SEXUAL ABUSE AND OBSESSIVE CONTENTS

The connection between sexual abuse and obsessive content related to sexuality deserves further study. I will consider two different situations, the first concerning a gay guy who has been abused in childhood and who presents a gay sexuality deeply conditioned by the experience of the abuse, the second concerning a straight guy who has been abused in adolescence and has developed a gay-themed OCD (I will only deal with the case of a OCD that had already manifested before the abuse). The situations, despite their substantial differences, have a fundamental aspect in common: the identification of the victim with the abuser. Let’s start with the first situation.

1) A gay guy, who has been sexually abused in childhood, has a gay sexuality that in the first meetings with his partners does not present particular problems but, if the relationship deepens, the guy gets to confess to his partner that he has been sexually abused, nevertheless he does not tend to feel as the victim but almost as the co-responsible if not as the promoter of the abuse, he tries anyhow to involve his partner in his obsessive fantasies concerning the abuse with insistently (obsessively) repeated questions about the circumstances of the abuse, asking him what he would do if he found himself in similar situations; faced with evasive or patently disinterested responses, the guy seems incredulous and attributes the lack of interest in sharing that particular sexual fantasies on the part of his partner to an alleged moralism of the partner himself, however the insistence does not cease even in the face of an obvious lack of interest but becomes even more pressing, as if the guy wanted to obtain a confession analogous to his own. The obsessive insistence on the partner goes as far as to induce him, in more or less long time, to distance himself and interrupt the relationship.

It is evident that the memory of the abuse has become a sexual archetype from which it is difficult to get free, and here a mechanism characteristic of the abuse is triggered: the victim imagines himself in the role of the abuser, situations of discomfort even very strong are created this way, because the victim sees himself as a potential pedophile and develops pedophile fantasies in which he assumes, in an oscillating manner, both the role of victim and abuser.

Basically the projective identification with the abuser and his behaviors favors guilt feelings and strongly weakens the possibility of rationalizing the memory of the abuse and of living a sexuality not deeply conditioned by the abuse itself.

2) In the case of the straight guy with a pre-existing gay themed OCD, the abuse in adolescence creates objective complications that cannot be ignored because it does nothing but feed the OCD, even though it cannot actually destroy the guy’s straight sexuality. The mechanism of identification with the abuser, in this case, cannot lead to true gay sexual fantasies (because the guy is a straight guy) but only to obsessions and gay compulsions which, as is usually the case in the OCD, remain, at most, at the level of masturbation and, in almost all cases, never materialize in real sexual relationships. The gay-themed compulsions and obsessions are perceived as deeply disturbing compared to the true sexuality that is and anyway remains straight.

The identification with the abuser can however be more complex when the abuser is not really a gay man but he is a married man or a man who has children, that is when the abuser is or appears to be a straight adult, with whom the straight guy with OCD can easily identify on the basis of the following projective mechanism: ”He is straight because he is married and has children, but if he abused me it means he also had gay fantasies and could not refrain from putting them into practice, but I am straight too, because I have a girlfriend and I have sex with her, but I also have gay fantasies, so in the end I won’t be able to stop myself and I’ll end up needing to have sex with a man. How can I be with a girl if I already desire men and know that sooner or later I will betray her with a man? I am fooling my girlfriend into believing that I am straight, but it is not so!”

In this case the identification mechanism acts through different paths but it is no less disruptive than in the case of the gay guy and creates the risk, sometimes lived obsessively, but objectively not very concrete, to lead to the breakdown the relationship with the girl.

The deeper identification with the abuser leads to two closely related consequences:

1) the responsibility of the abuser appears to be much lighter;

2) even if in such situations it’s evident that in any case no responsibility can be charged on the victim, the victim himself overestimates his own presumed responsibility up to the point to consider his own behavior decisive, and consequently to experience guilt feelings objectively unjustified.

In the two cases presented, the most suitable conditions to overcome obsessive thinking are realized when the guys have their ”real” emotional life, that is:

1) in the first case, when the gay guy lives not a unilateral falling in love but an authentic love story with a guy with whom a relationship is created that is completely independent of the fantasies related to abuse, fantasies which can also remain but marginalized and spontaneously not shared, fantasies that are not considered as a taboo but are very rarely argument of conversation. In essence the stories that materialize or tend to materialize only or mainly in terms of more or less spontaneous sharing of fantasies linked to abuse are not true love stories and therefore do not contribute to the overcoming of obsessive thinking;

2) in the second case, when the straight guy lives a love story in which the girl knows that the guy has been abused and realizes that the obsessive thought linked to the OCD can cause the guy to question his heterosexuality. The OCD has a strong conditioning capacity in two cases:

a) when the girl tries to ignore obsessive contents, pretending that they do not exist;
b) when the girl emphasizes the obsessive contents and offers them a sound box that amplifies their effect.

