I went to the cinema last night and saw a film called ”Shame” in which the protagonist was a sex addict. The film was great, intense and moody and dark, which suits my tastes. Great acting too, I’d recommend it. It did however set me pondering and thinking about sex addiction and about the amount of people I’ve known who’ve had problems with compulsive promiscuity. Don’t worry, I’m not about to name anyone.
To my mind, promiscuity is all fair and good. Provided it’s understood that that’s what it is and no one is being duped or hurt and people protect themselves against diseases and that nasty pregnancy thing. Like most good things, it’s fantastic in moderation. Let’s face it, most of us enjoy sex and casual sex can be a great way to meet people. Removing your underwear is definitely a great ice breaker. It cuts through all the social niceties if someone is groaning in orgasmic shouts whilst bouncing on your mattress. Sex is a great leveller. I’ve met some improbable people in my days as a single man, all social classes and professions. You could call it extreme networking. I’ve even learnt a few words in foreign language which is very handy. They weren’t words I’d say in front of my mother though. I’ve seen some terrible decor too. Some people have such bad taste in bedding.
Apparently 10% of 16 to 24 year olds in a survey admit to having met a stranger on line for casual sex and 50% have performed sexual acts on a webcam. I wonder what the results would be if they surveyed my circle of gay male friends? I suspect it would be less than 10% who hadn’t done either and that’s probably because they haven’t got internet access.
Being gay is amazing for the promiscuity. Providing you’re halfway decent and have at least two limbs and a tooth or two you could probably find sex any hour of the day. It’s enough to make most straight men gnash their teeth in jealousy when you inform them that things like gay saunas, Grindr, Gaydar and bars with backrooms exist, where you can pick up strangers for casual sex for just a quick nod or a brief tap on the phone or keyboard.
Too much available sex has a downside though. I’ll discuss a friend of mine. This isn’t a thinly veiled story about me by the way. I’d let on if it was me. In my early twenties I had a friend called Andrew who was obsessed with sex. He wasn’t a great friend to go out drinking with as inevitably he’d disappear off to have sex in the toilets or leave you in the lurch to take some random bloke home. He spent huge amounts of cash on porn videos and had a teetering tower of smutty magazines in his spare bedroom. He also wasn’t a great friend to go out for the day with, to go shopping for food with or to go on public transport with. Andrew would inevitably disappear quite frequently and turn up, apologetic, a few hours later. He could pick up men on trains, in Sainsburys, in libraries. He suffered whenever he fell in love and his relationships invariably floundered as he failed time and time again to keep Mr Winky in his Calvin Kleins. He always ended up getting dumped in time, once the second, third or fourth infidelity was discovered. He also tested our friendship a few times when fortified with drink and having failed to pull he tried (unsuccessfully) to put one on me by whacking it out and brandishing his member at me.
I’ve had countless friends who’ve spent immeasurable amounts of time cruising websites, trawling bars or hanging out in dodgy places, all in the name of a cheap thrill which often leaves them feeling dirty or unsatisfied. Not always, sometimes it’s bloody great for them. I’ve had friends who won’t leave a gay club until they’ve pulled, frantically circling the remaining punters as the clubs close in a desperate act to get some action and if they fail they rush off to log on online. I had a friend who in desperation at the amount of time he was spending cruising on line and the havoc it was causing with his self esteem, finally smashed his laptop with a hammer. I’ve known people who’ve told me that they have to masturbate continually and compulsively, even at work, which must end up as a terrible chore and an expense in Kleenex and Savlon for the blisters. I can’t imagine feeling turned off enough at work to masturbate either. Hospitals just don’t do it for me.
I don’t disapprove of promiscuity at all; I’d advocate it for some and suggest avoiding it for others. It all depends what you like and can tolerate. It’s just that when anything becomes a chore or takes over your life in a negative way you need to evaluate what’s happening.
Being a person with an addictive nature, I’m glad I only toyed with promiscuity and thankfully have myself in control when it comes to shagging about. To me, it would currently feel like a chore. I can’t be bothered with all that laundry. It’s hard to dry sheets in this climate. Not to mention the meticulous depilation. At least in a relationship you can let things slide a little and no one minds. It’s the rules.
I believe in fidelity in relationships. I’ve just had a lot of relationships with a few gaps of single madness in between. I’ll stick to my current addictions (cigarettes, Paul, novels and my Vic’s Sinex inhaler), say a happy goodbye to the troublesome ones (namely alcohol and bad men) and just be thankful I never succumbed to sex addiction or heavy drugs. Crack in high quantity is never good, whichever type of crack it is.