According to the experience, both personal one and that of many gay guys I know, I’m inclined to think that for a gay guy meeting other gay guys of different ages and even gay mature age is a key thing. Why do I say this? The answer comes also from experience itself: the lives of gay men maintained over time, generation after generation, something constant arising from being gay itself and if the common contacts of everyday life can lead gay guys the “ordinary” adult life, the contacts with gay adults or older gay guys may facilitate the transmission of a wealth of experience typically gay. A gay guy can only learn from other gays what are the specific problems of being gay.
That said, what is the Forum of Gay Project? I can answer that it’s useful to promote dialogue and discussion, but what does that mean “in practice”? The answer is simple, It’s useful to pool the heritage of experience and knowledge developed by other gay guys in the past. The transmission of this heritage is the real purpose of Gay Project that aims to be a collection of first-hand material on the true life experiences of gay guys. Browsing through the various threads, but particularly those in the section “Gay orientation” you may have noticed that I have tried to outline in a summary the most typical problems that a gay man can face, those related to accepting their being gay, those about coming out, those about relationships with parents, to that more specifically sexual. Knowing these arguments can be a remarkable help when there is the real need to address them because we can rely on each other and we can avoid losing years to develop responses which are in fact always the same, generation after generation.
One of the most typical problems that a gay guy is certainly to live is that of his sexual orientation. For many it is not a problem if not social, for many it is a psychological problem significant in terms of recognition of their own orientation or acceptance of it, or both, for some uncertainties remain for many years and even for life. It is this last case that I intend to discuss here.
The experience made me notice that the discomfort associated sexual orientation is inversely proportional to freedom in which the individual lives. In a “free world” the problems of sexual orientation are absent because sexual orientation is not seen as a problem. In societies where homosexuality is forced to an underground life and is subject to radical censorship homosexual orientation has a strong negative connotation that ends up being internalized even by gay guys. In these environments, the indecision about sexual orientation is common for the simple fact that being gay is experienced as something evil by the gays themselves.
Here are some examples (while recognizing that the real situations may be very different). The problems related to sexual orientation emerge in particular:
1) in closed environments in which the community is small and the private is public domain and often becomes the subject of gossip (small countries closed-minded)
2) in communities linked to the religious culture that condemns homosexuality (for example: the tragedy of a priest or seminarian who recognize themselves as gay)
3) under conditions of economic dependence on the family home beyond the physiological limit of 25/26 years
4) when there is an educational dimension intolerant of homosexuality or homophobic attitudes are shown off in the family.
In such situations, the contact with serious gay people and the exchange of experiences is useful to raise awareness and to reduce the fear of homosexuality. It is not uncommon that I happen to talk to guys who experienced uncertainty about their sexual orientation. In these cases, in general, I perceive anxiety basically linked to the idea of clarity. I often say: “If you are straight, no problem, if you’re gay is no problem, if you do not know what you are you don’t have any obligation to past a label on yourself, you do not have to answer to anyone and in any case there is no problem “. Most of the problems of orientation are false problems that will be resolved over time if the anxiety related to the fact of not being straight decreases. It seems incredible how false problems may affect the lives of guys, but the emphasis is constantly placed on sexuality. Family expectations and environmental homophobia contribute to dramatize a situation which in itself has nothing dramatic.
In general, the anxiety associated with doubts about sexual orientation leads guys to non-spontaneous behavior. A guy who does not feel fully nor gay nor straight tries to define his sexual orientation through sexual behaviors that are straight or gay in order to get proofs of his sexual orientation. It so happens that several guys embark on real challenging sexual gay or straight experiences, without any basic conviction, with the unique (wrong) idea that if a guy has sex with a girl he’s straight and if has sex with another guy he’s gay. The relationships that are created on this basis often have a specific feature: i. e. they are essentially sexual and emotional values properly fade into the background. When an undecided guy enters a relationship only to accredit the idea of being straight or gay, in general, usually driven by anxiety of clarity, he’s not even aware that on the other side there is a real girl or a real guy who, unaware of the true motivations of the guy who in their eyes behaves like a lover, can invest in that relationship the whole of their affection.
I had the chance to talk to girls who have contacted me because they had come to realize that their boyfriends were gay even though they clearly stated the opposite. It is not at all certain that a girl refuse a priori a relationship with a gay guy and more than once I have known women deeply in love with gay men, in the full knowledge that they were gay, these relationships can stand very well and can be extremely solid if, even in the absence sex, between the two persons there is a deep emotional relationship. There are women in love with gay men that help them to be what they really are, that is gay. A woman feels perfectly when the man, with whom she also has sex, doesn’t really love her. In such situations a woman often feels used and cannot be able to understand the suffering of his companion. In these cases, in the absence of a genuine dialogue, relationships are going on wearily for years with mutual recriminations but generally the man will not admit being gay not even at the level of hypothesis.
When an undecided guy enters a relationship with another man, he does with the mental reservation of being able to leave at will, that relationship is clearly for him just an experiment. Sometimes and not only in situations of couple crisis, that will inevitably occur, emerges the idea of wanting to “try it with a woman”. Such a speech, that the undecided guy is unconsciously using as a weapon of psychological blackmail motivated by a greater demand for affection, warns his partner, creates insecurity and further destabilizes the couple. If the hypothesis of “try with a woman” comes only after years of cohabitation and without apparent justification, and especially if that hypotesis really occurs, it is to believe that we are facing a true swinging bisexuality (a form of bisexuality that alternates gay and hetero periods). In some cases, however rare, can also occur situations of intermediate bisexuality (not swinging). When this happens, generally, the undecided guy speaks openly to his partner searching for his understanding that he often really finds at least at theoretical level or as simple human understanding. Even in this case, however, the other guy experiences great difficulty.
The situations of indecision are never clarified through experiments to confirm an uncertain sexual orientation but only through dialogue and with the comparison in a climate of freedom and respect.
I should add that when an undecided guy sees the collapse of a relationship lasting years, at a personal level he experiences situations of extreme insecurity. Expect a final decision by an undecided guy, even after years of living together, is unrealistic and, on the other hand, save the coexistence despite its inherent instability not necessarily is the best solution.
I would warn many guys on one point: when a guy shows himself available to a sexual contact with you, but has some mental reservations, tells you not to feel gay or not to fell totally gay or not love you but just want to have sex with you, do not consider his sexual availability as a clear sign of his being gay, often, in fact, the opposite is true. Often undecided guys take the sexual initiative and involve their partners in order to make them enter the relationship, but these same undecided guys, when instead of having sex, you try to talk to them, show clearly their strong indecision. Before having sexual contacts with a guy you have to talk to him a lot, try to figure out whom you have in front of you and if you have the feeling that this guy is undecided, and you really love him, forget the sex and try seriously to build a friendship. Keep in mind that sexual involvements are often deeply wanted by an undecided guy but are lived in a negative form, as if his partner took advantage of him.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=48