What drives a man to sashay from one relationship to another, changing men more often than his bed sheets? Some people just can’t seem to be alone. They don’t know how to do their own company. Serial monogamy can be a distraction from loneliness. But so too can serial sluttery. Installing a revolving door in your flat – and your gaping gully – as you bulk buy bulbs for that red light dangling out the front can be just another way to avoid spending time alone, in your head.
There is no doubt about it; the world can be a cruel and scary place. When you have someone else by your side, it is undeniably easier to face life’s fresh hells. But being with someone – anyone – doesn’t mean that you’re with the right person. You need someone to compliment you,. Not someone you dominate (unless it’s in the agreed sexual sense, naturally), or someone who completely cushions you from reality. Work on your coping mechanisms – on your own – before you jump into something entirely unsatisfactory.
How healthy are your relationships? Do you jump from one disastrous scenario to another before the lube’s even dried on your mattress? Relationships, by definition, contain power dynamics, but these are all about balance. That balance can be precarious – and once it’s off-kilter, you can find yourself in the realms of abuse. But, conversely, the long-term spinster of the parish could have issues about being too independent . Or rather too unwilling to learn to trust and open up.
Men, they say, are dogs. They’d hump a tree stump given the opportunity. And, to some extent, there may be some truth in this. Gay men, undoubtedly, have many more opportunities to get their rocks off than straight men. Which is one of the reasons the straights are so jealous of us, surely? But just because you can have sex 24/7 with the entire telephone directly, doesn’t mean you should. There comes the point when “variety” – and being the town’s notorious pincushion - becomes boring and ultimately unfulfilling. At least for anyone who possesses real feelings, which, thank gawd, is most of us.
There are some who will say that to be truly radical and queer; you need to have multiple partners and be polyamorous. No one has the right to tell you how to live your life. When the politics of so-called free expression begin to alienate and polarise a community, we’re in trouble. Ultimately, it’s up to you to find the balance between monogamy and open relationships – of all various kinds. The trick, perhaps, is never to get trapped in a cycle. To always be open to meeting new people and experimenting with new ways of relating – on a sexual and emotional level. Tear up the template and create your own – that’s being truly radical.
Sex is not intimacy. It sounds obvious, but in the age of the anonymous, online hook-up our brains would perhaps benefit from a bit of gentle reprogramming. Sex can be nothing more than a mechanical act, detached entirely from feelings. Look at the emerging trend for Sex Robots. One wonders if some fundamental research was done into these on a long weekend at a gay sauna. Intimacy is about feelings and sharing; about not being afraid to, over time, expose different facets of yourself. As opposed to just whipping it out and slamming in the lamb through some grimy glory hole.
Life goes in cycles, as do relationships. Some people will relish a period of being the local bicycle before settling down. Now spending their weekends at Do It Yourself Stores rather than being constantly done themselves. Go with the flow; do what feels natural and right for you at the time. But, crucially, always be prepared to push yourself out there. Don’t live a life marked by regret just because you lacked the courage to challenge the ways you related to your fellow human beings.
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