NON-SEXUAL GAY LOVE AND SUBLIMATION

Hello Project, I send you this e-mail because reading your site made me feel better and I found the courage to do something that I would never have done before, that is to send you this e-mail. 
 
I am a 24-year-old boy who has always considered himself heterosexual and in a sense still considers himself heterosexual even now. I have a girlfriend and I have a good relationship with her, I don’t know if we will get married because there are many  problems linked to the necessity of finishing our formation path at the university and to finding work, but we are fine together, I also have with her a good sexual partnership, better than that I had with other girls. I have never had the fixed idea of running after girls and even less of running after the guys.
 
If I had to look at the things you value to understand the sexual orientation I should say that I am 100% hetero, except for something that I have always known, that is a form of aesthetic admiration for some guys I like just like for their physicality and perhaps also as psychological model of the person. The guys I look at, I state it with no doubts, always without sexual involvement, are very few, not one in a hundred or maybe in a thousand, the others are totally indifferent for me, but I stop to look at those very few, because they seem beautiful, perfect from my point of sight. All this is a premise.
 
This morning, at the secretariat of my faculty, however, something happened that really messed me up a lot. I had taken the number and sat down to wait, at a certain point a guy entered who enchanted me. Very young, I think a freshman, because if there had been one like this the last years I would have certainly noticed him, tall, dark blond, very light skin, with glasses, a bit scruffy, but as are people who are not obsessed with perfection, barely long hair. I tried to watch him without his noticing me. Our eyes met three times in all the waiting time, but just in passing, I think he didn’t even notice, but I experienced a very strong effect of it, I repeat, Project, nothing sexual, just a very strong sense of tenderness, I would have embraced, cuddled, defended him by everything and everyone, he seemed to me a piece of pure humanity, let’s say perfect, in a place where everything is uncertain and strange, also because he was not only beautiful but had very tender attitudes and ways of doing, at least to me they seemed so.
 
I continued to watch him with the fear that he realized he was being watched, I was fascinated by the fact that he didn’t seem aware of his beauty, he didn’t smile, was very serious, almost absorbed in his thoughts and stranger to that environment. Then they called my number and I went to the counter, when I finished that guy was gone and I felt alone and even at home he came back to my mind many times, as usual nothing sexual, but he made me feel more tenderness than how my girlfriend does and I thought that  falling in love with such a guy is not even linked to being gay, I don’t feel gay but being close to that guy I think could give me some affectionate, intimate moments, more intense than those I experience with girls. Can I, at 24 years, be about to open my eyes in front of the fact that I’m not entirely heterosexual or at least I am not heterosexual from the affective point of view?
 
I read a lot of what you wrote about bisexuality and about the fact that boys usually fall in love with a girl and want a boyfriend sexually, the opposite happens to me, I feel attracted towards some guys but sex has nothing to do with it or I think it has nothing to do with it, but I thought about that guy a lot. I mean that if that guy would have fell in love with me and he was gay, even if I don’t feel gay, with that guy I think I would be fine, with him, but only with him. For someone like me it is not obvious to come to a conclusion like this.
 
Could it be a first step towards homosexuality or do you think it has nothing to do with it? I’m not interested in guys but, if I had to say, to just in that one guy, I would like to be close to him, I don’t really think about sex, I’ve said it many times, what does all this mean? There is another thing that embarrasses me: with my girlfriend, with whom I use to speak just about everything, I would never dare to make a speech like that, if I don’t tell her anything I think I’m deceiving her, but if I tell her what happened probably I would make a mess and then what could I tell her? That I saw a charming guy? Because in fact this is precisely what happened. Is there a homosexuality without sex? Or is it a stupid question? What should I expect for my future? I greet you and I hope in your answer.
G.A.
 
Aliosha replies:
 
“That person is so special and there is a so particular affinity, that this is independent of sex and sexual orientation”. Well, that’s exactly what came to my mind when I read your story. I would like to add a couple of things that seem to me relevant to your situation. You say you have a girlfriend and that to some degree you are thinking about marriage. I would put this as the main thought beyond your orientation. I wonder if the things you’ve tried at any level have shocked you in some way. The real problem would be to be gay and get married or otherwise find yourself not in love and marry all the same. I mean, do you really experience the same kind of transport towards your girlfriend that you felt for that guy? With the due differences would you say the same things about her? That is “she could also be a male but I would be fine with her anyway”? And again … Is it necessary to try those things, that is, those that you have felt for the guy, in order to be considered in love? In short, if you reason already in view of marriage it makes more sense to ask these questions BEFORE and not after.
 
On your perplexities about sexual orientation I don’t want to say much else. I am sure that if you already have had an exchange of e-mails with Project, he will have already made an objective picture of the situation and in these things he always has a reassuring style that helps a lot to clear up ideas. I conclude only by telling you that since staying here a bit with us doesn’t cost you anything and you never have to decide in a hurry in such things, it remains that here you will notice quite easily  if something moves you inside or if you notice certain assonances between your story and those of other guys.
A hug
 
Telemaco replies:
 
To reply to this email I want to mention a small episode that has left me a bit perplexed but that perhaps has something to do with these issues.
 
During lunchtime in a nice spring day a friend of mine invited me to eat a pizza: we went to a tavern that I didn’t know and we approached the counter to ask for a table. While we were waiting for our shift a waiter passes by who is of an indescribable beauty; tall, slender, thin profile, little nose upturned, light eyes and very short and black hair a little unkempt.
 
The service uniform was tight because he had a very well-defined body, even if probably not trained at the gym. He was preparing drinks at the counter.
 
