Empowering Experience, Unlikely Community

The Slammer sounded intimidating. Clay had described it to me before we went, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect other than, “something like a bathhouse.” I wasn’t worried about having voyeuristic sex, I was worried what my first experience in a gay space would be like. Would I feel at home, or would I feel ostracized by bodies more masculine than mine? My trip started with a man asking to see my ID. He scanned at it, looked at my face, and exclaimed, “Oh, you’re cheap!” At first I was taken aback (although admittedly, I am a pretty cheap date), until I realized that because I was under 25 I got half off the entry price. That should tell you a lot about the kind of crowd The Slammer gets.

When Clay and I walked into the club, we came onto a patio with a blazing fire. From there, we walked through various rooms—rooms with slings, a room with a bathtub, rooms with jail bars, rooms with holes, even a pitch dark room. The whole place was darker than I expected, and narrower too, with every slim hallway lit by a glowing red bulb. There was a locker room with free coffee, a TV, and a Gatorade cooler full of hydrogen peroxide (apparently it’s gay lore that a good swish after a BJ will prevent STIs).

Clay and I trotted in and turned down the hallway, watched intently by the men leaning against the walls. I had never been in a place where the male gaze was so freely given and expected. It took me hours to get used to the notion that I could stare back, with the only danger being rejection, and not a black eye. It required that I learn the art of cruising. Cruising is the way in which gay men flirt with nonverbal eye contact, nipple pinching, and belly pats (to check for the presence of abs). I was pretty good at it by the end of the night. I was surprised at how I didn't feel objectified by it all—I felt empowered.

After a quick cruise through the halls, Clay and I chose a nice room with bars on the door to settle down and show off. There was a lot of oral, a lot of spitting, and a lot of rimming. By the end we had a group of guys surrounding the door, all masturbating to our play session. When we were finished, some left, but some stayed to congratulate Clay on his catch (that would be me). We bounced from the patio to different rooms all night, trying out the slings, which are super comfy if you want to bottom, and the glory holes.

I experienced a lot of strange things that night. For the first time, I saw a man get fisted. Neither he nor the fister seemed pleasured—it just seemed like a chore. The staff was unexpectedly nice, cracking jokes with Clay and I while we bought water at the check-in desk. While most of the TVs had porn, one of them showed Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. A staff member walked around with a broom, dustpan, and a headlamp on all night sweeping up around guys getting blown. I gained a newfound sense of community that night. I learned that there is so much more to the gay world than the perfectly manicured gays in West Hollywood—there is a world of gay men who are just as attracted to me as I am to them. I never would have believed it, but my community is at The Slammer.

Clay and I ended up splitting up at some point in the night. He went off with one guy, I found another muscle daddy to take care of me. It was a bit strange to reunite with Clay after he and I had fucked other people. I’m still working through a bit of jealousy about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want our relationship to be monogamous and there really is no logical reason for me to be jealous. After all, love and sex cannot be used up or depleted. Clay has never shown me anything less than his full attention when we are together, so Clay having sex with other men shouldn’t bother me. But hey, a kid gets to be a little greedy sometimes.

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