What Happened at Folsom in 2015

Hey slut,

I had a really amazing sex night and wanted to share it with you. But first, a life update: I live in Los Angeles now. I’m here working for The Advocate, the longest-running and most historic LGBTQ publicaiton in the world. It’s a dream come true.

I’ve been to the Folsom Street Fair before, last year, but this year was my first time going on my own. I left L.A. at four in the morning to drive to San Francisco. Before sunrise, the hills outside L.A. looked blue. Beyond them was the flat stretch of I-5, which ran through fields of lemon trees. Five hours later, as I rounded a corner and saw Castro Street sloping before me, I felt like I had come home.

San Francisco was home for a little bit last year, and that experience wasn’t great. I left Jose to live there. Almost immediately after arriving in the city, I realized my living situation was dark. I lived with bad people. It was a moment that many young gay men have in their lives when they realize that things could go to a scary place. I moved to the city with the intention of moving permanently and only made it a few months before deciding to go back to Georgia. I’d rather not go into details, but the details involve a crazy pornographer/conspiracy theorist and my former Sir. In hindsight, I should’ve known it would be a disaster. Jose knew it would be a disaster, so when I came back to Georgia with my tail between my legs, he understood, took me back, and refrained, somehow, from saying, “I told you so.”

All in all, it was a very San Francisco story, and since it ended, I’ve heard many like it. A gay man moves here, is young and excited, and it turns out not to be the city of dreams he expected. What a mess. But it was an educational mess, and I’ve since wondered what my life would be like if I had found another place to stay or stayed long enough to meet better people. What if I had left the scary porn house and found a real job? Leaving Jose the second time to come to Los Angeles for an opportunity with my dream publication was harder than the first time, and though we’re trying a long-distance relationship, it’s still a struggle. I miss him so much.

I decided to do Folsom again this year. When I got to San Francisco, I drove past the coffee shop on Market Street, the one where I sat on my computer sending job applications every day, none of which resulted in anything. None of that mattered now — I wasn’t here to look for work.

The Folsom Street Fair is the largest leather and fetish festival in the world. It is bewildering the first time and beginners need a guide. My ex-Sir was my guide last time. There are literally thousands of people from all over the world gathered in one small city, and they all love kink. Any kink you can think of, you can find others who share it — packs of others, hordes of others, so many others you’ll never meet them all. It’s really not a convention — it’s a sex fest.

And it all happens in this beautiful little city, which looks like a toy set, a dollhouse landscape. How can a place so lovely harbor such sordid tales? And all of them are true. People complain that the city has lost its edge, as all cities have, but what remains is still the most sexually liberated place in the United States.

Having done all this before, I had a flexible itinerary and knew which parties I wanted to attend. On Friday night, I went to the Recon party, Full Fetish. I walked in at midnight. The dance floor was empty. I was wearing assless neoprene shorts. I walked from room to room wondering why the place was so dead. There were large, empty dance floors bathed in red light. A couple guys were making out on some lounge chairs, but besides them, the place was deserted.

I turned to leave and must have looked exasperated because the doorman said, “They’re all in the back.” He pointed in the direction. “Around the corner.”

On the other side of a black tarp hanging in a doorway — which I somehow hadn’t noticed — were hundreds of men milling through a dark sex maze made of tarpaulin and metal fencing. Guys were fucking, fisting, and sucking each other in the dark. There was a stage in the middle where at least thirty guys were fucking on sex benches.

I walked all the way through. Near the end of the maze, I saw a poor guy getting fucked on a table. The top was incredible. His body moved rhythmically and gently, then jack-hammered, and the bottom yelped. He was struggling to take it. After some minutes, he had to pull off. I saw the top’s dick and it was huge. I was staring at it and didn’t realize he was looking at me. He was wearing a harness and biker cap. But I kept walking.

I fingered a hairy muscle guy in a sling who wanted me to go home with him. I told him no. This request was repeated by many men. Who wants to go home? The fun was here. As the hours clicked by, the drugs started to wear off and people started leaving. I had arrived too late. As the party emptied, I saw the god top standing in a corner. He nodded to a fuck bench. I walked up and bent over.

He started fucking me, then stopped and asked if I wanted to go back to his place. We went back to his room where he told me to get in an armchair on my knees, ass up. “Don’t move,” he said. He put a blindfold around my eyes. Then I felt something, a toy, slick and round, push into my hole. It was hard to take, but he slapped my ass and told me to breathe. After it was in, he said, “Ok, get ready.” Then I felt the tip of his dick pushing in over it. I started to pull away and he grabbed me. “No boy. Remember what I said. Don’t move. Take a deep breath.”

I did, and in one hard push, he shoved his dick in. “Take the pain,” he said. “Get used to it.” I started counting to ten, a trick I do, but my head was spinning, and by number eight, something happened. My hole just opened, and he fucked me. My friend, he fucked me. He fucked me with the toy in, then without the toy in, then stuffed more toys in. I took them all and just wanted more.

I’ve only gone to that mental place a few times. I was just open, just ready. At one point he started sliding his fingers in until all five fingers were at the knuckle. He placed a bottle of poppers under my nose and told me to breathe. He held it there for a long time — “keep breathing” — then pulled them away. I felt like putty, my body was hot, and I felt him slide his hand in. He was fisting me — something I’d wanted to do for years.

“You’re taking my whole hand boy,” he said. “You like that?”

I could barely squeak out a reply, “Yes sir.”

In and out. In and out. I breathed. And took it. And then I began to get restless and he said, “You’re tired.” And I was — I was empty. He took the blindfold off. Sunlight was coming in through the window. He helped me up, cleaned me off, and drove me to where I was staying. He dropped me off on the curb, and so ended one of the greatest sex nights of my life.

I was sore for the remainder of the trip, which didn’t stop me from having fun the following days but certainly tempered it. The actual fair happened almost as an afterthought. By the time I walked through the half-million attendees, I was a ghost. The fair was great — it’s always great — but in the middle of a sweaty hug with a friend in leather, I rested my head on his shoulder, and he understood. “Oh, no,” he said. “It’s time to sleep.” That night, when every leatherman in San Francisco was dancing at Real Bad or fucking in the leather bars or having intense BDSM sessions across the city, I was on a sofa, two blocks from the Castro, fast asleep.

That night was the kind of fucking that makes a person feel powerful. In high school, guys teased me after I came out. I was weak and skinny and covered in acne, and they said, “Alex wants a dick in his butt.” It was the only taunt they could think of for a gay teenager. But I did. I do. This felt like ownership. I was proud of being a bottom. I wanted to show it off. I was good at this.

All the slut-shaming from people over the years — intentional and otherwise — was erased that night. Folsom does that, I think. It renders judgments meaningless. My doubts were burned away by beautiful sex — the memory of which I want to carry around with me like a talisman. I hope it infects everything that follows in my life with confidence.

You, comrade, are you kinky? Have you had a chance to really break into your kinks? When you do, you will have this feeling, and you will know it when it comes. Our fetish world isn’t perfect, but it’s magnificent, and magnificence has its moments. Every now and then I’ll be struck by it, and in those moments, the pleasure we chase and the honesty we foster overshadow the ugly parts and bad people.

This is why I want to make the pilgrimage to Folsom every year. Because I need to feel this way again and again.

Love, Beastly

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