Spurned

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Question

Dear Patrick: I’m a gay man who has pretty frequent sex with guys I meet on-line. I’ve also got a few friends who hook up with me for hot times. Sex tends to come and go in these relationships. I try to keep the friendship whether we are fooling around or not.

Right now I have a problem with a very good friend who suddenly came on heavy about having a crush on me and wanting sex. Slut that I am, I was not hard to talk into bed, but after we fucked, he picked up his clothes and split without even saying goodbye! When I called him to do our normal movie dates or dinners, he never returned my calls. But a few weeks later he was horny again and called me up, making all kinds of promises, and we had another collision in the bedroom. But it ended just like before, with him on the run.

Is he ashamed of what we do? Is there some other reason he can’t be friends with the people who “stoop” to being sexual with him? This whole thing hurts my feelings more than I can say. I have a really hard time negotiating the difference between the hot man who gives me all that flattery and dirty talk, and then becoming persona non grata for weeks at a time. The fact that he is better in bed than many of my tricks doesn’t help the situation. I tend to wait around hoping he will be horny, then I’m mad at myself if he doesn’t call and I spend the weekend alone.

I’m starting to wonder if a lukewarm night of doing it with an indifferent stranger wouldn’t be better for me than this rollercoaster.

 

Answer

Sex in the gay male world can get complicated in unique ways. You are looking at a group of men who are trying to get all of their social and sexual needs met from the same pool of men, usually guys who live in an urban area. Depending on how specialized your erotic needs are, you may have a very large or a relatively small pool of candidates for your sexual attention as well as friendship needs. Things get especially tricky when you move back and forth between different roles, that of friendship and trick, with the same person. Some men do this with grace. They seem to have a psychic ability to sense when the relationship can or will become sexual and when it will not involve that type of intimacy. Other guys divide their friends and sexual partners into radically different types of men, and they treat each category according to different rules and standards.

I think your friend’s attraction to you has exposed him to more contradictions than he can handle. My suspicion is that, unlike you, he probably does not have many friends who are also fuck-buddies. For him, there are friends or sex partners, not both. He derives a sense of sexual freedom or the ability to “let go” from two things: (a) his libido is at its peak, and (b) he is with somebody he does not particularly care about, aside from attracting and satisfying that man sexually. But your opinion of him probably matters a great deal. He may be struggling with the fact that someone he sees socially knows what he is like when he does let go and allow his erotic self to roam free. For him, there may be a moral or aesthetic contradiction between who he is socially versus sexually. I am guessing that he feels some shame about getting hot with you, and he needs to run away for a little while to forget what happened and cool off. He is probably also hoping that you will cool off so that when he sees you, you won’t be putting pressure on him for a sexual performance.

I have also seen this happen with guys who have a little bit of trouble getting their bodies to function the way they want them to perform. If a man feels that he is not very attractive, he may not be able to hunt for sex unless his desire is very, very strong—so strong that he doesn’t care about rejection. If somebody turns him down, he will just keep going till he gets laid. His state of arousal overrides the normal self-hatred or self-criticism. A guy who has a little difficulty getting his cock hard, or being able to bottom (just as two random examples) might not be able to get together with you for that wild night unless he is crazy with lust and it’s been a while since he felt the sharp aftermath of shame or confusion. Perhaps your friend has gone out on some kind of limb with you. He is taking some kind of risk, we don’t know exactly what, and doing something he doesn’t usually do. This means that the emotional penalties after sex could be worse than when he is doing the usual sex game. Mind you, this is all speculation, but if you ask a therapist an open-ended question about another person’s motives, this is what you will get!

I don’t know if this is all about internalized homophobia or shame about sex, period, but living in a world that hates queers certainly does not help. It means it is hard to talk to others about your sexuality or get any information or support. Most gay men flaunt their prowess, claiming to be experts at what they do, so getting anybody to be honest and talk about coping with shame or the conflict between sexual intimacy and the intimacy of friendship is not easy. For many of us, coming out was torture because of our society’s scorn for gay or bisexual men. In some cultures, admitting you are turned on by other men can even lead people to perceive you as less than a man. Admitting that you are a man who desires other men is a pretty big deal, no matter what the Supreme Court does about gay marriage in America. The negative attitudes of one’s family, church, or community can still be destructive.

There is a biological component here as well. The male orgasm is very intense, and usually results in a state of exhaustion and a profound desire to nap. Perhaps this is nature’s way of allowing a reluctant partner to escape a somewhat predatory top. Whatever the evolutionary reason, that dip in energy and loss of focus can be interpreted as a negative backlash by the man who feels let down or abandoned by his libido. Suddenly you are dropped from on top of the world to the bottom of the pit. If you feel good about yourself and your sexuality, you just yawn and tell yourself, “Job well done, dude, now it’s time for a break.” But if you need that electric jolt to keep moving forward and pursue the forbidden, once you get off, all your doubts and the critical voices return full-force, and it can be overwhelming.

My suggestion is to give your friend his space. Understand that this is how it goes with him. When he wants sex, he is seductive and pushes all of your buttons. But as soon as the encounter is over, he is going to grab his pants and run. Since this is hard on your ego, plan something nice for yourself after you see him. Rent a good movie you can watch or keep some of your favorite food around to prepare yourself a tasty 3 a.m. omelet. But don’t take it on because it’s not your fault. Let him know if he wants to talk, you are available. Sharing your own coming out story (if it was difficult for you) might give him permission to someday speak out about his own self-image and beliefs about pleasure.

When he leaves you, say a little prayer for him. Send him wishes for healing and health, and perhaps visualize strength and peace flowing into him—unless you are so pragmatic the whole idea seems laughable. Consider it anyway, my friend, because the way we feel about each other has the power to change what we imagine other people think of us. If you can’t tolerate the cycle, stop having sex with him. He isn’t going to change in a hurry—and may never change.