When visiting my in-laws in Mexico over the holidays, I ended up talking with my boyfriend about having a three-way.
The topic came up partly because of my partner’s tendency while travelling in his native land to chat up strangers – government tourism reps, hairdressers, magazine kiosk clerks and guys loitering in public squares – about where local gay spots are.
(I am both amused and mortified when he does this. Amused because of his sincere desire to make gay life speakable in Mexico, and mortified because I’m constantly afraid of being followed and beaten.)
I mentioned to him that he’d be jealous if I were the one chatting up strangers in cruising spots. He agreed and off we went talking about what would make us jealous until we landed on that relationship-testing notion of threesomes.
My side of the talk was muddled and uncomfortable. I was hesitant to continue and made several attempts to change the subject or turn it into a joke. Too much chatter seems to beat the thrill out of things. I’ve always been skeptical when offbeat sexual practices like SM and fisting become workshopped, pamphleteered and fundraised until they seem as banal as baking muffins.
My recent favourite was a seminar on temperature play – a lovely euphemism for the use of hot wax, ice, electricity and glycerine for sexual enjoyment – hosted by the AIDS Committee Of Toronto. So much for the dark side, when it’s governed by a board of directors at regular monthly meetings.
In fact, talk of three-ways made me feel so uncomfortable, I started thinking about alternatives to broaching the subject head on. The first vision that flashed through my mind was wandering around a bar a little drunk while getting my boyfriend somewhat more drunk, flirting with a handsome stranger to whom I would insist I had a jealous boyfriend and then I’d wait to see if the stranger stuck around – and then I’d ask him to drive us home. Somehow I’d get him in the apartment, the bedroom door would be open and hopefully would serve as a beckoning signal
As unlikely as a porn plot? Sure. Accidental threesomes are hard to rig up; other kinds of sex aren’t. I know guys who don’t have gay sex, who don’t have sex outside of their relationship, who don’t cruise parks, who don’t have unsafe sex. All these forbidden activities reside in an imaginary glass case.
The glass case might be unbreakable, but that doesn’t stop them from rubbing up against it. So hard that, to me, they seem like they’ve gone inside. “I was just walking through the park on my way home ” “He came and stood next to me in the shower at the gym and got hard ” “He was a stripper. How was I to know he’d reach into my pants ?” “I was too drunk to remember if we used a condom or not.”
Unexpected and purely accidental sexual experiences are exciting; they’re the stuff of erotic letters magazines. They do happen sometimes, but they’re rarer than we’d care to believe. No matter the level of mental trickery or compartmentalization, being groped to orgasm in a peep show booth is not an accident. Saying otherwise denies the pleasure of responsibility, increases the guilt over time.
So I might roll my eyes reading a posting on a barebacking listserve that reads, “I love the bond that poz people have with each other and if there is anyone out here that would love to bend me over to inject me, let me know.” And I might disagree with the writer’s desire. But at least the writer’s desire is there for me to disagree with, and not wrapped up in a strange story about a lost condom.
An hour of talking about what I want and don’t in my relationship makes me squirm. But it beats hours of manipulative choreography to get what I want without saying so.
Paul Gallant is Features Editor for Xtra.