A GAY SON PROUD OF HIS FATHER

Hi Project,
I am a 55 year-old parent, unfortunately a widower for five years, who found himself in these days to discover that his son (his only child) is homosexual. If I still had my wife I could discuss with her, but unfortunately this is not possible. I have practically no knowledge of what homosexuality is and on what it may entail and I cannot talk to anyone about it because then they would ask themselves why I talk about it and I would risk to undermine my son’s privacy. My son is 21 years old, he has always been an exemplary guy, studious but also cheerful, sporty, I would say happy with his life. He never had a girlfriend, this is true, and I probably underestimated it, but he had female friends who came home to study with him, in short, it didn’t occur to me that he could be gay, he never had any effeminate attitudes, physically is a nice guy, normal and nobody identifies him as gay, at least according to what I think.
You’ll wonder how I got to know he’s gay, since he never mentioned it. I never spied on him, I would never have done it, but I didn’t even really have any reason to do it. One day when I had to work in the afternoon, I see Matthew go out to go to university. I go to the kitchen to prepare a cup of tea, before entering the kitchen I see a piece of paper on the ground, or better a note of those accompanying the gifts, there were a few written words: “You’re my sweet puppy!” [The reader must keep in mind that in Italian, the language of the author of the email he’s reading, the masculine nouns are easily distinguishable from the feminine ones and the adjectives must be used in the masculine or feminine form according to the nouns to which they refer. In Italian, if you are addressing a man or a guy you have to tell “Cucciolo docissimo”, if you address a woman or a girl you have to say “Cucciola dolcissima”, in English it would be said in both cases “very sweet puppy”.] The thing that came absolutely spontaneous to me was to think that Matthew had a girl and that that note was a note that the girl had sent him, then I looked Attentively at the writing and I said to myself: “But this is Matthew’s writing!” Instinctively the first thing that came to my mind was to put everything back exactly as I had found it and leave the house, because I would never have wanted my son to feel embarrassed, and so I did, I returned late in the afternoon, when I knew that Matthew had to go to swim, and I noticed that the note was no more on the ground, evidently Matthew had returned, he had found the note on the ground and had reassured himself. But I was totally upset. I considered all of the possible hypothesis, but the ticket didn’t allow other interpretations: Matthew had written it for a guy! It didn’t seem likely that it was a joke, in short, the conclusion could only be that my son was gay. But how could such a thing be possible, he has missed his mother since he was 16, his father has always been present and even too present. I was comforted by telling myself that anyway the note was the only clue that led me to that conclusion and that it was a weak clue, but a minute later it didn’t seem so weak to me. I didn’t say anything to Matthew and everything between us continued exactly as usual. I had the idea of spying on him, but I put it aside immediately, because it seems to me an unworthy behavior, I know that the best thing would be to talk to Matthew and tell him exactly what happened and tell him that the note I had put it back on the ground after reading it because I felt agitated and embarrassed, but taking a step like that is not easy because Matthew could also feel embarrassed, and then I started trying to get an idea of what the homosexuality is. At the beginning I was literally upset by what I found on the net. I’ve read about some apps that allow gays to recognize each other, I read something about dating sites, but they were upsetting things. The biggest fear was for the HIV because I read that the risk of HIV for a homosexual is much higher than for a heterosexual guy. After a bit of research I arrived on your forum and read a few testimonials from parents. I must say that finding Gay Project has comforted me a lot, but unfortunately sites like your forum are a very rare and on the contrary there are a lot of risky situations. In short, I think you can give me some useful information on how to behave with Matthew. I’m not homophobe, I would like to help my son be gay but I don’t know how to do such a thing, I would like him to understand that I just want his happiness, I don’t want to make him straight, I just want him to be happy with his father.
I thank you in advance.
Guido
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Hi Guido,
I think that Matthew has every reason to be happy with his father! It would be very nice if there were many fathers like you! I understand very well that a father who doesn’t know the reality of homosexuality, can remain doubtful and agitated in discovering that his son is gay. If the writing is really that of your son (more than likely, because usually guys speak in the family of their girlfriend and don’t speak at all about their guys) there is no doubt at all, but the content of that note, even if very short, makes us think of a serious relationship, that is, of a relationship that has at its base a form of affection, of tenderness. The fact that your son is calm, has a good relationship with you and has never had problems with school or university suggests that he is a prudent guy and also aware of the risks that sex can involve and anyway, certainly  a guy doesn’t write: “you’re my very sweet puppy!” to a guy found in an erotic chat! So, instinctively, I would say that Matthew knows what he does, I could even be wrong but he doesn’t have the attitude of the guys who end up in trouble. What to do? You found the solution yourself: talk to Matthew, tell him exactly how things went, I don’t think he can take it badly. He is a guy, yes, but he’s also an adult and you have to treat him as such and then, from what you write, there is no doubt, you love him. Don’t be afraid of your son! And above all, be sure that he will be proud of you! A hug!
Project
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Hi Project,
I spoke with my son last night. When I finished telling him about the note, he opened his arms, smiled and added: “I was afraid you would have taken it badly, oh God, I’ve had the idea of telling you that but I thought it would upset you … , but now the problem is over.” Then he told me about the guy, who is a university colleague who has also come to our home and met me sometimes and that I always thought was a very special guy. I told Matthew that I wrote to you and he stayed there wide-eyed, he said: “Did you write to Project? But do you know that I know him in person?” And then it was my turn to stay wide-eyed. He told me that he wrote to you several times (signing as Matthew97) and he met you in person with two other guys of the forum). I feel very reassured and then what you said to me happened: he patted my cheek and told me. “Fathers like you are few!” I don’t hide that I was happy.
Guido
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If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-son-proud-of-his-father
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A GAY COUPLE IN A TERRIBLE ORDEAL