My friend, (a straight guy, I’ve known him for a long time and I’m sure) very candidly tells me: “Did you see those pectorals? It’s incredible, look at that shoulders, he’s really well handsome! Oh yes he’s really beautiful, look what a body!” I, surprised, I answered something like:” Um! Cough cough, what do you think he’s pouring? f-from the bottle I think Montenegro … ” I was stunned! Then I thought a bit about and I came to the conclusion that it makes no sense that sexual orientation must necessarily influence the idea of “beauty” that one has: if a heterosexual guy makes an impromptu appreciation on another male he does it simply to talk about his concept of beauty: it was I the one “with the straw tail” [who was wracked with guilt or hesitation] I had difficulty splitting his judgment on the beauty of the waiter from a something sexual, from the physical attraction that I instead can experience.
It is clear, however, that the association “physical beauty” -> “sexual interest” is an indestructible cliché of common sense, where in fact I fell that time too.
 
Felix replies:
 
I was struck by this email and I really liked the way G.A. exposed his reaction to the sight of that charming guy. I read answers and, even if I’m aware that I should read them more carefully, I would like to say what I think. I will try to be synthetic and clear.
 
Let’s start from what happened: G.A. saw a nice guy, but the reaction was not simply that of admiration, so I think we can say that the reaction is of an emotional kind. This is the first point. If so, it is normal that G.A. reacted with a certain upsetting: he has always considered himself heterosexual, he has a relationship with a girl and with her he also has a good sexual partnership. Nevertheless he felt the need to search the internet for something that would help him shed light on that reaction. It does not surprise me. It was a bolt from the blue. But, since the reaction has been affective, and not of sexual-genital attraction, it seems to me that it was a signal launched from the heart and that it has found the free way to reach the level of awareness.
 
A signal, however, does not indicate a certainty, just as a swallow is not enough to say that spring has arrived. It must certainly be taken into consideration and interpreted, but we must be very careful not to immediately jump to the easy conclusions. In this sense, remembering Pascal who says: “The heart has its reasons that the reason doesn’t know”, if it is right and legitimate to ask the questions necessary to read and interpret the fact, it is also necessary to pay attention to avoid falling into excessive rationalization with questions that demand answers that can easily risk not to take into account the emotional dimension. The heart takes a lot of time to talk and be heard. If this were not so, why do many find it difficult to accept situations that are of obvious evidence?
 
 For example, many homosexuals (I speak from experience) refuse for years the idea of accepting and defining themselves as such, despite the evidence and the signs that their interiority is constantly launching. But not only the repressed homosexuals react like that. Every man may have experienced similar situations of resistance in fields also very far from affectivity: the head says something and the heart rebels. Then? Then, one becomes aware of the fact that has happened and examines it but without too much reasoning about it. If you leave the space, the heart will find the way to launch other signals and with serenity the person will be able to understand if that episode was just an episode, or a strong jolt able to make him understand that perhaps his belief in sexual orientation requires a certain revision and a more careful observation.
 
G.A. stressed that the sexual sphere was inexistent in the whole affair. This does not upset me and it could even be a signal not to be underestimated. Lately in other posts we have discussed precisely the fact that being gay is not mainly connected with the genital attraction for people related only to their biological sex, but it concerns a higher emotional sphere that embraces even the sexual one. I think, for example, of the answer that Project gave to the topic that I have opened on erotic gestures over time and that clearly expresses this concept, or there is the discussion about what it really means to be gay. In both it is stressed that being gay means living a dimension that is mainly emotional. I conclude by encouraging G.A. not to enter the circle of those who want everything and immediately, and not to worry too much for his girlfriend when he feels that he is deceiving her.
 
Now he must stand before himself and to do so it takes patience and attention. Precisely because he is the first interested person. it is not necessary for others to enter your inner sphere too soon, even if it is your girlfriend. Sometimes speaking too soon about things not yet very well defined can create considerable inconvenience, as you have rightly noted. If she loves you and if the search for the truth about you takes a new direction accepted with respect and with the utmost sincerity by you, she will notice it and will also feel that you have absolutely hidden nothing. Good luck and a good journey. Whatever it is, I wish you to be happy!
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GAYS AND HETEROSEXUAL NOSTALGIA

Hello Project, what’s going on on the forum? Is there some agitation or am I wrong? Anyway, in the end it’s not that the thing touches me a lot. I rather wanted to talk to you about an issue, I have your msn contact, because you gave it to me some time ago. I don’t know if you remember, I found the date of the first email that I sent you on the msn blog and it is March 30th  2008, I was the 23 year old, now 24 year old, ex-hetero convinced, now gay not so convinced. 
 
I tell you all, without fiction, when I met you I didn’t like you even a bit, nothing was right for you of what I told you, you had always something to say and you talked above all about prudence, a word that I never liked too much. You don’t even seem to me a gay man but only one who is afraid of sex, who sublimates, who postpones, in short, excuses the expression, but you didn’t seem up to what I was looking for. Oh well, I sent to hell you and your project and tried other ways, I met some guys on the chats, the ones you don’t like and I have been with those guys, that is with some of them I have also had intercourses.
 
When I was with these guys I was reminded of my last girlfriend, with whom I have never had sex. That girl loved me. I knew she was not for me, but that girl loved me. Excuse me if I speak explicitly, but then with those guys when I got to the point I had a feeling of disappointment, I said to myself: “But is that all?” That was just sex in the elementary sense of the term and it all ended up there. I read that you talk about gay love, but what love? At most sex. I had a serious relationship with my last girlfriend, we talked a lot, I saw that she cared about me, but the guys I met in the chat weren’t at all interested in me or were fixed with sex much more than me or were depressed and frustrated to the limit and beyond the limit of the pathological, an incredible assortment of absurdities, or maybe I had been just unlucky.
 
