GUYS WHO DON’T MASTURBATE

[Foreword: all excerpts of e-mail published in this post have been published with the express permission of authors, to which I am very grateful.]

This post is dedicated to those guys who for various reasons have never had the experience of masturbation. It happens to me sometimes to talk in chat with guys who have no experience of voluntary physical sexuality but know the physiological manifestations of sexuality exclusively through nocturnal emissions lived also as something unseemly and dirt. These guys appear on a personal level as characterized by a substantial indifference to physical sexuality and are encouraged to consider physical sexuality like an expression of a defect or lack of control over themselves.

For these guys the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality, in fact, is not very significant because upstream lacks a realistic perception of sexuality. It should be pointed out that often these guys are not teens but young adults between 20 and 30 years which seem at first sight entirely refractory to sexual impulses that their peers consider essential. Clearly, when these guys try to build relationships with other guys or girls, their conception only theoretical and potentially negative of the sexuality makes them look strange in the eyes of others, they are considered as dreamers far from reality, romantic or less politely as people outside the world. Clearly, the lack of a real dialogue on content related to sexual life puts these guys in a state of isolation and marginalization.

Their emotional life without real sexual involvement can be adapted to a life of formal relationships but prevents them from establishing contacts in which affectivity and sexuality are both present in an essential way. In general, these guys do not feel embarrassed to talk about sexual content because for them this is something entirely theoretical. The impossibility of living a substantial physical sexuality in the first person is associated with a very strong emotional dimension, made of tenderness, requests for attention and looking for an important loving presence. Masturbation is considered by these guys as something very negative in terms of vice and the same goes for the couple sexuality in all its forms. It lacks, at least in appearance, any sexual desire.

What is needed here is a reflection on a fundamental moment of adolescence that is the discovery of masturbation. Too often the role of masturbation is trivializes considering it a kind of erotic game end in itself, in reality there is nothing to trivialize because the masturbation leads to the discovery of a desired physical sexuality in relation to a series of sexual fantasies. The association of mental sexual fantasies and physical sexuality is really achieved through masturbation. Sexuality is structured not as a purely physiological phenomenon but as a complex psycho-physiological phenomenon, in which a physiological reaction follows even the only appearance of a sexual fantasy.

The dimension of the sexual pleasure experienced through masturbation, gives a very strong psychic weight to erection and orgasm because connects these things with a projective fantasy directed towards other people. The masturbatory fantasies are usually so fundamental and independent of social conditionings that, beyond the couple behavior, a guy is considered gay if he masturbates constantly fantasizing about other guys.

Masturbation creates and consolidates the so-called sexual archetypes that set the physical types of the guys or girls and situations that for a guy can be highly engaging in sexual level in adult life. A guy doesn’t fall in love with any guy or any girl but only with those that match significantly to his archetypes and we can add that certain situations that are sexually exciting to some are not to others because do not correspond to their archetypes. Years ago, when it was very difficult for guys to access information about sexuality and masturbation was a taboo that was never discussed, the discovery of masturbation was done independently and randomly in the great majority of cases, today, with the fall of many sexual taboos and the spread of pornography even among the youngest boys, the discovery of masturbation is very often the result of an experiment by imitation externally induced. The fact is that masturbation plays certainly a key role in the structuring of adult sexuality.

I should add that, contrary to what is said, masturbation is not something that purely or predominantly belongs to adolescent guys but accompanies a person throughout life and lives normally with the couple sexuality, indeed many diseases of couple relationships are made evident from the fact that one partner masturbates with fantasies outside the couple or if the couple is heterosexual, with homosexual fantasies. When there is no masturbation the perception of sexuality is often altered and reductive, and this fact causes significant consequences.

What can prevent a boy to get to the discovery of masturbation? The possible answers to this question are two: first, the physical impediments, such as hypersensitivity of the glans, which makes penis handling particularly painful and therefore discourages or prevents entirely from the beginning any form of sexual exploration, second psychological barriers strongly internalized. It should be kept in mind that usually some type of physical impediments tend to be less limiting with the passing of years because, for example, the hypersensitivity of the glans generally decreases with age and this implies that some guys may arrive too late to discover masturbation.

Add that since in general the hypersensitivity of the glans tends to decrease very gradually, in these cases the discovery of masturbation is not entirely without problems because masturbation can cause pain or however require techniques that avoid the rubbing of the glans. In these cases, in general, the first impressions that the boys derive from the new experience are not entirely pleasant and usually masturbation is considered an exclusively physical experience, completely independent of emotional involvement because of the lack of upstream experience of falling in love sexually experienced through masturbation, which are the fundamental element of adolescence.

In practice, during adolescence guys learn to associate sexuality and affectivity through masturbation linked to falling in love, the so-called emotional masturbation. For guys now over 20 y. o., since they haven’t lived the typical experiences of adolescence, the association between affectivity and sexuality is not automatic, but looks like something absolutely not obvious. We can say that the belated discovery of masturbation leads to a delayed adolescence, that is to live the experiences of association of masturbation and affection in the adult age.

It is a delicate moment of the emotional and sexual evolution of a guy but if he doesn’t experience forms of rejection of sexuality, the so-called delayed adolescence is resolved in about 12/18 months in which the frequency of masturbation increases progressively and take place the first associations between sexual fantasies and masturbation. For a while affectivity and sexuality can seem still separate realities but with the passing of the months affectivity and sexuality are integrated more and more and eventually reach the full integration of the two spheres and the guy overcomes the delayed adolescence in a typical adult sexuality, i. e. on affective base. Very different and I would say also more complex is the situation of the guys who do not have physical impediments to masturbation but have never practiced it for other reasons. I emphasize that I do not mean the guys who have engaged in masturbation but then voluntarily abstained from it but just the guys who have never practiced it.

Let’s put aside for now the situations in which there may be non-mechanical physical problems (as in the case of hypersensitivity of the glans), but hormonal ones and let us pause to consider the guys who have had a normal sexual development, or who have nocturnal periodic emissions, sign of normal physiological functioning of the reproductive organs and let’s focus on the situations in which the non-discovery of masturbation has psychological or environmental reasons. In these situations it’s certainly impossible to assume that the obstacles will disappear by themselves. Some things should be kept in mind: these guys live in a situation of hardship and tend to close up more and more. The rejection of physical sexuality is understood almost as a personal characteristic and a moral value to which they should not give up but on the other hand these guys live a form of very strong emotional feeling, in lieu of sexuality.