Hi Project,
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.
Louis

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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

STORY OF A MARRIED GAY GUY

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.

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HOMOSEXUALITY AS A GUILT-PATHOLOGY AND MARRIAGE AS A REMEDY

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.”

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LEARNING FROM GAY EXPERIENCES

Hello Project, I am a guy 22 years old and I want to tell you my story, then, if you like, I would like to exchange a few words with you (my contact msn is omissis). As a child I was the classic good child. My father and especially my mother made me do what they wanted using only praise and half-perplexed faces. When I did what they wanted: hugs and kisses and pampering to no end, I think in an excessive way; when instead I was doing something my own way came the reproaches: “but why didn’t you tell your mother?” “you always want to do everything on your own, dad and mom are here for this!” I was a puppet in their hands, and I didn’t realize it.

Maybe at that age it’s normal and something like that happens to everyone but for me that stadium lasted for too many years. The other boys at 11/12 years seek their autonomy, I was only looking for the approval of my parents. The same was for the parish. There was an old priest who was a bit like a guide for the guys, for me it was an oracle, I did anything to hear his “Good boy!” Same thing at school with the teachers (I did the middle School by priests). At school I was good but I didn’t understand practically anything of what I was studying, when I saw that someone thought differently from my teacher I thought that he was a total ignorant or just an idiot.

It went on like this up to 13 years. I didn’t understand anything, I didn’t have even a minimum of autonomy but I was happy so. Until I turned 13, I thought only that sex was a dirty thing that made by the depraved guys who didn’t want to study and who would have been very uncomfortable in life because they didn’t do what their parents said.

Shortly after I turned 13 I discovered masturbation by chance. It was something that I liked, at first I was worried because it was a new thing, but then it was a pleasant thing and I had had no negative consequences as a result of it. The idea that masturbation had something to do with sex didn’t even touch me, the models of sexuality that I had at that time were those a bit in gloomy tones that I received from my parents who never deepened the subject but branded everything related to sex saying: “It’s people who have the brain ruined!” In short, it had also occurred to me to tell my mother that I was masturbating, just because I thought that sex had nothing to do with what I was doing, and fortunately I didn’t. So I never told it the priest in confession or anyone else but not to avoid saying it but because it seemed to me like an obvious and trivial thing.

For all the rest I continued to be the classic good child who obeys parents, goes to church, etc. etc. In the church at that time I spontaneously recited the part of the mystic. I had so well assimilated the priest’s way of doing that I even thought I could became a priest. I was a perfect believer, the parish priest always praised me and I felt proud of myself, it wasn’t a recital, I wasn’t aware of playing a role that didn’t belong to me to which I had only perfectly adapted. In the end, so, everything was fine and I didn’t ask myself any questions.

It went on like this up to 14 years. I started middle School in a state school, shortly after I turned 14, and there I realized I was completely out of this world. I didn’t understand anything about the sexual discourses of my classmates, I just pretended to understand simply not to let my mates make fun of me. Then, slowly, over time, more interpreting the gestures they made than words they said I began to understand something, two things actually: that what I did every day was masturbation and that it was exactly that sexual activity that I had heard condemned by the parish priest, and then I realized for the first time that my comrades were masturbating thinking about the girls that for me were completely indifferent and moreover my companions used, for those who had fantasies like mine, forms of radical contempt, branding them with epithets of which I understood the meaning for the first time and above all I understood that such epithets were directed towards those like me.

