THE IMPORTANCE OF QUEER VISIBILITY: WHY I WRITE ABOUT SEX, BEING HIV POSITIVE, KINK, RELATIONSHIPS AND BEING QUEER AS FUCK

Discerning Daddy

I met Ivan in Berlin a year ago. We had been chatting on Scruff for a few days and finally decided to meet at Populus Cafe on the canal in Kreuzberg.

At the time Ivan was in Berlin studying Political Science for a year, before returning home to Russia.

Ivan was 22 years old. He had come out when he got to Berlin. But he was still careful on social media, didn’t show his face on the apps, never sent out any sex pics with his face in them.

Because he was afraid.

Being gay in Berlin was a lot different than being gay in Russia.

“It would destroy my mother.” He said to me. We were sitting at one of the tables outside. People rode bikes, they walked hand in hand, drinking beers and flat whites, laughing. The City was alive with summer. “My brothers would kill me.”

“When do you go back?”

“Three Weeks. I’ve been looking for a job here, but it isn’t easy. My Visa ends. I’m not an EU Citizen.”

We walked along the canal and made out on one of the many bridges. He held me tight. He ran his hand down my back and grabbed onto my ass.

“I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do this again.”

“Make out with a guy?”

“Like this. Out in the open. Not caring what anyone thinks. Not being afraid.”

We spent the rest of the day at his apartment in Mitte. We fucked and made food and watched bad horror movies and fucked some more.

A week later I returned to Los Angeles. Another city where you can make out and hold hands and love whoever you want.

In May, right around the time of my birthday, Ivan messaged me on Instagram.

“I am in Amsterdam visiting a friend for a few days. I tested HIV Positive. I am afraid. I don’t know what will happen if I go back. I am afraid to go to the doctors. I am afraid to tell my family. I keep reading your stories about being HIV Positive and they give me hope. You make me feel less alone.”

A few weeks ago I was with my boyfriend, Layne, in Hollywood. We were picking up movie tickets on Hollywood and Highland. Swarms of tourists. Families from all over the country taking pictures with Spider Man and Darth Vader and Michael Jackson.

We were holding hands. A father gave us a look of disapproval and he said something to his little boy. The boy laughed. For a moment I thought about pulling my hand away, avoiding any conflict or embarrassment.

Instead I held on tighter. I got on my tippy toes (Layne is six feet to my five five so I have to reach high for kisses!) and kissed him.

Because this is my city. My world. And no one gets to tell me I can’t hold my boyfriend’s hand on the street.

And who the fuck knows? Maybe that little boy will grow up into a big ole queer teenager and he will remember the two guys making out right there, in the middle of the street, not giving a fuck what his dad or anyone else thought.

And that’s the point. That’s why. Every time we hold hands in public. Every time we kiss those we love (or just like or want to fuck) on the street. Every time we say I love you or show intimacy and affection, we are making a statement to the world: That we are here. And you are not alone.

I got an email a while back regarding a story of mine:

“I read your blog piece, “Getting Pissed on Taught me the Secret to Being Free”. You and your partner should be ashamed. I am a gay man. I do not live in liberal California. I believe in Jesus and in restraint and monogamy. It is gay men like you, sexual deviants and predators, who are teaching the straight-normal world that we are all amoral perverts. We will make America Great Again, and there will be no place for men like you.”

He’s absolutely right. I am a sexual deviant and a pervert, and I do not give a fuck what straight, normal, gay, or anyone else thinks about that. This is my life. My sexuality. My relationship. And I live according to my values.

To be kind and loving. To be honest (or as honest as I can be). To be open. To try to grow. To be tolerant. To have compassion for myself and those around me.

And to be visible so those who can’t be will know they aren’t alone.

I write about getting pissed on and group sex and getting fucked in public. I write about falling in love. I write about my struggles with jealousy and fear and intimacy, about getting sober and being HIV Positive. I try to explore all of who I am openly and honestly because I can. Because I will not be jailed, I will not be beaten, my family will not turn their backs on me.

I think those of us living in places like LA and New York, San Francisco and Chicago, have an obligation to be visible. Whether you’re two dads or two moms raising a family, trans or gender fluid, a slut or asexual, open or monogamous, we need to be seen: all of us. The whole spectrum.

Because there are people out there like my friend Ivan who are afraid that they will die if they express their truth.

So for them, I’m gonna keep screaming it as loud and as graphically as I can.

And I’m not gonna back down for anyone.

If you’d like to read more of my writing check out the stories on my blog or my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon.

Your support means everything to me. We are in this together.

ON JEALOUSY AND FUCKING AND BEING TRUE TO WHO I AM: EVEN WHEN I DON’T ALWAYS LOVE WHO I AM

Discerning Daddy

Sometimes I am jealous as fuck. And I don’t even always have my shit together about it.

There is this expectation that we are supposed to be super chill about our partners fucking other dudes, making out with them at the bars, flirting with them on the dating apps. There’s this constant, hidden message: If you aren’t open and cool with it than there is something inherently wrong with you. And if you have any inclination toward monogamy you must be incredibly unenlightened.

So I’m just going to say it: I’m an incredibly unenlightened fucking cave man who can’t stand the idea of my man with another man. Except, when suddenly, I think it’s the hottest thing in the world.

Because sex, and love, and relationships are complicated as fuck, and I don’t believe there is any one way, and to be honest, I think maybe the closest thing I can get to is being fluid with my sexuality and the openness in my relationship.

Sometimes I love to watch my dude fuck another man. Sometimes my favorite thing to do is go to an afterhours or a sex club and watch my man suck a bunch of dicks. I love when he fucks me when a bunch of guys stand around and watch, jerking off. One of my favorite fantasies is me and another bottom totally spoiling him.

And I get to do all those things with him.

But there are other times when I lie in bed driving myself insane with the exact same scenarios. Imagining him falling in love, leaving me, or being bored with me and only being able to get off with another guy.

Because not only am I jealous as fuck, I can be insecure, and afraid: that I’m not enough, or good enough, or that I will be left alone, and that ultimately I will die alone.

Sometimes I want to be the only man he wants to fuck. And it hurts to know that I will never be the only man he wants to fuck.

But if I were honest, he is not the only man I want to fuck either.

My jealousy and insecurities aren’t even based in rational thought. They are these deep down wells of emotion that come from nowhere, screaming at me and causing me to do and say stupid, mean, petty things.

I want to be one of those guys who doesn’t care what my man is doing when I’m not around. Totally fine sitting in the living room watching Rachel Maddow while some trick comes over so my boyfriend can fuck him on our bed.

But I’m not that guy. I don’t even know how to be that guy. And really, maybe that guy isn’t even that guy. At least not the way I’m imagining him.

So I have to find a way to be myself.

And I have to be honest about my desires, and what I want. Because let’s get real. I want us both to fuck other guys. I want to share them with my man and I want them all to myself. I want to get nasty piggy and do dirty slutty shit. Sometimes I want to do a lot of nasty piggy dirty slutty shit.

The hardest thing for me to accept is that I am powerless over what my partner does. Just as he is powerless over what I do.

I have been manipulative, I have tried to control him, I’ve started fights because I caught him looking at an ex, or any number of things I’m super ashamed of. Things that I don’t think are true to my nature, but they are. They are just as much a part of me as the good and kind and generous and loving things are. I just have to figure out how to accept them without nurturing them.

And then I have to be honest. And tell him I’m scared. To be vulnerable. And to try to grow. To try to be the man I want to be. To be deserving of the man he is.

Because that’s the point, right? To find a way, even if that way is messy and scary and sometimes makes me look bad, to be real and vulnerable, to rise above my pride and my shame to become the Jeff I know I can be.

Right now I’m working on a middle ground. I’m not ready for 100% open and I don’t think monogamy is the right path for me either. So we are monogamy-ish. We can do whatever we want together. We can fuck, go to sex parties, put on shows, have threeways and fourways and group sex. We can do whatever we want.

Together.

And what I’m learning is to say, hey, I don’t want to do that right now. I’m not feeling comfortable. I’m sorry.

Because that’s also about being vulnerable. Admitting that sometimes I don’t feel safe. And not making that about him. Because it’s never really about him.

And trusting that he will have my back. Because he always does.

It’s not easy for me to say no. To say I’m not comfortable, especially when it comes to sex. I think I should always be ready, always hard, always horny, always down to fuck and get fucked.

But I’m not.

Sometimes I’m emo. Sometimes I just want him, his dick inside me, his kisses. Sometimes I’m just not in that head space.

And that’s ok.

