With the chapter titled “Platen or the superior uranist”, André Raffalovich closes his book “Uranism and Unisexuality”. It is certainly not a case. Raffalovich has always shown a remarkable sympathy for von Platen and for his conception of homosexuality, which is celebrated by him at the end of the chapter with accents of genuine enthusiasm as well as moral sharing. It should be said immediately that Raffalovich, in his overview on remarkable homosexuals of the history and literature stopped at the first ‘800, with the only exception of Wilde. In his work therefore don’t appear some fundamental characters of the history of homosexuality such as John Addington Symonds, Edward Carpenter and the Raffalovich himself, who belong to the second half of the ‘800 and in some cases have extended their activity to the first decades of ‘900.

Platen, like Grillparzer, Motitz, Goethe, and Byron himself, belongs to a period, in which the debate on homosexuality is still something utopian and vague to be placed in a future of which it was impossible to foresee even the dawn.

The destruction of the memories and of many letters of Byron after his death is a sign of how the idea of the homosexuality of the author was considered unthinkable.

Grillparzer and Moritz were very careful in defending their honorability from the risk of accusations of homosexuality. All these characters (with the exception perhaps of Byron) went through periods of doubt, oscillations and uncertainties about the real dimension of their sexuality because they were totally or almost totally lacking in evidence that could put the dominant prejudice into crisis. They all experienced heterosexual stories in which the emotional participation was really minimal and that today would not be difficult to identify as coverage relationships.

Byron, who had behaved more freely, was forced by gossip to leave England and never returned.

Before Platen, the signs of homosexuality had to be found in little known biographical elements or in the ambiguities of the works, where they were almost always transcribed in heterosexual key. For Platen it is not like that. It could be said that Platen is the first homosexual in the modern sense of the term, because he recognizes his homosexuality, at least in front of his friends, who don’t disown him for this, and affirms his right to love and be loved as a friend of noble soul, because his feeling has nothing to be ashamed of. Raffalovich interprets the fact that Platen considers his homosexual love something dignified and high by hypothesizing the idea that it was a love without sex or almost without sex, and anyway with an extremely sublimated sexuality, a hypothesis that could perhaps be proposed for young Platen, but sounds quite unrealistic for the Italian period of the poet’s life.

It should not be forgotten that Italy, for the whole ‘800, was for the rich homosexuals of northern Europe a true earthly paradise, totally devoid of English moralism and German hypocrisy in matters of sexuality.

Certainly Platen, it seems, even in Italy didn’t live a wild life to the level that will then be typical of Wilde and seems to maintain moralistic attitudes even when he condemns very libertine poets who intend to create a relationship of friendship with him.

But Platen is modern also for another reason: his not to surround his life and his poems of too much caution exposes him to gossip and he ends up being a victim of very heavy and vulgar personal attacks, obviously on charges of homosexuality, advanced in the most vulgar ways by a character like Heine, in other respects an excellent and fine literate of Hebrew origins.

The controversy between Heine and Platen arose for reasons of literary pride, it seems that Heine had not much appreciated a poem by Platen and had expressed about it a very critical, if not scornful, judgment, Platen replied by bringing into play Heine’s Jewish origins. Heine answered letting himself go to insults against Platen related to his homosexuality.

The story of the quarrel between Platen and Heine is the sign of how much the accusation of homosexuality was (and still is today) a weapon that is kept in store and can be unleashed whenever the opportunity arises.

Thomas Mann dedicated a long essay to Platen who, in his solitary death in Syracuse, by cholera (perhaps), is the inspirer of “Death in Venice”, on which Luchino Visconti based his cinematographic masterpiece. But Mann’s work on Platen, rather than representing a hypothetical fight of Platen against homosexuality, embodies in Platen the similar and far more grievous struggle of Mann against his own homosexuality. Today, after the complete publication of Platen’s diaries, the reading of the character made by Mann can no longer be shared. Platen, unlike the great majority of cultured homosexuals of his generation (and also om many of the later ones) had accepted his homosexuality and considered it a value that could not be set aside in any way. Of course, in a world where homosexuality was heavily criminally persecuted and denial was the only attitude of all, including homosexuals, a man like Platen spent his life between disappointments and frustrations, falling in love with heterosexual friends with a lot of misunderstandings, but for him homosexuality was a form of love with capital L and certainly he would not have lowered to the idea of mercenary sex, he’s a character who has maintained high, even as a homosexual, the level of his morality.

Let’s leave the floor to Raffalovich. Below you can read my translation into English of the chapter dedicated to Paletn in “Uranisme et Unisexualité” by Marc André Raffalovich, 1896. My translation into Italian of the entire work can be downloaded without any formalities on the page:



I would like to present in a clear way the noble, interesting and melancholic figure of the poet Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde.

He is for excellence the born uranist, destined, self-assured, upright, complete, courageous, elevated, all dedicated to his love for poetic glory, for poetic art, for intellectual and physical beauty, in the most lively way in which he feels it, because he feels it in accord with his dignity as a man. He strongly loved his friends, Count Fugger, Liebig, A. Kopisch, Gustav Schwab, etc., and raised hateful hate. Even today, the Munich library holds the eighteen volumes of Platen’s diary, and this precious deposit awaits a respectful and intelligent publication, which von Laubman and L. von Scheffler have promised.

In 1860 Engelhardt published some fragments of the diary that stop in 1828 – Platen was born in 1796 and died in 1838. It is with the help of this autobiographical fragments, of his works, his letters and the publications of his friends that I will try to show his physiognomy.

Auguste, Count of Platen-Hallermünde (or Count of Platen, as he preferred to be called) was born October 21th, 1796 in Ansbach where his father was in the service of Prussia. The first Count of Platen, Franz-Ernest, had received his title on July 20th, 1689 by Leopold I.

Platen’s father, born in 1740, had married Miss von Reitzenstein in the first marriage, and from this marriage were born six children, one male and five females. The marriage was unhappy and led to a divorce. Count Platen remarried in 1795 with Louise-Friederike Christiane Eichler von Auritz. They had two sons, the first was the poet, the youngest died at the age of three.

Auguste von Platen, or Platen as I’ll call him, when he was still very young, had a long illness, the famous doctor of Erlangen, Hildebrand, considered it incurable; but the child grew up despite the disease, bred with simplicity, and as happened to most of the noble children born after the French Revolution, he was taught to be on familiar speaking terms with his parents and to feel free in their presence: they never spoke to him about his noble birth.

Platen recalled that his early childhood friends had been Simon Langenfoss and Jeannot Asimont, sons of a French teacher, and two Liebeskind. He also often went to the castle to play with the princess, daughter of Prince Louis of Prussia, brother of the king. He met there also the aunts of the little girl, the Queen Louise of Prussia, and the princess of Thurn und Taxis.

Platen’s father made so many small trips to visit the forests to which he had to supervise and the child remained alone with his mother. She read for him loudly and made him love reading. He soon preferred books to his many toys. He also learned to write early. The first book he read alone contained childish comedies. He loved the theater, he went there as much as possible, he recited some comedies with his companions. In his seventh year he wrote a pastoral comedy and sent it to a young friend.

He wrote many small parts in verse, full of fairies, witches and wizards. Even mythology took possession of his imagination, but the stories of love left him indifferent. He considered love only a theatrical artifice. Despite his fondness for fairy tales, he was rather skeptical. He replied to a professor that there was no hell. It meant that there was no place where souls were roasting.

His mother withdrew completely from the world to take care only of her son. She pushed him to work. She had him write letters to an English girl his age, whom he had never seen, daughter of a childhood friend of the Countess. A young girl, Caroline von Gemmingen, soon came to live with them. Platen and her were always at war.

In 1806 the child, in his ninth year, saw the defeat of the soldiers of the Emperor of Austria, Bernadotte passing through Ansbach and the fall of Prussia; and he became very interested in all these events.

In the same year, General Werneck, the head of the Cadets in Munich, a childhood friend of the father of Platen, offered him to incorporate the boy among the Cadets. The father accepted and the mother took the child to Monaco.

The separation from his mother was a great pain for him, and the rigid and heavy clothes bothered him, but the novelty amused him, and what reconciled him with his new style of life was friendship.

He remained for four years among the Cadets. He described very well the life as it was organized there – the Cadet school had been a Jesuit monastery. There were a hundred Cadets. They almost were not allowed to read, their readings and their correspondence, were rigorously examined. The Cadets were constantly supervised: during the lessons by the teachers, during the recreation by the officers, at night by the servants. They were never left alone. They taught them Mathematics, Geometry, History, Geography, Style, Latin, Religion, French, language to which great attention was paid, Fencing, Dance and almost all musical instruments.

Cadets used to make fun of his verses. At mealtimes he was always at the table in the middle: there were three tables on which the food was proportional to the progress or to the relapses of the students. – Comedies were recited; the number of comedies was limited due to the lack of female roles. Platen never recited such comedies. In his tenth year he probably overcame his childhood illness, because he remembered, not without pleasure, of a trip on foot made during the holidays with some companions and some teachers, a trip to the Tyrol. The Tyrolean people seemed to him kind and considerate. The Cadets slept on straw, but they were well fed. He spent the rest of the holidays at home, happy to be free. The constraints of the college were unbearable. His obstinacy attracted so many punishments on him that they ended up aggravating this trait of his character. He soon found himself on bad terms with the military authorities and with the professor of Lutheran Religion. Platen, although he was a Lutheran, had defended Catholicism in a spirit of contradiction. His stubbornness, he himself says, was punishable, but it was also the beginning of his independence of judgment.

Friendship, after all, made the college bearable for him. Friendship was the goddess of the Cadets. Each one could look for and find a soul similar to his own, and despite the external constraints, a Cadet could be linked to a friend for life.

His first confidant was Friedrich Schnizlein, to whom he entrusted his first writings. He was a perfect confidant, but he was not in favor of the fervor of sentiment in friendship.

Ludwig von Luder, he too Protestant, also received the literary confidence of young Platen. He was older and very intelligent, a lover of science, without disordered inclinations. He always remained Platen’s sincere friend, and their discussions were only about politics.
Among the Cadets in his class he often saw Ernst Wiebeking, Count Sprety, Kasimir Baeumler, Tettenborn, etc .; among those of the other classes, Karl and Alexander Welden, Krazeisen, Brand, Kaeser, Normann, Wilhelm and Joseph Gumppenberg.

Max von Gruber particularly attracted him. He was not very gifted, but full of will, a mathematician lover of poetry, just, solid and without prejudices. He would forgive Voltaire his atheism if Voltaire had not so often denied it; he did not blame any of Napoleon’s evil deeds if they were part of his role as conqueror. It is understandable that the young Platen, who had to feel different from others, clung to Max von Gruber, honest and full of respect for the essential differences between men of value or genius. They always remained friends. Gustav Jacobs, son of the philologist, was also very closely linked to Platen; he was a simple, open-minded boy, he hated pedantry, hardly loved by the authorities, he blamed Platen’s lamentations but praised his poems and was interested in them.

The two Fugger brothers loved Platen too, and Friedrich, the eldest, enthusiastic about Goethe, will remain in the history of German literature related to the name of Platen, honored by his long, tender and modest friendship.

Friedrich Fugger was linked above all to Wilhelm Gumppenberg and joined to him by his love for music. Count Fugger later put many of Platen’s poems into music, and in college he already shared his aversion to drinkers’ songs.

But of all these friendships, the most tender was that for Joseph Xylander. They had met in college for three years, before getting to know each other better. They had this happiness in March 1810, and until the autumn of that year, when Platen left, they enjoyed an almost romantic friendship.

Platen wrote for him many poems that Xylander never saw. He also wrote a hymn to friendship, novels and a comedy, parodies and satires, which made him unwelcome in the environment.

All these attempts were destroyed before the end of 1810. The reading of Homer enthused him and transported him to the Greek world. that was so dear to him.

The war of 1809 with Austria taught him to keep quiet.

The Bavarians loved Napoleon: Platen would have preferred the success of the Austrians, and when Munich was occupied by the Austrians and the Austrian officers came to visit the school of the Cadets, Platen hid his sympathies.

In September 1810 Platen left the Cadets and became one of the king’s Pages. Before joining the group of the Pages he spent two months in his father’s house. He had suffered greatly, leaving Xylander.

At the age of 14, Platen’s character seems to have been well defined: love for poetry and friendship, friendship for young people of his age, educated, serious, and at the same time an exclusively sentimental attachment for someone a little younger than him, and then a lot of stubbornness, sensitivity and ability to suffer, a solid patriotic point of view and a desire to love, to be loved, and to get better.

This is the boy who twenty years old will write in his diary that God, chastity, friendship and learning are the basis of his system.

He rested in the group of Pages from 1810 until 1815. His first impression was sad: he had no friends. They looked at him with indifferent eyes. He had no one to confide in. Little by little he found himself well. Count Kuenigl, whom he knew, came to his aid. Among the Pages there was much more education than among the Cadets, there was more freedom, more cleanliness, the food was better. The clothes were more beautiful, and you could change clothes when you wanted. They were treated like elder boys. You could work on your own and you could read all the classic books.

He loved Latin and Greek, Italian and English. He always wrote a lot and destroyed what he had written. The king was very good with the Pages, and court ceremonies were fun for them. Platen slowly made friends, but not a close friend. A certain Count Lodron Laterano was of some importance to him, making him love Italian. Baron Perglas, a young man with an iron zeal, stimulated him at work, as well as the Counts Gajetan Berchem and Saporta. But he had above all confidence in a certain baron Massenbach, a very honest boy. All were useful for his education. He was weakly religious and prayed fervently only in the unpleasant moments, but he never completely forgot to pray decently, without mumbling. His first communion in 1811 gave him many good intentions.

Professor Hafner, the most important man in the school of Pages, did much to amuse and grow the Pages. He took them to the museums at the Academy, read for them aloud, and when the Pages were in bed he told them stories.

In 1813 Platen decided to become official, not out of affection for the military state, but because this state, according to him, involved more free time and more freedom.

His poetic future always tormented him, he wanted to write a tragedy on Corradino, the friendship of the young Frederick for Corradino had to fill more than one good scene. It is interesting that at the age of seventeen he felt obliged to add a girl in love with Corradino, who followed him disguised and unrecognized to Italy.

He had not yet found his literary path.

A few years later, he resumes the theme of Corradino , finds the friendship of Frederick and Corradino more than enough and no longer needs to invent a girl.

Two days before his seventeenth birthday, Platen begins his diary – and will continue until his death, for twenty-five years. – There are some diary pieces in French, others in English, Italian and Portuguese.

He had the passion to read poets in their own language, and he learned Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Persian.

In his eighteenth year, he thinks he is in love with a young Marquise Euphrasia, the most beautiful girl in the court. He goes to live in the same house, he sees her from time to time, but he realizes in the same year that he was wrong, and leaves the good widow, where he is staying, and the mother of this excellent person, with much more regret than that he felt in leaving the Marquise Euphrasia.

He notices this sentimental error, the only one of his life, it seems, and quickly dissipated. I don’t think any other woman really interested him after that. This passing interest in Euphrasia is a curious and instructive moment in the history of Platen. The need to focus on someone and be interesting, the idea that one should be tenderly in love with someone, the monotony of his life, give him this illusion.

Not many unisexuals have let themselves be so easily illuminated as Platen; the collapse of an ordinary superficial love made them seek out insistently the feelings and emotions that the woman can give, but Platen did not restart at all. He already had enough desires, enough aspirations. He wanted to see foreign countries, Italy, London, Rome.

On March 31st, 1814 he became a lieutenant. He does not like the company of the officers. He comforts himself reading a lot, working a lot. He is quite upset by the license of the costumes around him. He learns that a young poet, named Hesse, sent verses to Goethe and received a reply from him. He is very impressed, he wonders if his verses are worthy of such an expedition.

In the middle of his imagination for Euphrasia a sudden friendship for a young man, Issel, is enough to show the most lively interest of Platen for friendship.

Issel is a young painter and the Grand Duke of Darmstadt makes him travel. At the beginning (the friendship begins on May 28th and ends in June: therefore, above all, it didn’t last long), Issel did not interest him, then he noticed in this painter a great variety of interests, a pure taste in art, a lot of cordiality, lots of attention. Issel would have left after eight or nine days.

Knowing that Platen is interested in poetry, Issel tells him that he had received from young Voss a curl from Schiller’s hair cut after his death and offers to share it with him.

Left together by the friend who had made them meet, they spoke of foreign languages, of Goethe’s works, of such a short life and of such a long art. Issel lives by Nathan Schlichtegroll and advises Platen to get to know him. Then they discuss the reform of the mystical school of Schlegel, of Werner that Issel knows. Issel asks Platen to accompany him to Italy. Platen doesn’t understand how a man of so much spirit can be interested in him.

They often meet after this first meeting. One day Issel begs Platen to read to him some poems [1] and reads to him his own. The next day, Platen reads to him several other poems but then regrets having done so. He feels sad, he thinks he has profaned the paradise of his thoughts having introduced there a stranger. It is possible that Issel (mediocre poet after all), had not appreciated Platen enough. Platen promises to stop writing the verses and frowns at the thought of the loneliness that awaits him. The next day comes the reconciliation: they spend a nice evening together.

Isssel begs him not to abandon poetry, and the next day sends him Schiller’s hair and receives a poem in return. On June 6th Issel tells him he wrote a tragedy (whistled in Frankfurt, about the Countess Platen who played an important role in the court of the Duke of Brunswick, father of George I of England). On the same day, Platen learns that he must bring carts with tents to Battenberg in Tyrol. Issel comforts him, offering to accompany him. The same evening he drinks to his brotherhood with him and Schlichtegroll.

The 9th, Issel and Platen leave together, discussing abuot Dr. Gall, whom Issel knew, reading Wallenstein.

The 10th Platen is happy to see a so beautiful landscape in such a dear company. The same day they have problems. Issel hurts his self-love, then accuses him of curiosity, indiscretion, etc.. Platen finds it offensive to justify himself. They don’t talk any more.

Anyway, climbing up a hill, he meets Issel, who descends, who shouts to have engraved the name of Platen on a stone. When he and Issel leave permanently, Platen regrets having set him aside for his irritable mood and admits that his stubbornness will make him unhappy and will remove many men from him. And he spends two days after Issel’s departure to write several songs.

