PSA: Fear Makes Sex Better

I’m Alexander Cheves, a writer, author, and sex educator. My nickname is Beastly. I give adult advice on this blog — no question is off-limits. To ask me something, email AskBeastly@gmail.com or send a message via the Ask Beastly contact form.

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Hello Beastly,

Thank you for being so honest about sexuality! Your honesty inspires me to rid myself of some of the shame I have towards gay sex.

Let me start by saying I have social anxiety which I’m working through. I consider myself a hypersexual versatile bottom who wants to explore more but has been burned in the few experiences I’ve had. From STDs to stalkers to racists, I’ve had a hard time exploring my sexuality without some feeling of shame quickly following it.

This shame has led me to have a split mental dialogue when it comes to sex. One side saying let your freak flag fly, while the other shouts how dumb and unnecessarily risky my fantasies are. So I just don’t engage either side, forgoing sex for masturbation, but even through that, I still want to be the cum hungry satyr I know I am internally.

My question is what are some steps I can take to rid myself some shame and put myself out there again? You’ve stated before you’re from Atlanta or Georgia in general, so you might know some places/things to help me out? I’ve considered sex parties or events like Cumunion but I don’t have anyone to go with and the thought of going alone makes me anxious. However, if having to fight through some of my anxiety will help me be freer I will try it.

Can’t wait for your books,
Gay Satyr

Hi Gay Satyr,

First, I recommend a good, sex-positive therapist because we all need one, especially those of us with anxiety. My therapist has helped me through my anxieties.

Everyone with an adventurous sexual fantasy can speak to that mental split — horniness and shame, adventurousness and anxiety — and I think that split is essential to good sex. You want to have it. Every fantasy contains some fear. Without fear (and its relatives — anxiety, shame, doubt) there would be no excitement, no thrill, in sex. You want your desires to scare you a little bit.

But when they scare you too much and you can’t experience them as a result, you need some fortification, which in most cases means you need more people in your life that affirm and normalize the sex you want to have.

Most people, in my experience, are of two minds about sex: it’s too much to deal with, too much work, too scary, but they also crave it and are unhappy without it. Some anxiety in sex is good — it helps us make informed choices, avoid bad situations, and navigate social spaces effectively. But of course, too much anxiety can kill sex. Some shame makes sex hotter (many fetishes are born of shame) but too much shame ruins it. So the real internal battle of sex is working on the dials: dialing the fear and its derivatives to a manageable level, dialing the adventurousness to a manageable level, so that you can enjoy sex that is both thrilling and healthy.

There’s no magic formula for doing that. I recommend not trying to fight the fear, shame, and anxiety — rather, use these feelings to make sex more fun, because they do. But that means actually having sex, not just hungering for it. And that means that you sometimes just need to throw yourself in, head first, and see how it goes.

There’s no simple way to become comfortable with all the health risks attached to sex — you just have to take the same sexual health measures all sluts must take and allow them to be enough, because they are. I’m saying this for all to hear: sex is actually not dangerous. Having lots of sex is not that risky. You can get a sexually transmitted infection; you can even get HIV. So what? We have tools to treat and manage all that. I could get sickened by someone on the train and wind up in the hospital. I could get in a car crash on any road in America. Should I then avoid public transportation and all automobiles — things that are far more dangerous than sex? Absolutely not. Culturally, we’ve over-hyped and exaggerated the risks of hypersexuality and I’m here to tell you that if the greatest risk of an activity is getting sick, sex is no more risky than any other human pastime.

I once thought my fantasies were needlessly risky. Then I became HIV-positive. When that happened, the thing I was most terrified of — getting HIV — had happened, so I no longer had to fear it. I think many HIV-positive people can say the same. Even if we didn’t want HIV, now that we have it, there’s less to fear, and I think there’s a correlation between HIV-positive status among Queer men and sexual adventurousness.

