This post will try to summarize the effects of sexual education on gay sexuality.
First of all it is necessary to define the concept of sexual education. We start from a premise: the development of studies indicates that sexuality has a genetic-epigenetic base which is substantially defined already in the uterus and at most in the perinatal period. This genetic-epigenetic imprint determines not only the sex, that is, gender belonging in anatomical and physiological terms, but also the gender identity, that is, the perception of gender and sexual orientation.
The awareness of sexuality, its models, the more or less repressed manifestations of sexuality over the years, and the consequences on an individual psychological level, are instead largely determined by that familiar and social interaction, which we can call “sexual education” and which is not limited to just a single part of life, but follows the evolution of the individual according to the progressing of age.
The fact that sexuality, understood in its most profound aspects, is closely connected with the affectivity induces to consider sex education as an integral part of affective education.
A concept, in the educational field, should never be forgotten: education acts on the basis of an individual biological genetic-epigenetic substratum but is also linked to the stages of development, to possible pathologies and many other factors. Education means to develop the potential of an individual “respecting first of all the biological identity”. A good gardener knows that by placing an apple tree in the ideal conditions for the cultivation of an apricot tree, not only we will not be able to obtain apricots from the apple tree, but it will suffer a lot and may even die. Cultivating a tree means understanding first of all what tree it is and then providing it with the appropriate care for that specific tree. This is also true for people.
Let’s start from the family dimension, i.e. from emotional-sexual education inside the family.
The family is the first environment in which a child begins to build relationships. In order to begin to feel an affective gratification, the child must perceive the sense of acceptance and affectionate care from the parents. If the child is the subject of confrontation (unwanted children, doubtful parenthood, a child that has become an object of contention between parents and grandparents or between the parents themselves), he easily becomes aware that he’s not the center of family life and begins to experience the sensation of marginality and abandonment yet in tender age.
Perceiving the disagreement between the parents is inherently traumatic and transmits automatically, by imitation, a model of behavior that is not emotional but competitive, stimulates aggressiveness in one direction and sense of frustration in the other. The child also instinctively senses the discrepancy between words and behavior. Cuddling a child for a while and then leaving him alone in the walker or in front of the television not only causes a sense of abandonment but also provides an initial model of falsehood: “I love you so much, but you must keep calm and stay aside because I have other things to do!” The speech is basically inconsistent and false because it brings together declarations of affection and behaviors that show disinterest.
Often the frustrations of parents, their claiming attitudes, their blaming of this or that, their justifying only themselves, transmit to the child the feeling of unreliability of the parent who begins to be a faltering reference point. Nothing is worse than raising your voice to impose your point of view, and I don’t even want to talk about the possible physical violence in the family, which is experienced by the child in a devastating way: a father who tugs at his mother, who slaps her, a mother who plays hysterical scenes and screams at her husband, represent models that the child will certainly internalize, or by imitation or contrast, identifying, according to the situations, as an aggressive person or as a victim, and this will move the child away from the emotional contact, which is the true purpose of emotional education.
There are several other behaviors, apparently neutral, which transmit a sense of insecurity to the child:
1) A parent who speaks in the singular setting himself against the other (“I … while your mother …”) . The use of “we/us” conveys the idea of affective family, harmony and solidarity.
2) To talk too often about money or about who brings home money, or about social hierarchies that don’t see parents at the same level.
3) To speak badly about other people the child knows.
4) To show that it is difficult or impossible to speak with the other parent, that he/she has defects, that doesn’t care for the family and, worse of the worst, doesn’t care for children.
The presence of parents in the life of young children, up to preadolescence, should be constant, affectionate, dialoguing and never abstractly normative.
A particular consideration must be given to managing family conflicts that may arise, and indeed inevitably arise in the family over the years. It can be the conflicts of the parents with other relatives, of between parents themselves and also of the conflicts between parents and children. The management of conflicts must always be discursive and shared, no form of violence, even verbal, can be admitted for no reason. Recognizing the other’s reasons and seeking conciliation doesn’t indicate weakness but the exact opposite. The child must realize that the parent can see things in another way and you can talk to find a point of equilibrium without coming to breakage.
Affective education suffers a violent trauma when the parent-child relationship is dominated by the fear of the parent’s violent reactions. Even worse is the idea that a parent invokes the presence of the other parent to induce fear in the children, such in the classic: “I’ll tell your father!”
As one grows, one element takes on particular importance: confidence, which must be accompanied by confidentiality on the part of the parent. If a parent receives a confidence by the child, he must keep it for himself, if he doesn’t, he would induce the child to immediately interrupt the relationship of confidence with the parent that will anymore be resumed. Any attitude that shows the tendency of the parent to abandon himself to gossip, devalues him in the eyes of his son and reduces the possibilities for dialogue.
A general criterion must always be kept in mind: education operates through the example, not through words: children tend to assimilate and imitate parents’ behavior, not to put into practice what parents say in words but don’t do themselves.
What has been said so far, as it is easy to understand, requires from parents a substantial affective maturity that too often is taken for granted, assuming that the parent is always substantially up to the task of education and that at most he needs a training aimed at the conscious rethinking of contents and methods of education. Sometimes however, and not very rarely, these assumptions don’t occur, in some cases because parents themselves have been in turn educated (assuming that this word can be used in these situations) with completely improper and substantially non-educational methods, and in other cases because one or both parents can be psychopathological subjects (for example paranoid or perverse narcissists). While in the first case it is possible with regard to the parent a concrete action (even if of long duration and with uncertain outcome) of reorientation or re-education of the adult, in the second case such action is essentially impossible and the parent-child educational relationship can turn into a framework of family violence and abuse, up to the most extreme consequences. It should be emphasized that violence and family abuse practiced by paranoid or perverse narcissists parents are often not visible on the outside and create very deep suffering in the children with unforeseeable consequences even in the long term.
