GAY SEX: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE PREVENTION

Hi Project,I’m a twenty-one year old guy from Northern Italy, lost in love with a guy a year younger (here I will call him Maxi and I will not explain why! But his name is not Max) who is also madly in love with me. You will tell me that if so, there is no problem and instead problems are many. 

He has had many adventures even with much older guys and with those guys he has done everything even without a condom. He told me these things a little bragging, because he does such things, but he put a thousand fears on me and also slowed me down a lot. I like him very much, that is, I get excited just even thinking about him, but I can’t put myself at risk, because until now I’ve never been with anyone and therefore I’m not afraid of having taken HIV, but if I have sex with him then there is the risk that I go into paranoia, and at the limit I could really get into trouble, and I don’t want to risk it because I’m not crazy. 

I made Maxi read a couple of Project articles on sexually transmitted diseases and he replied brutally: “It’s all bullshit! If everyone who fucks took HIV, the world would already be over.” I didn’t like this answer at all and it made me think even more that he had sex without a condom and that therefore I have to be very careful. You understand well that this thinking about the risk, which has insinuated between us, puts a lot of things in crisis. 

Since I have been with him, I struggle to keep him at a distance, I always try to meet him on the street and where there are people, he has insisted so much that I go to his house, so that we can be together and nobody can disturb us, but I never went there. He asked me to come himself to my house, but luckily there is always someone at my house, so from his point of view such a thing is not even thinkable. 

We did that little bit of sex only on cam, which is not a small thing, but it is clear that in person it’s completely different. I have a car and he doesn’t, and he has asked me many times to go out with him by car, but in the evening, not during the day, so he proposes me to go out just to have sex in the car and I have so far invented all the possible excuses to avoid such a situation, and such excuses in part were also true. 

Project, I keep him at a distance, but I really wouldn’t want to keep him at a distance, because by keeping him at a distance I risk losing him. Apart from what we do on cam, we spend hours on the phone and always in an erection, then, before ending the call, we come tu the end while we speak but each on his own, it’s not a small thing because I feel that he really participates, but I miss his physical presence very much and I think it’s the same for him. 

How long will all this last? Do you think that he could accept to take the test? Or do you think he would consider me a pathological case, a guy obsessed by the fear of diseases? However, in the end it would be the only way to get rid of fears. If not, what can we do? Just touching each other together, well, maybe it would be fine for me, but for him I think it wouldn’t be enough. He is not a guy of those who love pampering and have little sex, he really needs sex physiologically. What to do? Let the guard down on HIV and then face the consequences? But it’s an idea that I really don’t like. Or should I stop him when we’re together and it comes to his mind to go beyond the safety limits? But if I do this, I also hurt myself and above all he could send me to the hell. Or have I to continue to pretend without speaking clearly as I have done so far? But that seems cowardly to me. 

I’m afraid of losing him but I can’t even think that in order not to lose him I have to accept to take risks, I could agree to limit myself only to things not at risk, but it wouldn’t be fine for him and basically not even for me. Sometimes it gets on my nerves that he is so superficial about these things, he used to spend hours on dating sites, he says he doesn’t do it now, but I’m not so sure. On his phone I found that famous app and I told him to remove it, he told me he no longer uses it and he thought it would end there, but I insisted, he was in a good mood and took it off, but he can download it again whenever he wants. 

However, it bothers me that he puts his very private photos into circulation, there aren’t too much problems for the family jewelry, but you can’t put your face on such sites, because otherwise they’ll recognize you on the street and you’ll become the laughing stock of the town. When I tell him these things he laughs and reminds me that we got to know each other precisely through that app and now I try to keep him away from that same app. 

Anyway, I don’t think he cheats on me, because we spend so much time on the phone doing our things that he has very little time left to think about other stories, he spends his time studying because he is also very good at university, he takes all high grades and he never reproaches me even if he could easily do it, because I’m not as good as he is, but I too study and take my exams. He doesn’t boast that he is better than me and this is a point in his favor, but there are several others, first of all he makes me laugh, that is, he puts me in a good mood, he is never in a bad mood, he smiles at everyone and he enchants with a smile, and furthermore he doesn’t forget the commitments he made with me, if he says one thing, you can take it for granted that he puts it in practice. A very important thing is that he doesn’t tell lies, sometimes he tells me things I would prefer not to hear but he tells me everything all the same even at the risk of losing face, because he doesn’t tell lies. 

He doesn’t talk about his family well or badly, he never talks about it and he never talks about money, he doesn’t wear designer clothes or expensive clothes, he’s a normal guy and I like that very much. He is not gone mad with psychology as a guy I had known before, who as soon as you opened your mouth used to psychoanalyze you starting from three words. He really used to think he was able to understand people just by looking at them, but I didn’t allow him to make fun of me this way. 

Maxi doesn’t behave like another guy I had also known who told me that he was gay and used to swore in front of the girls that he was straight, I don’t know what he really was but I didn’t really like him not even physically. Maxi doesn’t say bad words, blasphemies and things like that, he also talks about sexual things but in a polite way even if very direct, then a very important thing: he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink and obviously he never took drugs, he doesn’t go to the disco hunting for guys or rather he doesn’t go there anymore, according to what he says. He is sporty but not mad for sports, he goes swimming once a week but, in spite of everything, he has had his experiences and this irritates me a little even if maybe it’s just envy. 

But now my problem is to make him take the test, which then, if he does it, and if after the opportunity happens, at least he would think twice before doing some big bullshit. With health he feels invincible, he takes it for granted that he is fine and will always be fine while getting into serious trouble is very easy. I would like to propose to him to take the test together just as an aut aut condition, if he doesn’t accept it then it means that he doesn’t care about me at all and it is better that I give him up, if he accepts it, we can take the test together in order to be really free. I never thought that I would have had this type of problem, I always thought that I would find a guy like me at the first experience and therefore without risk and instead I found Maxi and I have to deal with the reality. 

What would you do in my place? I would like to play the card of taking the test as aut aut, I think he would end up giving up! 

