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Sex Talk by Simon Shepard
Looking at exhibitionists
by Simon Sheppard - SGN Contributing Writer

"This really cute young man came over to my place to talk over some business," says a salesman who's not bad-looking himself. "It wasn't supposed to be a sexual situation, and though I wanted him, I figured he wasn't interested in me. But when he was on his way out, he asked, 'Want to watch me masturbate?' I nodded eagerly, so he lay down on my bed, peeled off his shorts, and damn if he wasn't already hard. He told me I couldn't touch him, couldn't even get too close. So I sat there and watched while he did the deed. He came quick, and it was hot for us both."

That sort of look-but-don't-touch scene might seem second-rate to some, but to exhibitionists (and their voyeurs), it can be hot as hell. "It gets me off to be an object of desire," says one show-off. "I grew up thinking I wasn't very hot, so if I notice a man cruising me, it gets me instantly hard."

Clearly, sexy show-it stuff has something - maybe a lot - to do with power. In our salesman's scene, the cute guy set the rules. That made him a top, no matter how vulnerably exposed he was to another's gaze. And in nonconsensual circumstances, such as flashing strangers in a park, exhibitionism can verge on sexual assault. On the other hand, serving as someone else's porn show expresses a servile willingness to entertain. Yes, as with so much of sexuality, the distinction between "bottom" and "top" can be a complicated one.

Flaunting what you've got can be not just hot, but therapeutic, too - a way of overcoming shame or shyness. Or it can be a way of challenging society's antisexual taboos. Another show-off says, "I like to wear a pair of loose-fitting shorts with no underwear, then go to a sidewalk cafe and sit drinking coffee, spreading my legs so that persistent passersby are able to glimpse my meat." And then there are "window scenes," in which a tumescent fellow stands in front of his windowpane, permitting pedestrians to peek at his penis. Though that might be considered safe sex, it's risky for other reasons. The less foolhardy do the deed late at night, perhaps arranging online for an eager audience.

Public displays of pubes are - except in certain circumstances - quite illegal, of course. Even an erection in a steam room can get a guy's gym membership revoked. So unless you have a clothing-optional beach handy, it's wise to limit your exhibitionism to private places. The bedroom is the classic venue, whether the onlooker is your steady flame or a stranger you just met in a bar. But showing off in other parts of the house - the kitchen, say, or the hall - can make your butt-baring seem more daring.

Sex parties and private clubs provide a whole other level of lascivious look-see. And for the technologically inclined, the advent of the webcam means that your crotch can be seen in Caracas, your wanking witnessed in Washington, D.C. Disinclined to do real-time shows? A number of amateur websites display horny homos' hot photos. Lots of online onanists may hide their faces, since being seen having sex on the Web might come back to haunt them someday. But for many men, the tang of danger is part of what makes showing off such edgy fun.

Exhibitionism need not involve massive displays of flesh. Wearing overtly sexy clothing, sexual signifiers such as leather collars or harnesses, low-cut Speedos at the beach, or even a T-shirt with a naughty slogan can provide a penis-pleasing thrill.

And there's no rule that a scene has to be purely exhibitionistic. Strutting your stuff can serve as a prelude to skin-to-skin fun. One guy says, "I advertise online to strip for guys while they tell me what to do. But the last few times I did that, my trick and I ended up screwing. I guess there's no reason to limit myself, huh?"

Whether "showing off" means bouncing down the street in a revealingly thin pair of pants or putting on an elaborate dildo show at a dungeon party, exhibitionism can be fabulous fun. And you need not be a male-model beauty to flaunt what you've got. Crotch-revealing confidence can be a major turn-on for many men, despite - or even due to - average looks. Like the old song says, everybody is a star.

"I'm proud of my penis," says another confirmed show-off. "So why keep it hidden away?" Why indeed, when whipping it out can be so wonderful? We're watching, dude. Let's see what you've got.

Simon Sheppard is the editor of Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at SexTalk@qsyndicate.com. Visit Simon at www.simonsheppard.com.
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