ANTI-GAY THERAPY

Hi Project, 
do you still remember me? Probably not, I have not called you for a long time, practically since the beginning of February. In February we chatted on skype a couple of times, I’m 23, Lombard. I remind you that we also talked about the fact that I was going to graduate in Engineering, but this does not tell you much. There is one thing that can help you remember: we only talked about girls, it was my fixed idea. 
The second time you told me things that bothered me and I closed the chat and, I must say, I felt really bad. It seemed to me that you wanted to remind me that for me girls were a way to escape reality. Your speech seemed to me very stupid. After I closed the chat I sent you loudly to hell and so I felt happy. What happened next? I told myself: Project is a fool and doesn’t understand that I am 100% straight! And I didn’t even know why you were looking at details that were a little scabrous of which, among other things, I had spoken to you. It’s not that we cannot talk about these topics, but it didn’t seem to me such a decisive thing at all. 
What you were saying really bothered me. I didn’t call you anymore, but not only, a bit for reaction, I put my own commitment to woo a girl, frankly I thought she wouldn’t accept and that everything would end with just a little courtship so, just to do, but it was not like that at all. She fell in love with me and I went ahead, we had sex more than sometimes. I did it, no problem, erection ok, and everything. She was very happy, me less. The first time I didn’t even notice my lack of participation, after all it seemed exciting. We went ahead. One day she calls me and tells me she thinks she’s pregnant. 
I was a little excited, because, you know, the idea of a child at my age is beautiful, but I was a little frightened because I didn’t love her. Two days of delay and I started to feel panic, and she didn’t know what to do and she was very nervous. Then the answer came and it was a false alarm! At that moment I felt a lot lighter, but also a little disappointed. Since then we have always made love with condoms, so there was no risk of pregnancy. We arrived at a pace that we did it even three times a week and even more, always everything was technically perfect, but I felt strange and I started to see it as a sort of duty. I told myself that I was tired, stressed, that it was becoming a habit. When we were in bed I had an erection, etc. etc. but on other occasions, thinking of her I was neither hot nor cold. 
Little by little, the situation has become such that she thought I was deeply in love with her and she wanted me to tell nice things every moment, things that in reality didn’t come spontaneously, and sometimes I couldn’t stand her, especially when she made me proposals that, according to her, I would have liked a lot. Note that throughout this period I didn’t have a boyfriend and I didn’t even think about it and didn’t even masturbate because the sex I was doing with her was enough for me. So I lived with her all my sexuality, but I couldn’t tell her: look, when we are together there is something that doesn’t work, because everything actually seemed to work. 
In mid-May I go for an internship in a company and I know a 25-year-old guy. he strikes me, but I don’t consider him as something too much important. My girlfriend offers me a weekend together and I say no, for the first time. The following week I’m looking for excuses and I don’t make love with my girlfriend, in fact I don’t think of her, I think only of the 25 year old guy, and even just thinking of him, “it stands up” and I don’t feel upset at all. In the week when I was not with my girlfriend, practically since Monday I started to masturbate thinking of the 25 year old guy. 
So, dear Project, you have come into my mind, I thought maybe you were not really that stupid, but I thought also that if I had started making love with my girlfriend all the gay fantasies would have gone away. With a great effort of will I forced myself to return to make love with my girlfriend. She pampered me in all ways. Erection yes, but not convinced. She looks at me a little disappointed and begins the story: “But it’s my fault? What have I done? But don’t you like me anymore?” In short, a terrible situation, incredibly embarrassing. I could not stand her appreciation of my penis. At one point the annoyance became such that I dressed and I left. I thought that from certain situations, which are a bit like traps, you must also get out without thinking too much, since you enter into them playing. 
She calls me on the phone, I don’t answer, she calls me for the second time, in the end I have to answer, she tells me that there isn’t any problem, that the next time will be better. But I said to myself: “I don’t want any next time. And now how can I discharge this girl?” I sent her to the devil without hesitation, but she had now entered the part of the girl who has to save her boyfriend and wanted to understand “why”. But how can you tell the girl that you put almost pregnant that you don’t really love her, you don’t want her and instead you think about a guy a thousand times a day? They were days of hell, I didn’t know what to do, to get rid of her I could tell her I was gay, but with her mentality it would have been worse, because she was convinced she would be able to take any gay to bed. In fact with me she was successful! But only because the idiot was me and also the asshole because in fact I used her as an anti-gay therapy. 
But I did not want to tell her that I was gay, now it was a certainty for me, but to talk about it with her was really impossible! I know it’s a malice but it’s like that. So I told her a huge lie, I told her that I had been with another girl that week and that I didn’t feel like being with her anymore. I felt a monster in telling a similar lie, but I had to go out of the situation anyway. There were hours of recriminations, then dozens of text messages to which I never replied and then she sent me a definitive one: “If you don’t answer me I will not call you anymore!” I didn’t expect any better and It was a moment of enormous relief (I didn’t hear her anymore). 
My 25-year-old guy didn’t have a girlfriend but, from the way he talked about women, more straight he could not be. What does it mean when a 100% hetero does not stay with a girl? In my ingenuity of gay neophyte it meant that the hetero was not so hetero! And then, with a lot of discretion (it was the first time that I was courting a guy) I started going after him. The thing ended almost immediately, he used expressions about a supposedly gay guy that I didn’t like at all. I didn’t look for him anymore, he kept looking for me for a while, then he got tired, luckily! I don’t want to fall in love with a straight guy! 
In practice I was alone again, but better alone than with my girlfriend or with an idiot like the 25 year old guy. Project, it’s ok that you have a certain practice of gay things, but how the hell did you understand that it would end this way? But I come back to me. So the next day I joined the gym and it’s actually a place where I feel great, a bit because, well, you certainly understood, and a little because in an environment like that, all male, I feel just fine, the sexual temptations are there but it is also nice when we are together only on a generic level. They are guys very ok! 
Now I cannot even understand how I felt hetero for years. If I think that practically a little more than a month ago I was making love with my girlfriend every other day, I feel absurd. But how didn’t I realize it before? There were a lot of the so-called significant signals and we had talked about a lot, I thought: “if the sky is cloudy it may rain a little” and instead it was a storm. I gay !!! My God, but how is it possible? But it’s like that! Project, if you want to publish this mail up to this point you can put it in the forum (by the way, congratulations for the forum! It’s a smart thing! And has grown a lot!) But from here on the mail is just for you, because I have other things to ask but they are too personal and on the other hand I cannot talk about it with anyone. [omissis]. And now I salute you otherwise to read this email it will take three hours. If you forgot it, my contact is [omissis].

