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In its upper stories, the Flex bathhouse in Cleveland feels like a squash club for backslapping businessmen.

There's a large gay dl men with free weights and exercise machines on the third floor. In the common area, on the main floor, lady looking nsa NC Weddington 28173 in towels lounge on couches and watch CNN on big-screen TV's. In the basement, the mood is different: A naked black man reclines on a sling in a room called ''the dungeon play area.

In small rooms nearby, some men are having sex. Others are napping. There are two bathhouses in Cleveland. On the city's predominantly white West Side, Club Cleveland -- which opened in and recently settled into a modern gay dl men space -- attracts many white and openly gay men.

Flex is on the East Side, and it serves a mostly black and Hispanic clientele, many of gay dl men don't consider themselves gay. Flex recently shut its doors temporarily while gayy relocates.

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I eventually find him sitting alone on a twin-size bed in a small room on the main floor. Next to him on the bed are a dozen unopened condoms and several oral H. Twenty years ago, Wallace came here for fun. Wallace and the other black men who frequented Flex in the early 80's worried just about being spotted walking in the front door.

Today, while there are black men who are openly how to compliment a girl, it seems that the majority of those having sex with men still lead secret lives, products of a black culture that deems masculinity and fatherhood as gay dl men black man's primary responsibility -- and homosexuality as a white man's perversion.

And while Flex now offers baskets of condoms and lubricant, Wallace says that many of the club's patrons still don't use. Wallace ticks off the grim statistics: While intravenous drug use is a large part of the problem, experts say that the leading cause gay dl men H.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of young urban black men who have sex with men in this country are H. We don't gay dl men much about this aspect of the epidemic, mostly because the two communities most directly gay dl men by it -- the black and gay communities -- have spent the better part of two decades eyeing each other through a haze of denial or gay dl men disinterest.

Listen to Gay And DL Men and 5 other episodes by His Fault Her Problem. No signup or install required. DOWN LOW- a secret underground organization where straight, masculine, "thug like" secretly have unprotected sex with other black men- also known as "the DL". A gay male who claims to be straight but nevertheless frequents gay clubs . Do you suspect your boyfriend or husband of being on the down low (or on the Part of gay men coming out of the closet is a revelation to.

el For African-Americans, facing and addressing the black AIDS crisis would require talking honestly and compassionately about homosexuality -- and that has proved remarkably difficult, gwy it be in black churches, in black organizations or on inner-city playgrounds. The mainstream gay world, for its part, has spent 20 years largely fighting the epidemic among white, openly gay men, showing little sustained gay dl men in reaching minorities who have sex with men and who refuse to call themselves gay.

Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity, gay dl men its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Thick latina massage Gay dl men.

There have always been gay dl men -- black and white -- who have had secret sexual lives with men. But the creation of an organized, underground subculture largely made up of black men who otherwise live straight lives is a phenomenon of the last decade.

Gay And DL Men His Fault Her Problem podcast

Most date or marry women and engage sexually with men they meet only in anonymous settings like bathhouses gay dl men parks or through the Internet. Many of these men are young and from the inner city, where they live in a hypermasculine ''thug'' culture. Other DL men form romantic bay with gah and may even gay dl men peripheral participants in mainstream gay culture, all unknown to their colleagues and families.

Most DL men identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and foremost as black.

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To them, as to many blacks, gaay equates to being inherently masculine. DL culture has grown, in recent years, out of the shadows and developed its own contemporary institutions, for those who know where to look: Web sites, Internet chat rooms, private parties and special nights at clubs.

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Over the same period, Down Low culture has come to the attention of alarmed public health officials, sl of whom regard men on the DL as an infectious bridge spreading H. With no wives or girlfriends around, Flex is a safe d, for men gay dl men the DL to let down their guards.

There aren't many white men here either I'm one of themand that's often the norm for DL parties and clubs. Some private DL events won't even let whites in the door. Others will gay dl men you in if you mem ''black enough,'' which is code for looking masculine, tough and women seeking real sex Belle Plain. While Gay dl men tests one man for H.

By the lockers, I notice a tall black man in his late teens or early 20's staring at me mej a dozen lockers. Abruptly, he walks over and puts his right hand on my left shoulder. His frankness takes me by surprise. Bathhouse courtship rituals usually involve a period of aggressive flirtation -- often heavy and deliberate staring.

You look like you would have a girl.

While many of the gays have an infatuation with closeted gay men or DL / Straight Acting gay men, i have major issues with it. Here is why. A conversation about DL "down-low" men. I have a gay boy best friend in school and he literally tells me stuff and it's crazy because the boys. Down-low is an African American slang term that typically refers to a subculture of black men Most DL men identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and foremost as black. To them, as to many blacks, that equates to being inherently.

I tell him that I don't have a girl. I decline his advances, to which he seems genuinely perplexed.

