THE ELEMENTS OF GAY CRUISING

meeting out in parks and forests is earth element cruising

in saunas is where we cruise in the element of water

bars and sexclubs are where we go into the fire

in our secret queer firepits of passion, heat and transformation

mobile apps and dating websites are the air element of cruising

where the mind leads the way via the cyber maze

in saunas, bars and parks our other senses come online

smell and sound and taste and touch

we intuit whether a connection is possible, we use our instincts

few words are shared, the language is of the body and spirit

this kind of love in the dark is as old as humanity

the new kid on the block is the mobile app, taking dating websites, which have only been with us a few years themselves, into our pockets and a new selection of men to check out in every neighbourhood

it used to be in London (and across the land) there were public toilets on every high street where men would courageously go to cruise, exposing themselves to strangers and taking their chances;

to go cottage cruising took bravery: there was a constant risk of attack or arrest

the modern cottage is the mobile phone app, cottage in a pocket

via grindr, scruff, growler etc guys get to cruise, flirt, show our cocks and arses, negotiate sexual, often chemically enhanced, favours, just like we once did in toilets

no more public toilets in which to expose ourselves to each other but now we do it telephonically, without the risks and dangers that used to be involved

the danger lurking in cottaging produced adrenalin, made the whole risky adventure very exciting

today the buzz required to turn us on, tune us in and take us to the sexual feast comes for many from the chemicals: meeting in each other’s homes, though safe and comfortable, just doesn’t hold the same adrenalin rush that public sex used to

back in the 1980s the fear also lurked strongly in the few tiny saunas that were dotted around the city, and with reason: police raids did happen

suddenly in the late 90s as the AIDS crisis abated a new confidence came to gay life and suddenly there were large saunas and sex bars popping up around town

the heyday of that sudden sexual explosion may be already over: ManBar, Fort, Playpit, H20, Fitladz have all passed away though the Hoist, Central Station, BackStreet and the Vault still remain

clubs like Hard On and Cum-Union, and Recon Full Fetish offer occasional spaces where many men mingle and indulge their fantasies

whether these are spaces of giving and sharing or using and abusing is debatable…. men will be men…..

saunas now have a reputation as drug fuelled hangouts

used to be a sauna was a quiet space to go relax after partying, now they are party venues in their own right, some have a neighbourhood feel but others just feel like breeding grounds for insecurities, anxieties and bad attitudes as well as possible physical nasties

and our parks.. .our beautiful sacred groves such as Hampstead Heath and Clapham Common: much quieter spaces than they used to be

outdoor cruising can also be scary, especially at night, so most prefer to stay home on their apps

so we missing out on the exercise, fresh air and time with nature….

this matters …. we need time in nature, she gives us goodness…..she makes us feel natural…..

on the apps it’s all about looks and ‘selling ourselves’ as commodities in a commercial, capitalist, unnatural, culture

we get reduced to faces on screens but at the same time we never had such a great forum for sharing our dreams

the apps provide fascinating glimpses into gay life

chem using party boys sit alongside those who refuse adamantly to go that route

young guys are free to explore their interests in older men without the world knowing their business

social as well as sexual connections are possible which means even in places with no gay social infrastructure, connections can be made

apps facilitate drug sharing and entertaining at home…. the home party scene is taking over from clubbing…. a few mates, a few strangers…. some powders and pills make for a night (or 3) of thrills

the apps and the drugs make promiscuity fun for all, not just the courageous few

the drugs switch off the inner critic and allow uninhibited play

negative guys see the liberties and excesses enjoyed by the positive

they see a brotherhood of sensual sleazy joy

the strongest form of brotherhood available to gay men right now

sexual, raw, passionate, ecstatic

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a recent grindr conversation with a 21 year old:

  • Wanna be choked, pinned down, cock forced into me

  • Bred

    – R u Poz?

  • Neg here

    – U want to be Poz?

  • Yeah

    – Why?

  • It’s hot

  • Being sired

    – Sired means infected?

