Recently I had to deal with a soldier still in the military who needed a little realistic advice from me – to cool down his naive expectations about the life he wanted – as he prepared to become a civilian. This is what I said to him:
This is a big step for you – to prepare for the time when you become a civilian again. I don’t know how long you have been out for, or even if you have not actually come out yet but I should warn you that it is a huge mistake to view gay life in the same way as heterosexual life. Not all of my gay friends see it that way I am afraid, and they have tried to create a sort of pseudo-heterosexual life for themselves. It’s not surprising since that is the only cultural order that they ever knew.
To begin with, gay men have exponentially more sexual experience than most straight men. They also learn quite quickly that gay relationships based on sexual attraction alone can be very transitory and terrifying, so it is paramount to cultivate a group of real friends with whom you relate as an individual even when you have a partner.
Younger men are good for boundless energy – but bad if they think that their role is to become a pneumatic drill. That can quickly become tiresome and lead to rejection.
Gay men often go through a serious and serial lying phase. They attempt to deck themselves with respectability when cruising online – but you quickly find that this aura fades rapidly when they start to focus on a huge penis. At that point, most of them will do literally anything to have it. What is ironic is that their friends are not fooled at all. They know it is bullshit and they talk behind your back – and you will probably mock them the same way. It’s a sort of gay protocol. As time goes on, this ‘marketing’ is often replaced with a realism and decadence, that is overt, even addicted – and it can take a sharp left turn into fetishism as the list of admirers starts to shrink.
At some point, often before their 30th birthday, they will start to look – and feel tarnished – if all they ever managed to do was fixate on sexual intercourse. When the flat stomach begins to buckle, and the hairline recedes – if that is all they mastered they usually find themselves with an ugly choice to make.
1. Retire and retreat into the shadowy raincoat brigade – and map the public bathrooms and parks within striking distance in the city, the suburbs and on the highways.
2. Venture into fetishism where the bear market dominates. Gone is the cover boy fantasy. Instead, it is replaced with pure dirty lust, shapeless bodies, semi-darkness and a lot of leather.
3. Go into the rental market and spend Aunt Edna’s inheritance on escorts.
4. Desperately use hard drugs as an inducement to younger addicts and learn to become an object – a receptacle of fluids like a human toilet.
Yes – they have become victims of a serious addiction – anonymous and serial sex – which is driven by a subconscious desire for an orgasm that becomes more and more elusive as time passes.
But for some, there is an awakening – usually in their 20s. The desire to fall in love leads to more intense relationships and a fascination about how to navigate themselves into a way of life as affluent as what some heterosexuals lead – without having to give up gay sex.
The love relationships usually do not last very long, or perhaps they morph into friendships – which is actually the most enduring reward for this learning curve. But it is a period when they usually have countless sexual relationships – most of them one night stands – some become phantom fuckmates because they meet only in the middle of the night when masturbation simply does not give them the relief that they seek.
And then there is a core of guys who want to know how to move, step by step, into the shoes of an older gay man with an imported car, a beach house, a glamorous city apartment, a crowd of hot younger men paying court to him, and a huge list of friends that you may see mentioned in the media.
So now the smart young gay men begin to build a support group, a network that will sustain them in a far more expansive and goal oriented way of life.
This group should be very diverse men, women, heterosexual and gay, liberal and conservative. This should be your personal network, and if in the future you should become partnered, there is absolutely no need to force your partner to like your friends and vice versa. Actually, in my experience, they usually don’t. There is ownership of these relationships at stake, often resentment and even a sense of rejection by the partner that hasn’t yet understood what all of this is about – and of course it is really not about him.
OK, so we have established that sexual fidelity is not really very high on a gay man’s list, although he may think it is and tell everyone else that it is. I have discovered that the only bond worth having with another person is one that makes no demands (except of course to not humiliate your partner and to be considerate of his feelings while trying to be as honest as is humanly possible). So now I have established space – your own private space and you should never feel you have to include anyone else in that space including your partner who should/must have his own space. You can invite him into your space but only as a guest albeit a special guest.
This helps to get rid of the emotion of neediness from yourself and those who are close to you. When you feel that someone is needy, it can drive you crazy and damage the relationship.
Gay men have enormously more sexual experience than most straight men. It also helps to explain why gay men tend to be far more liberal than straight men. They realize that sexuality has nothing to do with money, education, and status. So, in general, they will have far more sophisticated experience with social behavior than almost anyone else. All you need to do is go to pornhub.com and see what straight men and women think is seduction. It tends to be confined to dick size and pussy grabbing, and deep, really deep penetration. Cheating also appears to be a huge turn on for most of them.
As far as sexual relations go with other men, I can honestly say that I have lost count or probably did when I was in my mid-20s. I have found that sexual experience actually changes what you are attracted to. The most important one to me is self-confidence. That attracts me more than almost anything else. Nowadays I am much less motivated to seek sexual gratification – probably a sense of déjà vu has set in – – not to be flippant but there is only one thing worse than not finding a sexual correspondent when you want one, and that is to get rid of them when they are not inclined to leave. Unfortunately- realistically that is more often true than not.
Of course, we all have ‘types’ of what we like to think is attractive. But I find that I often surprise myself by liking someone that would appear to be opposite to my ‘type.’
So good luck with your return to civilian life. I don’t expect you to heed much of my advice – except perhaps in hindsight – if you should hit a brick wall.