Thanks for the suggestions! We do not actively encourage members to connect socially outside of events. For many, anonymity is a major issue but that’s not true for everyone.
I know that some of the members do connect socially after having met at the club, either after events or on their own time. I don’t see any reason to not help social connections happen. Everyone has the option individually to choose anonymity.
Another thing we tried in the past was sponsoring “afterglow” events where we would designate a local pub as a gathering place to relax and socialize after events. That had limited success, but I don’t think we need it to be hugely attended. It’s perfectly good whether only two guys show up or twenty do.
I think it’s often a surprise for the members just how social an experience a JO club is, since they go into it thinking only of the sex. In my experience, it’s the social element itself that makes JO clubs unique.
I guess I’m thinking of two specific extra-masturbatory kinds of interaction… The first would be informal, convivial activities, like the afterglow or maybe a Summer barbecue or other social gathering. The second would be less informal and light—I’m thinking discussion groups at Gay City or the “pre-meat” coffeeshop gatherings before events. Those would be more to actually converse honestly about the club itself.
Both kinds of activities would add to the experience of the club and, I think, strengthen the group as a community.
Sometime in the early-aughts, I was at a Seattle Pride post-parade rally and noticed one particular chant getting a lot of play out there in Volunteer Park. “Safe Sex is Great Sex!!!” As they have been for years now, condoms were as plentiful as pollen at the Pride festivities. Indeed, condoms are a common presence at all gay locales and events in Seattle, although it is widely reported that barebacking has also been a popular “trend” in recent years, and that both HIV and syphilis have been rising among the man-loving men of the Pacific Northwest for some time.
I have always wondered how many of them get used… They’re not like corn chips and salsa that you just naturally shovel down while waiting for your next Margherita. You don’t choose to eat those things. You have to choose to NOT eat them. Condoms don’t naturally find their way onto our penises with the proper fit and position and lube and timing…
So when I heard the rousing cheer for safe sex, I was more than skeptical. I was downright cynical. I could easily imagine any of these hot, shirtless guys happily accepting suspect fraternal fluids into one or more of their bodily openings before the day’s festivities had run their course. I know that many of the men in the park that day did and do, in fact, practice safer sex as a rule, but too many of them fudge the edges of “safety” and rationalize riskier behavior all the time. What I thought to myself was, “That’s a nice slogan, but it’s mostly just lip service. All talk and no action…”
It was very soon after this that I launched the Rain City Jacks. I will admit that at the time, that chant was still lurking in the back of my mind and I was thinking with no small degree of smugness, “Chants are all well and good but we’re not chanting here, we’re actually doing great, safe sex.” I felt genuinely good about being part of the solution, encouraging safer behavior not by railing against recklessness, but by focusing on the erotic nature of the practice of non-penetrative sex itself.
And in all honesty, I wasn’t doing it at all for the public good. I was doing it because I love jacking off with other guys, LOTS of other guys, and I missed the JO club I’d belonged to before I met my husband. I just wanted to do it. The safe aspect was a nice bonus…
Yes, it was lust—not altruism—that motivated me to become the JackDaddy of RCJ.
I do still believe that the key to safer sex is embracing the sex of it, not focusing on the safety of it, but a curious thing showed up after a couple of years of community building around massive circle jerks: Plentiful action… but no talk.
It turns out that generations of sexual shaming has left most of us zipper-lipped about sex, even when it’s happening. We’ve had some success in getting guys to just ask, “May I?” before they engage with each other, and we’ve gotten them to say, “I’m coming!” rather than just breathing hard before orgasm. I hear plenty of “Wow!” and “That was great!” and “Thank you” but there’s a whole lot of mouth action missing. Just following protocol is not actual talking about sex. The guys are connecting pretty easily physically, but there’s a lack of personal connection that seems conspicuous in its absence.
We have successfully achieved “Less talk. More action!” We are actively and responsibly practicing some of the safest group sex available, and we’re sustaining this for years.
We’ve freed our dicks and our love of them very nicely. I think it’s time we found ways to free our minds and our mouths a little more as well… to find opportunities to keep the action, and add back some of the talk. I am picking up a desire to be get friendlier, to share more, to ask questions of each other, to bring more of who we are outside the playspace into the playspace. It seems natural to me that some of the guys might eventually want to better integrate this ethic of good recreational sex among friendly men with the rest of who we are.
We’ve entered the teens of the 21st Century. I think we can stop pretending that thing we just indulged in that made us cum didn’t happen. Let’s keep jacking off together… and then let’s not be afraid to talk about it.
You know, Adam, I have two biases on this subject: My personal taste and my position as leader of a diverse sexual community. I think both positions agree with you.