Dan99

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GAY GUYS AND DOUBLE BED

Hi Project, 

I’m Paul, the 43-year-old who wrote to you because he was trying to accept that the guy who seemed to be his boyfriend had left him to go back to an ex-boyfriend (A GAY STORY OF ALMOST LOVE). When I wrote to you I hadn’t heard from him for more than two months. Today something has happened that has overturned all the balances that I was struggling to achieve and in part at least I had achieved, but I’m happy. In an unexpected way he called me when it was already midnight and said to me: “I need to make love with you, what do you say? Can I come to you in twenty minutes?” I replied that he can come whenever he wants and that I’m always pleased of it, he added: “If you don’t feel like having sex, we’ll just talk.” And this in my opinion is the most beautiful thing you can say! I told him that I was waiting for him and I immediately changed the bed and opened the window, to cool the air a bit, because it’s hot to die for but fortunately there are the mosquito nets. I wondered why he had the idea of having sex with me after almost three months and I thought that the relationship he had resumed with his ex-boyfriend had come to an end. 

When he arrived he undressed and put himself on the bed and he was really beautiful! And above all he was there for me, he had come on purpose with the idea of having sex with me and this idea put him in a very strong state of excitement. I was afraid of not being up to the situation, because sometimes it happens, but I didn’t feel in the least embarrassed, because when it happens he never gets upset, he has never had problems with these things. No, he was not only beautiful, he was really animated by a sexual impetus as in the times when we met many years ago. I refrained from asking him questions. I was fine, with him the taboos have not existed for a long time, with him I behave as I would behave with myself, with the same level of freedom, now it is an acquired fact. He was telling me: “But how is it possible that you have never had sex with anyone else? You should try to be with somebody else!” To this speech, which is not the first time he does, I reply to him exactly as I have always replied that it never occurred to me to make love with another guy, because for me there is just him. 

He didn’t force me at all, no insistence, he knew that I could be afraid of diseases and we only had sex at practically zero risk, there was no need for me to tell him anything, for him exactly as for me, the fundamental thing isn’t in doing this or that but in feeling desired and accepted, and being able to live one’s sexuality together, without embarrassment and without seeing any kind of obligations behind sex. He was really transported by sex, within the limits of common sense, but truly transported. Between us, from the beginning there has always been a very deep understanding from that point of view, we never had sex out of boredom or as a pastime or worse out of duty, it was practically always a very strong thing and much desired by both of us. Maybe that’s why I would never be able to go with another guy, he is the guy of my dreams, after all, in my life, I only desired him in the true sense of the word. When he is with me I see him so free and involved that my head is empty of thoughts and I only think about making him feel good, thanks God I succeed! This seems almost unbelievable to me, but that’s exactly what happens. By now we know each other very well also from that point of view. There is nothing more beautiful than making love with the guy you love the way we do it. Then there will be his ex, maybe, or maybe there will be many other guys, but he has not put me aside at all and he thinks of me just as an important sexual fantasy.  

There was only one thing that I would have wanted different. Generally, even before, after sex he used to get some melancholy, maybe once the sexual involvement is over he begins to reflect on his boyfriend and what to do with his boyfriend, or maybe very likely he doesn’t have a boyfriend anymore. Maybe I don’t have the first place in his heart, but I can’t deny that the his involvement (that was there from the beginning) doesn’t seem in the least vanished because of other things. I wonder how a guy like him can be in love with me, that is, even sexually in love with me, who am a very common type. Now I seem to see him lying on the bed while looking at me and saying “Everything okay?” I would be with him my whole life, it would be a dream for me and today I think it wouldn’t mind him at all, obviously without any constraint, but I think it could last forever. 

Tonight I feel really upset but I’m happy and I think there will be nothing that will be able to separate us, perhaps for a while, yes, but in the end we love each other, between ups and downs, we have been together for many years and then there is between us real affection and respect, I think he is a guy of the highest level both in intelligence and honesty and he trusts me, he doesn’t fear me, in short, I also feel at the center of his attentions. All this, however, must not become a trap, he is not mine, we love each other but he must be free because only in this way he can truly love me. In the end how can people say that there is only sex between us? It’s not true! There is an absolutely unique way of understanding each other. He never felt like a beautiful  guy and instead he is beautiful, when we are together I tell him it many times, he acts as if I hadn’t told anything, but after all he is happy to hear such things! 

I’m also beginning to think of something else that I had always considered stupid before. At the end of our meetings he leaves, he cannot sleep at my house because the next morning he must be at work before 8.00 am if he would start from my house he should get up too early, when he leaves he makes me feel so melancholy because I would like him to stay with me all night long, I would really like to sleep with him. We had sex many times but we never slept together but I think that sleeping together and waking up together would be really beautiful and I think he would like very much such things which are not exactly sex but are sometimes more important than sex itself. I realize that these things, that is in practice the double bed, belong to the behavior of consolidated couples, while he is not my boyfriend, at least in a certain sense he is not, but anyhow falling asleep one in the arms of the other would be really beautiful! In my house there are no double beds and the idea is coming to my mind to buy one, maybe it could also be useful. But I met guys to whom sleeping together in a double bed seemed too sweet, something typical of people romantically in love and not suitable for real men! I can’t stand this expression! Real men? And those would be real men? Those who have sex in five minutes and then bye! Those in my opinion are stupid men! 

However, I feel embarrassed to talk to him about the double bed, but not because of sex, the fact is that he can consider the use of the double bed as a trap from which it is good to stay away. That is, if we have sex with each other as we have always done it is something that seems no more than an outburst, something somehow boyish (and I don’t even understand why!) While if we go to sleep together in a double bed it means that ours is a regular, standard relationship, of those that take away your freedom. I know it is only symbols, but symbols are also important. Maybe I would like to fall asleep with him in a double bed just because I could delude myself that he is mine, this could also be true, but meet in the spare time only during breaks between other work or family commitments, in the most unlikely situations, and always keeping an eye on the clock it is certainly not the best and some of my sexual problems could be due to these things. I need time in sex, I’m slow, if I think I have to get to the end in a set time, I go haywire. Instead with a nice double bed and a whole night together in perspective, well, I think everything would be very different. 

There is also another fact that keeps me from buying a double bed, I live alone, luckily for me, but it happens that from time to time my father, my mother and even my brother (100% straight) come to see me at my house. They always warn me one or two days before, so I don’t have the fear of being caught in the act while I’m in bed with a guy, among other things, my family members don’t have the keys to my house, but they are used to the idea that in my room there is only one single bed and in the guest bedroom there are two single beds. What would they think if they saw the two single beds disappear and found a double bed instead? I don’t know this but I would feel embarrassed, and so I thought that in order to sleep with him in a double bed I would have to go on vacation with him, but even there the embarrassment would be considerable. It is not easy to book a double room in a hotel with a friend and ask for a double bed instead of two single beds. It seems absurd, but these things still condition a lot. I’ll try to talk briefly with him about the hypothesis of the double bed, let’s see what he tells me! 