What could I do? It wasn’t a problem related to my class or my school, I realized that in another class or in another school it would have been exactly the same. And then I couldn’t change school. I should have taken note of reality and should have told myself: I’m gay! And I should have been aware all the consequences, understanding that being gay, in my case, could be reconciled with family peace only at the cost of a total fiction destined to last a lifetime, the same speech more or less for religion.

But at that time I didn’t know anything about either my parents or the church and I thought that in the end a conciliation was possible. I was so used to receiving the encouragement of my parents and of the parish priest, that I couldn’t do without it even if I understood that as a gay I could get those things only pretending, but instead of getting the straight way, I took a cross street trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. Instead of accepting a game of explicit hypocrisy towards the outside, I preferred to be hypocritical with myself and pretend to maintain a true relationship with my parents and with the church.

I proposed to myself to tell my parents everything, then, when I really had to do so I made vague speeches, of malaise, of disgust of the world and similar things but I never managed to spit out the frog. Then something happened that changed my relationship with my parents, that is, it made me change the point of view I had on them. On the bottom of a drawer I found a pack of condoms, now I knew what they were. My parents seemed to me completely hypocritical. Why did they never speak to me honestly? But they didn’t and relationships with them became even more ambiguous.

With the priest, in confession, I managed to say how things were (at least there was the confessional secrecy) but he told me that if the thing went on without control I would have to tell my parents and they could help me. My attempts or fake attempts to solve the problem went on until I turned 18.

Through the internet I met a gay guy two years older than me (let’s call him Mark) and I talked a lot with him. Mark is a very good guy. A couple of times we met but we only talked, he wanted me to understand a lot of things but at the time I thought he was telling me such things only because he wanted to take me to bed with him. We had met on a very serious and non-gay site but then I was still afraid that gays could assault guys.

In short, Mark put me in a bit of a crisis, he was the first gay guy I knew and was in fact very different from what I thought gay people were. The first time we went out I thought he would try something with me, I tried to reject the idea a bit, but I wanted it very much. We had been talking for hours and I enjoyed answering him by rebutting his arguments with things that now seem to me incredibly stupid but at that time they seemed very intelligent. At the end of the evening I was a bit disoriented by the things he had told me and a little by the fact that he had not tried anything with me.

The following Sunday we went together to the sea, I put the swimsuit underneath because I thought we were going to have a bath and I also thought it would be the right time for my first sexual experience and instead nothing, he didn’t even think about taking a bath, he remained in jeans and we only talked. I was nervous, at the end of the evening I said to him: “But why didn’t you try anything with me today? But are you gay or not?” He looked at me with a questioning face as if to ask me if I was mad, then he shook his head and said:” Excuse me, I guess we don’t understand each other.” During the whole return journey I harassed him with questions that now I understand how stupid they were, and he didn’t answer. He left me at my house very coldly.

The next day I called him a thousand times until he answered me. He was newly talking to me but I felt that things were not like before. I hated him, I thought he would act the part of the proud gay who looks down on the naive friend, I thought he wanted to give a lot of weight to some stupid things that I had told him, among other things I was also a fool who tried to use with him an attitude that aimed to catching his sexual interest, the result was exactly the opposite. He told me that he didn’t feel like going ahead and that his way of being gay was completely different from mine and that trying to build something starting from too distant points of view would have been a useless effort. I called him a couple of times but then he told me he had nothing to say to me.

Now, after three and a half years, I understood what he meant. I cannot reproach him for anything. He left and I was alone. At least for a year I tried to destroy his memory and devalue it in every possible way telling me that he was a hypocrite, then I threw myself on the chats but always telling myself that I was not looking for sex but I just wanted to understand what it was. When I entered a chat, I would enter in theory as an explorer who enters unknown terrain, but at the base there was certainly the sex, I wanted to try, now I wanted to try at any cost, I also put in my profile some explicit photos in theory to see people’s reactions but basically to attract handsome guys.

In the early days I was cautious, I had read many things about AIDS and I didn’t want to take risks, but the temptation was so great. In the end I arranged an appointment with a 32 year old. At first he was well disposed and courted me, even too much, he wanted to take me to his house but I didn’t go there. We said goodbye after two hours of mutual discomfort, at the end he told me: “But why did you look for me?” I told him “To talk a little.” He looked at me with an ironic face and just said: “Ah!” And has gone.

The second I met was 26 years old, well dressed, but of a unique rudeness, three words out of four were bad words. With him I was afraid because I entered stupidly in his car and he started as a rocket and took me to a country site outside the city in a place where I had never been. I really thought it could end badly, maybe it’s just my absurd fantasies but I was afraid it could rape me.

