Features

MAKING SEX FUN AGAIN

Mon, 20 August 2012

Sex. Gay sex. What comes to mind when you read those words? Think about it for a minute. What’s the first thing that the words “gay sex” make you think of?

Perhaps “taboo, sies, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, cheat, bad, dirty, sin, promiscuity?” Hmmm, okay, so what about…

“Natural, normal, fun, pleasurable, exciting, feel good, intimate, celebration, joyful..." JOYFUL?

Has sex become so associated with stigma, morality, stereotyping, the dangers of HIV and safe sex messaging that we’ve lost the ability to enjoy it?

All the messaging we receive on a daily basis advising responsible sexual behaviour and warning us about health risks is not just keeping us informed but it could also be provoking a great deal of anxiety. For some guys it’s taken the simple joy out of sex. These days sex seems to have become about responsibility, fear and danger.

We’ve forgotten that sex between consenting adults is natural. Maslow, an American psychologist, presented sex as one of the basic human physiological needs in his famous ‘hierarchy of needs’.

Freud, another great psychologist, said that we enter the world as pleasure seekers. We are born with an Eros which is our drive of life, love, creativity, sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation. Our Libido is our vital impulse or energy, and often sexual desire. According to Freud, we seek pleasure from a series of erogenous zones. These are areas of the body that have heightened sensitivity. Stimulation of these areas may result in sexual arousal.

The question is then, have we lost our natural mojo in the HIV/Aids era? I recently had a discussion with a colleague and he admitted that he feels like he’s lost his sense of play due to often feeling anxious about engaging in sex.

There are a number of issues that may play a role in removing the liberation and excitement out of having fun in the bedroom (or the kitchen, or the bathroom…).

Heteronormativity

This is a social construct that views all humans as either male or female, with the associated behaviour and gender roles assigned, both in sex and gender, and that sexual and romantic thoughts and relations are normal only between people of opposite sexes and all other behaviour is viewed as “abnormal”.

Heteronormative model

The typical heteronormative family consisting of a father (male bodied person), mother (female bodied person) and offspring.

Homophobia

This is the irrational fear of homosexual feelings, thoughts, behaviours, or people and an undervaluing of homosexual identities resulting in prejudice, discrimination and bias against homosexual individuals.

Internalised homophobia

When a homosexual individual internalises (makes it his own) the shame and hatred projected onto gays and lesbians by our homophobic society, even if he is not actually aware that he is doing this.

Emotional baggage

Fear, shame and guilt that individuals carry with them or experience during and/or after sexual play.

Stigma

When a certain individual, with certain characteristics, is rejected by their community or society because of that characteristic which might be considered “abnormal”.

The health risks

The awareness and fear of the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as HIV through sex.

Safety issues

Risk of your own physical safety during hook-ups, especially with the recent Gauteng gay murders in the news.

Sexual Dysfunction

A sexual dysfunction is defined as a disturbance in the sexual response cycle or as pain with sexual intercourse. Sexual dysfunction can be due to biological or psychological factors.

Dissatisfaction with penis length

Does size really matter, or is it how you use it? A non-erect penis usually measures between 8.5cm and 10.5cm (3-4 inches) from tip to base. The average length is about 9.5cm (3.75 inches). Many factors can cause a temporary shrinkage of two inches or more, for instance cold weather or going swimming, so you needn't worry if you happen to fall short of the average figure.

Interestingly, most penises are very much the same size when erect. A guy whose non-erect penis is smallish will usually achieve about a 100% increase in length during sexual excitement. A guy whose non-erect penis is already quite large will probably manage about a 75% increase. This means the great majority of penises measure between 15cm and 18cm (6-7 inches) when erect, with the average figure being about 16.5cm (6.5 inches). The average width of a flaccid penis is 3.1cm (1.25 inches) and 4cm (1.6 inches) when erect.

Remember, a penis is not the only sexual play organ!

Despite all these elements that can cause anxiety, fear or shame, sex can and should still be enjoyed. Sex does not have to be kept in the closet!

