Gay Project has just published in Italian a “Manual of homosexuality”: http://gayproject.altervista.org/manuale_di_omosessualita.pdf, that is a guide to know and understand the real problems of gay guys. The manual has 22 chapters. I present here the first chapter in English, in the coming weeks I will publish the next chapters.
CHAPTER 1 – UNDERSTANDING TO BE GAY
Let’s start with a concrete example.
A boy 12 year old (seventh grade) experiences for the first time the spontaneous swelling up of his penis (erection) while he is in the locker room along with his mates and while concentrating his attention on one of them who is undressing. The experience is pleasant, the guy comes home, sits back to think about his mate, goes quickly erect, the feeling is newly nice, the guy starts a long manipulation of his penis (masturbation) at the end of which he feels a strong contraction of the testes (orgasm) that makes a white substance (semen) squirts up from his penis (ejaculation), immediately after the guy experiences a strong feeling of relaxation, as if all the tension caused by sexual arousal had been discharged (post-orgasmic phase). Throughout all this procedure, the imagination is concentrated on the image of the mate undressing in the locker room (masturbatory fantasy).
Let us now analyze this example. It is the discovery of masturbation, that is the first real sexual experience. In this experience, there are two different components linked together, the physical one (erection, masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, post-orgasmic phase) and the imaginative one (masturbatory fantasy).
It is usual to call masturbation also the whole physical-imaginative process we have just described. During masturbation the guy brings to mind the images that had caused the erection spontaneously, because focusing on those images (masturbatory fantasies) he can easily get an erection (sexual arousal through masturbation fantasies) and the erection is more vigorous and all the process of masturbation is strongly addictive. If the masturbatory fantasies of a guy are directed towards other guys we use to say that masturbation is gay oriented, if masturbatory fantasies are directed towards girls we use to say that masturbation is hetero oriented. When the masturbatory fantasies are really spontaneous, they represent the fundamental indicator of sexual orientation: a guy who masturbates in an exclusive and consistent way with gay fantasies is to be considered a gay guy.
Now we go further with exemplification.
The same guy that we talked about before, listening to his mates about masturbation becomes aware that they experience something similar to his own experience in the physical aspect but different with regard to the masturbatory fantasies, and realizes that his mates, during masturbation, don’t focus attention on other guys but on girls. Back home, the guy tries to masturbate focusing on a girl, that is, using the same masturbatory fantasies used by his mates, but those fantasies do not produce results and are on the contrary experienced as something alien and not really exciting. The guy then comes back to masturbation fantasies focused on his mates and the physical response is rapid and convincing.
Let’s analyze the example.
This is the first perception, by a gay guy, of the fact that his sexuality is not similar to that of other guys. The thing in itself would not cause any problem, but the guy, speaking with his mates, becomes aware, with a growing awareness, that his sexuality is considered by his mates as an object of ridicule and as something quite offensive to joke about and begins to connect to his sexual orientation words like gay, fag, queer, fagot and so on, that people use as an insult. This way the guy perceives for the first time the discomfort of being gay, which is not caused by the fact of having a sexuality different from that of the other guys but by the contempt shown by other guys.
But let us proceed with the examples.
The guy that we talked about in the previous examples starts to feel the presence of the guy who is the object of his masturbatory fantasies as something very pleasant, he is happy while being beside that guy, talks to him for as long as possible, appreciates his voice, his physical presence and smile and tends to create a relationship with him. At first that relationship seems to have the typical characteristics of friendship but really differs from friendship because that guy is also the subject of masturbatory fantasies.
All the process described above represents a typical gay love affair, in which there are two components: one affective, which consists in creating a relationship of proximity and affection with the other guy, and the other strictly sexual, which consists in being sexually involved by the other guy assuming him as object of masturbatory fantasies.
For the other guys, who leave similar experiences, but oriented towards girls, the natural outcome of being in love is the declaration of love to the girl they love, that statement is usually taken by the girls like something however flattering. The gay guy understands on the contrary that, for him, declaring his love for another guy carries the risk of being identified as gay and thus being branded with offensive epithets by his mates and also by the guy he is in love with. In essence, the gay guy realizes that he’s a gay guy in a group of guys who have a different sexual orientation and concludes instinctively, that not to be labeled as gay by his mates, he has to pretend to be straight.
So far we have presented a very simple model of getting aware of being gay applied to a 12 year old gay. In reality, this scheme can be complicated by many disruptive factors. Let us therefore examine the most important factors that interfere with the awareness of homosexuality. Consider an example.
