GAY LOVE AND GAY SEX

Let’s start from the first point. To the classic question: “When a guy is gay?” I always reply that “A guy is gay if he falls in love with other guys”, this definition, which seems obvious, contrasts another widespread definition, according to which “a guy is gay if he has sex with other guys “, which is the most common definition of gay. The two concepts seem similar but in reality they differ as much as love differs from sex. It is not a question of terminology and has important implications in people’s lives. 
 
It is a fact that there are many guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love with them, these are gay only according to the common definition, but according to the conventions I followed, I should simply call them guys who have sex with other guys, the market for pornography for the great majority is addressed to them. I don’t mean that guys who fall in love with other guys don’t use pornography, such a statement would be ridiculous, I mean instead that the masturbation of guys who fall in love with other guys, very often is not related to pornography but to fantasy and to the re-elaboration of experiences and desires linked to real people in which affectivity plays a substantial role.
 
It often happens that guys who have sex with other guys without falling in love are people who also have a more or less satisfying hetero sex life. It is not really a question of bisexuals, precisely because towards  guys there is  no real emotional component, which is instead turned towards women and is often strongly frustrated. For these guys who have sex with guys, sex with a guy is essentially an adventure, a diversion, an escape from the frustration of hetero affectivity. These people naturally tend to bring into a gay relationship with a guy behavior patterns typically hetero, far from the spontaneous sexuality of guys who fall in love with other guys, that is, far from the parity that is typical of gay sex. When I talk about gay sexuality, I’m not referring, of course, to pornography or to what people believe to be typically gay but to what most guys who fall in love with guys, i.e. gays in this sense, live and above all want.
 
To explain the difference between this true gay sexuality and that of guys who have sex with other guys but don’t fall in love with them, I will use a concrete example taken from the “Maurice”, a wonderful novel by Edward Morgan Forster. When I read the novel for the first time I felt the thrill of having in my hands a book that would always remain on my bedside table. The book is extraordinarily addictive.
 
Maurice and Clive, one of his college mates, start a homosexual relationship, it seems a love story destined to be lasting and deep but Clive is a young ambitious aristocrat and chooses to sacrifice love on the altar of the political career. Not marrying and being considered homosexual would marginalize him, so he comes to pretend to fall in love with a girl and marries her. Maurice and Clive will continue to meet in a formal way but the first love story of the book is over.
 
Maurice, invited by Clive to his estate, meets Clive’s wife, but above all meets another guy, a gamekeeper from Clive’s estate, named Scudder, more or less the same age as Maurice and Clive. 
 
While Clive’s aristocratic friends treat Scudder as a servant and humiliate him by giving him orders and tips in money, Maurice treats him on an equal footing from the first moment and both of them understand that something new and important is beginning for them. I would like to strongly emphasize the fact that Maurice treats Scudder at par because this is the basic condition of a true gay love. When, during a heavy rain, dripping water comes down from the ceiling of a salon, the aristocrats call Scudder to clean everything and move the furniture to prevent it from getting wet and they go to another room, but Maurice takes off his jacket and stays with Scudder to clean up the room where it had rained. This and other similar behaviors by Maurice are spontaneous and are indicative of Maurice’s respect for Scudder and of the fact that Maurice tries to do something that Scudder would like and that is an opportunity to initiate a minimum of direct dialogue, without the concern of social rituality and of caste to be respected, and above all in a more direct and private dimension of human sympathy.
 
In a dark night Scudder climbs with a ladder from the garden in Maurice’s room and the two live together their first sexual contact, the moment is exciting but in the morning Maurice is assailed by the doubt that Scudder wants to blackmail him. Maurice and Scudder will end up explaining each other and realizing that they cannot do without one another. Scudder, pushed by his family, decides anyway to leave for America as an emigrant because he thinks that what happened between him and Maurice should not affect Maurice’s life, which could have a future in politics and in high society. Maurice is assailed by despair, he would like to see Scudder, he would like to talk to him, but he cannot, he goes to the pier where the steamer is about to leave but Scudder is not there, then he remembers that they had talked about the possibility of meeting in the boathouse of the estate of Clive, he goes there and Scudder is there, he did not leave for America, that is, Scudder eventually made an act of faith in Maurice, he believed in Maurice’s love and in the fact that Maurice would not have abandoned him in the name of political career or of the social position.
 
When Maurice sees Scudder in the boathouse he is so happy he cannot even speak and the chapter ends like this: And since Maurice did not speak, indeed could not, he added, “And now we shan’t be parted no more, and that’s finished.” –
 
One last chapter concludes the novel, if you want a chapter that has the bitterness of Dante’s contrappasso [The law of “contrappasso” (retaliation), from the Latin contra and patior, “to suffer the opposite”, is a principle that regulates the punishment that strikes the offenders by the opposite of their guilt or by analogy to it. It is present in numerous historical and literary contexts of religious influence, such as the Divine Comedy.]: Clive realizes that Maurice is happy, knows that Maurice has made the right choice and that he will love, Scudder for life while, loved in turn by him, while he, aristocrat ad social climber, will have to go to bed with a beautiful girl he doesn’t love and to which he will ruin life to follow his ambitions.
 
The novel presents two characters, one of them who embodies the gay morality, Maurice, who is a guy who falls in love with other guys, and the other embodies the gay immorality, Clive, who is a guy who only has sex with other guys but doesn’t fall in love with them. Maurice is the honest gay who, when he falls in love, falls in love without reservation and is not willing to trade his love in exchange for anything, his love for Scudder leads him to expose himself and to risk himself by putting aside any privilege of caste. Clive is the dishonest gay man who agrees to put aside his sexuality, behind which there are evidently no strong feelings, selling it in exchange for social prestige and political career. Every dialectic is impossible between these two characters who are the embodiment of good and evil under the gay perspective.
 
As for Scudder, who is certainly not a secondary character, I would be inclined to say that he represents for Maurice the opportunity, the unique opportunity to get out of the limbo of sublimations and enter the real world of sexuality, lived with passion. Scudder takes the first steps of an explicit sexual type and in doing so he risks a lot. Even Scudder has a high morality, a vulgar man could have used the weapon of blackmail to take advantage of Maurice’s feelings but this thought doesn’t even touch him and when he realizes that this is just what Maurice is thinking of him, he gives him a lesson of morality reproaching him for having nourished even the simple suspicion of being the object of such a low action on his part. Maurice will understand.
 
Maurice and Scudder experience sexuality as an expression of their deep love, and it is precisely in this way that sexuality acquires its highest meaning, because love is total transport towards the other. The gay sexuality of Maurice and Scudder on one side and that of the aristocratic Clive on the other are apparently superimposable but for the first two, sex is really love, for the last one it is just a game that has to give way to more important interests.
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If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-love-and-gay-sex
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