It goes without saying that there are a great many words and phrases that relate to casual sexual encounters. “Trade” is one such word. The word originates from Polari (post #22), the now almost entirely defunct gay “slanguage” from The United Kingdom.
“Trade” originally referred to a straight male who was the sexual partner of another man, either gay or bisexual, and quickly came to describe any pair of male sexual partners. Over time, the term has also been commonly attributed to younger or economically-disadvataged man who becomes the sexual partner of another older, or considerably more affluent, man.
Some specific examples of its use relate to men who seek out overtly masculine sexual partners. For instance, some men will seek out service members of the armed forces, who exemplify for them a very masculine example of manhood. These men are referred to as “military trade“, and may or may not be gay.
Currently, and in most cases, the word is used casually to refer to any male sexual partner of another man.
Ex: “I was at my favorite bar again last night, trying to pick up some trade.”, or “Did you see Chris and his trade come out of the club when it closed last night!”
1. the male sexual partner of another man; depending upon the circumstance may identify as straight, bisexual, or gay; individual may also receive payment after sexual acts are performed
[Related: “hook up”, “MSM” (men who have sex with men), “one night stand”, “rough trade”, “trick”]