I remember when I first started sleeping with men. I say sleeping, but I was so confused about what I was doing, I felt awkward and a bit like a ‘prop’ in the bedroom. I knew I was physically attracted to other men, but I was still only twenty. I’d had a girlfriend until a couple of months before, and I just didn’t feel any good at being gay or sex with men.
To make matters worse, the black guys I was meeting were so confident about it all. I, on the other hand, had only just realised that black men could be gay!
It was around the time of AIDS, which made things a bit tricky sexually. People were dying, so everywhere you went, the advice was to “use a condom”. Or better still, abstain from penetrative sex altogether because condoms do break.
Although I progressed to a few long-term sexual relationships with guys over time, the first 10 years of my gay life were limited in terms of ‘actual fucking’. That would be absolutely unheard of now and totally not the norm. In the years coming out of the AIDS crisis, it definitely wasn’t unusual for guys to meet to have a lot of fun, but not always fuck.
This might explain my appreciation of proper foreplay and sensual exploration in bed, which I’m very grateful for, to be honest. But I also appreciate the actual people I am intimate with and not just their body parts, which is now the prevalent attitude, at least online.
I like to think I’m free thinking sexually, open-minded even, but online apps are actually turning me off sex. Once used as a tool to meet like-minded men, many black men I speak to talk of having to ‘take breaks’ or coming off websites and hook-up apps completely to preserve their mental health. What’s going on?
Sex and roles:
People these days seem obsessed with sexual roles. I might describe myself as ‘top’ or ‘top vers’ on my online profile, but if someone approaches me with the initial question, ‘Are you Top?’ I will say, ‘No, that’s not my name.’
I guess because I’m looking for a bit more than just ’a bottom’. The greatest sex I’ve had is when there’s been amazing chemistry with the person I’m sexing. So, let’s at least spend a couple of minutes formally introducing ourselves before we jump into the sexual details.
It is always disappointing when you meet or date a guy that ticks all the boxes physically but just really isn’t the right person in the end. There is only so much of the ‘dog in the park’ syndrome I can take. We have two legs, not four. But that is how dogs do it, isn’t it? They meet, mate, and run to the next without any attachment to their last entanglement.
Complicated controlling sexual behaviour
That hot guy you’ve been talking to who describes himself as top gets really offended and goes off you entirely because you asked to see or made reference to his butt.
‘No, I’m a Top’ (angry sighs stamping of feet).
Yes, we’ve established that…. but you still have an ass – I’m not asking to penetrate it. It’s just nice to know that my man has a nice backside, which I’d quite like to touch without trying to dismantle anybody’s masculinity!
It’s all just a bit limited. For some guys being a ‘top’ directly correlates to their sense of masculinity rather than what’s in their hearts or their general behaviour as men. So, any attention paid to their ass becomes a threat to their manhood. You can’t even touch it. It’s a no-go zone.
You also get the ‘bottom’ guy that gets annoyed or indignant because you’ve described yourself as a top, but you’ve sent them a picture that shows a tiny bit of your rump. “Are you sure you’re a top?” they’ll enquire! I mean, really?
They need a real man, they’ll tell you. Yawn.
DL or Dickhead:
People can often show you who they are or act out who they are by their attitudes to sex and their self-definitions. Plenty of black guys online actually think DL represents them in some kind of kool, positive and even more masculine light. In my experience, that term often describes someone who may be ‘unusually paranoid’ about being gay. Not exactly a strength.
I’ve had a guy turn up at my house and literally run from his car into my flat Beirut-style with his jacket over his head. Then stand near the window, adjusting my blinds, asking for a breakdown of who knows I’m into men. He doesn’t want anybody seeing him going into the house of any known homosexual. You best believe I was showing him the door shortly after that.
To the guys who don’t kiss nor suck nipples, those who just wanna get rammed without foreplay, and if you’re looking for a walk-in dick or have a general fear of intimacy, I’m not feeling you either. Please note, that’s nothing to do with the sexual act but rather an inability to connect with who you are.
I marvel at men who describe kissing as ‘too intimate’ but are quite happy to let someone jockey up in their back passage for a couple of hours.
Gay men seem to think they can opt-out of natural human behaviours when it comes to sex because they are gay – or want to detach themselves emotionally, for whatever reason, from the act.
Drugs: Another Control Story!?
While I believe in ‘whatever floats your boat’, I note the proliferation of chemical addiction among many users of gay online apps. Like me, many other men are now clearly stating ‘No HNH’ on their profiles. I have seen drug use ranging from a severe addiction to people making recreational choices about their sex lives, including drugs.
Not to judge or minimise anyone’s demons with drug use but in general:
- Do not waste my time chatting to me for an hour before you decide we could never get it together because I don’t do chemicals (boring and insulting)
- Please do not keep me waiting for 3 hours until you can score drugs so you can then become horny and attracted to me.
- Please do not make arrangements for me to meet you for some 1 on 1 fun – and open the door to have me step into a drug-fuelled orgy akin to the last days of the Roman Empire!
There is something to be said about getting high to relax and enjoy consenting sexual activity. When it no longer appears to be a choice but a necessity, that’s a red flag and another story.
Sex in conclusion
In general, it seems so much energy in ‘gay life’ is channelled into the procurement of quick disposable sexual encounters. This sadly might not be the case if it were equally acceptable for men to love, make love with and nurture other men in stable relationships across all cultures.
This love and nurturing might be even more challenging for black men who have to deal with marginalisation across the globe and racism and rampant objectification in the gay world.
While I may not be looking for love and marriage online, the reality of gay online apps is that most men can’t even commit to casual sex friendships. They can also be quite deceptive about their intentions until they get the sex they want and move on.
At this point, we could ask ourselves what constitutes good sex? For many of us single black gay males, good sex is regular mutually satisfying sex with a buddy, friend or partner. Like myself, these are precisely the people being alienated from online dating apps, those who seek to use these platforms to meet people for deeper friendships. Where to now?
We should, of course, be appreciative of the benefits associated with technology. Let’s also be mindful that electronic communication allows us to chat with 100 people at once. This ability to “connect” with countless more people every time we log on has promoted ‘unnatural’ self-serving behaviour that view sex as a quick fix and people and their feelings as expendable and replaceable.
As food for thought, a friend of mine felt quite conflicted recently. He said he needed to return to a well-known mobile dating/sex app to meet people while at the same time knowing that this app was making him extremely unhappy!
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