• Accept yourself for who you are and who you were created to be. In the words of RuPaul: “If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

• Heteronormativity is just a social construct. It is not set and it can be changed. Even though we are a marginalised group, we are here to stay. We are unique and we cannot measure ourselves against nor compare ourselves to the heteronormative model.

• Internalised homophobia can be dealt with. If you have feelings of shame and self-hate, speak to someone about your internalised guilt. Perhaps it may be time to explore these feelings with a friend, counsellor or psychologist.

• You do not have to carry all those heavy suitcases filled with emotional baggage alone. Find someone who can assist you in unpacking them. Again, a friend, counsellor or psychologist.

• Always play responsibly by ensuring consistent use of condoms and condom-compatible lubrication and try and make this part of the fun of sex. Other strategies to stay healthy include regular and early testing and screening and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) if you do have unsafe sex.

• Ensure your hook-ups are safe. When in doubt rather listen to the voice inside warning you and stay away.

• Can’t get it up or keep it up? Seek medical advice or psychological intervention for guidance on how to work through this current challenge. It happens to all guys at some point, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.

• Remember, penetration is not the only type of sexual play. You have more than just a penis. Explore each other’s bodies and find those erogenous zones – make sex more than just “wham bam thank you m'am”.

• Communication is key. Talk to your sexual play partner about your needs and fantasies.

Remember to laugh, smile and enjoy yourself – sex shouldn’t be so damn heavy and serious! Gents, get your engines started and enjoy responsible BUT FUN sexual play!

by Xander Flemming

Xander Flemming is a registered counselling psychologist and the Health Manager at OUT in Pretoria. For more information about your sexual health needs, including PEP and HIV screening and treatment, contact OUT on 012 430 3272 or visit www.men2men.co.za.

    

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really?? 9/2/2012 2:55:52 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
16.5cm is average? really? seriously?
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R 8/26/2012 9:14:13 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Wyane's right I noticed th same thing The absense of Love. In the beginning of discovering ourselves we cram everthing we are in our closets especially our ability to love. During our impressionable moments ignorant straight (and gay) ppl may tell us "gay relationship aren't actual relationships because in the end of the day it's more of a phyical thing with guys. When you lose attraction you'll find someone esle... That's why it's a sin". I'm sure a lot of us have heard something like that before. Things like that can stick with u forever if U let them. This is one o the reasons most guys only do "NSA" or "FUN" cause deep down that's all they think they're worth. When most guys start feeling serious emotions they bolt sooner or later. This article tells u what cud b wrong wit u but very hollow advice. U might as well have said get over it, dat wudda saved time. Lets remember being gay can be lonely e.g. who do u talk to about this to when ur too scared of the very homophobia plauging U. We need more practical solutions to a much bigger problem here. How do we help those who can't access the sites or contact OUT
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Wayne van Niekerk 8/23/2012 4:25:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Xander, if that is what other gay guys have to deal with how do they enjoy having sex at all?
Also I notice a lack of one word. LOVE. Call me sentimental but is sex not also an expresssion of our love for our partner. I am VERY lucky in that I have a husband (now) who I met 15 years ago and we have great fun in the bedroom ( and other places of course). The big secret for us is to keep it fresh and interesting (and I am not talking fetishes here) Sometime just grab each other and fuck for the sake of sex, sometimes explore each other for a long time without going hell for leather. Sometimes make a day of it and just stay in bed and see if you can break your previous record. Sometimes be dangerous and be a little kinky, sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and do it half asleep and half awake. That can also be fun. I suppose we are lucky in that we are both HIV- and cannot become positive so there is no need for safe sex as we are monogomous. We are comfortable in us and our relationship. But to the single guys out there - have safe fun- and remember - being gay is a step up in the evolutionary process. We are not straights - we are better- dont ever forget that
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Wayne van Niekerk 8/23/2012 4:25:44 PM Down Up Reply REPLY
Oh forgot my name in message
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