“What comes naturally to a gay guy between the ages of 20 and 30? Lust, sex and fantasy of course! But what if you’re a single, good-looking lad and want to experience a bit more than the usual anonymous one-night stand? You do what we did – you get a group of like-minded hotties together, and do so in the privacy of your home. AND you do it SAFELY with people who fit your profile.”
This is how the advertisement for The Rainbow Boyz starts – a group advertising on at least two well known South African online dating websites. Ads for groups like this has become fairly commonplace on dating websites and since it’s such a blatant offer of sex – in a group context – one can’t help but wonder how successful these ads are. We all know that men are horny creatures by nature, and let’s face it, when hooking up with someone from an online dating service you never quite know what – or who – you’re getting.
The Rainbow Boyz are a group of guys between 20 and 35 who get together on a fortnightly basis, chill, have fun, watch naughty movies, play games, and basically “do what guys do” – safely and amongst friends.
“We reason that young gay guys will sleep around – we have all done it – and rather than deny this fact, we choose to let it happen in a safe, controlled environment where drugs and alcohol do not impair your judgment, and where you know what and who to expect,” says Rudi, 35, the organiser of the group. But was sex the main reason why the group was started? “I started the group with friends who also felt the need for such a group. I wasn’t really into group sex before, but wanted to try it since I don’t have much faith in gay relationships. For me personally, it’s more about meeting interesting gay men, making friends and entertaining. I have been in the entertainment industry for more than six years and it gives me a thrill to see gay men happy”, says Rudi.
But is orchestrating a group with its sole aim being to create circumstances conducive to group sex the best or only way to make gay men happy? Is group sex such an everyday occurrence in the gay community that it can be seen as a normal sexual practice? “I think it depends,” says Wayne, 20. “Is group sex a normal sexual practice in a heterosexual relationship? It is definitely not a sexual deviation – most probably a sexual preference.” Chris, 32, agrees. “Most people enjoy it but are just too scared of their own sexuality to actually try it. I’ve spent much time thinking about it and wondering whether I should feel guilty, but I’ve not been able to find one thing to feel guilty about.”
Rudi agrees. “Most gays that I know have at least done a threesome. It’s not a deviation. Our profile clearly says ‘no S&M and that type of nonsense’. So we see S&M and so on as not normal and group sex merely as a bit more kinky, but still within the confines of normal gay sex,” he says. “I do not even feel guilty for enjoying it,” says Ockert, 23. “It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I am pretty damn sure that everybody has thought or fantasized about it at one stage in their lives. More importantly, this is not a singles club. This is fun for the single boys. We do not have sex to procreate, we do it for fun.”
According to doctor Gareth Hunt, a registered Johannesburg clinical psychologist specializing in the areas of sexual dysfunction, gender dysphoria, atypical sexuality and sexual orientation distress, group sex is statistically an infrequent practice, making it a sexual practice that is not necessarily normal. “It is rare and the vast majority of the population does not incorporate it as standard in their sexual repertoire,” he says. “As Kinsey would say, it is not a normal sexual outlet – statistically speaking”. Should group sex then be considered an abnormal practice? “It’s a difficult question to answer in the sense that measuring natural, untainted, raw sexual desires is virtually impossible. As they say in the essentialist and constructionist debate, adult sexuality is overwhelmingly constructed,” he says.
But what happens when group sex becomes the standard in your sexual repertoire? How does it tip the scale in the normal or abnormal debate? Is it a sexual deviation of sorts? “Very few sexual practices are regarded as sexual deviations lately. There is a ‘bible’ of sorts in the mental health field which lists all mental disorders. It is known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM for short. The manual is revised every couple of years, with the most recent revision done in 200. At this stage, group sex is not listed as a mental disorder, and it is unlikely that it ever will. So in my opinion, if someone includes group sex in their repertoire, it is ok and not a sign of mental problems,” Hunt says.
The Rainboy Boyz are an example of what happens when a normally infrequent sexual practice becomes an organised, frequent occurrence. Not only do they have a strict entry policy, but even a few rules. It isn’t operated for profit, and doesn’t attempt to be a dating agency – in fact, the organisers feel that their parties aren’t the best way to find a life partner. It has happened before, of course, but many of the guys return to the group if the relationship doesn’t work out. The rules are simple: discretion is essential, leave your ego at the door, “pretentious moffies best stay away”, and always practice safe sex. Guys who can relate to their philosophy and feel that they fit the profile of the group (20 to 35 years of age, slim to defined or muscular build) can e-mail the group through one of their online advertisements.
Party-dates are also advertised on the website ads, with a maximum of fifteen members allowed per party – once you are accepted as a member of the group, you can simply RSVP. “Everyone who has confirmed for a party gets a list of profile names via e-mail, thereby eliminating the chances of meeting an ex-boyfriend or someone from work. However, if someone confirms attendance for a party and does not pitch up, he will be booted from the group and blacklisted by the members. This also applies to guys who break the few rules,” says Rudi.
“I have had patients who have benefited by stating that the experience is and or was liberating…”
But what actually happens at these parties? Is it simply a case of arrive, do your thing and go home? Are these get-togethers based solely on sex, lust and fantasy? “No,” says Rudi. “There’s a lot of bonding happening as well – we’re a group of like-minded guys. We go to clubs together, and we also arrange our own strip shows and so on. We have even had our own birthday party at a nightclub with a live show. I have also been to things like birthday parties and other get-togethers with some of the members that have become friends” Rudi does however confirm that the main reason behind the parties is still sex, and that confirming attendance to a party just about equates to getting laid.
But Grant, 27, doesn’t quite agree that these parties are based solely on sex. “It is quite possible to attend and not do anything sexual. Just being with people can also get your rocks off.” And Sasha, 31, agrees as well. “I attended a few parties now and have never got laid! Someday – when the right person arrives at the party – I might take it further than chatting,” he says. “There is no obligation,” adds Rudi. “If you don’t want to do anything with anybody, you say no. And obviously they can say no to you. Normally everybody participates in the strip games and shooter competitions, and 90% participate in the sex, with at least one of the group. About 80% participate in the group sex. We have had parties where everybody does most with everybody else. That happens a lot.”