I hadn't seen my buddy Christopher in a while. We'd both been busy with the holidays and traveling and work and such. And maybe, just maybe, there's less impetus in general for us to get together since we've pretty much stopped hooking up. He's a lot of fun in the sack, but he's a top, and I had gotten into the habit of playing with various regular bottoms and out of the habit of inviting Christopher over to tag team random guys from craigslist. Anyway, I got an email from him in mid-January catching me up with some of his goings on, and these goings on appeared to include a new guy with whom he'd been spending all his weekends. So I told him we should get together, and then I figured that I hadn't had anyone over for a while, so I invited Christopher and another friend, and I told Christopher to bring along his new guy if the new guy wanted to come.
There was a bit of tension around the house yesterday. B&c was annoyed because -- after I'd invited Christopher and told him about it -- he'd accepted an invitation to a Super Bowl party and then had had to cancel. And he was being kind of a jerk about it. The details aren't so important because what he's really annoyed about is the recent lack of sex between us. I'm somewhat used to this behavior: if it's been a while since I fucked him, he gets grumpy. I usually handle this by fucking him regularly, but the last time I tried to fuck him (which was waaaaaay back when we were in San Diego, at the beginning of January), he said that I couldn't because he was having some symptoms. Then he continued having the symptoms, and then I got the flu. And then I think the symptoms were not as bad, but I was waiting for him to tell me that his ass was open for business, but he never did, and then he told me that he had to "be clean" because had a colonoscopy scheduled, and when I picked him up from having the procedure done, he had some lab reports that made anal sex seem like not such a good idea for a while (nothing life threatening or sexually contracted, but nothing you really want to know about, either). And b&c has made it clear, repeatedly, that anal sex is the only kind that counts for him.
Anyway, Sunday was a full day. I had choir in the morning, and then I had to take YFU to buy her a new pair of pointe shoes (wow, does that take a long time), then we did some grocery shopping, then I had the little ontretemps with b&c, then I took YFU to her mother's, and then I came home and prepared the meal. Christopher and his new guy showed up right on time (my other friend canceled half an hour before dinner with the lamest excuse ever), and then everything was fine because there were people around and we started drinking wine. It's really hard to be in a bad mood when a three-liter box of wine gets consumed by four people. Also, the food was great (as always).
Christopher met his new beau at a party, where he caught a glimpse of what he thought was an attractive backside and then followed up. As it happens, the new guy is a doctor and is just out of a twenty-four-year marriage during which he didn't fool around. So he's fresh meat, and Christopher was looking very pleased with himself. Well, they both were, because they're in the first flush of a relationship and, more to the point, they're having sex all the time. And they're not particularly shy about discussing it. Which is fine with me: I'm a horrible prude myself, but politeness demands that if dinner guests are discussing their sexual antics, then I'm required to hold up my end of the conversation. Anyway, the new guy seems very nice (and he does have a nice ass), and given that I haven't really availed myself of Christopher's second-top-on-demand possibilities in recent months, I can't really complain about his going entirely off the market.
Still, when you're not having sex with your partner, there's something slightly uncomfortable about being in the presence of two guys who clearly view the table between them more as an obstacle to wild monkey sex than as something that's supporting their dinner. The fact that the two guys in question are fifty-eight and fifty-two, rather than teenagers or college students, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you're not also faced with the emetic beauty of youth; on the other, you feel like you ought to be able to keep up with guys a decade your senior.
All of which has the highly unfortunate consequence of making me think about (if not exactly question) my relationship. I generally don't think too much about my relationship, and I'm pretty sure it's not a good sign when I am. I don't like to admit it, but the lack of sex affects me, too. It doesn't make me irritable the way it does b&c, but it makes me a little bit insecure. For b&c and I, emotional and sexual intimacy seem inextricably intertwined, and when there isn't sex for a while, the whole thing starts to seem like a friendship rather than a relationship. It's all uncharted waters for me. I can't really use my marriage as a point of reference: I was a much less sexually aware person back then, at least until I figured out that I was gay, and then there was no chance of compatibility. The only real male-male intimate relationship I've had is with b&c, so while I may think that it's normal to go through dry spells, I'm not sure how dry it has to get before you call in the National Guard.
I think from the standpoint of passion, I could handle a partnership without sex. I can find intense sexual gratification elsewhere. In fact, while sex with b&c is usually pretty good, I have yet to find anyone where the sex is as great the tenth time as it is the second time. All of the guys with whom I've had awesome sex over the past year or so are less interesting to me now than they were when I met them because I was predominantly interested in the sex. Generally when I have really great sex with someone new, I develop very warm feelings for the guy, but the feelings don't last any longer than the sexual heat because they aren't based on any sort of intellectual respect. I have tremendous respect for b&c, and I'm not sure that I'd ever find that with someone else.
But our relationship has never been entirely equal. He's always had some control in certain areas because he's been the economically superior partner, for example. I was a mess financially when we met. I've since done a lot better, and he's semi-retired, so our earnings are a lot closer to each other's, and we share costs more or less equally, but he still has a lot of assets, and if I no longer have debt, I still have a lot of responsibilities (college, for instance). There are other areas where the power dynamic is in my favor, but even though I'd say the inequalities balance out, the fact that they exist still causes some friction.
There were a few occasions in the past when I wondered whether the benefits of the relationship were worth the costs. Or the benefits of any relationship, really. There's still a very big part of me that wants to be single. But I think that being single isn't really practical. I don't mean financially, so much: I've run the numbers, and I could afford to live alone. But it's very comforting on some level to know there's someone there for you, even if he occasionally pisses you off. I mean, it's still a ways off for me, but in ten or fifteen years, I'll want someone to pick me up from my colonoscopy. Of course, in another few years, there's sure to be an entire industry devoted to caring for people who don't have anyone else to care for them. It'll be the pseudo-emotional equivalent of Zip Cars. When you don't want the investment of a partner all the time, but you occasionally need someone to bring you ginger ale or make sure you wake up early enough to get to work for an 8 am staff meeting. You can rely on your friends for some of that stuff, but a lot of people would rather not, and there's probably a lot of money to be made by someone who figures out how to do it right: cars are a lot easier to deal with than service personnel.
Still, most of us probably have a high enough level of emotional dependency to make a partner either desirable or, at the very least, a necessary evil. Kids grow up and leave you, and dogs die at remarkably frequent intervals, so the best bet is almost certainly to hang on to the partner you already have. The dry spells always end eventually.