Here’s the deal, here’s the reason I’m sharing this not so sexy side of myself: Because it is ok. And the more we accept that side of us, the more we stop feeling ashamed and get honest, the more we will be true to who we are. The easier it’ll be to be vulnerable when the jealousy arises, instead of angry. The easier it will be to approach him and myself with love, and compassion, and not insecurity and fear.

I am ok. And if I’m ok, considering the things I’ve done, I’m pretty fucking sure you are ok too.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have things related to this you want to share. It makes me feel less alone if we are all in this together. Or if you just want to ask me questions. Or to tell me that you get it. Or that you think I’m crazy as fuck (you’d be right, I am.).

Also, it’d be a big deal if you’d check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Your support makes it possible for me to keep writing. Without you there is no point. We are in this together!

Getting Pissed on Taught Me The Secret to Being Free

Discerning Daddy

“What are you doing?” Layne Texts me.

It’s Monday. 6:30pm.

“I’m being lazy. What about you?”

“May I make a suggestion?”

“Sure.”

“If I were you I’d take off all my clothes and sit in the shower with the water off.”

I feel my dick get hard.

“I’ll go do that now.” I text back.

“Good boy. Wait for me.”

I strip naked and get on my knees in the shower. I hear Paco start to bark, then the front door opens.

I close my eyes and breathe in deep.

The bathroom door opens and I am overwhelmed by how handsome he is. He is dressed in a blue button-down oxford, dark pants. He has just come from work.

He smiles when he sees me. The way he smiles makes me feel proud.

I watch as he unzips his pants and pulls his cock out. I brush my face against it, my cock hard in anticipation, and then he is pissing.

I lean my head back, letting it run over my face, into my mouth: I drink it and let it run over my head and down my back.

He must have been saving it for me. He likes to spoil me.

When he is done I take his cock in my mouth: it is hard too. I kiss it, stroking it. Then I stand.

Layne kisses me, tasting his piss on my mouth.

“Shower. I’ll be waiting in the bedroom.”

He leaves me to wash off.

In the bedroom he fucks me like he owns me. He holds me down, teasing my hole then pounding it, kissing the back of my neck, biting at my ear lobes, he holds me tight as he grinds into me, saying my name, reminding me that I am his, to use, to do what he wants with.

When he cums he rams it in deep, pinning me to my bed, his weight heavy on me.

When I jerk off his fingers are deep in my hole, and he talks me through, working me to that place where he is in total control.

When I cum it shoots far, and then he is kissing me, wrapping his arms around me, and I am laughing.

I always laugh when he makes me cum.

Some people might call me a sexual deviant. Or a slut. Or kinky, or into fetishes, or a bottom or a sub, or a top, a bear, a daddy, queer, gay, masculine, feminine, but I’m done with these labels. With the ways we divide and separate each other. The ways we try to make ourselves feel special or elevated, above someone else. I am done with the idea that being kinky, or deviant, or open or poly, or monogamous, or vanilla, or into leather, or any word we use to somehow establish an elitist idea of how someone should behave or be are the things that define who I am.

I like when Layne pisses on me. Not because I am into piss play but because I am into Layne. I am into exploring the boundaries of sex and dominance, the limits of who I am and who he is.

But I also like to cuddle and watch Schitt’s Creek.

I also really love “vanilla” boyfriend sex. The kind of sex where we are both just chasing our nut. Sometimes that is my favorite kind of sex.

What makes something a kink or a fetish? One person piggy and another not? Why can’t we just like what we like without labeling it? Without using it to divide ourselves?

I’m not saying I don’t think communities aren’t valuable. I think finding like-minded people who share your preferences is essential to no longer feeling like a deviant, an outcast, alone. I think celebrating our sexual identities, our desires, celebrating who and how we love, is the way we become visible: the way to acceptance from ourselves and others.

By being visible we normalize what can sometimes seem foreign or threatening.

I like trying on different labels, different fetishes, exploring the ways in which my sexuality expands and grows, but I do not want to be defined or limited by these desires.

Just because I loved that moment when Layne was pissing in my mouth and all over my face doesn’t mean I don’t also love when he holds me tight and whispers that he loves me, looks into my eyes, the moments when we are vulnerable, when I am jealous and scared and he reminds me of who I am.

The minute I allowed myself to stop thinking of myself as a label I was able to discover a vast landscape of possibilities.

I think this is what it means to be sex-positive. To be aware of the ways in which we limit ourselves and each other. To stop viewing our sexuality as something transactional.

There is a whole world of experiences out there just waiting. I want to be free to explore them, to be open to them, I want to feel secure enough and happy enough to trust that I can move outside the boundaries I have created for myself and try something new.

So I’m gonna keep writing about them. Keep trying to make sense of who I am and who I am becoming. And maybe it’s arrogant to think this, but I can’t help but believe that by doing this, by being as open and honest as I can be, maybe I am helping to light a path, to let others know they are safe too, that we get to be as big and as vast as we want to be.

To be pissed on and fucked, to dominate and submit, to follow all our desires and fetishes without shame or stigma.

But to also be more than those desires and fetishes.

I’d love to hear your stories. To hear some of your adventures.

If you’d like to read more of my writing check out the stories on my blog or my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon.

Your support means everything to me. We are in this together.

Submission: Exploring What Ownership and Control Means In My Sexuality

Discerning Daddy

I remember the first time I ever got fucked. I mean that deep down, in your soul, owned kinda fucked. I was a sophomore in High School. Khaled was 22. He was dating my friend Carrie. She used to say she wanted to watch Khaled fucking me.

One night, Carrie was traveling with her parents in Thailand for a month, Khaled showed up at a party I was at in East Hampton. A friend’s parents were in Europe for the summer and we decided to throw endless parties at their apartment on the upper west side, with weekends spent in the Hamptons.

We got stoned on the beach and I remember Khaled took his dick out. It was thick and uncut, and without saying a word to me, he put his hand on the back of my neck and pushed me down.

He was so hard, there was no room left for me, just for that relentless, impossibly hard cock.

“I’m gonna fuck you,” he whispered, his breath warm against my ear. “I’m gonna fuck you and make that pussy mine.”

He took me upstairs, into one of the guest rooms. A screen door opened to a balcony and the ocean.

He kissed me hard, his fingers slipping down the back of my bathing suit, playing around the edges of my hole.

“So sweet,” he said. “My sweet little slut.”

When Khaled fucked me there was no question about who’s needs were being met and about what my roll was. Khaled fucked me like I was his: property, he forced me into submission, and made me beg to be owned by him, marked by him: he taught me what it meant to give myself over to a man: to be of a single-minded purpose: he taught me how to exist in the giving of pleasure.

I’ve learned a lot about desire since I was a high school sophomore being used by Khaled. I’ve learned a lot about love and sex and who I am as a man and as a sexual being.

I’ve never thought of myself as a bottom. Or as a top. I’ve always just loved sex. I love to suck dick and to eat ass, I go kind of crazy when I’m getting my ass eaten, I love to own and to be owned, I love to fuck and get fucked and to make out and to fall in love and to be passed around and to explore all the ways that dominance and submission and control and passion and tenderness and intimacy and desire play out in my life.

Lately I’ve been posting lots of butt pics on Instagram. I’ve been exploring what it means to be an HIV Positive, 51-year-old, sober gay man. What it means to grow older, but to still celebrate my sexuality, and to allow it to grow and change. Because, if I’m learning anything, that is the point: to grow and change, to be ever evolving.

Recently, in response to one of my butt pics, someone wrote, “Oh, I’m so disappointed. I thought you were a top. What a waste of a real man. Why don’t men act like men?” While hanging out with a group of friends, someone said, “I mean, the whole point of the bottom is to just lay there and take it. Let the top do all the work. Bottoms need to just shut up and be still.”

I’ve recently started dating a man named Layne. With Layne I get to explore aspects of being a bottom I haven’t allowed myself. The idea of ownership and submission, exploring aggression, and intimacy, allowing for something primal to enter into the tenderness, to be held down and fucked relentlessly, then to feel his kisses on the back of my neck, the way he wraps his arms around me and whispers in my ear: to know I am his but to also know that he is mine; that ownership is a relationship, it works both ways. Layne isn’t telling me to just lay there and be still, he isn’t telling me to shut up, he isn’t denigrating my masculinity even as he holds me down and uses me, even as he turns me into a possession he can share with another top or keep all to himself, instead Layne is opening doors, he is creating safe spaces for me to explore who I am, while also exploring who he is.

We do this together. We do this as a team. We do this in a way that celebrates the other instead of putting them down.