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A hug, Project! I’ll call you soon!
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GAY GAMES OF STRAIGHT GUYS

Hello Project, 
it’s me again, George. I know very well that I’m bothering you every day, isn’t it? I don’t know, sometimes I have doubts, you never you never get angry. Oh well, but I would like you to at least get to understand what trouble you have thrown me into! We had a fight several times now and I closed the chat in your face several times, because I thought you deserved such a treatment, but then I called you back and sometimes it costed me a lot. 
But now, let’s admit that all the things you tried to put into my head are right, all right, admitted and not granted that I’m gay, and look, admitting it to me is really a very difficult thing, because I cannot stand the gay word and then, let’s say, seeing it associated with me makes me just upset, however, ok, ok, it may be as you say, in fact maybe it’s just as you say, but because I cannot try to change direction? This is what I don’t understand, I I’ve felt I was hetero for years and this curse of being gay is a matter of only a few months. I don’t know, perhaps I got a gay intoxication, but it is something that then passes, I sleep a bit over, then I wake up and I’m straight, it is not that it should last a lifetime, now it is as you say, ok, but now, but tomorrow it’s another day. Do you understand what I mean? 
What should I do? Should I look for a guy and all the trouble that comes with it, and why? To realize in a month that gay drunkenness has passed and that in the meantime I have been thrown into a huge mess? No! I say that passes, maybe not immediately, but according to me it will pass, because I don’t feel such things so strongly every day, we have talked a lot about. I look at guys, and that’s fine, but I don’t become crazy for them, I told you about the gym, but even straight guys do those things, that is a way to joke, to play. You see serious sex everywhere, I like gay games, ok, so what? It’s nice, I have to say, yes even on a sexual level, but I think those things are nice even for straight guys, because you understand a lot of things about gays, but about straight guys you don’t really understand anything, because straight guys are much freer with gay things than you think. At least the guys I know. 
I told you about Alfred, a guy 100% heterosexual, but do you think that he don’t even have fun with gay things? In my opinion, he has fun with gay sex exactly as I do but on someone like him what doubts can you have? Is he gay? Did you understand what I mean? You schematize too much, but the boundaries in these things are vague, instead you stick labels at full blast. I’m fine with Alfred, I know he’s straight, but I’m fine with him, while I cannot stand at all pansy guys. That is, I think that a straight man (someone like me, because I still feel hetero in spite of your evidences) can also have some gay fun. Why not? I don’t know, but I think that with a man I would not feel at ease, I had the fantasy and more than once, but I know that I would not be well, that I would not be able to live with a man, but because shouldn’t I joke with friends? It’s just about making fun, even on a sexual level, but why, the straight guys don’t do these things? But they do it a lot and they are straight! 
Project, honestly I’m not too convinced that the things you say are all right, ok, most probably are, but basically, I don’t say that I don’t feel absolutely gay, maybe a little yes, let’s say 70%, now as now, however, for me, it could be quite another thing. Shame on you! I would twist your neck! You started putting a lot of doubts in my head and those doubts are working on me and just put me in crisis. But I can’t really read the things I do as strictly gay things. You can say that I don’t want to accept such an explication, but it is not true, because I gave you reason to 70%, but you have to leave a 30% for different explications. 
Then you put into my head all those stupid things about loneliness. I’m alone, ok! Yes, I don’t have a girl and I don’t care to find one but I don’t care even to find a guy. But why? A guy my age cannot just think about having fun? Do you mean I have to put myself together forcibly with someone else? But who said it! I’m fine like that, I don’t care about the dreams of others, I now want to enjoy my life! But, Project, apart from these things, the fact that straight guys make some gay fun is very true. You don’t know these things because you talk only with gay guys but talking with straight guys you could realize that certain behaviors that you consider gay, in fact, are not just gay! Straight people are much more uninhibited in gay things than you imagine. Perhaps such things are not things of love, maybe they are things of sex only, but nevertheless they do those things, and they remain 100% hetero. It is not true that the two worlds are so divided. 
Woe to you if you tell me that this is a reasoning completely devoid of foundation, because it’s a serious reasoning and I think it deserves the utmost attention. I’m not looking for a loophole anyway, if I have to adapt to the idea of being 100% gay, well, I will adapt! But I think that my reading of things has a very serious basis. I’ll be waiting for you in the chat tonight and I want to see how you will handle it! Seriously, but is it possible that someone like me should end up 100% gay? No! In my opinion it is not like that!
G.

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A GAY GUY IN LOVE

Interview with Andrew (a student then twenty-two years old, enrolled in the third year of Engineering) recorded on October 26th  1985 by Project, then affectionately nicknamed “the Owl” by his friends.
 
