The characters are many but the story that makes up the central part of the book is a wonderful gay love story born by chance between Eric, a young American writer, and Yves, a French boy younger than him. Their story is not a tragedy, it is not a story of loneliness, no! It’s a true love story and it’s a love story that ends well. Eric meets Yves shortly after the war, they both know very well that their life will no longer be the same as before. The atmosphere is of tenderness, of mutual respect, of profound love. Eric returns to America and Yves sends him a sweet letter and after a while follows him to the United States. Yves arrives at the Los Angeles airport and Eric waits for him. When the boy crosses the gates with the agitation in his heart, he knows that he has arrived in the city (Los Angeles) in which the inhabitants of paradise (the Angels) had set their home! And with this metaphor the book ends. But this love story is not a fairy tale, Yves loves Eric but knows that sooner or later he will need to feel free even by Eric, to be himself; also Eric is aware of all this, he knows that sooner or later, in a more or less distant future, Yves will leave, he will have to leave to follow his path, but this fact will not lead Eric to abandon Yves to his destiny to look for a another boy, Eric will love him in a total way even knowing that at some point he will lose it, because, as Baldwin says, in love there is nothing to decide but everything to accept. This consideration has always seemed sublime to me.
In practice, the relationship between Eric and Yves is an example of true non-possessive gay love. I would like to point out that very often gays have in mind a gay couple model derived from heterosexual marriage. In the case of the gay couple, since the law in Italy doesn’t contemplate gay unions, there are no strong legal guarantees of the stability, at least formal, of the relationship, but the double assumption remains that the couple must be destined to last forever and it must necessarily be exclusive, that is, in essence, it must stand on a real pact between two guys who are bound by mutual fidelity and the indissolubility of the relationship, this at least seems a priori to be the most desirable condition.
The story told by Baldwin is, instead, an example of a spontaneous relationship of love on the basis of which no explicit or tacit agreements of any kind are taken for granted, in essence of a true non-possessive love, without any external constraint. Demanding a guarantee of fidelity and duration means not realizing that at the base of every relationship of love there are feelings and feelings are not coercible or binding in any way.
Let us ask ourselves now what are the most typical manifestations of sexuality, which are based on a true affective dimension. Here the problem becomes complex and we come to the conclusion that in reality an affective dimension, however tenuous, always exists at the base of sexuality. It can be an absolutely equal and uncompromising love like that of Maurice and Scudder and even without any prerequisite of durability or exclusivity like that of Eric and Yves, but at the basically even the half-love of Clive for Maurice was born in a spontaneous way and implied, at least at the beginning, a real emotional involvement of Clive towards Maurice. Love, in itself, when it is born, is born with an enormous emotional potential, but sometimes on this basis, the reasoning, which is no longer emotional transport, takes over and so the logic of giving and having, the convenience, the balance of risks and benefits start to become the substitute for love and the emotional dimension goes into the background or ends up being completely canceled.
Gay love absolutely equal and unconditional exists in the novels, as an archetype, as an inspiring principle, but when you compare yourself with reality you understand that nobody is perfectly Maurice or perfectly Eric and that in all of us, in various ways and degrees, we hide a bit of Clive, and that true feelings always coexist, at various levels, with other motivations.
I would like to immediately say that the other motivations are not necessarily utilitarian and opportunistic as those of Clive and are often spontaneous and totally unconscious. Speaking with the guys, sometimes I hear expressions like ”I want to try to stay with a guy”, this expression is a sign of emotional immaturity, that is, of not being ready to understand the meaning of couple life. The speech needs to be deepened. A guy’s sexuality develops and structures itself through individual masturbation well before a couple’s relationship is reached. Masturbation, through the fantasies that accompany it, allows a guy to prefigure the future couple sexuality, but masturbation has the intrinsic limit of being a substantially individual activity even if projective, in which a guy confronts himself only with his imagination, it is precisely for this reason that masturbation is generally very gratifying, because one must compare with himself only.
A boy who arrives at the first experiences of falling in love can easily find himself in traumatic situations in which his sexual fantasy has to deal with the reality of confrontation with the other. The experience of falling in love is in itself completely different from that of masturbation, contains inherent the risk of a real emotional contact with another guy, which involves a whole series of problems that in masturbation are solved at the level of fantastic projections; whereas when the guy falls in love these problems must be dealt with on a real level. It is about declaring or not declaring one’s feelings, about uncertainty on the other guy’s sexual orientation, about the type of relationship that can be created, about the way to proceed, about the times and the limits of the relationship.
