It's the first Sunday of August and I’m in a queer “healing masculinity” morning meeting. I’m sitting in my Boston bedroom on this sunny day in 2021, unmuting my microphone on Zoom. I am twenty-six. Hi, I'm L, I say, and I’m a sex and love addict. I’m humbled to be here. Fuck, did I just say HUMBLED? Maybe I shouldn’t have broken up with my ex-vangelical ex-partner after all, I’m starting to sound like a goddamn Christian. It’s a record-scratch kinda moment: how did I get here?
The internet celebrity starts us off with announcements and Ethan, the older trans poet in the group, drops wisdom on how to be in your body. I’m thinking of asking him to be my mentor but I can’t tell yet if it’s because I am undeniably attracted to him. There are usually between a dozen and twenty people in these Zoom rooms, but it’s Ethan whom I want to cheer me on and congratulate me for having the self-awareness and inner strength to come to this meeting in the first place. To tell me FUCK IT, let’s ditch this meeting to be together, we can be each other’s recovery. Shit, is this what the Zoom room people mean when they say fantasy addict? Given my track record, it doesn’t feel too far off.
I’m thinking of the time I fucked the host of that sex party, two years back, who was about thirty years older than me. Leo. He had the classic transmasculine charm of looking decades younger than he actually was, and he was visiting DC from LA to host a series of sex-positive educational events, including the party. It was my first time—not my first time having group sex, or sex in front of others, but it was my first time at an explicit sex party. Needless to say, I was nervous. I was attending with my best friend Rita and a new friend, Mayah, who would soon turn out to be the third point of our trinity. I can’t remember what I wore, only that I spent hours deciding on an outfit. That happened a lot when I was femme. I suppose it still happens now, but I’ve lost a bit of the relish that came with doing makeup and my hair. The past year or so I’ve been presenting more butch, cutting off my long red curls and switching my heeled black boots for sneakers. I only wear dresses now as drag.
I do remember I was in some all-red get-up, which ended up matching the low lighting at the suburban house where the sex party was taking place. We drove into an affluent neighborhood outside of DC, up to a big chateau-style house whose blinds were drawn. We could still see the red light peeking through. You guys, we’re totally gonna get fucking murdered tonight. My friends laughed in nervous agreement, yet we left the safety of Rita’s red Corolla for the unsureness of the red-lit house. I clocked Leo right away. Slender, big brown eyes, wavy graying hair. Just my type. He was co-hosting the party with his partner, whose name I forget, another well-known sex educator and facilitator of such events. When I got there, they seemed like a united front.
We sat cross-legged in a circle, my friends and I toward the back of the room, while Leo and his partner presented the terms of agreement for the sex party: consent, confidentiality, safety. As a warm-up we were asked to state to the group of about thirty our “mildest” and our “wildest” for the night. Most people’s mildest ranged from holding hands or cuddling on the couch to tying someone up, and their wildest was a cacophony of sex acts: being fucked from behind in a fur suit, group lap-sitting while being tickled, being suspended from the ceiling and whipped. I probably said I didn’t have a wildest, knowing me.
After the opening circle, the spectating began. My eyes found the Cat-girl. She wore a flowy babydoll dress, ears and a tail, and I think I recall a painted-on nose. She walked on all fours, only stopping to groom or preen, licking her paws before continuing on to her Daddy. The sounds of her purrs radiated from his lap, and my friends and I looked on in awe. Such a vulnerable display of animal femininity felt at once disturbing as hell and curious, almost attractive. At some point we got caught up in a rope-tying circle, and I pulled Rita’s ropes tighter and tighter as Mayah performed sex acts on her. It was lighthearted and fulfilling, fun in its connectedness. The older femme rope top, the conductor of the action, was excellent with her instructions, and the rope bunnies, her willing subservients, were good sports about letting us have a turn. But Leo stayed in the corner of my eye.
Leo’s partner seemed to be suffering from a headache and was telling Leo in a corner that they needed to lie down and rescind their hosting duties. Leo, a little concerned, agreed with some good-natured hesitation, and then all of a sudden, the partner was gone and we were fucking. We were fucking on the couch in the front room for everyone to see. He was wearing latex gloves and put his hand inside me while Cat-girl purred in ecstasy in the background. I assumed Rita and Mayah were where I left them, all tied up. A couple of guys asked if they could watch and I started to nod my acquiescence, and then remembered what Leo said at the beginning of the party: straightforward, verbal communication, no maybes. So I said I didn’t mind and we had a little crowd going on right as Leo’s partner walked back out, looking pissed. I wasn’t sure if I’d violated some unspoken rule by fucking the host, or the host’s partner, or what, so after we finished I congregated with some stoners in the bathroom to get high off a fancy vape.
Sex parties, as a general rule, are substance-free, or at least, good ones are. We said fuck it and got stoned while the hosts worked their shit out in whispers and came back out to eat snacks, hoping our eyes weren’t red like the lights. I don’t remember leaving, but I do remember Leo and I thanking each other for the exchange and a buzz in my head of holy shit I just fucked that old-as-fuck sex party host, and liked it.
All this to say, I usually get what, and who I want. I know how that sounds and I’m not sure if it’s my sense of sexual confidence, flirtatious personality or sheer dumb luck, but when I want something to happen with a certain person, the stars do tend to align. Maybe I’m being too innocent. Maybe it’s that I’m an excellent communicator and I know the right things to do and say to get what I want. This is without any malicious intent, and yet still feels inherently manipulative. I guess that’s what manipulative people tell themselves in a grand sense of self-delusion. Which is why I’m in this meeting. Calling myself an addict. Healing my masculinity, whatever that means. Taking charge of my addictive behaviors for the first time. Offering myself up as flawed. Being humbled.