Caveat: Some of what follows inevitably talks about sexual situations between gay and straight men, but I've tried to give you the PG version and avoid what they call "too much information." I should also say that the incidents from my life that I describe below occurred far in my past. I'm fairly certain that the last time I seduced a straight man was in 1983. Also, below, when I say "straight" men, I mean men who are not known to be gay, but who may happen to enjoy gay sex when all is said and done.
As I've explained in prior posts on this blog, I had quite a bit sex with women when I was younger, and I enjoyed it, which convinced me I was straight. On many levels this was just silly—self deception as an art form. Truth be told, I lusted after men constantly, but I wasn't telling myself the truth. I was afraid of truth. The gay sex I did manage to have was all with straight men, typically after a great deal of drinking. Men, on the whole, straight or gay, are very interested in sex, and, in a pinch, even in sex they are not particularly seeking. If sex is available, what the hell—let's do it! Many straight men aren't complete zeros on the Kinsey scale (for a discussion of that, see my blog post “Homosexuality: The Iceberg Theory,” April 25, 2010), and if an opportunity to explore a bit of the mysterious gay world arises, well, why not? As one of the characters in the gay play "The Boys in the Band" remarks, "With the right wine and the right music, there are damn few who aren't curious."
My general plan of attack was to take things slowly and stop at the first sign of disapproval. I had no interest in being suddenly slugged (which, happily, never happened). It also helped to appreciate the difference between left and right brain behavior. As I've explained before (see "The Left-Brain, Right-Brain Life," January 17, 2011; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/04/homosexuality-iceberg-theory.html) the left side of the brain is in charge of words and the right side with actions. It's useful to know that they can operate quite independently of each other. While the left-brain of the straight man is engaged in a conversation with me about some topic like law or sports, the right-brain of that same man may notice that my knee is up against the top of his leg. No big deal. But then, mysteriously my hand is on my knee, and consequently touching his leg slightly. If he pulls away, I don't renew the offense unless, right-brain curious, he comes back. Eventually while making a verbal point ("And that's when you know that the judge is going to rule in your favor," or "why don't the announcers tell us his foul-shooting percentage?" for example) I emphasize the point by tapping him on the knee, and then returning my hand to some innocuous spot and keep the verbal conversation moving along in as fascinating a manner as I can. The left side of the man's brain has typically noticed nothing (I'm not kidding), but his right-brain is on high alert. Sex is being offered! Then I do nothing for a little while—let him mull the situation as we drink a bit and talk. But then, as I make a funny comment, I again emphasize it by patting his knee, but this time I don't withdraw my hand unless he flinches or makes some other movement indicating discomfort or disapproval. If we're in my home, I may drag out an album I have of funny cartoons I've clipped and saved for decades. I place it in his lap, show him the best ones, and my pointing hand keeps dropping into the middle of his lap, and then back put to point to another cartoon. If he develops an erection, he's mine. If he reacts negatively in any way, I stop.
2. He also needed to be reassured that no one would ever find out what we did on this one occasion. I found an effective way to convey this message to make him promise not to tell anyone! When he readily agreed to this, I then solemnly swore the same to him (and always kept that promise too). This was also a good time to grin evilly and comment, "If no one but us will ever know what we do tonight, then only rules that apply here are the ones we make up ourselves!"
3. No kissing. That was too much like romance for most men, who were in it for sex only.
4. The straight man usually only wanted to be passive, with me taking the initiative and deciding what we would do and in what order. Fine with me—I know what to do with a good-looking man's body.
5. After the climax, no talking about what we had just done. "Slam, bam, thank you, Ma'm," (so to speak) was the rule.
If I obeyed all these rules faithfully, I often got a good deal of repeat business (assuming I myself was interested in another encounter).
My liaisons with straight men were sometimes done in very different ways. One enjoyable tactic was to figure out how to make the man come to me. An example:
"Are you aware that one of your regular customers, one Douglas Whaley, is a known gay militant in the City of Columbus, and is agitating at City Hall and on radio and TV stations to turn our fair city into Sodom and Gomorrah? You should tell him that his business is not wanted at your establishment."
I signed it simply "A Concerned Christian."
This seemed to me a fair way to get things going. There were three possible responses: (1) he would tell me to stop coming to his station, (2) he would act as if he'd never received the letter, or (3) he would do something to get closer to me. I was hoping, of course, for the latter. However, if he told me he wanted to terminate our business, that was also something I wanted to know; I don't want to support the livelihood of homophobes.
It was with some trepidation when next I pulled my car into Bill's establishment, but I needn't have worried. He came right out to the car, smiling and asking how I was, friendly as a puppy. Then—to my great pleasure—he mentioned that he was being asked to sign a new lease with the gasoline distributor and asked me if I would be willing to look it over and give him legal advice, for which he'd pay me. I said yes, and invited him to my house that very evening after he left work.
