GAY PAMPERING VERSUS GAY SEX

Hello Project,
I’m twenty years old and study engineering and all in all I’m pretty happy about my life. After some hesitation, I decided to write to you because reading for a long time your sites, I have been struck by the fact that you talk a lot about the affective world of gays rather than about the sexual one. By browsing the internet, I find a huge amount of gay sexual content or that looks gay, but in practice I do not find references to the gay affective world, which for me is very important. 
I confess that I considered myself as a sui generis  gay and asked myself several times if there was something wrong with me, since for me the idea of sex without love is inconceivable, that is, I cannot understand sex as a game, like something that can be done with the first cute guy passing and that is available. Until about a year ago I saw a lot of pornography but somehow I censured it by myself, I saw the part I was interested in, the most affective, then when the video went through the penetration I changed video. I feel 100% gay, I never fell in love with a girl, not even at minimal levels, but, I tell you clearly, I never had fantasies about anal penetration, which is something I cannot even conceive. 
I think of sex with a guy as something extremely sweet, tender, affectionate, with no script to be respected, I see it a little bit like a free and disinhibited being in two, a thorough reciprocal knowledge even from that point of view. For me, the fundamental thing would be to see my boyfriend’s convincing participation. Some gay friends whom I have spoken about these things have puzzled me because they told me that my sexuality is immature, almost childish more than adolescent or adult, they think that I’m very inhibited, that I’m afraid of certain sexual practices, but in principle I have nothing against anal sex, if someone likes it, do it freely, but it certainly is something I don’t feel mine and frankly I don’t feel less gay because of this. 
As you say, there are so many ways of being gay and my is much more affective than sexual, I need a guy who loves me, who wants to pamper me and get pampered by me, and, dear Project, a guy can be pampered in a thousand different ways and not just in bed. I always dreamed of meeting a gay guy who would love me among my fellow students to be able to study together, but I often thought that if my boyfriend was studying other things, I would let him study quiet but at six in the afternoon I would take him a cup of tea with some sliced bread with a bit of butter and jam. This means also pampering for me. Pampering means taking care of the loved guy, trying to make him feel good. It is not trivial, loving a guy cannot be reduced to a sex issue, it takes a dimension of intimacy, mutual trust, credibility. 
I like sex, too, but it has to come all out of my mind spontaneously. And then hugging each other naked in bed is a way to have sex, is a direct and intimate contact with your boyfriend, a way of perceiving his warmth, her breathing, the beat of his heart, is just the shared intimacy that is beautiful and I really like it a lot. I understand and desire a true intimacy even without sex, but sex without affectivity, that is, without love I will never understand it. I’m romantic inside. I happened to find guys who made explicit suggestions about sex, but by saying that it was only sex for them, I replied: “No, thank you!” And they looked at me with astonishment, maybe it was the first time someone was saying them “No, thank you”. 
I dream of being in bed with my boyfriend, embracing him and seeing that he is good with me and that he wants to stay there, that our thoughts go in unison, that there are no mental reservations, double bottoms, and unambiguous motivations. I dream that we can caress, that we can huddle each other and then also do a bit of sex, but always in a reciprocal way, I dream to be able to intimately touch my boyfriend, to masturbate him and see that he’s is happy to be with me, obviously he would have with me the freedom to do spontaneously what he wants, the only limit must be what is good for me as well. This should be the only true limit of individual spontaneity: respect the limits of the other, never try to impose something. 
I have often found guys convinced that they had understood what sex was, who assumed that their way of seeing things was not only good for them but was the only way to see gay sexuality. Frankly, I do not think there are two gay boys with the same behaviors and the same sexual and affective desires. Cuddles are not something just for kids, and then there is a reflection that comes to my mind now: also animals like cuddles. My neighbor has a big white dog that people leave because they are afraid of him, but that dog when he sees me starts to wag his tail, then he falls to the ground and I start to caress him and he closes his eyes and I see that he is satisfied. The desire for pampering is so ancestral to be even common with animals, a bit like sex, because pampering transmits safety, tranquility, heat, in short, helps to be well. I think that many gay people like me really exist, though I have not met them so far. I greet you, Project, if you put this mail in your forum, maybe some gay lover of pampering will feel less alone and encouraged to go on.
David
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EXPERIENCES OF A MARRIED GAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m anxious for your answer.