A couple nights ago, his cock deep inside me, the full weight of his body on me, grounding me, holding me down, his arms wrapped tight around me, his hips grinding deeper and deeper into me, to the point where I no longer knew where the pleasure and the pain began or ended, where I no longer was aware of anything but that feeling of him inside me: where all I was was his: my body possessed, my mind wiped clean. Fucked. And then he kissed the back of my neck, pulling out, licking down my back to my ass, tasting me, playing with me, working me into a frenzy, he whispered my name, he created a connection before slamming back into me, working me back into that place where there is nothing left but his cock inside me.

I don’t believe that who I fuck, or how I fuck, whether I am a top or a bottom, whether I am submitting or owning, says anything about who I am as a man. My masculinity is inherent, it is not determined by anyone else. It is not reliant upon any outside forces.

And that as bottoms our desires are not secondary to our tops, in some ways our desires are primary; a good top knows how to get deep inside his bottom’s head, to fuck him so deep he reaches into the darkest corners of his bottom’s needs and desires and ignites them, sets them free. That’s real ownership. That’s real connection.

I love to get fucked. I love to submit and to be owned, and to give myself over to a top who knows how to pull me deeper into my own desires, who is just as focused on satisfying me as I am focused on satisfying him.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to fuck too. That I don’t love to be the top, to explore those sides of who I am. I don’t want to be limited: I don’t want to be labelled.

But right now I am learning to explore sides of who I am as a man I didn’t know existed. I am excited for this journey. I am excited to share in it with Layne. I am excited to share in it with the other men we fuck. I am excited to explore the ways intimacy and love and partnership play into my desire to be possessed and owned. I am excited to explore my Self, as well as explore him and his desires and needs.

This, to me, is what it is all about. Sex and love and relationship.

As I’ve said before, none of it is easy. I also navigate jealousy, and fear, and insecurity, I navigate questions of being enough, of balancing who I am and who he is, of who we are.

But what I am really learning is allowing myself to be true to who I am.

So this is what I’m doing. I’m beginning a new journey of self-exploration. This is what it looks like to be a 51-year-old HIV Positive Sober Gay Man. This is what it looks like to be Jeff Leavell.

I’d love to hear some of your stories. I’d love to hear the ways you explore and celebrate who you are as a sexual being.

And let’s all remember: No one gets to tell us that we are less than, or not enough, or that we are somehow undeserving because of our desires and our needs.

Go be you. The biggest, queerest fucking you you can be. Being true to who we are is the most radical thing we can fucking do.

Hey, and go Check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon! Your support allows me to keep writing!

There is a War On Queer Bodies: So Go Fuck, Show off Those Sexy Bodies: and Be as Loud And As Queer As Possible

Discerning Daddy

About a month ago Tom Bianchi found himself locked out of his Instagram account. Bianchi is a well known HIV activist and photographic historian of gay culture, most notably for his photos taken in Fire Island in the 80’s. A photo of his had been reposted on Instagram. The photo, “Untitled 457” shows a naked man sitting on a bed, his back to us, looking out a window.

Instagram decided that this photo, with a man’s butt barely revealed, had broken its Community Guidelines.

After a huge amount of pressure and backlash, Instagram re-instated Bianchi’s account.

And while, in my opinion, it never should have been taken down in the first place, it’s great that it is now back up. Tom Bianchi is a Queer hero. He has chronicled LGBTQ history for over 20 years.

But what happens when you aren’t Tom Bianchi, with a huge fan base willing to come out and fight for you? What about young queer and trans artists out there struggling for recognition, chronicling the world around them, whether through photos or videos or writing, who don’t meet the standards of Instagram or Facebook, or Tumblr? Who stands up for them?

I stayed out of this public debate. I decided that I wanted to stand back and wait, to see where things headed: if there would be any real change in how Social Media and the Mainstream Media handled our sexuality and our bodies.

That change never came.

Instead it feels like we keep moving slowly in a direction that is more repressive: restrictions put on our physicality, on our sexuality, on our gender: and how we are allowed or not allowed to express these things.

In 2019 many young artists’ careers live and die because of social media. It is a way for someone relatively unknown to build a following, to create a network of fans, to gain exposure.

It is a way to create visibility for a community often forced into the shadows.

And that is important.

As queer people, our bodies and our sexuality have been used against us for decades. Our gender has become political. Who we love and how we love, who we fuck, is political.

Facebook recently added to their guidelines a ban on all images and writings (including your private chats) that were soliciting sex or graphic in nature. This means that technically you aren’t even allowed to have sexy chat in your private messenger on Facebook between consenting adults.

Tumblr purged all accounts and images with nudity and overly sexual content, often times including shirtless gay men.

For a long time my ex-husband, Alex and I, used Tumblr, as a way to flirt. We created a joint account and we would add pictures of guys we found hot. We would take pics of ourselves: I won’t lie, my ass and dick, pics of me getting fucked, were all over Tumblr. You can have your opinions about this and your feelings and thoughts, but the truth is, we were just having fun. We were flirting, we were venturing out into a larger arena and expressing and exploring our sexuality.

And from the comments, and the amount of followers we had, people seemed to be enjoying our new exhibitionism.

We live in a world where sexuality, especially Queer and Trans Sexuality, are demonized. A world where our bodies are politicized and scrutinized: where a female nipple, the hint of balls, too much exposed ass, is considered “porn” even when the context is art, or just naturalism.

A world where how we fuck and who we fuck: how we love, is judged amoral.

One of the excuses being used by Social Media platforms is that we live in a global community and while they don’t believe in censorship, they also want to be sensitive to other cultures and groups who don’t share the same values. So…we don’t believe in censorship but we are going to censor you because we don’t want to upset a group of people who find your sexuality and your body to be morally wrong. Got it Instagram. Thanks.

I’ve thought a lot about how to respond to all this. I’ve tried to understand that companies like Instagram and Facebook have a right to define the content that is seen on their platforms, but to be honest, fuck them. Enough is enough.

Let’s call it like is: censorship. As queer people we have lived our whole lives being censored. We have been shamed and made to feel unworthy. We have been shoved to the side so as not to upset groups who find our way of life to be amoral.

I’m not arguing for allowing “porn” or graphic sexual images on Facebook on Instagram. But what I am saying is that showing some ass, or women showing their breasts, or shirtless guys, or queer people kissing should not be something we should be afraid of showing for fear of being locked out of our accounts.

It’s hard for me to make sense of this: it goes against everything I believe. It goes against everything I think is logical.

Human beings are sexual creatures. Fucking is fun. It is hot to look at pictures of other people fucking, showing off.

But there’s another component here that isn’t just about sex: our bodies are vast, uncharted, and beautiful territories: they are gorgeous and full of artistic and creative potential. Why can’t we show this off?
Why are we so afraid of allowing people the opportunity to explore their otherness, their gender, their sexuality, their beauty, their humanness?

I think it’s great that we all came out to fight for Tom Bianchi. But we need keep fighting. We need to keep the pressure on.

I show ass all the time on my Instagram account. I talk about being HIV Positive. I try to be as sex positive, and proud of who I am as a 50-year-old-HIV-Positive-Queer-Man as I can be. And I refuse to hide or to back down. I refuse to be made invisible.

I’ve been “shadow banned” (a process where with no warning or notice Instagram removes your ability to be seen on hashtags), I’ve been reported and I’ve been blocked on all my social media accounts. I’ve received threatening and incredibly unkind messages from users who troll the internet looking for people to attack. I’ve been called a slut, told I deserve to die from AIDS, that I am a worthless fag. But I don’t back down.

Because we can’t let them silence us. We are beautiful. Our bodies and our sexuality, our gender, our fluidity.

It is easy to believe that we had a major win last month. Instagram caved. Bianchi is back up. And that is a win. A huge fucking win. But we need to make sure we are still out there, celebrating who we are, and being as loud and as queer as possible.

We are only silenced if we let them silence us. We are only invisible if we let them take away our visibility.

I’m gonna show ass and talk about being Queer and Positive and be who I am, as loud and as visible as possible.

And fuck anyone who tries to tell us we aren’t worthy, who tries to censor us or push us to the side.

So go be as queer and beautiful as you want. Show those bodies. Make out on the streets. And stand up for those of us who might live in places where they are living under oppression.
Because that’s what these platforms don’t get: by allowing people like Bianchi, or someone like me, or any of the other LGBTQ people out there who refuse to back down, to be vocal and visible we are giving a voice to those still living in a world where their voice is being suppressed.

That should be what our community guidelines stand for. Not more censorship.

Check out more of my writing on my blog!

Also, check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, at amazon.com.

The Challenges And Joys of a Three-Way Relationship

Discerning Daddy

I wrote this story over 3 and a half years ago for Vice. It was the first piece I ever wrote for Vice and it started me down this strange and gorgeous journey.

