I was talking to a brotha the other day (we’ll call him James), and the conversation we had was very interesting. See, this brotha is young, intelligent, beautiful, and goal oriented. He has a plan for his future and is on his way to success and living his dream. He even has what most brothaz say they want in their lives, a healthy and committed relationship. James says that he’s satisfied with is relationship, and his partner makes him happy, but his problem is, he feels he’s missing out on what he calls “the life.” James was raised in a strict environment and most of his adult life he’s been quite disciplined. Not a big drinker, never used drugs, been to only a few clubs, and has never been promiscuous. Or in his words, “I’m not as sexually experienced as my lover is.” And this fact has him in a state of emotional confusion.
Recently, on his new job, James met someone who is attracted to him. In fact the attraction is mutual. He confessed that he and the brotha have shared a kiss. ONLY ONE, but they’ve kissed nonetheless. And because of that kiss, he is feeling things that he never felt before. He doesn’t want to be a ho and have sex with just any and everybody (so he says) because he loves his partner. But, BECAUSE he is in a committed relationship, he says, “I feel like I’m forfeiting the opportunity to express and experience my sexuality to the fullest.” He says he understands that he has a good thing, but feels a little intimidated because he has nothing to compare it to. So he doesn’t “KNOW” without reservation that he is truly experiencing the best thing. He is afraid of talking to his lover about this out of fear that he will not understand and will want to break up with him. In fact, James says, “right now, I’m very unsure about what I want. I just don’t know. I’m not sure anymore.”
While talking with James, I quietly asked myself, what are brothaz really looking for? What is it about sex (or the prospect of having lots of it) that makes a brotha risk losing a relationship with someone he says he loves? And when a brotha is in a relationship, why does he almost always entertain “the grass may be greener” theory? To be honest, I understand James’ problem. On one hand, he has what everyone says they want, “a committed relationship.” And on the other, there is prospect of experiencing the sexual freedom that society says every man should experience before settling down. I told James that in my humble opinion, he is walking into what I call “the big trap.”
As we continued to talk, I shared a few of my experiences and hopefully gave him some food for thought. When it was time for me to talk, I said, “James, let’s say you talk to your lover, he decides to set you free, and you are now able to have your ‘experience.’ What’s out there? Yeah, there’s the opportunity to have lots of sex. Lots of beautiful men with toned bodies, cut abs, nice shapely azzes and big dicks. There are brothaz out there who can with one kiss make your toes curl and make you feel things that you never thought you’d feel before. There’s the opportunity to sharpen your sexual skills and learn a few new things. But there are consequences to that choice. HIV/AIDS is a reality. And whether we want to deal with it or not, the fact remains that the numbers of HIV infections the African-American Community are growing EVEN STILL, after all the education and prevention efforts that have gone forth. And based on my experience in working with people who are man enough to disclose that they are HIV positive, REJECTION is an issue you just gotta learn to deal with. Because most people don’t want to be HIV positive, so they don’t want to be with anyone who is.”
I told him that with this choice, he runs the risk of jeopardizing his health and life for the sake of “experiencing his sexuality.” Not to mention the fact that after he’s experienced all he wants to, he will have to deal with the fact that he once had, but walked away from what most everyone says they’re looking for a committed relationship. And in doing so, he probably hurt a person who really loved him.
I also pointed out the reality that if he becomes sexually promiscuous, he will soon be “the piece that everybody has had”. I shared with him that in my experience, there was no feeling worse, or nothing more embarrassing than meeting somebody I really liked, after I “experienced my sexuality” only for him to be told by somebody I’d been with “you better watch out for that one, he done gave it to everybody.” And once that knowledge was out, I was the “For Some Hot Sex” poster boy that everybody wanted to get with, but nobody wanted to settle down with. When you’ve been promiscuous, it’s hard when the person you’re really feeling asks. “so, how many people have you been with?” And after you tell them, it’s quite hurtful when they start being shady and reject you because they don’t want used goods.
I told James that I’m not trying to be his moral monitor here. I didn’t even tell James what to do. In fact, I told him to make his own decision. Do what he thinks will make him happy. Because it’s his life, and he has to do what he feels is best for him. I also told him to be man enough to own up to the responsibility of those decisions realizing that there are positive and negative consequences to each one. I told him that his “experience” may not be what mine is, in fact I hope it isn’t. I just wanted him to make an informed decision.
I asked James, “in the event you choose to honor your commitment, and ‘miss out’ on the creed our society glamorizes — which is, ‘HAVE AS MUCH SEX AS YOU CAN BEFORE YOU SETTLE DOWN,’ what do you lose or gain?” After he shrugged his shoulders I told him, “you lose having the chance to get your freak on with an unlimited number of beautiful brothaz. But, you gain the peace in knowing you have chosen to protect the health and the well-being of you and your partner by not risking HIV infection because of promiscuity. You lose the opportunity to sample the fruit of many trees before settling for the fruit of one.” But you get to hold on to, and nurture something that has the potential to grow, and become the richest blessing you’ve ever known — a loving relationship. You lose the shame of feeling like a piece of meat after a brotha has gotten his nut and moves on to his next conquest. But, you get to be proud of the fact that you’re not a piece that everybody has had. You can be proud of the fact that you’re giving your body to someone who also cherishes your heart. You can be proud that your “sexual experience” is special, because you shared it with someone you love.
Activist and author Tuan N’Gai made waves with his 2001 book Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma and followed it up with Little Brown Boy’s Blues in 2008.