex begins. 
  3. Wasting time. “Masturbation” works as a euphemism for spending time doing anything that is considered useless by someone. Unfortunately, this definition carries with it the stigma of sexual self-stimulation as “substitute sex” which is therefore not valid, not appropriate, not “good,” not “sex.” While it may relate to something that is entirely nonsexual (i.e. “mental masturbation”) it always assumes that intercourse is superior to masturbation, that masturbation is, literally, a waste of time. This is true if the only measure of value in a sex act is procreation, in which case everything less than penis-ejaculating-in-vagina intercourse is “less than” sex.

Whatever we mean when we talk about masturbating, I think it’s enormously valuable to think about the words we use and be intentional about them. What do we want masturbation to mean? How do we actually experience the act of masturbating in different situations? While we jack off alone, are we thinking it’s a waste of time, or does that thought ever occur after orgasm? If we’re masturbating with a friend or lover, or manually pleasuring them, is that a waste of time? Is talking about it a waste of time?

We all have a choice to express ourselves any way we please. I propose that it is worthwhile to commit to speaking of masturbation positively, to claim it as fundamentally healthy and good for a vast array of reasons. Our brains often follow our mouths.

Goon

Gooning is one of those things that many men don’t understand, and it is a very, very easy thing to make fun of. Gooning is, in fact, objectively ridiculous. It is also one of the things that holds a key to a freer expression of sexuality through mindful masturbation.

It doesn’t really surprise me that many avid masturbators—social and solitary alike—have no idea what gooning really is, and it’s actually a little hard to describe. In my own words: Gooning is a state of deep sexual experience in which one partially detaches from rational thought and acts more primitively, more feral. It is, by deliberate choice, irrational sexual pleasure that can include facial contortions, drooling, deep breathing through the mouth and non-verbal moaning.

It is “deep bate.”

I jack off with a lot of guys, probably more than a hundred in a year, and I have noticed a very controlled space that too many men get into when they’re in a sexual state, like they get more tense and tight as they get closer to orgasm. I see gooning as the opposite of that, allowing yourself to breath through your open mouth, make sounds organically, allow a deeper, more primordial sexual energy to flow freely, to look unabashedly at what you want to see, to essentially release control to indulge in an extravagant experience of deep, physical pleasure.

And to get to that free space, I had to fake it for a while, to act like a monkey or a dog or whatever, to allow myself to be silly, for want of a better word. I think the experience of gooning is not fake, though. I think it’s an organic, deep human process that we are generally cut off from in the sexually-strangled, civilized world. It’s very contrary to our daily existence and way of thinking and being, so for a lot of us, maybe all of us, it takes some work to set it free.

I have caught myself drooling when in a deep goon state, and that includes when having sex with a partner. The first time it happened, I broke into laughter, which also felt freeing.

Dan Savage once remarked in his podcast about how, in the heat of sex, we can act ridiculous, in ways that we would never behave outside of a sex act or a mental institution, and at the moment of orgasm, all that sanity rushes back to us and we experience a moment of embarrassed disbelief at what idiots we seemed to be just seconds before. I think that cultivating the deep goon is healthy and accepting that experience, embracing its primordial power, is part of being fully sexual and fully satisfied. The moment after the sexcraziness has passed can be one of awe and honor for our deeper selves instead of embarrassment.

I love meeting other men who can embrace the goon within.

Center (part 1)

Wow, I’ve been remiss… A few days of lost blogging turns into weeks. So far, it hasn’t become a month off but I’m getting dangerously close.

It’s a new year and I’m thinking this needs to be the year of The Project. I’ve been committing myself judiciously to a number of activities (not the least among them being dropping a bunch of excess fat) but there’s this one BIG one I’ve been dicking around with for the past couple of years, and it’s come a lot more into focus over the past few months.

And I’m not going into a lot of detail. Sorry. I’ve learned not to give away my fire, so I’m going to keep this baby in the pressure cooker (yum!) until there’s some real progress.

A cryptic entry… My apologies.

Last week, I attended the “Introduction to Sex Positive Culture” at the Center for Sex Positive Culture, the remarkable organization were RCJ hosts its events. I really felt good about getting my very gay ass into a room where I was in the sexual minority for a change. I’m more accustomed to being my gay self around lots of gay others, either naked at the Jacks or clothed in the chorus.

Have I mentioned that I sing with Seattle Men’s Chorus? Biggest gay chorus in the world? Yeah. I do that. Eleven years and counting.

At work, there are lots of different folk, but I’m just being me—not being specifically homosexual—when I’m at the office… As a rule.

I would come away from this session with a new identifier for myself: Gay-Curious. I don’t mean I’m curious about being gay—that would be like Popeye identifying as spinach-curious—but gay and curious about women’s sexuality. I don’t consider myself innately stimulated by women enough to be actually bisexual, but I’m definitely more than just intellectually curious…

So I was in a place that was all about sex, about approaching it positively and practicing it openly, and here were all the women and men, some queer like me but mostly straight and many kinky. It felt amazingly good to be there, just sitting in the room I have already masturbated in with hundreds of men over the past year, with twenty or so other horny humans on folding chairs, all listening to a Center Ambassador hold forth for an hour on the ins and outs of the organization.

Most of these people were going to stay and play later that night. I was heading home to do laundry and get a good night’s sleep before work the next day…

The session was too long, and way too much listening to one person talk to us (sometimes at us) about the club rules (I could probably offer some tips on improving the presentation, but it’s not my place to criticize, noob that I am). I noted a lot of similarities between CSPC’s Intro session and RCJ’s new member orientation, but theirs takes an hour and a half while ours takes 15 minutes, max.

Ben (names changed as always) went over the very long new member document we all had in our hands, just touching on the salient points (no means no, park in legal spaces, safe sex is up to the people having it, the safe word is “safeword,” ask and obtain permission before any participation in any scene, staff wear name tags, etc., etc.) Just before everyone nodded off, he handed us off to another ambassador (“Barb”) who took us on a tour.

It was a challenge just taking it all in and letting go of my spatial prejudice, having become deeply familiar with every nook and cranny of the Annex side of the Center, having set it up and torn it down for a year, but it was a good exercise letting myself play the novice to a point (I did introduce myself as the founder and manager of Rain City Jacks, so everybody knew that much. Many knew who we are, so I was a person in context, and not a complete stranger—possibly not an advantage).

The genuinely new perspective came when we moved over to the Main Space, the original, more developed part of the Center, with which I was 99% unfamiliar… Now the imagination started cranking… (to be continued)

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