The short answer is no, it doesn’t have to be so mean, but the individual who posted that pic has some energy about what specifically turns him on and off, and an unfortunately common interest in selling others on agreeing with his own personal taste. He’s not content to just take responsibility for his own opinions, but feels compelled to make the things he likes “right” and the things he doesn’t like “wrong.” Assholes like this show up all over our culture… including among our elected “leaders.” Drives me crazy…
I happen to share his taste for hirsute men and natural pubes. I find male body hair a specific and strong turn-on. Moreover I am actively turned off by shaved genitals. That’s my personal bias.
But I never attempt to instruct other people on what they should find hot. That’s as ludicrous as homophobes telling me I should be attracted to women. Well, I’m just not, but I would never put anyone else down for being heterosexual. There’s nothing wrong with straight and bi men getting off on pussy and tits, any more that there’s anything wrong with me getting off on a man’s hairy legs and crotch. Live and let live!
There’s nothing wrong with a guy who is turned on by naturally or unnaturally hairless bodies either. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with shaved pubes or unshaved pubes. It’s just a matter of taste.
RCJ has an official non-discrimination policy. We don’t care how a guy looks or the shape or age of his body or dick. Nobody has to submit a photo or win a beauty contest to join, just be legal, interested in what we do and play by our rules. A big reason for this is that if we did filter guys, who would make the “hot or not” decision? Who gets to decide what kind of guy is worthy of being attractive to others? It’s a losing proposition. Also mean-spirited. We would not want to filter out anyone that someone is going going to find attractive. It’s always better to let people make their own choices on the spot and not tell them what should be attractive to them.
My only disagreement with you is that masturbation is “all about the penis.” In my humble and considered opinion, masturbation is all about being alive and giving in to a desire to experience sexual pleasure. My masturbation is definitely very penile, but it involves my whole body and my mind, the reality of the moment and the infinite realm of fantasy as well. With others, it’s like any other kind of sex in that its quality is dependent upon willingness, openness, focus and attention to the moment. When I jack off with you, I am totally loving my own dick and your dick as well, but also your facial expressions, the curve of your hips, the sensation of your leg against mine, the smell of your body and the responsiveness of your breath. It’s all about the penis… PLUS everything else going on at that moment of sharing it.
My advise is to ignore assholes on the Internet. There’s an endless supply of them, you know. Stick with the guys you connect with and brush off the jerks.
The word, “connection” is a really subjective term with lots of meanings. What I mean by connection may differ from what you mean, and what we each mean now may change in different circumstances.
It reminds me a little of the definition of “sobriety” in recovery circles. For some, abstinence alone equals sobriety. For others it means only total abstinence from all addictive supply (no cigarettes, no sugar, no sex). It could mean persistently working a recovery program, even if it includes lots of recidivism… Words often mean many different things.
So this is one of those, “for me” opinions… (as is any of my opinions were universal…)
I find it hard to imagine any kind of sex working without some sense of connecting, at the very least with one’s own body. I often say that sex is fundamentally about connection, that it’s almost as important a reason for humans to have sex as procreation. That’s certainly a big piece of the motivation for non-procreative activities like gay sex or masturbation.
I often associate a sense of connection with one of focus and presence. I approach sex this way (and this is a sex blog, after all) and always do my best to pay close attention, either to the specific body part I am involved with or my thoughts and sensations associated with the moment. I “connect” when I’m not distracted, and when I’m both willing and compelled to experience a moment.
There’s an expression, “being in one’s head,” that I think generally means over-thinking and being distracted by internal monologues. I need to be in my mind without getting carried away by thinking in order to connect, either with myself or the natural world or an idea oran experience or a person or a group of people.
In a JO club there’s a temptation to be carried away by the presence of so many men experiencing intense sexual pleasure in the same place at the same time. There may be a temptation at any point to just look away from what’s happening right in front of you and within you and instead just indulge in drinking in the parade of visual stimulation. It’s not a bad thing, but it can take one out of the moment and it can be a rich distraction from the immediacy of one’s own bodily experience. It’s a specific challenge…
I do believe that connection is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the one who wants to experience it. For me, the seed of connection is presence and it’s incredibly difficult in a culture of distraction and obsession to focus one’s mind to be present, but for me, it’s mainly a matter of starting from the simple decision that I will be present. If I’m all there, I find connection with myself in the moment and I’m more easily aware of the connections to be made around me.
I’m really good with a starting point. Not so good with a blank page… I frequently think, “I really should write something in my blog today,” and then the moment passes and the blog continues to age and fade…
You can help. Please help. It’s very simple…
Click the link near the top of the left column of my blog—the one that says, “Ask me anything"—and do that. Ask me a question. I prefer really good questions but I will answer pretty much anything you ask, so please. Ask me a question and I will have one really good reason to write in my blog today.