ABCs of Sex: A Death Knell for Romance?
G, PNP, BB, E, CBT, TT, WS, BD, SM, FF, M4M. Lord, when they invented the alphabet, who knew gay men would put it to such clever uses? These days, the uses of drug and sexual shorthand, especially on the Internet and especially with gay men, has become so rampant, it's almost a language unto itself.
In case you are one of those rare birds who haven't been exposed to the alphabet soup I began this column with, the combinations, in order, mean, GHB (a widely used sex drug), Party and Play (getting high and having sex), BB (bareback), E (Ecstasy, another widely used sex drug, along with 'tina' or crystal meth), Cock and ball torture, tit torture, water sports, bondage and discipline, sado-masochism, fist fucking, and man for man.
The hanky code has become downright quaint.
Many of these alpha-combos appear on Internet sex sites, the most popular of which is M4m4sex.com, which has landed in the top one percent of Internet sites visited in the world, with more than 200,000 members as of this writing. Does this mean that we, as a community, are becoming more isolated, doing our dick hunting online instead of more social (and admittedly, less productive) ways of hunting, like heading out to Sidetrack for show tunes night, or, if you're of a different mind, to Cell Block for water sports night? Has the Internet made sex too easy and quick to obtain? Nowadays finding someone to have sex with is as simple as ordering a pizza, and often just as fast. Is it also just as nourishing?
I'm no stranger to this type of behavior, and neither are many of my gay male friends. I'm not being judgmental here, just curious about how you feel about this growing phenomenon. M4m4sex and other sites like it allow you to immediately know who's your type, who's ready for a hook-up, who has, or is looking for 'party favors' (usually tina), and who has HIV and who doesn't. It's a short cut to what could take hours in a bar, or even days or weeks as you get to know someone. It's an immediate cut to the chase. But here's what I wonder about: Is this kind of behavior stunting our ability to make a more profound connection with each other?
Does this kind of behavior contribute to sexual compulsiveness? It's there 24/7 and, especially if you're home alone and single, the temptation can often be overwhelming to just 'check things out.' Before you know it, you can be snorting a line of tina and getting a raw dick up your ass. The ease can make it irresistible.
Are we selling ourselves short by making this a way to meet other people?
Are we stunting our chances at meaningful relationships (and things like romance and commitment) by pursuing online hookups?
I don't know the answers to these questions. I do know that m4m, aol chat rooms, bareback city, and others are here to stay. I'm not sure where I, as a gay man, draw the line. Are you? Is this a step forward or one back for us? E-mail me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org (and include a face and chest pic and whether you bb or pnp). Just kidding about the last part; but not about hearing from you.