So, my name is Andrew P., 22 years old, from a few months student in the third year of Engineering, up to now in good standing with the exams. I live with my parents in a very small town but along the railway line that goes to Rome. To get from home to University it takes exactly two hours. Leaving home at six in the morning (in the winter it’s still night) I arrive at destination shortly after eight, I stay there until six in the afternoon, and at eight in the evening I’m back home, I take a shower and go to sleep because usually I don’t stand up because of the fatigue. 
In practice I’m on the train four hours every day, I bring books and study while the train runs. But the train – if you are a commuter you know it very well – creates a routine, all the acts are repetitive. I always sit in the same place, I always have the same people and the same compartment-mates around. You can understand where I want to end up … well, about ten days ago, to be precise on October 15th , because certain dates are no longer forgotten, at the train stop seven minutes after mine, a guy, a bit unkempt and with a ruffled hair gets on the train. I’ve never seen him before. 
There is a crowd, he must remain standing. I look at him very carefully, tall, thin, light brown, with the hair cut in a helmet, dressed in clear. He is supported by a vertical support that is close to my seat, I see in detail the back of his hand and part of his forearm, he has beautiful hands, his body is absolutely regular. He is alone, without friends, has a backpack on his shoulder that seems almost empty. I look at his hand with the utmost attention, I would like to hold it, caress it, almost casually lift my eyes, meet his gaze for a moment, he does not look away and smiles at me. 
I’m sitting on the inside seat, not the one next to the window, I would love him to get closer, lean on me but even if there is a lot of crowd he doesn’t even touch me not even by mistake … after the first few minutes it happens to me an embarrassing situation, in practice I get an uncontrollable erection. He stands a few inches from me. Before the thing becomes clear I lean the folder on my knees, pull out a book and start reading, but in practice I pretend to read and observe as much as possible that guy almost as if I could spy on his most intimate secrets just looking at his right hand, take me for a maniac, but I really liked that guy, here now I prefer to fly over, but the thoughts that came to my mind, if you ever wanted a guy you can understand them very well. 
Station after station, Termini (the central train station of Rome) approaches and my erection shows no signs of diminishing. I don’t think I say something exceptional, but standing up with an erection in that situation is very embarrassing and I begin to worry … I try to think about the exams, I bite my tongue, hold my breath as much as I can … I try to put into practice the techniques I know to get back to a normal condition … but there’s nothing to do. My jacket is on the net above the seats and to get it I should get up. When we get to the station, I take courage and making a screen with the folder I get up with a maneuver a bit funny and I take the jacket … it’s already a step forward … 
We get down, the guy precedes me … I don’t overtake him, I let him to precede me for the pleasure of following him … I’m willing not to go to class so as not to leave him alone even for a minute, but he goes just to the university … then he takes Hippocrates avenue and goes on Scarpa street. You will not believe it but he was a freshman of Engineering … I said to myself: “Wow! I’ll see this guy every day!” 
He was a little confused, he didn’t know where to go … so I presented myself, with the excuse that we had seen each other on the train, I explained a lot of things of the faculty, he was listening and remembered everything I told him and then I had the opportunity to look at his face … and it was of an incredible sweetness, I don’t even know if he was beautiful, but he was sweet, smiling, very direct. We went to the bar … he was happy not to feel alone. I would have done everything not to break those moments of enchantment. Obviously the problem that had worried me on the train was back to the assault but now I had the jacket on and there was no risk. I told him I was going back home with the six o’clock train and that I was going to study at the central library. 
He asked me where I used to eat and I told him that I would eat just a sandwich with a bottle of water and he told me: “If you like, we can eat the sandwiches together”. Then I went to my class, but I kept thinking about that guy whose name I didn’t even know. We ate our sandwiches together … then I went to follow my other lessons in the afternoon and he went to study in the library, at five twenty we went back to the station and got on the train. I, for obvious reasons, didn’t take my coat off, even though the heating was on and it was terribly hot, he told me: ” But don’t you feel hot?” I replied: “A little, but I prefer to keep the jacket on … “, he looked at me with a mischievous smile and I felt a terrible embarrassment … probably he had noticed all the maneuver in the morning. 
He took his jacket off and actually had nothing to hide, I confess that I was sorry, I wanted so much him to try what I felt. Then the train left, in the evening there are very few people, there is no crowd like in the morning, we talked for almost an hour and a half, then he got down the train saying: “See you tomorrow!” I don’t tell you what I did when I got home, but, despite all, in the night I could not get to sleep, I thought of him all the time, I saw him in front of me, I heard his voice and even his smell, a kind of obsession. 
The next day I shaved with the utmost care and I put on the most beautiful shirt I have and, of course, the longest jacket … I get on the train and I feel excited at the thought of seeing him but at the train stop he is non there, I feel frozen … Why? We did not exchange phone numbers and I have no means to contact him and I only know his name: Mark. I feel badly depressed … but he is not there and I cannot do anything. Things went on like this for another eight days, I was very bad the first two or three days, but then I started to get used to the idea that Mark was not there anymore … but yesterday, Saturday, he was there again. 
I must have received him with great enthusiasm and he gave me a beautiful smile. He had only had chickenpox! The story of Andrew and Mark (our story) today is at this point. On the first day of Mark’s disappearance, I had talked about it with the Owl and he had told me: “He will come back, certainly will come back! Don’t worry!” and we had bet that if he came back I would have recorded the story … The story? You will say, but it is a banality … perhaps, I say, … but I hope so much that you are wrong!
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FORM PRETENDED STRAIGHT TO GAY AT AGE 30