In the things of sex I have always been cautious because I don’t want to get in trouble for stupidity and to someone (or better to more than someone) I said “no thank you!” very firmly. I liked a lot two or three of them and they didn’t even look like maniacs, but they didn’t really care about me. I wanted to build a relationship with them similar to that I had had with my girlfriend but adding also some  gay sex, instead we ended up just having sex and nothing more, we heard each other once or twice, then we went to the point, we met, etc. etc. … The first times I had a lot of expectations, but we didn’t see each other to talk, when I tried they looked dazed at me as if to say: “But what are you searching for? ” Project, you don’t know how I revalued my last girlfriend! It was quite another thing, something much more serious.
 
Sometimes I really regret not being straight. A guy then was the top of stupidity, basically it was evident that he was convinced that I was completely stupid but he ran after me because physically I’m quite a beautiful guy. Project, but are you sure you have the right ideas about gays? You always talk of them in a sublime way as if they were (or rather as if we were, because I’m there too) much better than straight guys but it’s not like that. I know I’m gay, but after getting to know many gays up close I’m sorry I’m not straight because I tried what being straight means and it was basically another thing, the heterosexual love exists, perhaps also the gay love exists but is not so obvious. If you want, publish this email. Send me two lines and tell me how I can talk a bit with you, lately I have revaluated you a lot. Kisses.
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LOVE STORIES OF A GAY EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD

First of all, thanks for last night’s chat. You will understand that at 18, for one who has always tried not to see, finding the courage to write you was very difficult, but I’m glad I did. I expected a standard answer, let’s say a schematic thing, and I was struck by the kind of response, very direct. When I asked you to chat, I didn’t know what you would answer, but a minute later we were on Skype. Maybe the fears of a boy like me will make you smile, but I cannot talk to anyone seriously and for me to be able to talk about certain things means to understand that I must not be afraid. 
 
I have always lacked a family from my childhood, I had a family but only in name, my father thinks only of his things and my mother cares about me and my sister just like a duty always puffing and making us notice (especially at me) that for her we are only a ball and chain. My mother is convinced that she is an excellent mother and that she has sacrificed herself for us from morning to night and in a sense it is true, but she is not a mother, she is a super-nanny.
 
My father, when I try to tell him two words, makes me point out that he has no time, that he has other things to do and that what I wanted to tell him can be said later, he always postpones  my sister’s things and mine, because he has to think about work , always and only about work.
 
How can I tell my parents that I’m gay? I think that, very simply, they wouldn’t believe it, they are young, my father is 44 and mother 42, but they are straight and for them the world ends there. When there is a program on television that also speaks about gays, they don’t make homophobic comments, none of this, simply they change the channel, without even noticing, as if they had ended up by mistake on a channel that talks about how the cucumbers are cultivated in Arizona.
 
Besides, I would not bear at all the idea of being sent by a psychologist, and what for? I don’t have problems with my being gay, I feel great. One of my schoolmates is a gay, publicly declared, I don’t like him at all, he is a very good guy, but I really don’t like him physically, he is not effeminate at all but he isn’t certainly the guy of my dreams My classmates are not homophobic, my gay friend is not teased or bullied, the others simply consider him a bit like a Martian.
 
One day a friend of mine was talking to this gay guy and said to him: “I have nothing against gays, but I never understood how you, who are basically a boy like us, can do without girls and how can you run after guys “. This is the attitude that I see around me. I know that there is much worse, but even this feeling like a Martian is not at all pleasant. You can well understand that coming out at school and being treated like my gay friend doesn’t attract me at all.
 
As for love stories, my fantasies are enough for me. Two years ago I fell in love with a boy 18 years old, who was very handsome and fascinated me a lot because he was very calm, never aggressive and even though I was younger than him, the times that we talked, he took me as a guy his age. Then he graduated and left and I didn’t see him anymore, he was also a straight guy, I didn’t have the slightest doubt about that.
 
There is a guy in my class who likes me, that is, compared to the handsome boy of two years ago …  no! There’s no possible  comparison, but among others he is the one  I more look at, but then, when I speak with him, all my fantasies vanish, he is very full of himself, he tells me all the things he will do at university and later, but he seems to me a bit like an inflated balloon. Can you see him as a scientist, one who lacks satisfactory qualifications in mathematics? I don’t believe him will become a scientist! So, let’s say that as far as love stories I’m at zero.
 
There is a guy I like a lot in every sense but he is not in my class and I can exchange with him just a few words when there is the assembly, but I really like him a lot. He’s tall, thin, smiling, blond, with light eyes, just like the guys I like and then he’s smart, when he intervenes he amazes me for what he says, and he’s one who talks little, he also has a very sexy voice and beautiful hands. On this guy I tried to gather information, first of all to know if he has a girlfriend and doesn’t have one! Then to understand how he thinks about gays and I once heard one of his speeches in the assembly when he was talking about this and I noticed that he had a very particular way of expressing himself.
 
I’ll give you an example. Another guy, to say that gays mustn’t be marginalized, said that they should not be marginalized because “those are like us!” And therefore practically said to be a straight guy who accepts gays, while the guy that I like never did a distinction between “us” and “they”, he never said things that implied that he was straight, and this switched on a light bulb in my brain. . . he doesn’t have a girlfriend, talking about gays he doesn’t distinguish between us and them . . . well, objectively they are not very strong arguments but it is clear that the speech needs to be deepened and that it makes sense to try to understand something more.
 