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

GAYS AND ANAL SEX: FALSE MYTHS AND PORNOGRAPHY

1) GAYS AND HETERO SEX

If we take into consideration the epithets with which homosexuals were and are still now commonly harangued, we realize that the most common and widespread representation of the homosexual world is dominated by the idea that homosexuality is a sexuality devoted to promiscuity and anal sex, dominated by active-passive roles, a kind of substitute of male-female roles, that is, in practice, a grotesque copy of heterosexuality, in which a man assumes a passive role, typically considered feminine, in a penetrative anal intercourse. Such a concept of homosexuality, clearly deforming, derives from the old idea of homosexuality as the vice of the only possible sexuality, the hetero one, or as a pathology and not as a normal variant of human sexuality as defined by the World Health Organization. This deforming vision of homosexuality is unfortunately still a serious obstacle to the recognition of their homosexuality by younger boys. It is awesome to see how many pseudo-scientific studies still today, especially in the United States, associate homosexuality with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, in particular AIDS, and focus on analyzing the most degraded conditions in which homosexuality can manifest itself, accrediting more or less directly the association between homosexuality and social degradation, drugs, violence and mental illness.
But besides the studies spoiled in the root by ideological assumptions, there is also a serious sociology. In 2007, for the editions “Il Mulino”, come out a book by Marzio Barbagli and Asher Colombo, entitled “Modern Homosexuals – Gay and Lesbian in Italy” (“Omosessuali moderni – Gay e lesbiche in Italia”). The book offers a picture of homosexuality in Italy and, on the basis of scientific research, comes to dispel old myths and new metropolitan legends that paint the homosexual world with the lively colors of promiscuity and free sex, dominated by active-passive roles.
In November 2011, has been published a study jointly conducted by researchers of Indiana University and George Mason University, on the Journal of Sexual Medicine, titled ” Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States” by Rosenberger JG, Reece M, Schick V, Herbenick D, Novak DS, Van Der Pol B, and Fortenberry JD (Journal of Sexual Medicine (J Sex Med) 2011;8:3040–3050)
The study has been conducted using forms compiled and collected through the internet from a representative sample of the homosexual-bisexual population of 24,787 men identified as gays or bisexuals, of course they are only openly gay or openly bisexuals, between 18 and 87 years old. The sample respects the distribution of the general population by age classes and by ethnic composition. The average age is 39.2 years. 79.9% of the sample consists of homosexuals and 20.1% by bisexuals. The sample is white for 84.6%, Latin American for 6.4%, and African-American for 3.6%. The people involved in the research had been asked to indicate what sexual behaviors they have put into practice in the last sexual intercourse. The most common sexual behavior was kiss on the mouth (74.5%), followed by oral sex (72.7%) and mutual masturbation (68.4%). The anal penetration was present only in 37.2% of the cases and was found to be most common in the 18-24 age group (42.7%). It is important to keep in mind that these data are only about openly gays or openly bisexuals.
The study, in agreement with other recent studies that examined sexual behavior among heterosexual men and women, shows that gay and bisexual men have a repertoire of sexual behaviors that is very different from that of heterosexuals. Joshua G. Rosenberger, professor of the Department of Global and Community Health at the George Mason University, Fairfax, said that “Of all sexual behaviors that men reported occurring during their last sexual event, those involving the anus were the least common,” Rosenberger concluded: “There is certainly a misguided belief that ‘gay sex equals anal sex,’ which is simply untrue much of the time.”[http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news-archive/19977.html]
These conclusions, which refer to the United States, are essentially confirmed for Italy by a study: “The Sexuality of Italians” by Marzio Barbagli, Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna and Franco Garelli published in 2010, for “Il Mulino” editions. This study states about anal sex: “It is likely that in the male homosexual population the use of this practice has decreased in the course of the twentieth century.[Shorter [2005, 129-131]]
It is certain, however, that for some time now, in Italy, this is the less widely used erotic technique in this population.[Barbagli e Colombo [2007-2, 118-119]] It is equally certain that today there are few differences between homo and heterosexuals in our country. 49% of the former had at least one anal intercourse with a man versus 44% of the last who experienced it with a woman.” It is to be underlined that 49% of homosexuals are not said to practice anal sex, but that 49% had at least one anal intercourse with a man over their lifetime, which is completely different. The US study to which I referred also points out other elements that allow to overcome false myths about the promiscuity of sexual relations between homosexuals and bisexuals and their alleged affective deficiency. “We found it particularly interesting that the vast majority of men reported sex with someone they felt ‘matched’ with in terms of love, meaning that most people who were in love had sex with the person they loved, but that there were also a number of men who had sex in the absence of love,” Debby Herbenick [Co-director of the Sexual Health Promotion Center and of the Public Health School at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, and co-author of the essay on Sexual behavior of homosexuals and bisexuals] said. “Very few people had sex with someone they loved if that person didn’t love them back.” ” This “matching” aspect of love, she said, has not been well explored in previous research, regardless of sexual orientation.”[1]   “Given the recent political shifts around the Defense of Marriage Act and same-sex marriage in the United States, these findings highlight the prevalence and value of loving feelings within same-sex relationships,” said lead investigator Joshua G. Rosenberger.[2]
