Thirty, Flirty and still just as Dirty with Nick Leslie
The nature of life is that it always changes. Humans constantly evolve, shift, learn, outgrow, start, stop, and move. We look back at what we used to do or who we used to be and lament what was. One area we commonly feel grief for is our sexuality and libido; those in their 30s and beyond know what I’m talking about. But if there was ever an area where everyone differs, it is sex. Some people might feel more sexually alive than ever as each year passes; others might lose interest altogether; others might still be exploring alternative or exciting ways to have sex previously not considered. For some, this is temporary; for others, it can be long-lasting or permanent. So there’s no one brush we can confidently paint everyone equally within these discussions.
First, however, let’s talk about the everyday but not universal experience of men who have sex with men in their 30s who want different things than they did in the previous decade. Gay and bi men in their 20s are usually newly out, or at least in more of an environment and life stage where they can explore their sexuality more freely. And quite often, they do: youthful energy abounds, testosterone levels are around their lifelong peak, metabolism as springy as a rubber band, exercise yields some of its best-ever results, all-nighters at the club can be repeated the very next day, and less of a sense of their mortality or limitations. Or, as it’s better known: ‘young, dumb, and full of cum’.
Or, as one of my friends so eloquently put it: ‘a dick in my butt doesn’t excite me anymore. Nowadays, I need to know who’s attached to the dick’.
Around the mid-to-late-point of their 20s priorities can shift. Maybe drinks at the club til 4 am have become less appealing. Perhaps the stark reality of ‘going out friends’ vs ‘real friends’ has materialised. Maybe their careers are starting to take shape and become boring, but necessary thoughts of their future have begun to waft in or the notion of ‘transactional sex’ becomes less alluring. Or, as one of my friends so eloquently put it: ‘a dick in my butt doesn’t excite me anymore. Nowadays, I need to know who’s attached to the dick’.
He didn’t necessarily mean an extensive vetting process for each hookup—though that wouldn’t be a terrible idea—but that he needed more from his sex. I sympathise. He was happily single, sex-positive, non-monogamous, and all the rest. But for him, and so many others in our peer group, sex needed to be about connection. Not that we need a wild, untamed hurricane of romance each time, but the idea of anonymous blow ‘n’ go hookup didn’t excite us nearly as much as it did when we were younger.
We pondered on this for a while and, like almost everything these days, we wondered if the pandemic was a factor. Had we just lost our mojo? Had the quality of guys in our vicinity dropped? One of us even pondered if he was asexual. But none of that felt right: we had simply matured and had a clearer sense of what did and didn’t work for us anymore. Not that an all-nighter in the pitch-black orgy room at Wet with almost no words exchanged is a sign of immaturity, but for us and many like us, it wasn’t the same anymore.
They say, ‘when God closes a door, he opens a window’ – some doors and windows are still wide open for us. Gaping, even.
We first assessed this as a loss. ‘We’re no fun anymore. Are we past our prime already? God, I miss being a slut’. But just as quickly, we learned this was a natural progression for us. We can enjoy sex in a new but equally fulfilling way for new and equally fulfilling reasons. They say, ‘when God closes a door, he opens a window’ – some doors and windows are still wide open for us. Gaping, even. We’re just that little more discerning with who we let inside.