It is from this last item, taken into account as something conscious, that can begin the discovery of physical sexuality in adulthood. In reality, these guys would need a very gradual approach to sexuality from their strong emotional dimension, which is certainly not easy to get. When these guys get courage and approach a guy or a girl are in front of a whole set of expectations and behaviors that are incomprehensible to them and even morally negative because in those behaviors they read a sexual purpose of which they do not understand the meaning. I quote here a passage from an e-mail where a guy explains the situation:

“There was a guy who looked like one as it should be, not one who says only stupid jokes and ambiguous, I tried to speak, but in the end I realized that he was like all the others, for him the meaning of the fact that we were friends was to tell me about his girl and wanted me to tell him about mine, which I never had, I did not know what to say and he was perplexed, I asked why he had given all this emphasis on sex and he told me that it was obvious, I told him that was not obvious to me, then he asked me if I liked girls and I said that I liked them but as friends, and then told me that I was gay but for him there was no problem, but I told him that I never had sexual gay fantasies and I liked being with a guy, but just as a friend, just as I was with him, then he began to look at me strangely and then asked me whom I think about when I masturbate but I told him that I do not masturbate at all nor I did before and I do not understand why people is obsessed by such things, and he was appalled. Then it was over with this guy obviously he was scared but I did not understand why.”

In another passage the same guy describes his first contact with a girl:

“I also tried with a girl, I was fine with her and she with me, We told each other many things, all on msn, we talked so much, she was very sweet and affectionate, at one point she asked me for a picture but I did not send it and at that point I think she was upset but she said I was doing well. We talked a lot, she told me that I was not like the other guys, that I was sweet and she was fine with me and that she wanted to be with me as long as possible. At a certain point, but after a long time, I asked her if she wanted to meet me and she was happy, I thought I had found a true friend as I wanted. We met, we talked, and then in the car she took me by the hand, it was a good thing, I liked it, then we kissed, at first I liked it, it was a sweet thing but then I didn’t like it any more, it seemed almost a play, like what you see in the movies, so I told her that I did not feel at ease and she said, “Why? What have I done? “I told her that I was not sexually interested in her because I don’t like girls who try to seduce me sexually. She started to cry, got out of the car and went away, then blocked my contact on msn and we did not contact anymore.”

These examples give an idea of the difficulties that these guys have to face. The guys or the girls who relate with them take it for granted that their vision of sexuality is just the same for everybody else but it is a wrong presumption. There would need a much softer approach in which the sexual dimension can be put aside for long periods so as to never appear aggressive.

I reproduce below an excerpt from an email sent by a guy who has discovered masturbation at 23 y. o. and with whom I had occasion to speak very often. That guy arrived at Gay Project on the presumption that his lack of interest in girls might arise from some sort of homosexuality. In reality it was a guy who had never had the experience of masturbation because of a very strict upbringing strongly internalized. After a few attempts, similar to those reported in the previous examples, he met a girl who was really in love with him, he was persuaded, after much hesitation, to speak clearly with that girl, he was afraid of getting another rejection but things went another way.

The relationship absolutely non-aggressive went on for months in an exclusively affective way but extremely serious. The guy lost his job and she always supported him. After about a year and a half, things have changed, the girl had to leave for work but somehow they were still together. They could meet only on Saturdays and Sundays. I reproduce below an extract of the email in which the guy tells me that he has solved the problem and has begun to understand the meaning of masturbation and sexuality.

“Hello Project, I think I got there, I think so. So tonight I have a dream about her, something tender, sweet, nice, I missed her like crazy, but it was a beautiful dream, this is the first time I make a sexual dream, nothing strange only sweet, caresses, kisses, things like that, but the fact is that I ejaculated in my dream and it was beautiful. It is the first time that a pollution seems to me a good thing. Anyway, it would be a lot but at this point you can imagine what follows, I did it! Somehow it seems to me a bit strange, however, is not at all repellent, in reality it is true that it is a way of loving a person! Project, you cannot imagine how happy I feel! I sent her a text message and told her, and she said she feels happier than me. What do you think? Will it last? I sure hope so. Honestly I feel a bit weird. Project, I might as well have a family, maybe my fantasy is running fast, I guess I’ll have to figure out a lot of things, I feel like a little boy who discovers a new world!”

Unfortunately situations similar to the one just described are not common. In essence, the sexuality in these situations must be conveyed through a profound emotional dimension. However, it is evident that when a guy living these situations puts apart the discouragement and accepts the risk to tell the truth the chances increase. Being overcome by fear leads to the rejection of social contact and to the refusal of deep emotional experiences. Overcoming fear is crucial.

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GAY GUYS AND MORAL

Hello Project,
I’m twenty-one y. o. and live in a big city in northern Italy, until very recently, I considered myself straight in the deepest sense of the term, in practice I had never had any kind of gay thoughts, I have a girlfriend for three years now and I’m fine with her, without sex because I am a practicing Catholic and I consider wrong the idea of sex before marriage.

Let’s say that until two months ago I was what I thought to be, but now I’m beginning to think that in fact the idea of not having sex with my girlfriend for moral issues is just a kind of screen that hides other reasons (do not run to conclusions please). But there’s another thing I have to tell you. I begin to think that also in different situations comes to my mind the idea that I had or wanted to have a screen behind which to hide, I’m talking of auto-eroticism.

I try to explicate better. The Church condemns it and I eventually managed to do without it and, at the end, this is no more a big problem for me, I have always considered this thing a great achievement as the fact that I do not make use of pornography. I have several friends, I think all straight, I’m fine with them and I’ve never had fantasies about my friends and that’s it.

Let’s say that until two months ago everything was fine, then one night, between April 3 and April 4, just the Easter night, I had an erotic dream (what almost never happens to me) and it was a dream themed clearly gay, but it was beautiful, full of sweetness and at the same time of sexual involvement. In practice, in the dream, I think I’ve lived a beautiful love story and I felt deeply involved to the point that I had a wet dream.