The study about sexual behavior of openly gays and openly bisexuals, just because it refers to openly gays and openly bisexuals, that is, to the emerging tip of gay iceberg, is unfortunately affected by an inherent limitation because its results cannot be automatically extended to the vast majority of gays and bisexuals who are closeted. From the experience of Gay Project, as I have said many times, from what I can point out through a direct dialog with homosexuals of all ages, almost always closeted, I find that about 20% of homosexual couples, including of course couples made up of closeted gays, usually practice anal sex, in most cases with interchangeable roles, these couples are almost always stable and monogamous, so they are less afraid of sexually transmitted diseases. Another 20% practice anal sex because one of the partners requires it and the other does not subtract, even if for him the performance is indifferent or really slightly unpleasant. About 60% of homosexual couples (obviously including undisclosed homosexual couples) do not practice anal sex. I have found that even among gays and bisexuals there is a big difference in the repertoire of sexual behaviors. Bisexuals have a repertoire much closer to that of heterosexuals, because, regardless of their degree of heterosexual propensity, they in most cases practice much more the heterosexual sex than the gay one. An experienced gay man can figure out whether his partner is gay or bisexual on the basis of his sexual behavior, even if the bisexual partner, in an occasional intercourse with a gay, generally does not qualify himself as bisexual but as a gay.
Elements emerging from Gay Project, extended to closeted gays, are not far from the data coming from the aforementioned study about sexual behaviors of gays and bisexuals in the US, and from those reported by Barbagli and others, related to Italy. The US study shows that 62.8% of the gay-bisex not closeted group don’t practice anal sex, while 37.2% practice it. From the Gay Project surveys, the percentages were around 60% and 40%, respectively, but in a half of that 40% of homosexual couples practicing anal sex, only one of the two partners really likes this practice. In conclusion, outside the couple, for example in individual masturbation, fantasies related to anal penetration concern about 30% of gays, for the other 70% anal penetration is not a subject of masturbation fantasies. As it’s obvious, the values measured in the surveys and the values obtained through Gay Project do not define rules without exception, but only tend to provide an undistorted image of the phenomena in their entirety, though local variability can be considerable.
It should be pointed out that at the beginning of the twentieth century there was yet a clear understanding among scholars of the idea that sodomy was not a prevalent dimension among homosexuals. Albert Moll,[Author of “Conträre Sexualempfindung” published in 1891, a fundamental work on sexual inversion. The title itself became an expression to indicate homosexuality.] speaking of the act so often accredited to homosexuals, says: “It is commonly assumed that the sexual intercourse between Urning[3] is this. But it is a big mistake to suppose that this act is so frequent among them.” [A. Moll, of “Conträre Sexualempfindung”, 139.] Krafft-Ebing[4] treats sodomy as a rare thing between the true Urning, albeit quite common among the old vicious men and debauched ones of more normal temperament, those who are not exactly homosexual.[“Psychopathia Sexualis”, Seventh Edition p. 258.] Edward Carpenter [One of the fathers of the homosexual liberation movement.] cites Moll and Krafft-Ebing’s views in appendix to his “Intermediate Sex” and shows that he shares their ideas.[Mitchell Kennerley, New York and London, p. 151-152.] Havelock Ellis, in the third edition (1927) of his treatise “Sexual Inversion” After clarifying that the term “pedicatio” (or pædicatio) is the most widely accepted technical term for the sodomy, intrusion of the penis into the anus, underlines that this term is usually intended as derived from the Greek “pais” (boy), but some authors assume that it comes from pedex or podex (ano). Ellis adds that the terms “pederastia” and “pederasta” are sometimes used to indicate the act itself and its agent, but considers this an undesirable use and recommends limiting the use of the word “pederastia” according to its proper meaning as a name of the special institution of Greek love for boys.
In Chapter V of his treatise, in the section dedicated to “Methods of Sexual Relationship”, Ellis writes:[Studies in the Psychology of sex, vol. 2 “Sexual Inversion” by Havelock Ellis, third edition, revised and enlarged – 1927, cap. V, Methods of Sexual Relationship] “Taking 57 inverted men of whom I have definite knowledge, I find that 12, restrained by moral or other considerations, have never had any physical relationship with their own sex. In some 22 cases the sexual relationship rarely goes beyond close physical contact and fondling, or at most mutual masturbation and intercrural intercourse. In 10 or 11 cases fellatio (oral excitation)—frequently in addition to some form of mutual masturbation, and usually, though not always, as the active agency—is the form preferred. In 14 cases, actual pedicatio—usually active, not passive—has been exercised. In these cases, however, pedicatio is by no means always the habitual or even the preferred method of gratification. It seems to be the preferred method in about 7 cases. Several who have never experienced it, including some who have never practised any form of physical relationship, state that they feel no objection to pedicatio; some have this feeling in regard to active, others in regard to passive, pedicatio. The proportion of inverts who practise or have at some time experienced pedicatio thus revealed (nearly 25 per cent.) is large; in Germany Hirschfeld finds it to be only 8 per cent., and Merzbach only 6. I believe, however, that a wider induction from a larger number of English and American cases would yield a proportion much nearer to that found in Germany.” From what Ellis found in the cases he examined, about 25% of homosexuals practiced anal penetration at least once in the life but only 7 out of 57 (just over 12%) considered it the preferred method of Sexual satisfaction.
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[1] http://info.publichealth.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2014/01/gay-sex-love.shtml

