Paul runs a club for men who gather, upward to a hundred at a time, to be physically intimate with one another. Before they’re allowed to participate the first time, the gay, bisexual, and possibly straight (circle-jerk) men go through a 10-minute introduction that outlines the expectations of good behavior.
One must ask, for instance, if they can touch someone before they do. If you don’t want to be touched by a particular person, they are to say, “No, thank you.” Good hygiene is expected. No penetration is permitted.
The goal of the club is for everyone to have a fun time in an environment in which members feel safe and valued. That doesn’t mean that all persons who arrive will have their fantasies satisfied. But, they won’t go home feeling used or alone. As it turns out, there will always be people interested in sharing erotic touch regardless of someone’s age or body.
“The guys in their 20s all hang out together, but those in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be open to being with older men,” Paul explained.
I joined Paul in a podcast conversation about his jack-off club because of my interest in helping older gay and bisexual men find opportunities to satisfy their needs for intimacy. It’s not a new mission, but when I was asked about where an older person might meet others for sexual stimulation and intimacy, it got me thinking, and asking questions.
Is there an age when we’re no longer permitted to experience and express our need for sexual excitement? Do we give up the right to masturbate if we’re in a long-term relationship, or residing in a nursing home, or assisted living facility? Do health care and social workers, family members, and spouses feel that sexuality can be discussed openly, without self-consciousness?
It’s challenging to talk openly about sex, especially about self-pleasuring. Most of us grew up in families, and went to schools, that considered words like “masturbation” to be totally inappropriate for anything but very private, whispered conversations, perhaps best saved for the Catholic confessional. Thus, one often felt the need to get high on alcohol or drugs to feel loose enough to share information about one’s interests or experiences with self-pleasuring. Even now, I have to fight back against the guidance that only people with “loose morals,” or those who lack consideration for the sensibilities of others, would talk or write openly about older guys ejaculating together. But, if not me, who?
Self-stimulation is as natural as breathing, and common in every country and culture since the beginning of time, whether prohibited or encouraged, whether discussed maturely or disparaged with adolescent shame. I like the descriptive words, “self-pleasuring,” but “masturbation” is the more medically-accepted, commonly-used word.
Why is masturbation so popular among all sexes, ages, races, orientations, and body types? Because it feels so good to do. Many women prefer self-stimulation to vaginal intercourse with a man, because most men weren’t raised to consider the woman’s pleasure in sex. One advantage of lesbian sex is the shared awareness of the joy to be found in stimulating the clitoris.
If masturbation feels so good alone, why would gay and bisexual men get together to do it? Speaking for myself, the sight of other naked men, especially in the state of arousal, would be very exciting. Being with other men, watching them reach climax, listening to them moan in pleasure, smelling their scent, would replace the need I would otherwise have to create a sexual fantasy while self-pleasuring alone.
All of the senses would be engaged in such a group activity, especially touch. Being touched by other men who are aroused, and touching other men with their permission is probably what would keep me attending such gatherings. That is, if my relationship with Ray allowed for these outside experiences, and if my relationship with myself would do so.
“But, if you have a partner, why would you need to go to such an event?” someone might ask. Variety. Lustful fantasies. Curiosity. Camaraderie.
The hunger for intimacy, and for sexual stimulation and release, doesn’t end when you age, although prostate surgery, and the medicines one might take for physical and emotional pain can impact the ability to get an erection, or to ejaculate. But, Paul told me that men who are unable to have erections still come to the club, and have their need for intimacy met. One needn’t have an erection or ejaculate in order to have an orgasm.
Raised Roman Catholic, Midwestern, and in an Irish-influenced household, I didn’t have a healthy appreciation of sex as a teenager. Unless performed in a heterosexual marriage, with the intention of creating new life, all sexual expression, I was taught, was shrouded in sin and shame. My grandfather whispered questions to us when we were teenagers, because he was still interested in sex, and probably had no one else to talk with about it. But, such behavior could get one labeled “a dirty old man.” Why do we consider the hunger for the intimacy of older people as “dirty?”
Ray and I have been to workshops, such as the Body Electric, where we got naked with other men, were aroused, and experienced orgasms. One of my most erotically-charged memories is of going to a weeklong gay naturists retreat, 600-strong, and dancing nude with other gay and bisexual men at the nightly disco celebration. Not that it needed to be more than just fun, but the experience was also intensely spiritual for me. I thought, “This is Heaven.” Embracing my sexual feelings as normal has been an essential component of me celebrating my same-sex attractions as not just good, and healthy, but essential to the lessons to be learned by my soul. Sex and spirituality are divinely linked.
Would I go to a jack-off club at age 73? I’d be more likely to do so if I was single, and I’d have to work through concerns about body image, and performance anxiety. And, of course, I’d need to get answers to my questions about social etiquette – “Who cleans up the mess?” But, yes, the idea of it is exciting, and I can see why it would be popular with men of all ages. Women ought to have the same opportunities, like jill-off parties. Maybe they do, and just don’t talk about it. I wish they would.
Two Guys and A Dog is a semi-regular column from Brian McNaught, who has been a leading educator on LGBTQ issues globally since 1974. Visit Brian-McNaught.com to access his books and DVDs for free. “No one has done a better job of chronicling what it is like to be gay in America.” – Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank.