BENT's own Bear

Everybody knows what bears do in the woods—they sit around telling each other their life's stories and giving one another advice. What else would those big, hairy beasts do when they get together for their Teddy Bear Picnics?

Inspired by the wisdom of my fellow growlers, I'm here to give advice, when asked. So, if any of you have questions you'd like answered by someone who's been around the block a couple of times, please send them to

And in case you're worried that you might have to censor your thoughts, please remember that my walks around the block were often done while dressed in kinkwear and with a thought or two about who I might encounter along the way.

So let me know what's on your mind. If it's a Big Unanswered Question (or even a little one), let me have a crack at it. It is, after all, what bears do best.


Dear Max:

I read your column in the September issue and I thought your answers were right on track, and done with kindness, so I will ask my question. I am a totally blind, very heavy guy. My problem is that, when I find guys interested in being with me, I run into a roadblock because I don't like to suck cock. I have tried, and I find it really unpleasant. I am good with my hands, and can usually make a guy come easily, especially if I use a bit of oil. But many (probably most) guys want someone who can suck, and I just don't enjoy doing this.

My questions are these: 1) Are there gay couples who are more tactile, using mutual jerkoff rather than sucking, or is this unheard of? 2) Are there guys who enjoy getting others off more than getting off themselves, or who enjoy getting themselves off while a guy touches them, or talks to them? 3) Often, when I meet guys who genuinely like me, it's friendship, rather than sexual, and the few I have had sex with don't seem interested in a friendship. How do you find both? Is it better to wait before having sex? Do I need to say from the get go that I don't like cocksucking?


Dear Bob,

Sucking cock is just one aspect of gay sex, a very pleasant aspect to most, but it's not the be-all and end-all. It's certainly not the only way two people can enjoy each other sexually. For example, I love sitting around with a guy (or a group of guys) swapping sex stories (real or fantasized), pulling out dicks, and jerking off. For me, it's a great way to start a sex scene and it can be the entire sex scene, if that's what everyone agrees upon.

No doubt there are couples who are more tactile than oral. HIV/AIDS has changed many people's view of what sex is and should be. I did encounter one man, a massage therapist by trade, whose sexuality revolved around touch more than" taste." Just watching his face and listening to him groan as the slightest touch gave him pleasure was amazing. There are also many men who need verbal excitement to enhance the scene, or to make it the entire scene. Need I say just how satisfying phone sex can be? So you can begin to get a sense of the possible variety.

Yes, it is always best to let someone know in advance what your preferences and limitations are. It is better to have a would-be partner decline an invitation to a sexual encounter before it happens than during the action. I can understand that without having a visual frame of reference, focusing on a man's cock alone may not give you the satisfaction possible from understanding your partner's entire body through touch. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more of us took the time to do that?

Most people concentrate on only a fraction of the body when having sex, and the cock is usually the center of attention. But there is probably no part of the body that cannot be touched and yes, even tasted, and made to feel sexual excitement. As far as teaching cocksucking goes, I think most guys would say that once exposed to one, the art of sucking comes as naturally as feeding does to a baby. But it's not the only way to give pleasure. Teasing with your tongue or hand instead of just providing up and down motions is a great way to excite a partner. But I think that Annie Oakley (or was it Ethel Merman?) said it best when she sang about "Doin' What Comes Natcherly." If your instincts are not geared to oral sex, then no amount of practice will make you an expert. A caring partner, however, will tell you if you need some more practice and should also let you know exactly what gives him oral pleasure.

If the oral thing doesn't work for you, don't worry. Go on to something else that you are expert at. Tit play, foot play, anal probing, masturbation, verbal, fantasy—it all depends on finding out what gets your man going and using that knowledge to your mutual advantage. It also depends on your partner discovering what gets you going. Unless you end up in bed with someone who's just after a quickie, oral sex might only be one among many different acts in your bag of tricks. Men who are willing to try long, slow sessions of touching, kissing, etc. are the ones who know that sex is something to savor. As my patron saint, Mae West said, "A guy what takes his time, I'll go for anytime." Was she ever right!

Yes, I am happy to say that there are guys out there who are more concerned with getting their partners off than gratifying themselves. There are even men for whom orgasm is irrelevant. I went with one man who never achieved orgasm, even though he could. He had mental orgasms, one of which I also achieved with his help. And wasn't that an eye-opener? And yes, there are men interested in sex and friendship. Most of my friends started out as guys I had sex with. Sometimes a friendship developed and sometimes that friendship put an end to the sex. So, I lost a good lay but developed a friend. Not a bad return on my effort.

One thing to remember, Bob, and I have probably said this a thousand times before and will say it a thousand times again: Everyone experiences frustration when it comes to relationships, sexual or otherwise. Everyone goes through a lot of crap before they meet one or more people that they can share their lives with. Nobody's sexuality is the same as everyone else's.We all have the same fears about relationships. Having a disability does not exclude you from having the same problems meeting people, sex partners, and friends as everyone else experiences. It just adds a different dimension. And it doesn't mean that failure to find sex partners and friends is the result of having a disability. It just means that you may be destined to look a little harder and longer.

I want to thank you for having the courage to ask your questions. Most people think that just because you're gay you've had so much experience you can add a chapter or two to the Kama Sutra. (Well, maybe I can, come to think of it!) But Bob, you did everyone a great service by asking your questions. I hope I've done a fraction of that service by answering them. We're all here to learn from each other.


