I live at the top of a seven-storey building, right in the centre of Warsaw. It’s quiet – just three apartments on each floor – and right next to a park, two supermarkets, three tram stops, and a bunch of restaurants. My flat has a cosy bedroom, a well-equipped kitchen, a fancy shower, a big living-room, and a log fire. It costs me a fraction of what I’d pay in London for the same amount of space; actually, it costs me a fraction of what I’d pay for half the space.
I love all of those things about this place. None of them are what I love the most though.
Next to the living-room sofa there’s a glass door. It opens out onto my balcony. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have caught a glimpse of my balcony before. It’s where I keep logs for the fire and the mini barbeque that I’ve sworn to myself I’ll use before I leave. It’s covered, so I can go out there even when the rest of the city is getting wet, and it’s big enough that it feels like a proper outdoor space, rather than an architectural afterthought.
I really love my balcony.
Like a lot of people, I reluctantly accept the need to attach labels to my sexuality. Labels are a shortcut – a way to avoid having to explain everything to everyone – and they also help to make us feel less isolated in our desires. We get to put on whichever hat we think suits us best and head out into the world in the knowledge that we’ll find others wearing it too. The hat – the label – is how we recognise them, and how we narrow down the vast pool of potential partners.
My reluctance stems from the fact that quite a few of the labels I apply to myself come with a caveat. Straight? Yeah, sure, but I do like looking at other dudes’ cocks, and occasionally I want to do more than that. Switch? Absolutely…with the right person. With others, I’m a full-on top, and then there are those I only really want to sub for: it’s complicated. Am I monogamous or polyamorous? Vanilla or kinky? Am I a hedonist? A slut? A tease? The answer to all of those is almost always ‘it depends’.
That’s a problem, because with a lot of the hats we put on, we’re not just telling other people ‘I am this’, we’re also telling them ‘I’m not that’. I’m not always comfortable with that level of certainty – I usually prefer to hedge my bets, and leave some of those doors open. Usually…but not always…
I am an exhibitionist. I am not a voyeur.
I enjoy watching people have sex. I enjoy watching my partner masturbate. However, it’s not the act of watching itself that turns me on: it has to have context, and it has to tap into other areas of my sexuality. Tie me to a chair and fuck another guy in front of me, and I’ll be so achingly hard that I might come before you even touch my cock. Not because I get to watch you, but because the kinky submissive in me has a massive boner for that particular kind of power game. I want to hear you moan as you slide down onto his dick, and listen as you tell me how big he is, how perfectly he fills you up. I want to see the look on your face as you come. You can flip it round too. Maybe instead of being tied to the chair, I’m the one in control. Maybe I’ve told you to pick someone up in a club, and now you’re on your knees in front of him, sucking him off while I tell you what to do, his cock deep in your throat, hating and loving it all at the same time.
Watching without context does nothing for me. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely bother with porn. I worry that if I went to a sex party on my own, it would be just like every other party I go to without knowing any of the other guests; I’d end up spending the first couple of hours skulking around the fringes, too awkward to start a conversation with someone and not bothered about watching a bunch of strangers fuck each other, however hot they happen to be.
I’m an exhibitionist because when it comes to being watched, by and large I couldn’t really give a fuck about context. It doesn’t matter whether I’m stripping for someone (or for a group of people), masturbating for them, or fucking when I know we have an audience, I get off on being naked and sexual in front of others. It’s one of the few hats that I’ve tried on, and found to be a perfect fit.
By the end of the Second World War, 95% of Warsaw had been razed to the ground. It was rebuilt in fairly piecemeal fashion: first by the Soviets; then by the socialist government Moscow left behind; and finally by the investors and corporations that flooded into Poland after the Berlin Wall fell, and especially after EU membership was achieved in 2004. It means that the skyline is an odd mix of just about anything and everything you might imagine. Warsaw is not a beautiful city – not in the conventional sense – but it’s a city I’ll never tire of walking around or looking at.
My building dates from the 1980s, as do most of the residential blocks around it. The handful closest to my flat are a couple of storeys shorter, so when I go out onto the balcony, all I can see in the foreground are rooftops. As well as a great view over the city, that gives me a lot of privacy: I can do pretty much whatever I like out there, without having to worry about other people seeing me. Not only that, from my lofty vantage point I can peer down into literally dozens of the surrounding apartments.
A voyeur’s dream; an exhibitionist’s nightmare. I often stand naked on my balcony, and while it’s liberating to be able to do that completely consequence-free, there are times when I’d prefer to imagine that someone might be watching me, especially on those occasions when I get hard and start to touch myself.
For that, I have to direct my gaze a little further out, to a building roughly 200 metres away from mine and 15 storeys high. It’s a building I noticed on the day I moved here, because it immediately brought to mind one of my favourite bits of album artwork, from one of my favourite albums: Original Pirate Material, by The Streets.
I love the pattern of lights in the photo; the knowledge that it would be completely different the following night, and different again the night after that. I have the same thing here. When I go out onto my balcony in the evenings and stare across at that building, I see a new picture each time.
It’s too far away for me to know what’s behind each of the windows. It’s also too far away for anyone who lives there to see me…unless they’re actively trying. If they are, I’ll never know about it. I’ll never know who’s standing next to the window with a pair of binoculars, watching me walk around naked. It could be a woman. It could be another guy. It could be a couple, fucking up against their own balcony as they pass the binoculars between them and stare down at me. It could be a group of women, drinking wine and giggling at how soft and small my dick looks in the chilly evening air.
It could be anyone. I find that really hot, because it allows me to project all of my own fantasies onto them. The woman watching me? She’s shy and sexually inexperienced, but since the first time she saw me out on my balcony, pumping my hand up and down over my cock, she hasn’t been able to get me out of her head; each night she takes up her post at the window in the hope that I’ll do it again, so she can mirror my rhythm on her own clit and come with one hand clutching at the curtain to hold herself upright.
The other guy? A top, and probably an experienced one. He casually jerks off while he waits for his boyfriend to come over. They talk about it in bed after they’ve fucked, and the top suggests tracking me down to see whether I’d be interested in joining them. He likes the look of my arse: it would feel good around his dick, he says. As they discuss it, both of them start to get hard again.
The couple? Well they’ve been talking about spicing things up in the bedroom for a while. She quite fancies going to a sex club, while he’d much prefer just to go to a bar and bring someone back home with them. She thinks he wants to see her with another woman, but when he fucks her from behind on the balcony and it’s his turn to squint through the binoculars, what makes his cock twitch inside her is the thought of watching her suck me off, right there in the bed they share.
And the group of women? That taps right into the CFNM fetish that I got so preoccupied with last night. They’re fresh out of university, and drunk on cheap wine and the thrill of being out in the big wide world. There are four of them. One’s gay, but hasn’t told the others, while the rest bounce from one guy to the next, too young to worry about settling down into anything serious. They laugh about sex together, and swap stories about the guys they’ve been with. Who was great in bed; who couldn’t get it up; who lasted all of 30 seconds and then cried when he came. They spotted me by accident, but now they’re having fun inventing a whole history for me and making crude jokes at my expense.
I know I’m an exhibitionist because the idea of being watched is what acts as the foundation for all of those fantasies. It’s the only common theme: it can turn me on whether I’m feeling dominant, submissive or neither; whether I’m thinking about women, men, or a combination of the two.
When I’m naked on my balcony, I get so aroused by the idea that people might be looking at my body, and working it into fantasies of their own, that I often have to make myself come while I’m out there. Sometimes I have my eyes closed, but usually I stare straight over at the pattern of lights, pick a window in my mind, and think about who might be standing behind it.