COMING OUT: GAY GUYS AND GIRLS AS RED CROSS NURSES

Not infrequently it happens that a gay guy, who has lived for various reasons a hetero or pseudo-hetero life, finds himself, at some point, deeply embarrassed with his girlfriend, who notices something strange in the behavior of the guy and arrives to guess that her partner is gay. The girl demands clarity and the guy, in one way, struggles to break the relationship and for the other is very reluctant to come out with his girlfriend. Some girls, once they realize that their partner is gay, think it’s good to push him to come out to let him live his life more freely. 
These two issues are illustrated in the following document. On March 14th, 2008, a woman writes to Gay Project from an Islamic country, claiming that if a girl notices that her boyfriend is gay, she has the right to know how things really are and claiming also that not to speak clearly on the part of the guy, it is a dishonest act towards his partner. The girl would also like to “help” her partner causing him to come out at least partially. This is the text of the email: 
“Anonymous said. . . I just discovered this blog, I feel it’s serious and I liked it, and I write because of my boyfriend. I have serious doubts about whether he is gay but repressed, so he does not even admit it to himself, and I would like to understand it, I would like to understand.
In your blog I didn’t find any reference to this fact: how to help a man of extremely rigid and rational character, 37 years old, to let him find out if this (homosexuality) is his true nature? That is, how to help him come out in the open. I have to underline that we are not in Italy but in an Islamic country, where the traditional family is sacred and many gays take refuge in marriage to save appearances, or hide in a hamam, or in bars reserved for men only.  
I have read the comments of women in your blog and I appreciate their sensitivity, and also yours in reserving a space for their stories. A woman feels, perceives and understands when something is wrong. . . And if she feels love, she will always try to help. But I do it also for another reason: if there is a lie, I want to know. In the blog you talk about gay morality/immorality, but in the end it is a question of clarity and honesty towards those who are close, whether men or women, if they are no longer the person of our dreams. Forgive me if I remain in anonymity, but I think maybe my question is too difficult and perhaps will not find an answer. Thank you . . . March 14, 2008 22.24″.
 
ANSWER: Dear Friend, I try to answer what you ask. First of all I will divide the answer into two parts, one on the causes of gay repression and the other on the “what to do” in particular by a woman, towards her boyfriend.
 
REPRESSION
 
1) PERSECUTION OF GAYS
Human sexuality is an expression of individual freedom and personal freedom in sexual matters can be repressed in many ways, some of them constitute real forms of systematic persecution and we can even go so far as to apply the death penalty to the present day. Iranian President Ahmadinejad told speaking at a Columbia University conference that there are no gays in Iran as in Western countries. A declaration of this kind is self-commented. In those conditions the level of repression is such that no one declares himself homosexual and marriage for gay guys is the rule. 
Out of respect for people who are forced to live in similar situations I would never say that they are “gay repressed” but that they are “gay persecuted” and that any behavior that tends to hide their sexual identity is fully justified, even that in the face of wives. It is not about lies but about survival instinct.
 
2) SOCIAL INTOLERANCE TOWARDS GAYS
In many countries, even Islamic, however, there is a slow evolution that, if it does not really promote the free expression of a gay culture, doesn’t criminalize the very fact of being gay. In situations like this (like the one concerning the country from which you contacted me) there are no “legal persecutions of gays” but the public opinion is still a thousand miles far from showing tolerance towards them. In these cases we can speak of a real social intolerance towards homosexuality. Situations of social intolerance towards gays are not only manifested in Islamic countries but also in Europe, where social structures are still closed and linked to traditional values. 
A push to attitudes of closure, if not homophobia, comes from the Catholic Church and there are still, even in Italy, many situations in which I would certainly not recommend a gay guy to speak openly about his sexual orientation. In Italy, in some rare cases, thanks to a very traditional family education, there are still gay guys repressed enough to marry, in the belief that they have overcome their homosexuality. The variability of the framework of social intolerance towards gays is such that it makes no real sense to try to classify the possible coming out behaviors. 
But I must stress that in some situations the cost of coming out can be very high. I have seen gay guys forced to emigrate because they would not have found work in their countries and would have been hindered in the most varied ways. In any case, the coming out risk assessment is exclusively up to those who have to put it into practice. This is a very personal choice, like that of marriage, which cannot be conditioned by any request for clarity, from whoever it comes, for the simple fact that the consequences of coming out, under the regime of social intolerance, are all and only of the person that comes out. I answer directly to the specific question: “and the girlfriend of one of these guys (if there is one)?” The girlfriend (if there is one) can go his own way but must remember that the coming out is not addressed to her but it is an act very personal and risky on the part of the guy. 
I saw with my own eyes situations of authentic moral lynching as a result of gossip unleashed by confidences thoughtlessly entrusted to friends by a girl who had received the coming out of her boyfriend. I emphasize another thing that may not be pleasing to women in love with gay guys, a gay guy can have a real interest in declaring himself to another guy that he thinks is gay to create the conditions for a possible couple bond, in that case the risk has an objective justification, in the case of the coming out towards a girl, however, the risk does not correspond to any possible benefit, especially if the relationship with that girl was built exclusively for the purpose of saving appearances. It is up to the guy, after carefully assessing the risk levels, to choose if, possibly, to come out in front of his girlfriend, but I wouldn’t absolutely consider this type of coming out as an obligation and omitting it like a lie.
  
3) FAMILY INTOLERANCE TOWARDS GAYS
The most common and the most insidious form of repression of gays, both in Islamic countries and in Europe is the family one. Persecutory behaviors and social intolerance generally are clearly perceived and are recognized as such, while family intolerance is gradually absorbed step by step, it is essentially a poison of freedom that tends to extinguish it from the beginning. The lack of freedom is clearly felt when moving from a regime of freedom to one of absence of freedom or when confronting scenarios of freedom and scenarios of repression, but when one grows up in a repressive environment and when one receives information from a single source one also has no awareness of the existence of a possible freedom and repression becomes a deeply internalized mental habit lived as a natural and spontaneous thing. 
Such models have also characterized European culture until the advent of the internet. Even today, in Europe, a guy will never receive a serious sex education at school and even more so will never receive the correct information about homosexuality (just think that sex education is often delegated to priests and teachers of religion who, given the a priori condemnation of homosexuality on the part of the Church, are certainly not the best sources of information about gay life). Even today, in Europe, a guy will hardly have the opportunity to talk about sex with his parents and less than ever will have the opportunity to talk to them about homosexuality. Until a few decades ago, the only information on homosexuality could be found on a few serious books that a guy would have had difficulty buying and he would have to carefully hide. 
The weight of family intolerance is progressively decreasing, especially among younger guys, thanks to the Internet, which in recent times has begun to spread a model of homosexuality as normality that is slowly gaining momentum. The word “gay” itself, until twenty years ago practically a taboo for right-thinking guys, is now in common use and the implications of ridicule or irony are gradually disappearing. Where there is no internet, or internet is not free, however, the situation is still as it was in Italy 30 years ago. The cases in which family intolerance leads gay guys to feel themselves heterosexual, at least in Europe, today are limited to situations in which a guy is automatically induced to forms of uninhibited heterosexuality at an extremely early age, in such cases a very young guy can make the first hetero experiences, which can have an anaesthetizing value for years but, I want to underline that these guys do not tell lies to their girls, they feel substantially straight. Also in this case, therefore, I would not speak of lies or deception.
 
THE GIRL HELPS THE GUY TO ACCEPT HIMSELF AS A GAY
The expression “Red Cross nurses” (in Italian Crocerossine) in the gay world is used with two distinct meanings:
– “hetero Red Cross nurse” to indicate a straight girl who, knowing that her boyfriend is gay, puts in mind that she is able to make the guy straight just through the classic means of female seduction,
– “gay Red Cross nurse” to indicate a straight girl who, suspecting that her boyfriend is gay thinks she can “help” him to be gay, pushing him to come out.
Several times on the Gay Project forum the expression “Red Cross nurses” has been used very appropriately to define girls who want to help their boyfriends to accept themselves as gay.
I briefly summarize the terms of the question. A girl who realizes that her boyfriend is gay, if she wants to do a good thing, has to let him go on his way. Every attempt to “help” is seen by the gay guy as an undue interference or even as a form of violence, while it’s useful to the girl to feel like a good girl.
In the case of the e-mail from which this post has taken the cue, with a 37-year-old guy, in conditions of strong environmental stress, demanding clarity is basically a form of violence. If there is something that girls emotionally involved with gay guys can do, it is always and in any case to leave to their partners the maximum freedom and don’t expect anything. 
Between accepting and understanding there is a huge difference, love, at any level, is acceptance, those looking for an explanation are not able to accept unconditionally. To answer with the utmost clarity: if a girl realizes that her partner is gay, she has to leave him to himself avoiding to conceive any projects of any kind on him that, even under the appearance of the best intentions, risk hiding a predatory attitude. I realize that our reader will not like an answer like this but, for the experience that I have of the gay world, I know for sure that the gay guys don’t like Red Cross nurses.
____________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-coming-out-gay-guys-and-girls-as-red-cross-nurses
Advertisements