  • Yeah

    – Why is being Poz hot?

  • Part of sleazy community

  • Brotherhood etc

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CRUISING CRUISING CRUISING

INHIBITIONS WE ARE LOSING

ENTERING THE GAME

DO IT WITHOUT SHAME

SEX IS THE LIFE FORCE IN US

THE DIVINE PULSE OF LIFE AND PASSION……

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENT?

ARE YOU A WATER FAERIE WHO LIKES TO PLAY IN STEAM?

AN AIR BIRD CRUISING THE CYBER STREAM?

ARE YOU AN EARTH SPRITE WHO GETS HIGH ON TREES AND THE OUTDOOR BREEZE

OR ARE YOU A FIRE BEAST WHO LIKES TO RAISE THE HEAT

IN GROUPS OF MEN PARTYING ON THE SEXCLUB SCENE?

Sex is part of who we are

an urge we have to explore

different strokes for different folks

through the elemental doors

Gay life celebrate sexuality with a passion impossible in human existence until this time in our history. But we still not facing the sexual-spiritual connection, we still not understanding that ‘Unrestrained desires and unbridled gratification of libidinal urges only lead to disintegration and destruction’ (Swami Adiswarananda in ‘Facing the Restless Mind’), though certainly we lived through the experience of this in the AIDS years and are doing so again now with the rising levels of mental health and drug issues amongst gay men. It’s important that we have our sex spaces, that we celebrate the sexual urge. But that’s not the whole of who we are.  If we do not also explore our nature as beings of love, creativity and spirit we are limiting our life experience and limiting who we are, and our soul energy will diminish. HIV is not the doorway to brotherhood – that door is already there as men who love men. Love of each other as human beings is the real way into brotherhood. Sex is then the celebration of our natural elemental nature as men who love men, men who fuck men, men incarnating the soul force of the universe, bringing joy, love and brotherhood to a world that has been fucked over by men who fight, men who exploit, men who hate FOR FAR TOO LONG. Gradually the times change and men who love men have huge role in bringing this change. There is more to our fucking than play and indulgence. We are changing masculinity on this planet, turning its focus from war to love, from greed to pleasure, from domination to cooperation.

There are some, even amongst gay men, who still pour shame and scorn on the extremes of our sexual athletics. There is much concern at the moment about the amount of drug use going on in our liberated sexual playgrounds. Yet sex is at the root of who we are. Sex is the lifeforce. It ain’t going away. If we let it, it can lift us to heaven, it can strengthen bonds of love, it can open minds, it can reveal our oneness with all life, reveal our nature as beings of energy/spirit. It’s fundamental to our existence and elemental in its expression. Water, Earth, Air, Fire: try them all! Let sex take you higher.`

Gay Sex, Excess, Spirit and Wisdom

August 1st, 2015 was a big gay day… Pride marches took place in two of the famous homes of European queer life – Brighton and Amsterdam, plus in Belfast, where we are still struggling for social acceptance and legal rights on a par with the neighbours in rest of UK and Ireland.

A bomb scare in Brighton caused a long delay to the parade, keeping thousands shivering in the wind on the seafront. This delay seems to mirror what I see as the STUCK POINT gay life has reached. Yes we have rights, we have scenes, we have lots of sex, we have great parties, we look good…. but where the fuck are we going? New HIV infections continue to rise in number, serious mental health issues and suicides among gay men are far too common and drug use seems to be spiralling out of control…. Our cruising sites and apps are full of guys of all ages looking for anonymous, drug fuelled sex. Compared to the thrill and instant highs these can provide, romance and dating can seem a bit dull, and rather challenging. We may have equal marriage now but is anyone actually looking for love any more?

