Go For It Play Gentle with Aram Giragos

Play Gentle #2

Q: I have a question about open relationships. I am single at the moment, but know that I want my next relationship (and all future relationships) to be open. I am prone to mild bouts of jealousy and insecurity, but am working on that. Any advice you can give on how to properly put my emotions in perspective and have a more fulfilling sex life with my future partners? 

A: All right, here’s something I bet you’ve never heard about jealousy and insecurity when it comes to open relationships, and it might blow your mind. You ready?  Jealousy is TOTALLY NORMAL.  Insecurity? Yep, that too. It happens to all of us. At the heart of it all, we are essentially cavemen with conqueror tendencies, not at all aided by our Puritan/Christian/heteronormative upbringing(s). It is quite literally a natural instinct to see a person of interest engage with someone else, even in the mildest of manners, and have your brain scream out, “HEY! THAT’S MINE!”
These days, I hear people constantly talk about jealousy like it’s this evil thing deep inside us that we should suppress.  Why suppress it? Instead, extract it and understand it, get to know its roots, dance with it and laugh at it a little.  Manage it. That’s step one. Step two?  Unlearn it.  And here’s how: ever heard of the term compersion? Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Not many have.  Compersion, put simply, is defined as the feeling of joy one gets when they see a loved one experience joy outside of their existence in the present moment. It is often billed as the *opposite of jealousy* and it has not yet been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.  Read the definition again.  Let it sink in.  Understand that it’s possible, and then put it to practice.  That last bit is more important than it sounds.  It is most definitely a practice, and it takes work.  But, like anything that takes practice, the more you do it the better you get at it.

Q: I met a guy on Scruff and we ended up hitting it off after we hooked up. There wasn’t a romantic connection but there’s definitely a friend connection there. We’ve hooked up a couple of times since then, but honestly I’m more interested in hanging out than “hanging out.” ​He’s funny, smart and we like a lot of the same things but the sex isn’t very good to be honest–it’s just not there for me but I can tell he wants to keep hooking up. I’m not sure if he has romantic feelings or not. How do you go from FWB to just friends? It feels like we shouldn’t have to break up but I sort of feel like we have to break up? ​

A: I understand this feels like it’s a tough call, but it really boils down to one choice: communication.  First communicate with yourself about this.  What are your options? Which sounds best to you? Do you *actually* want to be friends with this guy, or do you just want to be nice about how you let him down? I’m being harsh with that last one, but it’s a common story. Sometimes it’s so hard to just say “no thank you,” so we concoct all these other stories to avoid a real conversation.
Think about these options for minute, and then move forward based on your favorite.  For example, if you are no longer interested in having sex but you want to hang out as friends, it would make sense to invite him to a non-sexual situation (out to a bar, out for coffee, over for video games, to a movie, you get the idea) and to say, from an open and vulnerable place, that you’re grateful for having met (…and on Scruff, of all places! Feign thigh-slap!) and you are interested in continuing being friends but don’t feel that sexually you are a match. This way, it gives him the opportunity to show up in a way that might sway your opinion. Here are some examples of how he might answer…
  1.  “Wow. You know, I’m bummed, and I was kind of wondering the last couple times. But I’m glad you were honest with me, and yes, I’d like to be friends.”  Yay! That worked out, and now we can either actually make the effort to be friends, or this was so awkward that we slowly lose contact, but it’s okay, because at least we’re not having mediocre sex anymore, and I’m sure we’ll run into each other at that local bar we both pretend we hate going to, etc.
  2.  “Oh…thank god, I was thinking the same thing, but I really didn’t know how to bring it up! Awesome. Yes.  Let’s be friends. I’ll call you some time.” Yay! That worked out in a different way! And now, before you head home, you’ll get to giggle about some of the times things felt weird, and then all of a sudden, you’ll notice his hair is cuter today than last time, and wait a minute, were his eyes always that color, hold on, that shirt fits him really well, why is my butthole dilating, etc.
  3.  “…Seriously? BUT I WAS FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU!!!” Say your version of “There there” a few times, followed by “OF COURSE we’ll still be friends!” and count the minutes until you get the hell out of there.
These are, obviously, only some possibilities. The point is – you won’t have any option of moving forward without communicating your truth.

Q: ​I’m 22 and ​I’ve always been attracted to older guys, like much older guys in their 50s.  Older guys don’t seem to take me seriously to date, though, they just want sex. How do I get them to take me seriously? I’m just not attracted to guys my age. 

A: As someone who has been 22 and didn’t quite feel like I fit in to my age group at the time, I can wholeheartedly relate to this. That said, I know it would be nice for me to say “Whatever oldies, age ain’t nothin but a numba…” but I’m afraid that’s not entirely the truth. Guys in their 50s are more than likely to know exactly what they want, who they are, and where they are at in life, and it’s actually *not possible* for them to relate to even the most mature 22 year old in the world. The wisdom of actual years living on this earth is different from any amount of emotional intelligence, and it often plays out in even the simplest of conversations. That said, for example, some older gentlemen enjoy playing out a daddy-boy relationship with guys in their early 20s, and while some may shake their heads at this advice, this is a totally viable way to date someone. You just have to play to your strengths. That way you know what you’re looking for, and that version of the older man will appear. You (yes, you) will have to ask yourself – does the sound of a “daddy”-type interest you? What is it about older men that attracts you? Do you like a man with dad-bod, or do you like a muscle daddy? Do you want to sit on daddy lap and get dom’d down, or do you like a deliciously worn daddy butthole?  I’m obviously being a bit uncouth with some of my silly generalizations, but you get my point.  And if you don’t, feel free to write in with more detailed questions.
Thanks so much for these fun questions!  Till next time, readers!

About Aram: Aram Giragos has a MA in clinical psychology, with a specialization in LGBT affirmative psychotherapy, has experience performing on stage as a musician and actor, has written for blogs, and performed in the adult film industry. His goal is to use what he’s learned in all these realms to inform his therapy work by exploring issues of sex positivity, body image, gay shame and gay liberation. He is currently finalizing his MFT licensure, and is taking individual and couples clients in Los Angeles.

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