I hope it goes without saying that you might not appreciate this entry. But I swear, it’s pretty much straight reporting with a dash of Op-Ed.
But, still…enter at your own risk. Here there be pirates. Butt pirates, mostly. Bahahahaha.
A couple of months back, The Silver Fox and I were at Barista having coffee and talking as we watched the world wander by on NW 13th. We do this fairly often – several times a week – and just catch up from the past four to eight hours since we last chatted.
Aside from T-Mobile, the Fox is my longest term relationship. It’s hardly co-dependent.
Anyway, on this particular morning, I was oversharing the prior evening’s sexploits – Chrisism – because the young buck I bunked had tried to maneuver me into a situation where I was wearing him like a glove, to put it as mildly as I colloquially can.
Of course, my response during the recounting of this awkward evening was appropriately Woody Allen-esque. Not in the chronophilia (wait for it) aspect of his personality, rather in the mildly neurotic manner in which he is known to express himself. I wondered aloud what the fuck was up with these crazy kids anymore, how could they be into such extreme stuff at such a young age? It didn’t seem like they had even had time in their mid-20s to have really completely explored the vanilla side of sex, let alone have their appetites evolve into the more specifically kinky arenas of human sexuality like fisting.
At the time, he had impressively summed up this behavior in the younger adults as them finding their place in the world. It seemed like as good a theory as any. We have certainly put out a couple bumper generations of lost humans over the last 20-30 years. Or longer, depending on who you ask and how old and grumpy they are.
I walked away from that conversation knowing – or at least thinking – three things:
A) While valid parts of the sexual spectrum, kink and fetish are likely more of a distraction to the general population than they would likely be legitimately practiced if we lived in a less extremely competitive culture of followers.
B) Knowing what I like and not feeling the need to push my boundaries to have a fulfilling relationship or experience as a human, but in researching this entry, I learned that I’m not as innocently vanilla as I would have originally frosted myself.
C) That the times, they are a-changing.
That said, I think that overall, kink and fetish cultures have a much larger fan following of hangers-on than they have true enthusiasts. People in our culture who – like the Fox suggested – have yet to find themselves and are drifting from one kink or fetish to the next sampling from them all and hoping to find a niche where they feel a sense of community and belonging to blend into versus actually developing their own personality as an individual.
Just my personal opinion.
I’m reminded of a certain President from the Bush clan that was described by Stephen Colbert (I think) as being told by his handlers to pick a personality in order to be more appealing to the voters. Unfortunately, the comedian continues, he chose Yosemite Sam.
Yet, from personal experience, I can tell you about a frenemy of mine whom Diezel has nicknamed Capt’n Shitdick from his personal dealings with him – not that my classification of someone as a frenemy needs outside corroboration – but this fellow and I went on a couple of dates back in 2014. The last of which being the second; where I picked him up at his place and he wasn’t ready, a pet peeve of mine, answering the door and telling me that he just needed a second to finish dressing.
Good, I thought, since I really didn’t consider Daisy Dukes to be appropriate attire for his body type or my disposition.
About 20 minutes later, he reappeared in full leather gear: Chaps, Vest, Biker Boots, Cap.
Be careful what you wish for, people. I cannot stress this enough.
Apparently, when I suggested that he pick a place in his neighborhood for our date, he chose Eagle PDX.
But, me being an idle student of humanity, I inquired about his choice of attire and location as we walked over, he in his leather regalia and me in my usual jeans in tee shirt uniform. It seemed that during a time in his life when he was adrift – lost if you will – bad family situation, bad romantic affiliations, maybe drugs – I forget – and becoming HIV+ – he had somehow stumbled into the path of the Portland and Seattle Leather Communities.
Right time, right place…perhaps.
What he described to me was being welcomed into a group of people that accepted him as he was without judgment. Folks that were anxious to elevate him to a place of personal well-being. Him participating in their culture extended that positive trajectory in his life but also honored and acknowledged the life preserver that they had been to him during his time of need.
But I still didn’t get that this was a true identity for him. Maybe it was a place holder while he got to a comfortable enough position mentally and emotionally to continue his journey to truly realizing who he is as an individual, and I can’t feel anything but good for him if that is the case.
Nevertheless, my ruminations on the topic pretty much came to a screeching halt when we walked into the Eagle PDX and there were people walking around completely naked and rather turgid. Yeah, not the people you would look at and say, “You’re definitely wearing too much clothing” as is the usual with public nudity.
I’m such a Puritan.
Of course, back to my original coffee conversation with The Fox, I thought at the time that it was a great blog entry. You know me, I love a great “WTH is going on blog entry” if only for the opportunity to relay the comedic misadventures of my grumpy old life. However, I created a draft and never went back to it.
Two months of living in the Kinkiest City in America – hell, even our radio station’s call letters are KINK – later and I’m still ruminating.
But it seems the universe is putting tools in my path to help me flesh out my opinions on the matter. It’s allowed me to learn more about the topics at hand and more about myself and all from the comfort of my dining room and laptop versus having to venture into the real world or – heaven forbid – make my bedroom any more of a classroom or laboratory than it’s already been.
The other day, though, I got an email from gay.com promoting their weekly editorial offerings. In it was this little chestnut. Really, 36 Fetishes that Every Gay Man Should Know?
As I clicked through the article, I found things that surprised me not a bit.
And some that rather did surprise me.
Well, maybe I should just clarify first that there actually is a difference between a fetish and a kink. A fetish is generally some object that creates a sexual response, from a slight tickle to an uncontrollable urge. A kink is an actual sexual act, sure, it could involve fetish items but can also be a stand alone act, sans props.
Now, here I am reading my morning email blasts from the comfort of my own bed, wishing I had a live in Sub to bring me coffee. Kidding. Surprised to find myself relating to some fairly inane items in the article that I have generally appreciated – from an aesthetic perspective.
