‘Can you say more?’

‘Well, why you are so sure that all the men you meet casually only want what they say they do–to stick to the rigid game plan/SM scenario. Might they not be longing for something else as well, you do! And it’s not true that’s all you can give, that’s all you choose to give’.

‘Well they probably do want more, they sometimes try and talk to me …I’m just realising this now. If I get to know them it will soon show that I am not what I pretend to be. They’ll see me as everything else I am–weak and I cry a lot… (Mmm) and then they won’t want me anyway.’

‘Or are you also anxious that they are not as submissive as you imagine them to be? Your fear prevents a relationship from developing, whatever the setting, be it a sauna or somewhere more romantic’.

‘Really, that sounds like what I sometimes feel–that I am afraid of all men. I make them larger than life. I don’t have that with women. Neither the men I look up to or look down on live up to what I carry in my head.’

The analysis need not stop or remain stuck at this point. I went on to suggest to D that, underneath this view lay an old heterosexist assumption (mind set), which he had bought into. This constrains the possible modes of exchange into binary pairs starting with penis/vagina, active/passive, man/woman and also attempts to mimic heterosexual coupling between two men. The ‘straight mind’, as the late feminist writer Monique Wittig argued, could not conceive of a sexual act not involving a penis–the same straight mind perhaps that finds it difficult to allow two penises to both be active/passive/flaccid/erect–both flaccid and both erect (Wittig 1992: 32). Needless to say, the ‘straight mind’ is not the exclusive property of heterosexuals. In the early history of gay visibility, it was almost compulsory to take up one of the positions that mimicked heterosexuality; there were tops and bottoms, butches and bitches, butches and femmes perhaps to make it more comprehensible to the society at large. Contemporary gay culture is far less preoccupied with these divisions–many men describe themselves as ‘versatile’ and one of the aims of the word ‘queer’ is to express the undecidability of sexual practice preferences. D struggles with this desiring and fears a greater fluidity in his identity, at the same time as both the old certainties and new possibilities have left a mark on different aspects of his personality.