Also keep in mind: one person’s hell is another person’s heaven. So while I present these tiers in a certain order, for some, this list only make sense if it is reversed. Or perhaps viewed as something like the Kinsey scale. That said I place no special preference or status on any of these levels. I personally jump between most of them all the time. I will attempt to point out the pros and cons of each type/tier.
So here is my take on the various tiers of gay sexual activity:
Tier One: Monogamous Couple Sex
This is an attempt on the part of gays to mirror their heterosexual counterparts. Society in general is suspicious of single people, be they straight or gay. After a certain age, if you have not coupled-up, the general population tends to view you as if there is something wrong with you. With that in mind, most people cave into the pressure and make some type of commitment to another person. Sometimes this arrangement is one of convenience, financial benefit/need, and/or emotional dependency. Then there are those who are in it for love. There are all kinds of love. I have to remind myself of this almost every day as I come into contact with couples whose existence flies in the face of common sense or decorum. I always seem to form an opinion about their coupling before reminding myself that I should not judge. When it comes to love, I cut everybody some slack. The eyes of the beholder are the only eyes that truly matter. If they can put up with the object of their affection for life, then I should be able to put up with them being together.
We all know our share of toxic gay couples; people who seem to thrive on violence, drama, and co-dependency - the George and Martha's of many a gay social gathering. The same is true for their hetro counterparts, but there are also some very healthy gay relationships. And even those that seem rather questionable at times have their healthy bits buried in there among the credit card debt, white party indiscretions and lapses in good judgment.
In a healthy pairing, the sex can be quite good. It can continue to grow and change as the couple develops as individuals. Unfortunately, that is not the norm. The number four reason that gay couples break up is due to bad sex (money issues being number two, chemical/alcohol dependency number three and infidelity being number one). Frequently, the sex simply becomes monotonous. This is due to a lack of creativity and concerted effort on the part of both partners. Only if it is an issue for one or both will it become an issue that needs to be resolved. Some people take comfort in the familiar – in fact some find it intoxicating. However, it sometimes leads to infidelity. Sometimes relationships are strong enough to survive infidelity and sometimes it is enough to put an end to co-habitation (it depends on the rules established by the couple). Then there are those who wallow in the misery of a dysfunctional sexual relationship – that is frequently where the above mentioned toxic couples originate.
Some couples enter into relationships knowing that the sex is no good. They make their peace with it because there are other factors that more than compensate for its absence. These couples tend to consist of two people with very different sex drives, two people whose tastes in sex differ radically, or two people for whom sex holds little interest. In cases where there is a difference of tastes and/or drives, these relationships sometimes become open relationships - which brings us to our next level.
Tier Two: The Open Relationship
Open relationships simply allow couples to play sexually with other people outside the confines of their relationship without threatening the primary relationship. Sometimes that means that couples play together by bringing in a third. Sometimes they agree to play separately. Sometimes they share information about these trysts, while still other couples operate under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ kind of rule.
And therein lays the secret to a successful open relationship: establishing the rules. Without well established rules, feelings get hurt and once feelings are hurt a relationship is headed for some pretty choppy waters. Successful couples in open relationships not only establish the rules, they check in periodically with their partners in order to make sure that everything is 'okay'. This may result in a change in the rules or a temporary closure of the relationship.
To make the open relationship work in the long haul, both members need to operate with a level of emotional maturity and openness.
That is why there are so few successful gay open relationships. No, I’m afraid the most common type of monogamous gay male in a relationship is:
Tier Three: The Serial Monogamous
These are the guys that fall in love – all the time. At the drop of the hat. They tell you they feel like they’ve known you forever. They want to begin a new life with you. They are a bit obsessed with you and while it worries you, you want to be in love, so you ignore that little voice inside your head and go with your heart. You have lots of sex – initially.
Then you move in together and everything changes. Suddenly you’re needy. You’re smothering them. There’s no room for their shit. Suddenly – you’re not the man they fell in love with.
Now granted, there are people who let themselves’ go, physically, at the first sign of a possible committed relationship. There also people who do, indeed, change in some manner shortly after a commitment has been made and the CD collections are resting side by side on the bookshelf for a legitimate reason (new career, death of a loved one, etc.) But, generally, if you are experiencing the above scenario in the first few months of living together, you, my friend, have hooked-up with a serial monogamist.
The relationship will last for about two years (it will feel like ten). There will be all sorts of surprises. All sorts of tiny facts and personal habits will be revealed, but only after you’ve surrendered the lease on your rent control apartment and hauled you beloved toy poodle halfway across town to set up shop with your current preoccupation.
Most lesbians, by the way, are serial monogamists. That is until they reach an age where they are too tired and lazy to contemplate loading up the old U-Haul for yet another new lover. Then they just make do and stay put. By that point the value of the companionship far outweighs the need for sex... although keep in mind that there are a lot of very sexually active lesbians over the age of 65.The gay male equivalent simply eventually becomes so self-involved that there is no room for anyone else in their life. This doesn’t stop from them confusing lust with love, but it generally helps the other party identify reasons to keep them at arms length and thus, prevents the serial monogamist from getting keys to your apartment.
The serial monogamist’s behavior is a result of immaturity. In the event that the serial monogamist does grow up, he will either become part of a monogamous couple or morph into…
Tier Four - Happy Single Guy
These guys are actually pretty healthy. They have their priorities straight, financially and emotionally are able to support themselves and are very comfortable in their own skin. They take good care of themselves. They spend time at the gym - where they actually go to work out, but not too much time (they are not gym bunnies).
They also have no interest in taking care of anyone else. None. Your needs are your business, not theirs. Nor do they want a relationship. They are happy just as they are… with their life as it is.
Sex and bed partners are something to be enjoyed, but not obsessed about. It is like those homos who tell you that they are gay, but being gay is only part of their life – not their entire life - (whatever that means).
When you meet the happy single guy, you will fall in love. They seem so together. You just want to bask in their glow and soak up as much of their confidence as you can. They won’t let you. They are only interested in guys like themselves. Life is easier that way. They are not shy about sharing their need for a no-strings kind of thing - they put it out there right up front. If you’re smart, you’ll listen and enjoy them for what they are – keep in mind, independence is an aphrodisiac.
Now, the happy single guy only exists as long as there isn't any overriding neurosis thrown into the mix. In the event that there is a significant life change (a career change, turning 40, a back injury that prevents you from going to the gym), the happy single can morph into any one of the above or those below, such as…
Tier Five - The Secret Slut
I love the Secret Slut. There is one in every person I’ve ever met… and liked. Basically, this is where your kink lives and breathes. Without kink we would all be hopelessly boring. There would be no art in the world. I include those Robert Kincaid type paintings in my definition of art, simply because they are so perverse, they must be the product of a really, really sick, underlying kink. But I digress.
Am I saying Robert Kincaid is a secret slut? Eh. Who knows? Who cares? Those paintings are perverse.
Where was I? Oh, yes... I am saying that kink leads to creativity. Now one of the most creative things we all do on a regular basis is lie. And if you are a secret slut, then this is one creative writing exercise you have mastered like spreading lube on an exposed asshole.
The secret slut will do almost anything (and anyone) – once. They fear being pigeon-holed (but not being corn-holed). They don’t like labels. They don’t like scenes. They still want the right to reclaim their virginity (if it will help their chances of getting laid).
The secret slut spends almost as much time covering up the sex he is having as having actual sex. Therefore, he has no time for anything else. His few close friends are all former sexual partners and they only understand too well that an internet hook-up takes precedence over taking said friend to the emergency room or attending said friends funeral… especially if said hook-up involves an activity that the secret slut has never participated in before.
Secret sluts are really fun people to be around, partially because they constantly throw you off guard and partially because they enjoy nurturing the secret slut in you.
Secret sluts are always ready for anything: they have spare clothing in the trunk of their cars – usually a pair of form hugging jeans, a t-shirt, a jock strap, some hiking boots, tennis shoes, changes of underwear and socks. You know, just in case they feel like traipsing off into the woods for a little something-something. Their brief cases have secret pockets filled with necessities like lube, poppers, condoms, a blindfold, a change of underwear, assorted cock-rings, a douching bottle, etc.
Why? Because you never know. You see, lying and sex are not the only things a secret slut is good at – they also know how to take advantage of an opportunity.
