Have you noticed how self help books assume you are heterosexual? Books from Waterstone’s on THE RULES, THE SECRET and Creating Perfect Adult Relationships never seem to ever have case studies or direction other than straight white. It’s how coffee used to be. No gays, no bi-curious, no swingers, no trannies and certainly no fetish. The attraction of London as a living vibrant destination is that sexuality can be observed, checked out and explored without a blink of an eyelid. The sons of Catholic Europe reside here, safe in the knowledge that they won’t bump into the priest, cousin Mary, or mother’s judging eye when it comes to exploring sexuality. Many of the gay bars and meeting places in London are staffed by East Europeans, Latinos and Orientals escaping the torment of sexually acting out in their birth country where it is still a criminal offence or a shame based notion. They have not come here to learn English, they soon realised that the only way to escape suppressed regimes was to learn English BEFORE they arrived. No point in waiting till they got here, for the net has flashed on-screen the freedoms in London, Brighton or Manchester, and the need to communicate in fluent English. Why live in Poland or Serbia and experience rejection when thanks to Easyjet they can find freedom to be themselves and who they want to be in London’s cauldron of possibilities?
When I came out in 1967 my ‘lifestyle’ was called ‘The twilight world of homosexual shame’ by tabloids and was always connected to scandal and secret double lives. Thankfully we have moved on and no longer criminals. The European Union now promotes equality but many LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer) people do not experience the equality promised in law because religion still dominates most of these European countries. Tired of being the only one in the village, it’s the same for straights interested in non- conformist lifestyles, be it Goth, seriously single or curiously metrosexual, they move on, move out and find their authentic selves. London is not the only anonymous place to explore sexuality but no city in Europe has as much volume, scope, dress code clubs, freedom to act out fetish, dress up or find a sex partner in 10 minutes on the net. London is so vast that people of any sexuality can tap in their post code on a mobile app and be sitting on someone’s sofa at the end of their road before the kettle boils. That’s Grindr for you – which brings me to this week’s theme ‘Look around, look UNDERGROUND…’
Our conscious lives are run by underground subconscious thinking and because of manners, religion and other power based doctrines, sexuality is encased underground too. As self help gurus write about the requirement for relationship, they rarely take into account underground lifestyles and yet underground – with the power of the net – is becoming more mainstream and fetish wear more acceptable. Clubs like HARD ON in London provide activity, entertainment and interaction with like minded beings and yet if participants spoke about these preferences on mainstream personal development trainings I doubt whether the trainers would know how to handle it or offer experienced direction. This is why LGBTQ personal development groups and trainings are vital. Gay male lifestyles and relationship structures are totally different from lesbian couplings – why bunk us in the same bed? Many straight couples enjoy swinging parties, dogging and explore non-conformist sex with the ferocity of gay men on chems, yet rarely do I hear anyone discuss this openly in mainstream workshops and seminars I have attended. Everyone is on best behaviour.
It’s a brave soul that mentions porn on a training course – a hundred eyes will follow you round the room. Last year I led a training weekend on Addictions in a North European Country and a man admitted to the gathering that his great addiction was masturbation. I was amazed by the guys honesty and told him so because in a room of 50 people he was one of only 6 men. Honesty is not always welcome, but he plugged most people in by mentioning the unmentionable. No one hugged him after his share. Throwing yourself into fetish clubs is an exciting way to break boundaries within yourself, your thinking and your parents’ thinking. We all do things our mates know nothing about. However while exploring limits, learn to be clear, avoid people pleasing and say NO when you mean it. GAY’S THE WORD Bookshop near Kings Cross/Russell Square has a vast stock of books on LGBTQ Sexuality and Relationship titles – it’s a good place to read up on fetish and underground ideas.
A good exercise to focus on over a 10 minute period is to dig underground and reveal to another human being or to your diary or the higher gods if you are spiritually inclined, the exact nature of your sexual desires. Check out the web, your partners’ desires or favourite fetish. It’s good to talk, then shamelessly GO FOR IT.