Sex talk
Speaking of Compromise

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

Sure, we all want Mr. Right in our beds – and in our lives. But finding even the right trick can be tricky, and for many, the perfect boyfriend seems always out of reach.

Perhaps the solution lies in settling for what's available. "When I first met my boyfriend," says one now-satisfied guy, "I wasn't all that swept away. There were plenty of things I liked about him, but other stuff I didn't. That was 10 years ago, and we've been together ever since."

Brought up as we are on a diet of romantic movies and picture-perfect male models, it's no wonder that many queer men have high standards. But learning to enjoy what's possible is not the same as admitting defeat. No one's expecting you to fuck a guy you find unattractive, but if someone lacks a six-pack, why not be happy with a four-pack instead? You may drool over eight-inchers, but are you fussy enough to turn up your nose at a nice, hard fiver?

Says an unattached fellow, "When I first started having sex with guys, I was just so picky. Now´┐Żwell, it's not that I'm undiscriminating. It's just that I've learned to find attractive stuff about a whole variety of men. And hey, sometimes it's just nice to have another warm body in bed next to me."

Long-term relationships, too, work best when both guys are realistic about what's possible. Life can't be roses and love songs every single day, and no one man is going to be absolutely everything you want – unless you're even luckier than a lottery winner. Says the man who's in a 10-year relationship, "The odd thing is that if you love someone, you value all sorts of odd things about him. Which is not to say my boyfriend doesn't irritate or disappoint me sometimes. He's only human. But he's mine."

Domestic relationships work best when they're a compromise, but some arrangements – like who does the laundry – are easier to thrash out than such thorny issues as differing expectations of monogamy. OK, it's a cliche, but discussion works better than simmering resentment. And remember, you won't always get your way.

That goes for life between the sheets, too. Everyone has his own sexual needs, and it's up to each of us to make sure ours are met...within reason. One toppish leatherman complains, "There are just so many bottom guys out there who have these very set fantasies and expect you to work your ass off to fulfill them." But even someone who's not bossy about bondage might be placing unreasonable expectations on each and every sex act. Sure, sometimes orgasms are mind-blowing, unforgettable, transcendent moments. But other times, they're just the spilling of seed. And if you're dating somebody and the sex is often just so-so, you might want to ask yourself just whose fault that is.

Or, better than assigning blame, focus on the sexy stuff about every carnal contact. It's not a matter of being pathetic or desperate. It's a highway to happiness. One observer of the queer scene says, "So many of us are brought up in homophobic situations that it's small wonder we have mixed feelings about ourselves and the sex we have. And so, gay guys will subconsciously set themselves up for emotional and sexual disappointments."

Many men find that they become more open-minded with experience, age, or a couple of drinks. But it's never too soon to take a realistic look at what you can expect, and learn to enjoy what you can get. As Mom might say: love yourself, act kindly to others, and be happy fucking the one you're with.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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