Sex education of the child
Today, children are bombarded starting from an early age with images more or less erotic and very often begin to take an interest in sexuality in a very abstract way well before adolescence, so they assimilate, in a very tender age, banal visions of the sexuality as a “forbidden game”. Pedagogues have often been concerned with how to convey to children a more correct concept of sexuality: typical is the model of the flower, the pollination and the fruit, but in this way there is the risk, for gays far from being indifferent, to provide only the concept of sexuality aimed at reproduction, this will also convey the concept of sexual role, of the boy and girl as society conceives them, and of typically male and typically female behavior, taking for natural and obvious cultural attitudes often very questionable.
Accustom a little girl to the idea that femininity involves high heels and makeup means distort the concept from the beginning, like to think that the boy should be interested necessarily in football and in certain types of games is in itself misleading. It is very easy to see that in a school class of children who are not yet pre-adolescent, boys tend to play “boyish” games with each other, and girls tend to play “girlish” games with each other and this is the result of an education for sexual roles, how society understands them, starting from an early age.
The child before puberty sometimes shows an embryonal hetero affectivity, which involves interest in being with little girls, talking with them, playing with them, or an embryonal gay affectivity, which involves interest in being with other boys, talking to them and playing with them. These behaviors are the first manifestations of sexual orientation, they are not yet conscious, but they are elements on which we should reflect a lot and to which we should pay the utmost attention, but, I must say very clearly, never a repressive attention. I would like to point out that the transmission of role models deforms and often stifles these spontaneous tendencies altogether and tends to let the tendency towards homologation prevail, based on the fear of marginality within the peer group.
In the memory of many gays, the recollection of the first affectionate friendships with other boys and often the worried attitudes of the parents in front of such manifestations remains well imprinted. We are talking about friendships between children, not yet pre-adolescent who, if not totally conditioned by education, begin to show signs of homo-affinity or hetero-affectivity.
Parents, who often lack a broader horizon on sexuality, consider themselves as the only possible model for the sexuality of their children. The idea that children are not and cannot be a photocopy of parents is still struggling to get accepted. It is precisely for this reason that some children’s behaviors alarm parents and trigger a short communication circuit that ends up disrupting trust and establishing suspicious attitudes.
The child who plays with dolls or puts on his mother’s high heels or wig or dresses up as a woman generally raises questions in the parents, and this happens even more strongly if two children develop a very close friendship. Apart from the fact that these are completely different phenomena, because the first refers to gender identity and the second to sexual orientation, it is very probable that the child experiences in these situations the concern of the parent that manifests itself through limitations, prohibitions or simple removals.
The basic criterion of a good sex education is to promote the spontaneous development of affectivity and sexuality, avoiding a repressive sanctioning behaviors. The parent facing behaviors that are not what he would have expected believes that it is his duty to “correct”, to “guide” the child’s behavior, to “defend” him from dangerous influences, this attitude, which is perfectly understandable, is acceptable , positive and necessary, if “to correct ” means to demonstrate by example how one can have affection and respect for friends, without demanding too much and without running away from one’s duties towards those friends, if “to drive ” means to explain, to make the child understand the meaning of affective relationships even in adult life, for example by receiving friends cordially and affectionately, if “defending” from dangerous influences means to accustom children not to trivialize, not to exploit friendship, to take it seriously and to respond adequately when the need arises, but “to correct” means for many parents only to repress, “to drive” means to remove freedom and “to defend” means to segregate.
I would like to stress that the signs of homo-affectivity are generally very precocious and repressing them means inducing the guilt and submission of the child who begins to consider himself wrong. The repression of infantile homo-affectivity sometimes manifests itself explicitly, and sometimes through a systematic attempt to remove the child from contexts in which that homo-affectivity tends to manifest: if the child has developed a strong friendship towards another child or even towards a boy a little older during the summer holidays at the sea, the next year instead of going to the sea the family will go to the mountains.
A very delicate subject in this area is the prevention of sexual violence and abuse. Clearly, the child’s segregation reaches the goal but at the cost of a total repression of the individual freedom. The real problem lies in avoiding the risks (which are not only fancy) leaving the child a freedom commensurate with his age. Leaving a child (under 12-13 years ) alone for the whole day together with his playmates exposes him to objective dangers, which he may not realize. But if sexual abuses perpetrated by external pedophile subjects are generally the most feared, experience teaches that abuses are practiced only exceptionally by strangers and for the most part they rise from a family environment. Parking children by relatives or friends from morning to night means abandoning them to situations that can be objectively risky.
Before 12-13 years it is good that the child finds its spaces for the most part with the presence of the parents: the parents speak in the living room, the children play in the next room. Parents in this way give their children an example of socializing and leave them freedom spaces according to their age.
Beyond the age of 12-13, the risk of abuse doesn’t cease because abuse can also be committed toward adolescents or preadolescents both by family members and by educators, priests or teachers, especially in contexts where the minor cohabits with other peers for education or care purposes. Particular attention should be dedicated to the education of responsible use of the web for the risks of priming to which minors are exposed on the net. It is important to be vigilant in order to catch any signs of disturbance, alarm or exaltation in children, talk to them about it, if it is possible, and contact the postal department or the local Police Office to receive assistance when faced with dangerous situations. Obviously, the best prevention of priming risks on the net is realized right through risk awareness, the habit of always thinking before acting, and the habit of protecting one’s own privacy and that of others, and on these aspects education has a decisive influence.