Discretion is key to being a successful secret slut. They never kiss and tell… and if they do dish, they never share names – although they may point you out to their friends at a crowded bar as someone they did it with.
Of course, there comes a point when the secret slut is so consumed by their pursuit of sex that they simply become a common, ordinary…
Tier Six: Slut
We all know these guys. They’re the mainstays on Craigslist, GayDotCom, Squirt, ManHunt, and Adam4Adam. They are legends – at least in their own minds. Maybe their best days are behind them, maybe their best days were in their behind. Maybe its time they retire those same tired pics and post some new ones - you know, pics that actually capture how their body looks now, as opposed to ten years ago.
The nice thing is, they admit they’re sluts, so they usually have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Well, most things.
You could do a lot worse than landing in bed with a real slut. Real sluts are experienced. They have been there, done that. Sluts will have sex with almost anyone, anywhere. No holds bar. They can flip more ways than an I-Hop Special. Their experience is your gain. They know their communicable diseases and how to prevent/treat them. Unlike the secret slut, the true slut will never give you crabs.
The relaxed atmosphere the slut provides is really helpful when you’re trying to name and explore your own kink. They’re helpful and friendly (and probably a former boy scout or seminary student).
Sluts revel in their slutdom. They flaunt it and embrace it. They don’t kid themselves. They know who and what they are.
Sometimes they are deluded, raging alcoholics. But then again, sometimes we all are.
Sluts aren’t viewed well by the community at large. The greater population tends to believe that sluts taint the image of the homosexual world. That is why there are so many secret sluts (and so many cases of the clap). Sluts get a bad rap. They are just sharing their god-given talents with the rest of us - skills they have worked hard to develop. The world would be filled with virgins if it were not for the audacity of the average slut.
We really should have a hall of fame in honor of them in some small town in one of the Dakotas. Without them, no one for the Dakotas would ever get laid.
This brings us to our final tier. The tier that tiers one through four rarely discuss, and if they do it is either with disdain or in the past tense. Tiers five and six have dallied in tier seven, but have either found it too time/life consuming or they couldn’t afford all the necessary props, accessories and costume pieces.
Tier Seven: Sodomy in Glamora
The following activities/ belong in this category:
Shoving things in your urethra
Heavy rope play
Tit, Cock and Ball torture
Extreme leather, vinyl, latex, etc.
Extreme Dom/Sub Play
Extreme Water Sports (invasive)
Notice tier seven concentrates, not on the individual in relationship to society or other individuals, but to activity pools. These activities fall outside the boring norm of most of society. However, they may be practiced in part by members of all the above tiers. In tiers one thru four, the person you are doing them with matters. In tiers five and six, the person you are doing them with has to host and have all the necessary gear.
Tier seven followers are really quite open to all types. They are not body snobs or ageists (generally speaking). Who you really are outside of the confines of the activity is of little importance to a tier seven member. That is why so many people get to wear masks, blindfolds, gas masks and hoods.
Tier seven is Marilyn Chambers in “Behind the Green Door” - super-sized. In this world you get to lose yourself, giving in to your base self. It’s like drowning in a sea of poppers.
There are limits here: my usual no-no’s – no blood, no scat, no kids, no animals. Tier seven members are kinky - they can fetishize just about anything. But there are limits.
Otherwise? Everything goes. I see no shame in any of it. No harm. Keep in mind that it can get very expensive. It frequently becomes a life style rather than activity.
I say: To each their own. It's all good, as long as nobody gets hurt.
Now, I know this is a flawed model. No doubt I will have to tweak it here and there. But that is how I see the world of gay sex. It’s kind of like a Kinsey scale. There is no best choice – they all possess flaws and follies to some degree. No one tier is any better than any of the others. It’s just where you land. Sometimes you land in between tiers, sometimes you're granted duel citizenship.
Me? I’m currently playing on tiers four and five and dancing on the outskirts of seven.
Drowning in a sea of poppers. Hmmmm… well, that says it all doesn’t it? Oh, and do me doggy-style, with me on all fours and with my ass in the air – drowning in a sea of poppers.
Ah yes, there now… that’s the stuff.