I love my club and I love my members of all ages. I’ve also seen a number of guys connect with others at the club and become partners, some disappearing from the events for months or years. It is possible to make more meaningful connections there, as it is anywhere, but I really believe it is up to each of us. When a man is not finding meaningful relationships, it’s most likely because he is somehow not available for them. That is one of my core beliefs.
And… relationships are difficult. That goes for friends as well as lovers. Finding a good relationship—except in vanishingly rare circumstances—requires working through a lot of bad ones first. The main problem with getting older is not that we are older, but that our tastes and tolerances often narrow. We get more “set in our ways.” We generally need fewer friends and have decreasing energy over time to put out the effort required to take risks, get to know others and be vulnerable.
Sex, which is the purpose of all JO clubs, is actually easy. Virtually anyone can have sex, contrary to the fears of adolescence. Some kinds of sex are harder to negotiate than others, but by and large, sex has never been more available than it is now.
In the context of RCJ, I suggest you try volunteering. Put yourself in a cooperative activity separate from the sex and get to know some of the other guys who volunteer. Also, I suggest taking frequent breaks during the events and stepping into the locker area. Relax for a bit. Have some refreshments or a drink of water and strike up some casual conversations in there.
Also, try other activities where guys are: join a chorus or a bowling league or a church. Seek out groups of guys doing stuff you’re already interested in even a little. Just be yourself and start making more contact with people.
In my 40 years of gay sex and relationships, only one boyfriend came from a bar, and he only lasted a couple of months before we went our separate ways. Every meaningful relationship I’ve ever had started in a workplace, avocational or non-gay-specific social situation. If you’re out of the closet and okay with yourself as a gay man, you don’t need to go to gay bars.
But you do need to network, and by that I mean you need to be out where people are. A jack-off club, as much as I love them, is not necessarily the best place to find a boyfriend. It may be a more positive and more social situation than a bathhouse, but it is still a private club that exists for the ascendant purpose of helping men be sexual together.
We occasionally do have non-sexual events, but with the day jobs and hobbies and relationships and life that all the volunteers have, we can comfortably host jackoff parties but not a whole lot more. If we had more time, we’d probably host more JO events.
I love that you love the club, but it sounds like you may be looking in the wrong place for what you need. Regardless of the kind of “connecting with guys” that you’re talking about, I urge you to let go of the “grays” concern and consider that it may be a distraction. There are other options for connecting in a meaningful way than in a JO club.
And yes, it could happen at the Jacks. It does happen there from time to time… I just don’t think you should limit yourself.
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.