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.
Writer, singer, baker, Mac geek, production artist, “daddy” and the founder/manager of Rain City Jacks, a non-profit J/O club in Seattle, Washington.