And while we were going, I thought about how to escape this situation. When I got out of the car I did not follow him and I ran away and he chased me, screaming terrible words, when he saw people running he shouted that I was a thief and someone started to chase me, I escaped through the fields, they lost sight of me and gave up. It was also evening, it was dark and it was a terrible cold, but I started walking along the provincial road, I heard the dogs barking and I was scared, then I saw a train passing by and I understood more or less where I was I spent almost an hour to get to the station and waited two hours for the next train.

So I came home after midnight all dirty with mud and my parents asked me a thousand questions. My computer has the password and they couldn’t know anything about me. I said that I had gone for a ride outside the city and that I had slipped into the mud but they didn’t believe it and our relationships became very difficult.

I come to the conclusion. Three weeks ago I saw Mark, I begged him to listen to me, he told me that he now had a boyfriend but I told him that it was fine but that I was only in a desperate need to speak with a serious person who could listen to me and he stopped to talk to me, he listened to me very carefully and he even smiled, then he called his boyfriend and it was evident that Mark was happy (how much I wish I had been in the place of that guy!)

In the following days we met another time. Three days ago he introduced me to his boyfriend who is 25 years old and we went in three to have a pizza. Mark’s boyfriend is very sweet, even with me, he treats me well, it seems almost incredible. In other times I would not have endured being together with two gay guys who were in couple, now it seems to me a beautiful thing. I have two gay friends, two real friends, I felt never better than that. I am learning so many things from them and I realize that I didn’t understand anything at all. They are the ones who told me about Gay Project. If it’s a forum that they like it cannot be a stupid thing. In practice I have been reading a little the forum only a few days before Christmas. Now I understand the things I read but even only a month ago they would have seemed stupid to me, I have to thank Mark and his boyfriend who are slowly helping me to open my eyes. In short, I think it’s worth talking to you a little bit!

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GAYS AND FAMILY

What relationships? In my opinion, things that make sense and nothing trivial … so, now, just to say, maybe you think: you have the boyfriend … and you don’t miss anything! … but life is not just that with the boyfriend … there are also other things. Now chatting so abstract about these things is strange but in the life of each of us many things are valuable and also important, maybe such things don’t appear, they seem stupid things but really exist.

The people who are important to you, all have different roles and roles that don’t overlap, I have the boyfriend … and this is important, I know … but I need also different things … for example there are many types of cuddles, some of them only your boyfriend can do, all right, but not others, but for example, I don’t know, an encouragement, or the fact that two guys stay to talk together even starting from different points of view, the fact that maybe he knows about you and doesn’t judge you, that accepts you as you are.

Now, in my life I have missed so many things since I was a kid, at a family level, I say, I would have wanted cuddles, I wanted them desperately and instead for me there have never been. When I did something, as soon as I had done it, it was necessarily judged a stupid thing … well … allow me it, I like being told that I’m worth something. We speak, yes, we talk a lot, especially when my boyfriend is not there … and for me it makes sense, it’s not just something to waste time … that is, if someone is listening and talking to you for hours … well, it means something … but sometimes we get to the loggerheads too, I also say some wickedness against Alec… yes, on the things he does … in short, no malice, I don’t come to that, but I speak very clear and he too gets angry with me … always, you know, in a very calm, but decided … he preaches to me … but no one has ever done the preach to me that way.

At my house they have never worried about or they only stated judgements and made me feel bad, I always looked for the affection of my parents … I told you so … and sometimes desperately and l never got it. My family was not really a family, I was the black sheep … you know, a gay guy … in short, the family’s honor was at risk and they made me feel it in every way …

In short, I would have liked so much living in a real family … because for a gay guy the family is fundamental, if it doesn’t support you so much or it even hinders you, your family can destroy you inside … because freedom is good but real life is not only that … being alone make you feel really bad … With Alec, you know, there is a bit of a “family love” … I don’t know how to explain myself, I’m glad when I find his messages, that is not that I don’t survive if I don’t find them, but if they is there, I am pleased and I go often to see if there is a message of his.

For example … about my boyfriend, he only says positive things. I told Mark so many times: “One day or another I’ll introduce him to you …” Mark was wary, he didn’t really want to know him but I insisted and at the end I convinced him,

I didn’t know what would happen and a bit I was anxious, then we saw all three of us … I thought we would talk, but no … we just said hello, then he said that the afternoon was beautiful and that I and Mark had to spend it together, not together with him, together just me and Mark … Mark liked him, he said that Alec was inclined to smiling and that he was a positive person … at least so he saw each other for the first time …

In some periods I don’t hear him for several days, even for ten days, but I know that he has not forgotten me, when you feel so it is as if you had talked with him the day before … that is really a thing family type … no … something like it should be a family thing because my family was not like that at all. … a bit he is a substitute for a family environment and then there is one thing that strikes me a lot, which in the end we reason more or less in the same way, if something for me has an important meaning he understands it, i.e. about many things he reasons a bit like me … it is not a trivial fact, it is not a comparison between deaf or between different worlds … we are of the same world and I’m very interested in knowing what he thinks of me …

I don’t see him as a competitor of Mark and he too doesn’t see himself this way, he has nothing to do with such roles … ah, another thing, he never really gets angry … at least with me … maybe we don’t agree on everything … but we discuss and don’t destroy anything and a bit I feel important and I think he feels the same. It seems strange eh? Marco is not jealous of him at all and often asks me: “What did he tell you?” And I tell him what we talked about.

