July 20, 2007
V 35 Issue 29

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Sex Talk by Simon Shepard
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Sex Talk: What you wear by Simon Sheppard - SGN Contributing Writer

When people think about sex, the word "naked" often springs tumescently to mind. Apparel, though, can be an aphrodisiac. Sure, what you wear can convey how you feel about your body, denote your social status, or keep you warm. But clothing can also get you hard - and get others hard, too.

Dressing and screwing can connect in a number of fashions. Scads of Speedo-clad Gay guys know that the right wearables can be as sexy as nothing at all - or, some men say, even sexier. Moreover, generations of image-conscious Queers have used clothing as a wearable signifier of their sexual selves. In the old pre-Gay-liberation days, donning a silky ascot and tighter-than-tight trousers was a way of coming out - at least to those in the know - without having to actually say the words. Later, the rise of the famous "clone look," featuring butch blue jeans and flannel shirts, proclaimed, "I may like to take it up the butt, but I'm still a Real Man." Nowadays, hip-hop fashions read as young and cutting-edge, black leather promises perversion, and an updated clone look - with a "wifebeater" stretched tautly over pecs - advertises time well spent at the gym. And next year...who knows?

Fashion-as-image can also spill over into sperm-rousing, fetishistic sex scenes. A good business suit, for example, bespeaks not just wealth, but power, and that can make sex hot. As one happy submissive notes, "I love being dominated by a man in a suit and tie. There he is, standing over me fully dressed while I'm kneeling naked, sucking him off." And those not into Armani might prefer to play in motorcycle gear, soccer outfits, military garb, or - on the less butch end of things - hot drag.

Specific wearable items - especially underclothing - have their share of rabid fans. A yen for guys in jockstraps is so widespread it doesn't even seem kinky, and there are those hung up on thongs. But donning other garb, kinky stuff like silky women's panties or disposable diapers, places a man beyond vanilla. "I don't know why wearing women's pantyhose is so hot for me," confesses one super-masculine man. "But just pulling them up over my legs gets me instantly stiff."

Then there are the sensory aspects of clothes. One cowhide fancier enthuses, "New black leather not only looks great, like a shiny second skin, but the smell of it goes straight to my shaft." And a jock in his 20s says, "I really love playing with a guy wearing those nylon running pants, jacking his stiffie through the slippery material. It's really sexy."

When it comes to fashion, though, one guy's idea of terrific might well be another's quintessence of tacky. "I was at a friend's house," says our leatherman, "and I came across a catalog of supposedly sexy swimwear. There were these little semitransparent pouches of neon-colored stuff, like something a Vegas pole-dancer would wear. Somebody must buy them, I guess." He smiles. "But hell, I wear metal-studded leather codpieces, so maybe I'm not one to talk."

Clothes might make the man, but they can also mislead. As one fellow remembers, "One of the fiercest tops I've ever known was this drag queen. She looked frilly, but once she pulled her skirts up and got to!" And as straights and Queers swap fashion sense, things can get confusing. The clone look was, after all, borrowed from mostly straight cowpokes, only to be later adopted by straight guys in the suburbs. And it's often tough to tell whether a young guy dressed "ghetto" would want to beat you up or beat you off.

Then there are those who'd argue that the very best thing to do with clothing, be it all-black gothwear or a thousand-dollar suit, is to take it off. And stripping itself can be hot. Says one man, "You can tell a lot about a trick by the way he undresses. Some men are provocative, others clumsy. And if a buddy insists on neatly folding his clothes up before hopping into bed, you may well be in for a boring night."

On the other hand, there are those who just love whipping it out and having sex fully dressed. When fashion meets fooling around, anything goes, and if some cynics say it's all about "costume," nothing more than an image-building put-on, well&hard crotches don't care. Ever since Adam put on that fig leaf, clothing has been a big deal. So try dressing for sexual success. Your love life - and your local department store - will thank you.

Simon Sheppard is the editor of Homosex, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at Visit Simon at


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