Deep Cuts

My name is Alexander Cheves. My nickname is Beastly. I write about sex. I wrote a book.

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Dear Beastly,

Thank you for offering your wisdom and perspective to a world that desperately needs it. I discovered your blog fortuitously and reading your posts has been one of the most educational and thought-provoking experiences I’ve had in quite some time. Normally I’m a reticent person, but since the world is on fire, I figure I’d risk it all. The only way I can ask my question is by giving some context, so please don’t think I’m just rehashing some sob story. Your time is precious, and this may be a more complicated question than you’re used to receiving, so I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest if you chose not to respond. If you don’t, please know that I’m grateful that you’re doing this important work (as I’m sure are many others), and I wish you clarity and strength during this scary time for us all. (Trigger warning: sexual assault)

Without getting too specific, I experienced repeated familial sexual trauma during my youth, and so I had a very unhealthy relationship with my sexuality and sex in general all throughout my childhood. Soon after I began college, more familial trauma was brought to light, and I spent the years that are supposed to be reserved for experimentation and discovery trying to work through fresh trauma. After college (and god knows a lot of therapy, which I’m still doing), I felt like I was ready to finally begin experiencing sex for myself, but being naïve and inexperienced I found myself feeling nervous and scared and anxious to perform correctly during what few times I had sex. I felt like I was defective, and I couldn’t understand why, knowing that I’m a sexual being and wanting to have these experiences, I wasn’t able to celebrate this part of life I thought would always be off-limits to me. And now I’m thinking that perhaps I am defective. I know enough to know that at my age (I’m 26), I’m much less experienced than my peers and I know that inexperience is a major turn-off, not to mention how I’m crazy and put the “fun” in sexual dysfunction.

So, if you’re still here, here’s my question: Am I too old and fucked up to ever figure out how to enjoy sex and “do it” correctly? Is there only a certain amount of time we get to first engage with sex before it’s time to admit defeat? Intellectually I know it isn’t too late for anyone to do pretty much anything, but I can’t help but look back on my failures and think that I need to realize that it’s time to leave the game of sex to those who are stronger and wiser than I.

Hey sweet man,

Thank you for the kind, generous words about my blog.

My dear, you are 26 — so young. You have plenty of time to discover sex, and you are discovering sex at a speed that is fairly typical for guys like us.

Some queer men do not start exploring until after they have failed marriages, after they have children, after long careers, and after lifetimes in the closet. As you correctly say, it is never too late for anyone (of any age) to do anything, but give yourself some credit: You are younger than the age range at which most previous generations of gay men were able to come out and explore.

You have time, and the work you’re doing to heal from trauma with a therapist is more important than developing sexual skills, which involves nothing more than getting practice. Sexual skill comes with time and failure and is a journey you’ll be on your entire life. It’s never over — I am happily still growing as a sexual being — so there’s no point in stressing about it. We are all discovering sex (and evolving sexually) at different speeds.

Good, satisfying sex can (and does) help heal the deep cuts carved by trauma, but you still need therapy. Everybody does — truly, everyone. You have a therapist, which means you’re already doing really well.

You’re not abnormal, love. A seemingly universal feature of gay life is late starts. We typically spend our early years — the ones in which our straight peers are usually dating and discovering sex — in the closet, which means that many queer men first discover sex in their late twenties and early thirties. Some of the most sexually liberated men I know did not come into their authentic sexual selves until they were past thirty. My ex-boyfriend is one.

He is an absolute sex beast — one of the most impressively sexual creatures I’ve known — but he did not come into himself until he was older than you are now. He struggled for most of his life to find the confidence he now exudes at sex parties across New York. He dove hard into his exploration, as did I, and this is one way that some people process trauma. This way tends to incur more risks and health consequences — I became HIV-positive at a young age and had some scary relationships I wasn’t ready for, which were themselves traumatizing.

You’re free to dive hard into your exploration as I did, so long as you know the risks — the biggest risk being namely that you can’t know all the risks — or you can take baby steps, find the right people, and go at a gentler speed. You seem to be doing the latter, and I think that’s smart. There’s no wrong approach, just a riskier one. The biggest thing to avoid is letting the voice in your head — which is your trauma talking — tell you that you are inadequate and unfuckable. No one is unfuckable. Everyone can find — and deserves — sex. Don’t let your trauma tell you otherwise.

As for being “too fucked up” — I do not believe anyone is barred from happy, healthy sex if they want it. It sounds like you’ve put in the work to unpack and face your trauma, and that’s very brave: I encourage you to keep doing so. Only a therapist can make the call on whether someone is mentally and emotionally able to have healthy sex — but based strictly on your question, I would be suspicious of any therapist who said you were not. You seem self-aware, and you’re working on yourself. That’s big. Some people with severe trauma never get to where you are.