I don’t think this guy has ever noticed me because I speak little, I don’t intervene in the assembly and I’m afraid to say nonsense, so I don’t show myself too much, however, with this guy  some things have happened that I liked a lot. During the assembly many guys were in the yard to smoke and we were there too, even if we don’t smoke, then the others came back to the assembly, I stayed out, I expected him to enter and instead he stayed out talking with me sitting on the steps, it seemed to me like a dream. I don’t want to overestimate the fact but he stayed there for me. We did not know what to say, neither he nor I, it was a moment of sweet embarrassment, but it ended immediately because a teacher passed and made us come back to the assembly.
 
Then there was another episode, there was a conference about the nuclear physics in the afternoon and there were very few people, there were no one of his classmates and he sat next to me in an almost empty room, I felt his warmth.
 
When it was over he offered me a coffee at the coffee machine and asked me what I had understood about everything they had said, and I told him that I was just thinking about something else and he replied: “Me too. . . ” and he gave a beautiful smile, I asked him about what had he thinking and he replied: “I think you know, but let’s change the subject, ok?” It was a very intense moment but then we talked about other things.
 
Is it possible that he too is interested in me? You don’t have an idea of how such a thing would make me happy. I don’t even care if he’s gay (of course it would be ideal!). It would be enough for me to have him only as a friend. Here he’s my dream of love: a handsome guy, intelligent and in love with me! Maybe it’s too much to ask, but I will not give him up because there’s something on its side too. Now I leave you and wish you a good week. 
Thanks for everything.
Mathew
____________
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GAY RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT AN END

Hello Project, I am writing to you because I am in a situation that makes me feel bad like a beaten dog. I am 46 years old, two years ago a 20 year old guy fell in love with me, or at least he did everything to build an engaging relationship with me: sex, but not only that, for us it was the first time, both for him and for me, you understood, Project, I had never been with a guy. I had the distinct feeling that it wouldn’t work and I tried to do everything to stay away but he didn’t give up and we came to build a relationship that lasted more than two years, then, what I feared has realized and he told me that he had found another guy, that he was sorry that I would have taken it badly but that he needed something else. 
The speech put in these terms would still be simple and all in all clear but things were actually much more complex, because we had created a relationship that went beyond sex, I mean that we loved each other and when we broke up (and we broke up well, I mean in a sweet and affectionate way) we actually both knew that something would have remained and that we would always be there for each other and so it was, in fact we never really left each other. 
We no longer had sexual contacts as before because he had a boyfriend, but there was still reciprocal love between us. Project, tell me what is good for this guy? To dedicate himself completely to his new boyfriend, who is a very good guy, and in this case I should completely disappear or in a sense dissolve myself and no longer contact him, or perhaps it makes sense that I exist, with a role that I don’t even know define? However I feel moments of deep suffering because I miss him violently, I remember the days spent together, I dream of those moments almost every night, but I know that I have to leave him free, his happiness is another, there might even be a place for me, but I would still be a secondary character in his horizon. What does one of my age have to do when a not yet 23 years old leaves him but tells him that he still loves him?
With his boyfriend he can now have a story if not in the light of the sun, at least not to hide carefully as he did with our story. I don’t blame him for this, after all I did the same thing and then he would have been considered as a madman at his house not because he is gay but because he stays with someone who is twice his age, something that, for him personally (not at the social or family level), has never created any problem. 
Project, I read with great interest the chapter on intergenerational relationships on “Being gay” but frankly in my case there is not a real couple relationship, maybe there was, but maybe what brought him to stay with me was something else, that is was the need for affection, the need for reassurance, the need to be accepted. In fact this is not the basis of a typical couple relationship but represents the attempt to rebuild a family that no longer exists. I believe this was precisely the meaning of the bond between us. The sex lived together in a calm and without inhibitions way was just the sign of a mutual acceptance without reservation. 
Ok, all this is true, but now he is not there and I feel really empty and destroyed. I know very well that my duty is not to complicate his life but to let him go or to allow him to manage what remains of our relationship exactly as he wants, even that is a sign of acceptance without reservation. But I feel really badly about it, Project, and he doesn’t realize it, and in a sense, I did everything to make sure he didn’t. When we  talk on the phone or on Skype, I act as if nothing has happened, but when we close the phone I feel like crying because those phone calls are not stupidities or formalities, they are a way to confirm that our relationship still exists. 
Here, Project, what really destroys me: the fact that it is not a matter of a thing that is already over, it is not so for him and it is not for me. At my age, before I knew him, I had thought about definitively put aside the idea of having a boyfriend, then he arrived and he upset my plans and now he’s leaving but he doesn’t leave completely and I feel an anguish inside that I couldn’t even describe: anxiety, fear that he might find himself in some trouble, desire to see him happy at all costs and at the same time a deep sense of emptiness, as if I were falling backwards, as if my life was sliding backwards irremediably at the level of two years ago, but after one has known love or at least sex lived with participation, after one has held in his arms a guy in love, well it is scary to think that all this is about to end. 
Something remains, I know, but it’s not enough for me, I know it should be enough but it’s not enough for me. Sometimes I feel like a fool and I try to download all the faults on him but I know very well that he has no faults, that he has lived and is living his feelings with absolute simplicity. I don’t know what to wish for, maybe it would be better if he forgets me soon but I don’t think it would be easy and on the other hand he also loves his boyfriend and I don’t have the slightest doubt about. I know very well that he will never come back with me and that I have to leave him completely free, but Project it’s damned difficult. What can I do? I swear I’m completely confused.
___________
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GAYS AND COUPLE SOLIDARITY

Hello Project, I am a 54-year-old man, I have a name not very spread and for privacy I prefer not to use it, you can call me Francis. Reading the forum, which is really rich, I saw that messages related to young people and, let’s say, to the early stages of life dominate. You also talk about mature men, but in fact I have never seen a post dedicated to mutual solidarity among posts dedicated to gay couples. 
Ok, yes, sex, attraction, coming out, everything you want, but they are ways of seeing things very important when one is young, are issues for people who have to start their adult life, but one is gay non only when he’s a boy, then guys become men and the meaning of a couple relationship changes for them and the need for a concrete solidarity and a stable presence becomes basic cannot be ignored.
 