On June 17th he returned to Munich.

I told this episode in detail, because we can find there what characterizes and strongly distinguishes Platen: his enthusiasm for his young friend, intelligent, cultured, or who wanted to teach or learn. Naturally melancholic himself (since he had left his father’s house), the joy of those he likes, the sweet and calm mood, the laughter of his friend, make him jump with joy. Issel was elder than him, it’s true, but Platen was very young then, he was eighteen.

Later, when he gets to a higher degree of maturity, his friend will be a little younger, young enough to give him the impression of a beautiful youth, but big enough to resemble him, to share his tastes.

Platonic love (philosophical or honorable) has always delighted Platen; for those different from him he had friendship, affection, gratitude, respect. But his passion was directed towards those who seemed to him similar, more beautiful and with more virtuous grace.

This episode of Issel did not last long, but shows Platen at 18 as at 12, who fell in love immediately, expecting to find everything and not always finding great things (as in this Issel) but in any case not finding happiness.

This is the love at the same time intellectual, passionate and sentimental that has made him suffer so much, but that has also kept him intact and dignified. When he wrote the rules of conduct at the age of 20, one was to forget what is sensual in him; another was avoid to study the mystery of physiognomy in the people who interest him, not to think of the absent, to perfect himself, to improve himself.

Even if he says that we must not think of those who are absent, we should not believe him indifferent to his friends; on the contrary, he has been faithful to them, but it is to whom is more than a friend that he tries not to think too much to be able to work and live.

We can already see the difference between Platen and a dissolute; he never seeks rare sensations, but a lasting and fascinating love.

He would have retreated in horror to the loves of Oscar Wilde, in front of the venal loves that are not the quintessence of two noble and manly existences.

In the middle of 1814 he did not recognize himself neither as a man nor as a poet, he is not interested in Euphrasia enough for her to inspire or occupy him. The military state does not suit him, he is advised to study the sciences, poetry still doesn’t belong to him, he goes groping, he has not found himself. His friends are not in Munich, they dispersed. He doesn’t have time to read enough. Nature doesn’t fascinate him when he is alone or bored. However, he reads a lot and in many languages, Petrarca, Dante, the Pastor Fido, Pope, Corneille, Voltaire, Racine, Boileau, etc., and always Goethe. You could apply to Goethe, he said then, what about Goethe said Hamann: “His works are often sibylline books that are understood only when we are in the same situation as the poet.” And we see, for example, Platen at different times of his life who reads and re-reads Goethe, with so much profit as admiration. And as he is in different situations, the same work of Goethe becomes increasingly clear, true and moving. For example, “The natural daughter”, which he doesn’t appreciate at all at the beginning, and which he later admires for its spirit in 1814, becomes for him in 1821, after the tragic sinking of his great passion for Otto von Bulow, a precious mirror of his own pain.

Now he is consoled of his emptiness and of his boredom, of his life that he waits with the discouraged impatience of youth, reading and writing in English with Perglas, reading with him also Virgil and Tasso, skating, concentrating on policy. When Napoleon returns from the island of Elba, he feels a patriotic enthusiasm but Wiebeking spoils this feeling: “If you were to go to serve as a simple soldier for the freedom of Europe you could claim a small part of glory, but you are an officer, and there are many officers. It would be very easy to replace you. You could serve your homeland in a more useful way.”

On November 30th, he reads in a newspaper some maxims drawn from oriental poetry, and copies a certain number of them, struck without knowing why, excited as you can be vaguely in the presence of an important event. Persian poetry was about to express after a short time his secret ideal.

In the spring of 1815 he feels happier, he goes to the English garden every morning to pick up daffodils and to read the Pastor Fido. He writes patriotic poems that serious men read with pleasure. On April 15th, his regiment sets off and arrives at Fontainebleau on July 19th and Platen is back in Germany in November. He seems to have well endured the discomforts of the march, the oppressive heat. His diary is very nice and likeable. He is kindly interested in the good people he meets, he reads very much Petrarch, Jacopone da Todi, Goethe, Eulenspiegel, Eloisa and Abelardo by Pope, that he continually re-reads. He admires gardens, flowers, envies calm and familiar joys, he would like to have with Goethe only a conversation about the destiny of humanity and the spirit of Christianity; then he finds the true letters of Eloisa much more beautiful than those of Pope, and so true. He reads his mother’s letters with great pleasure, writes in prose and verse to Xylander and other friends. The French peasants fascinate him, their kindness, their language enchant him. He is quite isolated among the officers, he totally hates their excesses and their lascivious conversations that he does not take part in. A poem shows how much he suffered from the unpleasant immorality of his companions. At Bar-le-Duc, he is also shocked by the corruption of French books he has found in his room, and his landlady amazes him by saying: Read, my friend, because it is the reading that educates young people.

In Châlons he has the joy not only to meet his friend Schlichtegroll, but also to meet a young German, the secretary of Barclay de Tolly, who tells him that he already knows him very well through Schlichtegroll’s stories. Platen is quite impressed with this observation. In Nemours, he is also happy in the garden of a certain doctor Micheleau whose wife is no longer young, but is so sweet and caring. He speaks French with her with pleasure, and speaks English with an old English lady who lends him some English books. He leaves these kind people with regret and even an old 86-year-old curate, very realist, who says Mass every Sunday, with no other company than his dog and especially his canary, which had been given to him by a certain Rouxelle, a radical, anti-Christian, separated from his Catholic wife, and who lives with his servant, without baptizing his children. “One can be a good man, said the curate, without being a Christian.”

He likes a lot the sub-prefect of Tonnerre, a delightful city, who is a charming young man, the most beautiful model imaginable for a young Roman. On October 6th, he gathers with some old comrades and other young educated men, and Platen can sincerely rejoice by taking part in an intelligent conversation, unambiguously and in a pure dialect. On November 2, he writes in his diary that shame is natural, the shamelessness is acquired. It is certain that Platen was fundamentally modest and full of modesty. On November 3rd, in Troyes, he buys Bérenice, his favorite Racine tragedy. And he notes that in a shop of a rich shopkeeper he saw a clerk, who looked a lot like his friend Xylander.

Back in Germany, he tries to build a system of morals and conduct based on: God, a severe morality, the desire to learn, the love for friends. Without these principles, how can you be happy? How can we fail to aspire to what is higher, how can we do without the chastity of the body and the spirit, the love of study, the friends? And he finds more and more that he cannot argue with young men who speak only of horses, dogs and pleasures, who have neither seriousness in their character nor the desire to perfect themselves and to improve themselves. He feels enriched by everything he has seen, read, thought during this year.

In 1816, he went to Switzerland; in 1817 in the mountains of Bavaria. He still reads a lot of Pascal, Ariosto, Homer, Horace, Alfieri (with whom he finds several similarities) [2], Tasso, Goethe, Byron, Camoens, Calderon, etc.. He makes many projects of tragedies, heroic poems and other things, with all the effervescence of a talent that wanders. He recognized himself in a book on temperament in the chapter: “The sensual melancholic”. There are many impulses of friendship-love that lead nowhere, and yet he is fierce against those who seek him. He has a very masculine nature in its virtues, as in its defects. He must be the one who loves, who discovers, who distinguishes, and demands a sympathy that he doesn’t find at all. You can see, comparing the published fragments of his diary and his poems of that time, as some friends, such as Voelderndorf, worried him and interested him. He reports in the diary every time he meets a young man, polite and kind; he no doubt builds a scaffold of hope every time. He notes in a beautiful poem the sudden emotion of a friend at the sight of Platen and wonders if he is the poet who made his friend’s heart beat, or if it is a coincidence.

At that time, Platen would settle for very little, but he would not be surprised to get everything. He believes he has become very reasonable, he believes he has renounced the dreams that made his life bearable. He is full of modesty, of distrust, he doesn’t believe in his vocation, he is grateful when he is encouraged. He would like to have an advisor, he has too much false shame to cultivate those who could help him. He finds a passage in the Confessions of Rousseau that applies to him, the union “of a very ardent temperament, of lively passions and of ideas slow to be born, embarrassed, and which don’t show up except in hindsight.” He thinks is own merit consists in his struggle to arrive at truth and goodness. Journeys are an exquisite distraction for him. I think it is impossible to read his impressions of travel without feeling sympathy for him.

The day before his twenty-first birthday, one of his poems is published, he immediately sends copies to his parents, to Max von Gruber, to Fugger, to Dall ‘Armi, to Perglas, etc.. His friend Schlichtegroll, who had twenty-five copies, sends one to the painter Issel, and Platen receives from him a leaf grown on the tomb of Virgil.

Despite his friends, who all love the letters and the sciences, for him the life in Munich becomes unbearable and the desire to know, to learn grows so much in him, that he gets by the king to be sent to a university, first to Würzburg and then to Erlangen, first for a year and then for a longer period. The king paid him 600 guldens a year (it was a privilege granted to some of the Pages), his father gave him 300, and he received 12 monthly as an officer. After six months in Würzburg, Schelling, whom he had known as a child, kept him in Erlangen. Platen stays there until 1826.

As soon as he arrives in Erlangen, the change of environment, the professors who are interested in him, the students around him, the ardor of work, make him eventually find his poetic path. He starts writing admirable songs that only injustice has made less known than those of Heine.

Platen must now be pervaded by his masculine ideal, by his masculine love. He loves in silence, he declares himself. “You call me to a painful duty. Yet for one last time I would embrace you, don’t remember me anything before. Who could approach you with indifference, who could coldly see the beautiful, the divine figure, the divine, the beautiful form. Study my life; examine it to see if I have ever been burned by a guilty love, it is only your Dionysiac presence that has conquered my heart.”

“You say I was wrong, you swear to me, but I know you loved me, but now you don’t love me anymore. Your beautiful eyes burned, kisses burned even more, you loved me, confess it, but now you don’t love me anymore. I don’t count on any return of your love. Just confess that you loved me and you don’t love me anymore.”

It is impossible to know to whom these verses are addressed, but they are easy to decipher. Platen, always looking for a fraternal and passionate soul, must have had several disappointments; he was loved calmly, superficially, but not with passion, and probably those who would love him with passion, physically, would not have attracted him. Because in him the senses were confused when the imagination became inflamed.

In 1820 he writes (February 24th): “Never investigate my secret, you must not deepen it, the sympathy will reveal it to you, if we understand each other. Don’t ask what separates us. It is enough that we are separated from one another. What surrounds me, does not understand me and overwhelms me and pushes me, but if I try to console myself in poetry I find myself completely.”

Platen, finally understood his unisexual love and has not been damaged or depraved by this fact.

He is 24 years old, he is ardent, in love, and wants to love only in his own way and only the one whom he thinks worthy of being loved.

He wants passionately to find him, throws himself to his search, recovers, and then is happy with the rest of his heart and his job. On May 10th 1820: “Spring has invited everyone, but not me. He saw me as a prisoner, I was attached to his cheeks, to that face. Now I am free, now spring arrives, only now I can fully enjoy it, even if I’m calmer and calmer than streams and roses.”

In July, he feels again in love. But in the month of August he finds that only the echo has remained. His heart asks for love but he doesn’t know whom to love. This condition of uncertainty of desire tears off him many of the most beautiful poems of German literature.

He is very interested in Persian, studies Hafiz, writes fascinating Ghaselen very well received and appreciated, then comes to his great passion for Otto von Bulow in 1821; on July 13th he makes his acquaintance. He was a young dragon officer in Hanover, who had been given permission to spend a year at the University of Erlangen. He was joyous, light, without affectation and without arrogance, always kind and lovable.

Platen, melancholic in nature, who noted with joy and amazement the two friends with whom he had laughed a lot during his life, falls madly, passionately, platonically in love with Otto von Bulow. He reads Shakespeare’s sonnets greedily and finds there all his affection for Bulow. Full of Hafiz and his love, he finds finally the dreamed and desired ideal, we cannot be surprised by the speed with which the passion of Platen was exalted for his “beautiful friend”, as Fugger calls him in his letters to Platen. The poet’s literary activity naturally increases a lot; he studies oriental books and literature, books are brought from London, Vienna, Munich. He reads Calderon and Sophocles, and welcomes the profound religious sentiment that penetrates Ajax. During a brief absence of Bulow, he writes a poem about him where the name of Bulow is found in each stanza. We see his glory but also the fear that Bulow on the chest of a beautiful girl, is perhaps making fun of his friend. “I should die if I did not write to you; forgive me, Bulow, to love you so much. Who would not be chained by these eyes and these cheeks? Who would not like such joy, but above all a heart so honest? The beautiful Bulow doesn’t give it if not to goodness.”

This happiness (I think it is ridiculous to doubt the chastity of such an eloquent and exalted love at that time) did not last long. In early September, Bulow is recalled to his country and Platen accompanies him to Goettingen.

There, abandoned to his despair, he composes most of the “Ghaselen” of the Hafiz Mirror, which exclusively reflects Platen’s love for Bulow. He reads Cervantes, Persiles and Sigismunde, and other books in different languages.

He meets Goethe, and others, but without making any profit, because he receives a letter from Bulow telling him he is forced to stay in Hanover. The despair of Platen appears in his letters to Fugger. He swears he will no more write poems before he sees Bulow again. The delicacy of heart and spirit of the faithful Fugger is recognized by reading his letters. He doesn’t try to console his poor friend by recommending him resignation or oblivion. Instead, he advises him to hope for an encounter with Bulow; Bulow, he says, cannot forget him or stop being grateful [3]. Fugger also comes to spend some time with Platen, in Erlangen, to distract him.

In December 1821, Platen dreams of making a long trip during the Easter period to see Bulow again. He would have traveled on foot, spending about two guldens a day. He would not have had enough money to see Bulow for long, but at least he would have seen him; he could also go to the beach with him.

He reads the Bible every night in bed, and on January 1st he gets the idea of writing a drama about David and Jonathan, which he had already thought of in the past.

On February 3th, he sees the charming Liebig and makes his acquaintance on 17th. The famous scientist was not yet 20 years old and was then, as a long time later, extremely attractive. A tender friendship immediately linked him to Platen. On February 17th Platen writes: “He has clear ideas in everything and knows what he wants; the more two men approach each other, the more they try to reveal themselves to each other, the more they become enigmatic, and only a superficial man can believe that two men really know each other.” He writes verses for Liebig. Liebig left Erlangen almost immediately and in May spent a couple of days with Platen in Darmstadt; he never saw Platen again, but they continued to write, to love each other, to respect each other, and Liebig later publicly witnessed his friendship for Platen. The latter did not go to meet Bulow, for reasons I don’t know. Was it because of lack of money, or did Bulow get too cold for him? In any case, he announced to Fugger, when he returned from his trip, that he only went to Cologne. Explanations were given verbally.

A new passion seems to have taken possession of him, or rather it is the same passion for an ideal that cannot tame or hold back. It is Cardenio whom he considers the new symbol, the new incarnation of his idol. On July 22nd 1822, he wrote an epistle in verse, another on August 19th. He wrote several Ghaselen and in 1823 seven sonnets in Cardenio, and on March 13th a Ghasele (to Krieger, a student in Erlangen), which seems to close the episode: “The edifice of hope is dissolving – and yet we were so well together – dark hair, my face … ” the poems dedicated to Cardenio are among the most autobiographical and clearest.

Platen denies always to burn of a forbidden love, [4] and complains about the cruelty of his friend. Cardenio is cold and proud, thin and sweet. – In the evening Platen saw him working with his curly hair illuminated by the lamp. Cardenio is his last hope, there are times when he thinks they both suffer the same way. He cannot understand if he inspires hatred, a predilection for him or indifference.

Ah! if he could only rest on Cardenio’s beloved breast. Ah! No, because a more beautiful head rests on his chest; “Take this letter, give it to your beloved so that he can ask himself if he feels in himself a consistency like mine.”

He wishes to be the pipe between the lips of Cardenio, who receives his perpetual kiss, envies his cap, he who almost never could touch his hair. He was illuminated one winter evening by Cardenio who wore a torch, and this memory inspires a beautiful sonnet. – After long trials and long doubts, it seems that the enemies of Platen (the poets have always enemies, especially those sober, those closed and those austere who don’t allow themselves too much) have indisposed Cardenio against his friend. A casual fact left them alone all night, and Platen dared to put his arm around Cardenio and confess his love. Cardenio did not seem shy at all, and did not retreat, seemed to be acquiescent with his silence, and Platen left him, drunk with love, believing that their souls were melting, that their hearts went to beat one beside the other, believing that Cardenio belonged to him, but the following days Cardenio became colder, harder and harder, and Platen let himself go to the love lamentations. If his wish had been guilty he would have understood that coldness; all sadden him; he had a spotless mirror in which to look at himself, now he cannot be reflected in what is dead, and hide all the pains that are being prepared for him.

Platen’s wishes are specified: rest on the chest of an intellectual friend, handsome and trustworthy seems to be Platen’s amorous ideal. Three years later, in 1826, the same ideal will be found in the sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, and also in the great triumphal sonnet that is near the end of the sonnets.

This loving aspiration without a sexual purpose pronounced or admitted made the furious and trivial Heine call Platen “tribade man”.

In any case, Platen’s desire, in his orientation and intensity, is absolutely uranian, platonic, unisexual. Sodomy, sexual intercourses are very far from this love; and this is probably what helps him to recover, in Platen’s eyes, what makes him call it an innocent love. From the point of view of religion or the code of social conventions, obviously, one could say that this type of chastity is dangerous and reprehensible, but how can the lover judge in this way a tyrannical love, which asks nothing of what the debauchery demands?

“My love may not be praiseworthy, says Platen one day, but it seems foolhardy to blame it.”

Platen has never been false or hypocritical; and when he proclaimed his love for Otto von Bulow and for Cardenio, he sincerely believed he loved in an elevated and dignified way. He believed in decentralizing the sexual instinct, transfiguring the senses, making them feel spiritual sensations, and consoling the soul by teaching it bodily emotions. “I am for you what the soul is for the body, what the body is for the soul, I am for you what the woman is for the man, [5] what the man is for the woman” He says in a Ghasele, and so frankly expresses the nature of his love. It is the passion of similarity, of homosexuality, which pushes Platen.