When Bill arrived, I gave him a beer, we talked awhile, I looked over his lease and made a few suggestions, gave him another beer, and then said to him, "Bill, you think you were sent a letter from a concerned Christian warning you that I was a gay militant, but you weren't." He looked first startled, then puzzled. "Oh, yes, I was," he assured me. "No," I replied, "because I sent you that letter myself." "YOU? WHY?" I laughed and replied, "Because I think you're a very sexy man, and I wanted to see if the letter would bring you into my house—and, sexy man, here you are!" As with many opportunities in life, gall is all.
We had a wonderful time for a couple of months until his father died, and Bill moved to another city to take over a larger operation.
Let me conclude this post with yet one more segment from my novel-in-progress, "Corbin Milk." It's about a gay CIA agent, and in the portion that follows, Corbin remembers the first time he fell in love with another man. It occurred when he was in college, and involves a very strange twist on the idea of seducing a straight man. Here is the excerpt:
During his senior year at UCLA, Corbin had worked his way onto the football team’s starting lineup as a defensive linebacker, a position he enjoyed greatly both for its rough and tumble, try-to-get-past-me physicality, but also for the strategies involved in guessing what the offense was going to do on the next play and then counter that. He flat out loved the game, and was good at it without being pro material (which didn’t interest him anyway—Corbin had yearned to be in the CIA since he was a boy and first discovered what the initials meant).
His roommate in school, both on campus and when the team was on the road, was the team’s leading running back, Jonny Trimble, who was possibly the most popular member of the team: a handsome black man, just under six feet tall, with a quick mind, ready smile, and a good attitude about life, the game, and his own future. He also had an incredible body, the sort of physique Michelangelo carved into stone so the ages could remember its beauty: muscular, ripped, no body fat, all parts in exact proportion to the whole. Of course this was Corbin’s dream body, and, when combined with Jonny’s outgoing personality, led him into fantasy after fantasy about this perfect man.
Not that he had any thought that Jonny was gay. Instead, Jonny was always pursuing women, and had a steady group of them to choose from whenever he wanted a date, or a romp in the bedroom, or just female company. On a couple of occasions Corbin had returned to their shared apartment and found Jonny in the bedroom having a very good time with a woman (or, as happened once, two women). The man had a tremendous sexual appetite.
It was a late afternoon away game, played in Memorial Stadium, with the team staying for the night at the Sir Francis Drake hotel in downtown San Francisco. On the bus trip back into the city, Jonny refused to let anyone sit with him, but when the they all climbed off of the bus in Union Square, Jonny stopped Corbin and said, “Come drink with me. I need to get drunk.” Jonny frequently drank quite a bit, and then worked all the harder to get it out of his system the next day, unlike Corbin who could nurse two beers all night and rarely had more. So they went up to their room, stored their gear, and went out looking for a bar.
The first one they walked into was pretty obviously a gay bar—nothing but young men in the place—and Jonny shook his head, pulling Corbin outside. “No fags,” he said, and Corbin was startled to hear this. Jonny had never said anything at all about homosexuals (though they were the butt of many a joke in the UCLA locker room). He grabbed the arm of a man passing by and asked, “Hey, friend, where do the women go when they want to have a drink and meet a man?”
“Well, I’m gay,” came the reply, “but you want Petey’s, just around that corner.” Jonny smiled and thanked the guy, and to Petey’s they promptly went.
This was more to Jonny’s liking. On Saturday night the bar was crowded with young people mingling and mating, all with drinks in their hands, engaging in loud conversation as they tried to be heard over the music and the shouts of the couples having a good time on the over-packed dance floor. Corbin hated it (he enjoyed neither drunks nor crowds), but anything for Jonny, so he worked hard at keeping his roommate’s spirits up. Of course, lots of women were all over both of them, and Corbin even let one sit on his lap and squeal when she felt his muscles, while Jonny spread himself around, making outrageous sexual come-ons to every woman who rubbed up against him. Jonny drank, and then Jonny drank some more.
He kept asking Corbin, with decreasing clarity, which of the women they should choose, and Corbin would shrug and offer no opinion. Finally, when it was clear that Jonny was too drunk to have a successful encounter with anybody, Corbin hefted him off of a bar stool, put his arm under his friend’s shoulders, and walked Jonny outside, and then muscled him back to the hotel.