OCD must be tackled with awareness but without dramatization.

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum:  http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-sexual-abuse-and-obsessive-contents

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GAYS AND SEXUAL EDUCATION

This post will try to summarize the effects of sexual education on gay sexuality.

First of all it is necessary to define the concept of sexual education. We start from a premise: the development of studies indicates that sexuality has a genetic-epigenetic base which is substantially defined already in the uterus and at most in the perinatal period. This genetic-epigenetic imprint determines not only the sex, that is, gender belonging in anatomical and physiological terms, but also the gender identity, that is, the perception of gender and sexual orientation.

The awareness of sexuality, its models, the more or less repressed manifestations of sexuality over the years, and the consequences on an individual psychological level, are instead largely determined by that familiar and social interaction, which we can call “sexual education” and which is not limited to just a single part of life, but follows the evolution of the individual according to the progressing of age.

The fact that sexuality, understood in its most profound aspects, is closely connected with the affectivity induces to consider sex education as an integral part of affective education.

A concept, in the educational field, should never be forgotten: education acts on the basis of an individual biological genetic-epigenetic substratum but is also linked to the stages of development, to possible pathologies and many other factors. Education means to develop the potential of an individual “respecting first of all the biological identity”. A good gardener knows that by placing an apple tree in the ideal conditions for the cultivation of an apricot tree, not only we will not be able to obtain apricots from the apple tree, but it will suffer a lot and may even die. Cultivating a tree means understanding first of all what tree it is and then providing it with the appropriate care for that specific tree. This is also true for people.

Let’s start from the family dimension, i.e. from emotional-sexual education inside the family.

The family is the first environment in which a child begins to build relationships. In order to begin to feel an affective gratification, the child must perceive the sense of acceptance and affectionate care from the parents. If the child is the subject of confrontation (unwanted children, doubtful parenthood, a child that has become an object of contention between parents and grandparents or between the parents themselves), he easily becomes aware that he’s not the center of family life and begins to experience the sensation of marginality and abandonment yet in tender age.

Perceiving the disagreement between the parents is inherently traumatic and transmits automatically, by imitation, a model of behavior that is not emotional but competitive, stimulates aggressiveness in one direction and sense of frustration in the other. The child also instinctively senses the discrepancy between words and behavior. Cuddling a child for a while and then leaving him alone in the walker or in front of the television not only causes a sense of abandonment but also provides an initial model of falsehood: “I love you so much, but you must keep calm and stay aside because I have other things to do!” The speech is basically inconsistent and false because it brings together declarations of affection and behaviors that show disinterest.

Often the frustrations of parents, their claiming attitudes, their blaming of this or that, their justifying only themselves, transmit to the child the feeling of unreliability of the parent who begins to be a faltering reference point. Nothing is worse than raising your voice to impose your point of view, and I don’t even want to talk about the possible physical violence in the family, which is experienced by the child in a devastating way: a father who tugs at his mother, who slaps her, a mother who plays hysterical scenes and screams at her husband, represent models that the child will certainly internalize, or by imitation or contrast, identifying, according to the situations, as an aggressive person or as a victim, and this will move the child away from the emotional contact, which is the true purpose of emotional education.

There are several other behaviors, apparently neutral, which transmit a sense of insecurity to the child:

1) A parent who speaks in the singular setting himself against the other (“I … while your mother …”) . The use of “we/us” conveys the idea of affective family, harmony and solidarity.

2) To talk too often about money or about who brings home money, or about social hierarchies that don’t see parents at the same level.

3) To speak badly about other people the child knows.

4) To show that it is difficult or impossible to speak with the other parent, that he/she has defects, that doesn’t care for the family and, worse of the worst, doesn’t care for children.

The presence of parents in the life of young children, up to preadolescence, should be constant, affectionate, dialoguing and never abstractly normative.

A particular consideration must be given to managing family conflicts that may arise, and indeed inevitably arise in the family over the years. It can be the conflicts of the parents with other relatives, of between parents themselves and also of the conflicts between parents and children. The management of conflicts must always be discursive and shared, no form of violence, even verbal, can be admitted for no reason. Recognizing the other’s reasons and seeking conciliation doesn’t indicate weakness but the exact opposite. The child must realize that the parent can see things in another way and you can talk to find a point of equilibrium without coming to breakage.

Affective education suffers a violent trauma when the parent-child relationship is dominated by the fear of the parent’s violent reactions. Even worse is the idea that a parent invokes the presence of the other parent to induce fear in the children, such in the classic: “I’ll tell your father!”
As one grows, one element takes on particular importance: confidence, which must be accompanied by confidentiality on the part of the parent. If a parent receives a confidence by the child, he must keep it for himself, if he doesn’t, he would induce the child to immediately interrupt the relationship of confidence with the parent that will anymore be resumed. Any attitude that shows the tendency of the parent to abandon himself to gossip, devalues him in the eyes of his son and reduces the possibilities for dialogue.

