There's wrestling, then there's Wrestling, and there's also _wrestling_ - and all three, in one way or another, are sexy.

First off, there's your classic Greco-Roman real-sport-type wrestling, the kind with high school teams, rulebooks, and Olympic medals. Back in the days when ancient Greeks and Romans were the ones actually doing the grappling, they wrestled in the nude. But even with the lamentable addition of singlet uniforms, there's something pretty damn erotic about two fit guys grabbing and grunting and pinning one another to the mat.

Most hardcore sport wrestlers would deny that, of course. Members of gay wrestling leagues are adamant about it: sex has nothing to do with their sport. "I'm just sick of people thinking we wrestle with hard-ons," says one accomplished middleweight. Okay, have it your way. But for many a closeted teen, it's as close to a live sex show as it gets.

As wrestling enthusiast Greg says, "The physical combat of muscle straining against muscle, neither man wanting the other to be dominant, brings testosterone boiling to the surface and releases endorphins into the bloodstream. When else besides sex is it okay for a man to roll around on the floor with another men, both of them wearing practically nothing, and achieving that kind of physical intimacy?"

Then there's Professional Wrestling, the televised circus that has much to do with the Olympic version of the sport as Las Vegas has to do with real life. It's male-male competition turned to steroided show biz, but plenty of gay guys think that some of those pro wrestlers are hot stuff. Of course, pro wrestlers' ever-so-macho nicknames and ultrabutch demeanor are designed to be thoroughly non-queer. But every once in a while an obviously flaming wrestler hits the ring, usually scripted to be a villain. His ludicrously "faggoty" presence serves to deflect suspicion from the rest of the show, allowing legions of hormonally-charged teenage boys to reassure themselves that there's nothing the least bit ... funny ... about their love of watching one muscled, half-naked guy squeezing another hunk's head between his thighs. It's "The Rock," not "The Cock," right?

And then there's _wrestling_ number three, the out-and-out sexy stuff. Unsurprisingly, there's a whole genre of wrestling porn featuring naked guys throwing each other around, sometimes-but-not-always with actual sex thrown in as part of the match. Perhaps the most famous purveyor of this sweaty stuff, who goes by the name Old Reliable, specializes in match-ups between tattooed, slightly disreputable, supposedly straight street boys; the "rough trade" angle amps up the hypermasculinity of all those straining muscles, exposed buttholes, and flopping dicks.

Sex wrestling is, indeed, good dirty fun, so much so that many a gay guy has staged his own erotic wrestling bout. This sort of play can range from impromptu grappling in the bedroom to planned matches in a basement ring. Jack, who likes the no-holds-barred stuff, has a steady stream of opponents, both queer and straight. He confides, "Even men who say they're straight can get hard from naked wrestling, so sometimes after the match I blow 'em."

Jack's matches may qualify as safe sex, but they're hardly safe. He likes it rough, and sometimes somebody gets hurt. "I get off on the danger," he says, "and I make sure the guys I wrestle enjoy it, too." As with other consensual scenes, it's important that the rules, if any, be negotiated clearly from the start. The stakes, too. "I've done matches where the rule is 'loser gets fucked,'" says Jack. Okay, so maybe some hungry bottom will throw the match. At least he won't end up bellowing into a TV camera "Next time I wrestle him, Mean Gene, I'm gonna end up on top!"

Erotic wrestling may look like a struggle for power, and yeah, it is. But it's also a mutual sex %%^ scene. However heated the match, whoever body-slams whom, it's one competition where _everybody_ wins.

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