The next morning I woke up horrified, I did not know what to think, I felt guilty. It was Easter and I went to confession. The priest was not at all upset and just said that to sin it takes the will to do it and I could not exercise any act of will in my sleep, but in fact I didn’t tell the priest that the dream was a gay themed dream. The speech of the priest reassured me about my possible sin, but in fact it did not solve the underlying problem: why a gay themed dream? And why was it so sweet? I kept inside me these questions and on the other hand I could not talk to anyone.

The images of the dream came back to my mind, I had also some very strong fantasy to let me go to masturbation thinking of those things but I endured and immediately banished such thoughts to avoid falling into dependence on those things. I just tried to avoid the feelings. I went out with my girlfriend but I started thinking that with her I had never had sexual contact not on moral grounds but because I wasn’t interested in her at all from that point of view.

This made me upset. I tried some minimal physical contact with her, as take her hand and caress it, but I did not feel anything, while in the dream making the same gestures with a guy had taken me to strong excitation. Then I also thought of another thing, my friends play sports and they invited me many times to go swimming with them but I’ve never gone for the most diverse reasons, now I’m beginning to think that I do not want to go there because I mut avoid the fear of being in exciting situations. Apparently I told myself that I was straight and that I did not go because I had no time, but basically maybe I did not go just to avoid any possible confirmation about my being gay, what seems far from being evident, but at least it is a hypothesis that I don’t have put aside completely, or perhaps I see it even likely.

Now the problem is big, if it was that I was gay, it would not even be a big deal, but I do not want to give up what I’m, in the sense that yes, I may be gay being also Catholic and I have understand how to put the two things together. This is the big problem.

At the limit, even if it may seem paradoxical I would also be willing to put aside the idea of living sexually a story with a guy, I think it would not be so complicated, all I need is an affectionate friendship. Perhaps what I say may be completely contradicted by the facts, but I think I could live according to the rules of religion. I have read what you have published on “Gays and the Church”, but, excuse me for saying so, maybe you lack the ability to understand things from inside.

I try to follow the rules and so far I have not regretted it and would like to go on living even my gay feelings, if they are really gay, according to those rules. I do not want to sacrifice my values, things that are really important to me that give me certainty and I do not want to live with a foot in both camps, in the sense of playing with the sacraments, to me is a serious matter.

I tell you sincerely that the idea of being gay upsets me a bit, I understand who I am and what I want but I want to keep my principles intact as I have done so far, as far as possible. I often wonder if there may be other guys like me who would also be willing a form of friendship without sex with another guy or if it’s just my imagination. Do what you want of this message, that is, if you think it may be published, publish it, or answer in private.
Bye and thank you for everything.
A. B.
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Hello,
I read your mail. I do not run to conclusions because you’ve come to the conclusions yourself. You are stating assumptions about how to reconcile being gay with your essential moral choices and you seem to have actually rejected the idea of being gay for what the word means in practice, and to transpose everything on a level of a close friendship.

Frankly, even if it was (as you say) that you found a guy willing to sacrifice his sexuality to its moral principles (very theoretical hypothesis) or better to the moral principles of his boyfriend (a hypothesis which I think frankly fiction), it’s very likely that later this kind of relationship will degenerate into a very different thing and so gay sexuality would end up to be mixed with a deep guilt very difficult to remove. You told me you don’t like to keep a foot in both camps, but the hypothesis of a close friendship with a gay guy seems very much like a bridge idea that should let you go towards acceptance of gay sexuality, even if you think that it’s a credible hypothesis. Loving friendship without sex with a guy, for a gay guy, is only possible, if it really is, with a straight guy and frankly

I would ask how your intentions to remain faithful to your principles could stand in front of a real (not hypothetical) affectionate and loving friendship with another gay guy. Seen from outside your behaviors suggest a form of self-repression of gay sexuality that is, for a gay guy, just the sexuality. I can’t asses you motivations because I see them from outside, but I’m very perplexed.

I understand to a certain extent the reasons related to the idea of fidelity to the moral thought of the church, and I wonder to what extent your moral judgment really comes to condemn gay sexuality. Frankly, it seems very unlikely that a guy, maybe gay as you are, can really think that “his” sexuality is a form of pathological deviance. In practice beyond the moral given from outside there’s the internal morality and this internal morality can’t at all condemn being gay as depravity.
Project

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GAY GUYS, HOMOPHOBIA AND DATING SITES

This post will highlight the consequences on gay people of the social non-integration of homosexuality and of the widespread environmental homophobia in terms of loss of the affective dimension of sexuality, of increasing transgressive meaning of sexuality and of spread of AIDS risk.

In front of many suicides of gay teens  around the world who came to the headlines of the newspapers (many are deliberately hidden because of a choice of families), in front of those who lost their lives because of homophobic hatred, in the front of the frequent and marked incitement to discrimination and hatred operated by religious circles, people who have a sense of morality cannot remain indifferent. The homophobic and discriminatory attitudes receive daily incredible legitimations. Fortunately, in many states the civilization of the law is an obstacle to homophobic hatred and a boost to the integration of homosexuals, but it is undeniable that even in the twenty-first century, even in countries where homosexuality is not considered a crime, and even where the rights have been extended to gay marriage and adoption policies, there is, however, at the social level, a form of silent but powerful discrimination that acts on gay people from an early age and accustoms them to the exclusion, as if the exclusion was their inevitable destiny.

What are the consequences of all this?

When a teenager realizes that his affection and sexuality are deeply and often violently discriminated by both the family and the social environment, many reactions are possible: the tendency to self-repression and depression, the attitudes of rebellion and challenge to the family and society. In any case, beyond the external reactions, a search activity for discussion and dialogue is set in motion that cannot find a serious answer either in families or in schools or in the religious, social or recreational activities. And it is precisely at this point that are involved other tools available today that have changed the prospects of gay guys from ten years now, I talk about the internet and what guys can find on the internet, not only in terms of comparison and dialog but also the terms of easy sexual offer, that is, dating sites and video-chats.

There are sites on the net dedicated to an extremely serious information and comparison among gay people but it must be said that these sites are a little minority among services offered by the web and the audience of these sites is definitely very little. The vast majority of sites labeled gay consists of pornography, dating sites and video-chats.