I REALIZED I WAS GAY AT 26

Hello Project, I don’t know who you are and to send you this e-mail I opened a new e-mail account that I will use only to write to you, if you answer me. I know that maybe it’s an excess of prudence but that’s what I did. Call me Alex, although obviously it’s not my real name. I don’t deny that I don’t feel comfortable writing an email like this in which I tell things that nobody knows but I think it’s still worth writing them because Gay Project helped me a lot and my story can be useful to someone. 
I am 27 years old, since some months I live on my own, far from my family of origin. I have a permanent job that I like and I am economically autonomous, in fact the others respect me and have a good opinion of me. Let’s say that from the outside I look like one who has achieved his goals and in a sense it’s true but inside myself for many years I felt like a failure. I thought that in my life I would never have done what I wanted but always something else. I would have liked to study Physics but I studied Economics and it is thanks to that that I found a good job, I wanted to work in Milan where my parents live and instead I ended up living in Bologna where I found my personal autonomy, in short I always did the opposite of what I wanted but in the end I felt good. In one thing I felt like one who had failed to build anything and it was the emotional life. Reading your website made a lot of ideas clear to me. 
I considered myself 100% heterosexual until I was 26 and I had no reason to think otherwise, but none at all. I’ve never been with a woman but I did my fantasies on women even if they were never great things and sex for me has always been in a minor tone, I mean I have never had the mania of these things, I heard from others extraordinary things about sex that never happened to me. So sex for me was an unimportant thing and I did not understand what could be overwhelming in it but even the individual sex was something that didn’t excite me so much. I had also tried with the hetero porn sites but they seemed to me absurd things. Up to 26 years I never thought of a guy, but really never, the broadcasts on gays seemed to me things from another planet. 
Up to 25 years old I was practicing sports and with my team mates we took a shower together but the thing for me was completely indifferent. I really thought I did not have a sexuality. The girls told me that I was a nice guy but they did not fall in love with me, when I tried something they moved away from me and I was very disappointed. I don’t think I would ever be able to woo a girl and it certainly never happened. 
Things have changed for me since September 2008. I started working in another city, where I rented a little apartment near my workplace and in the place where I worked I met also a guy who was a year younger than me, let’s call him Max. Even he lived in a mini-apartment, but far from where I was, about half an hour by car. We were hired on the same day and I met him waiting at the door of the CEO to know his destination. I was there for the same reason. We waited more than half an hour, both him and me very timid and normal, and then we were both fearful of the new work environment, the first job for me and also for him. He enters first, I wait, after half an hour he goes out and they call me. I go in, they give me the letters of assumption and summarily explain that the next day I should take service, in practice, in a place very close to my house. I was happy. 
I go out and see that Max is in the antechamber. He was waiting for me. I liked it. He had no car. I ask him where they sent him, he tells me that they had sent him to the other side of the city, near his house, or at least not far away. I’m sorry, a bit. I tell him about my destination. We exchange mobile numbers. It was eleven o’clock, he proposes to have lunch together, I say yes, but it’s early. I invite him to my house but he prefers to take a walk, it’s a beautiful day and I don’t take it badly. We walk a lot, then lunch in a fast food restaurant. He asks me if I have anything to do. I say no. He asks me if the offer to go up to my house is still valid. We climb into my mini-apartment. There is a single double bed. He takes off his shoes and lays on the bed, I sit on the only chair and we talk. In practice he always talks about the fact that he was practicing sport, about how much he loved his grandparents, that he no longer has, about any songs he listens to, about what he expects from work and many other things. I listen to him with pleasure, he is nice, casual, then he says nonsense, he laughs, in short it is a pleasant company. 
After some time I realized that we never talked about sex or love, never, as if the subject didn’t exist at all, but then I didn’t notice such things. In the evening we took something at the fast food and then I accompanied him to his house but I didn’t go up. I was happy to have found Max. I didn’t feel alone even though I was in a city that I didn’t know at all. In short we have become like brothers. 
Ten days later it had become normal that we were always together until the evening or on free days, but the night we stayed each at his own home. After a month we also started to sleep in the same house and in the same bed but all without any implication of any kind at any level, we were just like two brothers, no mutual embarrassment and no sexual thoughts neither on my part, nor, I think, on his part. 
The first idea that the thing could have a different meaning arose in me when a colleague began to court Max. It was something that I could not stand, it bothered me, not that she did it but that Max could spend time with her. He treated her politely, probably he was not interested but I was afraid he was. One evening he tells me that the colleague had proposed to him to go out with her. I ask him: “And what did you answer?” He tells me that he said he didn’t feel like it. At that point I breathed a sigh of relief and I must have made a face very happy. Max looked at me and said: “Don’t worry, it will never happen!” At the time I made the face of the one who understood and I changed the subject, but that phrase started to turn around in my head in an incredible way. In the evening he stayed to sleep with me, I tried to resume the speech and he was evasive, he just told me: “Don’t ask too many questions …”. 
That’s when I wondered if Max had fallen in love with me. I completely excluded that I could fall in love with him, but I considered a possible thing that he could fall in love with me. I wondered what I should do, whether to cut off relations with him or simply not to sleep together anymore, even if nothing had ever happened between us. Anyway I did not tell him anything and everything, between us, went on exactly as before, we continued to sleep together in the same bed or at my home or at his and nothing happened. 
As the days passed I ended up putting away the idea that he was gay, it seemed absolutely impossible. I said to myself: if he’s gay, why does he remain totally indifferent? In the end we are together in the same bed. Is it possible that a gay guy in such a situation doesn’t try anything, even at a minimum level? However, judging by his behavior, it didn’t seem to me that he could be gay. In practice months have passed in which we have lived together and for his part there has never been a slight mention, never a speech, not even vague, nothing! A beautiful morning I wake up before the sound of the alarm clock, there was enough light in the room, he is asleep, I watch him carefully. He’s nice. I want to caress his face but I don’t, but he is just beautiful, serene, an image that I will never forget and that’s where I had the first physical reaction looking at a man. It had never happened to me before, it was the first time ever. I was disturbed. I said to myself: what’s happening to me? I got up and went to put myself under the frozen shower. 
At first I was convinced that it had passed. When Max got up, everything went as usual and I was very happy that it did not happen again. I was looking for every possible motivation to justify what had happened: the heat, the fact that I had had no sex on my own for a few days and things like that and the fact that my reaction had not been repeated made me feel comfortable. For the whole working day nothing happened. In the evening I had to go to his house but I made an excuse and I didn’t go there, I was afraid it would happen again. He did not tell me anything, after all I had been alone at home other times. I spent the night alone with the idea that it could still happen, I saw the TV, I was a bit on the internet, then he called me in chat to ask if everything was fine and it happened again even though we were talking only about work. I greeted him quickly because I did not want him to continue. 
I was really upset, I tried to distract myself but I could not and I did something I had never done before, I drank two cans of beer one after the other and, stunned as I was, I went to bed. I was beginning to think that I would have liked him next to me and at the same time that I would have to move away from him and that if I was at that point it was his fault, because his company had ruined me. In short, I hated him and loved him. Since then I started to remove him, probably for him it was a tremendous blow but he did not say anything and tried to do as if between us things had not changed. The more I walked away the worse I was and then I began to desire him, that is even at sexual level, with everything this implies. I told myself it would be over but I knew it would not be like that. The phase of removal, let’s say, lasted almost two months.
He was friendly with me when he met but it happened rarely and only when the company forced us to common activities, but at a private level we did not see each other anymore. The separation not only did not make me overcome my feelings for Max but put them clearly on a sexual level. By now I had totally renounced the idea of being straight but I had to keep just for me the fact that I was in love with Max, we were now like two strangers, or at least I thought so. It was during those days that I started looking online for gay sites and, after seeing things of incredible misery, that made me feel really bad, I discovered Gay Project and it was a fundamental discovery that really opened my eyes.
One day Max and I come together to a meeting, he asks me: “How are you?” But he asks me it in a very serious way, just worried about me. I tell him that I have problems, he looks at me straight in the eyes and squeezes my hand, from outside only a greeting, for me much, very much more. I tell him: “Do you want to go to my place in the afternoon?” He says to me: “Sure!” He comes immediately after work. I feel a terrible embarrassment, his physical presence puts me in a very strange state of mind. I feel very excited, even sexually, but I’m afraid to say things out of place, to hurt him, to offend him. Result: after hours of interview attempts I don’t say anything. 
He asks me if he can stay for the night to talk a little more, but I insist to take him back to his home. I take him back home, we don’t say a word all along the journey, the embarrassment feels very strong. I come back home. He calls me on the phone, a few words and long silences. We close the phone with nothing done. The situation has been going on this way for more than a month, but I could not take it anymore. An afternoon he comes to me, I had never seen him like that before. He doesn’t ask me questions, he only tells me: “Shut up and let me talk. . . ” I listen. He only tells me: “Alex, I fell in love with you!” I don’t know what I did at the time, I was happy but also upset, I did not expect such a thing, after several seconds I replied: “Maybe me too. . . ” But I added that such a thing had never happened to me and that I felt strange. 
It was the first time that we talked about us in a truly free way. Max and I had arrived at this point, now we knew each other even the most intimate things and everything had been absolutely simple. It seemed incredible to me that such talk could be made in such a direct way, but really it happened. He told me that when I had left him he had been very bad but he thought I had left him because I had understood that he was gay from the speeches he had made and he didn’t want to intrude into my life because basically even if he saw me as straight he loved me the same and he did not want to make me problems and so he had accepted to step aside. In short, he took me for straight and I took him the same way. 
We have confessed our mutual sexual interest but also the embarrassment about the possibility of having sex with each other. He too is rather inhibited. We decided to go very slowly. That night we just went to sleep holding hands. But even shaking his hand was beautiful, it was also a physical contact and transmitted a strong emotion. At a certain point I say to him: “Max, I feel excited” and he tells me: “Me too. . . but does it embarrass you?” I answer him: “No. . . and you?” He says to me: “Not at all, but just the opposite. . . “. Max had never been in love with a guy in his life, just like me. It was March 29th 2009 a day I will never forget. 
Project, Max and I consider Gay Project a bit like a second home, truly a unique thing on the internet, and in the way of seeing of these guys, Max and I find ourselves very well. Nobody knows our story, not even our families know it, because they probably would not understand the true meaning of our relationship, but we want the guys who read your sites to know it. Neither I nor Max would ever have imagined a life like the one we are now living and yet we really are living it. It is not easy neither between us nor on a social level but we have passed hard tests and we are here to testify that, if two guys love each other, happiness for them is possible. Thank you for what you do, Project, and never give up!
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-i-realized-i-was-gay-at-26

