I laughed out loud when I read the email from PositiveLite.com editor Bob Leahy asking if I’d be interested in writing a sex column. It seemed like Car & Driver asking a man with a donkey to write a column on electric transmissions. Or asking Justin Trudeau to write a self-help book about overcoming the challenges of being severely unattractive and coming from the wrong side of the tracks.
If you’ve read the Sex Diaries before you probably understand my reaction. There’s no sex. These diaries are a one-man show. They might as well be called "The Cranial Fantasies of an Always Horny Almost Old Man". You won\t find anything about pauses to grab the lube lost between a stranger’s sweaty thighs, or downstairs neighbors yelling “shut the fuck up you horny rabbits it;s 3 a.m. and we’re trying to sleep.”
There are no sticky towels, dirty sheets to wash or hickeys to be hidden because the amount of sex in here is nada, zilch, nein, zero, nicht. And even if the allure is in the hunt, the joy always found in the journey, my sexual safaris end before they begin. I never get out of camp; never bag any big game; there’s no cubs nursing my lap; no large animals to stuff or to mount.
Anyone Know How to Use this GPS?
While the distance between the allure of possibility and the getting the job done isn’t very far (at least for a gay man living in San Francisco), my internal GPS makes the route to entanglements more like a complicated tango mixed in with some rumba on the side.
When I think that I’m ready to slick back my hair and dance, my social skills leave the premises. In seconds, this chatty guy can strike up a conversation with a stranger, talk the bark off a tree, but when the slightest hint of sex or romance is in the breeze my tongue gets tied. In my mind the rules of engagement - glance of the eyes, the necessary poise, movement of hips, ass and feet - seem far beyond my grasp. It’s been a lifelong Achilles heel.
The Pie Charts of Neuroses OR The More Things Change The More Some Remain the Same
When I was younger self-doubt was driving the car with self-loathing riding shotgun. Then came the virus. While I never felt ashamed about being infected it was the blood-born equivalent of being lousy in gym class. When it came to casual encounters, nobody wanted me on their team. Or at least that’s what I thought. Either way I wasn’t getting laid.
These days, older and wiser, self-loathing is no longer part of the recipe for my sexless stew. I want to meet a man like me. And HIV is still a wild card that’s something I’m less worried about, but mostly because I never hook up.
But my self-doubt has grown stronger, now king of the hill, more assertive then ever, armed with evidence, both first-hand and forensic (sticky Kleenex on the bedroom floor) that makes a compelling case for my incompetence and fosters an attitude of "why bother?"
As for what’s behind the doubt, it’s a combination platter. Age and physique are part of the formula but the biggest ingredient in that large slice of neurotic pie comes from my belief that when it comes to sex I’m like a used car, one that looks decent but that you sure as hell don’t want to drive, especially on the highway.
It’s like this. Jacking off at home my Mr. Johnson is hard as a rock. With another guy he’s a wet noodle and has a hard time coming out to play.
This problem is nothing new. Even when young I oddly related to those women writing Dear Abby for advice because while they loved their husbands they didn’t enjoy sex and only wanted to cuddle. I recognized myself in those letters although when alone I could and still do masturbate for hours, my cock hard as a rock while I fantasize about sex I’m too scared to pursue in the world outside my brain.
And yeah, I know a hard-on isn’t a requisite for fun in bed, the rest of me – my body and brain and breath – goes into shutdown mode too. Panic describes it in a word.
The Verdict Is In
Talking with a friend about me, myself and Mr. Johnson, I was reminded of something obvious, but rapt in my sexless melodrama, I’d forgotten. It’s the simple fact that not all sex is good sex. That those who get ‘it’ all the time aren’t necessarily having the time of their lives. That sex, like a bell curve, mostly falls somewhere in the middle and that by thinking it’s the secret of life, or that I’m a failure as a gay man is to miss the forest for the trees.
Fear is nothing new. And complaining about a lack of sex is a vintage whine of men throughout the ages. Digital hookups make it seem easy, but they’re not the way I roll. I’m old school, a face to face, nice to meet you kind of guy.
Intimacy and touch are lovely and while I’m hoping that I have some mind-blowing ass-fucking, top or bottom, it's not gonna kill me if I don’t. Disappointing, sure but it’s not like dysentery.
I’ve often joked I’m more of a lesbian than a gay man. A dream date would go like this: I make out, make waffles and then maybe, and I just mean maybe, get hot between the sheets in the morning.
Time to erase that punch line. I’m not lesbian at all. I’m just me. Good, old, me.