Jack and Matt are both buttoned-down businessmen and have been together for ten years. They’ve been inseparable since Jack picked Matt up one night after cruising him for hours at the dance bar they frequent. The seduction was hot: eye contact led to physical contact, then making out in a dark corner before heading to John’s apartment. It was such a trigger for them that they recreate it several times a year.
One of them gets to the club and buys a drink and waits. The other arrives soon after. They begin a seduction in full view of the other patrons of the bar. They get all over one another, enjoying the attention they attract – who have no idea that this game is one these guys have been acting out for years. These guys have found that erotic games and role-playing can be great ways to juice up their sex life.
We all play roles. A role is a just pattern of behavior we act out in exchanges with others. Roles involve playing parts or conducting yourself in certain ways. We do this all the time at work, with relatives and in other situations – usually without even thinking about it. Sometimes, though, roles are conscious. We chose a role because we have found it turns us on, or it turns on our partners.
We gay men take sex so seriously that a guy’s status as a top or a bottom can seem like a defining characteristic. That can be liberating if it means that we recognize what turns us on, but it can also be suffocating. Who says a guy who mostly plays top never wants his butt tempted? Why do some bottoms feel like the top always has to make the first move? Going against type can be a big turn on and a great way to making sex boring.
Going against type can be exciting in other ways, too. Lots of guys who are aggressive decision makers at the office want someone else to call the shots in bed. Richard is a partner in a successful law firm, and you wouldn’t want to mess with him in the courtroom. In the bedroom, however, Richard is much more likely to be tied up and on his knees. He’s at his most aroused when he’s bound and gagged and looking up at the guy who is going to manhandle him this evening.
Who’s doing the manhandling? Meet Jeff, a nurse who is kindhearted and gentle while caring for patients at the hospital where he works. His bedside manner with this boyfriend is very different. Jeff is an aggressive and selfish sex pig, and Richard couldn’t be happier.
It’s hard to say why something turns us on. Maybe we’ve forgotten the gym teacher who turned us on when we were going through puberty, but wearing jockstraps still gets us going. Or someone asked us to go along with his fantasy one time, and we discovered we were pretty good at it. Or maybe it’s simply a way of balancing out the serious and responsible parts of ourselves with a role that feels out of character. No need to dissect it; maybe it’s enough to know that we want it.
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