Why do I tell you these things? The answer is simple, I’ve seen what it means to live like a couple when you’re sick, that is when you really need to have someone close to support you and literally help you live. My life as a young gay was practically all of fantasies and pornography, at least up to 45 years, then I met a guy 24 years old, yes, he was 21 years younger than me, I, according to the usual script, would have had to let such an opportunity pass and pretend nothing happened, because he was a bit too young and I thought it could not work, but he didn’t give up and made me discover the couple sexuality and I will always thank him.
 
We have been together for three years, and those have been the best and most agitated years of my life, he is a bit neurotic but, in short, the result was very positive, then he found another guy, younger than me but with me he has nevertheless maintained a relationship, he has never disappeared and the level of our speeches has never descended towards banality.
 
I was not shocked by the fact that he had found another guy, in a sense I expected it, it was inevitable, and in fact our relationship continued to exist even if in another way. He has had his stories, has changed two or three guys, and then he ended up preferring to be alone, except for some adventure, if it happened, but without going to look for guys. When I was 52 I started to feel bad and it did not take long to realize that the situation was very serious. I felt a bit displaced because I had broken for years the relationship with my family and I was practically abandoned to myself. The very first time, I tried to do everything myself, without asking anyone for help, but it was very difficult, at the limit of the impossible.
 
When my ex-partner, let’s say my only ex-partner (because I didn’t have had any others) knew it, first he called me, then he came to see me and he realized the problem and then he did something that I never would have expected, that is, he moved to my house and now we have been living together for two years.
 
I would never have imagined such a thing, he is now 32 and could have a life of fun and instead he came to stay with me. Sometimes he helps me in an affectionate way and he works hard to alleviate my ordeal as much as possible.
 
My father and my mother (both 78 years old and both in good health) know of my health but have not come to see me, by phone they repeat that I must find “someone” who could help me, but they mean a caregiver or a nurse, on the other hand there has never been a dialogue with them if not for good manners. My parents would not have wanted a son like me, it happened, and they had to accept me with “Christian resignation” (my mother’s words). But that son has a person who loves him and this makes him happy even if he has so many serious problems to deal with. I do not know if my relationship with my ex is a couple relationship, but I think it’s a relationship of love anyway. In my misfortune I can say I was a lucky man. I just have to thank my ex who has given me back a dignity and is allowing me to look at the future with less anxiety. Thanks My cub! I love you so much!
__________________
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GAY AFFECTIVITY

Gay affectivity
 
This chapter was built exclusively on the basis of the experience gained in Project Gay, it is an objectively limited point of view that focuses mainly on undeclared gay guys, the average age of these guys is around 26 years, starting from 16/17 up to 40 and over.
 
The object of the survey is the set of emotional relationships of a gay guy, from familiar relationships to those with friends and those related to the love life, in other words we try to understand what can objectively contribute to individual well-being and what are the factors that for this purpose have greater weight.
 
Family affectivity and coming out
 
The awareness of being gay is not traumatic in itself but because it is hypothesized that being gay involves a condition of substantial separation, even if not always of objective exclusion, from the family and from social environment.
 
A gay guy very often realizes that he is living in an environment with which he cannot have direct dialogue and clearly perceives environmental and family homophobia. In other words, a gay guy often feels himself out of the family environment and out of the peer group, right because of his being “a gay guy” and hence derives the importance that many gay guys attach to the coming out (more or less enlarged) that is supposed to be the keystone for a full integration into the social and family environment of a guy as a gay.
 
All this is based on the often unrealistic assessment that the misunderstanding between a gay guy and his family or a gay guy and his social environment derives from the lack of clarity on the part of the gay guy rather than from ignorance and environmental homophobia.
 
A gay boy blames himself for not declaring himself to his parents and his friends and identifies the causes of his own marginalization precisely in the lack of clarity that he uses towards friends and family.
 
Not declaring themselves, especially in contexts that push towards coming out, is experienced with guilt, as a form of deception perpetrated against family and friends.
 
The push towards the coming out, which appears to be a push towards honesty and transparency, is greatly reinforced by the assumption, or rather we should say from the presumption a priori, that the family and friends are able to really understand and accept the situation.
 
 In totally unprepared environments, the coming out can create situations of serious discomfort, on the verge of intolerability, because usually the reaction is not a clear refusal but a disguised refusal often accompanied by the parent’s feeling of guilt for not having been in able to grow “well” the son. The punishment for this alleged fault consists in having to keep the child as he is and trying to love him “in spite of everything”.
 
Similar attitudes, for the guys who have come out in the family turn out to be more destructive than the sense of generic loneliness and non-inclusion that had preceded the coming out.
 
Friendship affectivity and coming out
 
Even with friends, with very few exceptions, guys soon realize that the coming out doesn’t lead to true integration but to an integration “as gay”, that is, the identification tag objectively makes a difference unbridgeable. After the coming out, often, the situation becomes worse than before and the feeling of marginality and loneliness is exacerbated.
 