A general criterion must always be kept in mind: education operates through the example, not through words: children tend to assimilate and imitate parents’ behavior, not to put into practice what parents say in words but don’t do themselves.

What has been said so far, as it is easy to understand, requires from parents a substantial affective maturity that too often is taken for granted, assuming that the parent is always substantially up to the task of education and that at most he needs a training aimed at the conscious rethinking of contents and methods of education. Sometimes however, and not very rarely, these assumptions don’t occur, in some cases because parents themselves have been in turn educated (assuming that this word can be used in these situations) with completely improper and substantially non-educational methods, and in other cases because one or both parents can be psychopathological subjects (for example paranoid or perverse narcissists). While in the first case it is possible with regard to the parent a concrete action (even if of long duration and with uncertain outcome) of reorientation or re-education of the adult, in the second case such action is essentially impossible and the parent-child educational relationship can turn into a framework of family violence and abuse, up to the most extreme consequences. It should be emphasized that violence and family abuse practiced by paranoid or perverse narcissists parents are often not visible on the outside and create very deep suffering in the children with unforeseeable consequences even in the long term.

Sex education of the child

Today, children are bombarded starting from an early age with images more or less erotic and very often begin to take an interest in sexuality in a very abstract way well before adolescence, so they assimilate, in a very tender age, banal visions of the sexuality as a “forbidden game”. Pedagogues have often been concerned with how to convey to children a more correct concept of sexuality: typical is the model of the flower, the pollination and the fruit, but in this way there is the risk, for gays far from being indifferent, to provide only the concept of sexuality aimed at reproduction, this will also convey the concept of sexual role, of the boy and girl as society conceives them, and of typically male and typically female behavior, taking for natural and obvious cultural attitudes often very questionable.

Accustom a little girl to the idea that femininity involves high heels and makeup means distort the concept from the beginning, like to think that the boy should be interested necessarily in football and in certain types of games is in itself misleading. It is very easy to see that in a school class of children who are not yet pre-adolescent, boys tend to play “boyish” games with each other, and girls tend to play “girlish” games with each other and this is the result of an education for sexual roles, how society understands them, starting from an early age.

The child before puberty sometimes shows an embryonal hetero affectivity, which involves interest in being with little girls, talking with them, playing with them, or an embryonal gay affectivity, which involves interest in being with other boys, talking to them and playing with them. These behaviors are the first manifestations of sexual orientation, they are not yet conscious, but they are elements on which we should reflect a lot and to which we should pay the utmost attention, but, I must say very clearly, never a repressive attention. I would like to point out that the transmission of role models deforms and often stifles these spontaneous tendencies altogether and tends to let the tendency towards homologation prevail, based on the fear of marginality within the peer group.

In the memory of many gays, the recollection of the first affectionate friendships with other boys and often the worried attitudes of the parents in front of such manifestations remains well imprinted. We are talking about friendships between children, not yet pre-adolescent who, if not totally conditioned by education, begin to show signs of homo-affinity or hetero-affectivity.

Parents, who often lack a broader horizon on sexuality, consider themselves as the only possible model for the sexuality of their children. The idea that children are not and cannot be a photocopy of parents is still struggling to get accepted. It is precisely for this reason that some children’s behaviors alarm parents and trigger a short communication circuit that ends up disrupting trust and establishing suspicious attitudes.
The child who plays with dolls or puts on his mother’s high heels or wig or dresses up as a woman generally raises questions in the parents, and this happens even more strongly if two children develop a very close friendship. Apart from the fact that these are completely different phenomena, because the first refers to gender identity and the second to sexual orientation, it is very probable that the child experiences in these situations the concern of the parent that manifests itself through limitations, prohibitions or simple removals.

The basic criterion of a good sex education is to promote the spontaneous development of affectivity and sexuality, avoiding a repressive sanctioning behaviors. The parent facing behaviors that are not what he would have expected believes that it is his duty to “correct”, to “guide” the child’s behavior, to “defend” him from dangerous influences, this attitude, which is perfectly understandable, is acceptable , positive and necessary, if “to correct ” means to demonstrate by example how one can have affection and respect for friends, without demanding too much and without running away from one’s duties towards those friends, if “to drive ” means to explain, to make the child understand the meaning of affective relationships even in adult life, for example by receiving friends cordially and affectionately, if “defending” from dangerous influences means to accustom children not to trivialize, not to exploit friendship, to take it seriously and to respond adequately when the need arises, but “to correct” means for many parents only to repress, “to drive” means to remove freedom and “to defend” means to segregate.