[2] [https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-02-unique-tied-sex-gay-bisexual.html]

[3] German term corresponding to the English “uranist” with which homosexuals were indicated. The term “Urning” was created in 1864 by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, supporter of the thesis that homosexuals were a true third sex. The term “homosexual” is introduced by Karl-Maria Benkert, who was a proud supporter of the full masculinity of homosexuals, and to point out that this is not a third sex, he prefers not to use the word Urning at all but to create a word entirely new.

[5] Author in 1886 of “Psychopathia sexualis”, a work that has been vast resonance for decades, in which he identifies various degenerations of sexuality such as sadism, masochism, fetishism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, frottage, nymphomania, zoophilia, necrophilia, gerontophilia, compulsive masturbation and pedophilia, in particular, emphasizes the very serious risks for the victims. It should be noted that Krafft-Ebing does not include homosexuality among the degenerations of sexuality.

2) HETEROSEXUALS AND ANAL SEX

Sexual behavior of openly gays and openly bisexuals, despite its limitations, is somehow easy to analyze, because it is highly unlikely for an openly gay to have hesitancy to admit to have had anal sex. A search of the same kind, with direct questions, aimed at groups of less disinhibited people, such as closeted gays or heterosexuals, who were sampled by the general population, would face significant levels of reticence. Since anal sex is a classic taboo, the data found in this field are certainly underestimated. Women participating in a survey on sexuality admit more easily abortion rather than having anal sex [Smith, Adler, and Tschann, 1999]. Voeller (1991) noted that in the context of direct interview surveys, anal sex aspects never emerged at the first interview, but only later, when the interviewee manages to set aside the reticence. In the heterosexual sphere it is noted that the incidence of anal sex, which is definitely limited in the less recent surveys, tends to increase over the years, the opposite of what happens in the homosexual population. A study by Mosher, Chandra and Jones (2005), conducted on the basis of large-scale surveys, found that 38.2% of men between the ages of 20 and 39 and 32.6% of women of between 18 and 44 experienced heterosexual anal sex in the course of life. It should be noted that since 2005 (Mosher, Chandra, and Jones, 2005) to 2011 (Rosenberg and others, 2011), percentages for men have increased considerably. An analysis of the state of the research on heterosexual anal sex can be found in Kimberly R. Mc Bride’s Heterosexual Anal Sexuality and Anal Sex Behaviors: A Review and J. Dennis Fortenberry of the University of Indiana. Men who have had stories with partners of the same sex relate more easily about anal intercourse (Foxman, Aral, and Holmes, 1998a, 1998b). But I have to underline that here we are talking about anal sex practiced on a female partner by men who have also had homosexual partners, in other words this means that men who feel heterosexual but also have male partners are significantly more likely to anal sex, more likely than the average of heterosexuals, but because the gay propensity towards anal sex is similar to that of the heterosexuals, more likely than the average of gays. These “heterosexuals” who also have gay experiences form the category of so-called bi-curious. So far, the bi-curious category has been introduced in relation to concrete homosexual gay experiences, but the vast majority of bi-curious people do not come to have sexual intercourse with men and are content with the use of pornography that is male nude, male masturbation or sexual intercourse between men.

3) SO-CALLED GAY PORNOGRAPHY

When it comes to pornography, we have to distinguish between heterosexual pornography, or rather pornography with heterosexual content which shows intercourses between a man and a woman, gay pornography, or rather pornography with gay content, which shows intercourses between men, male nude and male masturbation, and lesbian pornography or rather pornography with lesbian content, which shows intercourses between women, female nude and female masturbation. This distinction, which concerns the content, is fairly clear, in principle, although there are certainly situations that cannot be exclusively covered in any of the three categories. This distinction is overlapped by another, based on the users of pornography. Generally people uses the expression “hetero pornography” to denote pornography enjoyed by men and women, uses the expression “gay pornography” to indicate pornography enjoyed by homosexual men and uses the expression “lesbian pornography” to indicate pornography enjoyed by homosexual women. The two classifications, the one on the basis of the content and the other on the