EXPERIENCES OF A MARRIED GAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m anxious for your answer.

__________

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

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TORQUATO TASSO HOMOSEXUAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Tasso wrote to Scipio Gonzaga:

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

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

On May 9, 1576, Tasso writes to Scalabrino:

Luca Scalabrino. – Rome. 1576

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Luca Scalabrino – Rome, Date December 14, 1576

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

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

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

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

A Luca Scalabrino. – Rome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LITTLE ENTHUSIASTIC HETERO? AND IF I WAS GAY?

Dear Project,

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

Perplexed

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

MANUAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY

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

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CHAPTER 1 – UNDERSTANDING TO BE GAY

Let’s start with a concrete example.

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

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

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

Now we go further with exemplification.

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

Let’s analyze the example.

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

But let us proceed with the examples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAYS AND SEXUALITY EDUCATION

In recent days I have had the opportunity to carefully examine a very interesting document of the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization (Federal Centre for Health Education), entitled STANDARDS FOR SEXUALITY EDUCATION IN EUROPE.

The document was published in 2010 and, after presenting an overview of sex education in Europe, defines the standards that should be followed for sexuality education as they went through the maturing of sex education activities already in operation in Europe and throughout the scientific contributions of the many disciplines involved.

Reading this document has led me to reflect on the enormous need for sexuality education and the response of public institutions, essentially nothing, at least in Italy. Sexuality education is effectively delegated to the peer group, religious institutions, and even now on a large scale, to pornography.

A serious sexuality education, built on the basis of information coming from specialists in various disciplines, independent from religious teachings and respecting sexual rights of people is one of the pillars for the improvement not only in the situation of homosexuals but for the increase in personal and collective well-being of all. I emphasize that sexuality education should be compulsory and independent from religious teachings, in the sense that parents should not be allowed for any reason to ask for exemption of children from participation in educational activities, because this would be a violation of the rights of children in the name of parents’ convictions.

Many young guys, gay guys and not only ,have got to experience the absolute lack of preparation of teachers in imparting a serious sex education and even the presence of prejudices and discriminatory attitudes. Contents of sexuality education are often conveyed through other disciplines on the basis of personal feelings of teachers and with no scientific basis, many have found that religion classes often result in areas of indirect sexuality education. A serious sexuality education could have a strong social impact, not only in reducing sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and teenage bullying, but in improving the sexual and emotional relatedness of people in enabling them to make their own choices on the basis of objective scientific information, promoting an attitude of serenity toward sexual pleasure, to increase self-esteem and sense of responsibility. The fact that sexuality becomes, for groups of teenagers and sometimes also adults, an object of ridicule and jokes is a sign of immaturity in dealing with these issues.

The document to which I have referred, precisely because it is open to all, prepares a draft of a general nature.

This post is a concrete proposal. I invite you to read the document and report your past and present need for sex education. You can add a comment to this post or send a mail to gayproject@ymail.com

In particular, I invite you to report on:

1) the sexuality education you received and from what sources.

2) the sexuality education ay school.

3) what did you miss most in terms of sexual education.

Of course you can write what you think better even beyond these indications. I will try to summarize what gradually emerges from the discussion to define guidelines for sexuality education useful to non-heterosexual and to avoid discrimination.

The intention is to define standards for sexuality education related to non-straight people.

As a first contribution, I reproduce below the cap. 2 of the mentioned document, from which I extract three definitions that can be the basis for the next job.

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2. SEXUALITY. SEXUAL HEALTH AND SEXUALITY EDUCATION – DEFINITIONS AND CONCEPTS

The concepts of sex, sexuality, sexual health and rights, and directly related concepts are to some extent interpreted differently in different countries or cultures. If translated into other languages, they may again be understood differently. Some clarification of the way these concepts are used here is therefore needed.

In January 2002, the World Health Organization convened a technical consultation meeting as part of a more comprehensive initiative, which aimed at defining some of those concepts, because there were no internationally agreed definitions. This resulted in working definitions of the concepts of sex, sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights.

Although these definitions have not yet become official WHO definitions, they are available at the WHO website, and they are increasingly being used. In this document, they are likewise used as working definitions.

“Sex” refers to biological characteristics that define humans generally as female or male, although in ordinary language the word is often interpreted as referring to sexual activity.

“Sexuality” – as a broad concept, “sexuality” is defined in accordance with the WHO working definitions as follows:

“Human sexuality is a natural part of human development through every phase of life and includes physical, psychological and social components […]”.

