Sex talk
Speaking of UB2

Simon Sheppard,

"VGL - UB2."

In the online-speak of classified ads, that means "I'm very good-looking. You be, too." Whether it's "handsome," "hung," "young," or "hunky," a self-description is often followed by the command "Be like me if you expect to fuck me."

In some ways, that's entirely understandable. As one gym-buffed man explains, "I think muscles are attractive, and I've worked out long and hard for what I've got. It's not too much to expect that my partner will care as much about his own body, as well." And in the case of some factors – race or age, for example – you could plausibly argue that cultural similarities make for an easier, more comfortable mating dance. "I find," says one man nearing middle age, "that when I'm approached by a young fellow, it's almost like we're speaking different languages."

Face it: Folks are attracted to what they're attracted to. Men shouldn't feel obligated to suck the dicks of guys they don't find hot, merely for political or social reasons.

But many men find the whole "UB2" thing narcissistic. "What a pity," says one attractive gay guy, "that some people limit their contacts to what they can already find in the mirror. Sometimes it just reeks of snottiness."

Seeking out the similar is an urge that may be reassuring, but can also be stifling. For all the rainbow-hued "Celebrate Diversity" bumper stickers, plenty of bears or leathermen or twinks disdain the dicks of those not in their particular club. "UB2" isn't just shorthand in a sex ad. Some of us live our whole lives that way, in and out of bed, wanting to be surrounded by guys as rich, slim, or hip as we are ourselves. We may not even be conscious of our exclusiveness.

This may not be a matter of mere snobbery. While "UB2" has clear overtones of "You be as good as me, dammit," there are working-class guys who'd rather not be around rich, A-list gays, and big boys who'd much rather fuck around with other chubs. So could there be an element of "I'm not good enough for some guys" there? Well, in some cases, most likely.

And then there are those who prefer that "U" not "B2." Cute young men run after graying daddies, and thin chubby-chasers get hard-ons at the sight of bulging bellies. "I was pursuing this cute punk boy who eventually told me I just wasn't fat enough for him," one man with love handles recalls. He adds with a laugh, "I told him I'd go gorge on chocolate cake."

"UB2" can also be about safety issues. Many men only want to play with guys of matching HIV status: Negative guys find it relaxingly reassuring, while positive men don't have to fear endangering someone else. An HIV-prevention counselor says, "It's all well and good to say 'use a condom,' but that's not enough for many men. As long as it's a logical decision, and not denigrating other men as pariahs, it's hard to argue. But anyone who advertises for other negative guys so they can have unprotected sex is not only trusting – he's foolhardy."

In an ideal world, most likely we'd all be sexual adventurers, open to doing the deed with a wide variety of guys, valuing inner virtues and sexual compatibility rather than filtering our to-fuck lists on the basis of superficial (or not-all-that-superficial) traits. But in the real world, our dicks get hard for some men but not others. So the best many of us can aim for is to be open-minded, fun-loving, and polite to those who don't fill our booty bills. Even if they're not like us.

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

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