However, one thing remains clear, when one falls in love with another, the relationship is essential beyond any a priori conception of a couple life. Falling in love has a deep emotional dimension and, for a young boy, it has a fundamental formative value, it is an emotional involvement that touches all aspects of personality and brings a boy into a truly new dimension. For some elements, such as having an erection when you are close to the guy you love or simply when you think of him or masturbating thinking about that guy, falling in love develops in continuity with the feelings previously experienced in masturbation, and the masturbation itself is now used by the guy in love mostly to relive experiences and to project in his mind images all focused on the figure of the beloved guy, but falling in love also has an absolutely new and determining dimension non-strictly sexual: the presence of the beloved one is strongly felt and a strongly altruistic affective component begins to manifest, which is the essential component of falling in love.
You realize that you love another guy, that you want his good, that a single smile can be precious and that ultimately the affective interest is addressed to the person of the other as a whole. This type of experience greatly favors the maturation of a guy and makes him try, beyond the strict sexuality, what love is and indeed makes him see sexuality not as an end but as a means for the realization of the good of the other, respecting the times and the real needs of the other.
What does it mean to fall in love? Falling in love means finding in another guy some true deep consonances, not always and not only in the sense of finding similar interests or analogous ways of thinking but often, even if unconsciously, in finding analogous ways of suffering, analogous reasons of unease, similar attempts to escape difficulties, I would say analogous forms of despair when that level is reached. At the base of love there is essentially the sharing of discomfort and the possibility of finding a dialogue, even non-verbal, precisely on discomfort. If this dialogue is honest and we realize that it is equally important for the other, the prejudices fall and we question our ways of being, we are willing to change ideas, to follow the other on his way, to recognize the superficiality of our way of seeing things.
The speeches of principle, the assumptions taken for granted, the presuppositions that seemed obvious to us, leave the field to the idea of making the other feel good, beyond any condition and any assumption, we realize that the other has a his intimate coherence, that his reasons have a meaning that goes beyond our assumptions and even beyond our assumptions of principle, that his weaknesses are very similar to ours and that a serious comparison between people who love each other is not a comparison between ideologies or between abstract positions, it is not a comparison of presuppositions but a trying to understand the reasons of the other by accepting to put aside one’s own or those that are believed to be their one’s own.
Falling in love means understanding the reasons of the other, that is, going out of our own strictly individual dimension. Falling in love one must recognize the profound dignity of the other behind his behavior, that is he must understand the dignity and meaning of those behaviors beyond appearances. Understanding the other is not a question of intelligence but a question of love, because love leads to recognize the profound consonance between two people, which often manifests itself in their common way of suffering. If there is something in the other that you do not understand, it means that you are not in love with him.
When you fall in love, the other person’s way of being is transparent before your eyes so that you can understand its deep motivations and share them, you also feel them as they were yours and don’t judge them anymore. What does sex have to do with all this? Sex, by itself, can express a deep love, when even sex becomes a profound way of communicating. A hug communicates more than a thousand words. But sex is a form of love when it is really lived together, in conditions of perfect equality, I insist on this idea, I mean that the presence of attitudes of closure, of misunderstanding of the reasons and moods of the other, the attitudes of instrumentalization of the other, at any level, prevent one from experiencing a sexuality that is truly a form of love.
Having other reasons, besides those that are recognized in the other, means having prejudices, mental reservations, means setting conditions for an interpersonal exchange that should be without conditions. The basic presupposition of every form of love is the recognition of the authentic human dimension and at the same time of the ”fragility” that characterizes the loved one, because only in the context of this authentic human dimension and at the same time ”fragile” the apparent inconsistencies in the behavior of the other find a meaning and a positive value beyond any assumption and any theoretical model.
I’m 22 years old, I think I have always felt gay, even if in practice it’s only three months now that I have definitively put aside the idea of being heterosexual. In this, your forum has played an important role in helping me overcoming fears, because my refusal came from the negative idea I had of homosexuality. In fact, gay project is a unique thing on the web and reading it every day I realized that I feel very close to the guys who write there and there is another thing, that I see that being gay in the end doesn’t mean being condemned to loneliness, that is to say it doesn’t necessarily mean to remain without friends, I speak of gay friends, nor without a love. My life, if I put aside the sex, it would not be so bad, in June I’ll take the first degree in a scientific discipline and then I’ll have to do the masterly degree but it seems a quite quiet road, maybe, afterwards, finding work will be much more complicated but, for a few years more, I just have to go on my way that is already defined.
