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Kiss and Tell: Couple desperately seeking third

Between September and November 2008, I went on a series of disasterous dates with guys I met online with the intent of writing a series of columns profiling my "dates" and their "dating" habits. Both Xtra West and xtra.ca passed on publishing them. So instead of letting them languish on my hard drive, I'm going to post the first one here, and the rest of the columns over the next few weeks.

This is New Years catharsis for me. Letting go of the old, the bad, the ugly, etc…Revel in my pain and anguish. I will post a personal anecdote about this couple tomorrow. There's a reason why the series was going to be called Kiss and Tell.

And if you're looking for New Years activities, check here.



Kiss and
Tell: Couple desperately seeking third…(Interview #1)

 

In 2008, a number of articles began appearing online and
in print media arguing that internet dating sites have irreparably damaged the
queer community. They claim that the majority of queer youth are now socialized
online instead of though more traditional methods, such as visiting bars or
other gay meeting spaces, and that the consequence-free online environment
increases the incidence of unsafe sexual practices across all age groups.

 

Searching for answers, freelance reporter Sean Horlor recently
conducted a series of interviews with Manhunt.net users. To get the full story,
he admits he often had to kiss in order to tell.

 

"Couples seeking…" is a regular online dating
site fixture, regardless of the gender or sexuality of the two partners
searching to add some excitement to their sex lives. Here's what one long-term
couple had to say about their online experience…


Couple
desperately seeking third (fourth, fifth, sixth?)

 

The
burning question on most people’s minds: can opening up a monogamous sexual relationship
actually work?

            The taller half of the couple – who
I decide to call “Home Maker” or HM – hasn’t made eye contact with me since we
sat down ten minutes ago. Instead, he swirls the straw in his double vodka-soda
relentlessly. He’s asked me not to use their real names. His partner – “Bread
Winner” or BW for short – answers my earlier question: “Opening up our
relationship is one of the only things that [has kept] it running—”

            HM is quick to interject: “People
who think they can have sex with just one cock for the rest of their life are
crazy. They are the ones who end up cheating.”

            Both men are 34, though like most
internet dating site users, they told a white lie online and posted that they
were 32. When asked why they lied about something so trivial, BW laughed and
said, “Why not? We don’t look like we’re 34, do we?”

            For the record, they do. BW is going
bald and has bad posture. Despite the handsome HM’s buff arms and jaw-dropping
smile, he has a bit of a paunch and crows feet.

            At 9:30pm on Saturday, there is now a line up to get inside
the Bayside Room. What better venue to discuss a ménage à trios than this
throw-back 70s lounge in the heart of Vancouver’s
notoriously liberal West End.

            Sinking back into the red leather of
our booth, BW asks, “Why aren’t you drinking your beer?”

            For show, I lift my glass to my
lips, but do not drink anything. The act is enough for HM, who finally makes
eye contact with me, saying, “We always do things together. It’s both of us or it
doesn’t happen.” Nervous, he is too loud, his voice cuts through the ambient
lounge noise like a spoon tapping an empty glass.

            After 12 years of partnership – ten
of which they’ve lived together – they also have other rules they use to keep
things balanced. Both have to agree on the attractiveness of their “prospect”,
the sex has to be safe and they don’t appreciate guys showing up at their
apartment and heading straight to their bedroom uninvited. “That’s a real
turnoff,” HM says. “We ask guys who do that to leave right away.”

            Their first threesome was with a
professional hockey player in a Toronto
hotel room nine years ago. “He paid for the room,” says BW, fishing a fresh
raspberry out of his cocktail with his straw. Then, at the same time, they both
say, “He was sexy.” But they don’t look at each other while saying it. They also
haven’t touched each other once since they sat down.

            Sharing this story with me gives
them the confidence to discuss other conquests. Although three people in a bed
is their ideal, for these two, the sky is the limit. They agree that threesomes
are so 1990 and that the 2000s are all about fourgies, moresomes and partner
swapping. “When there are that many people though, it’s tough to know who is
supposed to do what,” BW admits.

            However, there is a glass ceiling.
Or maybe glass basement would be a better term. It sounds like they no longer
have sexual intercourse without a third party. When asked directly whether they
still have sex with each other regularly, things get tense.

            “What do you mean by sex?” BW says
stonily. A self-described 5’10”, I place him at about 5’8” and probably about
150lbs. He’s as threatening as he is truthful. He continues, “Do you mean
touching? Oral? Anal intercourse?”

            Already on his third double
highball, HM slurs over him: “Once a year?” I expect them to laugh. They don’t.
HM continues, “Once a month? Or has it been three years? Can we talk about
something else?”

            “Listen,” BW says. “We haven’t spent
a week apart the entire time we’ve known each other.” Interestingly enough,
they are finally sitting shoulder to shoulder, touching.

            But the question remains, has the
internet made it easier for them to meet that elusive third bedmate or harder?
“Definitely easier,” HM said. “As a teenager in Ottawa, I used telephone lines to meet guys
or went to bars and talked. The internet changed everything.”      

            HM goes on to explain that since
they’re both in real estate, they have time to search for additional partners
online whenever they feel like. They admit to checking their shared profile
regularly – “At least daily” – though don’t think that they’re addicted to
online dating.

            It’s clear that HM is the driving
force behind their search. Recently unemployed, he plays administrative
assistant to BW’s thriving real estate practice. Although Manhunt.net is the
only internet dating site he uses, HM occasionally organizes hook ups with
friends of friends or with people of like interests off Facebook.

            For a couple that seems so balanced
and so comfortable inviting outside influences into their relationship,
something as small as only one of the partners constantly surfing online for
sex shouldn’t be any cause for concern. Or is it?

            Instead of commenting on this right
away, as he has for most of the interview, BW stares up at HM for a long time.
HM is back to looking around the bar. I say nothing. HM eventually says they
don’t have trust problems. BW nods but doesn’t commit verbally either way.

             Their advice to couples looking at including
an additional emotional or sexual connection to their relationship is simple:
communicate. Swirling the straw in his glass again, HM advises, “If one person
wants to have a threesome and the other doesn’t, perhaps it’s time to rethink
why you’re together.”

            Finally ready to talk again, BW
adds, “And if you’re the third person, try to remember you’re just a guest.”
They tell me about a younger guy they have been inviting over regularly for the
past few months, and how it’s starting to feel “boring” to them.

            “It’s time to break if off,” HM
says.

            This reminds me of something a good
friend of mine pointed out before the interview. He said, “
Three
is an odd number. It must be hard on the bus. Someone always has to be sitting on their own.”