‘Regular sex’ is sometimes called ‘vanilla’ by people who are into more specialised, sometimes extreme, activities. If you ask gay and bisexual men what they’re into, many reply ‘anything except scat, blood and pain’. That, of course leaves an awful lot on the erotic menu including many non-vanilla activities. What guys usually mean though, is that they’re willing to experiment and explore their fantasies and fetishes. But when it comes to the work of heavy-duty sex, newbies can potentially get carried away wanting to try or attempt sexual acts that take time and skill to achieve without harm.
What newbies will learn when they meet experienced players is that heavy duty sex involves rituals that act as ground rules, practical things that allow men’s raunchiest fantasies to happen in a way that is Safe Sane and Consensual.
Being knowledgeable about what you are doing. Each participant must be informed about the possible risks, both physically and psychologically. The sexual activity should cause no permanent emotional or physical harm (except, of course, where branding or piercing is involved). The safe toys (dildos, butt plugs) are clean (or have a condom on them for multiple partners), that slings are secure, that other men putting their fingers into the lube don’t contaminate it.
Knowledge of men’s bodies – how they work, what they can and can’t do – is fundamental as is a basic knowledge of hygiene. That includes taking precautions so that STIs (such as HIV) are not spread.
Acting rationally and not being out of control – that decisions are made carefully while sober. Men who are out to prove that they are tougher than the rest can prove just as volatile as those wasted on chemicals. Tops who ‘know how to dish it out’ and bottoms that ‘want to prove they can take it’ are more likely to stray beyond same limits than men who know where the line between fantasy and reality begins and ends. As one S&M writer puts it:
‘Humility rather than arrogance, intimacy not aloofness are the marks of the proficient S&Mer.’
All players must give full, informed and sober consent. Informed means knowing exactly what you are consenting to and that you can change your mind if you don’t like it. A Top explaining to a bottom the details of what is likely to happen to him if he does get in the sling is far more likely to excite than deter, but it’s important that those details are explicit.
Whatever the ‘scene’ or sexual activity is, the goal is something that is mutually erotic. Trust and skill increase the chance of that goal being attained. S&M is about intensity and pleasure not abuse.
Things can change or go wrong, people change their minds during a sexual scene and that’s when safe words are important. In practice they are rarely used, but that one has been established adds extra security. When the safe word is spoken all activity stops, it’s like an emergency handbrake. Stop words should have nothing to do with sex in any way.
Sometimes people’s first names are used or a colour like ‘red’ for danger. If a man is gagged he can hold an object (such as a ball) which he can drop when he wants the action to stop. Some men use traffic lights:
Red for stop
Orange for caution
Green for go
What you know you like, what you’d like to experiment with and things that are definitely off limits.
Novices can write a list for each of these and as more experience is gained lists grow longer and change. Tops have limits as well as bottoms – how far they are prepared to go or things that bottoms want them to do that they don’t find erotic. Newbies need to talk to each other – in person or online – about their limits so that from a sea of desires they find a place to start. If you find a mentor he might be able to help you find your way – or even let you watch!
Some Different Flavours
This sexual practice is very common amongst gay and bisexual men but leather men are more likely to do it in groups. There is no risk of HIV infection but you can get other infections such as Hepatitis A. You can be vaccinated for Hepatitis A (and Hepatitis B in the same shot called Twinrix). If you love rimming then seriously consider vaccination
There is no risk for HIV infection, but if you drink piss you could be exposed to other infections, the most serious being (again) Hepatitis A. Consider vaccination if you’re really into it.
Butt plugs, dildos – any long (usually rubber) object designed to be inserted into an arse. Use LOTS of lube and start out small and work your way up to the whoppers if you like. Take it slowly (literally). Often it’s not practical to thoroughly clean toys that are going to be re-used, so putting a new condom on it for each person is essential. Well equipped slip rooms will have a mirror at the back so the man in the sling can get a good view of what is going in (and coming out). Toys can be cleaned in soap and hot water or a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts cold water.
Inserting a hand or forearm into another man’s arse (or your own). This sexual act requires skill and patience. It’s really an extension of what men do already in anal play (hands up those who have managed to get three or even four fingers into themselves or a partner?). The fister wears a latex glove to prevent fingernails harming the delicate rectal lining of the fistee.
The traditional lube used for fisting is Crisco, an American cooking fat. It’s not just used because of tradition (Thanks Giving?): it provides a protective layer as well as being a good heavy duty lube. Crisco is oil based so it can’t be used with condoms (this is why using Vaseline or baby oil for anal sex lube is a no-no) but the much thicker glove will remain intact.
Fisting requires the fistee being very relaxed without being deadened to any sense of pain (pain means stop) and the fister needs to be cool and calm. Slings are usually used for fisting because the fistee is suspended and comfortable and the arse is exposed and easily accessible.
Fisting is sometimes referred to as ‘handballing’, a term invented to counter the connotations of ‘violence and sleaze’ that the term fisting allegedly evokes. There is no risk of HIV infection. However, there is a risk of Hepatitis C transmission: if a receptive man has Hepatitis C, then microscopic amounts of blood can be transferred onto the glove, which can then end up in the tub of lube. The virus can live quite happily there and anyone else using the lube is exposing themselves to the virus.
Physical safety with bondage (including handcuffs) requires common sense, planning and a clear head. Handcuffs should be of good quality and have a spare key. At no time should handcuffs or rope restrict circulation or potentially damage nerve endings.
Heavy Duty sex often involves men having their nipples worked vigorously, sometimes with a variety of nipple clamps. Prolonged or repeated heavy tit work can result in the nipples becoming more pronounced. This usually means the scar tissue is developing beneath the skin’s surface. This can be minimised by using creams such as Hirudoid available over the counter at pharmacies.