In short, Project, since the last email I sent you, the world has really turned upside down for me. I had read your answer, very wise and very rational, but my antennae told me that my story, despite appearances, was by no means over and now I can say that I was right! 

Take care of yourself! Obviously do whatever you want with the email.

Paul

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A GAY PROJECT FORUM ARTICLE CITED BY IRCT

I’m truly proud to inform you that the IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) in its Thematic Report 2020, dedicated to “reparative therapies”, has included in the Bibliography the article “Reparative Therapy to Cure Homosexuality“, publihed on Gay Project Forum on 10/12/2017, containing my English translation of a famous article by Davide Varì which describes the process of a typical reparative therapy step by step.
I’m proud that the work of Gay Project has helped to shed light on a phenomenon deprecated by the World Health Organization as a violation of human rights.

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GAY SEX AS A PLAY

In this post I will try to address a topic that I consider particularly important, namely gay sex as a play.

I start from a clarification. The word “play” takes on the most varied meanings, from the most negative ones, such as in “Minors are not allowed to play”, where  “play” sounds quite similar to “gamble” to those more neutral and related to child’s play. “Playing”, in the sense that I intend to give here to this word, must be something absolutely spontaneous and must have no purpose other than the play itself and the interpersonal contacts it creates or promotes. In other words, playing in order to feel free doesn’t mean getting involved in a sort of comedy that must follow and interpret a script already written, and even lesser playing is a way to compare yourself with others in order to get a prize. The Play is improvisation. In the real play between adults, as in the game between children, everything is improvisation and spontaneity. The play is liberating. The child who stands on the sidelines, and doesn’t feel involved in the play is a child who is afraid, who feels restrained or, worse, he is a depressed child.

Play has a lot in common with true sexuality, that is, with unplanned and non-imitative sexuality. Living sex means first of all feeling absolutely at ease with your partner, because sexuality can only be lived well in a condition of authentic disinhibition, that is, when you are yourself and you see a deep correspondence from your partner.

A guy in a chat told me: “But sex is repetitive, it’s always the same thing!” This statement is the most typical sign of the sexual dissatisfaction. When you live sexuality well, sex is not repetitive at all precisely because it takes over the dimension of play, of laughing, of joking, of not taking yourself too seriously. There is nothing more beautiful in a sexual contact than seeing the spontaneity and involvement of one’s partner and realizing that he feels totally at ease.

Sex is never a duty to be carried out with the utmost commitment or worse an exam to be passed, it has no rules and no script to follow, if it acquires the characteristics of duty or examination, instead of being relaxing, it ends up creating discomfort and promoting performance anxiety. The play consists precisely in moving away from the script and in creating always different situations, the game borders on rice and rice favors disinhibition and allows you to send even very serious messages, without underlining them the too much, and when two partners are really close, messages sent in this soft way don’t fall into thin air at all. Playing, in sexuality, is a very useful means of spreading the message that sex is an ordinary dimension of life and must be lived lightly.

Sex is not transgression but freedom, the two terms manifest two different attitudes: those who live sex as transgression cannot feel truly free and don’t live sex as part of ordinary life but as an exception and a rebellion against an oppressive rule. Freedom doesn’t consist in breaking the rules but in not feeling bound by any rule beyond one’s moral rule. Play is freedom and sex too is freedom, if you lives it freely, it is a manifestation of interest, respect, affection, attention to the other. Playing and living sexuality means sharing and listening. Making love is a way of expressing yourself, of communicating, of not being afraid of being who you are and of showing yourself for what you are.

In sex, body language takes on a special value that sometimes goes far beyond words: a hug, a smile, a gesture of complicity, an exchange of glances, a wink at the right time convey messages of reassuring and encouragement such as: “I’m happy to be with you!” or “Don’t be afraid of me!”

Often playing, in the sexual dimension, takes on a particular aspect, that consists in not doing what the partner expects, in order to confuse him a bit, and to end up dissolving the beginning anxiety with a smile, as if to say: “I’m kidding you! ” Often sexual play takes the form of an unexpected but never inappropriate intimate gesture. The game is always a call to move away from the script and to feel free. If my partner jokes with me while we are in sexual intimacy this means that he really feels comfortable and that he is not afraid of my reactions.

In order to live sexuality in a truly gratifying way, only two conditions are needed: knowing each other thoroughly and maintaining a level of substantial equality between the partners. To live sexuality well you have to overcome the individual dimension to start thinking as a member of a couple, even if it is a couple with very limited time limits. In a couple that works, as in a free play that works, there are no leaders and there are no followers because the relationship must be equal: the choices must be made in two, they must be shared, because only in this way every forcing, that is a manifestation of disaffection, can be avoided.

If sex is the only moment of encounter between the two partners, it ends up to be identified with the true purpose of the relationship, the means (sex) becomes the goal and the person of the partner assumes only an instrumental role: if you prefer to have sex more than love the person, you neglect the deeper meaning of sexuality, that is, its communicative value.

True sexuality can’t be designed, because it is spontaneous, the expectations that lead us to imagine in the partner the perfect crowning of our fantasies are generally the antechamber of disappointments, exactly like, in the play, the expectation that the other has only the role of playing our game, while the other is a person hose dignity is equal to ours. The profound knowledge of the other reduces all expectations to one, that is, to the desire to be able to share one’s sexual intimacy with the partner, in the way in which it will be possible to do so, it being understood that the way must be an expression of couple’s freedom and never the imposition of a single partner, that is, it must be shared.

During sexual contacts complex or problematic aspects of partner sexuality can emerge which we easily notice but we don’t realize equally easily that, in a perfectly symmetrical way, also complex or problematic aspects of our sexuality, of which we often are not conscious, become clear to our partner. The playful dimension of sexuality avoids that taking note of the other’s problems opens the door to a possible refusal of the other, precisely because play dilutes, loosens, distracts from too specific aspects and creates an atmosphere of pleasantness and mutual complicity that defuses the possible conflicts about to burst.

Sex is often loaded with meanings that doesn’t belong to it, and sometimes having sex becomes the sign of an adult and fully realized life, and therefore not having sex becomes the stigma of a loser, this way sex can become a true social status that seems to create a hierarchy between individuals, when this it happens, sex loses the connotation of simplicity and spontaneity that is proper to it and becomes an instrument to achieve different goals.

Just as all individuals are different from each other in genetic characteristics, physical constitution and psychological attitude, so they are different from each other also in the way of conceiving and living sexuality. Two guys, however similar they may be, will have anyway two different ways of conceiving and living sexuality, which means that even within the most close-knit couple there will always be a need for a mediation to find a balance between two sexualities anyway different. This mediation can be achieved through dialogue but can be achieved in a much less formal way with play, which can also take on spontaneously an exploratory value of the possible horizons of couple sexuality. The exploratory play allows you to take a step back when necessary and to communicate your wishes to the partner, avoiding the verbalization that on certain contents sometimes creates embarrassment even in the most close-knit couples.

The playful attitude allows, when necessary, to say no to one’s partner without that assuming the characteristics of a possible refusal of the person. Demands and rejections, if they are real demands and real rejections, are signs of a relationship in crisis.

The playful attitude often allows you to overcome the moments of embarrassment related, for example, to the difficulty of maintaining an erection for a long time or of reaching orgasm, or related to problems of premature ejaculation.

The playful attitude helps to put aside expectations of perfect reciprocity which are sometimes unrealistic and which in themselves should not undermine the basic relationship between two people, although sometimes the expectation of perfect reciprocity seems to produce just this effect. Play helps not to emphasize the problems, which on a sexual level may very well exist but which must not be underlined but accepted in the knowledge that not every day is the same and that loving a guy means loving him and not forcing him to be our photocopy.

Loving a guy means above all loving his freedom. When during the play a child wants to redefine the rules of the game in order to limit the freedom of his partner, the game automatically loses interest for the partner because it is no longer free and creative.

Very often, in consolidated couple relationships, emotional security is sought by imposing rules, but doing so destroys the spontaneity that underlies sexuality. Often one doesn’t have sex out of love, but out of habit, to pass the time or simply because one has nothing better to do, just like when one decides to play cards or chess to deceive boredom. It is obvious that in such situations, relationships wear out and sex becomes institutionalized almost as a contractual performance. When it comes to these levels, recovering the situation is very difficult and sometimes it is even more difficult to resolve the situation by interrupting a well-worn relationship, kept alive only by formal obligations.

When a sexual contact has been truly satisfying, one tends to manifest to his partner the sense of gratification that has been felt and at this point misunderstandings can arise, and in fact arise.

If, addressing your partner after sex, you say: “You were very good!” and the like, you probably think you were very polite because usually such expressions  are seen by those who use them as a compliment but are often assimilated by those who receive that “compliment” to the classic ritual compliment that the client addresses to an escort at the end of his sexual performance. It makes more sense to simply say, “I love you!” which means that I love you as a man, as a person, for your dignity and your way of being not only for your sexual performance.

I would like to warn  those who read me against an attitude, characteristic of sexuality aimed only at performance, that can cause bewilderment and disappointment. Sometimes it happens that at the end of a sexual intercourse, the one of the two partners, who has been at the home of the other, gets dressed and goes out closing the door and saying only. “See you!” There is no need to clarify why such an attitude can be experienced as unpleasant. Similarly unpleasant is the invitation to dinner before a night of sex, which has all the characteristics of an attempt at seduction, much more appropriate and pleasant is to go and have a pizza together after sex, or to have breakfast together the next morning, because this underlines that the purpose is the person and not the evening of sex and frames sex in a dimension of ordinary normality.

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GAY SEXUAL CONDITIONING AND COUPLE DIALOGUE

I often hear people speaking about gay sexuality, I myself have used and still use this concept and I do it by adapting to a widespread and radical simplification of the concept of sexuality. Descartes begins his “Discourse on the method” by stating that, as for “common sense”, “everyone thinks they are so well endowed with it, that even those who are more difficult to satisfy with regard to any other good do not want or desire more common sense than they have. ” The same could be said for the “knowledge of sexuality”, to whoever I ask for an answer I find people who are convinced that they have a very clear concept of sexuality. However, gathering these answers I do not find that variety that one would be legitimate to expect given the plurality of individual and social conditions, I’m instead faced with rather homogeneous answers, far from individual experience and inspired above all by mass media, television, cinema, readings and, to a large extent, by the use of internet pornography. In essence, the common concept of sexuality represents an abstraction, radically simplifying and trivializing, capable, precisely because of its generality, of being acceptable to the great majority of people.
 
Individual sexuality, which is not an abstract concept but a reality that permeates the whole individual, is linked to many factors, first of all to personal experience, which is absolutely unique and unrepeatable even if it can be studied with standard sociological categories based on age and social conditions. Among the fundamental factors that condition personal experience, family education and sometimes even religion must be placed at the top. The intertwining of the various lines of development of the individual experience is extremely complex and, beyond the abstract or theoretical concepts, leads the individual people to “live sexuality” in very different ways.
 
Here then appears a first substantial distinction: the concept of sexuality of an individual is not what is stated in response to a specific question, but what is embodied in that individual’s behavior. Sexuality is not an abstract concept but a reality that lives in individual experience. Which means that knowing and understanding the sexuality of another person is an objectively very difficult thing, because to share these contents you need an atmosphere of deep intimacy and mutual trust that allows you to overcome the blocks that normally make it impossible a serious dialogue on these topics. Why is it so difficult to speak seriously not of sexuality in general but of one’s own sexuality? The fear of being judged, of being classified, marginalized and rejected, is the basis of any resistance to true dialogue on these issues and is generally a well-motivated fear.
 
There are two prerequisites for any serious dialogue not about sexuality in general but about one’s own individual sexuality. The first prerequisite is the radical elimination of any judgmental attitude, that is, of any preconception, but this prerequisite is still formal and almost professional, in the sense that any psychologist assumes or should assume a non-judgmental attitude. The second assumption is substantive and completely different and consists in accepting reciprocity as a fundamental rule of dialogue on individual sexuality. Accepting reciprocity means understanding that at these levels there can be no roles, there cannot be a professional detachment but an equal dialogue must be accepted. If the dialogue is not perceived as equal, it will never reach the deepest contents of consciousness and their manifestations in sexuality. A level of communication such as that described can be reached sometimes, but not as a rule, between lovers who are now well beyond the phase of sexual experimentation and who have a very strong mutual affection, but can also be reached sometimes in the context of very close friendly relationships (without involvement of sexuality).
 
It should be noted that the depth of a relationship is measured by the quantity and quality of information about ourselves that we are available to provide to the other. In a relationship of superficial friendship we never talk about affective life or we talk about it with very general and, so to speak, common sense categories, in a relationship of close friendship, emotional and even sexual confidences become frequent, in long friendships supported by concrete evidence of mutual reliability, emotional and sexual confidence can become total, that is, it can lead two friends to have no secrets from each other. Obviously all this happens very rarely but sometimes it happens.
 