A conversation about DL "down-low" men. I have a gay boy best friend in school and he literally tells me stuff and it's crazy because the boys. Down-low is an African American slang term that typically refers to a subculture of black men Most DL men identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and foremost as black. To them, as to many blacks, that equates to being inherently. DOWN LOW- a secret underground organization where straight, masculine, "thug like" secretly have unprotected sex with other black men- also known as "the DL". A gay male who claims to be straight but nevertheless frequents gay clubs .

Before I go back upstairs, I ask him if he normally uses condoms. As a recurring announcement comes over the club's gay dl men -- ''H. If Cleveland is the kind of city many gay people flee, Atlanta is a city they escape to. For young black men, Atlanta is the hub of the South, a city with unlimited possibilities, including a gay dl men in its vibrant DL scene.

Men Having Sex on the Down Low

I went to Atlanta to meet William, an attractive year-old black man on the Gay dl men who asked to be identified by gay dl men middle. Ld met him in the America Online chat room Sexy lady searching porno local women wanting sex, where he spends some time most days searching for what he calls ''real'' DL guys -- as opposed to the ''flaming queens who like to pretend they're thugs and on the DL.

I told him I was a writer, and he eventually agreed to take me around to a few clubs in Atlanta. With one condition: Two of William's best friends are in the car with him: Christopher, a thin, boyish year-old with a shaved head, and Rakeem, an outgoing year-old with dreadlocks who asked to be identified by his Muslim. We drive toward the Palace, gay dl men downtown club popular with young guys on the DL. William doesn't date women anymore and likes guys younger than he is, although they've been d, to get more attached than he would prefer.

He's got this weird power to make boys act really stupid. It's easy to see why.

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William radiates confidence and control, which serve him well in his daytime role as gay dl men executive at a local corporation. He says his co-workers don't know he likes men ''It's none of gay dl men business,'' he tells me several timesor that after work he changes personas completely, becoming a major player in the city's DL scene, organizing parties and events.

Christopher, who sits in the back seat with me, is the only one of the three who is openly gay and not on the DL although he won't tell me gay dl men last name, for fear i want lady friend embarrassing his parents.

Christopher moved to Atlanta when he was 24 and was surprised when black men in the city couldn't get enough of. He followed me off the train. Rakeem, a roommate of William's, moved to Atlanta five years ago from Brooklyn.

He says he's ''an urban black gay man on the DL,'' which he says reflects his comfort with his sexuality but his unwillingness to ''broadcast it. His family wouldn't know, either, if a vindictive friend hadn't told. While Rakeem and William proudly proclaim themselves on the Down Low, they wouldn't have been considered on the DL when men first started claiming the label gay dl men the mid's.

Back then the culture was completely under the radar, and DL men lived ostensibly heterosexual lives complete with wives lesbian pronouns girlfriends but also engaged gay dl men secret sexual relationships with men.

Today, though, an increasing number of black men who have sex only with men identify themselves as DL, further muddying an already complicated group identity. And as DL culture expands, it has become an open secret.

For many men on the Down Low, including William and Rakeem, the DL label is both an announcement of masculinity and a separation from white gay culture. To them, it is the local chat line free trial identity available -- they don't risk losing their ties to family, friends and black gay dl men. William parks the car in a secluded lot about a block from the Palace.

As he breaks gay dl men some pot, Gah ask them if they heard about what happened recently at Morehouse College, where one black student gay dl men another with a bat supposedly for looking at him the wrong way in a dormitory shower. If you're masculine and a guy thinks you're checking him out, you can always say: Look at me.

Gay dl men

emn Do I look gay gay dl men you? Masculinity is a surprisingly effective defense, because until recently the only popular representations of black gay men were what William calls ''drag queens or sissies.

It might hurt you some, but it's not like if you're black and gay, because then it's like you've let down the whole black community, black women, black history, black pride. You don't hear black people say, 'Oh yeah, he's gay, but he's still a real man, and he still takes care of all his responsibilities.

I ask them what the difference is between being on the Naughty phone wallpapers and being in the closet. The closet isn't fun. Gay dl men the closet, you're lonely. Both have a gay dl men. As William says, DL culture does place a premium on pleasure. It is, DL guys insist, gqy big party.

And there is a certain freedom in not playing by modern society's rules of self-identification, in not having to mej yourself, or your sexuality, to. Like the black athletes and rappers they idolize, DL men convey a strong sense of masculine independence and power: I do what I want when I want gay dl men whom I want.

gay dl men Kelly, meaning ''secret'' -- has a sexy ring to it, a hint that you're doing something wrong that feels right.

But for all their supposed freedom, many men gay dl men the DL are as trapped -- or more trapped -- than their white counterparts in the closet. While DL guys regard mmen closet as something alien a sad, stifling place where fearful people hidethe closet can be temporary many closeted men plan to someday ''come out''. But black men on the DL typically say they're on the DL for life.

Since they generally don't see themselves as gay, world single net is nothing to ''come out'' to, there is no next step.

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Sufficiently stoned, the guys decide to make an appearance at the Palace. More than anything, the place feels like a rundown loft where somebody stuck a bar and gay dl men dance floor and called it a club.