When a child manifests the first forms of curiosity in relation to sexuality, it should be taken seriously, avoiding trivializing and manifesting evasive attitudes. It is essential that sexuality is never detached from its affective implications and is not reduced exclusively to procreative purposes. The child must become familiar with the idea of a sexuality that is not a forbidden game but a manifestation of affection for another person. Many parents never show explicit emotional behaviors in front of their children, for example, the father and mother don’t hug each other in front of children and avoid any physical act with each other, even the simple caresses, others instead let themselves go to forms of more or less sexual play in front of their children who in this way feel themselves excluded from the relationship with their parents. Of course
It’s necessary to find a balance between these opposing attitudes: the spontaneous caresses and affections between parents, the cuddles, which end up with the involvement of the children in the affection of the parents themselves are extremely positive in stabilizing the mood and in developing a harmonious character in the children. The double bed must become a non-exclusive environment, reserved for the parents only, but must be an environment in which children can also be admitted. The physical contact with parents, commensurate with the age of children, must lead to the idea of the affectionate embrace between adults, which expresses participation and sympathy.
Let’s come now to one of the key points of the speech: how to deal with the issue of homosexuality. The parent who is explicitly dealing such an argument with the child for the first time, must never forget that if one takes for granted that one’s son is hetero, in 8 cases out of 100 he is mistaken. Sending positive messages about homosexuality certainly doesn’t induce heterosexuals to become homosexuals, but can help homosexuals to grow accepting without complexes their homosexuality. Many parents believe that the specifically sexual education of children is not up to parents and should be delegated to school, church, doctors and other educational agencies, as if sexuality were an object of study or a question of faith or health protection. Obviously all these aspects are not foreign to sexuality, which, however, is a very complex reality that cannot be considered only under sectoral perspectives.
Sexuality is a component of the ordinary life of all of us and one of the essential contents of a serious educational relationship. I have been dealing with homosexuals for many years and I have often seen gay adult men, still deeply conditioned by the conflicting relationships with parents due to homosexuality. The vast majority of homosexuals not publicly declared, speak about their own homosexuality just with a few trustworthy friends, while those who talk about it openly in the family are very rare, perhaps today less than ten years ago, but it is still a narrow minority. For a gay boy, talking to his parents and finding their respect and their affection even in an atmosphere of clarity is absolutely essential and stabilizing. On the other hand, misunderstanding and rejection leave deep traces and greatly complicate the achievement of true autonomy on the part of the children.
I add a fundamental thing: a gay boy who feels accepted within the family will not need to go and look for other environments in which to find understanding and tends to develop his affective life without hiding and for this reason objectively also running much less risks. When a gay guy presents his boyfriend to his parents (what was once unthinkable and now becomes more and more possible) he realizes at 100% the dimension of the normality of his affectivity-sexuality. Surprised, reticent, perplexed or hostile attitudes of parents severely undermine their children’s self-esteem and create often irreparable fractures.
I would like to touch on a very delicate last subject. Sometimes the boys who grow up, whether they are heterosexual or gay, find themselves instinctively experiencing drives that alarm them, classics are examples of sexual fantasies about much older people, pedophile fantasies, sadistic or masochistic fantasies and erotic drives addressed within their own family. It is objectively very difficult that topics of this kind enter explicitly in speeches between parents and children regarding sexuality, because if the fear of negative reactions to homosexuality is already strong, the fear of negative reactions to those contents can be much more alarming. The issue of pedophilia can be responsibly tackled by highlighting the very serious objective damage that those behaviors can cause but stressing nevertheless the fact that those tendencies can exist even in very good people who would never put them into practice. If there is an attitude that a parent must show in front of such things, it can only be to clearly distinguish the fantasies that one cannot control, from the actions that can and must be taken under control. A similar argument can be used also regarding sadistic and incestuous fantasies.
With regard to intergenerational relationships it is necessary to avoid confusing them with larval forms of pedophilia, because intergenerational relationships are relationships between consenting adults even if of very different ages.
A correct attitude in the face of all these things helps people feel understood and accepted and enhances their morality and their capacity for discernment and this is the basic premise to accept themselves and to be able to self-control. It should be emphasized, however, that pedophile fantasies, of which people almost never speak in a scientifically correct way, are a reality very complex and difficult to manage. In many cases these fantasies are found in adults who have in turn been victims of violence or sexual abuse. It should be clarified that, although fantasies and actions are distinct things, it happens that fantasies are or may be prodromal to actual or possible behaviors, which, even if only considered merely as hypotheses, can cause levels of profound suffering.
Slipping from fantasies to pedophile behaviors can sometimes become easy and almost obvious. The sex tourism, for example, can lead the adult to look for more and more young partners of one or the other sex, producing a slow but effective slip towards pedophilia. The use of Internet child pornography should be considered as a sign strongly indicative of a dangerous corroboration of fantasies, prodromal to possible pedophile behaviors. According to what I learn from people who experience pedophile fantasies I’m led to believe that slipping into occasional pedophile behaviors, which can be the origin of recurring pedophile phantasies, also of obsessive types, is certainly possible even for people who have never had previously this kind of fantasies.
A person who experienced this kind of fantasies told me: “I had never had such fantasies before, then it happened to me an experience in which it would have been easy to come to the action, but it didn’t happen, but taking a step without return would have been very easy. And since then, such fantasies remained strongly stamped in my mind. I don’t like them, that somehow compromised my sexuality for years because I think that I wouldn’t even talk about such things with my partner, because he would react badly.”
I will not analyze here the possible compulsive aspects of pedophilia but because many men who have pedophilic fantasies are aware of it and are afraid of being able to practice pedophile behavior, in some countries (in Germany, in England and in the US) there are support services who deal with prevention by providing specialized psychological support to those who request it because they experience pedophile tendencies.
At the general educational level there is still an ancestral fear towards psychologists and psychiatrists that should be eliminated, leading people to understand that they are health workers who can provide psychological and even pharmacological support if necessary. Prevention education, which deserves a detailed examination, is not only carried out in providing information on sexually transmitted diseases, but also in the prevention of other risky behaviors for oneself and for others such as pedophile ones.
Certainly less sensitive are the themes related to the couple’s relationship structure: monogamy, indissolubility, socialization and formalization of the couple’s relationship, relationship between friendship and love. Insisting on the legitimacy of a single behavioral model collides with the reality of affective life which is often not monogamous, not unbreakable neither reducible to structure. The meaning of the couple relationship is usually assimilated by imitation already in childhood and, according to the general rule, is transmitted through the behavior of adults and not through their speeches. The relational aspect of sexuality should never be overlooked, according to this relational aspect the fundamental satisfaction in a sexual relationship derives from the realization that our partner is really involved and is in turn gratified by the relationship. Needless to say, these must be relationships that are actually wanted consciously and freely by both partners.
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-sexual-education
I was really pleased to be able to talk with you last night, I absolutely needed it and I enthusiastically welcome the idea of summarizing yesterday’s speech into an email that you can then enter in the forum.
I am 31 years old, in my life I have always been convinced of having a thousand problems, from the idea that I would never find a guy who loved me at the idea of not being physically and psychologically up to a serious partner and many other things. For those things I felt bad, I felt like a nothingness and I thought I had experienced the worst, the most problematic situations of life, then I met a guy and slowly, gradually, we began to love each other. I don’t know what brought us to get together but it happened.
For a long time we couldn’t live together because we didn’t have the chance, in theory we were only two good friends, but in reality we were a couple. We didn’t see each other every day, and it happened that maybe in a week we saw each other only once, but when we were together we felt really well, we learned to love each other, to understand each other, to trust each other.
I thought I had found my serenity and surely he too thought it, but suddenly he started to accuse some disorders, he went to the doctor who sent him to the specialist and he did some very thorough instrumental examinations and it became clear that my boyfriend had a very serious health problem. I don’t go into details, but it was really a bolt from the blue.
At the moment he has quite bearable disturbances, but it will not always be that way and we have been told it, now he has begun his path of illness, which, apart from the gravity of the thing in itself, will create great problems even with work, because he is employee of a large private company and when he will have to go to the hospital for therapy he will be absent from work and so he will risk dismissal. Fortunately for me I have a good job and if it were to serve I could give him a helping hand.
At the moment he has not said anything about the illness to his parents, who are elderly, have a lot of health problems and live with him, he doesn’t want to alarm them, but sooner or later they will realize that something is wrong.
My parents know my boyfriend, who has been to my house many times with them, but they thought he was just a friend of mine. Some time ago, my father, who is 70 years old, looked at me in the eye and said: “I see you’re not quiet, what’s wrong?” And I told him everything, that I was gay and that my boyfriend was sick and he hugged me and told me: “On me and your mother, you can always count and for anything.” I felt a little comforted but I’d have preferred that it was my boyfriend to feel comforted, but he can’t even talk with his parents.
My father asked me about the hospital where my boyfriend goes, and about doctors who take care about him and he said they are serious people, he knows those environments because he too has had oncological problems, now under control.
I modified my working hours to be close to my boyfriend as much as possible, I accompany him to work and I go to take him back, I always accompany him to the hospital, the doctor who takes care about him has been told that we are a couple and didn’t make a grimace. My father at one point called Steven on the phone and Steven came to my house for lunch, it’s something quite usual for us, but this time my father told Steven something that he didn’t expect: “Louis told me everything and we (i.e. he and my mother) thought that you and Louis can feel more at ease enjoying your privacy in this apartment, I and my wife can go to a little house we have in the village nearby, which is only 15 kilometers from here, but your parents would remain alone and maybe they would take it badly, I don’t know … What do you think about?” Steven was puzzled and didn’t know what to say and I too, actually. He should have left his parents’ house and it seemed unrealistic. My father, given the perplexities, didn’t insist and said only: “The proposal is always valid, if you decide to put it into practice, it is done in two days at most”.
When I took Steven back to his house and we parted, he thought that if he had been with me in the same house he would have been calmer, even for the illness, because his parents knew nothing and in case of need they wouldn’t have known what to do. He told me: “I have to try and get my parents to accept it, but they also have my sister and they wouldn’t be alone anyway … let’s see what happens.” After not even a week, my parents went to live in the village and Steven moved to my home. He was happy to be with me, it was also a way to realize a dream, but at the base of everything there was a terrible melancholy. I saw Steven smiling and seemingly quiet but I was worried about the passage of time, everything seemed to me ephemeral and frighteningly unstable.
At the moment the situation is this, Steven goes to the hospital for checks every two months, the doctors don’t talk too much, they decide what to do step by step, I bring inside me a terrible anguish and I think about what Steven is experiencing, we speak about everything, but not about the disease, which means that he is trying to remove it and not to be too much conditioned by it.
I feel embarrassed especially for sex, I swear, Project, I never know how to behave, before we had never had problems, it all came spontaneously, now to launch the idea seems inappropriate, but in the end this is also a stupid problem. He occasionally takes the initiative, we rarely get to sex, in most cases we just smile and move on. It’s different for cuddles, now there’s a lot more tenderness than before, a little to compensate for the decrease in sexuality and mainly, I think, because now we have our intimacy, we have our own home and we can nestle one against the other to see the television or just to feel that we are there and that we love each other.
Project, I would never have thought of having to face a situation like this, which puts me to the test in a violently emotional way. I am terrified of the future, doctors don’t encourage but don’t even discourage, talk about the phase of therapy towards which you are going but never talk about long-term prospects. I don’t ask questions when we go to the hospital together. Steven asks some questions and I try to memorize the doctor’s answers and to put together the pieces of the puzzle to understand something more. We have decided not to read Wikipedia and let the doctors do their work.
