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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Conoisseurship: The Fruits of Experience

I was talking a bit about types of men we find sexy with a friend the other day. I don't know if I have one anymore.

When I was younger I used to have a type, or types, of men that I found attractive. I am old enough to remember being young with men who had long hippy hair and untamed beards, dressed in flares and wearing love beads, smelling of patchouli and were sweet and gentle and passionate. In my early 20s, they were in their early to mid twenties (28 seemed so old, 30 ancient) slim, trim, but not covered in muscles - I don't think the uber-developed gym-body was around in those days when I think about it. I have always liked a hairy chest, I have to say. And for some reason, a man's back has always been a major turn on for me. Some backs are like warm ivory shields, and tracing the muscles and lines of them as I lie entwined is still something I enjoy. Legs too, I've always been a leg man. I can remember deliberately standing at the bottom of the stairs at school to watch the other boys going up in their shorts, and admiring their calves and thighs.

As I got older, and more experienced, I got into different scenes.

The whole leather scene was a big turn on for me in my early 20s, living in Australia and the USA. The men in it seemed so confident, so sexy, so potent and also always seemed to be having so much fun. The clone look of the late 70s and early 80s was powerfully attractive too. Plaid shirt, short moustache, short hair. Overtly, calmly, celebratorily masculine - a move away from that earier hippy style for sure.

Then things shifted - I moved away from the centres of the gay world to the edges of Europe, lived in Turkey for 8 years. The men there were different again. The men often looked like clones, but they weren't - that was their natural style. The short hair, moustache, jeans and leather jacket was just the ordinary working uniform of so many men in Turkey. Very odd to have to rearrange all your assumptions about what it meant to be a man. And also to realise that the man in the tea house with his hand on your knee wasn't trying to pick youup - it was just the normal way for men to be physical with each other. But it did contribute a bit to a slight erotic haze.

Ethnicity, skin colour, has never been a huge issue for me. I think I've always been fascinated by difference, turned on by the way a Maori, Chinese or Indian skin looks when its excited, but just as turned on by pallid north Europeans or olive-skinned Mediterranean types. Red heads with that pale freckled skin - so beautiful.

Now, I don't care really all that much - hairy, smooth, tall short, skinny, chubby, bald, long hair, fair, dark. As I was chatting to my friend, I said this to him, how now it can be something as simple as the lines of muscle in a man's forearm, the shape of his hand, or the way he smiles, the shape of his beard or the smootheness of his skin or a certain way of moving, that can grab my erotic interest.

He turned to me and said "You know, you have to have been a real slut to get to that point."

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