GAY GUYS WHO HAVE A GIRLFRIEND

Hello Project,
I feel a little embarrassed to send you an email but the doubts are so many and I have to try to find answers because I don’t know who to turn to.
 
I’m 16 and a half years old. For more than a year I started to have doubts about my sexual orientation. I’m not afraid of being gay and if I’m gay I do not think I would have big problems with my family. My parents love me, probably nothing would change.
 
I started to masturbate at 13 and discovered masturbation by myself, without anyone’s suggestions. I did very little to understand that it was sex and that I was sexually developed. Before, for me, sexuality didn’t even exist, or rather there was sympathy for other guys and girls, but I didn’t really know what genital sexuality was.
 
At first, masturbation was just a pleasant physical fact, an interesting discovery by which I felt even more adult, but there was no real bond with sexual fantasies. Just a while later, between 14 and 15, came true sexual fantasies, and were all related to a guy, my teammate with whom I was training two afternoons a week.
 
At that time I played sports, although with many limits and went to the gym with a group of other guys and a coach. We had spaces and times dedicated to us, because we were still too young and were not allowed to enter the locker rooms when the gym was crowded by adults. In the locker room however we were alone, the coach was almost never there, but things were quick and I had never had sex fantasies of any kind, but, as I said, from 14 and a half, fantasies have come and with these also embarrassment because I was always about to get a hard-on and had to make great efforts to control it.
 
The gym has become a very important thing for me, I counted down the time missing to the next training and my masturbations were all related to what I saw in the locker room.
 
But then doubts have begun. I saw that the other guys took things completely differently, without any embarrassment and without any real interest. I quickly understood that what happened to me meant that I was gay.
 
In the beginning, this thing disturbed me a bit, but then, in a few days, I told myself that it had nothing to do with pathology and I overcome the problem. I have to say that I’ve learned at home the idea that being gay is not a disease, I learned it from my parents who have gay friends and defend their friends from stupid gossip of various kinds. Obviously from this point of view I was lucky. In practice, I realized I was gay and it did not make me any problem.
 
In a sense, my story matches the classic proceedings of gay recognition and acceptation described in your book.
 
When I was 15 years old, however, I found myself in situations that I had never taken into account. A girl, my schoolmate, began to show interest in me and I was grateful for it, not just because having a girl put me in a more adult position with my friends, but because with that girl I was fine, it was nice to talk to her.
 
She called me on the phone and we talked for hours, we joked about everything, we often went out together in the afternoon, me and her, without other people, in short I also started to have sexual reactions. I got hard-ons when she leaned on me, when she caressed my hand, and so on, slowly, but I must say, also pleasantly, we came to kiss each other, what I never imagined before.
 
The kisses were not bad, the hugs still better, so much that I started thinking that maybe I was falling in love with that girl, but something didn’t fit: I, gay, in love with a girl? Or maybe I was not gay? Now I keep going out with that girl and she calls me on the phone every day, I keep on getting hard-ons when we kiss or there’s a little direct physical contact, which is very common now. I tried to masturbate sexually thinking about that girl but the results were disappointing and then did some other doubts start.
 
In fact, that girl doesn’t attract me sexually, sometimes I think in a few years, I might also have a sexual relationship with her, but that’s what I think in theory because I never made sexual fantasies about her. It seems a disagreeable behavior, but I see her in the early afternoon and she, or probably the situation, excites me a bit, then later in the afternoon I go to the gym and when I come back home I masturbate always and only thinking of the guys I see in the gym, however, Project, I react sexually even with the girl and this should not happen, or maybe I didn’t understand how these things work.
 
My friends don’t react at all sexually with the boys, that is, they don’t react in situations that are very exciting for me. If I understand, a gay should not react with a girl, or maybe I’m a bit bisexual? This would create some problems because I could not have a really satisfying couple life.
 
Then there are a number of questions I would like to ask you:
(1) Do you think I should try with a girl?
(2) Do you think I am at least a bit bisexual?
(3) Do you think I hurt that girl staying with her because perhaps I deceive her?
 
I look forward to your answers, I would also like to know what the boys of the forum think.
Thanks. Manuel
 _________
 
Hello Manuel, I’m not a doctor nor a psychologist but I deal with gay people for many years. You know that there are also gay guys who get married and have children, these guys have a heterosexual life with their wives that might seem normal, and often the wives are not even aware of having a gay husband. This means that a gay may well have sex with a woman and can even do it habitually. Being gay is not a question related to what is objectively done within a couple relationship, being gay is a matter of desire.
 
There are married gay men who have never had any sexual contact with a man and live a heterosexual life that has all the appearance of normality, but those married gays have a masturbation totally related to gay sexual fantasies. The object of their spontaneous sexual desire are not the wives but the guys who populate their sexual fantasies.
 
When couple sex behaviors are typically heterosexual but coexist with masturbation with exclusively gay fantasies, the true spontaneous sexual orientation is gay. Here bisexuality has nothing to do; a bisexual experiences real forms of sexual and emotional love, both for boys and girls. Keep in mind that of course a guy can really get a hard-on because he is in a situation of very strong intimacy with a girl, but when these experiences are soon forgotten and masturbation remains with gay fantasies, heterosexuality is a very unlikely hypothesis.
 
(1) Should you try with a girlfriend? So, in general, there is nothing that “must” be done and the only sensible behaviors are the spontaneous ones. If going with a girl is the fruit of a decision, that is, a way to test yourself, a test to evaluate your reactions when facing that girl, we are already out of the field of true sexuality. I would say that the very use of the verb “try” indicates that it is essentially a test that would be depressing both for you and for your girlfriend.
 
(2) I would exclude at all that you are bisexual, in your post there is nothing suggesting bisexuality.
 
(3) As to the fact that you are deluding that girl, I think it’s a fairly realistic hypothesis. There are girls who cultivate male friendships without any sexual purpose and have gay friends with whom they fully agree, but it is certainly not the general rule. And then the relationship you have with that girl does not have the typical features of a friendship. Frankly, I think she is very likely to consider you as her boyfriend and to expect you to behave sooner or later coherently with that role. I understand that the company of that girl may be pleasing, but your relationship might be based on a misunderstanding, and if so, it would be better to speak clearly, if possible, or keep away not to fuel further illusions.
Project
__________
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-who-have-a-girlfriend

EXPERIENCES OF A MARRIED GAY

I’m writing to you because I cannot do it anymore, I don’t know where to bang my head. I’m thirty, I’m gay and I’m married for two years, I have a son not yet a year old. I feel literally split in two, on one side there is my wife with my son, on the other my sexuality.

When I was married I was 28 and I was with the same girl for ten years. Everything started almost as a game because all my friends had a girl and I with my friends was fine. Was I gay even then? I think so, my friends were drooling over their girls, I was fine with mine, but already I felt that having a girl at social level, for me was the maximum I could aspire; for my friends to have a girlfriend meant having sex with that girl. For them, doing such things was obvious and obviously very engaging, for me it was kind of a hypothesis that I tried to keep away as much as possible, even though I used to see my girlfriend almost every day with the blessing of my parents who were trying to leave us all the possible freedom, that is, they tended to leave us alone as much as possible, what I was trying to avoid systematically, because when it happened to be alone, a kind of sexual game, that she liked very much, started, but for me it was quite embarrassing.

Playing with a girl, including a certain level of physical contact was after all good and when we kissed the erection arrived. When she was touching me from above my trousers (always from above, with one exception) I felt a strange feeling of the type. “But what am I to do here?” I was wondering why I was not involved as my friends were in similar situations, although I knew it very well. The only time we masturbated each other my feeling was of total passivity, the brain was elsewhere and had already removed everything.