I would like to stress that the signs of homo-affectivity are generally very precocious and repressing them means inducing the guilt and submission of the child who begins to consider himself wrong. The repression of infantile homo-affectivity sometimes manifests itself explicitly, and sometimes through a systematic attempt to remove the child from contexts in which that homo-affectivity tends to manifest: if the child has developed a strong friendship towards another child or even towards a boy a little older during the summer holidays at the sea, the next year instead of going to the sea the family will go to the mountains.

A very delicate subject in this area is the prevention of sexual violence and abuse. Clearly, the child’s segregation reaches the goal but at the cost of a total repression of the individual freedom. The real problem lies in avoiding the risks (which are not only fancy) leaving the child a freedom commensurate with his age. Leaving a child (under 12-13 years ) alone for the whole day together with his playmates exposes him to objective dangers, which he may not realize. But if sexual abuses perpetrated by external pedophile subjects are generally the most feared, experience teaches that abuses are practiced only exceptionally by strangers and for the most part they rise from a family environment. Parking children by relatives or friends from morning to night means abandoning them to situations that can be objectively risky.

Before 12-13 years it is good that the child finds its spaces for the most part with the presence of the parents: the parents speak in the living room, the children play in the next room. Parents in this way give their children an example of socializing and leave them freedom spaces according to their age.

Beyond the age of 12-13, the risk of abuse doesn’t cease because abuse can also be committed toward adolescents or preadolescents both by family members and by educators, priests or teachers, especially in contexts where the minor cohabits with other peers for education or care purposes. Particular attention should be dedicated to the education of responsible use of the web for the risks of priming to which minors are exposed on the net. It is important to be vigilant in order to catch any signs of disturbance, alarm or exaltation in children, talk to them about it, if it is possible, and contact the postal department or the local Police Office to receive assistance when faced with dangerous situations. Obviously, the best prevention of priming risks on the net is realized right through risk awareness, the habit of always thinking before acting, and the habit of protecting one’s own privacy and that of others, and on these aspects education has a decisive influence.

When a child manifests the first forms of curiosity in relation to sexuality, it should be taken seriously, avoiding trivializing and manifesting evasive attitudes. It is essential that sexuality is never detached from its affective implications and is not reduced exclusively to procreative purposes. The child must become familiar with the idea of a sexuality that is not a forbidden game but a manifestation of affection for another person. Many parents never show explicit emotional behaviors in front of their children, for example, the father and mother don’t hug each other in front of children and avoid any physical act with each other, even the simple caresses, others instead let themselves go to forms of more or less sexual play in front of their children who in this way feel themselves excluded from the relationship with their parents. Of course

It’s necessary to find a balance between these opposing attitudes: the spontaneous caresses and affections between parents, the cuddles, which end up with the involvement of the children in the affection of the parents themselves are extremely positive in stabilizing the mood and in developing a harmonious character in the children. The double bed must become a non-exclusive environment, reserved for the parents only, but must be an environment in which children can also be admitted. The physical contact with parents, commensurate with the age of children, must lead to the idea of the affectionate embrace between adults, which expresses participation and sympathy.

Let’s come now to one of the key points of the speech: how to deal with the issue of homosexuality. The parent who is explicitly dealing such an argument with the child for the first time, must never forget that if one takes for granted that one’s son is hetero, in 8 cases out of 100 he is mistaken. Sending positive messages about homosexuality certainly doesn’t induce heterosexuals to become homosexuals, but can help homosexuals to grow accepting without complexes their homosexuality. Many parents believe that the specifically sexual education of children is not up to parents and should be delegated to school, church, doctors and other educational agencies, as if sexuality were an object of study or a question of faith or health protection. Obviously all these aspects are not foreign to sexuality, which, however, is a very complex reality that cannot be considered only under sectoral perspectives.

Sexuality is a component of the ordinary life of all of us and one of the essential contents of a serious educational relationship. I have been dealing with homosexuals for many years and I have often seen gay adult men, still deeply conditioned by the conflicting relationships with parents due to homosexuality. The vast majority of homosexuals not publicly declared, speak about their own homosexuality just with a few trustworthy friends, while those who talk about it openly in the family are very rare, perhaps today less than ten years ago, but it is still a narrow minority. For a gay boy, talking to his parents and finding their respect and their affection even in an atmosphere of clarity is absolutely essential and stabilizing. On the other hand, misunderstanding and rejection leave deep traces and greatly complicate the achievement of true autonomy on the part of the children.

I add a fundamental thing: a gay boy who feels accepted within the family will not need to go and look for other environments in which to find understanding and tends to develop his affective life without hiding and for this reason objectively also running much less risks. When a gay guy presents his boyfriend to his parents (what was once unthinkable and now becomes more and more possible) he realizes at 100% the dimension of the normality of his affectivity-sexuality. Surprised, reticent, perplexed or hostile attitudes of parents severely undermine their children’s self-esteem and create often irreparable fractures.

