Go For It Play Gentle with Aram Giragos

Play Gentle #6

Welcome back. Let’s cut straight to the chase! Two very different questions, both very fun to delve in to.

So here’s my issue. I’m crazy about my ex’s new boyfriend. We’ve been talking on Grindr and trading pictures. They’re open, but I don’t think my ex knows that we’ve been messaging. Things didn’t end well between us, and we’re barely friendly when we see each other. Do I have a moral green light to pursue this or should I drop it for the sake of preserving civility? 

Ooooh, this is some juicy stuff!  I don’t care much for reality television, though I do love a good soapy drama, as long as the writing is on point. But unfortunately, this is neither of those things. There is no producer encouraging you to “go with your heart” when they really mean “throw your wine on that bitch if you feel like it,” and there is no swelling music in the background when you let out that deep sigh in response to your ex’s boyfriend’s latest charming text/dick pic.

No, I’m afraid reality is a little more boring, and requires just a few more details to be plausible. I would know how to better be of service in this predicament of yours if I knew the following:

1) Is Ex’s New Boyfriend (we will call him ENB) aware that you used to date his current primary partner?
2) Is ENB actively pursuing you? And in what manner – for a friendly hang, a romantic date, or a simple sexual encounter?
3) Have the two of you discussed keeping this exchange secret, from your ex and/or from your friends?
4) Are you aware of the current relational agreement/arrangement between ENB and your ex?

My guess is the details are still a little murky, so if you want a hard answer to your question, then I’m sorry, NO, you do not have a “moral green light.” So far, based on what we know here, this is just a clear case of sneaking around, and that’s exciting for a minute, but eventually becomes not so fun for anyone.

Though honestly, I’m not in the business of discussing morals.  No, my business is more in exploring and discussing the emotional pathways that lead us in any direction and cause us to make certain decisions. I’d suggest you look a little deeper into what about this particular rabbit hole was so enticing that you’ve put yourself in this quandary. And if even after all this consideration you still think this is something worth pursuing, maybe think of a way this can work for everyone, including your ex.

Read up on some of my past installments for some ideas.  Then feel free to send more questions if you’ve got ’em, or just send us a follow up about how it all went down!

I’m not experienced at bottoming and I want to be better at it. I’m not bad at it or anything it’s just hard for me to relax and enjoy it. Do you have any tips beyond the canned “just douche and relax” advice I read everywhere? Is there anything else I can do to get ready? I’m type A and like having a plan of attack about these things!


Aw, this is cute. Honestly, I’m not just being a jerk, I think it’s cute!

Quick story: I remember the first and only time I was in a primary relationship with someone who considered himself a “total top,” I was 23 and had previously been very scared of being a “total bottom.” But what worked here was precisely the fact that this guy was SO INTO my ass, and so enjoyed pleasuring me that way, that he got off on it himself – it was a positive feedback loop, and through that I learned how to be a better bottom.

Cut to many months after our breakup, when we were becoming better friends, he told me he wanted to learn how to bottom, and he asked me because he’d rather try it with someone he trusted.  I, excited to finally get a chance with his butt, very willingly complied. He pouted and frowned the entire time, he was frustrated, his dick was not hard even once during the encounter, and the deal breaker was when he was trying to sit on my dick and I said “just try and relax,” his response was “Ew, don’t say ‘top’ stuff, that’s gross.”

It was then that I threw in the towel. He was disappointed and ashamed, and most importantly, he wasn’t enjoying himself.

“It’s okay to just be a top!” I told him. I remembered things about our relationship, and the countless hours we spent being intimate together. He did not like any time that he was not in control.

Here’s the thing about bottoming that people who consider themselves “Type A” seem to misunderstand – it’s not simply the physical act of allowing something in to your backside (and out and in again, etc.). It’s so much more.

It’s knowing (and trusting) your body, and what it takes to be ready for any kind of play back there; and also learning what works for you, in terms of preparing for any such activity. It’s understanding that there’s an element of submission, and that the control will, in essence, belong to the man wielding the dick that’s inside you. It’s *getting off* on the fact that this control is no longer yours.  It involves trust that you’re placing your body in a very capable pair of hands. This is a full-on mental headspace, and it is not for everyone.  And THAT IS TOTALLY OKAY.

Truly, I admire anyone who wants to try something new and be good at it in the future. And it’s good to remember also that bottoming isn’t a *total* loss of control; when you bottom, you set the tone for how an encounter will turn out, with proper mental and physical preparation, thereby giving the top the opportunity to do a better job.

But this, like anything, involves time, patience, and PRACTICE.  Yes, the simple answer is to “just douche and relax,” but there are literally classes devoted to getting to know the way your insides work better, and how this all ties in to the psychological aspects of joyful gay sex. You’ll get there.

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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Read previous editions of PLAY GENTLE here.

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