What does it emerge from the comparison of individual sexualities? What emerges is essentially the category of complexity. What we consider simple and spontaneous manifestation of the sexual instinct, in reality is not at all simple or spontaneous, but is the result of the interaction of an extremely specific genetic-epigenetic substrate with the experience of the person as a whole, that is, with a plot of infinite correlations, for which it is difficult to identify even very general taxonomic categories.
 
I will try to limit the discussion to the gay area only. If there is truly something common in the experience of all homosexuals, this common element is nothing else than becoming and then being aware that the ways of living the affectivity and sexuality of two gay people can be radically different. More or less all gays identify being gay with falling in love with guys rather than girls, or more generally with having sex with guys rather than girls. At this level, in reality extremely general if not generic, it is easy to find consensus, when however we try to understand what it means for every single person to fall in love and have sex with a guy, that is when we move from abstract to concrete, abstract categories lose their meaning and individual stories come into play, stories strictly individual although often similar to those of other gays who find themselves in similar personal and social situations. Thus the importance of the only true instrument of knowledge of the other emerges, which is his individual story, I’m speaking exactly of the individual story, that is, of a real experience, just as it is perceived by the individual who has lived that story and  brings deep traces of it in his memory, I’m non speaking of the story told to other people and more or less unconsciously reinterpreted by the one who lived it. 
 
One of the intrinsic limitations of any psychotherapy consists in the fact that in a professional relationship, if the therapist can guarantee non-judgmental attitudes or, better, behaviors, he certainly cannot in any case open up to a substantial reciprocity, which, alone, could lead to the emergence of the profound contents of consciousness. The therapist, therefore, starts not from the knowledge of the individual story of his patient just as the patient experiences it, but from the representation that the patient gives of that story to the outside, in a communication in which the guarantee of professional secrecy can in no way to make up for the absence of reciprocity. In a sense, we offer a deeper knowledge of ourselves to our lover or our dearest friend than to the psychotherapist because with the lover or dearest friend the condition of reciprocity can really exist.
 
In the early 1900s, Havelock Ellis was already fully aware of the complexity of the homosexual reality and of the substantial impossibility of building a theory of homosexuality that could have a minimum of concrete utility, therefore he preferred to abandon traditional attitudes and organize his book as a collection of 39 real cases, told in the words of the protagonists themselves. The 39 stories, which make up about half of the book, allow the reader to understand the complexity of the homosexual world and then to acquire, even if through a book, a little real experience not of what “homosexuality” is at the theoretical level but of what can be the life of 39 homosexual people with different personalities and experiences. In this sense, more than a book or a scientific article, a novel or a story can help to understand the reality of the life of gays as individuals, which is what matters, and not as a category.
 
In the 21st century, the role of novels and short stories is largely taken on by films, short films and videos, which use a different  language but convey similar contents. In recent years, more or less for ten years now, there has been a noticeable flowering of gay videos, which generally deal with the major issues of gay life in a substantially serious and correct way. Obviously you cannot ask a video of an average length of twenty minutes what you can ask a novel or a feature film, but some of these videos, even if short, are small masterpieces. Generally these videos are quite well made, one feels the hand of expert directors and one understands that the production is not of a reductive amateurish type.
 
These videos can constitute and sometimes really constitute a true form of affective-sexual education, capable of counteracting the models spread by pornography, because in gay themed videos the emotional and psychological dimension is present in a serious way. Unfortunately, gay-themed videos are still produced, at a substantially professional level, providing very particular gay reality models that risk favoring deviant associations in the mind of the viewer, such as the association homosexuality-drug or homosexuality-violence or homosexuality-depression or worse homosexuality-mental pathology or homosexuality-crime. These associations are the result of preconceptions and suggest that the authors of the stories, the producers and directors are not themselves homosexuals and limit themselves to making videos following common prejudices.
 
Gay themed videos written and made by homosexuals are generally short glimpses of homosexual life and are extremely varied, they are therefore a very powerful educational tool, easy to access and capable of highlighting the most classic themes of gay affectivity and sexuality and the gay point of view, in its most complex and varied articulation, on many issues that affect family relationships, homophobia, dialogue among gays and couple life.
 
Let’s go back, however, to the complexity of gay sexuality. A deep emotional relationship with your partner allows not only verbally, but also through the sharing of sexuality, a fair comparison of experiences and the emergence of all the contents of individual memory, even the most hidden. This means that a good gay couple relationship can be more useful than psychotherapy because it allows, in a context of reciprocity, to speak freely about one’s own sexuality and above all to live it without taboos.
 
We need to clarify a concept, as simple as it is forgotten: sexuality can be lived and is often lived in a completely mechanical way, without deep affective involvement, and the sincerity between the partners may become something optional. The lack of sincerity reaches the point of legitimizing the betrayal and to hide from the partner some elements that would radically change his opinion on us. Even in situations where there is no betrayal and it is not a question of hiding “behaviors” that could change the judgment of the partner on us, there are other elements that can be and are often kept silent, these are the non-standard sexual fantasies that may not be accepted or understood by the partner, this is the case of pedophile fantasies even if they have never been put in practice, but it is also the case of incestuous sexual fantasies, or intergenerational, but the listing could also extend to other sexual fantasies, less alarming but quite uncommon.
Another category of experiences is almost always kept silent, even if it is facts that should in no case undermine the relationship with the partner, I refer to having suffered sexual violence or harassment in childhood or in early adolescence. The episodes of violence or sexual abuse of minors, almost always in the family environment or by regular visitors of the family environment, are unfortunately much more common than you can imagine. All these elements and many others can have a profound influence on an individual’s sexual behavior and on many other aspects of his personality. The couple relationship, if it is really a love relationship, can be the best way to achieve a substantial serenity of life.
 
Sharing sexuality, sexual freedom in intimacy with your partner, feeling accepted for what you are, after showing yourself for what you are, is a unique opportunity for gratification and emotional exchange, which is truly able to change the life of an individual, provided that couple sexuality is truly an exchange of love and not a substantially selfish rite to exorcise solitude.
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THE MEANING OF GAY SEX WITHOUT COMMITMENTS

This post is dedicated to the so-called “gay sex without commitments” or to those sexual contacts that do not take place within a stable couple relationship, that is, they are not part of a structured relationship.
Two elements appear in this definition: the “stable couple” and the “structured relationship”, which must be further clarified.
 