The uranism, the unisexuality are different in him in this way: put aside the female sex, his love is addressed neither to the effeminate, nor to the very young, nor to mature men.
Platen has always been in one piece, direct, and as such has also been treated by many illustrious men, with respect and consideration. The list of contemporaries who have paid homage to his character and talent is long and contains noble names. “I, who have never loved art or half-beauty, have the right, he says, to make accents rarely heard”, and it is certainly what his friends thought. Goethe has made a point of honor to publicly pay tribute to Platen and to assert his superiority over Ruckert.

In 1823, after the disappointment of Cardenio, Platen wrote with inspiration and ease several poems, and thanks to the letters of Liebig, thanks to the friendship of Professor Engelhardt, of Schelling, of Bruchmann, of the scientist Doellinger, of Kernell, a young hectic with whom he studied the Swedish, saw splendid days. This is the culmination of his stay in Erlangen. In Platen, who has nothing of the erotomaniac or degenerate, the sufferings of love are followed by a great intellectual activity, as happens to all superior men who don’t seek oblivion in dissipation or pleasure.

He writes in five days “The glass slipper”, a fairy tale. The Swedish phlegmatic Kernell was so fascinated that he threw himself at the Platen’s neck; and the story, read to friends and their wives and sisters, was very successful.

The last Ghaselen were very well received. Platen receives an interesting letter from Cassel, from Ludwig-Sigismund Ruhl, [6]. Ruhl tells him that sympathy is a mystery that he does not want to deepen. The first verses of Platen had already made him known a sympathy that we feel for a few people. He seems to have understood Platen before Platen understood himself and didn’t hesitate to tell him. If they will ever meet, Platen will be able to convince himself of the relationship between their minds and their lives. He wants an answer. Platen asks for his portrait and receives it accompanied by an enthusiastic letter.

Dramatic poetry now interests Platen. He writes the Treasury of Rhampstnit, Aucassin and Nicolette. On 21st August 1824 he goes to Venice. His first volume of comedies earned him 154 florins. Hanover’s aunt sent him six gold louis.

Venice inspired him the admirable Venetian sonnets, and he was enthusiastic about Italian painters, for the gospel of beauty. His artistic taste is perfected and matures progressively.

Venice makes him forget his past life, and he lives in a present without yesterday.

The October 24 he celebrates his birthday in Venice going in the morning to see the Barbara by Palma in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, then Tiziano and Bellini in S. Giovanni e Paolo, then the Cristo by Campagna in San Giuliano, then goes to S. Crisostomo to see Piombo, then to San Samuele to see the “Sebastiano” by Veronese, I don’t continue the itinerary. On November 9th, he leaves Venice and on the 19th he arrives in Munich after seven years of absence. He thinks that he had been happy, unknown and busy there. He goes to see Xylander and his wife and other friends, old and new. He is celebrated, his sonnets are applauded.

He sees again after seven years Euphrasia, whom he had believed to love, and that no other woman had come to erase in his mind. He comes back to Erlangen which now bores him, is punished militarily for having passed his period of military leave, and remains from January 2 till to March 22th at the arrests in Nuremberg. He reads a lot in this period and writes in prose and verse.

On March 23th, he receives a letter from a melancholic poetess, in love with Platen. He does not like Erlangen anymore after Venice and Munich. His friends are too busy, and he needs to see new faces, new places.

On June 14th in Erlangen one of his plays is staged (Aucassin and Nicolette) with great success in front of a young and friendly audience.

He’s acclaimed by the public and is brought to the scene almost in spite of himself. Schelling after the show gathers friends to honor the poet.

Here the fragments of the diary that we owe to Professor Engelhardt and Karl Pfeufer stop. [7]

In 1826 Platen wrote a comedy in the style of Aristophanes and also twenty-six sonnets in Karl-Theodor German, sonnets and elegies, of rebellion, of desires, of passion. In a letter to Fugger, he says that the author of the play is the most unfortunate of men.

These sonnets in Karl-Theodor German are among the most beautiful in German literature. Platen in the sonnet flies above all German poets, including Goethe. The perfection of form, the poignant and sumptuous emotion is reflected in them perfectly. The feeling is the same as Shakespeare’s sonnets (with the personal note) and the form is that of the Italian or French sonnet. Platen in his sonnets has reached one of the peaks of poetry. He apparently received no hostility and evil from this German, but was once again persecuted by his unhappy choice. Those he loved the most were taken away by the absence or never belonged to him. He was always ready to love faithfully, constantly, always, and never had the opportunity to prove his sincerity, but he kept at least one promise, to give immortality, celebrity.

Who would know Otto von Bulow or Karl-Theodor German without the great poet?

The last sonnet (the twenty-first) [8] of the poet soaked in bitterness ends like this: “How tired I am of my country!”

And in the same year he went to Italy where he stayed until his death in Syracuse, with the exception of a trip to Munich to see his beloved mother who became a widow.

The collection of ninety seven sonnets ends in a surprising and unique way. After having consoled himself of his sufferings of love, remembering that he has always restored the balance of his life with all the strength and all the dignity of his soul, the poet who has so loved and suffered so much, ends with an epithalamy of unisexual love victorious and with his own epitaph, saying calmly what he did, boasting that pure style that has not been overcome, his odes and sonnets, and his influence on the German language.

He arrived in Rome on the thirtieth anniversary of his birth and died in Syracuse December 5th 1835.

This is not a biography of Platen, nor even his literary history. For this reason, a few lines will suffice. Having had great success (and being conscious of it) in the Ghasele, in the song, and in the sonnet, the ode is the only lyrical form that enchants him and he writes odes ever more complicated and formally rigorous. Now he knows himself thoroughly. What amuses the others down there in his country does not amuse him. Nature, for his suffering, honed his hearing and allowed him to use music to perpetuate all pain. He has been slandered and, despite his silence, he suffers a lot. Even in politics (and politics interests him more and more) he cannot say what he thinks. We must therefore put aside (he tells in an ode) the mantle of illusion, the embroidered garment of the senses.

And the following ode, with its love melancholy of honey kisses, its sighs and its looks, messengers of happiness, perhaps, and the silence and darkness, show that the poetic sentiment did not even sleep in this attractive Italy. Did he not then frequently see a young Italian artist, the most beautiful creature he had ever met? But soon his goodness, his affection and his desire to be useful bind him to August Kopisch, musician and poet, who himself expressed his gratitude to his illustrious friend.

“Our bond is not like the most part of the bonds, said Platen, our witnesses are the sea and the earth. The image of your image for a long time was in me, from the moment in which the vocation to friendship had awakened in my soul that longs to see itself again, but more noble, in another person. Chest against chest, servants of love, let us build a new Rome to that love.”

After 1829 the love poems cease. That year the Romantic Oedipus appears, a great comedy in the style of Aristophanes; then, in 1833, a history of the Kingdom of Naples from 1414 to 1443, then the League of Cambrai; then, in 1834, the beautiful poem in nine songs, the Abassids; then, in 1854, the second edition of his poems. After his death his political poems were published.

The climate of Italy, his many Italian friends, the Germans who traveled there, the admirers who wrote to him, his friends in Germany who always loved him, and the absence of the coercions he had undergone in Germany, certainly made him more happy the years of Italy. And one can be sure that even in this voluptuous Italy and less hypocritical than his Bavaria, Platen didn’t renounce either his principles or his dignity. The pleasure without love never inspired him, and a poet so autobiographical would have surely sung the beautiful bodies and the classic caresses if venal love had played an important role in his life. And a man so honest and truthful (his mother, who survived him, said he never told a lie), if he wrote, he would write the truth. Before 1829 there are still very beautiful odes of love, and one would be surprised if after suffering so much to love without body, Platen had not been tempted by bodies without souls; tempted, but not defeated.

When it will be decided to publish Platen’s complete diary, I think that morality, psychology and literature will gain a lot.

Platen is, in my opinion, clearly the male poet and uranist of the enthusiastic friendship and higher uranism. And, as he himself said, if it is impossible to praise his conception of love, it is foolhardy to blame it. He wanted to satisfy in the most intellectual and ideal the needs of his delicate and ardent nature, always seeking the image he had within himself, trying to find this very noble mirror, not content with any other consolation that friendship and art, when he lacked love. Because you must not confuse his friendships and his loves. His friendships were lasting because they were based on his solid virtues; his loves were not because they were an illusion, an ideal to be pursued, of symbols of worship.

“Are there two souls that understand each other completely? He said; man must seek the answer to this enigma, looking for men like him, until death, until he can seek and die.”

In a letter to Schwab Guslav, from Rome, February 16th 1828, Platen talks about a young Waiblinger who had written a poem for him and wanted one. The poet refused because this Waiblinger repelled him too much. “He has talent, but not enough. His stay in Italy is fatal. His poems are no better because he puts inside the Pantheon, the Colosseum, etc. .. But how do you want him to became a Sophocles when he lived like a pig, which he admits every day, because his frankness, he is not afraid of be disgusting. Lord Byron, it is true, was able to give some credentials to the libertine geniuses, but certainly he did not behave badly not even a half of what they said, and then lived in luxury and did not need to attend taverns and brothels.”

Relationships between truthfulness, lies and sexual life are tight. The effeminate people are liars at all levels, from the meticulous perfidy to the unconsciousness, to the incontinence of falsehoods. They observe things badly and report badly what they have observed. The exaggerations of lies and sexuality are well known from hysteric, sick, criminal, insane people.

The courtesans or the independents, Ninon de l’Enclos and her followers have sometimes boast to be honest, which is very difficult for many effeminate men, and even impossible for a certain number.

The uranist, the unisexual male, like Platen or Michelangelo, who is sincere with himself and with others, is in a particular position as regards his sexuality, once he has reached the age of reason. His fiery, lively, flammable temperament makes him want furiously a complete love without fear, without restraint and without suspicion, the determination in love, at the same time, has an ideal of which it would not know how to do without. He cannot pretend to love someone who doesn’t seem worthy to him just to achieve the sweetness of illusion. The effeminate, the presumptuous, the greedy, the fickle, the curious man, those who would abandon themselves to appearances for a little fun, cannot understand the position of the uranist whom truth and truthfulness defend from frivolous pleasures, from deceiver passions, from relationships that don’t last, and that give too much to do, too much to hope for, in order to get drunk with the pleasures of the street Eros.

Let’s teach first of all truth, veracity, sincerity, if we want the sexual man, heterosexual or unisexual, do not stumble under the weight of his sexuality.

[1] Subject of these youthful poems is the love of a girl for her beloved.
[2] The same timidity, the same “taciturna natura” (“taciturn nature”) [in Italian in the text], the same slowness and “ritrosità” (“backwardness”) [in Italian in the text] towards new knowledges, the same stubbornness, the same obstinacy. He was pleased, like him, to be noble because he could more easily despise the prejudices of his caste without being accused of envy. He didn’t even like dance. He could not get used to military coercion, and always felt a certain melancholy when he didn’t like someone or something.
[3] Once again I have to neglect several interesting nuances and several delicate shades.
[4] Like Michelangelo in many poems.
[5] Heine has committed the vulgar action of mentioning only this hemistich and not the next.
[6] A biography of this interesting man is desirable.
[7] Published in 1860.
[8] To K. T. German.

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This post is dedicated to married gays. I will leave aside all the considerations linked to sexual orientation related to guys who have a straight sex life at the couple level and have a typically gay sex life at the masturbation level, because these considerations have an important meaning only before getting married. I will start here from the situation of married gays, as it showed itself to me through the chats with people living this condition.

The totality (or almost totality) of married gays arrives at the wedding with the full awareness of being gay. These are guys who have been masturbating for years exclusively with gay fantasies, that is, thinking about guys, who often have lived sexual experiences with other guys even after 15/16 years of age and even in adulthood, after 20 years of age, and have considered these experiences as “something that everyone does” (including hetero guys) and therefore not indicative of a gay orientation, even if in reality the involvement of a gay guy in a group masturbation session is very different from that of a straight guy. All this, ignoring seemingly minor episodes, such as experiencing erection in the presence of certain guys or the desire to see them naked in the locker rooms of gyms or swimming pools.

The pressure towards heterosexuality (conscious or unconscious) exerted by the environment on these guys has been so strong as to bring them to stop their gay instincts at the level of masturbation and to orient themselves at the same time towards a couple heterosexual sex.

Generally when a guy who suffered a strong social pressure towards heterosexuality, despite his being gay, that is even though oriented in his free sexuality (which manifests itself in masturbation) towards other guys, experiences for the first time a sexual intercourse with a girl his reaction is not necessarily bad at all and, whatever the level of sexual involvement in the contact with the girl (even minimal) is, that sexual intercourse becomes the typical sign that “the gay problem is overcome”. A gay man is a gay man, not an impotent and, especially when he has lived for years in a situation of substantial sexual deprivation, if he is close to a girl in love with him, in a situation that pushes him to a heterosexual intercourse that has at least some features of intimacy and non-superficial warmth, can very well get to have a heterosexual intercourse somehow satisfying. It is clear that such a intercourse has nothing to do with the expression of the free sexuality of that guy who, even feeling terribly guilty, will continue “episodically” to masturbate thinking about guys, or will eventually completely repress his free sexuality forcing himself to put aside masturbation altogether in the belief that masturbation is the cause of the homosexuality.

The first straight intercourses of a gay guy lead him to the idea of having finally overcome the “gay phase” and to have found a “mature sexuality”. Often, for these guys, the fear that gay impulses will forcefully return to be felt is a push to intensify heterosexual intercourses and to go to marriage quickly. It’s the typical idea: “You saved me from homosexuality”, or: “If I get married and can have sex with her every day I will not think about masturbation and my gay impulses will disappear”. Often, therefore, gay guys who go to the marriage, experience periods of intense heterosexual activity, which however are characterized by a deep sense of ambiguity because in almost all cases, these guys, even making love every day with their girls (or with their young wives, if they have already married them) never talk with their mates about their sexual orientation problems. With wives, in principle, at least for some years after marriage, gay husbands do not even mention the problem of homosexuality, there is therefore no real interpersonal communication between husband and wife, who have daily sexual contacts but without an adequate level of trust and mutual communication.

In a percentage of cases around 10%, the guys talk to the girls openly about their doubts of being homosexuals, doubts that are automatically underestimated by girls, who having a straight sexuality are led to think that their boyfriends, by the simple fact that they have sex with them, can only be straight. Generally, a girl is more afraid of her boyfriend’s infidelity with another girl than of the fact that her boyfriend is gay. In some cases the girl thinks she can sexually reorient her boyfriend towards an exclusive heterosexuality by “sexually cuddling” her boyfriend exasperatedly, what results usually in a very quick and clear reaction of rejection. These attitudes as “Red Cross nurse of love” are lived by the guys as aggressive and not respectful towards them.

In the situations described above, the girl still remains convinced of the substantial heterosexuality of the guy but, in some cases at least (rare but not sporadic) the girl has instead full awareness of the fact that her partner is gay and she accepts him as such, that is, the girl, who is really in love with her boyfriend, consciously agrees to stay close to him without any sexual contact or with a sexual contact limited only to the purpose of conception of children, children who may also be explicitly desired by the guy. These attitudes that have something heroic (in a sense at least) are linked to the fact that the solitude of each of the two spouses with respect to the outside is so strong that they must bind each other with a kind of very close symbiosis in order to survive.

It should be emphasized that when a hug is too tight and too long-lasting it risks taking your breath away. In situations like the one described, mutual dependence is very strong and is felt as a bond that sooner or later ends up becoming constrictive. There are couples, and I have known some, who consciously married only to have children, and there are cases (and I have seen some examples) in which a heterosexual wife helps her gay husband to live like a gay man, an attitude in which the boundaries between pleasure and suffering are very fragile. In all these cases, however (about 15-20% of the total married gays) between husband and wife there is still a frank dialog and at least a relationship of friendship and mutual respect. When a gay guy marries a straight girl and they have no children the problems connected to the possible separation are above all of social and patrimonial nature.

Often a gay guy agrees to be with a girl by excluding in his mind the hypothesis of having children and when he realizes that this hypothesis for his wife is essential, the marriage becomes a kind of imposition for him. When there are children the problem of the relationship of a gay married with his homosexuality is extremely more delicate. The emergence of a homosexual tendency is experienced by a gay man who has children as something that can jeopardize the relationship with the children and the feelings of guilt can be very profound. I met a 49-year-old gentleman a few months ago, who had never had a conscious perception of his homosexuality (an exception in the field of married gays), he had a son more than 20 years old but nevertheless he realized that he had a sexual interest for a work colleague. When this gentleman contacted me in his words I felt a deep anguish, due to the fact that he had never suspected he could be gay and was scared of such idea, because his knowledge of gays derived only from reading newspapers and from attitudes typical of the mass media. This gentleman, whom I had the opportunity to hear several times, sincerely loved his wife and son and came to speak openly with both his wife and his son who accepted it and, paradoxically, this form of sincerity has strengthened family ties. That gentleman agreed to live his sexuality as a very private thing exclusively in terms of masturbation and fantasy, totally giving up the idea of looking for a mate and as people say in such situations of “making a new life”.

The solution may seem like a compromise solution to gays who have not been married and who have never had a heterosexual satisfactory family life, but for that gentleman radical choices would have involved a violent cut with the previous life and would have had very little prospect of leading to realization of a new life with another man.

In most cases, however, the family situations of married gays are quite different and much heavier. The lack of sincerity on the problem of homosexuality involves the establishment of a series of formal relationships and under them a series of conflicts, affective life becomes over time a sort of recitation or due act. With his wife, if she requires a frequent sexual intimacy, a married gay ends up pretending, which usually involves many problems, such as the lack of erection that can worry the wife but doesn’t worry her husband who knows that during masturbation with gay fantasies erection is all right. These problems touch the sphere of sexual intimacy of the couple and can be disruptive. Generally, at first a married gay guy tries to repress his homosexuality but over time this attempt is useless and the illusion of heterosexuality turns into a fiction of heterosexuality. The gay impulses are strengthened as the relationship with the wife deteriorates.

