I’m Not Weird

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by Martin Cole*

Throughout college, I didn’t date that much. I like to think that I was a cute guy, and looking back there were probably girls who were attracted to me. But I didn’t date much. When my friends (and even the well-intentioned family member) asked if I was possibly gay, I was offended – not because I thought being gay was bad, but because these people who were close to me made assumptions about me which were off base. If I was honest, I would have told them I had a fetish. I still do. Strong women telling me what to do is arousing, and has become almost the only thing that excites me anymore. That’s difficult to say – at least out loud – to people who ask you questions about whether you “owned that” or “smacked that ass.” You’re the one who wants those things done to you, and the idea of you doing it to someone else, while mildly exciting, pales in comparison.

Once, I tried telling one of my guy friends about it, even going so far as to say that I had bought a sex toy to penetrate myself (fantasizing that my girlfriend at the time might eventually be persuaded to use a strap-on with me). I say “once” because it was such an embarrassing experience, especially when word got out to our friends. I was ashamed, humiliated even. And it was really confusing that I jerked off to it afterwards for months. Especially when my girlfriend broke up with me for “a real man.”

I don’t have mommy issues. My mother and I have a very good relationship and I’ve talked to my therapist to work out whether maybe I’m fooling myself. But that’s part of the problem; we tend to think that any time someone has a kink that something is wrong with them, that they are broken or have “issues.” No one ever asks the steady flock of nurses who regularly come into my store for romance novels if they are perverts. The housewives who feign aloofness when they ask if I have a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey? They get a free pass. No one raises an eyebrow, curious whether they are in an abusive relationship. It seems that the double standard goes one way; when a man wants to be in a female-led relationship (which is not the same as BDSM’s version, Femdom) his masculinity and mental health are called into question. I’ve heard it all – fairy, sissy, queer, freak – you name it. But none of those are accurate. I’m still a man. A straight man. A straight man who enjoys watching a game and drinking a beer after work, who enjoys working with his hands and building furniture on the evenings and weekends. And yes, who wants a woman to tell him what to do, to take control, and to occasionally penetrate him.

Even writing about it now makes it sound like I have to explain myself and reassure my own masculinity. It’s exhausting. And after years of doing that very thing with girlfriends, I just want to say how bad this feels. It sucks. It sucks that I have to explain myself over and over and tell the world, “I’m not weird. I’m just get aroused by something you don’t. That’s it. I still have to pay my bills, I still want to have kids someday, I still shop at Wal-mart and get stuck in the slow line, but unlike you when I am honest about what turns me on, I’m put in the corner, made fun of, and often question why I feel a need to live with other humans who talk about ‘understanding’ and then do the exact opposite.” It’s not arousing anymore to be shamed for your sexual preferences, and because of the lack of acceptance I have found, I have thought on several occasions about killing myself (something yes, I have brought up in therapy). Few things are as painful as the rejection I feel when, in an intimate moment, a lover’s face slowly recoils and their head begins to slowly shake as they say, “I don’t think I want to do that.” Losing my erection is the easy part. Closing the door after they leave, knowing another relationship has failed, that another person I loved has rejected me or been disgusted by me? That’s the hard part.

In the last few years, we’ve talked a lot in the news about sexuality and gender roles, their fluidity, and yet the stigma of non-hyper-masculine men prevails for reasons beyond our comprehension. Last week’s release of Arrested Development’s 4th season made a long-running joke out of George, Sr.’s loss of masculinity and his brother, Oscar’s renewed potency. Men who don’t want to break beds as they “take” their bride’s virginity like Edward in Twilight, or men who aren’t turned on by making “their” women sign a submission contract with them like in 50 Shades are the newly neutered. We’re not considered “real men” anymore because we’ve don’t get off on what society has said for so long we should – we don’t abuse women. We respect women. We even (at least in my case) prefer to worship and adore them, submit our desires to them, and even deeply enjoy performing oral sex. We’ve made princesses and queens out of women, and yet… we’re not considered manly men because to do any of these things – to put a woman first even in matters of sexuality, and especially submit that sexuality to them – is effeminate and “queer” and “unmanly.”