Sometimes in the morning I wake up next to Steven and I start to pray for Steven, and I have never been religious, but now I find comfort in the ideas of religion. Of this I cannot talk with Stephen, not so much because he is radically rationalist and unbeliever, but because for him it would be like a further confirmation that I consider his health problem insurmountable. He too, in my opinion, doesn’t see any favorable prospects at all, but he never talks about it. Sometimes, when we hug, I wonder what he is thinking but obviously he doesn’t say anything. Those moments of silence are very intense, our way of shaking hands is already very eloquent. This too is being gay and I had never imagined it.
Now I realize how absurd the problems I had a few years ago were, now I took a bath of reality that put me in touch with human nature in its fragility. I’m learning very hard lessons, I only know that I love Steven, and I will never leave him alone, I don’t want to think of a future without Steven, this idea is terrible for me and makes me cry, because I see Steven who calmly shakes my hand, I hear his voice a little hesitant and I also see him smile, it is he who tries not to make me think and to give me courage.
Now we are at this point, Project, and no one knows what is to come. I feel profoundly melancholic, I feel like a feather carried by the wind. My parents try to be present to calm the atmosphere a little, they treat Steven as if he were a son of theirs, this consoles a little, but the underlying terrible melancholy remains. I love Steven also because he has a dignity even in this situation, and doesn’t close himself in himself, on the contrary he accepts to share his anxieties with me, without too many words but with a lot of love. I stop here, Project, because I can’t go on.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-couple-in-a-terrible-ordeal
Hello Project, now it is so much that I don’t write to you. With my wife we talked and we decided to separate. Now we are still at home together for logistical reasons and it is not easy, but I imagine that slowly everything can improve. The guy of the message I have not heard him for months and I cannot deny that I miss him, but slowly this will pass too. On my orientation I sincerely stopped asking questions and giving me labels. I decided to live with sincerity and that’s it, without giving me a thousand problems. I also managed to talk with my male best friend and with my female best friend, with my sisters and especially with my parents. I was afraid that they wouldn’t understand, in fact I was convinced of it, but it happened the exact opposite, they understood me and they are close to me. This helped me a lot. My father’s answer was “Certainly I’m old, but in 2017 it’s no longer strange”. I and my sister were more shocked by his reaction than he was by me. He has always been one of closed mind (at least apparently). Now I’m just trying to find a balance in my life even if I have swung for months between moments of contentment and serenity and moments of confusion and sadness. I also write to you because I wanted to add my experience to the forum by telling my life, but before inserting the post I wanted you to read it and tell me your opinion. Below you find the text (I know it’s very long, but it’s a life to tell and there are many themes). Bye! And thanks.
Hello everyone, first of all I congratulate you for the forum, which I have been following for many months and that I continue to follow, reading texts, reflections and comments, and I thank Project for its advices. All those testimonies have helped me in this period not exactly easy. I have tried many times to write my story to give some help to someone else with my experience and above all to receive help or advice, but I have always been afraid and uncertain about what to write.
I’m a 29 year old guy, not exactly a teenager. I state that I understand that I have always had a strong internalized homophobia, probably acquired by a loving and affectionate grandmother who was completely against the gay world and by a father who joked about it with friends. I was a child and certain phrases that, with today’s head, I would understand that they must be contextualized and understood in a completely different way, they had marked me. I don’t know if it was because of these phrases or whatever else, but I have always seen the fact of being homosexual as something perverse and sick, I don’t say as pedophilia but almost.
I remember that as a young child I had “different” thoughts but I had confirmation of being different at 14 when I fell in love for the first time with a guy. Obviously it was an unrequited and unilateral love, because he was straight. All this made me suffer, not only because of the unrequited love, but because it was something I absolutely didn’t want and I tried to deny inside myself, hiding and lying to myself telling myself that he was just a friend. My dream since childhood was to have a family and children. The children were my biggest dream. As far as I was concerned, in addition to emotional involvement, I was also attracted toward this guy, sometimes it was enough to stay close to him to get an erection, but I couldn’t avoid to want him and it was impossible for me to take him out of my head, and all the story made me ashamed to death.
At that time I don’t sincerely remember masturbation in which direction it went, even if remembering it would be useful to understand things better. I also remember that at that time when I was interested in a guy I tried to “translate” the feelings I was feeling, directing them to girls, trying to convince myself that I felt those feelings for girls. I don’t know why I did it, but I was convinced that it was right. It was a period when I felt wrong and suffered.
I remember trying to change my gestures to look as masculine as possible, even if I still maintain a slightly effeminate attitude. I didn’t do sports or anything that led me to enter a male locker room because I was very ashamed to see naked guys, I found myself looking at them and wanting them. I tried to do everything to look as normal as possible and the fact that I had a good appearance helped me because I was always surrounded by beautiful girls, many of which followed me, while for me they were only friends. Still, I find myself better with girls and I have more male than female friends, with guys I have more difficulty in tying. I also tried approaches for a while with some girls, but without having any emotional or physical interest.
At one point she came, the girl who later became my wife. She had a great love for me and I found in her the emotional tranquility that comforted me and made me feel normal. For me she became a point of reference and I was completely carried away by her love. I somehow love her and I still care for her today, but knowing that there was something wrong with me, I was able to see it as something external, not mine, to such an extent that I had finally come to think of being “healed”, or better, not even “healed”, that there had simply never been anything strange within me. Sex worked (maybe), even though I never looked for it and it had never impressed me. Sometimes I fell into periods of sadness and silence because something came out and I closed in myself knowing that with a little time the malaise would have passed and everything would be back as before. And my poor wife was always trying to understand something that is quite incomprehensible even for me and even now.