Whatever for a straight guy belongs to a normal emotional and sexual life, that may be experienced under the eyes of everyone, including family, like falling in love, exchanging tenderness with his partner, speaking openly about his feelings, for a gay guy is on the contrary either impossible or extremely complicated. A gay guy has serious difficulties in declaring his love to another guy, he cannot talk to friends or family and if he gets to have a guy, with very few exceptions, keeps him far away from the family.

If a gay guy is not allowed to be realized in his family and social environment, inevitably tends to achieve his realization through different ways, and here the easy way is also the most dangerous, I’m talking about dating sites and sex chats.

The huge number of users of the erotic chats and dating sites should make us reflect. These sites are the answer, and often the only answer, even if dysfunctional, to the real affective and sexual needs that can neither be ignored nor suppressed. If for a guy it becomes impossible to live a normal sexual and emotional life openly, with the knowledge and acceptance of family and society, it is inevitable that the guy looks elsewhere for the realization of his expectations, which are anyway the normal expectations of any guy but that appear deviant and pathological because are related to another guy instead to a girl. Trying to curb and suppress a real need and prevent its development according to the normal channels automatically means encourage the development of alternative channels through which the need could find an answer. It happens a bit as in the “prohibition”: banning the use of alcohol in the common places of sale and consumption means promoting other distribution channels.

DATING SITES

The dating sites have been created to provide easy sex encounters to users, this applies to heterosexual and is even more true for gays: “if in everyday life it is almost impossible to find a gay guy, or better, to choose one, taking for granted that he is also sexually available without any complications, the dating site solves the problem for you”, you can see the profiles of the guys, more or less explicit photos that they have entered, you can upload your photos on the site and above all, in practice, you are sure to find many and quick answers from which to choose your ideal partner. A gay man is led to believe that nothing is possible in everyday life instead everything becomes real through the dating site. In practice, the dating site is seen as the unique and irreplaceable tool for the creation not only of a sexual contact but for the realization of all emotional life. The dating site looks like the response to a deep emotional need that does not find any answers elsewhere and is loaded, because of this, with a lot of fundamental affective expectations.

The dating sites are becoming, year after year, accepted as “normal” in the life of a gay guy and this is due precisely to the social rejection of homosexuality just because the “prohibition” facilitates the creation of alternative channels to live however the emotional and sexual life.

APPROACH PHASE

Before registering on a dating site a guy lives contributing moments of uncertainty and fluctuation between the temptation and the resizing of the emotional expectations. In front of people who have strong concerns over the use of these sites, classical answers are indicative: “You are biased!” “I know that many clever guys have registered.” “But they are not all mad for sex.” “I have nothing against these sites but I didn’t register and I think I will not,” In general, a sentence like this last comes shortly before the registration.

NARCISSISM

When a guy walks into a dating site he is usually very favorably impressed by the fact that he can find a lot young people in the site, many of which are also in his area and then are actually contactable. To publish your photos on a dating site, especially if it is a site for gays, involves a certain risk of being labeled, but this risk is easily put aside due to a narcissistic impulse. In general gay guys, even if they are objectively very beautiful, are convinced that they didn’t find a boyfriend because they are physically not up to the task, the dating site offers an answer to these guys. The publication of personal photos followed by a rain of contacts, is something that rewards appropriately the narcissistic dimension: “If there are so many guys who are looking for me I am not so bad!”

SEXUAL PROMISCUITY

Usually when a guy gets a lot of contacts on a dating site, he is brought to consider them as he considered an affective request received in ordinary life. The high number of contacts received induces to overlook the fact that guys who have left us their contact did exactly the same with many other guys and that contacts are just in order to get easy sexual exchanges without commitment. The most serious risk of the dating sites is the HIV risk, i.e. the risk of being infected with the AIDS virus but there is a risk of sexual transmission for many serious diseases such as viral hepatitis, herpes virus and the human papilloma virus. Sexual promiscuity is the first risk factor in sexually transmitted diseases. It’s amazing how guys who have about other topics, a highly efficient rationality end up putting everything aside coming to talk about “risk acceptance” or to underestimate the risk based on the assumption that the condom is a sufficient guarantee. Often the level of superficiality is such that they are content with general statements of the other in relation to his health: “He said that he’s fine and that he gets tested for HIV every six months.” I note in passing that a guy who frequents dating sites and gets tested for HIV every six months is probably concerned that he’s likely to be HIV positive. As a result of the decrease in anti-AIDS campaigns it is also common to see the underestimation of AIDS itself and the belief that “now it is a disease that can be overcome with the right treatment.”

DEPRESSIVE PHASE AND DEPENDENCE

After the first sexual encounters, the guys begin to notice that their first partners disappear and that no loving relationship can be created. All this is sometimes seen as an “experiment” waiting finally for the guy with whom you can build a real relationship, and sometimes and more frequently as an inescapable reality that proves that it’s impossible for a gay man to build long-term relationship with another man as a couple. Month after month, the feeling that it is just a sexual game that distracts from the necessary commitments such as study and work prevails, and this feeling triggers a mechanism of addiction, quite similar to the one that creates the drug dependency, i. e. alternating phases in which guys intend to unsubscribe from the dating sites and delete all the contacts of the people they had met in that environment and phases in which the depressive response to the emptiness, due to the abandonment of dating sites, quickly takes over and leads back to the sites to look for new contacts. Generally, we can say that addiction has already been established when the intention to abandon the site is not followed by the actual deletion of the contacts.

CONSOLIDATION OF DEPENDENCE

When the dependency is consolidated over the years, you end up accepting it as irreversible and to assume that “it had to go this way.” In reality, these guys, now grown men, were deprived of their emotions and they threw it away themselves to look for a simple solution to their problems. In this way, homosexuality, which in itself is a way of loving, becomes a degraded exercise of sexuality without emotions and inevitably leads to a sense of deep solitude, which doesn’t depend at all on being gay, because there are many gay guys who realized their dreams, but depends on having spent many years in a sort of true addiction. The drug dependency does not bring happiness but only the momentary illusion of being happy at the cost of becoming dependent; in the same way dating sites do not fulfill and cannot fulfill at all the dreams of love of a gay guy because they have been created for another purpose and also lead to addictions. The responsibility of this belongs to the guys who are looking for a chance to be themselves in a hostile world? Belongs to those who take advantage of the naivety and the problems of others in order to obtain an economic profit managing dating sites? Or belongs to those who allow all this fueling homophobia and the marginalization of gay guys and in fact helping, with their discriminatory self-righteousness, the growth of dating sites and the expansion of sexually transmitted diseases, which are inevitably associated with these new social uses? To you the answer.