A guy 11/12 year old is involved in sexual games with a girl slightly older than him, his first erections are not really spontaneous but are induced by the interplay of sexual manipulation by the girl, which is especially rewarding because allows the preadolescent to perceive himself like a man. The guy will repeat on his own the handling of the penis and will arrive at the discovery of masturbation and, at least apparently, his masturbatory fantasies will be oriented toward girls, but in this case during the masturbation the spontaneous sexuality cannot emerge just because the first erections are not spontaneous but are induced by a girl through explicit sexual advances (the manipulation of the penis or the intimate caresses). The sexual imprinting , that is the first real sexual or para-sexual experience, in this case, has been experienced by the guy “in a straight atmosphere” due to external elements (the girl) and thus was not the result of the sexual spontaneity of the guy, but nevertheless such sexual experiences are not superficial. The hetero imprinting can induce quite easily masturbation fantasies related to the imprinting, i.e. hetero fantasies, rather than to spontaneous sexuality. Following an hetero imprinting, even a guy who, if he could spontaneously develop his own sexuality, would manifest a gay sexuality, can present a straight masturbation for years. Gay guys sooner or later come certainly out of the constraints that derive from the hetero imprinting because in the long time spontaneous sexuality comes always afloat.
Much more complicated and problematic is the situation of guys who have been subjected to violence or sexual abuse. I would simply point out that sexual abuse can leave on anyone who has suffered it very heavy consequences, particularly if it was committed with physical or psychological violence or by a close family member.
Let us consider now much more common disturbing elements that can interfere with the process of getting aware of being gay. We start here with an example.
An 8 year old guy is part of a larger group of friends and hears them speak with great interest about pornography on the Internet. For him, 8 years old, genital sexuality is still something to come, but he is induced by what he heard to go and see what it is. In this way, the guy discovers pornography, which means, in the vast majority of cases, heterosexual pornography, before having sexual maturity to understand the real meaning of sexuality. In this way, the guy gets a form of pre-orientation toward sexuality almost always towards heterosexuality, which tends to stabilize the guy because using pornography he feels integrated with the group of older guys. Over the years the tendency to imitate the sexuality of the older guys leads that guy to the discovery of masturbation that takes place in a straight atmosphere and therefore manifests a heterosexual orientation. This not spontaneous hetero orientation, precisely induced by the described mechanism, just because it is not spontaneous, may not coincide with the deep sexual orientation and therefore, also in this case a young guy with an exclusive hetero masturbation may be, with the passing of time, having to deal with the subsequent emergence of a spontaneous gay sexuality.
We come now to another important point, namely the education that a guy receives about sexuality, and as usual we consider a concrete case.
A guy has been accustomed from childhood to attend Catholic circles, typically the parish. In that environment he feels comfortable, the family has confidence in the priests and is happy that the child attends that environment because even the parents grew up in that environment and feel it as safe and suitable for the growth of the child. Gradually, from childhood on, that guy has assimilated the values typical of a Catholic environment that are related to the idea of family (father, mother and children), seen as the center of the life of an individual. This model does not create any problem to the guy before his first contact with sex life and indeed is regarded as quite natural because, before discovering sexuality, a guy identifies himself only in the role of child and not in a possible role of father. But there are also other things to take in account, a guy, before discovering sexuality considers as natural the idea that sexuality, which he still does not know concretely, is aimed exclusively to the procreation and that any other use of sexuality is wrong. When the guy discovers masturbation and the horizon of real sexuality, he is brought automatically to suppress the new feelings and to feel guilty about the fact of not being able to do without what he believes to be absolutely to avoid. Up to this point the conditioning of sexuality operated by the religion is practically the same for both gay and straight guys, but for gay guys there are also other problems. In religious circles in general people tend to take for granted that all the guys are heterosexual and the existence of homosexuality is considered as a manifestation of disease and sin. The priests who care for older kids only talk about relationships between guys and girls and these behaviors lead gay guys to stay as far as possible away from homosexuality, considered like a very serious sin but avoidable. Let us pause to reflect on the situation we have just described.
The Catholic Church considers heterosexuality as the only natural form of sexuality and considers homosexuality as a pathological tendency, something against nature, which must be repressed. The Church considers a grave sin every homosexual act, that is, all forms of sexuality shared with someone of the same sex and also considers masturbation a grave sin. The World Health Organization has recognized for several decades homosexuality as a “normal ” (i.e. non-pathological) variant of the human sexuality and homosexuals has been recognized in many states the right to join together to form a family, a family formed by same-sex partners, in some states, it is also granted to homosexual couples the right to adopt children exactly as it is granted to heterosexual couples. The same World Health Organization has explicitly acknowledged the value of masturbation not only as a fundamental element for the formation of sexuality in adolescence but as a positive element that produces pleasure, accompanies the entire sexual life of an individual and also involves married man and women, who clearly have also a sexual life as a couple. The World Health Organization has included education to masturbation as part of sex therapy aimed at the well-being of the person as an individual and as part of a couple.
The teachings of the Catholic Church in matters related to sexuality and especially homosexuality and masturbation, are not only not universally shared but are completely incompatible with what the scientific community says about the same subjects.