Now I have not heard from him for a week and I miss him a little, but tonight I’m looking for him, he almost never calls me but it’s not out of disinterest, I know that. It’s a friend yes, yes, a true friend, maybe something more, a kind of brother and I know he thinks of me … but no, look, not stupidly or for some reason … just because we love each other, even if another way.

I feel better now because he is there … if he were not there I would miss him, he resizes me, in the sense that makes me see things for what they are, a little I’m sorry when he shoot against my dreams, but maybe I need even that, but I like it very much when it breaks down my worries and tells me that everything is fine and that I have no serious reasons to worry, so far he has always been right, more or less, and he has really a certain reassuring effect on me, he sees things from afar, he has other perspectives, this is evident, but for me at the end of the day it is important the same, that is he can give me things that other people cannot give me. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s so … and he says that I’m important to him and I know it’s true … and Mark knows that too … but there has never been any problem. .. are different planes, parallel planes that don’t touch, a little I have my family reconstituted this way …

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GAYS AND ANXIETY

Reactive anxiety

Anxiety, that is, the feeling that something dangerous and uncontrollable but at the same time indefinable is looming, presents itself in the most varied ways in the life of all people, in practice no one can say he is immune from it at 100%. Often the perception of anxiety is marked by feelings of emptiness, irritability, widespread impatience, by the feeling of the useless passing of time as a progressive loss of possibilities. Anxiety is often accompanied by somatization at cardiac level, or by insomnia or inconclusive agitation. Anxiety often compromises the normal activities of life or makes them more stressing and difficult to deal with, takes you away from an objective and rational assessment of things and emphasizes the difficulties and risks, up to almost completely block the activities of a person and force him to seek support at the psychotherapeutic and pharmacological level.

In the following I will stop to speak only of reactive anxiety, that is of those anxious syndromes in which a triggering and often determining factor can be identified at the environmental level, leaving aside the primary anxiety for which it doesn’t seem easy to identify determinant or triggering causes at an environmental level. To clarify, here you have some examples of reactive anxiety:

1) A student, inserted in a school class, shows frequent signs of anxiety: insomnia, episodic tachycardia, unmotivated fear, easy irritability, difficulty in concentration, environmental maladjustment. That same student, after changing class, no longer shows the same anxious syndrome, appears calm and well inserted into the new class.

2) A married man who has difficult relationships with his wife’s family shows signs of anxiety, when he moves to another city, away from his wife’s family, he no longer shows signs of anxiety.

3) An elderly man who finds problems at work has tachycardia, feels overwhelmed by work and expects to be in trouble at any moment for some reason that he cannot even identify clearly. That man, after retiring, regains his serenity and no longer has anxious manifestations.

Anxiety and homophobia

As we can see, the causes of reactive anxiety are not related only or essentially to the subject who experiences it but basically to his difficult interaction with the environment in particular situations called precisely anxiogenous. It is quite evident that homosexuality must also be included among anxiogenous situations, but not homosexuality itself but homosexuality in a homophobic environment. I would like to emphasize that I don’t mean here as homophobia the activities of more or less violent repression of homosexuality but precisely the phobia of homosexuality, that is the tendency to exclude it and to marginalize it. Homophobia is a subtle reality that often hides itself even under the appearance of tolerance and respect.

The root of homophobia consists in perceiving the homosexual as different and as something else from yourself, well beyond the sexual orientation, as if the sexual orientation constituted a barrier between human groups. Homophobia can’t be assessed in the abstract, can’t it be rationally surpassed and homophobic people often don’t even perceive their homophobic attitudes. Naturally, the perception of environmental homophobia by those who suffer it and live it daily as a limitation of one’s own freedom is very different.
Homosexuals are very sensitive to the homophobic implications of the behavior of their family members, their friends and the social environment in which they live. For a gay guy, it is a question of having the attention always focused on ”reactively” determining one’s behavior in such a way as to reduce the risk that environmental homophobia will unleash against him.

Anxiogenous situations for a gay

Some particular situations may be particularly anxiogenous for gays:

1) Being submitted to the questions of parents and relatives like ”Do you have a girlfriend?”