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FROM OPENLY GAY TO HIDDEN GAY

Hello Project,

My name is D. I am 36 years old, I’m an openly gay or rather I should say a former openly gay, not former gay but former openly. Basically I came out at age 16. My parents reacted badly but then they somehow accepted my being gay and on the other hand they had no choice. I have had fewer problems with friends than with family but the most part my friends (or former friends) put me into oblivion, and among those who have put me into oblivion there’s one, let’s call Steven, who is also gay and I can take that for granted, but about Steven I will tell you later.

At age 16 I was already a spirit very independent and also rebellious, in the sense that I would never have done what others wanted me to do, or rather I liked to do only what I decided. Up to 22-23 years but also up to 24, that is when I started working, I had to avoid the excesses, I made my convenience, but since I did not have any money there were limits.

From the age of 24 I started to attend the gay scene, what you call “gay labeled” environments . This made me fell a lot of freedom, I felt liberated, I had money in my pocket and I did pick up, I came to bring guys in a hotel room and it did not happen once. The fear of diseases slowed me a little but let’s say that between 24 and 34 y. o. I’ve done all sorts, a bit for inertia and a bit following the current. By then the gay environment was well known to me, they called me and involved me and I accepted their proposals very happy.

At age 34, being reprimanded as gay, being identified as part of an environment and in practice having to feel more “gay” than “D.” began to bother me, I did not like that my gay friends called me and even fewer that insisted when I had said no, among other things I had been with so many guys, but I had never been in love, not only that, but I began to do discourses that I would ‘t have done a year before, I did count how much money I had spent over ten years of that life, and it was really a huge amount of money, nevertheless I felt frustrated and dissatisfied, I was alone, I had had many adventures, but I had nothing left.

I decided to do a two years master’s degree to get a little up at work, which was never something that had interested me before, and there I met Steven. Obviously he knew everything about me, that is he knew I was gay and openly gay, I did not know anything about him, for me he could also have wife and children. The first few days he kept me at a distance, not wanting to be seen with me, I invited him to have coffee during breaks but he preferred not to come. The way he used to tell me “no” irritated me a lot and after a while I didn’t invite him anymore.

Once, he came to classes in the morning with the subway but there was a strike and he could not come back home, I had the car and I took him home. While in route I told him that I was disappointed that he was keeping me at a distance because I was gay because maybe a straight man can not realize the meaning of being gay and can think who knows what. He replied that he did not want to be seen with me because they would have stuck the gay label on him. I told him that I could understand, and he said that, there are also many gays who don’t like “the gay label”. The answer sounded a little strange but the discussion was over, then we talked about work and the master.

Over the months, the relationship with Steven became more easy, it took him six months to tell me that he was gay and he told me a little of his story. He was still alone, he fell in love twice but always with straight guys, but had saved a little money and had bought a small apartment even though he had left the mortgage to pay. I told him about me and my stories and then he asked me if I felt satisfied and I told him the truth, not only that I did not feel satisfied at all but that I could not stand anymore staying in a gay environment. He replied: “And then what are you waiting for? Go anywhere else!”

I’ll make it short. I’m not in love with Steven and I think he is not in love with me, among other things he’s really obsessed by the idea of AIDS and he’s right, now we’re dating for a year and a half, always in secret because he doesn’t want to be seen with me. He got with me a serious result because I quit smoking and I felt better and I also stopped drinking alcohol, not that it was a vice, but in fact it could become so. I’m fine with Steven and I think he’s okay with me.

Between us there has never been physical contact and I don’t know if there will ever be, but when he is there it’s a kind of serenity background that I never felt before. Last week, I told him that I feel uncomfortable being an openly gay (I restarted this issue) and we got the idea that we should change jobs and go to live in another city.

We did some calculations. It was possible to deal with the change of working with a financial sacrifice, and it was also possible to buy a small apartment. But Steven did not agree, and repeated that each of us had to have his own “little hole” because if things did not go as planned, there could be obligations of an economic nature to make us stay together out of necessity. The economic problems were enormous and we knew it. In concrete terms, it was possible to realize our projects in two or three years, not before. I did not want to ask money from my parents, and he had the mortgage to pay.

In a weekend we went to another city where there is a large branch of our company where we could move. It is a very large office, with nearly 40 employees. If and when (because I do not know if it will happen) we will move, I think (I already decided) I will not tell anyone about my being gay. I don’t know if it makes sense or not changing city in order to stay close to a friend that I’m not in love with (at least it’s what I think now), but I need quiet and with him I’m fine. I do not know if there will be anything between us but in fact I do not even consider it too much important. In practice, Steven is the only person who has really taken me seriously, I feel his attention. After all we are the two of us to be alone, it is paradoxical but true.

The idea of starting a new life attracts me a lot, I just want to change the environment. It is the relationship with Steven that makes me change my life, but even before I’d had enough of my gay life. But without Steven I’d probably be in the same situation as before but on the contrary now I’m looking with him to give concrete expression to the changing project and he is willing to sell his apartment and get one in another city to follow me, which seems to me more serious than any declarations of love (Project, I’m getting old!).

It may seem strange, but it is as if the sex does not matter to me anymore, before it was an obsession, now I think that I could do without it, but I don’t think I could do without Steven. At the beginning I used to think that hidden gays were “guys with no balls” (an expression that I read in your forum) but now I think that if I had used more my brain and less my balls (excuse the vulgarity ) now I could feel better. I read on your forum all the discussions about the coming out and frankly I am of those who have considered it fundamental for years but in the end I changed my mind, I almost flipped my way of thinking, if first I thought that a hidden gay guy was “without balls” now I think that a guy openly gay could not have really made his choice but that somehow has been guided by the circumstances, then, once done, the coming out becomes obviously a reason of pride.

I must add one thing though, that I was not only an openly gay guy but was fully integrated into the world labeled gay and that’s why I cannot be aware of the condition of the openly gay guys who don’t attend the gay environment and I think that it’s probably a very different situation compared to mine. Project, I do not subscribe to the forum in order to avoid to be dragged, but if you want you can publish this email. This is just my point of view, does not express general theorems, but maybe it can serve a useful purpose.
Bye.