She was obviously inexperienced and then she was a girl and to me it was not good at all and then finding me masturbating a girl provoked me some moment of real rejection. It was a world I did not know at all and that I did not care at all. After that I had to make it clear to my girlfriend that it did not feel right to me to live sexuality that way, in practice I was flaunting false religious sentiments to prevent such experiences from repeating and it worked because she was not really excited by sexuality, at least as far as she could put it into practice with me.

Anyway, she was somehow perplexed at the beginning, that is, she was uncertain, then she realized that if she insisted she would lose me completely and she preferred to avoid systematically the subject, even because she was interested in marriage even then, as if marriage could be imagined without a real sexual interest, at least at the beginning. At that time I was 22 and she 21. We went on for six years between holidays together, without sex, of course, and lunch at my own home one Sunday yes and one no.

Then we had to think about the study and a reason to postpone the important decisions was there, then I graduated and she shortly thereafter.

There is something that I’m ashamed of a bit. I could have looked for work on my own but my father-in-law offered me to work with him and since everything seemed so obvious and the offer was good I accepted almost immediately. My father-in-law created a very collaborative relationship, almost a complicity, but my father-in-law took absolutely for granted that I would marry his daughter in a very short time. I was trapped now and I knew I could not escape so we fixed the date and married.

It all seemed wonderful but between me and my wife there was a fundamental issue never faced, not so much about having sex with her because at the limit, thinking of something else, I could have a sexual intercourse with her, the real problem was that I had a parallel life: no occasional lovers or sexual intercourses, but I was masturbating with gay pornography and I was doing it since I was 15 years old. I never put my wife’s health at risk, I would never have done such a thing and, honestly, it was a hypothesis out of reality.

I knew very well that I did not want to be with a woman, that for me was absolutely unnatural, but in my background there was the idea that “with a bit of will I could set aside the stupid vice of masturbation and so homosexuality would disappear. I started to try everything to get away from homosexual desires, I forced myself not to go to gay sites or rather not to go to porn sites of any kind, because in fact you can see men also in the straight pornography, I tried to drive those which I called “bad thoughts” but there was nothing to do, after a short period of time I was again masturbating with gay videos.

I had, if I can say so, a little bit of tranquility about the last times of my waiting for my son and the first six months after his birth. Frankly I thought I had found peace again. My wife did not attract me sexually but she was busy with the baby now and the problem did not even arise. Grandparents were radiant, we were receiving gifts for the baby and for us, my wife was in the seventh heaven but I slowly began to feel guilty in an ever deeper way: “I have a beautiful family and masturbate thinking about guys, but I am an adult, I am a father, I should think of the happiness of my family but instead of thinking of them I go looking for gay sites and I do it at night, in secret, when they are asleep, I’m just a shabby depraved!”

I considered as irreconcilable things my love for my son and, all in all, also for my wife, who is completely unaware of what I’m going through, and homosexuality, as if they were really incompatible things. I said to myself, “If you do those things you cannot love your son!” And even though I was looking for gay sites all night long, I loved my son tenderly.

Then I started wondering why homosexuality should be destructive of my real family feelings and I came to a conclusion, namely that I would never have wasted my marriage for “a gay adventure”, at that time I used that expression but as long as I was limited to some porn videos, in fact, I would not have destroyed anything, and so, we can say with more awareness, I decided to be able to afford gay pornography even if with limited time and of course in very private form.

Talking with my married friends I learned that they also used pornography, obviously straight, and that, from time to time, they betrayed their wives if they had the opportunity, and so I began to feel less the black sheep.

This is where I am now. I do not think I would ever betray my wife with a man, I do not know, maybe the opportunity has not happened yet and if it will happen I will do in a very different way but honestly I think I would stay in my place, But why should I deprive myself of that little sex that I really feel belongs to me? For the sake of my son? But what do you mean? I do not put anything into crisis and then why should I make a clear speech to my wife about these things? I know that in theory between wife and husband there must be no secrets, but she is happy now, so I just do not see why I should turn her life into crisis because of things she could never understand.

I’m gay but she does not suspect anything like that, so what do I do wrong going on like this? If things will change, I will think about, but now speaking clearly would mean destroying everything for a matter of principle that, in certain cases, can make sense, but in this case it’s completely misleading.

I’m anxious for your answer.

__________

If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=138

TORQUATO TASSO HOMOSEXUAL

The History of Italian Literature has for centuries presented Torquato Tasso as the incarnation of the scruples and obsessions of the Counter-Reformation, Giacomo Leopardi, who knew very well the work and the soul of Tasso, found in him a poetic affinity and I would say a very deep moral affinity. If you look for substantive affinities between Tasso and Leopardi and do not stop at the surface, you come to the conclusion that one of the stronger contact points, if not the strongest is represented by homosexuality. The “Liberated Jerusalem” is the poem of the impossible love; the final duel between Tancredi and Clorinda make you think to the famous phrase: “everyone kills the one he loves” in Querelle de Brest of Fassbinder on Jean Genet’s novel.

Tasso’s official story is already complicated in itself, few characters have such a frantic life full of anxieties and upheavals. Tasso was a man of court, of course, the typical jar vase between iron vases, a man who suffered the violence of court life in all its forms, until the forcible hospitalization in St. Anna’s madhouse. Mind illness? Segregation for political reasons? Or something else? We will never know.

But besides the official story of Tasso there is a secret story that is good to know and in this secret story homosexuality has a fundamental role, but be careful not to assimilate the homosexuality of Tasso to the modern concept of homosexuality.

In order to understand Tasso’s homosexuality you have to enter the spirit of his time, in a counter-reformist environment where heterosexuality was already a taboo and homosexuality was violently repressed at least in public. At that time the expression “internalized homophobia” would have had a pregnancy that is now largely vanished. There was no talk about homosexuality except in a lesser tone with regard to classical literature. Understanding to be homosexual could be really traumatic and the idea of coming out in public was sometimes equivalent to suicide.

I intend to dwell here on a short period of Tasso’s life from May 1576 to January 1577. I remember that Tasso in 1576, to the usual feelings of frustration for his poor life to which he had been forced, although he was already a famous poet, had added another cause of concern: the idea of being spied.

Caused by the courtier Ercole Fucci, he had slapped him and Fucci had replied giving Tasso some stick shots. A servant had revealed to Tasso that in his absence Ascanio Giraldini, another courtier, had tried to force the door of his room to try to seize some Tasso’s manuscripts.

So Tasso wrote to Scipio Gonzaga:

“Now, Monsignor Luca, may even tell me that I’m too suspicious! I cannot help but tell you one of Brunello’s works. Each time I went out of the Ducal Palace, he asked me for the key of my rooms, telling me that he wanted to use it for love affairs, and I gave it to him, but locking the room where I kept the books and the writings. In that room there was a box in which, beyond my compositions, I kept most of the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, and especially those containing some poetic advice [omissis] As I suspected something, I started hunting news, and in the end I came to know from a servant of my neighbor Luigi Montesucoli, that, while I was in Modena during Lent, he saw, when it was already night, that with Brunello also came into my rooms a smith. Then I went looking for that smith and found him, and he confessed that he had been to the Ducal Palace to open a room of which, who brought him there, said he lost the key. Your Lordship can infer the rest. This is one of Brunello’s frauds, but there are others, no less beautiful, and I think there are some more important, but I cannot prove it. It is my consolation that I destroyed all the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, in which something was said freely, except those in which the details of the Sperone affair are concerned. For now I close here my letter and kiss with every affection hands to your most illustrious Lordship. Letter sent by Ferrara.”(1)

Monsignor (a term at that time also used for lay people) Luca, of whom Tasso speaks is Luca Scalabrino, a high-ranking cultural character of whom I was unable to find the exact date of birth but more or less coetaneous of Tasso. Scalabrino had fallen in love with Tasso and was kind enough to mention such a thing to the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto (descendant of the author of the “Orlando furioso”) who, in turn, had reported the news to Tasso himself, who at first reacted badly.

On May 9, 1576, Tasso writes to Scalabrino:

Luca Scalabrino. – Rome. 1576

“You are absolutely wrong and you cannot be disturbed by this. Writing to me is wrong in substance and form, but I only blame myself.

This is Just enough to answer a part of your letter, to which I will answer in more detail after having read not the Greek alphabet one time, but all the Psalms ten or twenty times [after careful evaluation]. Be sure, however, that I have always loved you and sincerely love you. I am not so crazy, that loving you as I love you, I cause your shame with my great ardor. I’m completely master of my secrets and I can, without offending anyone, reveal what I want and to whom I want. Of the secrets of others I speak only so much as it is pleasing to those who entrust them to my discretion. And if I have talked to your father about your disease, against your will, I have done it only because I’m worried about your health, of which I am determined not to worry more than you like; but, for the love I have for you, so that I am satisfied with you, never hiding any of my thoughts, please do not use with me any particular secrecy on some of your affections or projects that are well known to others, do not be angry with me, if anything, by accident, is reported to me, or at least, please, show your disdain jut to me without manifesting it to others, because you cannot do such a thing without showing that you love me just a little and consider me of little value. I said more than I wanted to say: forgive me, because the hand, driven by just pain, has gone beyond will.
But now let’s move on to another topic.
From Ferrara on the 9th of May.
Loving brother and servant the Tasso.”(2)

Scalabrino was afraid of the language of Tasso and sent to Ariosto a letter in which he accused him of having gossip with everyone, and in particular with Tasso well known for not being able to keep the tongue in place. Scalabrino already considered himself in very difficult situations but, shortly after, the fears were set aside and the dialogue between Tasso and Scalabrino became explicit.

