The other day I waxed nostalgic about my version of the good old days and how much easier it was for a guy to get some dick as compared with today. I was talking with Cityman yesterday and I think that had he grown up in the time period I did, he would have fit in nicely with the simplistic, no strings attached way we did it back then. Today, while there are guys who insist on NSA sex with other men, there also seems to be a lot of guys who are not only against NSA sex and the much-dreaded hookup, but they seem to be taking Friends With Benefits to a whole different level.
I don’t disagree that establishing a FWB thing with another guy is (or can be) a good thing where items like safety and discretion are concerned but, once upon a time, FWB used to mean being friends and enough so that if you wanted to fuck, it wouldn’t be a problem; it effectively smashed the ages-old admonishment that friends can’t fuck friends and, importantly, carried an element of NSA with it or,as I’ve said, all of the perks of being in a relationship without any of the responsibilities and obligations. Having a friend meant you could hang out with them and do things while wearing clothes but you could also do some stuff butt naked and all it meant was y’all just had it like that.
No commitments, no promises made or broken; just good “clean” fun if and when the situation called for it. FWBs could see other people (with or without clothes) and it wasn’t a problem (or much of one) because it kept them free to either have other FWBs or just the one… but not be tied down with the rigors of actually being in a relationship with each other. You liked them enough to want to fuck them when you could but, um, ya didn’t like them that much that you’d want to be waking up to them every morning.
Bi guys were quick to jump on the FWB bandwagon – if it helps, think bro job – and guys made it work; we’re not gonna be a couple, per se, but we can hang out every now and then (and as time for such things allowed) and, uh, if the moment called for dicks to come out (and asses/legs hiked into the air), okay, man – we’re that cool with each other so it’s not gonna be a problem. Then something changed and I can’t honestly say that I know the “exact” moment the FWB dynamic among men veered off to the side. Again, it makes sense that if you wanna play with a dick, you find that one guy who is of the same mind as you are about this; it’s safer (compared to the much-dreaded hookup) and a lot more discrete in that if you’re seen hanging with your bro, not very many people are gonna think much about it or be suspicious about why “Hank” and “Ted” are almost always seen together – again,if it helps, think bromance if our hypothetical guys are seen to be having a whole lot of fun in each other’s company and to the point where some might think and/or say, “Hmm, they must be fucking each other!” but more in a joking manner than a serious suspicious of sexual activity.
I’ve written in past scribbles that there seems to be a lot of men these days who are loath to drop their gear for a guy unless there’s a degree of being into in play as well as a high degree of exclusivity involved; an exception is made for married bi guys because, of course, they are bound to handle their duties at home (and provided they’re still able to handle certain duties if you catch my drift). In talking with Cityman about his views and, specifically, where he lives, I don’t doubt that there are a lot of men in his area who are about the dick and nothing but the dick – let’s hook up, do this thing, and if I don’t ever see you again, it was fun, dude. He shares with me that a lot of the guys he just communicates with aren’t just looking for some good dick – they’re looking to establish a relationship of some kind and, it seems, taking the once-convenient FWB mode and taking it to a bit more than FWB and with overtones of exclusivity… and, apparently, all the issues that come with being an item; not exactly boyfriends in that sense but along the lines of, “We’ve had sex… and now you gotta dedicate yourself to me at all times and in all ways!”
Cityman says that he believes gay marriage is responsible for this and I tend to disagree because this… shift in the M2M FWB dynamic was happening before gay marriage blew up. See, the problem with the NSA approach to sex is that the participants are expected and required to ignore any feelings other than lust and it’s not that some folks aren’t able to put up a huge wall between their emotions and their lust for sex… but sex is pretty damned powerful and has proven over all this time to be a master-key to a person’s emotions; if having sex with someone doesn’t unlock those emotions you’d rather not be bothered with the first time you have sex, if you keep having sex with them, the lock you placed on your deeper emotions will eventually get picked. So, sure, if “Hank” and “Ted” become FWBs and they’re having a lot of sex with each other and spending a lot of time hanging out together, chances are good that things will go from being a matter of convenience for the two of them to something more than that, not just because the sex is outstanding but also because the longer they interact with each other, the more they learn about each other and the feelings that some guys avoid like the plague will start to manifest themselves. That, in and of itself, isn’t really the problem…
The problem crops up when those “extra feelings” come into play and something has to be done about it and exclusivity is invoked or put on the table which effectively erases the line between just being friends and friends who can do each other if/when needed. It’s about as close to declaring your FWB is now your boyfriend as it can get without making it official. Keep in mind that I’m not really talking about “Hank” and “Ted” falling madly in love with each other but one of the aspects of human behavior: If you find something that’s working for you, you not only want to keep it and get all you can out of it, you want it all to yourself… but it also winds up negating the whole purpose or concept of FWB because, in a lot of cases I’ve heard about, once the FWB arrangement gets to this point, you are effectively off the market and having other FWBs just ain’t cool; “You’re mine now and I’m not gonna stand for you seeing other guys, man!” It also has the effect of taking our hypothetical single guys’ status of being single and kicking it to the curb.