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SAINT PETER DAMIAN AND HOMOSEXUALITY

Those who today wonder about positions of the Catholic Church about homosexuality, reading what follows, can understand how deep are the roots of the incompatibility between Church and homosexuality.

St. Peter Damian, a character in many respects not without his merits, one of the most popular contemplative saints of hermitical life, was in fact a man of action very well integrated in the political context of his time, was born in 1007.

When he was just prior of the Fonte Avellana monastery, he attended the imperial coronation of Henry III in Rome and entered into good relations with the environment of the court. Subsequent contacts were numerous and cordial: he spent several years in Germany, the empress Agnes was his penitent and he tried to hold back Henry IV from divorcing Berta.

Dante places him in the seventh heaven, that of Saturn, among the contemplative spirits, in the twenty-first canto of the Paradise and describes him outraged by the ecclesiastical corruption.

The first concern of Peter Damian was the reform of the Church and in this context he wrote, around the second half of 1049, the Liber Gomorrhianus dedicated to homosexuality, in particular that spread among the clergy. Peter Damian condemns radically, for example, the practice, common among the clergy of his time, of having carnal contact with each other and then to absolve each other and also the practice of havimg carnal contacts between confessor and penitent.

I invite anyone who wants to have a serious idea of the relationships between homosexuality and Church in the Middle Ages (relationships that have not changed in substance) to read a thesis (in Italian) in History of Philosophy, discussed September 24, 1996, at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy based in Arezzo, University of Siena, entitled “Liber Gomorrhianus by Peter Damian: homosexuality and Church in the Middle Ages”, published in “Philosophia Medii Aevi” Site dedicated to the study of the history of medieval philosophy and culture, with the sponsorship of the Department of Classical Philology and Philosophical Sciences of the University of Salento http://www.phmae.it/ . I reproduce below, without comment, some passages of the Liber Gomorrhianus by Peter Damian, that I translated into English.

The text is taken from the page http://www.phmae.it/IZ/traduzioneLG_a.htm

II

Different sodomitic behaviors

Four types of this shameful behavior can be distinguished in an effort to reveal all the problem in an orderly fashion.

Some are stained by themselves, others mingle together touching each other with their hands the virile members, other fornicate between her thighs, and finally, others [fornicate] behind. Among these there is a gradual progression so that the last is considered more severe than those that precede. Therefore is imposed, to those who sin with others, a penance greater than that expected for those who are stained by themselves with the contact of the semen emitted, and those that contaminate from behind are judged more severely than those who join between the thighs. So the crafty machinations of the devil produced these degrees of debauchery so that, the further the wretched soul continues among these, the lower is thrown into the deep pit of hell.

[… Omitted …]

inspiring from the council of Ancyra.

XIV

About those who sin irrationally, i. e. who have joined with the beasts and defiled with males

Those who have lived or are living irrationally:
those who have committed this sin before their twentieth year, after fifteen years of penance, deserve to enter the community of prayer, only after five years of residence in this community they will receive the sacrament of penance. In addition, during the time of repentance the quality of their lives has to be examined and so they shall obtain mercy. If they continue to commit these sins insatiably, they need a longer time to do penance. Those who instead have fallen into this sin and have passed the age of twenty years and are married, after twenty-five years of penance, are welcomed into the community of prayer and remain there for five years, and only then will receive the Eucharist. Finally, if those who have sinned are married and exceed fifty years of age, they will receive the grace of the Eucharist at the end of their lives.

[… Omitted …]

But because we care to provide two examples taken from a single sacred council, we insert also what the great Basil thinks of this vice we’re talking about, so that “every issue is decided on the word of two or three witnesses.” He says:

XVI

Clerics or monks that molest males

“A cleric or a monk molesting adolescents or young people, or those who have been caught kissing or following another shameful attitude, must be publicly whipped and they lose his tonsure. After being shaved, they must be covered with spit and chained with iron chains, and must be left to rot in the anguish of prison for six months. In the evening, for three days a week they have to eat barley bread. Then, after another six months, in the custody of a spiritual father, living segregated in a small courtyard they can be occupied with manual work and prayer. They must be subjected to fasting and prayer, and must walk always in the custody of two spiritual brothers, without any perverse sentence, and must always be separated from younger people.”

[… Omitted …]

XVII

The due condemnation of this abominable infamy

This habit certainly is not comparable to any other vice because it exceeds in severity all the other vices. In fact, this vice is the death of the body and the ruin of soul. It contaminates the meat, turns off the light of the mind. Banish the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human breast, opens the door to the devil instigator of lust, leads us into error, uproots the truth from the mind that has been deceived. It prepares traps for those entering and those who have fallen into the pit and obstructs it to prevent escape. It opens the hell and closes the gates of heaven. It makes the citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem a heir to the infernal Babylon. It transforms a star of the sky in a stubble of eternal fire. It tears the body of the Church and throws it into the fire of terrible hell. This vice seeks to break down the walls of the supreme kingdom and is anxious to repair the walls of the reborn burned Sodom. This vice destroys sobriety, stifles modesty, massacres chastity, slaughters with the sword of terrible epidemic the unrecoverable virginity. It disfigures everything, scrubs everything, defiles everything. Nothing that surrounds it remains pure, away from the filth, clean. “All is pure to the pure persons, instead, nothing is pure to those who are defiled and unbelieving”[Paul to Timothy 1.15]. This vice removes from the Church community and relegates to pray with the insane people and those who work for the devil, separates the soul from God to link it with the demons. This terrible queen of the Sodomites creates followers of his tyrannical laws, filthy in front of the men and hateful to God. It orders to start nefarious wars against God and forces the militant to carry the burden of bad soul. It removes from the communion of angels and imprisons the unhappy soul under the yoke of its domain through its power. It strips its soldiers of virtuous weapons and exposes them to the darts of the vices so that they are pierced. It humiliates in the Church and condemns in the law. It defiles in secret and dishonors in public. It gnaws conscience like a worm, it burns the flesh like fire. It craves that the desire is satiated and, on the contrary, is concerned that it could be seen, that it could go out in public and could be disclosed in front of people.