It is only right that I explicitly break a spear in favor of the wives who are often completely unaware of the true motivation of the deterioration of the relationship with their husbands and who live, also themselves, really difficult moments. Basically, even if their husbands acted in good faith or did not really realize what they would do with marriage, these women were misled about the true sexual identity of their husbands, who, moreover, were also confused about the matter. The fact remains that at a certain point, a woman who has married a gay man without being aware of it, understands that relations with her husband are substantially frozen, sexual intercourses are completely absent, dialogue is completely lacking, at least on important issues, and marriage is in crisis. When there are children the problem becomes difficult to manage, because in case of separation there is the problem of the entrustment that creates further conflicts between husband and wife which are often resolved in court.

How does he live his sexuality a gay married who has passed the phase (which in many cases doesn’t even exist) of the illusion of being heterosexual? Here the answers are the most varied:

1) The husband accustomed to sexual repression up to play the part of the heterosexual, limits himself to live a gay sexuality in terms of masturbation and porn sites found on the Internet. Such situations are, at most, compatible with the preservation of marriage, at least on a formal level, where there are children, because the external aspect of the family doesn’t change. Often this is the state of affairs to which things stop. The husbands can get to forums like Gay Project or other serious gay sites and simply look for friendships with other gays, often married too, in chat and at a distance. This solution allows a married gay to find a safety valve that puts him in a position to talk openly about his problems and also to find serious answers. It is obviously a compromise solution, but in situations such as those in which a gay married and with children lives it is a situation that is in many respects acceptable, since in most cases we are speaking about men who are no longer young and are totally lacking knowledge about the true life of gays. It should be borne in mind that for a non-young man the chances of finding a “serious” companion (that is, not the one-night experience [risk of aids!]) are not very high and moreover few gay men would be available to build an affective, stable and serious relationship with a man who has a family, has children and therefore has a number of other very strong emotional bonds.

2) If the husband thinks he has to regain lost time looking for a companion with whom to live his affectivity and his sexuality, and the husband is still thirty or so, he can experience situations similar to those of the so-called “frenetic phase” of sexuality of those who discover themselves gay or finally release their gay sexuality at a fully adult age. These guys are not content to masturbate looking at a porn site but sign up for erotic chats and dating sites, giving credit to the idea that the problem of finding a partner is actually a problem that can be solved easily “with a little effort”. Through the chat they get to sexual encounters, often even at risk of AIDS, because a user of dating sites can also have over 100 different partners in a year! Apart from the risk of AIDS, occasional sexual encounters generate feelings of disgust and frustration after the first times. However, it does not follow a rationalization of the behaviors but only the repetition of other attempts with other partners. I emphasize that in these situations the emotional dimension, which is essential in a gay’s emotional and sexual life, is practically completely absent. After a little practice of erotic chats and dating sites, a depressive phase takes place that depending on age can be more or less heavy.

3) There is however a third path followed by married gays towards their gay identity, and it is a path that can only be done in two. I state that the concrete realization of this third way, which is that of “loving friendship”, is not the result of an individual initiative, but is connected to the idea of being already really in two, that there is an “original affective couple reciprocity” and that a real relationship of affectionate friendship already exists, on which an explicit sexual dimension can also be inserted. Given that married gays who end up in a marriage crisis are not very young and are not only undeclared as gay but are declared as hetero, for them the idea of living their sexuality and their affectivity in a strictly private dimension is fundamental. In dating sites and erotic chats there are often people who don’t have too many problems to declare themselves gay, to go to gay clubs and to be seen around with mates clearly gay. Such things are very embarrassing for a married gay, for whom therefore the option of the amorous friendship remains substantially the most desirable. If that friendship is lived with great discretion, it allows the marriage to be maintained at least on a formal level and in some cases even the wives are not in principle opposed to such solutions that allow a stable relationship between the gay father and the children, avoiding putting their emotional growth at risk. I saw, in about 30% of cases, the development of a loving friendship between a married gay and a friend of his, also gay and undeclared. These relationships, even if they occur between fully adult men, have the freshness and genuineness of the first affective contacts between adolescents, allow the two partners to live a deep affective dimension and to integrate sexuality with moments of non-sexual intimacy, linked to totally sincere dialogue and openness and to mutual trust without restrictions, all things that have an enormous value and help not to trivialize sexual intercourse.

For the moment I stop here. I await further input from readers to be able to broaden and deepen the discussion. I would like to point out that the statistical sites show the constant presence of readers who use on the Google search engine keys to Gay Project as “married gays”. The problem exists and it is not statistically irrelevant as usually believed.


If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum:


To face the topic starting from a concrete basis and to invite all of you to say your opinion in order to enrich and complete the picture, I report here, with the permission of those involved, some traits of e-mails and some sections of a conversation in chat on the subject. Obviously the names are fictitious. Immediately after, you can read the text of the article GAY SEXUALITY AND HETERO AFFECTIVITY. I think it can somehow be the basis for a discussion, with all the reservations of the case.

Mail by Albert

[omissis] I grew up in a strange family, my parents think that homosexuality is a psychiatric illness that feminizes you, basically they don’t have the faintest idea of these things, a gay man, so to speak, normal in external behaviors, according to them , cannot even exist, that’s why they not only have never thought about the fact that I can be gay but they consider it radically impossible, because I don’t have anything of effeminate.

The absurd thing of my family is instead the fixed idea, of my mother in particular, that guys have always and only sexual fixed ideas on the girls, it could also be true, but for my mother the fact that her son can have sex with a girl before marriage is really inconceivable, is monstrous.

They think I have a girlfriend. When I talk about a colleague of the university, my mother surely assumes that I have for that girl some kind of sexual interest. Even now she tells me that I have to be careful and that “I don’t have to do stupid things! (sex)” But for her to do stupid things basically means just getting pregnant a girl.

Now she still behaves like that and thinks that I didn’t bring home a girl so as not to give my mother the opportunity to intervene to give me advice on an aspect of my life that she considers so important, always taking for granted that I can only be heterosexual. But when I was younger, 14/15/16 years old, my mother was heavily involved in my female friendships, she invited my female friends to my house and subjected them to a kind of scrutiny, it was something I could not stand. As for the guys, on the other hand, my parents never got involved in anything, they only warned me, but rarely, about those who talked too much about girls, because, according to my parents, they could take me on a bad road. In practice between the ages of 14 and 16 everything about the girls had to go to the scrutiny of my mother while male friends didn’t get involved.

At 14 I had a crush on a girl my schoolmate, that is, I better say I was very good with her but I didn’t feel sexually attracted even because I discovered the masturbation a year later, at 15, a bit late, I know. Anyway at the time of my first crush with a girl I can say that I felt it above all as a beautiful thing, I liked being with that girl even if I didn’t know how to give it an explanation. Then my mother understood what, according to her, was happening and she interfered heavily: “Who is she? Do you know her parents? Why you don’t invite her here at home?” etc. etc., in practice they made me hate her. She was a very pretty girl, but when she realized that I wanted or had to bring her to my house to let my parents know her, she absolutely didn’t want to hear reasons and she looked at me as if my way of doing was strange. Then such a thing it bothered me a lot because I thought I had done everything as it had to be done, that is, as my mother told me. Then I realized that I was perhaps succubus of my mother and that my so to say girlfriend had realized it.

Let’s say that after that I didn’t have any more fantasies about girls and my discovery of homosexuality took place. It happened in the summer when I turned 15, at the seaside. I was camping with my parents and with my sister. We stopped for almost a month in a camping and after a few days I could get to know other guys. I had met another guy who was 16 years old and my parents left me very free because I was with him and they trusted him. Actually he was a very good guy who seemed older than his age. I spent all day with him, from morning to late evening, I was fine, I felt comfortable, it made me feel older but he never talked about girls. He was modest to the incredible, a bit my opposite, I had no problem then to show me naked, perhaps because in the nudity I saw nothing sexual. For him I think it was exactly the opposite. I think it was just this that triggered the spring that made me enter the gay world. We took a bath and then we changed into a thicket near the beach. There I started to tease him because he never took off his swimsuit, he pretended not to hear and then I threw myself on him and ripped his swimsuit away by force, then he reacted and ripped away mine, then we did compare our equipment and he got an erection, I remember everything like it was now, he was red like a pepper, then began to masturbate and I imitated him, in practice I discovered masturbation like that. Then for a few days the thing went on great, so we masturbated each other, but then something happened that I didn’t like at all, he wanted to kiss me and I remember very well that I replied: “I’m not a fagot!” He pretended not to have heard and didn’t insist but our relationship changed radically, we continued to have sex but he was not at ease. After three days in this way we quarreled furiously and we also got into a fight. I realized that he was gay, even if he hadn’t told me it and I disliked very much being pampered by him, it almost made me sick, at least I told him so, even though I continued to masturbate in practice until now on the memory of what I had lived with him that summer. The point is this, I have never fallen in love with a guy. When I see a guy I like him, I would never be able to kiss him or be pampered by him. I read in the forum that many guys like these things even more than sex, but for me it is not so, I don’t see myself spending my life next to a guy, it seems to me an unnatural thing absolutely not mine.

In very recent times there was something important, I met a girl and for the first time I think I feel for her feelings, I like to stay close to her, to flood her of text messages and call her on the phone three or four times a day (I cannot more because we are hours on the phone), for me it’s just a pleasant company but there is a fact, for her I feel tenderness and a lot, but not really a sexual desire like what I feel for guys. Even if, after what happened at the camping beach, I no longer have had physical relationships with guys, I would like to explore the sexuality of a guy, it’s a kind of fixed idea, but for a girl I don’t feel the same things, I don’t know at all the sexuality of girls and I would feel a tremendous embarrassment if I had to have a sexual intercourse with a girl. I tried to masturbate thinking about that girl but it was just a forced thing, I came also to the ejaculation but just mechanically, in practice I didn’t feel any sexual transport. What I think is that I stopped in the middle of the ford, I don’t feel gay because I don’t fall in love with guys and I don’t feel heterosexual because girls sexually don’t tell me anything. I think that I could also stay with a girl but passively, that is, I would accept it but I would let her do everything, admitted and not granted that there can be results then. I feel strange, Project, in a great uncertainty, very unstable. In practice I don’t know what direction I have/want to give my life.

Chat with Nicola

Nicola writes: ok, now I go to the point, in short, I think I’m straight, you could ask me then why I’m here, if you give me some time I’ll explain, but I would like to start from the fact that I think I’m straight. “I think” it means that in practice I am convinced or almost convinced of it. So, I’ve always had girlfriends since I was little, at 16 I had my first real sexual intercourse with a girl, my first girlfriend.

I have had three girlfriends and with all of them I have had sexual intercourses and from that point of view things have always been all right, even auto-eroticism was all about girls. Now it’s almost a year since I’ve had my last girlfriend. Until recently, having sex with a girl was something missing, but now things are changing. I practice sports, I see a lot of naked guys every day but gay fantasies never went through my mind, this up to a month ago, then a strange thing happened, in the gym came a new guy who is 23 years old , I’m 24, and I began to fantasize about this guy, just on a sexual level, something that had never happened to me before. In the evening I lie down on the bed and I think of him, that is, I think of him and me in a sexual situation and it excites me a lot. In practice I don’t masturbate any more thinking about girls, or very little, while I’m fine even just staying in erection when I think of him without even needing to get to orgasm, it happens sometimes but it’s just thinking sexually of him that makes me feel good, I think that we are in the gym alone and we undress each other and then we masturbate each other, rarely I fantasize of oral sex. I tell you, Project, I never imagined I could think of a guy in these terms.

Project writes: but did you spoke with this guy?

Nicola writes: spoken in the serious sense of the term no, because I’m afraid, in fact I have almost the certainty that he is straight, it seems so strange that it’s me to write something like that, I think that in practice my interest in him is only sexual, I don’t know, but I have this impression.

Project writes: if this guy corresponded to you, that is if he was interested in talking to you, how would you react?

Nicola writes: I would be very happy but I think it’s an impossible thing and then look, I think of him just in terms of sex, this is true, even if hetero fantasies are not 100% finished, but I also think that I would like to embrace him, maybe fall asleep next to him, but to create something emotional two persons are needed and I’m alone and that’s why I settle for a bit of sex. If I imagine a couple relationship with him, I think of it more or less like what happens with a girl, sex, all right, it’s another thing, but I think the affection would be more or less the same, but I don’t know because I’ve never tried and then I think that if I happen to meet a girl who falls in love with me at the end I would always be straight, maybe straight with some gay fantasy but essentially straight. And then with a guy how would I do? My parents would kill me, they always saw me 100% straight and in fact I still think it’s more or less like that. For them the word gay is like saying depraved. Frankly I have never felt homophobic like my parents, I had never felt gay until a month ago and I don’t even feel now, even if I feel something strange but I’m not afraid of these things, if I find out I’m gay it’s okay, what I don’t like is uncertainty and still I don’t think I’m really gay.

Mail of Federico

I read everything you wrote about the weight of affectivity in the relationship between two guys, frankly it is very nice even if I don’t know how realistic it can be. That is, let’s understand, I speak from my point of view, that is from the point of view of a married 33-year-old man who is going into crisis because he has sexual fixed ideas for a 25-year-old known at work. I underline that I’m and I feel heterosexual, I love my wife and I also desire her sexually, but now it’s more than a year that there is this new fact and it’s something that destabilizes me a lot. I masturbate thinking of a guy. It’s crazy that a married man does these things and yet it happens. At first I felt guilty towards my wife, but now it doesn’t happen to me anymore, I live two parallel lives or better a life and a half, because my being gay is only halfway, there’s the sexual part, the rest doesn’t exist al all. I never considered my 25 year old like a guy I could fall in love with, it’s just that female sexuality is not enough anymore for me, I like it very much but in my horizon there is not only that, in fact I see my 25 year old a bit like a porn actor (he is a very serious guy! Indeed even too serious) that excites me.

Is all this pathological? At first I thought about it but now slowly I got to the point that if I masturbate thinking of him I don’t do anything wrong, he doesn’t know it and will never know it and also my wife will never know it. So where is the problem? What am I doing wrong? Anything! On the other hand, I would never abandon my wife, it doesn’t even pass through the antechamber of my brain that I could put myself with a man. I don’t know how such a thing can evolve over time, maybe in one year I will have abandoned my wife and I will have escaped with him, but it doesn’t seem to me even thinkable! And then, one like me what is he? Is he gay? But from what you say it doesn’t seem realistic. Is he bisex? Frankly I don’t believe it and I don’t feel like it. I think someone like me is straight even if he has some small interest in gay sex, and I only say sex, perhaps I had better to say only at the level of masturbation because I would never go with a man apart from the risk of aids, it’s not really something that seems possible to me. What do you think about Project?


It happens to me quite frequently, in interviews with the guys, to find myself faced with real forms of splitting between affectivity and sexuality. It is not uncommon for guys who experience sexual drives that are strongly or even exclusively oriented in a gay sense, to feel an affective attraction towards girls, for whom, however, they live forms of attenuated or strongly sublimated sexual interest. This phenomenon is found many times also in forum posts and is confirmed by the statistics on sexual orientation of Project Gay. 23.72% of the guys who took the test on sexual orientation of Project Gay (a sample of several hundred guys, but not representative of the general population and with high concentration of gays) claim to have a masturbation oriented exclusively in the gay sense, while only 15.22% claim to fall in love only with guys, but what amazes even more is that compared to a 11.68% of guys who claim to have a masturbation oriented exclusively in straight sense, 27, 26% claim to fall in love only with girls. From the statistics of sexual orientation by age we can deduce that in the same sample the percentage of gay masturbation varies little with age while the percentage of hetero masturbation tends to increase and, at the same time, bisexual masturbation decreases (with sometimes hetero and sometimes gay fantasies).

Sexuality becomes polarized with the years and tends to follow not the masturbatory gay tendency but the affective hetero one. I mean that a percentage of younger guys tend to experience hetero affectivity despite gay masturbation, for them the homosexual dimension has only strictly sexual contents while the affective ones are reserved entirely or almost entirely to girls. The sexuality of these guys tends to evolve over time, the heterosexual affective tendency slowly becomes sexualized and the tendency towards heterosexual masturbation increases. While hetero affectivity is also enriched with explicit sexual content, the gay orientation on the strictly sexual level tends to be recessive. This is the underlying reason for which, to consider gay a guy masturbation is indicative but doesn’t solve the problem definitively and it’s necessary to say that a guy is gay if he has both a gay masturbatory sexuality, and also a gay affectivity, that is, he falls in love with guys.

As if to talk of gay sexual orientation it’s necessary to find together an exclusive tendency to masturbation with gay fantasies and also an affective tendency equally exclusive to fall in love with guys, so to talk about real bisexuality it is necessary that a guy has a masturbation that contemplates both heterosexual fantasies and gay fantasies, even in different proportions, and that he falls in love with both boys and girls. I mean that in a defined sexual orientation, that is stable, gay or heterosexual or bisexual in different degrees, strictly sexual drives are always associated with the tendency to fall in love with the same persons for whom sexual drives are felt.

Bisexuality is not a phenomenon analogous to the dissociation between affectivity and sexuality. Basically, a hetero guy falls in love emotionally and sexually only with girls, a gay guy falls in love emotionally and sexually only with guys, a bisexual guy falls in love emotionally and sexually with both boys and girls. In these situations affectivity and sexuality interact in an organic way and tend to direct a guy in a global way, both affective and sexual, to other people.

The dissociation between affectivity and sexuality is not a form of bisexuality but is a completely different reality. I would like to underline that it’s not a matter of pathological phenomena but of normal realities that touch significant percentages of the population. As it also happens for homosexuality and for bisexuality, the dissociation between effectivity and sexuality can lead to states of suffering, sometimes very heavy, if the social environment is constrictive and adopts rigid sexuality models, but suffering doesn’t come from the split between affectivity and sexuality but precisely from the sexually repressive climate.

Statistically, the dissociation between affectivity and sexuality is a relevant phenomenon, as it’s evident from the Gay Project statistics. The discrepancy between orientation of masturbation and affective orientation is noticeable but tends to decrease with the passing of the years and several guys who despite falling in love with girls had a gay masturbation, tend slowly to orientate even sexually in the straight direction. Approximately 5% of guys between the ages of 14 and 18 who took part in the Gay Project survey on sexual orientation tend to orient themselves definitively in straight direction as time passes. I must underline that the guys generally consider the split between affectivity and sexuality as a form of bisexuality and tend to consider themselves bisexual or even gay, above all due to the gay masturbation. Interpreting these phenomena is not easy because they are things that start with guys who consider themselves essentially gay and then slowly, not realizing their emotional world in a gay dimension, experience affective attraction to girls and slowly also discover a straight sexuality that is rewarding for them.

