Sex talk
Speaking of Internet Cruising

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, the mating habits of many queer men have taken a quantum leap into cyberspace. It is, sometimes, a short distance from Wi-Fi to Hot Fuck.

Or not.

"The Web is such a powerful tool for sex-seeking," says one cyberguy. "I'm into very particular stuff – like getting spanked by an older man – and the Internet helps me find just what I'm looking for. On the other hand, online cruising can be one big, time-wasting wild goose chase."

Unlike such sex-hunting venues as bars, parties, or even gay newspaper ads, the Internet offers both immediacy and anonymity. Guys who accept delayed gratification may choose to use online classified ads, which are pretty much like conventional gay magazine personals, only digitized. But those whose dicks won't wait have other options: either chat rooms or real-time sites, where waves of ads, mostly seeking Mr. Right Now, ebb and flow. With a bit of luck (and a fevered exchange of IMs or e-mails), sex can be had more or less on demand.

But beware: that orgasm you ordered up may not be delivered. Even if a date is actually made, no-shows are common. As another veteran of the megabyte booty hunt points out, "The very thing that makes online cruising so easy – the fact that nobody need even identify himself unless he sends a face pic – also makes it possible to play really fucked-up games." Rude, reprehensible, or racist posts are all too common. E-mailed responses get ignored, without so much as a "No, thanks." And some nefarious fellows post other men's photos with their ads.

So why fuck around with the flakes and the fakers? Says Mr. Megabyte, "The Internet is a bigger, busier meat market than even the biggest gay bar could dream of being. And when you hit the jackpot, you can find yourself in bed with someone you most likely would never have met otherwise."

Then there are the possibilities of cyber-coincidences, such as finding out that an ad-placer who sounds so great is, in fact, someone surprising – whether your very own boyfriend or that trick you lost track of. "I met one just-my-type guy via an online ad," says a 30-ish hunk, "and we hit it off real great, but I never heard from him again. Well, about four months later I responded to an ad that sounded terrific, and – you guessed it – it was the same man. Turned out he'd lost my e-mail address. That was a year ago, and we're still seeing each other."

Online cruisers point out that there are ways to make the process of getting laid via your keyboard as painless as possible. If you're placing an ad, be clear about what you want, and don't be insulting about what you don't desire. It's always a good idea to try to touch base by telephone before finalizing a date – that way you'll ensure that the object of your flirtation isn't a maiden aunt with a laptop and time on her hands. And don't set your sights too high: Your first foray is unlikely to turn up the love of your life, especially if you're hanging around a chat room where everyone else is just looking for a quick blowjob.

If you're shy, lazy, fussy, or just don't feel like standing around watching other people get drunk, your computer screen may turn out to be a viable alternative to the disco down the street. Just be sure to pack a sense of humor and plenty of patience when you set out down that information superhighway.

And pretty soon – if things go well and connections don't get crossed – you've got male.

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

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