I am back from a visit to Krakow, Poland, a country where the age of consent for homo and heterosexuals was set at 15 way back in 1932, but in which negative public attitudes towards us, reinforced by the powerful Catholic Church, kept gay life suppressed and subject to police harassment until the fall of Communism. Societal attitudes towards same sex relationships have not yet changed much, and what I found in Krakow reflected this – gay life exists mainly as late night culture of sex clubs, one sauna and one disco. Grindr etc are changing the way guys find each other so outdoor cruising is pretty much history. Grindr offers potential for meeting and forming friendships of course, but as we know well, it also encourages us to view each other as sex objects in a market, for sizing up and getting what we want from. Whether we do this with a bit of humanity, with heart energy as well as lust, is of course in our own hands.

The vast majority of those appearing on Grindr in Krakow are under 30 years of age, suggesting this is the tool the new generation .. .the first to grow up post communism… are using to create their gay subculture. Within minutes of switching it on my first hit came from a lad asking for a picture of my dick. There was a fair bit of this, and of lads who were seeking a drug high, not a human connection. A visit to one of the sex bars, Blue XL, threw me into a fairly dank cauldron of shadows, where shame, fear and dodgy attitude were easily as common as any sense of fun and pleasure. Maybe it was just a bad night – and I shouldn’t complain, I was introduced to the place by a gorgeous local lad who was genuinely desirous of my company and my attention with no other agenda than pleasure (in several parts of the world I have experienced that underlying the interest young guys show in older there is of course a lust for cash as well as cock). This bar was where the older guys were, but they didn’t seem to be at all social, simply pursuing lusts and needs… and I was left with an uncomfortable feeling that our global sex culture is so obsessed with the ‘divine’ male body (which is everywhere in the imagery around, the porn etc) that we have to shuffle in the dark to have sex so we don’t see the bitter realities of the human form. Sex in the dark is fun, no denying it, but sex with drunk, repressed homosexuals who won’t even look you in the eye, isn’t great, ever.

Eg Hard On in London where I got to fuck hot fit men – but only their bodies, I could not sense that they were actually present with me, they were on their own internal trips. We are good at facilitating each other’s individual journeys sometimes but less good at making the effort to create a shared journey, it seems. Not that I want to knock Hard On: Suzie Kruger continues to provide a gay sex space that is celebratory, welcoming and fun… needed on the London scene as much as it ever was as gay men get sucked into a life lived cybernetically, where sex becomes about pics and stats rather than about flirting and surprising, where chems are increasingly replacing the chemistry of two beings merging their energies as the doorway to connection.

I don’t wish to knock any of it. There are times when dark room sex is just the thing, when lust needs to lead the way. But while in Poland I found strong lurking energies of shame, fear etc that may appear to have been largely vanquished from our western european sex culture, I am wondering what is really fuelling the massive rise in chemically enhanced sex in the last decade. Post AIDS holocaust the gay community seems to be falling apart – we went from a time when crisis made us pull together in compassion and grief to a post apocalyptic hedonism, where escape into sexualised oblivion seems to have become the height of gay life. Great sex, fit bodies, great parties – I believe many guys have achieved all these and do not know where to go next. In a culture that denies the transcendent spiritual part of our human nature, what else is there for us to aim for beyond extreme physical pleasure? But let’s remember that William Blake pointed out that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. It’s time we thought about getting there without the collapse/crisis stage where we learn the hard way that a life lived solely for pleasure leads to trouble…

I am sensing that the shame and fear that I found stalking in a Polish sex club is not absent from our more ‘advanced’ culture here in the UK.. it’s gone underground… retreated into our subconscious. We are all out and proud and visible now, so to admit our feelings of shame about our sexuality becomes a little embarrassing…. so we keep smiling, keep fit, march at Pride … and get to the dealer at the first opportunity. There is a repression in gay men that has not yet been fully addressed. Drugs are a shortcut to uninhibited intimacy and a brush with ecstasy – but intimacy and ecstasy are soul states which we will only fully access when we live fully from our souls. This repression is perfectly understandable, the inheritance of centuries of denial of our nature, but it leads us into desperate behaviours in our search for validation, it cripples our lives and our growth as human beings. So intoxicated sexual experience becomes the escape route, over and over, until some of us can find no way to escape the escape.