To Luca Scalabrino, – Rome. 1576
“Your Lordship, with his last letter, asks me for forgiveness for not making me aware of his concupiscible love, and with the letters he has written before, has always shown me to believe that I was angry with him for the fact that he did not reveal to me his carnal desire, and gave me a very honest explanation of his secrecy and silence kept with me. I, who wanted to confirm the decision I made many years ago, that is, to consider Your Lordship not only as a dear and cordial friend, but as the dearest and closest of all friends, that is, as part of my soul, I no longer want to leave you in this mistake and in this deception: and if you don’t deceive yourself, but only want to show so, I don’t want to leave this possibility, nor can I endure that at least in my things and in what belongs to me, you don’t match my naivety, whether silly or philosophical. Know therefore that I did not despise you because Your Lordship had not shown me is love (because you had no obligation), but because you were driven to such an injury as to let Ariosto notify me the question. Not only did you get angry, but you wrote to Ariosto in a way that manifested that you had felt seriously offended by him. Then you wrote to me a letter full of contempt on which I add nothing. You had a good reason to think that Ariosto had revealed this secret to me, who don’t keep my secrets; but you certainly did not have any reason to say so openly with so bad words to him and me, against my reputation. The friend must hide the defects of his friend, and I, who consider myself the most polite man in the world, have never said anything that could displease you, either in this or any other occasion, except that I said of your infirmity to your father and to Monsignor Antenore, for the great concern of your health. And God testifies to me that I did not say anything about you, except for what I knew and believed it was according to your desires. But here I quit my complaint. I will remember only the many kindnesses and loving-kindness I have received from you, and of this banality I will not keep memory, but I will forgive the impetus of those letters and your nature, as I pray to forgive my nature the bitterness of some letters, in which, exhorting you to correct yourself, I used tones too harsh and vehement.

We are equal, as it is said, I begin now, and since the love and confidence I have for you have not diminished at all, I will carefully avoid to provoke your anger. I ask you forgiveness for my previous letters. You do not need to ask forgiveness to me as to a superior, because in nothing I’m superior and in many things I am after you. But if you want to do so, do it without hurting me in the act of giving me satisfaction, because the reason that you are asking me for forgiveness is not for the superiority of my person but for that of the cause; and I grant you my pardon, and you give it to me and let it over! … and stop talking about these things … I mean, I’m all yours.” (3)

These are probably the letters the courtiers were looking for in the rooms of Tasso!

In mid-December of 1576 the confidence between Tasso and Scalabrino is such that Tasso confesses to Scalabrino that he has fallen in love with the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto, whom Tasso simply calls the Lord omitting the name.

To Luca Scalabrino – Rome, Date December 14, 1576

“I saw the Lord’s letter, it’s very good, but what? I never doubted his wit, and now I am sure of this and wish him every success. But you admire in him the aptitude to eloquence, and I the disposition to be courtier, for he has learned more about this art within a few months in the schools, than I did in many years in the court.

In the end, I do not deceive myself, and speak for the sake of science, not by suspicion or by conjecture; you can believe what you like; but if you were here or were present at one or two of our reasonings, you would clarify in part your ideas; because he treats me so that he doesn’t care to leave me satisfied; for him it’s enough that I cannot be able to make the others understand that he offends me. I love him, and I love him for a few months, because love impressed in my soul an emotion too much strong, that cannot be removed in a few days, by an offense of any gravity; and I hope that time will medicate my soul for this loving infirmity, and will make it perfectly healthy.

Certainly I would not love him, because the more his wisdom is loving, and his way of doing towards everybody, the more his particular way of doing towards me seems hateful to me, this particular behavior has just begun, coming from I don’t know what affection, if not from emulation, or from the desire to satisfy others, what I believe most. I call this my love, and not benevolence because, in sum, it is love: I had not noticed it before, because I did not feel waking up within me any of those appetites that love uses to bring, even in bed where we were together. But now I clearly realize that I have been and I am not a friend, but a very honest lover, because I feel great pain, not only because he matches me little in love, but also because I cannot talk to him with the freedom, I was used to, and his absence is squeezing me gravely. In the night I never wake up that her image is not the first to come to my mind, and rethinking in my soul how much I have loved and honored him, and how much he has mocked and offended me, and what is most important to me (since it seems to me very resolute in his decision not to love me), I’m so afraid that two or three times I have cried bitterly, and if I’m saying the fake, God will not remember me. I would hope that if he was certain of my soul, he would have to love me, but how can he be certain of it, being certain of his thought, and judging ex aliorum ingenio (according to the reasoning of others)? And if you, to whom no affection of my soul was ever concealed, and that should have known so long how I can pretend, you doubt it, it is right that he who has less knowledge, doubts it. That’s enough about him.”(4)

Tasso and Scalabrino exchange letters on Horatio Ariosto even if the language is not always understandable because we don’t possess Scalabrino’s letters.

A Luca Scalabrino. – Rome.

“But keep your beliefs (if you believe what you write), that it is good for me to keep my certainty; in fact, I don’t like it, but it hurts me, that I would, if it were possible, don’t know so much inside as I know about this particular.

You, however judicious you are, will never be praised for that. That magnanimous courtesy, and that suffering of my overwhelming suspicion, real voices, sonorous and witty concepts, where are they born, and where do they come from? In response, I will just say that, in the future, I will be very careful to give myself in prey to a friend, so that it is not only difficult, but boring, to escape him. Now I approve what I said in other times inhuman, that you should love in such a way that it is easy to stop loving. The counsel you give me, I accept it as dictated by love, although it was first given to me by those who didn’t love me very much; when my bosses, who love me well, sought to create in me that confidence, of which my soul, at the beginning of this affliction, was completely full. I don’t know whether I will use it or not, but because men are not faithful, and I am poor in wealth and value, may God guard my innocence, and here is the end of these speeches. Be healthy.
Of Modena on January 6 [1577]”.(5)

This last letter is of January 1577. Tasso, disappointed with Ariosto, begins a turbulent relationship with the young courtier: Horace Orlando. Tasso fears that the thing may become of public domain and tries to appear heterosexual as far as it is possible. On June 17, being spied on by a servant, launches a knife against him.

Of course, many other elements of a personal nature such as stress for Jerusalem’s composition, the frustrations for the misunderstandings he faced, and the obsessive fear of being spied, besides possible reasons of religious, political and diplomatic nature, have influenced in a very complex way Tasso’s biography, but, of course, there is also homosexuality among the elements which have determined his life.
__________

(1) “Ora dica M. Luca ch’io son troppo sospettoso. Non posso tacer una delle prodezze di Brunello. Egli sempre, ch’io andava fuori mi dimandava la chiave delle mie stanze, mostrando di volersene servir in fatti d’amore, e io gliela concedeva, serrando però la camera dov’io tenea i libri e le scritture. Nella quale era una cassetta, in cui oltre le mie composizioni, io riserbava gran parte delle lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca, e quelle particolarmente, che contenevano alcuno avvertimento poetico [omissis] Con questo sospetto cominciai ad andar pescando, e intesi finalmente da un servitor del Conte Luigi Montesucoli mio vicino, che quando io era in questa Quaresima in Modana , vide entrare col Brunello, essendo già notte, un magnano [fabbro] nelle mie stanze. Tanto andai poi cercando. che trovai il magnano, il qual mi confessò d’essere stato in corte ad aprir una camera, della quale diceva il conduttor d’aver perduta la chiave. V.s. argomenti il resto, quella è una delle sue frodi, ma ce ne son molte altre, non men belle: e credo che ve ne siano alcune di molta maggiore importanza; ma io non me ne posso accertare. Mi consola che io stracciava tutte le lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca nelle quali era detta liberamente alcuna cosa, trattone quelle de i particolari dello Sperone. Altro non mi occorre per ora, se non che a V.s. Illustr. bacio con ogni affetto le mani. Di Ferrara.”