Affectivity research and gay sexual research
 
After the phase of the search for family and social integration, the search for solutions oriented towards the gay reality begins. It is realized that with other gay boys a dialogue of another level is really possible, but often the idea of a more direct and immediate dialogue is mixed up with the sexual research.
 
Every effort must be made to represent things in realistic terms, trying to avoid the mysticim of gay affectivity. I mean that not only sexual research should not be underestimated but it must be realized that it is a fundamental element for the growth and emotional stability of any person. The overlapping and integration of affective research and sexual research has nothing pathological and one should be amazed, if anything, by the excess of sublimation on one side and the excess of affective aridity on the other.
 
For a gay guy, as for any guy, sexuality has a fundamental role that must be understood and valued. In the context of sexuality, given the difficulty for a gay guy to find the sexual availability of another guy, masturbation takes on a particularly important meaning, especially when any couple sexual experience is virtually impossible.
 
Even pornography, when it does not create real forms of addiction, should not be demonized. The discovery of online pornography occurs at a very early age and often in a period concomitant with that of the discovery of masturbation. The first contacts with the pornography of preadolescents are frenetic, pornography becomes in practice in many cases a reality that dominates for a while the whole horizon of sexuality, but in the late adolescence needs of affective character mature and gradually lead to a certain devaluation of pornography and even masturbation takes on a more typically affective dimension, that is, it is considered as an integral part, even if projective, of a love relationship.
 
It is a fact that guys and in particular gay guys are very selective in the use of pornography, they are looking for videos that have actors of a few and specific physical types and especially videos that concretize situations that they would like to live in reality. In fact, masturbation with fantasies related to experiences really experienced is much more engaging than that related to pornography because it has a root in concrete experience.
 
While masturbation keeps over time a fundamental role, pornography tends to lose importance over the years and, in a good percentage of cases, certainly not marginal, guys quickly move to the phase of erotic chats and dating sites and here takes place a phenomenon similar to the one that happens at the time of the discovery of pornography: guys realize that having sex on cam with strangers is easy as well as not risky in terms of disease prevention.
 
Then begins a phase of frantic search for virtual sexual contacts. At first the thing is very engaging, even if often accompanied by feelings of guilt, then, over time, guys realize that all this is missing something that is easily identified with the physical presence of the other, the jump towards meeting sites follows, which is objectively much more risky both at the social level and at the level of prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
 
But even the meetings organized in the sites, except for very rare exceptions, are unsatisfactory, often the reason is found in the fact that the other is not exactly the one you were looking for, so you switch to a new experience and then to another and so on. The dating sites are likely to be the arrival station for many people, but in many cases guys ask themselves what is missing in all this and they finally discover the correct answer: in such experiences there isn’t any true affective dimension.
 
Economic model of gay affectivity
 
In what does gay affectivity materialize? The answer should be sought by keeping in mind the common overlap-confusion of two concepts: sex and love that often moves people away from a more complex conception of affectivity. I mean that affectivity can certainly be sexualized but in many cases it presents itself and is objectively completely independent of sexuality. A genuinely emotional relationship is born in a totally spontaneous way and above all it is not conditioned by anything, it exists, if it exists, only for its own strength, outside and often against any mechanism of control.
 
The economic view of affectivity is very common; balance of giving and taking, emotional investment, convenience, emotional failure, are all expressions derived from the world of economics. After all, the economic models dominate in many sectors and it is almost automatic to apply them also to emotional life, hence the idea of marriage and in general of emotional relationship as a “contract” in which one is bound to an exchange of services and offer certain guarantees and also the idea of an emotional relationship based on the possession of the other. In reality, the economic reading of affectivity is the cause of the failure of many marriages and many couple relationships.
 
Weak and gratuitous affectivity – Emotional affinity
 
The affectivity is not totally neither even essentially linked to the life of a couple, it is a much weaker concept, that is much less binding and contractual, but at the same time much more widespread and pervasive. Affectivity is the basis of a deep, spontaneous human relationship and responds to ancestral mechanisms aimed at mutual gratification and at creation of weak but lasting relationships on which the balance of individuals is based.
 
Affectivity tends to be a weak but stable aggregative force because it is independent of external factors and in large part also of the behavioral responses of the other. This identifies the gratuitousness of the affective dimension that gives without asking, even if it is not addressed to everyone but to a fairly small number of individuals who perceive themselves as emotionally similar.
 
Affectivity does not intervene towards people  who are perceived as a potential danger for their unpredictability, but only when the behavior of the other is in some way predictable and judged honest, that is, driven only by affective categories and not by other aims. Affectivity comes into play when there is recognition of a basic affinity in spontaneous reaction mechanisms.
 
Where there is something dissonant, that is, a stranger or not understandable, affectivity doesn’t intervene and the unconscious and subliminal communication mechanisms don’t work, where on the contrary affectivity intervenes, most of the communication doesn’t need words or abstract conceptualizations and people get in touch with each other  essentially through a subliminal communication easily deciphered because the communication code is substantially the same.
 
The affective dimension creates a form of communion-communication for which defensive shields vanish and the learning of behaviors, of ways of doing, of saying, of physically posing of  the other is much facilitated, but all this remains at the subliminal level.
 
Free friendship and instrumental friendship
 
The typically affective relationship is friendship, it is a fundamental and spontaneous interpersonal relationship that does not create bonds but is able to minimize the feeling of marginality and non-inclusion that so many gay guys experience.
 
