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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE SEX-ISTENTIAL DILEMMA

Everything in life is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power,” Oscar Wilde famously quipped.  But in the century since Wilde’s death, it appears that, like most things in life, sex and its meaning have become a bit more complex, especially in the lives of gay men.

 We all know that sex can be a lot of fun; if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be having so damn much of it. But why do we have sex? Why do we seek it out? What exactly does it do for us? 

For some, sex is literally meaningless. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that we find sex with other guys a fun time and a great way to let off some steam. If [I’m fucking] a stranger, then it’s just physical and I’m satisfying a physical need, right?

For many, sex is all about adventure and exploration. Everyone has different desires and needs and behaviors when their clothes come off. It’s like a real life Pokémon hunt where you actually get to fuck the creatures you catch! Every single experience will differ from the one before it because you are dealing with a new person who has different kinks, different expectations, and differently sized body parts. Imagine all of the experience one can amass from such a quest.

It’s no secret that our community is very appearance-oriented. We spend hours at the gym each week lifting weights and working up a sweat on various cardio machines to ensure that our bodies are in tip-top shape. For some guys, sex is all about self-gratification. It just makes me feel desirable. It’s not totally fulfilling but it’s definitely an ego boost.

And why shouldn’t sex provide a little jump-start to our egos? Presumably we’ve hit on someone that we find attractive. That person, in turn, then accepted our advances and took us all the way into their home and bed and maybe even them. He was hot. He thinks you’re hot. That must mean you are indeed hot!

Unfortunately, the uplifting effects of sex can be fleeting. As soon as that guy you scored ignores you out in public, or you see him with someone else, or someone you hit on rejects you, the temporary high is all but wiped out. This might lead some to constantly seek out casual sex, trying to relive that same sky-high feeling of attractiveness like an addict trying to get a fix.

Not everyone experiences the negative end of the ego boost. For some, the shot of sexiness is the thing and getting one does the trick. For instance, take nothing but the good stuff from the hookup. 

Sex, even if it’s mind-blowing and full of passion, isn’t always positive. Many of us feel empty or even guilt and sadness after a brief sexual escapade. Whether due to a sense that they were used, or that they used someone else, or that they needed to depend on someone else to feel better about themselves, there are many reasons people can actually get taken down a notch by a one-night stand.

On the plus side, sex can also function as a vehicle for true connection with another person. In this city where we ride the subway shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers we’ll never talk to or see again, sometimes the bed is the one place we can get to know someone. “I use sex in a way sometimes to get close to someone,” says Tyler. “It makes me feel good to be honest.”

In the end, sex is an enigma that can change its meaning, power, and form even during the act itself, and will mean something completely different to every single one of us, even while we’re in the process of fucking each other. Every sexual experience is potentially a mystery; we dive in each time without much certainty what the outcome will be. An ego boost? A new connection with a fuck buddy? A potential boyfriend? A feeling of guilt?


We’ll never know the true meaning of sex since it is always changing. And we’ll never be able to see the future and tell what will come from it. But there’s always hope that the meaning will be good and that what comes from it will be promising. Zakh, ever the optimist, summed up this rosy view in the best way any New Yorker could: “Maybe that hookup can lead to a relationship. Because hey, you never know!”

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