[… Omitted …]

The miserable flesh burns to the fury of lust, the silly mind trembles because of the rancor of suspicion, in the breast of the wretched man the infernal chaos is already lifting. How many are those pierced by the pricks of unclean thoughts, so many are those tormented by torture of the penalty. Souls are really unhappy after this poisonous snake has bitten them. It immediately removes the ability to think, clears the memory, obscures the sharpness of the mind, causes the sinner to forget God and himself. This pest, really undoes the feeling of faith, weakens the power of hope, clears the bond of charity, removes justice, reduces the courage, removes temperance, and blunts the keenness of prudence.

What else can we say? Since it casts from human heart every single element of virtue and lets all sorts of vices, as if the bolts of the doors had been torn. Certainly, the judgment of Jeremiah adapts to what, from the point of view of the world, is called Jerusalem “the adversary has spread out his hand – he says – over all your treasures, has seen the pagans entering into her sanctuary, those to which you ordered not to enter into your assembly.” Without a doubt, this terrible beast eats in one bite with its bloody mouth, keeps away anyone, with his chains, from good works, it drops you precipitously down the cliffs of obscene perversity. Soon, of course, anyone who has fallen into this abyss of perdition will be sent far away, like an exile from the supreme homeland. He will be separated from the body of Christ, will be removed by the whole Church, will be condemned by the judgment of all the Holy Fathers, on earth he will be despised by men, will be dismissed from the house of the citizens of heaven. For him, the sky will become iron and the earth will become bronze, and he will never recover from there, burdened by the weight of the crime, nor can hide here for a long time its evils in the cave of ignorance. Here he can’t enjoy as long as he lives, nor hope until he sins, because he is forced to endure the scorn of the human derision in addition to the torment of eternal damnation. It is clear that refers to this soul the prophetic voice of lamentation where it says: “See, Lord, how terrible is my anguish, my bowels are upset, my heart is in trouble within me because I was rebellious. Out sword kills in the house is like death.”
____________

I must point out that the language of Peter Damian is one of the most chaste and less explicit. Peter Damian uses “interrogationes confessarii” of Burchard of Worms, a guide to confession to the confessor, in which with a lot of details, he exemplifies to the confessor the questions to submit to the sinners in confession. Peter Damian summarizes this interview in his classification of four types of homosexual sin but omits many important details useful for the understanding of the text. In this regard, the thesis I mentioned compares the corresponding passages of Burchard and Peter Damian to highlight the difference in language.

Burchard: “You just did fornication with yourself […], I mean that you have taken in your hand your own male member and so you retracted your foreskin and you moved it with your own hand”  (Fecisti solum tecum fornicationem […], ita dico ut ipse tuum virile membrum in manum tuam acciperes et sic duceres praeputium tuum, et manu propria commoveres […])
Peter Damian: “[…] those who contaminate themselves with the contagion of semen expelled” ([…] qui per semetipsos egesta seminis contagione sordescunt […])

Burchard: “Did you fornication […], I mean that you’ve got in your hand the penis of another man, and the other took yours in his hand, and so in turn with your hands you have moved the penises.” (Fecisti fornicationem […], ita dico ut tu in manum tuam veretrum alterius acciperes, et alter tuum in suam, et sic alternatim veretra manibus vestris commoveretis […])
Peter Damian: “[…] Others pollute handling each other’s manhood.” ([…] alii sibi invicem inter se manibus virilia contrectantes inquinantur […])

Burchard: “If with another male between the thighs […] I mean that you put your male member between the thighs of another man, and so by moving you poured the semen [..]” (Si cum masculo intra coxas […], ita dico, ut tuum virile membrum intra coxas alterius mitteres, et sic agitando semen effunderes […])
Peter Damian: “[…] those who have intercourse between the thighs” ([…] qui inter femora coeunt)

Burchard: “Did you fornication as did the Sodomites, so that, behind a male and in parts of the rear you entered your rod and so you had a sexual intercourse with him like Sodomites?” (Fecisti fornicationem sicut Sodomitae fecerunt, ita ut in masculi terga et in posteriora virgam tuam immitteres, et sic secum coires more Sodomitico?)
Peter Damian: “[…] those who corrupt others in the backs” ([…] qui alios in posteriora corrumpunt)
_________

Burchard (about 965 – 1025), bishop of Worms, was one of the greatest canonists of the Middle Ages, out of the monastic school of Lobbes. With a modern mind, or better with a mentality that takes due account of the respect of people, we have to point out the violence inherent in the practice of confession conducted in the manner recommended by Burchard which is already an anticipation of the Inquisition.

I point out one more thing. The detailed list of convicted sexual behaviors doesn’t make any mention of oral sex, as if it did not exist or was not absolutely practiced. This thing baffles me.

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MY FATHER GAY

Hello Project,
I write for a very special reason that from several days now there’s a thing that causes me profound disturbance. I am a 19 years old guy and no doubt I’m straight, the problem is not about me but about my father. I state that I respect my father very much, he is a father really as it should. He and my mother got married because I was about to be born. When I was born my father was 22 years old and now he’s 41. I no longer have my mother since I was 11 years old and basically live alone with my father that takes care of everything. I have a real dialogue with him, when I had problems (including sexual ones) I resorted to him and he has always helped me. My girlfriend loves him because he has always made sure that she would feel comfortable in our home like in her own.

I go to the fact: from about six months my father has a little changed habits, before he never used to go out, now in practice he goes out every evening. “Out” means he’s out two or three hours. The first few times I did not mind, then I began to wonder: where is he going? But there were other strange things, sometimes his cell phone rang and he entered his room to answer and spoke softly and he never does so when speaking with people I know or even with relatives.

I had the curiosity to spy on him, but I never did because I would be ashamed to do such a thing. I began to think about what could induce my father to that behavior, the first thing was that he could see a woman, but I have never seen my father do compliment a woman and I do not even remember the relationship he had with my mother. For mom and for the mom’s things he has always had the greatest respect, as for me, but an intelligent respect, without fetishes of any kind. After all, if he intended to marry again no one could prevent him and for me it would not be shocking, that would be pleasing to him, and for this I would accept it and he knows it. So I discarded the idea of a woman.

