This is part one of my five-part series on a typical session of the fabulous discussion/support groups available at PTS.
THE MEN’S GROUP
The group began informally. It was a small group that night, only eight men including myself. Something to do with scheduling or email lists. Don’t ask me.
We sat in a circle and chatted leisurely about topical news. Apparently one of the facilitators was leading the discussion for the first time that day. Much time was spent on the Royal family, and I accidentally sparked off a fifteen minute lesson on European ethnicities. Then things began in earnest.
We started off with a recap of the last meeting. I gathered that they had had a sex therapist in to talk to them about relationships. One of the things this therapist had said struck a chord with the group. According to them, open relationships create greater intimacy than monogamy. The claim was the centre of much discussion, and valid points were raised on both sides. One thought that resonated with me was a question of cause and effect. Do open relationships actually create greater intimacy, or is the appearance of such a product of chance? We may never know.
The conversation then spiralled off into all sorts of interesting places. There was mention of baby pictures, Turkish culture, North American gender equality and the sexual revolution in the 90s. It was fascinating, but a little too scattered and filled with dirty jokes to document in detail.
Then we had a ten or so minute break. I spotted a cute girl who looked like a volunteer, so naturally I went over to talk to her. I was just about to say something impressive when one of the attendees of the Men’s group asked her to get something for him. She scampered off, and then he started talking to me about Switzerland or something of the sort. Totally oblivious of my impending wheels.
After the break, we went into the issues of monogamy. Someone pointed out that an open aspect to even a fundamentally monogamous relationship is useful for achieving sexual satisfaction. It’s good for people who are into BDSM, scat play, or other really kinky shit that their partner wants nothing to do with. We discussed the general unwillingness to negotiate within gay couples, and we argued about whether or not super kinky sex acts are in some cases just beyond the realm of fair negotiation. You can’t really get angry at someone for not wanting to beat you or play with shit. That is not within the expectable realm of compromise.
At some point I got winked at by a man in his 40s. Fun times. It coincided with a conversation about a full body orgasm, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
Then we started chatting about the whole concept of “friends with benefits.” Now, I wasn’t too thrilled with some of the comments made here. A few people basically said that the concept works very well for gay men, but can’t function in heterosexuality because the woman always gets attached. Because naturally the man never gets emotionally involved. We’re cold, callous, headless creatures, right? No. Naturally, I argued my case, saying that not only can FWB work between men and women, but when it doesn’t work, it’s not always the woman’s fault. I don’t even think the fundamental dynamic (the friendship itself) has to change irreparably. These points fell on rather deaf ears, but in the end we’re all entitled to our own opinions, and we moved on unperturbed.
When we wrapped up, I was left thoroughly entertained, and my thoughts were left thoroughly provoked. I think that any queer man, regardless of his confidence in himself or his sexuality, could really benefit from stopping by, even if only once, for the experience.
–Riley Evans, head writer/moderator of Queerism