Dear Max:

I know that you'll see the comic side of this, but I'm serious about it too. My ablebodied lover got turned on to bondage a while ago. My first reaction was you've got to be kidding. I always thought that kind of stuff was either scary or ridiculous, but he gradually talked me into trying it out in easy stages and guess what, I really got into it. We're not into anything very heavy duty, just your basic tying up and a little spanking and stuff, you know, kind of Whitebread Bondage and Discipline

But here's the problem. He likes me to be the "top," which is great, but because of my CP my manual dexterity is miserable, so I have a lot of trouble with the tying up part. I'm afraid my trouble with this is going to ruin the erotic charge for both of us. I mean geez, the bottom can't tie himself up. I know there's all kinds of specialized equipment you can buy, but that kind of stuff turns us off. Do you have any suggestions?


Dear Frustrated,

I can see the comic side, and I wish that all guys into bondage could see it as well! So many men take their play so seriously they forget that sometimes it's not much different than a game of Cowboys and Indians. Conversely, bondage can be incredibly erotic and can add a dimension to sex that takes it into a wonderful new realm. And I'm glad to hear that you are disabled and a Top (a lot more on that subject later). As for your bottom doing his own ropework—who says he can't? At least he can help with part of it. Bondage is something that I am well qualified to talk about, and I agree with you about the store-bought equipment; not very imaginative, very expensive, and it doesn't give the kinds of hands-on experience you want.

Japanese Style Bondage is something you might want to investigate. It calls for intricate rope patterns (that can enhance the contours of the body), is absolutely balanced on the right and left sides of the body, and requires only one actual knot, at the end of the line, so it's a method that a bottom partner can help the Top to create, especially in its initial stages and before the hands are restrained by the ropework. It is similar to constructing a spider's web and, in fact, weblike patterns can be created. It may require less dexterity than other forms of bondage, but it does call for imagination and a certain artistic sense.

Duct tape, which the bottom can tear off for the Top, might also work with your limited dexterity. For variety, try putting a stocking over your partner's head and creating a tape-mask. (Please remember to leave a breathing hole. A suffocated bottom is such a waste of willing meat!) I've also created a "jock" by binding duct tape over a pair of briefs. If you do decide to experiment with commercial equipment, a rubber suit is totally restrictive and you can make it even more so with a few simple ropes that require only minimal dexterity.

And now, I want to get to the most important and most underutilized bondage tool of all: the mind. Since your lover is of a bottom mindset, it might be easy to make use of his mind to relieve you of some of the Top acts that you have difficulty performing. You can order him to come to you already shaved. If he balks, remember that withholding what he so desperately wants is the ultimate act of control. Use your need to have him take on some of the manual tasks you can't fully handle as an example of how he has to serve you in ways he would not have to serve a nondisabled Top. If you make him help with the tying, it might actually serve to enhance the scene, where anticipation is sometimes more exciting than the execution of the play. Remember, he wants you in control. He may have to work more than most bottoms to get that control.

You can also explore the possibilities of "mental bondage" by creating ropes with your mind, making him remain absolutely still, preventing him from touching himself, and having him, literally, at your feet and bound without a single piece of rope or tape anywhere. The degree to which this is successful depends on your own creativity. But if he's willing to let you tie him up, he might be willing to take the fantasy a couple of degrees further, with just his brain making the connection.

If none of this works, you might consider bringing someone else into the scene. That someone could act as a surrogate, doing the tying for you while you do the rest. You might also find someone versatile enough to act as your second-in-command by doing your bidding and working his bondage magic on your lover. This would involve a leap of kink on both your parts, but as long as the surrogate is aware that the scene revolves around the relationship between you and your lover, and that everything he does is intended to strengthen the love between you two, then it could be successful. It is not so much a three-way as an assisted scene.

And, Frustrated, consider tapping into your man's kinks and bottom tendencies by expanding into other areas analogous to bondage. Wear a hot pair of boots and see if he will appreciate them like a good bottom should. Make him feel comfortable enough to tell you all of his fantasies and desires, then use that knowledge to make your time together even hotter than usual. Remember, fulfilling someone's needs and wants is love, by definition. The Top/bottom relationship is different for every pair of lovers, or every group of friends and lovers.

Your disability adds another dimension, but it is a dimension that can be tapped into and made to work for both of you. A good Top never apologizes. A good bottom learns to accept his partner's limitations. Your lover may become a better bottom for having to do some of his own ropework. He may, in fact, like the complication that serving a Top with a disability can offer. Wherever your exploration of bondage takes you, just remember that there are no laws dictating how you and your lover express your love. Nobody has the right to approve or limit except the two of you. And above all, remember that the mind is your most powerful sex tool. So, Frustrated, I hope to see you signing your next letter "Satisfied Bondage Top." You've ventured into an exciting area of sexuality. I hope you two enjoy it to its fullest.



The drawings reproduced here are by San Francisco artist Dean Larson., © 2000. "Although I paint in oils, I draw the human figure whenever I can," observes Dean, "but until recently, I had never had the opportunity to draw a disabled model." To see the range of Dean Larson's work, visit his website.

Text © 2000 Max Verga


MAX VERGA has been an activist ever since getting a call from a friend reporting that he'd been in a riot at the Stonewall Bar only hours before. He began his activism with the West Side Discussion Group, later became involved with its offshoot theater group, and was one of the founders of Mainstream, a gay-disabled group. For more about Max, see his longer biography.


BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/November 2000