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"LIGHTING A CANDLE . . ."
By LIDELL JACKSON
LIGHTING A CANDLE
It's been called a sexual renaissance or a second sexual revolution." But anyway, nowadays in the gay men’s community it seems like there’s more sex than ever before. Even in the midst of a health crisis, freedom of sexual expression among us gay men seems to be re-emerging -- within relatively safe sex guidelines.
Over the past few years, the increase in jackoff and safer sex clubs and backroom places are meeting a need -- the need many of us seem to have to get our rocks off. Only now we’re trying to make a lot of this sex safer sex (trying is the operative word here), in an attempt to achieve as much free sexual expression as there was before the onslaught of an epidemic.
I’ve even heard some guys paint a rosier picture -- portraying our sex nowadays in a relaxed, social, sex-positive environment, free from the furtive, clandestine sex-phobic sexual behavior many of use to exhibit (although, let’s face it -- some of us still like it that way). As for me . . . I’m right in the middle of it. Even in my persona as a longstanding political activist in the lesbian/gay/two spirit/bisexual/transgender people of color community, I belong to -- shall we say -- a vast number of both public and private jackoff, safer sex, and now, even bareback clubs and parties. This means that virtually every night (or at least every other night) of the week there’s a place in New York City that I can go to and have sex in a safe, open and consensual environment -- with anywhere from 10 to about 100-plus good guys ready to go!
Of course, for me as an African American gay man, even after all these years this can sometimes be a problem. There’s something about going to a public sex club or home orgy filled with hot men -- to find sometimes even less than a few Men Of Color -- that’s bound to get you down. For perhaps no particular reason, this sexual renaissance seems to be confined to the white men’s community. Suffice it to say, there just don’t seem to be a lot of Men Of Color in these places. Well, rather than curse the darkness, some friends and I got together way back in the now seemingly prehistoric month of February 1990 and founded our own sex club! It was originally created as a jackoff club for Men Of Color -- modeled after a similar group for Black gay men in Los Angeles created by Alan Bell (founder of BLK Magazine) and called Black Jacks (great name!). We decided that a New York group would have to be more inclusive to be more reflective of the diversity of our New York City gay Men Of Color community.
Hence, Jacks Of Color -- a Safe Sex Club for Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and Multiracial Men Of Color! We started with monthly first Saturday jackoff parties -- and evolved rather quickly into safer sex parties (sucking and fucking with condoms). And nowadays we have just as many parties for Men Of Color and Their Friends, to include those white men -- and Men Of Color -- who feel comfortable in a multiracial environment. We’ve also shifted our focus to concentrate more on the concept of providing guys who come to our parties the privilege of engaging in consensually-agreed-upon sexual behavior with each other, owing to the fact that we are grown adult men here who have the right to not only exercise our own sexual guidelines, but to expect others to adhere to them as well (and adhere to others’ guidelines, too -- we’re talking two-way street here . . . and we’re also talking about the importance of communicating and negotiating guidelines with each other before going at it!). All of that is the long-handed version for the press – in short, we now allow barebacking at our parties as well. As a matter of fact, it is this author’s opinion that it seems important nowadays to have the condom guys and the barebacking guys co-exist in the same environment – not only because it helps to keep us from chastising (and sometimes, demonizing) each other’s sex practices, but also because it forces us to communicate our personal guidelines to each other . . . which, to me, is a good thing! Add to that the comments from numerous condom-guys who admit getting turned on by watching raw sex, even if they don’t do it themselves – plus the comments from guys who ascribe to more, shall we say, fluid guidelines that vary from position to position (and sometimes even from man to man [ ! ] ) – and we’re finding ourselves in a much more seriously-complex, yet surprisingly free, sexual environment than ever before!
With future weekday parties, themed parties and other improvements planned, Jacks Of Color joins the panoply of other gay men’s sex clubs and parties heralding the advent of this second sexual revolution. For more info on New York City’s JACKS OF COLOR, contact Lidell Jackson at 210 Riverside Drive, Suite #11-H, NYC 10025; 212/222-9794; JacksOfColorNYC@excite.com; www.JacksOfColor.com