It is common practice to compare stable couples with unstable (short term) ones and structured relationships to unstructured ones, commonly called free relationships. The legacy of the traditional marriage concept is evident in these distinctions, marriage intends to structure and legitimize a couple’s relationship around the presumed indissoluble mutual fidelity which also implies a social meaning. In the case of marriage, the union is born indissoluble, or at least with the claim, more or less credible, of being indissoluble, but indissolubility is only a hypothesis that is taken for granted, because indissolubility manifests itself over time, in substance indissolubility, which in itself is by no means an obvious thing, is favored, if not actually induced and obliged by the structure that connotes the marriage bond.
 
The “social”, not “couple” dimension of marriage is clearly revealed in the celebration of the wedding ceremony which is a social ceremony. Structuring a couple’s reaction means conforming to a codified and socially recognized standard, that is, inserting one’s life as a couple partner in a legal-social structure that in theory protects it but which risks distorting it completely.
 
Today free relationships, even in the hetero field, are many, even in couples with children. This, in general, does not mean that one renounces inserting the couple life into a wider social structure, but simply that one intends to avoid legal constraints. Removing legal constraints from couple life means safeguard the freedom to interrupt couple life (without prejudice to the rights of children) without legal complications, should the need to do so be felt.
 
For a gay couple, for whom insertion into a wider social structure can be very problematic, it is certainly difficult if not impossible to accept even very weak legal formalizations, such as civil unions, but it is very often necessary or at least very appropriate to avoid the socialization of the relationship beyond a very limited and reliable circle of friends. In essence, the great majority of gays, and especially young gays, do not aspire to any legalization of the couple’s relationship and to the inclusion of the couple’s life in a social dimension with not well defined borders.
 
Many gays, after having dreamed of an almost matrimonial life as a couple and having collected a more or less long series of illusions and disillusions, begin to convince themselves that those who promise sublime things are generally unreliable and that the risk to get involved with individuals of this kind in very structured stories, that are or can became sometimes real traps, is concrete and also probable. Those who, on the other hand, do not promise anything and indeed point out that they do not promise anything and consequently do not require any kind of a priori commitments, can, in the long run, prove to be much more serious and reliable people than they seemed at the beginning. A weak bond, both in the sense of unstructured on a social level, and in the sense of light, partial and non-totalizing, can prove to be very stable, while maintaining its characteristics of absence of structure and lightness, precisely because it is in fact a pure couple relationship on which no pressure or expectation, by the social environment or bay partner, can be loaded.
 
Generally we tend to distinguish simple friendships (without sex) from sexualized friendships, in which some sexual contact can also occur. If it is true that not all friendships last over time, it is equally true that not all sexualized friendships last over time. What gives both the ability to last? And here the answer is immediate. With or without sex, lasting friendships are those in which there is a real emotional foundation. It should be stressed that the sexualization of affectivity aims to maintain the relationship, apparently, on a purely or essentially sexual level, because a contact purely sexual is or seems less demanding than an important affective relationship.
 
It should also be clarified that the sharing of sexuality inevitably leads to the sharing of several other aspects of emotional life and individual history: illusions, frustrations, moments of depression but also moments of joy. Those who are involved in a relationship of this kind do not fear it, they have no reason to run away, they know that no obligation, either social or towards the partner, will derive from it, they don’t feel forced,
don’t feel judged even by their friend, but rather they feel free and this is enough to make them feel deeply gratified.
 
Of course these relationships have nothing of the fusion of two lives, the partners are not two people who share every aspect of their life. Each of the two retains its full autonomy, there are no legal or economic constraints, there is no obligation of cohabitation, cohabitation can also exist but it is an absolutely free and revocable choice at any time. The circles of friends can very well remain completely separate, the relationships with the family of origin of the partner are a pure possibility which often is not followed up because a different behavior would authorize expectations and interferences that in a couple relationship should be avoided.
 
I do not intend to make the apology of free unions, which, as it is easy to deduce from the statistics on straight marriages and gay civil unions, are progressively gaining ground compared to legalized forms of union, in fact, sexual contacts without commitments are not even a free union, which however postulates some explicit assumption of commitments.
 
Sexual contacts without commitments very often are such only formally, because the expression “without any commitment” does not prevent that such a contact can at least involve the moral commitment of the partners to respect each other. Formally there are no constraints and there are no expectations on either side, but over time it is possible, not to say probable, that behind a purpose declared as only sexual and “without commitments” there is actually something more, that, under the protection of the clause “without commitment”, can have the possibility to develop spontaneously and without forcing. Those who consciously live this type of experiences, in general, do not tend to transform them into something else, that is, in stable and structured relationships, and for this reason they do not experience any sense of frustration. It often happens that sex, which had been taken as the basic postulate of the relationship, over time becomes only a possible option and leaves room for other content as well.
 
It should be clarified that, just as stable couple relationships are not a generalizable model of gay life, so are not a generalizable model the sexual contacts without commitments”. It is obvious that each has his own genetic and cultural predisposition to one or another type of relationship, but from what I see, now more and more often, the assumption that it is possible to realize one’s own affectivity-sexuality only in the context of a stable and structured couple is something that does not correspond to reality. Affective gratification derives neither from the presumed definitive nature of the relationship nor from its social or legal sanction, but exclusively from the presence of a real emotional contact which, when it exists, is spontaneous and whose duration cannot be guaranteed by any legal mechanism of protection.
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GAY COUPLES AND SEXUAL FANTASIES

Mau85 – Hi Project, how are you? It’s been a while since we talked
 
Project – Fortunately, everything is pretty good here, and you?
 
Mau85 – Here too, and I could say very well indeed today! Do you remember me?
 
Project – yes, I remember the story with your ex, a story which wasn’t actually over because you and your ex kept hearing from each other
 
Mau85 – Yes, he himself, let’s call him Andrew, and do you remember anything else? I don’t want to test your memory, but I have to understand where to resume the story from
 
Project – I remember that Andrew also had other guys and this fact for you was not at all shocking for you
 
Mau85 – shocking certainly not, in short I would have liked to have him all for myself, but he is like this, he also needs something or better someone else, I think I was afraid that they could take him away from me, that is I was afraid that he would stop loving me because he was in love also with other guys, but I couldn’t ask him to leave those guys because he really loved them
 
Project – yes, I remember these things
 
Mau85 – he, however, felt only half satisfied with these guys, not so much from the emotional point of view because after all they respected and loved him, but precisely from the sexual point of view
 
Project – What do you mean? 
 