basis of the users, make use of the same synthetic terminology (hetero porn, gay porn, lesbian porn) and this leads to wrong convictions, that is, it implies that pornography with hetero content is only to be enjoyed by hetero men and hetero women, that pornography with gay content is only to be enjoyed by male homosexuals and pornography with lesbian content is to be enjoyed only by homosexual women. Let us now consider only the pornography with gay content. Different interesting facts emerge from Yahoo Answers. First of all, many women declare that they normally access sites with gay content rather than sites with heterosexual content, because pornography with hetero content, enjoyed essentially by heterosexual men, focuses on women neglecting the male element, and also because in pornography with gay content there are no women. Thus, a certain percentage of gay content traffic is represented by heterosexual women, for whom penetrating sex is the rule. In Yahoo Answers, especially in the section in English, there are thousands of questions proposed by heterosexual guys who see gay porn and ask if this is normal. The question is put in all possible ways, but it is always essentially the same. There are also a lot of messages from hetero girls who are very worried about finding out gay material in the computers of their boyfriends. From these messages we can understand that men who consider themselves heterosexual but use gay pornography are not bisexuals in the specific sense, because they do not fall in love with guys but only with girls; these guys are the so-called bi-curious. Obviously, bi-curious may stop at the level of pornography with gay content but may also have more or less frequent homosexual intercourses but without real affective engagement, otherwise they would be bisexual. Let us now consider some aspects of pornography with gay content and compare them with similar aspects of pornography with hetero content. Searching on Google “straight site” it is noted that the related results are 506,000,000; looking for “gay site” the related results are 420,000,000; the gay/hetero ratio is about 0.83.
Looking for “straight porn” the related results are 55,100,000; looking for “gay porn” e 43.9 million, the gay/hetero ratio is about 0.8. Looking for “straight porn video” the related results are 45,400,000; looking for “gay porn videos” are 59,600,000, the gay/hetero ratio is about 1.31. These data indicate that the frequency of pornography with gay content on the web is more or less equivalent to that of pornography with hetero content. It is objectively impossible to access first-hand data on the use of pornography that belong to the managers of these sites, and in this area you can only get approximate estimates but it is commonplace that the gay-content pornography business equals or even exceeds that of hetero-content pornography. And here comes the first apparent incongruity. If male homosexuals are about 4% of the general population and male heterosexuals are about 46%, that is, if there is on average a single gay male every 11.2 heterosexuals males, and hetero-content pornography is more or less quantitatively equivalent to gay-content pornography, assuming that gay-content pornography is to be enjoyed only by gays and that of hetero-content pornography is to be enjoyed only by male heterosexuals in large majority (about 72%) it would come to the paradoxical conclusion that gays uses pornography 11.2 times more than an male heterosexuals, which is far less credible. If, on the other hand, an equal propensity to use pornography for gay and hetero people was assumed, we should ask who are the consumers of gay-content pornography not consumed by gays. And here the answer is spontaneous: they are the bi-curious and they are really many.
The fact that bi-curious are the main gay-content porn consumers is confirmed by the fact that gay-content websites, when they represent sexual intercourse, end up almost always with anal penetration, which, as seen, is not a dominant interest in the gay world while it is among the bi-curious. Many gays wonder why gay porn sites give so much room for anal intercourse, and the answer is that the main users of gay-content pornography are not gay but bi-curious and secondly heterosexual women. In this sense, for a gay young man, the image of gay sexuality offered by gay pornography is misleading because it is a pornography created essentially for the needs of a not gay but bi-curious audience. A bit of pornography does not hurt anyone, but if pornography shows an hypothetical gay sexuality that is very different from reality, it becomes deeply harmful. The representation of true gay sexuality would be far less spectacular and therefore less suited to the pornographic market but would allow so many homosexuals to identify themselves in that representation rather than be tempted to imitate behaviors that have nothing to do with reality.