Hello Project, 
31, almost married, I say almost because in the end I did not get married, it was impossible for me, my girlfriend and I had planned our wedding in six months. I used to think that the idea of marrying would put an end to my problems, but I was beginning to feel trapped, I hadn’t said anything to my girlfriend. According to her all things  were going very well because I was able to have satisfactory sexual intercourse with her, but I imagined I was with a guy and that was the only way I could get excited. In practice I imagined her completely devoid of her femininity and also endowed with male sexual attributes. The more I realized that it was not so, the more I felt disappointed. 
She wanted me and did everything to excite me, there was some physical response but she didn’t really excite me at all. We have never had penetrative intercourses, I would not have really made it, in short I felt almost a sense of repulsion, I felt it quite as a violence on myself, and so at six months from the final choice I told her, but also to her family and mine, that I didn’t feel like getting married. My God! What happened! My mother thought I had another girl and my now ex-girlfriend thought it too, they bombarded me with questions of all kinds, they thought of everything, but the idea that I could be gay didn’t even touch them, perhaps only my father had some doubt. With my ex-girlfriend and her family the break could not be more traumatic than it was, with my parents things went differently, for my mother my ex was right to think that I betrayed her, from my father, the response was that if I didn’t feel at ease I did well to break before the marriage.
Now they expect (my mother certainly) from me that I bring home another girl, according to them such a thing is obvious and necessary, but in reality I not only have no girl to bring home but I should bring home a guy and moreover much younger than me, ten years younger than me. If I did something like that I don’t even imagine the reaction. They certainly don’t suspect at all that I’m gay (some doubt “maybe” my father) and that I can be with one who is ten years younger than me, even if my father is 16 years older than my mother, but they are straight and this is considered normal. 
I met my boyfriend a year ago. We met on the train, during a trip to Hungary. A good part of the trip was at night, in an almost deserted train, on the carriage there would have been 5/6 people and we had a compartment just for us. We talked a lot, then he fell asleep on the seats and it was just beautiful to be in front of him, by the way, is also a nice guy. Then he woke up and we started talking again, inevitably about girls (speech started by him) and told me that “it was not his kind”. I looked at him in amazement and he asked me: “And you?” And at that point I told him the truth. 
The embarrassment but also the mutual interest was enormous, he asked me about my experiences on a sexual level and I told him that I had never been with anyone, except for a bit of petting, even pushed, but with girls, and he replied that he too had never been with anyone but that he wanted it to happen only if he really fell deeply in love with another guy. We exchanged cell phone numbers. He told me so many things about the family, in short, a nice climate has been created. We spoke until arrival. He got off the train before me. 
That journey literally shocked my life. I was hoping with all my strength that he would call me and it happened, then we met often when he returned to Italy because he lives in a city that is 20 minutes by train from mine. So we always spent Sunday together. I felt for him an infinite tenderness and I wanted him and also on a sexual level but given what he had told me I never took a step that could put him in trouble. At first I had not told him anything about my ex-girlfriend, but then I had to tell him and there I understood that he had fallen in love with me. 
He reacted with panic, he was very worried, he told me that I should not get into trouble but he always talked about me and never about himself, in the end he told me clearly that his dream would be with me, because I had shamelessly tried to get in touch with him, and he kissed me for the first time. After two days I truncated with my ex-girlfriend. I really wanted to have sex with him but for months I never did it because I felt like I was somehow going to do something wrong. We saw each other, we went out, we were fine together, I was very tempted but I tried to avoid, then we finally got there. He took the initiative and I let him do. 
It was not a thing of sex, it was a deep need both his and mine. When I hugged him, I felt a total transport, I never had the slightest doubt that my boyfriend could only be him. With me he is very tender but also very determined, has its ideas in mind and I really like this, we can say that I am also happy that in practice the choices are made especially by him, because in the end he does what I would do even if maybe I would not have the courage to say it. I’m fine with him and I think he’s fine with me (he knows about this mail, I made him read it). 
But what will we do now that we have arrived at this point? I think we are now a real couple but he is at university and will have to study for a few years. How can we think of a couple life? His parents don’t know anything about us but wouldn’t take it well, especially since I’m 10 years older than him. In practice we still need the support of our families for quite a few years. He doesn’t seem worried about this, he says that what matters is that I am there and that the fact that others know can only be one more problem, not an extra freedom. 
He does not even want to hear about a possible coming out or even about making plans too long. I would always like to have him with me and instead we see each other at most once a week. I don’t complain, for heaven’s sake, in fact I consider myself very lucky but I dream of being able to live with him, in a house of ours, fallig asleep in his arms, but now the situation is stalemate and will remain so for years. A I feel inside bit of melancholy, because I found a wonderful guy but I cannot live with him the life that I would like and he too would like. And it could be so easy to experience total happiness! 
If you want to publish the story, he agrees. A hug, Project. 
Former solitary traveler
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GAYS AND DYSFUNCTIONAL SEX

Ego-dystonic homosexuality

In the classification of mental and behavioral disorders contained in the 10th formulation of the World Health Organization (WHO) document for the classification of diseases (ICD-10), homosexuality is no longer considered an illness in itself and is recognized the existence of dystonic forms of all sexual orientations. Echo-dystonic homosexuality is a homosexuality recognized by the subject but not accepted. If a homosexual, fully conscious of being homosexual, comes into conflict with his sexual orientation for religious, moral or social reasons and wishes to change sexual orientation,  his homosexuality is called ego-dystonic homosexuality. This category is now outdated and ego-dystonic homosexuality is no longer classified as a mental disorder, but as a simple discomfort due to cultural or social reasons.

The ICD-10 was approved by the 43th WHO Assembly in May 1990 and has been in use in the WHO member States since 1994. The release date for ICD-11 is 2018, and any reference to homosexuality, even the ego-dystonic one, is expected to be completely eliminated.
Two points must be underlined:

1) the excess of psychiatrization has arrived to overcome the limits of the ridiculous (and really of the pathological) with the description, in the XIX century, of a presumed disease, the drapetomania, a “disorder of slaves who have the tendency to escape from their owner due to an innate propensity for the desire to travel”. Psychiatry, starting from the assumption that slavery was a normal thing, has come to consider pathological the tendency of slaves to flee!

2) maintaining the category of “ego-dystonic homosexuality” has fueled the thriving market of conversion therapies aimed at bringing back homosexuals to heterosexuality, because these aberrant practices were officially considered forms of treatment for a “disease” and therefore were repayable by health insurances or national health services, if any.

Homosexuality had been deleted from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (APA)) since 1973, after a very tortuous path in which ideological resistance, political opportunism and economic interests were intertwined in various ways, in a border territory in which science (psychiatry) risked losing even the appearance of objectivity. In this regard, I refer to a fine article by Jack Drescher: Out of DSM: Depathologizing Homosexuality which illustrates the path that led to the de-pathologisation of homosexuality by the APA.

Let’s leave aside, with all the reservations of the case, the category of ego-dystonic homosexuality,  and let’s come to the specific object of this article, that is the dysfunctional gay sexuality which is something profoundly different.

Gays and dysfunctional sex 

The cultural tradition has accustomed us to the association of sex and pleasure, endorsing the identification of sexuality with the gratification that can derive from it, but the experience teaches that in some cases sexuality, far from being associated with pleasure and gratification, becomes an expression and sometimes a non-secondary cause of depressive states that are inconspicuous but subtle and even dangerous.
 