Masturbation had become a necessity, I devoted myself to it in a mechanical way and always watching porn, straight porn, of course, watching a gay one was something unthinkable for me. Sometimes I looked at them to convince me and confirm that I was not interested. But in the hetero movies I looked at the man and in my mind I had the greatest pleasure in oral sex, with the desire, not only that it was done on me, but that I was to do it to him, and then I used to identify myself in the actress. I know, it’s absurd if I think about it, but in that way I felt normal and above all not guilty. Probably I’m the only one in the world to have certain quirks. My life has gone on like this, I have filled my life with things to do without stopping, I guess just only in order to avoid having time to stop and think.
I really believed it was all normal like that. After all I was not serene but somehow I was happy, I had a perfect life. With my wife we grew up together, we respected each other and we always did everything together, traveled, learned languages and supported each other in difficult times. So I decided to get married and give her that much-desired wedding. I tried to give her a dream wedding, I had committed to this purpose with all my heart. Although it was a mistake it was a day when we were really happy, it has been still the best day of my life and when I made the decision, for me, that problem that I had inside didn’t exist anymore.
Until “he” arrived. I was in church, that same church that so often comforted me in the most difficult moments. He was in front of me. I couldn’t look at him and the absurd thing is that every now and then I caught him while looking at me and seeing that I was looking at him, he looked away, almost ashamed. I told myself it was strange. He was not handsome, but his dark eyes, his naive look of teddy bear (so I called him), big and tender, attracted me. Then someone told him he had to move and put himself next to me. We had a chat and he was also nice and intelligent. There were so many things in common to talk about. After the course, I ran away, I left without too many words.
I didn’t see him for a while until one day I saw him in a group. We had to take a group photo and he took my hand to make me get close to him, a gesture that any friend would do, but that contact pleased me terribly, after the end of the photo service I quickly left, full of shame.
The following days I was continuously thinking of that guy. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I cried, I don’t know exactly why. Then one day I had to ask him for some information and he gave me his phone number. He looked at me in a strange way, mixed with contentment and shame. I felt that he could also feel my own feelings, but I avoided thinking about it. But I didn’t understand exactly and I repeated to myself that it was all in my mind. I called him for that information, but the chat lasted two hours. It was really nice to talk to him and I saw that it was like that for him too.
In the following days we got newly in contact and we manage to talk for hours with pleasure, without stopping. We began to be in contact more often also with messages. I realized that I was more and more of me interested in him, but as usual inside me I told myself that I had found a good friend only. Until one day I went to his house to meet him. I had to stay there no more than half an hour, but he had to go for an errand and insisted that I wait for him at all costs, and so I waited for him. Then we talked again about our studies, our travels and our passions. He seemed happy to see me and be with me. I certainly was.
The next day I had to go abroad for work and I needed a helping hand, we had talked in the morning and I had also told him about my trip and he came abroad with me to give me a hand. During the whole trip we talked and the speeches about gays and in particular about gays who attend the church came out. I suspected he was gay and I asked him it without too many preambles, stressing that it was just out of curiosity.
He asks me in turn the same question and I answer him “straight” but I talk to him about my doubts and tell him that maybe I can call myself bisexual (it was the first time in my life that I was talking to someone about such things, and it was something that I didn’t even want to talk about with myself). He replies that he too was bisexual. So we began to talk about our doubts and feelings experienced in the past. It was the first time that I really asked myself questions and talked about them aloud.
From him I learn that he had begun to accept himself two years earlier, at the age of 30. I also tell him of the feelings I felt towards him (I had no ulterior motive, it was only out of sincerity). He tells me that for him it was the same, I was happy but confused, I didn’t expect it. Then with a tender and shameful look he puts his hand on mine. He had a sweet firm touch, I felt uncomfortable, but I loved that contact terribly. I felt afraid and guilty. Then he made a simple gesture but I remember it with great pleasure. It was hot and he was worried about me, he took off my hat, and so I could see he was worried about me. This thing filled my heart. We spent the day together, looking at the view of the city and then we stopped for a drink and he clumsily tried to kiss me.
I was shocked. I pushed him away saying I was married. I read in his look that he was ashamed. He apologized. All this made me so tender, I too wanted the kiss, but I couldn’t let me go. I was afraid of myself, of the situation, and the sense of guilt grew inside me just thinking about it. I shook his hand, saying to forgive me, but I wanted nothing more than a friend. The following days we continued to stay in touch, more and more and we took every opportunity to see each other. We did nothing but talk. It was so pleasant. But I felt that feeling grew stronger and stronger inside me. Then one day he writes me by message, a simple “I love you”, and I think I was the happiest person in the world. I was ashamed to answer him and sent him a song. From there followed messages and songs, which until that day didn’t make sense, then suddenly took deep meanings that I could finally understand.
We talked about everything, our secrets and the deepest fears. We opened up with each other a lot, until one day he wrote to me “I love you, but maybe even a little more”. I would have cried from the myriad feelings and thoughts that passed through my heart and mind. I was really confused, but now I realized that I loved him and for the first time in my life I was reciprocated. I was not alone. And the only thing I thought was: how is it possible that such a strong and beautiful feeling is wrong? Then he had to leave for a trip and we met to say goodbye. I was married and I had no intention of doing anything wrong anyway. So we talked and hugged before saying goodbye. I was so happy in his arms. Then he looked me in the eyes, those eyes that I dreamed of so much, and I found myself with my face closer to his, I felt terribly ashamed. I literally ran away greeting him.
