Canada
3 min

Slut no more

Craving a different sort of sexual connection

In the very first piece I wrote for Xtra back in 2005 I extolled the virtues of being a slut. I encouraged gay couples who “screw around and act like they’re monogamous” to come out of their slut-closets and admit to themselves and the world who they really are. I said that being a slut means you put more effort into staying attractive, learn new sexual tricks and get to try all of your warped fantasies with a variety of partners, rather than being limited based on the desires and hang-ups of the person you love. I’ve had a lot of sex in the past four years and weeks ago — while I was walking around the bathhouse, pleasantly buzzed on my dealer’s new organic dope and feeling good about the hint of a six-pack my abdomen is sporting lately — I came to a shocking realization. I’m tired of being a slut.

For those who know me and have heard tales of some of the many men I’ve fucked in my time on planet earth, this probably comes as a bit of a shock. I’ve always been an advocate of sleeping around and stressed the vital importance of gay sex spaces, like bathhouses and backrooms, not just as a place to get your rocks off but also as political spaces where we engage in the activities that unite us as a community and distinguish us from the rest of the world. The freedom to fuck how, when and who we want is a right that was fought long and hard for. Though it’s easy to forget when we live in a country where both gay marriage and sex clubs are legal, engaging in anonymous sex with multiple partners will always be a political act.

I’ve explored all of the conventional gay sex spaces (the bars, the baths, the internet) and even had a brief stint under the open sky during what I now call my “Unsuccessful Summer of Attempted Park Sex.” I’ve had some amazing experiences, some surprisingly romantic moments and tested just about every sexual boundary I have. But after five or six years on the scene, walking around dark hallways in a towel until I find my Mr Right-Now for the evening isn’t enough. I want more.

It’s not so much that I don’t ever want to have casual sex again; more that there’s a specific kind of sex I want in my life that I can’t have on an anonymous basis. The sexual connection that develops with an ongoing partner is what I’m craving and yet for all my expertise on coital matters finding that elusive person has proven rather challenging.

I’ve never had a point in my life where I’ve had to choose directly between my career as an artist and a relationship, but it’s fair to say that having a successful career has always been my priority. I know a number of gay male artists in their late 30s and early
40s who in the last decade of their lives have had the kinds of successes I hope to have in the next decade of mine. All of them are single and most of them aren’t very happy about it. Call me the product of an overentitled middle-class upbringing, but I’m just not willing to settle for either a successful career or a successful relationship. I want both.

Exactly how to find that second piece of the puzzle however has left me, well, puzzled. I go out a lot, I have a wide circle of friends and I meet new people all the time. But as I was walking towel-clad through Steamworks on that fateful evening it occurred to me that perhaps it’s not as simple as that. Maybe the fact that I put so much energy into finding casual sex partners is leaving me karmically sapped when it comes to forging a longer-term connection. In essence: I don’t really need a relationship because I’m already getting laid.

So I’ve decided to take a break from the scene; I’m letting my bathhouse membership expire and leaving my bag of condoms on the bedside table, rather than carrying it around in my backpack. I’m going to focus my psychic energy on finding what I really want, rather than what I know I can get in the immediate moment. As I search for the potential future object of my affections, I still need to find a focus for all that energy that’s not going to be going into casual sex. Maybe I’ll just try to work on my abs.