|« Bike Ride in the Buff||Comedy and Funk Make This City Work »|
Sex & Sexuality Mon Jun 14 2010
This article was submitted by freelance writer Rachel Rabbit White.
I'm sitting on the edge of the bed. The room is dark, filled with the sound of flesh smacking flesh and throaty "ahhhhhs." Next to me are huddles of middle aged men, standing, pants-off, half-hard. I'm sitting upright, purse in lap feeling a bit overdressed.
In front of me is a triple set of couples, all in the doggy-style position, fucking in front of a mirror. Guy on girl, guy on guy, guy on girl. The earthy smell of anal sex filters the air.
It's a swinger party. Or "lifestyle party" if you prefer. But something here is different. This party, Private Encounters, is Chicago's first and only all bisexual lifestyle party. Usually, guy on guy sex is sort of not allowed.
"The lifestyle is pretty homophobic" said Kevin, the bottom half of the guy-on-guy scene. "On our online profiles if we said I was bi, we'd not get play," he explained. "But, at the same time if we didn't put that Teri (his petite, blonde wife) is bi, that would get us less play." It's hard to imagine Kevin getting "less play." Though his face is slightly weathered from what I can only imagine to be too many hours in a tanning bed, he is one of the few men here whose body is sculpted and muscular.
Tim and Karen, the hosts of the party, agreed with Kevin. "When we put bi-curious on my side, our profile hits dropped to zero," said Tim, in his Chicago-heavy accent. Looking for down guys became something of a sexual scavenger hunt. "I know what words to look for on the profile. It will be 'open minded,' 'up for anything,' alternative interests' — those are generally the tip-off."
Tim and Karen realized that although male bisexuality was erased in the lifestyle, there was an underground market for it. This is what led them to start Private Encounters in Country Club Hills, a south Chicago suburb. There are all-bisexual clubs in other cities, including Prescott, AZ and Pittsburgh, which leaves the question, is Chicago more bi-phobic? "I know it is a stereotype that Midwesterners are sexually repressed, but it is kind of true. There are less people out. And that is not the same in New York or LA," Kevin said, plastic cup in hand.
As I entered the party, the DJ was spinning "Cowboy" by Kid Rock. A quick scan of the room found few young people among naked potbellied men and menopause-aged women in lacy negligees. I also noticed that, being in the south suburbs, the party was a mix of race and socio-economics. On this night, the younger people tended to be black and almost anyone over 35, white.
Above me, a wooden spiral staircase revealed a floor of more naked men. Someone's legs were in the air, and a man stood, humping between them in time to Kid Rock's backup singers. "Ridin' at night 'cause I sleep all day. I can smell a pig from a mile away."
I was whisked away for the tour. First, I was shown the kitchen area where the naked people congregated over the food table, grazing on bits of cheese.
There, I met Ivana, a woman with an Anna Wintour haircut and heavy Polish accent. As we chatted, a droopy blonde in lingerie sauntered by. "I don't like fat," Ivana said, shaking her head. "But sometimes you are in the midst of it, and you just don't know someone is there, or you don't care. But you must always remember to say no if you don't like it," she added, nodding at her advice.
Ivana's husband came over to join the conversation. He was tall with black hair, streaked silver. He also had an accent. "People become more attractive in this setting," he explained. "And the exciting thing here is that everyone is bi, everyone is a possibility!"
I am also bi. And so is my male partner, who accompanied me. Like many drunk bi girls, I have found myself both desperate and delighted in downtown night clubs, where otherwise straight girls become bi-for-a-night. I get the "everyone is a possibility" excitement.
Tim grabbed my arm to show me one of the play-rooms. "This is the glory hole," he said proudly. It was a double booth with a red curtain and a hole, leveling from thighs to belly button. Inside each booth, a mini TVs played a constant stream of porn.
Later, as I took a breather on the couch, a middle-aged woman wearing a black teddy and smeared eye makeup came over. She sat, staring, biting her nails. I asked how she was enjoying the evening. "I don't know. I just, I just, can't get into it tonight," she said, jumpy. "I just took a shower," she added, pointing at her wet hair and smudged lashes. She is on the verge of having an anxiety attack, I thought.
The room began to fill and minutes later I saw that a naked man was standing in front of her and she was now politely performing fellatio. Ivana's advice about taking care of yourself and knowing when and how to say no began to seem key.
Teri said she thought what set the bisexual party apart from other lifestyle parties was that it's a bit more aggressive. At most parties,women have control and men are less active in initiating. But in this space where men hit on other men, testosterone festers. I didn't feel unsafe, but I did feel this vibe. The guys were there to play, and it almost felt like a celebration of male sexuality. Is that why we are so scared of their bisexuality? I wondered Is it because we condemn and dismiss male sexuality as a whole?
Being bisexual and male is a difficult identity and one that is important on the landscape of sexuality. In the mainstream male sexuality is often left unexplored or over-simplified. Bi guys are doing good not only for themselves but for everyone's understanding of male sexuality.
Teri took my hand and led me up the spiral staircase. The second floor was a traffic jam of naked men, cranking their dicks like laffy taffy. In the upstairs playroom, naked bodies had fallen all over one and other. There were probably 15 people in a mess of moaning, sucking and fucking. There were a few threesomes. The centerpiece was a queen-size black woman with her face buried in a bed, belting whale-like sounds, while a white boy jumped about, doing her from behind.
"Surreal" is all I could come up with. I didn't drink anything at the party and didn't need to. I felt like I was on some porno acid trip.
Everyone was so natural about the whole thing, the sex was nonchalant. One older woman, wearing what appeared to be a metallic swimsuit cover-up, even nodded off — sleeping through a double penetration scene.
I questioned people about why male bisexuality was taboo. "I just think it is conditioning, when we are kids it is OK for girls to hug and hold hands even. But two young guys, no," Tim said. Kevin had a different idea. "Honestly, I think it is leftover from AIDS and the big scare that caused in the '80s. I think since then we've had this fear of male bisexuality, not female bisexuality."
Instantly, I think of David Bowie and Mick Jagger's alleged and somewhat accepted affair in the '70s. When AIDS became a national crisis in the '80s, many swinger clubs banned guy-on-guy sex. The infamous Plato's in New York, which already did not allow homosexual attendees, banned all anal and fellatio before they were shut down.
But being at the party, it was hard to imagine clubs banning something that seemed to happen so organically among these men. Being bisexual myself, I'm prone to think everyone is bisexual. So I'm not exactly unbiased when I wonder, as homosexuality becomes more accepted, will hetero-flexibility take over? I admire bisexual men. It takes a lot of self-awareness and courage to probe the fact that you might be bisexual. And a lot more to come out and play.
This feature is supported in part by a Community News Matters grant from The Chicago Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. More information.