Along the way a lot has happened. February 9th will mark the one year anniversary since Jon Nelson went missing. February 19th is the one year anniversary from when we found out Jon had died.

And while there is so much sadness and loss, there is also all this love and hope and beauty. Because Jon was all of those things for Alex and I.

So I wanted to share this story. To celebrate Jon. To celebrate the three of us. And even though things have changed, and Jon is no longer here, and Alex and I are no longer together in the same way, we are still family, brothers and best friends, which is proof of the love that I write about in this piece.

I love everything this story stands for. And I will forever be grateful for the life Jon gave me.

For the life he gave Us.

I hope it still holds up.

THE CHALLENGES AND JOYS OF A THREE-WAY RELATIONSHIP

Recently, while I was at lunch with a friend, she asked me about intimacy. She did it in such a way that it was clear she wasn’t really asking me, she was telling me what she thought about intimacy. More specifically, what she thought about the intimacy involved in my relationship with my husband, Alex, and our boyfriend, Jon.

“I just don’t understand,” she said, picking at her salad as if meaning might be buried under her kale. “If you give 40 percent to Jon, then you only have 60 percent left for Alex, your husband, and I guess… Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Can a relationship survive on just 60 percent?”

The implications were clear: Somehow my intimacy with Alex was being diminished because of our relationship to Jon. According to my friend’s theory, love was finite: There was only so much, and if you tapped into it for another then you were ultimately taking some away. I was robbing Alex of my love to give to Jon.

“I know that Daniel is my soulmate,” she said, speaking of her husband. “He is my true love. I know that I was meant for him.”

I believe in soulmates, I wanted to tell her. And I believe in love. I just don’t believe that love is limited to one person, or that we are meant to live only one life dedicated 100 percent to someone else.

I thought about her kids. How when her son was born she told me he was everything, the love of her life. And when she was pregnant a second time, she worried she would never love another child as much as she did her firstborn. But then her daughter was born and she fell in love. Completely. She loved them both infinitely and separately and the love of one didn’t jeopardize or diminish the love of the other.

When you are in a triad you get used to these questions, though. People always want to know if we really love Jon. If there was some problem between Alex and me. Is it about the sex? What is it that made this happen? Why? I am often shocked by the intensely personal questions people ask, mostly about our sex lives, the kind of questions they would be appalled at if someone were to ask them.

“Doesn’t it bother Jon?” my friend continued. “Knowing that you and Alex are married? That in the end, he has no legal rights? That the two of you are so legitimate?”

And Jon isn’t legitimate is the not-so-subtle subtext. How could he be?

When I met Alex I knew I had met my soulmate. We met on Scruff, a gay hookup app—his username was Spy in the Cab, a Bauhaus reference, that was a throwback to my youth. He was supposed to be a trick. Just a fuck. He was working on a movie and suggested we go to dinner. I was disappointed; I didn’t want to go to dinner, I wanted to get straight to the fucking, but I conceded.

I remember the moment Alex walked into my house. Stunned is the only word I can think of. He was so handsome it was breathtaking.

He couldn’t look me in the eye. Later he told me it was because he was sure I hadn’t seen him right, that at any moment I was going to realize how ugly he was. Which is idiotic because Alex is gorgeous. He is huge and muscular and Dominican, with the most beautiful, innocent, wondrous eyes I have ever seen on a man.

We went for Thai food in Hollywood. He told me about going to film school in Vancouver, and we talked about the movie he was working on, Sharknado. He did special effects makeup. He loved horror movies. I was recently sober after a four-year relapse. I was broke and jobless and living off my father’s financial kindness. After dinner we went back home and did all the things we talked about on Scruff.

Alex is my lover and my travel buddy and my best friend. He is my partner in adventure. I obsessed over him and longed for him and fell madly in love with him. He likes to tell people I gave him the keys to my house after two weeks. I’m pretty sure I made him wait seven, but either way, we moved fast. After six months he was moving out of his mom’s place in Huntington Beach and in with me. Two years later I proposed to him in Laguna.

Alex and I were not open. We had no interest in being “poly.” We had what we called a kind of “monogamy-ish” arrangement. Whatever we did together was allowed. If there was a guy we both wanted, fine. We had three-ways and four-ways with other couples. We picked up guys and went out flirting together. I loved watching Alex fuck another guy. He was so sexy and strong, such a stud. It just made me want him more. These adventures enhanced our sexuality and our relationship.

None of this is to say I didn’t get jealous. I can be an extremely jealous and possessive person. I can be dark and moody, stormy and unpredictable. There were times when what I wanted (and sometimes still do) was that fantasy of one love, that idea that he wants me and no one else, that I can satisfy all of him—but that came up against the hard reality of my own needs and wants. I wanted him to want only me, but I also wanted the freedom to go out and do whatever I wanted.

Jon was supposed to be just another three-way. A fuck and nothing more. We met him on Scruff. He was living with his ex in Orange County; it was complicated. We chatted for a few days before we all decided to meet. It was going to be brief. He was driving back from his mom’s house in Bakersfield, and I was working the door at the Faultline, a gay leather bar. He was going to stop by on his way home.

It was a Sunday beer bust, busy and chaotic. We were going to meet at the bar for a quick kiss and to check each other out. Jon pulled up in his silver Volkswagen Beetle. I still remember watching him walk over to me, his hunched old man gait, kind of awkward and shockingly handsome. He smiled his crooked smile. His nose was off center from being broken, his eyes serious and vulnerable, his hands at his sides, fists clenched. He was so beautiful and lost in that moment, so perfectly himself without pretense.

Alex and I took him into the green room where the strippers go to get into costume. We all took turns kissing. It was strange and magical. I knew that something different was happening. I knew that this was not going to be just a hook-up. It was in my heartbeat, in my nervousness. Hook-up Jeff would have thrown Jon down on the couch and said sexy, dirty things to him because hook-up Jeff can be aggressive. But this felt different, slower, easier, more meaningful and natural. It didn’t need to be forced or turned into a porn. This moment had a life all its own.

So we agreed to meet another night. We made a plan to watch David Bowie’s Cracked Actor and eat pizza and then fuck around. Then we invited him back again. And suddenly we were texting him every day: “Good morning” and “How are you?” and “We miss you” and “Goodnight.” Sexy chats and romantic chats and banal chats.

Alex and I would go on long walks and have endless discussions about what this meant. We were supposed to be getting married in six months. We both knew where things were headed: The question was, did we want to be moving in that direction? We had always been disdainful of triads, thinking the idea silly and overly complicated. I bought books, like The Ethical Slut and Opening Up, but none of the people in those books felt like me. Like us. I didn’t want to join poly groups. I wasn’t looking for a lifestyle.

I was jealous. Jealous of Alex. Jealous of Jon. I wanted them to love me, but I didn’t know how I felt about them loving each other.

What became clear to me is that there is no map here. No guide to how this is done. We weren’t new-ageists or vegans looking for some new tantric style of love. Alex and I weren’t looking to open up. We weren’t struggling in our relationship or our sex life. Things were good. We fucked a lot. We had fun. We were happy with how things were.

So then why? Why were we heading down this road? We had a choice. We could stop. We were getting married; we had our hands full. The TV show Alex was working on got picked up for a second season. We were busy. And the answer was simple: Jon. And it was fun. It felt right. The road seemed clear and open and easy.

It was strange watching Alex fall in love with someone else. Seeing the process, sharing in it, being a part of their experience while having my own. In the beginning, when Jon started sleeping over, I couldn’t sleep. The bed was too crowded. The room too hot: It was January, and we had the AC on high. Three big guys in one queen-size bed. We were drenched in sweat.

And I was jealous. Jealous of Alex. Jealous of Jon. I wanted them to love me, but I didn’t know how I felt about them loving each other. And all the books and web sites said that while jealousy was normal it was dangerous: ugly, bad, wrong. I watched myself becoming someone I didn’t understand. Someone who would lie awake at night counting affections: Where did Alex put his hands? How was Jon curled up against him? I’d count the minutes he curled up against me. Could I divine, in their sleep, their love for each other? Their love for me?

There were nights of high drama. Nights when I would storm out of the room, knocking things over, purposely trying to wake them, because I was mad. They had spent too much time wrapped around each other, leaving me out, on the far edges of the crowded bed, alone. Once, while on vacation in Vancouver, I pretended to fall out of the bed and then stormed around the room yelling, “This isn’t working! Nothing is working!”

