I write this hot on the heels of a previous post discussing the subject of Wanking with Friends.
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Luke Pathan and I started the B8M8 Network.
Now this might seem a little odd for some of you, but stick with it while I explain what B8M8 is and why it exists. Then I’ll explain why I think it’s so important, and why it’s become so successful.
I started the B8M8 Network in response to the number of men who state their sexuality as Heterosexual, but who also express an interest in enjoying certain sexual activities with other men; primarily the act of masturbation.
If you follow the social belief that people are simply straight, bi or gay, you’re probably scratching your head right now and muttering something about guys being in denial. Right?
Consider this; before the very start of the 20th century, these sexual labels did not exist. Prior to their creation, men had wives, had children, and had “close male friends”. It was not talked about in social circles, it was simply understood. It didn’t destroy marriages, and it certainly didn’t define your existence as being exclusively one or another.
So where did the labels come from? Many believe that the first written example of the word Homosexual can be found in a document written by a Humanitarian attempting to combat Hitlers views of sexuality. In one sense it was successful, in another I feel it has been detrimental.
We’ve created clans. Whole classes of people solely identified by their practice of one sexual activity or another. And we are then forced into this clan if we are perceived to enjoy just one of these activities. We are expected to conform and submit to a label that only confuses most when such enjoyment is very limited.
I read Seven Pints by my friend Conran Thomas in 2009, and I found the suggestion of fetish and the inclusion of male friendship in this sexual dilemma. The thoughts in that book seemed to echo the sentiments of the men posting on forums seeking male friends to enjoy sexual activities with. They didn’t see themselves as bisexual or gay, they simply saw themselves as men who enjoyed masturbation, and had a fetish for viewing others enjoying the same.
Soon after creating the very first incarnation of B8M8, with numbers quickly rising to over 1000 in just a few months, it became increasingly clear that this was indeed a fetish. These men had little or no interest in oral or anal sex with other men. They had zero interest in love between men. They simply wanted male friendships where enjoying masturbation was shared.
Quite simply, they were pretty much completely penis-focussed. Just like me.
While you may feel the urge to use one of the labels to describe these men, Bisexuality is still considered to encompass oral and anal sex, activities these men rarely – if ever – take part in. It also still suggests that a loving and dedicated relationship is possibly sought, when these men clearly state that they seek friends open to sharing masturbation and nothing more.
The idea is simply that men have a great love of their own penis, and that this love of penis extends to other men too. The act of masturbation is no-doubt a fun and exciting one, there is no pressure to impress, no desire to conform, it is solely about enjoying sexual stimulation that is completely selfish and under your exclusive control.
To repeat the ideas of my friend Conran, men are narcissistic when it comes to their penis. We play with it and enjoy it at every appropriate opportunity. If we consider that masturbation and the penis itself is a fetishistic object of desire, doesn’t it stand to reason that this would extend into appreciating other penises too?
I think this is where a great deal of sexual confusion arrives for most men.
There is an assumption in our society that sexuality is cut and dry. If you are male and you appreciate anything about the male body, you must be at least bisexual. This is simply not true. Narcissism doesn’t allow for such simplicity, and neither does fetish. It is quite possible, or even probable, that otherwise heterosexual men will experience a fascination or appreciation for other mens penises. Does this make them bisexual? And if so, doesn’t this mean that the majority of men who state that they are heterosexual are in fact bisexual?
I prefer to remove the labels altogether. These are simply men who have a fetish for masturbation, and this includes appreciation of other guys penises.
Next we have to consider friendship. As men, we probably all experienced that close friendship we have with another male in our teenage years. It seems odd that we don’t quite find those kinds of friendships again doesn’t it? When I think back to my teen years I had one particular friend who I could do absolutely anything with. We shared magazines, we watched adult films, we masturbated together and we even swapped hands occasionally. It wasn’t complicated, it wasn’t considered “gay”, it was just two mates enjoying themselves and having a good time.