In the interviews with the guys, elements have emerged that lead me to try to give an interpretation of the facts that could at least in a good percentage of cases be realistic, clearly all of it should be taken with benefit of inventory.

In several situations of dissociation between affectivity and sexuality, in the background can be found the presence of a very rigid family in the sexual field and of children who have felt hyper-controlled during adolescence. Their female friendships were evaluated and judged by the family that tended to exercise control over the sexuality of the children, automatically presupposed exclusively hetero.

Sermons on the way to behave with girls, attempts to know how the child behaves with girls, tendential intrusiveness in the relationships of the child with the opposite sex, and on the other hand no interest in the male friendships of the child since early adolescence. If you go out with male friends, all right, if you go out with a girl you have to tell your parents who she is, where you go, when you come back, etc. etc.. The lack of freedom in the sexual field sometimes leads hetero guys to try to realize their freedom from the family in the environment of male friendships. While for a guy who can have a heterosexual emotional and sexual life basically free from family control, friendships are only a part of actual life, and not the one that polarizes sexuality, for guys who have no freedom in their emotional and sexual hetero behaviors, the friendships with other guys constitute an extremely gratifying environment because it is completely foreign to the family.

It often happens that, even in groups of substantially heterosexual guys, forms of special and very close affection are created that are not necessarily sexualized, the so-called special friendships (the best friend). For a guy who has no other sexual release valves, particular friendships easily take a sexual coloring. Pretty common episodes in the environment of heterosexual teenagers, such as masturbating together watching a straight porn, become, for a guy who feels forced by the family in his sexuality, a way to have his own private in which the family cannot enter, a sexuality which is finally subtracted from family control.

Sexual fantasies about friends and masturbation in a homosexual key end up dominating the scene and for a long time the guy can consider himself really gay, but since this sexual tendency cannot be declared nor shared and it is only experienced at the level of masturbation, the guy clearly perceives the difference between his way of living the para-sexual experiences with his friends, such as the nakedness in the showers of the gym, and the way of living those same experiences on the part of his friends, and this tends to confirm him in the idea of being gay.

However, the sexual morality of the family makes it practically impossible for the guy to accept the idea of an emotional couple relationship with another guy that would involve bringing homosexuality from the level of masturbation to the level of sharing and conscious and courageous choice. Sometimes guys also come to real sexual experiments with other guys but in situations that are not in any way accessible to the family and only with contacts for sexual purposes. From this phase that is from the greater awareness that non-affective homosexuality is not really gratifying, derives a sense of deep dissatisfaction or devaluation of sexuality, which is finally considered just as a technique. These are the most acute phases of the dissociation between affectivity and sexuality. In these situations the guys become again (now they are fully adults, 22, 23, but also 25 years old or more) particularly sensitive to a hetero affective contact. It’s obvious that after having become accustomed through years of gay masturbation to having homosexual fantasies, the approach with hetero sexuality is experienced as problematic, but that approach has a deep and satisfying affective dimension that the guy had not known in the gay environment. Thus begins a path of reunification of sexuality and affection that can last even two or three years, during which slowly but gradually the gay fantasies give way and heterosexual sexuality, combined with the effectivity gains ground.

We must immediately say that the process is delicate and, for example, a traumatic experience in a hetero environment can interrupt it, as a true and profound gay falling in love could also interrupt it. These are important transitional phases of the definition of sexuality in which, even if statistically evolution takes place prevalently towards heterosexuality, it is not at all said that the opposite does not happen. One idea must be kept in mind: sexuality must never be forced. The dissociation between affectivity and sexuality represents an evolutionary phase which, I repeat, has nothing pathological and must be experienced for what it is by following one’s own affectivity and spontaneous sexuality, avoiding to create too many problems and on the contrary setting aside any abstract and preconceived vision of oneself in both a straight or a gay key. Anxiety is the worst enemy of sexuality, so those who find themselves in such situations do not consider them as a problem to be solved. Sexual orientation issues are problems only to the extent that they are considered as such.


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Scrolling through the catalog of “La Pléiade” it’s easy to realize that from 1972 to 1998 eight full-bodied volumes were published, for a total of more than 14,000 pages, containing the complete work of Julien Green. Those who have even a minimal acquaintance with French Literature know that the honors of “La Pléiade” are due only to the recognized great masters of French literature: Julien Green is one of them. Elected, first of the non-French, among the “immortals” of the Academy of France in 1971, in place of François Mauriac, he resigned in ’96 claiming to feel “exclusively American” and “not at all interested in honors, whatever they are.” 

 He was not actually of French descent, his real name was Julian Hartridge Green. He was born in Paris on September 6, 1900, the last of eight children, from parents of Scottish and Irish ancestry, who emigrated to France from Georgia in 1893. Julien’s grandfather was a rich cotton merchant, owner of plantations, which made in France a good fortune, the mother came from Georgia, the father, originally from Virginia, was a businessman and was Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris. 
Julien Green is generally qualified as a Catholic writer, an expression that has, in his case, a very particular meaning: Catholic yes, certainly, but also homosexual. The lacerating attempt to reconcile homosexuality and Catholicism was a constant in his life and it must be said that this attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, at least giving the word Catholicism the traditional sense that the Catholic hierarchy attributes to it, emerges very clearly throughout the his work.
Julien Green has offered an extremely honest and realistic picture of himself and his inner conflicts. The self-censorship concerning sexual contents has become increasingly less binding over the years and it has happened that subsequent editions of his works have been enriched with many pages, originally omitted; a large part of these pages deals with homosexuality. This is the case of the first volume of the “Diary”, Les années faciles, the first edition of 1938, is heavily censored, while the second, of 1970, which presents almost 200 pages more, gives much more space to the theme of homosexuality. The censorship, on the other hand, remained rigid in relation to the homosexuality of other people, sometimes referred to as pseudonyms.
However, a laic homosexual, in the most radical sense of the term, who approaches the work of Julien Green cannot but recognize a considerable intellectual and moral rigor, of course, in the secular sense of the term, and a basic honesty in dealing with theme of homosexuality and trying to analyze it in front of his own conscience. Julien Green has undoubtedly an emblematic value because he embodies the ideal aspirations and anguish typical of true Catholics who want to be honest with themselves in the face of homosexuality, not considered as a theoretical question or as a problem of others, but as a profound element of their own personality, irreconcilable with faith.
On May 15, 2013, “L’Osservatore Romano”, the newspaper of the Holy See, published an article by Joseph Ratzinger entitled “And Julien Green became himself again”. So Ratzinger expresses himself on the religious education of Green:
“He tells how, from his childhood, his mother, Anglican, had literally immersed him in the Holy Scriptures. It was obvious for him to know by heart all the one hundred and fifty Psalms. Scripture was the atmosphere of his life. And he says: “My mother taught me to understand it as a book of love and deeply permeated me with the idea that, from the beginning to the end of Scripture, it was only love to speak. And all my being wanted nothing but love.” In the end a man who has received such bases cannot be lost.”
These statements by Ratzinger, from a secular point of view and in reference to the homosexuality of Green, instead, think of the violence of a religious education based on Scripture, which was accompanied, among other things, by the radical repression of sexuality, systematically operated, from an early age. As we will see later, this repressive education left deep traces in the soul of adult Julien. To memorize the one hundred and fifty Psalms is not at all obvious to an adolescent who, exposed to such a radically and strictly religious education, risks becoming dependent on many prejudices of religious origin, from which it is often difficult to get free. Julien’s mother was by no means the “ideal religious mother” described by Ratzinger, or perhaps she was fully, the assessment depends on the idea of religion of the one who judges. The fact remains that Julien’s mother heavily conditioned her son in the development of his sexuality. Julien remembers at least twice the rigid behavior of the mother when he was in the bathtub and the attitude of almost rejection that she showed for everything related to sex in relation to her 10 or 11-year-old son.
Julien remembers that when he drew naked bodies they were always completely without sex.[1] The only sexual curiosities came to Julien’s mind by reading the Bible and were systematically resolved with a “You will understand when you grow up. For the moment there is no need for you to know.”
Green does not omit to describe his perplexity at the attempts of other boys to explain something about sex or even to seduce him, in fact he was not able to recognize the normal awakening of sexuality or to have an authentic awareness of pleasure like his peers. He was about 15 years old when some of his high school friends of the Lyceum Janson of Sailly started him with the pleasures of masturbation. At that time the sense of sin was linked to the concept of pure and impure, not through a personal assessment but in terms of permitted or prohibited. Referring to masturbation he says: “As for the gesture in question, I didn’t reconnect it to any known offense.” Weeks passed before it occurred to him that he should regret it.
Julien himself speaks to us of his silent love for his classmate Frédéric: “No carnal desire tormented me. If the heart burned, the senses were sound asleep and I was exceptionally cold. The idea of getting my hands on Frédéric would have seemed to me simply monstrous, because nothing seemed beautiful to me that it was not pure, finding that word in my mind all the power that it had almost lost.”[2] 
Of his love for Frédéric Julien had spoken to the his friend Philippe but not to Father Crété who was in charge of his religious education. Not having the courage to confess to Father Crété what he did with his friend Philippe or alone, he went to confession elsewhere in complete anonymity. Teen Julien is now fascinated by the human body, especially the male one. Julien rarely talks about girls, when he shows a slight interest in a girl, every approach is cut short by the intervention of his sister Mary and his mother, terrified by the idea that Julien could follow a destiny similar to that of his uncle Willie, who died of syphilis inflicted on him by a servant.
At 15, Julien read Baudelaire but was unable to grasp his sensuality.
Only the following year the awakening of the senses occurred, at least partially, during a trip to Italy. In Italy he read Boccaccio and was shocked.
In 1916, after the death of his mother, he converted to Catholicism and let the hypothesis of a vocation  to religious life in the order of the Benedictines emerge. Sister Mary was the first converted to Catholicism, then her father and mother followed her. From a secular point of view it is hard to believe that the conversion of Julian sixteen years old and his momentum towards monastic life were free and well thought out choices.
A year after the conversion we find Julien seventeen years old involved in the war, to volunteer in the red cross of the United States on the Italian front. After the war, now eighteen, oscillates between the idea of religious vocation and artistic tendencies (painting and music). He then went to the United States and studied from 1919 until 1922 Languages and Literature at the University of Virginia, three years of studies offered to him by Savannah’s uncle. It is precisely at the University of Virginia that Green begins to understand that he is “a man with a great secret”, that is, a man who must bring with him the secret of his homosexuality. He is however enchanted by his fellow students, who considers the best humanity imaginable. At the University of Virginia he falls in love with Benton Owen, whom he will call under the pseudonym of Mark. It is through the Virginia guys and through the unconfessable love of Owen that Green realizes the emotional strength of homosexuality. Love towards Owen is platonic but not for this reason it is less violent. Green abandons Mark in 1922 without confessing his love, but then has an unforeseen opportunity to meet him again in July 1923, when Mark is traveling and is in Paris. Julien promises to finally speak clearly to Mark on the Pont-Royal, Mark is ready to listen, but in the end Julien gives up:[3] “One or two minutes later, on the other side of the bridge, I said to Mark:” I’m sorry but I cannot”. He squeezed my arm a little and told me: “I understand you very well” Once again I found myself faced with the risk of permanently losing his affection and I had considered that risk too great. There is no need to stress that in my work Mark reappears continuously, under one form or another. He is always the mysterious handsome guy to whim you does not dare to declare your love. Eric Mac Clure, in “South”, Praileau in “Moïra”, Angus and Wilfred, both of them alternatively, in “Chaque homme dans sa nuit”, Paul in “Le Voyageur”, and especially the handsome guy of “L’Autre Sommeil” “
Perhaps it is no coincidence that after a long time Green has considered the years of Virginia as some of the saddest of his life, were certainly those that troubled him more and put him in front of the reality of his homosexuality.
Leaving the University of Virginia without graduating and returning to France in 1924, Green publishes under the pseudonym Théophile Delaporte the “Pamphlet against the Catholics of France”[4] dedicated “to the six French cardinals.”
Let it be clear, this is not a pamphlet against the Catholic Church but rather a pamphlet against Catholics accused of being too lukewarm with regard to their faith. Some quotes of the text can give an idea of its content. The Catholics of this country have ended up making their religion a habit, to the point that they no longer worry about whether it is true or false, or whether they believe it or not; and this kind of mechanical faith accompanies them to death.[5]
“It is not possible to believe without fighting, but they don’t fight at all with themselves, and accept Catholicism as something simple and natural; and they would end up killing it, if this was possible.”[6]
“However they are Catholics, because they have received the mark of the Church, and they are forever, because the Church does nothing that is not eternal, but these submissive children bring the germs of a powerful corruption. Don’t look elsewhere for the true enemies of this Christian Church of which they believe themselves be the defenders.”[7]
“They were raised in Catholicism; they live and die there, but they don’t understand what they themselves represent or what is happening around them, and they don’t perceive anything of the mystery that surrounds them and separates them from the world.”[8]
“They live in the world as if they were of the world; however, they have been chosen by virtue of certain signs and certain words and if they understand that they have received a mark and are rebelling, they are not less Catholic for this, and if they degrade, they remain Catholics even in their fall and in their damnation.”[9]
“They read the prayers, every word of which is of great importance, and read them as if the prayers were for someone else, for someone else’s life, for someone else’s salvation. One would say that they don’t know that prayers speak only of their condemnation to death and their grace; one would say that they believe that Catholicism was founded for others and if they themselves are part of it, it is only by chance or by game.”[10]
But if 1924 is the year of the apology of Catholicism contained in the Pamphlet It is also the year in which, after having reached the peak of his religious exaltation, Green moved away from Catholicism. Here I quote Ratzinger’s quoted article:
“[Julien Green] He writes that in the interwar period he lived just like a man of today lives: he allowed himself all he wanted, was chained to pleasures contrary to God so that, from one side, he needed it to make his life bearable, but, on the other, he found that life itself unbearable. He looks for ways out, connects relationships, goes to the great theologian Henri Bremond, but the conversation remains on the academic level, theoretical subtleties that don’t help it. He establishes a relationship with the two great philosophers, the spouses Jacques and Raissa Maritain. Raissa Maritain indicates to him a Polish Dominican. He meets him and still describes to him his lacerate life. The priest tells him: “And do you agree to live like this?” “No, of course not!”, He replies. “So do you wants to live differently? Are you repented?” “Yes!” says Green. And then something unexpected happens. The priest tells him: “Kneel! Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis – I absolve you.” Julien Green writes: “Then I realized that after all I had always awaited this moment, I had always waited for someone to tell me: kneel, I absolve you. I went home: I was not another, no, I had finally become myself.” “
So Julien Green wrote to Jacques to Raissa Maritain on April 25, 1939:
“I am writing a few words to you before leaving, to tell you that this morning I had communion after a conversation I had with Father Rzewuski.”[11]
It’s easy to understand how much the young Ratzinger found in the account of the conversion of Green a confirmation of Saint Cyprian’s famous statement that “there is no salvation outside the Church”.[12]
 Yet Green was Catholic, he had converted at age 16, because people speak of a second “conversion” in 1939? Ratzinger does not explicitly tell us what was there in Green’s life, before April 25, 1939, which then led to the need for a new conversion to Catholicism, and prefers to remain vague on the subject  for the fear of dirtying a character who seemed fully embody the ideal Catholic model. To understand that what happened in the life of Julien before 1939 we can be read a short novel published by Green in ’31, “The other sleep” (L’Autre Sommeil), all centered on the theme of the discovery of homosexuality (awakening) made by Denis, the protagonist.
The novel portrays Denis, first child and then teenager, who lives a life neither better nor worse than that typical of the children of thousands of bourgeois families. The death of his father, who is a liberation for him, marks the true beginning of his youth. Chaste up to 15 years for natural coldness, Denis experiences a little later, the revelation of the pleasure of senses. “With oscillations between coldness and the will to resist, I was weak and sensual” He then knows the strange ways of passion, he believes he loves Andreina but it is Remy, her lover, who fascinates him. “Nothing is as mysterious as the path of passion in a heart without experience.” Claude, Denis’s cousin and childhood friend, who was an orphan after his mother’s death, is welcomed into the house by Denis’s parents and the two guys are living together. For Denis it is as if a dam had collapsed revealing the violence of all that it held, now Denis is aware of being in love with his cousin. He would like to reveal his feelings to Claude, but during the few occasions he has to see him, after a period of absence, before he leaves again, this time definitively, he cannot confess to him those feelings. The protagonist realizes that he will regret this failed declaration for life. This portrait of a young man with a heavy heart, whose dreams, whose desires and fears nourish a rich and terrible inner life, highlights the eternal emotion of a silent love, of a passion that doesn’t dare to declare itself and of which he preserves the sad and useless weight throughout life. This book reveals “the obsession of cold and the fear of fire”, a rather surprising tale of psychological darkness. It is obvious, and Green himself admits it without difficulty, that “L’autre sommeil” reflects his falling in love for “Mark”, the Benton Owen that Julien had met at the University of Virginia, so it is a substantially autobiographical novel. But homosexuality as a fundamental element of Green’s life between the two conversions also emerges from other elements. It is Green himself, in “Jeunesse”, the fourth volume of autobiography, who talks about the period after his return to France from Virginia and presents us with a Julien who attends the meeting places of the Parisian homosexuals of the Lungosenna. It should be added that in that period Green knows and frequents literary man who had publicly declared themselves homosexual like André Gide and Jean Cocteau and also others who were homosexual but much more secretly than Gide and Cocteau, like François Mauriac, on whose homosexuality I refer to the excellent study of Jean-Luc Barré.[13]
The fourth volume of autobiography concludes with a reference to a “person” with whom Julien falls in love and who will make him live the best years of his life. Despite the extreme reticence of Green himself on this point, we know that Green was bound by strong friendship with Robert de Saint-Jean, Green rarely talks about the relationship with his friend and defines it as Platonic. Anyway Green’s Diary and Autobiography leave no doubt that the two have lived together for years. That the link was really important is also apparent from the fact that Green did much to do, after the Germans entered Paris, to allow Saint-Jean to leave and take refuge in the United States.
Saint-Jean was a very important person and very exposed at the time of the German occupation, he was not only one of Green’s dearest friends, most probably the most loved, he was also the deputy chief of staff of the French minister of information.
Saint-Jean had written several times in the French press about Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister, who harbored a personal grudge against him, and if he could, he would not have let him escape.
Saint Jean called Green from Bordeaux when the French government was disintegrating, and Green, who had taken refuge near the Spanish border and could have crossed it because for him, an American citizen, the ban on entry into Spain ordered against fleeing French citizens, could not be applied, had no doubt about what to do, he would in no case leave his friend Saint-Jean to his fate and to the revenge of Ribbentrop. In “The end of the world”, which dates back to June 1940, Green tells how he managed to get his friend to Portugal, and then get him a visa for entry to the United States.[14] In essence “The end of the world “of Green is a true love story, even if it doesn’t have such appearance. The relationship between Green and Saint-Jean had begun well before the war. 