The association of sexuality and sense of gratification is not a necessary constant but is induced by sexual imprinting and the first approaches to adult sexuality that act in a varied and complex way on the components of the personality in formation and mold it. You can get to experience sexuality as a real obsession, that is, as an invasive and pervasive dependence that deeply affects the whole personality, you can get to experience sexuality as self-punishment, as a self-imposed form of moral degradation or as constantly accompanied by feelings of guilt associated with an unstoppable impulse to repeat. In other words, sexuality can be a dysfunctional response to the discomfort that not only does not relieve it but can weigh it down in a conditioning way.
 
When there is a spasmodic exercise of sexuality, particularly when sexuality is divorced from the affective component, the legitimate suspicion arises that this is a dysfunctional sexuality.
 
I give a very simple but very meaningful example: when a guy lives a very active sexuality but accompanied by a sense of satisfaction and gratification, there is no reason to suspect any form of discomfort, if instead the overactive sexuality is accompanied by depressive feelings, a drop in self-esteem or the perception of a sense of dependence, it is legitimate to ask oneself if there is or not a form of unease behind it.
 
Sexuality as a manifestation and component of discomfort is more easily encountered in homosexuals and in particular in those homosexuals who, for reasons of social conformity or for facts linked to individual history, live in conditions of repression or present forms of sexuality that are not easily accepted, not even in contexts otherwise welcoming, such as intergenerational relationships.
 
As it’s obvious and as I have been able to find on several occasions that having suffered in childhood or even in early adolescence forms of sexual abuse predisposes to dysfunctional sexuality but does not determine it in a necessary way.
 
At the base of dysfunctional sexuality we often find the idea of transgression and of involving others in transgressive behaviors, which often means trying to get out of isolation and share an intimate and at the same time anxiogenic aspect of one’s personality.
 
I would like to point out that dysfunctional sexuality often has its roots in areas of individual experience that have nothing to do with sexuality but which have strong effects on self-esteem and are often linked to the context of the family the individual comes from.
 
The patrimony of sexual intimacy represents one of the most important and at the same time most fragile dimensions of the personality, an invisible but present dimension on which each person measures the social integration at the deepest level. Of course sexual intimacy can be related to many feelings of guilt, linked to the tendency to invade the sexual intimacy of others or to dispel one’s own with abnormal or excessive behaviors.
 
From what I have been able to see the dichotomy between affectivity and sexuality, which many times seems original, is often strongly accentuated by experiences of rejection, that is, stories with an emotional-sexual background begun with enthusiasm and ended by manifest incompatibility.
 
The repeated experience of affective incompatibility leads to the shift of emotional investment towards non-affective sexuality. The archetypes emerged from sexual imprinting thus become models to be repeated continuously and progressively less gratifying. The idea of transgression begins to weigh more than that of sharing, behaviors become ritual and stereotyped and a sort of script is formed that must be recited more or less identical regardless of the personality of the partner.
 
This mechanism, which in fact creates an obsessive dependence, is initially experienced as a mere unease but tends gradually to become compulsive. The emotional components are withdrawn from sexuality but don’t disappear at all from the individual horizon, they remain only in a dimension separate from sexuality. Guys who live in conditions of sexual dysfunctionality have a very deep affectivity that can manifest as such in all its potential, which can be enormous, I mean that those guys can live important friendships, can have, on aspects that don’t touch sexuality, a very rigid moral code, but when it comes to sexuality they will end up feeling dominated by the compulsion to repeat the same behaviors and to try to involve others in behaviors that they consider transgressive and in any case to dissociate affectivity and sexuality.
 
I must observe that many of the behaviors considered by those guys to be transgressive, are in reality quite common variants of sexual behavior that, when they are not accompanied by a sense of dependence and compulsion to repeat or by the tendency to focus only on them, don’t express and don’t create discomfort at all.
 
I report a significant example: intergenerational relationships created on an emotional basis are not expressions of discomfort but those relationships, lived without affection and almost self-imposed, manifest an unease that can be profound, the same is true for example for anal penetration that has nothing to do with discomfort, when it is experienced as rewarding and spontaneous, but instead is a sign of a discomfort that can be profound when it is experienced as self-imposed by people who in their sexual fantasies have never considered that particular sexual practice. The same could be said for the use of a particularly provocative, vulgar or aggressive language in sexual encounters and so on. It happens in these cases a little what happens in the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), a behavior that in itself would not have anything transgressive, if lived in an emotional, playful and otherwise collaborative dimension and without fixed roles, i.e. with criteria of parity and in a light way, is instead considered transgressive and is experienced as compulsive, but the reason is not in the objective transgressive character of that behavior or in its intrinsic compulsiveness but only in the mind of the subject that associates those behaviors with a situation of discomfort.
 
Some criteria tend to prevent dysfunctional sexuality as far as possible:
 
1) Absolute respect for the privacy of the child or adolescent in matters related to sexuality
 
2) To try to prevent sexual abuse of minors, which have a profound effect on adult life
 
3) To create an environment that tends to promote self-esteem and develop an affective climate, in particular by providing examples of the association between affectivity and sexuality.
 
Let us now analyze synthetically each of these points.
 
I understand very well that in the age of the internet, where children and adolescents have easy access to the network and all its contents, parents may be worried about the child’s access to pornography, which in some ways is inevitable; it is however opportune that this access takes place at an age in which there is already a substantially adult sexuality (14-15 years), so that models of behavior are not exclusively imitative, because a model of exclusively imitative sexuality is substantially devoid of affectivity.
 
Parents are often afraid more than of pornography, of special friendships of their children, that instead have the undeniable merit of encouraging the growth of affectivity and the integration of affectivity and sexuality. Parents can and must talk about sexuality with their child but only avoiding calling him directly into question. Attitudes of an inquisitorial type or of real espionage, like looking through the child’s private cards or tampering with his computer are perceived as invasive and violent and break the trust relationship between parents and children.
 
The prevention of child abuse is a very delicate subject because the overwhelming majority of abuses are perpetrated precisely by the persons to whom the child is entrusted or in any case by family members or by those who habitually frequent the child’s home. It is obvious that under these conditions the repressive intervention of the penal law risks being completely circumvented. The golden rule to reduce the possibility of abuse is to never “entrust” the child to others and, if necessary, to entrust him to grandparents or to other family members whose behavior can be certain, and never in a systematic way or for long periods.
 
Creating an environment that tends to promote self-esteem and the development of an affective climate means in practice creating a family life in the full sense of the term, spending a lot of time with children, playing with them from an early age, gratifying them in comparison with adults and showing them concrete examples of affection between adults. There is nothing that can promote self-esteem and the development of the child’s affectivity, such as seeing parents experiencing an emotional and collaborative atmosphere among them. I mean that the child’s discomfort is very often the expression of a family hardship.
 
I have often asked myself about what can be done when a form of dysfunctional sexuality has been rooted for years and here I can only expose my thoughts that are far from indicating a concrete way of proceeding. Naturally I didn’t ask myself what a psychologist can do, because a psychologist takes on a determined role that has its own rules, but just of what a friend can do. The variables involved are many and it is very difficult to arrive at a synthesis, I will limit myself to explain the most recurring problems. I will indicate with the letter “A” the guy who experiences a condition of sexual dysfunction and with the letter “B” his friend.
 
A typical situation: A has a fairly frank dialogue with B and slowly gets to talk with B about his sexuality, manifesting also the aspects that he considers transgressive. In this way A intends to evaluate above all the fidelity of B and his reactions. If B will be annoyed by those speeches or if he will go away not to be seen again, A will live the thing as another refusal towards him and this will confirm him in the idea of marginality and social isolation. If B will listen to A’s speeches in a patient way without reactions of amazement and will try to underline that the transgressive aspects are actually minimal, admitted and not granted that they exist, A will go on to a later phase, he will try to involve B beyond the level of dialogue, he will try to provoke him, to convince him to try some sexual contact, even very superficial, even by telephone, but it will be a sexual contact with those characteristics of transgression that B had considered little or no transgressive at all and here B will have the problem of accepting or not to take this step forward, because if B will accept, almost certainly A will try to take another step forward to involve B more and more, but if B refuses, A will take the opportunity to further depress and to further decrease his self-esteem. At the end of this process, which may take months, B will ask himself whether it is appropriate to give in to the insistence of A and here the answer is not at all obvious, B would not however have the prospect of starting a romance with A, since A is interested in B only on a sexual level, while B could prove a deep emotional involvement for A. B, however, is now aware that the relationship with A is played at another level and that, even if A is not involved at an affective level, or better in terms of couple relationships, B’s answer can be very important precisely for A’s personal balance, or better for his self-esteem and for overcoming depressive attitudes. B, on the other hand, knows very well that yielding to A once means inducing A to repeat that sexual experience an infinite number of times but always without couple affectivity.
 
Among the one-way answers: always accept the proposals of A, or say no clearly even if in the least aggressive way, there is a third way, that of an agreement limited especially to periods of maximum stress of A. The purpose of B cannot consist in trying to create a relationship with A, but must be identified in allowing A to achieve greater serenity and greater self-esteem and therefore to live, even towards B an emotional dimension “without couple relationship” but anyway strongly stabilizing. As it’s obvious in this path there are many possible variations and decisions don’t belong to B but are taken together by A and B not with agreements made of words but through significant behavior, as it happens in every important interpersonal relationship.
 
I would like to end my discussion on dysfunctional sexuality with a clarification: dysfunctional sexuality is often found in people in other respects realized despite their low self-esteem and, I would add, in people who are forced to live lives very different from what they wished, even if they have achieved, in these unwished lives, notable social and economic successes.
 
With these people it is certainly possible to build affective relationships sometimes very important, that their characteristic non-aggressiveness and their tendency to maintain stable relationships, even if not close, make in fact often very pleasant and gratifying.
 
If there is one thing from which in any case, it is necessary to refrain it is from judging, because this would further decrease self-esteem and lead these people to more clearly depressive states. 
Speaking both with people with dysfunctional sexuality and with their friends, I noticed that respect and affection subsist between them. I have also noted that some problematic situations tend to resolve when, on a general and not specifically sexual level, self-esteem rises and with it the substantial level of socialization. The real danger is the state of abandonment in which the individual is absolutely alone with his depression because then the incentives to reevaluate oneself and to understand that one is really important at least for someone are completely lacking.
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HETEROSEXUAL EXPERIENCES OF A GAY GUY

Project, I wanted to ask you an opinion on something that happened to me and that put me quite upside down. I am 22 years old, I am rather clumsy with the things of sex, in practice I have never had sexual experiences with either girls or guys. I always thought I was gay because the girls never attracted me and my sexual fantasies were always for guys, except very rare cases, when I was 16, and deliberately forced myself to think about girls but, let’s say so, with a minimal physiological reaction, practically almost nothing. 
 
About a month ago I met a girl from my city (a small northern city) on the campsite, she is about my age, we were both with our friends, I was with three other guys and she with two guys and another girl, then we met at the sea in the morning, spent the morning all together, we all took a bath together then there were those who sunbathed, in short, the usual things you do on the beach. My three friends were busy with the girls they found there, but a normal thing, that is talking, joking a little, the usual things you do between young people, I watched, with the usual attention not to get caught, one of the two guys of the other group, who was not bad, let’s say who was not bad to look but was not really my type of guy, however my three friends, that is those of my group, have never attracted me from a sexual point of view and that guy was the “least worst” there.
 
Until here there is no story, the usual thing of the gay who has to be content to watch. But something unexpected happened. The girl I told you began to talk especially with me, to joke but in a very nice way, without the typical attitude of certain girls who are taking a crush, a little like a guy. Let’s say that this girl was tall, very thin and with blonde hair cut very short and had a very small breast, basically it made me imagine her a little as a guy, but she was a girl. I was fine, let’s say so, from a certain point onwards I began to treat this girl in a freer way, a little as I would have done if she had been a guy, playing even with a minimum of physical contact and it was really not unpleasant. My friends have noticed all this, according to them I was aiming at her, I went on with the game because my friends didn’t know about me. In practice so we arrived at the end of the holiday, I completely forgot to look at the guy of the other group and I always looked at the girl.
 