During his two-week trip we were in touch every day, every moment we could. We were also joking about sex, but always for fun. Then he returned from vacation; that night, by coincidence, I had to go out and we met on a Roman bridge. He told me about the trip and all the good things he had seen. It was cold and so, he, big and tender, hugged me to warm me up. It was so sweet and I was so happy, I felt protected for the first time in my life, I wanted that embrace never to end. I looked at him and asked him sadly why God says that such a beautiful thing it’s wrong. I’ve always seen gay love as something vulgar and carnal. Instead it had everything but vulgarity. And that’s how I found myself kissing him. But it wasn’t a kiss like all those I had given until that day. I felt my heart beating wildly, a desire that pervaded my whole body. It had never happened to me in my life.
We stayed hugged a little more on that bridge in the dark, watching the moon and the stars, over the incessant noise of the river. It was cold but for the first time in my life I felt really warm. I went home and thought about him all night and the following day.
Oh, what I had done! I had cheated on my wife and with a man. But it had been beautiful. I talked to him and he had the same guilt feelings, he was not married, but it was as if he were. Stupidly we were convinced that perhaps God had given us the opportunity to love each other without ruining our hetero duties (what a stupidity, if I think back!). But at that moment it was enough for me to get rid of guilt and to be with him. We continued as friends in front of others and any excuse was good to steal a kiss or a hug or even just a caress, until one day we found ourselves making love. It was not as vulgar as in porn movies, it was love, it was a mutual pleasure. I cannot get out of my mind his way of looking at me. I miss that tender teddy bear look. Then, afterwards, we fell asleep in each others arms. That hug is the most beautiful memory I carry with me.
After that episode we joined even more, I worried about him and he worried about me, we were very considerate of everything. We dreamed of impossible journeys and a life together, one in the shadow of the other. We imagined our old age in front of a fireplace, hand in hand. All this until one day an event happened (of which I prefer not to speak) that led him to feel guilty. I was married, and he too was as if he were. So the sense of guilt began to grow in us. We understood that everything we were doing was wrong. So he began to cry and I felt guilty about everything, about my wife and about him. I was a rag. I wanted to detach myself but I couldn’t. All this without being able to talk to anyone and trying to appear cheerful and sunny as usual in the eyes of people.
But I saw that he was moving further away from me. I told myself it was right this way, but the more I saw him get away, the more I died inside and looked for him. Until one day I felt him far away and asked him if it was over, he said yes, that it was better that way. I think the world around me stopped making noise at that moment. I told him “it’s ok”, after all it was right that way. For a week I couldn’t stop crying. I was newly alone and aware that something inside me was different, was gay.
So in that week I asked him if we could meet again. I wanted at least him to say it to me in my face not on the phone. We met. He was calm now. I didn’t understand how it was possible. So, when I got back to work, I wrote to him if he had another guy. He told me that he didn’t know how to tell me it and that he was sorry, but he had met a guy two weeks before and that with me he had confused the initial interest with love. At that moment it was like receiving a punch in the stomach, the world collapsed under my feet. I felt destroyed, I found myself losing the most beautiful thing in my life for another guy, I found myself aware that that a part of me so repressed existed and that made me really happy, and I also felt guilt for what I had done to my wife. All this in a fake straight life that made me feel in prison.
At that time I began to wonder if I could really be gay or bisexual. This thought stressed me more and more. I began to lose weight and close myself up like a hedgehog. Seeing any person made me uncomfortable. I was ashamed of myself. Sometimes I got to the point of feeling repulsion for myself. Finally I accept that part of me exists and I talk about it with my wife. That’s where I met the forum and talked to Project.
My wife helped me to understand, she thought it was a period of depression, but when she realized that this part of me exists, she went through a period of rage. But then she realized that it was simply so. On the one hand she was sad and disappointed, but on the other she was relieved because she had given herself so many faults and she thought that there was something wrong with her but now she understood that the problem was not her but was I, and she kept telling me: if you’re gay now everything is clear to me.
At first I thought being gay was only a small part of personality, but over time I saw my awareness grow up and, asking myself questions and reasoning on it, now I understand many things that I didn’t understand before. Now I’m aware that bisexual I’m for sure, and maybe gay. My wife says it’s clear, I’ve never looked at any girl, I’ve never looked for her to make love. I prefer a book or something else to her, she repeats that if I’m bisexual it’s just because she’s there. But there she was and I never had problems in making love. So a part of me is straight. At least I hope, I don’t want to believe that I really hid behind my wife. However now I stopped wanting to give myself a label. Now I just want to rediscover my serenity and really live, since until now I let myself be carried away by what was right for society. I know that from that day I rediscovered masturbation mostly without watching porn movies and all centered on that much desired guy and I also started to watch gay porn movies that give me satisfaction after all, even if I prefer the parts with oral sex or those “romantic”, Some films, however, don’t like them because they are too “hard”.
Now four months have passed since we said goodbye with that guy and yet I still miss him so much. For what concerns my wife I realized that she deserves a person who really loves her and really wants her. I tried to talk to her sincerely and stay close to her for what I can. It’s hard to leave her because I love her deeply and she has been a fixed point in my life. And the sense of guilt does not help. But it’s the right thing. On the advice of my psychologist I have been able to talk about myself with my two best friends and with my family. After that I spoke with my parents I felt an incredible sense of liberation, especially because they didn’t take it badly although I had thought exactly the opposite. On the contrary they speak as if they had always known or suspected it. They support me, worried perhaps also of my weight loss and of my sadness and loneliness that I have been carrying with me for months. Sorry if I was verbose, but summarize a life in a few lines is almost impossible.
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-story-of-a-married-gay-guy
This post is dedicated to married gays, so I will leave aside all the considerations related to sexual orientation of guys who have a straight sex life at the couple level and having a sex life typically gay at the level of masturbation, because these considerations have an important sense only before you get married.
