Spencer stayed the night, this last week. We spent the evening cuddled on the sofa, eating a gluten-free almond cake I’d baked for him and watching Doctor Who on DVD. Naked he came into the dark bedroom after his shower, carrying the iPod I’d given him for his birthday in one hand. Lines of white plastic ran from it to his head. He grinned at me self-consciously as he sang along to the song playing in his ears. I just laughed, shook my head, and reached over to shut off the light.
While I’d been waiting for him to join me, I’d been reading on my tablet. I set it down onto my pillow as he dove between the covers. Like a little boy, he pulled them over his head and continued to sing loudly, before finally curling onto his left side, facing away from me. “Oh crap,” I muttered. I slid out from the bed, grabbed my T-shirt, and slipped it on. “I didn’t lock the back door,” I said.
In bed, Spencer continued singing. He hadn’t even noticed I’d left. Well, I’d be back soon enough, I reasoned. I trotted downstairs, locked the errant door, and then stopped to refill the cat’s water dish and perform a couple of other tasks. It was a good five minutes before I returned to the bedroom upstairs. When I did, I found Spencer in the darkness, midway through a happy babble about a movie he’d seen on cable the previous weekend.
“Um, do you know you’ve been talking to my iPad this entire time?” I announced, as I lifted the blanket and slid in next to his naked body.
Obviously he hadn’t. He flipped around, surprised. “Maybe that’s what I wanted,” he retorted.
“Did you, now?”
“Maybe your iPad is better company than you!”
“Uh-huh,” I laughed, not buying it. I put the device on the table and plugged it in to charge. “You like snuggling up to a computer, huh? I always knew you fantasized about being with an android.”
“Oh yes,” he snickered, warming to the silliness. “Android sex is the best!”
“I knew it. You ride human dick, but secretly you wish it were C-3PO.”
“Oh, C-3PO! So hot! Boop-beep-beep-boop-bleep-bleep-booooop!” Apparently in the dark he couldn’t see my raised eyebrows. He could, however, hear the total lack of response I had for a few seconds, followed by the jiggling of the bed from my laughter. “Wait, which one is the little trash can?”
“R2-D2,” I supplied.
“Which one is C-3PO,” then?
“The one that’s not R2-D2. R2-D2 is the one who goes boop-beep-beep. C-3PO is the gold faggy one who sounds like Roddy McDowell.”
“Who?” he wanted to know.
“Oh, god,” I muttered, pulling the sheets over my shoulders.
“I’m not old like you!” he protested.
“Who is he? Who is he? Which one is C-3PO?” he begged, shaking me and pouncing on me beneath the sheets as if we were kids at a pajama party. Then we giggled and laughed like little boys until, not very long after, we fell asleep, warm and safe in each other’s arms.
This is the sweet, safe routine in which lately Spencer and I have fallen. He’s over here five or six nights week, occupying space on my sofa and eating large chunks from my refrigerator and pantry. We share meals together. He does he laundry here, and keeps his soaps and special foods and herbal teas in my cupboards. We watch television, and look at DVDs of dance, and play video games together. We go to the movies, and out to dinner, and to the bookstore together. He brings me weird desserts from the local vegan restaurant. I buy him socks, when I see his are full of holes.
What we don’t do anymore—and this is difficult for me to admit, a difficult entry for me to write, in fact—is have sex.
I’ve been reluctant to write about this shift in my relationship with Spencer for a couple of reasons. One is the simple reason that writing things down always makes them more real, for me. I’m unwilling to codify in writing some of my own weaknesses and failures, that way.
The other has to do with my blog readers. I only have a couple of detractors who are going to be filled with glee at the news, but there are going to be many who read the words I’ve typed above and think it’s the end of the world. What Spencer and I had was wonderful, they’re going to tell me. It was special, it was romantic and hot and it should have lasted and what the hell happened that it didn’t?
To allay those responses, let me say the following, with all heartfelt sincerity. What Spencer and I have is wonderful. And special. It has been romantic and hot. We both knew from the very, very beginning that it wasn’t going to last, however.
As for what happened—well, I’m going to be as honest about it as possible, though the narrative isn’t going to show me in necessarily the best light.