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

http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=1

MANUAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY

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

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CHAPTER 1 – UNDERSTANDING TO BE GAY

Let’s start with a concrete example.

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

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

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

Now we go further with exemplification.

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

Let’s analyze the example.

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

But let us proceed with the examples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAYS AND SEXUALITY EDUCATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In particular, I invite you to report on:

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

2) the sexuality education ay school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A more comprehensive definition suggested by WHO reads as follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;

 sexuality education;

 respect for bodily integrity;

 choose their partner;

 decide to be sexually active or not;

 consensual sexual relations;

 consensual marriage;

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

 pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

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

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

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

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

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

DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;

 sexuality education;

 respect for bodily integrity;

 choose their partner;

 decide to be sexually active or not;

 consensual sexual relations;

 consensual marriage;

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

 pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

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

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HOMOSEXUALITY, MASTURBATION AND SEXUAL PLEASURE – SCIENCE AND CONFESSIONAL PROSPECTS

I reproduce below, in my translation, part of a major study that you can read on the website of the World Health Organization: “Sexual Health for the Millennium. A Declaration and Technical Document “a publication of the World Association for Sexual Health.

http://www2.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2010/Sexual%20Health%20for%20the%20Millennium.pdf

The passage is taken from Chapter 8 “Achieve Recognition of Sexual Pleasure as a Component of Well-being” pp.135-138.

SEXUAL PLEASURE IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Throughout much of human history, passionate love and sexual desire have been viewed as dangerous, a threat to the social, political and religious order (Hatfield & Rapson, 1993). During the current historical period, religion and medicine have had powerful influences on societal norms for sexual health and sexual behavior (Hart & Wellings, 2002) and in some important respects these institutions have inherited and continued the tradition of viewing sexual desire, and by extension, pleasure with varying degrees of suspicion.

