Sex talk
Speaking of Darkness

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

As an old Velvet Underground song points out, "People look good in the dark." And many of us feel good in the dark, too. Darkness can be just plain sexy.

Part of it is due to the mystique of the night. Nighttime is traditionally when – the day and its rigors done – we can let go, enjoy ourselves, and fuck like bunnies. "Humans are very visually oriented," says one keen observer of men's lusts. "Being in the dark deprives us of information. It frees up our imaginations, and helps us let go of our inhibitions." That's no doubt why sex clubs and orgy rooms tend to be dimly lit; in Amsterdam, the areas in bars where guys go to get it on are called not "back rooms," but "dark rooms."

Having sex with people you can barely see can be disorienting, but it can also be freeing. When you can't see someone well, it focuses more attention on how he sounds, smells, and feels. Things can get more intense. One lustful old-timer recalls, "In the 1970s, I used to go to a bar in San Francisco with an orgy room that was lit by just one dim red light. It was great to have sex with men I couldn't see at all, just reverting to my animal self."

Not everyone is into indiscriminate rutting, of course, but darkness can be liberating even for long-term lovers. "I've become so accustomed to seeing my honey day after day that having sex with him in total darkness is somehow special, becoming about the pleasure itself instead of whatever happened between us that day," says one happily partnered man. "It also means that when I'm not very horny and he is, I can more easily use my imagination and pretend he's someone else. Of course, I keep him the dark about that."

Compared to many special effects employed for a special fuck, achieving total darkness is quick and easy. It's safe, too, as long as you keep the rubbers easily reachable and don't leave your tangled jeans where you'll trip over them on the way to the toilet. And those who are into "dim" rather than "pitch-black" can rely on a variety of low-illumination tools, from turned-down rheostats to religious candles to a retro lava lamp on the other side of the room.

On the darker side, an absence of light can mask some less-than-great stuff – not only zits and dust bunnies, but neuroses, too. "I was with a fuck buddy of mine, and we talked about inviting a third guy over to play with us," a guy recalls. "My friend always goes on about how homely and overweight he is – which he isn't, not at all. He just has a lousy self-image, I guess. He said it would be fine as long as we kept the lights off during the three-way. When our guest arrived, I tried to at least keep the hall light on. Hell, I like to see the men I'm having sex with, but my buddy was having none of it. Frustrating."

Like great sex, darkness makes us lose control. It taps into some of the oldest fears and fantasies of the human animal. So for many of us, when the sun goes down, the cock crows. That Sinatra song is, after all, called "Strangers in the Night," not "Strangers in the Bright." So even if you're the kind of bloke who loves to ogle, give dicking in the dark a try. At the very least, you'll save on your power bill.

And if your date is a nooner? Well, there are always blindfolds.

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

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