2) Discovering that at school you are became object of the attention of a serious girl, who is lived as a danger in relation to the group.

3) Finding yourself in very narrow and very gossipy work environments where you cannot stay by yourself and maintain your privacy.

4) Also finding themselves temporarily in situations of close cohabitation with other people with whom one inevitably comes to talk about emotional relationships and sexuality.

I would add to these situations a fifth and a sixth situation that for gays can be really strongly anxiogenous:

5) Falling in love with a guy whose sexual orientation is unknown and enter an endless path of indecisions, fears and postponements.

6) Having to hide your sexual orientation, a situation that can occur on many levels, from the anxiety of coming out with a trusted friend to the embarrassment of lying to your wife if you are a married gay man.

So far we have only talked about anxiety in general terms, but for gays, anxiety often manifests itself in dimensions closely related to sexuality.

Internalized homophobia and gay discomfort

The internalization of environmental homophobia leads gays to non-acceptance of self and often leads them unconsciously to attempt the path of hetero sexuality. These are real self-impositions that are embodied in so-called ”sexual experiments”: I try to stay with a girl, if I can, it means that I am straight. It is actually a neurotic mechanism in which anxiety dominates. The sexual experiment is deeply desired but not as a form of sexuality but as a test that can confirm a presumed heterosexual identity. I will never get tired of pointing out the absolute absurdity of the advice that even some psychologists give to their patients when they see them not too convinced of their heterosexual sexuality, pushing them to ”try gay sex”.

It makes no sense to ”try” gay sex to evaluate one’s own reactions, it makes no sense to go with a girl to verify one’s being straight. Sexual orientation is not related to behavior but to sexual desires. There are gays who get married, their married life is 100% heterosexual but their sexual fantasies are not straight and their masturbation is gay. To understand one’s orientation, therefore, it makes no sense to ”try a particular sexual behavior” gay or straight, which, among other things, can be risky for health, but you have to put aside ”gradually” your conditioning to conquer, first of all, a true freedom in terms of sexual fantasies and masturbation.

Among other things, anxiety deriving from sexual orientation issues conceived as a problem, very often, causes consequences, even heavy ones, in matters that have nothing to do with sexuality and in particular in studies. When the mind concentrates on the research at all costs of an answer to a problem connected to sexuality, it ends up neglecting and minimizing other fundamental aspects of social and relational life. In some cases the abandonment of the study, as a consequence of an anxious way of experiencing sexuality, provokes further insecurities and anxious sensations that slowly extend even far beyond sexuality.

In these situations it does not make any sense to look for certain and definitive answers to the bitter end by following a neurotic push, but we must remember that certain and definitive answers don’t even exist for a lot of questions and that anxiety can be overcome only by realizing it. definitely putting aside the idea of being framed in this or that category, but I add one thing, resuming studies, if the studies have been neglected or put aside, it does not just mean avoid to create further problems for the future in terms of work and of economic prospects but also move away from the idea of having a problem that must be resolved soon and definitively.

In practice, the return to normal study or work is the most significant symptom of overcoming anxiety and the most useful therapy in that sense. I would add that the anxiety that is often perceived as arising from uncertainties of sexual orientation actually has other origins because gay sexual orientation in itself, in a serene environment, does not give rise to anxious reactions.

We must start by realizing that the problem we don’t bring it inside us, we don’t create it, but it is a reaction to a difficult environmental situation. An external problem mustn’t become an internal one and the negative mythology of homosexuality spread in a homophobic climate mustn’t be internalized.

The feeling of loneliness must be considered a momentary consequence of a difficult environmental situation because it really is so and these situations can radically change. What has just been said is useful as an indication for the overcoming of anxiety by those who experience firsthand that anxiety, but we must bear in mind that the main way to overcome anxiety is emotional socialization, that is, having around a network of true emotional relationships that convey feelings of security and stability.

Interacting with an anxious subject

But how can people who are next to a person who is strongly anxious contribute to relieving the burden of anxious syndrome? Often when one realizes that one has anxious friends, there are scruples about talking to them in a clear way about everything because they might feel uncomfortable and it is easy to assume in face of an anxious friends reticent or blatantly false attitudes ”for goodness”.

As in all relationships between people, the most wrong thing is playing a part, taking on a role ”for the sake of another person”. One thing to avoid with regard to very anxious people it is the attempt to convince them by reasoning and examples that anxiety must and can be overcome.

With regard to anxiety, it is very helpful to feel involved in a true emotional climate, while every form of abstract reasoning is even counterproductive.

