Friday, 16 July - link

Hey Dude, You Have a Condom?

A rotating cast inhabits my Venice summer sublet. One gent living there briefly works as a host, entertaining people at various bars and parties around town. As an artist friend said, "that guy is good looking. Hot!" He's well-built, dark haired, blue eyed. Gregarious to boot.

He invited me out, I joined him at a Santa Monica bar for some drinks and carrying on during my brief layover in Los Angeles. I met two women, they were both mothers, around my age. They both seemed open to being hit on.

But I went home early, I had work to do the next day. I was sitting at my computer pleasuring myself when he came home. He brought with him a rather soused woman, stacked, "racktastic," as a friend might say. I pulled my hand out of my pants, buttoned up, and met them at my door. I felt charged up with sex, not unsatisfied, but ready. She was a vision of ready sexuality, flirtatious, comely, buxom.

She chatted me up a bit, I urged them outside to use the hottub. They went to check it out and then came back complaining about some kind of strange beast in the yard. I walked large through the yard, daring any animal to join me. I turned on the tub and the light within and they came to the side of the tub. I was ready to join them, to shimmy off my clothes and soak inside. Perhaps I should have just charged forward with that. Instead I went to get towels for them, playing host. When I came back, they were both still dressed, eyeing the water. I felt I at least deserved a chance to see her naked. You know, for bringing them some towels. Seeing him wouldn't have been bad either. Looking back, I probably should have lead by example, taking my clothes off and jumping in the water. He thanked me and I felt dismissed. Not in a bad way, just that I was being urged to carry on elsewhere. This was their moment.

But their moment wasn't so sharply defined. About fourty minutes later as I was sleeping, I heard them step back into the house, into their room. It wasn't long before they were pushing and grunting and groaning a bit. I believe they left the bedroom door open. I was bemused, slightly, but mostly trying to sleep.

A little bit later I hear them walking around, rummaging through the house. "Just ask him," I heard her say. "He doesn't live here," he replied. Drawers yanked open, drawers pushed shut. She urged him again "Why don't you ask him?." He relented, my door is pushed open, a knock follows, "Hey dude, you have a condom?" I'd been listening of course, to their loud furtive scavenging. I did have a condom, but I took a minute to remember where it was and pull myself from sleep into social engagement. "A condom? Hmm, condom, I think so." Mostly I was shocked, bemused again, that they were willing to pile into my room late looking for something sensual. Although as a friend pointed out, if a condom was all that stood between him and some sex, he would not hesitate to wake a friend to find one. But I had spent about a total of six waking hours in the same room with this guy, so I was surprised at this presumption.

He trundled off to the bathroom right quick after making the request. I found the condom, and in my boxer shorts I marched off to his bedroom. There in the light sat the naked sex ready woman, wan smile underneath mussed hair over breasts hanging out slender tops of tan nipples visible. I smiled, and handed her the condom. She smiled back at me. Thanked me. I smiled back, and stood there, mostly maintaining eye contact for a moment, savoring briefly. So amused! Slightly turned on. Too amused to be offended. Then I retired to my room.

He emerged from the bathroom and joined her in their room.
I heard him say: "I think this is for you to wear."
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"I don't know how this works." he declared.

I rose out of bed and walked into the room. There was naked stacked girl and bufftastic boy, perfect young thick strong full Southern California bodies. She was sitting in the middle of the bed, more casual slouching naked than proud. He was bent on one knee to shield his privates at the foot of the bed. He was grinning at me, at least. I took the opened peel-top condom packet from his outstretched hand and said, "this is for you to wear," smiling and handed it back to him.

"We'll get you a girl tomorrow," she said as I was walking out of the room. "I'll take seconds," I replied with a grin. "No way!" I heard her say. I laughed. I did feel randy. I felt like videotaping these specimens in their sexual congress. I felt like joining him across her massive chest. I felt like sharing my body and sexuality with them. I felt thin, scrawny, boyish, girlish, hairless and so lean next to them. Mostly I felt like they weren't inviting me to participate with them directly, and I could only hint and laugh as this unfolded. I felt too bold by half, and not bold at all.

I lay down to sleep. They left the door open. I heard them going at it. Pounding, pushing, bedshaking. Moaning. Grunting. And then, over. He used the bathroom, I could tell from his heavy footfalls. And then, door open, I heard the aftermath:

It was now about 3:45. He hit the bed, immediately suggesting: "Well, let's get some sleep."
"Why?" she asked.
"Because I gotta get up at 9.30 tomorrow."
She agreed, but she wanted to talk. In a strong nasal voice "You know I'm not normally like this. I mean I like to go out. I can go out for four days. I'll stay out for four days. Just dancing you know? Just dancing. I don't go home. I'm just having fun."

From him, a muffled "Uh huh."

"I think it's because I grew up in a sheltered environment - people watching over me and taking care of me. Too much supervision. Now I'm on my own and I can go out, just dancing for days. Four days at a time some times! But it's not always like this - I just like dancing."

She paused. Then she accused: "You're not even listening to me. You're just sleeping."

A few beats later, his voice rises from the pillow, "Just dancing?"

And that sleepy contextual grunt was enough to set her off again for another seven minutes of talking without any interaction from him. He'd throw in a word here and there, occasionally suggesting again that they sleep. But she wanted to stay up.