I would like to touch on a very delicate last subject. Sometimes the boys who grow up, whether they are heterosexual or gay, find themselves instinctively experiencing drives that alarm them, classics are examples of sexual fantasies about much older people, pedophile fantasies, sadistic or masochistic fantasies and erotic drives addressed within their own family. It is objectively very difficult that topics of this kind enter explicitly in speeches between parents and children regarding sexuality, because if the fear of negative reactions to homosexuality is already strong, the fear of negative reactions to those contents can be much more alarming. The issue of pedophilia can be responsibly tackled by highlighting the very serious objective damage that those behaviors can cause but stressing nevertheless the fact that those tendencies can exist even in very good people who would never put them into practice. If there is an attitude that a parent must show in front of such things, it can only be to clearly distinguish the fantasies that one cannot control, from the actions that can and must be taken under control. A similar argument can be used also regarding sadistic and incestuous fantasies.

With regard to intergenerational relationships it is necessary to avoid confusing them with larval forms of pedophilia, because intergenerational relationships are relationships between consenting adults even if of very different ages.

A correct attitude in the face of all these things helps people feel understood and accepted and enhances their morality and their capacity for discernment and this is the basic premise to accept themselves and to be able to self-control. It should be emphasized, however, that pedophile fantasies, of which people almost never speak in a scientifically correct way, are a reality very complex and difficult to manage. In many cases these fantasies are found in adults who have in turn been victims of violence or sexual abuse. It should be clarified that, although fantasies and actions are distinct things, it happens that fantasies are or may be prodromal to actual or possible behaviors, which, even if only considered merely as hypotheses, can cause levels of profound suffering.

Slipping from fantasies to pedophile behaviors can sometimes become easy and almost obvious. The sex tourism, for example, can lead the adult to look for more and more young partners of one or the other sex, producing a slow but effective slip towards pedophilia. The use of Internet child pornography should be considered as a sign strongly indicative of a dangerous corroboration of fantasies, prodromal to possible pedophile behaviors. According to what I learn from people who experience pedophile fantasies I’m led to believe that slipping into occasional pedophile behaviors, which can be the origin of recurring pedophile phantasies, also of obsessive types, is certainly possible even for people who have never had previously this kind of fantasies.

A person who experienced this kind of fantasies told me: “I had never had such fantasies before, then it happened to me an experience in which it would have been easy to come to the action, but it didn’t happen, but taking a step without return would have been very easy. And since then, such fantasies remained strongly stamped in my mind. I don’t like them, that somehow compromised my sexuality for years because I think that I wouldn’t even talk about such things with my partner, because he would react badly.”

I will not analyze here the possible compulsive aspects of pedophilia but because many men who have pedophilic fantasies are aware of it and are afraid of being able to practice pedophile behavior, in some countries (in Germany, in England and in the US) there are support services who deal with prevention by providing specialized psychological support to those who request it because they experience pedophile tendencies.

At the general educational level there is still an ancestral fear towards psychologists and psychiatrists that should be eliminated, leading people to understand that they are health workers who can provide psychological and even pharmacological support if necessary. Prevention education, which deserves a detailed examination, is not only carried out in providing information on sexually transmitted diseases, but also in the prevention of other risky behaviors for oneself and for others such as pedophile ones.

Certainly less sensitive are the themes related to the couple’s relationship structure: monogamy, indissolubility, socialization and formalization of the couple’s relationship, relationship between friendship and love. Insisting on the legitimacy of a single behavioral model collides with the reality of affective life which is often not monogamous, not unbreakable neither reducible to structure. The meaning of the couple relationship is usually assimilated by imitation already in childhood and, according to the general rule, is transmitted through the behavior of adults and not through their speeches. The relational aspect of sexuality should never be overlooked, according to this relational aspect the fundamental satisfaction in a sexual relationship derives from the realization that our partner is really involved and is in turn gratified by the relationship. Needless to say, these must be relationships that are actually wanted consciously and freely by both partners.

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-sexual-education

GAY GUYS AND REJECTION OF SESUALITY

Hi Project,

I took a quick look at the book Being Gay, it is truly monumental, from small tastings it seems interesting to me and it is extraordinary that it can be downloaded at no cost. You have done a useful job, I don’t add other adjectives.

I am a 25-year-old guy, I live in Northern Italy, so in an environment that should be gay friendly. Here there are gay associations but, if I refer to that mythical 8% of gays, I have to conclude that those who attend associations are a small minority and I don’t tell you the comments I hear about them by a lot of people.

Where are all the other gays? I don’t see them anywhere, so even here gays are scared, and I think they do well to be afraid because the social climate is not good at all, and actually it’s even worse than it was a few years ago.

At school I didn’t know a single gay guy, no one declared himself, and exposing himself too much was dangerous. The dating sites and the App, which everyone talks about, are not for me, they seem to me a squalid thing. My gay life, let’s call it so, started at university.

