When I came out, it was black men and being with them emotionally and physically that gave me such hope and excitement regarding my future.
When the nuts are full, the mind is empty. (Rinella p. 16)
This incredible and powerful quote in Jack Rinella's Partners in Power tells us that this book is not simply a book on creating leather relationships.
This insightful and brutally honest tome allows the reader to both examine the world of leather and self reflect.
After and during the time that I was reading this wonderful book, I began asking myself questions.
While I have no idea how many individuals are a part of the culture, it is clear to me that this is a culture. My understanding of this group of individuals was that is was rife with domination and coercion.
Underestimating the power of play and that all human interaction is based on agreements, my assumption was that one side had all the power while the other(s) simply surrendered. Negotiating a continuum of power sharing is not coercive when people state their needs and desires honestly.
When viewed with a more knowledgeable and discerning point of view, my understanding of what constitutes relationships and the multitude of ways individuals relate, form alliances and offer care is now been recreated and deconstructed.
Apparently, I knew nothing about this world and the ways people within them relate. Much of what I found shocking was how similar the mores and tools used in this culture could be borrowed and if successfully implemented into more "mainstream" sexual and relational units could make all involved parties happier, healthier and generally more productive.
Many of our relationships, especially those that are emotional or sexually intimate are rife with assumptions, lies by omission , manipulation, fear of truths and full of doubts.
Within the leather culture if a person is unclear as to how they like to play, after some honest self examination and experimentation, things can get pretty clear, pretty quickly. If flogging or fisting isn't your thing, you more than likely will figure this out after the initial attempt or perhaps a short time later.
Many of us in unions without leather often spend inordinate amounts of time denying our truths and our deepest darkest secrets and desires.
In our efforts to be "nice" people, we cloak ourselves in lies about our desires and then wonder why we're miserable.
Being vague helps nor excites anyone.
Part of what makes the community a safe place includes such things as a "safe call" which all cruising queens would be smart to adopt. This involves checking in with certain pre-determined persons pre and post a cruising escapade. This once again calls for an inordinate amount of honesty. Sharing with friends that you will be on the prowl and will call at certain times to let him/her know where you are is a smart decision and can prevent bashing or possibly death.
Partners in Power is a critical examination of what is required to be a part of a community that is still ill-represented, misunderstood and in no way viewed as an organism that has figured out how to sustain itself by consistently adapting itself to new "players" who are interested in experimenting, testing all types of personal limits and being honest about the results that get discovered once the nuts are empty.
Long Beach, CA has the third or second highest HIV infection rate in the state of California.
Upon recently finishing the thought provoking and paradigm shifting, WHY ARE FAGGOTS SO AFRAID OF FAGGOTS ?, I am convinced that racism is cloaked in preference and one way to defeat racism is to (safely)sleep around indiscriminately.
What does this entail ?
It means for those of us cruising the internet or public places that we don't limit who we fuck.
That we only limit what we will do not with whom.
We eliminate things like no Asians or Blacks (unless their hung like a wild animal) and simply state the type of sexual act we would like to partake in.
We need to be more honest. If I prefer a certain sexual act does it matter with whom I perform it ?
I was recently told of a very dear friend (black) who only dates whites who in turn only dates black, hung tops. Since this individual is only one of these things, he often ends up with hurt feelings. If all involved parties widened their aesthetic, maybe things would work out differently and a whole lot of build up and dashed expectations would never occur.
If you want your hole plugged does it really matter by whom ?
The same goes for those of us who want to plug.
It really doesn't matter who is on the receiving end if this is all that I'm requiring.
We only run into problems when we attempt to use our magical powers for transforming a situation or a person into something that will never be or into a situation that would be best left alone.
By simple seeking out the act as opposed to the person we give racism the finger by not allowing stereotypes to dictate and determine our desires and what we find appealing.
It has always been interesting to me how selective queens try to be when they are in stealth cruise mode. I have more than once started laughing at a faggot who tries to pretend he has standards when he is in a public restroom or park looking for cock.
The minute you made the decision to start the hunt standards got tossed aside.
As an EOS( Equal Opportunity Slut), I have been with every race and every body type.
When looking to make physical contact, I allowed other factors to influence my decision. Physical contact at different times in my life was a need and a (numbers) game.
Unlike so many of my contemporaries, I don't have a type at least as it pertains to my elimination of racism.
This works because it then allows me to look for other things when choosing if and with whom to love and partner.
By indiscriminately slutting about, my head is not turned nor am I settling for someone who isn't my "type" when I am in a relationship.
Instead, I am turned on by the person in front of me using a different set of criterion : is he gentle, kind, committed to growing as an individual and within our relationship.
So what are you doing to end racism in the gay community ? Are you slutting about to complete your men of the world bed mates collection ?