The team was flying to L.A. early the next morning, and Corbin, who had had quite a bit of experience with this, went to work putting Jonny in as good a shape for the morrow as was possible. First he made him take three aspirins and drink two glasses of water, and then he stripped Jonny of his clothes (trying not to think much about that) and put him in the shower. Jonny started to slump to the shower floor, which Corbin stopped by alternating very cold water with hot, and Jonny, protesting and swearing at Corbin, soon stood shakily and took a more or less regular shower, after which he fell into bed naked. Corbin phoned the hotel operator and arranged for an early wakeup call, and then climbed into bed himself, wearing only underpants, tired and ready for sleep.
But Corbin hadn’t been lying in the bed long before he heard a strange noise from the bed next to his. He puzzled over what it was, and then it was repeated. Sobs! Jonny was crying!
The sobs worsened, and Corbin felt his heart go out to his friend. He climbed from his bed and slid into Jonny’s, who promptly turned to him, crying out of control, and pulled Corbin to him, hugging tight.
“I’m so, so sorry, man,” he said over and over again, and Corbin made soothing noises and said things like, “Let it go, Jonny, let it go.” Eventually, Jonny became quiet, but he continued to hold Corbin close to him, which made Corbin uncomfortable. This was not a good time for raging sexual desire to manifest itself, but Corbin felt himself becoming hard, and moved so that Jonny wouldn’t notice. Almost immediately Jonny dropped his arm and his hand came to rest against the erection, and Corbin was astounded to realize that Jonny had one of his own.
It was the opening move of the first sexual experience Corbin had had since those very good times with Tommy Arpel in high school. Finally both of them fell asleep in each other’s arms, but when Corbin reached to answer the wakeup call the next morning he found he was alone in Jonny’s bed. The shower was running, so Jonny was still here. Corbin climbed to his feet but then sat down heavily on his own bed, overwhelmed by memories of the night before. What should he say to Jonny now? How would they handle this incredible development?
The answer was that they didn’t. It apparently had never happened. Jonny came out of the shower, smiling and happy, and apologizing for getting so drunk the night before. “Just that goddamn fucking fumble yesterday, man,” he explained. “Made me a little crazy, got stupid drunk, and don’t remember even leaving the bar. Thanks for getting me back here, bro.”
So that’s how we’re going to play it, Corbin thought. “No problem,” he replied. “I’ve always got your back,” and then he blushed, hearing a meaning he didn’t intend. He turned away before Jonny noticed.
Later Corbin wondered over and over again if Jonny really didn’t remember, if this was just a drunken aberration, one with no relevance at all. That thought depressed him, but as days went by and there was no change in Jonny’s prior behavior towards Corbin, he sighed and tried to give up thinking about it. It was a fluke after all—fun, but over.
So it was a major surprise when it happened again two weeks later.
The circumstances were almost identical. Like the first time it was an away game, this one a winning effort against Oregon, and once more, in violation of the team’s training rules, Jonny and Corbin went out on the town, failed to pick up any women (Jonny’s announced goal), and ended up in bed together. The next morning, to Corbin’s annoyance, Jonny’s amnesia had returned, and, like a computer rebooting, life went back to what passed for normal.
And this time as well, Corbin didn’t know what to think. Part of him was elated. On some level Jonny had to be planning these encounters. There was almost zero chance they were unrelated and spontaneous occurrences, and neither time had Corbin done anything to start the sexual fun. In Oregon, Jonny, supposedly drunk as human beings get, grabbed Corbin and pulled him onto the bed with no conversation at all. Corbin wanted much more than this, but he had no great hope that Jonny would progress to unliquored trysts.
Corbin was in love, and, oh, he had it bad! Like lovers through the millennia, he could concentrate only on the object of his affection, and this meant that his usual strict attention to his studies, his dedication to honing his football skills, his relationships with other friends and members of his family, all suffered. His moods were mercurial and directly tied to Jonny’s actions. If Jonny smiled at him, Corbin would have trouble breathing normally, and that smile would light his day and lead to idle dreams of what might follow if Jonny would just admit to feeling what Corbin was feeling. If Jonny were cross, or out on a date with some campus beauty, or spending large amounts of time with other people no matter who, Corbin’s thoughts would turn dark, and he’d sulk, filled with despair or jealousy or a rage he didn’t know he possessed.
This went on until football season ended, with more incidents where two people made love, one of them drunk and with a memory problem, the other sober and analyzing every detail. To date they’d never had a sexual encounter at their own apartment. Each had a separate room, so it was not so easy to fall into the other’s bed. Still, one February night, Jonny said to Corbin, “Let’s go out and get drunk and pick up some girls—bring them back here and have a good time!” Surprised, Corbin nonetheless correctly decoded this as an invitation to resume their coupling, but this time right here in L.A. And he was right. After the female seductions all proved unsatisfactory (which was never true when Jonny really wanted a woman), they came back to the apartment and Jonny grabbed Corbin and kissed him hard as soon as the door shut. They never even made it to the bedroom until almost an hour later when each ended up in his own bed, and woke to the usual recall difficulty on Jonny’s part.