In life, everyone experiences some trauma. Life is brutal and no one survives it. Growing up is painful. People are cruel. It’s jarring to manage shame and fear while growing up in a world like ours. You have a head start compared to the countless people who are not able to even ask the questions you’re asking — who are not doing therapy, who don’t have access to a therapist, and who have no support or resources. You are lucky to have the support of a therapist, and you are even luckier to have the queer community to call home. We as a populace are filled with people who share many of your traumas. We are filled with men discovering sex at the same speed you are.

What you really need right now are friendships. Go hunting for queer friends. If you do that, good sex will come — along with the healing, community, and support you need in order to grow.

Love, Beastly

Hi, Alexander. I’ve followed you for some years now. But I have a question about something that makes me feel really uncomfortable. In the last months, my cuckold fantasy has deepened til I imagine my husband divorcing me to stay with another man. When I’m really high (mephedrone) I ask my hubby to play this fantasy so we take away our rings and sometimes I ask him to marry our third giving him my ring. I get really horny, my mind-blowing with excitement. But after the high I feel really guilty, I feel shame and I go on asking myself “Where I’m wrong?!?!”. Besides my husband and the lovers with whom we played this fantasy, you’re the first I tell this. Not even my therapist…


First, I’ll explain terms like “cuckold” and “cuckolding” for my readers.

“Cuckold” and “cuckolding” are Old English terms that are not widely used anymore — except to define an (increasingly popular) modern fetish scene. You sometimes see the word used in the works of Shakespeare and Chaucer — but they are not talking about the modern fetish scene.

In ye olden times, calling a man a “cuckold” was deeply offensive and would probably lead to a fight — it meant that he was the husband of an adulterous, lecherous harlot, and therefore emasculated. Being a cuckold — or being “cuckolded” — was considered the pinnacle of shame for a man. That’s why we have cast-iron chastity belts in medieval museum exhibits.

But we’re not living in that time anymore. Today, a cuckold is someone who takes pleasure in watching their partner have sex with someone else.

“For most couples who incorporate elements of cuckolding, it looks a bit more like swinging or polyamory, where the primary focus is all on the wife’s sexual engagements,” my friend David Ley — Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and author of Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them — told “While many cuckolding fantasies involve fairly extreme elements of infidelity, sexual behaviors, humiliation, and submission, these appear to mostly be fantasy in most couples.”

So you have a cuckold fantasy. You are certainly not the only one with such a fantasy.

Many people feel shame and guilt for their fetishes and fantasies — that seems to be a near-universal feature of having a fetish. Most fetishes seem to be borne of social stigmas and taboos (if there’s a taboo for something, there’s a fetish for it), and stigmas and taboos are nothing more than devices of shame — they are social shame applied to certain activities, situations, people, and whatever else. Shame might even be the necessary component a fetish, and it has been postulated by some psychologists that a fetish is simply the human mind’s way of coping with something one would normally find abhorrent or disgusting — by eroticizing it.

So some feelings of shame and guilt are normal — in fact, these feelings usually make satisfying your fetish all the more thrilling and intense. But if the guilt and shame are ruining sex for you — if you dread feeling terrible after every hot time — you need to address these feelings.

The best way to grow comfortable with your kinks is to find other kinky people like you. I was terrified of my fisting fetish until I met other fisters and learned from them. Now I am happily connected to a broader, global fisting community, and all that old fear and shame are gone. I’ve played with too many awesome people — and had too many rich, life-defining experiences — to feel shame for this niche little part of me.

Immerse yourself in a community that tackles shame together. Connect with the online cuckold community, which will likely involve exploring a few kink websites and forums, or prowling Twitter — and this, in turn, will likely lead to great IRL sex. Have fun.

Love, Beastly

I have recently come to terms with being Bi. I am married to my wife, but that appears to be ending shortly. I have a huge fantasy about getting gang-banged.

How do I do this as safely as possible? I live in the NYC area.

Hey New Yorker,

Sorry about your coming divorce. But if your bisexuality is part of the reason why you are splitting with your partner, then I hope you find someone who embraces all of you. You deserve that.

Read this post about safety measures and harm reduction when being a group bottom. If you want to have bareback (condomless) sex, read this one too.

There is no special gangbang place to go in New York that will do it for you (well, there probably is, but only if you’re willing to shell out lots of cash). If I were you, I’d create accounts on the various hookup apps and websites available to you as a man who wants to have sex with men — like Grindr, Scruff, Bareback Realtime, Nasty Kink Pigs, and the like — and arrange a group party. This is easiest to do if you can supply the space (if you can “host” the sex party).

If you want an easier, more catered-to-you experience and are willing to spend some money, you can go through a single escort — preferably one you trust or have good experience with. Ask him if he’d be willing to arrange the guys for you (yes, you will have to pay their hourly rates as well, so this option still isn’t cheap) and you can approve them beforehand. I know at least two gay men who have done this, and they both describe the resulting gangbangs as their best sex nights.

You have options. Pig out.

Love, Beastly

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