I wrote once about a night I spent with Spencer in which we both seemed not to be connecting. The sex we enjoyed a couple of times after that rebounded back to normal. But then we had an evening in which neither he nor I seemed to be at our best. We’d been out to a bar with my friends the night before, where he’d performed a couple of karaoke songs. Over dinner, Spencer told me that my bar nemesis, a short rotund little dwarf who keeps stealing and butchering my songs, had hit him up online that morning, feeding Spencer lines about how beautifully he’d sung and asking him out on a date sometime.
“Why, that little. . . !” I growled.
“You aren’t my boyfriend.” Spencer announced loftily. “We didn’t pick out china patterns together. You don’t get to be jealous. Ever.”
“No?” I asked, jealous despite him.
“No. You’ve got no hold on me,” he said, spearing his sushi and dipping it in in his little plate of wasabi and soy sauce. “You’ve got no hold on me whatsoever, married man.”
It felt like a slap in the face, frankly, but I couldn’t argue with it.
That night, he came to bed, luminous by moonlight in the dark. “You really are so beautiful,” I told him, in all honest admiration.
“Uh-huh,” he snapped. Then he said, “I know you only say stuff like that because you just want to stick it in.”
You know, if I had to direct the scene for a movie that followed, it’d be like a cheesy episode of some family show—Blossom or The Brady Bunch—in which the hero keeps hearing the echos of the day as he tries to get his job done. There I was in bed that night, with Spencer’s beautiful ass in my mouth, munching away, and all I could see was the memory of his face, lip curled and sneering. You’ve got no hold on me. And then, over his other butt cheek, another vision of him, disdainful. You only say stuff like that because you just want to stick it in.
Was that really what he believed? Was that really the way he felt about me? Try as I might, I couldn’t get my head into the business at hand. When the time came for me to do something, my dick didn’t cooperate. For the first time in my life, I honestly couldn’t get it up.
Somehow I played it off. I made it an ‘All About Spencer’ night and thought I did a fairly good job of covering up my inability to get an erection. The next night, though we were in bed again. While we were making out, my dick swelled to its usual proportions. Well, that’s all right then, I thought to myself. Everything’s back to normal. With a gladsome heart I began pushing all of his usual buttons—butt eating, dirty talking, and nipple stroking. My dick was still rock-hard when I growled at him, “You know I’m gonna fuck you with this big dick tonight.”
I remember the moment well. He was on his back, legs in the air, when he replied in quite a normal voice, “I wouldn’t call your dick big.”
“Huh?” I asked.
“Well, it’s slightly above average, maybe,” he said. “A little. But it’s not big. You could say, you know I’m gonna fuck you with my slightly above average-sized dick tonight, but I wouldn’t push it with big.”
I settled back on my heels, confused. Why in the world was he ruining the moment with this shit? “Do you want it or don't you?” I said, trying to keep the same lusty spirit.
“Oh yes, sir, fuck me with your slightly above average cock. No wait, give me your toy-sized cock.” He seemed mightily amused by that phrase, and started laughing uproariously. “I crave your toy-sized cock.”
It was then I realized that I’d totally lost my hard-on again. And nothing I tried brought it back.
I honestly thought something was wrong with me. When I tried to masturbate, after that night, I found myself thinking about my two erection failures—the only ones I’ve ever had in my life—and hearing all Spencer’s hurtful words in my head. (And yes, they were hurtful. Even if they’d been jokingly intended.) Then I’d find myself losing whatever sexual arousal I’d been able to muster. And I was afraid—deathly afraid—to attempt to engage in sex with Spencer, just in case all I encountered were more reasons to think that something was very, very wrong with me. I wasn’t even having erections in my sleep.
There was a period of about two weeks when I thought something physiological had gone awry in my body. I thought my time as a top man was over, kaput, finished. The second of those two weeks coincided with my trip to New York at the beginning of February. And all that time I had this battle warring in my head. Half of it was simply convinced I’d never fuck again, that I was sick and impotent. The other half was more rational and tried to reason it all away. I was tired, and stressed. I was over-thinking my failure and letting it fuck with my dick.
