This is our truth, tell us yours
In which Carter discusses sex in frank terms which may shock anyone who doesn’t know what it is we do here.
We grow used to the idea, as young men, that our pricks may have a life of their own. We’re told that our cocks have a mind of their own, that when the prick stands up the brains fly out the window and so on.
At the same time when I was growing up macho activities were at the core of our sense of ourselves, and they involved a degree of risk that was nothing to do with the activities themselves, but to do with growing up and the pressure to be a straight man. If you’re showering with your classmates at school the dividing line between being well hung, which is acceptable, and being visibly turned on by your classmates is the dividing line between machismo and social death. None of us, of course, in the school rugby team were poofs, especially not me and the classmate who’d had sex together on more than one occasion. As a group, we would never consider ourselves as sexualized even if we knew that there were other males who desired us, and feared and repressed desires that we knew others would stigmatize. We were sexualised though, and coping with any ambivalence about our own sexuality, or any desires that weren’t strictly within the hetero normal was a path you walked alone.
Why’s this come to mind? Mainly because, when on holiday recently, I had a conversation with a group of my friends that reminded me of how ambivalent some men can be about their genitals, and their relationship with them, and desire.
A little background. There were six of us on holiday, a laddish, fun holiday. I’ve been going to Greece with friends for about a decade. Most years we’ll joke about sex; who’ll pull, who won’t, and so on. There have been occasions when we have indulged in different variations on sex; it was on a sunny afternoon while entertaining a young woman from Barnsley with a friend that I realised that the reason why straight men like spit roasts is because it puts them as far away from the other man’s cock as possible. This year was no different, but quieter, all of us a year older, one of us back from a tour to Afghanistan with the TA. Or as he put it, just back from realising that getting your leg over matters less when you just want to get home with both legs.
Part of my experience, learned in those communal showers as a teenager, is that we don’t always tell the whole truth to ourselves, never mind each other about sex. And honesty is important to me in general, but also in practice. And, around the swimming pool, I had a practical reason for wanting to find out how everyone felt about threesomes.
She was a woman a few years younger than me, on holiday with a younger friend who had provided blowjobs for some of the lads the night before. I’d declined mid blow job, on the basis that I didn’t feel like I was getting very much from the act other than an invitation to be a sperm donor for the benefit of someone else’s ego. That can be arousing, but not on this occasion in the toilets behind the pool bar, with the tang of chlorine in the air and a Greek radio playing what sounded like Balkan country and western.
The older woman proved far more interesting.
Amongst the things that made her interesting was her desire to try a threesome.
Now, don’t believe the hype.
Most men would welcome a threesome, so long as they actually believe they’re being offered a heterosexual threesome. The trouble is, in my experience, is that straight men far that sometimes what you’re being offered is not what it seems, and a remarkable number of men assume that if you invite them to a threesome you’re actually saying you’re bi and want to fuck them.
I am bi.
I can happily be in a room with naked men and not want to fuck them. If the object of an encounter is for the woman to experience being the centre of attention, I’m not going to suddenly leap on the man.
All the same, in my experience, lots of men react to the offer of a threesome by checking out if it’s a genuine offer. Not in a genuinely cautious way, but with a pathological intensity that you’ll never understand unless you were that boy in the showers, terrified of being called a poof.
Having that conversation with friends, as coldly as asking ‘Any of you fancy a threesome with me and someone else’ required a degree of finesse. I don;t ask my friends if they are bi, and they don’t tell, but one of the classic tropes of porn, the spontaneous threesome isn’t accidental – it allows straight men to avoid having to admit they’ve thought about the option of having sex that involves another man.
We managed to have the conversation, and my friend who’d been to Afghanistan celebrated being alive with an intensity that fulfilled all the lady’s ambitions. He even took to cock to cock contact against her mouth in a way that matched the pictures in her head and which suggested he could cope with the ambiguities that surround such intimacy.
Later, beered up and smiley, he looked up at the stars and told me he’d been terrified of performance anxiety, of being alone in a room with a woman and not being aroused, because of the dreams that he had brought back with him. We joked about how the NHS wouldn’t prescribe threesomes or stunt cocks, and we played our part as men. He made a wry aside about it being obvious that I was comfortable with other cocks around, and laughed about it being a good thing too. I kept my peace, and smiled. Don’t ask don’t tell works for me. He did tell me things, like the moment in a base over there when he could only cope with the rage at a loss by promising himself he’d punch any fucker who ever told him boys don’t cry, but he told me in a dreamy peaceful way that suggested he’d already moved on from that point.
Oh, and the lady, the woman who made it possible for me to be much more intimate with my friend, both sexually and in terms of understanding him? She’d ticked the box, she told me the next day, but she’d prefer one or the other of us rather than both the next time. She made an excellent drinking companion though, and we both volunteered for the opportunity when she asked.