In “Fin de Jeunesse” Green talks about a trip to Germany together with Saint-Jean, in the summer of ’29, and doesn’t hide that the purpose was the search for sexual adventures. It was the twilight years of the Weimar Republic and the city of Berlin appeared to the homosexuals as a kind of ideal homeland, where tolerance was highest and the guys were available and not biased against homosexuality. Christopher Isherwood’s “Farewell to Berlin” represents very well the particularly welcoming cultural and human climate typical of Weimar Berlin. However, if we wanted to try to reconstruct the relationship between Green and Saint-Jean, on the basis of Green’s works, we would not come to anything because self-censorship and the defense of privacy are essentially impenetrable. It should be emphasized that Saint-Jean was also a homosexual, in his novel “Passé pas mort” – The undead past[15] male loves are often quoted, without masks or modesty, even if with all the moderation and elegance of writing. The struggle of the soul with the body is also felt in Saint-Jean but less exasperated than it appears in Green: We would have gone through storms and this need for mutual presence would not have failed, this hunger that time cannot satisfy. Why he? Why me? Why this happiness that is nothing more than feeling silent in the same room?[16] 

To try to understand the evolution of Green’s positions towards homosexuality after the second conversion, I would like to focus on two closely related works of Green even if far in time, the novel “Moïra” published in 1950 and the theatrical text “L’étudiant roux” completed by the author in 1993. The play is an adaptation of the novel for the theater but with substantial changes. Who reads the novel tends not to interpret it as a homosexual novel because the protagonist, a nineteen-year-old student of the University of Virginia, red hair, violent and fanatical, yet another literary reincarnation of Benton Owen Green had fallen in love with, is openly heterosexual. Joseph shares with his fellow students that season of life in which the drives explode uncontrolled and in which every value is questioned. Joseph imposes himself both for his physical presence and for his very particular moral disposition as a radical “puritan”, a staunch defender of an uncompromising faith. In the novel there is also a homosexual character, Simon, who, in love with Joseph and, not returned, decides to commit suicide, but it is a marginal episode in the novel, admitted and not granted that such an episode can be considered marginal by who really remains involved. It’s also possible to perceive by intuition something similar to a secret relationship between Joseph and his friend Praileau, but the thing remains too vague to assume a real weight in the development of the story. Moira, which is the Irish form of the name Mary, adopted daughter of Joseph’s landlord, is used to seducing and does not expect herself to be seduced by a beautiful virgin guy who seeks holiness and considers chastity the supreme value. At the end of their only night of love, Joseph will realize that his myth of chastity and holiness is now destroyed and will kill Moira. “I hate sexual instinct,” Joseph said in a dull voice. He stood straight at the table, his fists clenched, his forehead illuminated by the lamp. Something was broken in his features like a wave. With a contained violence, he resumed: “Did you hear what I said? I hate the sexual instinct. Do we yield to that instinct? That blind force is evil [. . . ]. We are conceived in a crisis of dementia.” After mentioning this passage.
Ferdinando Castelli, Jesuit and professor of literature at the pontifical Gregorian university, in his essay “The taste of hell in the novels of Julien Green”[17] continues: Perched in this hatred, Joseph becomes an isolated man: he lives in the company of mistrust, fear, contempt for the sex sphere. They call him “the Angel exterminator”. He has no friends [. . . ], has no interests except that of eternal salvation, he does not grant himself entertainments. Above all it has no love. Can one live without love in proud solitude? When the demon of lust, crouched deep inside, awakes and bites, Joseph strangles the girl with whom he has sinned: Moira.
The reading of the novel by Green given by Castelli, as a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which on the other hand reproduces a motif dear to Green, seems logical and satisfying, even if it leaves the reader, and especially the homosexual reader, rather perplexed. A beautiful heterosexual guy, paladin of chastity, who strangles the only girl with whom he has had a sexual intercourse inevitably pushes the reader to wonder what is behind the crime and above all what lies behind the hatred declared towards sexuality.
The answer to the doubts comes from Green himself, who in 1993 adapted the story for the theater reveals the arcane: a relationship of homosexual love exists between Joseph and his classmate Praileau. It is Green himself who states that this is the fulcrum of the whole affair. Among other things, in the play, the episode of Simon is greatly reduced and Simon, rejected by Joseph, will simply abandon the university and will not commit suicide as happened in the novel.
Let us now try to give a reading of a non-Catholic but homosexual matrix of the whole affair, of course it is only one of the possible interpretations and it’s up to the reader to judge of its plausibility. Joseph, as already said, a nineteen-year-old student at the University of Virginia, a southern United States region that didn’t shine at the time for openness, has a homosexual love affair with a classmate, Praileau, obviously Joseph and Praileau’s story is lived in a completely hidden way.
Joseph is not afraid of homosexuality itself but of being identified as a homosexual. The love story is lived with such discretion that another homosexual guy, Simon, finding in Joseph something that attracts him and not seeing him at all interested in girls, thinks he can move forward. Joseph is already engaged on an affective level, but the real reason why he leaves Simon is another: Simon tends to express his feelings too openly and Joseph risks being identified as a homosexual. Then there is another fundamental point, for a very nice 19-year-old guy it is obvious to have adventures with girls, Joseph must therefore find something that allows him to keep girls at a distance without fueling gossip, the best trick is chastity for religious convictions. That’s why Joseph becomes the sworn enemy of sexuality, but attention, we talk about heterosexual sexuality. It is in essence a very exasperated attitude but at the same time all exterior. The secret life of Joseph in fact isn’t involved at all, rather it is almost defended and secured by these attitudes. So far we could say that it is a classic homosexual story in a homophobic environment, but apparently at least, one would not understand how Joseph can get to spend a night of sex with a girl and how he can get to strangle her soon after. Let us now try to deepen the discussion. Joseph, is living, it is true, a homosexual love story, but in reality he is not willing to renounce, in the name of that love, to a rewarding life made up of frequent and “normal” social relationships, a little like the Clive of the “Maurice” of Forster.
The appearance of Moira is lacerating for Joseph not because Moira unleashes in him the fire of lust but because she brings to mind a reality alternative to his homosexual love, socially accepted and much less complicated to manage. Moira represents for Joseph the temptation to betray his true love and to live like a hetero guy. Moira is very seductive and Joseph thinks that you can also try to be straight and the thing at a technical level works, this is the great temptation of a repressed gay, but then comes the idea that you cannot betray yourself and live a life that is not your own. Moira is murdered because she destroyed the “true” dream of love of Joseph that is the relationship with Praileau. This reading of the story of “Moira” and “L’étudiant roux”, which is much more credible than that based on a figure of Joseph considered a true heterosexual, torn apart by the struggle between flesh and spirit, is yet another proof of how much, even many years after Green’s second conversion, homosexuality is alive and present in his works.
An example perhaps even more significant is found in another novel “Le malfaiteur”. Green had stopped working on this novel in 1938, when the time for his second conversion to Catholicism was maturing, but in 1955 the intimately felt desire to contribute to a deeper understanding of the homosexual condition led Green to resume and complete the novel “To bring to the attention of serious readers one of the most tragic aspects of the sexual (carnal) life of our modern world, tragic because it involves in a sometimes violent way all affective life and seriously affects spiritual life.”[18] As we see quite clearly, Green, over the years, while remaining Catholic, recovers at least in part his homosexual conscience. The novel has a rather simple plot: Hedwige, a young orphan, lives in the same house as Jean and only partially realizes Jean’s homosexuality, he would not be afraid to explain things to her even if in writing. Gaston Dolange, the object of love both of Hedwige and Jean, is unashamedly homosexual and knows how to monetize his graces.
Gaston, who is not interested in either Hedwige or Jean, appears only briefly at the beginning and end of the novel, but his sexual orientation is absolutely clear both to the other characters and to the reader. The evildoer is Jean, because he loves too much the handsome guys. The bourgeois society is still willing to turn a blind eye avoiding at least sending the police to give scandal knocking on Jean’s door. For years Jean lives hidden then, before disappearing committing suicide, he confesses himself (the so-called confession of Jean), in a letter to Hedwige, the girl, in the text of 1955, is not able to really understand the meaning of what he reads because Jean’s confession is vague and cryptic. She only knows she is a girl in love with a man who will never be able to desire her physically and she will also end up following the path of suicide. If it is true that Green in 1955 considered it his duty to shed light on the unknown world (then as today) of homosexuality, he left his work deliberately in half because, in practice, the text of 1936-38 was published in the ’55 without the fundamental chapter containing “the confession of Jean”. In the ’55 edition, the reasons that push Jean to flee to Italy, where he then committed suicide, remain smoky and incomprehensible, and it should be emphasized that the vision that Green offers of homosexuality is radically negative because Gaston is a nice maintained gay and Jean is a guy deluded and depressed who ends up committing suicide, and as if this were not enough, no explanation is offered either for the behavior of the former or for the latter. Only in 1973, with the second edition of “Le malfaiteur”, there is a substantial resipiscence of Green: the “confession of Jean” is reintroduced in the original integral form of 1938, without censorship, and so, reading the text, we understand that homosexuals, both in Paris and in the province, are forced to attend the typical places of clandestine meetings, disreputable and seedy places, because they are forced to live in falsehood and in constant fear of scandal, are filed and monitored by the police and even denied by their families. The reintroduction of the full text of “Jean’s confession” gives the text another depth and makes serious understandings of the dramatic situations in which homosexuals were forced to live in France in the 1930s.
But let’s close the references to the works and return to the biography of Green. There is a part of his life on which Green is totally reticent, if possible more than about Saint-Jean, I refer to his relationship with his adopted son Eric Jourdan. If Saint-Jean was a year younger than Julien, Eric was 40 years younger than him. Jourdan is a novelist and a playwright, his debut novel “Les Mauvais Anges”, published in 1955, when he was not yet 16, is still one of the most popular homosexual novels, in which sensuality emerges to the highest degree. Pierre and Gérard, two seventeen year old guys are overwhelmed by passion, their sexual desire is violent: “We had wanted to know all the secrets of love in a single night and a real fury guided this discovery, to the point that dawn enlightened in these bodies satiated but not satisfied two young lovers doubly male for their way of taking and giving to each other.”

Such a union could not but arouse jealousy around them. Some young neighbors of whom the two guys had slaughtered the falcons, for play or revenge, kidnap Gérard and rape him. From here begins the sliding of Pierre and Gérard towards death. Their love is both joy and torture. They are both slaves and masters in satisfying their pleasure, they don’t tolerate any compromise and prefer to choose the death that suffer the wear and tear of the feelings and bodies caused by time. As we can see, it is not only a homosexual novel in the most explicit way, but a novel that is immensely distant from the vision of homosexuality typical of Green.
After the publication of “Les Mauvais Anges” Juordan lived in a very free way before being adopted by Green. After his adoption he settled in Paris and remained close to Green until his death. But we don’t know more than this. Francesco Gnerre interviewed Eric Joudan in 2007.[19] Jourdan had made the condition that there were no questions about Green, However, to the explicit question of Gnerre: “Why don’t you want to be asked questions about Julien Green?” Jourdan replies: “The fact is that very often we tend to make allusions to the story of my adoption to belittle my work, and I don’t like this. Of course I adored my foster father, but we never practiced the same kind of writing and our vision of life has always been poles apart. Juliern Green was a fervent Catholic, I am a pagan, an iconoclast. I am convinced that all the churches and religions, in the first place the monotheistic ones, are kept standing by people who exert their influence on individuals and on the community under the exclusive pressure of material interests. They blame the people for “making them pay”, both in terms of cash offerings and the removal of their drives.” Frankly, I don’t think that the relationship between Jourdan and Green can be seen as the relationship between the devil and holy water, things are certainly much more complex. Green and Jourdan met when Jourdan was 15 years old and all kinds of gossip were made about their relationship, but the two did not get destroyed by gossip and after a few years Jourdan’s parents died and Grenn adopted him and even on this the gossip spread. In “La Civiltà Cattolica”,[20] after the death of Green, Ferdinando Castelli published the article “Julien Green witness of the invisible – in memoriam”. Castelli’s article aims to emphasize the figure of Green from the point of view of faith, but in the article there is a direct reference to the problem of homosexuality in the work of Green. “What does Green think about sexuality and homosexuality, themes repeatedly taken up in his work? – “There was in me, in different periods, an element of terror before sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular [. . . ]. In 1958 I won (supprimée) sexuality. I heard a voice saying to me: “Or now or never.” I replied: “If You don’t help me, I cannot do it.” The help has arrived, but the experience has been excruciating. It lasted about two years, but now peace is back “. Homosexuality is a very large theme, it is a mystery that concerns the wider sphere of sexuality. Both homosexuality and heterosexuality fall into the struggle between the flesh and the spirit: the problem is this,”[21] 
I point out that Green doesn’t see a specific problem in homosexuality but tends to frame all the sexual morality in the dimension of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. Radical dualism seems inevitable to Green, but a secular spirit, faced with these things, wonders what is the reason why sexuality should be suppressed and finds no other motivation than the blind obedience to a precept that is attributed to God. I can understand that in tracing the obituary of a homosexual and Catholic writer, “La Cività Cattolica” is concerned with giving God what belongs to God, but for a secular homosexual, like me, it is essential to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and highlight the elements of the life and work of Julien Green that make stand out the homosexuality, won or repressed as you like, but essential to understand the true torment of a soul torn by faith. The prohibition of homosexuality, I return to the point, as in general the prohibition of non-procreative sexuality even within marriage, has no other reason than the will to conform anyway to the alleged will of God, even at the cost of suppressing sexuality violently. God gives us sexuality and then forbids us to use it according to our freedom and without harm to anyone. The prohibition has no other reason than to measure the level of obedience and self-denial before the God’s request, a little like the request made to Abraham to sacrifice his son, but, to take back a bit of evangelical language, whoever of us, if he saw his son in a garden full of fruit, would forbid him to eat the fruits of a particular tree to test his obedience? If therefore we, as bad as we are, don’t forbid our children to eat any fruit of the garden, because should God, who is infinite goodness, show Adam the tree of knowledge to say: you will not eat the fruit of this tree? It will be possible to answer that this is a mystery of faith, but it is precisely because faith, through these mechanisms, creates suffering, that I cannot conceive how blind obedience can be made a principle on which to found life.
[1] Julien Green: Religion and Sensuality – By Anthony H. Newbury – p. 12-14.
[2] “Aucun désir charnel ne me tourmentait. Si le cœur brûlait, les sens étaient profondément endormis et j’étais d’une froideur exceptionnelle. L’idée de porter la main sur Frédéric m’eût paru tout bonnement monstrueuse, parce que rien ne me semblait beau qui ne fût pas pur, ce mot retrouvant dans mon esprit tout le pouvoir qu’il avait failli perdre.” – Partir avant le jour.
[3] “Une ou deux minutes plus tard, de l’autre côté du pont, je dis à Mark : «Je regrette, je ne peux pas.» Il me serra légèrement le bras et dit : «Je comprends très bien.» Une fois de plus, j’avais mesuré le risque de perdre à jamais son affection et l’avais jugé trop grand. Ai-je besoin d’indiquer que dans mon œuvre, Mark revient sans cesse, sous une forme ou sous une autre ? II est toujours le mystérieux beau garçon à qui l’on n’ose pas déclarer son amour. Eric Mac Clure, dans Sud, Praileau dans Moïra, Angus et Wilfred, les deux alternativement, dans Chaque homme dans sa nuit, Paul dans Le Voyageur, surtout le beau garçon de L’Autre Sommeil”. (Terre Lointaine, V, pp. 1257-1258)
[4] “Pamphlet contre les catholiques de France”
[5] «Les catholiques de ce pays sont tombés dans l’habitude de leur religion, au point qu’ils ne s’inquiètent plus de savoir si elle est vraie ou fausse, s’ils y croient ou non ; et cette espèce de foi machinale les accompagne jusqu’à la mort.»
[6] «On ne croit pas sans se livrer bataille, mais ils ne luttent pas avec eux-mêmes, et ils acceptent le catholicisme comme quelque chose de simple et de naturel ; ils finiraient par le tuer, si c’était possible.»
[7] «Cependant ils sont catholiques, puisqu’ils ont reçu la marque de l’Eglise, et ils le sont pour toujours, car l’Eglise ne fait rien que d’éternel, mais ces enfants soumis portent les germes d’une corruption puissante. Ne cherchez pas autre part les vrais ennemis de cette Eglise chrétienne dont ils se croient les défenseurs.»
[8] «On les a élevés dans le catholicisme ; ils y vivent et ils meurent, mais ils ne comprennent ni ce qu’ils représentent ni ce qui se passe autour d’eux, et ils ne pressentent rien du mystère qui les enveloppe et qui les sépare du monde.»
[9] «Ils vivent dans le monde comme s’ils étaient du monde ; cependant ils ont été mis à part en vertu de certains signes et de certaines paroles, et s’ils comprennent qu’ils sont marqués, et qu’ils se révoltent, ils n’en sont pas moins catholiques, et s’ils s’avilissent, ils demeurent catholiques dans leur chute et leur damnation.»
[10] «Ils lisent des prières dont chaque mot est d’une grande importance et ils les lisent comme s’il s’agissait, dans ces prières, de quelqu’un d’autre, de la vie de quelqu’un d’autre, du salut de quelqu’un d’autre. On dirait qu’ils ne savent pas qu’on y parle uniquement de leur condamnation à mort et de leur grâce ; on dirait qu’ils croient que le catholicisme a été fondé pour les autres et qu’eux-mêmes, s’ils en font partie, c’est par hasard ou par jeu.»
[11] L’Osservatore Romano, 27/28 August 2008 – “Storie di conversione: il duplice ritorno di Julien Green – by Claudio Toscani”
[12] “Salus extra ecclesiam non est”, Cyprian, epistle 72 to Pope Stephen
[13] François Mauriac, biographie intime, by Jean-Luc Barré – Fayard editor, Paris, 2009.
[14] Julien Green: The End of a World – As Germany occupied France, Green brought Paris to life in his superlative diaries.
[15] Passé pas mort, Grasset, 1983, re-edited in 2012.
[16] «Nous aurons traversé des orages sans que cesse ce besoin réciproque de la présence, faim que le temps ne rassasie pas. Pourquoi lui? Pourquoi moi? Pourquoi ce bonheur rien qu’à se sentir silencieux dans la même pièce?»
[17] Civiltà Cattolica 2971-2976, p. 353.
[18] … de porter à l’attention des lecteurs sérieux un des aspects les plus tragiques de la via charnelle dans notre monde moderne, tragique parce qu’il engage d’une façon parfois violente toute la vie affective et qu’il touche gravement à la vie spirituelle] [Introduction to Le malfaiteur in the Complete Works of 1955.]
[20] La Civiltà Cattolica, 1998 IV, 365-375.
[21] Taken from the interview reproduced in Le Monde on 19 August 1998, 17
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At the end of December 2007, I published on the blogs of Gay Project three separate posts containing an interview, divided into three parts, recorded by me in September 2007. The original interview is in Italian or better, in a very lively colloquial language, spontaneous and colorful, typical of young Italians of the time. It is a very interesting love story. It was certainly not easy to translate the story into English trying to save the broken prose and the typical tones of the way of speaking of young people. I think it is worthwhile to read the story, even if it is not very short.