There is one thing to say though, in reality I didn’t even think I fell in love with that girl because during the whole period that, let’s say, I was with her, I continued to masturbate with my usual gay fantasies, that is she was very pretty, etc. etc. I saw her as a friend, but she didn’t attract me sexually, and then she didn’t even try anything with me neither at a minimum level, let’s say it was just a nice and pleasant liking. Then we came back in the city and things have taken another way.
 
My parents were out on vacation and I invited her to my house, she was not at all surprised and immediately said yes,  for a while I have been happy then I felt a bit embarrassed, but now the thing had already started and we can say that I wanted to see how it would end, but I was determined to avoid any form of sexual involvement.
 
She arrived at my house, I had bought some good things at the fry shop, we ate, the speech was embarrassed, there was something unsaid, that anyway still conditioned us, I was very cautious and she didn’t know if to step further. At the end of the lunch we sat on the sofa, I felt the tension in the air. At a certain point she snuggles up close to me and tries to rest her head on my legs at the groin, I stop her, I take a pillow and I put it on my legs to avoid any genital contact, let’s say. I don’t think she understood the meaning of the maneuver, however things doesn’t go further, I start talking about the campground but just like I would have done with a guy, but she was a girl, resting her head on my legs and we were alone at home.
 
Here I began to get an erection but, if I have to be honest, I tried to imagine that she was a guy, or maybe I don’t know, the fact is that I got an erection. We had been like this for an hour, she looked at me in a tender way every now and then, sometimes tenderly blowing my face and smiled and I liked all of this. Then she told me: “Do you like an ice cream?” I said yes, she got up and asked me where the bathroom was, so I had time to put myself in a condition that could let me to stand up without embarrassment, let’s say I was a bit wet. If I have to be honest, I was not bad. Then the ice cream and the walk, just as if I had been with a male friend. I take her back home, she tells me it was great and asks me what I had to do the next day, so we agree to repeat the experience the next day.
 
I go back home, I think about everything that happened, I don’t mind but I think that if it happened with a guy I would have exploded with happiness and it would have been another matter. In the evening I don’t masturbate, which is rare for me.
 
The next day we repeat almost exactly the same script, but as was to be expected, she takes one more step, tells me that it’s too hot and takes off her blouse and bra and lies down on my legs like the day before, she has actually small breasts, she is a beautiful girl but she is a girl, then she takes my hand, takes it to her mouth and kisses it in a very light way, then she begins to caress her breasts with my hand, I am in erection and a little wet, I let things go on, then I start to caress her, it is a pleasant feeling but I realize that it is not what I want, I start to feel embarrassed, somehow the situation is pleasant but I realize that we are going to things that I don’t feel mine at all, then I begin to have doubts, i.e. I think that basically with her I could also have done something because I hadn’t felt any sense of repulsion, I don’t know what would have happened if the situation had switched to sexual genital things but I think I could even have had a little sex games with that girl.
 
Anyway she realizes that I am very much cautious and I don’t tend spontaneously to go further, she blows on my face and tells me smiling: “ice cream?” This means that she is a clever girl who perceives immediately the situations of embarrassment. She goes to the bathroom, I get back in order, I’m actually quite wet. When I leave her at home she tells me that she will not be there for a few days because she will go to [omissis] to her parents but immediately adds that she will call me back as soon as she comes back and that we will be in contact by cellphone. She greets me giving me a very light kiss on the mouth. She had never done such a thing before.
 
I come home a bit relieved that we will not see each other for a few days but a little I miss her. I begin to think back to the sensations I felt while caressing her breasts but the feeling is strange. In the evening I try to masturbate thinking about her and what we did, it does not come spontaneously, a half-thing, more forced on a physical level that enjoyed with the imagination, but I come to the end but to an end so unconvinced that I begin to ask myself what I’m doing.
 
In the morning I wake up in erection as almost always happens to me, I turn on the PC, I look for videos of guys and I masturbate on those videos. It is incomparably different, I realize it and I say to myself: “What the hell am I doing? I’m gay! I can also get an erection by playing with a girl (and then only with that girl, because she is a very particular girl), but I really don’t see myself having sex with her, I want a guy!” Project, now I come to the questions, but from what I told you, do you think I’m straight (I don’t think so) or at least bisexual? Maybe just a little? And then what should I do with that girl? Being close to her is pleasant for me, I cannot deny it, but it is that step by step you get slowly to sex and, at the limit, maybe I could even accept it but it is not really what I want. This is my problem! If you want, publish the email as it is, but, please, change the names of places.
A hug.  Perplex
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SUBLIMATED HETERO LOVE AND GAY MASTURBATION