I have two parents who love me and I think they are smart people. I never thought about coming out with them because until a few months ago I was not even totally convinced that I was gay and I didn’t like the word at all, then I got used to it and now it feels like a common word or even a nice word, at the limit, also a good thing because, I cannot hide it, I like guys, I don’t look at girls, it doesn’t come naturally, while a nice guy, especially a sweet guy, with a beautiful smile, sends me into ecstasy. As for sex my interests have always been directed towards guys even if until now in practice there has been no chance because I don’t even know how to behave, shortly, if about a guy you don’t even know if he’s gay or not, you have to be very careful about how you behave. Now, frankly, I don’t think I will speak about my sexuality with my parents and not out of fear or anything but because I think that such things are only my own things and that I must find my way alone.
Reading the forum I discovered that there are a lot of guys like me, I’m gay, of course, but I’m above all myself, I don’t identify with my being gay, or at least I don’t think that life can be reduced to a single common denominator . I’m a believer, but this is another story that creates many problems because I don’t like to keep a foot in both camps, but then, maybe, about religion we will speak in private (if you want to give me your msn). At the moment I still cannot think of sex in a totally positive way, that is, without feeling upset and without feelings of guilt, it’s a bit, I think, the consequence of my religious education and I don’t hide that reading what you write I thought that about this I’m still far behind and that I try to sublimate a lot, to take things a lot on an emotional level, eliminating as far as possible the most direct sexual implications.
Will I ever be able to stay with a boyfriend sexually? I really don’t know and I have to say that it is probably this that curbs myself, I feel bound, inhibited, still very conditioned. With my parents, even as a child, I have never had an opportunity to talk about sex, I have never seen them in an attitude of tenderness, they are very rational and at least apparently detached from these things, even with me no effusions, i.e. our family behavior has always been a bit cold. And then there are many other problems, that is I don’t know if I’m up to it and how to behave with a guy, I cannot even imagine such things but at the moment I avoid to find myself concretely in front of the problem.
I have been neither able to live masturbation without problems and religion has a lot to do with this, I have already said that I don’t like to keep one foot in both camps but I don’t want to throw away all my previous life because I feel it as a value but I don’t want to talk about such things now. In practice I’m a bit in struggle with myself: have I to be 100% gay? I’m not talking about strange things but just having a guy and living a real couple life, or perhaps my being gay must be just a matter of fantasy? Because, if, at the end, I don’t feel like at all of really throwing myself into a relationship that I don’t feel really mine, what can I do? And if it goes wrong? If I then find a guy who looks a nice guy but then everything is different? If I didn’t want to stay with him feeling myself pressed by him, then wouldn’t it be better to be alone? Apart from the fact that I’m terrified of the diseases and even if you do the tests, as you say, in the end you would never be sure that he doesn’t behave at risk with others, and anyway it is not even a thing of risky behavior I would not bear to be betrayed and instead I think that something similar sometimes really happens.
At the university there is a beautiful guy, I have no doubt that he is straight because when he comes close to some girl he behaves tenderly, smiles, makes a lot of cuddling (also beautiful to see) but for this reason I’m quite angry, when he talks to me (because we speak a minimum), he takes on another tone, a loose tone, yes, but deliberately distracted, and he does it also with other guys. He’s not the guy of my dreams, even if he’s beautiful and also sexy, but sexy in a natural way, the guy of my dreams is another that I had met in the parish but now it he’s very far away, occasionally we meet outside, unfortunately he left his studies, I think more for economic reasons than anything else.
When we talk, I always try to insist on the fact that he should try to go back to university, where he also was fine and in a very difficult faculty. I would feel happy if this guy would resume his studies, with a single year he could finish the triennial course, he is very tempted and I think the family would do anything to let him go on. Unfortunately it doesn’t attend my faculty, otherwise I could have been useful in another way but he attends one of those very hard, he has a very strong attitude for studying and is also very smart.
Now he is working but he told me that he has not completely left the study and that he is still preparing a very important exam that he would like to take if he ever resumes his studies. This sentence made me immensely pleased because it means that he has in mind to actually restart attending university.