Frederick, I call him Chicco, damn how he gave me a pretty hard time … but I love him to death … As for me, well … anyway, I was a little too rush before, I can say precipitous, that is I didn’t even know what the embarrassment was, I had had more or less serious stories with four or five guys in three years, maybe too many stories … let’s say I was rather uninhibited … yes … that is, I have always liked guys very much, they’re so sweet, I don’t know, being close to them gives me a lot of … well … it’s not just a philosophical thing … In short, a nice guy is beautiful and he also gives you a real sensation, that is, you really want him, And let me be blunt about this, I’m not ashamed, I like a guy because he stimulates me sexually … otherwise …  he can also have the brain of Einstein but he tells me nothing … I’m not one of those who are fascinated at the mental level, for me the physical reaction must take place … you certainly understand … well … the trouble is that this thing happens to me very often, that is, I don’t say just with all the guys I know … but it happens a lot … and then … Oh well, what is it? Oh … it’s like that … when it happens to me, it’s not like I’m having too much problems … I just try … I’m a little afraid of being detected by other people but it never happened and then I have the gay radar and up until now I have hit the mark … I’ve done so, let’s say from 16/17 years until 22, the first real sexual contact … always something relative, but sex in explicit terms with another guy I had it at age 19 … he was not bad but he was not even all this overwhelming beauty … and then one usually gets depressed or must calm a bit … but can you see me depressed or calm? … I said: “This guy is so … but I can find a guy even better!” … and then, one after another … well! What are you laughing for? … Don’t be stupid … oh … it happens … well two years ago I met Frederick at the university … he was 21 years old, and was in my course, a year after me. I have always passed the exams … but I never got the star of the first of the class, that is, I go to class … but if by chance I find a cute guy I go around with him and in class I’m not going at all … oh! I don’t get overwhelmed by scruples … I can lose an hour of lessons and even two, but I don’t want to lose a cute guy … Oh well … I see him, but he does not make me all this effect, cute he is cute, but there is even better, at least, so, physically, I say … I then I was dry with the guys … and I said to myself: “I try!” … I approach him, I greet him … I don’t know what to think, my radar is disoriented … I said … “I hope I’m not going to start a story with a straight guy!” … I needed some more element. Chicco talked only about exams, not about girls … you know … it’s already a lot … but you can always take the beating … then I said: Forget him! … he didn’t go along … in short if a guy likes it, even just to chat, you understand it … but he was formal and made me get some nerves! He spoke like a printed book and I said: “Go fuck yourself! … you and your haughtiness! I’ll find another better than you!”… So I said … but, you know, one thing is to say and one thing is what happens to you inside … I went to class and I kept thinking about Chicco, I then didn’t even his name … then I had two hours of break, usually I go to the library because it is the ideal place to look at the most cute guys, you put yourself there with a book in front and pretend to read. “Oh well, this time I didn’t go to the library to do the gaywatching and I started looking for Chicco around the university, I could not enter the classrooms where there was a lesson but I was looking for him and I said to myself: “Dear Sandro, but you are becoming totally stupid! … You are running after a guy who barely looked at you! “… oh … it was so! In short, I find him in the small library on the second floor … I go to sit next to him … because sometimes I’m just a bad guy … but he doesn’t change his attitude … nothing at all! Not even a small sign, he greets me, he beckons me to shut up because you cannot talk there … so I write him on a sheet: “What time do you go home? So let’s have a chat.” He answers me “Now I have to study because I have an exam in 20 days, but thanks for the proposal.” An ambiguous and provocative answer at the same time … I pretended to read and then every now and then I looked at him but he never looked at me, he thought only of the book … I look at him once, two and three times and then I break my balls. Well no! I cannot waste time with this guy! I feel like a fool, I get up to leave, I do bye with my hand, he responds the same way, looks at me and winks … But go to hell! He winks at me … he doesn’t greet me as he greets his colleagues, he winks at me … I had already said goodbye. I’m leaving. Oh! I could not get him out of my head … The following days I always saw him in the library to study … I went in, I said goodbye, he winked at me, then one day he waved me -10, as if to tell me that the exams would have been in 10 days, then we counted down day by day. I went to hear him at the exams and he was a monstrous thing, I didn’t know even a half of the things he knew. I had arrived when he was already in front of the professor and I thought he had someone accompany him but it was not like that. He took his 30 and praise (I dream of such things!) as if nothing had happened, then he approached me … and he told me: “Here I am …” We went out, he invited me to have breakfast with him. He spoke little, he was formal, I didn’t know what to do, I felt a little uncomfortable, he didn’t show any emotion. I didn’t know what to do. I told him he was nice and I was happy that the exam was fine … the dialogue was very slow, at the limit of the impossible. After two hours we took the subway but he was going much farther than me. I was upset a lot. So the next day I see him and we spend two hours together, two strange hours but not two hours wasted, he didn’t leave, neither I, even if there was talk just about nothing … in short, we went on like this for some days, now the fact of seeing each other and talking a little bit became an obvious thing. I said to myself: “If I don’t break ice myself we get bogged down here.” So one day, after a few generic conversation, I told him that I had to tell him something important and that I wanted some privacy, we left the university and I told him: “Listen … I have to tell you that I’m gay”. He doesn’t upset at all, he tells me that he had already understood it and that the thing is not a problem for him, but the answer that I wanted from him was not that … and then I ask him the direct question: “Are you gay?” … He only tells me “Yes” and doesn’t add a word, he is absolutely peaceful in saying it … then I insist: “And … if I had fallen in love with you?” … and he begins a very strange speech, he tells me that he is not in love with me, then he asks me what does it mean to fall in love … and I don’t know what to say … we keep on talking … then he tells me that it’s evident that I love him but he thinks he doesn’t love me, he tells me that he doesn’t believe in love. I take courage and I tell him that I really want him on a sexual level, in saying it I fear his reaction … he replies that he wants me too but this has nothing to do with love and that what he feels is not love but only selfishness, because really of me as a person he doesn’t care at all … he tells me that he will never make love with me because he doesn’t want to play with feelings … he is upset, very upset … I propose to him to take a ride in the car, he accepts … We go out of town, I don’t know what to do, he doesn’t speak. I make a risky gesture, I take his hand, the first physical contact with Chicco. I, who was never afraid of anything, with him felt embarrassed, upset … he waits a few seconds, obviously doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t withdraw his hand, doesn’t retract it but doesn’t even tighten mine … tens of seconds pass like a nightmare, then finally he shakes my hand and hugs it very close to almost hurting me … then starts crying and says that he will never succeed to love me really. I take a handkerchief, wipe away his tears and he shows me  slightly a smile or better a half smile … I feel him very close but I don’t have the courage to kiss him. We remain silent in the car for a very long time without looking at each other, hand in hand. Sometimes he hugs me tightly. Then he says to me: “Take me back home, I’m fine now, but I don’t want to deceive you”. I raise his hand and kiss it, he lets it go, now the magic moment seems over, I start the engine and bring him home. He greets me giving me a very light caress on the hand, he had never done such a thing … then he tells me. “With me you have to be very patient … please don’t abandon me …” He got out of the car, I did the same, he didn’t expect it, I hugged him very tightly and lifted him off the ground, I made him just do a round of 360° without letting him touch the ground, then I kissed him. He was crying! Our story begun like this! 

Well, I resume from where I left before … One who hears this story up  to that moment what does he think? He thinks that the following day they go to bed together! … But no! Do you know what he does? … – and come on, I’m telling you soon … – he goes into crisis, but just in a crazy way, and doesn’t even tell me anything … just abruptly disappears! I call him on his cell phone and he doesn’t answer me, I send him a lot of text messages and he doesn’t answer me. I send him 20 e-mails a day and he doesn’t answer me … he made me feel really bad this (omissis), it’s better for me to forget it! In short, he was seized by a crisis of conscience … exactly! It’s not that he didn’t feel attracted, maybe if he had not felt attracted, perhaps repressing himself could have been something thinkable … No! He felt attracted to me … but he just couldn’t bear this fact – “I gay? It’s impossible! … yes, a fantasy happens … but only that … ” – … Let’s say that maybe he had also got used to the idea that he liked the guys … but in his own way! … – Yes … and come on! – … He looked at guys and thought about them … thought a lot about them! Did you understand!?… that is,… but who is the gay guy who if he sees a guy whom he likes, in the end, does not masturbate fantasizing above him? … But he does not! He never did it! … or almost never … when he did it, it seemed to him that he had killed someone … he went to confession, told the priest only that he had masturbated … but that he was thinking of a guy he didn’t tell him anything at all … So, when it happened to him, the thing died there … because they were all fancy stuff … but I was there … well, for all the time we counted down to the exams, in the library, he was looking at me, but not so much, he had put in his mind that the love he felt for me he did not have to dirty it with sex! … That’s it! … in short, he for the entire period we had spent together, if I can say so, before the story of the hug out of the car, they would have been twenty days at least, he had never masturbated thinking of me! Yes, it is! … I instead … obviously … I was always there … but he thought that doing the same he could offend me, he thought that masturbating thinking of me meant that he didn’t love me … and other stupidities like that! Oh well I didn’t even know it … and how could such a thing have crossed my mind … Now I tell you what happened … because he would never tell you himself … the evening of the hug he came back home and masturbated thinking of me! … And he liked it as well! … and then … – he told me about it, and he was serious … – he felt like a dishonest … he didn’t feel worthy of me … damn it, if he knew what I did! … Anyway … I went under his house … day and night! … I thought of everything … that he had had an accident … maybe that his parents had seen us from the window … but I would never have thought things like they really were … He makes me wait under his house two days and two whole nights … – then he told me he saw me from behind a window and he knew I was there – … well, on the third day he felt sorry for me … he said: “If I don’t do something … I find him embalmed here below “… in short, he went down the street … I was in the car in the cold, half-frozen … he knocks on the glass and makes me sign that he wants to get in the car … it didn’t seem true to me … I thought: “He has taken his decision!” … I was upset a bit from sleep, a bit from the cold but also from happiness … He sits, serious, I would have beaten him … and tells me all the things I told you before. I thought, “Is he really out of mind or is he pretending? But this guy must be sent by some serious psychologist!” He went on to tell me what he had to tell, with the face of one who would be buried by shame and never looked at my face, I don’t say a smile, for heaven’s sake. I said to myself: “What am I doing here with this guy? … and I was under his house two days and two nights! … But I send him instantly to get fucked …! “. And I said to him: “Listen to me, I don’t really care about all these stupid things, come get out and go away!” But he didn’t want to go out and I was getting angry badly! At that moment I would have beaten him … but he started crying and completely turned the omelette, he told me that he would do anything for me, that he felt stupid, and so on … then tells me that if I wanted to, he could make love with me as well immediately. And do you know what I told him? “My dear, but you are crazy! … so, later, if you throw yourself under the train, the fault is also mine!”… He felt uncomfortable, he was crying desperately … then I started the engine and we went for a ride. I swear to you, I didn’t know what to do, I would never have wanted one like him, but he had glued to me and I liked such a situation … you know, you say: “I’ll wean this guy … he has never been with anyone”… in short, it’s not a small thing … Oh, well, we go out of town, I didn’t know what to do … No! … seriously! I thought: “This one I violate him!” … but not for me, just for him! Look, I really thought so … but, well, given the type, the reaction a little scared me … But I wanted him to melt a little … In short, we were all day around … He was happy! … and well! … and then he tells me: “I’m happy because you didn’t try other things!” … then he looked at me and told me: “Don’t be angry … today I was fine …” and he even fleshed me a smile, that when he smiles … well … in short , it was worth it … So I asked him: “Do you feel attracted to me?” He began to answer philosophical things and I told him. “No! Wait up! … I want to know if you feel attracted to me sexually … ” He became red like a pepper and said: ” … even sexually … yes “… then I told him: “So then today you have to masturbate thinking of me … ” He reacted very badly to my final comment, not for the thing itself but because he thought I was making fun of him, his eyes were red and he told me: “You cannot understand these things … you don’t have to tease me I’m making a terrible effort to adapt to you and you don’t even understand it!” I apologized in the most sincere way and I felt as if I had betrayed him. He told me: “The excuses are not necessary … I know that you love me.” At that moment I thought: “I really love this guy! I’ll dedicate all my life to him!” I wanted to ask him something about his life, I wanted to understand something more than those things “that I could not understand” but it was not the moment … He had understood that I loved him but I didn’t know if he would give me another date, I did not know whether to ask him, I was afraid to go too fast … by now I would have adapted to its rhythms anyway … In short … all the way up to his house I wondered how I should have said bye, that is at what level … in short, if I could take his hand or I could caress him. When we arrived under his house I felt frozen … he made a gesture that I never expected, he took my right hand in his and kissed it … then he said: “See you tomorrow at university … ” and told me not to get out of the car.

The other time we had finished with the afternoon spent in the car when he had given me the appointment at the university … In short, you  have understood who Chicco is … The next day I go at the university … well, I expected him to melt completely, that is, I don’t say too much, but I waited at least a bit of complicity, I honestly wanted a lot more … I thought: “Chicco is melting and then I can enjoy him properly!” Oh! Nothing absurd eh! I love Chicco … but a tender thing, oh well, I knew it was impossible, but you know, fantasy sometimes came back and then I wondered if he would have masturbate thinking of me, I said to myself: “Certainly not!” But then the brain was always there again and again! He was so ashamed, yes … but in the end it’s not that it takes a lot, and I imagined that while I was doing it he did it too and then we did it together … for me being in love with Frederick was like that … that is,  how can you fall in love with a guy without  thinking of him in terms of sex? … No! It’s impossible! … Well now these were only my fantasies … from him, given the type, I didn’t know what to expect – Chicco, it is useless for you to make me sign to shut up and become red! … if we have to tell him everything we must tell things how they really are – Okay … I wait for him at the end of the lesson and he dodges me, I follow him wagging my tail and he pretends not to see me … I insist and put a hand on his shoulder and he looks at me as if he wanted to electrocute me, I withdraw my hand … but I don’t give up and he goes to the parking lot, he has the car there, makes me sign to get in the car and starts one of his rants, says that it was all a mistake, that he thought about it, that he doesn’t want to make me suffer because in any case he can never fall in love with anyone, he apologizes a hundred times and tells me that our story has no future. Apparently it seems determined, I’m embarrassed. I tell him: “Give me a serious reason, just one!” He doesn’t know what to say, he repeats that he doesn’t feel it but in the speech he sometimes lets himself go to flashes about his life that doesn’t seem casual and escaped by distraction, they are things desired and often told with a visible embarrassment, that is the speech that he tries to do is serious and he commits himself very strongly. While I’m talking, I look at him and he stares at the empty space in front of him. He tells me that he’s very religious and that for him to feel at peace with his own conscience is fundamental, then he adds a whole story about the fact that he knows very well the positions of the church on gays “and he accepts them!” … Yes, you understood correctly: he accepts them! … so he said! … I said to myself: “What does this guy say? But I choke him!” But he had prepared his little speech accurately and he was acting everything to me … just like a well packaged script … Oh … I liked Chicco and a lot … but when one plays such a scene, you give him up! You certainly cannot become crazy with him … What had I to do? Two plus two is four and I say that I’m sorry for everything that happened and I open the door to go down. He turns to me and says: “No! Please! Please! Don’t go!” I closed the door and told him: ” Listen Frederick … but you’re telling me that I have to go!” He tells me it’s not true, he doesn’t want me to leave but he doesn’t even want a good friendship like ours to be ruined by “other things” … Other things?! … At that moment he made me angry but he made me feel sorry too, I saw that he was holding back in a frightening way, almost raped himself to self-control, we were at the university parking lot, and in the morning and there were people, but I had the precise feeling that if we were alone and I had kissed him he would abandon himself completely … but it could not be done. I didn’t know what to do … I made him talk … but he said a lot of stupid things that in the end I couldn’t bear anymore and I told him. “Frederick, you didn’t understand anything about life!” And he looked at me, red eyes, little tear, and told me: “I think you’re right … I would like to live like you … but I can’t do it, I just can’t.” We sent to hell all the morning and afternoon lessons and we left the city, two sandwiches and something to drink and then always talking and we talked about sex, he told me that the day before he had masturbated again thinking of me and then he hadn’t felt guilty. Because for him, after masturbation, you “must” feel guilty! I told him that I had masturbated too, imagining that we did it at the same time and I told him that I had fantasized about the fact that we could do it together and he replied that it was a beautiful thought and that the same evening he would masturbate thinking of me and dreaming of doing it with me. I would not have dreamed of something like this from Frederick neither after twenty years of gay marriage! I was upset … in the morning he tells me that he has the scruples of conscience and in the afternoon he gives me speeches like that. I say to myself: “What am I doing? Have I to try?” In the end I take his hand, first he lets me do it but does not participate, then shakes my hand, caressing it. My hand is dry and warm, his is cold and wet, almost insensibly I try to feel the pulse: it is very frequent, he’s anxious. I think I’m doing well and I say to him: “Frederick, come on, now I’ll take you home”, he looks at me upset: “But why? What did I do? … I’m letting myself go now but it costs me a lot … we’re here, please … don’t bring me home … I want to be with you … Please Sandro, don’t freeze me like that! If it’s necessary, insist on me, I’m not used to these things but I want them, I swear I want them and I don’t want to ruin everything … I don’t want to ruin everything … hug me, please, hug me! Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you understand that I need it?” We sat in the back seat of the car and I hugged him tightly, I didn’t even think about kissing him. I held him to me and my Chicco trembled, trembled and chattered his teeth, he didn’t say a word. I was shocked, I had my adventures but I had never seen a guy who had a physical need to be embraced by me as violent as that of Frederick. He was stressed out. I caressed his hair but I didn’t kiss him. After a few minutes I looked him in the eyes and I said: “Chicco … I love you!” He told me: “Now, if you want, we can go.” We passed on the front seats and I drove to his house, he told me that he had feared that I would refuse him and that he loved me because I had understood that he needed time. I told him: “Only for this?” And he replied: “For this even more!” Every so often while I was driving I passed my hand through his hair and he said to me: “Come on, come on … don’t do that.” but he said it with a very sweet voice … Along the way I asked him a thousand times how he was and he said:” Good! Sandro, good!” Then I ventured a more difficult speech, I told him: “I have to tell you something … I’m embarrassed a lot but I have to tell you … when we hugged, I wanted you … I went really hard, I thought I couldn’t hold it back.” He told me: “Yes, I noticed … “. I ask him the explicit question: “Does it bother you?”. He replies: “No … it happened to me too …” … Chicco, but you don’t say anything? – “And what have I to say? You have already said everything … but I’ve got a fear … that if this story ends up on the internet I can be considered just like a total imbecile … anyway I’d like to know how the readers of our story will take it, they should be all gays … Wow! That is bad! … well, but I think that nobody will read it!
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Hi Project,