Don’t get me wrong. There have been women who have enjoyed sex with me. I’ve had committed relationships for extended periods – as much as two years. But that’s been the cap. Women want more from me than owning my own business, having a nice car, adoring them in bed, having enough money to take them out, or even pursuing “masculine” hobbies like sports, the occasional construction job, and building furniture. They want a “real man” who will fuck them – not the other way around. One of my best relationships ended the moment I said, “Let’s try something different. How about I be the girl tonight?” and I have all but given up hope of having those same ideals that my friends have already attained – marriage, raising children, and a frequent & mutually satisfying sexual relationship.

These are the kinds of stories that get lost in the cracks, the kind we don’t talk about because they are still taboo. And for all the progress we have made at advancing marriage equality and women’s rights, we still do not have space in our communities for men like me. When women possess “masculine” qualities in the bedroom – a voracious appetite for sex, dominance, and interest in trying out new things – we either celebrate or slut shame her. But when a guy possess “feminine” qualities like wanting to live a quiet and simple life, and yes, take it up the back from a woman? Ha. Good luck with that, sicko.

I’m not weird. I just don’t get off on what everyone else does, and maybe that’s something worth discussing.

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Martin Cole is a pseudonym for a bookseller and artist living in New Orleans. He enjoys reading, writing poetry, and running through City Park.

Randall S. Frederick is editor of Sexuality & the City and cowriter of this piece. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is finishing his second Masters.

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2 thoughts on “I’m Not Weird

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. It is very blatantly honest and it hit home for me, in a way. It is my sincere wish that you will find a girl that is open minded in this topic and that you will have a lovely relationship together. You would think that in the world we live in today, we would embrace different ways of thinking, but, in some circles, this has not been the case. A real man is not someone who can, as you say, ” fuck them-not the other way around”. To me, a real man is someone who listens , who has original thoughts, who is confident in being himself around you, and who respects. He blows mind mind both in and out of the bedroom. And does not mean that he has to do all of the blowing either.
    For the past year that my boyfriend and I have been together, I have wanted to go buy a harness to strap a dlido in and go in from behind, to put it bluntly. I love when my boyfriend moans when being happy sexually (and I love it when I do it too), but I have always wanted to try giving him a glipse of what it feels like to be penetrated, just like he does with me (not exactly, but you get the drill). I also have this fascination with the movement of my boyfriend’s thighs when he goes in and out; I have always wanted to know what that feels like with something else than his hoo-ha in between my legs, my own fake hoo-ha that I could put in his orfice. At first, I was worried about telling him this.Thankfully, he has been very receptive (and even very intrigued) about the idea and we are going in to buy the harness soon ;). I am lucky that I have a really receptive boyfriend. He is very sweet, kind, funny, and sexy and I love my real man a lot.
    I honestly think that some of the reason for this is culture, not only the “twilight” delusion, but the US’s culture as well. I don’t necessarily believe in a female dominated relationship (because then it will eventually turn out to be the reverse of a completely male dominated relationship), but I do believe in having a strong female presense in a relationship, not just a princess fairy tale sort of thing (aka give me Mulan not Sleeping Beauty). Love is a give and take thing. It is not always going to be 50 50, but both should be in the equation.The man does not always have to provide everything, but he should do what he can and/or offer to do so. Likewise with the woman (and any other relationship, whether it be LGBTQIA or any color of the rainbow). I get so much rap from my parents about certain things that involve this; example: eating out. Sometimes, when my boyfriend and I go out, I buy dinner and a movie. Sometimes, he pays. Sometimes we split things. But the times when I buy out for both of us, my parents and certain friends tell me that it is the man’s job. I shrug them off and sometimes say “go to hell” on occasion. Because if both my boyfriend and are happy, that is all that matters. I also think the key in getting rid of the feeling of this stuff being taboo is to find trusted friends and just freely talk about it more. That can be easier than done, but it can be accomplished.
    Best of luck to you

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