We live in a country 40 km from the city where there is the university and I told him that I would accompany him, both on the outward and on the return journey, and that we could have lunch together at the cafeteria. I had the impression that this speech pleased him. We meet on average once a week but when it happens, we are talking more than an hour and I think it pleases him, of course I’m pleased, there is an exchange of smiles that I like very much, apparently the speech is disengaged because we speak only of university and prospects for the future, yet it is very well. I don’t know how much he feels involved, but I feel him as the guy of my dreams, I feel like we’re already building something together and it could even be true! What does sex have to do with all this? Well, for me sex has to do with it, I cannot deny it, being close to him makes me feel a very strong sexual involvement. When we meet, I always fear that he has other things to do but it doesn’t happen and we usually talk for a while in a very serious way. I want to say that he tells me what he thinks even if we are talking only about things of study and of the future, I believe that a serious relationship has been created. He’s gay? I don’t know, I cannot even say whether I would rather he was gay or not, now I feel good this way, he’s a special friend, and it really is, I’m not imagining everything by myself.
Time will make me understand where we are going. Can you fall in love with someone you only see for an hour a week without even know if he’s gay? It happens to me and then so I can sublimate this thing just as I like it, I don’t feel forced to make decisions or do things that I don’t feel ready to do yet, or rather I hope that slowly with this guy things change both for him and for me and that we can get to discover slowly and together that we love each other and that what we want is just to be close one another. I must say, however, that all this reasoning so many times puts me in crisis because there is no objective basis, there are only some impressions that could be completely misleading. Am I sublimating too much? That is, I’m running away from reality and I’m trying to take refuge in the world of fairy tales that are beautiful but have nothing real?
Frankly I don’t know, now my mood is this, I feel in love, it is the first time that the life of another guy interests me in a deep sense, I feel like to love him. I know that you say that serious stories always begin reciprocally, but could not his reactions hide a reality very similar to mine? He never talks about girls, he is happy to talk to me, he feels encouraged and above all he smiles at me like no one else has ever done. Project, if you want to have a chat with me my msn is [omissis], I feel a bit stalled, I’m happy but I would like so much an explicit answer even if I’m the first not to speak clearly, I even thought of coming out with him, to tell him everything even if I felt totally uncertain. Thank you for your patience in reading this whole novel up to here. I’m waiting for your response. A hug.
Hello Project, I’m a twenty-two years old gay guy in practice I have always felt gay since I was a little boy, so to say, in a conscious and fairly accepted only for a few months now. I have had (so to speak) two girls, I haven’t even tried to have sex with them, I have been with them because everyone had a girl and basically if it is about going around, cinema and pizza with friends, I don’t mind having a girl, but some guys have a very strong appeal for me, talking without hairs on the tongue, I go into erection even if they are only close to me, with the girls nothing like that has ever happened. Ok, even if I know that being gay will make scorched earth around me, both in the family and with friends, in the end I cannot renounce sex to please my parents, and then the very idea of having sex with a woman I cannot even to conceive it, for me it is completely unnatural.
I think about guys very much in terms of sex, I masturbate only thinking about them, however, and here my concerns begin, I don’t have the courage to go further and try to fall in love, if it happens. I like sex and a lot, I imagine it, I work on sex with my imagination but I’m afraid of the guys. It’s obvious that they are almost all heterosexual and this hampers me very much because being put in public would put me in difficult situations and then there are diseases, and then, basically, I only have in mind my idea of sex, which doesn’t coincide with what I think most gays go looking for.
Here, this is the problem. I’m gay but the sex I find on gay porn sites is isn’t at all like the one I want and would experience, so I tell myself that maybe I’m not really gay because gays live sex in another way. If I can be clearer, for me the maximum of the sex with a guy is being together naked, being able to touch and masturbate each other, but spontaneously I cannot think of taking anything in the mouth (you understand) I think in the end I could do it but I’ve never had a fixed idea of such things, and then anal sex I don’t conceive it at all. Nothing ideological against those who practice it but it is something that not only doesn’t attract me but I think I would never get to do, neither as active nor as passive.
I collected a lot of porn videos (i.e. I stored the links) in which sexuality was exactly that one I like, but they are few, some videos are beautiful and I would like to relive it in reality, but the vast majority of gay videos are of a very different type and don’t excite me at all but I think they excite many other gay guys. Not having concrete experiences I don’t know how I would react in reality but I think I would need a guy who also resembled me from the point of view of sexual fantasies and I think I would not be able to have a relationship in which sexuality doesn’t match my fantasies . Do my fantasies have something unusual? I mean, do you think I’m not really gay? Please tell me it very clearly. Am I the classic white fly (or the classic black sheep) among gays? Do you think I have any chance of finding a gay guy with whom to build something really important? Sometimes I really fear that it will never happen and that my fantasies will remain only fantasies. If you want, publish this email, because I would like to know what the guys think about it.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-are-my-sexual-fantasies-gay