Hi Project, how are you? 
I’m writing to you after a few months to talk and update you a bit. I have read, as you suggested, the manual Being Gay that you published on the site. There are sections, especially in the first chapters that are the photography of my experience. I really wish I’d read these things before! Sometimes I think that today being gay is, at least from a social point of view, extremely easier than a few years ago. When I was a teenager, everyone, I underline it, all my friends and classmates were openly homophobic. 
Starting from the beginning of high school, perhaps because my way of doing wasn’t so much macho, some of my classmates had begun to make fun of me. I was at school by the priests and this perhaps contributed to create an environment not very open, the fact is that I had been targeted by a classmate and within a short time all my classmates followed him and begun to make fun of me, calling me gay. You cannot imagine how much I suffered for this. On the one side inside of me I knew I was a homosexual, because I had gay masturbation fantasies and because I already had had a homosexual episode with a friend in the eighth grade, on the other side I tried to look heterosexual and take on more masculine attitudes. I also tried to please the girls, so much so that I had fallen in love with some girls at the time. 
Reading your manual now I smile because there are things that I experienced in the first person. For example, the fact that I fell madly in love with a girl, I even idealized her, I fell in love with her in romantic terms, but I didn’t have a real sexual interest for her and I didn’t masturbate thinking about her. The most I could do was some petting and some caresses on her breasts or her sex. With a girl around 19, we masturbated each other, and I came to orgasm, but if I think about how we did these things I almost laugh: practically we remained dressed in the dark, and we masturbated to orgasm. I didn’t want to penetrate her, nor do oral sex, masturbation was even too much. 
And all this was enough for me to think that I was straight! Yes I wanted to be straight and I thought that all my jerking off thinking of the guys was the result of a transitional situation, absolutely not of my true and primary sexuality, but just a passing thing, a kind of strange pastime. I came to think: “I just have to find the right girl and all gay thoughts will vanish like fog in the sun!” Then I found the right girl and, since gay thoughts didn’t vanish at all, I thought, well, with a girl it’s different, I cannot masturbate thinking about her, it’s not beautiful, not polite, so I must keep thinking about the guys when I masturbate, but I’m straight anyway, because I’m in love with a girl! But then sex with this girl was neither disinhibited nor satisfying and I thought: the girl’s fault, or fault of the girls in general, they like sex less than us boys and I ended up masturbating always and only thinking about guys. 
Then even if the sex was not satisfactory I thought that the love with L capital was for this girl and that I would never fall in love with a guy, because love was reserved for girls and for this I was straight! The process of rationalization was very complex but identical to what you describe in the manual. You have to add that I didn’t want to be teased by classmates! 
But I certainly can’t forget the crush on a schoolmate a year younger than me! I had begun to notice him for his body. We stayed in the afternoon many people studying in a large classroom and this guy was sitting not far from me. The first time I noticed him, almost absent-mindedly, it had been because … I had been impressed by his backside, very masculine. From that moment I began to observe him more and more often and the more I watched him, the more I found him interesting, and I began to feel attraction towards him. Then almost unconsciously I started to masturbate thinking about him. 
At the same time I was platonically in love with a girl I had met in the summer at sea and with whom I had started an idealized love story (with a throbbing heart). With this girl, the maximum sex had been a little petting a few days in the summer, and I never masturbated thinking of her. But we exchanged romantic letters and this was enough to reassure me that I was straight. But then at school I was waiting for that guy to go out with him and walk a stretch of the road to the bus stop. And I found excuses to go to see the volleyball matches of that guy’s team, to be able to see him in shorts; I liked to see him play, I liked his legs, his back, his chest. 
For all the years of high school I have fought with myself. I understood and didn’t accept. I understood and hoped it was not true, that it was the school of priests, that were the wrong girls, that was the fact that I was in a single-sex school. I was looking for all the excuses outside of me: it was the environment that diverted me from a straight (in both senses) behavior. But it was not the environment to be gay, nor girls not to be right, nor me to be unlucky nor me who was the one girls didn’t like. I would have had to look inside of me to understand that the environment, the priests, the girls, the gay episode at 14, had nothing to do with my homosexuality, but simply I was just like that, despite the environment and despite many girls who liked me and despite the girls who liked to have sex with me (I was the one who didn’t like going beyond kisses and a few touches, they would have even liked to do everything). It was me. 
I would have certainly understood much earlier and much better, if I had had the opportunity to read the things written in the forum and in the manual. And yes, because I really wanted to believe that I was “a wrong heterosexual” for too long. I really liked girls, in the sense that I perceived the beauty and I know very well and I like the beauty of a girl. And so the beauty of a girl made me fall in love with her, idealizing her. I idealized her so much that sex passed into the background, but at the time I thought that sex ended up in the background because pure love prevailed on the materiality of the sexual act. So yes, I courted some girls and some stories are born, I really liked kissing them, I had very spontaneous erections, but such things were still unsatisfactory, neither I nor these girls took so many initiatives. 
But how I felt in love! And how many opportunities I have deliberately let fall. A girl had invited me to her house one afternoon (and we could have had sex, in my opinion), but once I got there I started talking about everything, without even touching her. Another girl had started to call me on the phone, we had even gone out together a few times, and there, too, nothing, I had not stepped forward, even guessing that she would have accepted, if only I had tried to do something. 
One evening a friend of mine wanted to go to the disco because there was a party and there were girls to meet; I had found an excuse not to go (the classic excuse: I have to study) and I had moved to a newsstand where with my heart in the throat and the salivation reduced to zero I bought my first gay porn journal. I don’t tell you the initial embarrassment with the newsagent, the fear, and then once at home the excitement, the excitement I had felt in flipping through that newspaper. Seeing those naked guys, seeing that I was not alone with my fantasies, seeing that there were other guys (and very beautiful too) who not only were gay, but were photographed while having sex with each other, literally stunned me. It was so big my desire to see a gay porn magazine, that I had challenged the fear, the shame and had taken courage. So the same night my friend was in the nightclub trying to catch girls and I was at home masturbating with a gay magazine. 
And despite all this evidence, I wanted to continue to believe that I was straight and to believe I had gay fantasies just to masturbate, because masturbation thinking of a girl “gave me frustration, hurt me, because it made the girl object of my thoughts become just an object of sexual fantasies”. And how is it that when I happened to have experiences of gay sex, certainly I was not inhibited and I didn’t think so much? I just let myself go! How is it that when I perceived the possibility of having sex with a guy I was looking for an opportunity to do it? How is it that I masturbated thinking about what I had done with a guy or even thinking about what I wanted to do with a guy (hetero)? Yeah, the usual rationalization: “masturbation is a thing in which girls don’t enter, but I’m straight because I fall in love with girls and because if I see a beautiful girl I like her”. 
Yes, I liked girls, but when it was time to conclude, as I wrote before, I subtracted myself from my duty of heterosexual guy and took refuge in romance, in idealization, in beautiful speeches, and at the very most we touched each other or little more. You know, I came to think: “I like lesbians because there are no men around and I would like to be between these two women, so I’m a super straight!” Instead, seen with today’s awareness, the reality is that I like lesbians as homosexuals and because for me homosexuality is a natural sexual condition. So for me it is natural to have sex guys with guys, and girls with girls. I’m not a super straight guy, I’m a super gay!
See you soon.
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