Sexuality education in accordance with the dictates of the Catholic Church or other religious groups with similar attitudes, promotes feelings of guilt and leads to the repression of sexuality and especially homosexuality, which is seen only in the dimension of sin and not as a natural and spontaneous behavior.
What are the consequences of all this for a homosexual guy? The guy tries to force himself toward heterosexuality and considers homosexuality as a vice to be eradicated, seeks to create a relationship with a girl that can reassure him by giving him the illusion that his homosexuality will disappear if he will be able to resist temptation particularly avoiding masturbation, so in fact the feeling towards a girl will grow “pure” that is not tainted by sex. In repressing masturbation, which would inevitably be gay oriented, and in building a relationship with a girl chastely, that is, without any trace of sexuality, the guy sees a merit, a victory over himself and the sign that his “heterosexuality” is true love and not vice because it is not contaminated by masturbation. In fact the apparent “pure” falling in love with a girl is not really falling in love because is missing entirely any sexual involvement. That apparent falling in love allows the guy to pretend to be straight, relegating homosexuality to the rank of marginal vice that will pass easily, over the years, when he will go to the wedding. It is in essence a problem of removal of homosexuality that is denied and minimized. In some cases, starting with these concepts, when the first attempts to couple sexuality with a girl are successful, the guy can get easily even at the wedding.
The expression “sexual imprinting”, in the strict sense, is used to denote the first sexual or para-sexual experience (nudity, physical contact) that induces, through sexual arousal, the initial orientation of masturbation towards guys or girls. It is quite common to speak of sexual imprinting also about the discovery of pornography and even about the educational pressures. While the discovery of pornography, particularly if very early, can effectively determine the initial orientation of masturbation, and therefore can constitute a real sexual imprinting, the educational pressures act mainly through deterrence. In general, the removal of homosexuality as a result of education does not lead a gay guy to hetero masturbation but to abstinence from masturbation, in this case we can speak of sexual imprinting only in very general terms.
Here it should be clarified that as a guy who lives a straight imprinting can masturbate, for a period of time at least, with heterosexual fantasies, even if he is not straight, so a gay guy, in situations of particular emotional involvement, can have a sexual intercourse with a woman. It should be borne in mind that the true sexual orientation is the “spontaneous” sexual orientation of a person, therefore a guy is gay if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on guys, and similarly a guy is straight if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on girls, but that does not mean that a gay guy, that is a guy who, without any conditioning, focuses his sexuality on guys , cannot, under specific conditions, i.e. with strong constraints, respond to heterosexual stimulation. Similarly, a straight guy, who is spontaneously led to a hetero sexuality, in some particular situations, may also respond to homosexual stimulation. It is precisely for this reason that, in the presence of strong environmental constraints, when the orientation of masturbation does not coincide with that of couple sexuality, the true sexual orientation is what emerges from masturbation because during masturbation the weight of the constraints is enormously less and there is no expectation to satisfy on the part of the partner. The fantasies that accompany masturbation are, for these very reasons, the fundamental index of sexual orientation.
It should be noted that, given that 92% of the population is composed of heterosexuals, environmental pressures that push toward heterosexuality are very strong, while those that push towards homosexuality are virtually nil. That’s why there are many gays who have problems, even for long periods, about their being gay, while it is very rare to find a straight guy who has problems about is being hetero.
About 30% of the guys who end up recognizing themselves exclusively gay have had before periods in which they considered themselves to be heterosexuals and some of them, and not a few, also had sex with a girl and also with more than just one. Those guys are not heterosexuals who have become homosexuals but they are homosexuals who have been induced to pretend to be heterosexuals by environmental pressures or by an education for nothing respectful of sexual spontaneity and typically have lived long and troubled periods of uncertainty about their sexual orientation. It is significant that most of these guys, even when they have a girlfriend and have sex with girls, continues to practice masturbation with gay fantasies.
Let us now deal with elements that can appear but are not indicators of sexual orientation. Let’s consider an example.
A 11 year old guy goes for swimming and compares his penis with that of his peers. In this case it is true that there is an interest in the penis of other guys but it should be clear that for the guy this is only an element of comparison for assessing his own sexual maturation in relation to that of other guys, the same is true when considering physical development, height or strength in relation to the similar characteristics of other guys. All this has nothing to do with homosexuality.
Let’s move on to another situation which is incorrectly related to sexual orientation or gender identity, that is the feeling of being a man or woman. A child about 5 or 6 year old sometimes puts on mum’s shoes, plays with dolls with girls and not at soldiers with his male mates, is at ease with the girls better than with his male mates, does not like to play football and so on.
Such situations are not indicators of sexual orientation or gender identity (feeling of being male or female) but can sometimes express forms of discomfort to integrate into the peer group, often caused by a very rigid education or simply by shyness. Adults should avoid to negatively emphasize these behaviors with attitudes amazed or worried that can really cause insecurities that are likely to remain unexpressed and unresolved.