I attended and I’m finishing up attending a faculty with few students, not even forty the first year and then around 30 or even less until the end, they are almost all guys, girls are quite rare, in my course I think they are only five, well, a few weeks after the start of the lessons of my first year I realized that, let’s say, I was not alone, and that the compulsory attendance was not only useful for the exams but also to build relationships with the other guys.

In practice, the university works on two levels, one formal, official, in which there are relationships with teachers, objectively very technical and very limited, even if we are very few, because the courses are short and are very dense with content, and the other underground, but not too much, in which the very fact of being together from morning to night creates in us, young people, a climate of collaboration that favors the birth of friendships, and, in some cases, even something more.

In the morning we start the lessons at 8.00 and then, with various intervals we finish around 17.00. We eat at the canteen, perhaps at different times, depending on the lessons, but it is a very small service, only for our faculty and we study practically all together, even if divided into groups. Even those who live close to the university don’t come home, because together we feel good. I do not speak of large groups but groups of three or four guys, we have two study rooms for each year of the course and these rooms are also well equipped. Groups should be formed on the basis of uniform interests, and that is what has happened, but in general it is not a matter of study interests.

I don’t even know how it happened, but it happened, I found myself with two other colleagues, we chose each other instinctively, we were fine together, at the beginning we didn’t know at all that we were three gays, for me, it was a completely new world to be discovered, I felt that with those guys the relationship was different from what I had with others, there was no competition, there was only a great desire to be together, to work together and even more.

The two guys of my small group of study, Louis and Antony, were very different, Louis was a nice guy, but he was not my type, he was pleasant, reassuring, but physically attracted me little, while Antony was very insecure, always hesitant, he was tall, blond and with blue eyes, with hair a little longish, he was a bit neurotic and complexed by the fear of being out of place, to annoy, he apologized for everything, even for very trivial things, with him I too felt a little anxious because I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable.

I knew almost immediately that Louis was gay, because it was he who told me it: “to avoid misunderstandings”, he added. I avoided to tell him that I too was gay. Louis was fine with me and with Antony, but from what I understood he had a boyfriend and so he had his life, we were his study friends and maybe we would have also become friends of confidences, but his basic interests were elsewhere.

With Antony things were very different, when we were alone together we felt a certain embarrassment, we often talked about Louis or other guys. At one point Antony told me: “Do you know that Louis is gay? He told me it this morning …” I replied that I knew, I saw a moment of perplexity on the face of Antony, I think he wondered why I hadn’t told him, but he didn’t comment and I think he appreciated my discretion. I was hoping that the dialogue on the subject would widen but it didn’t happen and it ended there.

We felt very well when we were there, the three of us, but when I was alone with Antony I didn’t know what to say or what to do, he had an embarrassed and embarrassing behavior, he never spoke of girls and even less of guys but it seemed to me that a good relationship had been created between us.

When we had to separate, in the evening, none of us took the initiative, and a quarter of an hour after a quarter of an hour we came home very late almost every night, but we didn’t talk too much, we spent almost all the time in silence. Among other things, when I was alone with him I was also embarrassed because I was almost always in erection and I was afraid that he would notice. From what I saw, he didn’t even give a minimum sign of erection and I didn’t like this thing at all.

The hypothesis that he was gay didn’t seem too realistic to me despite the fact that he tended to stay always with me. I feared that our relationship could turn into a relationship of dependency but in a sense I felt very attracted to Antony. I came to think that I should tell him that I was gay, because if he had found out it by himself or if he knew it from others he might feel uncomfortable.

One of the long nights spent walking back and forth around the city, I took courage and told him it, he answered me: “Don’t worry, I had understood it for some time” I asked him how he had understood it and he told me: “When you stay with me you’re hard all the time …” I asked him: “Does this embarrass you?” He replied: “If I felt embarrassed I would not be here …” Then he continued: “You want to know if I’m gay too? “I nodded and he said:” Yes, I feel gay, or at least I don’t feel straight but sex is a bit of an obsession and a bit of a frustration for me … ” And then we finally entered the topic.

This was more or less the speech:

“I’ve never fallen in love with a girl, while when I’m close to you I feel at ease, and I feel at ease even if you are in erection and perhaps especially for that. You will tell me that I am stupid, but I am really complexed by these things, I think I am very feminine, I don’t feel like a woman, but I think I have female physical movements and attitudes.”
“Who? You? No! Not at all!”
“You also saw Louis, he too is gay, but he is very masculine, no one would take him for gay …”
“No! Antony, no! Take these things off your head! You’re a beautiful guy, and you’re very masculine, you’re not rough, you’re not massive but thin, but rest assured that you’re 100% masculine … ”
“Well … maybe … ”
“But why do you feel conditioned in sex?”
“For me, sex has never been a simple thing, I’ve never been with anyone … ”
“Not even me if this is the problem … ”
“Yes, but you go into erection when I’m there, I on the contrary feel only embarrassed, I’m completely stuck, I think I would feel totally uncomfortable being with a guy … ”
“I think these are just fears, when it happens you will realize that it’s a very simple thing … ”
“I don’t think it will ever happen … ”
“But at least when you do it by yourself … there are no fears … ”
“When I do it by myself, as you say, and it’s a very rare thing, afterwards, I feel sick … ”
“But why? There’s nothing wrong … ”
“I’ll tell you something that nobody knows … I as a child, not even as a child, as a boy, because the first time it happened I was 14, I was raped by an uncle, and the story went on for a month, I was really afraid of him, at the end I couldn’t stand him anymore, I threatened him that if he came back I would have told my father and he disappeared. He was 44 years old and I have been really raped from behind … I don’t tell you how I felt when I experienced my first gay feelings, something disgusting, I don’t want to be gay, being gay sucks me … now maybe you can understand … ”
“Oh my God I would never have imagined, if you want I take you home, I don’t want to create difficulties of any kind … ”
“Please shut up! … Let me go on with what I’m saying, I am a victim of homosexuality and I don’t want to be gay, I don’t even know if you can understand such a thing, but even if the memory of those things really disgusts me, I ended up becoming gay just for that reason … ”
“No, Antony, now it’s you the one who has to shut up … but which “to become”? And then you say that your uncle was was gay but I don’t think so.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m gay, I have the pleasure of being near you, even sexual pleasure, it’s like that and I’m not ashamed at all of this, but I never imagined penetrating a guy from behind, really never.”
“That’s because you were been given an education.”
“No! This is because I’m gay!”
“I didn’t understand … what does it mean?”

And there, dear Project, I took my smartphone and I had him read a piece of your book where you talk about these things. He was initially perplexed, then he went on to read, after a few minutes he looked at me and asked me: “So then my uncle could even be straight? … ” I told him that he probably was, because what he did was not a gay behavior. He was perplexed, confused, he insisted on asking me if I had ever had fantasies of that kind and I told him that it really had never happened.

The speech didn’t seem to him according to what he had seen in some videos in which anal penetration was always present in practice. I told him to read all your article and also the part of the book about the hetero-curious and I drove him home. He was puzzled, very meditative, but occasionally he made some gesture of satisfaction and even a few sketchy smiles.

The day after everything went on easily at university as if nothing had happened; immediately after 5.00 pm he asked me to take him home, but we went around in the car until late at night. He had read the book and seemed to have discovered a world, he told me: “Reading the book I got the very clear impression that my uncle was not gay at all and I realized that instead my fantasies are really gay. My uncle paid no attention to my penis, just zero, he never masturbated me and I was over 14 years old and I would have reacted but he never did, but he wanted me to have oral sex to him, but never did it to me, and above all there had to be the anal penetration and there was also something that I didn’t understand at all, that is the attention to my nipples, a really anomalous thing, to the nipples yes and to the penis no! Actually the overall picture was very different form that of real gay fantasies, isn’t it? Even I have never had fantasies of anal penetration but I thought it was something only mine, a refusal due to the abuse, but it seems that it is a very common thing among gays”

Since Antony was talking to me so freely I too felt obliged to do so and he was very intrigued by that speech that he didn’t expect at all. It was now night and there was little light, he asked me if I was hard, I said yes, he asked if he could touch it from outside, I said yes, he touched it for about ten seconds, then he looked at me and said: thank you! He apologized for the fact that he could not reciprocate, because he wasn’t in erection, then he thought just a second and told me: “Come on, check it, it’s right that we’re on par!”

In the following days we talked a lot less because the exams were coming and we only studied, in three at the university and then in two at my house, a single-room apartment where I lived alone because I was away from home. He came to stay at my house, because it is within a stone’s throw from the faculty. We studied a lot, we slept together in the same bed, but between us there has never been sex, not even at the minimum level. After 15 days of overwork we passed the three exams we had planned. I expected him to move back to his house but he asked me to stay, I obviously said yes.

We had long evenings to spend together and we talked a lot in a totally free way, we talked about our families, our desires and obviously also about sex. I could understand that the memory of the violence troubled him deeply and even if he too began to accept the idea that his uncle was not gay at all, still he still had many doubts about it, he asked me to talk to him about my sexual fantasies and I did, he listened to me with the utmost attention, told me that the penis seemed to him an undesirable thing, associated only to violence and this fact tore him because he also experienced homosexual fantasies but mixed with feelings of rejection. I asked him if he had felt feelings of repulsion when I had made him touch it from above my trousers and he simply replied: no!

He told me he was happy to be with me, even because I had never pressed him for any reason and that I was a positive image of gays, and finally he added: “if you are gay, I too can be so”. I liked this sentence very much and I told him enthusiastically but he replied that anyway it wouldn’t have been easy for him, that he needed time and that I had to be patient, even if we slept in the same bed.