By the end of the week, I had gathered up enough nerve, and courage—it took both—to meet with that muscle man in his Manhattan apartment. I banged his ass just fine. No erection problems there. When I returned home, I reconnected with Scruffy and fucked four loads into his hole. Definitely no issues with hydraulics with him.
The next night, confidence riding on the crest of a wave, I responded with fervor when Spencer kissed me for the first time in bed, since the last time I hadn’t been able to get it up. When our lips met, my dick was rock hard. Oh yeah, I thought to myself. This is going to happen. And again, everything was going right . . . until the moment he whispered, “I want your dick in me. Your toy-sized dick.”
And poof. It was gone, yet again.
I broke down that night in frustration and anger. Spencer held me while I raged. When I was done, he said, very softly, “I like you for more than just your dick.”
Since then, the issue of sex together hasn’t come up. We cuddle. We sit on the sofa and watch TV with our feet or heads in each other’s laps. We sleep naked together. We just don’t fuck. As an option, it doesn’t come up.
If I’d attempted to write this entry at the time it was happening, it would have come across a huge mess of self-recrimination and fear. I haven’t had, I’d like to say, a single instance of erection failure with any other person I’ve been with, since. Or by myself.
I think the distance has given me a lot of time to evaluate exactly what factors were in play. For weeks and weeks—the entire time I was sexually active with Spencer—I slept with no one else. He was everything to me, sexually. I masturbated only twice during that entire time period; every other load, every erection, was for him. I poured all my sexual energy into one receptacle. I was deeply in love with him. I still love him very deeply. I know that Spencer was doing the same. He masturbated on his own, but all the sex he had was with me.
And frankly, I think it scared the crap out of him.
I know that Spencer has been very frightened of losing me when I eventually move away, from the first night we met; I know that even more, he feared loving me to the point he’d find me an indispensable fixture in his life. Every time we fucked—every time we made love so beautifully and so well—he was more and more at risk of needing me to a point at which he feared he could never let go.
I think I am the very first person in his young life of whom he’s known that he would eventually have to let go. And instead of doing philosophically, or giving in and going through worse suffering, he began to push me away.
I’m not entirely free of blame, here. We both conspired in the sabotage of my confidence—he pricked at my vanity and distanced himself with words. I deflated myself with my old enemies, worry and overanalyzing. I elevated him to a point in my emotional well-being that simply jibes had the power to leave me impotent. My instinct would have been to talk it out endlessly, to lay all the issues on the table and let him know exactly what was bothering me. But you know, I didn’t. I won’t. He was right about something: we aren’t boyfriends. We didn’t pick out china patterns together. One of the great things about a casual relationship such as ours is that we aren’t required to have the great big talks that tie us together further. He’s free of that obligation. I’ve got no hold on him.
Which is what he wants.
My philosophy would be balls-to-the-wall, all-in, no holds barred. If he’d let me, I’d love that boy as hard as deeply as I could, all the way to the moment I had eventually to tell him goodbye. It would hurt like fuck when we separated, but it would have been worth it.
My philosophy is not Spencer’s philosophy. He’s never experienced with anyone what we shared. He’s frightened. He wants reassurance that in two months, or three months, or six months, or a year, when I finally move out of this state, that our parting will be as painless as possible. He doesn’t want to live his life with a story that begins, Once I knew a man with whom I was very much in love, and he had to leave. The story he wants to tell himself begins, Once I had a friend. . . .
I know that he will still hurt when I go. But if a polite lie is what he wants, I will give it to him.
I love having Spencer in my life. I like our evenings together, the cooking I do for him, the meals and the entertainment we take. I love our conversations, and nights out. I like having his warm body in my bed, next to mine. These things are all great and good and wonderful. They don’t speak of any kind of failure whatsoever. Nothing positive is ever a waste. It’s all to be relished when it’s happening, and cherished to heart when it’s gone.
Yet when I think of how passionate, and how sweet, our union used to be, my heart aches. For his sake, I pretend not to notice that void I dreadfully miss. If this detente makes it any easier for him in the long run, though, I will give it to him freely, and gladly.
And he will never know how much, sometimes, it kills me.