This repression will not lift until we remove it for ourselves… and while projects such as The Quest for Gay Men, such as Loving Men, do much to help heal the wounds of growing up gay in a straight patriarchal world, this process needs us to dive into the area where our validity as human beings has been the most denied – the spiritual side of life. Although attitudes are shifting in some religious circles, the most aggressive hatred and denial of us still comes from religious sources, so it is no surprise that the soul is something we talk little about in our gay culture. We fuck like animals because many of us have chosen to believe the biological view that that is all we are. Sexual excess produced the AIDS epidemic, and is currently fuelling the drug crisis spreading not only in cities like London but across the land, as more and more guys become hooked on chemicals as the way of interacting with each other. A lot of us are so lacking in confidence, probably from growing up in fear, that drugs make things easier.. in the short term. Sex becomes functional, commodified and fails miserably to lift us to the heights we dream of…. because there is a missing factor: open, joyful heart is required for real bliss to flow through our system.

Five decades post decriminalisation of sex between men in the UK why is our culture still so riddled with fear, shame etc… why are we becoming increasingly dependent on drugs to get along with each other? Is there something keeping the repression in place? Whom does it serve to keep older men in a state of shame, whom does it serve if the younger gay generations end up drug fucked and damaged beyond repair? Are there powerful forces at work keeping us in these dark places and preventing us from realising the love, the creativity, the natural joy, that is the nature of our souls? Or are those forces just within us?

That bar in Krakow could have been anywhere in the world. Hi-nrg music from the ‘golden age’ when gay life and public play was all so new and exciting, macho man porn imagery, dark labyrinths and too much booze. Since we rarely exchange words, it really could be anywhere. But is this kind of sex venue serving us any more? Would more people perhaps go, and younger people, if there was a ‘light’ option as well as a dark?

Sex clubs… saunas.. cruising apps and sites… promiscuity is accessible to the masses like never before. Our homes become pleasure palaces, drug dens, and too often also our cages, where we hide from the world on painful comedowns. The spirit of celebration and play is huge in gay life, but without some spiritual grounding and awareness we can become stuck in a world where sex is the ultimate goal, but there are limits to what the body can take and there are other demands our souls wish us to be aware of.

Gay spirituality is not about us finding our place within religions. It is about us finding ourselves. Coming out is one step on that path. Drugs and wild sex are part of it too. Our culture needs a vision of the goal beyond unlimited pleasure, beyond pride in our sexual conquests, beyond the right to have our relationships recognised… we need to reach the palace of wisdom and start looking around it, because the casualties of our sexual excess continue to mount up. Its not only HIV and HEP C we are facing now. A much less visible mental health crisis is already gripping gay culture. We are creating a scene where men become monsters, where young guys fall into deadly dependencies just in order to keep up with the in-crowd, where beauty rules over brains and love is a four letter word few will mention.

The spiritual journey for gay people is not about what religion we buy into. It is about us finding our own relationship with planet earth, with the cosmos and with consciousness. It is about recognising we are more than physical beings.. .then finding our own queer ways to explore and express that. Many of us put so much energy into the excesses that open our energy fields and bring us the pleasures of enhanced connections, but we will grow much more as a people, as a sub-tribe of the human family, when our culture supports that exploration of our nature as energy beings, as souls, through wide and varied means, not just drug use, when our culture recognises that coming out is not the end of the journey – it’s not a case of come out and now we can have shame free sex… that’s not the end of it…. we are on a journey that all humanity is on, a journey to the Self, to the core of who we are and what life is…. as souls born to reject and transcend the old, crippling rules around gender, sexuality and worship, we are scouts finding the way for the whole of the species. Our scouting works produces a lot of casualties, but the power is within us to reduce the number of those and create a culture that recognises the spiritual drive underlying all our searching for pleasure, for transcendent experience. Then we will come home to a liberated gay 21st century and be a sign to those still struggling for the most basic acceptance of who they are in other parts of the world, that the effort is worth it.

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