A more comprehensive definition suggested by WHO reads as follows.

“Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.”

For a number of reasons, this definition is very useful. It stresses that sexuality is central to being human; it is not limited to certain age groups; it is closely related to gender; it includes various sexual orientations, and it is much wider than reproduction. It also makes clear that “sexuality” encompasses more than just behavioural elements and that it may vary strongly, depending on a wide variety of influences. The definition indirectly indicates that sexuality education should also be interpreted as covering a much wider and much more diverse area than “education on sexual behaviour”, for which it is unfortunately sometimes mistaken.

“Sexual health” was initially defined by WHO in a 1972 technical meeting, and reads as follows:

“Sexual health is the integration of the somatic, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love”.

Although this definition is rather outdated, it is still often used.

During the WHO technical consultation in 2002, a new draft definition of sexual health was agreed upon. This new 2002 draft definition reads:

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”

This draft definition emphasizes not only the need for a positive approach, the essential aspect of pleasure, and the notion that sexual health encompasses not just physical, but also emotional, mental and social aspects. It also alerts the user to potentially negative elements, and for the first time it mentions the existence of “sexual rights” – two issues which were almost absent in the 1972 definition. Also, those potentially negative elements are not focused upon as is often the case in HIV and AIDS literature on the subject. In short, it is a balanced definition.

Sexual health is one of five core aspects of the WHO global Reproductive health strategy approved by the World Health Assembly in 2004. It should be stressed that WHO has, since the early 1950s, defined and approached “health” in a very broad and positive manner, referring to it as a “human potential” and not merely the absence of disease, and including not only physical, but also emotional, mental, social and other aspects. For these latter reasons, it is felt that the WHO definitions are acceptable and useful starting points for discussing sexuality education. Thus in this document the term “sexual health” is used, but this includes the meaning and notion of ”sexual well-being”. Sexual health is not only influenced by personal factors, but also by social and cultural ones.

Sexual rights – embracing especially the right to information and education. As mentioned before, the 2002 WHO meeting also came up with a draft definition of sexual rights, which reads as follows.

“Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

 the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services;

 seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;

 sexuality education;

 respect for bodily integrity;

 choose their partner;

 decide to be sexually active or not;

 consensual sexual relations;

 consensual marriage;

 decide whether or not, and when, to have children; and

 pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

The responsible exercise of human rights requires that all persons respect the rights of others.”

Although this is only a draft definition, it is used as a starting point in this document, because it is felt that the elements included here have a broad support base throughout Europe. Furthermore, it is important to note that in this definition the right to information and education is explicitly included.

A note of caution is needed here, however. Clearly, some of the rights mentioned have been conceived with adult persons as the point of reference. This means that not all of those rights are automatically applicable to children and adolescents. For example, it is clear that issues like consensual marriage or right to decide on childbearing do not yet apply to children or young adolescents.

The right of the child to information has also been acknowledged by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was conceived in 1989 and has since been ratified by the vast majority of States. It clearly states the right to freedom of expression and the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds (Article 13); Article 19 refers to States’ obligation to provide children with educational measures to protect them, inter alia, from sexual abuse.

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In summary, we can adopt the following definitions that conform to the recommendations of the World Health Organization:

DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS

“Sex” refers to biological characteristics that define humans generally as female or male, although in ordinary language the word is often interpreted as referring to sexual activity.

“Human sexuality is a natural part of human development through every phase of life and includes physical, psychological and social components […]”.

“Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.”

“Sexual health is the integration of the somatic, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love”.

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”

“Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services;

 seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;

 sexuality education;

 respect for bodily integrity;

 choose their partner;

 decide to be sexually active or not;

 consensual sexual relations;

 consensual marriage;

 decide whether or not, and when, to have children; and

 pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

The responsible exercise of human rights requires that all persons respect the rights of others.”

__________

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GAY SEXUALITY AND ANXIETY

This article is aimed at defining the relationship between gay sexuality and anxiety on the basis of the experience gained in Gay Project.

The issues related to sexuality are dealt in general with specific categories different from that used for all other issues. The first reaction, or rather the first public reaction, is demonstrated by smiles, winks, jokes, all attitudes based on the apparent uniformity of the points of view, which is equivalent to saying that “everybody knows how these things go!”