One day, after a day of intense study we went to sleep. We turned off the light but I felt that he had not turned the other way as he always did but had remained turned towards me. At a certain moment he asks me: “Are you hard now?” I say yes and he asks me if he can touch it, I say yes and he touches it very gently, after a while he says to me: “Touch mine!” And I feel that he is hard too. He tells me that it’s the first time that this happens to him spontaneously and that he doesn’t feel rejection neither touching me nor being touched, then he adds that he doesn’t want to go any further and we stop touching but we keep talking, he tells me he’s happy but that he doesn’t want to delude himself too much and above all he doesn’t want to delude me.

We get up, get dressed, I put myself on the sofa and he lies there, resting his head on my legs. He asks me: “Do you mind?” I only answer him with a smile and he says: “I have to get used to the physical contact … I have never done such a thing.” It is very late and falls asleep on my knees, I don’t move him. When it starts to dawn I take him in my arms and bring him back to bed. He’s really a nice guy, or rather, it looks beautiful to me. I lie in bed next to him and I fall asleep too.

In the following days he seems to have completely forgotten about what had happened between us, I don’t say anything but when I sit on the couch to see the TV he almost always comes to lie down on my legs and I feel his warmth. One evening, before going to sleep, he asks me to show me naked because it has never happened before, I smile and I completely undress in front of him and I start to get a hard-on, he tells me I’m beautiful, then he undresses and he too is in erection, he comes close and hugs me tight, but very tight, almost hurting me, then asks me if we can sleep naked, of course I say yes, I put only one more cover on the bed because it’s a bit cold. We hug tightly in bed and we stay like this for very long minutes.

The next day it was as if nothing had happened between us, not in the sense that there was disinterest, but as if what had happened was absolutely normal. There was certainly more physical contact between us, there were more hugs, we stroked our hands, we leaned against each other when we were sitting on the couch, but there were no sexual contacts, nevertheless, despite this I felt happy, I saw him smile, play, make jokes, it was a beautiful thing.

One evening I see him very discouraged, he keeps me at a distance, I try to understand why and he tells me that he tried to masturbate thinking of me but that the thing didn’t arrive to its obvious end because he felt a terrible sense of rejection, something very strong, not for me but for the idea of sex in itself, it seemed to him like a dirty thing almost a way to do violence against me, to play with my image, something like a lack of respect. In short, he was really uncomfortable and I had the distinct feeling that there was very little to do and that he would never have abandoned the obsessive memory of violence. I hugged him, but he was totally passive, then I said to him: “I love you, Antony!” He replied: “I’ll never have sex with you …” I told him: “I’m just worried about losing you and this would be devastating for me … ” He told me: “I cannot do anything, I tried, but I cannot … ” I didn’t know what to say, maybe a few days before it seemed all too easy, but slowly I was beginning to doubt that with Antony I could create a story, let’s say so, a normal story, that is even with a bit of sex, I don’t say much, but at least a little to convince me that he loved me and didn’t consider me only in relation to the memory of violence. I was beginning to understand that the problem was more serious than I had imagined.

We continued to live together but we removed any behavior that could have even a vague sexual implication, we continued to sleep in the same bed but always wearing pajamas, even during the summer, and he stopped lieing on my legs when we see the TV. We are good friends, yes, true friends, friends who talk about everything with the utmost sincerity, I love him deeply but slowly I lost the confidence that Antony can become my boyfriend. It’s been years, almost four years now, Antony and I still live together, sometimes there was even a minimal attempt to sexual approach between us, that has brought more frustration and disappointment than anything else. I think Antony has in fact put aside the idea, I don’t know if we will ever come to share sex, I have many doubts about it, but I know that without Antony I would feel lost.

I never imagined that I could live my life like this, and yet I feel that this is my life, I always hope that things can change, but the first rule, for me, must be the absolute respect for Antony and his problems. For me it is not a renunciation, I have made my choice and I don’t think I would be able to live a different life.

Antony and I really love each other and we are still young and something could always change, but our love will not fail under any circumstances.

I embrace you, Project, or I hope your work will be useful for Antony as it was useful for me.
Charles
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In conclusion, I must state that the e-mail above is reported in the forum with the consent of both protagonists of the story. The text is in the form of an email but has been agreed so as to avoid any risk for privacy and to be as clear as possible. In particular, the references to the faculty have been significantly modified for reasons of privacy. I must emphasize that, if it is true that this story deals with the consequences of violence and sexual abuse, the situation described is certainly not the worst, because violence and sexual abuse can really have tragic consequences. The two guys mentioned in the story you read, have built a very strong emotional relationship in which sexuality, even if limited and denied is somehow strongly present. I have to underline that I happened several times to talk with guys who had suffered violence or abuse and I could see how much these episodes have weighed on their sexuality and their emotional life.
Project

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