There was a fact that has alarmed me. About a month ago my father introduced me to a colleague of his aged 35. In practice, it was completely random, Dad and I were walking around and we met this guy. Dad stopped and introduced me to his colleague, however, I had the distinct impression that my father was embarrassed and he stayed to talk with his colleague a few seconds too long, and in a way a bit embarrassed. That’s where I took the flash. Of course I didn’t even mention it, but even after I felt the embarrassment of Dad. In the days after he has calmed down but I kept thinking about that thing and the more I was thinking the more the idea that Dad and his colleague were not just colleagues was becoming clear. I do not know what they can be for each other, but are not just colleagues. I want to clarify that I do not feel upset to think that my father might be gay or to think that he and his colleague can be a couple (it could also be), what I do not like is that my father is forced to pretend with me because maybe he is afraid to tell me the truth.

I read in the forum many stories about the coming out of the guys to their parents, but never the other way and I think that if it’s embarrassing for a guy it might be even more so for a father who has to confess to his son that he’s gay. I have not sought evidence that my father is gay, I’m not going to search into his computer because he has never done so with mine, but I do not know what to do, that is, whether to tell him that I understood or to go on waiting for him to take the decision. I do everything for my father to feel at ease with me but I think on this specific point he will never feel comfortable.

I have read on the forum about gay married, so the situation that my father probably lives is not something so exceptional. I talk about it as if I had the certainty that things are indeed so, in fact I’m not sure, but the intuition takes me there. Project, from what I understand you are much older than my father, and perhaps such things have already happened to you and you could tell me what to do, because I love my father and the fact that it can be gay does not constitute any problem for me, I just want him to be happy and to feel free with me because I am proud that he is my father! I wait your response. If you want, you can post this message.
I am attaching my contact [omissis]
G.R.

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GAY SEXUALITY AND NAKEDNESS

Hello,
I would like to tell you a little about my sexuality, at least summarily. So the point is that I don’t feel at all this urge to do certain things with a guy. I read everywhere that there are guys who would do anything to have sex with a friend of theirs and so far I can also agree, but can you tell me what does it mean to have sex with a guy?I see a lot of porn but now I’m immunized and in practice the porno movies does not make me any effect, I have been also with some guy (that is we didn’t have sex but we’ve come close), but things seemed very stupid and repetitive, a thing of transgression just for transgression. The guys attract me, all right, but I’m not obsessed with something in particular.

For example, sometimes I like the beginning of a porn, and especially if the guys are beautiful, then what they do seems to me really stupid, false. If things were to go ahead with a guy as I see in some porn it would be just stupid. Then about such things I have spoken with friends who are also gay but they do not see it as I do but they find themselves in the porn movies.If I have to think about something that really affects me, I would also like to play with my boyfriend, I would not only a sexual atmosphere, we would get along well not just in terms of sex and nothing else, for example, once with a guy I liked we went to the sea, that is, in practice we were alone in the cabin all day naked, then we also masturbated, he claimed to be straight with me and I did not tell him anything, but it was nice, no embarrassment at all, I was there with him as if he was not there, but he was there.I do not know how to say but it was nice that my friend had no problems with me being naked and even masturbating, we also said so many stupid things, we were laughing a lot of time. I do not know if this is sex, but it was nice, I want something like that. I almost did not even care if he’s gay or straight, the guy said he was straight but I was fine.

I have met also guys picked up in a dating site in practice only for sex but we did nothing, when we met they were really rough guys and were obsessed with sex, I sent them immediately to be fu ..ed, and they wanted to have sex also without a condom! When I dream something sexual my model is what we did in the cabin of the beach, so I feel at ease.

My friends tell me I’m too young (16) and I have to grow to learn to understand certain things but I think I will not change at all. Then there is a thing that excites me very much, when I go to the beach with some school mates who are not gay, there are showers without divisions, in practice we take a shower together, that to me is a beautiful thing and involves me very much, I make a huge effort to avoid an erection but I control, but then such situations enter my brain deeply and I masturbate about a lot of times, not, however, thinking of doing stuff with those guys but just to be with them in the locker room all naked, it’s beautiful and I like it a lot.

Do you think I still have to grow in order to fantasize about things other people think? But such things don’t excite me at all. For me the best is being naked together and playing a little, I always do the fool in the showers, but they let me do because they think I’m straight and then between straight guys we can feel free and I can take advantage but I play just like a fool but it is not something sexual, it’s just that I play because I’m good.

A fantasy that I have in mind is to go to a nudist beach, just to see naked guys without the need to necessarily have sex, I’d like to see them naked because a naked guy is nice to see even if he is straight. I do not know if in the nudist beaches there are only gay guys but I don’t think so and then for me, just to see and nothing else, gay or straight it’s all the same. I never went to the nudist beach because I’m a little afraid, even though I look older than my age. Project, but are all this things really gay or are just my things that maybe have nothing gay? But I feel really gay!
___________

In fact, the collective nudity is a topic which is discussed very little but that is very important and also a source of anxiety for a lot of gay guys. In general, the issue is underestimated because the problem of collective nudity is a problem typically gay. In Italy the showers and changing rooms are divided by gender, this is because, assuming that the entire population is straight, separating the rooms by sex, it’s possible to avoid to create forms of sexual involvement in the locker rooms.

The premise that everyone is heterosexual, however, is wrong and, while for hetero guys locker rooms and showers remain environments broadly neutral in terms of sexual involvement, for gay guys, the same environments are particularly exciting and also sometimes distressing, because it is true that you can see your mates naked but it is equally true that you too have to be naked and a gay guy when he is naked with other naked guys can have erection problems with a remarkable embarrassment.

Many gay guys do sports activities in a systematic way and are now so accustomed to the environment of the locker rooms and showers that staying there does not create them any problem nor any sexual arousal at all. It all depends on education and acquired habits. The habit takes away the sexual halo from the situations of collective nakedness. It can remain an embarrassment due to the possible sense of inferiority that you can fell, both for the size of your penis or for the general fitness level, but the habit minimizes also these things.

It is obvious that those who attend sporting environments of young people will find a lot of really beautiful guys, but the first rule is to accept what you really are. It is obvious that it is very different to be 20 years old, or to be 40 or 60, it’s very different to be athletic and toned or to have a prominent belly. So each of us is just what he really is. The same holds true for the nudist beaches. In Italy, the term nudist evokes scenes of porn movies, but, you understand well, in many countries, particularly in Northern Europe nudity is practiced at the household level and nobody is upset because there is a different culture of nudity.

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