It is difficult, in public, to go beyond the level of formal uniformity. Sexuality is almost always conceived as a private matter, or in public, as a matter of ideology. Precisely for this reason the serious comparison of experiences beyond the limits of formal uniformity takes place in practice only between two people or in very limited groups. There is still a fear of being judged when it comes to sexuality and that’s why speech is, in public, on a very general level, and only in private can start a serious and useful dialog.

I would say that sexuality is the area in which the uniformity is experienced at the highest level. In a group of one hundred people chosen at random, political and cultural elements of all kinds emerge through discussion, but when it comes to sexuality the group seems made up of uniformly heterosexual persons, you may question some external behaviors but not heterosexuality in itself. I cite a concrete example: in a school with a thousand students there are on average eighty gay guys but no one of them can be identified.

The heterosexuality “seems” to dominate the horizon, but in reality, when you start knowing each individual member of the group, you realize that things are not so, that homosexuality exists and that it is not a phenomenon related to minimum minorities. If, going into the specifics, we talk exclusively with that 8% of homosexual population, we realize that those people are actually not only very far from sharing the general idea to be straight, but also that sexuality is still considered by them as a kind of taboo to be experienced only in secret and guilt, in essence, you realize that gay sexuality is often experienced with anxiety.

While 67.97% of heterosexual guys responded to the survey of Gay Project that they had never lived with anxiety the issues related to their sexual orientation, only 20.45% of gay guys gave the same answer.

Which points of reference can have a gay guy in terms of sexuality? The answers seem obvious, first the parents, then the peer group, then the educational system, etc. etc. . In fact it is already difficult for a straight guy to talk about sexuality with his parents, but for a gay guy the problem is often unsurpassable, not only he wouldn’t probably find on the other side a competent answer but he would face a significant risk of being rejected by his own family. The same could happen with the peer group (classmates, friends, etc.).

The education system in most cases is totally unprepared to provide serious answers in these areas. There are notable exceptions in the countries of Northern Europe but in southern European countries, mostly the United States and in almost all other states, not only there is no form of sex education that includes seriously also homosexuality, but in practice projects are reduced to convey some notion of reproductive physiology leaving entirely aside the emotional dimension and the psychological problems related to sexuality. I had to consider some of the projects of sexual education presented in Italy, aimed at young people aged 16 to 18 years, and I found not only the total absence of any reference to homosexuality, but even the total absence of any reference to masturbation, which is then, today, still a taboo also in the straight field.

To get a detailed picture of the situation we can use the statistics of Gay Project.

The following table compares the percentage of gay guys and straight guys who have never used sex chats or have never used dating sites.

                                        straight            gay
never sex chats             80.47%        61.14%
never dating sites         84.38%        53.14%

It is clear that gay guys do more use of gay sex chats and dating sites than straight guys but the reason does not lie in a greater propensity toward sex as fun or toward quick sex, it is instead a reaction entirely predictable to the marginalization to which gays are forced.

Another significant difference is in the reaction of gay guys and straight guys to the discovery of masturbation:

                                    straight           gay
I didn’t tell anyone       58.59%      80.57%
I told friends                35.94%      15.43%

It is clear that for a gay guy to talk about sexuality is much more problematic. The confidence in the group of peers for a gay guy, on average, is less than half of that of a straight guy.

A similar situation is found with the question “Have you ever told anyone that you used pornography?”

                                      straight        gay
I haven’t told anyone    36.72%    64.00%
I told friends                  56.25%    25.15%

Very significant is the comparison of the number of those who have never had sexual intercourse

                                         straight        gay
I’ve never had sex          32.03%     46.29%
mean age                       26.23         26.25

The overall picture shows that a gay guy has a lot more problems than a straight guy in talking about sexuality with his parents, with peers and at school, and then turns to sex chats and dating sites much more than a straight guy the same age, and also that a gay guy has much less chance to have sexual experiences compared to a straight guy.

Unfortunately, even though it is disheartening, the first source of information on sexuality, for gay guys, is the internet, and especially pornography and the environments of erotic chats and dating sites, which provide images that are often very far from the reality of the life of the vast majority of gay guys. Internet affects gay guys much more than it affects the straight guys. All this makes sexuality a taboo subject for gay guys much more than for straight guys.

I often talk in chat with gay guys having a picture of reality derived entirely from the internet, which means almost exclusively from pornography, sex chats and dating sites. Often these guys are not absolutely at ease with the models they have learned from pornography or chats and end up considering their attitude as something abnormal and deviant to be corrected and for this reason they strive to change their point of view. But if they knew the reality of the lives of other gay guys, they would realize that there’s anything to fix.