As an adult, I am considered bisexual, and to find others interested in these activities I should be seeking other bisexual or gay men. But this comes with the added baggage of trying to explain why you don’t enjoy anal sex, or why you don’t feel the need to meet their parents! Once again, it is assumed that if you like masturbating with other men you must be accepting of the whole package.
If all I want is a male friend who doesn’t have a problem with enjoying a shared wank now and then, where do I find him?
Most of us loose these kinds of friendships because of the pressures and assumptions put upon us as men. In our society most conform to the rules when it comes to sexuality, even though we secretly recognize the inconsistencies that exist. And, once we are in that committed heterosexual relationship, we seem to loose touch with the friends that assisted in keeping a balanced life. We focus and dedicate every waking minute to our partner and we loose track of what makes us men. I truly believe that men should spend more time maintaining their male friendships, because before long, we wake up and we’re 70, we have no other men in our lives. We are consigned to watching Eastenders with the Mrs and discussing the benefits of Cod Liver Oil with the couple next door.
Think about how this has happened to you, and how many male friends you’ve lost because of a relationship. Some call it the Yoko Ono effect. You start a relationship, it’s exciting and sexy. Then a year down the line things might not be so great. Who are you going to call for a pint down the pub?
This is a separate issue to the one of sharing sexual activities with other men. This is solely about maintaining friendship. It’s important to discuss, but our focus here is on sexual sharing in friendship. So how likely is it that you could even find a friend to share these sexual hobbies with? None of your male friends would be interested, right?
One of the questions in Seven Pints asked the men what they thought OTHER MEN would do if they had the opportunity to engage in a sexual act (primarily masturbation) with another male. 66% of them believe that other men would take the opportunity. How does this match our perception of men? Even these straight guys recognize that so many men would engage in this activity if they had the chance, and yet the social stigmas and labels persist.
In actual fact, the research showed that a staggering 94% of heterosexual men would engage in same-sex activities (again predominantly shared masturbation) if the opportunity was there. There is no doubt that this shared activity would depend on the friendship and the circumstances, but it certainly seems that the majority of men are prevented for enjoying this activity for the sole reason of it being perceived in society as homosexual.
Thankfully, the men making use of my mutual masturbation network have no such focus on sexuality. Some express that they are gay or bi, but the vast majority don’t feel the need to state their sexuality. They simply describe what they are looking for and go from there.
And it works too. Many of the guys on the site have found some great mates in their area. They go to the pub, they play football, they socialize. And they enjoy sharing porn and a wank too. Some enjoy a wank with regular male friends they’ve now found, others have one-off meetings solely dedicated to the act of masturbation, and some attend group events where several members arrive to watch some porn, have a drink and enjoy a truly social wanking experience.
But the focus is always on camaraderie and friendship.
Whatever their interests or sexual limits, they are recognized primarily as men. They are not men who “happen to be” gay, bi or straight. They are just guys who enjoy their penis, and like to share their enjoyment with other men.
I may be biased on this subject, but I truly believe that these men are more healthy and well-balanced than most. They understand that there are complexities and confusions when it comes to fetish and sexuality. They see that, yes, you can have a fetish for dick, but that this one fetish alone is not enough to decide that you’re bisexual, you could just be narcissistic. And that’s not particularly a bad thing when it comes to sex.
So, I’ll leave you with a final question…
If you consider yourself straight, and yet you know that you have a desire to share masturbation with other men, why aren’t you? Life is far too short to be worried or concerned about what this makes you. Because evidence suggests that it doesn’t actually make you any different to the majority of other men. You are not legally required to state your sexuality, or even ascribe a sexuality to yourself. You don’t have to give up a heterosexual lifestyle to enjoy such activities and you don’t have to make a musical production out of this minor enjoyment. Have the sexual experiences you want to have with other adults of either gender without feeling the need to brand yourself.
There is no closet that you need to escape from, you’re just another guy, like all the others. The only difference is that you are more knowledgeable when it comes to narcissistic fetish, diverse sexuality and deep friendship – and how they all combine. You are less confused about your own sexuality because you don’t feel the need to explain it.
And, you can have a lot more fun in the short period of time you are on this Earth.