Um. No. Don’t Give Me Old Time Religion.

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I am at the place in my life where I’d like to explore spirituality beyond the coercing of my mother, and I refuse to tell her because she’ll think I’m giving my life black to God and let’s be very clear: That’s not what I’m doing.

I’m just trying to recognize that a force beyond myself is at work because I’m only so competent, and I’d like to be able to thank something other than statistics and chance when shit somehow goes right.

My requirements are few and quite simple:

No group that believes they’re exclusively right. If you’re way works for you, congratulations. If my way doesn’t work for you, shut the fuck up. It can all be that simple. If you have found a way that makes your time on earth fulfilling, go practice that way. Bashing anyone else, I imagine, would only take away from the time you could be spending practicing the way you claim makes your life enriching. I’m also deducting your religious group points if you cosign any of the moments your deity told anyone in your squad to kill someone who was minding their business, or take land that people were already happily living on.

No Religious group that thinks I’m finding them out of tragedy. I know the common narrative for a man in his 20’s is I’m supposed to be finding God after being strung out on crack or some other frightening rock-bottom experience. This is not my case. My life is great. I work a job I enjoy. I talk to my parents. Our relationship is good considering we represent two distinctly different groups of black people. I’m healthy. I’m starting to reach the point where I’m recognized for my writing when I run into people I had no idea even read.

My life is going well.

I just know damn well I had almost nothing to do with that.

So I’m trying to develop a practice where I can give God some credit for my life.

No Group that dislikes other people for no explainable reason. I’m not explaining myself beyond that line. If your variation of God doesn’t like people who are gay, poor, immigrants, or have experimental and consensual sex as means of better understanding the human body God gave them, your God can go to hell.

Nothing Ironic. A coffee shop I go to has a day where Atheist get together.  Have no idea what they do. I’m not brave enough for atheism. I’m too black for that shit. Something has to exist, and yes, this contradicts my “don’t tell people how to believe” theory but I’m not telling people how to believe, I’m simply saying mankind RARELY ever gets it right, and yet here we are. That’s pretty amazing, and I don’t think we can take credit for that.

I acknowledge if “God” is way too complex to figure out right this minute, but something has to exist that got me right here, right now, and I don’t have to know all the ins-and-outs to be grateful.

No Religious Group that thinks they know better for my own life than I do. I need you to respect my own journey as unique and ultimately, mine. I think it’s great God told you to get married in your 20’s and have all your kids shortly thereafter. I didn’t get that memo for my life. I’ve felt no inclination to that calling, so no, don’t tell me that’s what God told me to do. I’ll tell you where your God told me you can shove it.

I’m not knocking any religious group or organization, specifically. Although, It’s definitely going to be a polite no thank you to Scientology. I think there’s a lot of overlap between most religions. I’m also aware that there’s room for interpretation in any text that includes words or developed from the spiritual equivalent of hearsay.

I think Jesus had it right with the whole, “God’s plan and my existence are kinda one and the same, but if I try to explain that, y’all bitch asses gon’ try and crucify me

I’m down for Buddha’s Get away from all the fuckery people put on you, find yourself, (spoiler you’ve been you the entire time) and have some sex on the way.

I’m down for Rumi’s, any answer you ever needed has been with you, just shut the fuck up and listen, approach.

And like my interpretation of these great teachers messages, I too need to find a place where I can let my irreverent-self embrace the spiritual experience.

The Intense Stuff

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There is nothing romantic about the process behind me fining sexual partners. It’s about as sexy as that last sentence.

It’s calculated, it’s a little cold and to-the-point. I imagine it’s a bit confusing for the perspective candidates who really just sent me some nudes and thought we we’re gonna smash on contact.

But surprise. I have fucking self-restraint.

I’m also very clear about what I want upfront, that’s because at my tender age, I think I’ve experienced too much and I know a little bit of clarity goes a long way when it comes to men, and definitely gay men, but probably men in general.

“I like to bottom.” Explained one guy who I don’t think was being honest about his age.