Unfortunately, friendships are often considered as a kind of technique for the satisfaction of other needs (mostly linked with sexuality), in this way friendship is subordinated to something else and loses its essential character of absolute gratuity. However, it cannot be taken for granted that the intervention of sexuality in a relationship of friendship is always conditioning and destructive, there are friendships that are substantially independent on the sexual involvement that anyhow accompany them, such friendships are not lost when the sexual interest that had been, at least partially, the glue of the friendship, vanishes. However, if the so-called friendship was exclusively instrumental for sexual purposes, when the sexual relationship ends, the relationship of friendship highlights all its weakness and vanishes in a short time.
 
Friendship between gays
 
Friendship does not constrain, does not limit, but opens up a way of communication between people who feel similar. Of course, the affinity can be of various degrees; if this affinity is truly profound, friendship is very firm. In this sense, sexual orientation plays an important role because in a friendly relationship the affinity of experience is a fundamental element. A gay guy uses a communication code that doesn’t coincide with the one used by hetero guys, the messages are different and more cryptic,  the unsaid is much more important than the said, but a code like that for another gay, and especially for another near and congenial gay, is instead understandable and the discourse develops in depth even in the absence of many words.
 
Affective equilibrium
 
The affective equilibrium is a psycho-physical state of well-being that gives the perception of being inserted into a network of protection and therefore also of not being alone anymore. This protection network is not a constraint and above all it does not depend on any condition other than being oneself and triggers itself only when one really needs it.
 
The certainty of the existence of this network of protection derives from the fact that the presence of the other is is something that can not be doubted, it may be missing for a period but neither of the partners thinks, plans or even foresees the end of the friendship. These are not necessarily constant relationships, are often suspended but are anyway real because they reacquire their concreteness whenever the need of them arises. Just a few words, a smile, the availability that does not lack at all, the perception of the attention of the other are enough to prove that the relationship of friendship has not been broken.
 
The construction of true friendships with other gay guys turns out to be the keystone of individual well-being. When a couple relationship goes into crisis, there is a bad feeling of disappointment and abandonment, but if the protection network made up of friendships actually works, if they are true friendships, the crisis is overcome and is not in itself destructive; feeling deprived at the same time of all emotional relationships, lose all friendships and have to start everything from scratch would be quite different. Such a trauma would actually be destructive and would compromise the emotional stability of an individual in a very heavy way.
 
There are no formal affinities of any kind that can constitute deep bonds like the spontaneous bonds emerging from affectivity. To be friends it is certainly not enough to be both gay or have in common a political ideal or a religious belief. There is no associationism that can replace the emotional relationships because such relationships that have their own motivations and their mechanisms and cannot be assimilated to anything else. I add a last but fundamental observation: true emotional relationships, those who create a deep contact between persons, are always reciprocal, are not the result of an act of will and less than ever of an individual act of will. The lack of reciprocity is not a defect of the relationship but a spy of its inexistence. But reciprocity is not reciprocity of behavior but reciprocity of affective dispositions, it is mutual interest, mutual respect, it is perceiving the other as a peer.
 
Sexuality as a substitute of affectivity
 
Talking with gay guys of all ages, I happened several times to realize how sexuality often has in reality a substitute value of affectivity and how this substitution is inefficient and disappointing. I am not sexuophobic, but I don’t believe that sexuality per se represents the basis of a person’s well-being. If sexuality has also a strong emotional, communicative basis of human warmth, then it becomes one of the most powerfully stabilizing elements of the personality, but if it is detached from the emotional dimension it often ends up being the manifestation of an unease.
 
I have seen many times sexually available guys systematically escaping the concrete opportunities to create an important emotional relationship and I asked myself why affectivity can be scary and from what I see the only credible answer lies in the fact that an important emotional relationship is seen as a narrow, constrictive bound imposed to freedom. Behind this way of seeing things there is often the memory of difficult family experiences, in which the affective dimension has been used as a means of restraining and controlling individual freedom, but beyond that there is also the model of couple linked to the traditional idea of marriage as the bond of a monogamous and essentially irreversible union.
 
When overprotective parents, who are unable to really get in touch with sons, experience with anxiety the freedom of their sons who move away from the family, they tend, even unconsciously, to make their sons feel the emotional relationship with them more as a bond than as a security. It is the typical educational model: “If you love me you have to do what I say”.
 
The fear of falling in love is also linked to another concept, namely the idea of avoiding the “compromise” that is very often the basis of the couple life. I mean that guys who avoid building emotional relationships to safeguard their freedom, avoid in practice to enter into relationships of which they are not really convinced, that is, they are much more selective than the average in the search for a partner because they don’t want to pursue the idea of the “couple for the couple” but want a couple that is not based on a compromise.
 
It is often very easy to slip from relationships of superficial knowledge toward very tight and binding forms of involvement that don’t have a really strong emotional basis. The guys who don’t seem to like the couple life tend to follow a reasoning that seems strange from the outside, but that actually has a very precise meaning, they say that one thing is “to love a guy”, even if it is the case, with a bit of sex, and a very different thing is finding a partner. Typical is the expression: “I like him, but I’m not in love with him, while I’m really madly in love with that other guy, and I would stay in couple with him!”
 
The discriminating element between liking someone and falling in love with him is clearly of a sexual nature and this is certainly not a trivial thing. A guy who seems to be afraid of couple life and who generally tends much more to protect his freedom is willing to sacrifice it “only” to build a stable relationship with a guy who involves him very strongly on a sexual level. The reasoning is absolutely straightforward: a basically definitive choice must have a strong motivation at its base and sexual interest is one of the components, if not the essential component, of a really strong interest.
 
Failure of couple life
 
If we look at the reasons for the failure of many couples, when there is a mutual esteem and affection in spite of everything, we find in the first place the fading of sexual interest, in most cases from only one part. A couple made of people all in all serious and balanced, doesn’t work when the sexual drive towards the partner is missing even from only one side.
 