I will start here from the situation of married gays, as I see it through the chats with people living in this condition. In my dialogues with married gay guys of all ages, the idea that when we are young, we are very often led to underestimate homosexuality and to consider it a choice and, even worse, a reversible choice, is always present. Too many times one hears people telling that one chooses to be gay and this totally false statement creeps into the brains of the guys who, forgive me the desecrating but instructive example, consider homosexuality not as their nature, i.e. as a personal fundamental characteristic but as a kind of drug that is a bad thing in itself but that can be taken in the end, in small doses, because it is taken for granted that one can come out of it when and how one wants.
Homosexuality has nothing negative and it is not a habit that leads to addiction, such as the use of drugs but it is a reality about which it makes no sense to say: “I go out of it when I want” because being gay is not a choice. The idea coming from a religious matrix of the homosexuality as a vice that if rooted leads to an addiction, that is to a vice no longer eradicable, is still widespread and continues to produce incalculable damages, inducing gays to marriage in the belief that, in the end, with an act of will, they can also choose to be straight.
The married gays know very well how much this wrong vision of things is deleterious. Very often, in socially backward reality in which homophobia dominates, children learn from an early age to see homosexuality as a disvalue, all traditional education presupposes the heterosexuality of guys and, where there are gay guys, who are eight percent of the guys and therefore are practically everywhere, causes them to repress any gay drive through feelings of guilt.
The Catholic Church still officially has attitudes that are substantially homophobic and, in substance even if not in words, incites hatred against homosexuals. With Pope Francis the tone, at the top, has changed, but eradicating homophobia from the Church is a something that seems to be destined for failure, admitted and not granted that someone really intends to attempt it.
The attitudes of the family are often backwarded and violently repressive. I invite those who have not seen it to see a very significant French film: “Juste une question d’amour” in which parents who embody two different attitudes have to face the homosexuality of the sons. When the repression of homosexuality is so strong as to induce the guys not only to eliminate external behaviors that may make people think of homosexuality but even to fight against their own homosexual instincts at a very private level by repressing spontaneous masturbation in a gay key, it becomes unfortunately possible and concrete the possibility that a guy can think not only of forcing himself not to be gay but even to be straight.
These are forms of profound violence that completely alter and I would say completely distort the affectivity and sexuality of a gay guy, who is encouraged to create a heterosexual relationships and to cultivate it by “imitating” the attitudes of other guys; in these cases the removal of homosexuality is seen as a moral merit and heterosexual sexuality is accepted as “medicine of homosexuality”.
Behind all this, the idea of sexuality as a vice and therefore as a fault is evident. On closer inspection, it is easy to understand that where very elementary and dogmatic conceptions of nature dominate, the complexity of reality is compressed into schemes derived from pure prejudices. To think that sexuality is aimed only at procreation is an assumption of principle that is systematically contradicted at the social level and in individual behavior.
The expression “against nature” has been and is still used systematically with regard to behaviors and to the same homosexual libido. Instead of knowing what variants of human sexuality are, it is much easier to consider them as deviations “against nature” or as acquired vices, or cultural choices, more or less induced from the outside. To consider homosexuality a vice rather than a variant of human sexuality means to base the whole approach to homosexuality on totally wrong grounds.
When a guy evaluates his homosexuality as a vice against which one must resist to return to true sexuality according to nature, in fact, he takes an attempt of self-repression that results in an attempt to avoid or contain masturbation, to escape from the occasions in which homosexual instincts can be more easily reawakened, to sublimate homosexuality in affectionate friendship, and, at the end, to choose of a way without return like marriage. I report here (with the consent of the author) an email I received.
“I am writing to you with great fear because I don’t know who you are, and the fact that you are gay embarrasses me. I’m 25 years old, I have distinctly felt an interest in guys for a few years, but I don’t feel repulsed by girls, now I have a girlfriend for a few months and all in all I feel quite at ease with her, she’s very sweet and she’s not obsessed with sex like some girls that I had before, we love each other, she is not at the top of my thoughts, I sometimes let myself go to pornography and in particular gay pornography, but with my girlfriend I think that a serious relationship could also be built. I want to say that if I work hard I can do without gay porn and even without masturbation for several days and I think if I had a family I could put all these things aside to dedicate myself to my family. I feel that I’m at a turning point, because if I wanted, I could arrive to the wedding and even in a short time and my girlfriend would be very happy and even our parents, and in the end, it would be good for me, but honestly for me it’s very hard to decide because then I could not go back. I would love to get married and do away with pornography once and for all. etc., but I’m afraid of doing the biggest stupid thing in my life. There is something that makes me reflect and it is the fact that I talk with my girlfriend about everything but I could not talk about my homosexual fantasies because I think that she wouldn’t really understand the meaning of such a thing, she’s fine with me, we pamper each other with a minimum of petting but she would never understand that for me there is something else, she is convinced that homosexuality is a vice that can be overcome with good will and perhaps with the help of a good psychologist. I too, years ago, tended to give for granted all these things but lately I started to think that things are much less easy than people make them look. I asked myself many questions about my future and what I really want. Recently I met a guy at the university and I started to look at him with interest, but not only for reasons of sex, as I did before, but to look at him with emotional interest, he made me feel tenderness, I wanted to stay next to him, there was also sex, but not just sex, and for the first time I began to think that for me a love story could be possible even with a guy and maybe even more with a guy than with a girl. I don’t know anything about the gay reality, which objectively scares me but I’m not at all sure that I want to give up my private and tiny gay world to go to a wedding that honestly scares me a little because in the end it could be a real trap. But now what have I to do? My girlfriend expects the wedding, like our parents and friends, etc. etc .. I think I need someone who forces me to admit things that I now see even by myself, even if then transforming the clarity of ideas that I’m gaining into concrete actions is really difficult.”
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-homosexuality-as-a-guilt-pathology-and-marriage-as-a-remedy