(2) A Luca Scalabrino. – Roma. 1576
“Avete il torto in mille modi; e sia detto con vostra pace. Scrivendo a me, peccate in materia ed in forma; ma io non ne incolpo se non me stesso. Tanto mi basta di rispondere ad una parte de la vostra lettera, a la quale risponderò più a lungo come avrò letto non una volta l’Alfabeto greco, ma dieci o venti volte i Salmi: frattanto siate sicuro che io v’ho sempre amato, e vi amo svisceratamente; non sono ancora tanto pazzo che, amandovi com’io fo , debba con tanto ardore procurare la vostra vergogna. De’ miei secreti sono signore, e posso senza offesa altrui, rivelarne quella parte che mi piace a chi voglio. De gli altrui, tanto ne dico quanto piace a chi li commette a la mia fede; e se io altre volte ho discoperto, contro vostra voglia, a vostro padre il vostro male, l’ho fatto per soverchio zelo de la vostra salute, de la quale son risoluto di non volere aver maggior cura di quella che voi vogliate che s’abbia: ma ben vuo’ pregarvi, per l’amore che vi porto, che se io rimango sodisfatto di voi, a cui nulla ascosi mai de i miei pensieri, che non usiate meco estraordinaria secretezza di alcuni vostri o affetti o disegni che a molti son palesi, né dobbiate poi sdegnarvi contra me se alcuna particella a caso, non la cercando io, me n’è riferita; o almeno sfogate meco tutto questo sdegno senza dimostrarlo altrui; che ciò non potete fare, che non diate insieme a divedere che poco m’amiate e nulla mi prezziate. Ho detto più di quello ch’io voleva: perdonatemi; che la mano, spronata da un giusto dolore, è trascorsa mal grado de la volontà.
Ora passiamo ad altra materia.
Di Ferrara, il IX di Maggio Amorevol Fratello e S. (servitore) Il Tasso”

(3) A Luca Scalabrino, – Roma. 1576
“Vostra Signoria per l’ultima sua mi dimanda perdono di non m’aver palesato il suo amor concupiscibile; e per l’altre sue, che prima m’ha scritto, ha sempre mostrato di credere ch’io sia sdegnato con esso lei, pereh’ella non m’abbia rivelato questo suo desiderio carnale, e rende assai onesta cagione de la sua segretezza e del silenzio usato meco. Io, che ho deliberato di confermar quella deliberazione ch’io feci molt’anni sono; cioè d’aver Vostra Signoria non solo per caro e cordiale amico, ma per lo più caro e per lo più intrinseco di tutti gli altri, ed in somma per parte de l’anima mia; non voglio più lungamente lasciarla in questo errore e in questo inganno: e se pur non s’inganna, ma vuol mostrar d’ingannarsi, non le voglio lasciar questo pretesto, né posso soffrire c’almeno ne le cose mie, e in quel c’appartiene a me, ella non corrisponda a la mia ingenuità, o sciocca o filosofica che sia. Sappia dunque, ch’io non mi sdegnai perché Vostra Signoria non mi scoprisse il suo amore (c’a a questo per nessuna ragione voi eravate obbligato); ma mi sdegnai perché voi vi recaste a cosi grande ingiuria che l’Ariosto me n’accennasse un non so che. Non solo vi sdegnaste, ma a lui scriveste in modo che ben si poteva comprendere che vi riputavate offeso da lui gravemente. A me poi scriveste una lettera piena di tanto disprezzo, che nulla più. Confesso c’avevate occasione di dolervi fra voi stesso, che l’Ariosto avesse palesato questo secreto a me, il quale so mal tacere i miei propri secreti; ma certo nissuna ragione voleva che, per cosa di si poca importanza, cosi apertamente fosser da voi dette parole cosi acerbe e a lui e a me medesmo contra la mia riputazione. L’amico deve ricoprire i difetti de l’amico; ed io, che sono il più loquace uomo del mondo, non ho mai detto cosa alcuna c’a voi possa spiacere, né in questa né in altra occasione; se non solo che palesai a vostro padre ed a m. Antenore la vostra infermità per soverchia gelosia de la vostra salute. E Dio mi sia testimonio, che di nissun altro vostro particolare ho io ragionato, se non in quel modo ch’io ho saputo, non che creduto c’a voi fosse caro. Ma sia qui il fine de le mie querele. Io mi ricorderò solamente le tante cortesie ed amorevolezze ch’io ho ricevuto da voi; e di questa baia non terrò memoria, ma perdonerò l’impeto di quelle lettere a la vostra natura; si come prego voi a perdonare a la mia l’acerbità d’alcune lettere, ne le quali, esortandovi al purgarvi, usava luoghi troppo aspri e veementi. Siam patti e pagati, come si dice: da ora inanzi io, non iscemando punto né de l’amore né de la confidenza che ho in voi, mi guarderò di provocar la vostra collera. Io vi dimando perdono de le lettere passate: a voi non occorre dimandarlo a me com’a superiore, peroché io in nessuna cosa vi sono superiore, e in molte vi cedo. E se pur volete usare questa creanza, usatela senza offendermi, mentre volete sodisfarmi: che non la superiorità de la persona, ma la superiorità de la causa mi fa meritevole che da voi mi sia chiesto perdono; ed io vel concedo, e voi concedetelo a me, e brindisi!… e più non si parli di queste co… In somma, io son tutto vostro.”

(4) A Luca Scalabrino – Roma Datata 14 dicembre 1576
“Ho veduta la lettera del Signore, bella certo, ma che? De l’ingegno suo io non dubitai mai, ed ora ne son certissimo e spero di lui ogni gran riuscita. Ma voi ammirate in lui l’attitudine a l’eloquenza, ed io la disposizione a l’esser cortigiano, perché ha più appreso di quest’arte in pochi mesi ne le scole, ch’io non ho fatto in molti anni ne la corte.
In somma io non m’inganno, e parlo per iscienza, non per sospetto, per congettura; voi credete quel che vi pare; ma se qui foste o vi trovaste presente ad uno o due de’ nostri ragionamenti, vi chiarireste in parte; perciocché egli tratta meco in modo, che non si cura di lasciarmi soddisfatto; gli basta solo ch’io non possa far constar ad altri ch’egli m’offenda. Io l’amo, e son per amarlo anco qualche mese, perché troppo gagliarda impressione fu quella, che l’amor fece ne l’animo mio, né si può in pochi dì rimovere, per offesa quanto si voglia grave; pure spero che il tempo medicherà l’animo mio di questa infermità amorosa, e ’l renderà intieramente sano.
Che certo io vorrei non amarlo, perché quanto è amabile l’ingegno suo, e la maniera in universale, tanto dee a me parer odioso un suo particolar procedere verso me, cominciato da poco in qua, e nato non so da qual affetto, se non forse da emulazione, da desiderio di soddisfare altrui, il che più credo. Chiamo questo mio amore, e non benevolenza perché, in somma, è amore: ne prima me n’era accorto e non me n’accorgeva, perché non sentiva destare in me nessuno di quegli appetiti che suol portare l’amore, anche nel letto, ove siamo stati insieme. Ma ora chiaramente mi avveggio ch’io sono stato e sono non amico, ma onestissimo amante, perché sento dolore grandissimo, non solo ch’egli poco mi corrisponde ne l’amore, ma anche di non poter parlar con esso lui con quella libertà, ch’io soleva, e la sua assenza m’affligge gravissimamente. La notte non mi sveglio mai che la sua immagine non sia la prima ad appresentarmisi, e rivolgendo per l’animo mio quanto io l’abbia amato ed onorato, e quanto egli abbia schernito ed offeso me, e, quel che più mi preme (parendomi troppo indurato ne la risoluzione di non amarmi), me n’afliggo tanto, che due o tre volte ho pianto amarissimamente, e s’io in ciò mento, Iddio non si ricordi di me. Spererei che se egli fosse certo de l’animo mio, sarebbe costretto ad amarmi, ma come ne può essere egli certo essendo consapevole del suo, e giudicando ex aliorum ingenio. E se voi, al qual nessuno affetto de l’animo mio fu mai celato, e che ’n tanti anni dovreste aver conosciuto quanto io sappia fingere, ne dubitate, ben è ragione ch’egli, che n’ha minor conoscenza, ne dubiti. Tanto basti intorno a lui.”

(5) A Luca Scalabrino. — Roma.
“Tenetevi pur voi la vostra credenza (se pur credete quel che scrivete) ch’a me giova d’attenermi a la mia certezza; anzi, non mi giova, ma mi noce, che vorrei, se fosse possibile, non saper tanto a dentro quanto io so di questo particolare.
Voi per giudizioso, non sarete giammai per questa ragione laudato. Quella magnanima cortesia, e quella pena del mio soverchio sospettare, voci in vero e concetti sonori ed arguti, ove nascono, ed onde vengono? Per risposta altro non dico, se non che per l’avvenire, mi guarderò molto di darmi così in preda ad alcuno amico, che mi sia poi non solo difficile, ma noioso, il ritormigli. Ora approvo quel detto che altre volte riputai inumano, ch’in guisa si debba amare, che sia facile il disamare. Il consiglio che mi date, accetto da voi come amorevole, se ben m’è stato prima dato da coloro che non molto m’amavano ; ove i padroni, che ben mi vogliono, cercavano di generar in me quella confidenza, de la quale l’animo mio, nel principio di questa briga, era in tutto pieno. Non so però s’io l’userò o no, ma perché ne gli uomini non è fede, ed io son povero di fortuna, e di valore, custodisca Iddio la mia innocenza, e qui sia fine a questi discorsi. State sano.
Di Modena il 6 di Gennaio [1577]”.

___________

If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=125

LITTLE ENTHUSIASTIC HETERO? AND IF I WAS GAY?

