The Politics of Oral Sex
The number one sex act performed at the baths is oral sex. There is so much oral sex going on at the Baths, you see it everywhere. In the whirlpool, the shower area, the lounge, the list goes on and on. It is not uncommon to see oral sex performed openly at the baths. That is how common it is. It seems to be a prerequisite to being a gay man. You must perform oral sex. I had that mind thought as well.
When I first started going to the baths at age 21, there was not a guy I did not blow. I was so uneducated about STDs and HIV, and I didn’t have a clue about anything. Because of my insecurity, I spent a lot of time at the baths desperately wanting to connect with someone. The solution? I started giving out as many blowjobs as I could. I was so out of my mind that I didn’t know what I was doing. The only thing I did know was that after giving someone head, I would feel cheap and dirty, like a prostitute. I could not get out of the bathhouse fast enough, vowing never to return. But all those thoughts evaporated the next day as I could not get back to the Baths soon enough. That feeling is, in reality, a lack of self-esteem.
I was like a lot of GAM (Gay Asian Men) in North America who have no self-esteem. Because I had problems dealing with my self-image, I couldn’t love myself. I was in denial, needing to be validated by GWM (Gay White Men, considered the standard in the gay community). For the longest time, I didn’t even see this type of behavior as self-hatred. And many GAM is the same way. After ten years of going to the baths, I still view GAM in record numbers giving head to anyone and everyone in sight. It is a never-ending cycle. I don’t think I have ever seen a GAM at the baths refuse to blow anybody, even if that person is seventy! No wonder why so many gay older men take a shine to Asians!
I kept on this pattern of sucking everybody and anybody for two years. Then I suffered a traumatic experience. I lost my job. I was in such denial about my sexuality that I focused all my energies on my career. When there was no job to focus on, my attention turned to my sexual practices. I started to suffer from paranoia, anxiety, and irrational thinking. Always worried that I might have gotten something, I eventually suffered a semi-breakdown and had to be put on medication. You see, since I was still heavily closeted, the only exposure I had to the gay community was a bathhouse. I had no clue about HIV or STDs and did not know where to turn. But I was lucky to find some supportive places to go. I eventually got tested for STDs (all came back negative), got my hepatitis A and B shot, and started seeing a gay counselor. Things got better, and I began to make connections in the gay community. I even volunteer at two gay organizations, one being the Gay Elder Center. So in a sense, having a scare like that, forced me to connect with other gay men outside a bathhouse environment.
After that traumatic experience, I didn’t go down on another man for eight years, unless a condom got used. When I told this to my therapist (the same one from Open Relationships) his jaw just dropped open. Now I am not advocating everyone use a condom when performing oral sex. Let us be honest if oral sex were a real high risk; thousands of men would be infected. As well, the people who say they got HIV through oral, we have to wonder. No one could only do oral in their sexual practices; it might have been a combination of things.
For eight years, I’ve stuck to my guns of not giving head, without a condom. It has made things quite awkward when men would come into my room, wanting sex. I know, it doesn’t taste the same. But how did I tell guys that I didn’t suck without a condom? I usually played it by ear. Sometimes I would say right off the bat, “I do not do oral without a condom.” And surprisingly, some did not have a problem. Either they would put one on, or they would say, “We can do other things.” Then there were the rare times when a guy was not even interested in oral, and we did other things (although not anal, as I don’t do anal with anybody). Of course, some guys looked incredulous and left the room. While others said, “I’ll take a pass.” But sometimes, things would get turned up so fast, and I didn’t have time to talk about the ground rules. Suddenly I would see a dick staring at me in the face. That is when I would say, “I just brushed my teeth” or “I just came from the dentist,” And if the guy left, he left.
During this time, I started thinking that oral sex should be a personal, intimate, bonding experience between two people who genuinely care for one another. It is the opportunity to let go and give entirely to the other person. But I have to get my head out of a heterosexual mindset. In the gay world, it is the other way around. In the gay world, kissing is the equivalent to displaying intimate contact between two guys who genuinely love each other. Being blown or laid, you can get that anywhere. Real, physical, close contact, like kissing guys, want to save for that future boyfriend. Many guys have told me that they do not even kiss other guys they may encounter at the baths. Oral sex – no problem; Anal? Pass the lube; But kissing? NO WAY! You would think it would be the other way around.
For instance, I’ve seen this one white guy at the baths for the past few years. I’ve spoken to him a few times, and he is gay, amiable and cute too! But the only thing he does is perform blowjobs and nothing else. No kissing, no hugging, and no anal. Blowing guy after guy after guy. I think his record is ten blowjobs in one night. He doesn’t seem to discriminate between the races, the ages, or the weight of the person. I’ve seen him go from white to black, fat to thin, old to young; just a variety of men. I doubt he even cares about the guy looks. All he cares about is the dick and how big it is. I guess that is one reason why I have never seen him with an Asian man.
And he is not the only one. There is this other young, white guy I’ve seen regularly at the baths. My take on him is that he identifies himself as straight, but is in denial about his sexuality. I would suspect that almost daily he has these urges to connect with other gay men. Whenever these urges become overwhelming, he drops by the baths. I’ve seen at just about anytime you could think. After work, before Sunday dinner, on a Saturday afternoon, and it goes on. And all he does is gives blowjobs any chance he gets. One time I noticed him naked, on his knees, giving another guy a blowjob in the porno lounge. He blew that guy for at least a half an hour! The guy receiving the blowjob was trapped, as the other guy (the deeply closeted giver) was so into it, he refused to stop. He was genuinely sucking that dick like it was his last meal. The guy receiving had little choice but to sit there, continue watching the porno flick, and enjoy the blowjob.
Then there are men at the baths who like to receive. Little known fact; you can find many straight guys at the Baths. Simply because they want a blowjob, there are wives, girlfriends, or even fiancées who don’t like giving their significant other a blowjob. Many women find it gross. What is a man supposed to do if he is not getting blown at home? By going to the baths. A lot of straight men don’t consider oral sex adultery or even sex. They see it as getting off. How can you tell a straight man at the baths? If he is wearing all his clothes, but his zipper is open and his dick hanging out of his pants, fully exposed. The message is unmistakable; he wants to get blown. Gives a new meaning to the phrase “Well Hung!?”
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