When I attempted to reconcile a doomed relationship for the third time in five years, my heart was broken and my mind was fried.
I already knew the answer to the question "can this relationship be saved ?" No. It can't.
As black gay men, we get inducted into a lifetime of disappointment at a very early age. From the time we fail to catch a football, share our love for big voiced divas or get picked last for a neighborhood sport, we get schooled and seduced into what we will learn later is a lifetime of expected and impotent way of dealing with disappointments.
Life is not all shit and kicks in the teeth.
We all learn the silent and sometimes vocal disapproval that is created because we are not quite enough in some areas and far too much in others. To make sure that we get the message, we are often handed a healthy dose of guilt about what our desires are.Socialization lets everyone know we have disappointed those that love us and the culture at large.
Growing up, my dad constantly questioned and belittled my inability to catch a football and my disdain and complete uninterest in anything sports related.
If I ever felt that it was no big deal that I was severely lacking in these gifts, my family and schoolmates made sure that it was clear: who you are is wrong and no substantial life can be be built with what you have to offer.
It seems comical that my ability to construct a powerful life of my own was tied to my ability to catch a football or take a kick in the crotch via some ridiculous karate class.
Many gay men never grow out of the miasma that is constant and unabashed disappointment.
Personally, I struggle with not expecting the worse out of people and am always shocked when a personal friend or paramour disappoints in word, action or deed.
So many of us fall into addictions of all kinds (sexual, food, debt, serial monogamy) in an effort to create predictable circumstances.
Addictions comfort and soothe us not because they are fun and productive but because they are dependable. They will not disappoint. When struggling with holding on to what was left of my mind, my addiction to anonymous sex ran amuck. Many times, I felt as if I was watching someone else do and say some of the most ridiculous shit imaginable. My mind was more interested in repeatedly creating the same result no matter the consequences or illogic. My body was just along for the ride: a conduit who knew its role.
Much like my earliest indoctrination into what to expect and be able to create in my life, I quickly developed a fascination with how far I could go to create predictable results that were anything but unreliable.
It is extremely dangerous when you find yourself doing things you no longer find joyful. When doing things you find despicable bring relief which is constant and otherworldly comforting, there is a serious problem.
This seductive world is not reality.
The lies fed to us by our parents framing our future lives in upset and disappointment because of our sexuality is not reality either.
We get healthy and fight for and win our emotional health by not denying the reality that sometimes shit gets fucked up.
We get healthy by demanding that we have the right to love our lives and develop them pathology free.
We get healthy by not feeling compelled to not disappoint mommy and daddy and whoever we assign that parental role.
We get healthy by not allowing anyone to determine if what we've done meets their approval and should be tinkered with or rehauled.
We get healthy by not disappointing ourselves and silently agreeing to nonsense that is not in our best interests.
What disappointments still run your life ? What upset are you waiting for someone else to correct ?
Celibacy forced me to look at why I had sex and with whom.
Many times in life we are presented with opportunities.
We are then required to say yes or no. Iyanla Vanzant mentioned this in a video I recently viewed. Being obsessed with the power of choice, I have begun looking at what occurs in my life when I respond to people, events, opportunities with a vigorous, heartfelt, maybe.
Going against what I knew to be true by wavering in my thinking or acting because I didn't want to offend or upset another has always left me fucked up, confused and ultimately mad at myself.
Dating a lunatic for four months that I fed, housed and constantly needed to emotionally corral was four months of one maybe after another.
If I could get him to stop drinking then maybe we could have a relationship.
If I could get him out of the house of a former lover who possibly, maybe had an interest in him, maybe we would have a shot at a decent relationship.
If I could get him to get a job, stop being racist, realize that he was in some serious medical danger, maybe we could move forward and actually begin to create a real relationship.
Maybes are designed to screw you up and over. Maybes are always extremely difficult to change and challenge.
A better way to live is to remind our constantly chattering minds that we have two choices that create wonderful results.
There have been times when I have been beyond clear.
Acting on this gut level intuition, my decisions and the results have been incredible,brave, productive and self esteem raising.
I have never regretted a yes or no response to anything in my life.
So many of us at one time or another have failed to make this simple and effective choice (yes or no) instead opting for the abyss that is the world of maybe.
My regrets have come from the passive and stultifying maybe that always comes back to menace and shame me in one way or another.
If I make a decision to do a certain thing, give it some thought, gather more information then go in another direction this is considered bold and powerful.
If I make a yes or no decision, then decide to waiver in the land of "maybe", I am considered weak and spineless in my own eyes and the eyes of those who love and care for me.
How do I prevent the constant doubt that accompanies maybe and the uncertainty it brings ?
I consult my gut collect and review information and then make a decision.
Maybe is not an option.