Issues related to performance anxiety are still common among gay guys and in these cases the erectile deficit is often considered by the guys themselves as their own personal problem to be solved through the complete acceptance of a pattern of behavior that falsely they consider as the rule of the gay world, but that is far from reality and instead derives almost exclusively from pornography.

There are guys with excellent level of culture and remarkable intellectual gifts that are dominated by anxiety related to the idea of having a small penis or of having problems with sexual response, things that doesn’t exist at all, except as a result of an attempt to integrate at any cost, that is forcedly, in a particular gay scene that they consider to be the typical expression of homosexuality.

There are guys who never use the word gay and avoid all matters relating to physical sexuality. The idea that gay guys can talk seriously even about oral sex or masturbation is still very scarcely spread. In reality, these things should not be considered in any way as a taboo because sexuality is an essential part of life for all guys. A good guy is not a good student who will make his way in life but to be a good guy should not have sex or should largely suppress his sexuality, no! A good guy is obviously (and it would be absurd to think otherwise) a guy who has his sexuality and has every right to live it in any way he likes, with the only limit of the respect of the freedom of others. A good guy lives his masturbation and couple sex when he has a partner, and it is essential that he lives these things with confidence and in a relaxed manner, without stupid conditioning, because sexuality is one of the pillars of well-being. In sexuality, more than in any other issue, the restriction of freedom has an impact heavily negative.

The idea that sexuality is a normal reality of life for all, which is not nothing to be ashamed of and that we can speak seriously of sexuality as we speak of all other things, is almost completely lacking, especially among gay guys.

In situations of isolation, that is in a condition where it is not possible or is very difficult to talk about contents related to sexuality, the anxious reaction prevails and behaviors can become risky. The self-esteem itself of a gay guy is often heavily influenced by the perception of his own sexuality as something that he can’t even speak about.

Addressing seriously the issues related to sexuality, putting aside the anxiety, means regaining self-esteem, reducing problems and maintaining a peaceful contact with reality, that is, in short, feeling better about themselves and others.

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

FROM PERPLEXED HETERO TO HAPPY GAY

Hello Project,
From some months now I follow Gay Project that is practically unique throughout the network and allowed me to understand many things and gave a serious answer to many questions.

My name is Max, I am 29 years old, luckily for me I have a good job, which is a rarity these days, and I live on my own in a small town in the northern Italy. To accept my being gay it took me so long, I had two girlfriends, the first story was a thing of little weight, but the second was important. I needed a rest, I felt alone, I was 26 years old when it started.

I was used to let myself go with this girl, at least a little, then I realized the reason but I didn’t realize at that time. I had sex with her, but in a very strange way, I never took the initiative, such things didn’t event come into my mind, she had to do everything, I abandoned myself just passively and she brought me to orgasm as well. The first few times, that’s what I understood later, it seemed important to me to have an erection with a girl because this drove away the fear of being gay. When I reached orgasm I fell a sense of disappointment, as if it were something completely stupid and in fact for me it was just a physical reaction. She was used to give great importance to the fact that I had reached orgasm, she felt really proud of that.

Only a very few times I’ve been to stimulate her, but she had to basically teach me everything because I had no idea of how a woman could get excited. I think that in general a 26 year old guy knows very well what to do to a woman but I did not know. She wanted me to try penetration but I never did, a little out of fear that she became pregnant and a bit because for me it was not a spontaneous thing. So, according to her, things were going very well and I was just a little clumsy but I knew that it was not the case and that I was forced, as you say, I was “doing an experiment” on myself to see if I could eventually adapt to living with a woman.

The fact of having sex with her, however, gave me the feeling of not being gay and things went on like this, and here comes my discovery of your blog, in fact I had then also another sex life, I masturbated but always just watching gay videos or making fantasies about guys I met at the gym. Frankly these things, then, hadn’t any great significance for me, I said to myself that it was to make comparisons just like, I think, all the straight guys do and then, after all, it didn’t even happen so often.

I never made fantasies about girls but then it seemed to me obvious and almost meritorious because I had a girlfriend who had sex with me. With my girlfriend I had a very special relationship because her parents didn’t even know that we were somehow in love, or at least I had not ever wanted them to know because, I think, subconsciously I was afraid of getting bound, instead friends knew, both her and mine and, after all, that my friends knew it, for me, was an important thing. I had told her about a lot of strange things, about why I didn’t want to marry her and didn’t even want to have children, all these things seemed absurd to her and she was quite sure that she could change my mind.