So they had sex. But there was a new twist. When Corbin awoke the next morning, Jonny was still in his bed, draped all over the bigger man and snoring. That made Corbin’s heart beat fast, and he froze in position, scared to move, to awaken Jonny, and to see how this change would play out. He knew that despite all of these “drunken blackouts” Jonny had managed to arrange things so that the next morning everything looked as if nothing had happened. Was his failure to do that this time a signal? A signal of what? This change could not be ignored, so maybe it was time for things to be labeled what they really were. Corbin would take nothing else, and he decided that even if it meant losing Jonny that was better than this elaborate charade, which was ripping him apart.
After a very long time where nothing happened, Corbin, cramping, was forced to move slightly, and that had the effect of waking Jonny, who moaned softly. With his eyes still closed he rubbed a hand across his face, and then dropped it onto Corbin’s broad chest. There was a second of stillness, and then Jonny sat up in bed, his eyes wide, and looked at Corbin in horror. If it was an act, it was a very good one, Corbin decided. The man seemed terrified.
“What happened?” Jonny asked in too loud a voice. “What the hell happened last night!”
Corbin pushed him aside and climbed from the bed. “Fuck you,” he said. “Try and remember. You had a very good time!” And, grabbing a towel, he went to shower. When he came back, Jonny was sitting at the kitchen table, wearing a robe, head in his hands. Neither of them said anything, and Corbin began making his morning fruit and yogurt cocktail in the blender, while Jonny, moaning at the grating noise, bolted for the bathroom, holding his mouth.
He was in there a long time, and when he came out he hurried into his bedroom and shut the door (which was rare). Corbin, pretending not to notice, flicked on the TV and tried unsuccessfully to watch a morning news show. Finally, Jonny, fully dressed, came out, and, not looking at Corbin, said, “I’ve got a class.”
“It’s Saturday,” Corbin replied with no humor or bonhomie.
“Gotta go,” Jonny mumbled and went out the door quickly.
Corbin spent the day with his usual weekend routine: a four mile run, breakfast, a trip to the library to swap books (both academic and fiction), an afternoon session at the gym, a big meal around four o’clock, and then grocery shopping. With their strenuous physical routines, both of the roommates had to consume huge amounts of food daily, so they typically had another meal later in the evening, and today the larder was low.
But Jonny didn’t come back in time for supper, and Corbin, his mood the darkest shade of black, put his feet up and tried watching television, which, predictably, wasn’t possible. His concentration was on his domestic situation and not the mindless made-for-TV movie he was supposedly watching.
By eleven he was considering whether to go to bed and stew there or to take a walk and see if that helped, when Jonny opened the door stood there, glaring at Corbin, but not entering. Corbin, still parked in front of the TV, snapped the set off with the remote, and turned to look back at the entrance. Jonny carefully stepped into the room and shut the door with the slow motion movements of a drunk trying to fake sobriety.
“You have a serious drinking problem,” Corbin said, meaning to hurt him.
Jonny nodded his head up and down in an exaggerated fashion. “You got that right, and you’re it! Take advantage of me when I’ve been drinking! That’s the problem!”
Corbin was silent. He didn’t have much of a temper, and was proud of his self control, but right now he considered punching Jonny as hard as he could. If the man hadn’t been drunk and unable to defend himself, he would have.
Jonny swayed a little, and then leaned toward Corbin. “Say something, damn it! Hey, I don’t care if you’re a fag—lots of fags in the world, and they hit on me all the time! Never thought my best friend would do it.” Still no response, which angered Jonny. “SAY SOMETHING!” he bellowed.
Thinking about it later, Corbin was amused and pleased by what he did next. He stood up, stared hard at Jonny, and then took off his shirt, kicked off his shoes, dropped his jeans and drawers, and stood there naked. He put his hands on his hips.
“Come to me or get out,” Corbin said quietly.
Jonny swayed some more, confused and conflicted, and then, mumbling “Goddamn it to hell!” he awkwardly undressed himself.
But when Corbin woke up the next morning he was alone in his bed, and he found a note from Jonny on the kitchen table saying he was moving out. No explanation, but then, Corbin thought, it didn’t need explaining. Last night Corbin had told him to “come to me or get out,” and in the end Jonny had done both.
“Just Published: My Novel “Corbin Milk,” a Thriller Detailing the Adventures of a Gay CIA Agent,” April 18, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/04/just-published-my-novel-corbin-milk.html
“The Thrill of a Touch,”August 14, 2012;