It often happens that issues that are not in themselves problems at all are instead experienced anxiously as problems. In these situations the comparison and dialogue with people who have a similar experience is essential to realize how others react to situations similar to those that we live and to play down. Feeling as the only person in the world who has to face an urgent and difficult problem is stressful and anxiogenous, while realizing that the alleged problem is actually a problem only to the extent that it is considered so and that many other people have been facing or they are facing now very similar situations is much more reassuring and above all much more true.

Gay sexuality and anxiety

We come now specifically to the relationship between gay sexuality and anxiety, limiting the field to the sexual dimension in the strict sense. It happens to me several times in the chat to talk with guys anxious for issues related to gay sexuality. The causes of these anxiety states can be various, by way of example only, I quote the most recurrent:

1) Anxiety resulting from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

2) Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

3) Anxiety from problematisation of sexuality

These is three conceptually different realities that can however present a lot of connections.
Before proceeding in detail it should be remembered that anxiety is identified as a perceived situation of danger, uncertainty or inability to manage a situation. Anxiety sometimes presents psychosomatic manifestations, sometimes very evident such as tachycardia, tremor and high blood pressure, sometimes less evident, such as insomnia, sleep disorders, nightmares. Anxiety can also have typically sexual manifestations such as impotence, premature ejaculation and various disorders of masturbation. However, rather than dealing with the sexual manifestations of anxiety, we will talk about anxiety-related situations in the field of sexuality through the examination of some typical situations.

Anxiety arising from moments of uncertainty about sexual orientation

I have spoken several times about the discovery of one’s homosexuality by a guy who was previously considered hetero (also by himself) and about how much this discovery generates anxiety derived mainly from a wrong representation of being gay.

Here I intend to consider a different situation. A guy who thinks he’s gay, who has exclusively gay erotic fantasies, who masturbates exclusively thinking about guys, finds himself experimenting a sexual contact with a girl. Against his hypothesis, according to which, for a gay, in similar situations, any form of involvement should be impossible, that guy experiences a physiological reaction that he doesn’t know how to interpret: when he was with the girl not only he wasn’t uncomfortable but had an erection and considered it quite exciting. That guy, while continuing in almost all the cases to masturbate thinking about the guys, sometimes masturbate also recalling the sexual contact with the girl. As long as these behaviors are not the object of reflection they are rewarding, but when the guy becomes fully aware of them and of their possible meaning, a state of anxiety comes up that disturbs the previous structure and creates uncertainty and insecurity.

Generally, when heterosexual contact is the first sexual contact of a gay guy, it significantly affects the balance of masturbatory sexuality achieved earlier, but in this case the new hetero experience has not supplanted the gay sexuality of the guy. That guy continues to masturbate thinking about the guys in almost all cases and will almost certainly end up returning to sexual fantasies exclusively gay in more or less long times.

Anxiety derives from an incorrect perception of the whole experience as a change in one’s sexual orientation, this mistaken perception is dramatized and produces a sense of insecurity. We must realize that these things happen and that, in the vast majority of cases, they have only temporally circumscribed influences and, even if in a very unlikely situation the story was a spy of the emergence of a heterosexual identity or a form of bisexuality, it would not be a problem anyway because nobody must be necessarily gay, but people must be free to be gay if and only if they really are.

As deserves the utmost respect the guy who after having considered himself hetero for years recognizes himself gay, so deserves the utmost respect the guy who after having considered himself gay for years, discovers his own heterosexuality. This is a very rare event, however, because social pressure pushes gay guys very much to believe themselves hetero but certainly it doesn’t push the straight guys to believe that they are gay.

Only in a couple of cases (events, I repeat, very rare) I happened to talk to guys who thought they were gay because they had sex with guys but they had very deep affective relationships with a girls. I noticed how for these guys, the acceptance of their heterosexuality, after considering themselves gay for years, was much more difficult than the acceptance of homosexuality for a guy who had believed to be hetero for years.

Essentially for those guys, who had made a considerable effort to accept themselves as gay, the gay prospects collapse and it is a question of rebuilding everything from the beginning in a straight key. The phenomenon is similar to the traumatic one that presents itself for the bisexuals in the periods when their sexual orientation changes.

Anxiety from presumed inadequacy

The anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy can arise in reference to concrete situations and above all in the immediacy of them, and also at general and preventive level. These are rather different situations. The anxiety that manifests itself in the immediacy of encounters that can also involve sexual contact intervenes when a serious, already structured emotional relationship can also lead to sexual involvement. Often this type of anxiety is linked to the fact that sexuality is seen as something further and different from the emotional contact to which one is accustomed, a kind of second stage that can compromise the former.

Anxiety manifests itself in a very significant way on the occasion of the first gay sexual contact and consists in the fear connected to the inexperience (”I don’t know how to behave”), to the fear of making mistakes and to upsetting the partner to the point of losing his affection due to inexperience in managing sexual intercourse. Classic, in these cases, are the expressions like this: ”I don’t know how I will react but I wouldn’t want to disappoint him, he is so sweet but I feel so clumsy”.