He didn’t know I already eliminated him as a possibility because if you can’t be honest about your age, I don’t know if you’ll be honest about other important things, like…I don’t know….diseases. I also eliminated him because at his age (and I’m not giving him a day younger than 35, which to me, is fantastic, but you had to go and lie about stupid shit) he should know so much more about his sexual taste than him being a top or bottom. If I wanted to be stuck with that, I’d stay dating 18-year-olds. I swear until you’re about 24 or 25 you identify by how you enjoy your sexual experience. You don’t top or bottom, you ARE a top or bottom. You navigate the world by topness or bottomness. It’s as important as your race and gender. You’re pretty much intersectional.

“Well….I’m a bottom.” You might tell someone when you’ve only really had sex twice and there’s no real way to tell if that’s the team you’ll be joining for the rest of your life. You also won’t tell me how you like to bottom – those are important details. Are you an aggressive bottom? Do you prefer being dominated? Have you had a lot of experience? Are you new to sex in general, and you’re looking to learn something? Details, please, details.

If you can’t give me details, I’ll imagine you aren’t particularly self-aware, if you aren’t self-aware, please don’t have sex with me. Keep having sex with you, and other people living their lives unaware.

“I like big cocks.” You’ll say without knowing that as a black man, the word cock makes me a little uncomfortable. Also I won’t have any idea what you’re talking about for a couple seconds if you talk about “rimming”; we have a whole other word for that where I’m from. And yeah, let’s talk about it, If you use the word cock, and you tell me you like them big, I know that you probably only like black men for their penises.

I won’t dock you any points for this if you can just be honest about that. You work a white-collar job, you’re married to a woman who doesn’t like to have sex with you anymore. All you have in your life is money and you feel empty. You use to be exciting and now your favorite color is beige. I thoroughly believe sex is a beautiful time to confront the ugliest parts of ourselves, so say it. Say you like to have sex with black men because in real life, you pretend to not like us, fear us even, when in actuality, all you want is to be destroyed by the big black cock that you’re mesmerized by.

Yes. I freak men the hell out with my preliminary questions prior to us agreeing to be friends with benefits and in the spirit of honesty, I’m not really looking for any more friends. I have enough, some days, I have too many. I’m just looking for benefits.

I ask the probing questions before I agree to probe anything. If my process is too slow-paced for you, feel free to go anywhere else. I don’t skip the process. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where we admit some of the things we’ve ignored about ourselves during the daylight. It’s where we embrace some of the things we put on hold at our jobs.

The best sex I’ve ever had was with a man who had lost his mother during his teen years and never met his father. I learned this after asking him about a tattoo on his arm. He told me about how difficult it was to navigate the world with nobody. He told me about how difficult it is to live when you’ve been dealt an unfair hand and still have to press forward. That shit is frustrating, it’s wearing. Our sex was phenomenal. I could feel the mix between his intensity, anger, his wanting to be close to someone. Sex lets us bring all that into the room

Pressing himself into me he whispered into my ear, don’t worry, I’ve got you and I believed every word, not even because I’m dumb, but because that come from someplace.

Maybe words he wanted to hear, maybe it was words he missed hearing, I don’t know, but something there felt real. There ain’t a lot of real no more.

He hit me up every day the month after. I ignored the call. He hit me up over the summer. Sometimes from new numbers, hoping to get in contact with me.

I was wrong. I know. I was also young and that connection was too intense. I was not ready for anything that real.

After accidentally answering once, he confessed, “I have never had anything like that with anyone.”

I know I wasn’t anything exceptional. I was way too young to have any sexual expertise, but what we had wasn’t about a technique or who topped or bottomed, that shit was about letting ourselves be honest about who we were and what we wanted. He was some DL guy living on a side of town that would have horrified my parents, and I was freshly from the west coast and going to school in small town North Carolina. We didn’t want to be boyfriends or start a relationship. We just wanted to be ourselves, and there’s something wild that happens when we’re allowed to be.

It’s intense, it’s other-worldly, it’s frightening.

So now I interview potential sexual partners. I ask questions. I don’t give a fuck what you do for a living. I’m not going to listen to you brag about what you drive. Don’t fake your age.

And dear god, do not go on about how you’re a top or a bottom.

I have important questions and the sooner you answer, the sooner we can get to the good stuff.

The intense stuff.