A lot of these fights involved Alex and I going into a room and whispering furiously to each other, leaving Jon to sit alone on the couch. Or we would text each other madly through out dinner, believing naively that Jon didn’t know what was going on. During this period Jon felt left out of the decisions and the fights. We had a rule about texting: Alex and I could have our own texts, but all texts with Jon went through a group three-way chat. Alex and I were trying to maintain our relationship while building one with Jon. In the beginning we liked the idea that Jon thought of us as a Unit, one entity, but the truth is, that isn’t sustainable. In the end, each side of the triangle has to be equal or it falls apart. Without equality there is no actual relationship.

But what did that mean? Did it mean dissolving what Alex and I had built? Did it mean losing what I loved so much? Again I went back to the books, googling “throuple” and “triad” and “poly relationships.” But there was no clear rule. Many couples maintained their autonomy, regulating their third to a kind of second-class station. Some tried for unity.

We came to realize that each relationship has to stand on its own, and that the idea of equality isn’t always going to work out in a perfectly balanced way. Jon can never have the three years Alex and I had. We can’t change that, and I wouldn’t want to. We were still getting married. We were going to be who we were. And it would go like that for all of us. Sometimes they would bond without me, sometimes Jon and I would bond without Alex. Each relationship: Alex and Jon, Alex and Jeff, Jeff and Jon, Jeff and Jon and Alex, had to survive independently.

Now we keep a three-way chat, but we all get to have our own private chats as well. Jon is included. If we fight or get jealous we tell him, we work it out as a team. Or at least we try.

Our first official three-way fight occurred in Spokane, Washington, when Jon and I had gone to visit Alex while he was working on season two of his show. I don’t even know how it began, but somewhere along the way Alex was threatening to divorce me, break up with Jon, and kick us out. I have a lot of experience fighting with Alex. He and I are similar. We are passionate and volatile. Jon is different; he isn’t used to that kind of fighting. So without saying anything he booked us a room at a hotel, sure that this was over. The fight lasted close to six hours and cost us $200. It felt endless. Once two of us were OK, the third was mad. It kept going. On and on. We took turns forming alliances, ganging up on the other, switching back and forth, until finally it just kind of broke, like any fight, just a little more complicated. Some of it was related to the fact that Jon and I were alone for six months while Alex was away working. Some of it was related to the fact that we were all tired and Jon and I missed Alex. And some of it was just learning how to communicate with each other, learning how to relate.

Because this is all new.

I have had to learn a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I am afraid of being abandoned, of being left. I had dark fantasies of the two of them running off together and leaving me alone. I am 17 years older than Alex and 15 years older than Jon. I played games in my head, horrible, movies about when I was 60 and they weren’t even the age I am now, an old man with nothing left to offer his two young lovers.

And that is the thing: I am afraid, I am insecure and anxious, terrified of being left, of being alone, of growing old, having no one, nothing. These feelings occur in a normal dyad relationship and they become magnified in a triad. And what you are left with is yourself. I have learned to trust myself, to be secure in who I am and in what I have to offer. I have learned to be secure in the fact that they love me, even as they love each other. I have learned that just because they might want to fuck someone else doesn’t mean they don’t want to fuck me. This learning curve is sharp, and it has often been painful, but through it I have some how come out stronger, happier, maybe even braver.

I can’t legitimize Jon or his experience of this. All I can do is try to be honest and try to be supportive. We talk about his feelings and concerns about being in a relationship with two married guys. There are no legal protections for him. And I can’t imagine they will be coming any time soon. He doesn’t get to be on Alex’s union insurance. My father doesn’t offer to buy his ticket home for Thanksgiving. There is no simple solution to these things, so we come together, we split the extra ticket three ways, we agree to help Jon with his insurance and to all take care of each other the best we can. But still, is it enough? Does it appease that feeling of being left out? Sometimes. And I’m sure sometimes not. There is a price for the choices we have made.

Jon is like a perfect mixture of the two of us. He shares things with each of us. Sometimes he and Alex will be going off on some tangent about something they saw on Tumblr that has nothing to do with me. Sometimes Jon and I will be talking about some book we loved that has nothing to do with Alex. That’s the thing we each have to accept: Sometimes you aren’t a part of it. Sometimes you have to learn to love them for loving each other. To enjoy their enjoyment, even when it doesn’t involve you.

We decided to introduce Jon, officially, to our families and friends at our wedding. This might have been a flawed decision, but it seemed like the only time everyone would be at one place at the same time. My 13-year-old nephew, Eli, probably handled it better than anyone. He didn’t seem to really care. He just called it an “alternative relationship” that made his Uncle Jeff happy.

I have put my family through a lot. I was a heroin addict for 13 years. There isn’t much I could do to surprise them. My father mostly wanted to know if I was happy. If I was happy he was happy. He’s 78. I think a certain zen comes over you by that point in life.

Not everyone gets it. I don’t get it half the time. Most people think it is a phase, but if you look at the divorce rates, it would seem most relationships are phases.

Alex and I got married in our small craftsman-style house in Hollywood. Our friends, mostly people from LA and New York City, welcomed Jon. Triads seem to be a thing that is happening now. I still remember someone saying to Jon, “So how do you know Alex and Jeff?” and Jon replying in his bookish, quiet way, “Oh, I’m their boyfriend.”

There were moments when I would find him hiding with the cats and dog in our bedroom, overwhelmed by everyone and everything. He had suffered family rehearsal dinners and brunches and endless explanations of who he was. Everyone knows who Alex and I are. We’re the married guys. But who is that Jon?

Two weeks later he moved in.

People always ask about the sex. They imagine constant nights of three-ways and orgies, and to some extent they are right.

People always ask about the sex. They imagine constant nights of three-ways and orgies, and to some extent they are right. Every night in my house is a three-way. Our rule of monogamy-ish still exists: What we all want we can all have, together. Sometimes there are four-ways and five-ways, we talk about finding another triad, but the truth is that there is a normalcy to it as well.

I am in a relationship with two guys, each having his own insecurities and needs and goals. Each of us is a complete universe unto ourselves. Three-way sex is hot. Three-way fights suck. Sometimes they annoy me. Sometimes they charm me. Sometimes I want to run away and hide, be alone. We are lucky because we have a three-bedroom house and a back house that we can escape to if we need it. It’s nice knowing there’s a place I can go to that is all mine. It’s important. It’s hard not to get lost with all these people around. It is important to me that we are each given the opportunity to maintain our selves, to have our own lives and our own experiences inside all of this. That isn’t always easy. It is something we work at very hard.

Recently we were in Seattle meeting Alex, who was on a break. I had booked a room for us with a king-size bed. The woman at the desk said that the hotel had a strict no guest policy, only couples allowed in the room. When I tried to explain to her that we are a couple(-ish) and that Alex was not our guest, she just looked at me like I was crazy. “You aren’t allowed guests, sir,” she kept insisting. No explanation was going to change her mind. Eventually I had to upgrade to a room with two queen-size beds that we ended up pushing together into one bed.

Beds are a really big deal for us. A queen doesn’t really do it. A California king can be a stretch sometimes. We’ve discussed getting three king mattresses and turning our bedroom into one giant bed.

When we were flying to Vancouver we all fell asleep with our heads and hands all over each other. I woke up to find people staring, not sure what was going on. A woman in the aisle next to us shook her head at me, like I had slapped her. The stewardess had the exact opposite reaction: She kept saying how adorable we were. Both reactions made me feel like a strange museum piece or an exotic animal at the zoo.

When trying to find a place to go for Valentine’s Day, we ran into all the pre-fixe menus for couples. Nowhere was willing, even when I said I didn’t care about the cost, to do a pre-fixe throuple menu. We ended up ordering pizza and watching My Bloody Valentine.

Nothing ever comes in threes. Everything is set up for two people. Finding three seats on the plane, renting an Airbnb room, shopping, navigating other people’s perceptions, all these things are challenges. But then, in the end, any relationship—whether with yourself, another, two others, or 20 others—is complicated and full of challenges. The question is: Is it worth it?

Sometimes I will be sitting at my desk, writing or reading, and I will look over at the two of them on the couch, giggling at stupid cat .GIFs, or holding hands quietly, and I will think, I am lucky. I am loved and safe. And together we will face the world, the three of us.

What I wish I had said to my friend over lunch is that life isn’t easy, and things have a way of going terribly wrong, but love, love is huge and it is a gift and I don’t think it’s about percentages. I think love is something expansive, something that grows if you let it.

Because that is the one thing I know for certain: Our ability to love is not limited. It is not small. It is vast and huge and ever-expanding, and if we allow ourselves we might even find ourselves growing and expanding with it because we are huge and vast and capable of anything. I believe that now. I see it. When I am lying there at night, drenched in sweat, bodies wrapped around me, surrounded by them, listening to them breathe as they sleep, I know that there is a magic in this life, a gift, and it is buried deep inside the love I have.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. It’s been a long and amazing three and a half years since this first appeared in the world and I’m grateful to all of you who have stuck with me, with all of us, through it.

