Sex talk
He Who Gets Dumped

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

An old song says that breaking up is hard to do, but for some men, it can be damn near impossible. "My boyfriend felt like our relationship was going nowhere, so he decided to call it quits," confesses one 20-something guy. "Unfortunately, I was having none of it. I kept phoning him, sending pleading e-mails, even showing up at his door. It was getting scary, even to me. I felt like a stalker. Finally, he told me I had to stop it, and that brought me to my senses. I mean, he's really nothing special. Well, not all that special."

Some men, hoping to avoid messy entanglements, adopt a sex-but-not-romance rule. That may not make goodbyes any cleaner, though – the dividing line between love and lust is often a blurry one. And a guy can get just as attached to fellatio as to hearts and flowers. As one sadder-but-wiser dude explains, "I had a fuckbuddy who I really started to like. He eventually left me for a 'real' boyfriend, which was surprisingly tough for me to get over. Maybe if our time together had included mundane movie dates and walks in the park, and not just wild, intense fucking, I wouldn't miss him so much."

Losing a sex partner may mean more than just saying goodbye to a good lay and hello to horniness; being sexually attractive is a major source of self-esteem for many gay men. "I'm not worried that no one's ever going to love me," says our sadder-but-wiser man. "I think I'll find someone who will. But, though I know it might sound stupid, what really concerns me is that I'll never find someone who'll be as turned on by me as my ex-fuckbuddy was."

It's an anxiety that can get even more acute when the dating pool is small. Connoisseurs of kink, for instance, may feel they'll never find another guy who loves to be spat on or spanked or whatever...at least not as much as the man who got away. And though urban gays may find that prospective tricks are a dime a dozen, when it comes to small towns, even the most vanilla of villagers may look in vain for suitable sex partners.

"In a way, being left is like widowhood," says one observer of the gay scene, "and in the age of AIDS, there's been plenty of that. Though it's less traumatic than a partner's death, a breakup still can be tricky to deal with. A guy who's been dumped will often play the 'if only' game. If only he'd said this, done that, been a better fuck, then maybe he and his ex would still be together."

Continues our observer, "Putting yourself back on the market means risking repeated rejection, so some guys who've been dumped will restrict themselves to no-strings sexual encounters. That way, the only thing obviously at stake is an orgasm or two. For some men – especially if they felt restricted by being in a monogamous relationship – that can be liberating. But for others, post-breakup quickies can seem like demeaning proof of their failure to maintain something more lasting."

So is there life after being left by a lover – or a fuckbud? Well, of course there is. There are strategies to help you move on. Unfortunately, you've probably heard them all before. Luckily, though, they usually work. Keep busy. There are plenty of queer fish in the sea...even if that sea is pretty small. So leave yourself open to new relationships – or at least occasional sex – despite the risk of further rejection. Remember that getting dumped doesn't necessarily mean that you fucked up. Treat your ex-boyfriend the way you want him to treat you: If Mr. Ex says, "We can still be friends," you might want to give it a whirl. But if he insists he doesn't want to see you again, odds are good that he really doesn't. Above all, have faith in the healing power of time. And, as our observer says, "There are worse things than bachelorhood. Hell, there are even worse things than celibacy – though it may be tough to think of any."

OK, so you got dumped. But hey, live and learn, and you'll probably do better next time. As our 20-something semi-stalker says, "When I finally took my ex's advice, it set me free to look around. And – though after much trial and error -–I did find somebody. We're still together. And this one is special

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

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