Dear Project,

After browsing the forum long and wide and reading your book “Being Gay” I decided to write to you. I am 26 years old, I can say that I am quite poorly satisfied with my life, that is with my studies and, from a very short time, with my work, which I do not like too much, and I’d better say that I don’t like it at all, but if I think that so many guys cannot work at all, I can only think that I must keep it tight. There is another aspect of my life on which I’m thinking for hours every day. Let’s just say that I do not dislike girls, I mean that if a girl comes up and cuddles me in the right way, for me it’s okay. I had two stories with girls, the first began when I was 15, I came in it with enthusiasm because it made me feel great and it was not bad. I say so now, because I know how things have evolved afterwards. She did not want to go beyond well-defined limits and I did not want to go either, in fact we were good friends, we went out together, there was some tenderness, but without exaggerating, and that was okay. Then it all ended after three years, when our parents got in the way to formalize the thing, that is to make it become something different, and so began the rituals of engaged people, but these rituals did not please me or her, after a few months we ended up “by common agreement and without problems” that we were just good friends and so the story ended, with regret (and disappointment) of our parents. With the second girl, my present girl, things were very different, we were both 24 years old and had good prospects for study and work. Saying that we got together like a couple is improper. Even with her everything started with a friendship not particularly important. We often called each other on the phone, often came out, but always with groups of friends, sometimes we talked seriously, but especially about study and job prospects. After the second level degree, I managed to find a job and she has gone abroad for the PhD, neither of us thought that he or she could give up something in the name of the other, I rather encouraged her to go because so she would have had much better prospects. In the first few weeks we used to get in touch on Skype almost every day, now much less and, frankly, I don’t miss her, as I think she doesn’t miss me. So far this would be an ordinary story of a guy not too much interested in girls and especially not too much (in practice for nothing) interested in sex with girls, but things do not end here. I always had a lot of special friends and I was fine with them, but I have never felt any physical attraction for a guy, or maybe just a bit, but none of the things I read on the forum. For a few months I’ve met a guy who I’ll call Nino, twenty years old, a guy who hit me right away. I did not feel overwhelmed, what struck me was his emotional state and his level of participation in things. We got to talk a bit, I told him that my girlfriend is abroad and other things and he told me he is gay and is in love with a guy I know. The guy he is in love with is a nice guy, but I do not think he is gay even though I have never seen him with a girlfriend. Nino keeps telling me about this guy, I see that he is totally in love and I am really astonished at this, because if I think of my two girls, well, they were not very involved, while Nino practically lives for that guy and feels really uncomfortable for this reason. He was very astonished by my reaction to his revelations and said that he can only talk to me about these things, I try to warn him, for at the moment the other boy knows nothing and probably not even imagine that Nino fell in love with him, and the reaction could be not only of disengagement, but of total repulsion, and Nino could come out badly. Even here, in the end, it could be a bit less common story of a friendship between a heterosexual (I) and a gay guy (Nino), but things are more complicated because with the passing of time between me and Nino is tightening a very special tie. He tells me very beautiful things, which I enjoy, but the fact remains that even with all the good will I do not feel gay. I talk to him for hours, but then I forget it. He knows I’m hetero and have a girl, but he gives no consideration to that, and he is a very attractive and seductive with me, as if I were gay and about to fall in love with him, and from here on there is a problem for me too, because I like to be with him, but I do not want to deceive him, because he might feel very uncomfortable. When we talk, I tell him about my girlfriend, he tells me about his boyfriend, but basically we just talk about us, my girlfriend and his boyfriend are pretexts to keep talking without creating too much trouble. I also wondered if by chance I was gay, perhaps in a very special way, because with him I feel comfortable and the fact that he is gay and that he may have fallen in love with me (maybe the word is not suitable, but there is something similar) doesn’t even upset me, but it seems to me very nice because he has a behavior a lot different from that of girls, much more affectionate and much more direct, than I really like, but then I think everything could stop here. I add one thing: I would not mind being gay and fall in love with Nino, but at the moment it’s just a hypothesis, I do not know if something could come out later, surely with him I feel more involved than with a girl. Nino might seem a little effeminate, because he is always very kind and affectionate, but I do not see in him anything feminine and I do not consider him at all as I consider girls, I feel him much closer to me, with him it seems to me that could be possible that affectionate friendship that has always been my ideal, and the fact that he is gay, in the end, is just what makes this affectionate friendship possible. I would not, however, want to condition his life, this is my main concern. As you can see, Project, the problems are so many and so very interwoven with each other. In your opinion, what should I do?

Perplexed

p.s. If you like, post this mail on your sites.

MANUAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Gay Project has just published in Italian a “Manual of homosexuality”: http://gayproject.altervista.org/manuale_di_omosessualita.pdf, that is a guide to know and understand the real problems of gay guys. The manual has 22 chapters. I present here the first chapter in English, in the coming weeks I will publish the next chapters.

__________

CHAPTER 1 – UNDERSTANDING TO BE GAY

Let’s start with a concrete example.

A boy 12 year old (seventh grade) experiences for the first time the spontaneous swelling up of his penis (erection) while he is in the locker room along with his mates and while concentrating his attention on one of them who is undressing. The experience is pleasant, the guy comes home, sits back to think about his mate, goes quickly erect, the feeling is newly nice, the guy starts a long manipulation of his penis (masturbation) at the end of which he feels a strong contraction of the testes (orgasm) that makes a white substance (semen) squirts up from his penis (ejaculation), immediately after the guy experiences a strong feeling of relaxation, as if all the tension caused by sexual arousal had been discharged (post-orgasmic phase). Throughout all this procedure, the imagination is concentrated on the image of the mate undressing in the locker room (masturbatory fantasy).

Let us now analyze this example. It is the discovery of masturbation, that is the first real sexual experience. In this experience, there are two different components linked together, the physical one (erection, masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, post-orgasmic phase) and the imaginative one (masturbatory fantasy).

It is usual to call masturbation also the whole physical-imaginative process we have just described. During masturbation the guy brings to mind the images that had caused the erection spontaneously, because focusing on those images (masturbatory fantasies) he can easily get an erection (sexual arousal through masturbation fantasies) and the erection is more vigorous and all the process of masturbation is strongly addictive. If the masturbatory fantasies of a guy are directed towards other guys  we use to say that masturbation is gay oriented, if masturbatory fantasies are directed towards girls we use to say that masturbation is hetero oriented. When the masturbatory fantasies are really spontaneous, they represent the fundamental indicator of sexual orientation: a guy who masturbates in an exclusive and consistent way with gay fantasies is to be considered a gay guy.

Now we go further with exemplification.

The same guy that we talked about before, listening to his mates about masturbation becomes aware that they experience something similar to his own experience in the physical aspect but different with regard to the masturbatory fantasies, and realizes that his mates, during masturbation, don’t focus attention on other guys but on girls. Back home, the guy tries to masturbate focusing on a girl, that is, using the same masturbatory fantasies used by his mates, but those fantasies do not produce results and are on the contrary experienced as something alien and not really exciting. The guy then comes back to masturbation fantasies focused on his mates and the physical response is rapid and convincing.

Let’s analyze the example.

This is the first perception, by a gay guy, of the fact that his sexuality is not similar to that of other guys. The thing in itself would not cause any problem, but the guy, speaking with his mates, becomes aware, with a growing awareness, that his sexuality is considered by his mates as an object of ridicule and as something quite offensive to joke about and begins to connect to his sexual orientation words like gay, fag, queer, fagot and so on, that people use as an insult. This way the guy perceives for the first time the discomfort of being gay, which is not caused by the fact of having a sexuality different from that of the other guys but by the contempt shown by other guys.

But let us proceed with the examples.

The guy that we talked about in the previous examples starts to feel the presence of the guy who is the object of his masturbatory fantasies as something very pleasant, he is happy while being beside that guy, talks to him for as long as possible, appreciates his voice, his physical presence and smile and tends to create a relationship with him. At first that relationship seems to have the typical characteristics of friendship but really differs from friendship because that guy is also the subject of masturbatory fantasies.

All the process described above represents a typical gay love affair, in which there are two components: one affective, which consists in creating a relationship of proximity and affection with the other guy, and the other strictly sexual, which consists in being sexually involved by the other guy assuming him as object of masturbatory fantasies.

For the other guys, who leave similar experiences, but oriented towards girls, the natural outcome of being in love is the declaration of love to the girl they love, that statement is usually taken by the girls like something  however flattering. The gay guy understands on the contrary that, for him, declaring his love for another guy carries the risk of being identified as gay and thus being branded with offensive epithets by his mates and also by the guy he is in love with. In essence, the gay guy realizes that he’s a gay guy in a group of guys who have a different sexual orientation and concludes instinctively, that not to be labeled as gay by his mates, he has to pretend to be straight.

So far we have presented a very simple model of getting aware of being gay applied to a 12 year old gay. In reality, this scheme can be complicated by many disruptive factors. Let us therefore examine the most important factors that interfere with the awareness of homosexuality. Consider an example.

A guy 11/12 year old is involved in sexual games with a girl slightly older than him, his first erections are not really spontaneous but are induced by the interplay of sexual manipulation by the girl, which is especially rewarding because allows the preadolescent to perceive himself like a man. The guy will repeat on his own the handling of the penis and will arrive at the discovery of masturbation and, at least apparently, his masturbatory fantasies will be oriented toward girls, but in this case during the masturbation the spontaneous sexuality cannot emerge just because the first erections are not spontaneous but are induced by a girl through explicit sexual advances (the manipulation of the penis or the intimate caresses). The sexual imprinting , that is the first real sexual or para-sexual experience, in this case, has been experienced by the guy “in a straight atmosphere” due to external elements (the girl) and thus was not the result of the sexual spontaneity of the guy, but nevertheless such sexual experiences are not superficial. The hetero imprinting can induce quite easily masturbation fantasies related to the imprinting, i.e. hetero fantasies, rather than to spontaneous sexuality. Following an hetero imprinting, even a guy who, if he could spontaneously develop his own sexuality, would manifest a gay sexuality, can present  a straight masturbation for years. Gay guys sooner or later come certainly out of the constraints that derive from the hetero imprinting because in the long time spontaneous sexuality comes always afloat.