Take a moment and check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Your support keeps all of this going.

I Don’t Care if This Pisses You Off: Being a White Cis-Man in the age of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Make America Great Again and All the ways The world Oppresses Some While Supporting Others

Discerning Daddy

“I’m all for women standing up and fighting back when they’ve actually been raped or assaulted, but what’s going on in the #metoo thing, and with black lives matter, and all the PC Fascists out there isn’t about standing up and fighting. It’s gone too far. You know how many times I’ve been fucked where half way through I’m like…I don’t want this anymore. I want to go home and eat pizza, but I’m stuck, this asshole is back there going at it, so I suck it up. I don’t accuse him of rape later because I had to live with my choices. The other thing, I’m a gay man, I know what it means to be oppressed. Stop acting like just cus you’re black or brown or trans or whatever, you own oppression. Plenty of white guys have struggled with oppression. What did we do? We fought back. We changed things.”

This from a cis-gendered white man in his 20’s.

And in one way, I understand what he is saying. As a gay man in his 50’s I’ve watched people I love die from AIDS. I lived under a government who refused to do anything while the disease was wiping us out. I’m HIV Positive. For most of my life I couldn’t marry the man I loved. For much of my life I didn’t feel safe kissing the man I loved in public. This guy is right, Queer People have spent, and continue to spend, our lives under regimes built on homophobia and oppression.

BUT, I’m also a cis-gendered, white man. And it’s easy to say “I’m an ally. I know I’m Privileged. I use my privilege as an ally.”

I think using my privilege to help others who don’t share in that privilege is essential, I think it’s important. I think being aware of my privilege is also essential and important.

But the insidious thing about privilege is how it seeps into every aspect of your life, into the very air you breath: it isn’t something that is happening around me, it’s part of who I am: it’s part of how I think.

To be honest, no matter how aware of or insightful or thoughtful I am about my privilege, about race and diversity and gender: I’m still shocked at the way racism and prejudice, misogyny and transphobia and homophobia still exist. Because for me, for most of my life: I’m just a white man moving through a world that was built to support and provide for me.

In my life I rarely experience any of those things.

True privilege is not even having to think about it.

When I was a kid I was raped in a bathroom in a mall near where my mother lived. It’s hard for me to use the word rape. I wasn’t forced. I wasn’t held down. I was 12 years old. He was in his 40’s. My dick got hard. I remember it started at the urinals, though that might not be true. I remember we ended up in a stall: though that also might not be accurate. I think he held me down at one point, I think it hurt, but even that is hard for me to grasp. Because I don’t remember it well. I don’t know why I don’t remember it well. I remember the after affects very well: I remember everything that happened the moment I stepped out of that bathroom clearly and exactly:

I walked up to my mother and told her what happened. And my mother turned into an angel of violence and fury, storming into that men’s room. I’ve never seen anything more terrifying in my life than that look of rage on my mother’s face.

I remember the police arresting him. I remember being on the stand in a court room, crying, trying to answer the questions that the DA and the Defense Attorney were asking me.

But what actually happened in that bathroom, I have no idea. That’s the truth.

Here’s a weird thing: In my head, I sometimes think I enjoyed it. But that also might not be true.

Because reality doesn’t always add up in our heads. Reality is colored by emotion and fear and desire, it is colored by survival.

I’m not telling you this because I want sympathy, or because I’m trying to join a movement that honestly isn’t about me: I’m telling you this to say that I do get how hard it is to find the truth, inside ourselves, to say: I know this was rape but I can’t exactly explain it to you. I can’t exactly tell you why. In my case it was rape because I was 12 and he was a good 20-30 years older than me. Because regardless of the ways my brain tries to redefine the truth: nothing can change that basic fact. And nothing can change this: that regardless of what my brain says, regardless of how I try to recolor what happened: I am ashamed to write this. I feel gross and deeply embarrassed: not for something I did, but for something that was done to me.

So here’s the thing: Yes, cis-gendered, white men get raped too. And it fucks with us, and it seeps into our lives and our sexuality and it is absolutely horrible, but it still isn’t the same. Because the whole world is set up for me.

Because on some level, it all comes down to power: and in this world: white, cis male, wealthy, these things are what power is all about.

I had a really hard time when white cis gay men were joining in the #metoo movement, sharing their stories of rape and abuse. Not because I think they should be silent, not because I don’t think they also have a right to their voice and to their experience, but because these movements aren’t about us. And that is really fucking important to remember.

The whole world is about us. Everything is for us. No one really tries to deny us a voice or a right to our experiences.

But if you are a cis-woman, or a person of color, or trans, that is not true.

The world is designed to hold you down, to oppress you.

And while yes, at times these movements appear messy, and it feels like there are a lot of unnecessary casualties, and sometimes the rhetoric feels extreme, and for many of us we are struggling to find our voice in it all, which, as a cis white man feels incredibly new and awkward, these movements are also incredibly important: because they are about empowering people who have been sidelined, about giving a voice to people who have been denied their voice.

And I’ve decided the best thing I can do is sit back and shut the fuck up. My voice is clearly being heard. I live in a world that is designed to provide for me. Power and Privilege are my birthright: because of race and gender and nothing else.

My queerness does not negate my privilege. My struggles, my childhood, even my rape, do not negate my privilege.

I’m sick and tired of listening to cis gay white men bash women. I’m tired of listening to them complain about the #metoo movement. I’m tired of listening to guys equate what is basically a demand that all of us think about words, and about the meaning behind our words and how we define each other and ourselves with words to PC Fascism.

I just wanted to get this off my chest. I’m sure someone will be mad at me. And that’s ok. We are all struggling to make sense out of what is happening in the world. We are all in this together.

In my Utopic fantasies I do hope for a world where we stop defining each other based on the circumstances of our birth and instead on who we are as human beings. I hope for a world where instead of judging each other we focus on compassion, and on being kind to each other. I don’t think I’m naïve to believe that when we gossip or criticize someone, when we unleash fury or prejudices behind closed doors that we are participating in something ugly.

But here is something important to remember: Queer People of all races, People of Color, Trans and gender-queer, women, we are all under attack right now. And if we allow ourselves to become divided, to fight amongst ourselves, to discriminate against each other, then they win.

I’d really like to hear your thoughts. And if I fucked it all up, or said something stupid, please remember: I am trying. And I do believe we are all in this together.

And the only way we will ever change any of this is as one.

If we let them divide us, if we divide ourselves, then we are fucked.

You can find more of my writing in my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon.

50. HIV Positive. Queer as Fuck. And Proud.

Discerning Daddy

Recently, I got a comment from someone on Instagram. “Why do you always feel the need to show your ass or be shirtless? How is anyone supposed to take you seriously? You are just another pathetic, queen desperate for attention. You write about anonymous sex and being a slut, and then you wonder why you are all alone and sad and depressed. There is a reason why men like you are all alone.”

That is an extreme version of a fairly common criticism I get: “Why are you showing your ass all the time” “Why do you write about sex all the time”, etc.

Trust, me these are questions I ask myself. A lot. I have had friends tell me I “don’t need to show your butt in every post”. I even had a friend tell me I needed to be more “serious”. These are the kinds of thoughts and insecurities that run through my head all the time.

As gay men, we are told our whole lives that there is something inherently wrong with us. As a sexually active, HIV Positive gay man in my 50’s, that sense of inherent wrongness can become poisonous.

Recently, on my Instagram account, leavelljeff, I posted a video of me showing my ass (I post a lot of videos of me showing my ass). I wrote, over the video, “50 Years Old. HIV Pos. Proud.”

A guy I had been chatting with on Instagram (chatting = showing our dicks and butts to each other) wrote to me: “No!” in a comment on my story. I responded: “No?” “This is not possible. I am so devastated. Please, tell me it’s not true.”

I told this guy that it was, actually, very true, and really, way less devastating than he was making it. Not that I am minimalizing my HIV status, but…ok, maybe I am minimalizing it.

When I first found out I was HIV positive the second person I told, after my husband, was my father. What he said to me probably saved my life. He said,

“Ok. I’m sure that’s scary. So be scared. But in the morning wake up and find a doctor and then go to that doctor and get on meds so you can be healthy and go about your life. This will only define you if you let it define you.”

What I wanted to say to that Instagram guy was that, I’m ok. HIV has only defined me as much as I’ve let it define me. I’m in control of that. I might not be in control of much else, but I am in control of that.

So instead of devasting me I allowed it to empower me. Make me stronger. Finding out I was HIV positive, in many ways like deciding to be sober, made me a better man.

