It’s almost its own animal, this style of shared masturbation.
For the last two weeks, the top post on my tumblr (for those who don’t use it: tumblr provides light analytics info about which of your posts was liked and shared the most, and which of your followers is most active with your particular tumblr) has been this single photo of two young dudes masturbating and holding hands. I don’t know where I came across it (and reverse image searching turns up nothing but reblogs on other tumblrs) but knew immediately that it was something special.
I talk a lot on tumblr and twitter about masturbation and about how you should find friends with whom you can share it. At least a couple of them. And I really, truly believe that. Amongst men, shared masturbation can be a huge and defining quality in a friendship, without needing to escalate that friendship to the realms of dating or romantic love. Or even capital-S SEX. I have a handful of friends in my life with whom I am comfortable sharing my bate. With them it isn’t a gay thing, and it isn’t really a sexual thing, per se. It’s a kind of shared personal intimacy, and a way to invite someone in to experience your private stuff with you. A way to offer intense validation about who they are and your level of trust and comfort with their presence.
Buddybate, as it is known in common bate culture parlance can refer to a lot of stuff. But the thing that means the most to me, and the thing I think all men should strive to find in another man, is the exercise that allows someone in to something intimate in your world, with your body, while staying connected to them. That connection is phenomenally important, and without it, you’re just jerking off next to someone who is also jerking off. It is also incredibly difficult to define or identify. I think these images provide a glimpse of what I’m talking about, but it’s important to identify it for yourself:
Mainstream gay porn pumps out so much generic, borderline negative-feeling sex, that it becomes easy to see dispassionate, disconnected, sweaty intercourse as the defining element of male intimacy. Even reading that, I’m certain that a very specific image probably popped into your head: two men who don’t make eye contact, one thrusting almost angrily into the other, whilst the dude receiving the angry thrusting closes his eyes and imagines he’s somewhere else. It’s so common that it’s become the hallmark of several huge studios, who crank out the same exact sexual scenarios featuring slightly different disconnected guys, week after week after week.
I’ve had that sex. A lot. That was mostly what I had in high school and the first part of college. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with men who have become so disenchanted by what that kind of interaction has to offer that they declare themselves solosexual simply for want of a better option, (and that’s not to disparage solosexuality, which is becoming a more legitimately recognized identity, thanks in no small part to sites like Bateworld). It’s merely to show how hollow lots of guys find that kind of sex.
I loved that Proudbator talked in this interview about how what he was doing was way more important than what he looked like doing it. And I think that is a defining characteristic of genuinely connected buddybate. Reaching that point with someone (however long it takes to get there) where you don’t care about what you or he looks like, but only about the sensation and pleasure of your penises, and the nut-tightening thrill of sharing that pleasure with someone you trust, is epic beyond any string of words I could pull together here. It is what drives me to connect with these men again and again and again, at every opportunity.
I am ecstatic that this simple and beautiful photograph of two boys holding their erections while they hold on to each other is my best performing post. I hope that it becomes the defining post for my tumblr. I would have no complaints if everyone who came to my page did so because they saw something in that image that they recognized, or desired more than they thought possible. That would be the dream.
The only thing better than that would be if I could help someone to gather up the courage to find their own brothers to share their bate with. Because it’s worth whatever risk or rejection or hurt or alienation you might experience. It’s worth it beyond compare.