Holding Back

Self-Described ‘Black Queer Man’ Says Being Celibate Improved His Sex Life

Sex is historically pretty easy to come by as a gay guy. But what happens when you want more?

Writer and self-described “black queer man” Aaron Barksdale decided to give celibacy a shot to see if he could move beyond the casual hookup. In his essay for Out, he laments the all too common “Grindr hookup” and explores the role his race plays in the gay community.

Related: A Black Man Answers: “Are Black Men Really Bigger?”

How did he start?

I began by deleting my dating apps, which have become all but useless. With a few taps, the hundreds of ghosted conversations I’d had with eligible bachelors disappeared as quickly as they were swiped right.

Clearing my phone of distractions was easy, and in the first week, I thought, “I can do this—no problem.” My celibacy only included abstaining from penetrative oral and anal sex, but I continued to masturbate alone or with a partner. And though my sexual frustration gnawed at me like a rabid animal for more, I was determined to reclaim a part of my sexual power that was different from embracing my natural desires.

And he gets pretty thoughtful about being a black man in a white gay world:

Being black, queer and having predominantly dated white men, meant that abstaining from sex was to avoid white ideals of beauty that I am usually drawn to.

Historically, black men and women have been portrayed as overly sexual as a way to disregard our humanity. The roots of this misconception come from slavery when black bodies were used for breeding in an economy based on free labor.

His first trip back to the bedroom after celibacy was pretty amazing:

After 40 days of celibacy, I finally “broke the seal” with a one-night-stand with a friend. The experience felt explosive, tantric, and heightened from the extended period of deprivation. But aside from just connecting with someone physically we also developed a deeper bond outside the bedroom, sharing stories about our childhood, work, and dating other men.

It’s a fascinating read that you should really get into. We hope Aaron Barksdale finally finds what he’s looking for, and we’re sure he won’t be the last guy to take this path to do so.

Related: Is It True What They Say About Black Men?