Sex Ed in Bed
The Touch of an Older Man, Revisited
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

A few months ago I wrote a column about the importance, yet lack of mentor-like relationships in the LGBT community. The primary example I used was the seven-year friendship with my masseur, David, who had recently been diagnosed with throat cancer. As a sexologist, I’m careful not to use too much anecdotal information and personal stories, as opposed to research-based information just because there is so much misinformation flying around about sex. However, good sex research is such a challenge these days that sometimes the only way to unearth new sexual insights is through experience. Such is the case with what I have further learned through my connection to David.

I am sorry to announce that his cancer progressed more quickly than anticipated and David died last month. As his closest friend, I had the honor of being with him as he transitioned from this life to the next. In my eyes, the fear of dying alone has to be the ultimate in loneliness so nothing would keep me from being at his side. It was truly a privilege because it was the first time in my life I witnessed such an event. Truth be told, when his death appeared imminent I cussed him out for getting to go before me, and he chuckled like he just won a poker game.

What does this have to do with sexuality? Allow me the space to back up some and I promise you there will be some unique insights in the end.

My connection with David by way of massage was primarily focused on stress reduction and muscle relaxation. However, David had years of training in a wide variety of techniques, such as tantric and prostate massage. So over time, David expanded my understanding and experience of touch and sexuality. Consequently, my boundaries of what should and should not be touched gradually and naturally fell away. Be sure to visualize this picture clearly. It was not as if whenever we got together he was ready to pounce down my shorts. Quite the opposite! Whenever we got together, with all the gifts, talents and techniques at his fingertips, he was ready to make me feel incredibly relaxed and blissful right down to the micro-fibers of each and every one of my muscles.

Yes. There were occasions I was relaxed and horny and he could lead me into erotic exercises which would energize me and produce one of those great (as is so popularly labeled in the massage world) “releases.” But just as valid, there were occasions that he would primarily massage my hands in which I could talk him through exactly where the pain was and he would selflessly follow my coaching for what seemed to be an eternity. So when I walked through his door I knew without a doubt that he was there for my well being — whatever my needs were. In fact, it took years for me to get beyond my own guilt that I should somehow be returning his blessings in kind. It took just as long for me to believe him when he would tell me that what gave him the most joy was helping me be relaxed and at peace — body and soul.

How will I ever find a friend like him much less a masseur? Yet, the strange thing is in death, no one can ever take his love away from me. And that’s my point. I know, without a doubt, from years of experiencing his touch and his love that David, to the best of his ability loved me unconditionally. Gay men are more often than not rejected in some ways by their parents. To have an older man to look up to and really know that this mentor loves me unconditionally is very rare indeed!

Furthermore, to have a mentor not only accept a man’s sexuality, but also encourage and educate another man’s sexuality in such a tangible way is something that not even the best of parents can do! That is the gift David gave to me and it is like no other I have received in my life. Wow! What an inspiration to be like him with others when I’m given the opportunity. When I am at peace with myself in every way, when I take pleasure in touch and when I am satisfied sexually in the deepest way possible, I know that this is what David would love for me to do. David is now laughing from the heavens, saying, “Yes! You deserve every bit of it!” I like to think he’s saying that to all of us.

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