First of all I have to thank you for last night, I can guarantee you that I was very impressed, I didn’t imagine similar things, I had understood that it was a serious thing and I also realized that it should have a true sense, but I didn’t think things could happen like the ones you made me read. It was not the first time I was trying to get closer to gay environments but I was very suspicious because my previous experiences had been disappointing.

Of course it is almost unbelievable that one wakes up 30 years old and starts so late to see things that are obvious but the removal was so strong that, as I told you, I came a step away from the marriage, then, fortunately I asked myself what I was doing and the world collapsed on me. I have been mad for everyone, from my girlfriend to my parents, I don’t tell how her parents reacted, but now the worst moment of the storm after the breakdown of the marriage hypothesis has passed. To my ex I couldn’t, or maybe not wanted to explain anything, I’ve exploited her for years, it’s true, but I didn’t realize it. She felt betrayed, I know, but I would never be able to explain how things really are, because it’s ugly to say, but I often thought that she would marry me, even if between us there was no real transport, neither sexual nor emotional, just to find an accommodation, it could seem bad and perhaps I’m looking for a justification, but that’s what I think.

When my parents learned that I would not be married, they thought everything but the right thing. Neither my father nor my mother have the slightest suspicion that I can be gay and I think this is good, because the atmosphere is already strange but if they knew that I’m gay it would be difficult to live together. I still live with them but I have a stable job not bad and I could also go to stay on my own, but we are in the same city, a small city, and going to live in another house would not give me more privacy, I should really change city, but this would mean changing job.

It seems very strange to me when I walk down the street, turn around to look at a guy, because I’m not used to it, I’ve always avoided doing it, almost on principle, I know it’s a stupid thing but that’s what happened for years and years, then I’m rediscovering the pleasures of sex (not the couple sex) and it begins to seem to me like a simple thing, I would say completely natural, which is done because it’s pleasant and you leave the thoughts free to go where they want, and it seems strange to me that for many years I have had so many problems with these things.

When I visit porn sites I mostly look for photos of nice guys in very spontaneous attitudes and I think the guys are just a beautiful thing, maybe the most beautiful thing that nature has created and I imagine how it would be to know a guy exactly how I dream of him, how it would be to embrace him knowing that he wants it, in short, being with a guy like me, that is, who thinks the same things, who desires the same things, who immediately understands what I want to say.

When I was with my girlfriend I didn’t feel uncomfortable, even if she didn’t love me in the true sense of the word (and how could she?) Somehow she loved me but I felt that being with her was not what I really wanted and I was wondering how could so many other guys find sex so engaging, now I understand it and I find it engaging too, but the gay sex, but then I considered my gay impulses a kind of private perversion that must be repressed because it’s obvious that it’s wrong.

I miss so much to know other gay guys, not those of pride but of those like me, who may have also passed through straight experiences or even not, but gay guys with whom I can talk freely. Last night I felt strange because we talked about sexuality, that is gay sexuality, and I thought I would never have succeeded. I don’t hide that I was also affected by the fact of being too big to still have these problems, I told myself that at twenty, ok, it’s possible, but at 30, it’s impossible, I felt immature. There are many gay guys like me … it’s true, in fact it’s obvious, but I had always removed the idea of making the big jump and trying to understand what is “really” on the other side of the wall. I begin to think that on the other side of the wall there is a very normal world of real guys who live or try to live as they can, that is, in the best way with respect to the situation around them, which unfortunately doesn’t encourage gays.

The Gay Project environment is actually very different from the classic gay environments. I happened to be a bit on the chat, and a guy who had launched a sexual proposal was immediately kicked, just in two seconds time. This fact struck me a lot, I didn’t talk in the chat and I didn’t respond to the greeting because I didn’t want to talk but I followed the conversation and it was very far from those of other gay chats, then I decided to send you the mail, well, I didn’t even expect an answer, but you answered less than half an hour later and after an hour we were on msn. I must say that I was impressed by the whole tone of the conversation, very simple and very direct. We talked all night and I apologize for it, but it was worth it. Now, if I think I’m gay, I feel less strange, it doesn’t seem to me like a perversion, it really struck me when you said that being gay is a way of loving, it’s true! But I never put it this way.

You made me think about another fundamental thing, that is prevention. Frankly such things can be easily underestimated because one is led to think that are very distant things that can happen only to others, I believe that I will treasure what I learned yesterday when I fall in love with a guy and I hope it would happen soon, because now I begin to see it as something that could also happen even if it still seems to me a distant thing. Me with a boyfriend? Well, such a thing a few months ago would have put me in crisis, but now I think I would very much like it.

You insisted a lot on loving each other and I didn’t expect it, I always saw sex between two guys as something that is done especially for oneself and not as a form of shared tenderness. Project, all right, I don’t do it too long, I think I’ll send you some more mail if you have the patience to answer me. The Project is truly a unique thing!

Andrew N.


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Hi Project,

I don’t know if you are a real person or a group of people, I will do as if you were a person. Meanwhile, thank you for creating the blog, but I must tell you now that gay things for me have a strange taste, I’m quite full of complexes about these things and even now, as an old man, I’m upset by a lot of strange and absurd thoughts. I don’t know if I’m really gay, I don’t even know if I want to be gay, I’m sure that in the things of sex I lived the life of a pathological case, a neurotic man who never managed to find his balance. That said, you certainly didn’t understand anything, so it’s worth it to tell you what happened. I would like you to put my story on the blog, but if you don’t want it I can understand you. In any case I would like to receive your answer.

I was born in Northern Italy, in Veneto, and then there was really hunger in those places. My parents were farmers and I was the only surviving child. My older brother had died in the war and after the elementary school in the country, my parents had to decide whether to send me to the middle school (with Latin and aimed at the continuation of studies) or to the job placement school (allowing immediate access to work without continuing education). My parents had little money but they made a huge effort to send me to the middle school, to make me study and give me more possibilities. I thank them for this because my economic tranquility of today is the result of their choice.

I did the first and second class of the middle school in a town near my country. I had to get up very early in the morning to get the bus, my mother washed and stretched my shirt every day, because I only had two shirts and at school I had to go well dressed, she also polished my shoes, dad lined my books and made me find good things to eat, which were chestnuts or figs, according to the season. There was the Latin in the middle school and for me it was a big obstacle, but there was the parish priest, Don Antony, who gave me lessons in the afternoon and had me do all my homework. The other guys in my classroom were all from rich or at least middle-class families, but then I didn’t realize it. When there were meetings with the professors Don Antony went there instead of my parents, and I didn’t understand why, but my parents didn’t show up for fear of making me look bad, because they didn’t speak Italian well and their hands were ruined by the work in the country side. My dad had only finished elementary school and my mother hadn’t even finished it.

Despite everything, at school I did not have serious problems of adaptation, the professors were very demanding but I had a certain desire to study and with the help of Don Antony, who had half a mind to send me, later, in the seminar, I managed to I pass quite well.

In the summer of 57 I lost both my parents because of a typhoid fever that the doctor couldn’t cure and I found myself, at 13, practically alone in the world. I was entrusted to a brother of my mother, Uncle Battista, who lived in a small village in the mountains and had the animals in a mountain pasture. If I went to stay with Uncle Battista, who was also old, widower, and had no children, I could not continue to study. The uncle told me that I could either go to the seminary in Vicenza or go to boarding school in Rome, in a school that Don Antony knew. I didn’t want to go to the seminary absolutely and chose to go to Rome, where I had never been. They signed me to school and Uncle Battista took charge of paying the fee, which should not have been so low, because I would have eaten and slept in that boarding school.

Don Antony accompanied me to Rome and introduced me to the Rector of the school, to tell the truth a little shabby, but clean, it was a convent of friars, there was the church, but there were few friars, no more than seven or eight, all old. The boarding school was run by the prefect friar, who was hardly ever seen, all the internal organization was entrusted to young people, university students, whom we called little prefects, they were guys who were in college without paying because in practice they were working with us, paying attention to us, they were the ones who followed us during the hours of study and they made us do our homework, they watched us in the afternoon, during meals, and at night they slept in their small rooms, one next to each dormitory, to control the discipline. In general, they didn’t care so much about us because they had a lot to study for their university exams.

I was new in the boarding school, my comrades had known each other for two years. The school was not bad, all professors were laymen, basically retired teachers of state schools, they were all old but good and they spent their souls to make us learn things. I still remember some professors. The professor of mathematics to which I owe my interest in this subject, in which I was very good, the professor of Italian and Latin who told us the stories of Iliad and Odyssey reciting as in the theater and also the gym teacher who practically made us do premilitary gymnastics, as at the time of fascism. The first days I was fine and I wrote it to Don Antony, who sent me a letter every week, but as early as mid-October I began to see strange things.

There were some boys who disappeared from the study hall and no one knew where they ended up and then they came back half an hour later, I was totally naïve at that time, I didn’t know anything about sex, I had not yet discovered masturbation and they could tell me anything that I would have believed it. The other boys, who didn’t know me, tended to put me aside and keep me out of their secrets, but it did not take me long to realize that in the boarding school there was an invisible, underground life.

For an internal rule, the dorms were distinguished by years of school, so as to keep the children of different ages separate. We saw the students of the sixth and seventh grade only at breakfast, at lunch, at dinner and on special occasions, for example in church, but the recreation was done for separate groups, so in practice I could only get familiar with the boys of the eighth grade.

At the time I was a nice guy for my age, but I was very delicate and very polite. After the first weeks of school one of the boys, one of the most respected little bosses, began to call me “man-woman” and to make jokes that at first I didn’t even understand, like; “You are a man, not your sister!” Then the idea that I was the man-woman began to spread among all my comrades.

One day, during the hours of study, one of the boys approached the little prefect for an explanation of mathematics, the little prefect told him that he was studying letters and that if he wanted to, he could go to another little prefect who was studying engineering in his room. The boy came back to the study room after about half an hour all blushed and disheveled, it was there that I had the first suspicion that the half hours of absence of some boys were not dedicated to receive school explanations. But it was only an impression, I said nothing and everything went on as before.

One evening, before going to sleep, when the little prefect was not there, the little bully boss, who was called Silvan, approached me and gave me a caress and then put his hands in the middle of my legs and said: “it’s just to see if you’re a man or a woman!” I felt my face burn, I wanted to go to the little prefect to report it but Silvan told me: “Go go! So he also will give you a good check!” And laughed.

Over time they told me that one of the little prefects, the one of engineering, in practice the one of our dorm, had sex with the boys of the eighth grade. With me he never tried such things because I didn’t give him confidence, but according to the stories of others, with those who gave him rope he let himself go right. He was a nice guy, I wanted, maybe, that it happened with me, but at the same time I was afraid and nothing happened.

The first really bad things happened to me just before Christmas holidays. The boys were abandoned to themselves, the little prefects were almost all gone for Christmas holidays, except our little prefect, the one of engineering. I make it short because, even if so many years have passed, such things cause me a little repulsion. In short, four guys block me on the bed, they lower my trousers and pants, and Silvan tries to penetrate me, let’s say he makes the move, I scream, but they put a handkerchief in my mouth and then they are four guys and I don’t have the strength to oppose. There was no penetration but the humiliation was terrible. Silvan told me: “Now you understand what will happen to you if you don’t do everything we want!” At that moment, if I could I would have killed him.

After that I keep them at a distance, I show myself as little as possible, but things cannot go on like this. If I had not done anything I would have become the laughing stock of Sivan and his gang and the violence would have been repeated.

I think about it a lot, but in the end I have no other solutions, I take the courage in my hands and I go to talk with our little prefect (the one of engineering), who listens to me, he’s frightened above all by the idea that I go to speak with the Rector, and it’s evident, he tries to reassure me and then we come to a compromise that I never expected from him but that, at the same time, put me safe and exposed me to the worst insults from my classmates. In practice, the prefect would have slept in my dormitory bed and I in his, in his locked room. This whole thing happened, obviously without the true prefect of the college knowing anything about it and the boys had to tolerate everything, if they had not done so, what they had done to me would come out. Then, to keep quiet my comrades, who would kill me, I ended up accepting that the little prefect would come to sleep in his little room too. Of course, afterwards, my comrades considered me just as a whore.

About the engineering little prefect I heard the worst things: that he undressed the boys, was competing with them to see who had the biggest dick and used to beat them to get sexual performances and similar things and some guys swore it was true and that it had happened to them, but the little prefect, with me had never tried such things.

One day, while I was in his room I start to rummage and between the mattress and the bed base I find a package with some letters, I read them, they are directed to a guy but they are love letters and also hot. I think then that all my comrades say about him is true and I start to be afraid.

And here I did something I’m still ashamed of today, I told one of my comrades about the little prefect’s letters, and he tried to push me to steal the letters to have him in hand and maybe to take them secretly to the Rector. I didn’t do this thing, it seemed infamous and then I liked the little prefect and I didn’t want him to be fired or maybe I wanted to have him in my hand. But now another boy knew about the letters and soon everyone would know and the letters would have been stolen by others, then I entered the little prefect’s room, I took them, and I hid them somewhere else (in church).

When the little prefect came back I said I had to talk to him and I told him that the boys knew about his letters, I saw him paling at that thought, but I also told him that I had made the letters disappear and that they were hidden in a safe place, where no one would find them. He wanted them back but I didn’t give them to him and I told him I had read them. He looked at me petrified but I told him that he had nothing to fear because he had behaved well with me, then I told him about all the things I had heard about him and asked him if they were true. He admitted having done some sex games with the boys but only consensual things and he swore it to me. I told him about what Silvan and his gang had done to me and he told me that they didn’t do it for sex but only to inflict a terrible humiliation on another boy, and then he asked me if I liked guys, I thought about it and I honestly replied that I didn’t know it and he told me: What a pity! Then he realized that he had said something stupid and apologized and after many hesitations asked me where the letters were and I told him but I asked him to leave them there because they were safe, maybe he could go and see that there they really were, but I wanted him to leave them there and he did so.

The story of the little prefect however ended badly and perhaps it was my fault. The boy to whom I had talked about the letters, went to report the matter to the Rector. The little prefect denied everything, I was called as a witness, I swore the false and said that my comrade had invented everything. The facts were not proven, but the Rector didn’t want to know reasons and the little prefect was kicked out, or rather removed for reasons of opportunity, a few months before his graduation exams. Before he left, he secretly took up the letters and warned me that he had taken them.

The new prefect was an emeritus imbecile. In the last months before the exams I suffered from the gang of Silvan harassment and violence of all kinds, and this time, since they had to avenge on me that I had been the “favorite of the fag” I really suffered sexual violence by Silvan and another boy. [- omissis -] The feeling of repulsion was total, I will not tell you how I felt after, I still carry inside myself the memory of that scene because that was not sex but only violence like the beasts and even worse. My classmates were 14 years old and in the end I cannot hate them or wish them death, because they didn’t even understand what they were doing.

In short, afterwards I was obsessed with those memories for decades and my sex life was ruined. The memory of the little prefect instead was positive, then I understood: he was really a gay guy, and I liked him well, he had not behaved like an asshole, but the idea that I could be gay just because of the violent initiation I suffered, ruined my life. I’m not married and I don’t have a partner, I’m alone, and absurd as it seems, gay sex seems repugnant to me, but I don’t know, don’t really know, if this happens because of the violence suffered, but I think so.

Anyone who uses sexual violence on another person kills that person inside, kills the dignity, the certainties of that person, dirties his/her sexuality forever. The boys should receive a serious education and learn the true respect of others, but unfortunately, even if fifty years have passed, we are still very far from all this.

Thanks Project, at least I vented a bit.


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