It’s Saturday night in Atlanta and James is once again on the prowl.... He heads to his favorite gay bar. Before long he has worked up a sweat to the driving beat of dance music and the crowded room of men.The sensation of being alone in the crowd makes him feel united with something beyond himself, although he might have a hard time putting it into words. He feels alive and connected in a way that makes him high. He senses that he is part of this community of sexy, writhing men and it's important to him, even though he hasn’t spoken a word other than to order a few drinks during the first two hours of his night out. He feels sexy and alive in a primal way.
It’s well past midnight now and James drives off and heads to Midtown with Ted. The bass beat still makes his head pound – but that’s not the only part of him throbbing. The connection James felt at the bar echoes within him as he and Ted undress one another and explore each other’s bodies. Not all sex happens within a relationship. While many men equate sex with love and intimacy, many other men do not.
Men who make a distinction between sex and romantic love are looking for something else. For some it is simple pleasure or erotic relief. For others there is another quality to this part of their erotic selves – a sense of connection to an erotic tribe of gay men.
Tribes have certain rituals; members have ways of acknowledging one another. Some tribes are homogeneous, with everyone looking and behaving pretty much alike; other tribes make room for all sorts of members, so long as they go along with the rituals and rules. Gay tribes come in both flavors.