“I cannot talk to you anymore. I am sorry. I cannot be with a man with this terrible sickness.”

This dude lives over 7,000 miles away. And I already have a man. We were never going to fuck. I was infuriated. I wanted to yell at him, decimate him. Suddenly, without warning: what he thought of me and my “terrible disease” became what I believed to be true.

And then I remembered what my mother once said to me: “Fuck them. Fuck anyone who tries to tell you that you are wrong or not enough. Fuck them and go live your life even bigger, even better, fuck them and then go be the best Jeff possible.”

So this is what I do. I live my life. Because in the end that’s what it is, right? Mine. No one else’s. And I try my hardest to support everyone around me as they do their best to live their lives.

I say this all the time, and I plan to keep saying it: I am a 50-year-old HIV Positive Gay man who loves to fuck and travel and chat with hot guys and show my ass off and take millions of selfies. I like who I am. I worked fucking hard to like who I am.

And I want every queer person out there who is HIV positive, who doesn’t fit into that perfect queer-gay body mold, every single person over the age of 50, all of us to know: we have nothing to be ashamed of.

Think about it: we are fucking miracles. Do you know how many of our peers died from this disease? There was a time when our own government wouldn’t acknowledge AIDS.

Maybe what I should have said to that Instagram guy is, “Hey Dude, it’s 20-fucking-19. The only person infected with a terrible disease is you. Get educated and stop being a dick.”

Instead what I said was, “Hey, I get how scary HIV can seem. But I’m ok. I’m happy. My life is exactly what I want it to be. If you ever want to talk, or have any questions about HIV, feel free to message me. All the best.”

So when any of us are out there talking shit about another queer person, or judging them for how they live their lives, or their bodies or their age or HIV status, their masculinity or femininity or race: we should remember: We are all fucking miracles. We grew up in a world that believes we are inherently wrong. Diseased. A world that often believes being gay or transgender or gender-fluid is a choice, and not an essential part of our DNA.

We are fucking miracles and we are special. And we should treat each other like miracles.

Because trust me, the rest of the world won’t.

So I’ll keep showing my ass. And talking about sex. And fucking. And loving. And living this life as large and as loud and as proud as I can.

Because if I don’t who will? This is mine and I’m gonna be as true to myself as possible.

So if you wanta take some butt pics or shirtless selfies but feel insecure, hey, send them to me. I love getting ass pics and dick pics and selfies!!!!! I’ll make sure you feel extra sexy!

And go be your queerest, best, self. And live your life as big and as loud and as proud as you can.

And hey, go check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Support Queer Artists!

In Defense of Cruising, Public Sex and Sexual Freedom: Fuck Your Morality!

Discerning Daddy

When I was a young man in New York City, it was easy to get laid. There were parks and bathrooms, back rooms, more bathhouses and sex clubs than you knew what to do with—all the ways gay men had to get off before the internet.

I can clearly picture one day in particular in my late teens, cruising the Rambles in Central Park. It was late spring, nearly warm enough to be summer. A breeze came in off the lake, the sun was just beginning to set. I spent hours wandering those trails, getting my dick sucked in the bushes, fucking a sexy construction worker, getting fucked by a businessman in a dark suit. It was one of those magical days when everything felt free: like an adventure.

When I moved to LA in 1999, I remember discovering all the little cruise spots around town. The trails of Griffith Park were filled with men fucking and sucking. I used to love walking in those dusty LA hills, the sun burning bright, sucking dick and getting fucked, making out, connecting with strangers I might never see again. There were hidden stairways and garages along Hyperion Ave in Silver Lake where orgies would converge after the neighborhood gay bar, Le Barcito, closed for the night.

Needless to say, I think sex is good for you. I’m done with slut shaming and sexual morality, especially in the gay community. We have a long history of sexual freedom and exploration and I refuse to be told that we have to sacrifice our sexuality and our “sluttiness” for our social acceptance.

I miss cruising. I miss the random adventures, the potential friends, the openness around sex and desire. There’s a spark and connection that happens when you meet someone in person like that: both of you there to fuck. No pretense, no shame: I think there is something beautiful in that.

And I think we should fight to bring that back. We live in a country that is based on personal freedom, and yet we continue to demonize sexuality and expression. Why, in a City like LA, don’t we have dark rooms? Why, if a bar is for 21 and over, can’t we fuck where we want, be who we want? Why do we allow our government to police our morality and to define the limits of our sexual expression?

The rise of gay dating apps like Grindr and Scruff has undeniably led to some of cruising’s decline, I’m also not someone who thinks they’re harbingers of the gay apocalypse. I met my husband and a few boyfriends through them. I’ve made some amazing friends while traveling on the apps. And I’ve gotten laid all over the world thanks to Scruff! Cruising on my phone is still cruising.

But I won’t lie, the intensity, excitement, pursuit, and camaraderie of cruising in real life is something that’s hard to capture on a phone.

One of the few places left where cruising isn’t dead is the gay bar; it’s encouraged, almost expected. Working gay bars in LA has given me a front-row seat to watch all of the ways guys come together to cruise. There’s something beautiful in watching two guys enter a bar alone, spend the night circling each other and making eyes from afar, only to end up kissing, touching, talking, and eventually leaving together. It’s so immediate and exciting—a kind of humanity that you won’t get cruising online, where chatting with guys can feel isolating by comparison.

I want to say again: I love the gay apps. They have changed my life for the better. They have opened the door to a larger gay community in ways cruising never could have. But I think we need a balance: I think there is an art to going to a bar alone, with the intent of meeting someone: to talking and flirting, that can get lost if we spend all our time on our phones. Also, it builds our self-esteem, and we end up spending time talking to guys we might not want to fuck, but who could turn out to be friends, where on the apps we are likely to just swipe by, never taking the time to get to know those dudes who are outside our sexual tastes.

Cruising is part and parcel of gay and queer DNA. Walt Whitman cruised. In his poetic imagination, all of early America was a democratic cruising ground. From the Fire Island Pines to Provincetown’s beaches and elsewhere around the world, cruising has always been an integral part of how gay people have come together to form bastions of acceptance in a bigoted world. And while public cruising and the places where it happens will likely never truly, fully die, the decline is disconcerting. It means we’re losing something essential to our community.

One night while working the door at a bar, I was approached by a gorgeous guy in his 20s. He asked if he could play with my beard. I’m not a big fan of strangers running their hands through my beard and touching my face, but he was hot; I was willing to let him do a lot more than just play with my beard. We talked for a few minutes and ended up making out. He slipped my hand down his pants and let me play with his ass. He asked me if I was into any kinks. I told him I was what I like to call “LA vanilla”—a little piss, maybe, but mostly just fucking, nothing too intense. Kissing and cuddling, however, are essential. My only true fetish is for nice guys; I get really, really turned on by a nice guy.

But I told him I was open to exploring. Like I said: He was hot.

He proceeded to take out his phone and show me a video of him on all fours, naked, with his arm reaching around to slowly slip a very green, very round apple inside his butt. With great care, he then pushed it slowly back out into the palm of his hand. Then he did it again. And again. And he then turned around and proceeded to eat the apple with a wide grin.

He put his phone away and stood before me, proud. I wasn’t sure what to say.

“Did that turn you on?” he asked.

“You definitely have a great ass,” I responded, trying to be open.

“I like to get fisted, too,” he continued.

“Like I said, you have a beautiful ass.”

I’m not into fisting, or into putting food up someone’s ass, but I do love butts. We made out a bit longer and made plans to meet up at a later date.
If we hadn’t met in person—if he had just sent me that video online, for example—I probably would have blocked him. But because we met at the bar, I got to see him for something more than his fetishes, as a human being. Someone who I liked kissing and talking to. Someone who I’d like to spend some time with, even if I didn’t want to fist him.

A few years ago, one slow Wednesday night, while working the door at another LA gay bar, my husband, Alex, came to visit me. We noticed a super hot guy at the bar we had never seen before. The three of us flirted and got to talking, and then Alex and I took turns making out with him. He kept grabbing both our dicks. I checked in with the bartender, and the three of us headed into a back room. We made out and fucked around, and then Alex and I took turns fucking him.

Afterward, naked and spent, we sat on the couch and talked. It was easy, comfortable.

Later that night, after Alex had left, and I was closing up the bar, the guy we had fucked found me and told me he had nowhere to go. He had lost his job, and earlier that day, he had finally been evicted from his apartment. His car was packed full of his belongings. He was alone and afraid, and in an instant, he went from an amazingly sexy guy to something far more intimate. I let him sleep in our guest studio for a few nights, until he was able to find a safe place.
If he had asked me this on an app like Grindr, I, again, probably would have blocked him. He would have been a stranger, someone I had no real connection to.