I was certainly kept awake by all this, virtually transcribing their interaction. I decided to subtly offer myself as a late night chat partner. And what more? I strode about the house, puttered in the kitchen, turned on and off some lights, typed on my computer.

Again, if I wanted to talk to her, I should have said something, something direct, like "you want to talk to me? because I can hear you." Or, "I think he's sleeping, but I'm awake." Or, "Hey, come talk to me instead?" But I didn't see then how I could more directly coax her out of bed with him and into my bed, or even to the couch or mmmm the hot tub. She was still sex framed in my mind, but I was realizing that she wanted something deeper with my roommate - their sex had been their moment. And they weren't feeling the Robert Johnson's daughter's moment. And was I prepared to talk to her about her dancing and her sister and her lifestyle for hours? Actually, I was amused and anthropologically stimulated enough that I thought I could spend hours exploring this random stranger. The logic of the late night.

Her voice finally died, my roommate long silent. I fell asleep myself, not unhappy to have spent these wee hours listening to them negociate.

A few hours later, I knocked on their door at 9:15am asking in a loud clear voice, "Hey guys, do you have any yogurt? Any plain yogurt?" They woke up in a panic - "yogurt? what yogurt?" A struggle ensued underneath the covers. Shaking his head, the roommate finally replied, "I think there's some yogurt in the fridge." I laughed. I knew where the yogurt was - I was just jerking their chain, and mine.

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Thursday, 8 April - link

Eyes Wide Dark

a night of blind group sexuality in San Francisco

Casual sex is difficult, because attachments invariably form between the parties. And if one or both of the parties can't or won't sustain the attachment, then there is pain where there was once desire.

In an effort to avoid this kind of pain, I've been wondering if it's possible to have people who enjoy sexual conduct, sensual touch, in a "sacred" context - that is, enjoying the pleasure of another human being, without, perhaps ongoing attachments.

It's vague, but it has lead to some unusual search results. I came across Darkness Falls - "a couples party in a room that is completely dark full of sexy people ready to play." Located at a theater space in the Mission District of San Francisco, it was both conveniently located, and coming up the next weekend. The idea intrigued me - what if you removed body image and attractiveness from fooling around? What if you were free to reach out and touch without seeing race, sexual preference or even gender? What would it be like to share a room full of writhing floor sex touch in total darkness?

Continue reading "Eyes Wide Dark"
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Wednesday, 10 March - link

Performance Rituals of Sex Shamans in 21st Century San Francisco

I'm still coming down off of my night - dancing my ass off to the Lovemakers - most of their music sounds like 80s James Bond themes; whatever your feeling, in person they make a foot move and a hip swing. lovemakers, by Lisa NolaMore new wave than funky, they do manage some sex energy - mostly turning on the sparks tossed off by the two front people. Slinky outfits, barechested guitaring, dignified writhing and rocking. Lisa a more patrician Siousxie, Scott looked like one of the Durans, firmly pouting. Jason the keyboardist seemed happy to have beamed in for the event; he served as our voyeur stand-in, watching the staged lust up front.

Before them had been Gravy Train ( and I had been sure that I couldn't have any better musical experience that night at Cafe du Nord. Here were four ambiguously but eagerly sexxxed out people prancing and stripping and rapping loud over Peaches' fastest beats. Heck it's Peaches ethics and the fastest Peaches or maybe Yeah Yeah Yeahs but spitting raunch rhymes dirtier and live and writhing fun fantastic full ball busty proud bareassed shaking shaking shaking it. And it was inspiring to watch and full of San Francisco pride anyone can suck and fuck around on stage and share that kind of spastic sweaty love. Doing the splits! Shaking a beautiful bare ass. Celebrating fat tits. I was nursing a man-sized crush on the lead singer; as each of them pranced I could have fallen to worship anyone.

But in the end it was the slightly more abstemious sexuality fronted by the LoveMakers that had me pumping the hardest. I mean I had my arms over my head and my hips were machine gunning I was steam training sweat mouth open tongue out eyes lidded ecstatic! Ah who gives a fuck it was one of the best nights I've had out in weeks and I smelled like nothing but human sweat and leaking ambition. I've got to start wearing more eye makeup.

And I owe most all of it to photographer Lisa Nola - she took that picture of the Lovemakers, and she encouraged me to come.

I compiled a video from short films shot on my digital camera: GravyTrain footage becomes Performance Rituals of Sex Shamans in 21st Century San Francisco (a 1.34mb .wmv video download) - (one minute, twenty seconds, edited with Movie Maker using footage from my Optio).

Reading from the foreword to Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: "Archaic Techniques of Ecstacy":

"The writer who approaches shamanism as a psychologist will be led to regard it as primarily the manifestation of a psyche in crisis or even in retrogression; he will not fail to compare it with certain aberrant psychic behavior patterns or to class it among mental diseases of the hysteroid or epileptoid type." (page xi)
Certainly that holds true with GravyTrain, especially the epileptoid part.

The people on stage that day were practicing ecstatic techniques that induced a group meditation. But their ritual work might have been too grounded in audience engagement and affirmation of their physical forms to qualify for Eliade's definition of a Shaman as someone who "specializes in a trance during which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld" (page 5). If GravyTrain had performed for another hour or two, I suspect there might have been some descending going on, ie them leading the audience into rhythmic sexual chaos. (Reading from a book leftover from a shamanism class in college: Eliade, Shamanism, Princeton, 1974).

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