Sometimes I thought that she considered me as a person of very little importance and that she was only interested in me to involve me into her life in order to complete her project of life, however, I can say that sex between us had become a habit, we were together also to have sex and I liked it, or at least tolerated it, but then when it was over I forgot the whole thing and did not think about until the next time and basically I didn’t want it really. I remember that when we were together she was totally focused on sex on the contrary I was thinking about something else and I was wondering why I was having sex with her.

We weren’t used to talk about us, but always and only about her projects that in fact did not concern us as couple but our being a couple in the eyes of other people, we were talking about going here or there, doing this or that, nothing more. I was surprised that nevertheless she felt in love with me but I think she really felt.

A couple of years ago I happened by chance on Gay Project and I began to read. The more I read, the more I opened my eyes. At one point I said: but then I’m really gay! I was used to think that the fact that I had never done those things that are said to be typical of gay guys was a clear evidence that I was not gay, and in addition I had sex with a girl. Then by reading more and more your blog, this reasoning was beginning to seem absurd, I began to think to the fact that sexual fantasies are a serious matter and slowly, I can say, I started living that things with more awareness, but at most I could consider myself bisexual, that was the idea I had formed of me, but then that idea has been shattered, but I didn’t like the idea of being gay.

The forum helped me a lot, but now sex with my girlfriend had become a habit and frankly I thought it would be still better to have sex with a guy whom I fantasized about but I thought it was absolutely impossible for me as a concrete experience. Let’s say that I had reached a balance, a compromise, certainly unstable but reassuring.

Then three months ago things have changed, I met by accident a guy 21 y. o.. He came where I work and had some work problems to be solved, things were rather complicated and he asked me if I could help him. The way he asked me and his appearance made me come to a heart attack. I was enchanted. I had other work to do but I invited him to sit down and I closed the door. He began to tell me about various problems and I tried to find the best solution concentrating at most. Not all problems could be solved immediately, for some things we needed our attention and time.

We met again in the following days. We were experiencing more and more a wonderful climate. I went to work just to see that guy. I asked myself a lot of questions and he did the same thing. Slowly the atmosphere became very pleasant, he called at home to get information and always we ended up chatting about things that with the work had nothing to do. Both were trying to prolong the conversation as much as possible. It took a little to start a conversation less formal and more friendly, then came the first pizza together and the first evening spent talking in the car, then he asked me how I figured out and accepted it, I told him that everything happened without any problem, all came very natural, and he told me about himself and even that he had spent long nights to read blog posts of Project.

The day when we told each other everything was beautiful, I think it was something absolutely unique and I felt very happy. When I looked into his eyes and I saw his smile I was the happiest man in the world, I wanted to hug him but I did not have the courage neither had he, I was afraid that even the slightest physical contact could break the spell. We met for almost three months, and then he told me that it was his first time and he wanted to make love with me, I told him all my fears, insisting that I had a girlfriend although frankly I wanted to be with him only. With him, I could also talk about my sexual fantasies.

Sometimes it seemed impossible that a guy like him could be in love with me, but things were just so. I felt a sexual attraction to him but also a strong total tenderness, I loved him just as a person, he made me feel loved, made me feel that he loved me, trusted me completely, we were happy together and we are still. Project, what you write about gay affectivity is absolutely true. Recently, I spent two days with him and I do not think I could do without it.

It is two weeks that I no longer see my girlfriend, I could not tell her anything and in the end I’m sorry but I do not think she would understand. When we had the opportunity to talk about gay people she replied as one who takes no offense but with “them” just doesn’t want to have anything to do.

I believe that I have never been so happy as today. It is not a matter of sex, it’s that I feel just totally in love with this guy. In everything he does and says there never was a discordant note and such a guy is in love with me! Guys, before meeting him, I was convinced that my life would have been to have sex with a woman without any real involvement and act like I was in love with her, I thought I’d never have a boyfriend, I took it for granted, and then at age 29 the possibilities decrease, but no! As you say, Project, when you meet the right guy, life changes. And I love my boyfriend totally, I like him in every way, just as a person because he’s truly a good person, a honest guy who wants to love and be loved. I want to tell everyone, do not put in your head that love does not exist and you will not find it because when you least are waiting for him, a guy looks into your eyes and your life changes! A hug to everyone! And one very special to Project (now I really understand the deep meaning of what you said!)

Max

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