It is not possible to make tidy generalizations about the extent to which the major religions have held either “sex negative” or “sex positive” perspectives toward pleasure and sexuality. However, it may be said that in various historical periods, many religions, including Christianity and Islam have focused on the reproductive aspects and function of sexuality. Consequently, they have sought strict controls on sexual behavior particularly outside of marriage between a man and a woman, behavior that does not lead to reproduction (e.g., masturbation) and viewed sexual pleasure, particularly that of women and homosexual men and women, with contempt (For extensive documentation and analysis of religious perspectives toward sexuality throughout history see Bullough, 1980, Hawkes, 2004). Numerous scholars have documented the disdain for sexual pleasure expressed by Christian theologians and institutions throughout much of the church’s history (e.g., Pagels, 1988). Masturbation, in particular, has been a contentious topic as its primary purpose is to produce pleasure (Coleman, 2002). Research on masturbation has indicated that contrary to traditional beliefs, masturbation has been found to be a common sexual behavior and linked to indicators of sexual health. While there are no general indicators of ill health associated with masturbation, it can generate powerfully negative or positive emotions for many individuals. It can be powerfully negative or positive, depending on the interaction between the prevailing societal attitudes and individual attitudes and behaviors (Coleman, 2002).

In fact, research has indicated that masturbation begins early and is an important part of healthy sexual development (Langfeldt, 1981). It is often a marker of sexual development (Bancroft, Herbenick, D., & Reynolds, 2002). Many young people learn about their bodies and sexual responsiveness through masturbation (Atwood & Gagnon, 1987). Masturbation also continues throughout the life span. For example, many adults continue to masturbate even though they are married and have ready access to sexual intercourse (Laumann et al., 1994). Masturbation can also help older people who do not have an available partner to maintain sexual functioning and expression (Leiblum & Bachmann, 1988). It is also a safe alternative to behaviors that carry a risk of a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV. The benefits of masturbation are illustrated by its wide acceptance in sex therapy as a means of improving the sexual health of the individual and/or couple (Heiman & LoPiccolo, 1988; Leiblum & Rosen, 1989; Zilbergeld, 1992).

Addressing masturbation within sexual health promotion programming can be controversial. However the available evidence suggests that including masturbation as a topic within comprehensive sexual health promotion is important and necessary.

There is a need for more research, including theory development and hypothesis testing, on the impact of masturbation on self-esteem, body image, sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction and the effective incorporation of education about masturbation within sexual health promotion programs.

It must be noted that positive and progressive perspectives toward pleasure and sexuality are emerging from groups from a variety of religious faiths. Nevertheless, it must also be acknowledged that the legacy of a largely negative interpretation of sexual pleasure, particularly if it is experienced in a context contrary to particular religious norms for sexual conduct, by many religious institutions is still with us today and continues to hinder the recognition of pleasure in sexual health promotion efforts in many parts of the world. With respect to international efforts to promote sexual health, the alliance of the United States, the Vatican and conservative Muslim and Catholic states in opposing the recognition of diverse sexual rights, including those related to pleasure, is testimony to the continued influence of conservative religious forces in shaping polices related to sexual health (Ilkkaracan, 2005).

Since the latter half of the 19th century, medicine and medical science has, particularly in the Western world, exercised considerable authority over sexuality and here too we find that sexual pleasure was often seen as pathology. As Hart and Wellings (2002) suggest “The long tradition of representing illness as a punishment for sin was continued when sexual behavior was medicalized and transformed into morbidity” (p. 896). For example, masturbation, homosexual desire and overt sexual interest, particularly if expressed by women was until quite recently seen by medicine as symptomatic of psychiatric illness and perversion.

Although contemporary medicine and some religious institutions have turned the corner in recognizing the positive and beneficial aspects of sexual expression, many remnants of the propensity to focus on the negative outcomes of sexual expression remains with us. “Today’s public discourse about sexuality is almost exclusively about risks and dangers: abuse, addiction, dysfunction, infection, pedophilia, teen pregnancy, and the struggle of sexual minorities for their civil rights” (Planned Parenthood Federation of America [PPFA], 2003. p. 1).

