BY DAVID BRIDGEFORTH
Something within me was mesmerized by something within him, and despite all my caution I understood him immensely. Whatever I found in him was special to me, nirvana at best, and at best was often enough for nothing else to matter after him. We were on the run together on an adventure, and as long as we had each other there existed a fire, a love that would make us invincible against the world. For boys like us, there is not much we long for more than love and acceptance.
As young gay men of color, to be connected with another being who understands our experience is indescribable. This perhaps is why most of us are bumping into each other with sex as our connection. Fucking for our lives, we do anything for each other in the dark as we search for a moment of fulfillment that we are able to keep long enough for ownership. We seek to have each other over and over again. We fight each other for each other. We break each other's hearts, and we move on to the next. We are born into this as our experience for we can never run away from the parade of fireworks exploding inside of us like orgasms every time we look into the eyes of a handsome man. Our love experience is prickly when touched; rough around the edges, like the long stem of a rose, because of the dynamics that only come with us. We battle all who challenges the validity of our love, and we many times are ashamed for we do not make babies every time we orgasm with the men we love. Therefore, reasons for our commitments are different. So we yearn to know the truths of what keeps some of us men together in love with each other.
Is sex so addictive because we are men and “all men are dogs, fucking everything”, or do we just need our sexuality like we need deep fresh breaths of air in our lungs and have become ashamed of this need because it many times requires the permission of others?
I am a gay man who loves gay men and rolls around in the sheets with them. As long as I can remember, this has been forbidden and not welcomed in our heterosexual society nor talked about at our Christian dinner tables because of the revolution it would cause for us all. So here is the truth: I love my orgasms wildly passionate, so full of comfort and honesty. Though many times while my lover and I are in each other’s arms, I think of my mother's dream of grandchildren, and I am reminded that these orgasms can never produce life together. Thoughts of biblical damnation taint the sweet taste of orgasms for men like us. We venture out bravely in this riveting world as we hide the arousal we feel for other men below the melanin in our skin, careful not to stare too long at the straight man’s biceps. To indulge is to stir the pot, and that is a privilege reserved for those of less suppressive experience.
Perhaps one should consider oneself grown when they lose their vulnerability to feeling shame for following their bliss. So as a grown Black gay man, I declare that I like a man’s ass as if it were a vagina and his penis as if it were breast on a woman. I want to one day be able to hold my man’s hand on the street and share long tongue kisses without the threat of hate slurs, bashings, or side eye stares from dusty side chicks and insecure macho men. When will the love and sex of gay men of color be equally celebrated as heterosexual love and sex? The black gay experience is a litany of survival; a collection of marginalized stories of a colorful people so unique that we have been dragged through hell for it in the name of Jesus without any apologies.
I would prefer to orgasm during sex in love with the same man who lights up when he sees climax spelled out on my face. Many times boys like us only find love in quick moments of abandonment in shaded parks and strange beds. For boys like us, our orgasms come anonymous with a shot of shame as we are haunted by the aftertaste of him, whoever he was, in our mouths, down our throats. Compelled by the residue of him on our bodies, in-between our legs, his lip print on our necks, behind our ears, we take a piece of him back with us every time to add to our collection. And I would be lying if I said we shouldn’t be ashamed of ourselves.
My first sexual experience was as a little boy with a cute crush on another little boy at church. We discovered what oral was in the restroom stall during Sunday morning praise and worship service. It was a beautiful experience until it was exposed to the church. My gorgeous crush was so mortified he never looked my direction again. The first guy that penetrated me was my first boyfriend. I was 19, and I gladly let him discover my body for it was rioting to know what it felt for another boy to touch it. Later on in my 20s, it would be another boy that gave me the best orgasms whenever I wanted them that received my heart, only to be left by the same boy because my sex wasn't versatile enough. As he slid my heart across the table back to me, like four quarters, change for a dollar, did I learn to love myself before my orgasms. Even those orgasms with the lover I swore on my life was my soulmate.
Most of us silently long for our fathers, so we search for ‘Daddy’ in the arms of other men. Those of us who have always had a father or a figure of a father in some way become the Daddies who’s arms the rest of us find ourselves in; only to lose ourselves hoping that this man we love won’t leave. We change ourselves like clockwork, bleaching away the things that once made us sparkle in order for him to feel loved enough to affirm us in ways only the masculine energy of a man could.
Are only men guided by the idea of orgasms? Would that explain why most gay men cheat or is monogamy just an idea that was created in direct conflict with our nature as men? If we are sexual beings who enjoy freedom by nature, were these moral standards put in place to curb our sexual imagination? If so, we should all recognize that the tide has changed and will continue to. The revolution of black men loving black men began in the 80s and has evolved into more than just a key to freedom of gay sex amongst men of color but a liberation of sexuality for everyone. You no longer can tell people what to do in bed.
With a man or alone, I still attempt to orgasm daily. It stirs the glow in my blood, exhilarates my body and swell-snatches my skin firm and plump as if I threw back a shot glass full of youth juice. I stand up straighter and move with more confidence. I declare orgasms are God’s gift to us all, but only some of us have been made to feel worthy enough to embrace them without embarrassment.
When I was 18 and a virgin, I was worried about my sexual partner count because I was saving myself for the right one. I was raised with the belief that God made one other person that was designed just for you. The idea of this still gives me goose pimples. An older gay mentor of mine told me at the time to not worry about my partner count, and that I was a gorgeous young person that would have sex with many people before I die. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad notion to be told, but it freed me to explore the kinds of people that turned me on sexually, without shame.
I became versatile to show a boy that I loved him with hopes to keep his love. Maybe I didn’t have the courage on my own and he was just the reason I needed in order to experience the sex I always wanted. There is a layer of shame reserved just for the bottom in the world of gay sex and that shame is perpetuated with every stereotype, joke, and meme; even by the men who top these bottoms into corners. Subtly these ‘tops’ find ways to negate the strength, sexiness, and sophistication that it takes for a man to allow another man inside of him. This is one of the many reasons our gay sex has double standards. When it comes to versatile gay sex, I wish someone would declare that just because you indulge in the best of both worlds doesn’t mean you want the same person you are topping to top you, and vice versa. A lot of versatile gay men are attracted to something in a bottom and something completely different in a top. The take away you receive after an experience with both are different. To find a man whose versatility wets both one’s whistles is a community treasure.
When I was 15 years old my father explained to my 13 year old brother and me what the birds and the bees were followed by a porn screening of typical sex with both black and white heterosexual couples. My younger brother giggled as I covered my eyes in horror because I could hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me not to watch nudity on television and how important it was to respect a women’s body. I remember my father pointing at certain acts and telling us that this feels really good. My father was proud of his sexuality and was excited to share it with his boys to prepare them for manhood. His confidence, strength and acceptance of sexuality as a masculine force in my life allowed me to pursue my orgasms unforgivingly. Even when I told him that my orgasms weren’t straight he still looked at me as if I deserved the best orgasms possible and my father affirmed me. It was my Nano, my father’s mother, who told me that the human body is a beautiful work of art, and it is never something of which you should be ashamed. Sex is a way of passage for men, and many gay men never received this message as boys. No one affirmed our sexual desires as passage for us. Instead our world has force fed us spoons full of disgrace to our gay sex, and it has infected the integrity of our love lives like AIDS.
If my sex weren’t important enough to celebrate, or equal to my straight brethren, why would I then protect it? My sex is crooked; an edgy sword in the heart of morality. If boys like us don’t matter, then why would we be worth guarding? One in two gay men of color who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime says the Center for Disease Control. I believe this is a result of unprotected shamed orgasms.
“If you can control a man's thinking, you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” — Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
What I’ve come to know is that there is a shame that has been imposed on who we are as gay men of color. People who were simply afraid and felt inferior to our differences and abilities have lied us to. These people are so fearful that they have forged the voice of God to scare us into being different from how the all knowing creative forces designed us to be. I’ve known for a while that gay is a gift from God and so is the heavenly sex that comes along with it. We are a majestic people whose energy and attraction bend in ways that are beautiful. God loves us gay men so much that he gave us orgasms and the ability within us to produce them. We must have the courage to live proud and unashamed in full ownership of who we are. If I can now bare my truth, so can you, for you should never have had to hold your peace.