In fact, the anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy is a component constantly present in the first sexual intercourses and especially in the first. Rather than real anxiety, it is inability to foresee the reactions of one’s partner in a sexually involving situation when there aren’t at all previous experiences.

In general, the anxiety of the first gay sexual contact is practically nonexistent when the sexual contact arrives unexpectedly while it tends to be more strong if the expectation connected to that contact is deeply felt and the wait before it becomes concrete becomes long.

The worst way to deal with anxiety coming from inadequacy in a concrete situation is to resort to external behavioral patterns. A couple must be able to find their own harmony in its autonomy. The anxiety coming from presumed inadequacy, which manifests itself at a general level without reference to actual and concrete situations, is, in general, the result of a weak self-esteem and sometimes the manifestation of moments of depression, very often not originated by issues related to sexuality, like seeing themselves ugly or having previously found only refusals as affective responses, on this substratum of weak self-esteem can insert specific fears, often unfounded or amplified precisely by the anxious component, such as the erective weakness, the perception of the small penis and the premature ejaculation. In such situations, a gay guy tends to avoid any dialogue with other guys, he is uncomfortable when he hears that other guys talk about sex and tends to socialize very little.

Friendship and sexual confidence

I would like to underline that the word friendship, especially among heterosexual guys, besides the generic contents of pleasantness, respect and mutual attention, has another very important component which is sexual confidence. When two straight guys become friends in the serious sense of the term, it is not at all strange, but it is quite obvious that they compare their sexual experiences. This fact greatly decreases the anxious tension concentrated on specifically sexual content and contributes to giving sexuality a less mythical dimension, in other words, one can speak about his own sexuality among peers without fear of censorship, in a free climate, in which the mutual attention is the rule.

A straight guy who tells another straight guy that he masturbates while thinking about a girlfriend doesn’t do it for a stupid exhibitionism but because talking to another straight guy of these things melts the anxiety and helps to find a comparison on issues in which the direct comparison is rarely achievable.

Among gay guys, even if there is always in the background the idea that any friendship between two gay guys can turn into a loving friendship, the mechanism is exactly the same and for this reason not having gay friends with whom to compare sexual experiences and the limitating the dialogue with other gay guys only to non-specifically sexual content, deprives a gay guy of a fundamental mechanism for the reduction of anxiety related to sexuality. I cite just one example.

A straight boy, educated a century ago with a strongly repressive education, generally felt strong anxieties and strong feelings of guilt about masturbation. Today, in a free environment, where a guy can talk quietly about these things with friends and can understand how his friends live it, the anxiety-producing charge connected to masturbation has clearly decreased. Of course, for a gay guy, the thing is more complicated but the mechanism of anxiety reduction is basically the same.

Anxiety and problematisation of sexuality

For some guys sexuality is not a spontaneous activity, the rational dimension, particularly strong, often compresses or represses sexuality. This is the typical case of young people who want to understand everything about sexuality, who, rather than experiencing it immediately, try to analyze it, to vivisect it to understand it rationally through a strictly linked and logical explanation in terms of of causes and effects.

It often happens to me that some guys ask me in relation to a specific fact that they observed in their sexuality: ”But what does it mean?” As if it were possible to give a serious answer to all the questions of this kind. These guys generally stay away from sexuality, because sexuality is not rationally controllable, and they want to program affective life, they are extremely selective in the search for partners but based on abstract categories. It is difficult for them to understand that sexuality means abandoning themselves to a level of deep emotional life linked to fundamental physiological needs and that reasoning too much on sexuality means losing the essential.

How to overcome the anxieties connected to sexuality

A preliminary observation: everyone, more or less, live or have lived anxieties related to sexuality. If a guy didn’t feel anxieties related to sexuality there would be serious reasons for concern. Anxiety, to a certain extent, very variable, accompanies sex life in an ordinary way. Problems arise when this anxiety is paralyzing, when it leads to isolation and to sexophobia. To overcome anxiety you have to:

1) Realize to live in an anxiety-provoking situation

2) Try to see things in a more serene perspective and evaluate the so-called problems for what they are in reality and then resize them

3) Always keep the dialogue and the comparison open with people who live in similar situations

4) Get used to considering sexuality as an ordinary theme of serious conversation and to talk about it effectively in a free way with people who have similar experiences.

If I had to summarize in a single word the basic elements to overcome the anxieties connected to sexuality, I would use the word socialization: having friends, talking and discussing is the basis for being able to resize problems and to restore sexuality to the quality it deserves as an ordinary component of everyone’s life.

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