Location: Evansville, IN
My BF and I have been together for a three years. We have a great sex life together…or we did. Recently he asked me if I would be interested in some anal play — me inserting something in his butt. I thought ok; lets give it a try. After some fumbling around the first time, (I was very self-conscious) I really got into it. It was very empowering. I never imagined how different it is inserting a dildo into someone as opposed to being inserted into, if ya know what I mean.
We were both having such a good time and I could see that he was totally turned on by the play.
After one of these very fun sessions I made an off-handed comment that all the butt play was going to make him gay. This innocent remark had an immediate and devastating effect on him. It was as if I had slapped him in the face. He stormed out of the room and sulked all the rest of the day. I told him I was just a joking. But he didn’t believe me and now there’s no butt play at all. In fact, there’s not much sex between us anymore.
I really screwed up, I know. I had no idea he would react this way. Is there anything I can do to redeem myself? I feel absolutely dreadful.
Wow, touchy little bugger, isn’t he? What we have here is some unresolved masculinity issues on the part of your novice butt-pirate BF. Too bad he’s cutting his nose off to spite his face instead of dealing with his issues in an up front way.
And just to put your mind to rest, Lilla, this implosion was bound to happen sooner or later. I know you feel bad about triggering it, but it’s not really your fault.
In his defense, we can chalk up your BF’s regrettable response to you poking (no pun intended) fun as the result of a lifetime of homophobic conditioning. One can only guess at the virulent anti-gay messages he’s received throughout his lifetime there in one of the reddest of red states. I think we can all agree that Evansville, Indiana is no San Francisco, California.
All us men, including all us gay men, have some vestiges of homophobia inside us. And some have a whole lot. It’s regrettable, but that don’t make it any less true. This fear we all carry around inside of us can turn us inside out. It can get in the way of us accepting and loving ourselves for who we are, if we are indeed gay. And this fear can lead us to all kinds of destructive antisocial behavior against others if we are straight.
I’d be willing to guess your BF is the kind of guy that tells fag jokes and laughs loudest when he hears the same. I’d be willing to guess your BF is the kind of guy that raises an eyebrow (and possibly even a fist) when he encounters an effeminate man. I’d be willing to guess your BF is the kind of guy that over-compensates for even the slightest perceived feminine tendency within himself. I’d be willing to guess your BF is the kind of guy that has a very structured and uniform notion of what a woman’s place in society should be.
I added this last one, because I’m convinced that the root of all homophobia is actually a fear and hatred of women. In the worldview of most men, masculinity is privileged, making it superior femininity. To these men, it’s an affront to their world order to see any another man behave in a less than masculine way, even if that behavior is in the privacy of his own bedroom. This strict sex-role stereotyping has them in a strangle hold, choking all the joy and pleasure from their lives.
One can only imagine the massive internal conflict your BF must have struggled with before he asked you to bugger him. Imagine his chagrin when the only person in the whole wild world he’s ever opened up to about this mortifying desire of his; turned around and make a joke about it…and a fag joke on top of it.
I know, I know, you didn’t mean it to be a fag joke, but it was one nonetheless; at least in his mind. Your harmless little comment went to the heart of his insecurities. He had been found out, as it were, and the tables turned on him. And all he was left with was his shame. How enormously sad!
Can I tell you a story? Early in my therapeutic career I had a couple come to see me for marriage counseling. They were a pretty conservative heterosexual couple with two preteen children. They were both prim and proper and neither one had so much as a hair out of place. Can you say: buttoned down?
When I got around to asking them to tell me what was wrong, the wife broke into sobs. She couldn’t talk. I thought to myself, “this is gonna be juicy.” The husband hung his head in shame and began to spill the beans. After 10 years of marriage he finally got up the courage to ask the little woman for some oral sex. Apparently she was mortified at the suggestion. Good girls don’t do that! It took another two years of supplication before she finally relented and gave him his one and only blowjob.
I was spellbound as he recounted the fateful night that he finally got his wish. His wife, on the other hand, was completely beside herself, holding her face in her hands. With a little prompting from me, the husband continued his story. The blowjob started out very tentatively. The little woman was doing all she could to suppress her natural inclination not to gag as she got closer to his johnson. But then she finally relented. And, after all those years of patiently waiting and fantasizing about this moment, she took a deep breath and wrapped her lips around the head of his dick.
He was so overjoyed and completely lost in the moment when somehow he let pass from his lips, the unfortunate word — cocksucker — in reference to the mother of his children down there between his legs smokin’ his pole. Where this word came from; he couldn’t say. It wasn’t a word he could ever remember consciously using before in his life. But there it was on that night of nights. And that, dear Lilla, was all she wrote. Before the husband knew what was happening, his wife spat out his boner with a yelp and fled to the bathroom to wash out her mouth with soap.
From that night to weeks later when they found themselves in my company, not only were there no more blowjobs, but no nookie whatsoever.
It took us weeks and weeks to uncover the root of the wife’s aversion to oral sex — giving or receiving. An unhappy childhood, an abusive father, catholic guilt, countless messages about sex being dirty, low self-esteem and her being pre-orgasmic all fueled her disconnect with sex in general and oral sex in particular. This coupled with the unfortunate and untimely exclamation by the husband was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Isn’t it amazing how one word can short-circuit the whole shebang?
I suppose you see where I’m going with this, huh Lilla? Your little comment triggered a landslide in your BF’s psyche. The delicate house of cards he was able to assemble to hold on to his homophobia and still take it up the ass, was simply not strong enough to withstand the word “gay,” joking or not.
Clearly your BF has issues. But I’m probably telling you something you already know. I can’t really say if there’s a possibility for the two of you to overcome this on your own. Is there any chance your BF would acquiesce to some counseling? If yes, that would be the way to go. He needs to do a bunch of reprogramming on himself, don’t cha know.
If counseling isn’t in the cards all I can suggest you do is stroke his masculinity as much as you can. There will be a price to pay for this, but maybe you’ll be able to address that later. You can tell him that you’ve been reading all over online about how much straight men are getting into ass play these days. How they are throwing off the yoke of their ass-phobia and enjoying all the god-given sensations their backdoor has to offer. You might even offer up your pucker by way of example.
If he ever does relent and allow you to touch him “down there” again that would signal that the crisis is over, but you won’t be out of the woods quite yet. If the ass play does resume, you could chat him up sometime (not in the bedroom though) as to why he had such a virulent response to your joking. If he is honest with you, he will tell you what you already know from reading my response here. And I’d be willing to bet my last dollar on that.