Mau85 – In the sense that he tried to involve them in his sexual fantasies, which are not really common, but they didn’t listen to him and in the end, for him, sex was a very mechanical thing, because it was he who had to adapt. Actually I don’t even know what he could have said about himself to those guys but I think he’s been quite explicit, as he had been with me, but I don’t know exactly. He tried a lot of times to involve me too in his fantasies, but it wasn’t so easy to me, in the end I pretended not to understand and tried to do what the other guys used to do, that is, I tried to bring him to my own ground, what in the end really happened every time, even if in the end he was only half satisfied. I have to tell you that seeing that after having sex with me he was not really satisfied put me on a lot of melancholy to the point that I tried to thin our meetings because I expected that he would be disappointed anyway. Project, I saw that you didn’t ask me questions to go more deeper and you did well. I just have to tell you that I love Andrew with all my soul, I respect him as a person, he likes sex, has sex with other guys, but I know some of those guys and they are guys who love him.
 
Project – from what you told me it was clear that your relationship with Andrew was serious. There are people who can see your story in a completely different way, it is obvious, for what it may be worth! The important thing is what you think of Andrew, because you know him very well, the rest doesn’t worth anything at all.
 
Mau85 – well, I’ve known him for years, you can’t make a traditional couple with him, it’s different, but it’s not a less serious thing. He needs other guys, I don’t, but we love each other anyway. But you already know this and that was not what I wanted to talk to you about, I called you to talk about what happened between me and Andrew on February 29, one Saturday, before this virus affair, when it was still possible to circulate. In short, he calls me and without any preamble he tells me that he is under my house and that he wants to go up. In our language it means that he wants to have sex with me. I have often said no to him, but at that moment I was happy that he had come to me, I had missed him a lot in the last few days. He comes up to my home, you know that I live alone, he tells me he doesn’t have condoms, when he comes to me he always has them, I make a puzzled face, as if to say: so what did you come for? He knows very well that for me the idea of having sex with him without a condom is absolutely inconceivable and so he replies: Ok, we don’t even touch each other, we’ll stay at a distance each in his place two meters away from each other, but you have to come in my fantasies, you have to make me do it for once, at least in fantasy, something that is good for me, ok? I look at him and say ok! Then he adds, but let’s get to the end, please, without changing the subject. I tell him it’s okay and we masturbated in front of each other while I tell him an erotic story of the kind he likes. At first all the situation sounded strange to me, but he seemed very involved and I went on with the story which in the end seemed quite engaging to me too. I make it short. We got to the end more or less together, we were both very tired. Well, it was the first time he wasn’t disappointed, and we hadn’t even touched each other. He told me that I was beginning to understand what he needed and that he appreciated very much the fact that I had not tried to escape the matter and do the usual things, then he told me that he hadn’t brought condoms on purpose. In general, after our sex meetings, as soon as it’s done, he leaves. But on February 29 instead we cooked and dined together and he stayed in my house to sleep. We talked a lot, I saw him calm, not at all frustrated, he joked, he said nonsense, in short it was an incredible evening, before going to sleep “in his room” he told me: “I love you!” and gave me a little kiss on the cheek. Then in the following days we had a lot of work to do and stayed apart for a while without staying in touch even by phone, but it’s not a rare thing between us. We had agreed that we would meet again on March 14 (our meetings are almost always on the weekend), but the government decrees intervened and we could not move from home, neither he nor I, but the experience of February 29 was somehow replicated a couple of times via the web, which is not quite the same, but I realized that I no longer had any resistance against his fantasies and that trying to share his fantasies seemed to me much more spontaneous, that is, we were practically on the same wavelength, there was no need of speeches or preambles of any kind. Once we arrived at the end, however, we continued to talk about a thousand other things, even very far from sex, I felt him loose, relaxed, without melancholy notes. He told me about when he was a child, about “lego” constructions, but also about the long afternoons he spent alone, practically abandoned by his parents, about how he had learned to draw (which he still does now and very well) and how he had learned to play the guitar, sometimes when some melancholy thoughts were about to invade him he chased them away by doing exercises with the guitar. We spent two evenings or rather two nights talking and we felt well in a profound sense, he felt accepted, not exploited, He said to me: you are not my type, but with you I’m fine, I feel really well and I want you too to feel well, I am not in love with you but I love you. This sentence may sound strange but I know it is absolutely true. Now I hope that the restrictions on circulation will be removed as soon as possible, clearly because it would mean that the epidemic is waning, but also because I’m looking forward to see Andrew again, because for me only he exists. These are the facts. What do you think about, Project?
 
Project – You have been happy and he too, this is the better proof that you and  Andrew love each other! There is a reciprocal trust, a very uncommon way to accept one another’s rules and then he didn’t feel rejected in his most intimate fantasies, you made him understand that you didn’t feel conditioned, in short, you have put him at ease. It would be very nice if it was like that even in all the monogamous couples both gay and hetero, if there was this level of sexual availability! But believe me it is very rare. Very often in sex there are real attempts to prevaricate, attempts to impose models without ever adapting to the other
 
Mau85 – But I felt happy and I said to myself that I was a fool when I tried to avoid to consider his need for what it really was without giving him the opportunity to express himself as he wished, when instead I did it I saw him happy, because he didn’t feel rejected. I think that when you make your partner understand what you need and he pretends not to understand and wants to bring you on his way the feeling of frustration must be tremendous, because you bitterly feel that between you and your partner there isn’t any real feeling, that you are considered no more than a body available to the fantasies of others. In short, Project, I’m slowly learning to understand the meaning of many things that a few years ago I would have refused and would have seemed completely absurd to me. I liked without any real reason the classic couple model and I thought that I would never adapt to anything different and instead when Andrew told me that he had fallen in love with another guy but he loved me anyway I accepted this thing and I have never regretted my choice and now I learn that in order to live sexuality well, one must try to leave room for the other, respecting and accepting him. I saw him smile and it was a beautiful thing. If I love him I don’t have to say no to him for more or less stupid reasons. And then the evenings spent talking together were wonderful. I feel that he really loves me.
 
Project – You have come to these conclusions but the vast majority of couples would never get there, simply because there is no real affection, or perhaps there is, but putting first the self-realization, first the selfish note. The things you say would scandalize many people, but anyway they are very true. I remember you saying that Andrew had never deceived you, well, saying this about a guy means rewarding him with the most beautiful compliment one can do. I’m not surprised that you fell in love with Andrew and even less that you never felt the need to find another guy because there is a relationship with Andrew and it is of deep ones, those which are not lost with the years.
 