Although, in most cultures, sexual desire and pleasure receive their widest endorsement within the context of a relationship, sexual desire and pleasure are increasingly coming to be seen as intrinsically positive and rewarding aspects of human experience. While a concern with pleasure is sometimes thought of as a decadent preoccupation of a secular Western culture, it is important to note that many diverse cultures have strong traditions of affirming sexual pleasure. For example, within Brazilian culture the concept of tudo or “Everything” refers to the world of erotic experiences and pleasures (de Freitas, de Oliveira, & Rega, 2004). Indeed, a contemporary discourse of pleasure can be found in many non-western cultures. For example, in Turkey, a country not known for its affirmation of women’s sexual pleasure, a grassroots program that emphasized sexual pleasure as a women’s human right was conducted (Ilkkaracan & Seral, 2000). Organizations such as the South and Southeast Asian Resource Centre on Sexuality (Patel, online) are raising the issue of pleasure in the context of sexual health. From their review of historical and cross-cultural perspectives on passionate love and sexual desire, Hatfield and Rapson (1993) conclude that the tide of history is in the direction of “….an increasing acceptance of passionate love and sexual desire as legitimate, expressible feelings” (p. 91).

Sexual leasure is necessary and contributes to well-being, happiness and health

Romantic love is a primary feature of couple relationships and is expressed through sexuality and sexual passion for the partner (Esch & Stefano, 2005). Although social, political and economic differences across time and place can markedly impact upon sexual attitudes and behavior, cross-cultural research has found that people in all societies place a high value on being with a partner for whom there is “mutual attraction-love” (Buss et al., 1990). Sexual desire and pleasure are embedded in and a fundamental aspect of the mutual attraction between partners.

The mutual sharing of sexual pleasure has been shown to increase bonding within relationships (Weeks, 2002). As Tepper (2000) writes with respect to the neglected rights of people with disabilities to enjoy their sexuality, “Pleasure is an affirmation of life…It can add a sense of connectedness to the world or to each other. It can heal a sense of emotional isolation so many of us feel even though we are socially integrated” (p. 288).

In sum, the enjoyment of sexual pleasure plays an important role in contributing to the establishment, maintenance and stability of couple relationships and, without doubt, the quality of couple relationships is fundamental to the health and well-being of individuals and families. While sexual pleasure can be seen as an end in-of-itself, for many, if not most people, sexual pleasure is intertwined with feelings of intimacy and affection for their partner. Sexual desire and pleasure not only facilitate reproduction, they function as a mechanism of social attachment for the couple relationship, an essential kinship structure in all cultures of the world (Fisher, 2002).

At the most foundational level, sexual pleasure is rooted in the most basic of human functions as has been recognized by evolutionary psychology. In the context of adaptive behavior and its necessity in evolution, it would appear that the pleasure generated by sexual stimulation, orgasm or intercourse would be selected-for evolutionarily. Consequently, pleasure can be seen as an effective and important adaptive mechanism, the function of which is to ensure the procreation and survival of the species (Esch & Stefano, 2005, p. 182).

To the extent that a society is concerned with the well-being and stability of families generally, and couples specifically, it is in the interests of policy makers to recognize the importance of sexual pleasure and to implement sexual health promotion programs that address sexual pleasure as fundamental to individual and couple health and wellbeing.

The recent Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors that examined various aspects of sexual health among a sample of 27,500 men and women aged 40 to 80 from 29 culturally diverse countries around the world offers strong evidence of the importance of pleasure and sexual satisfaction for the happiness and well-being of individuals and couples (Laumann et al., 2006: Nicolosi et al., 2004). The survey asked participants, among other things, questions about the degree to which they found their relationships to be physically pleasurable and how important sex is to their overall happiness. Over three quarters of men (82%) and women (76%) agreed that satisfactory sex is essential to maintain a relationship and the authors concluded from their findings that despite substantial cultural variation in sexual norms and values, subjective sexual well-being was associated with overall happiness in both men and women.

A White Paper published by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA, 2003) in cooperation with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality extensively catalogues the scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of sexual expression. Taken together, the studies cited suggest that partnered sexual activity and/or masturbation can be associated with improved longevity, immunity, pain management, self-esteem and a reduction in stress.

In sum, sexual pleasure helps to cement the primary kinship structure of the couple relationship, contributes to the overall happiness in life of both men and women (whether they are in partnerships or not) and is associated with various aspects of good health. Seen in this way sexual pleasure is not frivolous or unnecessary: it is essential.

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GAY SEXUALITY AND ANXIETY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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