Sex talk
Speaking of Sleaze

Simon Sheppard,

There's a sex club that advertises itself as "a clean, well-lighted place for sex," and that sort of spotless ambiance suits many guys just fine. But then there are those who prefer their screwing-around on the sleazy side. To some, it's just a matter of hanging out at a dimly lit bar, wearing basket-revealing jeans, and acting like a slut. But things can get a lot more hardcore.

"I normally live a nice, clean life, with a suit-and-tie job and a neat house," says one sleaze-fancier. "But when my dick gets hard, I go looking for tattooed rough trade, drugged-out skateboys in skanky apartments, things like that. I'd rather cruise in a smelly bus-station restroom than an upscale coffeeshop."

And he's not alone. There are plenty of fellows who like their fun to be down-and-dirty, their sex to be lascivious, not loving. Verbal abuse, dominance/submission scenes, glory holes – the gutter's the limit. Do such guys have issues? Well, maybe.

Says another fellow, "A friend of mine – really, it's not me – loves to pick up homeless men, the stinkier the better, and take them home. Sure, homeless guys deserve love, too, but what he's doing is so dangerous on so many levels – rip-offs, diseases, you name it. And he's had crabs more times than I can count. Sorry, but men who respect themselves just don't put themselves in such skanky situations."

A yen for sleaze may indeed reflect internalized homophobia, the oppressive idea that queer men don't deserve sweet, loving sex. But, like any sort of sexual desire, it's probably more complicated than that. Says our middle-class sleaze seeker, "It's just nice, after a hard week at work, to behave like a total animal. There's a piss party at a local club that I totally love. It's an excuse to get messy, wet, and just lose control."

Of course, loss of control – though it can be key to great sex – can lead to all sorts of unforeseen trouble, and using drinks or drugs to overcome inhibitions is never a great idea. But "sleazy" need not mean "unsafe."

One man says, "I enjoy having sex in my garage. It's pretty funky in there, and I have a play buddy who shows up, unshowered and in smelly, ripped-up clothes. We do some very hot role-play scenes, after which he gets me face-down on some greasy rags slung over the hood of my car, puts on a rubber, and fucks the hell out of me."

It's always easier to go sexually slumming if you have the option of returning to a more-or-less together life. Confesses our garage-playing buddy, "For a while I was seeing a guy with drug problems. It was sort of hot, in a lower-depths way, to go over to his fucked-up apartment and suck him while he was getting high. But eventually it just got creepy; I felt like I was both enabling and exploiting his addiction. I was glad to hear, about a year later, that he'd managed to clean himself up."

Yes, we all have limits, and one man's "sleazy" is another's "sweet." Successful and safe sexual exploration depends on being honest with yourself and forthright with others. That's what pre-play negotiations are for, and if spontaneous, maybe anonymous, play is on tap, then at least be prepared for what you're letting yourself in for. A condom in the pocket, for instance, is never out of style.

And, of course, at some point, walking on the wild side requires you to lower your inhibitions and become – at least for a little while – the sex pig we all know, deep down, you really are.

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

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