Much more complicated and problematic is the situation of guys who have been subjected to violence or sexual abuse. I would simply point out that sexual abuse can leave on anyone who has suffered it very heavy consequences, particularly if it was committed with physical or psychological violence or by a close family member.

Let us consider now much more common disturbing elements that can interfere with the process of getting aware of being gay. We start here with an example.

An 8 year old guy is part of a larger group of friends and hears them speak with great interest about pornography on the Internet. For him, 8 years old, genital sexuality is still something to come, but he is induced by what he heard to go and see what it is. In this way, the guy discovers pornography, which means, in the vast majority of cases, heterosexual pornography, before having sexual maturity to understand the real meaning of sexuality. In this way, the guy gets a form of pre-orientation toward sexuality almost always towards heterosexuality, which tends to stabilize the guy because using pornography he feels integrated with the group of older guys. Over the years the tendency to imitate the sexuality of the older guys leads that guy to the discovery of masturbation that takes place in a straight atmosphere and therefore manifests a heterosexual orientation. This not spontaneous hetero orientation, precisely induced by the described mechanism, just because it is not spontaneous, may not coincide with the deep sexual orientation and therefore, also in this case a young guy with an exclusive hetero masturbation may be, with the passing of time, having to deal with the subsequent emergence of a spontaneous gay sexuality.

We come now to another important point, namely the education that a guy receives about sexuality, and as usual we consider a concrete case.

A guy has been accustomed from childhood to attend Catholic circles, typically the parish. In that environment he feels comfortable, the family has confidence in the priests and is happy that the child attends that environment because even the parents grew up in that environment and feel it as safe and suitable for the growth of the child. Gradually, from childhood on, that guy has assimilated the values ​​typical of a Catholic environment that are related to the idea of ​​family (father, mother and children), seen as the center of the life of an individual. This model does not create any problem to the guy before his first contact with sex life and indeed is regarded as quite natural because, before discovering sexuality, a guy identifies himself only in the role of child and not in a possible role of father. But there are also other things to take in account, a guy, before discovering sexuality considers as natural the idea that sexuality, which he still does not know concretely, is aimed exclusively to the procreation and that any other use of sexuality is wrong. When the guy discovers masturbation and the horizon of real sexuality, he is brought automatically to suppress the new feelings and to feel guilty about the fact of not being able to do without what he believes to be absolutely to avoid. Up to this point the conditioning of sexuality operated by the religion is practically the same for both gay and straight guys, but for gay guys there are also other problems. In religious circles in general people tend to take for granted that all the guys are heterosexual and the existence of homosexuality is considered as a manifestation of disease and sin. The priests who care for older kids only talk about relationships between guys and girls and these behaviors lead gay guys to stay as far as possible away from homosexuality, considered like a very serious sin but avoidable. Let us pause to reflect on the situation we have just described.

The Catholic Church considers heterosexuality as the only natural form of sexuality and considers homosexuality as a pathological tendency, something against nature, which must be repressed. The Church considers a grave sin every homosexual act, that is, all forms of sexuality shared with someone of the same sex and also considers masturbation a grave sin. The World Health Organization has recognized for several decades homosexuality as a “normal ” (i.e. non-pathological) variant of the human sexuality and homosexuals has been recognized in many states the right to join together to form a family, a family formed by same-sex partners,  in some states, it is also granted to homosexual couples the right to adopt children exactly as it is granted to heterosexual couples. The same World Health Organization has explicitly acknowledged the value of masturbation not only as a fundamental element for the formation of sexuality in adolescence but as a positive element that produces pleasure, accompanies the entire sexual life of an individual and also involves married man and women, who clearly have also a sexual life as a couple. The World Health Organization has included education to masturbation as part of sex therapy aimed at the well-being of the person as an individual and as part of a couple.

The teachings of the Catholic Church in matters related to sexuality and especially homosexuality and masturbation, are not only not universally shared but are completely incompatible with what the scientific community says about the same subjects.

Sexuality education in accordance with the dictates of the Catholic Church or other religious groups with similar attitudes, promotes feelings of guilt and leads to the repression of sexuality and especially homosexuality, which is seen only in the dimension of sin and not as a natural and spontaneous behavior.

What are the consequences of all this for a homosexual guy? The guy tries to force himself toward heterosexuality and considers homosexuality as a vice to be eradicated, seeks to create a relationship with a girl that can reassure him by giving him the illusion that his homosexuality will disappear if he will be able to resist temptation particularly avoiding masturbation, so in fact the feeling towards a girl will grow “pure” that is not tainted by sex. In repressing masturbation, which would inevitably be gay oriented, and in building a relationship with a girl chastely, that is, without any trace of sexuality, the guy sees a merit, a victory over himself and the sign that his “heterosexuality” is true love and not vice because it is not contaminated by masturbation. In fact the apparent “pure” falling in love with a girl is not really falling in love because is missing entirely any sexual involvement. That apparent falling in love allows the guy to pretend to be straight, relegating homosexuality to the rank of marginal vice that will pass easily, over the years, when he will go to the wedding. It is in essence a problem of removal of homosexuality that is denied and minimized. In some cases, starting with these concepts, when the first attempts to couple sexuality with a girl are successful, the guy can get easily even at the wedding.

The expression “sexual imprinting”, in the strict sense, is used to denote the first sexual or para-sexual experience (nudity, physical contact) that induces, through sexual arousal, the initial orientation of masturbation towards guys or girls. It is quite common to speak of sexual imprinting also about the discovery of pornography and even about the educational pressures. While the discovery of pornography, particularly if very early, can effectively determine the initial orientation of masturbation, and therefore can constitute a real sexual imprinting, the educational pressures act mainly through deterrence. In general, the removal of homosexuality as a result of education does not lead a gay guy to hetero masturbation but to abstinence from masturbation, in this case we can speak of sexual imprinting only in very general terms.

Here it should be clarified that as a guy who lives a straight imprinting can masturbate, for a period of time at least, with heterosexual fantasies, even if he is not straight, so a gay guy, in situations of particular emotional involvement, can have a sexual intercourse with a woman. It should be borne in mind that the true sexual orientation is the “spontaneous” sexual orientation of a person, therefore a guy is gay if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on guys, and similarly a guy is straight if, without any conditioning, his sexuality is focused on girls, but that does not mean that a gay guy, that is a guy who, without any conditioning, focuses his sexuality on guys , cannot, under specific conditions, i.e. with strong constraints, respond to heterosexual stimulation. Similarly, a straight guy, who is spontaneously led to a hetero sexuality, in some particular situations, may also respond to homosexual stimulation. It is precisely for this reason that, in the presence of strong environmental constraints, when the orientation of masturbation does not coincide with that of couple sexuality, the true sexual orientation is what emerges from masturbation because during masturbation the weight of the constraints is enormously less and there  is no expectation to satisfy on the part of the partner. The fantasies that accompany masturbation are, for these very reasons, the fundamental index of sexual orientation.

It should be noted that, given that 92% of the population is composed of heterosexuals, environmental pressures that push toward heterosexuality are very strong, while those that push towards homosexuality are virtually nil. That’s why there are many gays who have problems, even for long periods, about their being gay, while it is very rare to find a straight guy who has problems about is being hetero.

About 30% of the guys who end up recognizing themselves exclusively gay have had before periods in which they considered themselves to be heterosexuals and some of them, and not a few, also had sex with a girl and also with more than just one. Those guys are not heterosexuals who have become homosexuals but they are homosexuals who have been induced to pretend to be heterosexuals by environmental pressures or by an education for nothing respectful of sexual spontaneity and typically have lived long and troubled periods of uncertainty about their sexual orientation. It is significant that most of these guys, even when they have a girlfriend and have sex with girls, continues to practice masturbation with gay fantasies.

Let us now deal with elements that can appear but are not indicators of sexual orientation. Let’s consider an example.

A 11 year old guy goes for swimming and compares his penis with that of his peers. In this case it is true that there is an interest in the penis of other guys but it should be clear that for the guy this is only an element of comparison for assessing his own sexual maturation in relation to that of other guys, the same is true when considering physical development, height or strength in relation to the similar characteristics of other guys. All this has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Let’s move on to another situation which is incorrectly related to sexual orientation or gender identity, that is the feeling of being a man or woman. A child about 5 or 6 year old sometimes puts on mum’s shoes, plays with dolls with girls and not at soldiers with his male mates, is at ease with the girls better than with his male mates, does not like to play football and so on.

Such situations are not indicators of sexual orientation or gender identity (feeling of being male or female) but can sometimes express forms of discomfort to integrate into the peer group, often caused by a very rigid education or simply by shyness. Adults should avoid to negatively emphasize these behaviors with attitudes amazed or worried that can really cause insecurities that are likely to remain unexpressed and unresolved.

_________

If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: