On Monday, New Next Now reported on a straight-identified Redditor who recently hooked up with a gay man. Afterwards, the man finds himself right in the middle of a Sam Smith song; he decides he actually is hetero, but fears the gay man wants to take the relationship to the next level.
Not wanting to lead the man on, he asked LGBT Reddit for advice, which he took and (spoiler alert) it all worked out, and they all f***ed happily ever after.
As someone who has written about the perils and pitfalls of sleeping with straight men, I sympathise with both the bloke who posted and the bloke he shagged. Most of these men mean no harm, and sexual experimentation is not only natural but healthy. However, I’ve also had my heart broken when the love of my life came out as straight and left me for a woman.
So what can bicurious men do to mitigate the potential for emotionally hurting their sexual partners? I’ve got five pointers below:
1. Be up front and honest.
I don’t know if the guy in question planned on going home with another man or not. Sometimes spontaneous shit happens. But there’s always that awkward cab ride, or the anticipatory walk, or some moment between “we’re just flirtatiously dancing” and “I’m gonna suck a d**” where you can explain your situation. I suggest you do. There was one night a few years back I met a guy at a bar. We hit it off and he invited me back to his place, but before we left, he made it clear that he was 1) straight and 2) only into getting his di** sucked. I was down to go down, so I followed him home. By clearly communicating limits and truths, we were able to have a mutual and consensual good time with no expectations attached.
2. Realise that we’re not an “experimental game.”
I don’t care what Katy Perry says. We’re not your sex toys. We are living, breathing people with real lives, real emotions, and real desires. And in the context of no-strings-attached sex, me getting off is just as important (if not more important) to me than you getting off. You don’t get to call all the shots, especially if I’m bottoming. I’m not here to satisfy your every whim or every desire. Remember that bit about communicating limits? Gay and bi men have them, too. Some of us don’t do anal. Some of us only top. Some of us are okay with rough sex (*raises hand*) and some of us are blander than a Starbuck’s Vanilla Bean Frappucino. Bottom line: we don’t exist for your pleasure, we exist for ours. And since you’ve been honest that this probably isn’t going any further, don’t expect us to submit to your every whim. But don’t expect us to do all the work, either; most gay men expect a bit of egalitarianism in the bedroom. We call it versatility.
3. Understand the rules of the game.
This is unfashionable to say these days, but the truth is gay world is very different than straight world. Most of us don’t need the song-and-dance that straight people engage in. (And I’ve seen plenty of straight men playing the “I’m-coy-court-me” game, so hush with your misogyny.) If you want to f*** us, tell us. Be tactful, gauge body language and social cues, but tell us. There’s no need to be shy. But also, don’t be offended if we get up after we get off; we’re the people who invented Grindr, which was always meant to be a hookup app. You’re the people who corrupted it into Tindr by trying to give it an air of respectability. We’ve got lives. We’re busy. And we’ve got better things to do bask in afterglow or engage in some painfully awkward conversation before.
4. Trust us.
I can’t tell you the number of hetero guys I’ve slept with who have lied to me. From giving me false names to denying they’d slept with other men (like I’d care?) to lying about having girlfriends and even, once, a wife, they may have been straight, but their stories sure as hell weren’t. If you’re going to sleep with me, which is frankly the most intimate and potentially dangerous act you can do with another person, you should at least trust me enough to tell me the truth. I don’t need your mother’s maiden name and your social security (or national insurance) number, but a first name and relationship status—you know, the sh** you advertise on your office desk—would be nice. It lets us know not only a little about you, which I like in a sexual partner, but also prepares us for the rare unforeseen circumstance where we run into you outside the bar or bedroom. This happened to me five years ago this week, when on Spring Break, I met and slept with a man (several times) who failed to mention he had a girlfriend who, as chance may have it, was also staying at our resort. Word got back to her and when I finally ran into them together, it wasn’t pretty.
5. Don’t make it awkward.
When I did run into the aforementioned Spring Break paramour and his girlfriend, he proceeded to apologise to me, to her, to me. This made it very clear to her who I was (I guess his fraternity brothers told her), because the next thing you know my girlfriends are preparing to have to jump in front of me. Don’t be that guy. If you see us in public, say hi. You don’t have to engage in a prolonged conversation, but a simple “oh hey” will suffice. If for some reason you’re not comfortable saying hi (maybe you’re with your homophobic parents, or your significant other), let us know in advance that if we see you in public, you’d rather act like strangers. It might be annoying, but at least we’ll be prepared.
6. Bonus: If you want to do it again, just ask. We may be game.
We might not be. We’re people, not fleshlights.
Bottom line: treat us like people worthy of dignity and respect. It’s completely okay to fool around with a guy, even if you’re not sure it’s your thing. But remember, that guy is a real person with real feelings. Follow the rules above and your much more likely to ensure a mutually enjoyable experience. Best of luck, bicurious lads. It’s a tough, heternormative world out there. Play fair. Play safe. But please, don’t play us.
by Skylar Baker-Jordan
Skylar Baker-Jordan is THEGAYUK’s political contributing editor and has bylines at HuffPost, The Independent and the Daily Dot.