But I had been inside him, kissed him, and held him. We had connected, if only for those few moments, and that lent him a kind of humanity no two-dimensional avatar could.

Gay bars—alongside the few other places where cruising is alive today, like porn arcades or bathhouses—offer safe places to connect with one another in that intimate way, and we should fight their decline. After all, there is a beauty to sex. Whether between friends or lovers or strangers, there is magic in those moments as you lose yourself in another. And I believe that those moments can enlighten us and even elevate us to a higher plane. If something that beautiful is endangered, isn’t it worth protecting?

Maybe it’s time we stop letting morality and sexual repression define who we are. Maybe it’s time to be radical. To kiss openly in public. To flirt, to demand that our queer spaces allow for our sexuality. To say fuck you to oppression and the denial of who we are. Maybe it’s time to be gay as fuck and refuse to allow anyone to tell us how we should behave!

Hey, so check out my novel, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Your support allows me to keep writing!

Thank you so much to Marc Martin for this incredible photo. Check out his work. This guy is a fucking legend!

Everything You Need to Know About Poly-Open Relationships (Part Two)

Discerning Daddy

Before my husband, Alex, and I met our boyfriend Jon, I met three men living in a triad. I was intrigued by the idea, but I couldn’t help but think the whole thing was a little ridiculous.

I remember saying to Alex, “I would never want to be in a relationship like that.”

The truth is, the idea scared me. I imagined Alex and the other guy falling more in love then they were with me. I imagined them leaving me and running off together. I imagined myself alone.

When we met Jon and decided to try making something work with the three of us I created all these rules: rules that I now know, were intended to protect me from being left, to shelter me from my fears.

We weren’t allowed to fuck unless we were all there. We only communicated in a three-way chat. The list of rules went on and on, but in the end you can’t protect yourself from other people leaving you. You can’t control how they are going to feel.

Eventually, the rules began to slip away, and I learned to trust Jon and Alex, to trust myself and the three of us, but it wasn’t always easy.

I always say that three-way fucking is really great, but three-way fighting really sucks. And there was plenty of both, thank God there was more fucking then fighting, but adding a new partner (s) won’t magically make everything perfect and beautiful.

There is suddenly this whole new person that you and your partner have to learn and navigate, with all their feelings and beliefs and fears.

But it can also be really beautiful.

In part one I talked about what poly relationships are, how do you know if it is right for you, about jealousy and disclosure, and about the importance of communication. In Part Two I want to talk about some of the things that will help you maintain a healthy, happy, and sexy poly relationship.

1. We’ve met a guy, and we want to make him part of our relationship. How do we bring in a third (or 5th or 6th)?

I can’t stress the importance of clear and honest communication. Before you even begin this journey you have to be clear and honest with yourself, and then with your partner. If you guys are clear about what you want and what you are capable of, it’ll be that much easier to express those expectations and needs to your new partner (s).

When Alex and I decided to move Jon into our home we made a clear choice: Jon was going to be one third of this relationship. He was an equal member. This wasn’t easy. Alex and I had two years of history before Jon. We had a way of communicating with each other. It took time for all of us to navigate this but we did it successfully because we were willing to talk to each other. A lot.

Regardless of how you choose to bring in your new partner (s), or if you are bringing in a “pup” or a “sub” or “dom” or just someone to date while maintaining your “primary” status, knowing this upfront and being able to express those expectations and limits to your new partner (s) is crucial.

One suggestion I have is be open to change and try to let go of control. You will be amazed at the possibilities that can happen if you aren’t trying to control everything and everyone.

2. How do I be a good 3rd (or 4th or 7th) to an already established partnership?

I have been the third for a few (Maybe more than a few) couples, and the key is being attentive to both partners. There are things we will like or be attracted to in each person, and it is important to focus on these things, and to be open to all people in the relationship. If I am more interested in one than the other, or only interested in one, I tend to back out. It never goes well. It’s about making sure we all have fun and we are all included. I try to bring as little drama as possible.

Jon was truly successful at this. There was never any doubt in Alex or me that he loved us equally. He might have loved us differently, but he loved us both, and wanted us both. That made us both feel safe and secure and desired.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was going into a three-way with a couple who both wanted to fuck me, but I was only interested in one of them. I was so into one of the guys, but the other one was not my type at all and I would never have hooked up with him if I hadn’t of been into his boyfriend. I figured, what could go wrong, two dicks, one really hot guy: pretty much a score, right?

I was wrong. The whole time the boyfriend I wasn’t into was fucking me or kissing me I wanted to scream. I wanted to push him off and run out. It wasn’t his fault. He is a totally cool, handsome guy, and really sweet to me, I just wasn’t into him.

Half way through I made up some dramatic excuse and said I had to leave. I literally did this while both their dicks were in me.

Whenever I see these guys out they ignore me. I probably deserve that.

But here’s the thing: you’re going to fuck up. You’re going to make a mess. That’s part of being human. But as long as we are willing to be honest about our needs, and open to our partners’ needs, and try our best to clean up our messes, then we will be okay.

And also, cut your partners some slack. They are doing the best they can too. That doesn’t mean you stay with a dude who is a complete dick, it just means that even as you’re leaving him or them, or her, you remember: they are doing the best they can with what they have. And none of it is about me.

3. How do I balance my needs, the needs of my partners (sexual and romantic) and maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Jon and Alex and I spent a lot of time in relationship counseling. Our Therapist, Beverly Hills based Jorja Davis, would talk about what she called “emotional resources”.

The idea behind emotional resources is pretty simple: how much time and space do I have to give to my relationship (s) and still maintain a healthy balance for myself and my partners? At what point do I run out of resources?

There is always a balance in a relationship between making sure your needs are being met and the needs of your partner and the relationship. If your needs aren’t being met, not just by them but by you, if you don’t have the space to grow and explore and live your own life separate from them, then, in my experience, you won’t feel happy or fulfilled, and in the end, neither will your partner (s).

While I was with Alex and Jon I took on a boyfriend all of my own, Conner. I fell in love him and would go spend the night with him once or twice a month. I also had other fuck buddies. There came a point where I realized I wasn’t giving Jon and Alex what they needed, I wasn’t as present as I wanted to be or as they needed me to be so I had to scale back. There comes a point when we run out of emotional resources and our relationship to our partner (s) and ourselves can be affected. It’s about balancing our needs with the needs of those we are in relationship (s) with.

4. How do I know that my non-monogamous relationship is no longer working?

This is something you, ultimately, will have to answer on your own. There is no easy answer to this. But I think if you are clear about your needs and your expectations, and about what is going on with you, then you will be able to open a healthy and productive dialogue with your partner (s).

Relationships change. They evolve. After years of being in a poly-triad with Jon and Alex I decided I needed something different. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the three of us found a way to make this new evolution work. Alex and Jon decided they wanted to stay together.

Really, all that happened was I moved into my own bedroom, and they stayed in our bedroom. Alex and Jon remained my best friends, my brothers, my family.

I truly believe as long as you are honest about your needs, and open to hearing your partner (s) needs, and willing to explore new ways of being together then in the end, everything will be okay.

At least that has been my experience.

There might also come times when you realize you just might want to close things up for a while and focus on your primary partner (s). Alex and Jon and I did this a few times. It helped us to get clear again about what our needs were.

5. I’ve always believed in Soul Mates, or that one true love. Is it really possible to love more than one person?

Without a doubt it is possible to love more than one person, and loving someone new does not mean that you will love your partner (s) any less. In my experience the more I loved the more love I felt for everyone.

Love is expansive, the more open to it we are the more there is.

If you think about it, this is true in every aspect of our lives. Just because I love my mom doesn’t mean I don’t love my dad, or my brother. If you have kids, does loving your second kid mean you love your first kid less? No. Love is not some finite thing that we run out of.

That’s a really beautiful thing to learn and experience. It changed how I saw life and how I treat the people around me.

And here’s the thing: loving people, and being loved, feels really good. Way better than hating them. So go out there and love as many people as you can. And let them love you. I promise, it will make your life feel really fucking amazing.

Like I said earlier, this is your adventure, and you should enjoy it and experience it to the fullest. Whether that means you are monogamous or monogamy-ish or open or poly, in the end all that matters is that you and your partner (s) are living your lives as big and as loud as you want.

Have fun with it. The cool thing about being queer is we don’t have to limit ourselves to hetero-normative values or restrictions. We get to explore and play and build our own families and relationships the way we want.

How fucking amazing is that?

Also, I’d love it if you checked out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Any support you can give would help a lot!