I wish I could give the same sense of liberation to HIV-negative folks, but I can’t. They get the rewards of lifelong health — they can take PrEP, fuck freely, and never worry about having competent health insurance or filling the next bottle of pills. But our reward is libertinism. We get something with this disease. We get parties like Cumunion and pits of buggery where every sodomite is loaded and all risk is shared. That’s the win. If you want to play in such a space, you too will share in the complicity of assumed risk.

If you’re HIV-negative and have anxieties about sexual health risk, you have more tools in your arsenal to avoid HIV than any generation before you. But even with frequent STI testing and PrEP, there are still risks of STIs with all sex. You have to decide if the chance of getting gonorrhea is enough to make you not live your wild fantasies. I decided that gonorrhea is a bearable risk to make my dirty dreams real.

To manage the fear, you need to a) befriend people who play the way you want to play, b) get frequent STI testing (once a month or so) and c) have good insurance, a good clinic, and good, open rapport with your doctor(s).

And that’s it. I found people who enforce my desires and found a regular schedule of STI testing that keeps me as safe as possible without forfeiting the sex I love. This is harm reduction in a nutshell.

And this is what you must do. Get all the necessary physical stuff out of the way — make sure you’re checking all the boxes of what you should be doing to maintain your health — and meet other cum-hungry satyrs. There are many men who “let their freak flag fly” every weekend.

I get a lot of messages like this — so many that they could be their own category. (For future askers: please scroll through old posts to see if someone else has asked something similar). But you’re from Georgia and I am too, and Georgia flipped blue in the 2021 election, so I’ll give love to anyone from my home state. But let the evidence of my blog show that a lot of guys want to live the same fantasies you have. Read my posts on being a cum dump and enjoying risky sex.

You’re not an anomaly. I’d wager that most Queer men harbor a fantasy of being a cum slut. Humans only become comfortable with things through familiarity and practice, which is why you need piggy friends. You need test runs — dives into sexual spaces knowing you might fail. How else will you learn?

Love, Beastly

Hey Alex. My name is Ross. I just read an article you posted on Beastly a few years ago about MAL. I am learning to embrace myself completely, including as a bottom. I am on PreP and aspire to one day take as many loads as you did that weekend! I take good care of myself, but am wary of the risks associated with other STIs with that type of play. Do you have any advice for me? Regardless, I really appreciated your article. It made me hopeful 🙂

Hi Ross,

My English friend in college who named me “Beastly” was also named Ross. My above advice applies to you too. I don’t think that article was on this blog — it was on the Fort Troff blog, and has probably been removed. But thanks for getting inspired by my sluttiness.

Love, Beastly

So I love this blog and it shows that it’s a safe space to ask questions so I have a couple. I love sex and I feel like I am a very sex positive person but for some reason I have been wanting to bottom but every time I go to a bathhouse or with a partner I get scared to. And also I fisted someone the other day for the first time which was hot but then I freaked out and became scared of unleashing my inner kink. Why am I like this?

Hi kink freak,

You’re like this because you’ve been taught that non-normative sex requires some kind of sickness or underlying issue — that some sex stuff is “too extreme” so you must be warped and wrong for doing it. And your fear of bottoming is the same bottoming complex that every other gay man has — like this guy and this guy and countless more.

Every time I get fisted, I get a little scared and have to work through my fear. Every time I walk into a sex club where strangers are fucking strangers, I get overwhelmed and nervous. These feelings have defeated me some nights and I had to leave. Other nights I’ve managed to work through them and overcome them with encouragement from friends, with the confidence of drugs and booze, or with my own inner reserves of strength and will.

As I told your comrade above, there is always some fear in the hunt, and fear is good. It can keep you in check, keep you safe, keep you smart. But too much fear will keep you from experiencing what you want to experience, and then one day you’ll be middle-aged and wish you had played more freely when you were young.

Not to scare you with the ticking clock, but you are only here briefly and never again. Now is the time to go hard.

Love, Beastly

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