Posted: 18 Jan 2016 05:30 AM PST
Posted: 18 Jan 2016 05:25 AM PST
“I’ve got to beat the clock before we each lose interest.” Someone recently made that statement to me about his erotic life with his partner. His experience has been that erotic interest between two people dies pretty quickly, so you better get in as much sex as possible during the early years of the relationship.
If you don’t have good sex early on, it’s never going to get any better. Single guys sometimes tell me they get tired of their sexual routine, too: sex may be easy to get, but it’s often not deeply satisfying. They find themselves in a rut, feeling like they ought to be enjoying themselves more than they actually do....
Feeling like sex has become a chore can take a toll on how you feel about yourself. If you’re in a relationship, a sex life that’s as predictable as a 70’s sitcom rerun can make you feel like you with the wrong guy. Ruts suck. They’re boring and the siphon the juice out of just about anything: your job, your diet, and your relationships.
People are creatures of habit, whether we’re talking grocery shopping or lovemaking. Habits aren’t necessarily bad if they work for you. Trouble is, routines can become so…routine. We want a little variety, some jalapeno peppers spicing up the same old dish.
How to change things? A good place to start is with yourself. What’s it like when you’re feeling sexual and you’re also alone? Many of us have been pleasuring ourselves in the same way since we left adolescence. Get out the lube, turn on the VCR, enjoy yourself for 5 minutes, get a towel to clean up and turn out the lights for the evening.
Talk about ruts! What would it be like to take your time, to really notice how your body feels, to run your hands over the smooth places and furry places, etc? Or to get off your back, put on some music and touch yourself while you move and dance.
You may find your eyes starting to glaze over when you hear “So what are you into?” For too many men words like “top” or “bottom” become like straightjackets, confining sex to predictable routines. Why not mix it up?
Whether tricking, dating or relating, too many of us have picked up the mistaken message that a good lover is in charge of his partner’s pleasure. This is actually a little grandiose; how are you supposed to know what makes him feel good, especially if he doesn’t tell you? “I’m responsible for his pleasure” leads to disappointment. Try replacing it with “I’m responsible for my own pleasure and for being present with my partner.”
A problem some men experience when they are in relationships is that we seek unconditional love from our partner, but that sort of love can seem less sexy. In fact, the affection that builds over time can make the other guy feel like family – and sex with him feel incestuous on an unconscious level. Keeping a relationship sexy means breaking that taboo.
With a partner or someone else with whom you’re sharing erotic life, it can be fun to play the “Your Turn/My Turn Game.” It goes like this: Ask your partner to undress and lay back while you explore his body. (You may want to have some conversation first about his general likes and dislikes.) Explore touching different places in his body – including touching with your hands, fingertips, fingernails, lips, etc.
Try varying the pressure – light sometimes, more forceful. ake it playful; imagine a devilish look in your eyes, asking him “Which feels better, A or B?” See if you can learn what sort of touch doesn’t work for him, what’s pleasurable, what’s a major turn-on. When you’ve finished, it’s his turn to give and your turn to receive. The object of the game is for each guy to find out more about what sort of touch feels pleasurable to receive, and for each man to learn something about how to touch the other.
Don’t let your erotic life get boring. A guy could spend an entire lifetime learning about the landscape of his own desires and learning how to be a good lover. Turn off the TV and see what happens.
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.
Monday, January 18, 2016
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Vatican Marks David Bowie’s Passing By Praising Him
Even the Vatican has marked singer David Bowie’s passing, praising the artist whose life and career perpetually challenged sexual and gender norms, and who, at varying points in his life, identified as gay and bisexual..
Among the first to honorBowie was Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi of the Pontifical Council for Culture who tweeted lyrics from the musicians 1969 song “Space Oddity”:
“Ground Control to Major Tom/Commencing countdown, engines on/Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (David Bowie)”
L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, published an obituary complimenting Bowie. The New York Times reported:
“The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has eulogized David Bowie as a singular musician, ‘never banal,’ who grew artistically over five decades thanks to his interest in art, film and theater.“The paper, which frequently weighs in on pop culture, noted the ‘ambiguous image’ Bowie cultivated early on in his career and blamed it on his aim to attract media attention.“But it said that aside from such ‘excesses,’ Bowie’s legacy ‘is one of a sort of personal sobriety, expressed even in his dry, almost thread-like body.’ “
This is kind, if unexpected, praise from the Vatican for Bowie, who challenged gender norms. Zack Ford of Think Progress explained:
“This confusion was apparent in his own sexuality, which never seemed to fit neatly into any particular label. First he was gay. Then he was bisexual. Then coming out as bisexual was the ‘biggest mistake I ever made,’ because he didn’t ever feel that he was a ‘real bisexual.’ He admitted to having same-sex sexual interactions, ‘but frankly, it wasn’t enjoyable.’ In terms of sex and relationships, his own description of himself as ‘promiscuous’ may have been the most accurate of them all, but it reflected, as in the other aspects of his life and career, defiance of convention.”
Commenting further on Bowie’s significance for LGBT communities, a columnist with The Daily Beast wrote:
“In his refusal to label himself, there didn’t appear to be a cowardice, but rather an honesty and maturity around how unfixed, at least for him, the notion of sexuality was. That proved to be its own liberation, or at least freeing, moment for so many of every kind of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The Vatican’s praise for David Bowie has generated global headlines, fueled by the dissonance created in bringing together rigid Catholic officials and the unconfined seeker that was David Bowie. That the Vatican’s newspaper was so affirming is a positive sign for LGBT issues in the church, likely another outcome from Pope Francis’ improved engagement with the world and demand for all people to be respected and valued.
I think Cardinal Ravasi and those behind the L’Osservatore Romano article are touching a deeper truth that connects Pope Francis, David Bowie, and all of us in between: the path to holiness is the journey towards authenticity. To paraphrase the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, “To be a saint is to be yourself.”
The world benefited from Bowie’s art, just as Catholics benefits from the many LGBT people who, in their own journeys to authenticity, help break down harmful gender and sexual norms in the church. We are all richer for the carefully tended fruits which then emerge.
David Gibson of Religion News Service headlined a column, “Saint David Bowie?” Perhaps we can just remove the question mark and simply say, “Saint David Bowie.”
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry