My Best Gay and Bi Friends Are Friends With Benefits
Written by ZACHARY ZANE
When I find you attractive, I want to sleep with you. It’s that simple, and I’m fairly confident I’m not the only queer man who feels this way. I find lots of guys attractive, which is why I often want to sleep with many, many guys. This is completely fine in theory. In reality? Not so much.
We live in a sex-negative society. Because of this, most of us don’t sleep around. Why? Because we don’t want to be slut-shamed by others, but even more so, by ourselves. We feel that there must be something wrong with us if we have sex with a lot of different people. “What deep hole must we have that we are trying to fill?” we ask ourselves. (For some reason, “The butthole” isn’t a sufficient answer.) As a society, we’ve pathologized promiscuity. We don’t seem comfortable being straightforward: He has a plump butt, and I’d like to eat it. That’s it.
Then there’s the whole monogamy deal. Please, before sending me hate mail, let me just say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting — or being in — a monogamous relationship. But I will take issue if you’re monogamous simply because everyone else is. Simply because you’ve drunk too much of society’s Kool-Aid that’s told you monogamy equals good, wholesome, and ideal, whereas nonmonogamy equals bad, pathological, and immoral.
If you’ve seriously introspected and can say confidently, without any undue influence from society, that you would still derive the most fulfillment being monogamous in a world that didn’t exalt it, then my gripe isn’t with you. You marry the man of your dreams, raise two rugrats, and paint that picket fence white.
I will say, though, that as queer men, it’s nice that we often fall outside the norms that come with dating, simply because many folks don’t consider two men dating “conventional.” As we gain rights — like marriage equality (which we should absolutely, 100 percent have) — it doesn’t mean we now have to marry. The fight wasn’t so we could live like those unhappy straight couples stuck in a loveless marriage. The fight was for equal rights, but the right to assimilate into heteronormative society isn’t a requirement to do so. And for many of us it isn’t even an attractive option.
But I digress. Let’s get back to the topic at hand: taking your friends downtown to poundtown.
When I came out to the world, at the ripe age of 22, I vowed I would never, ever slut-shame myself again. The shame, confusion, and self-loathing I felt while closeted was in the past. If I was out, I was going to act on my urges.
I started sleeping with new queer friends. All the time. I didn’t hold anything back. If I wanted to sleep with you, I made that clear, and 95 percent of the time, we had sex. What I didn’t expect from sleeping with my friends is that we’d become better friends because we had intercourse.
I’ve heard some sex advice gurus say things like “Once you’ve had your friend’s penis in your mouth, there’s nothing you can’t discuss.” I don’t think that’s true. It’s significantly easier for me to stick a man’s penis into my mouth than to have an emotional and vulnerable talk with a friend.
Having his penis in my mouth earlier doesn’t help me admit down the line, “I’m lost in life. I’m lonely, and I don’t know what to do.” So I’m not going to pretend that fun, casual sex somehow leads to emotional intimacy. But what I will say is that it gets rid of the “what ifs.” It gets rid of the implicit (and sometimes very explicit) sexual tension that I have with cute guys upon meeting.
This then allows us to have a real friendship. For me, once you get sex out of the way, it’s then that you can bond. I’ll be real with you: Sex sometimes clouds my judgment. (I know, crazy, right?) But once that post-orgasm clarity hits, and I realize, no, I definitely don’t like this guy as a romantic partner, I can then have a real friendship. That’s why I love having sex with all my friends: I think we’re better friends for it.
And sometimes, rarely, something else happens. The sex is phenomenal and the pillow talk divine, and you realize, “Oh, boy — I should be dating this guy.” Then the butterflies in your stomach start flapping, and your sweat glands go into overdrive, and the fun really begins. Hey, you might not have figured that out if you hadn’t slept with him. You may have simply stayed friends.
It’s a win-win. I say it’s high time we shake hands, drop our pants, and make some new friends.