When this happens, one has to wonder if that sexual drive has ever been real or has been replaced by a fragile condescension due perhaps to the need not to be alone. Most likely the couple who goes into crisis after a few months, was couple born on a compromise, in which, on the one side at least, there was no real sexual drive.
 
A few decades ago, it was quite usual to find arranged marriages due to the intervention of the families. In such situations, the couple’s true glue was given by the social approval that didn’t propose but imposed on the spouses a life in which sexuality became a secondary variable aimed at the birth of children. In such situations, on the side of the husband, having a lover represented the tacitly tolerated answer to the enslavement of sexuality in marriage; on the part of the wife, obedience and submission were proposed as a religious and consoling value, taking the total frustration of female sexuality for granted and inevitable.
 
This model of couple life has inevitably been exported also to the gay field. Obviously, given the lack of sons and also the lack of formalization of the relationship in a union basically indissoluble as in marriage, the gay couple born on a compromise is characterized by a greater fragility than that of arranged marriages. It should be added that the low social visibility of gay couples greatly reduces the fear of social reactions (the scandal) that used to slow down the crisis of the marriage or at least to reduce its visibility.
 
Affectivity crisis and non-affective sexuality
 
So far we have analyzed the motivations that cause certain guys to avoid easy emotional ties, it is a matter of strong motivations but, nevertheless, the renunciation of the precarious stability typical couples born on a compromise, especially when family relationships are in crisis and friendships remain superficial or conflictual, involves a sense of emptiness, of suspended life, increases the perception of the passage of time and inevitably leads to the search for values substitutive of affectivity and the only concrete answer is to try to replace affectivity with sexuality but, obviously, with a non-affective sexuality, with a result that seems to re-propose on the sexual level the idea of a couple based on a compromise that had already been excluded on the emotional level.
 
It is true, however, that we are almost never dealing, objectively, with couples arose from a sexual compromise because the basic requirement of stability is lacking, i.e. the constraint that is automatically excluded in the name of the protection of individual freedom and obviously lacks also the exclusivity. I would like to clear the field from moralistic prejudices. The only real risk of these behaviors is sexual promiscuity that, if not accompanied by the systematic use of appropriate forms of prevention, significantly increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
 
In terms of social relationships, guys who are not inclined to forming couples based on a compromise often encounter misunderstandings, are considered in some way dependent on sex and, moreover, on a promiscuous sex, because the idea of a couple based on a compromise, on a social level, is considered, let me use the game of words, a good compromise between sexual needs and stability, where stability means adapting to compromise, which is the most condemned behavior in words, and nevertheless the most widespread in reality.
 
The real problem of guys who tend to substitute affection with promiscuous sexuality lies in the fact that the partners they relate to, in general, reason in the most common way, i.e. they tend to create compromise couples, without major problems, when they meet guys sexually available, because they take for granted that sexual availability automatically involves a similar affective availability, what in the situations we are talking about is not realistic.
 
So two very different mentalities meet and the misunderstandings can be profound and lacerating because both partners feel they are judged and misunderstood in things that seem fundamental and obvious to them. It is precisely this mechanism that prevents the consolidation of relationships that are born on the sexual level and fuels the promiscuity of young people who don’t want to create compromise couples.
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GAY SUNSET

Hello Project, I think you have more or less my age, and then I think you can understand certain feelings I feel. When I was a boy nobody talked about gays, at least not as a normal thing, so, also because of the absolute isolation of gays at that time, I never had a partner, only in recent times, in practice as an old man, I met gay friends of all ages, they are quiet people and I’m fine with them, but obviously, except for the few afternoons we spend together, loneliness looms. There are also relatives it’s true, but with them it is as if I was living another life totally formal. By now I’m the old uncle about whom nobody cares. 
The health is what it is therefore I begin to get used to the idea that the future will not be very long for me and then I would like to achieve something before closing shop, but I have a thousand doubts, well it is in these moments that I would need a partner to decide, to give me an impulse in any direction, but over all to get me out of the continuous oscillations that lead me to never do anything. Now I cannot procrastinate, there is a time for all things and now it’s time to choose and to achieve, but basically there aren’t things that have more charm to me than others, I don’t have to share anything with anyone. Among my gay friends there are also guys of 25/30 years and they make me tenderness, they treat me with respect and also affectionately but for me they are like children, they have a future ahead and have a concrete world to achieve, I am at sunset. 
What to do? Have I to avoid choosing, as I have always done, postponing everything endlessly, or Have I to throwing myself somewhere to do something concrete? Project, I don’t talk about sex or love stories, now I live in another dimension, I talk about going to live somewhere else, in another neighborhood, maybe, more than in another city, in a place suitable for elderly people, but it would still be going to live alone in another place and it does not make too much sense, maybe it would make sense to live in the countryside, but alone in the countryside at my age it’s risky, having doctors and hospitals too far for me it’s dangerous. I begin to see in front of me the years when I will not be self-sufficient, if I don’t go away even before. 
It  is strange how things are still indefinite and I irremediably continue to waste time, even when time is objectively short. At least I have gay friends who sometimes call me and luckily I’m not in the hands of a caregiver. I take my liberties, I get up late, I only use plastic dishes and glasses to avoid washing them, I buy things already cooked to avoid cooking, I plan my visits to the post office in order to go there as little as possible, etc. etc. . What’s left of gay in my life? In practice there are only my gay friends, it is not a trivial thing and I’m happy that they are still with me, however, now life has gone and things ended up this way.
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