The original intent of FWB wasn’t about all of this – all of the perks, none of the responsibilities of actually having a committed relationship. In my mind, this shift in the dynamic plays into some of the things I’ve been reading about bisexuality, namely, if you’re not having or thinking about engaging in a same-sex relationship, your bisexuality, such as it is or might be, isn’t valid. It also plays right into the heteronormative narrative: No sex without a relationship or other kind of investment in place; otherwise, any sex you’re having with someone has zero meaning and substance and should be avoided at all costs.
Wow, right? Now, perhaps, to many of you, this makes sense and because, for the most part, this is what many of us were taught – casual sex because you can do it is bad, relationship sex is good. But sex between bisexual men pretty much ignored this long-standing edict (excluding any involvement with gay men, for the purposes of this discussion) and it was being able to ignore this that made sex between men so damned attractive; “Hank” and “Ted” didn’t have to be into each other and, really, didn’t have to “like” each other except to like each other enough to want to have sex or, as you’ve seen me write hundreds of times, “Hey, do you wanna do it?” and if the reply was, “Yeah!” you just stripped down and did it, no muss, no fuss, and what else can we do today?
I’ve seen a trend that, perhaps only in my own opinion, seeks to “normalize” bisexuality or handling things in this is done using the same rules and behaviors that men and women have been adhering to since time immemorial. Some casual sex might be allowable and even “necessary” in order to set the stage for a higher level of commitment/investment in each other and it just seems to me that this “normalization” is, at best, society’s way of justifying bisexual behavior or, if you do it “by the book,” then it’s kinda/sorta okay. I’ll point out that I’m not saying that this is a good or bad thing… but I do find it rather curious because, again, I come from a time when it was never like this.
Cityman often “complains” about his guys being clingy and I fuck with him and tell him, “Well, that’s what you get for being good at what you do!” and I don’t mean just how he can throw it down; he’s also a really nice guy and treats people like people should be treated – respectfully. Sometimes I laugh at him because he does, in fact, display all of the things that would make him an excellent committed partner… if he were interested in being some guy’s boyfriend. I know that he subscribes to the original intent of FWB but, as he tells me, a lot of the men he comes in contact with – verbal or otherwise – have something more in mind and as I said to him last night, “It’s what you want versus what they want… and you have no control over what they want.” Logically, you run into a guy you not only want to get with but is deemed to be a good candidate for FWB; you communicate your position in this clearly and concisely and in ways that doesn’t allow room for any interpretation other than what you stated… and the other guy can agree across the board and even agree to this somewhat NSA dynamic…
And if you know anything about men, you know that, um, there are times when we’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear in order to get what we want and that’s not any different when it comes to things M2M. I’m not saying that all guys are habitual liars when it comes to this (and despite our very bad reputation in this area)… but what I will say is that if you think that the original agreement isn’t going to change somewhere down the road and especially if the FWB sex is running wild and free, bluntly, you’re sadly mistaken and, perhaps, just a bit naive. And, really, if you don’t ever consider that it’s always been the other guy’s intent, purpose, and agenda to become very exclusive with you – and no matter what he originally agreed to, um, ya might want to work on your situational awareness abilities or, easier, don’t take what he said as the gospel truth of things.
Because, being blunt again, if the sex and other aspects are that good, a push toward exclusivity seems to be the next “logical” step but, again and again, it only becomes a problem if either “Hank” and “Ted” aren’t interested in really being boyfriends and playing house with each other. When single people get together and commit to being in a relationship, we tend to treat this arrangement just like being married; exclusivity, monogamy, the whole nine yards except should things go south, ya might not need a lawyer to settle things… and if what Cityman has been telling me about what he’s been seeing is on-point, the FWB dynamic has taken undergone a drastic change from its original concept and intent… and whether this is really and truly a good or bad thing depends on what someone caught up in this thinks and feels about someone trying to take them off the market (if they’re single) and, um, they really like the inherent (or imagined) freedom being single provides.
The male bisexual dynamic is, indeed, undergoing a transformation and if female bisexuals are seeing the same thing, well, the ladies aren’t talking about it and if they are, I haven’t seen it. Today, there are more male bisexuals than, perhaps, at any other time in the past but that’s not all that surprising since, um, boys will always be boys in that sense so it’s not as much what guys like “Hank” and “Ted” are doing with each other – it’s how they’re going about doing it and there’s more of a push toward exclusivity and that “being into” level of commitment these days. Instead of guys – and I’ll say predominantly for lack of a better word – getting with any agreeable guy they might come across, a lot of guys are being very specific, not only about the type of guy they wanna do the nasty with but the conditions under which this can happen. It’s not to say or suggest that men aren’t as opportunistic as, I guess, we’ve always been because there are still a lot guys who just want the dick and nothing else and some would prefer not to have a lot of repeat business with any one guy… but I’m wondering if the push toward exclusivity and the change in the FWB dynamic is a sign of the times and the way male bisexuality will be handled going forward…