Sex Talk: Cruising Online

Sure, where hard penises are concerned, many men are more-or-less unrepentant pigs. There have always been queer guys who’ve had recreational sex—sometimes lots of it. But the advent of the Internet has transformed the way many of us get laid…or at least increased the frequency thereof. Boys in the boondocks can more efficiently find buddies, and urban queers can get laid damn near as easily as they’d order a pizza. Paradoxically, that can make promiscuity even more problematic.

“There are still plenty of gay bars, including backroom bars where guys get it on,” says one queer observer of the sexual scene. “And in many cities, there are sex clubs and baths. But nothing has made it easier to have casual sex than the Net. That can be a good thing, but there are snakes in Paradise. A guy may feel like he’s more wrapped up in cruising than he really wants to be. He might think that if he’s not tricking at least a few times a week, there’s something wrong with him. It can get obsessive.”

“I recently got out of a long-term relationship,” says a nice-looking guy in his 30s, “and the ritualized dating thing isn’t working out too well. So I’m always horny, and wondering about the whole online hook-up scene. How do I get over what I, maybe unreasonably, feel is the shame over cruising for casual sex? Sounds like everyone does it, right? “

When it comes to sex, shame is a generally useless emotion, one oft entwined with homophobia. There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to hump butt…no matter what the antigay might say.

Often, shame-related shyness is just a matter of initial reluctance. Jump into the penis pool just once, and the next sexual swim becomes easier. But there are things to be not very proud of. Lying, being rude, and using people are all behaviors best avoided—but the Internet has made them easier to indulge in. Having an open relationship is swell, but not cheating. And lying about your health status is just plain wrong. Jerking someone off is fine; being a jerk isn’t.

Our observer says, “If you abruptly walk away from somebody in a bar, you risk being viewed as rude. Guys in bathhouses relate face-to-face. But when you’re hiding behind an anonymous e-mail address, it’s easy to stand someone up, insult him, or simply disappear.”

On the other hand, if you’re the one doing the pursuing, accept an e-mailed “no, thanks” with grace. Not everybody wants to suck your cock, and wheedling, or worse, online stalking, won’t change that. There’s nothing wrong with persistence, but don’t be a spam-sending pest.

Says someone who’s been around the booty block more than a few times, “I love it when somebody acts like a slut, just as long as he’s not an not an inconsiderate slut. There’s really no excuse for treating someone who’s interested in you like he’s crap. Maybe I’m being sentimental, but when you trick with someone and he’s the one suggesting you get together again, I’d rather that he actually answer my e-mails, even if just to say ‘Never again.’ Sure, having casual sex is a no-strings-attached affair, and some guys get embarrassed or regretful afterwards. But being turned down, even brutally, is a lot less insulting than being totally ignored.”

The same goes for if you run into someone you’ve fucked. If you’ve previously agreed you’d keep things discreet, then that’s the better part of valor. Many people use the Web to get laid because it confers a degree of anonymity, a separation from real life. But if Mr. Last Week says “hi” when you see him at the mall, it’s only mannerly to return the greeting. Just because someone had sex with you, that doesn’t mean he’s beneath contempt. (If he’s with his friends though, it might be unwise to say, “I really loved peeing on you.”)

So be nice, even when you’re looking to get blown. Online game players are rife. Don’t be one of them. If you post an ad, don’t be racist, ageist, or otherwise demeaning. And if someone who responds is too old, too young, too big, too skinny for you? “No thank you” is nicer than “Eff off.” The Golden Rule applies when you have an erection, too: Even penis-mad perverts can have principles. Be it at a sex club or a keyboard, if you _are_ going to be a slut, be an ethical one, and you won’t have to be ashamed.

Simon Sheppard is the editor of Leathermen and Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at [email protected] Visit Simon at

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