Jock Straps: Just a sexy garment, in my opinion. With the right piece of meat tucked inside, they are particularly impressive, likewise there is nothing better to show off a sexy butt that to showcase it between the three elastic bands of a jock. Nevertheless, I knew that these were common fetish objects, although did not know that the most commonly fetishized jocks were ones that had been worn for several days. I’ll take mine clean, please, and continue to hold on to the belief that my appreciation of them is more of the way they look better on others than they do on me…what’s that, Envy? Great, let me resist being a Fetishist in lieu of being a Sinner of the Seventh Deadly variety.
Skaters/Skateboarders: What can I say? These bad boys are hot. I’m pretty much a Sandra Dee, so it’s obvious that I would be drawn to this alternative style, right? Plus, they’re typically young studs in their prime, which leads us to…
Ageism: Chronophilia (there it is). I didn’t know this was an actual thing. Obviously, I have been transparently vocal about my attraction for younger guys in their later 20s-early 30s, but usually defended it as my tastes simply not evolving in tandem with my own aging. This can go both ways – older for younger and younger for older. Keep your fingers crossed for poor old Xtopher that there’s a younger for this older, I guess.
But at the same time, I’m a little disappointed that I’m not as unique as I had thought myself to be. I mean, I know all about the May/December relationship dynamic.
I go to the grocery.
I see the tabloid headlines.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones?
But it has a name.
A Latin name.
That kinda takes the fun out of it.
Ok, it doesn’t.
Because at the end of the day, I get to spend time with an eager young guy with a tight, sexy body and smooth, soft skin who I can be a mentor to that appreciates me as much as I do him. Albeit for different reasons. Someone who helps keep me in touch with new things that might escape my notice otherwise in my curmudgeonly existence and appreciates the insight I have to help guide him into his independent life as an adult.
My rule here? Leave ’em better than I found them. If I can’t do that, then I don’t do them. More than once. <wink>
Now, the real surprise for me in this article – read hot on the heels of a conversation I had with a friend where I shared this part of my personality – is Armpits.
And, again, disappointing to my sense of uniqueness, this is an actual thing. For me, I’ve always just appreciated the musculature and envied a well manicured tuft of hair to highlight the powerful intersection of the chest, arm, back and shoulder muscles on a man. I’ve also found the same stimulation or appreciation from the sterno-clavicular notch, that area below the Adam’s apple/throat but right over the sternum (obviously).
And, again…in the fetishized version, the attraction seems to be pretty much equally visual and scent oriented. For me, as in the Jock Strap arena, I’ll take mine clean for optimal appreciation.
It’ll be interesting to see all my male friends crossing their arms around me come Summer.
But to recap my takeaway from reading this…I’m an older guy looking for a younger, possibly skater, guy with nice armpits that likes to wear jock straps.
That doesn’t actually sound that weird to me. I probably just pissed off more serious fetishists by using weird as an adjective, but fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. AKA: my dating life.
My actual fetish is me.
A surprising fetish for me after reading that article?
Clowns. Really? Ok. But not for me. I’m pretty sure someone coming out of the bathroom dressed as a clown after freshening up would probably produce the exact opposite effect of arousal. Fear. Coulrophobia, here I come.
In addition to what I learned above, I also did some exploring – virtually, except when I was caught off guard – into the kink side of the coin. Obviously, fisting wasn’t mentioned as a fetish and that was what kicked this whole mess of a ramble off…so what about that stuff?
There is a little overlap between the kink and fetish side of the conversation, but that largely revolves around Leather and Rubber wear and their respective Communities. The other things I learned about, fisting, BDSM, Pup Play, Water Sports, CBT (google it, I won’t even link to it…it produces the opposite effect of arousal for me), etc all have aspects that can link to the fetish world, but as I said earlier, the kink can stand alone. It need not include items that are particularly fetishized by its participants.
Now that I’ve done some deep diving actual research to educate myself past my casual observations, I have to say…I’m more enlightened and have more of a sense of what my thoughts are on the topics and a more stable foundation from which to pose the question of people when the topics arise:
What the fuck?
What I’ve learned about myself is that I have some objects that could be considered somewhat fetishized. I already knew that I didn’t have any behaviors that could be considered to require a Safe Word.
But I am still curious about how people learn that they have a kink. How are they initially exposed to it? And why am I encountering so many 20-somethings that are getting involved in those communities?
So, the original question lingers. I may not find a solid answer to the question. I’m sure there are as many answers as there are humans. I get that. But the question behind the question? Is this just a distraction? Are people like Cap’n Shitdick finding a refuge on their way to becoming their fully realized selves or is this potential safe (word) haven more of a cult or commune that may retard or reverse their personal growth?
This point was reinforced for me earlier today on a friend’s Facebook feed as he posted the following:
How deeply are we exploring all our sexual selves have to offer us as part of leading a fulfilled life at the expense of settling into a life that may very well be considered fully lived without the exploration of the kink or alternative relationship worlds?
Ouch. That hurt my brain to type. Sorry.
Are we not just expanding the realm of the In-Betweener as people find themselves, as The Fox put it? Someone who may fulfill all the traditional benchmarks our culture places on growing up but then tacitly refusing to participate in being an actual adult in that same culture.
Not that participating in a polyamorous relationship and/or being a Leather Daddy are mutually exclusive when paired off against being an adult. I just wonder what percentage of the people involved in these types of situation are involved in it simply because it’s cooler than living in your parent’s basement and playing video games while being socially awkward like a traditional or stereotypical In-Betweener who is trying to find themselves.
Plus, there appears to more sex involved than the whole Parent’s Basement Scenario. Which is decidedly not a kink scene.