Mau85 – I knew you would understand. I told a small summary of this story on another gay site and they asked me if I was out of my mind, in the end they left me alone because they thought I was making fun of them! I’m glad to talk to you, I feel encouraged. However, if you want to publish this chat, publish it, maybe it puts someone in crisis! Thank you, Project, Gay Project has given me so much!
Good night.
 
Project – Thanks to you! And a hug to you and Andrew!
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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-couples-and-sexual-fantasies

SEXUAL ABUSE AND OBSESSIVE CONTENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OCD must be tackled with awareness but without dramatization.

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A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO GAY SEXUSUALITY

Hi Project,

I’ve been reading the gay project forum for years, which was very useful to me to hear a different voice from those I usually hear. I am 29 years old and I have never had problems with my sexuality, at least according to the most common models.

Already at 18 I had my first experiences and, the first times, even without protection, then I panicked, I did the test but luckily nothing happened, and since then I have been much more cautious. I don’t think I’m addicted to sex. Up to now I have only had five partners, with all of them there is a friendship and some know each other. I have never promised anyone sexual fidelity and I think that having sex with a guy doesn’t mean betraying another guy, if things are said clear from the beginning. Let’s say that if there is one thing that for me has existed only partially, it was mutual attention, that is, I always thought that the relationships with my five friends made sense only or at least especially because I could have sex with them.

I’ve had a lot of sex, but always a bit too much technic because I grew up with pornography. I don’t like anal sex and I think no one of my friends is interested in it, I’ve never had no pressure in that direction. This is also why I stopped looking for other partners, because with my friends there is more or less a consonance of tastes and they are attentive to health. I mean that if they were at risk they would tell me. It happened more than once that they said me no because they had doubts and had to redo the test, and I really appreciated that. Let’s say that I had found my balance anyway, I’m fine with my friends from that point of view, they understand me, don’t make me sermons, don’t gossip, I can trust them. So far it’s not exactly a classic story but I think there are many guys doing like me.

At the end of the summer, about the beginning of September, at a meeting of comic collectors (my second passion after boys), I meet Andrew (this is not his real name), 26, not beautiful but more, so sexy that I cannot take my eyes off him. He notices me, he looks at me in turn and flashes me a smile and from there we start talking, first about comics and then about a thousand other things, we exchange mobile numbers, I’m happy but I don’t give too much weight to the thing, then there we say goodbye. A couple of days later he calls me and invites me to go out,

Somehow I certainly was looking forward to such an invitation, and what is more, the fact that he is so beautiful pushes me to the idea of trying a new conquest and this excites me a lot, brutally I start to get a hard-on just thinking about it.

We go out. I expect him to make a proposal but nothing similar happens, nevertheless it is not a trivial evening: we talk a lot and also very seriously, it’s still hot and you can stay around until late at night. When I come home I feel strange: “What have I tried with Andrew? Sex? Yes and no. Friendship? Maybe”. It had been a strange evening: “What did he want from me?” I couldn’t give plausible explanations. After a couple of days he called me back and we spent another strange evening, but anyway very intriguing.

Then I didn’t hear him a dozen days and I was already missing him and then I called him and I proposed him to come to my house, he thought about it a bit and then, when I told him that I live alone, he told me yes. He arrives at home with a package, I would have expected a bottle, since I had invited him to dinner, but it was a wooden object, or rather a small wooden sculpture, not even very small, the base was 20×15, there I was perplexed , but he told me: “That’s you!” And in fact there was a certain resemblance. I told him: “You’re very skilled! An artist!” He told me that he had been sculpting wood for years and that I had inspired his work.

The gift had upset all my projects, I felt stupid to read things that were happening as a sexual approach. He walked around the house, then he said to me: “I guess I had guessed right! There are no references to a girl, and I know your books very well. Ok, it seems clear to me that you do not have a guy …” This speech seemed to me inappropriate and invasive of my privacy, he realized it and tried to balance his statement: “I’m single too and I don’t have a boyfriend, of course it’s not a proposal, even if I’ve never been with anyone.”

I thought that in the evening he would have unlocked but nothing similar happened, as usual we talked a lot before and after dinner and I was really happy with him: no sex, but I was fine, somehow even better than with my friends. Andrew was not naive at all but he was calm, he didn’t have the frenzy of sex that when it takes me I cannot control it anymore. I asked him how he was doing for sex and he told me that “Ireland” helps him. “Ireland” sounded to me like a girl name. I told him: Do you have a girlfriend? He looked at me smiling and said: “The helping hand” but once again I didn’t understand and I thought that the friendly hand meant the hand of a friend and he looked at me shaking his head and told me: “But in wich world do you live?” Then I understood and I felt totally stupid!

Andrew’s presence made me very embarrassed because I was always in erection and I tried not to get up from my chair for fear of showing it too much. He stayed with me until after midnight. To say goodbye I had to stand up and show my erection. He simply said: “Don’t worry, so many times it happens to me”. I asked him: “Even now?” And he replied: “No, not now, because there are too many things that I don’t understand well, I need to have clearer ideas”. When he left I didn’t know what to think, what to desire. I wondered if I would see him again, and I saw him again after a few days.

He called me and we were on the phone for over an hour. Over time our meetings became regular, almost fixed appointments, he used to come to dinner at my house, he even slept there sometimes but no sex. I also felt quite demoralized: I was courting a guy who seemed totally disinterested. I have never wasted time on sex, but with him it was happening. I talk to one of my friends and the reaction surprises me: it tells me that maybe, finally, I’m really falling in love! I’m in love with Andrew? This, ok, could also be, but him? Just chat and then stop! Or love is another thing.

What is sure is that sometimes I find myself doing things that I would have never imagined, I seem to be gone back 10 years, I feel naive, I expect something from a guy and I don’t even know if I expect sex or anything else. If he had been ugly, this wouldn’t have happened, most likely. I’m in a difficult situation, he fascinates me but at the same time I feel him too far under many other point of view.

If It’s possible to come to a sexual contact, even minimal, at zero risk, ok, it would be good, but if such things are impossible, and in my opinion there is a risk and also very concrete that they are truly impossible, what should I do? Should I wait for the Charming Prince to decide? And it could happen in 10 years! I never thought I would find myself thinking about such things but that’s what’s happening to me.

What do I think about, Project?
Obviously you can publish the email if you like.

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GAY GUYS AND REJECTION OF SESUALITY

Hi Project,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was more or less the speech:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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